​No one talked about it. We were so focused on Aegis Reflectors, Sonic Booms, command grabs and one touch comebacks from brutish boxers that this little monster went under the radar.

But then Kun "Xian" Ho showed up at Final Round XX last weekend, and all of that changed. The monster is out from the under the bed, and it has a bomb, kunai and impossible to block mix ups. 

So what have we learned? Ibuki is the Street Fighter V's best character when played to her maximum potential. 

It isn't just the fact that Xian essentially wiped the floor with the majority of his opposition. It's how he did it. Constant pressure with air EX kunai forced his opponent to remain blocking. That was followed up by aggressive, tight block strings that lead to damage and mix ups.

And that's before she even gets V-Trigger. That's when the party really starts, as her lightning quick command dash constantly leaves the best players in the world scratching their heads.

Ibuki flew under the radar because she is extremely hard to play well. She takes high dexterity, good reads, and game knowledge to truly excel. That's a stark contrast from a character like Laura or Balrog whose dominance is immediately felt within a few minutes in training mode.

Xian, being arguably the most technically gifted player in the world today, got the most out of her. With her receiving no nerfs in the upcoming balance patch, on top of her contemporaries getting weakened, get ready for The Year of Ibuki.

Cover photo courtesy of Capco