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Capcom vs SNK 2/Balrog
Balrog, known as Mike Bison in Japan and Boxer worldwide, is an American boxing legend. Balrog was raised from a childhood of poverty in a criminal area, and made it out by training to become a boxing fighter. He took to it quickly, and was soon called one of the best boxing champions at the time. However, his upbringing made him more relentless and cutthroat, leading him to high violence in the ring and using illegal moves like his Buffalo Headbutt. After accidentally killing one of his opponents, Balrog was banned from any competitive boxing circuits. Still, he had plenty of money and was an amazing fighter. He enjoyed a life of fame and riches, until one day he joined Shadaloo.
He quickly rose the ranks of Shadaloo, and became M. Bison's personal enforcer. Throughout most of the games, Balrog enjoys his high position in Shadaloo, and carries out multiple hits for them alongside directing other grunt work. Not much is known about where Balrog is in the modern time of Street Fighter 3, but we know he lost to Alex in the grand finals of a tournament called Vale Tudo Eternal Fighting prior to the events of Street Fighter III: New Generation/
Balrog is a classic bully character, using his forward moving punches and long reaching normals to bust up opponents in neutral. In other games, especially Street Fighter 2: Super Turbo, Balrog is often considered a high or top tier character for his amazing offense and neutral. Balrog isn't as strong in CvS2 sadly, but is nowhere near weak, usually scoring in the mid tier somewhere. He still has his amazing dash punches, but Dash Straight can be crouched by a majority of the cast, limiting its use heavily. This sorta sucks, because Dash Straight is classically the main one you use in neutral for it's long reach and safety on block. Dash Upper and Dash Ground Upper both suffer this weakness as well, leaving him with only the risky and unsafe Dash Ground Lower, which he never wants to do in neutral except as a surprise tool from Dash Straight. This forces him to play a lot slower, and wait for the opponent to allow an opening.
Balrog comes with plenty of benefits however. He has simple and good combos, Dash Upper is amazing for creating powerful guard crush strings, and his supers are incredibly useful. Crazy Buffalo is a high damage combo ender with good reach and invuln, and the level 2 combo from it is simple and powerful. The real juice is his level 3, Gigaton Blow. Incredibly fast, great range, and high damage makes Gigaton Blow a terrifying punish tool akin to Ken's SAIII in 3rd Strike, but with much scarier damage. Even without a super, Buffalo Headbutt can get Balrog out of a sticky situation, and RC Dash Straight makes opponents think twice about throwing that fireball or standing poke out. Balrog leans a lot more defensively in CvS2 in neutral, as a crouchable Dash Straight removes his most ignorant neutral skip. Once he gets to be aggro, he can overwhelm his opponents, and solid defense gets you there faster than a high risk neutral skip.
Best - C: Balrog's best Groove is C-Groove. Easy access to a lot of meter for Crazy Buffalo combos or a Gigaton Blow punish with meter, air blocking to make his jumps a lot safer while he charges midair, and his level 2 Crazy Buffalo cancels easily into a Buffalo Headbutt for solid damage with meter. Balrog has a solid roll cancel with RC Dash Straight, and while it can still be crouched, using it as a fireball or standing poke punish makes this less risky. RC Dash Ground Straight is also a powerful tool, though the startup is worse and it is riskier if blocked. C-Groove is a very solid defensive Groove, and since Balrog needs good defense to win neutral, C-Balrog is his best Groove. N-Balrog
Useful - K/A/N: K-Balrog and A-Balrog are right behind. K-Balrog gets better movement and mixup potential to make his aggressive potential a lot scarier, and he does more than respectable damage with Rage. The real attraction of K-Balrog is that you get very consistent access to Raged Gigaton Blow, which is a massive damage punish tool and combo ender. A Raged K-Balrog is a lot scarier to fight, but in trade he loses the threat of a super without Rage. A-Balrog loses the threat of super almost entirely, but makes up for it with his Custom Combo. It's not the highest damage, but it is a very powerful tool, and his CC is actually quite easy to perform. Both A-Balrog and K-Balrog trade off consistent meter threat for these tools however, which is a hefty loss. N-Balrog maintains the threat of a level 1 Crazy Buffalo combo, and gets access to the movement of K-Groove and the rolls of C/A-Groove, but basically never has Gigaton Blow.
Worst - S/P: S-Balrog is a bit of a gimmick, just like any S-Groove character. Infinite level 1 Crazy Buffalo is pretty nice, as it solidifies his punishes a bit more, but he doesn't entirely need it. As a loss, he has to charge meter to have any threat of a super. Having to charge meter removes the threat of dash punches or Buffalo Headbutt in neutral, and leaves him open to punishment. This really sucks for Balrog, who can be a little more than reliant on a good super. Gigaton Blow is even rarer in S-Groove as well. P-Balrog is very hard to use, as you sacrifice charge to parry, meaning he can't get much of a punish. Situationally, you can parry a move and have enough time to charge for a Gigaton Blow punish, but this is rare and about the scariest thing P-Balrog has.
Balrog (Boxer) is a versatile character with good defense and offense, but lacking neutral. If he gets a solid punish on defense, he can go into powerful guard crush strings against his opponent and secure a win. However, if he never gets these, and is forced to play neutral all day, he struggles hard. Balrog is best in C-Groove.
Players to Watch
|178||Japan||C-Groove||Twitter: @chandesogeese||Known for using weirder characters, 178 uses Boxer just as well. Also lands tons of high level TAPs. |
|Kodama||Japan||K-Groove||N/A||Uses K-Boxer's terrifying level 3 very well to accrue high damage along with his good short hop and JD game. |