It’s been another incredible year for STREET FIGHTER LEAGUE with Europe joining the US and Japan for the first time. It all columnated in the STREET FIGHTER LEAGUE World Championship, where the winning teams from all three regions collided over the course of the two-day event to determine who would be the STREET FIGHTER LEAUGE Champion. Up for grabs was a prize pool of $150,000 with the winner taking home $80,000, second place $40,000 and third place $30,000! All three teams have had to overcome the highest level of competition yet within their respective leagues to be here, with each having some of the best players in the world.
With teams composed of such high caliber players it would be difficult to say that any one team was a favorite coming into the World Championship, but if you had to choose one it would be Japan’s Good 8 Squad. The team is a powerhouse composed of Capcom Cup Champion Gachikun, Evolution Champion Kawano, along with top-tier talents in Pugera and Dogura. They have been consistently good all season and came into the World Championship with a lot of momentum.
Team UYU has not had the consistency of Good 8 Squad and were the underdog story of this year’s STREET FIGHTER LEAGUE. For the last two seasons they have finished near the bottom of the standings and the beginning of season five looked to continue that trend. Oil King, Xian, DCQ and NL turned it around in the latter half of the season and managed to get into the Playoffs in third place. Once in the Playoffs, they dominated and earned a spot at the World Championship where they were determined to finish their comeback.
The new kids on the block from Europe, Team Mouz is a formidable team which includes Problem X, Shakz, The4philzz and Broski. Problem X is one of the world’s best players and was a natural choice to lead the team. The4philzz has had great success with his Falke and Broski has had a tremendous win percent with his Oro (winning 9 of 10 coming in) along with Shakz and his fluency with several characters. Europe is looking to make a statement for their region by finishing as World Champions.
DAY ONE: GROUP STAGE
The first day of the World Championship was the Group stage, where all three teams played against each other in a round robin format to determine the seeding in the Final bracket on day two. The first Team Battle was Mouz as the home team taking on UYU. During the first two rounds Mouz was in a dominant position, with Problem X’s Alex beating Oil King’s Rashid and Seth 2-0 followed by Broski’s highly effective Oro taking down DCQ’s Urien. However, in a theme that would run through both of Mouz’ Team Battles in the Group stage, they would lose the all-important anchor position match with NL’s Luke absolutely smashing The4philzz’s Falke 3-0. With the score now tied with 20 points apiece it was time for the tie-breaker. As the away team UYU had to reveal their player and character and of course kept NL with his Luke in the hot seat. Broski was sent in to face him with his Oro, which up to this point had only lost once all year. NL deftly maneuvered his Luke around Oro’s projectile gauntlet and earned the win over Broski to give UYU its first win of the Group stage.
Mouz went right back in for the second Team Battle this time taking on Good 8 Squad. Once again Mouz looked strong after the first two rounds with Broski’s Oro beating Dogura’s M.Bison 2-0 and The4philzz’s Falke winning a razor-close stunner against Gachikun’s Rashid. As with the first Team Battle, the anchor position proved to be Mouz’ Achilles heel as Pugera’s out of this world Balrog beat Problem X’s Alex and M. Bison 3-1. It was down to the tie-breaker and Problem X once again stepped back into the ring with his Alex to face off against Pugera. Whatever the motive behind the move it didn’t work out for Mouz as Pugera went on to win the match and secure the Team Battle win for Good 8 Squad. The double loss for Mouz took away any hope for their being in the first seed for the Finals.
The last Team Battle of the Group stage between UYU as the home team against Good 8 Squad was very close throughout. Gachikun’s Rashid narrowly beat NL’s Luke 2-0 in the first round with UYU coming back with Xian’s Seth defeating Kawano’s Luke 2-0 in the next round. There would be no tie-breaker here and the Team Battle, as well as who would earn the crucial first seed in the Finals, would be decided in the anchor position match. As the away team Pugera and his Balrog were pre-selected for this position and UYU sent in DCQ to face him. It was a high-pressure situation for both players but DCQ proved once again that he was up to the task, taking out Pugera with an impressive 3-0.
With this second win UYU’s Cinderella story continued as they earned the first seed in the Finals, which meant they start in the winner’s side of the bracket and have a valuable bye in the first round. Good 8 Squad earned the second seed with their one win (which supersedes the better points total for Mouz) and will face off against Mouz with the home team advantage.
DAY TWO: FINALS
Team UYU, who made it into the SFL US Playoffs in third place after a rocky start, managed to defeat the top SFL teams from Europe and Japan on the first day of the World Championships, earning the first seed. They came into the Finals on the winner’s side and had a first round bye. For the Finals the winner of each round was determined by the best of three Team Battles. Mouz and Good 8 Squad faced off first to determine who would face UYU.
