Saturday night saw an epic set of Street Fighter V fixtures take place in the Gfinity Elite Series Delivered by Domino’s, with teams all chasing a place in the Season 4 playoffs. The night saw undefeated records come under threat and some teams crashing out of the Elite Series in what was an unforgettable night at the Gfinity Esports Arena.
Epsilon vs Hashtag United
Nasty Nas took on DarkMoonHado in the first game, with Cammy seemingly having the advantage over Balrog heading into the first round. Nas started quickly as he landed a few punches, forcing DarkMoonHado to the corner. Despite a solid fightback from the Hashtag man, Nas was able to activate and close out the first round with ease.
DarkMoonHado made a good start in the second round, but Nas connected with an overhead and forced Cammy to the corner. Nas was then able to bide his time and close out the win to make it 1-0 to Epsilon.
Epsilon’s stand-out performer GunSlinga was on second as his Zeku took on Naught’s Urien. The Hashtag man made the better start with a series of jabs giving him a solid life lead over his opponent. Wake-up buttons from GunSlinga helped him to force his way back into the round, and he almost made the stun. However, Naught was solid and pulled out an incredible finish to take the first round.
Naught jumped in fast at the start of the second round and got the stun to leave GunSlinga in big trouble. GunSlinga fought back well, but the damage had already been done, and Naught waited for his for his moment to strike and level the series at 1-1.
JesterPower’s Vega went head-to-head with Isam’s M. Bison in the third game of the night, and Isam was well aware that he would need to be creative to find a way to win. Isam started slowly as he looked to draw JesterPower in, and he made the first significant hit of the round to give him the advantage. JesterPower played a patient game as he looked to work his way in, but as the clock ticked away, Isam picked off his opponent as he looked to force the issue to take the first round.
The second round started similarly with both players jockeying for superiority. Isam took the life lead in the game, and as JesterPower tried to jump in and find a way back, the Epsilon man waited for Vega to make a mistake before finishing him off to give his side a 2-1 lead in the series.
Naught took on Nas in the fourth game of the evening, and it was the Elite Series draftee Naught who made the better start with an excellent anti-air. Nas was able to work his way back into the round, and after activating on the back of a good punish, Balrog forced Urien to the corner. However, Naught was extremely patient, and an activation allowed him to put the pressure back on Nas to take the first round.
Nas made an aggressive start to the second round, but a good interrupt from Naught forced his Balrog to the corner. However, without v-trigger on deck, he wasn’t able to close it out, and Nas came back into the game. Ultimately, the mirror saved Naught as Nas was left tentatively probing his opponent and a jump in sealed the round to level the series once again.
The in-form man Naught was up again in Game 5, this time taking on Isam. Epsilon seemed flustered by the confidence exuding from the Hashtag draftee, and he made the better start to force M. Bison to the corner. However, Isam fought back well, and an activation allied with a few solid anti-airs allowed him to put Naught on the ropes for the first time in the evening. Isam then closed out the round as he caught his opponent pressing buttons, and Epsilon sensed a change in momentum with Hashtag’s key man losing a round for the first time in Week 5.
Naught looked to go on the attack in the second round, but Isam continued to produce excellent anti-airs to keep his opponent in check. A few successful throws from Naught then put Isam in trouble, and as his anti-airs began to connect, the momentum seemed to have shifted again. Isam would have the final say though, as he closed out the round to give Epsilon the lead in the series for the third time.
JesterPower was back in the hot seat as he took on GunSlinga in Game 6, and JesterPower made a fast start, dashing in immediately as he looked to try and seize the initiative. Both players traded blows and punished mistakes as the round wore on, but in the end, GunSlinga closed out the round with critical art to give Epsilon match point.
GunSlinga put the pressure on with a series of dashes, and JesterPower roared back into the game with a critical art of his own. However, the early damage in the round proved decisive as GunSlinga hit back with another critical art to seal the series in style for Epsilon and keep their hopes of qualifying for the playoffs alive.
Method vs Reason
Method’s big hitter ImStillDaDaddy was up first, with his Guile taking on Poizesto’s Cammy. An onslaught of sonic booms gnawed away at Poizesto’s health, and with his opponent in trouble, ImStillDaDaddy stepped in with a throw to close out a convincing first round.
Round 2 started in a similar fashion, and it looked to be game over with Cammy in the corner. Despite escaping from the corner, ImStillDaDaddy rarely looked in trouble and closed out the round with ease to give Method a 1-0 lead in the series.
