Being the main game of EVO for the last six years, Street Fighter IV is a massive event. This year alone, 2227 players have joined in the Street Fighter section. Naturally it is impossible to cover them all, but here is a quick guide on some of the important players to watch out for at EVO 2015 (mostly based on my own personal knowledge of them.
Infiltration - The 10 Gods of Korea.
In Korea there are 10 Gods and Infiltration embodies all of them. The list is: Infiltration’s Akuma, Infiltration Chun-Li, Infiltration Gouken, Infiltration’s Ryu, Infiltration’s Yuri, Infiltration’s Hakan, Infiltration’s Decapre, Infiltration’s Hugo, Infiltration’s Oni, Infiltration’s Rolento.
As a player Infiltration is renowned for his innovative approach to SF4. His emphasis on technical/matchup knowledge, counterpicking and coaching made him the undisputed best player in the world from 2012 to 2013. He won EVO 2012 with the most dominant top 8 performance ever seen, using a revolutionary (or abusive, depending on who you talk to) approach with Akuma that emphasized strong footsies and screen control over vortex shenanigans. Infiltration has never recovered his dominance after the changes in Ultra, but he remains a top competitor at every tournament he joins. He is also known for his amazing stream.
Pepeday - World’s greatest El Fuerte ever
Pepeday rocketed into the scene after quesadilla bombing his way through Japan and winning TGS 2014 over Bonchan. He’s since become a household name and a favorite for his insane play and happy attitude.
Poongko - The shirt factor
While Infiltration is the 10 Gods of Korea, Poongko is the best Seth on earth and can go head-to-head with anyone on any day of the week. Whether his play is reckless or genius is anyone's guess, but Poongko thrives whenever he makes his opponent second-guess themselves. His greatest moment so far came at Canada Cup. After being knocked to losers by Pepeday earlier, they met in the grand finals. There Poongko realized he needed to power up and did so by taking off his shirt and together created the most hype Street Fighter finals of 2014.
Ever since then, every time Poongko appears at an event spectators, players and Twitch chat act as one and pray that he takes off his shirt.
Smug expressing the happiness everyone has at watching Poongko strip.
Arturo - The Streamer
Mostly known for streaming every event, he decided that SF was enough for him and that he was never going to break through into the top echelon of SF competition. Then one day he blew up everybody at Final Round and made it to 5th with Dhalsim. This has led to a career resurgence and the Young Art meme.
Smug - NY’s Finest
An online player that used Dudley back when Dudley was considered a low-tier washout. After going to locals, he worked his way into the upper echelon of East Coast players. Today he consistently play at a high level at every major with his super-aggressive Dudley.
Snakeeyez - World’s best Zangief
Watching Snakeeyez play is something completely different from watching any other matchup in the game. Zangief is a notoriously undynamic character, but the SoCal native knows how to put the fear of God into his opponents. Astute at inducing a false sense of security and exploiting overaggression, he makes matchups that look horrible on paper (e.g. Zangief vs Sagat) look even in reality. Every moment is filled with tense pressure as at any second he can blow up the other guy no matter how far down he is on life.
Daigo - The Beast
The most famous Street Fighter player ever, arguably the greatest fighting game player in history. During the glory days of Third Strike, he was christened as one of the 5 Gods of Japan alongside Tokido, Sako, Haitani and Nuki (although Kuroda was arguably the best to ever touch Third Strike). He won his first ever tournament in 1997 and has been winning ever since, including taking the first SF4 tournament at EVO 2009. Despite all of those victories he is most famously known for beating Justin Wong at EVO 2004, a match that would be immortalized as Evo Moment 37. Daigo is known for his unparalleled instincts and his ability to anticipate his opponents' reactions.
Fuudo - A Wall
A legendary Virtua Fighter player, Fuudo has employed the reactions and discipline forged from that game to become the premier Fei Long user in the world. He is widely known for his fundamentals and incredible defense, preferring to asphyxiate opponents with his slow, unyielding control of the screen. He won EVO 2011 and has never really dropped off since.
