Street Fighter V Beta Rashid Impressions
Entering the fray for the first time is Rashid. A naturally agile guy whose abilities are boosted by the technology in his backpack, he attacks with an assortment of flying kicks and tornado-based attacks. Does he have what it takes to blow away the competition?
While players will fixate on all of his cool special moves, the foundation of his offense is kind of rickety. On the ground, Rashid only has a few solid normals. Standing medium punch inches him a bit forward, while also being linkable to his crouching medium kick. His directional heavy punch is a two-hit attack that can also be linked to.
However, I found him to be sorely lacking outside of the context of combos. While he can certainly dish out the pain, his moves don’t work well as pokes or counter pokes. Worse yet are his normals when someone is off of the ground. With someone jumping at him, his only real anti-air is his heavy Spinning Mixer. With Rashid in the air, his normals are even worse. Unfortunately, he doesn’t have any quality air-to-air or air-to-ground attacks.
The most disappointing of his air attacks is his medium kick. As a knee strike, the hitbox on it is tiny. Referring to Street Fighter IV, it’s like a more damaging version of Ryu’s jumping light kick. Since the hitbox is so small, your jump ranges have to be very precise, which savvy players will quickly figure out and block comfortably.
He attempts to compensate for his flaws in a number of different ways. For one, he has the ability to run across the screen by holding the joystick after inputting a dash command. You can cancel it by letting go on the joystick or by pressing an attack button. Pressing punch causes Rashid to perform the horizontal Spinning Mixer, while a kick makes him perform the Eagle Spike. It’s an interesting tool to catch opponents off-guard, and an easier than usual input method as well with some limitations. I think your best use of the special move cancel is to hit punch for a safe on block approach.
If he finds himself against the edge of the screen, he has two different wall jumps he can leverage. One is a fairly standard wall jump, where Rashid elevates up and away from the wall. However, his second jump has a downward trajectory, which I think is something new to the franchise. This could be used in very specific situations to cross someone up, or to bait out an anti-air attack from the opposition.
Of his extra mobility options, his V-Skill is the most interesting. By pressing the medium attack buttons, he jumps very far forward in a fairly quick manner. Besides working as a quick escape, Rashid can also cancel the jump with an Eagle Spike dive kick with the press of a kick button. Making this attack even more useful is that the move has some tracking ability. If you sail over their head, you’ll swing back to kick them, just like Cammy’s dive kick off of the Hooligan.
By holding down and triggering his V-Skill, Rashid performs an Abel-like roll that goes through fireballs. Sweetening the offer is the fact that he can end his roll with an upward kick. In the corner, you can juggle into it with the Spinning Mixer, though he might have some mod-screen juggle options as well. Both of his V-Skill moves appear to be very important parts of his repertoire.
Another key move of his is the Spinning Mixer. Twirling towards his opponents like a tornado, he smacks his opponents with a multi-hit attack. Depending on the button strength, Rashid will either fly straight into his opponent, diagonally into the air, or straight up. Each trajectory comes with its own unique benefits, as the diagonal one makes for a great combo ender, while the heavy one can hit opponents that are jumping in.
Besides its angle of attack, the other part that makes the move interesting is its button mashing properties. Just like the super moves in Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3, mashing on the punch buttons while executing the move adds extra hits to the attack. The trade-off is that if you miss, you’re even more vulnerable during your recovery time. For the move’s full damage potential, you’ll want to combo into it.
There’s another plus that comes with this relatively unique property. If you perform the light version of the Spinning Mixer and don’t mash the buttons, your recovery time is really short to the point that the move is very hard or impossible to punish on block from the right distances. In this case, the Spinning Mixer acts as a great tool to apply pressure to a blocking opponent before hitting them again, grabbing them, or baiting out a counter attack. As a Rashid player, this might be his single best special move thanks to its many uses.
If he doesn’t come at you in a tornado, he’s likely flying in foot first with his Eagle Spike. This special move should be very familiar to Liu Kang players in Mortal Kombat. It may be only one hit, but the move has the potential to cut across a large portion of the screen. The move does provide good damage on hit, but you probably won’t get many opportunities to use it. At a distance, most opponents will have time to block the kick and punish you upon landing. As a combo ender, the slow start up on the stronger versions of the attack make it unreliable. Only the light version within the context of a combo is a sure thing, but you’d rather use the Spinning Mixer in that situation anyway.
The EX version of the Eagle Spike is far more useful. Whether he makes contact or not, Rashid will fly across his opponent to the other side, generally landing in a safe place. Better yet, if the opponent gets hit, Rashid has time to juggle his opponent before they hit the floor.
Last but not necessarily least is his Whirlwind Shot. By kicking into the air, he conjures up a mini tornado that flies upwards and outwards. The trajectory of these tornadoes is similar to Air Man’s shot in Mega Man 2. Because of this unique property, it’s effective as an anti-air attack. If you time things just right, you may even be able to hold your own for a bit in a fireball fight.
This benefit comes with a few notable catches. For one, the upward arc means that it won’t span the full screen like a traditional projectile. In a fireball fight, mistimed Whirlwind Shots will sail over the incoming projectiles, leaving you exposed to the projectile. The move also has more start-up and recovery time than most. In most cases, only the light one can be used as an ender, which is pretty underwhelming. The EX version can be linked to and out of so that it fits in a combo as an extender, though it’s usually better to save your meter for better options.
One of his better meter options is his Critical Art, called the Altair. Creating a tornado that’s a bit wider than his body that stretches almost the full height of the screen, any opponents that get caught in it will eat a twister full of kicks. The best part of the move is that the hitbox for it is gigantic. You may catch a few overzealous jumpers with it, though it works incredibly well as a combo ender.
My favourite move in his arsenal is his V-Trigger, called the Ysaar. He kicks out a giant tornado that slowly plods forward. While it travels forward, Rashid can move into the tornado, which thrusts him forward. This allows him to jump very far forward, or even cause his overhead elbow move to cover half the screen as he moves into the tornado. It’s a neat take on the Aegis Reflector/Yoga Catastrophe concept that is very useful and fun to use.
Rashid has a lot of cool tricks up his sleeve that will make him dangerous in the right hands. However, he’s going to struggle if you want to fight straight-up. He doesn’t have the normal attacks to keep him competitive in footsie, anti-air or air-to-air scenarios. You’re going to have to keep your opponent off balanced in other ways, which may be more work than some prospective Rashid players are willing to deal with. Maybe I’ll turn the corner eventually on him, but right now he’s not my cup of tea.