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We the viewers of the Capcom Pro Tour have been fortunate to watch some really good grand final matches this year.
Sunday it was Daigo Umehara surviving the challenge of Kawano to win the third CPT Online Japan event of the season and qualifying for Capcom Cup.
The regular season win is Daigo’s ninth in the pro tour in the Street Fighter V era.
The wild thing about looking at Daigo’s overall stats is that no number stands out as spectacular. Upper tier? Yes. Insane? Yes if you consider the whole of the pro tour or are stats freak beyond the bracket.
When he defeated Kawano in Reset Final, his CPT Top 8 regular season record improved to 42-27. Being 15 matches over .500 is among the elite of the elite considering how few matches every player gets in a Top 8.
Forty-two wins does not sound like a lot if we’re talking about this being Year 6 of the Capcom Pro Tour where some seasons players realistically make Top 8s at least 15 times a year.
I was stunned when I looked at the totals after Sunday’s final. But I do remember that Daigo picks his spots and usually goes to the events that have the biggest fish or a big school of fish — there were more than 300 players in this Top 8 this past weekend. Also, he has 42 wins on a list of nearly 500 players who have reached a regular season Top 8.
His 42 wins also is tied for 15th all time in this 6-year era. Next on the list is Brolynho, who is 45-18. Probably no chance before The Next Game arrives of catching Tokido (114-54) and Punk (113-34) who are 1-2 in those standings.
Part of having the database is about the curiosity the matches bring. Anytime something does or doesn’t happen in a match, I’m always wondering about the stats side of it. Is there something unique about what just happened? What can we learn?
I could just level out the stats and play toward the really safe numbers like other stats people but that’s not fun, and nobody learns anything.
When I watched Sunday’s championship series, the curiosity of what Daigo and Kawano were doing went all over the board. It went to one obvious location, but it also went to another place that I didn’t think it would go toward.
Here’s the obvious location: there was a Kolin in Grand Final for the third time this year and Kolin has Grand Final plot armor.
Kolin in the championship series since her debut has been a force. Prior to Sunday, anyone who had used Kolin in Grand Final or Reset Final eventually won the event. Seven apperances, seven tournament wins. This includes the two CPT wins by Nephew earlier this year.
Going into Grand Final, I wasn’t thinking Daigo was guaranteed to end the streak. As we’ve seen this year, anyone can have their greatest day and get the CPT victory. The correct character matchup might tilt someone’s way, or an underdog wins more duels in the neutral, or someone has an extra pocket of luck on their side.
This was the first Guile vs. Kolin matchup in a CPT Top 8. No prior data available.
High-Leverage Rounds and Magic Pixels
Let’s go to Game 3 Round 3 of Grand Final. This was absurd, and it’s worth watching again. Tied up 1-1 in the game, 1-1 in games in the race to 3 wins. The 19th time Daigo has faced this situation, the third for Kawano.
This is as high leverage as it gets. Of the prior times this specific round has been played regardless of where it happened in the bracket — more than 600 times — the winner has gone on to win the match 77 percent of the time.
With 30 seconds remaining, Kawano got a throw, and the health was about as even as it could look. I spent about 10 minutes looking at the health of this screenshot and putting it in Photoshop to see who had the advantage.
Pixel-wise, Kawano had 1 extra pixel of health, in a high-leverage round. That’s how close this was. He got the next hit but then Daigo got a combo right after and then a throw. The result here was Daigo being the first player in a round to send the opponent to less than 25 percent health while holding the lead.
I stopped tracking health progression in 2020, but I can look at what I did have when I was tracking it which was from 2016-19. Based on this specific moment in a round regardless of score — more than 22,000 rounds — Daigo’s expected win rate was 81.1 percent.
From 2016-19, Daigo was in this specific situation 257 times — the first player in a round to send the opponent to less than 25 percent health while holding the lead regardless of match score. His win rate was 80.9 percent. So the expectation, based on his previous numbers, was about right on with how the rest of the world was doing in the pro tour.
That made Kawano’s comeback all the more improbable because he blocked a couple of Sonic Booms from Daigo to go to no health before connecting on a low kick combo to finish the round.
Kawano went from just about out of it to in the lead thanks to winning with 1 or 0 percent health remaining, the famous magic pixel.
He improved to 3-0 all time in CPT Top 8 rounds where the score was 1-1 1-1.
In Reset Final, another magic pixel round happened, and I thought it wasn’t going to happen because a Frost Edge from Kawano’s Kolin didn’t have enough juice to finish off Daigo.
Daigo had to navigate with the magic pixel with 45 seconds remaining.
He spent 24 seconds with no health and won the round.
If you haven’t seen the breakdown from Hi-Fight on this specific round, you need to.
When it comes to Daigo in magic pixel rounds, he’s been around the block frequently. That round and the one earlier put him 13-18 all time in CPT Top 8 rounds played. He’s tied for ninth all time in playing in magic pixel deciders alongside Xian (12-19). Tokido is first with 63 rounds decided (34-29 record).
Kawano’s win in the first decider and the loss in the second put him 2-2 in those rounds.
It’s really incredible how Daigo continues to just be amazing after all these years.