Momochi is now the lone representative of Kolin. While she may have had a strong start early in the season, the character’s popularity at the latter half of the season waned. But with his ability to play the character, he has earned a Capcom Cup berth yet again… Will this year be different than last?
Let It Go
Last year saw Momochi in the midst of a character crisis. Bringing out Zeku and Bison in Winners Bracket, he put his back to the wall and ran Ken all the way through Losers Bracket. The result was a disappointing top 16 finish for the former Capcom Cup champion.
One of the things that Momochi was famously chided for by Punk was that he should pick a “real” character: someone whose deficiencies didn’t put him at a disadvantage. Momochi did so with Kolin, whom he was able to use to create the very aggressive style he was known for while also using amazing reactions to cause people to be afraid to push buttons against him. His usage of parries and mixups has made her very dangerous in his hands.
The Unsponsored Assist
I think one thing that surprisingly works in Momochi’s favor is that he famously lost his sponsorship with Echo Fox near the end of the season. While it can be demoralizing to lose a sponsorship, for Momochi this could be a blessing in disguise. The pressure is off to prove yourself in front of your sponsor. Now it’s about just playing for yourself.
Many top athletes always feel like they play better when they don’t feel any major pressure to win. Some of the best underdog stories come out of just going out there and doing your best, and being shocked at your best being better than everyone else’s. Certainly, Momochi hasn’t been winning lately, but being able to just play for himself could be a benefit for him that he hasn’t had since signing with Evil Geniuses in 2010.
The Flip Side
The problem with that pressure coming off could be that Momochi does exactly what he did last year, and use Capcom Cup to experiment with new characters. He no longer feels like he has to prove himself, which could make him even more loose in his choices. This is something he has done throughout his career. 2014 saw him using Cody, Juri, and Ken all in Evo top 8, making his choices more erratic. It was only 2015 onward that saw him more steadfast in his picks until last year changed that.
Any evidence you need that Momochi could knee-jerk back to his old main — or anyone else, for that matter — would be on display at SoCal Regionals against Chris Tatarian. While running the mirror may have been a respect thing, it’s that lack of cutthroat attitude from Momochi that makes me wary.
To top it off, his school and his newly founded esports team shows how many coals he has on the fire to begin with. Competing is starting to take a back seat. He’s still a loose cannon that will be fun to watch, but he’s definitely a long shot at the title.
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