Joshua "Wolfkrone" Philpot dominated the roster on Friday night's Eleague Street Fighter 5 bracket, earning himself one of the slots in the playoff bracket on May 26. The only games Wolfkrone lost were to Kun "Xian" Ho, the winner of Final Round 20 and a big contender to win Eleague. In the end, Wolfkrone went 3-2 against Xian in their final loser's bracket match, which cost Xian his chance at the playoffs.
Wolfkrone washes his hands after winning a match against Xian last Friday night. (gif via YouTube)
Despite losing, Xian might be the lucky one. Now he can compete in Combo Breaker 2017, which starts on the exact same day as the Eleague playoffs.
The dates for Combo Breaker 2017, which is part of the Capcom Pro Tour Street Fighter 5 tournament series, were announced back in November of last year. Eleague, however, didn't confirm the scheduling for their Street Fighter 5 season until February. Almost all of the participants in the Eleague season are also competing in Capcom Pro Tour events, so the overlap is a known issue.
In order to qualify for the coveted Capcom Cup, Street Fighter pros need to participate in a certain number of Capcom Pro Tour events and win a certain number of matches at those events. The Capcom Pro Tour includes 15 Global Premier Events, including Combo Breaker 2017. Dozens of other CPT regional events also count towards participants' rankings, but Premier events provide a higher qualification score. Given that, it would behove any up-and-coming Street Fighter pro to compete in as many Capcom Pro Tour events as possible, especially Premier events. A Street Fighter competition televised on TBS, like Eleague, is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity when it comes to visibility — but it doesn't count towards the Capcom Cup.
Combo Breaker 2017 offers SF5 player pools on both Friday May 26 and Saturday May 27, so there's a possibility that Eleague finalists could still participate in Combo Breaker, so long as they get chosen for the Saturday pools. Eleague films at Turner Studios in Atlanta, and Combo Breaker 2017 takes place in Illinois, so it's conceivable — albeit difficult — to see how pros could do both events in one weekend.
Combo Breaker organiser Rick "The Hadou" Thiher told us that the pool selections are done via lottery, and he's not planning to change that for anyone, whether they're a mega-famous pro player or not.
"Players request Friday pools every year due to work conflicts or life commitments," said Thiher. "That is normal and is something the event expects. ELEAGUE being an additional conflict did not create a new type of request in that regard. If it were possible to provide guaranteed Saturday pools for every attendee we would. Since it is not, we have to stay the course and continue being fair to all attendees by not providing preferential pool placements."
Thiher also confirmed that Eleague finalists like Wolfkrone, as well as Justin Wong and Du Dang, had requested to be placed in the Saturday pools for Combo Breaker 2017. Thiher denied this request, but he did remind Wolfkrone in particular that players can cancel their registration if they find out that scheduling doesn't work for them. In response Wolfkrone blocked him on Twitter, although Thiher was a good sport about it.
An Eleague representative told us that "scheduling and all aspects of the Eleague Street Fighter 5 Invitational have been done in concert with Capcom", and that the double-booked events would make for an "incredibly exciting weekend for the fighting game community". We guess it will be "exciting" to see which SF5 pros are able to compete at Combo Breaker 2017, and which draw the short end of the stick.