Capcom Cup 2018 Analysis: Will Itabashi Zangief shift into overdrive?

By on December 13, 2018 at 12:00 pm
capcom cup 2018 itazan feature

Itabashi Zangief started off the season with ranks 1-10 of Top Ten Anime Betrayals of All Time. Having for years been a steadfast Zangief main, the massive nerfs the character saw in Season 3 forced his hand in switching to Abigail. For the most part, he has stood pat on his switch.

The character certainly helped him get into Capcom Cup. Now will he be able to reprise his role in the top 8 with a big body?

One Gear

One of the most exciting things about watching Itazan play last year was how aggressive his Zangief was. Well, when you take that aggression and multiply it, then you get Abigail.

This is one of the reasons why Itabashi Zangief’s transition to Abigail has been so smooth. He has few problems getting in, while also hitting like a truck any time he gets a touch. He also adds a few additional mixups beyond what Zangief ever had. This has been a great thing for Itabashi Zangief, who has always been able to condition people to fall for the few mixups that Zangief did have. The ability to do this in a myriad of ways has made him especially dangerous.

Abigail SFV

Big Body, Big Problems

The problem is that with a big body character, you run into so many problems. While Itabashi Zangief has done well with the character, the problems are inherent. Characters like Rashid do well, given his multi-hitting projectiles cause issues with Abigail getting in, while its upward arc also shuts down his air game, where the character has jump arc issues. Zoners also still reasonably well, with Guile holding down the fort very well.

This is reasonably what we can expect in his very first round, and he’s paired up against NuckleDu. While Du has lost to Itazan this year, one could expect that his Guile will be prepared to go up against him now — or at the very least, He’ll bring out G to cover the neutral at the beginning of the match, then level up in order to deal with the end game to out-hit Abigail with his V-Trigger I.

But even worse is the army of Menats that Itazan could face… he’s only beaten one out of seven. While he may have time for that — unless of course he ends up having one in his way in Losers Bracket — he still has to get through possibly Akuma, Rashid, Kolin, all with decent multi-hitting and zoning moves that can cause Abigail problems. Given his narrow win-rates against all of them, save for Kolin (a character we haven’t seen him face) this could be an ugly road for Itazan.

Final Thoughts

He’s got a character that can plow through people, provided he gets in. Against characters that make him struggle in that respect, the only character he can switch to is a character that suffers in the same regard. For him to also be facing one difficult character right out the gate makes me pessimistic about his chances.

It’s hard to count Itazan out, but the odds are he doesn’t make top 8 based on the road he has ahead.


capcom cup 2018 poster

Corey "Missing Person" Lanier is a full-time writer, and one half of the "So Smart" team that did commentary for Street Fighter V Crash. A former English teacher, he has spent 5 years living between China and South Korea before moving to Canada. When he's not busy writing, he enjoys streaming, playing mafia and elevating his Super Turbo game. He also believes Sailor Moon S is the best fighting game on the planet, and if you don't believe him, see him in Sailor Moon!