Who's the most likely candidate of Season 3's DLC characters to end up overbuffed in the next patch? My money's on G, and here's why

The tried-and-true "Season 2 Urien" treatment might be making another comeback next year, but it's hard to say who's getting it

Posted by Nicholas 'MajinTenshinhan' Taylor • November 26, 2018 at 7:38 p.m. PST | Comments: 34

It's hard to build a pattern with limited data, but one thing has been consistent in Street Fighter 5's major balance patches so far, and I wouldn't be surpried to see a repeat of it.

What I'm talking about is, of course, the scenario where a newly released character who people generally seem to think is fine, or at least not bad, gets a gigantic amount of buffs, to the point where Capcom later have to bring them down several pegs in a mid-season patch.

We saw this happen with Urien for Season 2, and we saw it again with Abigail for Season 3, and I'm expecting us to see it happen again in Season 4.

As you've already gleamed from the headline, my prime candidate for this treatment is G. To explain why, I'll elaborate both on the history of these patches in showing why G stands out to me as a prime candidate for this phenomenon.

With Season 4 changes being a hot topic on everyone's mind, it felt like the prime time to delve in to this recurring theme and what my thought process is on this for the upcoming season.

So let's take a trip down memory lane and see what led Urien and Abigail to this status, how their relative downfalls from top tier to probably high tier happened, and why G might suffer (or enjoy, depending on your view on it) the same fate.

The Season 1 cast in Season 2

Several of the DLC characters in Season 1 of Street Fighter 5 ended up being fairly underwhelming at their release. The only one who really made a proper splash during his own season was Guile, perhaps most notably when Ghost|NuckleDu ended up winning Capcom Cup 2016 using the character, though it can't be ignored that he was also using R. Mika in some matches, much like he still does today.

Besides him, Alex, Ibuki, Balrog and Juri were all remarkably unimpressive and never really made any big highlight reels or extremely notable results. Although Mouz|Problem X was using Alex for a while at the time, most of the CPT points he gathered that year were earned with a at that time much weaker M. Bison.

The one character that people saw some potential in besides Guile was Urien, most of all when RB used him to pull out some amazing Aegis Reflector tricks people hadn't seen much of at that point at Red Bull Battlegrounds that year.

Urien was released very late in the year, though, and this was the only chance he really had to shine before Capcom Cup came and went. Then came the balance changes, and the meta of the game was shaken up immensely.

Now, anyone who was active during Season 2 will definitely remember that Urien wasn't the only Season 1 character to receive notable buffs. There were a lot of scary contenders in that season, but two characters often brought up as "problem characters" were Ibuki and Balrog, and they stayed as such even after Urien got taken down a peg in the Season 2.5 patch.

But here's what separates them, and also puts Urien in the class of character I'm expecting G to become — Ibuki and Balrog were considered very weak before their changes, while Urien was considered perfectly servicable, which lead to him getting kneejerk changes.

The reason I call them kneejerk changes is because the main point of the Season 2.5 patch seemed to be to revert several of the changes they did to Urien, and while he wasn't brought back to his Season 1 status, he landed firmly somewhere in-between where he was before Season 2 hit and after it hit.

If you're getting a patch that basically revolves around bringing you down to other character's levels, I think it's fair to call the original changes something of a kneejerk reaction.

Since then, Urien has remained around the same place he's been at, and is seen as a fairly strong character overall. But those few months, a lot of players saw him as public enemy #1, and there were tons of people questioning why he got buffed at all in the first place.

The Season 2 cast in Season 3

Fast forward a bit, and we can take a look at the Season 2 DLC characters. This was more of a mixed bag than the somewhat lackluster Season 1 cast, where we had Akuma, Menat and Abigail seeing varying levels of success during the season, and each being seen as mid-tier at worst (though Akuma was quickly elevated to top tier status after FOX|Tokido showed what he was truly capable of).

On the other side, we had Kolin, Ed and Zeku who were all seen as pretty weak, and although Kolin and Zeku look to be in a better place this year, they also received some much-needed buffs to get them there, while poor Ed still lingers in bottom tier hell.

While you'd expect one of these struggling characters to get the big buffs, it was actually the Canadian powerhouse Abigail who got a gigantic bufflist, which baffled many, including myself, given how oppressive he could already be in the right hands.

Abigail hadn't been winning tournaments at that time, but he definitely had a presence now and again, with AB|StormKubo and AB|Poongko both showing prowess with the character during his limited release window before Capcom Cup.

