Beyond R. Mika: How Luffy became Europe’s Street Fighter Legend - Dexerto
Street Fighter V

Beyond R. Mika: How Luffy became Europe’s Street Fighter Legend

Published: 20/Nov/2019 2:08 Updated: 20/Nov/2019 11:54

by Dustin Steiner


Olivier ‘Luffy’ Hay is one of the best Street Fighter players in Europe, but it was his championship-winning run at Evo 2014 that made him a legend of the series.

In winning the fighting game tournament, the French player became the first European player to lift the prestigious Evolution trophy.

But, how did a Street Fighter fan from Paris reach a point where he could compete with and beat the best players in the world? He took us back to the beginning.j

“At first, I only played casually, just when I got home from school,” Luffy recounted of his Street FIghter origins. “I wasn’t playing to improve, just to play. At some point, I hit a wall, and I couldn’t really get over the wall.  I chatted with other players and started matchmaking online. That made me improve a lot at this point.” 

Like most other players, Luffy eventually attended a local FGC event held in a gaming shop near his home. However, unlike most players, Luffy managed to take home the gold in his very first local — a good omen for a successful career to come.

After getting a taste of victory, Luffy expanded his horizons domestically, taking down the country’s best talent and becoming ranked #1 in France. While he was renowned in the French scene, the rest of the world took notice of him when he made his international debut at the World Game Cup Cannes 2010, beating the already-legendary Daigo Umehara in Winner’s Finals.

Even though he went on to lose to Fuudo in the Grand Finals of that event, it was clear that Luffy was someone special. He went on to win several tournaments and enjoyed impressive runs at various Dreamhack events, but none compared to the holy grail of fighting games: the Evolution Championship Series. It was there, in 2014, that Luffy would forever cement his name in fighting game history. 

“When I came to EVO that year, my first goal was just to be able to play without regrets and play my best,” Luffy told Dexerto. “I’m not the type to go to a tournament with the mindset of ‘I want to win,’ and if I lose, I just want to work on why I lost and come back stronger next time.” 

His Evo that year didn’t start off ideally, as he dropped a match against Xian early on. This meant that he would have to battle back through many more opponents than his rivals on the Winners’ side from the Losers’ bracket. 

“I don’t even really know when I lost in the bracket – the TO said play, so I played. And I won.”

Luffy’s run that day saw him fight past some big names, taking out the likes of Japanese pros Mago, Tokido, Misse, Pugera, and Eita. With five of the country’s best players down, he scored a seat in Sunday’s Top 8 bracket – and although he sat just a few matches away from glory, his hardest challenges were yet to come. 

His Top 8 run kicked off with a great start, sending EG’s Momochi home in 7th place thanks to his knowledge of the Ryu-Ken matchup.

From there, he went on to face the lone American hero remaining in 2014 – the Zangief specialist Darryl “Snake Eyez” Lewis. 

“I think Snake Eyez was my hardest match in the entire tournament,” Luffy recalled, grinning. “This matchup was very stressful, as I had to zone Zangief with Rose the entire match. If I made any mistakes I was down, and it was very hard to survive.

“Once Gief is in, you just have to pray for your life. It went down to the last match, last round — it was a very difficult match. At some point, it was just a matter of luck with who was going to win.”

After this match, Luffy expected that he would get the win at Evo, as he rated Snake Eyez as his toughest opponent. Next up was the player who had defeated him in World Game Cup Cannes 2010 – and Luffy knew what to expect for this grudge match. 

“The match after was Fuudo, who played Fei Long,” he said. “Fei Long is a very common matchup in France. Two big players from France play the character, and they both play opposite styles, so I was ready for any Fei Long matchup.”

This knowledge came in handy for Luffy, who went on to take the set in a clean 3-0 run. This put him in Grand Finals against Bonchan, a player many had predicted would win the entire event before it had even kicked off.

Bonchan, a Sagat specialist even then, could not have picked a worse character to use against Luffy, thanks to the Frenchman’s extensive experience playing another European Sagat main.

“Sagat was Ryan Hart’s character, so even in Grand Finals, even if I had to reset the bracket on Bonchan, I was very confident I was going to win,” Luffy remembered. “Bonchan didn’t have a lot of Rose experience, and I had a lot of experience thanks to Ryan Hart.”

This knowledge paid off big time for Luffy, who only dropped two games throughout the entire reset. You might expect that a win at Evo would mean a lot to Luffy – but for him, it was just another day at the office. 

“Between 2009 and 2014, I played in a lot of tournaments,” he reflected. “I was used to tournaments – it was just another tournament win, but today, I can realize how big winning EVO is, because up to this day French people still come to me and say congrats on your EVO win, I was up til 5 am watching you win. I actually understand how big this win was even if I didn’t realize it back then.”

