Thank You, NuckleDu
February 03 2018
Three years can feel like an eternity in esports, and entire careers can be defined in that short period of time. When we first saw NuckleDu put on the Liquid jersey, few could imagine that success would come instantly. A mere weeks after signing, he had already won his first tournament, and he would scale the peak of Street Fighter a year later by becoming the Capcom Cup champion.
Sadly, our time together has come to an end as we now part ways with the world's best Guile. NuckleDu had become a distinctive part of Team Liquid, and we will always be grateful for the thrilling moments that we enjoyed together.
NuckleDu was the first Street Fighter player recruited into the Curse Gaming ranks in November of 2014. Curse went out on a limb when they signed the 18 year old who, while showing promise, hadn’t won a major event yet. However, anyone paying attention to the scene could see the writing on the wall. NuckleDu’s uniquely fierce and aggressive Guile was refreshing and fun to watch. Guile, a character traditionally played as an impenetrable ‘wall’ that relies on spacing, zoning and defense became an explosive powerhouse in the hands of the young prodigy and Street Fighter fans were beginning to take notice.
The first win under the Curse marquee didn’t take long. With the ink still drying on the contract NuckleDu won the North American event, Hadocon VI within a month being signed. Seeing these rapid results certainly quelled whatever reservations we had on entering into the FGC. NuckleDu went on to finish the year admirably with a 9th place finish at Capcom Cup 2014, a wonderful accomplishment by any measure but the fun had only just begun.
On to Liquid
As two became one, Liquid and Curse combined and NuckleDu swapped into the famous Liquid blue. This ushered the organization into immediate success in Street Fighter. NuckleDu burst out the gate capturing major North American regional titles in 2015 as well as appearing in 8 Sunday finals.
- 1st Apex 2015
- 1st Combo Breaker, 2015
- 1st Absolute Battle 6, 2015
- 1st iBuyPower Cup, 2015
NuckleDu began to build a case for himself as the best North American player, but this impressive, career defining year was just the start.
Street Fighter V — Best in the World
February 2016 was a momentous shift in the FGC with the release of Street Fighter V. Since 2008, the Street Fighter 4 title had dominated Japanese arcades and tournaments alike. In 2009, the West was playing catch-up as Capcom had staggered the arcade and console releases. This time, with no arcade release, the world was on equal footing going into the inaugural Pro Tour for Street Fighter V and NuckleDu wanted to make a statement.
- 1st Pax Arena Invitational
- 1st Summer Jam 2016
- 1st Absolute Battle 2016
- 1st The Fall Classic 2016
- 1st Canada Cup 2016
- 1st CPT North American Regional Finals
- 1st Capcom Cup 2016
The first year of Street Fighter V was a whirlwind, and fans could barely keep up with NuckleDu’s schedule and wild success. NuckleDu’s hard work would ultimately pay off — literally. NuckleDu closed out Street Fighter V’s first year by winning the single largest prize pool in FGC history at the time, when he became the first North American Capcom Cup World Champion. The honor earned him a $230,000 payday and title, ‘Best in the World’.
This was not only a monumental occasion for NuckleDu but also for Team Liquid. This was the first time Team Liquid had captured the highest honor in their respective game and is a moment we will never forget.
While NuckleDu was a very successful competitor under the Liquid banner, he was much more than that behind the scenes — he was a wonderful person. As much as his wins, we will remember when NuckleDu graciously donated his DreamHack 2017 prize money to Hurricane Irma relief and when he personally sponsored unsigned players to attend EVO 2017 for their chance at a big break.
On behalf of Team Liquid and all of our fans, thank you NuckleDu. Not only for what you brought to our organization but for what you brought to North American Street Fighter. We wish you all the success in the world, and we'll keep cheering for you in the future.
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