Junior Series: Mid Match Style Switch

The following tutorial is part of our “Junior Series” tutorials in order to help people learn to practice and understand some of the higher concepts of Fighting games outside of simple execution  and fundamentals. These guides will often focus more on strategy and planning in a match. In this guide, we’ll explore how to shift your playstyle during a match and to be cognizant of your playstyle in a match, rather than after or before the match. The emphasis here is switching from offensive to defensive. This has the added benefit, of throwing off your opponents rhythm and forcing them to adapt to your switch, giving you momentum in the match.

If your current playstyle isn’t working, switch it up immediately and play in the opposite manner.

Many lower-level players feel that they always need to be moving forward and attacking. Against a more skilled opponent, this plan often fails and the lower-level player’s response is to double down on their bet and try to go in even harder. How many times has this happened to you? Consider this kind of reckless play the expressway to the loser’s bracket. Remember that Street Fighter and fighting games in general, are games of knowledge; doing what your opponent expects gives them the upper hand in the fight.

If you can instead, completely 180 on your playstyle in the match, it might give you just the edge you need to throw them off balance. Imagine a scenario where the first match, you attack attack attack and lose, then the second round, you hit your opponent and then immediately back off. This kind of plan is a great power play because it tells your opponent “If you don’t do something. I’ll win with this life lead.” and it forces them to become the attacker. And immediately you’ve reversed the roles. Now you know what your opponent has to do and you can start to better predict how they will try to attack. You’ve also forced them to interrupt their gameplan and create a completely new one on the spot.

The master level of this is to continuously switch during a match. Going from offense to defense, and back again to throw your opponent off and make your movements or strategy unreadable. An opponent who can’t predict you forces them to “play scared” relying on base reactions which can be taken advantage of. Give it a shot. Imagine how frustrated a Dhalsim player would be trying to actually go in on their opponent, or how hard it must be fighting a defensive Zangief. Attack when they expect you to defend and defend when they expect you to attack.

Senior Series: The Argument for 2 Mains

They historical norm players is to choose a character they like and gel with and then to dedicate all of their time and energy to learning the intricacies of that character, how they interacted with the game engine, and the way their match-ups were to be played. I think Joe sums it up quite nicely with his quip on Japan’s playstyle from 0:29 – 0:35

Very rarely in the history of a street fighter game has anyone ever been considered the strongest player, playing more than one character…

…. Until SFV.

With Players like NuckleDu running Guile and Mika, and Punk and his tag team duo of Nash and Karin, it seems in this game that there is a very real possibility to play more than 1 character at a high level. SFV, being a very linear game, makes the skill ceiling much lower than other iterations, and making it possible to more fully explore all the aspects of a character in a limited amount of time.

Whatever character you play, you can probably classify them into one of three archetypes: Offense, Defense, Grapple. Though opinions may differ, generally the following is true:

Offense beats Defense

Defense beats Grapple

Grapple beats Offense

You can probably think of your match-up and see that this is likely the case in determining which are advantageous, disadvantageous, and even. In order to cover all of your match-ups, all you need to do is invest time in a character who beats your main character’s weakness. Then rather than grind out match-ups with a secondary character against the cast, save yourself the time and just play only the character’s who beat your main’s style.

Some people might argue, that they want to have the deepest knowledge of the match-up and simply continue with one character, and that is a fair and valid argument, but in a game like SFV where you don’t currently have to spend 3 to 4 years exploring a single character, it’s also a fair argument that you might be doing yourself a disservice in trying to work so hard against a style that clearly dominates yours.

As Joe said, it’s literally, “one character, till death.” Make sure it’s the right one for the job.

Junior Series: Study in the Lab

The following tutorial is part of our “Junior Series” tutorials in order to help people learn to practice and understand some of the higher concepts of Fighting games outside of simple execution  and fundamentals. These guides will often focus more on strategy and planning in a match. In this guide we focus on integrating continuous improvement and added game knowledge into your training routine by utilizing your time spent in training mode.

Take the first 30 minutes of any training mode session to explore some situation. 

It can be something you’ve had trouble with or a situation you don’t know much about. If you’re just going into training mode even to practice combos, work on learning something new within the first 30 minutes. The combo practice will still be there, and is a great way to wind down in training mode because the requirements are very simple success is easily defined; just completing the combo.

Although I recommend you practice situations with your main character, it doesn’t have to be. Anything that lets you explore the system mechanics is a worthwhile endeavor. If you can’t think of any, here a couple to get you started.

  • What happens when Ed’s V-Trigger and Dhalsim’s Critical Art collide?
  • Can you use Cammy’s c.MK to go under jump attacks?
  • Is Fang’s V-Skill parry-able?
  • Is there a situation where Kage’s jumping tatsumaki senpukyaku can cross an opponent up?
  • Can you throw Dhalsim during the start of his teleport?
  • Is there a way to tell if Alex is going to do his slash elbow?
  • How does your character deal with Vega’s wall dive?
  • How can M.Bison [Dictator] make his devil’s reverse hit cross-up?

Still if you’re having problems thinking of a situation to explore, fire up Youtube and take the first 10 minutes looking at match videos of great players and picking one situation, and explore it. There is more than a lifetime of material to be found in these situations.

Great players look at every nook and cranny of a situation and explore different ideas until they can find results. At live practice sessions with Top Japanese players, they intentionally leave a set-up open for a single person, so when that person loses and rotates out to the next player, they can use the open set-up to test the situation they felt they lost in. This makes for instant feedback, and when you get a full grasp of the situation, you can rotate back in and test it out with the person immediately. This in turn builds muscle memory and awareness of what is going on in their play.

Freshman Series: Defensive Guide

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This guide will serve as a introduction to the defensive mechanics present in Street Fighter V. This is part 3 of a 5-part series. The first two tutorials, cover basic Street Fighter execution and offensive strategies, respectively. If you’re new to playing Street Fighter and haven’t read those, I highly recommend you do so before reading this guide, as each guide does tend to build off of each other.

In Street Fighter V, offensive power is stronger than the defensive options for most characters. Anyone can mount a powerful offense, but what separates good players from great players is their defensive prowess. This guide will introduce you to all of Street Fighter V’s defensive tools to take you to the next level.

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If you get knocked down, and can learn to hold down-back to block when you wake up, instead of pressing buttons, you can instantly consider yourself to be a player with at least 1000 LP online. Street fighter is fun when you get to have a turn and get to press buttons and beat your opponent up, but there will be some times, where you have to be patient, and just sit back and block. As a beginner, most of the solutions to your problems early on will be “Oh, I should have not pressed buttons and just blocked there.”

The first lesson about defense is to recognize when you should be defending. When you get hit and are standing up, or as it’s more commonly called, “recovering”, you are in a disadvantageous position. For the sake of your points, please BLOCK!

Practice Exercises

Set your character to Zangief and set the dummy to Ryu. Use action recording for Ryu doing his HP Hadouken [qcf.HP], and immediately stop the recording. Reset the position to middle, and move back as far as possible with Zangief. Set the dummy to playback. Try to walk forward and block the fireballs until you can grab Ryu with a normal throw. If you get hit, restart. Keep a timer handy to check how quickly you can do it.

Success Lv. 1 = Reach Ryu in: 50 seconds
Success Lv. 2 = Reach Ryu in: 40 seconds
Success Lv. 3 = Reach Ryu in: 35 seconds

Highs and Lows

There are 2 Kinds of blocking: Crouch blocking [blocking low] and stand blocking [stand blocking]

Crouch Blocking

To crouch block, hold down-back [“back” in this case refers to the direction away from your opponent.] You will be able to block almost every grounded attack with a crouch block. It’s important not to press buttons when you are blocking. It should also be noted, that crouch blocking will lose to jumping attacks.

Stand Blocking

Stand blocking is performed by holding only back. Normally you would walk back, but when your opponent does an attack, it will cause you to stand and block. This is useful to guard against jumping attacks and some special grounded attacks. Stand blocking will lose to crouching kick attacks.

Practice Exercises

Choose any character for yourself and set the opponent to Necalli. On action recording 1, record Necalli doing the following: c.MP, c.MK, f.dash. On recording 2, record Necalli doing c.MP, df.HP, f.dash [Don’t worry, these don’t need to combo] Turn on the playback for recording 1 and 2 and try to block as many times as possible in a row.

Success Lv. 1 = 5 Successful blocks in a row.
Success Lv. 2 = 10 Successful blocks in a row.
Success Lv. 3 = 15 Successful blocks in a row.

TIP
Before I mentioned not to press buttons when you’re blocking. SFV has a special mechanic to make combos easier, so if you press a button even before it’s possible that the attack can come out, the game will still initiate the attack as soon as possible. This input buffering system is mainly to make doing combos easier, but if you’re pressing buttons when blocking an opponents attack, there is a possibility that your attack will come out after you press it.

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Cross-ups hit you in such a way, that the opponent is technically behind you when they hit. When blocking this, you need to actually hold toward the direction that your opponent started from. Please see the following graphic below regarding cross-ups. Please assume that the jump before the jump attack started from the left side.

Cross-Up Graphic

Practice Exercises

Choose any character for yourself, and choose Nash as the opponent. Set recording 1 for Nash to do the following: f.dash, qcb.LK, [small step forward] j.MK. Set recording 2 to do the same thing except with a slightly longer step forward. Turn on playback for recording 1 and 2 and see if you can block the cross-ups and the normal jumps.

Success Lv. 1 = 3 times blocked in a row.
Success Lv. 2 = 7 times blocked in a row.
Success Lv. 3 = 10 times blocked in row.

TIP
If you’re not sure if an attack was a cross-up or not, don’t fret. The game actually has a built in visual aid that says “cross-up” if it’s visually difficult to tell which side a jumping attack hit you on. It will appear in orange letters on the screen if you did get hit with a cross-up. So if you got hit and you didn’t see cross-up visual, the attack wasn’t a cross-up.

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All blocking loses to throws. If you remember from the offensive guide, there are 2 kinds of throw. Normal throw and command throws. You must defend against them in different ways.

