Street Fighter V’s newest character, Juri, is now out in the wild. She’s the fifth of the first six planned post-launch characters, and players have had a few days to test her out. Like many of the previous DLC characters, Juri was highly anticipated, but many of those previous DLC characters fell out of favor with players as early as within a week of their release. Will the same thing happen here?
Yahoo Esports spoke with four different pros to get their thoughts on Juri and to see if she has competitive staying power in Street Fighter V.
Ronin’s Alex Myers was one of the first to get his hands on the final, playable version of Juri at San Diego Comic Con before her scheduled release (remember, she was playable in the Cinematic Story Mode.) He uploaded quite a bit of footage from his time at SDCC to his YouTube channel.
Unlike the other three players we spoke to, Myers has no previous experience with Juri. He did not play her in Street Fighter IV (he was primarily a Sakura main the whole time); much of what he knew about Juri was based on match-up knowledge when playing against her.
“She’s completely different,” Myers told Yahoo Esports. “Juri was predominantly a zoner [in SFIV]. In [SFV] she has better walk speed and seems to have a better ground game.”
Myers appreciates Juri’s damage output, which reminds him of Sakura in SFIV. But because Juri is so new, he isn’t quite sure who she matches up with well so he isn’t ready to make the switch from his current SFV main Cammy just yet.
“I would keep Juri in my pocket,” Myers said. “Juri can be tricky to deal with. She would be a surprise character for me. You’re going to need some tech to make her a good tournament character.”
Juri will be the “fun” character (like R. Mika or FANG) players are likely looking for in a game that feels “boring” to Myers, but will she be top tier? It’s too early to say, but Myers thinks her versatility gives her a lot of potential.
Chris “Kreymore” Landon
Kreymore was one of the last remaining Juri players in North America (yes, he is also Kevin “Dieminion” Landon’s twin brother.) Kreymore has been looking forward to Juri since we knew she was coming to SFV.
“She is a completely revamped character,” Kreymore said. “Her movesets are different, her approach is different, and her mobility complements the new game engine in SFV.”
Kreymore pointed out that in SFIV, Juri was a brand new character whose playstyle fit that particular game’s mechanics. It wasn’t likely she would play the same in SFV, much like Ibuki doesn’t have the same devastating types of set ups as she did in the prior game.
“She’s a good, complex character. You’ll need to be more reactionary with her,” he said. “You’ll have to master the character to be good with her and if you do, it will pay off.”
He also described her as tricky and being an “in your face” type of character, which is fairly similar to Rashid, his SFV main prior to Juri’s release. In fact, Kreymore chose to play as Rashid to prepare himself for Juri because Rashid actually plays quite similar to the previous iteration of Juri.
Because of Juri’s current toolsets, that didn’t pan out like he thought it would, but he’s going all-in on Juri and keeping Rashid in his back pocket. Despite this, Kreymore thinks the hype for Juri will die out quicker than it has for all of the other DLC characters.
“People are more excited over her visual design,” he said. “Players will go back to playing the traditional Street Fighter archetypes like the Shotos (Ryu/Ken) or grapplers.”
Based on his time with her, Kreymore believes she has good options but in order to elevate her above mid-tier status, a player will need all of the fundamentals required to be successful in SFV like good spacing, footsies, and reads.
“She’s a progressive character. I think that’s the best word to describe her,” Kreymore said, meaning she can enhance a player’s strategy as she gains meter and fireball charges.
Emmanuel “Mani” Brito
You might recall former Killer Instinct Evo champion Emmanuel “Mani” Brito as “CDJr.” He’s been playing Ken since SFV’s launch and chose to focus more on the Capcom Pro Tour instead of Mortal Kombat X and Killer Instinct. He stopped in the middle of a livestream to talk to us and was very excited because shortly before the call, he found a “really dirty set up” with Juri.
“My opinion about the character changed completely,” Mani said. “I went from struggling and not getting the character to ‘I found this set up in the lab and I can’t wait to go into ranked matches with it’. She’s better than I thought she would be.”
Mani feels similar to Kreymore in that the hype for Juri may die off sooner because she is a more technical character. Some players just won’t want to take the time to invest in getting better with a more difficult character.
Because of his experience with games like Killer Instinct (which uses a similar staggered release schedule for characters), Mani believes the SFV DLC characters might be foreshadowing the future of the game in upcoming “seasons.”
“What they’re doing with the DLC characters is giving them moves and playstyles to test how the game will be next year,” he said. “They’re doing it in a way that forces players to put time in the lab to really develop them and make them better characters later.”
This is an interesting theory, because as SFIV evolved, it turned into an incredibly technical and vortex-heavy game in later versions. SFV will likely not evolve that drastically, but at some point, the gameplay will become more advanced and these characters might be preparing players for when that time comes.
“I think all of the DLC characters are good. Unfortunately, they take some work,” Mani said.
Mani has already formed a bond with Juri and has put away his Ken for now.
“Two words to describe Juri are spacing and mix-up,” he said. “She’s an effective spacing character and when she gains mix-ups when she launches opponents.”
Ari “Floe” Weintraub
Floe has a new main in SFV.
He was one of the first North American Juri players in SFIV, though he chose not to stick with it competitively as time went on. Floe isn’t quite ready to jump back into heavy competition in SFV, but Juri makes it that much more enticing.
“I love her,” Floe said. “All I’ve been streaming for the past three days is hours and hours and hours of Juri.”
Floe also acknowledged she’s different in SFV, but he brought up a point I’d yet to see anyone else mention. Juri in SFV is distinctly similar to her Omega Mode version in Ultra Street Fighter IV. Her moves and charges are the same in the two versions of the game.
His opinion of her difficulty is in line with other players. She’s going to be hard to master compared to other characters, but she will be competitive.
“I can freestyle with her. I can set-play with her. She has all the tools she needs. She’s a very complete character,” Floe said.
She has two different three-frame normals and a reversal, all important tools to succeed in SFV.
“No character in this game sucks,” Floe said. “I hate that people are making judgments so quickly about characters like Ibuki that are complicated. It’s fair to say a character is strong early on, but it’s unfair to say a character is weak. A piece of crazy tech could come out that makes a character the ridiculous.”
Juri’s competitive success will come down to the pros playing the characters. After five months, many of the players are set with their mains, and switching characters during the middle of the CPT can be dangerous. Evil Geniuses’ Justin Wong is great with many characters (he plays multiple characters on his stream), but in competition he’s largely stuck with the one who has brought him the most success, Karin. Meanwhile, his EG teammate Eduardo “PR Balrog” Perez already has a good grasp on Balrog and makes the character look strong in his hands.
Despite the fact he’s been playing Karin and has gravitated towards top tier characters, Floe says he’s going with Juri from here on out.
“I said before the game came out I would main Juri no matter what,” he said. “I know people didn’t believe because I have a tendency to play the best of characters but I think the Juri love is strong enough that I’d like to stick with the character.”
Floe’s assessment of Juri boiled down to her being fun and having potential.
“Fun is the highlight,” Floe said. “I usually have to force myself to play Street Fighter V and she’s all I’ve played the last few days on stream.”
Michael Martin probably won’t be the next great Juri player in SFV. Follow him on Twitter @Bizarro_Mike.