Since it's release in 2016, Street Fighter V has created some amazing moments in the Fighting Game Community. Both online and offline, new characters and mechanics have forced players to adapt to the evolving competitive landscape. We took some time to catch up with some of EQNX's SFV competitors and commentators (Brian_F, Filipinoman, and Flexiss) to see how they're feeling about the current state of the game.
How do you feel about competitive balance of SFV currently?
Brian_F: The balance for SFV has been in really good shape since Season 4, and has been improving since then. Now that we are nearing the end of Season 5, I feel that you can really express yourself with any character. There are still top tier/bottom tier characters, but at this point in the game's lifespan I feel it's more important to think of each character as a tool to perform a job. Every character serves a purpose, just some are more generalized and have more winning matchups. That said... I wouldn't try maining a low tier character alone.
Flexiss: I'd say things are fairly balanced within SFV, both from competitors and characters within the scene. There are always going to be top players, but it feels like that goal is more obtainable with the current roster balance compared to before.
Filipinoman: SFV is in the best state it’s ever been. I always get flamed because I probably like this version of SFV than I do any version of SFIV, so the SFIV boomers can’t handle it when I say that due to nostalgia lol, but I can look past it! It’s overall very balanced, and all but like 10 characters are competitively viable in my opinion. There is a reason to use most characters in the game with a few that are clearly weaker such as Dan, but even characters seen as [weaker], such as Falke, are making it into Capcom Cup with no secondary in some regions. I think the regional division of CPT also helps in showcasing the competitive balance – maybe it will be different in large offline events.
Do you think the balance will change as more offline events return?
Brian_F: No I don't. We know how the game operates at this point, and with most online events being restricted within regions I think we get a decently accurate representation of character strength.
Flexiss: I don't expect this to change much offline. Perhaps more more individuals joining those top ranks, and some falling off as major streams (WNF for example) eventually transition back to offline. I do like that there is a larger community of online players now that will continue to compete even with the transition.
Filipinoman: Yes, but that’s because Playstation will be in use. The added input lag will make any character with forward advancing specials or normal harder to block, and it will be a lot less of a reactionary game. I can’t wait until people just constantly walk into my spirals – I know this will be the case because people who are behind in tech (ie no computers) always just walk into stuff with no reason.
What upcoming competitions are you most looking forward to?
Brian_F: For this season, Red Bull Kumite and the CPT Midwest 2 are the remaining big events upcoming for me. I'm looking to make my run to qualify for Capcom Cup in the CPT Midwest 2 event and will be bringing my A game.
Flexiss: Speaking of offline, I am looking forward to CEO as the first real big major I plan to attend. I'm happy to see Jebailey and the CEO staff taking necessary precautions to keep everyone safe.
Filipinoman: You know I’m old now. I do love the way competition makes me feel, but the time leading up to it is always so scary and anxious. I can’t wait to see everyone again is all. Maybe take a few names while I’m at it!
What is your favorite new character from this season and why?
Brian_F: I am obsessed with Oro. I was mildly interested when he was announced, but once I picked him up and started to get a feel for his V-Trigger 2, Tengu Stones, I was enamored with optimizing all the options he has. It's been really challenging and fun learning how to convert in any situation, optimize combo routes, mixups and the lot. I don't think he's overall that strong but he's been a blast to learn
Flexiss: My new favorite character from this season is easily Oro. Although Akira is unique, I love the history of Oro in the series and I think a combination of his silly move set combined with great crossups makes him a fun character to both play and play against.
Filipinoman: Rose. If it wasn’t obvious. She’s so undoubtedly the same Rose with extra flair. We are linked!
Image from @Flexiss_
What are your thoughts on V-Shift now that it has been in the game for a while?
Brian_F: V-Shift overall is a nice edition, but doesn't dramatically change the flow of the game. It adds a nice level of spice and expression for players to show a unique answer to previously inescapable situations. Sometimes I forget it's even an option sometimes, so when I see a creative usage of it in a high-pressure situation I'm always impressed.
Flexiss: My expectation originally was V-Shift would be game changing, but now that it's settled into the current movesets, it feels less of a crutch in people's gameplan, and more a "get out of jail free" card in sticky situations (such as command grabs or high pressure situations).
Filipinoman: V-Shift is a fantastic addition to the game – it’s a balanced defensive mechanic with defined usages. It isn’t overbearing, but makes other players consider other options. I still think we haven’t tapped into it fully, but we are getting there.
Do you have any goals in SFV before 6 comes out?
Brian_F: Qualify for Capcom Cup!
Flexiss: I'd say some of my major goals before SF6 comes out is to commentate a CPT event, as well as continue to help foster and grow the women of the SFV community. I want there to be a stronger presence of diversity coming into the new game from competitors, to commentators, to TOs, and everyone in-between.
Filipinoman: I just want to gain my confidence back, and I think I’m getting it back. My mentality for fighting games has changed and I am having so much fun again, or maybe it’s just because Rose returned.
Make sure to follow Brian, Flexiss and Filipinoman on Twitter to see more about their Street Fighter thoughts. Follow EQNX on Twitter to stay up to date on all of the team's upcoming events including Red Bull Kumite and CEO.