Street Fighter Footsies Handbook, Chapter 7
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.