Get ready, Luffy’s bringing Rose back to Street Fighter V
© Stephanie Lindgren / Red Bull Content Pool
As the last batch of downloadable content is set to land for Street Fighter V, pro gamer Olivier ‘Luffy’ Hay is looking forward to the return of an old favourite.
Capcom is closing out the Street Fighter V era with a bang, bringing familiar faces Dan Hibiki, Rose and Oro from past Street Fighter games, as well as introducing Akira from Capcom’s Rival Schools series, in its upcoming Season 5 DLC.
For one top player at least, the DLC is a reunion as much as it is an update or refresh. For years, French pro gamer Olivier ‘Luffy’ Hay used Italian fortune teller Rose as one of his mains – and now he’ll be able to do so once more.
A long history
In the fighting game genre, players form a bond with the characters they play. They find a warrior that suits their style based on a variety of factors. Some select their primary characters, or mains, by how strong they are in the meta, some by their legacy, and some, like Luffy, simply base their decisions on looks.
“I started to play fighting games a lot with Street Fighter IV, as a casual gamer,” he says. “I simply picked my character depending on the design – Rose had a mesmerising look and I liked her costume colour, as pink and light blue are my favourite colours. My character pick was very easy.”
From there, he formulated his approach around the psychic warrior’s style. “As I was new to fighting games, I didn’t know a tier list existed or that a character had an archetype (zoner, grappler, offensive, defensive). I guess Rose just forged my playstyle, and once I understood her tools and the other character’s tools, I just tried to work it in,” says Luffy, happy that she came with an array to his liking.
“I like her ability to have a solution to most situations, she can also play really defensive against fireball characters and force a fireball war,” says Luffy. “While offensively she isn’t the damage-dealer type, she has a good offence with good pokes and pressure.” This bond created the perfect recipe for an EVO champion.
“Back in 2009, I began competing by entering Paris-based events as I was living in Paris. I won most of them, then started to travel within France and slowly became a 'name’. It logically followed with Europe, where I had the same success.”
This led to his surprise victory during the Ultra Street Fighter IV finals at EVO 2014, deploying that underused character to become a champion. “That was the pinnacle of my Street Fighter 4 career as I won EVO exclusively with Rose,” Luffy recalls. “It was amazing to play with all internationals back then, as it was a rare thing for us to travel from continent to continent.”
Though his EVO win was surprising to outsiders, Luffy himself was unfazed. Playing Rose was by no means about playing a character that was undervalued or overlooked. “I’ve never found any glory in winning with an unpopular/weak/strong whatever character,” he mentions.
A welcome return
But Street Fighter V is a new entry and with every fresh iteration is a change to the cast. Sometimes, previous entrants don’t return, other times they aren’t reintroduced until far later in the lifespan. Luckily for Luffy, Rose has been announced as part of the game’s final season of DLC. It’s late, but he doesn’t mind – he’s happy for the psychic warrior’s inclusion. “Hmm, I’m kinda bittersweet about her coming, as I know that I'll only enjoy playing her for one or two years before Street Fighter VI,” Luffy says. “But I'll still enjoy it the fullest I can.”
Though he plans to add Rose to his arsenal, his current select Mika won’t leave the toolkit if possible. “I will, hopefully, play both if I can,” he relates, not wanting the knowledge and skills he’s built to waste away. “I spent five years on Mika, I know her match-ups perfectly. I'll play Rose in match-ups where I struggle a lot as Mika, like Abigail, Guile, Zangief, Sim, Chun. Mostly hard zoners and grapplers with lots of life. I think Rose will be a great addition to Mika.”
Speaking of Mika, Luffy isn’t too confident in her being in the upper areas of the tier list. “I think she's mid-tier overall. She has a lot of difficult match-ups and many even ones, she doesn’t really dominate. She, of course, has the comeback factor, but betting all on guesses means a lot of variance in win/lose ratio,” he says, as Mika also has to be correct on her call-outs. “And she also doesn’t deal much damage when compared to a similar archetype, like Abigail or G.”
While Rose won’t be ready to fight until next year’s release, Luffy has some hopes on how she’ll turn out.
“Having an invincible reversal (like EX Spiral) and/or a strong V-Trigger is a must to be a competitive character in Street Fighter V,” he says.
We'll have to wait for Street Fighter V's final season of DLC to find out just how competitive Rose turns out – fingers crossed it's not too long a wait.