For normal throws, you have 3 options to evade. You can jump back. When you jump, you are invincible to throws. You can back dash. Back dash is invincible to normal throws, but if you are hit during the beginning of a back dash, it will be considered counter hit. The final defense is to press throw [LP+LK] at the same time your opponent does. This will nullify their throw and push you away from them. This is commonly referred to as a throw-tech.

Command throws, are incredibly similar except that not every character has them and you cannot throw-tech, and you must either jump or back dash away. There are a few command throws however that will only hit enemies in the air. If you encounter one of these moves, note that they cannot grab you with the same attack if you stay on the ground.

Practice Exercises

Set the dummy to Birdie. Record the dummy doing f.dash,f.dash, s.LK, step forward, LP+LK. Set the playback and try to tech the throw. Pay attention to how late you can actually tech.

Success Lv. 1 = 1 time teched
Success Lv. 2  = 5 times teched
Success Lv. 3 = 10 times teched

Set the dummy to Cammy. Record the dummy doing f.dash, f.dash, s.LK, LK+LP. Set dummy to playback and try to tech the throw. Pay attention to how late you can actually tech.

Success Lv. 1 = 1 time teched
Success Lv. 2 = 5 times teched
Success Lv. 3 = 10 times teched

Set the dummy to R.Mika. Record the dummy doing f.dash, c.LK, hcb.LP [PLEASE NOTE YOU SHOULD NOT CANCEL c.LK into hcb.LP]. Set the playback and block the c.LK and try to get to away from the command throw.

Success Lv. 1 = 3 times escape throw
Success Lv. 2 = 5 times escape throw
Success Lv. 3 = 7 times escape throw

TIP
Most attacks don’t leave an opponent in range for a throw, so after the attack they usually have to walk forward before they hit you. In this case, holding back and walking back will make their throw attack whiff entirely. Just be careful they don’t hit you with a low kick attack!

BONUS TIP
Cammy’s Hooligan Combination is a rare exception to all of the rules stated above. It is a special attack that can grab opponents on the ground or in the air. It is the only move in the game that has this property. To properly defend against it, all you need to do is crouch. It will only throw you if you are in the air or standing up on the ground. It is not able to grab crouching.

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There will be times where you want to end your opponent’s offense immediately or prevent them from continuing pressure against you. V-reversal serves this purpose. For one gauge  of your V-trigger bar, you can initiate a V-reversal. The properties of V-reversal differs from character to character. Some characters do an attack, some characters just move away. The input for V-Reversal will be either forward and three punches or forward and three kicks only while you’re blocking. If you are not blocking will you will do a normal attack.

This works best to immediately end an opponents offense and reset the position. A great opportunity to use it is when you are low on health and your opponent has offensive momentum. It should be noted that yes, V-reversals provide an option to escape pressure, but they all have a weakness. For example, most can be thrown.

Thought Exercises

In training mode, set the guard recovery recording and record yourself doing the character’s v-reversal. Find the following information.

Success Lv. 1 = Find 6 V-reversals that are hits.
Success Lv. 2 = Find 4 V-reversals that knock the opponent down.
Success Lv. 3 = Find 4 V-reversals that are not hits.

TIP
Smarter players will jab to bait out your V-reversal, and then follow up by immediately throwing. For this reason, it’s best not to do a V-reversal when an opponent is doing light punch or light kicks of any kind. It’s best to V-reversal during an attack that has a long animation or one that is multiple hits, so that the opponent cannot do anything about it.

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Each character has moves that will knock you flat on your back. When you get knocked down in Street Fighter, it’s important to realize that you still have defensive options available to you. Many smart players will find ways to immediately continue offense as soon as you recover from a knockdown, however, in SFV when you are knocked down, you have different recovery’s that you can choose from. When getting knocked down, you can either press three punches [or tap down on the control stick] to wake up immediately from where you were knocked down. This is known as “Quick Recovery.” Pressing three kick buttons [or tapping back on the control stick] to wake up will cause your character to move backward and wake up in a different position, but more importantly at a different timing. This is known as “Back Recovery.” Finally, if you don’t press anything your character will wait a long time until they recover. This is called “no recovery”

These options will allow you to  escape pressure situations that you would otherwise have to deal with immediately upon recovering. The best advice to give beginners is that when you’re not feeling very confident about your defense while recovering, do back recovery. Most characters have a harder time dealing with this recovery option. In a nutshell, if you’re getting beat up while you’re trying to get off the ground, try a different wake-up.

Practice Exercises

For yourself choose any character you like. set the training mode dummy to Cammy and try to use either back or quick recovery to escape the pressure situations.

Success Lv. 1 = Record Cammy doing s.HP xx qcf.HK, dash foward, c.mp. Then set the computer to playback and get hit by this set-up. Try to find a way so that you don’t get hit when you’re recovering.

Success Lv. 2 = Record Cammy doing s.HP xx qcf.MK, dash, LP+LK. Get hit by this set-up. Choose between quick or back recovery so that you don’t get thrown.

Success Lv. 3 = Set your character to Ryu. Keep the dummy as Cammy.  Record Cammy doing s.HP xx qcf.HK, dash, s.MK. Set the computer to playback and get hit by this set-up. Do either quick or back recovery and try to jab when you recover to escape the situation. Which recovery worked?

TIP
There are usually 3 ways to recovery from most attacks, however from throws, you do not have the option of back recovery. You can only quick recover or no recover from a throw or command throw. Finally, in situations where you are hit with a counter-hit c.HK from any character, you can only no recover. This situation is quite rare, however, it allows the person on offense a guaranteed timing to continue their pressure. Know your options!

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If you’d like to keep a copy of this note for your personal collection, you can download the Evernote version below, which comes equipped with check-boxes on the challenges so you can easily remember where you left off.

Download Link:

Click Here to Download

If you don’t have Evernote, and you’re serious about learning fighting games,  I wholeheartedly recommend you get it to make notes for match-ups, combos, set-ups, etc. It’s an incredibly handy tool to have on your computer, your phone, or tablet. If you’re feeling kind, when you sign up for Evernote, please use the referral link below. It helps me get more storage so I can make more of these guides and distribute them to the public without paying for Evernote’s fees. By referring me, you will also get a free month of Evernote Premium. Talk about a win-win!

Referral Link:

Click Here to Sign Up for Evernote!

Finally, if you found this or any other guide on our site useful and of value, please consider donating. This site is largely a passion project, and all costs come out of pocket. Please consider supporting us to recoup these costs. You can donate by following the link here. With your help we can continue to put out these guides to help everyone improve.

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Freshman Series: Basic Offense Guide

The following tutorial is part of our “Freshman Series” tutorials and is made to help people learn the basics of applying offense in fighting games, most specifically, Street Fighter V. The beginning will cover some of the simplest concepts and then then expand into more creative ways of applying offensive pressure to a defending opponent, in order to bypass their guard.

If you have not read our Freshman Series: Execution Tutorial, that is a spiritual prerequisite to this, and it is wholeheartedly recommended you read that first. You can find it on our guides page, which you can find by clicking the bar at the top of this page.

Also at the bottom of this tutorial you’ll find information about how to download it for your personal use.

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Street Fighter can be divided into 2 distinct kinds of phases [People coming from Pokken will really click with this idea]. The first is footsies, where players battle it out fighting for space. There, space control and hitting extended limbs determine the better players. The second phases, we’ll call the “pressure phase.” Here, offensive and defensive capability rule the day. This guide will discuss the first half, detailing all of the basic skills for offense.

The basic premise of this “pressure phase” is that the person on offense gets the chance to press buttons and attack, and the other person, on defense, isn’t allowed to press buttons. Let’s examine what happens when the person on defense tries to break this rule. When on offense, you often leave little gaps between your attacks, so that if someone tries to break the rule of “no pressing buttons on defense,” you hit them. You are letting them hang themselves. The fastest attacks are generally jabs, so leaving small gaps to catch jabs are best. The sequences are known as “frame traps,” because they are traps in your offense; If an opponent presses a button, they get hit.

Thought  Exercises

Choose Chun-Li and set the dummy to Rashid in training mode. Record the dummy Rashid doing the following inputs:

forward dash, forward dash, standing medium punch, standing medium punch. [Combo Notation: f.dash f.dash, s.MP, s.MP]

Make sure the s.MP’s are done as soon as possible one after another. Set the computer to playback, and as Chun-Li, block the first hit and try to do a crouching light punch between the two s.mp attacks.

Success Lv. 1 = Answer the question: What happens? Why? Is this effective?

 

Choose Chun-Li and set the dummy to FANG in training mode. Record the dummy FANG doing the following inputs:

dash forward, dash forward, standing heavy kick, crouching medium punch. [Combo Notation: f.dash, f.dash, s.HK, c.MP]

Make sure the c.mp is done as soon as possible. Set the dummy to playback and as Chun-Li, block the s.HK and try to do a crouching light punch before the c.mp

Success Lv. 1 = Answer the question: What happens? Why? Is this effective?

TIP
SFV has a special “priority system”, where if you and your opponent do attacks which hit each other at the same time, the stronger attack always wins. If a light punch and a medium punch hit at the same time, the person who did the medium punch will win, and the person who did the light punch will be damaged.

In order to have the capability to start your own offense successfully, you must first make sure that your frame traps have enough of a gap to successfully trap your opponent who tries to get a quick attack in through your offense. Having frame traps in which the opponent can hit you and interrupt your offense is detrimental and inhibits you from pressuring and damaging your opponent.

Practice Exercise

Choose the character that you main, and set the dummy to the following characters below in the order they appear. Under the dummy settings, chose block recovery recording and record the character doing a crouching light punch attack [make sure the phrase “reversal” appears when you record the crouching light punch]. Turn on the block recovery playback and set the computer to “guard all” for the block setting.

As the character you main, try to find a frame trap that will hit the opponent when they block your attack and do a c.LP afterward. For the sake of this exercise, try not to make all of your attacks light attacks. One light attack in your frame trap is okay, but avoid making every attack in your frame trap a light attack.

Success Lv. 1 = 5 Successful frame trap attempts against Birdie
Success Lv. 2 = 5 Successful frame trap attempts against Zangief
Success Lv. 3 = 5 Successful frame trap attempts against Necalli
Success Lv. 4 = 5 Successful frame trap attempts against Chun-Li

TIP
Not all characters c.LP hit at the same speed. Generally, bigger and bulkier characters have slower jabs than smaller and more nimble characters. Frametraps that you can’t get to work against Necalli or Chun-Li, might work against Birdie or Zangief, because their light punch attack is slower.

