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AboutMe ANoteaboutNotation Abbreviations Commasand“XX” TheImportanceofHardwareConsistency

PlayStation4vs.PC

AGuidetoBuildingYourStreetFighterVPCbyMichaelMartin

PCBuild1

PCBuild2

BigTVsvs.GamingMonitors Wi­Fivs.Ethernet Fightsticksvs.Controllers AQuickShoppingList

FightingGames101

TheRock,Paper,ScissorsAnalogy TheNeutralGame TheImportanceofScreenPosition TheBestOffenseisaGoodDefense TechingThrows YouWeren’tExpectingTheThrow YouReactedTooLateorDidn’tRealizeYouWereinRange YouMadeAnInputError TheImportanceofBlocking BlockingCross­Ups ResourceManagement TheLifeBar CriticalGauge V­Gauge ScreenPosition ConsideringRisk/Reward

OverviewofStreetFighter5

SystemChangesandHabitstoChange V­System V­Trigger Power­UpV­Triggers One­ShotV­Triggers V­Skill V­Reversal

3­BarCriticalGauge

TheComboSystem

StunGauge MagicPixel&ChipDamage ThrowsandCrouchTech CrouchTeching NoFocusAttack NoBackdashHitInvincibility GreyLifeDamageonBlockedNormals OverallHigherDamage FewerHardKnockdowns NormalandBackRecovery CrushCounters

CrushCounter#1:st.HP

CrushCounter#2:st.HK

LearningtheGameThroughRyu’sEyes

What’stheSameandWhat’sNew?

StandingMediumPunch(st.MP)

StandingLightKick(st.LK)

StandingLightPunch(st.LP)

Throws(LP+LK)

V­Skill(Parry)

V­Trigger(DenjinMode)

StunBoost

DenjinHadokens(D,DF,F+P)

GeneralV­TriggerStrategy

ActivatingintheNeutralGame

AfterANormalAttack

AfteraKnockdown

WhyOneCharacterisNotEnoughAnymore

BenefitsofLearningAdditionalCharacters

Infiltration:MasteroftheEntireCast

LoweringtheExecutionBarrier

APracticalFrameworkforLearningCharacters

AnalyzingV­TriggerandWorkingBackwards

HowtoSuccessfullyUseV­Skill

BuildingV­GaugeWithCrushCounters

HowtoDevelopBlockstrings

ApplyingtheSameFrameworktoCammy

HowtoReadFrameData

StartupFrames

ActiveFrames

RecoveryFrames

TotalFrames

Hitstop

HitandBlockAdvantage

HowtoAnalyzeFrameDatatoConstructOffense

BuildingMuscleMemoryinTrainingMode

PracticingDashing

PracticingHadoken(D,DF,F+P)

PracticingShoryuken

PracticingTatsumaki

PracticingstLKxxHadoken

PracticingThrows

PracticeWhiff­Punishing

PracticeAnti­Airing

Anti­AiringwithShoryuken

Anti­AiringwithNormals

BuildingMuscleMemoryforCombosandOtherSituations

BreakingCombosintoSegments

WatchingYourReplaysorTheValueofGettingYourAssKicked

WatchingYourReplays

TakingNotesonReplays

What’sNext?

AppendixA:Resources

TournamentStreams

PlayerStreams

YouTubeChannels

WebResources

FacebookGroups

Tournaments&Events

AppendixB:Glossary

BackRecovery

Blockstring

ChainCombo

ChipDamage

CommandGrab

CriticalArt

CriticalGaugeorEXMeter

FocusAttack(MP+MK)

Footsies

LinkCombo

Meaty

Mix­up

Neutralgame

NormalsorNormalAttacks

NormalRecoveryorQuickRise

Hardknockdown

OptionSelect

UltrasakaUltraCombos

V­Gauge

V­Reversal

V­Skill

V­Trigger

AboutMe

Beforedivinginanyfurther,you’reprobablywonderingwhoIam,whatIdo,andwhatmakes

mequalifiedtowriteaboutfightinggamefundamentals.

Well,foronething,IwroteapreviousbookcalledSimplifyingStreetFightertohelpplayersget

intoStreetFighter4.Beforethat,myexperiencewithStreetFighterissteepedinhistory,going

waybacktothedaysofinsertingcoinsintoarcades.

IstartedwithStreetFighterII:WorldWarriorasakidin1991. Likemostpeoplewhoplayed backthen,thearcadewasasecondhomeforme.Itwasthisearlycompetitionthatdrovemeto learnasmuchasIcouldaboutthegame.

AsIgotolder,IcontinuedplayingeachiterationofStreetFighterwithenthusiasm:fromHyper

FightingtoX­Menvs.StreetFighter,totheAlphaseriestotheStreetFighter3series,toStreet

Fighter4.

Throughouttheyears,IconstantlysearchedforwhateverinformationIcouldfindinorderto improve. Inthe90s,itwasGamePromagazinesandtextFAQs,whichthenevolvedintothe ShoryukenforumsandthenYouTube.

SinceI’dbeenplayingsinceIwasakid,Ialwayswantedtobeoneoftheguysthatcouldwin consistently. IstartedcompetinginStreetFighterIII:3rdStriketournamentsin2003andhoned

myskillsatthemeccaofNorthAmerican3rdStrike,FamilyFunArcade(orFFA)­­mayitrestin

peace.

Atthepeakofmy3rdStrikecareer,IhadtheopportunitytojoinJustinWong’s2008Super

BattleOperateamandcompeteforachancetorepresentAmericainJapan. Duringmytimein

Japan,StreetFighter4wasbrandnewinthearcadesandalthoughIdidn’tplayitverymuch,

whenIreturnedtoCalifornia,StreetFighter4wasnowavailableatonelocationinSouthern

California.

Thiswasessentiallythenailinthecoffinof3rdStrikeandItransitioned(ratherpainfully)toSF4.

Icompetedfiercelyforafewyears,andthen­­duetoalackofmotivation,lowprizemoney,and

otherfactors­­begantofocusmoreoncontentcreation,namelyYouTubevideoswithmy

partner­in­crime,MikeRoss.

CrossCounteroriginallystartedasaYouTubeshowonMachinima,afirst­person

shooter­centricYouTubenetwork,andthenevolvedintoitsownchannelfeaturingdifferent

showslikeCrossCounterLIVE,ExcellentAdventures,Runnin’Sets,andCrossCounterAsia.

IfoundithardertokeepupwithtopplayersandbecamedisillusionedwithplayingStreetFighter 4. Ofcourse,itwasalwaysfunontheshow(andourepisodesreflectthat),butcompetingjust didn’thavethesameappealanymore.

ButthatallchangedonemorningwhenIwokeuptothenewsthatStreetFighter5wasbeing

made. Thetrailer,featuringthetagline“RiseUp,”reallyspoketome. WhatcanIsay? I’ma StreetFighterfanboyatheart.

IbegantogetbackintoplayingStreetFighter4andtriedtoseethegamedifferentlyfromwhen

Ididduringmycompetitivestreakinthepast. Thischangeinviewpointhelpedmegrowasa playerbecauseImadeanefforttofilltheholesinmygame,suchaslackofcharacter knowledgeandnotknowinghowtopracticeefficientlyorhowtoreadandutilizeframedata.

OnceStreetFighter5debutedatE32015andIplayed,Iwashooked.Allittookwasthatfirst

gametoknowthatthiswaswhatIwassupposedtodo. AtE3,Icompetedinatournamentwith aPlayStation4asthe1stPlaceprize. Spoileralert:IwonandtookitasasignthatIshould investasmuchaspossibleintobecominggoodatthenewgame.

Overthenextseveralmonths,IwenttopracticallyeveryStreetFighter5eventonthewest

coast. AsCapcomannouncedandreleasednewcharacters,Imadeanefforttolearnasmuch aspossibleabouteachofthem. Whentheonlinebetascamearound,Iplayedthoseasmuch aspossibleaswell.

Slowly,IbegantounderstandthenatureofthegameandhowitdiffersfromSF4. Ofcourse,it tookmequitesometimetogetthehangofthegame. MaybeI’maslowlearner,maybethe gamehasarelativelysteeplearningcurveinsomeaspects,ormaybeit’salittlebitofboth.In eithercase,I’velearnedalotaboutthegameinthelastsixmonths.

NowIdon’tclaimtoknoweverythingthereisaboutthegame,butmygoalwiththisbookisto

saveyoutime,frustration,andeffortwiththeknowledgeI’vegained.

Inanycase,Ihopethatthisbookwillserveasasolidreferenceforbothnewandexperienced playersalikewhenitcomestolearningfightinggames. Althoughgamesvarybysystems, characters,moves,andmore,manycoreaspectsfightinggamesremainunchanged.

Now’syouropportunitytogetajumponyouropponentsandstartbuildingyourpathto

long­termsuccess.

Withinyou’llfindanumberofdetailedstrategiesandobservationsthatIhavepainstakingly

developedoverthepasteightmonths­­2015toearly2016­­frommyexperienceswiththeStreet

Fighter5betaatvariouseventsandduringtheonlinebetas. Aswellas,ofcourse,my

experiencecompetingin3rdStrikeandSF4tournaments.

WhilethisguidehasbeenwrittenprimarilyusingStreetFighter5asatoolforunderstanding

andpracticingfightinggames,Ibelievealotofthisappliestomanyotherfightinggamesas

well.

Ithelpsifyou’vereadmypreviousbook,SimplifyingStreetFighter,butifyoudidn’t,that’sokay

too;someoftheinformationinSimplifyingStreetFighterhasbeenincludedhereandupdated.

Thanksforreading,nowlet’sgetstarted!

­gootecks(Instagram|Twitter)

A Note about Notation

ThefightinggamenotationthatIwillusethroughoutthebookcanbeconfusing,butdon’tworry,

you’llgetthehangofitsoonenough!

Abbreviations

Weuseabbreviationsfrequentlyinfightinggamesbecauseusingthecolloquialnamescanbe confusingfornewplayers. Inthe90s,whenyoulookedatStreetFighterarcadecabinets,the buttonswerenamedasfollows:

Punches:jab(light),strong(medium),fierce(heavy)

Kicks:short(light),forward(medium),roundhouse(heavy)

Thesenamesarestillusedbymanyexperiencedplayersbecausetheyaresimplyfastertosay than“lightpunch”or“mediumkick.” Forthesakeofclarity,we’llonlyrefertothebuttonsusing theabbreviations,orofficiallongnames.

LP­LightPunch

MP­MediumPunch

HP­HeavyPunch

LK­LightKick

MK­MediumKick

HK­HeavyKick

Also,weusethefollowingabbreviationstodescribewhichpositionyoumustbeinwhen

performingamove.

st.­Standing

cr.­Crouching

j.­Jumping

Fromhereon,we’llabbreviateUltraStreetFighter4,StreetFighter4,andStreetFighter5as

USF4,SF4,andSF5,respectively.

Commas and “XX”

Weusecommasandthe“XX”notationtodenotewhenmovesarepartofacomboorsequence.

Acommameansthatonemovelinksintoanother.Alinkisatypeofcomboinwhichonemove

finishescompletely,thenthenextmoveconnectsandcontinuesthecombowhiletheopponent

isstillinhitstunandcannotblock.

AnexampleofalinkisRyu’sst.MP,cr.MPcombo. Thest.MPanimationfinishescompletely, puttingtheopponentinhitstun;afterwhich,thesecondcr.MPanimationmakescontactwhen theopponentisstillinhitstun,andthus,makesthemunabletoblock.

Whenyousee“XX”usedtodescribeacomboorsequence,itmeansthatthefirstmove’s animationiscancelledbythenextmove. Thisispossiblebecausesomeattacks’animationcan becancelledintoanotherattackiftimedproperly. Inotherwords,thisallowsforsomemovesto combothatotherwisewouldn’tifthefirstattackwasnotcancellable.

AnexampleofacancelisRyu’scr.MPxxHadoken. ThecrouchingMediumPunchcontainsa small“numberofframes”thatarecancellableintoaspecialattack. Whenyouquicklyperform theinputforhisHadoken(D,DF,F+P)immediatelyafterinputtingcr.MP,Ryuwillunleashhis Hadoken,ofcourse­­butiftheopponentdoesn’tblockthecr.MP,theHadokenwillalsocombo. Thegamewillthendisplay“2­hitcombo”onthescreenifyoudiditcorrectly. If,however,the opponentdoesblockthecr.MP,theHadokenwillstillcomeoutbecausethecr.MPwillhave madecontact.

Ontheotherhand,attacksthat“whiff”,ordon’tmakecontactwiththeopponent,generally cannotbecancelled. Theexceptiontothisislightnormalswhichcanbechainedtogetherand cancelled,eveniftheydon’tmakecontact.

TheImportanceofHardwareConsistency

BeforewecangetintothenittygrittyofSF5’sgameengine,let’sfirstmakesurethatwe’reall

onthesamepageregardinghardware.

Whensomeoneishavingahardtimegettingbetter,theyalmostalwaysoverlooktheirhardware

setup,whichIbelievetohaveagreatimpactonyourabilitytobeagreatplayer.NowI’mnot

merelytalkingaboutwhichstickorpadyouplayon.RatherI’mreferringtotheotherpiecesof

yourhardware:yourinternet,PCorconsole,andtypeofmonitor.

We’lldiveintotheseshortly,buttounderstandtheimportanceofthesethings,youneedtofirst

understandsomethingcalleda“1­framelink”.

Fightinggamesoftentimesrequiresverytighttimingandconsistencyinyourexecution,orability

tocarryoutacharacter’scommandatwill.

SF5runsat60framespersecond. Thatmeansthatifyouhaveoneframetohitabuttonor performacommand,youhaveliterally1/60thofasecondtodoso. Idon’tknowaboutyou,but thatsoundslikeatoughwindowtohittome. Further,you’llfindthese1­framelinkstobevery commonincombosandsetups. So,withsuchatinywindowofsuccess,you’dwanttominimize yourchancesoferrorbyhavingtherighthardwareforthejob.

Ifyou’veplayedSF4before,notethattherehavebeensomechangesinSF5(forthebetter).

SF5hasa3­frameinputbuffer,whichmeansthatthereisa3­framewindowofleniencywherein

theenginewillstillcounttheinputasthoughyouhititontime. Inotherwords,yourtiming doesn’tneedtobeaccurateto1/60thofasecond­­only1/20th. Soundslikeaminordifference, buttherighthardwaremakesthisimportant.

PlayerswhoplayundersuboptimalconditionssuchaswithalaggyTV,laggyinternet,and

laggyconsolewilllikelydeveloptacticsandstrategiesthatappeartoworkwell(becauseoftheir

self­imposedhandicaps)againstweakerplayers,butwillfindthesamestrategiestoflopwhen

theyplayagainststrongerplayers.

PlayStation4vs.PC

Let’sfirststartwiththeplatformyouplayon.

SF5isavailableonbothPlayStation4(PS4)andPC. Generally,thePS4versionisgoingtobe

“thestandard”becausetheCapcomProTourisgoingtobeplayedexclusivelyonPS4

consoles.

Don’tworry,youcanstillplayagainstPCplayersthankstoafeaturecalledcross­play.Itallows

PCplayerstofightPS4players,andviceversa.

BecauseofSF5’sinputleniency,Idon’tanticipatetheretobeahugedifferenceinplayingon

oneplatformversusonanother.Ifyoudon’talreadyhaveaPS4,Iusuallyrecommendmost

playerstocomparethecostsofadecentPCtothecostsofbuyingaPS4andotherhardware.

Here’saquickbreakdown:

PS4­$349.99

MadCatzPS4Fightstick­$199.99

Total:$801.82notincludingtaxandshipping.

Thatcanbealotofdough. Italldependsonwhetherornotyouplantoplayothernon­SF5

gamesonyourPS4(mostgamesareonPCaswell).Ifnot,itmightbemorecost­effectiveto

justkeepyourexistingfightstickandinvestinaPC.

Howmuchmorecost­effective,youask?IaskedfightinggamewriterandenthusiastMichael

Martintochimeinwithsomerecommendations.

AGuidetoBuildingYourStreetFighterVPCbyMichael

Martin

ManypeoplechooseconsolegamingoverPCbecauseitcanbeamoresimpleoption,

andyoucanbuildone.Ontheotherhand,youdon’thavetobuildaPS4.It’saone­time

purchase,andotherthanminoroptionalupgrades,aPS4ownercanresteasyknowing

theyaregettingsomethingplayableoutofthebox.Whenitneedsanupdate,itwill

automaticallydownloaditforyou.

NowifyouwanttoplaySF5onaPC,youneedtodetermineifyourPCcanrunitorrun

itcapably.Ifitdoesn’tmeettheminimumrequirements,thenextquestionis:doyou

upgradeorbuyorbuildabrandnewPC?

Takingintoaccountyourbudget,let’stakealookatyouroptionsbasedonthehardware requirementstorunthegameandtheircost.First,herearetheminimumsystem

requirementstoplaySF5onPC,accordingtoCapcom.

OS:Windows764­bit

CPU:IntelCorei3­4160@3.6GHz

RAM:6GB

Video:NvidiaGTX480orhigher

Sound:DirectX­compatiblesoundcardoronboardchipset

DirectX:Version11

Internet:Broadbandconnectionrequired

Theserequirementsaren’tterriblytaxing,andifyou’veboughtorbuiltacomputerwithin

thelastfewyears,oddsareyouhavesomethingsimilarandcanrunSF5.

Here’swhatisrecommended:

OS:Windows764­bit

CPU:IntelCorei5­4690K@3.50GHz

RAM:8GB

Video:NvidiaGTX960

Sound:DirectX­compatiblesoundcardoronboardchipset

DirectX:Version11

Internet:Broadbandconnectionrequired

Forthemostpart,thegapbetweenminimumandrecommendedisn’tgreatasidefrom

therecommendedvideocard.You’llfindthatgettingintotheNvidiaGTX960+seriescan

getquitespendy.Thatsaid,ifyoufindyourselfinasituationwhereyoucanupgrade

parts,RAMandvideocardwouldbeyourbest“bangforyourbuck.”

NowmaybeyoujustwantanewPCorgetawayfromconsolegaming.Inthatcase,we

puttogetheracoupleofsamplePCbuildsasreferencetogettingthemostoutofSF5

andyourwallet.

PCBuild1

ThisbudgetPCwillgetyoubyjustfinewithmostcurrentgames.Youmightnotbeable toplayeverythingatmaximumsettings,butit’smorethanenough,basedonthe

minimumsystemrequirements,tohandleSF5.Onethingtonoteaboutthisbuild:You

couldgowithalower­endvideocard,butdependingonwhatyoufindatcurrentprices,

lower­endvideocardscouldrunanywherefrom$20to$50less.Havingahigher­end

cardsavesyouthetroubleofupgradinglatershouldyouwanttoupgradeotherparts

aroundit.

Beforethecostofthemonitorandacontrollerorfightstick,you’llbelookingatabout$645

USD.Referringbacktothegamingdisplaysection,youcangowiththeEvostandard

BenQ24”gamingmonitororsomethingthat’smoresuitabletoyourneeds.Abuildlike

thishaseverythingyouneedtogetstartedandaffordsyouthefreedomtopickand

choosepartsyouwanttoupgradelateron,whilekeepingthesystemviableforafew

yearsatleast.

PCBuild2

Ifyou’relookingatbuildingahigh­endgamingrigthatyouwon’tneedtothinkaboutupgrading foralongtime,we’veputtogetherthissamplebuildthatfeaturesvirtuallyeverythingyouneed

toplaySF5andanythingelseatthehighestsettings.

