Editor’s note: The views expressed in this article are solely those of the writer, and do not reflect Shoryuken.com as a whole.
Joe “MOV” Egami is a legend. Considered one of the best Chun-Li players in Street Fighter III: 3rd Strike, he abstained from playing Street Fighter IV, and the next competitive game we saw him in was Street Fighter X Tekken. Strong in that game, he is now bringing himself to his next modern title of choice: Street Fighter V.
Chun-Li is again strong in this title, thus MOV playing Street Fighter V is a match made in heaven. Now, with him being one of three Chun-Li players making his way to Capcom Cup–all by way of points–will he be the one to bring it home for the Fellowship of the Thigh?
“Now That’s Good Kung Fu.”
MOV is known for one thing, and one thing only–his Chun-Li. If you see him playing a game, it’s going to have Chun-Li on the roster and he will be using her. And by all intents and purposes, I would easily start an argument that–as he has been claimed to be in 3rd Strike–he is currently the best Chun-Li out there.
I know what you guys are thinking. There’s Go1, Ludovic, and Nuki all eyeing that title. If you argued any of these to me while reading this, I agree that it’s a tough argument to make. But just watching MOV’s Chun-Li brings back flashbacks of the strength he showed with the character in Street Fighter III.
There’s the Chun-Li that focuses solely on good footsies and spacing. There’s the Chun-Li that relies on pressure. There’s the Chun-Li that relies on proper execution and attaining maximum punishes. I think that MOV is the penultimate form of all these characteristics of Chun-Li. He and Nuki are the two that have been playing her throughout the course of multiple series. But my belief is that the game that MOV was forced to play, to be considered one of the strongest players in 3rd Strike, allows him to think more abstractly about his play than someone who is more known for their Chun-Li in Super Street Fighter II Turbo.
Despite losing this match, MOV shows what he is capable of. He is using the full capacity of Chun’s arsenal, and everything he is capable of is on display.
World’s Strongest Woman
MOV doesn’t rely on this alone, but Chun herself is really strong in this game. She is one of the most complained-about characters; with her impeccable spacing game, and really strong pressure game. While her damage potential is weaker than most of the top tier characters, she still is able to capitalize on her punishes with proper execution into really damaging combos.
On top that, her V-Trigger is one of the best in the game, allowing her even more damage potential off of her anti-airs and her hit confirms. Bar none, when a perennially strong player meshes with such a top tier character, magic is bound to happen. MOV is showing that he can take the World’s Strongest Woman to the highest of heights.
Never Put Baby in a Corner
One thing that MOV seems to thrive on his playing when his back is to the wall. Egami, from what I have witnessed, tends to start sets in the hole. When he is at a deficit in the set, that’s when the fire lights underneath him. For some, playing in do-or-die situations makes them perform with more sense of urgency, and their sense of awareness heightens. MOV seems to be that type of player.
In the video posted above, while MOV never seemed out of the match at any point, he wasn’t playing at his full potential early on. It was once ImStillDaDaddy was up two games to none that Egami began to pull out every stop. While others tend to buckle in this situation, feeling as though their opponent is in their head, MOV seems to take that moment to evict his opponent from his head and begins to go harder to the paint.
While that tends to be the case, the more intense the moment, or the more important the event, MOV tends to let nerves get to him. It was duly noted that at Evolution 2016 in the top 8 of Street Fighter V that Egami was huffing canned oxygen to calm his nerves. Those nerves ultimately got the better of him, as he lost to both Fuudo in Winners Semi-Finals and was then subsequently eliminated by Go1 in the 5th place mirror.
If this was the first instance of his nerves getting the better him, it would be something that could be overlooked. However, this is not the only time he has done this. at Evolution 2013, MOV was also huffing canned oxygen during the top 8 for Street Fighter X Tekken. The same fate awaited him there. While some events, such as regional events and even Co-operation Cup for 3rd Strike do not phase him, high pressure events such as Evolution get the better of this player, and thus affect his performance and execution.
The Overpowered Principle
When something is regarded as overpowered in fighting games, I often scoff. Chun-Li has been regarded as that. However, it is not often that you see her win tournaments. This same thing was said of Sagat in vanilla Street Fighter IV. Yet you can barely find any example of Sagat winning events in the game. Does this make them truly overpowered?
I say: not really. We can all attest that Super Turbo Akuma is overpowered, and thus banned. People tend to exaggerate characters as overpowered where they are just simply strong. When players view these characters as strong, they tend to focus more on learning how to counter the match-up. When everyone is dissecting the match, it becomes harder for mains of these characters to succeed in the tournament setting. For this reason, Chun-Li players always face a harder battle in tournaments.
MOV is my favorite Chun to watch. When he is on, he is scary to everyone he plays against. The way he closes out matches is jaw-dropping, and shows a mastery of a character that simply leaves me spellbound.
When he is not on, he is shaky. Not even metaphorically shaky–literally shaky to the point that he needs oxygen to calm himself. He has done this at Evo, but now he’s en route to a bigger stage in Anaheim. Can he hold it together?
Maybe until he reaches top 8, but I’m afraid he will lose his nerve there, and that will be all she wrote.