The Capcom Cup is the tournament culmination of each and every qualifier of an entire year's worth of fighting game knowledge and work. It's an unforgiving bracket and provides the best representation of the world's best talent. BX3's Arman "Phenom" Hanjani, Cygames' Darryl "Snake Eyez" Lewis and Keita "Fuudo" Ai sat down after the weekend rounded up to provide some insight for players on how to tackle something as difficult and grueling as the Capcom Cup.
Preparation is key to a stacked competition, but the priority for all three of these top players was their mental condition. Because the Capcom Cup is the finale of the year, all the work within the game should be at its peak for each individual player. In addition, because of the volatility of fighting games, even film of opponents offer little help to the upcoming challenge. The play styles, defensive and offensive options can change in as little as a few months.
"It's better to pay attention to the players when you're actually at the tournament. Observe basic things like when they want to jump and ignore more specific things," Snake Eyez said. "When you play a player that uses the same character as your future opponent, it doesn't work anymore."
If film study is no longer a valid option, the only true preparation lies in the player's mentality and confidence. For Fuudo, he was reliant on his own confidence before Capcom Cup. He stated that if he was not confident, there would be no chance for success. As for Phenom, he trained more than he did throughout the year for the Capcom Cup, but his short run was due to execution failures.
"When you win, you gain more confidence," Phenom said. "You need to always trust yourself because this game is very unforgiving."
For each player, their runs ended earlier than expected: Fuudo ended in 13th, Snake Eyez in 17th, and Phenom in 25th. Confidence was not the issue for Snake Eyez, but he ran into two Ibuki buzz saws. He was unprepared for the character's wake-up options. In addition to his own execution errors with Zangief's counter, he was ousted from the competition. As for Fuudo, he lost to two matchups he did not prepare for. He admitted his own fault for not understanding both Zeku and M. Bison.
"There's no real underdog for Capcom Cup, it's about who can perform the best on that day," Phenom said. "There's a lot of pressure when you play because there's more at stake and decision-making differs as a result of that. Even when you don't expect a favorite to lose, anything can happen."
For top players, a successful run through a stacked tournament like the Capcom Cup has less to do with practice and studying, but more to do with mental preparation and timely momentum. Unfortunately for all three of these world-class warriors, it was not their day.