NASR|Adel “Big Bird” Anouche has, since Street Fighter V dropped, established himself as the strongest player in the Middle East. Hailing from Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates, he made a name for himself off the strength of his Guy play in Street Fighter IV. In Street Fighter V, he became a wrecking ball with Ken, and has since become a fixture on the international circuit.
With his — and any other Middle Eastern player, for that matter — first foray into Capcom Cup, will he be able to capitalize and take it all?
Patience of Job
Much to Big Bird’s ire on Twitter, Capcom labeled his play style as “risk-taking” in their preview of the players. While it may irk him to see that written about himself, any player that latches on to that characterization without doing their research will be in for a rude awakening: his Ken is anything but.
Big Bird is the most patient Ken on the planet. We’ve typically seen Kens try to maintain aggression at all points of the match, as Ken has a relatively weak neutral and turtle game. However, Big Bird optimizes his spacings to allow himself a chance to play footsies, and does so well. He loves to bait people into doing high-risk things.
That’s not to say that Anouche is a player averse to risk-taking, but when you see him taking those risks, he’ll often do so at calculated times. Even in this video against Infiltration, in the final round he baits Infiltration after activating V-Trigger into thinking that he’d continue block pressure, forcing Infiltration to use a V-Reversal that gets destroyed by Ken’s neutral jump. This is shows the flex and creativity in Big Bird’s play that cannot be overstated.
One simply cannot ignore Anouche’s seven top 8s, in nine total events that he traveled to this year. On top of that, he was able to win Geek Weekend in Dubai, taking it over fellow Capcom Cup representative Phenom. This includes three top 8 finishes at Premier events out of the four that he attended. It’s hard to argue with that success rate.
The fact that he was able to parlay such a short schedule into a Capcom Cup berth is quite a feat, as most of his surrounding competition played a more packed schedule. This kind of poise is that of a champion.
One thing that scares me is what character Big Bird will be bringing to Capcom Cup. While he’s spent two seasons working with Ken, most people will argue that it’s hard to contend for the big time with the character. On top of that, he has found temptation in the pseudo-return of his Street Fighter IV main, in Zeku.
You can be sure he’s been tempted with the character, and has been playing him. But it’s hard to say whether he will try to bring him out on the biggest stage so soon into his experimentation with the master ninja. While Young Zeku will feel familiar to him, does he really want to bring him out while still trying to fine-tune him? My gut says that due to his risk-aversive play that he will opt not to. You couldn’t fault him either way; he either sticks with the character he’s comfortable with right now but has glaring flaws, or he goes with the character he wants to play that could do damage to unsuspecting opponents, but risk match-up unfamiliarity himself.
The more Big Bird gets out and plays top players, the better he becomes. He has shown this in spades this season, and he’s only going to get better in Season 3 with Zeku if he decides to go that route. Even if he abandons Zeku, he has a solid Ken that will absolutely do damage.
With these two characters right now, it’s hard to say that he’ll win it all. But he is certainly a threat to make top 16 or higher. If we go by the numbers alone? He’s a lock for top 8.
Check out our prior articles in the Capcom Cup 2017 Player Analysis series!
Additional source: Shoryureppa