Street Fighter is an important part of gaming history, being one of the pioneers of a genre enjoyed by tens of millions of people. It defined the rules of what a fighting game is, and why it’s worthwhile to spend hundreds of hours beating up opponents.
Part of Street Fighter’s appeal is its character design. Over thirty years its roster has grown to include more than 70 fighters spanning various combat styles and personalities. Its depth makes it a perfect fit for ELEAGUE, and to coincide with the new season premiering on Friday, March 31, at 10 p.m. ET on TBS, we’re going over the 10 characters that have most made this series something special.

Akuma

 First Appearance: Super Street Fighter 2 Turbo (1994)
Random Fact: “Akuma” means devil or demon in Japanese.
Bearing an intimidating presence with red eyes and a dark-colored gi, Akuma isn’t often one to display emotion. Introduced as a secret character in Super Street Fighter 2 Turbo that required incredible skill to access, for a period of time he was regarded as a character of myth and legend.
Akuma prefers offense over defense, using his mastery of Shotokan to overwhelm opponents with force. Skilled Akuma players earn respect within the community due to his high skill cap nature, and many have been inspired to become one of the greats making him the second most popular online character next to Ryu.
Tokido “Murderface”, known for his intimidating stare and currently holding second place in Street Fighter V’s tournament rankings, will be proudly representing Akuma at ELEAGUE on behalf of team Echo Fox. Watch and enjoy the spectacle.

Cammy

 First Appearance: Super Street Fighter 2 (1993)
Random Fact: Cammy dresses “comfortably” for movement and speed.
Cammy “Killer Bee” White is a strong-willed assassin with potent agility. Considered to be a close-range specialist, unlike many other Street Fighter characters she prefers to jump into the face of opponents and remain there until she emerges victorious; she doesn’t have the luxury of a ranged attack. Opponents don’t usually enjoy face-to-face confrontations with her.
She’s long been revered for her character style, particularly when it comes to her clothing and beret, leading to her popularity in cosplay.
Cammy will be played by two great players at ELEAGUE, K-Brad and Xiaohai. Xiaohai in particular is considered the greatest Cammy player in the world right now, and is ranked fourth in current tournament rankings making him one of the top players to watch at the ELEAGUE Street Fighter V Invitational.

Chun-Li

 First Appearance: Super Street Fighter 2 (1991)
Random Fact: Chun-Li’s leggings were resprited three times before being finalized.
In 1991, there was no such thing as a female character in a fighting game. Capcom changed that forever with Chun-Li, a beautiful character dressed modestly in a Chinese qipao. Many know her for her brutal kicks that can be delivered dozens of times per second, breaking the will of opponents who doubt her. Others know her as one of the great heroines of gaming.
Chun-Li is universally praised for her character design, sporting a distinguishable ox horns hairstyle with silk brocades and ribbons.
Having come second overall in last year's world championship, female Elite Geniuses player Ricki Ortiz will fight as Chun-Li at ELEAGUE. Be sure to also watch MOV to see what kind of damage he can do with the character.

Dhalsim

 First Appearance: Super Street Fighter 2 (1991)
Random Fact: Dhalsim was originally designed to be an eight-armed elephant created in the likeness of Ganesha, a Hindu diety.
Dhalsim’s years spent training in yoga has paid off with incredible flexibility. Using his long limbs and fire breathing techniques, he’s able to overcome his lack of mobility brought on by age. These skills test the dexterity of opponents who are often punished when they get anywhere near him.
Dhalsim isn’t commonly encountered, but when he is you know you’re in for a good show. Pro players have learned to harness his potential to create spacing where the opponent has to tactfully get within range to attack, usually by using accurately thrown projectile attacks followed by aggression.
You are most likely to see Dhalsim being played by tournament underdog Gllty or the recently signed Splyce player FChamp, a talented Dhalsim main who has played the character since the early days of Street Fighter 4. Can he translate his experience into a tournament victory?

Guile

 First Appearance: Super Street Fighter 2 (1991)
Random Fact: Ken and Guile are relatives.
Wearing his nationality with pride, Guile was introduced in Street Fighter 2 to appeal to Americans. His stoic personality, chiseled jawline, and massive flattop haircut were a huge departure from other character designs in the series at the time. Of course, he likes coffee, John Wayne movies, and automobiles. It didn’t take long for him to earn a huge population of fans.
Guile is regarded as one of the most respected characters in Street Fighter, most notable for his iconic Flash Kick and Sonic Boom abilities that are as recognizable as they are effective at stopping enemies dead in their tracks.
Guile has not made an impact in the competitive scene for years, but makes a fierce return in the new season of Street Fighter V. Expect to see several top players bust out Sonic Booms in the ELEAGUE Street Fighter V Invitational, including NuckleDu, Ryan Hart, and even the prolific Daigo.

