Top 5 Strongest SFV Characters Used by Pros

Strongest SFV Characters
Not all characters are designed equal, some are just better

Five of The Strongest SFV Characters Used by Pros

Street Fighter V Arcade Edition Promotional Art - Fewer of these characters make the cut than you might think

Street Fighter has come a long way. From its start in the arcades to the marquee title of the biggest fighting game tournaments in the world, the game has definitely changed. With so much on the line in modern competitions the pros have to take every advantage they can get with their character choices. While the most important thing is the right character in the right hands, there’s no denying that certain characters rise to the top amongst those that play for a living.

To understand how the pros look at a character there are some basic concepts you have to be familiar with: How they manage resources, normals, pressure, zoning capabilities, setups, the neutral, and their conversion. The fighting game community has made its own language for how they play, but consider these ideas the fundamentals of how the pros play.

"The meter" is the main resource to consider, you build the meter by dealing damage and can use one pip for an enhanced special move. The other meter is the V-Trigger, it builds mostly by receiving damage and can be used to put the character into their V-Trigger state. When V-Trigger is active it can unlock special moves, enhanced versions of moves, or abilities not available before like parries depending on the character.

Normals are easy enough, it's how the players within the community refer to the moves you perform by pressing a button without any other inputs. “Pressure”, as the name might imply, is using your attacks to put the opponent on the defensive and afraid to act. “Zoning” may sound high concept, but really it just means a character’s ability to control portions of the screen, whether it’s through throwing projectiles or long-reaching attacks.

“Setups” generally refer to a character’s ability to perform attacks that put them in a good spot to use more attacks outside of a combo. How you use your normals is important in the “neutral” game, when both characters are standing and throwing out attacks to try and find a way to get in and do their damage. Related to this, “conversion” refers to a character’s ability to follow through on combos after hitting with the normals that are best for the circumstance.

These things all add up to how a character feels and how well they play. While characters fall in to different archetypes they all interact with these concepts to some degree. Certain pros tend to favor certain archetypes, but when they're up on the grand stage they have to pull out their best to win. With all the spotlight and spectacle, it gives us a window into how the best players in the world play the roster.

5. Menat

Menat’s Promotional Art - She uses her crystal ball to see the future, and to beat you with it.

When Menat was released last year, she brought with her a lot of positivity. Casual fans loved her cutesy but stylish demeanor and pros liked her varied moveset. Arguably, Menat is the most technical character in the game, relying on heavy execution that pros like former Evo champ Infiltration, the legendary Justin Wong, and the hugely influential Sako have gravitated towards. What makes Menat so powerful in the hands of these pros is that unlike most of the cast, who specialize in a certain style of play, Menat has a more varied gameplan and her playstyle can vary more from player to player.

Being a more technical character, Menat has very long and difficult combos and require a player to manage their resources for optimal damage while executing each move flawlessly. Outside of this, Menat also excels at zoning, she tosses her orb out to keep characters back and can even plant it in one spot to gain access to altered normals and the potential for greater control. Menat does take a lot of resources to really do her damage, but when she has it she’ll have you right where she wants you.

Menat’s versatility in playing keep-away as well as doing a lot of damage up close and personal has made her a formidable character in the hands of some of the most skilled professionals in the world.

4. Abigail

Abigail In-Game - Even by big guy standards, Abigail is BIG.

Hailing from Metro City of the Final Fight series of games comes the motor-obsessed big man Abigail. Abigail was initially laughed at for his goofy appearance and demeanor, but after he stomped through tournaments causing many character-loyalist pros to switch to him, Abigail got the last laugh. The big guy is considered the best grappler in the game at this point, he can deal insane damage when close, but still has very strong normals to strike from a distance. It’s no wonder Abigail has had a meteoric rise to the top, causing some pros like Itabashi to make the switch from their old grapplers.

When he’s built up the right resources Abigail is downright scary, but that’s not to say he’s a pushover at any other point in the match. His normals are always good, often outreaching his opponent giving him greater control of the flow of the match. At later points in the match, though, Abigail can unleash combos with relatively easy precision that will cause his opponent’s health to vanish. Also, whereas most grapplers have a harder time dealing with zoning characters, Abigail deals with projectiles with a single button.