Counter-Hits

Before, you just practiced making your own frame-traps, and you probably noticed, that when the dummy got hit, the “counter-hit” icon appeared on the screen. Counter-hits award you more damage, and also allow you to do combos that aren’t normally possible, while, not all characters can get longer combos from frame trap counter-hits, it’s important to test out your character’s and find out for yourself.

Thought Exercise

Pick Necalli, and set the training dummy to Karin. Go to block recovery recording and record Karin doing a c.LP. Turn on the block recovery playback and set the computer to “none” for the block setting. As Necalli, do the following frame trap:

Standing medium punch, standing medium kick, into crouching medium kick. [Combo Notation: s.MP, s.MK, c.MK]

Success Lv. 1 = Answer the question: What happens? Do any of the hits combo?

Change the guard setting to “guard all” and try to combo the combo again.

Success Lv. 2 = Answer the question: Do any attacks combo? If so, which ones? Is this possible outside of counter-hit?

TIP
Each character has at least one attack that, when it counter-hits, grants you a “Crush Counter.” Crush counters allow you much stronger and damaging combos, and also give your a lot of V-gauge for your V-trigger. Try them out and see what combos you can find!

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Now that you can use frame traps to stop your opponent from interrupting your offense with jabs and other quick attacks, they will now need to rely on their defense, in layman’s terms, how well they can block. Now you must transition your mindset from frame trapping your opponent to tricking them and getting past their defenses. It was Sun-Tzu who said, “All war is based on deception.” This statement is what determines and separates players who have strong offense versus those whose pressure is sub-par.

Weak players expect the opponent to make a mistake, strong players trick their adversaries.

Going forward you should be trying to deceive your opponents in order to defeat them. Frame trapping forms a basis for your offense by forcing your opponents to block. With their mindset focused on blocking, you should do all that you can to overcome their guard.

Highs and Lows

All guards are not created equal. There are at least two ways through every type of guard. The first, in which we’ll talk about is the concept of an overhead attack. Overhead attacks must be guarded while standing. Overhead attacks will crush and blow through low guard and should be used to hit enemies who incessantly block while crouching. Hitting them with an overhead will make them second-guess their choice to guard.

Practice Exercises

Go and try to find out what attacks or special moves hit overhead. Try different characters. Not all characters have overhead attacks, so familiarize yourself with the ones that do. When you do find them, write down the characters who do have overheads and write what attacks are their overheads. Jumping attacks don’t count for this exercise!

Success Lv. 1 = Find 1 overhead attack
Success Lv. 2 = Find 3 overhead attacks
Success Lv. 3 = Find 5 overhead attacks
Success Lv. 4 = Find 7 overhead attacks

TIP
Because many overheads can be punished if they’re blocked, it’s best to use your overhead at it’s maximum distance. Using it next to the opponent makes it more likely they will retaliate. With a bit of distance, their punish might not reach you.

Jumps and Empty Jumps

Aside from overhead attacks, jumping attacks must also be blocked while standing. This is a commonly known fact, so when a person jumps to attack, the other player will likely stand and block [though anti-airing would be better!]. You can take advantage of this, and do a jump without an attack. Your opponent, assuming a jumping attack is coming, will block high. Instead, don’t do an air attack, but land from the jump and do a crouching light kick instead. This is a low attack, and must be blocked while crouching. If they are stand-blocking, expecting to block your jump attack, they’re in for a rude awakening!

Thought Exercise

In training mode, choose the character you main and set the dummy to Rashid. Record the dummy doing the following inputs:

“Recording Slot 1”: f.dash, f.dash, s.MP, s.MP, f.HP.  [Note: This does not need to combo]
“Recording Slot 2”: f.dash, f.dash, s.MP, s.MP, c.HK.  [Note: This does not need to combo]

Turn on the playback for Slot 1 and slot 2. As your character, try and correctly block all of the attacks.

Success Lv. 1 = Try it a total of 10 times and then stop. Remember, this is offense training. We’re just aiming to show you how effective overhead attacks can be. That being said, how well did you block? I’m going to guess not 100%.

Thought Exercise

Pick M.Bison [Dictator] as the training mode dummy and record him doing the following inputs:

“Recording Slot 1”: f.dash, f.dash, qcb.MP, nj.HP
“Recording Slot 2”: f.dash, f.dash, qcb.MP, nj, c.LK

Turn on the playback for slot 1 and slot 2. Move yourself into the corner, and get hit by M.Bison’s Psycho Inferno attack and normal rise.

Success Lv. 1 = Try to block the high or low attack from the jump afterward correctly 10 times. How many times could you do it? Tricky, eh?

TIP
This strategy is more effective against characters without a “Shoryuken”-like attack. Against the likes of of Ryu or Ken, be careful of using empty jumps! Remember that you’re vulnerable during the entire length of the jump.

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The next pressure tool you can add to your offense utility belt is the cross-up. When blocking jumping attacks, like we talked about before, normally we hold the control stick back away from our opponent, however, there is a scenario in which the opponent jump’s over you, and hits you with the back of their knee or foot. This makes it so that holding back or away from your opponent on the joystick causes you to get hit. Be careful as not all jumping attacks are cross-ups. Each character has only one or two, so you should familiarize yourself with them.

Cross-Up Graphic

Practice Exercises

Go into training mode and try to find which characters have cross-up moves and which characters do not. Find each character’s cross-up moves. Set the training dummy to Ryu and standing and guard to none. Jump over the dummy and try to hit the back of his head with a jumping attack. You’ll know if you’re successful because the phrase “Cross-Up” will appear on the side of the screen.

Success Lv. 1 = Find 3 cross-up attacks.
Success Lv. 2 = Find 5 cross-up attacks.
Success Lv. 3 = Find 7 cross-up attacks.
Success Lv. 4 = Find 12 cross-up attacks.

We’re not going to cover blocking strategies here, we’ll save that for the tutorial on defense. Just know, the opponent has to change their guard to block a cross-up successfully. For this reason, it’s an effective tool for offense. There are two main ways to use the cross-up- Either in pressure, or when the opponent is standing up after being knocked down.

In Pressure

While doing frame traps, each successive attack you do, whether blocked or hit, pushes you away from your opponent. You can use this distance to set up the perfect range to do a cross-up on your opponent. This does come with some risk though. you can be hit during the jump before your cross-up attack lands. That being said, it’s not good to abuse this often, but occasionally peppered into your game, it can be scary.

Practice Exercises

Test out some frame traps into cross-ups during pressure. Set the training mode dummy to Ryu, stand, guard all. Try the following set-ups against the dummy. [Note: Because the training dummy is set to guard all, the following attacks are not meant to combo. They are presented in combo notation as just a flow of attacks that you should be doing. They do not actually combo]

Success Lv. 1 = Choose Ken and do the following: c.MP, s.LP, j.MK
Success Lv. 2 = Choose Rashid and do the following: s.MP, s.MP, j.MK
Success Lv. 3 = Choose R.Mika and do the following: c.LP, s.LP, j.MK

TIP
The added benefit of a cross-ups in pressure, is that even if you’re cross-up is blocked, you can still apply frame traps or other means of offense because you’re right next to the opponent! With grappling-focused characters, like Zangief, this is really good for scaring your opponent with a command grab.

On Wake-Up

Cross-Ups, though we just covered using them in pressure, can also be used on knockdowns as well. You need to be careful however that your cross-up will be effective given the opponents wake-up timing. Cross ups are particularly useful on knockdowns because they really limit your opponents defensive options. If they try to use an invincible reversal, there is a highly likely chance, it will go in the wrong direction. The opponent is, for that reason, almost forced to block or face taking damage. it’s in your best interest to find your most common knockdown situations and see if you can find a feasible cross-up scenario.

Practice Exercises

Go into training mode and set the dummy to Ryu, set the guard setting to “After first hit”, and the recovery setting to normal recovery, and try the following set-ups

Success Lv. 1 = As Ryu, try the following: s.MP, s.MP xx qcb.LK, jump forward, j.MK
Success Lv. 2 = As Ken, try the following: c.MP, s.MK xx qcb. LK, jump forward, j.MK
Success Lv. 3 = As Nash, try the following: c.MP, s.MP xx qcf.LP [V-Trigger] c.HK, jump forward, j.MK

TIP
Cross-Ups on wake-up are vulnerable to back and no-recovery. Before you try a cross-up, it’s recommended that you first knock your opponent down and observe how they recover to see if your cross-up on wake-up will be effective or not.

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[mp_accordion_item title=”Throws” active=”false”]

Before, I mentioned that there are at least 2 ways to beat any kind of guard. The first, was high attacks and low attacks. The second is throws. Throws cannot be guarded against by just blocking. A blocking opponent can always be thrown. When an opponent’s blocking seems to be relentless, and their patience seems overpowering, perhaps its time to try and throw them. Just like guards, throws come in 2 distinct flavors- Normal throws and command throws.

Normal Throws

Normal throws are throws that every character has access to. Each as a forward/neutral throw and a back throw, both with different uses, because of their different properties. The difficulty of normal throws are their abysmal range. You must be very close to the opponent in order to throw them, and will have to stop your frame trap to walk forward and throw an opponent. There is a way around this however. Some attacks have so little push-back, that you can do the attack, and the opponent can still be grabbed afterward, without moving.

Practice Exercises

In training mode, select Cammy as your character, and anyone for the training dummy. Set the dummy to “Guard All.” As Cammy, dash close to the dummy and try the following inputs. In which of these cases did the throw connect after your blocked attack? Check the box(es) where the throw connects.

[ ] s.LP, throw
[ ] c.MK, throw
[ ] s.LK, throw
[ ] c.LK, throw

Thought Exercises

Turn attack data on and try the following:

Success Lv. 1 = Answer the question: Do a forward normal throw. How much damage does it do? How much stun does it do? Right down the numbers.
Success Lv. 2 = Answer the question: Do a back normal throw. How much damage does it do? How much stun does it do? Right down the numbers.
Success Lv. 3 = Answer the question: Based on the information from above, what cases would you use each throw? Do they have different purposes?