Juri

 First Appearance: Super Street Fighter 4 (2008)
Random Fact: Juri was the first Korean character to join the Street Fighter roster.
Juri is one of the latest favorites to join the Street Fighter series. Her appetite for destruction is unrelenting, and demonstrated on the battlefield where she uses flashy rushdown tactics to make up for her exploitable defense. She’s been commonly compared to Chun-Li, but with an evil bite that specializes in Taekwondo, although that’d be disingenuous given her unique personality that is predicated on revenge and seduction.
She has won over many fans with her interesting backstory and unusual mannerisms to become one of the only recent additions to the Street Fighter roster to become one of the top 10 most favorite characters.
You might not see Juri make an appearance at ELEAGUE. If you do, it’ll be from the currently top ranked player Infiltration, who most recently has played a lot of Nash. Let’s cross our fingers and hope Juri gets some showtime at the tournament.

Ken

 First Appearance: Super Street Fighter  (1987)
Random Fact: Ken Masters was the first Street Fighter character to have a last name.
Notably sporting the same moveset as Ryu, Ken is a very different character that’s equally flamboyant and stoic. Proudly wearing a black belt, his Street Fighter story began with him winning the U.S. martial arts tournament before returning to his dojo to witness his master’s death. He is driven by a courageous heart and a disciplined mind, which has resonated well with many fighting game fans.
He is most famous for pro player Daigo’s perfect block to Ultra execution at EVO 2004, which is noted as one of the most memorable moments in eSports history, at Chun-Li’s dismay.
The world's greatest Ken player, Momochi, is on point right now, and stands a chance to win it all for team Echo Fox. Other Ken mains to watch at the ELEAGUE Street Fighter V Invitational include Julio Fuentes, Eita, Chris Tatarian, and Ryan Hart.

M. Bison

 First Appearance: Super Street Fighter 2 (1997)
Random Fact: M. Bison has various names around the world, and is referred to commonly as “Dictator”.
Serving as the primary evil character of the Street Fighter franchise, M.Bison is a character set out on a conquest of world domination. Bearing an iconic red military uniform with a service cap and black cape, he shows no mercy for the weak.
M. Bison uses a range of painfully special moves including the Psycho Blast and Psycho Inferno to break the will of opponents. Subjugation is his forte, and players who enjoy aggressive playstyles with a well balanced offense that employs fakes and juggles tend to enjoy playing as him.
Don’t miss the opportunity to watch Norwegian player Phenom at ELEAGUE. While he mains Necalli, he was an M. Bison expert in Ultra Street Fighter 4 and sometimes pulls him out as a surprising secondary. You wouldn’t want to miss that.

Ryu

 First Appearance: Super Street Fighter  (1987)
Random Fact: Ryu’s original birth year was 1964.
Featured in every Street Fighter game in history, Ryu is the poster child of Street Fighter, serving as an attractive and honorable character. Despite his fighting capabilities, he keeps relatively quiet in battle and lets his skills do the talking.
Ryu’s player design has long been friendly to new players. When combined with his visually impressive skill-set, which includes the powerful Hadoken, its obvious why Ryu is the most popular fighting game character in the history of the genre.
Ryu is synonymous with Daigo "The Beast" Umehara, arguably the greatest Street Fighter player in the history of the franchise. Controversially, The Beast recently publically denounced Ryu for Guile, breaking the hearts of Ryu players everywhere. Deep down inside he still has a lot of love for Ryu, though.
Thankfully, you may also watch Alex Valle play as the famous character when he isn’t playing as Rashid.

Zangief

 First Appearance: Super Street Fighter 2 (1991)
Random Fact: Zangief was originally named Vodka. You can probably guess why.
When all you want is muscle, Zangief is the way to go. With over 400 pounds of nearly pure muscle, he’s able to wrestle his opponents into submission most of the time. He prefers to go shirtless as few shirts could fit him anyway, revealing his battle scars earned from violent bouts in Siberia.
Grappling is the name of the game when it comes to this character. Zangief is a slow character, but opponents have to deal with moves that destroy their health bar, while his barely moves an inch with each attack taken.
The best Zangief player of all-time, Snake Eyez, will play as Zangief at ELEAGUE. With a recent surge in popularity for everyone’s favorite Russian character, expect to see more representation in the future, and hopefully at the tournament.