The biggest fighting game tournament in Southeast Asia has concluded, and while the top 3 winners of each game mostly featured the usual favourites, there were a few standout performances from the Malaysian and Singaporean representatives.
First off, we have Street Fighter V which had an open Capcom Pro Tour premier tournament as well as an Asia Regional Finals that took place after the open tournament had concluded. We had 2 notable competitors representing the Malaysian esports/fighting game scene in the open tournament: IamChuan and Kofmaster.
As we went over in our preview article of SEAM, both IamChuan and Kofmaster had to face several world class players in order to progress through their bracket and qualify for the top 32 of the tournament.
Both players had great starts to the bracket, as Kofmaster defeated a top Japanese player by the name of StormKUBO in an extremely tough first round match, while IamChuan defeated a top Australian player despite playing in front of a vocal Australian contingent that was supporting his opponent.
Progressing through the bracket, both Malaysians ran into tough roadblocks that they had to overcome in order to earn their place in top 32. Kofmaster faced the former EVO champion and eventual EVO champion Fuudo in a match that was broadcasted live on stream, while Chuan had to play against Nauman, the top ranked Sakura player in the world.
Although both matches were close, Kofmaster and Chuan were unfortunately unable to topple the Japanese competitors and were eventually both eliminated in 33rd place, just one match short of qualifying for the top 32 of the tournament. Kofmaster’s opponent, Fuudo, ended up emerging as the champion of the Street Fighter V Open Premier, while Nauman proved that he was in spectacular form that day by going to defeat Tokido, the legendary EVO champion – proving just how intense the level of competition was at this tournament. As a matter of fact, many notable players including Daigo Umehara (known as the greatest fighting game player of all time), failed to even qualify for top 32. So while Chuan and Kofmaster sadly weren’t able to bring home the win this time, they both managed to put on a solid performance all things considered.
This year’s SEAM also saw a lot of attention devoted to “anime” fighting games such as BlazBlue: Cross Tag Battle (BBTAG), and Under Night In Birth: EXE Late[st] (UNIST). These games tend to have smaller turnouts, but there is currently a passionate community of players in Malaysia who are gradually growing. Just like any of the other competitions at SEAM, the tournaments for these games drew in numerous top players from around the world, with most of the strongest players coming from Singapore and Japan.
The most impressive Malaysian player in this category was the one known as Pakmuda, who qualified for the top 8 of BBTAG among some of the best players in Asia and finished in 7th place – one of the only two top 8 finishes by a Malaysian at SEAM this year. Pakmuda was eliminated by the Japanese anime game veteran ABEGEN, and the tournament was won by Fenritti – a Japanese player who is currently considered by many as the best BlazBlue player in the world.
Another Malaysian player that performed well was InC | Hakkai, who was just one round short of qualifying for top 8 in Samurai Shodown – a solid performance considering the density of highly skilled players that were in the brackets which included this years EVO runner-up, Kazunoko. As expected by most fans, Kazunoko dominated throughout the tournament and easily eliminated the local players to take home the grand prize for Samurai Shodown.
The best performance of SEAM by a Malaysian goes to the Tekken 7 player Madrush, who rampaged through the bracket of high level players from around the SEA region to make it to the grand finals of the Tekken 7 tournament.
Unfortunately, Madrush was unable to defeat his final opponent, Lan94, who is known as the best Tekken player in Singapore. Nevertheless, his achievement of getting 2nd place at a major international event like SEAM will go down as a milestone for himself as well as the Malaysian fighting game community.
Featured Image Credit: HiFight
Image Credits: HiFight, Jeanne Swee