TIP
Before we talked about attack priority. Well throws also factor into this system. If a throw and any attack overlap at the same time, the throw will always win. Normal throws have the highest priority of any non-special attacks.

Command Throws

Command throws are the scarier of the 2 types of throws. They are more difficult to guard against (more on that later), can have significantly more range, and often do much more damage than regular throws. luckily, their application is similar. you can use these whenever your opponent isn’t trying to press buttons through your frame-trap, and are just blocking too much. What makes command throws scarier and more powerful is that, unlike regular throws, command grabs cannot be teched. The opponent must backdash or jump to escape. The user of the command throw also needs to be careful here because if the command throw doesn’t hit, or “whiffs” as it’s more commonly called, they can be hit during the ending animation.

Practice Exercises

Go into training mode and try to find which character’s have command throws and which characters do not. Set the training dummy to Ryu and standing and guard to “guard all”. Try all of the character’s special attacks and see which ones grab the training dummy.

Success Lv. 1 = Find 3 characters with command throws
Success Lv. 2 = Find 5 characters with command throws
Success Lv. 3 = Find 7 characters with command throws

TIP
Learn the difference between hit-throws and command throws. Command throws will grab you, even if you’re blocking. There are some moves that look like throws, but aren’t classified as such because, they won’t hurt you if you’re blocking. One example is Birdie’s “Hanging Chain” attack. Make sure you know the difference!

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If you’d like to keep a copy of this note for your personal collection, you can download the Evernote version below, which comes equipped with check-boxes on the challenges so you can easily remember where you left off.

Download Link:

Click Here to Download

If you don’t have Evernote, and you’re serious about learning fighting games,  I wholeheartedly recommend you get it to make notes for match-ups, combos, set-ups, etc. It’s an incredibly handy tool to have on your computer, your phone, or tablet. If you’re feeling kind, when you sign up for Evernote, please use the referral link below. It helps me get more storage so I can make more of these guides and distribute them to the public without paying for Evernote’s fees. By referring me, you will also get a free month of Evernote Premium. Talk about a win-win!

Referral Link:

Click Here to Sign Up for Evernote!

Finally, if you found this guide helpful, and are interested in receiving others like in, follow us on Twitter or Like us on Facebook, to get the latest guides and tutorials to take your game to the next level!

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Junior Series: -2 to 2 A guide on the Power of Advantage

 

The following tutorial is part of our “Junior Series” tutorials in order to help people learn and deepen their knowledge of the game after they have a grasp on the basic mechanics of the game.  Using knowledge, this guide will help players to conceptualize difficult and generally unpredictable situations to that they can come to understand the reason behind choices other players might make.

Each section covers a different topic under the umbrella  of frame advantage and disadvantage based on the most prevalent varying factors. At the end of each section, you’ll be given some thought exercises to complete. The purpose of these trails are to help you understand and explain what is happening and more importantly why it is happening.

As a pre-requisite, this guide requires that you know and understand frame data.

 

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[mp_accordion_item title=”3 Frame Normals” active=”false”]

In Street Fighter, generally, the fastest moves you can do start in 3 frames, yet there exists a nebulous area in which some moves are at a -2 frame advantage or a -1 frame advantage if they are blocked. What are the purposes of frame advantage or disadvantage, when there is no guarantee of damage? What does this range of being -2 or -1 mean for you as a player during a match.

Imagine a situation in which Player A does a move which has a frame advantage of -2. He wants to continue attacking and so does his fastest move, a 3-frame jab. The opponent, Player B also wants to start attacking, so he also does a 3-frame jab. Because of Player A’s disadvantage of -2, he gets hit by his opponents jab on the first frame[The start-up] of his own, resulting in a counter-hit. Player A, even with his fastest move, after the frame disadvantage, he will get hit. What does this mean? It tells us that negative frame advantage of -2 or -1 represents the turning tide of the character’s roles from offense to defense or defense to offense.

It is a shift in momentum.

It establishes norms in the flow of gameplay. A kind of prescribed rule. Doing a move with -2 frame advantage says to your opponent, “My offense is over, now it’s your turn.” Imagine a game of poker. Good players know to play a hand with good potential and to fold a hand with bad or no potential.  Think of the frame advantage as your potential. In the last scenario, Player A was at -2 frame advantage- This is bad potential, and so he shouldn’t have continued attacking. He shouldn’t have risked his health by pressing jab when he was at a -2 frame advantage. Player B on the other hand, was not in such a situation, but knew that his opponent had bad potential, and could use it to attack. Good players constantly internalize and think about this when they play.

3vs3chart

So now that you know the honest way to play the scenario, what happens when you don’t want to shift the momentum? Is there a way that you can keep attacking even when you’re at a frame disadvantage? What do you do if you don’t want to give up your turn? The answer, as you might have guessed, is an invincible reversal. A move that blows through all others.

So let’s look at the situation again. Player A is at -2 disadvantage and he doesn’t want to shift the momentum; he wants to keep attacking. So instead of jabbing, he does an invincible reversal. Player B on the other hand though that because his opponent was at -2 frame advantage, he , himself could start attack, so he did a jab, and was hit by his opponent’s invincible reversal. He will remember this. The invincible reversal allows you a way to keep momentum and keep attacking. It affords you a way to break, the general rule of thumb- -2 means that you give up the offensive position. This breach of the mutual contract between players does not come with some penalty however. Let’s look.

Player A and B, eternally locked in battle, meet again. Player A, again does an attack and is at -2 advantage, but again, wants to keep attacking. Player B also wants to attack, but he remembers the invincible reversal Player A did last time, and this time Player B blocks. The invincible reversal hits nothing and with it’s huge frame disadvantage compounded with its counter-hit state during the recovery, Player A has to pay in spades. Player B will punish him, and likely end with a knockdown that will afford Player B another advantage situation. Player A played a hand with bad potential, but lied and bet big to make Player B think he had a good hand. Player B smelled the lie and called Player A out on it.

This situation can have many different outcomes. Think to yourself about each of the player’s following options. Selecting any pair is a likely outcome in this kind of -2 position. Think about why and in what situation each player is likely to choose a certain option.

AvsBoptions

Thought Exercises

Set a computer player Karin to do a reversal c.LP as a guard recovery action. Set the Karin’s guard to “Guard All.”  At point-blank range, do Rashid’s s.HK and immediately do a s.LK afterward.

What happens? Check the frame data for the game here. Can you explain to yourself why it happens?

Set a computer player Laura to do a reversal s.LP as a guard recovery action. Set the Laura’s guard to “Guard All.” At point-blank range, do Ryu’s c.MP and immediately do a s.LP afterward.

What happens? Check the frame data for the game. Can you explain to yourself why it happens?

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[mp_accordion_item title=”The Case of 3 vs. 4″ active=”false”]

Up until this point, Player A and B have been operating under the premise that both have a 3-frame jab as their fastest attack, however, in Street Fighter V not every character’s fastest move starts in 3 frames- some start in 4. This small difference might seem unimportant, but it hsa large implications. Let’s assume Player A does a move that leaves him at -1 frame advantage. This time, no funny business, both player A and player B do their fastest attack. A has a 3-frame jab and B has a 4-frame jab. In this case they will trade.

The reason here is obvious. Player A has to wait 1 additional frame plus his 3 frame jab means that the jab will come out on frame 4, the same frame as Player B’s 4 frame jab.

Untitled-1

This means that even advantage [0 frame advantage] is actually advantage for player A, who has a 3 frame jab. The take away here is that in this spectrum, player B has less chances to take momentum, and will likely play a more defensive role in the match. When player B has a +1 advantage, it actually means he will trade with player A’s 3-frame jab. if you are a character with this 4-frame attack, you are not at advantage unless you are at +2 or your opponent is at -2 frame advantage. 2 is your magical number, and so you should always be vigilant in matches to arrive at that number.

4vs3chart

Thought Exercises

Set a computer player Ken to do a reversal s.LK as a guard recovery action. Set the Ken’s guard to “Guard All.”  At point-blank range, do Chun-Li’s f.HK and immediately do a c.LP afterward.

What happens? Check the frame data for the game here. Can you explain to yourself why it happens?

Set a computer player Chun-Li to do a reversal c.LP as a guard recovery action. Set the Chun-Li’s guard to “Guard All.” At point-blank range, do Ken’s c.MP and immediately do s.LK afterward.

What happens? Check the frame data for the game. Can you explain to yourself why it happens?

BONUS

Set a computer player Chun-Li to do a reversal c.LP as a guard recovery action. Set the Chun-Li’s guard to “Guard All.” At point-blank range, do Ken’s c.MP and immediately do b.MP afterward.

What happens? Check the frame data for the game. Can you explain to yourself why it happens? If not, ask on-line or to friends and see if you can figure out why this happens.

TIP
Think about the strength of the button.

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[mp_accordion_item title=”Speed vs. Length” active=”false”]

Again, all the examples below have played on the assumption that after an attack, both player A and player B are next to each other, where in matches, it is possible that the enemy will be far away from you when they are at -2 frame advantage. The will likely do a block string, and then not do a move that is -2 until they are far away. If you were to jab to get the momentum of the match, you wouldn’t hit anything.

In the earlier pats of this guide, we studied the nature of only the frame data. Here we will look at the implications of distance and what it means, when speed is also taken into account. This concept is probably one of the most widely misunderstood areas when talking about analyzing frame data. Before we start, we need to establish 2 more pieces of information. The first is the recovery time of 3- and 4-frame attacks. While these moves are fast to begin, they have an average of 7 frames of recovery.

The basic 3-frame normal frame data reads like this:

Start-Up: 3 Frames
Active: 2 Frames
Recovery: 7 Frames
Total: 11 Frames

*Note: It is 11 and not 12 frames total, because the last start-up frame and the first active frame are the same frame.

The second piece of information is that every character has some kind of move that stretches a limb very far and is generally used to poke rom a distance. The start-up of these moves typically range from 6 to 8 frames. For our examples today, we’ll use an overage of 7 frames to make our calculations. As a side note, these moves leave the user at -2 or-3 on block.

