Rashid has been a popular character for breakout stars in Street Fighter V this season. Kanemori “Gachikun” Tsunehiro — despite being known for his Sagat play in Street Fighter IV — has been one such breakout star. Currently, he sits as the highest-ranked player in the CPT standings without a sponsorship.
Obviously, one can’t expect him to remain unsponsored for long — and doubly so, if he performs well at his first Capcom Cup appearance. What are the odds of that happening?
The Wind Always Blows in Your Face
One of the first things you notice about Gachikun is how aggressive his Rashid is. From moment one, he starts out with aggression. If you are not prepared for a relentless assault, Gachikun is simply going to shake you to your core.
This would almost seem like a stark contrast from play Street Fighter IV, given his character choices. However, if you look at his Sagat in the game, he put himself in far more aggressive ranges than Sagat players typically do. Whereas most players would rely on the zoning game and reactionary play from that, Gachikun was prone to playing a solid footsies game on top of the fireball game. He always likes to be in your face, within reason — obviously point blank doesn’t work with Sagat in SFIV, but it’s a range that Rashid thrives in. This character rewards his aggression well, and allows him to win a lot on rattling his opponents who would rather him be further away.
Rolling in the Thick of Things
In his breakout year, Gachikun has put together an impressive string of results. In a matter of seven Premier events, he placed in the top 8 four times, with two second place finishes. All of these strong finishes have put him in a great spot for his seeding at #15, after NuckleDu dropped out.
Further, he has done well off the circuit, with a second-place finish at Red Bull Kumite. He has consistently been near the top of the heap, and his results show that.
But his consistency is also his sign of having difficulties winning it all. Second place is the best he has done in any event. Even during Esports Festival Hong Kong, Zhi remarked that Daigo said that he struggled against Gachikun, only to beat him twice on the way to the title. He was further toppled by Nemo at Red Bull Kumite, Infiltration at Manila Cup, and Problem X at EGX. He also lost to Yukadon and Fuudo at D3.
Several of these characters show a pattern. With Urien, Guile, and Ibuki, they have the ability to zone him out and keep him away from that range he loves to utilize throughout the duration of a round. Even if they aren’t able to, they have options to push him off relatively well.
With a character like Bison in Problem X, Bison loves to do the exact things Gachikun likes, but has even better spacing, which makes it more difficult to push him away. This forces Gachikun to be even more careful in his approach, and makes every knockdown difficult to deal with for him. Infiltration’s Juri provided much of the same frustration for him, including more mix-ups.
But while these individual matches can make life a veritable hell for Gachikun’s Rashid, the problem also stems from within Gachikun. His limited tournament experience on the international stage has definitely been the empty space in his toolbox, and it will take some time for him to adjust. Doing well in Topanga league is a far different experience than doing well in double-elimination tournaments. He’s finding that out, and will need to adapt to this in order to see his stock rise.
Gachikun is going to wow some people. His aggression is something that will blow some people’s minds. But the problem is he’s facing players who already know this — his first round is against GO1, who will know full well what he’ll see from Gachikun.
Western players will be far more taken aback, and for this reason, he stands to possibly make top 8. I just wouldn’t place money on him come Grand Finals, if he gets that far.
Check out our prior articles in the Capcom Cup 2017 Player Analysis series!