Thehigh­endbuildcomeswithallofthebellsandwhistles,includingmechanicalkeyboardand agreatheadsettogetyouusedtoblockingoutsoundwhileplayingintournaments.Youmight alsonoticethesignificantleapinpricewiththevideocard.Whilelower­endcardstendtobe relativelycloseinprice,thehigher­endmodelscostmuchmore.Anotherdifferencebetween

thisbuildandthebudgetbuildisthe500GBSolidStateDrive.It’sfasterthanthe1TB7200

RPMharddriveandwillprovidebetterloadtimesforprogramsinstalledonit,whilethe

secondaryharddrivecanbeusedforstorage.

Ifneitheroftheseappealtoyou,thereareplentyofPCmanufacturersthatofferapre­built

gamingPCorlaptop,butthosewillalwaysbemoreexpensive.Ifyouwanttogetthemostout

ofyourmoney,youwanttoideallypickandchooseyourownPCparts.

Ifyou’relookingtogobeyondplayingSF5andgetintocontentcreationorlivestreaming,the

budgetbuildmaysuffice.Butyou’llfindthatinordertoproducehigherqualitystreamsand

content,amorepowerfulPCisneeded.

Maybeyoudon’tneedtogothroughtheprocessofbuyingorbuildinganewcomputer.Youcan certainlyupgradeyourdesktoptosomethingcapableofmeetingtheminimumrequirements.It mighttakeabitofresearch,butyoucanalwaysusethereferencePCbuildsasaguideline.

Needanewvideocard?PickuponeofthoseNvidia950s.RAMisalwaysanaffordableand

simpleoptiontoupgrade.

Asalways,therearedifferentopinionsonhardware.SomePCuserspreferAMDprocessors

andgraphicscardsoverIntelandNvidia.Withalittlebitofresearch,youcanfindwhateversuits

youbest.

Again,thankstoMichaelMartinfordoingthelegworkandprovidingyouwithinformationon buildingaPC. NowthatyouhavesomeguidanceonPCvs.PS4,let’stalkmonitorsandTVs.

BigTVsvs.GamingMonitors

NowIhatetobethebearerofbadnews,butthatniceHDTVthatcostyouashinypenny probablyisnotgoingtohelpyouwinmoregames. Usually,bigTVsthataregreatforwatching TVandmoviesarenotoptimalforplayingfightinggamesduetogame’saforementionedtight executionwindows. CheckifyourTVislistedonasitelikeDisplayLagtoseehowitstacksup againstgamingmonitorsthatareactuallyoptimizedforperformanceinsteadofjustbeing big.

Okay,IadmitthatI’mnota“monitorscientist”,soIdon’tknowwhybigTVshaveaslower

responsetime;Ijustknowtheydo.IalsoknowthatifyouconsistentlyplayonalaggyTV,play

overwi­fi,andarenewtothegame,it’sgoingtoskewthewayyouviewandthinkofthegame.

Themaindrawbackisthatifyouspendalotoftimeworkingonyourcombosandexecutionon alaggyTV,andtheneitherupgradetoagamingmonitororstartcompetingoffline,you’regoing tohavetorelearnandadjustyourtiming. Talkaboutawasteoftimeandenergy,right?

Thebestthingtodoistoinvestinamonitorthathasaslittlelagaspossible.Ifyoureallywant

theadvantage,makesureit’sthesamemonitorthat’sgoingtobeusedatyourlocalandmajor

tournaments.

Foralongtime,thepreviousstandardwastheAsusVHseriesuntilEvo2015,whenthenew

standardbecametheBenQRL2460HT.Ihaveoneandlikeitalot,butrecentlyboughta27”

AsusMX279HwhichisGODLIKE­­especiallywhencombinedwithaLightPackforsomesweet

backlighting.

Asanewplayer,itmaynotbeworthrunningouttobuyanewmonitorimmediately,butonce

youstartplayingonlineconsistently,itprobablywon’ttakelongbeforesomeofthoselossesfeel

liketheycouldhavebeenwinsifyou’dbeenplayingonabettermonitororTV.

Sodependingonyourbudgetsituation,itmaymakesensetojustbitethebulletasearlyas

possibleinyourStreetFighterjourney.

Wi­Fivs.Ethernet

Asyouprobablyalreadyknow,youexperienceacertainamountoflagwhileplayingonline. If youliveoutsideofAsia,chancesarethislagissomewherefromslightlynoticeable,tohardto ignore,tounplayable. Atthecurrentstateofonlineplay,thisissimplyunavoidableandunlikely tochangeinthenearfuture. Thismeansthatthebestthingwecandoistoreducelagasmuch aspossible.

Themainthingswecancontrolareourowninternetconnectionsandhomenetworksetup. If youliveinanarealikeIdowithonlyoneprovider,thebestthingtodoisupgradetothehighest speeds. Ifyou’vealreadydonethat,thenextstepistomakesurethatyou’reusinganethernet cabletoconnectinsteadofusingwi­fi.

Whynotwi­fi?

Wi­fiisnotoptimaltoplayonbecauseofthelatencyandthesheeramountsofsignalsand noisethatarelikelycrowdingthespectrumatyourplace. Maybeyou’resomesortofITguru whohasoptimizedyourwirelessforsuperperformance,foundawaytoreduceextralatencyto 0,areusingadifferentwi­fichannel,andexperiencenohiccupsatall. That’sgreatforyou,but therestofusarenotgoingtobeabletoreplicatethesameresults.So,stickwithethernet,the strongerandsimplerchoice,toreducethenumberofvariablesthatcanimpacttheconnection.

Yeah,ethernetcanbeapainintheass,butsometimesallyouneedisalong­asscable.Plus, thereareotherwaysofgettingitdone,suchasviaethernetoverpower. Irecentlyinvestedin anActiontecPowerlineEthernetadapterandwishIhadupgradedsooner. Iusedtoruna100’ ethernetcablefromtherouterinmylivingroomtomyofficewithasecondrouternearmy consolesandPC. Thiswasobviouslynotanelegantsolution,butnowthePowerlineEthernet adapterworksperfectly,andIplugmyPCandconsoleintothewallwhichconnectstothe routerinthelivingroom.

Asasidenote,youcanexpectahugenumberofPS4playerstoplayonwi­fiprobablybecause

they’renewtofightinggames(andnotreadingthisbook). Thiswillinevitablycauseanoverall poorexperience. Pleasebepartofthesolution,nottheproblem.

Fightsticksvs.Controllers

Manynewplayersseeproplayersusingfightsticksattournamentsandthinkthatthey,too, mustuseafightstickiftheywanttobestrongplayers. Thisisnottrue.Afightstickdoesn’t automaticallymakeyougreat,althoughtherearesomeadvantagestousingone:

● Easyaccesstoallbuttons.

● Advancedexecutionmethodslikedouble­tappingareeasier.

● TheabilitytoperformlongmotionslikeZangief’sSpinningPiledriverfaster.

However,therearedisadvantagesaswell.

● There’sarelativelysteeplearningcurveifyou’veneverplayedononebefore. Mostnew playersstruggleforquitesometimewhenlearninghowtoplayonafightstickbecauseit requiresfinesseandpractice.

● Whenyouplayinperson,someplayerslistentotheiropponents’buttonpressesand lookattheiropponent’sfightstickoutofthecorneroftheireye.

Mypersonalpreferenceistoplayonafightstick,butthat’sbecauseI’vebeenplayingonone sinceIwasakid. Ialsodon’tplayalotofotherconsolegamesonacontroller,soIdon’thavea lotofexperiencewithcontrollers. Ultimately,whateveryouaremostcomfortablewithwillserve youbest.

Ifyouareinterestedinlearningtoplayonafightstick,myrecommendationisaMadCatzTE2.

I’vebeenplayingonMadCatzstickssince2009,astheyaremyfavorite. Asofthiswriting

(early2016),theyarecurrentlyinshortsupply,butasthereleasedateofSF5getscloser,you

canexpectthemtobemorewidelyavailable.

IsuggestgettingaPS4­compatiblestickbecausetheyworkonbothPS4andPC,soyoucan

playSF5oneitherplatform. IfyoucurrentlyhaveaPS3orXbox360stick,thesearelikelyto

workonPC,butwillprobablynotworkonPS4withoutanadaptersuchastheBrookConverter,

whichmayormaynotendupbeingtournamentlegal. Notethatyouneedadditionalsoftware suchasJoyToKeytouseaPS4stickwithSF5. Ihavenoideawhy,butthat’sthewayitis currently.

However,it’sworthnotingthatifyouonlyplanonplayingonPCandalreadyhaveaPS3or

Xbox360fightstick,there’snoneedtoupgrade. Butitwouldalsomeanthatitwouldbeapain

intheassifyoutriedtoplayatafriend’shouseoratournamentrunonPS4.

Ifyou’remorecomfortableplayingonapad,IwouldsuggestgettingoneofthenewMadCatz PS4fightpads. ThesearedesignedwithStreetFighterVinmindandhavesixbuttonslaidout nexttoeachotherwhichmakesiteasiertohitHPandHK.

AQuickShoppingList

Ifyouareabletotakethesesimple(althoughpossiblyexpensive)stepstowardconsistency,

youcanfeelconfidentthatyouarenotrelyingonlagtacticsortricksthatmayonlyworkinan

onlineenvironmentagainstweakplayers,andthatyouarelearningthegamethewayit’s

supposedtobeplayed.

Insomeways,havingtoinvestextramoneyinyoursetupcangoalongwaytowardsincreasing yourcommitmenttobecomingastrongerplayer,too. So,saveupandbuyonepieceatatime ifyouhaveto. Whenallissaidanddone,youwillfeelmoreconfidentinyoursetupandyour game.

Here’saquickshoppinglistincaseyouarelookingformyrecommendations:

LightPack

FightingGames101

Thissectionisforanyonewhoiscompletelynewtotheseriesorfightinggamesinparticular,or justwantstobrushuponsomefundamentals.Eitherway,welcome!Thisisanexcitingtimeto bedivingintofightinggames. There’splentytolearn,sogetreadytoenteracomplexworldof buttoncommands,mentalgames,andeSportsglory.

Fightinggames,andStreetFighterinparticular,aren’tjustaracetoseewhocanpressthe mostbuttonsfasterinordertobeatthecrapoutofeachotherfaster. Fortheuninitiated,it’sa gameofcontrollingspace,makingquickandsharpdecisions,managingresources,and maximizingopportunitiestoinflictdamageontheopponent. Mostnewplayersthinkthatifthey justfigureouttheircharacter’sbestcombos,they’llsurelybeabletobeatmostopponents. Unfortunately,nothingcouldbefurtherfromthetruth.

Withouttheproperfoundation,you’llneverbeabletolandanyofthosecombosinarealmatch, especiallyagainstanexperiencedopponent. Withoutstrongdefense,you’redefinitelygoingto loseagainstplayersofvariousskilllevelssimplybecauseyoudidn’trealizedefensewas important(thinkaboutit:howdoyoustopsomeonefromkickingyourass?).Withoutknowledge ofthegame,youhavenoideathatthegameisfar,fardeeperthanyourealize.

Further,StreetFighterisallaboutyourexecution,oryourabilitytocompletebuttoncommands flawlessly. Ifyoucannotexecutethepropermove,combo,ordefensiveoptionwhenitcounts, you’regoingtolose. Ihatetosoundlikeadowner,butIwanttogetthisintoyourheadthat StreetFighterisn’tjustfunandgames.It’sserioustraining,eventhoughwe’reonlyfighting “virtually”.Thesameprinciplesofconsistency,dedication,respect,discipline,andincremental progressapply.

Ifyouwanttolevelupfromweenooblettoproficientfighter,youneedthemusclememoryand

plentyofpractice.

Withoutfurtherado,let’sgooversomeveryimportantbasicconcepts.

TheRock,Paper,ScissorsAnalogy

StreetFighterisoftencomparedtoafast­pacedgameofrock,paper,scissorsbecausethe

threemainoptionsinStreetFighteraretoattack,block,orthrow.

Therock,paper,scissorsmodelhelpsyourealizethatthereisnomoveortechniquethatis unbeatable.Infact,thereisusuallynosinglecorrectanswerforanymoveorsituationinStreet Fighter­­justshadesofgreyandpossibilities. Ofcourse,thereareexceptionstothisrule,but thisisagoodplacetostartlearning.Ifyouunderstandthisframework,youcanuseittobetter understandwhyyou’rewinningandlosing.

Theconceptofoffenseissimple.Ifyouareattackingtheopponentandtheydonotblock,they takedamageandyouscoreahit. Ontheotherhand,iftheydoblock,theywilleithertakeno permanentdamagefromanormalattackorasmallamountofdamagefromaspecialmoveor CriticalArt.Thelatteriscommonlyreferredtoaschipdamage.

Intheory,youcouldwinifyoujustblockedeverythingthatyouropponentthrewatyou,right?

Notquite,becausewehaven’tconsideredthethirdoption­­throw.Throwsareaconstantthreat

whentheopponentisnearyoubecausetheyareeasytoexecuteanddoaconsiderable

amountofdamageandstuntotheopponent.

PerformedbypressingLP+LKsimultaneouslywhenyou’reclosetotheopponent,throwscannot

beblocked,buttheycanbeavoided,orteched,bytheopponent.Avoidingathrowistricky,but

itcanbedonebyalsopressingLP+LKsimultaneouslywithinasmallwindowoftime(aboutof

asecond).Further,throwsgenerallylosetofastattacks,suchaslightpunches,lightkicks,and

anumberofspecialmoves.

Thus,ifyouthinkyouropponentwillattack,youshouldblock. Butifyouthinktheopponentwill throw,youshouldattack,orattempttotechthethrow.

Buthowdoyouknowwhatyouropponentwilldo?Yourabilitytorecognizeandutilizeeachof theseoptionsintheheatofbattlewilltaketimeandexperiencetodevelop.Ofcourse,youcan’t justmindlesslyusethesameoptionoverandover­­thismakesyoupredictable. This predictabilityiswhatseparatesbeginnersfromintermediateplayers. Beginnershaveonlyafew attacksintheirrepertoireandusuallyhavenoconceptofhowtheseattacksworkandhowthey canbecountered.

Ontheotherhand,experiencedplayersobservetheiropponent’stendenciesandpatternsand adjusttheirgametotakeadvantageoftheotherplayer’sweaknesses. Further,anexperienced playerhasabetterunderstandingoftheircharacter’soptions,aswellasthoseofhis opponent’s,andcanadjusthisgametobaittheopponentintomakingmistakes.Forexample, ifhenoticesthathisopponentneverblocksonwake­upandinsteadmashesbuttonsoruses riskymoveslikeaShoryuken,he’dblockorstandatasaferange,thenpunishrelentlesslywith ahigh­damagecombo.

TheNeutralGame

Theneutralgamereferstoanypointinaroundwherebothfightersareontheirfeetandnot knockeddown. Technically,itcouldalsobewhereoneorbothopponentsareintheairor blocking,butlet’snotgetstuckonspecifics.

Everyroundstartswiththeneutralgame.Thisisanimportanttimeforplayersto“feeleach otherout”andfightforscreenposition(theimportanceofwhichI’lltouchonbelow),usinga combinationofwalkingbackandforth,theirnormals,andspecialmoves. Anothertermto

describethefightforspacecontrolintheneutralgameisfootsies,whichusesnormalsand

specials.Youwanttodevelopstrongfootsiesbecauseyouwillhaveahigherabilitytodeal

damageandavoidgettinghit,allthewhilelimitingtheopponent’soptions.

Experiencedplayerstendtousequicknormalsthatarehardertopunish.Thereasonistodeal

smallamountsofdamage,yes,butmostlytoseehowtheopponentreacts.Thatshouldbeyour

goaloftheneutralgameoverall:todosmallamountsofdamagevianormalsandspecials,

whilepushingtheopponenttowardsthecornerandlimitinghisattackandmovementoptions.

TheImportanceofScreenPosition

Youmaynotknowitinitially,butscreenpositionisapreciousresourcethatcanbeusedtoyour

advantage,oragainstyouifyou’renotcareful.

Whenyoupushtheopponenttothecorner,itlimitstheirmovementoptionsandcausesmost opponentstocrackunderpressureandmakemistakesthatyoucanthencapitalizeon. Generally,whentheopponentiscornered,youcanapplyoffensivepressurewithnormals, throws,andoverheads. Onceyou’vecorneredtheopponent,youshoulddoyourbesttokeep himthere.

Asyoucontinuetoapplypressureanddealdamage,mostopponentswillbegintofeellotsof mentalpressuretodosomethingaboutitordie. Thisiswhentheyareverylikelytotakeabig riskinordertoescape,butthisisalsowhenthetimeisripeforyoutopunishheavily,provided youcorrectlypredicttheserisks.

Butwhathappenswhenyou’retheoneondefense?

TheBestOffenseisaGoodDefense

Ifyou’relikemostnewplayers,panicquicklysetsinwhenyou’reknockeddownwhilethe opponentisnearyou. Youmightcyclethroughsomecommonoptions,likeawake­up Shoryukenorthrow,ormaybeyoumightmashrandombuttonsandprayforamiracle.

Doesthissoundfamiliar?

Don’tworry,aweakdefenseisnormal. Withsomefocusanddiscipline,youcanmakegradual stepstoimproveyourdefense.

Astrongdefenseisverydifficulttobeat,plainandsimple. Imaginethatyouhaveanopponent cornered,butyoucan’tseemtolandahitbecausehetechsallyourthrows,blocksyourattacks, andseeminglycanwithstandanendlessamountofcornerpressure.That’sadifficult­to­beat defensethatseparatesgoodplayersfromthegreats,solet’sstepyourowndefensegameup.

Teching Throws

Techingthrowsiscommonlytheweakestareaofdefenseamongstbeginners.

Athrowtechiswhenyourthrowgetsneutralizedbytheopponent’sthrow.Thishappens

whentheopponentpressesthethrowcommand(LP+LK)atnearlythesametime.

Intheory,itsoundseasy,butinpractice,especiallywhenplayingonline,it’sreallydifficultand

frustrating.

Asabeginner,youmightfailtotechthrowsconsistentlyduetooneormoreofthefollowing

circumstances:

1. Youdidn’tanticipatetheopponent’sincomingthrow,plainandsimple.

2. Youdidanticipateathrowwascomingbutreactedtoolateduetoinexperience,online

latency,etc.

3. Youdidn’trealizetheywerewithinthrowrangeduetounfamiliaritywiththethrowrange.

4. Youmadeaninputerrorduetolackofpracticeandprecision.

Theaboveareallverycommoninnewplayersbecausethrowscanbeadeceptivelycomplex partofStreetFighter. Nowlet’sexaminemorecloselywhatyoucandotoreducethechances ofanyofthesesituationshappeningtoyouinrealmatches.

You Weren’t Expecting The Throw

Notexpectingathrowisprobablythemostcommonreasonthatnewplayersgetthrown. You probablywerenotawarethatathrowissocommonplaceandimportanttoyourgame. That’s okay,we’regoingtofixthatnow.

Thebestwaytolearnhowtointegratethrowsintoyourgameistocommittothrowingthe

opponenteverysingletimeyougetnearthemorknockthemdown.

Obviously,thisisnotahigh­levelstrategyandwon’tworkagainstmoreexperiencedplayers, butthat’snotthepoint. Thegoalistogetusedtoconstantlylookingforthrowopportunitiesso thatyougainabetterunderstandingofhowtheycanimpacttheflowofthematch.

ActionStep:Playfivematchesandattemptatleastonethrowperround.

You Reacted Too Late or Didn’t Realize You Were in Range

Thisisalsoverycommon,especiallyonlinewherevariousfactorslikeinternettraffic,latency,

monitorlag,andflatoutnothavingpracticedenoughcanheavilyinfluenceyourgame.

