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Street Fighter Footsies Handbook, Chapter 6

January 9th, 2010 Leave a comment Go to comments

So far we’ve concentrated primarily on that vital spot right outside the opponent’s poke range. Now it’s time to explore some close quarters combat.

Element 16: If your character has a damaging combo starting with c.LK, a good way land it is by taking a step forward after forcing your opponent to block a light attack or a jump attack, or even after a knockdown. This makes a lot of players twitch because it looks like you’re going for a throw, plus nobody likes letting someone walk all over their personal space. Closing the gap carries the additional advantage of enabling you to maintain offensive pressure with longer attack strings. The exact duration of your walk depends on your opponent’s habits. If they like mashing buttons during block stun, then time your c.LK to stuff their jab startup. If they’re extremely patient, then you’ll need to taunt them by walking forward for quite a while.

Element 17: One of the dirtiest tricks i’ve ever seen was Daigo‘s ST Ryu knocking down Jason Cole‘s Dhalsim, crossing him up with a blocked j.HK, then walking backward for half an eternity before nailing him with c.MK xx Fire Hadoken. It connected because Daigo timed that c.MK to coincide with Dhalsim’s recovery from j.HK block stun, so Cole got hit low as he stood up to counter-throw. This is another way to punish defensive throw attempts and it works even in games without throw whiff animation. Of course this is a variation of the element outlined above, but it’s slightly more versatile because some characters don’t really have c.LK combos. Since you’re probably not hit-confirming the combo here, make sure to finish with a move that leaves you safe if blocked.

Element 18: Uppercut that shit!

Once you scare your opponent out of pushing buttons at close range, you get to walk forward at will. That’s when the real fun begins.

Rule #4: Tactics are more reliable than gimmicks, so build your gameplan around tactics. The ideal definition of a solid tactic is a 50/50 mixup wherein both options are equally damaging, equally safe, favorable to your position over the opponent’s, and designed such that no single defensive maneuver counters both options. There aren’t many perfect examples out there, but three characters immediately come to mind: ST Vega, CvS1 Nakoruru, and MvC2 Magneto.

Conversely a gimmick works only once, because it’s a trick designed to counter the opponent’s most common reaction without properly accounting for alternatives. Of course shenanigans have their uses, but only until your opponent realizes that you’re bluffing about having anything else to resort to.

Your goal should be to get as close to a fully tactical gameplan as possible, because that’ll actually make your shenanigans considerably more effective as well. Remember, you don’t get in trouble for using shenanigans – you get in trouble for depending on them.

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  1. harejordan
    January 9th, 2010 at 21:36 | #1

    Another great read, thanks.

  2. error1
    January 9th, 2010 at 21:46 | #2

    or you can ignore all but element 18 and tiger uppercut everything

  3. youngbreezy
    January 10th, 2010 at 00:33 | #3


    Mashing uppercuts is only effective in sf4 (short blockstun, long reversals, nerfed meaties) and it probably would fall into the shenanigans catergory. The Bison and Ken player didn’t think the sagat player would be that insane to continuously use tiger uppercut but they guessed wrong, the announcer probably made him mad that’s why he went into self-destruct mode. The Blanka palyer saw his gimmick and adapted to it even the ken player was on to him but he lucked out with the uppercut fadc to ultra in the end.

    Very good insight on the game of footsie though.

  4. January 10th, 2010 at 01:01 | #4

    Yeah, that SF4 Sagat match is fun to watch but it’s all shenanigans. Ironfist is winning through sheer terror. He had that Bison player screwing up basic combos. And what the hell happened to that Ken player in the second round? Jab uppercuts? Random wakeup ultra??

    One of the advantages of getting the crowd on your side is that some opponents will throw away the match trying to win the crowd back. DJ Vest‘s Blanka was experienced enough to take it slow and not care about everyone rooting against him, so he won mostly by blocking those fake psychic DP’s.

  5. Brian
    January 13th, 2010 at 02:14 | #5

    Hey Maj I’ve been reading this blog after someone pointed it out and it’s cool, especially for the video examples.

    I’ve got a problem that seems kind of goofy and almost embarrassing: Reckless players make me freeze up. I’m talking about dragon punches, weird random jump-in patterns, and so on. At a certain point I get so frustrated that I’m getting hit by unsafe crazieness that I freeze up and start trying to bait stuff to the point of paralysis. Against bad players this works, against good players, they modulate their crazieness and use my newfound inactivity to get openings and bully me.

    I guess ultimately the answer is just to get better and be able to respond to random stuff a little better, read your opponent better, but do you have any tips for dealing with players who freeze up when they start getting DP’ed or hit by random jump-ins/weirdness. When that happens my brain is trying to replay stuff, I’m like “okay, just do that again punk”, but of course the good ones never do it again. :(

  6. January 13th, 2010 at 14:40 | #6

    Yeah, don’t do that. Getting hit by one uppercut or grabbed by one throw isn’t the end of the world. If those things aren’t factored into your gameplan at all, then you need to go back to the drawing board. But i’m assuming your gameplan does account for those things, so trust your gameplan and don’t go off track.

    Whatever it was you did to cause them to uppercut, it sure as hell wasn’t standing around waiting for an uppercut. Go back to what you were doing if you want them to uppercut again.

    That said, there’s definitely a big difference between playing against experts and playing against rookies. It wouldn’t hurt to have a ghetto backup plan for when you run into someone who jumps too much or uppercuts too much. At least that way you’re resorting to another fully functional plan instead of resorting to broken fragments of your original plan.

    Don’t get discouraged though. Losing to scrubs doesn’t mean you suck. It just means you haven’t learned the secret art of beating scrubs. They’re not dumb, you know. They’re thinking just as hard as you are. Maybe harder. The only difference is, their gameplan is based around several significant misconceptions and false assumptions. Your goal is to identify what they don’t “get” and exploit it until they get it (or until they lose).

  7. February 27th, 2010 at 15:15 | #7

    Hm, in retrospect i didn’t do a good job of conveying how conservative you should be with random uppercuts. I figured it would be self-evident, but i should probably add a disclaimer just in case:

    Hopefully the psychic DP element is clear, now that everyone has a sense of how footsies ought to be played from reading previous articles. Obviously you’re not supposed to guess uppercuts left and right. But if you know exactly what’s coming, there’s no reason not to let them know how predictable they’re being – once every few rounds or so.

    Just wanted to clear that up, because it’s not something you should bust out every time you feel gutsy. It’s easiest to land psychic DPs when your opponent forgets all about them. That’s never gonna happen if you’re throwing ’em out twice a round.

  8. June 27th, 2014 at 00:07 | #8

    Updated shenanigans link above because NKI set up his own u2b channel:

    NKI Videos

    Lots of oldschool gems on there! Tons of excellent combovids that inspired me to continue improving when i was starting out.

  1. December 19th, 2010 at 15:34 | #1
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