With the prerequisite information out of the way, let’s look at some more examples scenarios. For these situations, assume that the jab done will not hit the opponent.

Player A and player B take the field again. Player A does a blockstring that ultimately leaves him at a distance outside of player B’s 3-frame jab. Player B thinks of this situation, like all the others, and decides to jab to gain momentum. Because of the distance, his jab whiffs. Player A is wise to this situation, and so appropriately responds by doing a “poke” moves at the same time as Player B’s jab. So what happens? Who is the victor in this bout?

Player A. Let’s look at why.

FrameVsDistance

Player B’s whiffed jab gets hit during the recovery of his move. In this case, where distance plays a factor, assuming both players press a button at the soonest possible point, the slower attack will win. If you can set up a situation like this, the player who tries to jab, will always lose to the poke. The poke will always lose to a slower attack. This seems very strong for Player A. So what is the solution to this situation for player B? Likely to wait. Waiting, allows Player B the chance to whiff punish “A’s” stronger and slower attacks, however mindgames quickly evolve and spiral into an endless tree of possibilities, because the players have returned to a neutral position, and move back into the footsies stage of the match. Frame data plays a smaller role here and distance rules out.

Thought Exercises

Set a computer player Necalli to do a reversal c.LP as a guard recovery action. Set the Necalli’s guard to “Guard All.”  At 1/2 a large square’s range [On the training mode floor], do Cammy’s s.MK and immediately do a c.MK afterward.

What happens? Check the frame data for the game here. Can you explain to yourself why it happens?

Set a computer player Necalli to do a reversal s.HP as a guard recovery action. Set the Necalli’s guard to “Guard All.” At 1/2 a large square’s range [On the training mode floor] do Cammy’s s.MK and immediately do c.MK afterward.

What happens? Check the frame data for the game. Can you explain to yourself why it happens?

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The examples used here are merely the averages of all the data from characters in the game SFV, and it’s recommended that you go into training mode and find ways to exploit the magical range of -2 to 2. By doing so, you’ll not only see yourself taking advantage in more situations when you play, but as a result, start winning more.

If you’d like to keep a copy of this note for your personal collection, you can download the Evernote version below, which comes equipped with check-boxes on the challenges so you can easily remember where you left off.

Download Link:

Click Here to Download

If you don’t have Evernote, and you’re serious about learning fighting games,  I wholeheartedly recommend you get it to make notes for match-ups, combos, set-ups, etc. It’s an incredibly handy tool to have on your computer, your phone, or tablet. If you’re feeling kind, when you sign up for Evernote, please use the referral link below. It helps me get more storage so I can make more of these guides and distribute them to the public without paying for Evernote’s fees. By referring me, you will also get a free month of Evernote Premium. Talk about a win-win!

Referral Link:

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Finally, if you found this guide helpful, and are interested in receiving others like in, follow us on Twitter or Like us on Facebook, to get first access to future high-quality guides.

 

Freshman Series: Execution Tutorial

The following tutorial is part of our “Freshman Series” tutorials in order to help people learn to do and practice the difficult, and often confusing motions that many fighting games require of it’s players. The beginning is simple and will ease the player into the games mechanics as not to be overwhelmed. This tutorial is not meant to be done in a single sitting, but perhaps over the course of a week or two.

For each section you’ll first get an understanding and some knowledge of how the moves or concepts are performed. After which, you’ll be given some challenges to do with a variety of characters to practice the concepts that you learned. Each challenge has a level of difficulty attached do it. The challenges should be done in ascending order, starting with the lowest level difficulty and working your way up from there.

Before any of the challenges are some important vocabulary and terms that you should familiarize yourself with. These terms will be used throughout the guide, and require you know them. At any time, you can refer back to them if need be. Also at the bottom of this tutorial you’ll find information about how to download it for your personal use.

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[mp_accordion_item title=”Important Vocabulary” active=”false”]

LP = light punch; also called jab.
MP = medium punch; also called strong.
HP = heavy punch; also called fierce.

LK = light kick; also called short.
MK = medium kick; also called forward.
HK = heavy kick; also called roundhouse.

s. = standing
c. = crouching
j. = jumping

qcf. = quarter circle forward motion
qcb. = quarter circle backward motion
dp. = dragon punch motion [forward, down, down-forward on the joystick]
bf. = back-forward charge motion
du. = down-up charge motion

normal = any attack initiated by pressing only a button.
special attack = any attack that is initiated by a joystick motion and pressing a button.
target combo = special combos wherein the moves of the combo can be canceled into one another.

left side = to the left of your opponent
right side = to the right side of your opponent.

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[mp_accordion_item title=”Links” active=”false”]

  • Do an attack. Wait till it ends. Do another attack. This is a “link.” You are “linking” two attacks together in one combo.
  • Links require timing to perform, but are the basis for all combos
  • While the opponent is still reeling back you can hit them again.

Input Tut Link Graphic

Practice Exercises

Do Ryu’s s.MP, s.MP. Make sure the combo counter says “2 Hits.”

Success Lv. 1 = 5 successful links in a row.
Success Lv. 2 = 10 successful links in a row.

Do Ryu’s s.HK, s.LK. Make sure the combo counter says “2 Hits.

Success Lv. 1 = 5 successful links in a row.
Success Lv. 2 = 10 successful links in a row.

Do Ryu’s s.MP, c.HP. Make sure the combo counter says “2 Hits.

Success Lv. 1 = 5 successful links in a row.
Success Lv. 2 = 10 successful links in a row.

TIP
The game mechanics will help you, and the normal will still come out if you press the button a bit early. Its better to do the link a little bit faster, rather than a little bit slower.

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[mp_accordion_item title=”Special Moves” active=”false”]

Basic Stick Movement

  • Move the joystick in a circular motion. Try to complete one rotation in one second. Keep time by counting “1 Mississippi.”
  • Divide the area the stick can move like a keyboard number pad. Up=8, Right=6, Down=2, Left=4

Quarter-Circle Forward / Backward

  • Move the joystick to the 2 position / the down position.
  • Using the same speed when you made the circular motions before, move the joystick to the 6 position / the left position.
  • Immediately after the joystick reaches the 6 position, press a button. This is the quarter circle forward motion.
  • If your character jumps, you moved the joystick to the upright position / 9 position. This is too far. Try again and end the movement at the 6 position.
  • To do a quarter-circle backward motion, again start at the 6 position, and move the stick toward the 4 position and immediately press a button. If your character jumps backward, you went too far and ended at the 7 position.
  • Take care to end the motion at the 4 position and try again.

Practice Exercises

Do Chun-Li’s Hyakuretsu special move by doing a quarter circle forward motion and pressing kick.

Success Lv. 1 = 5 successful Hyakuretsu in a row on the left side.
Success Lv. 2 = 5 successful Hyakuretsu strikes in a row on the right side.
Success Lv. 3 = 10 successful Hyakuretsu strikes in a row on the left side.
Success Lv. 4 = 10 successful Hyakuretsu strikes in a row on the right side.

Do Cammy’s Cannon Strike special move by doing a quarter circle backward motion and pressing kick while in the air.

Success Lv. 1 = 5 successful Cannon Strikes in a row on the left side.
Success Lv. 2 = 5 successful Cannon Strikes in a row on the right side.
Success Lv. 3 = 10 successful Cannon Strikes in a row on the left side.
Success Lv. 4 = 10 successful Cannon Strikes in a row on the right side.

TIP
In training mode, you can turn on your inputs to see if you’re making mistakes. Open the training mode options and turn key display to “on.” If your motions are correct and the move still isn’t coming out. You might be trying to do it too fast. Slow down a little bit.

Charge Motion Back-Forward

  • Hold backward / 4 position [away from the direction your character is facing] on the joystick. Hold this for about 2 seconds time.
  • When holding backward at the 4 position, please note that holding down-back [The 1 position] is also considered charging backward for the charge back-forward motion.
  • After 2 seconds, move the joystick to the forward / 6 position and immediately press the punch button. This is a back-forward charge motion.
  • When you perform the motion, if you do a normal attack without doing the special attack, you either didn’t hold the charge motion long enough [Trying counting with “Mississippi”] or you pressed the button too quickly [wait for a split second more].

Practice Exercises

Do F.A.N.G.’s Ryobenda special move by doing the charge back-forward motion and pressing kick.

Success Lv. 1 = 5 successful Ryobenda in a row on the left side.
Success Lv. 2 = 5 successful Ryobenda in a row on the right side.
Success Lv. 3 = 10 successful Ryobenda in a row on the left side.
Success Lv. 4 = 10 successful Ryobenda ina row on the right side.

Charge Motion Down-Up

  • Hold down / 2 position on the joystick. Hold this for about 2 seconds time.
  • When holding down at the 2 position, please note that holding down-back [The 1 position] is also considered charging backward for the charge down-up motion.
  • After 2 seconds, move the joystick to the up position / 8 position and immediately press the punch button. This is the down-up charge motion.
  • When you perform the motion, if you do a normal jumping attack and not the special attack, you either didn’t hold the charge long enough [Again, try counting “Mississippi”] or you pressed the button to late.
  • The timing may take some time to master, so it is best if you start by pressing the button too early, and slowly increase how quickly you press the button after doing the joystick motion.

Practice Exercises

Do M.Bison [Dictator]’s Head Press special move by doing the charge down-up motion and pressing kick.

Success Lv. 1 = 1 successful Head Press.
Success Lv. 2 = 3 successful Head Press in a row.
Success Lv. 3 = 5 successful Head Press in a row.
Success Lv. 4 = 10 successful Head Press in a row.

TIP
Because the charge back motion and the charge down motion both accept the down-back [The 1 position], it is best to use this position to charge. Because charge characters tend to have both down-up and back-forward charges, by using the down-back position, you have the chance to react with either type of move during a match depending on the situation you might find yourself in.

Dragon Punch Motion

  • First, hold the joystick forward at the 6 position.
  • Move the joystick 2 position, and then slide it to the 3 position.
  • Remember the speed you used moving the joystick in a circle? Don’t forget to use this level of speed to do the input.
  • Be careful not to go from the 2 position to the 6 position, during the last motion your you might get a critical art attack input.