Youhavelessthanasecond(1/5thofasecondtobeprecise)totechathrow,soit’snowonder

yougetthrownalotwhenyoufirststartplaying.

Oftentimes,throwsaretechednotbecausetheopponenthasamazingreflexesbutbecause theyalsoattemptedathrowatnearlythesametime. Whenconsideringthealreadysmall

windowyouhavetotechathrow,combinedwithonlinelatencyofanywherebetween50­150ms

formostconnections,youcanseewhyit’seasytogetthrown.

There’snoperfectsolutiontosolvingalatencyissuesinceeventhelatencybetweenevery onlinematchwillbedifferent.However,familiarizingyourselfwiththerangeofyouropponent’s throwsisagoodstep. Sinceeachcharacterhasadifferentthrowrange(Zangief’sSpinning Piledriverhasalongerrangethanregularthrows,forexample),youshouldtakethetimeto carefullymeasuretheopponent’smaxthrowrangefromstandingandcrouchingpositions.

You Made An Input Error

Thethrowcommand(LP+LK)appearstobesimpleonthesurface,butduringanactualmatch,

itcandefinitelybeeasytomessuptheinput.Thiscanhappenifyou’reunfamiliarwithhowto

positionyourfingersonthefightstick(ifyou’reusingone),oritcouldalsobefromalackof

techingpractice.Tothelatterpoint,muchoffightinggamesrelysignificantlyonmusclememory,

sonewerplayerswillbenefitgreatlyfromspendingthetimetohonetechingthrows.

Asforinputerror,thereareanumberofdifferentvariables:youcouldbemissingthebutton slightlyoryourtimingmaybeoffandyoudidn’thitthebuttonssimultaneously. OnetrickI’ve foundusefultomakethiseasieristogotoButtonConfigandsetonebuttontothrow. Either thePPPorKKKbuttoncanbesettothrow,whichyoucanaccessmoreeasilywithpractice.

Theadvantageofaone­buttonthrowtechisthatfewerinputortimingerrorscanoccur. Plus,if youbecomeproficientindouble­tappingbuttons,youcaneffectivelydoubleyourchancesof techingathrowthatwouldotherwiserequiretwofingerspressingtwobuttonstwotimes(that’sa mouthful).

Ifyou’replayingonacontroller,settingonebuttontothrowisfairlycommonaswell,sodon’t

feelembarrassedtotryitsinceitcouldquicklyfortifyyourdefense.

RefertotheStartingStreetFighter5TrainingModeHandbookforanexerciseonhowto

practicetechingthrows.

TheImportanceofBlocking

Anothercomponentofastrongdefenseisknowinghowandwhentoblock. Blockingis performedbyeitherholdingbackordown­backonthecontrollerwhentheopponentattacks.

Itseemsdeceptivelysimple,butnewplayersfrequentlystrugglewithblockingbecausetheyare oftentimesoverwhelmedbythespeedofthefight. Agoodruleofthumbtorememberisthatif you’renotsurewhattodoinanygivenmoment,yourdefaultdecisionshouldbetoblocklow. Whylow?Blockinglowbeatsnearlyeverysingleoffensiveoptiontheopponenthas. Thetwo

exceptionsarethrows(bothregularandcommandthrows)andoverheads(whichmustbe

blockedhigh).

Theotherreasonyouwanttoblocklowinsteadofhighisthatingeneraloverheadsareslow

andeasytoreactto.Mostcharacterscannotdomassiveamountsofdamageafterconnecting.

Also,midattackscanbeblockedhighorlow,generallymakingblockinglowabetteroptionthan

blockinghigh.

InSF5,blockingnormalattacksincursasmallamountofrecoverablegreylifedamage,making

blockingslightlyriskierduetothepossibilityoftheopponentscoringacleanhit. Onceyou createspacebetweenyouandtheopponent,andasmallamountoftimehaspassed,your healthwillbegintoregenerate.

Onesituationinwhichyouneedtogetusedtoblockingisafteraknockdown. Thisistypically wherenewplayersstrugglethemostbecausetheyarenotfamiliarenoughwiththeirdefensive optionsortheiropponent’soffensiveoptions. Infact,themostcommonreactionforanew playerwhentheygetknockeddownistomashbuttonsordoanunsafeReversal,likea Shoryukenonwake­up. Thisisriskybecauseiftheopponentcorrectlypredictswhatyou’lldo, hewilllikelyscoreaCounterhitandgettheopportunityforbigdamage.

Inadditiontoblockinglowonwake­up,youmustalsoremembertoblocklowafternearlyevery singlemove. Thisisanimportanthabittogetintobecauseifyouwhiffanormalandyour opponentdidnotpunishfastenough,you’llhavetheopportunitytoblockhisattack. However,if youforgettoblockloweverytime,you’llgethitduetobeingcareless.

Bymakinganefforttoblockonwake­upinsteadoftryingtorecklessly,say,Shoryuken,your problemsaway,yourdefenseandmentalfortitudewillimproveandyouwillmakefewerrisky decisions.Blockinglowandreactingtothrowsandoverheadsaregenerallythesaferoptions aftergettingknockeddown. Afterblockingafewattacks,youshouldbeabletobackdashto safetyandresetthesituationbyreturningtoyourfootsies/neutralgame,providedyouweren’t alreadycornered.

Rememberthatblockingbeatsallattacksexceptforthrows.Inadditiontoreactinghightoblock

overheads,you’llalsoneedtoreacttothrowsbyteching.

Intheneutralgame,it’sworthnotingthatyoushouldbecarefulaboutbackdashingorjumping

backbecauseyougiveupsignificantscreenposition.Allinall,takingsmallstepsandblocking

lowaresaferwaystoadvanceforwardthandashingorjumping.

Blocking Cross‐Ups

Across­upisusuallyanairattackthathitsontheoppositesideofwheretheopponentstarts.

Therewillbesituationswhereyouareforcedtoblockacross­upeitherwhilestandingoron

wake­up.

Cross­upsmustblockedbyholdingtheotherdirectiononthecontroller,meaningthatifyouare ontheleftandtheopponentisontherightandperformsacross­upjump­in,youmustholdright onthecontrollerinordertoblock. Ifyoucontinuetoholdleftasthoughthejump­inwereaimed tohitfromthefront,youwillgethitandlikelyeatalargecombo.

Thebestwaytodefendagainstcross­upsistoconsiderwhentheymaybeusefulandwhen

theymayputyouinabadsituation.Oftentimes,Iseenewerplayersgoforcross­upswhenthe

opponentiscornered,buttheyinsteadendupputtingthemselvesinthecorner.

Maybeyou’regoingfortheelementofsurprise.Yes,itistruethatmostexperiencedplayers wouldnotexpectyoutoputyourselfinthecornerwithacross­up.However,anexperienced playerwilllikelybeabletokeepyouinthecornerforthedurationoftheround,thusdefeating yourmasterplanofconfusingyouropponentwithanunexpectedcross­up. Don’teverusethis cross­up.

Thebettercasewouldbewhenyouareinthecornerandrealizethatacross­upjump­inwillget yououtofthecornerwhilestillkeepingyouropponentinblockstun. Iwouldarguethateven

whilestandingmid­screen,across­upisnotaseffectiveasmakingyouropponentthinkyouwill

goforthecross­up.Thiswillallmakemoresenseasyouplaythegame,andcheckoutthese

generalrulesofthumbforcross­ups:

● Donotputyourselfinthecornerforthesakeofgoingforacross­up. Gettingscreen positionadvantageismoreimportant.

● Ifyoucanconditionyouropponenttoblockinfrontafewtimesafteraknockdown,a cross­upthenexttimeyouareinthatsituationismorelikelytohit.

● Cross­upscanusuallybehitbya3­frameReversal,suchasaShoryuken.

● Anambiguouscross­upcanbeagreatwaytoendtheroundiftheopponentisnear

death.

ResourceManagement

Asmentionedearlier,StreetFighterisalsoagameofresourcemanagement.Yourresourcesin

StreetFighter5include:

● CriticalGauge(accesstoEXSpecialMovesandCriticalArts)

● V­Gauge(accesstoV­ReversalandV­Trigger)

● Lifebar

● Screenposition,relativetohowfarawayyouarefromyourowncorner

● Timer

Keepinmindthatyouropponenthasthesesameresources. It’lltaketimeandastrategyto effectivelyuseeachofthese. Let’sstartwithwhatisboththemostandleastobviousresource ofthemall:yourlifebar.

The Life Bar

Formanysituations,thelifebarisimportantbecauseitseeminglydictateswhoisincontrolof

thematch,ormoresimply,whowillwinorlose.Yetinothersituations,thelifebarissimplyless

importantthanscreenposition,V­Gauge,andCriticalGauge.

Thatisbecausethelifebarmattersonlyifitreacheszero. Youcouldbehangingbyapinkyat

1%lifeleftandyouropponentcouldhave100%,butitdoesn’tmatteruntiloneofyoureaches

0%. That1%meansacomebackisalwaysapossibility,regardlessofhowunlikelyitmayseem atthetime.

Essentially,youcanuseyourlifebartogainmoreinformationaboutyouropponentandplace

betsonhowhewillreact.

Whenfightinginabest­of­threescenario(suchasinatournamentinwhichyoumustwintwo outofthreegamestoadvance),theentirefirstgamecanbethoughtofasanopportunityto gatherinformationontheopponent.JohnChoi,OGStreetFighterlegendfromNorthern

CaliforniaandEvo2008Capcomvs.SNK2Champion,hasoftenstatedthatthepurposeofthe

firstroundistolearntheopponent’scapabilitiesandtendencies.Then,youcanapplythat

knowledgetoroundstwoandthree.

Forinstance,youcanwagersomeofyourlifebartofindoutwhattheopponenttendstodoin wake­upsituationsandwhattheyliketospendtheirresourceson. You’llfindthatoftentimes playersgettooconcernedwiththeirlifebarandtendtomakecostlymistakeswhentheyfall behindinhealth. Theyusuallyenduplosingbecausetheystartmakingerrorsoutofanxiety andfear,likejumpinginatthewrongtime,pressinganimaginaryortemporaryadvantage,or doinganunsafeReversalonwake­up.

Atfirst,riskingyourlifebarforinformationisn’teasytogetusedto,butyou’llgetbetterwithtime

andwillsoonbeabletogathermoreinformationonyouropponentwithoutpanickingand

makingmanyerrorsyourself.

Herearesomegeneralrulesofthumbaboutthehealthbarsasaresource:

● Inabest­of­threescenario,youhaveasfewasfourroundsandasmanyasninerounds

tolearnenoughaboutyouropponenttocountertheirstrategyandtendencies.

● Ifyou’vefallenfarbehindinlife,rememberthatyourotherresourceslikeEXMeter, V­Reversals,andV­Triggeraretheretohelpyoumountacomeback.

● Ifyouhavegainedthelifelead,becarefulnottooverextendyourselfbyattacking recklessly. Usually,playingitslowandsafewillbeasurerpathtovictory.

● Ifyoudon’thavethelifeleadbuthavethemtrappedinthecorner,thescreenposition advantageismoreimportantthanthelifedeficitbecausemostplayerswillcrackunder cornerpressure.

● Blockingprojectilesandotherspecialmovescostyousignificantlyonlyifyouhaveabout 10­15%lifeleft. Intheearly­tomid­game,youshouldn’tworryabouttakingchip damageandshouldfocusyoureffortsonscreenposition.

● Blockingnormalattacksnowdoesrecoverablegreylifedamagetotheopponent. Force theopponenttoblockacontinualsequenceofattackssothatallit’lltakeisonecleanhit ofanyattacktomakethatdamagepermanent.

● Trytokeepyourlifebaronparwithorslightlyaheadofyouropponent’s. Ifyour

opponentis5­10%aheadinlife,there’snoreasontotrysomethingreallyriskythatwill

costyoualargerchunkofhealthwhenitdoesn’tpanout.

Critical Gauge

YourCriticalGaugeisimportantbecause,asitbuildsup,yougainaccesstonewabilitiesand

options,suchasEXversionsofspecialmovesandCriticalArts(SF5’sversionofSuper

Combos).

EXversionofspecialmovesaresimplypowered­upversionsofthecharacter’smoves,giving themadditionalproperties,suchasinvincibility,abilitytoscoreaknockdownonhit,dealing additionaldamage,ortheabilitytopassthroughprojectiles. TheseallcostoneEXstockand areperformedbypressingtwobuttonsattheendofthespecialmovecommandinsteadofone (suchasD,DF,F+PPinsteadofD,DF,F+P).

Conversely,CriticalArtscostyourentireCriticalGauge(allthreestocks). Theseareusefulfor endingaround,finishingacombo,orpunishinganopponent’smistake. Eachcharacter’s CriticalArtvariesinhowitcanbeusedinbattle. SomecharactershavelotsofusesforEX SpecialMoves,whileothersmightbebetteroffwithsavingtheirmeterforaCriticalArt.

CriticalArtsarealsoextremelyimportantinSF5becausetherearenomorechipdamage

victories(unlessyoublockaCriticalArt). InpreviousversionsofStreetFighter,chipdamage victoriesoccurredwhentheopponenthadnohealthandblockedaspecialmove. InSF5,the onlywayyoucanbe“chippedout”isbyblockingaCriticalArt.Inotherwords,ifyouhavereally strongdefense,youcanmountquitethecomeback.

ThekeywithanEXMeterisknowingwhentouseittogaintheadvantageinamatch.Usually,

inexperiencedplayerseithercarelesslywastetheirEXMeter,orworse,theyforgettheyhave

EXMeteratallandmissmanyopportunitiestodeallotsofdamageorgainapositional

advantage.

HerearesomegeneralrulesofthumbaboutEXMeter:

● TrytokeepyourEXMeteronparwithoraheadofyouropponent’s.

● DyingwithfullCriticalGaugestillmeansyoulost,soyoumightaswellcreateaplanto

useitbeforeyoudie.

● UsingyourentireCriticalGaugetoendacloseroundisstillbetterthanlosingtheround

becauseyouwerebeingtoofrugalwithyourmeter(especiallyifyouuseditto“chipout”

anopponentwhoseeminglywouldnotdie).

● Ifthereisasituationinwhichyouhavealotmoremeterthanyouropponentatthestart

ofaround,it’slikelythatyoumissedsomeopportunitiestospendsomeintheprevious

round.

● Generally,acombowithmultipleEXSpecialMovesdoesn’tdoenoughdamageto

warranttheextrauseofmeterandisinefficientcomparedtotheresourcecost.

● Makeanefforttoapproximatehowmuchmeterisgainedorlostfromyourgo­to

blockstringsandcombos,assomecharactersbuildmetermuchmorequicklythan

others.

● Youbuildthemostmeterwhenyourattacksarenotblocked.Youstillalsogainasmall

amountwhenthey’reeitherblockedoryoutakedamage.

● Youdon’tbuildanymeterfromwhiffing(ormissing)normals,butyoudobuildalittlebitif

aspecialmovewhiffs.

InSF5,theEXMeterhasbeenchangedtomaxoutatthreebarsinsteadoffourlikeitdidin

SF4. Hence,youmustbemoreconsciouslyresourcefulwithyourEXMeterinSF5.Torecap,it costsonlythreebarstouseyourCriticalArt,whileaEXSpecialMovecostsathirdofyourbar.

V‐Gauge

TheV­GaugeissimilartotheUltraMeter,ifyouwerefamiliarwiththatinSF4.I’llgointomuch

detailinthenextsection,sofornow,justknowthatyoushouldfocusonbuildingastrategy

aroundusingitratherthansimplytryingtobuildthegauge.Thereasonisthatmostplayerscan

buildfourV­Gaugestocksprettyeasilyineveryround.Don’tworry,we’llalsogooverhowthe

V­Gaugeisbuiltinthenextsection.

Eitherway,rememberingthatyourV­Gaugeisaresourceandrebuildseveryroundisfoodfor

thoughtforbecomingastrongerplayer.

Screen Position

Screenposition,orpositionaladvantage,ismorelikea“hidden”resourceinthegame,asthere isnovisiblemeterforit. Mostnewplayersdon’tevenconsiderpositionaladvantagetobe somethingworthpayingmuchattentionto. Butthinkaboutit:ifyoupushyouropponenttohis farsideofthescreenandcornerhim,youwillmakeyouropponentpanic.

Theadvantageofhavingextraroombehindyouisthatyoudon’tneedtopressyouradvantage toohard,ortakeverybigrisks. They’llhangthemselvesforyou. Mostcorneredplayerswilldo whatevertheycantoescape,includinganobvious,easy­to­punishjumporarecklessReversal. Evenagainstareallystrongopponent,youwouldstillhaveplentyofextraroomtomaneuver beforeyougetpushedbackintoyourowncorner.

MostcharactersintheStreetFighterfranchisedonothaveaneasywaytogetoutofthecorner.

Eventhosethatdo,suchascharacterswithteleports,mustincurafairamountofriskduetothe

recoveryandpredictabilityofthesemoves.

Letallofthissinkinfirstbecausewe’renotdoneyet!Thenextsectionwillspecificallyaddress

thosechangesinStreetFighter5andhowtheycanbeappliedtoyourgame.

ConsideringRisk/Reward

Oftentimesyoursuccessorfailureinfightinggamescomesdowntoyourabilitytoproperly assessrisk/rewardscenariosquickly. Riskandrewardreferstotheamountofdamageyou coulddealifyourattackconnectssuccessfullycomparedtotheamountofdamageyouwould likelyincuriftheopponentblocked.

Forexample,ifyougetknockeddownandchoosetowake­upShoryukenbecauseyouthinkthe

opponentwillattackyou,therewardis120damageifyouarecorrect.

Iftheopponentblocks,theriskisthatyouwilleatfarmorethan120damage,dependingonthe

resourcestheopponentusestopunishyou. AtypicalCrushCountercombowithnoV­Trigger

orEXMeterusedwilllikelydealwellover300damage,makingitafarbiggerrisktoShoryuken

asopposedtoblockingandpotentiallyeatingathrowwhichwouldonlydoaround140damage.

Astheopponenthasmoreresources,therisk/rewardskewsevenmoreheavilyintheattacker’s

favor.

Thereisnoperfectanswerorsolutiontoanythinginfightinggames,butatleastconsideringthis

conceptinbattlecanhelpstopyoufrommakingcostlymistakes.

OverviewofStreetFighter5

StreetFighter5hasundergonemanychangesfromthemultipleiterationsofStreetFighter4.

ThegoodnewsisthatthecoreofStreetFighter­­withanyfightinggameeven­­remainsthe

same.Thegoalisstilltogetyouropponent’slifebartozerothroughacombinationofspace

controlanddealingdamagethroughcombosandpunishingtheirmistakes.

IfyouhavepreviousSF4experience,thetoolsandsystemsinSF5mightfeelreallydifferentat

first. Inthissection,I’mgoingtooutlinesomeofthemajorchanges.

ThebiggestchangeisCapcom’sdesignphilosophybehindthecreationofSF5. Basedonthe

conversationsI’vehadwithvariousmembersoftheCapcomSF5team,it’sclearthatthey

aimedtomakeagamethatwasevenmoreexcitingtowatchthanSF4. YoucouldsaythatSF5 wasbuiltwithesportsinmind. TheyalsowantedSF5tobeeasiertoplayfornewplayerstoget started.

ThismarkeddesigndifferencemakesSF4feeldatedbycomparison.RememberthatSF4was

releasedin2008,whichmeansthatdevelopmentstartedseveralyearspriortothat. Think aboutthatforamoment. It’slikelythatpeoplewithinCapcomweredesigningwhatwould

eventuallybecomeSF4in2005­2006­­allbeforetheadventofYouTube,beforeFacebookreally

tookoff,andbeforethefightinggamecommunityandesportsexplodedinpopularity.

