GFuel’s Hyungsuk “Verloren” Kong first made his appearance in Street Fighter V on Korea’s Street Fighter Crash last year. He ultimately finished with a 2-2 record, beating only Shinji840 and Momochi as his team failed to advance from their pool.
To say that his work in the last year has changed his fortunes in fighting games goes without saying — not even an afterthought in the race for Capcom Cup last year, the Cammy player has found his way into the tournament in the top half of the bracket. As the lone Korean representative in the bracket (the last chance qualifier may change that) he has big shoes to fill. Filling the role of Infiltration — a former champion when the series emerged during the Street Fighter 25th Anniversary event — is a tough ask. Players from the country such as Saint, JDCR, and Knee also dominate the Tekken circuit, so Korea has high hopes for every esports competitor in every genre they compete in. Will Verloren live up to the gold standard?
Stinging Like a Bee
Earlier in the series, I discussed how fellow Cammy main Kazunoko took a very stable approach to the character. While he is able to use all of her tools well, he relies on a lot of spacing to make things work. If you haven’t seen Verloren play, you should take what you know about Kazunoko, and throw it out the window.
While Kazunoko can space out a large swath of the match, Verloren uses the spacing game as a tool to set up his approach. While Street Fighter V is obviously a game that revolves around the corner, no other Cammy fights to get to the corner like he does. If he gets a touch, it’s hard to outwork him. He has incredible footsies, great reactions, and amazing frame traps — including the standing short, standing roundhouse sequence that seems to catch everyone in a crush counter situation.
Importantly, his anti-air game is tough to top. While anti-airs are far and away more situational across the board in this game than other games, Verloren seems to have this on lock. His utilization of back strong, standing roundhouse, and DP is top notch, and if you actually get a jump-in on him, mark the date that it happened on your calendar in red. You don’t get away with these often against Verloren, which only gives him more time to approach.
Strength in Numbers…
Powered by his sponsorship from GFuel, Verloren has been able to do a lot of traveling this season, and it has paid off. Starting off the year with a top 8 at Final Round XX, he was able to tack on five more top 8s in twelve events he went to on the CPT. In non-circuit events, he was also able to take a tournament in Dubai that featured fellow Capcom Cup qualifier Big Bird, and narrowly missed out on the top 8 at Brooklyn Beatdown.
This shows a consistency you don’t see every day. Each weekend that there’s a tournament, Verloren finds himself in the hunt for top 8.
… But Not in Wins
The problem with Verloren is his ability to close out tournaments. Yes, he won in Dubai, but his closest competition in that tournament would arguably be AngryBird and Big Bird. The rest of the top 8 was a mixture of lesser known names. While any tournament win is great, Verloren took this tournament in the United Arab Emirates while the rest of the competitive world was fixated upon Canada Cup. How much bragging rights does this lend itself to?
Outside of this, he’s simply struggled. His highest finish beyond Dubai was second in an Evo qualifier in Korea and second at Battle Arena Melbourne to a then streaking Bonchan. The rest of results read as a string of fifths and sevenths, which only lend to consistency to get to the big stage. Once there, it’s a different story.
One of the biggest tells of his inability to close came at SoCal Regionals, where he made it to top 8 on Winners side. He then quickly exited the tournament, losing to Yukadon and MenaRD in his only two top 8 sets. Fellow Korean Cammy NL was able to dispatch the latter, but not the former, suggesting that Verloren either simply didn’t have the answer to MenaRD, or didn’t have the mental fortitude to make it work in the high-pressure situation.
It also is worth noting that — despite the controversy surrounding the match itself — at Evo 2017, Verloren missed out on top 8 in a big match against Filipino Champ. While it’s possible that the delays in the match due to the issues faced on stream caused him to lose focus, game one of the match already saw him struggle.
And there you find a flaw. In Korea, he has one of the best Dhalsim players in the world to train against in Save. He also has two of the best Birdie players to spar against in XYZZY and Do U Know Kimchi. However, when up against it in high-pressure situations, Verloren seems unable to truly apply what he learns in these sessions to beat his adversaries in tournament. While you could make arguments that FChamp and MenaRD are better than their Korean counterparts, their styles aren’t different enough from what Verloren faces in Korea for him to be thrown off.
I’m sure Verloren gained some confidence in Dubai in winning a tournament. That will certainly help him going into Capcom Cup 2017, but is a smaller event victory enough to take down the big one?
That is unlikely. He’s still unproven under the highest amount of pressure. Capcom Cup will be unlike anything he’s faced before, as he now has to contend with every single match being a high-pressure situation. If he’s able to hold it together, I expect him to finish just inside top 8. If not, we could see Verloren crack early.
Check out our prior articles in the Capcom Cup 2017 Player Analysis series!