Adel "Big Bird" Anouche on Red Bull Raise Your Game, Street Fighter 6 & life after winning Kumite

Adel "Big Bird" Anouche on Red Bull Raise Your Game, Street Fighter 6 & life after winning Kumite
Images via Red Bull Gaming

Written by 

Jack Roberts


2nd Oct 2023 10:40

Early in Summer 2023, I had the opportunity to head to Pretoria to watch the first major Street Fighter 6 tournament: Red Bull Kumite. While there, in addition to seeing the sights the city had to offer, I got the chance to see Red Bull’s own Adel "Big Bird" Anouche claim victory and become the champion.

As one of the most recognisable pro players in the game, Big Bird is taking a role in a new competition to help other Street Fighter players improve their skills and enter the competitive scene.

Now, a few months on from South Africa, I had the chance to sit down with Red Bull’s Big Bird to talk all things Street Fighter 6, life after winning Red Bull Kumite and his most recent role as a Red Bull Raise Your Game mentor.

Life after Red Bull Kumite

Big Bird after winning Red Bull Kumite 2023
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When Red Bull's own Big Bird won Red Bull Kumite, he did it with a new addition to the Street Fighter roster, Marisa. But what has life been like since seizing that victory?

There have been a lot of eyes on me,” Big Bird admits.

“I’m one of the ones to beat in tournaments. So when I went to EVO, I feel like a lot of people have been studying me and watching out for me. I don’t feel any pressure but I’m being watched.”

And since the tournament, Big Bird has continued using Marisa, making it a significant way through the SF6 EVO tournament, with his friend and fellow player Angry Bird claiming the EVO crown.

State of the Street (Fighter)

Marisa, one of Big Bird's mains in Street Fighter 6
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When it comes to Street Fighter, it is safe to say that Big Bird knows his stuff. Having started playing during Street Fighter IV, competing with Street Fighter V, and winning Red Bull Kumite with Street Fighter 6, he is well-versed in what it takes to make a fighter work.

This is particularly evident when it comes to his current mains: Marisa and Rashid, a returning character who became the first DLC fighter for Street Fighter 6. But I wanted to know how Rashid felt in this new game.

He’s more fun in this game compared to Street Fighter 5,” Anouche explains.

He has more suppression and more freedom and he’s definitely got a lot more to work with compared to SF5, where he was a bit narrow and only had one gameplan of backing you into a corner.”

Street Fighter 6 has also been a game that has seen several characters have their move set changed and altered to what players would previously be used to.

A lot of the Rashid players I’ve been watching now have a lot of different game plans. However, in terms of strength, he feels a little weaker since he doesn’t have a stable anti-air. So you need to pay attention to the air, but he’s very fun.”

  • Be sure to check out our Marisa character guide to find out more about the character Big Bird won Red Bull Kumite with

Meeting a mentor

Big Bird after winning a match
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While Street Fighter is certainly the name of the game, Big Bird was also here on business, as a mentor for the Red Bull Raise Your Game competition. He is hosting an exclusive player workshop for the nationwide competition that aims to give players the chance to train and play with pro gamers in their game. It comes as no surprise that Big Bird will be the Street Fighter sensei.

During our virtual talk, Big Bird was talking to me from the Red Bull Gaming Sphere, where he will be boot camping in the run-up to Red Bull Raise Your Game. As a Red Bull player, we wanted to know how it felt to be able to play (and work) in a dedicated gaming space.

It’s really good.” He said. “The atmosphere feels amazing and it's very cool having a dedicated gaming space. I’ve actually been to the Red Bull Gaming Space in Japan. There’s only three in the world, here (UK), in Japan and Sweden and I wish we had something like this back home (in the UAE).”

When asked about how he felt moving from player to teacher, Big Bird said “I’m here to answer a lot of questions the players have, a lot of the players here are world-class and they won’t need help navigating the game.”

And while he may be coaching, that doesn’t won’t dampen his competitive spirit. “I’m ready to answer any questions they have, ready to play with them and provide beatdowns if they need it,” Anouche said. “But I’m still going to try and help people out. Every day when we stream, we have people coming in and asking for questions and tips so we try to do our best to help.”

The future of Street Fighter 6

JP, one of the trickier characters in Street Fighter 6, using his Psycho Powers
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With Street Fighter 6 being one of the highest-rated games of 2023, it is clear that it has made a huge impression on the fighting game community. From new players starting for the first time to the established competitive scene, it makes for a great entry point into the series and has introduced a slew of new characters and mechanics to be excited about.

With Big Bird moving into this mentor role, I wanted to know his thoughts on how Street Fighter 6 was shaping up, as well as anything (or anyone) he would change.

I kinda love Street Fighter 6. I still think it's very fun to play and watch.” Anouche said. “There are some mechanics [I would change] like Drive Rush. Make it easier to react to and stop. And also Perfect Parries. Find a way to make it a bit riskier to use.”

When it comes to characters, there are a few changes Big Bird would make as well. “JP, obviously.” He laughed.

I’d like to see him adjusted and tweaked a bit. Ken, also. Luke, Juri, basically all the top tiers. A lot of them could use a few tweaks. I don’t want them nerfed to the ground, but some of these characters are very overpowering compared to the rest of the cast.”

At the time of writing, A.K.I. is the latest character joining the Street Fighter 6 roster. As more of a tricky character, I wanted to know what Big Bird thought of her, and whether he would be picking her up to play. “A.K.I. is basically the same as F.A.N.G. from SF5 and I wasn’t a big fan of F.A.N.G. I definitely like A.K.I. more from a design standpoint, but her style isn’t really for me. I might dabble with her for a bit. I’m mostly a player that likes to get in your face.”

Learning from the best

Big Bird drinking a can of Red Bull between matches
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When I ended my first chat with Big Bird after he won Kumite, I asked him what he would tips he would give to new players picking up Street Fighter 6 for the first time. Now that he is entering this new role, I asked him what he would suggest for players making their competitive debuts.

“Pick the right character for them. There are not many characters, but figure out the best character for you, whether it's design, style, how they play, or how they look. Once they figure that out, then you can learn that whole character.”

“You can also watch top players on YouTube to get the template and see what to work with and how to do things. And once you get them to a certain level, you’ll be able to level up your own skills.”

“But, the most important thing is to have fun. If you’re not having fun with the game, you’re not being productive.”

Big Bird will be a mentor for Red Bull Raise Your Game. With winners announced on November 15, 2023, entrants have until October 31, 2023, to send their entries in and get the chance to learn some Street Fighter techniques from one of the very best.

Jack is a Guides Writer at GGRecon. With a BA (Hons) & MA in English and Creative Writing, he was also the Gaming Editor for The Indiependent. When not pondering which game has the best cup of coffee (and drinking far too much of it himself), he can often be found playing Dead by Daylight, Street Fighter or making yet another build in Bloodborne.