Now,SF5ischockfulloffeaturestohelpyouimprovecertainaspectsofyourgame,suchas

newtrainingmodefeaturesandtheabilitytoconnectwithplayersaroundtheworldthrough improvedcommunicationandmatch­making. Nottomentionthedifferencesinpacingandthe in­gamedecision­making.

ThinkofSF5asamixofthebestelementsfrompreviousStreetFightergames,suchasStreet

FighterIII:3rdStrike,StreetFighterAlpha,andSuperStreetFighter2Turbo,withalittlebitof

StreetFighter4bakedin.

Withthatsaid,thegameisbothsimultaneouslysimplerandmorecomplexatthesametime. Howcanthisbe? Well,gonearethedaysofoptionselectsthatcovermultiplewake­upoptions, likebackdashinvincibilityandReversals(moreonthislater). Infact,thewake­upgameis probablyoneofthebiggestchangestothefeelandflowofthegame,sincethereareveryfew hardknockdownsinthisgame.(Don’tworry,we’llgooverallofthissoon.)

Further,FocusAttackshavebeenreplacedbyV­Skills,whichareuniquetoeachcharacter. Thischangemeansnomorelow­risk/high­reward,mid­screenFocusAttacknonsense. Now whenplaying“footsies”intheneutralgame,youmustrelyonyournormalstoconnectwithyour

opponents,notwiththenear­catch­allFocusAttackofSF4.

TheremovalofFocusAttacksandmuchofthewake­upguessinggamemakesthegame

simpler,butwhatmakesitmorecomplex?

Answer:theCrushCounterandV­Gaugesystems.

InStreetFighter4,aCounterhitwasscoredwhentheattacker’smoveinterruptedthe

opponent’smoveinitsstartupframes. TheseCounterhitsscoredalittlebitmoredamageand stun,aswellasprovidedextraFrameAdvantageandallowedforCounterhit­specificcombos thatwouldn’totherwisebepossible.

InSF5,theCounterhitsystemhasbeenexpandedwiththeintroductionofCrushCounters. A CrushCounterisscoredwhenconnectingwithaheavyattack(HPorHK)thatinterruptsthe startupframesofanymove,includingthrows. AfteryoulandaCrushCounter,theopponentis putinanextralonggroundedhitstunstateorairbornejugglestate,allowingyoutoscore additionaldamage/stunandcontinuethecombo.

Thissystem,alongwiththeV­Gaugesystem(whichreplacedtheUltraMeterfromSF4),adda

lotofdepthtothegamebecauseeachcharactercantakeadvantageofbothCrushCounters andV­Gaugeeffectively. TheV­GaugeissimilartoSF4’sUltraMeter:youbuilditbyincurring damageandusingyourV­Skillsuccessfully.

Eachcharacter’suniqueV­SkillisperformedbypressingMP+MKsimultaneously. Someare counterslikeRyu’sparry,andothersaremovement­basedlikeKen’srun.

OncetheV­Gaugeisfull,thecharactercanactivatehisorheruniqueV­Triggermove. Some V­Triggersstayactiveforaperiodoftime,likeM.Bison’sPsychoPowermode(whichgives certainmovesadditionaldamageorproperties). Othersareone­shotuses,likeNash’steleport. Howyouuseyourcharacter’sV­Gaugeislargelyuptoyou,ofcourse. Mostcharactershave multiplewaysforthemtousetheirV­Triggersinsideandoutsideofcombos.

Additionally,thereisV­Reversal,whichissimilartoanAlphaCounterfromtheStreetFighter

Alphaseries.

Don’tworry,asImentioned,we’llgomorein­depthintoeachofthesenewfeatures.Thisis

simplyaquickoverviewofthenewsystemsbeforewegoanyfurther.

AsplayersgearupforthelaunchofSF5,therehasbeenalotofchatteramongsttopplayers

thatthegameis“tooeasy”or“toosimple.” Icanassureyouthatthere’splentyofdepthtothis game. Justbecausesomethingisseeminglysimpleonthesurfacedoesn’tmeanthere’snot plentyofsubstancebelowit.

Iwanttoalsodispelthemyththatthegameisslow. Itonlyseemsslowbecauseyouprobably haven’tseenitplayedbypeoplewhoreallyunderstandthegame. Ormaybeyoujusthaven’t hadyourassbeatenquicklyandefficientlyyet. Thosedayswillsooncome­­justyouwait.

Allright,nowthatyou’vehadabrieftasteofsomeofthesechanges,let’stakeacloserlookat

moreelementsofSF5andhowtheyalltieintogether.

SystemChangesandHabitstoChange

Asmentionedintheprevioussection,theV­GaugeSystemandCrushCountersplayahuge roleindifferentiatingSF5fromallotheriterationsofthefranchise. Let’sdivedeeperintoeach ofthese.

V­System

PerhapsthemostnoticeabledifferencebetweenSF4andSF5istheV­System. InSF4,the

equivalentistheRevengeGauge,a.k.atheUltraMeter,whichallowsyoutounleashaLevel1

orLevel2UltraCombo.

InSF5,thishasbeenreplacedbytheV­Gauge,whichbuildssimilarlyandresetseveryround.

YourV­Gaugefillsupby:

● Incurringdamagefromtheopponent’sattacks

● Blockingtheopponent’sattacks

● SuccessfullyusingyourV­Skill

● ScoringaCrushCounterontheopponent

Somecharacters(RyuandCammy,forinstance)haveatwo­stockV­Gauge,whereasothers (BirdieandM.Bison)haveathree­stockgauge. Thisaddsanadditionallayerofdepthand uniquenesstoeachcharacterbecauseyoumustmanageyourV­Gaugedifferently,depending onwhetheryourcharacterhasatwo­orthree­stockgauge.

V­GaugecanbespentonV­ReversalswhichcostonestockandV­Triggerwhichusesthe

entiregauge.

Let’stakeacloserlookateachelementoftheV­System.

V­Trigger

V­TriggerbecomesavailablewhenyourV­Gaugeisfullystockedandflashesred.Asmentioned

earlier,somecharactershavetwostockV­Gaugesandothershavethree.

V­TriggercanbeactivatedbypressingHeavyPunch(HP)andHeavyKick(HK)simultaneously.

EachV­Triggerisuniquetoeachcharacterandtheygenerallyfallintooneofthefollowing

categories:

● Ongoingpower­upmodes

● One­shotactions

Here’sabreakdownofeachcharacter’sV­Triggerandwhichcategorytheyfallinto:

Character

OngoingPower­UpModes

One­ShotAction

Birdie

   

Cammy

   

ChunLi

   

Dhalsim

   

F.A.N.G.

   

Karin

   

Ken

   

Laura

   

M.Bison

   

Nash

   

Necalli

   

R.Mika

   

Rashid

   

Ryu

   

Vega

   

Zangief

   

Generally,V­Triggerscanbeactivatedatanytimewhenyourcharacterisstandingorby cancellinganormalattack,likeRyu’sst.HK. Normalsthatarespecial­cancelable(i.e.Cammy’s cr.MK)canalsobecancelledintoV­Trigger. ThisallowsforV­Triggertobeusedinthemiddle ofcombos,aswellasintheneutralgameorafteraknockdown.

Somecharacters,suchasM.BisonandKen,canactivatetheirV­Triggersduringspecial

moves,suchasScissorKicksandShoryuken.

Power­UpV­Triggers

Forcharacterswithpower­upV­TriggerslikeRyu’sandBirdie’s,theactivatedV­Triggergives

thematemporaryboostindamage,stun,orenhancedabilitiesforspecialmoves.

Forexample,Ryu’sV­TriggergiveshimaccesstoDenjinHadokenswhichdealmoredamage, stun,andbecomeunblockableiffullychargedbyholdingdownthepunchbutton. Othermoves, likeCammy’sSpiralArrow,arefaster,gainprojectileinvincibility,andtravelthroughthe opponentifblocked,makingthemhardertopunishandallowingmorechancesofjuggleifit successfullyhits.

Onceactivated,power­upV­TriggersslowlydraintheV­Gaugeataratethatvariesby character. Ontheshortendofthespectrum,V­Triggerlastsabout14real­timesecondsfor

Ryu;andonthefarendofthespectrum,itlastsabout68secondsforBirdieanduntiltheendof

theroundforNecalli.

ThereareafewfactorsthatcanshortenthelengthofV­Trigger,evenonceit’sactivated. Many charactersuseupsomeoftheirV­Triggergaugewhentheyusetheirspecialmovesafter activation,likewithCammy’sSpiralArrow.

SinceV­Gaugebuildsrelativelyquickly,youcangetoftengetmorethanoneactivationina round. It’spossibletoactivateatwo­stockV­Triggertwiceperround,ortouseonestockona V­Reversal,ortwothroughouttheround,andhaveenoughtimetobuildupasecondV­Trigger gaugetowardstheendoftheround.

Additionally,V­Triggerdoeshavesomestartupframes,whichmeansthatcharacterscanbe“hit out”duringitsactivation. However,evenifyougethitoutoftheV­Triggerstartup,youstill maintainyouractivationandthespecialpropertiesyourcharactergains.

One­ShotV­Triggers

Mostpower­upV­Triggersarerelativelystraightforwardintheiroffensiveutility,whereas

one­shotV­Triggersarearguablymoreflexibleandversatile.

Forexample,Nash’sV­Triggerisacontrollableteleportthatputshimeitherbehind,aboveand infrontofhisopponent,oraboveandbehindhisopponent. Inadditiontoextendingcombos,it allowsforextremelydynamicmix­uppotential,aswellasawaytogetoutofstickycorner pressuresituations.

R.Mika’sV­Triggercallshertag­teampartnerNadeshiko,whoattacksfromabove,left,orright sideofthescreen. Thiscanbeusedwithincombos,asananti­air,ortocreateamix­up scenariothatforcestheopponenttoguesswhenandfromwhereNadeshikowillattack.

Technically,V­Triggerscouldbeconsideredacomebackmechanic,butnotinthesameway thatSF4’sUltraCombosorUltimateMarvelvs.Capcom3’sX­Factorsare. Youstillhaveto earntheextradamagepotentialthatV­Triggeraffords. Itwillbeinterestingtoseehow V­Gaugemanagementstrategydevelopsandevolvesaspeoplegainmoreexperiencewiththe systemandthegame.

V­Skill

EachcharacterhasauniqueV­SkillthatcanbeusedbypressingMediumPunch(MP)and MediumKick(MK)simultaneously. SomecharacterslikeRyu,Nash,andM.Bisonhaveaparry orparry­likemovethatcandeflectregularattacksandprojectiles. Others,likeCammyand

ChunLi,haveV­Skillsthatareusedtocoverweaknesses,suchasdifficultygettingaround

Hadokens.

V­SkillsbuildV­Gaugewhentheymakecontactwiththeopponent,eveniftheyareblocked. However,aparryV­Skillwillnotbuildmeterifwhiffed. ParryV­Skillsseemtobuildabout1/12 ofoneV­Triggerstockifyoulandonesuccessfully. ForacharacterlikeRyuorNash,that

meansthatifyousuccessfullyparry24projectiles,youwillhaveafullystockedV­Gaugeand

canactivateV­Trigger.

SomecharacterslikeRashidhavedifferentvariationsoftheirV­Skillsthatallowforadditional movementoptions. Rashid’scrouchingV­Skillmakeshimrollonthegroundandincludesan optiontoendonakickthatlaunchestheopponent. HisstandingV­Skillisafastjump,withthe optiontodive­kickattheend.

V­Reversal

V­ReversalsareSF5’sversionofAlphaCountersfromtheStreetFighterAlphaseries. They areperformedbypressingforwardandallthreepunches,orallthreekicks,dependingonthe character.

TheycostonestockofV­Gaugeandcanbeusedtoquicklycreatespacebetweenyouandyour

opponentwhentheyapplypressure.

MostV­Reversalsareattacks,andiflandedsuccessfully,inflictrecoverablegrey­lifedamageto theopponent.(However,afewcharacterslikeNash,RashidandVega,haveevasion V­Reversalsthatallowthemtogetoutofstickysituationsbutdonodamage.) We’llcovergrey lifeindetaillater.

V­Reversalscanalsobeusedtosaveyourselffromtakingchipdamage,evenifyouareabout tobechippedoutbyaCriticalArt. Forexample,ifRyudoescr.MKxxCriticalArt,Birdiecan V­Reversalthecr.MKtoavoidbeinghitbytheCriticalArt.

They’realsousefulforhigh­pressuresituations.YoucanuseaV­Reversaltobuyafew preciousmomentstoletyourstungaugereset,tostoptheopponent’spressure,ortouse towardstheendoftheroundbecausetheydoaproportionatelyhigheramountofrecoverable

greylifedamage.Afterall,ifyouhadlessthan100lifeleftandyougothitbyaV­Reversal,you

havetobeextracarefulthatyoudon’tgethitagainorelsethedamagebecomespermanent,

andyouareonestepclosertodeath.

LearningtobeobservantofyourV­Gaugeatalltimes,aswellashavingastronghandleon yourV­Gaugemanagement,isanimportantpartofbecomingastrongerSF5player. Itcantake sometime,butit’swellworththeeffort.

3­BarCriticalGauge

AmajoradjustmenttoSF5isthechangefromafour­stockSuperMetertoathree­stockone. In

SF4,youcoulduseonestockonEXSpecialAttacks,twostocksonFocusAttackDashCancels

andRedFocusAttacks,threestocksonEXRedFocusAttacks,andfourstocksonaSuper

Combo.

InSF5,withonlythreestocksinyourCriticalGauge,youcanstilluseonestockonanEX

SpecialAttack,butaCriticalArt,SF5’sversionofSuperCombos,coststhreestocks.

Tomyknowledge,therearenoattacksthatcosttwostocks.

Ultimately,thisallmeansthatthewayyoumanageyourmeterwillbedifferent.Some

characterswillbenefitheavilyfromtheadditionaldamagethatone­stockcombosafford,while

othersarebettersuitedforsavingtheirmeterforCriticalArtorEXSpecialAttacksthathave

invincibility.

Forexample,acharacterlikeRashidhasnoReversalwithinvincibility,exceptEXSpinning Mixerwhichcostsonestock. Healsodoesn’thavealotofcombosinvolvingEXSpecialMoves. Infact,EXEagleSpikedoesn’tcomboinsomesituationsinwhichMKEagleSpikedoes. This meansthatratherthanusingonestockofyourCriticalGaugeonanEXSpecialMoveina combo,youmightbebetteroffsavingitforhisCriticalArtorusingitonaReversalEXSpinning Mixertogettheopponentoffofyou.

AcharacterlikeR.Mika,ontheotherhand,mayfindherselffrequentlyusingmeterincombos forscreenpositionadvantage. HerPassionPress(F+MP)canbefollowedbyanEXShooting Peachandaffordherlotsofcornerpush,whichplaystoMika’sstrength.

Thisseeminglyminorchangefromafour­stockmetertothreecreateslotsofadditionaldepthin thegame. Itwillbeinterestingtoseethestrategiesformeterresourcemanagementchange andevolveforeachcharacterovertime.

TheComboSystem

Now,let’stalkaboutsomeofthechangestothecombosysteminSF5.

It’simportanttonotethatthecombosystemhasbeenrevampedabitinSF5. Frommy understanding,there’slessemphasisonpreciseexecution(inotherwords,thereisadditional

inputleniency)tomakeotherwisedifficult1­and2­framelinkseasiertoperform.

Forexample,V­Reversal,V­Trigger,andV­Skillsdon’trequireanycomplicatedmotionsor precision,sothey’realleasiertoexecutenow.Additionally,prioritylinking(plinking),whichwas

atechniqueinSF4tomakecomboseasier,hasbeenremoved.

ThisadditionalinputleniencyalignswiththeintentionalshiftinSF5’sdesignphilosophy,which

aswediscussedpreviously,ismorefocusedonbeingspectator­friendlyinanesportssetting.

Afterall,whyforceplayerstospendendlesshourspracticingridiculouslydifficult1­framelink

comboswhentheycouldredirectthatenergytowardmatchupknowledgeandstudying

opponents?

Sowiththat,SF5’scombosystemisdifferent.Foronething,SF4combosthatoncestarted

frequentlywithcr.LKorcr.LPnolongerworkthesameway. Forexample,Ryu’scr.LPdoesn’t linkintocr.MPthesameway,butyoucanstillchainLPintoitself.

Additionally,chainednormalscannowbecancelledintospecialmoves. Thismightseemlikea minordifference,andwithoutgettingtootechnical,thiswasamajorexecutionhurdlefornew playersinSF4. InSF4,inordertocancelalightattackintoaspecialmove,youhadtolink,not chain,thelightattackstogether. Asarefresher:

ChainCombo­Chaincombosusuallyinvolvemorethanonelightattackwhose animationiscancelledintothenextlightattack. Theseusuallycanbecancelledintoa specialattack. Forexample,RyucanchaintwocrouchingLightPunchestogetherand thencancelintoaShoryuken.

LinkCombo­Thisisatypeofcomboinwhichonemove’sanimationfinishes completelyandtheopponentiskeptinhitstunlongenoughforthenextattacktoconnect beforetheycanblock. Thisisdifferentfroma“cancel”inwhichtheanimationis cancelledinsteadofbeingallowedtofinish.

ThismadecombosneedlesslydifficultforbeginnerssoIdon’tthinkanyonewillmissthis

elementofSF4.

Additionally,SF5alsomakesmoreuseofTargetCombosthanSF4.

TargetCombo­Targetcombosarespecificbuttoncombosequencesthathavebeen builtintothecharacterandflowtogether. Theydon’trequireveryprecisetiminglike linksdo,buttheydifferfromchaincombosinthattheyaren’tlimitedtolightattacks.

Ryu’sTargetCombo,forexample,isst.MP,st.HP,st.HKwhichscoresaknockdownonhit.

SomecharacterslikeNashhaveaplethoraofTargetCombosthatkeepopponentsin

blockstun,ordoesextradamageifhegetsanopening.

AsaresultofTargetCombosandlessfocusonperfectingexecution,moreplayersshouldbe

abletospendlesstimeondifficultexecutiontrainingandmoretimeonstrategydevelopment.

StunGauge

ThestungaugeisawelcomeadditiontoSF5. Locatedjustunderneaththelifebar,itshows howcloseyouortheopponentisclosetobecoming“dizzy.”

DizzieshavealwaysbeenapartofStreetFightergames,andthestungaugeisn’texactlynew

either.Itwasafeaturethatwaslastseenin3rdStrike,butwasnotincludedinSF4forsome

unknownreason.

In3rdStrike,itwasrelativelyraretoseeadizzybecausemostcombosdidn’tdoenoughstun

damage,whereasinSF4itwasdifficulttotellwhenyouropponentwasonthevergeofbeing

dizzied. Thisoftentimesledtodizziescomingfromseeminglyoutofnowhere,bothonoffense anddefense.

InSF5,thestungaugebuildsupquicklyfrommanydifferentsituations,makingiteasytotell

whenyoushouldbekeepingthepressureonyouropponentandwhenyouneedtoplay

carefullyondefense.

Thestungaugewillcontinuetobuildasyoutakedamage,yetitwillremainstaticifyouare

blockingorusingaV­Skillthatabsorbshits,suchasRyu’sparry.

Ifyou’reabouttobedizzied,don’tpanic. Yourstungaugewilldecreaseonitsownwhenyou evadehitscompletelyforafewmoments. Agoodwaytocounteroffensivepressureiswitha V­Reversal. Itcanbuytheprecioussecondsneededtoresetthestungauge.

Youcanactuallyusethestunmetertoyouradvantage,especiallyifyouropponentstarts

gettingovereagerintryingtolandthelasthitortworequiredtodizzyyou.

