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Street Fighter Footsies Handbook, Chapter 8

January 23rd, 2010 Leave a comment Go to comments

One of the most useful tools in footsies is the hopkick. Not every character is lucky enough to have one, but those who do tend to rely heavily on its offensive utility and mid-range control capabilities. Let’s take a look at some examples.

Element 23: Hopkicks are practically free after certain moves, at certain ranges, in certain matchups. Become familiar with all of these safe setups, because as long as your method of attack requires huge risks to counter, you’ll remain in charge of the match. Once you get your opponent thinking they need to psychic uppercut, that’s half the battle won. Then all you have to do is follow through, bait it, and punish conclusively. Hopkicks are a good offensive foundation because they automatically avoid low attacks, they’re too quick to counter on reaction, and they travel forward so it’s difficult to make them whiff. They accomplish several goals even when blocked: you establish momentum, you build meter, you drain the opponent’s guard bar, and you back them into the corner or push your way out.

Element 24: Up close, hopkicks can be used to extend offensive sequences or interrupt telegraphed poke strings. Some are even considered truly airborne, temporarily rendering them immune to throw attempts. Since hopkicks trump such a wide array of defensive attacks, their threat alone is enough to scare experienced opponents into blocking passively, which opens up all kinds of throw opportunities.

Element 25: Characters who possess air divekicks without minimum jump height requirements can adapt them to mimic the tactical functionality of hopkicks. Examples include ST Dhalsim’s j.D+MK drill, SF4 Cammy’s Cannon Strike, SF4 Rufus’ j.DF+MK divekick, CFE Anakaris’ j.DF+K divekick, and XSF Wolverine’s j.D+MK divekick. As long as it can float directly over an opponent’s low attacks and recover faster than they can react to anti-air, it’ll provide a huge offensive boost to your gameplan.

Remember, you aren’t trying to win the match with hopkicks alone. Never get caught up in overusing them to the point of becoming predictable, abandoning your gameplan, or forgetting other effective tools in your arsenal. Utilize hopkicks just enough to discourage an opponent’s best counterattack options and seize the opportunity to expand your offensive scope.

Element 26: What’s the best way to counter hopkicks? In most cases, preventing opponents from establishing that ideal range is the wisest solution. Once they’ve already found it, the safest response is to block and think about what they’re going to do next, then capitalize on your prediction or escape to a superior position. One hopkick by itself won’t cost you the match, but feeling pressured might. Beyond that, it’s up to you to find optimal counters for each matchup. (Protip: Try standing jab – it works against divekicks too!)

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  1. ano
    January 24th, 2010 at 14:36 | #1

    i found it interesting that you posted this about hopkicks/instant air divekicks as I created:

    minor sf4 engine information: pushback from fireballs is always calculated based on the original side it was thrown from… so if you throw a fireball and jump over it still push from the direction you threw it from… which causes weirdness when the fireball turns like in that video it appears to “suck in” because i threw it from the other side and it turned around and it only remembers its original source not its current facing

  2. January 24th, 2010 at 15:54 | #2

    Hahaha i was gonna say Akuma with instant divekicks would be the cheapest character ever, but then you had an air fireball track the opponent’s position? Craziness. Though instant divekick might still be cheaper.

    Fireball pushback has worked that way since SF2. It’s just how Capcom does things. Useful for all kinds of elaborate combo setups but doesn’t come up too often in matches – except of course for Dhalsim crossup teleport gimmicks and Akuma crossup air fireball setups. Tigerknee air fireball wakeup games were kinda trendy in CvS2 for a while, until everyone found out how painful it is when Akuma eats a lvl3 super.

  3. Tarnish
    January 29th, 2010 at 21:49 | #3

    Have you considered writing about the psychology of throwing fireballs, Maj? Serious question! I recently started playing Ryu and I remember you saying “Don’t try to DP everything like a hero” when it came to playing Ryu. I think the fireball component is the one thing most folks find so simple about shotos, but there’s a whole set of strategies there that I’ve literally just started discovering.

    Doing so made me see the place a character like O Sagat has in a game like ST. Fireballs have their own set of psychology and I’m just scratching the surface.

  4. January 29th, 2010 at 23:06 | #4

    Actually if you want to know, the tentative plan is to write two more chapters to get to 10 (and i already have the topics in mind). Then i want to do two supplemental articles: one about fireballs and one about blocking. Then a wrapup article about some stuff jchensor and i discussed a long time ago.

    But yeah, i’m a Ryu player. I’ve watched a lot of Shoto matches and spent a lot of time thinking about fireball tactics. I don’t even know if i can explain it all in one essay but i’ll try.

  5. Tarnish
    January 30th, 2010 at 14:03 | #5


    I don’t know if one article on fireballs is enough! It is a very misunderstood topic, and to this day folks still make “HADOKEN! x100” jokes. There’s strategy and skill there that has got to be exposed rather than not talked about like a gay cousin in conservative Georgia.

  6. January 31st, 2010 at 17:30 | #6

    Yeah, “fireball spam” or “spamming fireballs” is one of my least favorite phrases ever. It simply does not fit no matter how hard people try to hammer it in, but for some dumb reason it’s gotten popular over the years.

    You’re right there’s a lot to cover, but i’ll do my best to provide an introduction. After i write it, i’m sure i’ll end up revisiting the topic from different angles down the line, but then again you could take any one of these footsies elements and expand it into a full article.

  7. February 20th, 2012 at 13:41 | #7

    I reuploaded the HoC2 SF4 matchvid between jchensor and Keno because the original copy went down:

    The new mirror is hosted on the ComboVid Archives channel:

  8. June 27th, 2014 at 01:55 | #8

    I reuploaded the Mikado CvS2 matchvid between Kirin and Yoshio because the original copy went down:

    The new mirror is hosted on the ComboVid Archives channel:

    I also reuploaded the Evo2k3 CvS2 matchvid between Bas and Daigo because the original copy went down:

    The new mirror is hosted on the ComboVid Archives channel:

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