Once these changes hit, we saw a mass migration to Abigail, and he seemed to run over every tournament he entered in the top 64 or top 32 stages, and although we never saw him quite make it to the end to win the grand prize, he was definitely an enduring presence throughout the short season.

Much like Urien before him, he got toned down in a big way once the Season 3.5 patch hit, and many of the tools and tweaks he'd been given were taken away from him.

Just like Urien, though, he was still in a better place than he had been before the original patch, retaining some of his buffs and being overall a slightly stronger character than the already perfectly capable contender he had been.

While you can argue that Menat has seen more success overall, with a large number of tournament wins across several players in Infiltration, FAV|Sako and FOX|Justin Wong, I'd propose that while the addition of her new move Soul Spark helped her keepaway game greatly, it was also in large part that people simply had to get used to such a complex keepaway character in this aggressive in-your-face game.

She also didn't get any massive buffs, or massive nerfs in the Season 3 and Season 3.5 patches, respectively.

The Season 3 cast in Season 4?

This is where we move into theoretical territory. In both of the previous writeups, you can see that we have a beginning, a middle and an end to the story.

When it comes to the Season 3 cast, though, we really only have a beginning. The middle will soon be upon us, and who knows about the end? It's worth reminding everyone that Capcom have never guaranteed us any .5 patches mid-season, and after the long delay before it hit, people were actually surprised that the 3.5 patch happened at all.

Looking over the characters that have been added this year, it's hardly controversial to point out that Sakura, Falke and Cody have all been absolute disasters as far as tournament results go. The closest we have to any form of success for these characaters is Falke being used briefly as a secondary by FOX|Justin Wong and UYU|OilKing.

Sagat isn't faring much better than the aforementioned crew, either, with his only notable showing being from the Street Fighter 4 Sagat emperor RB|Bonchan, but even he isn't comfortable committing to the character, clearly favoring his prior picks Karin and Nash over him, and only bringing him out in certain matchups.

Although this doesn't have to mean that these characters are low tier or unviable, tournament results are a major factor that companies will look at when balancing their game, so they'd be in a similar position to characters like Alex, Ibuki, Balrog, Juri, Kolin, Ed and Zeku in seasons past.

Blanka hasn't made any big impact just yet, but he has been present for tournaments. We've seen players like exceL|Brian, DOP|Wolfgang, LU|Alex Valle and Nishikin pull off some upsets with the character, and while there seems to be some potential there, he hasn't had his moment in the sun quite yet, so to speak.

That leaves one final character, which is the President of the World himself, G.

G is by far the highest regarded character in this latest season as far as strength goes, but even then, he's hardly dominant, and we've mostly seen players use him as a sub character, most notably Liquid|Nemo and Rise|Smug, who still rely predominately on their main characters, Urien and Balrog, respectively.

While all the hype around G may make him seem like less of a candidate for being buffed, I'm actually thinking he'll be following the exact same curve as Urien and Abigail did before him, for a variety of reasons, which I will list below.

He's not a weak character — As explained above, neither Urien nor Abigail were weak characters, but considered fairly capable by the time of their massive buffing. Even though Season 3 has been fairly lackluster even compared to the previous ones, resultswise, G still stands out as a completely fine character, much like they did.

He able to do a lot of different things — A key thing about Urien and Abigail were that they were capable of many different things, even more than many other characters in the game. Urien obviously has a wealth of lengthy juggle combos and Aegis mixups, while Abigail had some of the most difficult combos in the game and a bunch of different options for any situation to keep you guessing. Much like them, G has a large variety of different moves at his disposal, which also change properties depending on his President level.

He was instantly embraced by the fanbase — I've been an active Street Fighter player since Street Fighter 4 originally launched, and I can't remember any brand new character getting the amazing reception that G did right out of the gate. It was to the point where he was on par, or perhaps even overshadowed, Sagat, who is one of the most popular characters in the entire franchise. Seeing a character light up the fanbase like that could easily lead to kneejerk buffs, which might inadvertently end up being a bit too much in the end.

The DreamKing curse... or blessing? — My colleague Steven "DreamKing" Chavez mains him, and he mained Urien and Abigail the seasons in which they were buffed too. Coincidence... or secret Capcom employee?

Of course, it's entirely possible we'll see nothing of the sort for any character in Season 4. After all, two times in a row isn't really enough to build a pattern from, but it's all we got right now.

All I know is, when the President comes a'knocking, and you're cowering under your bed... Don't say I didn't warn you.

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