Packz went with Ibuki for his match-up with Boltstrike’s Vega in Game 2, but it was the Reason man who made the early headway with a nice throw giving him a slight life lead over his opponent. Packz then came back into the round with a great punish, taking advantage of the frame delay as he demonstrated his excellent character knowledge. However, he couldn’t close out the round, and Boltstrike came back strong to finish off his opponent and win a first round of the night for Reason.
Boltstrike started strongly in Round 2, but Packz was on hand with an amazing punish once more to keep Boltstrike in check. The round grew scrappier is it went on, and a missed punish from Boltstrike allowed Packz to finish off Vega and take the game to a deciding final round.
Packz began the last round much the better, but Boltstrike finally managed to punish Ibuki and force his way back into the round. Both players were cautious as the round went on, but Boltstrike was too wary of the v-trigger, and Packz waited for his opponent to make the first move before picking him off to give Method a 2-0 lead.
VegaPatch knew he had a lot to do in Game 3 as his F.A.N.G took on Broski’s Dhalsim, and the Reason man made a good start with a crush counter in the opening seconds. Dhalsim’s fire breath wasn’t landing, and VegaPatch was able to chip away at Broski’s health with a good combination of poison and concerted aggression. VegaPatch was then able to get the stun and seal a Perfect KO to the surprise of everyone in the arena given the pre-match predictions in favour of Dhalsim.
A fast start from VegaPatch saw him pick up from Round 1 as he inflicted poison damage on Broski, who seemingly had no answers to his onslaught. Broski stayed resilient though and forced his way back into the round, but a good punish from VegaPatch closed out the round to get Reason back into the series.
The fourth game of the series was a repeat of the first as ImStillDaDaddy took on Poizesto, and the Method man started the round in ominous fashion. Poizesto continued to dash ImStillDaDaddy to his downfall, and another win for Guile looked on the cards. However, an amazing comeback saw Poizesto chip away at ImStillDaDaddy’s health before a quick combo saw him get the stun to close out an incredible round.
ImStillDaDaddy went on the offensive in Round 2, as he looked to finish off Poizesto before he had a chance of growing into the game. A barrage of kicks from the Method star looked to have finished off Poizesto, but a timely critical art meant it was all to play for with both characters one hit away from defeat. In the end, a flash kick from ImStillDaDaddy quelled the chance of a second comeback from Poizesto as the game went to a third round.
In Round 3, Poizesto was unable to avoid the waves of sonic booms sent down by ImStillDaDaddy, giving Guile a healthy life lead as the round went on. Poizesto managed to jump in and draw back a measure of control, but despite a last-second attempt at v-skill, ImStillDaDaddy was able to finish off Cammy with another flash kick.
Packz took on Boltstrike again in the fifth game of the series, and Packz took advantage of a poor slide from the Reason man to seize the initiative. A risky anti-air from Boltstrike paid off, and he was then able to throw Ibuki to get back into the round. Packz then took a chance after a combo from Vega, but it didn’t pay off as Boltstrike got the stun to claim the first round.
More brave play from Boltstrike in the second round paid dividends, as he managed to escape Packz’s effort at a series of air-to-airs. Boltstrike then secured the stun for a second round in a row, and although he wasn’t able to finish off Ibuki initially, a solid command grab put paid to any thoughts of a comeback from Packz, meaning the series was delicately poised at 3-2.
Broski went into the game under pressure, and after a morale-boosting performance against ImStillDaDaddy, Poizesto was looking to draw the series level. The Method man started well, but Poizesto then forced Dhalsim to the corner and began to exert the pressure. Broski managed to escape and seemed to have the round under control, but yet another amazing comeback from Poizesto saw him finish off his opponent with a perfectly-timed back throw to take the round.
Poizesto started Round 2 strongly with an incredible crush counter to put Broski on the back foot. Broski slowly worked his way back into the round, but Poizesto managed to pull off the victory for Reason to take the series to a Game 7 decider.
ImStillDaDaddy faced off against VegaPatch, with the commentators noting that the character match-up favoured Guile. The first round started evenly, but then ImStillDaDaddy began to grow into the round as VegaPatch’s F.A.N.G suffered at the hands of the constant sonic boom assault. VegaPatch pulled the round back with an excellent conversion, but ImStillDaDaddy had his opponent’s number, and he was able to flash kick his way to a first-round win.