Practice Exercises

Do Ken’s Shoryuken special move by doing the dragon punch motion and pressing punch.

Success Lv. 1 = 3 successful Shoryuken in a row on the left side.
Success Lv. 2 = 3 successful Shoryuken in a row on the right side.
Success Lv. 3 = 7 successful Shoryuken in a row on the left side.
Success Lv. 4 = 7 successful Shoryuken in a row on the right side.
Success Lv. 5 = 10 successful Shoryuken in a row on the left side.
Success Lv. 6 = 10 successful Shoryuken in a row on the right side.

TIP
The game system allows a special shortcut for the dragon punch input, other than the one mentioned above. You will also do a dragon punch motion if you tap the joystick at the 3 position quickly 2 times in succession. This is perhaps the most useful input shortcut in the game, however be advised there are other shortcuts like this.

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[mp_accordion_item title=”Cancels” active=”false”]

Target Combos

  • Some normal attacks can be canceled into other normal attacks or specials.
  • To cancel into other normals, simply press the net attack when the first normal hits.
  • Not all normals can be canceled into other normals. The game only allows very specific combinations that vary from character to character. For more information about this, check the command list for the character you use. They will be listed under “Unique Attacks.”

Input Tut Cancel Graphic

Practice Exercises

Do Nash’s Wind Shear 2nd Target combo by pressing standing MP > standing LK > standing HP. All 3 hits should register as a combo.

Success Lv. 1 = 5 successful Wind Shear 2nd in a row.
Success Lv. 2 = 10 successful Wind Shear 2nd in a row.

Do Necalli’s Sacrificial Altar and Follow-up by pressing standing MK > standing HK > and finally, MP and MK at the same time. All 3 hits should register as a combo.

Success Lv. 1 = 5 successful Sacrificial Altar and Follow-Up in a row.
Success Lv. 2 = 10 successful Sacrificial Altar and Follow-Up in a row.

TIP
The timing for many character’s target combos can vary, but as a general rule, press the next button when you see the first attack hit. There are lots of different target combos in the game, and you should familiarize yourself with them to practice your execution.

Special Cancels

  • Every character has at least 1 normal attack that can be canceled into a special move.
  • First perform the normal attack.
  • Just before or as it hits, do the motion for the special attack. Do the motion quickly, but do not sacrifice doing a correct input for too much speed.
  • If need be, turn on key display in the training mode options to check if your inputs are correct.

 Practice Exercises

Do Birdie’s standing MP canceled into a bull head attack [quarter circle forward motion and press the light punch button]. Both hits should register as a 2 hit combo.

Success Lv. 1 = 1 successful cancel.
Success Lv. 2 = 3 successful cancels in a row on the left side.
Success Lv. 3 = 3 successful cancels in a row on the right side.
Success Lv. 4 = 5 successful cancels in a row on the left side.
Success Lv. 5 = 5 successful cancels in a row on the right side.

Do Karin’s crouching MP canceled into Mujinkyaku [quarter circle back motion and press the heavy kick button]. It should register as a 5 hit combo.

Success Lv. 1 = 1 successful cancel.
Success Lv. 2 = 3 successful cancels in a row on the left side.
Success Lv. 3 = 3 successful cancels in a row on the right side.
Success Lv. 4 = 5 successful cancels in a row on the left side.
Success Lv. 5 = 5 successful cancel sin a row on the right side.

Do Bison’s crouching MP canceled into Psycho Blast [charge back-forward motion and press the light punch button]. It should register as a 2 hit combo.

Success Lv. 1 = 1 successful cancel.
Success Lv. 2 = 3 successful cancels in a row on the left side.
Success Lv. 3 = 3 successful cancels in a row on the right side.
Success Lv. 4 = 5 successful cancels in a row on the left side.
Success Lv. 5 = 5 successful cancel sin a row on the right side.

TIP
Not all moves can be canceled into specials attacks, however each character does have a range of normal attacks that can be canceled to deal more damage. Explore the characters you’re interested in and see what moves they have that are special-cancelable.

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  •  Doing combos, combines all of the knowledge that you have practiced thus far and, puts them into practice at the same time.
  • Combos can contain, links, target combos, special moves, and cancels.
  • Try the Practice Exercises below to see how much you can apply. If you need help, refer back to the appropriate sections above.
  • Remember, these likely won’t work on the first try. Before you go and ask for combo help on the Internet, put some serious time into trying to doing the combo, changing the timing of the areas in which you have problems a little bit each time. You’ll likely find the correct timing this way.

Practice Exercises

Do Ryu’s standing medium punch, linked into another standing medium, canceled into standing heavy punch, canceled into standing heavy kick. Combo Notation: s.MP, s.MP > s.HP > s.HK. It should register as a 4 hit combo.

Success Lv. 1 = 3 successful combos
Success Lv. 2 = 5 successful combos
Success Lv. 3 = 10 successful combos

 Do Ken’s standing medium kick canceled into a standing heavy kick, canceled into a heavy punch Shoryuken [dragon punch motion and press the heavy punch button]. Combo Notation: s.MK > s.HK xx dp.HP. It should register as a 5 hit combo.

Success Lv. 1 = 3 successful combos in a row on the left side.
Success Lv. 2 = 3 successful combos in a row on the right side.
Success Lv. 3 = 5 successful combos in a row on the left side.
Success Lv. 4 = 5 successful combos in a row on the right side.

 Do Cammy’s standing medium punch, linked into standing heavy punch, canceled into a Spiral Arrow [quarter circle forward motion and press the heavy kick punch button]. Combo Notation: s.MP, s.HP xx qcf.HK. It should register as a 4 hit combo.

Success Lv. 1 = 3 successful combos in a row on the left side.
Success Lv. 2 = 3 successful combos in a row on the right side.
Success Lv. 3 = 5 successful combos in a row on the left side.
Success Lv. 4 = 5 successful combos in a row on the right side.

Do the following Necalli combo.

Success Lv. 1 = standing heavy punch canceled into valiant rebellion [quarter circle forward motion and press the medium kick button]. Combo Notation: s.HP xx qcf.MK. It should register as a 2 hit combo.

Success Lv. 2 = standing heavy punch canceled into valiant rebellion, linked into crouching medium punch. Combo Notation: s.HP xx qcf.MK, c.MP. It should register as a 3 hit combo.

Success Lv. 3 = standing heavy punch canceled into valiant rebellion, linked into crouching medium punch, canceled into the disc’s guidance [charge back-forward motion and press the light punch button]. Combo Notation: s.HP xx qcf.MK, c.MP xx bf.LP. It should register as a 4 hit combo.

Success Lv. 4 = perform the combo from success Lv. 3, 3 times in a row on the left side.

Success Lv. 5 = perform the combo from success Lv. 3, 3 times in a row on the right side.

TIP
For Necalli’s combo, after you do the Valiant Rebellion, hold the joystick at down back [1 position] so that you have enough time to charge for The Disc’s Guidance at the end of the combo. You can use this kind of technique in combos for charge characters to get enough time during the combo to do a charge special move.

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If you’d like to keep a copy of this note for your personal collection, you can download the Evernote version below, which comes equipped with check-boxes on the challenges so you can easily remember where you left off.

Download Link:

Click Here to Download

If you don’t have Evernote, and you’re serious about learning fighting games,  I wholeheartedly recommend you get it to make notes for match-ups, combos, set-ups, etc. It’s an incredibly handy tool to have on your computer, your phone, or tablet. If you’re feeling kind, when you sign up for Evernote, please use the referral link below. It helps me get more storage so I can make more of these guides and distribute them to the public without paying for Evernote’s fees. By referring me, you will also get a free month of Evernote Premium. Talk about a win-win!

Referral Link:

Click Here to Sign Up for Evernote!

Finally, if you found this guide helpful, and are interested in receiving others like in, follow us on Twitter or Like us on Facebook, to get the latest guides and tutorials to take your game to the next level!

 

Sophomore Series: Training Mode Guide

Training Mode Guide

A little while back, I got some warm words of encouragement from Gootecks on twitter [@gootecks], and he proposed a question as to how I could make more of these guides for players. I was honest with him and said the biggest block for me is actually finding good ideas to write about. In less than a few seconds he responded with quite a few topics. So you guys can thank him for this one.

The purpose of this guide will be on how to effectively use training mode; one of the biggest overlooked aspects of improving is the genuinely using Training mode to  improve. So below I’ll go over some of the reasons you should use training mode, and even give some examples as to how you can get started right away! So you open up training mode, you fiddle around with your character a few times. Maybe do a few combos until that big yawn hits you. That means it’s time to stop boring yourself, and hit up online or go to a friends and play a couple.

WAIT! WAIT! WAIT!

You’re doing it all wrong. Training mode is an AMAZINGLY useful way to learn and improve your fighting game prowess, and all this time you’ve been just glossing over it. Shame on you.  Well today you’re going to learn to maximize your training mode time. First off there are three reasons we do training in fighting games.

  • Training for repetition
  • Training for understanding
  • Training for creation

Training for Repetition

Each of these is different in their own right, but will strengthen an important aspect of your game. Let’s first start with repetition. I wish I could accurately communicate how many posts on forums, twitter, and facebook groups I see complaining about execution, but there is no analogy accurate enough. If you’ve been around the fighting game community for any length of time, you have likely heard it yourself. Think of execution like golf: If you have a bad swing, how do you improve it? You practice the swing. This is the lowest form of training mode application and perhaps the most widely known use for training mode, this is solely for improving execution skill. Regardless of whether you practice a combo or a set-up, the purpose of this training is to build and reinforce muscle memory. The goal of this kind of training should be consistency. If you can consistently perform a combo or a set-up you will develop a kind of internal timing so that at a moments notice in an actual match should also have no problem executing.

My Repetition Regimen:

  • Start by trying to perform a combo or set up on the side you feel most comfortable with [left or right side of the opponent]. Your goal should be to perform the combo or set-up 10 times in a row, without fail. If you make a mistake, restart your count at zero. The goal is 10 times consecutively, accept nothing less.
  • Once completed, switch sides [relative to the opponent] and perform the set-up or combo again 10 times consecutively without fail. Again, if you make a mistake, restart your count at zero.
  • Finally once, you’ve completed the combo or set-up on your non-dominant side, switch sides again and then perform the combo or set-up on alternating sides. To be more clear, once on the right, then once on the left, repeating. You should do this a total of ten times [5 times on the left, 5 times on the right]. Again if you make a mistake, start back from zero.

