Season Three of the Street Fighter League is finally here! After an explosive finish to the 2019 Capcom Pro Tour, the competition is ready to kick off once again between some of Street Fighter V: Champion Edition’s top-tier talent.
This season, the Street Fighter League brings four (six) captains with serious credentials from past Pro Tours, each with their own stories to tell. From huge wins to breakout moments and more, these players are tasked with the daunting task of leading their teams to victory — but only one group will come out on top.
Derek “iDom” Ruffin reigns as the current Capcom Cup champion — but he wasn’t always the superstar player he’s known as, today. First breaking into the scene at New York’s Next Level Battle Circuit, iDom quickly rose in the ranks as one of the East Coast’s best competitors, making a name for himself by winning recurrent tournaments week after week.
Despite his dominance with jiu-jitsu master Laura, iDom rarely traveled for tournaments, leading to a popular sentiment from fans that he would never “leave his stoop.” However, this outlook changed later in his competitive career, after he appeared in Season One of the Street Fighter League Pro-US 2019 tournament series. The SFL’s character ban system prompted him to move away from Laura as his primary fighter and pick up a surprising secondary in Poison, who would come into play in a major later down the road.
iDom’s subsequent travels saw him qualify for Capcom Cup that year, where he shocked fans and fellow players alike by securing a spot in the Top 8 bracket. His skillful use of Laura locked him in Grand Finals against fellow East Coast beast Victor “Punk” Woodley in a set that left the crowd gripping their seats in anticipation. Making a last-minute switch to his secondary character, Poison, iDom left nary a dry eye in the room after taking the victory against his longtime training partner — marking a cinematic end to one of fighting games’ greatest storylines with a brand-new fighter he might not have otherwise chosen, if not for the Street Fighter League.
Victor “Punk” Woodley is largely hailed as one of Street Fighter V’s greatest players yet. Breaking into the competitive scene in 2016, Punk dominated the competition a year later, winning a slew of Premier Events and making top placements at other tournaments on the Capcom Pro Tour.
However, his success was contested by one opponent: Hajime “Tokido” Taniguchi, who notably defeated the young American pro in Grand Finals of EVO 2017. While Punk continued to make top marks during the rest of the season, his emotional loss to Tokido seemed to dampen his competitive drive — but he wasn’t out of the running, for long.
Punk made a massive comeback in 2019, where he similarly won a string of Premier Events, taking Final Round, The Mixup, and even the highly-esteemed Combo Breaker in quick succession. Racking up a record-breaking 4,815 points, Punk soared to the top of the CPT rankings, beating out names like Masato “Bonchan” Takashi and his longtime rival, Tokido.
In fact, Punk seemed ripe to take Capcom Cup, scoring a spot in the Grand Final after an entire year of intense competition: and although he was defeated by NLBC’s Derek “iDom” Ruffin, he remains as one of Street Fighter’s youngest and most successful pros to date, already boasting a huge legacy at just 22 years of age.
Yeh Man Ho, better known to fighting game players as “HotDog29,” has been competing in Street Fighter V since 2017 — but his breakout year occurred in 2019, after a slew of victories and top placements saw him soar to the top of both the Asia and Global Rankings.
Famous for using Shadaloo dictator M. Bison as his main character, HotDog29 notably shook the table against Zangief main “Kichipa-mu” at China’s PPL Masters, where he took a Premier win in spite of what he deemed to be an “impossible” matchup.
Having already scored a horde of points from high placements throughout the Tour, HotDog made the trek to Las Vegas, Nevada to compete in the 2019 North American Regional Finals and firmly secure his spot in the CPT’s Top 16. With 1,000 points and $50,000 on the line, HotDog was pitted against America’s Du “NuckleDu” Dang in the Grand Final — but despite being smothered by Du’s Cammy on the outset, he managed to overcome his opponent’s overwhelming playstyle, soaring to the top of the standings and gaining a strategic foothold in Capcom Cup.
With the 2020 CPT on the horizon, fans can only wait with bated breath to see how much further the highest-ranked Bison player will soar in the rankings after experiencing a hugely successful 2019 season.
When it comes to Europe’s greatest fighting game talent, SFV pro Benjamin “Problem X” Simon ranks at the top of the list. As a dual M. Bison and Abigail main, the British pro has made a huge name for himself across the globe, thanks to his outstanding achievements across multiple seasons of the Capcom Pro Tour.
While he boasts a slew of notable victories under his belt, one of Problem X’s greatest achievements stands in his EVO 2018 championship. His jaw-dropping victory over Hajime “Tokido” Taniguchi — the 2017 EVO champion — marked a massive win for the European scene, sending the region back to the top of competitive Street Fighter after a nail-biting Grand Finals set.
That’s not all: Problem’s EVO win solidified him as the strongest M. Bison player in the entire world, which was only later contested by fellow Bison main HotDog29 in 2019. Having been a Capcom Cup regular since 2015, Problem X is one of the Tour’s most experienced fighters, and continues to prove his strength year after year. After scoring 8th place in the 2019 Global Rankings, only time will tell how this European talent will fare in the Street Fighter League.
Adel “Big Bird” Anouche stands at the top of the global CPT rankings in 7th place. Best known for using Rashid, Big Bird’s near-surgical playstyle has propelled him to the summit of SFV’s competition, with 2019 marking a breakout year for this already massively successful fighting game pro.
Hailing from the UAE, Big Bird put his region on the map in a huge way — especially considering his monumental victories from last season. After taking top placements throughout the Tour, Big Bird dropped jaws across the fighting game community by making Grand Finals at EVO against none other than Masato “Bonchan” Takahashi. Anouche took second place in the incredibly close set with his opponent: but the loss wasn’t going to stop him from making his mark on the Tour.
The Middle-Eastern pro made a massive splash at EGX’s European Regional Finals just two months later, taking both the Regional Final and the Open Premier in mind-blowing back-to-back victories, despite being sick. With a firm foot in Capcom Cup, Big Bird ended his season in 17th place — but there’s no counting out this player, considering his dominating performances throughout last season.
Li-Wei “Oil King” Lin is known for more than his short shorts: UYU’s top Rashid player has also proven to be a serious threat in bracket, scoring 12th place in the 2019 Global Rankings. Hailing from Taiwan, Oil King took top placements throughout the season, most notably at Final Round, EGX, and Canada Cup, where he finished in 2nd place against Hajime “Tokido” Taniguchi.
However, Oil King wasn’t always a Street Fighter aficionado. The fighting game pro got his start in the King of Fighters series as a youngster, going on to try his hand at Street Fighter IV using Rolento as his main character. Upon the release of Street Fighter V, Lin got “serious” about competing, and began a trail of dominance using Rashid that has only grown in destruction to this day.
His performance in the 2019 CPT saw him finish just outside of Capcom Cup’s Top 8 bracket, coming in at 9th place to end the season. Having competed in the Capcom Pro Tour since the beginning of SFV’s lifetime, Oil King has proven himself as a seriously consistent player throughout his competitive career, and marks yet another deadly Rashid in the mix of the 2020 Street Fighter League’s impressive talent pool. Having chosen his tag as a means for fans to remember him by, there’s no way viewers could ever forget the King of short shorts — nor his tournament results, for that matter.