Oil King has had to climb an uphill road this season. Having made it through to the last Capcom Cup — and subsequently losing all of his sets in the tournament — he woke up to find his trademark Rashid receiving a great deal of nerfs in Season 3. While some competitors would move on to greener pastures, Oil King decided to push forward with the character.
His hard work paid off, as he has found himself in a good position in the bracket at Capcom Cup this year. Will this year be the year that someone from Taiwan finally wins it all?
Trouble in the Rashid camp certainly hasn’t held Oil King back. With a notable degree of nerfs for the character coming into Season 3, we saw several players consider pulling away from the character. But Oil King definitely persisted.
While Rashid definitely was weakened in several aspects — one part where he got stronger was within his V-System. While many characters have what are agreed upon as superior V-Triggers, Rashid has two very good V-Triggers that are useful depending on the matchup. Moreover, when you factor in that both have a cost of two bars, it gives Rashid ample opportunity to use both of them. This makes it less of a debate on whether you will be able to get multiple instances of V-Trigger depending on which one you choose.
Oil King has done very well in adding V-Trigger II to his repertoire, using both frequently depending on who he is playing. Further, he has been able to augment the strengths of Rashid that remained after the patch, including his amazing frame traps. He’s also performed exceedingly well within neutral range, meaning he doesn’t have to bring you to the corner to get his wins now.
The Winning Edge
Where Oil King has struggled has been winning at the highest peaks of the game, and he has finally managed to breach that summit. Taking Final Fighters China was definitely not a fluke. While many can argue about the random seeding issues that plagued the event, when your top 6 features Fuudo, Momochi, Fuudo, and StormKUBO — all of whom qualified for Capcom Cup — you have to give him a serious look. Further, he took several top 8s across the board, and even won an online event that featured Fujimura, Gachikun, Nemo, Haitani, and NL. When you’re becoming that consistent against top players, you have to be taken seriously.
The problem that I have been having with him is his consistency. While he’s a solid player, and no one will argue that, he has periods where just looks off. His tournament results show exactly this: make two or three top 8s, finish well outside of that next time, repeat the process.
This was something of worry for Haitani two years ago, and Haitani’s results most certainly hindered him in progressing far in the Capcom Cup bracket. But to make matters worse, his results have become increasingly less consistent as time went on. Especially going into a weaker field at DreamHack Montréal — where he fell to CJ Truth and then to Chi-Rithy — to only make top 16 but be in the upper half of seeding at Capcom Cup means that we could see him struggle.
But even worse is people are catching on to some of his tendencies. Let’s face it, everyone has some semblance of predictability, but Oil King seems to have a few more obvious tells. His wall jumps are becoming more a liability, and when that’s his go-to answer to escape pressure, it’s far easier for people to make his conversion rate on them slim.
Also, he has become a bit more predictable in which scenarios he’ll use certain frame traps. This is something Tokido showed at Tokyo Game Show, where he was able to anticipate his Spinning Mixer frame trap into Critical Art to chip. This was a costly mistake, as it not only cost him the round when Tokido teleported out for the K.O., but also cost him his entire meter.
As long as nothing changes, Oil King will be facing Momochi in a runback from Grand Finals of FFC. Given his narrow victory over him, Momochi will have plenty of data and time to prepare for him. And as many pros have discussed, it’s much easier to bounce back from a narrow loss than it is to hang on to a slim margin of victory.
So I’ll take a wild guess and say that Momochi will come out on top first round of the bracket. Oil King has the ability to make a deep run in the Losers Bracket, but I’m not sure he has enough gas in the tank to take it all.
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