Welcome to This Weekend in Esports, a brief overview of what to watch in the world of competitive gaming for the coming weekend.
And this weekend belongs to Capcom.
Battle for the Stones
Game: Marvel vs. Capcom: Infinite
When: December 8-10, Friday at 11AM PT; Grand Finals Sunday at 2PM PT
Where to watch: Twitch.tv/BattleForTheStones
Marvel vs. Capcom: Infinite is ready to wrap up its first season, impressive given that the game has been out less than three months. But yes, 16 people will compete in the first Battle for the Stones Finals. This includes the seven past EVO champions for Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3, along with a handful of online qualifier winners. Then there are the Infinity Stone wielders. These include:
- Space Stone (Robert "Sacktap" Capps) - Swap position in the bracket to face a different opponent.
- Reality Stone (Carlos "Linj" Silva) - Swap three button functions on their opponent's control configuration.
- Power Stone (Jonathon "Cloud805" Morales) - Land the first hit in a match.
- Mind Stone (Luis "Teemo" Gomez) - Choose the opponent's two characters and Infinity Stone.
- Time Stone (Ryota "Kazunoko" Inoue) - Negate any opposing Stone Bearer's power for one match.
- Soul Stone (Richard Nguyen) - Erase one loss in a 3 out of 5 set.
It's hard to side against Ryan "Fchamp" Ramirez, given his early mastery of the game, but Richard Nguyen has played amazingly since the game's outset. And with the power of the Soul Stone, one mulligan might be all that he needs to reach the promised land.
Game: Street Fighter V
When: December 8-10; Top 8 Sunday at 2PM PT
Where to watch: Twitch.tv/CapcomFighters
The Street Fighter V season all comes down to this. Thirty-two of the top SFV players in the world will walk into the Mariott in Anaheim on Friday morning. Only eight of them will make it to the Top 8 at the Anaheim Convention Center to compete in front of a capacity crowd at this year's PlayStation Experience.
There are still shockwaves being felt over defending champion Nu "NuckleDu" Dang's sudden departure from the tournament. It's led to arguably the biggest change in the tournament, which puts in 2016 runner-up Ricki Ortiz. The big news isn't so much that she's in, but that right off the bat, she's facing off against Evo 2017 champion Hajime "Tokido" Taniguchi. And while Tokido is one of the big favorites to make it to the end, don't sleep on Ricki to potentially knock off the Evo champ early.
Meanwhile, Capcom Pro Tour points leader and Evo runner-up Victor "Punk" Woodley's road isn't an easy one, either. He won't know who he's facing until the smoke clears from the Last Chance Qualifier and should he survive that early test, he'll meet the winner of the match between Street Fighter legend Daigo Umehara and Thomas "Brolynho" Proenca. It is a stacked field on Punk's side of the bracket and if he wants a chance to avenge his Evo finals loss, he'll have to make his way through some of the very best to have ever played a Street Fighter game.
If there's one other name to keep an eye on during the Top 32, aside from the top Evo placers, watch out for Keita "Fuudo" Ai. Don't let his early out at Evo throw you off. He's still one of the better players in the world and with NuckleDu absent, he becomes the best R. Mika in the tournament. And Mika's capability for shenanigans means she should never be counted out until it's over.
So what will you be watching this weekend? Join the conversation and let us know in the comments.