|Photo by Kara "Karaface" Leung|
Reputation – Consistency – Character – Momentum
Now that that’s out of the way, these are the four main categories we considered for our first-ever Fighting Game Power Rankings. Starting with Super Street Fighter IV Arcade Edition Version 2012 (I’ll never grow tired of typing all that out), we’ve compiled the 10 best players in North America.
After an hours-long discussion, Glenn, Tim and I voted on who would be on our Top 10 by dividing points out per vote. For instance, a first place vote earned 10 points, second place gets 9, etc. After points were tallied, ties were decided by another discussion – i.e: which player(s) deserve the spot.
Note that these rankings are certainly not static, and will change over time. Just because your favorite player didn’t make it – or your favorite player isn’t ranked highly enough – doesn’t mean it’ll stay that way forever. After all, NEC is this weekend, and we’ve got tons of tournaments lined up.
So without further ado, here are your 10 best SSF4AE2012 players today:
1 – Justin Wong: The Wong Factor earned all of our first-place votes, and with good reason. He hasn’t just been placing well consistently (often winning), he’s a rare breed in his ability to counter-pick. Rocking several pocket characters, his Rufus isn’t the only thing players need to worry about.
2 – Ricky Ortiz: Ricky’s signature is his ability to perform remarkably well in the presence of international competition. The only thing stopping him from being on top of the ranking is his attendance and consistency in tournaments without international competition. The EG Rufuses (Rufii? RU-FI-OOOH!) have run rampant in NA tournaments, and nobody’s surprised about it anymore.
3 – Eduardo “PR Balrog” Perez: I assure you, no EG bias here. Since his third place finish at EVO 2012, Eduardo has been very consistent, earning two Top 4s in November, and two Top 10s – Canada Cup and Season’s Beatings Ascension.
4 – Kevin “Dieminion” Landon: Brokentier’s finest AE player has improved tremendously this year, and as the other American to break Top 8 at EVO 2012, he isn’t showing any signs of slowing down. The SF25 Grand Finals will be a great test of his skill, and he has said that his focus has been on AE since qualifying.
5 – Henri “Chi-Rithy” Oung: Arguably the most consistent Cammy in North America, Chi-Rithy has proven himself to be an elite player time and time again. Although he’s got a solid track record in his home country – performing better than Dieminion and Justin Wong at Toryuken, T13 and MAT IX – a major win in the states would cement his position in the Top 5 for the foreseeable future.
6 – Darryl “Snake Eyez” Lewis: Surprised? You really shouldn’t be. Snake Eyez’s recent performances embody the very essence of Zangief – strong, iron-clad, solid. He gives you very few opportunities, and was evident during his match vs. Justin Wong at the SF25 LA Qualifiers, where his patience led him to take first place (see Adon vs. Gief Game 1, Round 1).
7 – Alex Valle: Regardless of who or where you are in the tournament circuit, you never want to see the Michael Jordan of fighting games in your bracket. His recent notable performances found him in fourth place at Season’s Beatings Ascension and seventh at Youmacon.
8 – Kenneth “K-Brad” Bradley: Let the “best Cammy” discussion begin. Although K-Brad’s win at Season’s Beatings Ascension (really, his impressive win against the seemingly-invincible Infiltration) was nothing short of incredible, his losses to Laugh and Bonchan at Canada Cup quickly deflated his momentum. NEC will decide his fate in our rankings.
9 – Kenny “Air” Lam: Canada proved a while back that they aren’t free. Air played a huge part in this, and although we haven’t seen him do well recently, his reputation is enough to strike fear in any player. If you name a Canadian you wouldn’t want to face in a tournament, chances are you’ll name either Chi-Rithy or Air.
10 – Renzo “iPeru” Vigo: We had a tie for 10th place between iPeru and Combofiend, and the best El Fuerte in the business ended up taking it. I fondly remember watching SCR 2011 as iPeru dismantled his brackets, and I thought to myself, “Man, Fuerte, really? Someone body this guy already!” Although I was already familiar with him, it wasn’t until I witnessed first-hand his genius during his wins over Valle and Latif. From that moment on, I was a believer.
Peter “Combofiend” Rosas: Combo just missed our list by one vote, and it mostly has to do with his focus. Although he’s famous for his Oni, you just can’t help but question whether he’ll actually finally switch to another character – Cammy? Guy? Who knows.
Sanford “Santhrax” Kelly: We all pretty much came to the consensus that if Sanford attended more tournaments, he’d be much more of a force to be reckoned with. Sagat is already a solid character, and Sanford arguably has the best Sagat in NA. With proven track records against players like Dieminion, I wouldn’t be surprised to see Sanford breaking our list soon.
Christopher “Chris G” Gonzalez: The Genius isn’t just solid at Marvel, but he’s also solid in AE. You might think all of his passion and attention is in Marvel, but you’d be surprised. I was watching the match between Humanbomb and GamerBee at EVO this year, and Chris just happened to be there, too. As a Sakura player himself, Chris definitely had a lot to say as Humanbomb’s Sakura was destroyed. The man is hungry, and don’t just regard him for Marvel anymore.