Abigail may look silly with that big grin on his face, but it’s only because at any point in the match he is perfectly comfortable and confident in getting the win.

3. Guile

Guile with V-Trigger 1 Active - And still rocking the iconic haircut.

The stoic Air Force Commander has been one of the most iconic characters of the series dating back to Street Fighter II. Between the hair, the meme-worthy music, and his signature moveset Guile is as strong as he is recognizable. Guile is designed to be a defensive character, able to throw out projectiles to keep opponents away and push them back with his Flash Kick when they get too close. What makes Guile so strong is that he isn’t only defensive, but able to pressure opponents using the wide range of utility with his normals.

When you see pros like The Beast, Daigo, or one of America’s best, NuckleDu, playing Guile there has to be something special there. Guile’s moveset gives him the ability to quickly change the momentum of a match, stealing the initiative from his opponent and keeping the offensive for himself. Even when it seems like Guile is against the ropes, in a matter of moments his Flash Kick or his strong normals will put him in a position to put on the pressure and secure victory. Guile specializes in a range and has enough utility with his special moves that he’s almost always in control of the match.

Guile does require a certain degree of precision as when he misses he leaves himself completely open, that being said in the hands of the pros Guile rarely leaves those openings and hits all the way to winning tournament after tournament.

2. Akuma

Akuma In-Game - The Raging Demon continues to terrorize in SFV.

Originally a secret boss character, Akuma has been an extremely dangerous opponent dating back to his first appearance. Akuma shares special moves with characters like Ryu or Ken but has access to a wider set of special moves that give him expanded utility. The offset of this is Akuma is the definitive “glass cannon” for Street Fighter, he can deal a lot of damage but has some of the lowest health in the game. He requires a skilled player to defend properly otherwise the Demon won’t stay in the match long enough to show his opponents the way of the Fist. Tokido, one of the Five Gods of Japanese Street Fighter, is a long-time Akuma user and is arguably the best player in the world.

You don’t get to be one of the main antagonists of a series without being strong and it isn’t just Akuma’s combos that push him to victory. Akuma has some very good normals with some special moves to mix things up in the neutral. In addition, Akuma has very strong conversions which guides one landed hit into a combo that’ll leave your opponent weak, frustrated, and struggling to stay in the fight. Fighting Akuma is truly scary, he has several easy setups that leaves opponents guessing while Akuma treats them like his plaything.

In the world of Street Fighter Akuma is one of the scariest people alive and in-game his fighting style matches that. His relentless attacks with the ability to quickly mix up his assault have made him one of the top strongest characters in the game.

1. Cammy

Cammy Promotional Art - Cannon Drill-ing her way to another victory

Accelerating her way to the pros’ most fearsome character is Cammy White. Cammy is another veteran of the series with her design of lower health but high damage. Her latest iteration in Street Fighter V is made even more dangerous with her versatility and viciously damaging combos. Her excellent mobility and ability to strike from multiple angles make controlling the flow of battle against her very, very difficult. Cammy has been used as a main character by pros like Xiaohai and Gamerbee, as well as a back-up character by many pros, and has recently gotten a lot of attention on the tournament scene.

Cammy is just too quick and too damaging for a lot of players to handle. Due to her walk speed she gets options for mind games that you don’t see out of a lot of characters. She does have some of the lowest health in the game, but with her formidable light attack combos and access to some invincible moves Cammy can constantly be in a state of fighting back no matter what she’s up against. Cammy’s offense being so volatile can put the flow of the match, and the victory, right back in her hands with a single opening from her opponent.

A lot of what makes Cammy so strong takes a deeper understanding of fighting games, but even after five minutes with her you can see a glimpse of her strength. Her unrelenting assault, her invincible moves, and her mobility are on a level unlike any other character in the cast.

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Future supervillian and fighting game enthusiast, Brandon has been gaming since he first learned how to push two buttons and writing since he learned to put two words together.
Gamer Since: 1991
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