Xian - The Master of Singapore
In one of the great finals of the game, Xian beat Tokido to win EVO 2013. And he did it by following the game storyline of Gen beating Akuma. He is the world’s premier Gen player though he now also uses Poison.
Louffy - Reigning Champion
The Rose player from France shocked everyone as he went on an incredible streak to win EVO 2014. While he was always considered to be a strong player among Europeans, he raised his game through the roof last year and hungers for a repeat performance. The second best thing about him besides his gameplay is he took his ID from One Piece.
Bonchan - Japan’s Sagat
Speaking of One Piece homages, Bonchan also took his ID from the manga. He is Japan’s best Sagat player, renowned for his unorthodox decisions and fearlessness in bad situations. Despite being one of the best players in the world. he has still yet to qualify for 2015 Capcom Cup.
Ryan Hart - The Prodigal Son
UK’s best Sagat player is a world-renowned veteran in multiple games. He’s been playing since 1994 and holds the records in the Guiness Book for Most international Street Fighter competition wins, most tournaments wins in Street Fighter and longest winning streak in Street Fighter 4.
Dieminion - The Corner
One of the two best Guiles in America and perhaps the best in the world. He has incredible composure and decision-making especially when his character’s back is to the wall. He recently made a breakthrough with his character after watching Nuckledu’s play and has since integrated Nuckledu’s aggressive tendencies into his own approach. Also he made this amazing entrance at CEO.
Nuckledu - The Center
The other American Guile, Nuckledu plays a much more aggressive style despite Guile being considered defensive and reliant on projectiles to maintain control. He won Combo Breaker over the EG players despite being in pain from an earlier car accident. A fun player to watch, especially because of how surprising his Guile play can be. He also plays Decapre on occasion in response to traditionally bad matchups or players who know how to play around his style.
Tokido - Demon Face
That's not the face of someone that’s fucking around. One of the 5 Gods of Japan he is a multi-gaming talent, adept at identifying the strongest tools in a game and mastering them to beat up the competition. He is a steadfast Akuma user, one of the pioneers of the vortex style alongside Eita, and is famous for a real life Raging Demon.
Momochi - The Demon of 2015
Momochi looked like an indomitable force in SF4 in the earlier months of 2015. No one could beat him, most couldn’t even adapt to his masterful usage of Ken's pokes. However his undisputed reign at the top didn’t last. Soon enough his peers caught up and eclipsed him. Despite that he remains the best Ken player on earth and a favorite going into EVO.
Pugera - Vortex Fighter 4
In the first iteration of AE 2012 it was colloquially given the nickname Vortex Fighter 4. By this point players understood the timings and options off a knockdown so well, they could use certain characters to induce an endless state of guessing off any mistake. Once you got knocked down, you had to guess the followup (which demanded varying responses to each possible option); wrong choices resulted in eating large amounts of damage and throwing you into the same situation. This exploitation of mechanics was largely solved in Ultra, but Pugera still makes it seem real when he's on point with Ibuki.
Mago had always been an incredible player, and his resurgence this year reminds us he still stands among the elite. During the latter half of AE 2012 he was overshadowed by Fuudo, a fellow Fei Long player who managed to find more consistency in his results. Since then Mago has switched to Yang as the new, improved version offers stronger mixups and punishes than the nerfed Fei. He is the current leader in the Capcom Cup rankings and an overall favorite to take EVO.
Kazunoko - Yun Fighter 4
During the AE era, Yun was the single strongest character by far and was the bane of everyone who dared use another character. He’s been nerfed since then, but you can’t really tell the difference when Kazunoko is playing him. A freewheeling spirit who reportedly claimed he hated playing footsies, Kazunoko relishes overwhelming adversaries with blunt-force aggression. He just smashes everyone he meets and recently took CEO 2015.
Gamerbee - Adon
Hailing from Taiwan, Gamerbee broke into the scene at EVO 2010 with his then completely underrated character Adon. He made it all the way to 5th and has since claimed the title of best Adon in the world. Over the years Gamerbee has claimed triumphs at Shadowloo Showdown and SEA Major, as well as several top 4 finishes including EVO 2012 and WGC 2013. He has also been criticized for lacking nerves and relying on risks to get him out of bad situations.