VegaPatch impressed in the second round as he kept pace with ImStillDaDaddy. Ultimately, ImStillDaDaddy’s EX flash kicks were too much for VegaPatch to handle, as Guile had too much for F.A.N.G, and with the series going to Method, Reason are now eliminated from the Elite Series with one fixture still left to play.
exceL vs Vitality
Hurricane went head-to-head with TKR in the first match, with the Vitality man opting to use Abigail for the first time this season against Hurricane’s Cammy. Hurricane made good inroads early on and claimed the stun, but TKR was saved by Abigail’s formidable health. Although TKR landed a hefty blow soon after, a whiff punish from Hurricane sealed the round and capped off a dominant start to the night.
It was more dominance for exceL in Round 2 as Hurricane exerted his control and capitalised on the mistakes from TKR. The slow-moving Abigail struggled against the speed of Cammy, and after TKR erroneously jumped in, Cammy’s critical art all but sealed the round. Hurricane was then able to exploit a missed conversion from TKR, giving the first game to exceL.
JuniorLéo took to the stage for the first time in Season 4 with his Ken facing Brian’s Menat, as the exceL man looked to change up his character to give him an advantage. With the casters predicting a difficult match for JuniorLéo, Brian controlled the space and chipped away slowly as Ken tried to force the issue. JuniorLéo couldn’t find a way in though, and Brian took the round with relative ease in the end.
JuniorLéo fought back well in Round 2, as he managed to get closer to Menat to finally inflict some meaningful damage. However, Brian was patient, and as he managed to move away, he was able to place the emphasis back on his opponent to be aggressive. JuniorLéo managed to force Brian to the corner but gave his opponent a reprieve when he accidentally back threw to get Menat out of trouble. Brian then bided his time and was then able to finish the round off.
Apollo Steed impressed in Week 3, but he had a big test ahead as he took on Infexious in Game 3 with his Kolin facing Necalli. The Vitality man showed good spacing early in the round, but Infexious’ experience showed as took control of the round with time ticking away. With Apollo Steed needing to go on the attack, Infexious came under pressure with Kolin landing several hits, but the situation got the better of Apollo Steed, and Infexious capitalised on a mistake to take the round.
Infexious went on the attack in Round 2 and forced Apollo Steed to the corner. The round was then closed out with minimal fuss, as Infexious closed the round out with a divekick to give exceL a 3-0 lead in the series.
Infexious stayed in the hot seat as exceL went into Game 4 with match point, and JuniorLéo had a huge challenge ahead of him owing to the fact that Infexious has been known to main Ken in past tournaments. Infexious started well with a solid anti-air, and JuniorLéo again found himself having to make the first move as was the case against Brian. Infexious was in superlative form as every dash from JuniorLéo was checked, and the imperious Infexious now needed to win just one round to secure the clean sweep for exceL.
Under immense pressure, the round started poorly for JuniorLéo with more anti-airs from Infexious. However, JuniorLéo was able to claw his way back into the round despite missing a few anti-airs himself, and after throwing Infexious to the corner, he was able to close out the round to give Vitality a lifeline heading into Round 3.
Infexious got on the front foot in the third round as he forced JuniorLéo to the corner and went after the stun to secure the round. JuniorLéo made a fatal mistake when attempting to run at Infexious, and ultimately the exceL man finished off the game with an anti-air to give them a place in the semifinals.
Fnatic vs Nordavind
Akainu made his first appearance of Season 4 as his Guile took on the irrepressible Phenom in Game 1, with the Fnatic man well aware that his Necalli remains unbeaten across Seasons 3 and 4. Phenom’s knowledge of Guile’s strengths shone through as he took the game to Akainu in the first round. The Frenchman showed he is no slouch as he played a more aggressive style with Guile compared to others, but Phenom edged the round in a close finish to take the first round.
Phenom started the second round well with an EX command grab to force Akainu to the corner, and a whiff punish then set up a combo to secure the stun, enabling Phenom to take the round with relative ease.
With Momi unavailable for Nordavind, Veggey stepped up for the second time in Season 4 as his Birdie went head-to-head with Shakz’s Laura. The character match-up seemed to suit Birdie, and Veggey controlled the early exchanges well. However, Shakz responded well, and three consecutive throws gave him the stun to claim the first round.
Veggey seemed to be having trouble with Shakz’s fast-paced style, and after activating Shakz forced him to the corner to pile the pressure on. Veggey then had no answer to a series of overheads from Shakz, and the series was tied up at one game each.
