Each game with the competitive esports aspects has kind of two dimensions. One is when you just play for fun, enjoy matches, and goof around. The second one is the level of “seriousness” where victories are crucial; you play to get high rankings and totally destroy everyone at a tourney.
Street Fighter V definitely has both of these dimensions. And while you are moving deep into competitiveness, you may face a dilemma – your favorite characters, which you have the most fun with, might not reach the top-tier status. So, what to do here, play your favorite fighters anyway or jump to SFV top-tier ones?
A perfect scenario for developers is to bring flawless balance into their fighting game and make each character strong and competitive on the esports scene. It’s rather impossible in practice – some fighters are more powerful, so they are most likely to get played at tournaments.
The experience of many players creates a general Street Fighter 5 tier list. But at the end of the day, every pro player has their own tier list that may differ from the character rankings of the fellow professionals.
A very good example here is Rose – she wasn’t a top-tier character in Street Fighter IV, but Olivier “Luffy” Hay loved her and made her his main character. And he got a lot of glorious victories with Rose, including EVO 2014.
It’s also worth mentioning that Victor “Punk” Woodley has managed to win NLBC Online #50 while playing Dan Hibiki, who is a well-known joke character.
Yeah, some characters are still objectively more powerful
Don’t take that like tier lists are jokes. Even the best efforts with nerfs and buffs can’t change the overall might of some Street Fighter 5 characters – M. Bison, Seth, Urien, and Poison, to name a few.
Often, these characters have some tricky techniques, which might be difficult to master. The practice time will certainly be rewarding. But are you motivated enough to invest those hours?
In theory, it would be clever to check out general tier lists, select someone with the best (for you) fighting style, and make that character your main. But with us, human beings, such straightforward logic doesn’t always work.
Most people need to like the character and feel an emotional connection with them for playing that guy or girl again and again. Without notorious practice, even the most top character won’t be able to demonstrate their best abilities.
Favorite for fun. Favorite for competitive fights
It might be a good solution to master more than one character. Actually, that’s a path of professionals.
During Street Fighter League, players can ban characters to prevent opponents from taking their mains. You could see quite often how Guile was banned when the team of Daigo (Umehara Gold) was in action – it’s actually too scary to play against the Beast himself when he uses his main. Still, that did not guarantee success. Naturally, Daigo can play other Street Fighter characters pretty well.
Most pro players have a main and a secondary characters. Just in case – for example, when you need to counter-pick your opponent in an unfavorable matchup. This is a good scenario if your beloved character can’t enter the top-tier list. Why not play one of the immensely powerful fighters and one you like the most?
Know them all
An interesting and rather challenging solution is to add many SFV characters into your personal active roster. The positive side here is obvious – you just play any of your favorites and any of the top-tier fighters. “Hey, what character am I in the mood for today?” “Who’s the best to destroy this impudent opponent?”
The downside is also quite clear. You need a lot of dedicated practice to play properly more characters than main/secondary. Street Fighter V has an impressively diverse roster, and it’s not an easy task to learn all the Special Moves, Unique Attacks, and V-Systems.
Knowing all the characters is still a good idea – you should be well prepared for all sorts of matchups. But it’s better to think twice before delving into the long process of becoming a multi-character player.
It would be great to have a universal answer for every player and for every situation – “You should take your favorite/a top-tier character, this will be the best decision.” Alas, this is rather impossible as we all are so different. And we all should find our own perfect harmony in Street Fighter V.
After understanding the possibilities and their advantages/disadvantages, it would be wise to return to the game and try to find your best solution: stick to the favorite, make one of the top-tier characters your favorite, master two of them on the same level, or expand your active roster to many fighters.
It is highly advisable to keep the harmony in:
- Your preferences / objective might of a character. You should like someone you take to SFV matches. But you also should win with that guy or girl.
- Dedication to one character / knowledge of the whole roster. Street Fighter esports is unpredictable, so you should be ready for various matchups. Still, only with enthusiastic practice you can master a character of your choice and develop excellent muscle memory.
Don’t forget the fighting style
Another aspect to consider is the technical layer behind the personality of your SF character and their appearance. Close or long-range fights, might or speed, defensive or offensive – it’s often not about your mental preferences but about what you actually do better in the game.
If your character is not among top-tier fighters, try to find someone with a similar fighting style. But again, don’t ignore other possibilities in the game – your own range as a player is also important, not only the abilities of your character.
And yes, don’t forget the biggest secret of your esports success and always have fun playing Street Fighter. It’s the power to keep you moving forward.
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- April 28, 2021