As we enter the Evolution 2017 weekend, ESPN.com recently ran a story on the critical decision Chun-Li Pro Ricki Ortiz may be mulling over for this year’s Street Fighter V event. And it makes sense: Ricki’s Street Fighter V career started off strong with a strong 2nd place finish at Capcom Cup 2016, but diminished quickly after a patch that directly hit her character.
For those unfamiliar with Ricki’s story or legendary status in the community, the article is a great primer and worth your time. There is, however, an important fact missing in the story that may answer the question for ESPN (and us): Rufus.
No one in the FGC doubts the sharp mind and prowess of Ricki Ortiz. She’s more then capable of playing any character she wants, even if it seems on the surface she’s in a character selection quagmire. Chun-Li wasn’t anywhere on her CvS2 teams, either.
I, personally, think it’s less character loyalty to her first favorite Street Fighter character, and more loyalty to her favorite play-style in Street Fighter V. I could be wrong, but I believe Ricki could just as easily switch to Karin or Necalli and get the same, if not better, results. But as she says in the ESPN article about Chun: “She’s the one who makes the game fun for me.” No matter how serious we get in tournament, having fun goes a long way to inspiring creativity in a player. Ricki’s character doesn’t have to be top tier, but her focus does.
The main thing that would prevent a surprise character pick is the time Ricki may have spent refining them. If Ricki’s secondary character hasn’t been seen by now by anyone (and thus, isn’t tournament ready) I can’t imagine anyone other then Chun will show up on Ricki’s side of the screen. The list of people that could handle Ricki’s level of play, even with Chun-Li’s nerfs, is so small that she still stands a good chance of doing well at this year’s event.
No matter where the cursor lands on the character select screen, I would rarely bet against Ricki.