Salty Kid’s R. Mika went up against Atrosh’s Birdie, with the Fnatic man wary of what he had seen from Birdie in the previous game. The Nordavind man was dominant throughout, as after starting with a solid command grab, Atrosh couldn’t get any momentum and the round was over inside just 30 seconds.
Atrosh controlled the space in the early knockings of the second round, but Salty Kid came back well with a good combo. The low jab was working well for Atrosh though, and despite a late onslaught from Salty Kid, a low kick was enough to finish R. Mika off and take the game to a third round.
A fast start from Salty Kid had Atrosh pushed to the corner and under considerable early pressure, and a successful anti-air gave Atrosh a lot of work to do. Atrosh was able to turn the tide after activating as he forced Salty Kid to the corner and it looked like curtains, only for Salty Kid to pull out a critical art to seal the win for Nordavind.
Salty Kid and Atrosh were up again for Game 4, and Salty Kid continued with his tactic of quick early combos as he looked to race into a life lead over his opponent. After forcing Birdie to the corner and claiming the stun, Salty Kid did more damage to Atrosh but wasn’t able to kill. It didn’t take long though as a few more throws gave Salty Kid the round in similar style to Game 3.
Atrosh decided to try and disrupt Salty Kid’s game as he made the first move in Round 2, and his decision seemed to be paying off as R. Mika seemed to be in trouble. Salty Kid came back well though, and he closed out the round with a giant swing throw to set up series point for Nordavind.
Fnatic went into the fifth game of the series with huge problems as they knew they had to beat Phenom twice to win the series. Akainu started well as he sent down a few sonic booms, but an EX command grab from Phenom helped him get back into the round. It was a similar story again for Akainu as Phenom walked up and finished off the round to leave Nordavind on the brink of victory.
A solid bazooka knee followed by an anti-air from Akainu gave him a platform to work from in Round 2, and he then began to exert some control as he started to send down waves of sonic booms. Phenom then went on the charge, and after throwing Akainu repeatedly it looked to be all over, but from nowhere Akainu pulled out a series of flash kicks to take the round.
Phenom started the final round aggressively with an EX command grab forcing Akainu to the corner. Another flash kick from Akainu allowed him to escape, and he appeared to be forcing the issue as Phenom repeatedly looked for the command grab to regain control. His tactic didn’t work though, and Akainu closed out the round with a few flash kicks to condemn Phenom to his first ever defeat in the Elite Series.
Veggey took on Atrosh in a Birdie mirror match for Game 6, and Veggey applied to early pressure as he forced Atrosh to the corner. Atrosh fought back well though, and the round was fairly even as time ticked past the halfway mark. Despite sparring well, a walk-up command grab from Atrosh finished off Veggey even as he seemed in control of the round, giving Fnatic the advantage going into Round 2.
The second round was something of a slugfest as both characters traded meaty blows in a chaotic exchange. Veggey took the life lead as the round wore on, and after Atrosh activated he failed to connect, leaving Veggey with a simple punish to take the game to in a final round.
Nordavind’s captain Veggey connected with a whiff punish early in the last round to take a huge life lead, and with Atrosh in the corner, it seemed as though the game was up for Fnatic. However, Atrosh fought back brilliantly as he activated to escape the corner and dish out the damage to his opponent. Atrosh then sealed the comeback to take the series to a Game 7 decider.
Shakz stepped up to the plate for Fnatic to take on Phenom in the last game of the weekend, and the first round started fairly evenly with both characters trading blows. Shakz then managed to force Phenom to the corner, but he tried to force the issue and Phenom was able to activate and escape. A huge EX command grab from Phenom put Shakz under pressure, but the Fnatic man waited patiently before dashing in to throw Phenom to take the first round and give Fnatic series point.
Shakz started the second round well with a solid standing light kick, and another forward throw meant Phenom had to jump out of trouble. The jump worked for Phenom, as he then forced Shakz to the corner and regained momentum in the round. With his health near zero, Shakz managed to activate and unleash an assault on Necalli, only for Phenom to pull out a critical art at the last second to steal the win and take the series to the wire.
Another fast start from Shakz saw him force Phenom to the corner, but he managed to get out of trouble a force Shakz to go on the defensive. Necalli’s command grab then did significant damage to Laura, forcing Shakz to play out from the corner. Shakz activated and Phenom looked in trouble, but a timely v-reversal worked for Necalli, enabling him to close out the round and keep Nordavind’s 100% win record intact.
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