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Street Fighter Footsies Handbook, Chapter 7

January 16th, 2010 Leave a comment Go to comments

This week’s installment highlights assorted tricks of the trade which may help refine your game further. When combined with the basic tools outlined in previous chapters, your characters will become even more elusive at mid-range.

Element 19: Whiff a crouching light attack as bait, then cancel its recovery into an evasive standing light attack. For most characters, the preferred ploy would be chaining c.LK into s.LP because the c.LK’s outstretched vulnerable area will be replaced by the relatively safe s.LP hit box. Any low poke meant to punish the low short will pass harmlessly under a standing jab. Some game engines don’t allow kicks to be chained to punches, in which case c.LK to s.LK is the next best choice – especially if that character’s s.LK narrows their baseline hit box by kicking high with their front leg.

Element 20: Leverage the threat of an effective poke to secure an extra step forward, then use it to set up a throw mixup. Watch ShootingD follow a slow fireball into c.MK range, then hover menacingly over that spot for a moment before advancing to land the throw. It worked because prior rounds had taught his opponent to respect his precision with c.MK and fireball spacing. Of course, the direct counter to that maneuver is simply marching in without hesitation and throwing him first, as Aniken irreverently demonstrates shortly thereafter.

Element 21: After blocking a long-range jump attack, try walking backward instead of low blocking if you expect your opponent to attempt anything fancy. For example, if Ryu tries to catch Guile with a delayed sweep, Guile can walk out of range to make it whiff. Obviously this tactic should be used sparingly because it would make an awful primary strategy. However, it’s a great way for solid defensive characters to frustrate opponents who already have trouble finding a way inside. Walking backward before blocking the jump attack also helps mess with their spacing.

Element 22: Make your opponent block your poke at the exact distance so that their counterpoke will barely whiff from where they end up. If you poke from too far away, they won’t want to push a button. The closer you get to that perfect distance where their counterpoke misses by a pixel, the more enticing that button will seem in their eyes. Doing this well hinges on one crucial secret principle: In most fighting games, crouching makes your character bigger and blocking makes your character bigger. Don’t crouch and don’t block!

Such specialized tricks may not factor into every match you play, but there are literally hundreds of them – if not thousands. Every minor advantage counts towards giving you an edge over the competition. Playing footsies against someone means putting up everything you’ve got against everything they know, so everything counts.

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  1. January 17th, 2010 at 09:30 | #1

    With the walking back after long jump attack, will this work for everyone, or does their walk speed affect this (assuming each character gets hit within the same frame)?

  2. cowboyday
    January 17th, 2010 at 10:59 | #2

    I love these installments Maj. Good shit. I showed my little bro your Ryu video from EVO the other day and it blew his fragile little mind. :)

  3. Smileymike101
    January 17th, 2010 at 11:20 | #3

    Maj , are you sure element 19 aplies in real matchess?I mean it seems kind of hard that the opponent would react to your cr.lk with a counter poke.

  4. ano
    January 17th, 2010 at 11:29 | #4

    smileymike of course it does

  5. January 17th, 2010 at 14:31 | #5

    el david: Well, it depends on a lot of factors: where you block the jump-in, what your opponent tries to do, their character’s walk speed, their attack range, and so on. But yeah, you do need decent walk speed to pull this off so you probably won’t see Dhalsim doing it anytime soon.

    Smileymike101: It’s not going to work against all opponents but that’s why you need such a diverse arsenal. When you run into an opponent who reacts to your c.LK’s, bust out this trick. I’ve seen it happen tons of times in tournaments but i couldn’t find a recorded example last night. I’ll add a video link later on.

  6. Zerodemise
    January 21st, 2010 at 12:27 | #6

    If you look at some of Gootecks’s videos vs combojack, you’ll find a lot of interesting things:

    Gootecks (boxer) vs Combojack (Sagat)
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6IxMSI8rwsE

    — at 1:16, Jack whiffs a cr.lk, and Gootecks walks up and grabs. He does it TWICE!
    — at 2:07, Jack gets hit by a headbutt, and Gootecks gets on his face, and walks back on wake up to have Jack whiff yet another cr.lk only to be punished by Gooteck’s cr.mp.

    Notice how Gootecks does an excellent job at getting close to Combojack so that he will be provoked to get that “perfect spacing” noted in Element 22.

    — at 5:41, Gootecks uses element 20. He whiff a standing jab, and grabs Combojack.

    Or am I getting the wrong idea of these elements? idk.. but it’s fun watching Gootecks use all sorts of footsies games.

  7. January 21st, 2010 at 13:20 | #7

    No you’re on the right track. Good eye, sir.

    He also does something cool at 3:02 where he gets Sagat to block two jabs, then takes a quick step forward before the third jab and it connects. Then somehow he ends up jumping cuz i think he screwed up a combo, but he had the right idea.

    Another cool trick is at 6:18 where Sagat whiffs a Tiger Knee but Rog wasn’t quite expecting it and is too far away to hurt him, so Rog taps him with a standing jab which gets Sagat blocking, then walks up and throws him.

