The internet will tell you Abigail is simultaneously the best and worst character in Street Fighter 5, but where is he really?

Posted by John 'Velociraptor' Guerrero • August 9, 2017 at 3:30 p.m. PDT

When a new character drops in Street Fighter 5, I've seen, perhaps without miss, a very clear trend run and rerun its course. Said trend is in regards to community reaction, and goes a little something like this:

Character trailer drops and is usually received with excitement and generally optimistic vibes. Character is showcased, traditionally by Combofiend, we get to see all the strongest tools and tactics, and the general sentiment instantly jumps to say the newcomer is broken and probably the best in the game.

Character drops, community gets hands on them and has nowhere near the efficiency that the Capcom developer had during the showcase (duh). General sentiment quickly takes a turn to say that the character in question is near useless and likely the worst in the game.

A few months go by, people continue to dig and understand, and the DLC fighter settles in closer to their actual place on the tier list.

I get it, it's fun to pass judgement and make fairly outlandish claims, but I'd like to try to look beyond the knee-jerk assessments and try to make a more informed prediction of Abigail's tier trajectory with the information we have here at the two week mark.

Abigail's release story is somewhat unique in that initial reactions to his trailer seemed to be a little more negative than other characters' have been in the past.

Upon release, players quickly uncovered his insanely damaging and stun-inducing combos, (which feel appropriate given his design) and we began hearing "best in the game???" sentiments.

This may not be accurate, but it's not hard at all to see why people would feel this way. Especially with high-damage, grappler/brawler characters, success is going to be higher during early stages of the learning process. They dole out the pain and opponents have no idea how to deal with them. Win/win.

Abigail may have been this on steroids, as his various armored attacks, odd run mix ups and extremely unique stature essentially force opponents to play SF5 at a whole new pace.

Pepper in the fact that players are eating combos like this one throughout the learning process, and you can see why early reactions were the way they were:

Click image to view the clip

If you went online during the first few days after Abby's release, you probably ran into a few players using him, and they probably just spammed his armored run in an unabashed fashion. Also, it probably worked.

Naturally, players began to figure out how to play at the correct pace to stand a fighting chance. Those unabashed runs are becoming exposed more as gimmicks, and we're all learning not to sit and block when a V-Triggered Abigail winds up for his guard crush heavy punch.

The pendulum swung back, and we saw CYG|Daigo Umehara go as far as to deem Abigail "a weak character", though he went on to say there's some hope for him in the future.

We happen to have an Abigail player on the team here at EventHubs in DreamKing, and he's offered his thoughts on the manner.

DreamKing's Thoughts

Abigail is a paradox in Street Fighter 5; he is Schrödinger's grappler.

The headline of this story mentions that Abigail is the best and worst character in the game. Though this is simply a reflection of the conflicting reports from the community, there’s actually some truth to that within his design.

On the one hand, Abigail suffers tremendously to being smothered and rushed down (at the time this was written). Without a reliable reversal option – outside of critical art – he struggles heavily against constant pressure.

On the other V-Trigger charged hand, Abigail’s offense is devastating. With the ability to shave 70% or more of someone’s health away in one practical combo, he is terrifying when he gets the ball rolling. Couple this with armored moves, guard breaks, counters, and command throws, and you’ve got a monster that can end matches in the blink of an eye.

And that’s the thing about this character: he can win matches just as quickly as he can lose them. While that could be said for several characters in the game, Abigail is by far the most extreme case of this. He’s boiling and freezing. Good and bad. He’s sugar and salt. Lots of salt if you can’t get his offense going…

So what does this mean for his competitive future? In my opinion, the forecast tells of fair weather. I don’t believe we’ll be seeing Abigail litter top 8s throughout the Capcom Pro Tour. Unless we see some kind of abuse-able technique that shoots him up the tier list, I feel strong Abigail players will be few and far between.

"He’s boiling and freezing. Good and bad. He’s sugar and salt. Lots of salt if you can’t get his offense going…"

All of that having been said, I do believe we’ll see a handful of pro players take the character to the next level and prove they’re a threat among the best of the best. Your stormKUBOs, Poongkos, or DNG|Itazans might be sending the champions home in tournament real soon.

Given the few hours of playtime I've had against the character paired with all the video clips and impressions, I'd say The Beast is on to something. My personal guess for Abigail is that he'll fall somewhere in the middle of the pack, but probably be especially good and especially bad in certain match ups.

As I've noted multiple times before, the more a fighter strays from a roster's general atmosphere, the more likely they are to wind up at an extreme end of the tier list.

Given his exceptionally unique design, if he does indeed end up somewhere in the middle, I'd deem Abigail a significant success for Capcom.

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