 

Training for Understanding

Now we’re going to take the training wheels off a bit and show you some of the other uses of training mode, more specifically we’re going to look at how you can learn more about and understand the characters and the game through the eyes of training mode.

Have you ever had a moment in a match, or been watching a video and you thought to yourself “Wait, what just happened right there?” That is the purpose of training for understanding. This is the utilization of training mode; to gain knowledge or understanding about the game. Personally I see this as a kind of defense-centered training. Why defensive you ask? Well, in a game like Street Fighter, knowledge is a weapon. If you don’t know how to react or what to do in a certain situation, you will quickly find your life bar depleted. For that reason, having a solid understanding of not only your character but the game’s system mechanics as a whole is vitally important. This kind of training can be supplemented however. Luckily, we are in the technological age, combined with the growing popularity of the fighting games genre as a whole, you can find tons of informational videos online about almost anything. Of course, these are helpful, but I whole-heartedly believe you should go into training mode and try these things out for yourself, so you can learn all the intricacies of the situation. Below, you’ll find a very simple situation, that should ease you into this sort of thing.

Situational Analysis:

 

In Street Fighter V, go to training mode and choose Ryu for Player 1 and Birdie for Player 2. Record the Birdie doing his LK Hanging Chain attack [qcf.HK] to Ryu across the screen. Once you input the attack, hold back until the move finishes and Birdie does a crouching block. Then set the training dummy to play the last sequence.

Your job as Ryu is to stand at about half screen and find a way to beat the hanging chain, whether avoiding the attack as a whole or hitting Birdie before he has time to block.

You should ask yourself  the following questions:

  1. How can I escape this situation?
  2. What is the lowest risk way to beat this situation?
  3. What are Birdie’s options to beat my counter?

The last note I’ll give you here is to try everything. No matter how illogical it sounds or how dumb of an idea you might think it is, still give it a shot. You might discover something new.

Good players use training mode to practice combos. Great players use it as a kind of lab to study different situations that arise in their matches. Do this for all kinds of scenarios and situations you encounter in your matches.

 

Training for Creation

The first two parts covered training for repetition and also training for understanding. In this final part I’m going to show you training for creation. This would initially be really hard to do on your own, BUT since you’ve made it this far I’ve technically already given you all the tools you’ll need to be successful. So what exactly is training for creation?

Training for creation utilizes your understanding and knowledge of the game to create new, well-researched, and practiced situations to give yourself a competitive advantage in a real match.

Players up to a decent level in fighting games have a habit of looking up videos of top players and just xcopying them to get better. This is good, but the difference between that kind of player and a top level player is that the top-level player researched the situations in their match and created ways to make advantage positions for themselves. The player who copies, only knows the movement, but likely doesn’t fully understand the purpose or work that went into creating that information. This is the true essence of training for creation.

So what exactly is it? Before you learned how to look at a situation in a match and ask questions to break it down. Next I gave you a goal of looking at each situation to create the lowest risk way to escape it [Check back at part 2, it’s italicized]. So in essence you’ve already trained for a specific goal using knowledge and understanding of the game’s mechanics before. “Hell, this should be a cakewalk then.” is what you should be telling yourself now. So at this point all you need to do is change your goal. Before you even go into training mode, have a purpose. What kind of purposes or goals can you have, you ask? Take a look at the following situation:

Again, go into training mode with Ryu for Player 1 and Ken for Player 2. Turn on attack display, and record the training dummy to do an uppercut and hold crouching block until Ken recovers and goes into a block. Set him to play.

Your job now is to block the uppercut and find the most damaging follow-up. How much damage can you do? Some things you should keep in mind:

  • How much damage can you get for 1 meter? 2 meters? a full super gauge?
  • Does using V-Trigger increase the damage?
  • Does the screen position change the amount of damage you do?
  • Is there a set-up that does less damage, but puts you in a better position to mix-up the opponent and potentially get even more damage?

So that is just one example of using knowledge of the game mechanics to create a competitive advantage in a given situation. Once you can find the situation, you need to use training for repetition to perfect the timing. These two things together should allow you to perform it in a real match. But combos are just the tip of the iceberg. You can use training for creation for a myriad of things. Combos, Option-selects, knockdown situations, set-play, etc. Anywho, I say all of this to show you the breadth of things you can do with creation. You just need to go into training mode with a goal, and use what you know, or learn more to achieve it.

For what it’s worth, I feel I should  let you know that sometimes, what you want to achieve just isn’t possible with your character’s tools, or your knowledge alone. For this reason, sharing information with others is a really good idea. Putting a ton of heads on an idea is way more beneficial. You can use facebook groups, rivals, friends, only forums to do so and at the same time, get more involved with the fighting game community.

Well, this is getting a bit long, so I’ll wrap up here. Now you should have all the tools you need to make the most of your training mode time. You know how to train to perfect your timing, to understand the game, and to use that understanding to create a competitive advantage. One last time, you guys can send out a big thank you to Gootecks [@gootecks] on twitter. Here’s to making your own success.

Good players use training mode to practice combos. Great players use it as a lab to study. Top players use it create their path to victory.

Senior Series: The Economics of Adaptation

This post is not recommended for beginners, but rather intermediate level players who can think about the game on a slightly conceptual level. This entry is going to be very different from others. While most guides on this site will be talking and focusing on a single skill through careful examination and explanation, this post is an experimental attempt to briefly provide many quotes on a topic that are thought provoking and should persuade players to think about their own play and how the quotes might affect their ability and level of play. Again, if you found this useful, please let us know by sending a shoutout to us through our twitter page.

  • Attention, like many other things is a finite resource in fighting games.
  • Adaptation is just attention through a multiplier of reward.
  • People who have limited attention are likely to focus on strategies with higher payoffs. [ex. Scrubs mash DP].
  • By spreading out strategies against an opponent, their range of attention is spread so far the ability to choose any single option is more difficult and thus they revert to simply the highest rewarding option.
  • Imagine your focus to all strategies is some number between 0 and 2. When you have no idea, your focus is spread out between all the options. The option that you choose is the highest damaging one. Because your attention is spread out to all options, the attention integer is low for each one. Multiplied by the highest damage payout, you get is typically the choice you make at lower levels of play.
  • People tend to start their logic process at equilibriums of highest payoff.
  • When playing, low level players make choices with the highest payoff, the strategically thinking next level of player   Learns this information, and will take the payoff that defeats his opponents strategy with the highest payoff.
  • Because attention is a finite resource, players tend try a wide array of strategies before finding the highest yielding one and repeating the strategy until it stops working.
  • The player who wins is the one who can find the most successful strategies and minimizes his opponents payoffs at the same time. This is what we call playing safely.
  • The best players adapt an exploration-exploitation strategy. They explore a wide range of options then lock on to the highest relative payoffs.
  • Good players start a match employing an exploration system of finding high payoffs. Then they divert their finite attention to those situations. They exploit the areas of highest economic return and focus their attention there.

Again, I hope that you take some time to think about each of these quotes separately, and also as a thought experiment about your level of play and your game play ability. If you have a moment, please let us know if it was helpful or not by dropping us a line on twitter.

Freshman Series: Neutral Game Guide

Neutral Game Guide

So you’ve decided to play street fighter. You picked a character. Round 1. FIGHT, right? If you’re like most newbies, you probably won a couple, but for the most part, lost. So I don’t wanna open up any fresh wounds, but from all those L’s you’re holding, I’m pretty sure that some of them were particularly painful. You probably came across that one person who just DESTROYS you. Like no matter what you did, you just seemed to lose, right?

So I’ll settle down for a moment, and let you know that in order for you to hand out beatings like the one you probably got, you have a lot of skills to develop as a player. Suddenly, street fighter sounds way less like an enjoyable game, and a lot more like work, right? Well what if I told you that there is a skill that will make you better right out of the gate. Hopefully it makes the game sound a bit more bearable. The skill I’m going to talk about is what seasoned players call “the neutral game.” So what is a “neutral game?” You know that moment where you’re both ready to just tear the other’s life bar to shreds, but you’re waiting for the announcer to start the match? That’s basically the start of the neutral game. A more exact definition is when you and your opponent are fighting for space on the screen in order to gain an advantage over one another. You know how at the start of the match, you and your opponent start a bit away from each other? Well the first thing you do is either press forward or move backward. What may look like simple movement to rookie players, is a very important time where high-calibur players are fighting to get into a good position on the screen, where their character does best at.

So let’s look at all the things you can do when the round starts, or anytime you find yourself in the neutral game. Against most characters, in the neutral game, you are surprisingly safe. The only way either you or your opponent can hit each other is from above, via a jumping attack, or from the front, by playing footsies. Let me say that again, because I NEED this to stick.

The only way either of you can hit each other is from above from a jumping attack, or from the front, by playing footsies.

That’s it. There is no other way you can be hit in the neutral game. Think back to all those ass-whippings you just got. You must be scratching your head at the fact that you got hit at all. Well fret not. I’ll just say don’t worry for now, because you didn’t know what to do. Well let’s solve that problem, shall we. When all else fails just remember in the neutral game you have only 2 jobs.

Watch out against a jumping opponent.

If your opponent hits you with a jumping attack, they get a huge reward, BUT. BUT BUT BUT BUT while they’re in the air, they can’t block. If you hit them, they will always take damage. If you don’t know yet, I suggest you get your ass in training mode and find a move that hits your opponent when they jump.

And job number 2:

Play footsies

This will be the meat and potatoes of this guide. So we’re gonna get into some fighting game lingo. First off, footsies is a term that embodies moving into a range where you can hit your opponent, and attack them, AND all the strategies revolving around that ideas. Footsies, is probably the one skill players overlook the most, because the alternative (jumping) is way easier to do, and if the jump works, again, it’s the equivalent to drawing Exodia in Yu-gi-oh when you have like 12 life points left. You know should’ve gotten bopped but…. Heart of the Cards, son.

