Capcom Pro Tour 2017 details revealed, big changes to circuit and Capcom Cup format

Capcom Cup 2016 champion, Du
Capcom Cup 2016 champion, Du “NuckleDu” Dang (Michael Martin)

It has been two months since Capcom Cup 2016 concluded and it feels like an eternity, in part because Capcom has been slow to release details on the the Capcom Pro Tour 2017.

The wait is finally over. Capcom has revealed the full CPT 2017, and while the foundation remains the same, there are some welcome improvements to CPT and Capcom Cup designed to eliminate the confusion surrounding complex rules.

“We want to streamline the Capcom Pro Tour to make it easier for players and fans to follow along and have the narrative of the Pro Tour be about the amazing community, matches, and the hype and less about the convoluted rulesets and complex qualification processes. It’s really about making something more clean, while offering opportunities for players to compete and qualify for Capcom Cup,” Capcom esports director Neidel “Haunts” Crisan told Yahoo Esports.

Capcom Cup 2016's #1 seed Team Razer's Seon-woo
Capcom Cup 2016’s #1 seed Team Razer’s Seon-woo “Infiltration” Lee (right) (Rose Silvestre)

No more auto-qualification

The biggest change for CPT 2017 is the elimination of automatic qualification through Premier Events, which Capcom hinted at last year.

This year, the Global Leaderboard will determine who qualifies for Capcom Cup 2017. Du “NuckleDu” Dang is the only player to have an automatic spot thanks to winning Capcom Cup 2016. That means 30 spots will be available, with one open spot available to the winner of a brand new Capcom Cup Last Chance Qualifier.

That’s right: for the first time in CPT history, Capcom will hold a Last Chance Qualifier tournament at Capcom Cup, offering one player a shot at making it into the finale. More details for the Last Chance Qualifier will be revealed at a later date.

Restructured point distribution

CPT 2017 will again be separated into four regions. Each Regional Final will feature a bracket with the top seven players from the Regional Leaderboards, plus the winner of a last chance qualifier tournament. Though winning a Regional Final won’t automatically qualify a player for Capcom Cup, it will earn them enough points to very likely ensure a spot.

Speaking of points, we’re going to see a big change in the point structure for CPT 2017. Capcom took feedback from last year to heart and restructured it so it should be more balanced and fair to players who place well at certain events.

Every event will be worth more points. As a result, the top 64 and top 16 players at Premier Events and Ranking Events, respectively, will earn points. Evo will offer points to the top 256 players.

“If you win a Premier Event or Regional Final, you get 400 points. If you get that 400 points, chances are you’re in the top 30,” Haunts said. “As long as you don’t completely tap out and not compete the rest of the year, you’re probably in Capcom Cup.”

CPT 2017 point distribution
CPT 2017 point distribution (Capcom)

The idea is to make it more fair to someone like Fujimara “Yukadon” Atsuhi, who took third at Evo 2016, earned 256 points, but still found himself on the outside of Capcom Cup looking in.. He ended up qualifying for Capcom Cup 2016 through a series of complicated events that allowed him to sneak in through the back door.

Capcom hopes by allocating more overall points to events and distributing them more evenly to players, we’ll avoid some of the nuttier qualification situations that occurred in the final weeks leading up to Capcom Cup 2016.

“Everybody got so accustomed to the point structure we had for so many years, which frankly was somewhat arbitrary. It worked okay for a while. Once we started with different regions and more events were part of the Pro Tour, that meant we had events in some regions that weren’t as difficult but were worth as many points. We spent a lot of time on this new structure and we’re confident it will help reward players who attend the most competitive tournaments and place consistently,” Haunts said.

Miky “XsK Samurai” Chea, winner of the first CPT NA Online Ranking Event (Michael Martin)

Online event expansion

Online Ranking Events will return for CPT 2017, and there will be more of them. Each region will host four Online Ranking Events but they will be based out of different locations in each region in an effort to give players a better online experience.

For example, in the North American region, Capcom will host two tournaments on the West Coast and two on the East Coast. The player cap at these tournaments has been raised to 512, which might alleviate the issue of last year’s 256-player online tournaments filling up so quickly many players couldn’t register.

Capcom Cup 2017

CPT 2017 will feature a total baseline prize pool of $600,000, which is up $100,000 from last year. Capcom does not have specific details ready, but we can expect more DLC to contribute to the CPT and Capcom Cup as well. Capcom will also be paying out all 32 players at Capcom Cup 2017 instead of limiting the prize purse to top 8 as they did in years past.

Capcom also took some of the criticism and feedback – the most notable coming from Evo 2016 champion Lee “Infiltration” Seon-woo – regarding Capcom Cup 2016 is making changes to the finale’s format.

Capcom Cup 2017 will feature group stages so that matches can be played in specific timeslots, alleviating the long wait players endured last year between matches. Capcom has not determined how many group stages it will run at this time.

Capcom also listened to player feedback regarding the number of matches, changing the tournament from a best-of-three in the first half of the event to best-of-five for the entirety of the event. While it provided for some amazing moments, including Infiltration’s shocking elimination, it took more time to get through the bracket on day one, resulting in nearly a 15-hour day for the players.

“You’re not going to have guys like Luffy who are going to sit there from 8:00 am until 10:00 pm. We took that feedback very seriously and we’re going to restructure how Capcom Cup works so it’s a better experience for the players, staff, and spectators,” Haunts said.

Michael Martin can’t wait for CPT 2017 to start. Follow him on Twitter @Bizarro_Mike.