Street Fighter V Beta Impressions Part 5: Nash
Previously thought to be dead, Charlie Nash returns to Street Fighter V in a somewhat new form. For one, he’s clearly had some Frankenstein-like work done, as parts of his body appear to be stapled on. Also, he functions very differently, as all of his charge-based special moves have been changed to circular motions. Whoever this Nash is, can he keep up against the world’s finest in this new game?
For context, I should state upfront that my experience with Charlie in the Alpha games is minimal at best. If you’re looking for deep comparisons and contrasts, I simply can’t provide that to you. Sorry! That said, hopefully my insight will still be of value.
From my time with Nash, I got the sense that he was primarily meant to be played as an offensive aggressor. Most of his tools are designed to help him get in on his opponent, or dish out damage when he is inside. This may strike some as odd, as his closest parallel is Guile, who has always been designed to be a defensive specialist.
The key differences lie in their special moves. Both of them share a Sonic Boom, though their properties are very different. Guile’s start-up and recovery on his are very quick, at the cost of them being charge moves. Charlie’s projectiles aren’t charge moves, making them easier to pull off, but they can’t match Guile in terms of start-up and recovery. As such, it’s not very hard for an opponent to jump over the projectile and kick Nash in the head. Instead, the Sonic Boom works much better if its used to cover your approach by throwing it from a safe distance and dashing behind it.
Further digressing from Guile is Nash’s Flash Kick like move that isn’t really a Flash Kick at all. The light version of Nash’s Sonic Scythe sweeps at the legs, while the medium version kicks his opponents in the gut. Only the heavy version of the move comes out in an arching manner, though it’s executed far lower to the ground and doesn’t hit airborne attackers very well. Instead, it’s much more functional as a combo ender.
Another move in his offensive-centric toolset is his Moonsault Slash. Jumping in the air, he comes back down with multiple kicks to the head. The closest parallel I can think of for this is Adon’s Jaguar Kick. Timed right, he’ll sail over any ground moves to plant his feet onto someone’s head. Adding to its usefulness is the fact that some versions of the move are safe on block and can act as a combo starter. Having said that, he can be easily knocked out of the sky, so keep that in mind before throwing it out there recklessly.
The final special move in his arsenal is the Tragedy Assault. Leaping forward, he grabs his opponent’s face and slams them into the ground, pulsing energy into them before tossing them away. Like Ibuki’s command grab, it can be blocked. Not really sure what the purpose of the normal version of it is, as it starts up slowly and is easy to block. The EX version though is much more practical. You can combo into that grab and then use your V-Trigger to continue.
Speaking of, Nash has a unique one relative to the rest of the cast in the beta. Unlike everyone else, whose V-Trigger puts them in some sort of powered-up state, Nash gets a one-time teleport that sends him in one of three different spots. Depending on the direction you’re holding, he can appear behind, above and in front, or above and behind his opponent.
All three versions of this move are deadly in the right hands. It can be used to punish whiffed moves from almost full screen. You can use it to greatly extend your combos. It’s can be cancelled off of special moves, even those that are blocked. Heck, even if you randomly mash it, countering Nash’s teleport can be really tough due to how fast it is. In its current state, I really like using it in all of those scenarios. Shouldn’t get used to it though, as word from players who have played the new build report that Nash’s teleport speed has been greatly reduced. Keeping my fingers crossed that it’s still somewhat effective in all of those scenarios.
In terms of normal moves, Nash has an interesting set of tools that are going to take some practice with on your part. He has four different target combos that are effective in different scenarios. His best one is probably light punch into medium punch, as it’s super easy to use and is special cancellable after the medium punch. What’s missing in his normal arsenal is a reliable anti-air. Crouching medium punch and crouching heavy punch sort of work if they’re a bit far, but anything within a usual jump-in distance is going to hurt unless you block or get out of the way completely.
Last thing to mention for now is his V-Skill. By pressing the medium attacks, he swipes outwards, hitting his opponent while absorbing a fireball. Pretty sure the move doesn’t absorb normal attacks, but I could be wrong. Didn’t really use this much, though some may eventually find a practical use for it besides pocketing full-screen fireballs.
Players concerned with Nash being a Guile clone don’t need to fret. Even if he might have been in the past, some critical changes to his design make him a very different character. Instead of trying to play as a defensive wall, you’re going to want to beat your opponent with an aggressive approach, big combos and tricky mix-ups. Doing all of this is going to take work, as his learning curve is higher than the rest of the cast in the beta. However, for those that are willing to put in the time, Nash is a lot of fun and very much a threat in this early version of the game.