Panda Global's Victor "Punk" Woodley is your Red Bull Battle Grounds champion after a 3-0 sweep of Derek "iDom" Ruffin in the Street Fighter V grand final Sunday afternoon in Boston. Punk's victory makes him the top seed heading into the Capcom Cup Finals next month.
The two North American finalists, iDom and Brian "Brian_F" Foster, did not make the cut for the Capcom Cup as Naoto "Sako" Sako locked in the 31st and final spot thanks to his performance this weekend. IDom was the respectable Battlegrounds runner-up to Punk and Brian_F finished in fifth place.
The darling of the tournament was arguably the last-chance qualifier, Broken Alliance Gaming's Marcus "The Cool Kid93" Redmond, and his Abigail. He beat nearly 250 players in last-chance qualifier tournament to make it to the final day. Unfortunately, despite his highlight-reel performance, he was stopped by Punk in the winners quarterfinal in five sets and outclassed by Gustavo "801 Strider" Romero in the losers bracket.
Grand final: Punk vs. IDom
It was gatekeeper against hopeful in an East Coast grand finals. Although Punk and iDom fought evenly during their matches at the Next Level Battle Circuit in New York earlier this month, their fight did not go the same way in Boston. IDom was the talk of New York as the player that needed to travel to more tournaments, and his second-place finish this weekend was validation for those who want more of this versatile and zone-heavy Laura player.
Unfortunately for iDom, however, Punk looked like he was in peak form. His Karin was oppressive and opportunistic. While most of the tournament field struggled against iDom's fireball pressure or whiff-punish ability, Punk cut every option one-by-one during a quick grand finals sweep. Punk's ability to force the opponent to move forward was enough for iDom to make his own mistakes over and over. Punk's whiff punishes with fierce were on-point and his corner pressure was simple, yet extremely effective.
Sneak preview of North Americans in the Capcom Cup
In addition to Punk, there were four other players that qualified for Capcom Cup: Team Liquid's Du "NuckleDu" Dang (third overall), Echo Fox' Justin Wong (14th), Rise's Bryant "Smug" Huggins (24th), and 801 Strider (29th).
The North American regional finals acted as a warm-up for consistent dominators like Smug, NuckleDu, and Justin Wong. For Smug, whose tournament ended in a loss to iDom, it was more of the same kind of patient play that he showcased throughout the season. NuckleDu's grind with Guile and Rainbow Mika was on full display. He was in Capcom Cup form with frightening offense and his usual elite adaptation, regardless of which character was chosen.
Justin Wong's Karin looked solid, too. He played a slower pace than the rest of the field, a signature of Justin Wong's play, and correctly optimized each and every stray hit he collected.
801 Strider was perhaps one of the most impressive players during the weekend. His level of matchup knowledge, offensive ingenuity, and creativity made him a player to watch when the Capcom Cup kicks off on Dec. 8.