Street Fighter V is probably the most competitive fighting game out there right now. There are just so many good players from all over the world that it’s almost impossible to single out 5 or 10 and say that they are definitively the best. I’m gonna be focusing on consistency as the main value to look at.
- Victor “Punk” Woodley
Main Character: Karin
With 4 tournaments under his belt this year, Punk is currently leading the Capcom Pro Tour standings. You really can’t praise him enough for his unmatched level of spacing and footsies in a game where many people think footsies barely exists. Being the only Karin playing at that level, I think that many players, especially international ones, will be coming in with a game plan to defeat Punk which will make it tough to maintain his earlier success.
- Kun Xian Ho
Main Characters: Ibuki, F.A.N.G.
What happens when one of the best players in the world switches from low tier to top tier? He immediately starts winning tournaments. Xian’s switch from F.A.N.G. to Ibuki has secured him 2 victories and 2 top 8 placings in some really stacked tournaments this year. Like Punk, Xian is going to have to be wary of his opponents researching his Ibuki play since she is suddenly showing up everywhere after being a weak character in Season 1.
- Keita “Fuudo” Ai
Main Character: R. Mika
When it comes to consistency, Fuudo is one of 2 players that come to mind. While he’s yet to win a major in SFV, Fuudo has been in 3 top 3s this year and was in top 8 in every Capcom Pro Tour tournament he attended in 2016. I’m definitely expecting a top 3 finish at EVO from Fuudo and I know he must be hungry for 1st place, especially after finishing 2nd to Infiltration last year.
- Tatsuya Haitani
Main Character: Necalli
Haitani, one of the five Japanese gods of fighting games, is the other name that comes to mind when talking about consistency. He’s had a couple of lower placings this year but with a 1st and 2nd place finish, as well as 12 top 8 finishes in 2016, it’s easy to see Haitani making it to top 8 of EVO. I also think that Necalli is the best character in the game right now and has very favourable matchups against some other strong characters like Ibuki and Zangief.
- Naoki “Nemo” Nemoto
Main Character: Urien
From his play in the Topanga League and other Japanese tournaments, it’s clear that Nemo is a really strong player and probably the best Urien in the world. He rarely travels so it’s hard to really get a sense of where he ranks but it won’t be surprising at all to see him make it to top 8. He did it last year with a much weaker character in Vega. I’m gonna go out on a limb and say that I think Nemo will take the whole thing. He’s an incredible player and it looks like he’s overcoming his infamous Zangief weakness.