EVO 2023 is days away and the newly released DLC fighter Rashid could potentially play spoiler in the biggest Street Fighter tourney ever.
The most influential fighting game tournament in the world is less than ten days away and the stakes have never been higher. While The Evolution Championship Series (EVO) is always a big deal thanks to its long history and notoriety for high stakes, this year's iteration is especially important. More eyes than ever will be on EVO thanks to record-breaking participation and a new game at the top of the genre. Oh, and Street Fighter 6 just released its first DLC character, Rashid, days before EVO 2023.
And if that sentence didn't spark fear into your FGC loving heart then you haven't been around long enough.
Released on Monday and already causing a ruckus thanks to untested and unintended gameplay, Rashid is shaking up the Street Fighter landscape. However, Capcom and EVO 2023's decision to allow Rashid to be tournament legal so soon after launch is a recipe for disaster.
After all, we've seen this kind of thing before.
EVO 2023, Rashid, and you
DLC fighters terrorizing fighting game tournaments is nothing new. From Smash Bros. to Guilty Gear and more, new characters inherently have an advantage. Like a hot minor league baseball prospect in his first start in Major League Baseball, it often boils down to data. For example: I'm a Detroit Tigers fan and while this season has been a struggle our young players are a bright spot,
Specifically the 23 year-old Reece Olson, who made his first MLB start earlier this year. In his debut he torched the Chicago White Sox for five innings, throwing six strikeouts and giving up only two hits. And why? A lot of it had to do with the fact that the White Sox hitters had little to no info on Olson, his pitching, or his tendencies.
The same goes for fighting games. Rashid walks into EVO 2023 with a built-in character advantage thanks to there being so little tournament data on him. Typically, the top players in the FGC will lab against characters and play scores of games against the best players with that fighter. These scrimmages are not only expected, but part of the learning process. This means that a large majority of the 7,000+ players signed up for Street Fighter 6 will walk into EVO 2023 blind against Rashid and his playstyle.
And while character knowledge isn't a complete requirement to succeed in a tournament, you can bet that the best players will try and work a game plan against the new fighter. However, Rashid has a number a quirks and tricks that may be too much to overcome.
Hey, have you ever heard of Tanya from Mortal Kombat?
2015: The year of Tanya
We've seen this kind of thing before. Long before Rashid threatens to blot out the EVO 2023 sun there was Tanya from Mortal Kombat X. Part of the final wave of DLC content in that game's tournament history, she released in June of 2015--a month and change before EVO. To make matters worse, she was busted beyond all comprehension. Excellent frames, long and damaging combos, and just an excellent selection of high priority specials, Tanya was a chore to play against.
Of course, the top eight of tournaments throughout the year were filled with Tanya. This included CEO 2015, which saw Tanya mirror matches throughout the tournament. While players did eventually find some solutions to dealing with her tricks, that took time. EVO 2023 players won't be afforded the same luxury with Rashid.
2023: The year of Rashid?
Will Rashid dominate the EVO 2023 Street Fighter 6 tournament? It's hard to tell. We've never seen a tournament this big and unwieldy before. Pool play is bound to be an absolute disaster in the best way, as top players potentially go 0-2 against character specialists and players coming out of the woodwork from all over the world. We do know that one major Rashid bug that allowed his Level 3 Critical Art to stay on the screen almost indefinitely was patched out late last night.
And while that's a good start it might only be the start. I'm still excited for the tournament this year. However, I'll be more than a little let down if the top eight of this year's EVO is mostly windy bois looking to ride the winds.
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