801Strider - America’s Abel
Criminally underestimated going into CEO 2015, Strider proved to America why they should stop sleeping on him as he made it all the way to grand finals over a ridiculous lineup of established players. While he lost to Kazunoko, he is someone that no one will ever underestimate again.
Kbrad - Stone Cold
Kbrad broke into the scene as an incredible Cammy player and was the first player to stop Infiltration’s near-undefeated streak in the 2012-2013 era where the Korean menace was the best player in the world. While he hasn’t put up comparable results since then, he is still a top player and had the best entrance at CEO.
Sakonoko - The Hermit
While he is still considered one of the 5 Gods of Japan, Sako doesn’t go out to many international tournaments. While not quite as diverse as Infiltration, he does possess a large pack of pocket characters including Evil Ryu, Elena, Gen and Ibuki. He is best known for being a forerunner for Evil Ryu play, using the character long before the buffs turned him into a combo monster.
China’s best player, Xiaohai broke into the scene with a top 4 finish at EVO 2012. From there he won Canada Cup 2013 and took the runner-up spot at Topanga World League. His results petered out once Ultra entered the picture, and he's been ever looking to reclaim that glory ever since. He become famous with his strong Cammy play but recently started relying on Evil Ryu.
HumanBomb - SEA
The best player from Australia.
Gackt - Singapore’s New Hope
Another strong player hailing from Singapore. He’s a relatively new player and one Xian had high hopes for in becoming a world class threat. He fulfilled that potential by winning Capcom Cup Asia Finals in 2013. The problem is he never travels much so it’s hard to pinpoint his form at any given time.
Chris G is most widely known for perfecting the Morrigan/Doom combo, but he was also one of the premier East Coast talents in Street Fighter. For years he dominated the New York City scene alongside Dieminion and Sanford Kelly, becoming perhaps the best Sakura player in America. He seemed to be taking a backseat from gaming in 2015 for a while, but has since come back.
One of the originators of Akuma play along with Tokido.
A UK SF4 player that mains Crimson Viper.
Nemo - MVC3 in SF4
He plays Rolento like its Marvel. Insane movements and mixups.
The best SF3 player of all time. While he isn't nearly as strong in SF4, he is still someone to watch out for.
The best Crimson Viper player from Japan.
For awhile he was the best Crimson Viper player in America. He has either not shown up as much or is doing worse than he used to. I'm not sure.
Rose player from America.
The Japanese Zangief. While he isn't as dangerous as Snakeeyez, he is still dangerous in his own right.
One of the best Abel players in America, but has since been overtaken by Strider.
Made an entire article about him in BlazBlue. He plays Bison in Street fighter.
Alex Valle - Mr. Street fighter
Probably the oldest man in the scene. He is no longer a full time competitive player and spends most of his time running the fgc scene in Southern California. He is still a formidable player, especially in KI. Still a player to watch out for.
Jayce the Ace
Another Crimson Viper player from America.
His career was like WolfKrone's He used to threaten to take any tournament he entered, but hasn't been doing well for awhile.
The only Guy player that I know of. is gameplan seems very momentum based. He tries to go off as early in the match as possible and ride it to victory.
The American Akuma player. He is probably the most notable of the Akuma players in America and is well respected in the community.
She is half of the EG.Rufus combo. Plays a more aggressive form of
The other half of the EG.Rufus combo. He was in the first SF4 finals against Daigo and lost. Plays a lot of fighting games.
The best EG Street Fighter player. He is also an incredible Marvel player, but made his name as becoming the best Balrog in the world. He announced retirement earlier in the year ensuring that he would revive his career and start kicking ass right before EVO.
The French Chun-li player. Never had the results of his EU brethren, but has proven he can fight the top level of SF players.
One of the 5 Japanese Gods. Plays a super rush down Makoto. Watching his matches is like watching dynamite explode.
Writers: stuchiu, CosmicSpiral