Insuchhigh­pressure,near­dizzysituations,astrongdefensewillsaveyoufrombeingstunned.

MagicPixel&ChipDamage

TheMagicPixelreferstothelastbitoflifeyouhaveinyourhealthbar. InpreviousStreet Fightergames,ifyouhadasliverhealthleft,youcouldbe“chippedout”byaspecialmove, suchasaHadokenoraSuperCombo. InSF5,youcannotbechippedoutbyspecialmoves, makingitalwayspossibletokeephopealiveandcomebackwithaseriesofsmartdecisions andclutchplay.

However,youcanstillbechippedoutbyaCriticalArt,butsinceCriticalArtscostallthree

stocksofyourEXGauge,itisarelativelyexpensivewaytoendaroundifyou’renotconfident

you’regoingtowinthegame.

WiththeMagicPixel,acomebackisalwayspossible.Itisaveryinterestingandcomplex

comebackmechanicthatrequiresstrongdefenseandthecorrectreads.

Evenwithawidegapinhealth,anopponentwithnohealthleftbutishardtokillcanbecome

increasinglyscary,potentiallyleadingyoutooverextendormakemistakesthatcouldresultina

swiftturnofthetides.

SomecharacterswithoutanoverheadoraCriticalArtthatdoeschipdamage(i.e.R.Mika)may

findthemselvesinverydifficultsituationswhentryingtofinishoffanopponentthatseemingly

willnotdie.

ThrowsandCrouchTech

Throws(LP+LK)areanimportantpartofStreetFighterbecausetheyarethemost straightforwardwaytocounteranopponent’sblocking. Theyhavebecomestrongerinsome areaswhilebecomingweakerinotherareas.Let’sstartwithhowthey’vegottenweaker.

Allthrowshavea5­framestartup,asopposedtoSF4’s3­framestartup. This2­framedifference

makesitmucheasiertojab(cr.LP)anopponentoutofathrowattemptinSF5.

Additionally,throwsnolongercauseahardknockdown,whichmeansyoucanQuickRisefrom them. Thischangesthewake­upgamesignificantly. Now,insteadofhavingtimetodash forwardandforcetheopponenttodealwithyouroffensivepressure(byforcingthemtochoose toblock,attemptathrowtech,wakeupwithaReversal,orbackdash),theopponentcan recoverintimetojabyououtofthrowsandmostnormalattacks.

Let’stakethisscenario,forexample:IfRyuconnectswithaforwardthrow,thendashesforward toattemptanotherthrowornon­lightmeatyattack,hewilleasilybehitbyawake­uplowjab fromtheopponent. What’smore:most,ifnotall,backthrowsleavetheattackerat­2frame advantage,makingitpracticallyimpossibleforyoutocontinueoffensivepressurewiththem.

Further,thismeansthatafteraforwardthrow­­andinordertotimeameatyattack­­youcannot dashfirstandattackbecausethenyouropponentwillhavealreadystoodup.Thischangemay

takesomegettingusedtoforlong­timeSF4players.

It’snotallbad.OneareawherethrowshavegottenstrongerinSF5isthatmanydo170­200

stun. That’sahugeincreaseofabout20­50stunpointsfrommostthrowsinSF4! Withthat, plusthecombinationoflongerstartupandseeminglyshorterranges,Ibelievethrowsarebest savedfortheendofanoffensivesequence,whentheopponentisnearstun.

CrouchTeching

InpreviousStreetFightergames,suchas3rdStrikeandSF4,itwaspossibletoprotectagainst

throwswithacrouchtech.Becauseitseeminglyhadverylittleriskwithhighreward,itwas widelyabusedbyplayersofvariousskilllevels.Nowcrouchtechinghasbeenremovedfrom

SF5completely.

OptionSelect­Anoptionselectisasinglecommandthatexecutestwoormore “options”inthegame,dependingonwhattheopponentdoes. Thesewerewidely

abusedinSF4wheresomeoptionselectswouldsaveyoufrompressureorallowyouto

applyadditionalknockdownpressure. Forexample,asimpleoptionselectispressingcr.LP+cr.LKwhileblockinglow. Ifthe opponentattemptsathrow,you’lltechsuccessfully,butiftheydoanythingelse,acr.LK willcomeoutwhichcanthenbeconvertedtopotentiallylargeamountsofdamage.

InSF5,wheneveryoupressLPandLKsimultaneouslywhilegrounded,yourcharacterwill

executeastandingthrow,evenifyouareblockinglow. Thiscanleaveyouextremely vulnerableifyouropponentanticipatesitandpunishesaccordinglywithahigh­damagecombo when/ifitwhiffs­­andyoucanexpecttogetpunishedseverelyifyouwhiffathrow.

Baitingwhiffedthrowsandpunishinghardwerecrucialin3rdStrikeandSF4,soyoushould

expectthesameinSF5.

However,thereisamajordifferencein“stuffingthrows”instartupanimation.

TobetterunderstandwhatImeanbythat,IhavetobrieflytalkaboutwhatthismeantinSF4.

InSF4,iftheopponentperformedawake­upthrowandyoucounteredbyhavingameatyattack

timedastheywakeup,thethrowwouldbe“stuffed”withnoadditionalindicationfromthegame

thatsomethingimportanthadhappened.

MeatyAttacks­Ameatyisanattackthat’stimedtoconnectastheopponentisgetting upfromaknockdown. Thisforcestheopponenttoblockortakethehit,unlessthey haveaReversalwithstartupinvincibility.

However,ifyoustuffanopponent’snormal(non­throw)attackinitsstartupframes,aCounterhit

isscoredandthegamenotifiesyouassuch.

ContrastthattoSF5’sengine,wherestuffingathrowinitsstartupframeswithanattackresults

inaCounterhit,orCrushCounteriftheappropriateattackisused. (We’llgetmorein­depthinto CrushCounterslater,butfornowallyouneedtoknowisthataCrushCounteredthrowcan leadtomajordamagewithoutneedingtospendresourceslikeEXMeterorV­Trigger.)

ThemoralofthestoryhereisthatifyoufallintooldSF4habitsofcrouchtechingonwake­up,

yourwhiffedthrowswillbepunishedbylotsofCrushCounterdamageandthrowsby experiencedandpreparedplayers. So,makesureyoudoyourbesttoridyourselfofthisbad habitbeforeyougetitbeatenoutofyou!

NoFocusAttack

YetanotherdifferencebetweenSF4andSF5isthestarkabsenceofFocusAttacks. Once activatedbypressingMP+MK,FocusAttackswereusedtoabsorbonehit(ormultiplehitsinthe caseofRedFocus)fromyouropponentandcounterattackwithcripplingdamageifcharged longenough.Additionally,thingslikeFocusAttackDashCancels(FADCs)werealsousedto cancelspecialmoveslikeShoryukenstosafelygetoutofstickywake­upsituations,orextend combosintoUltra.

AsImentioned,youwon’tfindtheseinSF5.InplaceofFocusAttacks,youhaveV­Skillwhich

wecoveredinanearliersection.

NoBackdashHitInvincibility

SF5hasdoneawaywithhitinvincibilityduringbackdashstartupframes.

Backdashinvincibilitywasacontroversial(andoftenabused)featureinSF4.Everycharacter

hadit.MostcharactersinSF4hadeightframesofbackdashstartupinvincibility,whichmade

characterslikeRoseandChunLi,whohadespeciallylongbackdashes,extremelyhardtopin downafteraknockdown. Additionally,techniqueslikeFocusAttackBackdashmadeitpossible toabsorbonehitandthenusethebackdashinvincibilitytoescapeoffensivepressureafter beingknockeddown.

WithoutbeingabletoFADCawake­upReversal,crouchtech,orbackdashwithinvincibility,you

havefewerpracticalescapeoptions.Thismeansyouneedtobuildastrongdefensivegame,as

wellasdeveloptheabilitytotechthrows.

Eventhoughyoudon’thavebackdashinvincibility,youarestillconsideredairborneduring

startup,makingbackdashesaviableoptionifyouthinktheopponentwillattemptathrowon

yourwake­up.

BackdasheshavethepotentialtobeCrushCountered,justlikethrowattemptsdo:Hittingthe

startupframesofabackdashwillresultinaCounterhitstate,andsubsequently,aCrush

Counterscored,ifyouusethecorrectnormalattack.

GreyLifeDamageonBlockedNormals

Greylifedamagereferstorecoverabledamageincurredfromblockingnormalattacks, absorbinghitswithanarmoredmove,orsuccessfullylandingaV­Reversal. Thislife regeneratesovertimeonitsownunlessanotherattackmakescontact.

ThisissimilartothegreylifesysteminSF4,whereyouwouldtakegreylifedamagewhen

absorbinganattackwithaFocusAttackorarmoredmove.

However,inSF5greylifedamageisincurredbyblockingnormalsandgettinghitby

V­Reversals. Thisisbrandnewtotheseriesbecausenormalshaveneverdealtgreylife damagebefore.

Greylifedamagebecomespermanentifahitisscoredsuccessfullybeforeitregenerates. Blockingadditionalattackswhilehavingincurredgreylifecompoundsyourgreylifedamage,

althoughgreylifebeginstoregenerateafteraperiodof90frames(or1.5real­timeseconds)of

nocontactwiththeopponent. Ifgreylifebeginstorecoverbutyoublockanattack,the

90­framecounterresetsandyoutakeadditionalgreylifedamage.

Essentially,youmustplayverycarefullywhenyou’vesustainedgreylifedamagefromblocking

normalsorgettinghitbyaV­Reversalbecauseonehit,nomatterhowsmall,leadsto

permanentdamage.

Blockednormalattacksdeal15%oftheirnormaldamagevalueingreylife. Forexample,a

movethatdoes100pointsofdamageonhitwoulddeal15pointsofgreylifedamagewhen

blocked.

Thischangehasbeenmadetodiscourageapureturtling(highlydefensive)styleand

encouragefast,rushdownoffenseandaddadditionalmentalpressuretothedefender.

OverallHigherDamage

Youmaynoticethatthere’sbeenanoverallincreaseindamagedealtbycombos,special moves,andCriticalArts. Highdamagingcombosmakeforfaster,moreexcitingroundsthat

alsomakeSF5feelmorequick­pacedandlessforgivingthanSF4.

Thedamagescalinghasalsobeenchanged. CriticalArtsthatoccurafterdizziescanstilldeala substantialamountofdamage. ContrastthiswithSF4,whereusingaSuperafteradizzywas generallyconsideredtobeawastebecauseitdidverylittledamage.Takingintoaccountthese changesandconsideringyouravailableoptionsnow­­avisiblestunmeter,V­Triggeractivation

andMagicPixel­­comebackscandefinitelyhappenquickerthantheydidinSF4.

Still,keepinmindthattheyhavetobe“earned”bymakingseveraldecisionsinsteadofmaking

justonethatresultsinahigh­damagingUltraCombo.

FewerHardKnockdowns

Previously,ahardknockdownmeanttheopponentcouldnotQuickStand,affordingyouthe

opportunitytogetameaty,unblockable,orframetrap.InSF5,itseemsonlysome(notall)

CriticalArtscausesahardknockdown,whereasyoucouldachieveahardknockdownfrom

sweeps,throws,commandthrows,Supers,andUltrasinSF4.

Ultimately,thismeansthepaceofthegameissignificantlyfasterbecauseyoudon’thavethe

luxuryoftimetogoforatrickysetup.

NormalandBackRecovery

Withtheremovalofmanyhardknockdownsituations,SF5insteadaddsthisnewelementtothe

wake­upgame:BackRecovery. BackRecoverydiffersfromNormalRecovery(orQuickStand

fromSF4)inthatyourcharacterdoesabackfliponwake­upwhichpushesyouabitfurther

awayfromtheopponentonknockdown.

Thisgivesyoutheoptiontocreateadditionalspaceonknockdowns,andmakesitabitharder

fortheopponenttocontinueoffensivepressure.

Thatsaid,thecommandforeachrecoveryshouldbeperformedasyouhittheground.

ThecommandforBackRecoveryissimplypressingbackonthecontrollerortappinganytwo

kickbuttons;whileNormalRecoveryisperformedbypressingdownortappinganytwobuttons

withthesametiming.

Here’saquickrundownofwhichoptionisavailableduringeachtypeofknockdown:

TypeofKnockdown

NormalRecovery

BackRecovery

Throw

   

CommandThrow

   

CrushCounter

   

SpecialMoves

   

Sweep

   

CriticalArt

   

It’sworthnotingthatsomeCriticalArtscauseahardknockdown,whichmeansneither

Recoveryisavailableinthoseinstances.

Tobesure,thisisalotofinformationtoprocess.You’vegottorememberthatbothoptionsare

availabletoyou,butalsodecipherwhichRecoveryyouropponentwilluse.Thesewilldefinitely

takeabitofgettingusedtobecausetheylookverysimilarandarebothveryquick.

It’simportanttobeconsciousofwhichRecoveryyouareusingbecausesomeknockdown

mix­upsworkonlywitheitherNormalorBackRecovery,whereasothersworkwitheither.

CrushCounters

CrushCountersareaspecialtypeofCounterhitthatiscompletelynewtotheStreetFighter

series.

TherearetwotypesofCrushCounters:onethatlaunchestheopponentandputstheminjuggle state;andonethatkeepstheopponentgrounded,butcausesalongerhitstunandspin­out state,allowingyoutoeasilyconvertintoacombowithsomepractice. Mostcharactershavetwo heavyattacksthatCrushCounter,thoughsomehavethree.

TogainmoreinsightintothisnewSF5system,we’lluseRyu’sCrushCounters.First,Crush

Counterstatesareavailableinthefollowingscenarios:

● Whenhittingtheopponent’snormalattacksduringstartupframes

● Whenhittingtheopponent’sbackdashduringstartupframes

● Whenhittingtheopponent’sthrowsduringstartupframes

● Whenhittingtheopponentinrecoveryframesafterblockingaspecialmovethathas

invincibility,likeShoryuken

Also,ifyouscoreaCounterhitwithasweep(cr.HK),orafterblockingaspecialmovewith invincibility,itwillcountasaCrushCounter. Ryuespeciallybenefitsfromthisfeaturebecauseit giveshimtimetofullychargeaDenjinHadoken,whichwillguardbreakablockingopponent andleavehimvulnerabletobeingpummeledbyabiggercombo.

Thekeytomaximizing“punishopportunities”istomastertheappropriateCrushCounterpunish afterablockedReversal. Let’sinvestigate.

CrushCounter#1:st.HP

Ryu’sst.HPdoes90damageand150stunregularly. IntheSF5beta,itsblockadvantage

variedbetween+1inBeta2and­2inBeta3.

However,ifyoulandast.HPasaCrushCounter,thedamageincreasesto108andthestun

increasesto180. Thisisanoveralldamageandstunincreaseof20%.

RememberthattheaddedeffectofaCrushCounterst.HPputstheopponentintoajuggle

state,ajuicyopportunityuponwhichRyucanconvertintomoredamagewithamid­screen

CriticalArt.

Additionally,cancellingintoV­Triggerunlocksevenmorepossibilitiesthatdon’trequireafully

stockedCriticalGauge,allowinghimtojugglewithHPShoryukenorHadoken.

CrushCounter#2:st.HK

Ryu’sst.HKishisotherCrushCounterandisbetterthanst.HPincertainsituations. Itdoes80

damageand150stun,butifyoulandaCrushCounter,itgetsthesamepercentageincreases

thatst.HPgets­­whichamountsto96damageand180stun.

st.HKedgesst.HPoutincertainsituationsbecauseitcausesagroundspin­outstate. (Recall thateachcharacterhasaCrushCounterthatjugglesandonethatcausesagroundspin­out state.)Sincest.HKdoesn’tjuggle,itallowsformoredamagingcomboopportunitieswithout yourneedingtospendthreebarsonCriticalArt,orneedingV­Triggertojuggle.

However,thedownsidetousingst.HKwhenfishingforaCrushCounteristhatthehitboxis

prettyhigh,makingitsusceptibletobeinghitbylowattacks.

Itwillprobablytakesometimeforyoutogetusedtorecognizingthesituationswhereyoucan

CrushCounter,aswellaspracticingreactingtothemandconvertingintoanappropriatecombo.

Thetrainingmodesectionwillhaveanin­depthpracticalsectionthatincludesexercisesonhow

toimproveyourCrushCounterabilities.

LearningtheGameThroughRyu’sEyes

Istandbymybeliefthatthegame’sengineismodeledafterRyu’scharacter.

SincethebeginningofStreetFighter,Ryuwasthecentralcharacteraroundwhicheverygame’s systeminthefranchisewasbuilt. Allthemechanics,features,match­ups,designphilosophies, andsystemswerecreatedwithRyuasthefoundation. ThismeansthatbylearningRyuyouare learningthegameitself.

Mypreviousbook,SimplifyingStreetFighter,alreadythoroughlywentintoRyu’smechanicsin SF4.Ifyouhaven’treadit,thissectionwillbeveryusefulforyou. Ifyouhave,feelfreetoskip thissection.

Iknowwhatyou’rethinking. “Butgootecks,Ryuisbooooringandeveryoneplayshim! Idon’t wanttobelikeeverybodyelse!”

That’sfine,Igetit. YoumightthinkRyuisboring,andyeah,hemightnotbethemostexciting character,butthisisnotaguidetobeinganexcitingplayer. ThisisaguidetolearningSF5and what’snecessarytobegood.Likeitornot,playingRyuisthemosteffectivewaytolearn,and gradually,buildasolidsetoffundamentalsthatwillcarryovertoothercharacters.

It’salsohelpfultokeepinmindthatjustbecauseyouarelearningthegamewithRyudoesn’t meanyoumustbeaRyuplayerforever,thoughnotthatthat’sevenabadthing. Lookatthe shiningexamplesofdedicated,world­classRyuplayerslikeDaigo,AlexValle,andJohnChoi. TheseguysarenotonlysomeofthegreatestRyuplayersofalltime,butsomeofthegreatest StreetFighterplayersofalltime.

Doyoustillthinkyou’retoogoodtolearnthesamecharacterthattheseguyshaveusedtohone

theircraftandbuildtheirfightinggamecareerson?

Ididn’tthinkso.

So,pleasebearwithmeandcontinuewithanopenmind.

What’stheSameandWhat’sNew?

Experiencedplayersalreadyknowwhat’sup,butRyu’ssecretsauceisworthmentioningforthe

beginnersoutthere.

Let’sstartwithRyu’sgeneralgameplan,whichislargelyunchangedsincetheearlydaysof

StreetFighterII:WorldWarrior:applypressuresafelywithHadokensandpokes,andanti­air

‘emwhentheyjumpatyouwithShoryuken.

Certainlytherearetonsofnuancesandoptionstoconsiderbasedonthecharactermatchup andopponentyouarefighting,butthat’sthegistofit. Usethisbasicgameplanasthe foundationforyourownRyu.

Now,let’staketakeaquicklookatRyu’smovesettoseewhat’snew,different,andsimilarto

hisSF4iteration.

Move

Changes

Hadoken

Largelyunchanged.

Shoryuken

Largelyunchanged.

Tatsumaki

HKputsyoubehindtheopponent.

LP

Makescontactwhentheopponentiscrouchingandcanbeusedasanti­air

withacross­undermix­upopportunity.

MP

Extremelyusefulnowandlinksintocr.MP,cr.HP,anditself.

HP

Nolongerspecialcancellable. CrushCountercausesjugglestateandcan becanceledintoV­Trigger.

LK

AngleddowninsteadofupasitwasinSF4andisspecialcancellable.

MK

Seemslikeabettermid­rangepokethanitwasbefore.

