Momochi rekindles top form by winning StunFest 2016

Michael Martin
Yusuke Momochi at StunFest 2016 (Photo: Stephanie Lindgren)
Yusuke Momochi at StunFest 2016 (Photo: Stephanie Lindgren)

Evil Geniuses’ Yusuke Momochi seized the day and won StunFest 2016, clinching his third consecutive Capcom Cup berth. It took some time for Momochi to settle into Street Fighter V, but it seems like he’s returned to the top form he displayed during his impressive Ultra Street Fighter IV run.

The Capcom Cup 2014 and Evo 2015 champion struggled early this year on the Capcom Pro Tour, finishing 33rd at Final Round and 17th at NorCal Regionals. Last week, he finished in second place at Battle Arena Melbourne, losing to Tatsuya Haitani.

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But at StunFest, Momochi found the perfect balance between the solid footsie and ground game and the crazy, spontaneous bursts needed to throw off his opponents.

The list of names Momochi ran through to reach grand finals at StunFest is impressive. He beat Haitani twice, Japan’s other notable Ken player Hiroyuki “Eita” Nagata, Qanba Douyu’s Zhuojun “Xiao Hai” Zeng, and Hajime “Tokido” Taniguchi. He emerged from the losers bracket to beat Razer’s Ai “Fuudo” Keita twice in grand finals to win it all.

Ai “Fuudo” Keita, StunFest 2016 runner-up (Photo: Stephanie Lindgren)
Ai “Fuudo” Keita, StunFest 2016 runner-up (Photo: Stephanie Lindgren)

Fuudo surprised quite a few people with an improved ground game with R. Mika, which seemed reminiscent of his Fei Long play style in Street Fighter IV. Unlike most R. Mika players seen on the CPT, the Evo 2011 champion made it through most of StunFest with great footsies and rare jump-ins. He simply didn’t get nutty like other R. Mika players (such as Martin “Marn” Phan at NCR), but that may have been his undoing in grand finals, when Momochi ran through him in two sets, 6-1 overall. A little nuttiness might have thrown Momochi off his game plan.

Unfortunately, we did not get to see a rematch of last year’s StunFest grand finals between Momochi and recently-signed Red Bull Athlete Daigo “The Beast” Umehara, though Daigo’s CPT 2016 debut was a solid one. He finished in seventh place after a loss to Fuudo and a long climb through the loser’s bracket.

Daigo eliminated Capcom Cup 2015 champion Ryota “Kazunoko” Inoue to get into top 8, where he went on to lose to Haitani’s Necalli. Haitani has cemented himself as one of Japan’s best Street Fighter V players by finishing in top 8 at all three CPT Premier Events and two Ranking Events.

Momochi becomes the second player qualified for Capcom Cup. Infiltration was the first to qualify by beating Tokido at Final Round. His win at NCR, also over Tokido, opened one qualifying spot up to the CPT Global Leaderboards.

The next CPT Premier Event will take place next month at DreamHack Summer in Sweden.

Michael Martin covers all things related to Street Fighter V and the Capcom Pro Tour. Follow him on Twitter @Bizarro_Mike.

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