    Gootecks doesn’t have solid core fundamentals like the oldschool players do, but it’s practically impossible to tell the difference when you watch him play Balrog in SF4. He knows the matchups better than anyone else because he’s been playing Street Fighter IV since day one. He knows the best counters to everything in the game so you’ll never catch him guessing. His matchvids are great learning tools for Balrog players because if you see him do something, you can be confident that it’s usually the best thing to do in that situation.

  8. Zerodemise
    January 21st, 2010 at 13:41 | #8

    I’d like to express my gratitude for these Footsies Chapters.
    They’ve truly helped my game a lot.

    I get comments on my matches such as: “Wow, that was straight up just Street Fighting. I can do demon flips and mix-ups all day long, but I can’t do this type of game..”

    Thanks a lot for posting these, and now I have a different way of looking at videos! =D

  9. January 21st, 2010 at 23:33 | #9

    Haha nice. Take it as a compliment and keep moving forward, i guess.

  10. VDutch
    February 23rd, 2010 at 08:47 | #10

    I’m not quite sure what you mean when you say not to crouch or block (and it makes characters bigger??). The example video doesn’t explain if it’s showing someone doing the right or wrong thing, can you please elaborate further on this?

  11. February 23rd, 2010 at 15:09 | #11

    Sure thing. If you look at the last video around the 1:44 mark, Watson‘s Chun Li makes Ed Ma‘s Akuma block her s.MP, then she whiffs s.LP, continues standing up as Akuma whiffs c.MK right in front of her, and punishes it with her c.HK sweep.

    Go into Training Mode and pick Akuma as your character and Chun Li as the dummy. Whiff Akuma’s c.MK as close as possible. Once you think you have the closest possible range, whiff c.MK a bunch of times to make sure that her standing animation doesn’t lean her into it. Once you’re totally convinced that it’s whiffing 100% of the time, set her Action to Crouch. Now your c.MK will hit her, because she’s fatter when crouching.

    The blocking thing is a little more complicated. You have to test it against Abel. Set his Action to Crouch and his Guard to No Block. Once again, get as close as possible so that Akuma’s c.MK barely whiffs and test it a bunch of times to make sure Abel’s idle crouching animation doesn’t lean into it. Then change his Guard to All Block and Akuma’s c.MK should make contact on the very first try. Blocking makes him fatter, which makes it harder to bait whiffs.

    The crouching phenomenon and the blocking phenomenon are both universal rules that have been true in pretty much all Capcom fighting games since SF2.

    Unfortunately the blocking rule doesn’t really apply to most characters in SF4. In fact, holding DB actually makes some characters (such as Balrog and Honda) thinner compared to holding D. This is one of the many factors which contributes to SF4 being a defensive game, because there’s not enough incentive to avoid blocking.

  12. rashed786
    July 7th, 2010 at 09:49 | #12

    Hi Maj,
    I’m a newcomer to sonic hurricane. I love the work you do for this site and shoryuken.com, keep it up.

    I’m trying to improve my footsies and somebody from shoryuken.com forwarded me the link to this page.

    You’ve said above that if somebody jumps at you with a fierce kick you should block it and walk back. Wouldn’t the block stun prevent you from walking back? Wouldn’t it be better to back dash? By holding back against an opponent walking towards you, if they press c.mk, wouldn’t walking back(blocking) increase te size of your hitbox?

  13. July 7th, 2010 at 12:37 | #13

    Well, this whole chapter is about gimmicky tricks. Walking back after blocking a jump attack certainly isn’t something you “should” do because it’s very dangerous. It’s more like something you “can” do if you notice they jumped from far away and you blocked it high. Even then it’s not a reliable tactic, but you get a free hit if it works and it makes your opponent feel outplayed.

    Dashing back is a really bad idea though. You don’t get anything out of it. Their attack will probably recover before your backdash. Either way you won’t be in range to hurt them. So in this case it’s basically just a defensive maneuver, which is clearly inferior to simply blocking.

    Remember, you don’t always have to be “doing something.” Defense is all about staying calm and weathering the storm. SF4 is the only Street Fighter game where backdash has invincibility and even then you shouldn’t rely on it unless you’re expecting a command throw. Btw, “expecting” means judging that your opponent intends to go for a command throw. It doesn’t mean being afraid of the other character’s movelist.

  14. StunningBiceps
    June 13th, 2012 at 19:38 | #14

    First off, I love your articles. Thank you for taking the time to write them.

    I saw something in a match and immediately had to show you. It was a spectacular example of Element 22. The Akuma player puts Ryu in block stun with the EX fireball, then follows with a sweep. This sweep would have been blocked, however, Ryu stands for only an instant, lets the sweep wiff and counters with his own. I was shocked when watching this. Daigo rules.

    http://youtu.be/LIiBIXld5Oo?t=3m41s

  15. June 16th, 2012 at 00:08 | #15

    Thank you sir, that’s an awesome example. I agree, Daigo is pretty fearless when it comes to making the right play. It’s always a joy to watch.

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