HK

CrushCountercausesgroundspin­outstate. Whiffsagainstcrouching opponents.

F+HP

Largelyunchangedbutnow­2onblockinsteadof0.

F+MP

Largelyunchanged.

B+HK

Completelynewmove.

cr.LP

Nolongerabletolinkintomediumattacks. StillchainableintoanotherLPor LK.

cr.MP

Significantlyimprovedhitboxandutility.

cr.HP

Largelyunchanged,butlinkableafterclosest.MP.

cr.LK

+1onblock,but1­frameslowerthanst.LPwhichalsohitslow. Nolonger abletolinkintomediumattacks. Generallynotthatusefulanymore.

cr.MK

SeeminglyshorterrangethaninSF4. Nolongerasusefulbecausecr.MK xxHadokenislargelyunsafe.

cr.HK

Movesslightlyforwardnowandseemstohaveslowerstartup.It

DEFINITELYhaslongerrecoveryonblock.

j.LP

Largelyunchanged.

j.MP

Largelyunchanged;andstilldoestwohitsandjuggles.

j.HP

Largelyunchanged.

j.LK

Largelyunchangedandstillcrossesup.

j.MK

Largelyunchangedandstillcrossesup.

j.HK

Canmakecontactclosertothegroundforseeminglydeeperjump­ins.

AlthoughRyu’smovesetseemsmostlythesameonthesurface,itisdeceptivelynuanced. You willalsonoticethattherearenoclosenormals­­onlystandingandcrouching.Thisremovalof rarelyusedclosenormalsisconsistentwiththerestofthecastandthegame,andseemstobe aconsciousdesignchoicetosimplifythegame.

First,hisstapleblockstring,cr.MKxxHadoken,isnolongeraseffectivebecauseofHadoken’s longrecovery. Itisunsafeatcloserangesandiseasilypunishedbycompetentopponents. In otherwords,youcannotjustthrowoutHadokensifyou’renotsuretheywillhit.

Anotherthingtonoteisthatneitherofhiscrouchinglightattackslinksintomediumattacks. In otherwords,thedaysofcr.LP,cr.LP,cr.MPxxHadokenaregone. Infact,youmightaswell

trytoforgetthisevenexistedinSF4becauselights­into­mediumattackshaveprettymuchbeen

removedfromthegame.

Fortunately,youcanstillcombotwolightsintoaspecialmove,butthisisnotmajordamageand

doesnotpayoffinthesamewaythatlandingasinglelightattackoncewouldhaveinSF4.

Furthermore,thestrategyofzoningwithlong­rangeHadokensagainstmanycharactersisno longereffectiveduetotheV­Skillsystem. Forinstance,characterslikeM.Bison,Nash,and ZangiefhaveV­SkillparriesthatabsorbHadokenseasily,makinglongerrangeHadokens nearlyuseless.ThischangeforcesRyutoplayupcloseagainstmanycharacters.

ThegoodnewsisthatRyuhasaparryaswell,soyou’regoingtoneedtolearntouseitwisely.

StandingMediumPunch(st.MP)

Themostsignificantchangetohisnormalmovesetisst.MP. InSF4andmostotherStreet Fightergames,Ryu’sst.MPhadlowdamageandashorthitboxthatrendereditnearlyuseless andoverallinferiortocr.MK.

InSF5,st.MPisthegatewaytoalotofhisoffense. Afterall,itisthebeginningofhistarget combo(st.MP,st.HP,st.HK),anditlinksintocr.HPatpointblankrangeandcr.MPifyou’rea bitfurther.

Analyzingthisabitfurther,weseethat

● IfyouscoreaCounterhitwithst.MP,youhaveenoughtimetoeasilyhit­confirmintothe

restofhistargetcombo,st.HP,st.HKunlesstheyarecrouching,inwhichcasethest.

HKwhiffs.

● st.MP,cr.MPxxHadokenisaprettysolidblockstringthatbuildsanicechunkofmeter

andalsogivesyouenoughpushbacktousuallybesafeaftertheHadoken.

● Italsopacksquitealotofhitstun,givingyouampletimetoconfirmintoyournextmove.

Andnowwithitsimprovedhitbox,itcanalsohitcrouchingopponentsfrommaxrange.

StandingLightKick(st.LK)

Before,st.LKwasalmostalwaysnearlyuseless. Sure,itcouldbeusedasaweakanti­air,but therewaslittleuseforitoutsideofveryspecificsituations.

Withitsnewandimprovedrange,angle,andcancellability,st.LKisnowsimilartoSagat’sst. LKinSF4. Youcanusest.LKxxHadokenatmaxrangeforarelativelysafeblockstringat mid­screen. Thisisausefultoolagainstalotofopponentsbecauseitallowsyoutobemore mobileintheneutralgame,whilestillforcingtheopponenttoblockHadokensfromausually saferange.

StandingLightPunch(st.LP)

Thismovenowresembleshis3rdStrikeiteration,whenithadahitboxthatwasangledhigh

enoughtobeusedasananti­air. Ifyouanti­airwithst.LPandfollowupwithadash,youcan performatrickycross­underthatislikelytohitmostopponentsatleastoncebeforetheycatch on.

Thest.LPisalsohisonly3­framegroundnormal,andithitscrouchingopponentsANDis+2on

block. Thesemakethismoveidealfortickthrows,whichusedtobeidealwhenstartingfroma cr.LK,cr.LPblockstringinSF4. Now,twolightattackswillpushtheopponenttoofaroutsideof yourthrow’sreach.

Throws(LP+LK)

Speakingofthrows,histhrowsappeartobethesame,buttweakstothegame’senginehave

changedthemsignificantly.

Nowthatyoucan’tdohardknockdownsafterthrows,youcanassumethatmostplayerswill almostalwaysNormalRecoveryafterbeingthrown. Thismeansyoudon’thavethetimeto

dashinandsetupyournextmix­upasyoudidinSF4.

Infact,thesamescenarioleavesyouatadisadvantageof­1sincethrowsgiveyou+15ona

QuickRiseknockdown,butyourdashis16frames. Andyoucanforgetaboutsettinganything

upafterabackthrow,whichleavesyouat­2.

Theupsidesarethatforwardthrowdoes170stunandbackthrowdoes200stun­­anicechunk

ofmoredamagethaninSF4.

V­Skill(Parry)

Ryu’sparryisdefinitelyoneofthestrongestaspectsofhisgame. Ifyouanticipateanyattack coming,suchasaprojectilefromfaraway,youcanpressMP+MKtogetherandRyuwilldeflect theattack.DoingthisalsoopensawindowforacounterattackandbuildsV­Gauge. Note, however,thatyoumustparry12projectilesinordertobuildoneV­Gaugestock. By

comparison,youneedtoblock15projectileswithoutparryingtobuildoneV­Gaugestock.(It’sa

slowroadtoV­Trigger.)

Onthebrightside,parryingcanbeextremelyrewardingwhenyounailit,butitcanbeextremely frustratingwhenyouscrewupthetiming,ormakeanincorrectread. Itmayseemlikean all­powerfultechniqueifyoucanperfectthetimingonmulti­hittingattacks,butthereisonebig

drawback.Beforewegettothat,Iwanttotalkaboutparryingin3rdStrike.

Parryingwasauniversaltechniquein3rdStrikethathadalowerriskthanitcurrentlydoesin

SF5. Youperformeditbytappingforwardforahighormidattack,ordownforalowattack. If theopponentdidn’tattack,you’dsimplytakeatinystepforwardorcrouchforasplitsecond; therewasnostartuporrecoveryanimation.

InSF5,parryingforRyuandothersnowcarriesahigherelementofriskbecausethereare

startupandrecoveryframes. So,youmuststartparryingsoonerthanyouneededtoin3rd Strike.Furthermore,gettinghitduringrecoveryresultsinaCounterhitstate.

IfRyuparriestooearlyortheopponentchoosesnottoattackatall,theopponentcanlanda hugeCrushCountercombobybaitingaparry. Inordertoavoidthisfate,youmustbe

absolutelysurethattheopponentwillattackatthatprecisemoment,oryouwilltakeahugerisk

forwhatcouldendupbeingarelativelysmallreward.

HerearesomegeneralrulesofthumbforRyu’sparry:

● Projectilesfromhalf­screenorfurthershouldberelativelyeasytoparrywithpractice.

● Parryingmulti­hitmoveslikeEXHadokensshouldalsobecomerelativelyeasierwith practice,butyoucannotparrythefirsthit,thenblockthesecondduetotherecovery framesoftheparry. Onceyoucommittoparryingamulti­hitmove,youmustparryall hitsbecauseoftherecoveryframes.

● Parryingjump­inattacksusuallyisn’tworththeriskbecausetheopponentwilllikelybe abletoblockyourcounterattack.

● Parryinglightattacksusuallywon’tallowyoutocounterattackduetotherecovery frames,solightattacksarelikelynotworththeriskeither.

● Wake­upparryingisextremelyriskyiftheopponentisnearyoubecauseyoucouldeata hugeCrushCountercomboduringrecovery.

● Itispossibletoparryin­betweenhitsofmanyblockstrings,butit’salsoveryriskyifyou mis­timeit. Also,therecouldbelittlerewardforparryingmanylightandmedium normalsatdifferentdistances.

Onetrickthatyoucanusetomakeparryingeasieristobindthecommand(MP+MK)toa button,likePPPorKKKbutton. Asalong­time3rdStrikeplayer(read:competentparrier),Ifind itmucheasiertotaponebuttontoparryinsteadofpressingtwoatthesametime. Thatway,I feelthatlesscangowrong.

V­Trigger(DenjinMode)

WefinallygettothepartofRyu’sgamethatseparateshimthemostfromhisSF4iteration:his

V­Trigger. ActivatedbypressingHP+HK,Ryu’sV­Triggergiveshimaboostincertainmoves:

increasesstunonhispunches,increasesspeedandstunonHadokens,andincreasesdamage

andstunonhisShoryuken.

Soundsgood,right?Let’stakeacloserlook.

StunBoost

AfteractivatingDenjinMode,allofRyu’spunchesgainanadditional30stunonhit. (Thiscould changeinthefinalbuild,butit’ssafetosaythathewilllikelyretainhisstunpower­up.) This

affectshisstandingLP,MP,HPstunvalues,increasingthemfrom70/100/150to100/130/180,

respectively.

Atfirst,youmaynotthinkthisincreaseisabigdeal,butwhenyoutakealookatthestunvalues

fromapercentageincrease,you’llrealizeit’sprettysignificantforlightattacks.

Move

Normal

V­Trigger

Percentage

Normal

V­Trigger

Percentage

Damage

Damage

Increase

Stun

Stun

Increase

st.LP/cr.

30

30

0%

70

100

42.86%

LP

st.MP/cr.

60

60

0%

100

130

30%

MP

st.HP/cr.

90/80

90/80

0%

150

180

20%

HP

F+MP

60

60

0%

100

130

30%

st.HP

108

108

0%

180

216

20%

Crush

Counter

Hadoken

60

80

33.33%

100

150

50%

LP

Hadoken

60

80

33.33%

100

150

50%

MP

Hadoken

60

80

33.33%

100

150

50%

HP

Hadoken

100

120

20%

150

200

33.33%

EX

Shoryuken

100

120

20%

150

200

33.33%

LP

Shoryuken

120

140

16.67%

150

200

33.33%

MP

Shoryuken

140

160

14.29%

200

250

25%

HP

Shoryuken

160

180

12.5%

200

250

25%

EX

Bylookingatthiscolor­codedchart,wecanseethatthebest“value”isintheLP,MP,HP Hadokens. Eachgetsa33.33%damageincreaseanda50%stunincrease.

EXHadokenandLP/MPShoryukenallget33.33%stunboosts,whichissignificantaswell.

Generally,LPShoryukenisnotthatuseful,butMPShoryukenisdefinitelyusefulasananti­air.

Also,hisst.LPgiveshimawhopping100stunwhileinV­Triggeranddealsthesameamountof

stunasst.MPdoeswithoutV­Triggeractive. TwochainedLPs(standingorcrouching)deals

190stunwithscaling,whichisnearly20%oftheaveragecharacter’sstungauge.Thismakesit

significantlyeasiertolandthatfinalhitortwoanddizzytheopponent.

DenjinHadokens(D,DF,F+P)

ThisiswherethingsgetreallyinterestingforRyu. Forthosethathaveplayed3rdStrike,you’re probablyveryfamiliarwithRyu’sSuperArtIII,theDenjinHadoken. Thiswasanunblockable, potentiallygame­changingSuperCombothatcouldbechargedbyholdingthepunchbutton downandwigglingthestick.

Oncefullycharged,theDenjinHadokenwoulddealenoughstuntodizzytheopponent.The onlywayoutofitwastoparryallfivehits,orguesscorrectlyandjumpoverit. Withproper

meatytiming,especiallyinthecorner,3rdStrikeRyu’sDenjinHadokenhadhugecomeback

potential.

InSF5,DenjinHadokensaresimilar,butwithsomeimportantdifferences.

Firstoff,whenRyuactivatesV­Trigger,allofhisHadokensbecomemuchfaster. Likein3rd Strike,theycanbechargedbyholdingdownthesamepunchbuttonyouusedtothrowthem. ThelongeryouchargetheHadoken,themorehitsitwilldo­­uptothree. Whenyoureleasethe button,theHadokenisreleased.

FullychargedHadokenscauseabriefguardbreakiftheopponentisblocking,allowingyouto

convertintoacomboifyou’recloseenough.

HoldinganyofthepunchbuttonsforabouthalfasecondaddsanextrahittotheHadoken.

Theycannotbeheldindefinitely,however,andoncetheyreachtheirfullcharge,theHadokenis

releasedevenifyouarestillholdingthebutton.

IfyouchargeLP,MP,orHPHadokenfortwohits,theyalltravelatthesamespeed. The advantageofusingchargedEXHadokensisthatitreachesafullchargefasterthantheother strengths.

ButtheproblemwithchargingtheHadokensandgoingforaguardbreakisthateventhough

chargingmightseemfast,itactuallytakesquitealongtimeinanactualmatchandleavesyou

vulnerabletojump­insandotherattackswhileyou’restillchargingtheHadoken.

SincethereareveryfewhardknockdownsinSF5,tryingtotimeameaty,fully­chargedDenjin

Hadokenontheopponent’swake­upwillgiveyouropponentenoughtimetojumpandcounter­

attackwhileyou’restillinrecovery,orcharging.

ConsideringthethingsImentioned,you’llrealizefullychargedDenjinHadokensaresignificantly

lessusefulthantheymightappear.

Sincetheseguardbreaksareprettyhardtocomeby,thereisanotheroptionavailable:his CriticalArt. WhenRyuhasV­Triggeractive,hisCriticalArtguardbreaksonblock. Unfortunately,unlessyouhavethemcornered,thisguardbreakputsyoutoofarawayto convertintomoredamage.

However,ifyouhavethemcorneredandmanagetogetthemtoblockyourCriticalArtwith

V­Triggeractive,youcanconvertintohisTargetComboforaneasyadditional170damage.

AccordingtohisBeta3framedata,heis+8ontheguardbreakafterCriticalArt.

Thismightseemprettygood,butbasedontheresourcecostandriskofgettinghitbya wake­upReversal,thiscouldberiskydependingonthesituation. It’salsoworthmentioning thatusingCriticalArt(whetherithits,isblocked,orwhiffs)immediatelyendstheV­Triggerstate.

I’msuretherewillbesomereallygoodDenjinsetupsdiscoveredintime,butrightnowthat’s

beyondthescopeofthisbook.

GeneralV­TriggerStrategy

Whenyou’refirststartingoutwithRyuinSF5,itcanbeeasytoforgetthatyouhavethe

V­Gaugetoworkwith. That’swhyIrecommendkeepinganeyeonitandactivating immediatelywhenyourV­Gaugeisfull.

Obviously,sucha“run­and­gun”strategyisnotalong­termrecipeforsuccess,butatleastit’ll getyouintothehabitofkeepinganeyeonyourV­Gaugeandfindingdifferentwaystouseit. DyingwithafullystockedV­GaugemeansyoumissedoutonopportunitiestouseV­Trigger andV­Reversal. Plus,you’redead.

HerearethemainscenariosinwhichyoucouldactivateV­Trigger:

● Intheneutralgamewhenyouandyouropponentarestanding

● Afteranormalattack,insideandoutsideofcombos(Ryucan’tcancelanyspecialsinto

V­Trigger)

● Bycancellinganormalattackwhentheopponentisinblockstun

● Afterahardorsoftknockdown

Nowtogoovereachinmoredetail.

ActivatingintheNeutralGame

You’llfindthatagainstmanyopponentsactivatingV­Triggerintheneutralgameimmediately shiftsthemomentum. ThisisbecauseDenjinHadokenscanbeveryintimidatingtoalotof players. Itcancauseopponentstopauseforamomentandstopattacking,whichissometimes allyouneedinordertoturnthetideinyourfavor.

Ifyoualreadyhavethelifeleadand/orscreenpositionadvantage,activatingV­Triggercan

allowyoutoincreaseyourleadthroughintimidationandcarefuluseofunchargedand

half­chargedDenjinHadokens.

Inmanyways,V­TriggeredRyufollowsmuchofthesamegameplanashedoeswhen

V­Triggerisnotactive:applypressurewithHadokensandanti­airwithShoryukenwhenthey

jump.

RememberthatyourShoryukensdoadditionaldamageandstunwhenV­Triggerisactive. MP

Shoryuken,asitwasinSF4,islikelytobetheonewiththemoststartupinvincibility,makingit

yourreliablego­toantiair. It’sworthnotingthatHPShoryukencanstillbeusediftimedcorrectly wheninV­Trigger.

“Butwhyriskit?”youmightbeasking.

Well,ifyouanti­airandscoreaCounterhit,theHPShoryukendoes192damageanda

whopping300stun! That’sasmuchstunasanyofthefully­chargedDenjinHadokens. TheEX

Shoryukendoesn’tdo300stunonCounterhitpossiblyduetostunscalingonthesecondhitof

theShoryuken. ThismakesHPShoryukenanextremelyappealinganti­airwhenV­Triggeris active butonlyifyoumanagetogetyouropponenttojumpatyouinthefirstplace.

There’saway,ofcourse.

SincehisHadokenissignificantlyfasterwithmanyvariationsduringanactiveV­Trigger,his Fireballgamebecomeshardertodealwith. Rememberthatlight,medium,heavy,andEX versionsallhavedifferentspeeds,andcharginganyofthemforamomentcanthrowofftheir reaction.

AsImentionedearlier,fullychargedHadokenshaveareallylongstartupsotheymaynotbeall

thatusefulinnumeroussituations,buttheoptionsarethere.Youmightbeabletofindwaysto

usethemthathavenotyetbeendiscovered.

ThereasonwhytheadditionalHadokenspeedsareimportantisthatwhenV­Triggerisactive, therecoveryonallHadokensisreducedaswell. ThismeansthatyoucanthrowHadokensat rangesthatwouldn’tbesafeotherwise,andthereforebaitopponentstojumpatyou.Whenthey

do,theygethitbyaV­TriggerHPShoryukenthathasthepossibilityofadditionalCounterhit

damageandstun.

AfterANormalAttack

EverynormalinRyu’sarsenalcanbecancelledintoV­Trigger,butnoneofhisspecialsshares

thisability.

So,therearelotsofcombosthatareonlypossiblewhileV­Triggerisactive. Italsomeansthat youcanactivateV­Triggereveniftheopponentisblocking. We’llgetintomoreV­Trigger combosinalatersection,soallyouneedtoknowrightnowisthatactivatingmid­comboisan importantpartofRyu’sgame.