While some strategies can get pretty in-depth, in this guide we’ll focus on the ones that will be the most beneficial for you as a player. Everything after, you can easily develop on your own. Right now, however, we’ll talk about offensive and defensive-oriented footsies.

 

Offensive Footsies

Offensive footsies are the purest form of footsies, and I already told you how to fight in this fashion. Basically move into range where one of your quicker long range attacks juuuuuuust hits your opponent. The simplest example of this is Ryu taking a step forward and using his crouching medium kick attack. Ryu’s crouching medium kick or any quick, long range attack from any character that is often used in footsies, is called in fighting game circles a “poke.” Fireballs are also considered a type of offensive footsie, because they generally go the length of the screen, and force your opponent to react in some way. Finally, remember that this attack-oriented style calls for you to move forward. Well it also has the added bonus of pushing your opponent to the corner, where they essentially can’t move backward anymore and as a result, limits their mobility options. What does that mean? You’re literally forcing your opponent into a back alley, to beat the crap out of them. Pretty effective.

 

Defensive Footsies

Alright folks, more vocabulary coming down the pipe-line. This WILL be on next week’s test, so be sure to take notes. Defense-based footsies also go by another term, “whiff punishing.” While the offense-style has you move forward to hit, defensive footsies are about moving backward to counter-attack. The idea is that when your opponent moves forward to hit you, you take a step backward to counter-attack. The idea is that when your opponent moves forward and tries to attack you, you move backward and make the opponent’s poke miss, or as we call it in fighting games “whiff.” Their moves comes out and hits nothing, because you’re too far away, then you just hit their extended poke. Now I’m gonna level with you. This skill is harder to master than offensive footsies, because it forces you to quickly react to something, but I promise you, it is a learnable and usable skill. When you finally get this skill down it will be like when Goku comes out of the hyperbolic time chamber to defeat cell. You’ll have some battle scars from the ass-whippings, but you’ll be super-saiyan.

With all this talk of footsies, offense, and defense, it’s hard to know exactly which you should be doing in a match. So here’s a general guideline for you. If two characters are ina match, the one with the longer range attacks will usually take the role of defensive footsies, and the one with shorter limbs will generally take the role of offensive footsies. This can change however, and if you want to try a different strategy, by all means, try it out. Remember, Street Fighter is not a rigid game. It’s fluid and adaptive. And you need to be as well.

So we looked at the baby-steps of the neutral game. We discussed footsies; the offensive and defensive variations. We figured out how to make each effective and how to know what role you should play in a match. So now let’s look at some strategies so that, given you know your role and your opponents role, you can provide an effective counter to their play and emerge victorious. The two concepts I’m going to present take advantage mostly of your opponents mindset during the match in a very “I know that you want to do X, so I’ll do Y.” kind of situation. These two methods of play are called “counter-offensive footsies and counter-defensive footsies,” and serve as the basis for “mindgames” or the mental struggle of trying to outsmart and outwit your opponent in a match.

 

Counter-Offensive Footsies

Counter-Offensive footsies takes aim at your opponents willingness and desire to move forward so that one of their “pokes” will reach you. So you know that your opponent wants to take a step forward so they can hit you, so what do you do to stop them? If your answer here is jump forward and hit them, you are absolutely wrong [have you been listening at all?] Jumping is too slow, they can react and put their knuckles to your chin. In Street Fighter every character has a move that must be blocked crouching. For most characters this move is the crouching heavy kick [there are exceptions], referred to more commonly as a “sweep.” If a sweep hits a standing opponent, they will be hit and knocked down, guaranteed. This means if you see your opponent acting like a bully and walking forward a lot, your counter play should be to knock them down. This does not come without some risk however, because if your opponent blocks your sweep, they usually have enough time to hit you afterward.

 

Counter-Defensive Footsies

Counter-defensive footsies serve to take advantage of the opponent who is focused on whiff punishing any move you try to do. If you can’t remember what a “whiff punish” is, it is taking a step back when an opponent does an attack. Then while their limb from their attack is still extended, you hit the extended limb. Anywho, back from that review,  to set this up, you  need to step into range where your “poke” move would hit, but instead of using your normal poke, you can use a much faster attack that does not reach your opponent [typically a character’s crouching light punch or crouching light kick]. Upon seeing a move come out, the opponent will be misled into thinking it is your poke, they will try to punish it. Because your move has such quick recovery, you should be able to recover in time to counter their whiff punish with an appropriately timed and far reaching move.

So now that you have some basics down with the strategies, and how to beat them, I want to talk about a topic that gets overlooked by a lot of people. When you sit down to play street fighter, you are generally concerned with the buttons you press, unfortunately, this next bit is going to be regarding the time you don’t spend pressing buttons. New players believe that you need to be pressing buttons all the time. The more you press buttons, the more you can damage your opponent right? You should have known by this point it was a trick question. As you get better, you realize that it’s not how many buttons you press that matters, but rather the “economy” of your buttons, which is to say how useful the buttons you press actually are. So with that said, let’s focus on movement. The question, I know the lot of you have is “East, I can’t just walk or dash forward, I will run into my opponents attacks,” but this is not always true. Next time you’re playing someone who has a decent grasp of the game, at the start of the round, just try and walk forward and see how far you get before your opponent hits you. Chances are you’ll get farther than you thought. It has been my experienc that if an opponent is not actively thinking about defending their space, they will surrender it. You can also test the waters against your opponents in the first round by watching how they defend their space then second be more bullish in moving forward. Daigo Umehara [Probably the worlds best street fighter player] was in New York at an event and played a couple of people there. Check out how his movement changes from the first round to the second against the Cammy player. Check out how his movement changes from the first round to the second against the Cammy player. The first round he doesn’t do much to get into the guy’s space, but the second round he relentlessly presses forward; After 20 seconds on the clock, his opponent is already in the corner.

The first round he doesn’t do much to get into the guy’s space, but the second round he relentlessly presses forward; By the 20 second mark his opponent is already in the corner.

Within the matches above are some great examples of the two concepts I’ll explain below that you can add to your street fighter utility belt. The first of which is offensive movement.

 

Offensive Movement

Offensive movement serves as a purpose to gain ground and make your opponent move toward the corner. This idea comes from the player’s mindset, given they know about offensive and defensive footsies. If they believe you will walk forward and try to use your poke move, they will try to walk back and whiff punish. using this theory, you can use it to your advantage to gain more ground and walk farther forward if they simply continue waiting for you to attack while walking backward. Be wary, if they realize what you are doing. At that point it becomes a game of “I know that you know that I know…” and will take appropriate and your opponent will take measures to attack you.

 

Defensive Movement

Sometimes when an aggressor is playing footsies, they will tend to buffer one more after another. A prime example is ryu’s crouching medium kick buffered into his fireball. I fyou se this and get a sense that the opponent is doing this, sometimes it’s helpful to take a walk into it face first. What I mean is, take a small step forward into the opponents range and then immediately block low. If an opponent does a buffer [cancelling one move into another], that is unsafe and you block it, you can attack them before they can do anything. This is sometimes range specific with certain moves, so play around with it, and see what you can get out of it. The drawback to this is that you are moving into your opponents poke range while they are also moving into a range to hit you. If they recognize what you are doing, they may be apt to get close enough to throw you, though this is generally a rare situation.

Holy crap, you’re now 6 times smarter than you were when you started reading all this neutral game stuff. Way to go! With all this power though… [RIP Uncle Ben]. Anyway, it’s really easy to get caught up in the parts of street fighter about dealing out big damage and landing hits, but good players recognize that in order to get the big damage, you have to put your opponent in a situation that is not advantageous to them. The aforementioned concepts are great examples of putting your opponent in a bad place. You either move them to the corner, where their footsies potential becomes limited, or you force them to do something unsafe in order to gain the upperhand. And remember: It’s not always about the buttons!

Phew this is getting a bit lengthy, I know, but we have only one more topic to cover, I promise, and it’s the simplest one to describe! A quick recap; we’ve talked about the neutral game golden rule: “The opponent can only hurt you from the front via footsies, or from above via a jumping attack.

Question: Is jumping is better than footsies?
A: Very Yes
B: I am not a heathen [No]

If you answered B, I could shed a tear, I’m so proud of you. If not…… really? REALLY?! Anyway, we also talked about offensive and defensive footsies, which involves moving into your opponents range and attacking or moving out of your opponents range and counter attacking, respectively. Next I introduced counter-offensive footsies, and counter-defensive footsies, which takes advantage of your opponents gameplan and mindset.  Finally, we talked about movement in general. First there is offensive movement, which aims to move forward, in hopes tha tyour opponent moves backward and puts themselves into the corner. The second is defensive movement, which aims to walk forward and block unsafe moves and attack afterward. With all of that covered, the only thing left to talk about is the worst option:

 

Jumping

Jumping is generally a bad move, because it presents a great risk during footsies. This next sentence I need you to ingrain in your head. It should only be used in situations when you need to make a great comeback. Jumping in footsies is dangerous because you essentially surrender your ability to block for a set period of time [the time during which you’re in the air.] The trade-off is two-fold. The first assumes the opponent gets hit. I the jumping move hits, it does significant damage and can be followed up with powerful combos. The second assumes the opponent blocked the move. if the attack is blocked, it puts the opponent in a pressure situation where, depending on how you mis up your offensive, you might net some damage in the end.

Just a caveat here: Please be aware that when I refer to jumping in footsies, I mean jumping forward. Jumping backward and jumping straight up pose  less significant risk, and are used for different reasons entirely. I’m not telling you to never jump in footises. I’m just saying that there is a time and place for jumping [typically during a knockdown, and if you do jump during footsies, you should first weigh the risk and reward of the situation, and accept the risk you’re taking is actually worth the reward.

Take some advice form the best Guild player in the world, Kevin “Dieminion” Landon:

Dieminion

This will wrap up this guide regarding the neutral game. I really hope you were able to take something away, and if you have any questions, please feel free to contact me in any way you deem necessary [Twitter is probably easiest] and I’ll try to get back to you. Also, if you found this useful or you know a friend who would benefit from this, share it with them! That way, when you improve and beat them down, they have no excuse for why they lost. You’ve got the tools to win, now get out there and prove it!

-East