Latin America has seen a surge in presence at international Street Fighter events. While they have sent at least one entrant to Capcom Cup every year since 2014, this year sees them sending three. RISE Nation’s Saul “MenaRD” Segundo has quickly risen in the ranks with his brutal Birdie play, to make him one of two entrants from Latin America to get in on points.
Last year’s Dominican representative DR Ray shocked the world by putting Tokido into losers bracket in the first round of play. Will MenaRD continue the trend this year?
When I talked to fellow Birdie main ROF in March of last year about approaching the game with Birdie, he talked about how many risks you must take in order to succeed with the character. While he was talking about his own play, he ultimately also described Segundo’s play as well. MenaRD is known to take risks, utilizing EX reversals in a way that can rattle his opponents. This is not an easy feat. It’s expected that players will use EX reversals to escape pressure. MenaRD, knowing how difficult the path of Birdie can be, has calculated when to take those risks with aplomb.
Using some heavy gambles, including well-timed Dolphin Dives, has made him very hard to read for many players, leaving them only trying to apply the pressure to prevent him from being able to play his game. But given that he maintains composure even under pressure, preventing Segundo from playing his game is no easy feat.
Go for the W
MenaRD holds the second-most wins on the Latin circuit by a wide margin. While Brolynho may have had a chokehold on the region, MenaRD was not far behind, usually taking events that Brolynho failed to win. Out of ten events he played, he was able to reach top 8 in six, and win twice.
Further, while I may have chided Brolynho for his lack of travel outside of the region, Segundo did exactly that, and showed what he could do facing the best in the world. With several top 8 finishes in North America, including fourth at Brooklyn Beatdown, he has shown that he has the chops to take out the big names.
Laundry List of Victims
If we’re looking at some of the people MenaRD needs to face down to win this event, he certainly has a few names to boast about beating. At Brooklyn Beatdown, he bested Smug and Haitani. At SoCal Regionals, he beat Verloren and Punk. At CEO he bested Daigo Umehara. At Combo Breaker, he was able to beat Verloren yet again, as well as Momochi.
This is a confident Latin American player, that has the potential to literally beat any top player he comes across. He has been a demon to a couple of these players I’ve listed off, so the sky is the limit.
I feel like MenaRD is the Latin region’s best hope at doing well, but I hesitate at giving him the top slot this year. His Birdie can be insanely dangerous, but it can also pose dangers to himself, as the character does carry inherent risks. When his risks pay off, he excels. When they don’t, you tend to shrug him off as incapable of closing it out at the higher ranks.
With Birdie, every tournament is a crap shoot, and you have players specifically training characters to beat characters like Birdie, as evidenced by Mago’s pick of Rashid at OHN. He has a tough road to go down — but if anyone can do it, MenaRD is the man to walk it.
Check out our prior articles in the Capcom Cup 2017 Player Analysis series!