Additionally,activatingwhiletheopponentisinblockstuncanbeusefultoapplypressurewith

DenjinHadokensandbaitthemintojumping.

AfteraKnockdown

ActivatingV­Triggeroffaknockdowncanvaryinusefulnessdependingonwhetheritwasa hardorsoftknockdown. Tomyknowledge,Ryu’sonlyhardknockdownisaCrushCounter sweep(cr.HK). AsImentionedbefore,thishasthepossibilityofguardbreakingDenjin Hadokensetups,which,tomyknowledge,havenotyetbeenfullyexplored.Softknockdowns arefarmorecommonanyway.

So,onepossibleuseforV­Triggerisrightafteranattemptedsweep,sinceanynormalcanbe cancelledintoV­Trigger. YoucancancelyoursweepintoV­Triggertoessentiallymakethe sweepsafebecausehissweephasareallylongrecovery.Thisisnowhereasgoodas activatingV­Triggermid­comboforextradamage,butitispossibleandcanbeusefulinsome situations.

Wrappingitup,IthinkyouhaveaprettygoodheadstartonRyu’stacticsandabilities. I stronglybelievethatlearningRyuisthemosteffectivewaytolearnthegameandthis investmentearlyonwillpaydividendsinthelongrun,evenifyoudecidetoswitchtoadifferent characteronceyouhaveasolidfoundation.

SinceRyuissowell­rounded,hemakesastrongadditiontoanyplayer’scharacterrostersince hecancoversomeunfavorablematchupsyourfuturemaincharactermighthave. He’salsothe mostcommonlypickedcharacter,sobeingwell­versedinyourmostcommonopponentisalsoa smartchoice.

Nowlet’sshiftgearsandtalkaboutdevelopingadditionalcharacters.

WhyOneCharacterisNotEnoughAnymore

IfStreetFighter4taughtusanything,it’sthevalueofbeingabletoplaymultiplecharactersata

highlevel.

Therewasnoundisputed,single“strongestcharacter”inthegamebecauseeverycharacter, eventheonesthatwerewidelyconsideredtobeS­Tier,thebest,hadbadmatch­ups,or charactersthattheywereweakeragainst. Thiswasanintentionalpartofthedeveloper’s designchoiceinordertoestablishsomedegreeofbalance,sothatnoonecharactercanbe

clearlyacutabovetherest.Notsurprisingly,SF5followssuit.

Therewillalwaysbebadmatch­ups,butthat’sagoodthingbecauseitforcesgrowthasa

player.

Oneschoolofthoughtisthatyoucan(andshould)learnyourbadmatch­upstoshiftintothe mindsetthatwillmakeyouastrongerplayer. Everymatch­up,nomatterhowdisadvantagedit mayseemtoyou,canbeovercomewithresearch,discipline,patience,andeffort. Thisiswhy manyofthe“oldschool”playerscanbesostrong.They’vedevelopedthisimportantmindset fromthedaysofarcades.I,ontheotherhand,usedtostubbornlysticktooneortwocharacters becausethatwasthethingtodobackthen.

Timeshavechangedalot.Theonlineworldhasmadeitpossibletotrainwithmultiple

charactersandtrainwithanyoneintheworld.

Backthen,yourcharacterwasseenasanextensionofyou,theplayer,andsoalotofvalue wasplacedoncharacterloyalty.Atmyhomearcade,FamilyFunArcadeinGranadaHills,CA (RIP),playingwithyourbestcharacterwasawaytoearnrespectamongstyourpeers.Asa result,playersstrivedtobethebestintheirareawithonecharacter. (Plus,whenyouwona game,youcouldn’tchangeyourcharacterinthecharacterselectscreen.)

Mymentalitywasthatanytimespentlearningothercharacterswasbetterspentworkingon improvingmyUrien(preferredcharacteratthetime)skills.Icontinuedtothinkthiswaywiththe introductionofStreetFighter4andBalrog. IstuckwithBalrogforalongtimeuntilfinally switchingtoRoseinSuperStreetFighter4. Buteventhen,IstilloccasionallyusedBalrogasa secondaryanddidn’ttakethetimetolearnmoreofthecast.

Simplyput,Ilearnedfirst­handthatthisarcadementalityisnolongereffectiveinthepresent dayfightinggameenvironment. Tobehonest,Icouldn’tkeepup. IseenowwhereIwent wrong. Thearcadereleasehadcomeoutmonthsbeforetheconsolerelease,withwaittimes

rangingfrom30­60minutesduetosomanyotherplayersandonlyafewarcademachines.

Withoutbeingabletopracticeathomewithtrainingmode,therewasverylittleopportunityfor

exploringdifferentattacksandstrategies,andtherewasevenlessroomforexploringnewand

unfamiliarcharacters.

Nowadays,everyoneisstartingSF5athomewithtrainingmode. Wearefreetoexploreany andallcharacterstowhateverdegreethatourtime,drive,andabilitieswouldallow.

BenefitsofLearningAdditionalCharacters

Iwishsomeonehadmademeunderstandthebenefitsoflearningmorecharacters,asIwould

havebeenastrongerplayerinboth3rdStrikeandSF4.So,don’tmakethesamemistakeIdid.

Learnmorethanyourfavoritecharacter.Waymore.

Themostobviousbenefitisthatyouknowtheprosandconsofmultiplecharactersandcan dealwithopponents’charactersappropriatelybyswappingoutamaincharacterforanalternate ifthere’sabadmatch­up. (Thisdoesn’tapplyinaone­gameRankedMatchscenario,butit certainlyappliesintournamentandin­personmatches.) FornowinSF5,it’shardtosaywhat thebadmatch­upswillbe,butrestassuredtherewillbesome!

Thebenefitofhavingasecondaryortertiarycharacterinyourarsenalisthattheycoverthe weaknessesofyourmaincharacter. Thiscanbeakeycomponenttowinningmorematches.

Forinstance,inSF4,Guileisgenerallyconsideredadifficultmatch­upforM.Bison(Dictator)

duetoBison’sfloatyjumpanddifficultyindealingwithprojectiles. Guile’sshortrecoverytime onhisSonicBoomandextremelyeffectiveanti­airscanmakeitnearimpossibleforBisonto approach. SinceBisonhasnoprojectileorpracticalwayofdoingdamagefromlongrange, especiallywithoutmeter,heisatadisadvantageandtheBisonplayerislikelytolosetoaGuile playerofasimilarskilllevel.

If,however,theBisonplayerlearnedRoseasasecondary,hewouldhaveacontingencyplan incaseherunsintoaGuileplayeratatournament,arcade,orwherever. Rosegenerallyshuts downGuile’sSonicBoomgameprettyeffectivelybyabsorbingorreflectingwithSoulReflect, andshecaneasilyanti­airhisfloatyjumps. So,iftheBisonplayerhasacompetentpocket Rose,hehasastrongerchanceofwinning.

Inadditiontocomplementingtheweaknessesofyourcharacterinbadmatch­ups,learning morecharacterssimplyprovidesmoresubtle,hiddenbenefits,likelearningtheirstrengthsand weaknesses. Thisisn’tusefulonlyforplayingthecharacterwell,butalsoforwhenyou’re playingagainstthecharacteraswell.

First­handexperienceofusingacharactergivesyouamajoradvantagewhenfightingagainst thecharacteronline,inperson,andintournaments. Essentially,youhavethebenefitof understandingbothendsofthematch­up:yourowncharacterandyouropponent’s.Youmay

knowthetendencies,whattheopponentislikelytodoincertainsituations,andcanproperly

comeupwithwaystobaitanddismantleyouropponent’soffenseordefense.

Idon’tblameyoufornotinitiallyhavingthedesireortimetomastereverycharacter,butyou’d besurprisedbyhowmuchyoucanlearnaboutacharacterinjustasmallamountofhands­on time. Thatknowledgedirectlycorrelatestohavinganeasiertimefightingthatcharacterinareal match.

ImagineinSF5thatyourmaincharacterisKarinandyouropponentinamatchisRyu. Based onyourexperiencewithreadingthisbook(ANDIMPLEMENTINGTHEEXERCISES,DAMMIT), youhaveafairamountofknowledgeaboutwhatRyuiscapableof,whatheislikelytodo,and whathisgameplanis. ButdoesyouropponentknowmuchaboutKarin? Ifnot,thematchis alreadystackedinyourfavor­­assuming,ofcourse,thatbothyouandyouropponentareequally skilledinfundamentalsanddecision­making.

Oneofmyfavoritebenefitsoflearningmultiplecharactersismoresocialinnature.Youare moreeasilyabletoconnectwithotherplayersanddiscussstrategiesandmatch­ups. Whether you’retalkingwithatopplayeratatournamentorjustanotherplayerinyourcircle,being competentwithasmanycharactersaspossiblecanmakeiteasiertogrowyourownknowledge baseviainformationtradingwithmoreplayers.

Epiphaniescansuddenlystrikewhileconversingwithotherplayers. Maybetheyshareatipor strategyabouttheirowncharacter,whichinturn,canbeappliedtoyourowncharactersand game. Soundsgood,right?Butyoumissoutonthisbenefitbynottakingthetimetolearnmore charactersandgettingintothemanyconversationsthatcanleadtobreakthroughsinyourown game.

Similarly,learningasmanycharactersaspossibleallowsyoutowatchmatchesmoreactively andlearnmorefromthem. It’ssimplyapartofbeingastrongplayer. Whetheryou’restream monsteringathome,waitingforyourturntoplaynextonthecouch,orwaitingforyournext

tournamentmatch,you’regoingtobewatchingalotofmatches,especiallyifyou’retakingSF5

seriously.

Ifyouknowhowtoplayatleastoneofthecharactersinanymatchyouwatch,youcanput yourselfintothemindofthatplayerandthinkaboutwhatyouwouldhavedoneindifferent situations. Intheprocess,you’lllikelydiscovernewwaystousefamiliarmovesandstrategies.

Ontheotherhand,ifyoudon’tknowwhat’sgoingon,thenuancesofthematchcaneasilygo overyourheadifyou’reunfamiliarwiththecharacters’optionsindifferentsituations. You’ll likelystillknowwherethemajorturningpointsofthematchare,butyouwon’thaveagood grasponwhereeachplayercouldhavemadedifferentdecisionstoaffecttheoutcomeandwhat theseadjustmentscouldhavebeen.

Nowthatit’sclearyoushouldlearnmorecharacters,youshouldaimforcompetencywithevery characterinordertotrulybeawell­roundedplayer. Whatcompetencymeansforyouisan

individualchoice,buttakeitfromme,alittlebitgoesalongway.JustthinkofalltheSF4Evo

champions:

● Daigo

● Fuudo

● Infiltration

● Xian

● Luffy

● Momochi

DoyouthinkthattheywouldbeabletobeatpracticallyanycasualSF4playerwitharandom

select? Ofcoursetheywould,becausethey’vetakenthetimetolearnatleastthebasicsof eachcharacterandhavestrongfundamentals.

Infiltration:MasteroftheEntireCast

There’soneplayerinparticularwhomIwanttouseasanexemplarymodel.Hisnameis Infiltration. Hehastakenhiswideknowledgeofthecasttoawholenewlevel.

InEvo2013,hewasonthevergeofbeingeliminatedbyPRBalrog,anothergreatplayer.PR

Balrogwasup2­1inafirsttothreeset,withthewinnerbeingabletoadvancetotheLosers

FinalsandclinchaTop3finish.

PRBalrogwasusinghisstaplecharacter,Balrog,whereasInfiltrationhadbeenusingAkuma, thecharacterwithwhichhewonbothEvo2012andCapcomCup2012. AsInfiltrationthought aboutwhatadjustmentsheneededtomakebeforethefifthandfinalgameoftheset,hewent backtothecharacterselectscreen.

AttheriskofsoundinglikeaBuzzfeedarticle:whathedidnextshockedtheworld.

HepickedHakan.

ForthosenottoofamiliarwiththischaracterandhowHakanstacksupagainsttherestofthe

SF4cast,he’sgenerallyconsideredtobeoneoftheworstcharactersinthegame,withpoor

normals,relativelybadmobility,andweakanti­airoptions. However,whenheisoiledup,he becomesoneofthestrongestcharactersinthegame.

Generally,Balrogstrugglesagainstgrapplers(inmyopinion)duetohispoorwake­upoptions andtheirabilitytopunishblockeddashpunches. TofurtherhighlightInfiltration’soddcharacter choice,HakanisoneofthemostinfrequentlyusedcharactersinthegamewhileBalrogisone ofthemostfrequentlyused.

Takethetimetowatchthematchsometime. You’llseethatInfiltrationwasabletocatchPR

BalrogwithUltra1ontwoseparateoccasions:oneasaDashPunchpunish;theotherasa

DashPunchbait. Eventually,InfiltrationcameoutontopandeliminatedPRBalroginoneofthe bestmatchesinStreetFighterhistory.

FlashforwardtwoyearstoEvo2015,andInfiltrationwouldagainsurprisetheworldonstage

duringTop8whenhewasdown2­1againstGamerBeeinLosersFinals. Hewenttothe characterselectscreenandhoveredoverRolentotogaugethecrowd’sreaction. Thecrowd (andGamerBee,unsurprisingly)wasnotinfavorofaRolentopick,likelybecauseRolentois consideredacheapcharacterwholacksthe“excitement”ofInfiltration’sothercharacters,like Decapre.

Finally,hesettledwithJuritogoagainstGamerBee’sElenabecausehefeltthatevenifhe’d

wonwithRolento,GamerBeewouldhaveswitchedtoAdonandmadethingsmoredifficult.

Infiltrationlostthematch. InaninterviewwithCore­AGaming,hesaidhestillconsideredita successbecausehehadhadagreatmatchwithGamerBeeandalsohadbeenabletotesthis EvilRyuagainstMomochiandotherplayers. Hethereforehadbeenabletolearnmoreabout hisownpersonalstrengthsandweaknesses.

Idon’tthinkthere’severbeenanotherplayerwhohasusedsomanydifferentcharacterson streamatEvo. He’susedEvilRyu,Abel,Elena,Juri,Decapre,andChunLi­­allatalevelthat mostplayersnevergettowiththeirmaincharacter. Infact,accordingto@meowklaski’s

Character­DepthGraphoftheTop50RankedCPTplayers­­whichtalliesthenumberof

characterseachplayerusedthroughouttheseason­­Infiltrationusedastaggering14different

charactersthroughoutthe2015season.

Credit: ​ @meowklaski 64

Credit:@meowklaski

Therunner­upwasRyanHartwhousedonlyseven. Theonlyhereisemphasizedinasarcastic

mannertoillustratethatmostoftheTop50playersin2015usedthreeorfewercharacters

withinacastof45.

Inparticularlymemorablemomentin2015,InfiltrationwentupagainstSnakeEyezintheGrand

FinalsofFirstAttackinPuertoRico,aCapcomProTourRankingevent. SnakeEyezpickedhis trademarkZangiefandInfiltration(again)shockedtheworldbypickingHugo.

Howfittingthathewoulduseprowrestlingtofightprowrestling.

TheplayerSnakeEyezisusedtobeingtheaggressorandbullyinghisopponentswithhis

neutralgameandlongSpinningPiledriver(SPD)range.

However,whenInfiltrationpickedHugo,anothergrapplerwho’sgenerallyconsideredtobeon

thebottomendofthetierspectrum,SnakeEyezwaslikelyassurprisedaseveryoneelse.

AlthoughInfiltrationmadeafewexecutionerrorsandmissedafewopportunitiestopunishin

thefirstset,hestuckwithHugointhesecondsetafterbarelylosingthefirstsetinthelastround

ofthelastgame.

Inthefinalgameofthesecondset,hefinishedthelastroundwithaconvincingwin,usinga characternoonehadeverseenhimplaybefore,andsecuredevenmoreCapcomProTour

RankingPoints,whichleduptoCapcomCup2015.

Admittedly,Idon’tknowenoughaboutZangieforHugotopointoutexactlyhowInfiltrationwon

(see,youneedtolearnmorecharacterstoknow!),butI’dwagerthatInfiltrationbenefited

greatlyinthesepocketcharacterscenariosduetothefollowingfactors:

Theelementofsurprise:Hisopponentsweretakenabackbyhischaracterchoicesin

high­pressuresituations.

Unfamiliaritywiththecharacters:Hakan,Hugo,andJuriarerelativelyobscure

charactersthatyoudon’tseeveryoftenintournamentplay.

Strongknowledgeoftheopponent’scharacters:Balrog,Zangief,andAdonareall

popularcharactersthathe’dfoughtplentyoftimesbefore.ElenaisacharacterInfiltration

alsoplays,sohewouldknowherstrengthsandweaknesses.

Basically,I’mjustdrivinghomethepointthattakingthetimetolearncharactershelpsyou becomeaformidableplayer. Infiltration’sdedicationtolearningmost,ifnotall,ofthecastata

highlevelwasagreatinvestmentofhistimeandpaidoffinspadesthroughouthisSF4career.

Heprovedthathecouldbeaforcetobereckonedwith,whetherornotheusedAkuma,the

characterwithwhichheusedtodominatein2012.

LoweringtheExecutionBarrier

AsImentionedearlier,SF5nowhasadditionalinputleniency,makingexecutionalotless

dependentonprecision(andungodlyamountsofpractice). InpreviousgameslikeSF4and3rd Strike,thesteeperlearningcurvewasowedinparttomasteringthehighexecutionbarrierthat wasrequiredtocompeteatahighlevel.

ManyessentialcombosformanycharactersinSF4hadextremelysmalltimingwindows,

includingmultiple1­and2­framelinks.Inordertobeabletopulloffthesecombosconsistently

inhigh­pressuresituations,aplayerhadtospenduntoldamountsoftimepracticingtheir

executionandreactions.

InSF5,thesetighttimingwindowshavebeenreduced,thankstotheadditionofa3­frameinput

buffer. Thismeansthatyourtimingcanbeoffbyasmuchasthreeframes,or1/20thofa second,andthegamewillstillregisterthebuttonpresscorrectly. Nowyoucanspendmore timeonyourstrategiesformatch­upsandlesstimepracticingtightlinksandcombos(thanks, Capcom!).Ofcourse,thiswasaconsciousdesignchoiceonCapcom’spart.

Peter“Combofiend”Rosas,AssociateProducerofSF5,saidduringtheEvo2015Capcom

Panel:

“Playersrightnow,theyseemtobeabletodoallthecombosthataretechnically

one­framelinks(andIknowwhichonestheyarebecauseIactuallylookatthe

framedatainmyoffice).They’renothavingahardtimedoingit.That,tome,

seemslikeit’sfine,becauseattheendofthedaywewantpeopletoaccess

damage,combos,thingslikethatsothattheycanconcentratemoreonhowthey

approachthematchupagainstapersonversushowtheyapproachthecharacter.

Wedon’twantthemtofightthegame,wewantthemtofighttheotherperson.”

Formostveteranplayersandplayersingeneral,it’snoweasiertolearnmorecharacters becauseyoudon’thavetoinvestsomuchtimepracticingtheircombos. Onceyoulearnthefirst andhavepracticedforabit,youshouldn’tneedtodedicatealargeamountoftimestrictlyto executionpractice.

Theinputbuffershouldalsohelpwhenplayingonlineand/orundersub­optimalhardware conditions(seemysectiononhardwaretounderstandwhatImean). Thischangeshouldcome asarelieftomanyplayerswhoonceputupwithonlineormonitorlag,aslagwasamajor

hindrancetotightcombosinSF4.That,combinedwitheachplatformrunningataslightly

differentspeedandone’sownimperfectexecution,ledtountoldnumbersofroundslostand

endlessfrustration.

Ultimately,thisallmeansthatafteryoulearnthegamewithRyu,itshouldbestraightforward

andmucheasiertoplayothercharactersinhigh­pressuresituationssinceyounolongerhave

tospendasmuchtimepracticingexecution.