Good 8 Squad was the home team in the first Team Battle against Mouz and they performed better than in their Group stage contest, getting a 40-0 victory. Gachikun’s Rashid was very aggressive in the first match, not giving Broski’s Oro the chance to do much more than react and won 2-0. In the next round Dogura played patiently with great spacing and timing to beat The4philzz 2-1. Problem X once again faced off against Pugera in the anchor position. Problem X pulled out all the stops with an oppressive offense but Pugera’s defense was up to the task, waiting patiently for his openings. Problem X was closer to victory then their encounter on day one but Pugera wins 3-1 to complete the victory for Good 8 Squad.
Mouz now had their backs against the wall, needing a win here to stay alive. They got very close but ultimately fell just short. It didn’t start well for Mouz as Good 8 Squad won the first two rounds. Dogura’s M.Bison beat Broski’s Oro 2-1. In the second round Problem X went in with his M.Bison against Gachikun’s Rashid but Gachikun won 2-0. For Mouz it was do or die time in the anchor match and they needed to find an answer to Pugera’s otherworldly Balrog. They sent in Shakz playing Laura and seemingly found Pugera’s kryptonite. For the first time we saw Pugera struggle to find a way to deal with Laura’s offensive pressure and mixups. Pugera still managing to pull off some incredible reads but this was mostly in Shakz’ control and he would go on to defeat Pugera 3-1 to tie up the Team Battle score 20-20.
Good 8 Squad was the away team and had to reveal the player and character for the tie-breaker match and they decided on Gachikun and his Rashid. Mouz in turn decided to let the red-hot Shakz go back in with his Laura but the result was much different. Gachikun used Rashid’s offense and movement to stifle and then corner Shakz’ Laura. This one was very much in Gachikun’s control from beginning to end and he would roll over Shakz to win the game. Good 8 Squad would move on to face UYU while Mouz was eliminated.
DAY TWO: GRAND FINALS
The Grand Finals for the STREET FIGHTER LEAGUE World Championship would be the scrappy underdog Team UYU representing the US taking on the consistent powerhouse Team Good 8 Squad from Japan. It was a Grand Finals worthy of such an amazing year for STREET FIGHTER LEAGUE with all the drama you would expect. UYU came into this on the winner’s side and had home field advantage to start. Both teams had a variety of characters to draw upon and players with different play styles to best match up against the away team’s chosen player and character in a given round, making the home advantage very important.
In the first Team Battle UYU came out swinging, winning 30-10 over Good 8 Squad. Xian’s Seth in the first round won the first game but Kawano came back with some big reads including some high damage parries to win 2-1. For the rest of the Team Battle it was all in UYU’s favor as DCQ’s Urien won a tense match against Doruga’s M. Bison in which more than one round was taken from Dogura with an incredible clutch play by DCQ. DCQ won that round 2-0. NL’s Luke closed it out in the anchor position against Gachikun’s Rashid 3-0 to give UYU the victory.
It was now time for Good 8 Squad to be the home team and they were very good at selecting players and characters that matched up well against UYU’s lineup. The closest round in this Team Battle was the first one with Pugera’s Balrog clutching out a win against NL’s Luke 2-1. It all came down to one interaction in the last round with NL missing with a Critical Art, allowing Pugera to punish with enough damage to win as the final seconds ran down. In the next round Gachikun’s Rashid comfortably beat Oil King’s Seth 2-0, being in control for most of its duration. In the anchor position Kawano’s Luke was sent in to face DCQ’s daunting Urien and came out on top 3-0. Kawano’s Luke just seemed to be one step ahead of DCQ the entire round. DCQ has the ability to make his opponent uncomfortable, but in this round he wasn’t able to put the same kind of pressure on Kawano. Kawano looked to be in control for most of the round.
Both teams were now tied up with one win apiece and each had won when they were the home team. For the final Team Battle of the Grand Finals that advantage now went back to UYU. With so much on the line you could feel the pressure on each of the players in every round of this final Team Battle. Xian’s Seth was selected by UYU to face off against Dogura’s M. Bison in the first round and in a close match Dogura came out on top 2-1. Gachikun’s Rashid continued to come through for Good 8 Squad in the next round against DCQ’s Urien, winning 2-0. For UYU it would fall on NL’s shoulders in the anchor position. If NL won it would go to a tie-breaker and UYU would have a chance at victory. If Kawano won the Good 8 Squad would be the World Champions. This Luke mirror-match was an absolute thriller with both players laying it all out on the line. The rounds and matches were virtually back and forth as these two battled for the fate of their respective teams but Kawano would come out on top 3-1.
It was an incredible finish to the 2022 season and in the end it was Japan’s Good 8 Squad who stood victorious. They recovered from the Group stage defeat by UYU to come back in the Finals to defeat Mouz, earning the runback and ultimately besting UYU in the Grand Finals. They take home $80,000 and the title of STREET FIGHTER LEAGUE World Champions!