Thoughts on the Street Fighter League

As always this is just my opinion. You’re free to disagree with me and I’m sure many of you will. You can go yell at me about it over on twitter @itsfrail

As many of you are probably aware a Street Fighter league was announced which is the Street Fighter Pro League – USA. Which sounds all well and good, I mean I love me some Street Fighter. However, the League is set up to be a three versus three tournament series outside of the Capcom Pro Tour. I’m not super thrilled about that to begin with but it could be cool if people make their own teams. Maybe strong players team up with each other, maybe people will just play with their friends, or maybe organizations will put their players together or sign new players to fill 3v3 rosters. I could get behind that.

But that’s not how it works. The first person on each team (also known as the captain) will be chosen from top ranked players on the Capcom Pro Tour 2018 North American Leaderboards. They don’t really seem to specify that it’s the top six given that there are six teams but that’s what I assume is going to happen. Perhaps it’s the top six that are willing to participate? Who knows really. If this is the case I have no real issues with this but let’s continue on. The second person will be picked by an online qualifier and the third slot will be voted in by the community.

This is where I begin to get a little hesitant on the idea. So there is an open qualifier. Obviously open meaning that anyone can participate. From my experience with open qualifiers they are extremely boring to watch. The one benefit to it is that very rarely you’ll find a diamond in the rough and some unknown player will shine and make a name for himself. But usually the best players in the world are the best players in the world for a reason. It’s because they beat everyone else. I’m not saying that it’s a total waste of time but I have a strong feeling the faces you are used to seeing at big tournaments now are the same ones you are going to see at the end of the qualifier. It’s not an awful idea but I think in practice it is going to be a little lackluster.

EDIT: Seems like the results of the first qualifier have a lot of players who either aren’t ranked or are far down on the CPT list. But to my point earlier maybe one of them will be a diamond in the rough. Also there is three qualifiers on both coasts of the United States.

Now the third player for each team is picked via community vote. Again, how the hell does that even work? Are they just saying here are teams 1-6 and here are people (who I assume made it out of the qualifier?) vote for which team you want them on? This is just goofy. This is a fun idea and would be good for a one and done tournament setting but for a TWO season league?

EDIT: In an article posted today they said the third person was decided by an online vote that you can opt into.

I come from the world of competitive CS:GO and they do fun things like this at tournaments where they’ll take current pros, analysts/ex pros, and well-regarded people from the scene and put them on teams to play against each other as a show match, but for a TWO season league?

I think the novelty of it will wear off and you’re left with these teams of people that maybe don’t even like each other whose tournament life is at the mercy of other players. One of the reasons I like fighting games is the one vs. one aspect where it’s just you vs. your opponent and the better player wins.

On top of all this they are also introducing a character ban feature? As if this two season format didn’t already remind me of MOBAs like League of Legends and DOTA, they do this. I’m pretty indifferent to this. I feel like they are doing this to force character diversity and make things “more interesting” when someone gets target banned. This forces players to have pocket picks and be diverse with their character pools. On the other hand I want to see players at their best playing other players at their best. If you can just ban away someone’s best character I feel like I’m just getting a watered down match.

I suppose the point of this article is to say that I am skeptical, but optimistic. I think the idea of a 3v3 tournament in and of itself isn’t bad. I don’t know if I agree with the way players are put on teams, the length of the seasons, or character bans though. At the very least it will give some exposure to some of these players coming out of the qualifier.

The first season begins April 2019 so I guess we will see how it turns out.

As always you can follow me on twitter @itsfrail

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