Leave it to Capcom to pull a last minute surprise. I expected that the latest and final season for Street Fighter V was going to be available in a month or so. I also expected that Gill, the 1st character to be available for Season 5 AKA Champion Edition to drop around that time. It turns out Capcom was planning to give Street Fighter fans an early Holiday present since they released it last Sunday!
While I was giddy with the update and the possibilities Champion Edition will bring, I was less giddy about Gill, the new character that came with Season 5. I’ve already made my feelings known when Gill was announced to be the next DLC character in Street Fighter V. I didn’t like it. I just feel Capcom was leaving out more deserving characters but we were going to get the annoying half blue- half red god from Street Fighter III. Alas, this is the hand that we were dealt. Besides, there’s a chance that Gill might actually be fair and balanced this time around?
I did do my due diligence and poked around what he can do. I came off as very impressed with what Capcom did with Gill as he is one of the freshest new characters with a cute little gimmick that will make him stand out in the tournament scene. Will he be the next top tier character? Let’s find out!
Like always, I want to talk about a new roster member’s appearance and, well, he’s Gill. I was never a fan of his original design. Gill’s left side is red as it is his “fiery” side while his right side is blue to signify his “icy” side. In order to hammer this home, Gill only wears a thong into battle. Ick.
There is one really unique thing about Gill’s in-game model: he doesn’t have a mirror side. Since he has the entire “red side-blue side” gimmick, Capcom made the clever decision to make him have two different stances based on where his position versus his opponent. If he’s facing right, Gill will have his thonged butt towards the screen. If he’s facing left, you’ll be looking at the thong from the front. It does take some getting used to as it really looks weird that he’s not facing the camera all the time like the other fighters. I mean, even the weapon wielding Vega is polite enough to switch where his claw is attached!
The way he faces the screen isn’t the only thing unique about Gill. In fact, he has two gameplay mechanics that is his alone. The first thing is that he doesn’t have a Crush Counter button. This means that he can only build V-Gauge through taking damage or using his V-Skills; we’ll talk about his V-Skills later. The lack of a Crush Counter also means a Gill user will need to have his Counter combos on point all the time. There’s no relaxing during a Crush Counter damage animation since he doesn’t have one.
Gill makes up for the lack of a Crush Counter attack with the Retribution system. In-game, it’s called the Anti system. Anyway, if you manage to put your opponent in a “fiery” or “icy” state and then cleanly connect with the opposite elemental attack, that attack will have more hit stun and, if the opponent is in the air, a juggle state. This can lead to some very devastatingly long combos.
It will take some work to get your opponent afflicted with an elemental state, however. From what I’ve tested, normal attack or regular special attacks won’t do it, even if they do have an elemental linked to it. The only way to afflict the elemental status is to connect with some specific EX special attacks. Gill will have to spend meter often, meaning you’ll probably never see his Critical Art, Seraphic Wing, in an actual tournament since pros will be burning meter to get that elemental attack. The trade off can be very rewarding as properly using the Retribution system to create a very long and potentially damaging combo.
Once the elemental status is tacked on, you can start the Retribution combo with most of his special attacks or even some of his normals. Gill’s hard attack actually have an elemental property linked to them. For example, his standing hard punch is a flaming punch while his crouching hard punch is an icy rising forearm strike. A pro should always be aware of what elemental status he got his opponent in and what button he should use to activate the Retribution combo. This makes me realize a scrub like me will never really get good with Gill. That’s because there’s going to be a lot of memorization involved as to which attack does what.
Even without the Retribution system or a lack of a Crush Counter, Gill’s buttons are kind of scary. His crouching light seems like a 3 frame attack. His medium punch has a good amount of hit stun. It’s enough to link into his standing light punch-medium punch target combo. Gill’s medium kicks, both the standing and crouching versions, have got some crazy range to them.
Of course, the big thing with Gill is his special moves and even that has a gimmick. He has 2 versions of his projectile and lunging clothesline, thanks to the elemental property linked to them. For the projectiles, the buttons do not control the speed; it controls the angle of travel. You can control the speed of the projectile based on the elemental property, with the fire version moving faster than the ice version. For the lunging clothesline, the fire version does more damage while the ice version causes more stun. Thankfully, it’s not that confusing to remember which one does what as the quarter-circle forward motions activate the fire version while the quarter-circle back motions have Gill use the ice version.
Gill does have another special attack, the Moonsault Knee Drop. It’s kind of like Urien’s version but Gill jumps forward before dropping down on his opponent. The starting animation of the EX version also can strike opponents, making it a weird way to anti-air crossups.
Gill’s V-Skills are pretty good. His 1st V-Skill has him call for the heavens to drop a projectile; the elemental is linked to what V-Trigger you selected. It is rather slow but can be used as a fantastic meaty attack and a way to cover Gill’s movement. If the projectile does connect, the opponent will enter the Retribution elemental status. His other V-Skill is called Blocking. This is basically the parry from Street Fighter III. It’s much better than Ryu’s because Gill recovers much faster. The only downside is you have to pick either a high or low parry. Mess up and you’ll be eating a combo for sure! Since I’m not good with parrying, I will say that his first V-Skill seems like the more utilitarian V-Skill to pick but I can definitely see some pros using V-Skill 2 depending on the matchup.
His V-Triggers are basically also linked to the Retribution system. His V-Trigger 1, Primal Fire, enhances his fire special attacks, making them powerful enough to inflict the fire elemental status without using an EX bar. Gill also gets access to the Burn Storm, a flaming uppercut, and Flame Javelin, a very fast fiery version of his V-Skill that can hit on the ground. His other V-Trigger is the Ice of Doom, which powers up his ice attacks so they can inflict ice elemental properties. His ice special attacks can now inflict the ice status when this is active. He also gets Tree of Frost, which has Gill fire off a wave of ice and the Delay Freeze Lance sets up an ice trap on the floor. Both V-Triggers have their uses and, strangely enough, both of them have meaty setups, which can be deadly.
Gill may seem like a truly frightening addition to Street Fighter V’s roster thanks to his Retribution system. That may be true but you actually don’t have to worry about it until Gill finally gets an EX bar. That’s some small comfort when you do face off against him. A pro that decides to main him will have to put in the work to gain all the muscle memory for the Retribution combos so they become second nature. The rewards can be enormous but only if you put in the time.
Gill isn’t the boss nightmare he was in Street Fighter III… but he will definitely be giving some players nightmares in the future.
What are your thoughts on Gill? Let me know in the comments section below!