While this cemented Luffy as one of the best Street Fighter 4 players in the world, he has not had as much luck in Street Fighter 5, especially as his main, Rose, is not in the game. 

While he’s always been a threat in the bracket, and has enjoyed early victories during Street Fighter V’s lifespan in Europe with R. Mika, he’s not been as dominant as he would like. 

However, Luffy has still scored a wealth of top placements in the Capcom Pro Tour since Street Fighter V was released – but his last top finish was at 2018’s EGX. 2019 has been one of the slowest years of his career with no tournament victories, and only eight Top 8 finishes. 

Despite this struggle, his legacy as a top competitor in Europe lives on in the hearts and minds of players around the world.

With Street Fighter V Champion Edition coming in February 2020, and hopefully Street Fighter VI in the near future, time will tell if he can pull the reset on his own career and show his dominance once more. 

Street Fighter V

Street Fighter V introduces Oro, Rose & more in Summer Update

Published: 5/Aug/2020 18:54 Updated: 5/Aug/2020 19:20

by Virginia Glaze


Street Fighter V: Champion Edition has released its final five characters in a highly-anticipated Summer Update broadcast, with fan favorites C. Viper, Rose, and a brand-new name making a splash in the game’s robust roster.

Street Fighter V: Champion Edition officially kicked off in wake of Capcom Cup 2019, introducing new V-Skills for all characters and even bringing back Third Strike’s Gill in his first-ever playable iteration, alongside Street Fighter IV boss Seth.

After four years, however, the latest Street Fighter title is winding down to its final season, and with it, its final DLC character pack.

With no EVO at which to make announcements, fighting game developers have saved their reveals for individual broadcasts, with SFV scheduling a special Summer Update just a week after the world’s biggest fighting game tournament would have taken place.

Street Fighter V: Champion Edition key art.
Street Fighter V: Champion Edition introduced a new V-Skill for each character, unique track suit costumes, and even brought back fan-favorite bosses Gill and Seth.

What’s in SFV season 5?

After revealing that this season would be SFV’s last, the SFV Summer Update gave fighting game fanatics what they’ve been itching for: Long-awaited mainstay characters and even a crossover fighter.

Characters revealed in the Summer Update include:

  • Dan
  • Rose
  • Oro
  • Akira (Rival Schools)
  • Upcoming character

While it’s been some time since we’ve seen a few of these characters, with Dan, Rose and Oro all hailing from older Street Fighter titles, this will be the first time a Rival Schools character has been introduced in a modern Street Fighter game. Akira, hailing from the beloved fighting game franchise, already has connections to Sakura, Ryu’s disciple, so her addition — as explained by director Takayuki Nakayama and producer Shuhei Matsumoto — isn’t completely coming out of left field.

When will these characters be released?

As seen in the Summer Update broadcast, only development footage of Dan was shown. As for Rose, Oro, and Akira, developers had nothing to show, but did reveal that both Rose and Akira will be getting special stages of their own.

Looking at Dan’s footage, it seems that he has remained true to his SFIV form — although we still have yet to see how his taunt super will play out.

SFV content roadmap.
Street Fighter V’s final season will extend into late 2021, according to a content roadmap given by developers to fans.

Developers also gave fans a timeline for when these characters will be released. So far, it seems that this last season of Street Fighter V will extend into late 2021, with the as-yet-unrevealed character slated for Fall 2021.

It looks like we’ve got a little over two more years of SFV left, according to this roadmap (which also revealed a SFV Capcom Cup for 2022), meaning that we can expect the game’s competitive lifetime to last just as long.

Street Fighter League Season 3

Capcom esports is back and bigger than ever! Street Fighter League is returning with a third season, and this time, it’s bringing competition together from all across the globe.

With Street Fighter League Japan already announcing its teams, there’s no telling who will be participating in this season’s shenanigans — but we’re excited, all the same!

SFL Season 3 announcement.
The Street Fighter League will be returning for its third season, featuring competition from around the globe.

AEW x Capcom

Just ahead of Rose’s announcement, as told by wrestling star Kenny Omega, All Elite Wrestling is collaborating with Capcom for some unique Street Fighter merchandise! As a longtime fan of the franchise, it comes as little surprise that Kenny Omega was the one to reveal this collab, which fans can cop over at

AEW x Street Fighter shirt.
AEW is kicking off a special collaboration with Street Fighter for some limited edition merchandise.

Although SFV has a history of unintended leaks just ahead of major announcements, it looks like the game’s final season was kept well under lock and key. With five new characters, a new season of Street Fighter League, and more having been revealed, there’s no better way to kick off SFV’s last season than with an unprecedented, transparent talk with players.

Who are you most excited for this season? Let us know on Twitter @Dexerto!