The name’s Burney, Rob Burney – but you might know him better as “RobTV.” Hailing from the Midwest, this Street Fighter V: Arcade Edition pro has made a major come up as of late, appearing on such shows as ELEAGUE’s “The Challenger,” and now, the Street Fighter League: Pro-US 2019 tournament series, which is set for another week of hype action ahead of the Mid-Season Championship at CEO.
From one player to another
While RobTV is a regular face at major tournaments, it wasn’t always so – but his passion for fighting games sparked at an early age, thanks to his father’s interest in the genre. According to Rob, he and his father played a multitude of fighting games together as he grew up, which ultimately led to his first foray into competitive play, thanks to one “fascinating” online player.
“I do have an interesting story,” Rob said of the encounter. “Many years ago, I came across a fascinating person while playing Street Fighter IV ranked matches. After pummeling me in our set, he sent me an invite to an Xbox Live party. He asked, ‘What would you like to learn?’”
While Rob claimed that his intro to competitive Street Fighter was “completely organic,” he didn’t participate in an offline tournament until the release of SFV – one that he ended up winning in an impressive, undefeated streak.
“I drove about 3 hours to attend my first tournament,” Rob recalled. “It was called ‘Cleveland Clash’ and it had a round robin format. I ended up going undefeated and won the tournament. I still have the trophy to this day. Some time after that, I moved to a city that happened to have a local scene. I attended weeklies and started winning quickly. Before I knew it, I was flying out to major events.”
On the come up
Although RobTV was already turning out to be a formidable opponent, he credits the bulk of his come up to his hard work in content creation, while simultaneously driving all across the Midwest to attend competitive tournaments – making for an explosive concoction that would pay off big time.
“I started off gaining notoriety as a content creator,” he explained. “I created a lot of high-quality videos on a wide range of fighting game related topics and concepts. During this time, I also began to drive for hours all over the midwest to become a stronger player. I attended every Street Fighter tournament I could find, big or small. Pretty quickly, I began to win enough to be considered a top player in the region.”
Rob would go on to qualify for the Red Bull Proving Grounds in 2017, a year after SFV’s initial launch. He later made a “brash and cocky” second place finish at 2018’s Northeast Championships, which ultimately lead to his appearance in ELEAGUE’s “The Challenger.”
The future of the FGC
While “The Challenger” was a reality show that placed some of Street Fighter’s top personalities in a single house, the Street Fighter League: Pro-US 2019 uses a significantly different format, pitting six teams of three players against each other for weeks of intense competition – a format that Rob claims could be the “future” of the fighting game community, at large.
“Team tournaments have the potential to take the fighting game community to new heights,” he mused. “There is increased drama and emotion when someone has the opportunity to clutch it out for their team, or even let their team down. It’s beautiful to see the chemistry of one team and fascinating to see the dysfunctionality of another. I still love 1v1 competition as well, but I believe that team-based competition (and hopefully the Street Fighter League) is the future of the FGC.”
I’ll show you the divide in our class!
Rob’s success in the Street Fighter League is no fluke: the pro kicks butt and takes names using Karin Kanzuki, head of the Kanzuki Zaibatsu and heiress to a significant amount of cash. However, Rob isn’t exactly a character specialist, either: he also uses Street Fighter’s main family man Guile as a secondary, keeping him in his back pocket for Karin’s unfavorable matchups like ex-Shadaloo grunt Birdie.
“I picked up Karin because of her playstyle,” Rob explained. “I was inspired by one of my SFIV teachers, ‘FNEX Raven.’ He played Chun-Li in that game, and he had a very clean, neutral-based style. When I saw Karin’s standing medium kick and sweep, I knew I was going to play her. She excels at controlling the tempo in neutral and pressuring her opponent once they’re cornered. I picked up Guile as a counter pick. He excels at defensive/turtling play. As far as their weak matchups, my competitors may be reading this, so I can’t give my opinion on that!”
Fists will fly at this location!
RobTV continues to amp up the competition with Team Gale, who set are face off against Team Storm on June 13. However, the League isn’t Rob’s end goal, by far: he has a bright vision for his future in competitive Street Fighter, and his end goal? Becoming the “best” World Warrior.
“I have multiple goals for this season,” Rob began. “My main goal is to become the best player in the world. Everyday, most of my thoughts and actions are to work toward achieving this. Winning Street Fighter League is extremely important to me, as well. I can picture me and my teammates on stage hoisting the trophy. Inevitably, Capcom will ask me to put my durag on because my waves are taking too much of the spotlight. It will be magical.”
The Street Fighter League: Pro-US 2019 tournament series brings with it a slew of nonstop action, which will throw down in its Mid-Season Championship at CEO, a Premier Event in the Capcom Pro Tour. With just one week left, players and fans alike are gearing up for the competition – but they better be on the lookout for Street Fighter’s waviest player in the mix!