Big Bird has come on strong in the past two years. Having given himself to traveling for the Capcom Pro Tour, he has truly proven himself a formidable foe. While last year may have seen him go 0-2 at Capcom Cup, this year his changes have put him in an even better position going into the biggest tournament of the year.
Now, will he find himself in a similar position as MenaRD: putting the Middle East on the map for fighting games for the first time since Latif won Evo in Guilty Gear XX AC?
A Wide Range of Characters
Last year was a whole lot of Ken, and Big Bird was one to walk to his own beat with Ken. While many have kept a mass amount of aggression, Big Bird was able to play a more patient game with the character, and make it work to the point that he was able to make it to the big dance. Of course, one of the worries I had last year was that he’d bring an untested Zeku — similar to his Guy in Street Fighter IV — into battle. He refrained, and while he brought out a fresh Rashid, it was not enough for him to bank a win at all.
2018 saw him retool, with his Rashid being brought more to the forefront. From Capcom Cup on, no tournament saw him without using Rashid, and it has paid off, despite the nerfs to the character. Big Bird has actually upped his aggression a hair, which has helped him to put players on edge when playing against him.
But 2018 has also saw him — much like his Emirati and aviary counterpart Angry Bird — bring out a Zeku to some results. People who have slept on this character will be shocked to find two possible competent Zekus that could find their way into the bracket to shake things up.
Wins Where It Counts
While Big Bird struggled to find wins across the circuit, there was one point where he finally shined. At Southeast Asia Major, he was finally able to cap off his hard work with a Premier win. But when you look at who he played against to win it, it shows how capable he is of taking a major at any point. For him to be able to beat the likes of Tokido in Grand Finals shows the capability he has when he gets on point. But then to also be able to take games off of the likes of Mago also shows that he is not just a one-off fluke, he’s simply been working to find his stride.
Big Bird is currently my dark horse pick to win. He has a good blend of characters he can utilize to make it really hard to peg him. Further, he has shown the capability to make serious runs through the bracket, no matter where he is.
Yes, he could run into trouble against Tokido: he only won 3-2, and could potentially face him in the second round. He could even run into troubles against Gachikun first round, regardless of whether he chooses to mirror him or not. But when you’ve seen Big Bird fully-focused, it’s a thing of beauty, and if he brings that focus he had in Singapore to Las Vegas, all bets are off.
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