Still King: MenaRD wins CEO SF6 with Blanka counterpick cover image

Still King: MenaRD wins CEO SF6 with Blanka counterpick

The winner of Street Fighter V’s last major tournament picked back up where he left off, as MenaRD wins CEO SF6 in commanding fashion.

The man cannot stop winning when it comes to Street Fighter. Saul Leonardo "MenaRD" Mena II ended the Street Fighter V era with a commanding and thorough win at Capcom Cup 2023. He did so on the back of dogged play and smart matchups. It appears nothing has changed with the move to Street Fighter 6. Rocking an inspired Blanka counterpick against Alan "Nephew" Sun's Juri, MenaRD took CEO SF6 grand finals and the first major tournament of the Street Fighter 6 regime.

Was this event a prelude of things to come when EVO and Capcom Cup come around? It certainly looks like MenaRD will continue to plow through the competition, no matter what Street Fighter game.

CEO Top 8 Results: SF6

The story of CEO 2023 in SF6 felt similar in scope to what we saw earlier this year at Capcom Cup. Upstart contenders making a great showing, Derek "iDom" Ruffin floating around the periphery, and MenaRD absolutely grounding people as Luke. Some things never change, even when the game does. The first major tournament of the Street Fighter 6 era, CEO is a mainstay in the FGC scene and saw over 1,000 entrants compete for its crown.

It sure looks like nobody told those 999 or so other players that Mena was coming to claim.

The two-time Capcom Cup champion made short work of major names the same way he won his last crown. utilizing Luke's frustrating and fantastic spacing tools and midrange buttons, he frustrated a field that saw a number of Juri players. In fact, five players in the top eight of CEO SF6 alone ended up using the Korean baddie at some point.

However, the bigger out-of-nowhere pick of all had to be Mena swapping to Blanka in grand finals. Didn't we tell you Blanka was going to be a menace?

One of Juri's biggest strengths is air supremacy and an anti-air advantage while remaining fast. What better way to counter that approach from Nephew in grand finals than switching to the original anti-air baller? Mena utilized Blanka's new crossup potential to withstand Drive Burnout and a Level 3 Critical Art to take grand finals and the CEO title. In many ways, this counterpick felt a lot like his use of Birdie at Capcom Cup against EndingWalker's tyrannical Ed play.

Will MenaRD continue his winning ways at EVO 2023? It certainly seems like he has the blueprint if CEO SF6 was any indicator.

Stay tuned to esports.gg for esports news and SF6 information.