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The third and final Offline Premier event for the Capcom Pro Tour 2023 season took place at Paris Games Week in France this weekend. The stakes were high and players who survived to top 8 found it to be fast and brutal, with only two matches going the full five games. When the dust settled it was Hong Kong’s YESPORTS|Chris Wong, who earned second place at the Singapore Offline Premier just two weeks ago, left standing after an arduous Grand Finals with a breathtaking conclusion.

Over 400 players from around the globe were registered to compete in France. Japan is usually heavily represented in the top placements at big events but that did not play out here. Four Japanese players made top 16, including the legendary BEAST|Daigo, but only BEAST|Fuudo would make it out to top 8. Fuudo, one of two top-tier Dee Jay players in top 8, would make it to losers quarter-final before being stopped cold by two-time Capcom Cup Champion BANDITS|MenaRD from the Dominican Republic.

It was Hong Kong’s time to shine in France with three players in the top 8 representing. YESPORTS|Chris Wong, coming off that hot performance in Singapore, was the strongest of these. His Luke play may just be the most consistent in the world with impeccable spacing and astounding reactions, and it would take him to ultimate victory at this event.

Also from Hong Kong, coming in from the winners side, was YESPORTS|Humanbomb and his Ken. He played exceptionally well but once in top 8 he took back-to-back crushing losses and both to his fellow Hong Kong players. Chris Wong beat him 3-0 in winners semi-finals and TALON|HotDog29 would finish him off 3-0 in losers quarter-final.

Rounding out the trio of Hong Kong players was TALON|HotDog29, who made top 8 in Singapore and was back in top 8 once again here with his Dee Jay. He came in from the losers side and after a tough 3-2 win against Taiwan’s TWISMINDS|Oil King he finished off swept Humanbomb 3-0 before facing MenaRD in losers semi-final. The two faced each other in Singapore where MenaRD’s Luke eliminated HotDog29 3-2 and he would do it again here only with Blanka 3-1.

TWISMINDS|Oil King from Taiwan came in from the losers bracket. Having been re-united with Rashid, his longtime main during the Street Fighter V era, he dodged a few close calls to make top 8. His Rashid was exciting to watch, and his relentless offensive assaults and mix-ups were huge problems for his opponents. Oil King would be eliminated by HotDog29 in an incredibly close back and forth match that went to the final round. This was one of only two 3-2 matches in top 8.

Only one representative from the USA made it to top 8 with SR|NuckleDu coming in from the losers side. In his last match of top 16 he absolutely destroyed GYOGUN|Mizuha 2-0 with his Guile. In his first top 8 match Japan’s BEAST|Fuudo would eliminate him 3-0 with his Dee Jay.

Four French players made it into top 16 but in top 8 Valmaster was the last one standing to be the hometown hero. Valmaster’s Chun-Li was out of this world and his decision making and reactions were incredible. In the fist match of top 8 Valmaster faced MenaRD’s Blanka. The crowd would go wild for each of his successes and in this match, there was plenty to cheer about as Valmaster beat MenaRD 3-0. Valmaster’s reactions with perfect parries and whiff punishes were virtually flawless and he seemed very familiar and comfortable in the Blanka matchup.

His next match against Chris Wong in winners final was the second match to go 3-2 in top 8. Valmaster came out strong, making excellent decisions and having consistent anti-airs. He would win the first two games but from then on Chris Wong made a comeback off some incredible clutch plays and making some adjustments. Chris Wong would win three games straight to put Valmaster in losers. Chris Wong would move on to Grand Finals for the second time in as many Offline Premiers.

Valmaster would next face MenaRD once again in losers finals for the runback. Unfortunately for Valmaster this was not the same MenaRD he faced previously. Valmaster seemed to be more on the back foot, reacting to MenaRD’s Blanka. MenaRD would win 3-1 to eliminate France’s last player with a tremendous performance.

Two-time Capcom Cup Champion BANDITS|MenaRD was overall the most consistent player coming into this event after making top 8 at both prior Offline Premiers, earning second place at EVO and fourth at Singapore. He would put on another fantastic performance here in France but would fall just short.

MenaRD’s path to Grand Finals was mostly through the losers bracket. After taking a brutal shutout to Valmaster in winners semi-finals he and his Blanka would then eliminate the two top 8 Dee Jay players one after the other with Fuudo falling 3-0 followed by HotDog29 3-1. His runback in losers finals was a 3-1 win and so he advanced to Grand Finals from the losers side.

Grand Finals featured the two most consistent players in the 2023 Offline Premier events with Chris Wong facing MenaRD. For Chris Wong this was his second Grand Finals in back-to-back Offline Premiers and this time he came in from the winners side, a big advantage over his last outing. That advantage did not last long as MenaRD’s Blanka came out very aggressive and Chris Wong’s Luke was not able to fend him off. MenaRD would win a ridiculously fast 3-0 to reset the bracket, which would have shaken most opponents.

Chris Wong showed no outward signs of that happening as the second set began, winning a hard-fought first game. MenaRD would win the next game only to be answered back by Chris Wong the following game, putting him in a 2-1 position to win. The last game was incredibly tense with the last round being a nail-biter. After a back-and-forth round MenaRD goes on an offensive run with a sliver of life left as time ticked down and landed enough damage on a retreating Chris Wong to put him on low health as well. Chris Wong would make a crucial jump-back to survive long enough for time to run out and Chris Wong would win the set 3-1.

This was a brilliant performance by Chris Wong in France to beat one of the best of the best in MenaRD. Chris Wong may have fallen just short in Singapore but he closed the deal in dramatic fashion here to earn himself a trip to Capcom Cup. Congratulations to Chris Wong on his amazing win and we look forward to seeing him compete at Capcom Cup X in February.

If you missed any of the action, be sure to visit the CAPCOM Fighters YouTube channel where you will find a full recording of the broadcast as well as individual match videos.

France 2023 Top 16 Results
Placing Handle Nationality Characters
1st YESPORTS|Chis Wong Hong Kong Luke
2nd BANDITS|MenaRD Dominican Republic Blanka, Luke
3rd FALCONS|Valmaster France Chun-Li
4th TALON|HotDog29 Hong Kong Dee Jay
5th YESPORTS|Humanbomb Hong Kong Ken
5th BEAST|Fuudo Japan Dee Jay
7th TWISMINDS|Oil King Taiwan Rashid
7th SR|NuckleDu USA Guile
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