Saturday will mark the end of the first half of the 2017 Capcom Pro Tour regular season.
The CPT Online North America 3 (West Coast) tournament will take place that day, the 35th tournament this year. There are 34 events remaining to determine the 31 entrants who will advance to the Capcom Cup.
It’s been quite an exciting first half, and I expect it to be similar for the second half, especially with so many players trying to avoid needing to participate in the Last Chance Tournament, the final regular season event.
Having watched and stat tracked every Top 8 this year, there have been some numbers that have been eye opening, while others were expected. Let’s break down a few points regarding the first half of the regular season in Q-and-A format.
1. Who is the first half Most Valuable Player?
The answer clearly is Punk. It’s amazing how his stats stand out from everyone else.
The haters will only point toward his last two (or three) CPT tournaments. But they can go eat it. A slump was going to come, as it usually does for everyone in the first couple of weeks post Evolution.
Of the 26 offline tournaments, he’s been to six finals.
In CPT Top 8 matches this year, Punk is 24-6. He still remains the only player with at least 20 wins in Top 8s. What’s more insane is that he’s lapped the field. Bonchan is next with 12 wins.
He’s won more than 170 rounds. The only other player to hit the century mark is Tokido, at 101.
Punk owns the second-longest single-tournament run, going 11 wins in a row.
When it comes to closing out a round, Punk is right up there with the field. His closeout rate (opponent at less than 25 percent health and he has the lead in a round) is at .897. That’s 14th best among all players who have played minimum 10 rounds with a lead.
His comeback rate (he at less than 25 percent health while trailing in a round) isn’t spectacular. It’s only .168. That’s because the way he plays, he’s usually playing with a lead.
Look at it from this point, Punk has more than 30 late-round comebacks this year. A look at the top four.
Punk: 30 (.168)
NuckleDu: 21 (.247)
XiaoBao: 20 (.392)
Big Bird: 19 (.247)
This list shows that Punk can come back to get wins, but he’s not dependent on the comeback to put up the numbers he’s currently putting up.
The outings at Evolution and Defend the North (and even CEO Gaming) show that Punk is vulnerable, but he can right the ship and get back into top form before the postseason arrives. He’s got plenty of time to do it.
Most players would be happy with three consecutive runner-up finishes because of the longterm goal of getting into Capcom Cup and getting a good spot in the Finals Tournament. We’ll find out whether that’s the case with Punk.
2. Will Laura be the usage champion with the worst record?
I’ve joked about this for the past two months.
It probably shouldn’t be labeled as ‘worry,’ but I was concerned Laura would end up as the usage champion while having the worst win percentage in CPT Top 8s. What would that say about the character and the game?
At the halfway point, Laura has made an appearance in 211 games, fourth most among all of the characters.
Laura’s record in CPT Top 8s is 81-130, a .384 win percentage, fifth worst.
The only characters with a worse record than Laura are Chun Li (.333), Alex (0-2), Ryu (0-2) and Juri (0-1).
On June 10, she fell to 35-95, a .269 win percentage, by far the worst (Ryu was 0-2). But since then, she has done as well as the field, going 47-45 while winning two tournaments.
Idom’s win at Defend The North was the first time Laura was used solely to win the last match of a tournament.
So I’m not ‘worried’ at this point whether she is going to be the usage champion. Even with 211 games, she still has to leapfrog three characters, and that’s tough to do when the average tournament this year has had at least seven different characters in a Top 8.
She can be the usage champion with the worst record by only a couple of extreme scenarios.
Scenario A: A lot of Lauras make Top 8, creating plenty of mirror matches. That doesn’t affect her record. But if she does face a different character, she loses, dropping her record. Idom might spark a Laura revolution, but it won’t create a total bonita landslide through the rest of the year.
Scenario B: The characters that aren’t being used at all or as much suddenly do get used, and they defeat all of the Lauras in Top 8s. That’s the royal flush scenario. It evens the appearance distribution on the bottom end, but Laura continues to get her games (and losses) en route to being the usage champion with a terrible record. Extremely unlikely.
3. Is the pace of play faster?
With more than 3,500 rounds played, the average round time has settled to 45.29 seconds. It will take a massive shift for the number to go up or down the rest of the way.
Last year, the average round time was 46 seconds. Before the season began, players believed pace of play was going to be much faster than before. This shows there’s virtually no change.
4. Can you shut up about those final four order stats?
Thank goodness the major tournaments have done the better of the two, going Winners Final, Losers Semifinal, Losers Final, Grand Final.
But there are still tournaments doing Losers Semifinal, Winners Final, Losers Final, Grand Final. While champions have come from that order, that is not enough to convince me that it is the way to go.
Entering Saturday, the numbers when the loser of Winners Final competes in Losers Final:
4-10 in Losers Final when the order is LSF/WF/LF/GF.
8-12 in Losers Final when the order is WF/LSF/LF/GF.
Keep in mind, we are one hit and one round away from that 8-12 mark being 10-10.
I wrote about the need to go WF/LSF/LF/GF extensively several weeks ago, you can read it here.
5. What’s been the craziest stat tracked so far?
I’ll give you a few.
STAT A: When looking at the most frequent matchups, Rashid vs. Ibuki does not come to mind. However, it is the most frequent matchup in CPT Top 8s this year, at 34 games.
Ibuki leads Rashid 21-13.
Two encounters were championship matches, at Dreamhack Summer and Thaiger Uppercut. There also was Marn vs. Alex Valle at Texas Showdown, among the other encounters with the two characters.
The reason Ibuki has had the upperhand on Rashid? The late-round closeout percentages for both characters.
Ibuki has an .897 closeout rate in rounds against Rashid. That’s about with the tournament average.
Rashid has blown 15 late-round leads to the tune of a sub-par .674 closeout rate in rounds against Ibuki.
STAT B: The most lopsided matchup is Karin vs. Cammy. Karin is 15-0 against Cammy in CPT Top 8 matches this year. I would have never imagined a matchup that slanted, especially against two of the five top-used characters this year.
You can thank Punk, Mago, Kusanagi and Justin Wong for serving up the bagel on opponents who use Cammy.
Cammy hasn’t even had the bounty of opportunities to take down Karin. Cammy has had just eight late-round leads against Karin in 36 rounds played.
Another couple of matchups that are one-sided but not as bad:
Necalli 17, Laura 5
Birdie 14, FANG 7
Rashid 12, Karin 3
STAT C: We won’t see another player win 15 matches in a row this year, and especially in the way Bonchan did at Evolution.
Bonchan lost his first match of the tournament and then won 15 matches in a row, getting one win from the Top 8. The 15-match win streak is the longest single-tournament streak this year.