This article is part of our FGC series.
As tournament season for the FGC is starting to really pick up steam, we were treated some great action all weekend long at Texas Showdown. While things were exciting the entire weekend, it really kicked it into high gear on Sunday afternoon with Top 8 action across Tekken 7, Dragon Ball FighterZ, and Street Fighter V: Arcade Edition. Buckle up because we’ve got plenty to parse through here.
Close matches rule the day in Tekken 7
If I sat here and tried to go through every match, we’d probably be here all day because these matches were incredibly close from start to finish. I don’t think I’ve seen as many round fives and rounds decided by time as I did throughout this stacked Top 8 bracket. While I haven’t gotten behind some of the hype of Tekken 7 prior to Sunday, this Top 8 made me a believer. Like, look at this!
If that doesn’t get you hyped, I don’t know what will.
But while there might have been plenty of hype surrounding these sets, most of that came in the losers’ bracket. The winners’ bracket was absolutely dominated by Hoa “Anakin” Luu who only dropped two games throughout his entire run this weekend. During the Top 8, he only dropped a single game during the grand finals against Stephen “Speedkicks” Stafford. While many players were swapping out players with impressive regularity all throughout Championship Sunday, Anakin stuck with his tried and true Jack-7 to run roughshod through the competition. Not only did he take home the hardware, but he received 150 precious Tekken World Tour points for his troubles.
Now, let’s talk about the losers’ bracket for a minute here. Specifically, let’s look at one person in particular, Marquis “vShadow_20z” Jordan. After owning the competition at Red Bull Conquest Chicago a couple weeks back, he made one of the strongest losers’ bracket runs we’ve seen in quite some time. He was first knocked into losers’ after losing to Anakin in the Top 48 before he promptly dispatched of Psylence to break into the Top 8 on the losers’ side.
It was at this point that he waded through the gauntlet with relentless precision. After easily taking out Aleric “Rick_Tha_Rular” Banks in the first losers’ round, he executed one hell of a reverse sweep against Joseph “Joey Fury” Bennett. That clip above is where he turned it around, as he was down two games and two rounds before winning three straight rounds to take Game 2 before moving on to win Game 3 and the set. He then won another close 2-1 set against Rontray “P.Ling” Sherman, but fell short against Speedkicks in an extremely tight 3-2 losers’ final match. Even without making it into the grand finals, vShadow showed that he is a forced to be reckoned with as he takes home third place and 70 Tekken World Tour points.
NYChrisG shows Texas who’s boss
If it wasn’t enough that we got Tasty Steve on the mic for Tekken, but we got Tasty Steve AND Yipes for Dragon Ball?! I’m already hyped and the matches haven’t even started yet.
The matches we got during this Top 8 were somewhat odd in a sense. While the individual rounds might have been close, the winners of every round only dropped two games in the entire Top 8. There were eight sweeps, including the winners’, losers’, and grand finals, along with a pair of 2-1s. Make no mistake, though, since this was Dragon Ball FighterZ, the action still came hot and heavy.
The biggest story for me here was old school vs. new school. In one corner you have the 3v3 veteran in Chris “NYChrisG” Gonzales, and in the other, you’ve got the gawd in Eduard “HookGangGod” Deno. After Hook was knocked into the losers’ bracket by Derek “Nakkiel” Bruscas in one of the 2-1s, he went on a hell of a run that got him all the way to the grand finals. Using his signature Piccolo, he never seemed to lose his composure at any moment. His Dragon Rush swap into Piccolo Level 1 super into mixup combo was just nasty. Even though his opponents undoubtedly knew what was coming, there was nothing they could do to stop it. During his losers’ bracket run, he picked up a 2-0 against Shinku, 2-0 against Steve “Supernoon” Carbajal, and a 3-0 in the runback against Nakkiel. This set up a showdown with none other than ChrisG in the grand finals.
ChrisG just simply isn’t fair. With Marvel v. Capcom Infinite basically being all but dead at this point, ChrisG has basically stepped into the Dragon Ball FighterZ space and immediately asserted his dominance. He might have lost to Supernoon at NorCal Regionals a few weeks back, but ChrisG has been heavy in the lab ever since and it’s paid off. In the eight series that he played all weekend long, he did not drop a single game. And it wasn’t even close. Rarely did he even get pushed to the brink in individual rounds. He’s executing on an incredible level that leaves his opponents floundering at every moment. It will be very interesting to see how this new and improved ChrisG will fare against the likes of Goichi “GO1” Kishida and Dominique “SonicFox” McLean at the Summit of Power next month.
MenaRD flexes on ‘em
Reigning Capcom Cup champion Saul Leonardo “MenaRD” Mena Segundo hasn’t had the most stable of seasons thus far. Not that he’s been necessarily bad, but he just hasn’t been turning in some of the best performances thus far. He didn’t make it out the Top 64 at Final Round 2018, he finished 9th at EVO Japan, 5th at the first LATAM Online Event, and 5th at last week’s Game Over Tournament. Despite that, this man was cooking his competition in Texas this weekend.
It wasn’t really until the grand finals that MenaRD even really got tested. He breezed through Benjamin “Problem X” Simon in the winners’ semifinals and downed Smug, who also was on quite the run this weekend, 3-1 in the winners’ finals. Then came the grand finals and damn, what a grand finals it truly was.
MenaRD was up against the first Capcom Cup champion Du “Nuckledu” Dang in one of the closest I’ve seen this year. NucklDu’s Guile vs. MenaRD’s Birdie. Out the gate, NuckleDu, contrary to many of his earlier series where he had to come from behind, won the first game to take a 1-0 lead. MenaRD, with the support of the always loud and boisterous Christhoper “Caba” Rodriguez in the crowd, battle back with two straight. In Game 4, the players traded rounds before going to a final round, with MenaRd on championship point. And then this happened.
“LET’S GO DU!” were the chants in the crowd as NuckleDu somehow came up with the win despite the explosive Birdie from MenaRD being a one hit from victory. Now in the final game of the set, of course MenaRD and NuckleDu again went to a final round once again. While NuckleDu and MenaRD were basically even in terms of health, MenaRD had a Critical Art on standby and just needed one confirm to end the series and take the title. He patiently waited for an opening and did just that.
Look at the popoff! He silenced the crowd with one Critical Art and picked up his first win of the year. He also grabbed 150 Capcom Pro Tour points, but given that he already has a spot in the Capcom Cup as the reigning champion, those are pretty much ake the useless for him. He’ll be much more happy to take the bragging rights and continue perfecting his game as the season is starting to kick into high gear.