Ofcourse,there’sanefficientandalessefficientwaytolearnothercharacters. Luckily,Uncle gootecksisgoingtosharethisframeworkwithyounext.

APracticalFrameworkforLearningCharacters

ThoughIdorecommendlearningRyufirstanduseRyufornearlyexampleinthisbook,

eventuallyyou’llneedtolearnothercharactersinordertokeepupwiththecompetition.

Here’sapracticalframeworkforlearningcharactersfromthegroundupyourselfwithout needingtorelyonforums,videos,orotherguidestolayitalloutforyou. Youcancertainlyuse theseresourcesifyou’dlikeandthereareplentyavailable,however,ifyou’rethetypeofperson thatlearnsbydoing,thismethodmaybemoreeffective.

1. StartwiththebenefitsandpossibilitiesyourV­Triggeraffordsandworkbackwards.

2. Figureoutwhatyourcharacter’sV­SkilldoesandhowitcanbuildyourV­Gauge

3. Learneachofyourcharacter’snormalsincluding:

○ whatit’smaximumrangeis

○ whetherit’scancelableintospecialmoves

○ whattheycouldbeusedforinarealmatch

○ whetheritcouldbeusedasananti­air

○ havingabasicunderstandingoftheframedata

4. FigureoutwhichofyournormalsareCrushCounters.

5. Learnyourcharacter’smaximumthrowrange.

6. Learneachspecialmovethesamewayyoulearntheirnormals.

7. LearnwhateachEXversionofeachspecialmovedoesandthinkabouthowthiscould

beusedinarealmatch.

8. LearnwhatyourCriticalArtdoesandhowitcouldbeusedinarealmatch.

AnalyzingV­TriggerandWorkingBackwards

Sinceeachcharacter’sV­Triggerisunique,thegeneralgameplanforeachvariesbecauseofit. Youmustfirstfigureoutwhatacharacter’sV­Triggerdoesandhowitcanbeusedinareal match. ThisisdonebygoingintoTrainingMode,settingyourV­GaugetoAutoRecoverin GaugeSettingsandthenactivatingbypressingHP+HK.

Generally,whoevergetsafullV­Gaugefirstusuallyhastheadvantage. Thatmeansweneedto gettoV­Triggerfasterthantheotherplayer.So,whatarethethingswecandotomorequickly buildV­Trigger?

IdiscussedthispreviouslyinthesectiononV­Trigger,butinanutshell:V­Triggerbuildsby takingdamage,successfullyusingyourV­Skill,andbylandingCrushCounters. We’llfocuson thelasttwosincetakingdamagewillhappenonitsown.

HowtoSuccessfullyUseV­Skill

Eachcharacter’sV­Skillusuallyfallsintooneofthefollowingcategories:

● Defensive:Ryu,Nash,M.Bison,Zangief

● Attack/movement:Ken,ChunLi,Cammy,Karin,Vega,Necalli,Rashid,Laura,Dhalsim

● Power­up/variable:R.Mika,Birdie,F.A.N.G

Characterswithattackandpower­upbasedV­SkillscangenerallybuildV­Gaugefasterthan characterswithdefensiveormovementV­Skills. Itsoundsunfair,butthereasoniswithinits mechanics. MovementV­Skillssimplydon’tbuildV­Gaugeontheirown,andbyvirtueofhow V­Skillswork,defensiveV­Skillsrequiretheopponenttoattackandforyoutoproperlytimeyour V­Skill.

Youcanstarttoseethatthepracticalsituationsofattack­basedV­Skillsoutnumber

defensive­typeV­Skills,allowingthemtobuildfaster.

BuildingV­GaugeWithCrushCounters

OncewefigureoutthebestwaytobuildmeterwithV­Skill,thenwecanfigureouthowtolanda CrushCounter. CrushCountersaretheotherwaytoactivelybuildV­Gauge,althoughsome buildmorethanothers. Forexample,Birdie’sst.HKbuildsonestockofV­Gauge,whilehisF+HPbuildsonly½stockby comparison.

ThismeansthatsomeCrushCountersnetyoutheV­GaugeequivalentofaV­Reversal.

Interestingly,CrushCountersthatbuild½V­stockfortheattackeralsobuild½fortheopponent.

ButCrushCountersthatbuildoneV­Stockonlybuild½or¾V­Stockfortheopponent.

Forsomecharacters,itcanbearacetoafilledV­Gaugetoshutdowntheopponent’soptions. TakeZangiefandBirdie’sV­Triggers,forexample. Theybothdoaprettygoodjobofshutting downprojectiles. Thedownsideisthatbothofthemarethree­stockV­Triggers,makingthem difficulttoactivateintheearlyandmid­game.

Next,weneedtoknowwhichCrushCountertouseindifferentsituationssincesomelaunch

andotherskeeptheopponentgrounded.

UsingRyuasanexample,hisst.HPlaunches,butunlessyouhaveV­Trigger,that’snotgoing tobeterriblyeasytoconvertintobigdamage. Ontheotherhand,hisst.HKcausesaground spin­outstate,makingitmucheasiertoconverttohighdamagewithoutneedingresourceslike EXorV­Trigger.

Seethedifference?

Let’sanalyzehowwewouldlandeachoftheseinarealmatch.Getready,it’sabouttogetreal

nerdy.

● Ryu’sst.HPisgoodasameaty,whentheopponentisgettingup,forpunishing

backdashesandstoppingbackdashes.

● Ryu’sst.HKisgoodasapunishafterablockedReversal,oragainstathrow.

Nowlet’stakealookattheframedataofeachofthesemovestoseewhatwecanlearnabout them. (Note:Theframedataunderwentchangesthroughoutthebetaperiodandwilllikely changeperiodicallythroughoutthegame’slifespanaswell. So,keepinmindthatnothingisset instone,butlearninghowtouseframedatastillcanbeanimportantskillsettodevelop.Check thesectiononframedataforfurtherdetails.)

● ThestartupofHPis7;HKis10. Threeframesmaynotseemlikealot,buttrustme,it is.

● TotalframesofHPis29andHKisalso29.

● BlockadvantageofbothHKandHPis­1,whichmeansthatyoudonothaveframe

● Theframedatanotethatst.HPscoresaknockdownandthatHKgivesyou+16on

Counterhit. So,oneCrushCounterknocksdownwhiletheotherscoresaground spin­outstate.

● Counterhitdamageandstunare108/180forbothHPandHK,respectively.

Nowthatweknowmoreaboutthenumbersbehindthesetwoimportantmoves,let’sseeifthere

areanymovesthatmightflowintothem.

First,lookatthestartupframesofourstandingandcrouchingnormalsandseewhatwecan

learnfromthesenumbers.

Move

Startup

BlockAdvantage

standLP

3

2

standMP

5

1

standHP

7

1

standLK

4

­1

standMK

8

­2

standHK

10

­1

crouchLP

4

2

crouchMP

5

2

crouchHP

6

­10

crouchLK

4

1

crouchMK

6

­4

crouchHK

7

­11

UsetheframedatatoseeifframetrapsarepossibleintoeitherCrushCounter.

st.LPisblockadvantageof2.Ifwefollowitimmediatelywithst.HP,weleavea5­framegap

thattheopponentcouldusetohitus.

Thisgapiswaytoolargeforittobeeffectivebecauseitlosesto3­and4­framelightattacksas

wellastothrows,whichstartupinfiveframes.

IntheearlydaysofSF5,it’slikelythatyouwillbeabletocatchinexperiencedplayerswiththis

simpleframetrap,however,asthegameevolvesandplayersimprove,thiswillworklessand

less.

However,thissimpleintroductiontoframedataleadsustothenextsectiononbuildingoffense:

piecingtogetherblockstrings.

HowtoDevelopBlockstrings

Ablockstringisasequenceofattacksthatisusedtoaccomplishthefollowing:

● Buildmeter

● Convertintoacomboiftheopponentisn’tblocking

● Leavetheattackersafefromcommonattacksifthedefenderisblocking

Theprocessofdevelopingblockstringscanbecomplex,butI’llwalkyouthroughhowI developedonewithRyu. Traditionally,inpreviousStreetFightergames,Ryu’sblockstrings

endedwithaHadoken;butinSF5,blockedHadokensafteracr.MPorcr.MKarealmost

alwayseasilypunishable.

Let’sseeifwecanfindablockstringthatmakesourHadokensafeagainstmostretaliating

normals.

First,startbyanalyzingthenormalsthathavethemostblockadvantage.

ForRyu,they’rest.LP,cr.LP,cr.MPbecauseeachis+2onblock. WhenIsayamoveis“+2 onblock”,I’mreferringtoaframedatatable,suchastheoneabove,whereyoucanseethe

blockadvantageforthemoveis2.

Nowweneedtoexploreeachofthesenormalsdeeper(sinceeachhasthesameblock

advantage)andfigureoutwhichisgoingtobemostpracticalandusefulinthemostnumberof

situations.

Forstarters,noteverymovewillhitiftheopponentiscrouching. Somemovesjusthavebetter rangesandhitboxesthanothers. (Hereiswhereweneedtoutilizethedummysettingsin trainingmodeandsetStatetoCrouchandGuardtoAll.)

So,let’sstartwithst.LPsincecr.LPisalsoonourlist. Thedifferencebetweenst.LPandcr. LPisthatst.LPisoneframefasteronstartup. Inmostinstances,thisisnotabigdeal,but whenitcomestopiecingtogetheranoffense,itisanimportantdetaillateronwhenwestartto comparemoves.

Continuingon,bothst.LPandcr.LPhitiftheopponentisblockinglow.Becausebothst.LP

andcr.LPhavethesameblockadvantageandcanhitacrouchingopponent,theyarenearly

equal­­exceptst.LPisaframefaster.Thisslightdifferencemakesitabetteroffense“starter”.

Ifyoutrytoseehowmanyyoucanhitbeforeyou’repushedoutofrange,you’llfindthemaxto

betwo.Inotherwords,wecanmaketheopponentblocktwost.LPs,evenifthey’recrouching.

That’saprettygoodstarttoanoffense!Keepthatinmind,aswelookatothernormalswithfast

startup.Atthispoint,we’vedoneeverythingwecanwithourfastestnormal.

Oncewe’vefoundthebestnormaltoinitiateourblockstring,thenextstepistofindanormal thathasa2­or3­framegaptofollowit. Sincest.LPis+2,wecanlookat4­frameand5­frame normalstoseewhatthepossibilitiesare.

Ryu’s4­framenormalsarest.LK,cr.LP,andcr.LK,solet’sstartwithst.LKandcr.LK.

st.LKis­1onBlockandcr.LKis+1onBlock. Bothwillhitacrouchingopponent,butthe opponentmustbeblockinglowinordertoblockcr.LK,givingittheedgeinthatregard.

However,onlyst.LKisspecialcancellable,makingitapossibilityforHadokenpressure,or othercomboopportunities. Rightaway,wecanruleoutcr.LKasthenextpossibilityinour blockstring.

RememberthatevenatmaxdistanceRyucancancelst.LKintoHadoken,sothisisapretty

solidblockstring.

It’sworthnotingthatmostblockstringshavegapswhereintheopponentcanuseaReversalthat

hasafaststartup(i.e.Shoryuken),likelyhittingyoubeforetheHadokenmakescontact.

However,thisrequiresprecisetimingandisriskybecauseifyouweretogethitbyitafew

times,you’realsolikelytostopyourblockstringshortoftheHadoken.Asaresult,youbaitout

theirShoryukenandpunishhardwithaCrushCountercombo.

Ifyoustartthisblockstringatpointblankrange,youareattheperfectrangeinwhichto

whiff­punishmostoftheirattacks.

Ifyouencounteramirrormatch,don’tworry. IfRyufollowsthisblockstringwithst.MK,itbeats cr.HKandst.MKmid­screen. IfhehastheopposingRyuinthecorner,st.MKbeatsalotof otherpokes.

Okay,sofarsogood,butwhatiftheopponentisblockinghigh? Well,sincetherearen’talotof combosthatstartwithlowlightattacks,there’snoreasontobecrouching. Ryucannotdotwo st.LPsbecausethesecondonewillwhiffiftheopponentisblockinghigh.Instead,youhaveto dost.LP,cr.LP,st.LKxxHadokenbecausethecr.LPhasmorerangethanst.LP.

So,nowwehaveadecentblockstringthatworksiftheopponentisblockinghighorlowwitha

2­framegapbetweeneachnormal.

Nowlet’slookatRyu’snormalsthathavea5­framestartup:st.MPandcr.MP. Inthiscase,

5­framemovesareusefulbecausetheycreatea3­framegap,givingtheopponentaslightly

largerwindowinwhichtohitabuttonthatwouldresultinaCounterhitforus.

st.MPandcr.MPbothdo60damageandhitbothcrouchingandstandingopponents. Ifwe beginwithst.LP­>cr.LP,wecanuseeitherst.MPorcr.MP,bothofwhicharecancellable intoHadoken.

However,iftheopponentisblockinghigh,thest.MPwillwhiff. Then,thisblockstringisno good.

Instead,sincewe’reaimingfora3­framegap,let’scutoutthecr.LPandgostraightfromst.LP

tocr.MPorst.MP.

Rememberthatst.MPandcr.MPbothhave5­framestartups,butcr.MPis+2onblock,

whereasst.MPisonly+1. Becausewe’recancellingbothintoHadoken,theblockadvantagein thisinstanceislargelyirrelevant.

Butifwelookdeeper,couldwefindareasontouseeitherst.MPorcr.MPovertheother? It’s alwaysgoodtohavecertaintyandknowexactlyWHYyouaredoingaspecificmoveinsteadof randomlythrowingoutoneortheother.

Inthisinstance,themajordifferencebetweenst.MPandcr.MPisthatst.MPisthebeginning

ofRyu’sTargetCombo:st.MP,st.HP,st.HK.Thisputsst.MPinamajoradvantageovercr.

MPbecauseiftheopponenthitsabuttonorattemptsathrowafterblockingyourst.LP,you’ll

scoreaCounterhitandcanvisuallyhit­confirmintotherestoftheTargetCombo.

Andiftheopponentblocks? Basedonthelastblockstringwedeveloped,weknowthatst.LKis keyduetoitslongrangeandcancellability.

Conveniently,witha4­framestartup,italsoleavesa3­framegapafterst.MP justincasethe opponentpressesabutton.

Finally,wecancelthest.LKintoHadoken,andtherewehaveit,folks.Wehavetwogenerally

safeblockstringsthatwecannowpracticeinwarm­upsintrainingmode:

● st.LP,cr.LP,cr.MPxxHadoken

● st.LP,st.MP,st.LKxxHadoken(orreplacest.LKwithst.HP,st.HKifyouscorea

Counterhit)

Thefirsthasa2­framegapwhichmightbeabitoverkill.Thesecondhasa3­framegapthat

makesitmorelikelytobepracticalandleadstowaymoredamageifthest.MPscoresa

Counterhit.

ApplyingtheSameFrameworktoCammy

Let’sseeifwecanapplythesameframeworkwithRyutoanothercharacterknownforstrong

frametraps.EnterCammy.

● Tostart,EXRazorSliceris+3andst.LPis+3,andit’sevenpossibletohit­confirm

after. Sodoesthismeanthisisatrueblockstring?

● Nextnormalsarest.LPandcr.LP. Bothare+2andandhavea3­framestartup,so they’rebasicallythesamemove­­thatis,bothhitcrouchingandstandingopponents.

● B+MPhasa4­framestartup,butis­1onblock,thereforemakingitlessusefulifwe’re

notsuretheopponentisgoingtoblock.

● cr.MPisheronly5­framemove,andseeingashowshehastwomovesthatare

functionallythesamewiththesameframedata,thisseemslikeanimportantmove.

● SinceLP(won’tdifferentiatebetweenst.LPandcr.LPfromhereonout)is+2andhasa

faststartup,wecancreatea3­framegapanytimewemakesomeoneblockaLP.

That’sprettydarngood!

Okay,nowwehaveourfirstblockstring:LP,LP,cr.MP(crouchingorstandingdoesn’tmatterin thisinstance). Additionally,cr.MPalsoleavesherat+1andiscancellableintoanyspecial move,sothatmakesthisbuttonquiteadeal.

Furthermore,st.MPhasa6­framestartupbutis+2instead. Afterst.LP,youcoulddost.MP,

whichhasa4­framegapandislongenoughforanopponenttohitabutton.

Let’stestitoutandmakesure.

1. StartTrainingModeandpickCammyasPlayer1andRyuasthedummy.

2. GotoDummySettingsandSetGuardtoAll.

3. GotoSetGuardRecoveryandthenselectRecoverySlot1.

4. Recordast.LPimmediatelysothatit’sasthoughthedummymashedst.LP.

5. SetRyu’sGuardActionRecoverySlot1toOn.

6. MakeRyublockanyattack. IfheimmediatelypressesLPafterwards,youdiditright.If

not,gobacktoStep2andtryagainuntilyougetitright.Thiscantakeafewtries,so

don’tworryifyoudon’tgetitrightaway.

You’llseethatifyoupressLP,thenst.MPandyoufollowitupwithcr.MP,you’llscorea Counterhit. Similarly,ifyoupressLP,thencr.MP,cr.MP,you’llalsoscoreaCounterhit.

Nowwehaveourselvesanotherblockstring:LP,st.MP,cr.MPorLP,cr.MP,cr.MP

Thefirsthasa4­framegapwhilethesecondhasa3­framegap. Youwouldn’twanttouseLP ­>st.MPagainstacharacterwitha3­framenormal,likeRyu’sst.LP. Instead,youmustuseLP

­>cr.MPbecauseitonlyhasa3­framegap.

Afterthisblockstring,Cammyisleftattheperfectrangeforcr.MK,whichisalsocancellableinto SpiralArrow. Ifyouscoreacr.MPCounterhit,youhaveenoughtimetovisuallyhit­confirmwith cr.MKsothatyoudon’taccidentallythrowitout. Getthehangofitbysettingthedummyto CrouchandguardtoRandomandpracticingforalittlewhile.

Nowyoumustbewondering:WhichSpiralArrowshouldyoudo?

It’snotaneasyquestiontoanswer,aseachonedoesdifferentdamageandleavesyouata differentframeadvantage. (Also,Idon’tconsidermyselfaCammyplayersoIcouldbetotally offhere,butatleastitgivesyousomefoodforthought.)

Tocomplicatemattersfurther,you’releftatadifferentframeadvantagewhenyouBack Recover. That’stosay,thereisatotalofeightdifferentrecoverytimingsfromSpiralArrows! Here’sahandychart:

SpiralArrow

Knockdown

Frame

ForwardDash

NetFrames

Strength

Advantage

Frames

LK

Normal

25

16

9

LK

Back

30

16

14

MK

Normal

21

16

5

MK

Back

28

16

12

HK

Normal

22

16

6

HK

Back

27

16

11

EX

Normal

24

16

9

EX

Back

29

16

13

It’sunlikelythatwewoulduseEXSpiralArrowsinacombobecauseithasarelativelylow

increaseindamage,solet’snotworryaboutitfornow.

Herearethepossibleframeadvantagesinwhichwecouldfindourselvesastheopponent

wakesupfromSpiralArrow:

● 5

● 6

● 9

● 11

● 12

● 14

Theylookallovertheboard,butlet’sseeifanyofthesenumberscorrespondtothestartup

framesofherothermoves:

● 5­frames:cr.MP­­ofcourse!

● 6­frames:st.MP

● 9­frames:st.HK

● 11­frames:none,butF+HKis12frames

● 12­frames:F+HK

● 14­frames:EXHooligan­>CannonStrike