Home > Strategy > Street Fighter Footsies Handbook, Supplement B

Street Fighter Footsies Handbook, Supplement B

February 20th, 2010 Leave a comment Go to comments

After reading over ten chapters on footsies, by now you should have a fairly good idea of what the playing field looks like, where you stand on it, and where to go from here. Well, what if you realize you suck at footies? Worse yet, what if none of this seems appealing to you? My advice would be to keep at it. Developing solid fundamentals requires practice, effort, and time. Don’t bother chasing after shortcuts. You’ll only end up with more holes.

That said, you don’t necessarily have to play footsies if you don’t want to. There are other valid approaches to fighting game success. Of course it’s not as simple as ignoring the matter, because if your opponent knows how to play footsies properly, they’ll draw you into it whether you realize it or not. You’re bound to get demolished whenever you let that happen.

Therefore you must find ways to actively avoid, escape, or otherwise negate your opponent’s ability to hurt you through the offensive methods we’ve reviewed thus far. It’s extremely difficult to manage against seasoned veterans, but then again it’s probably more sensible than trying to beat them at footsies.

The universal solution can be split into two main categories: extreme defense and extreme offense. Both styles are geared toward staying out of mid-range, where skillful footsies are most effective. Additionally, there are countless matchup-specific means of bypassing footsies for various periods to various degrees, but they’re too narrow in scope to discuss here.

Extreme defense involves a lot of blocking, walking backward, and outright running away from the first sign of trouble at every safe opportunity. The goal is to take someone out of their gameplan through sheer frustration. This strategem dumbs down the game enough to level the playing field, thereby reducing the overall effectiveness of ground fundamentals. Simply put, you’re trying to avoid footsies by operating well outside that hazardous mid-range zone.

Extreme offense entails constant reckless attacking, dashing in, crossing up, and maintaining overall consistent pressure. As above, the goal is to rattle someone enough to lure them into equal or greater recklessness, abandoning their gameplan in the process. Obviously this manner of all-or-nothing gambling is highly inconsistent, but on a good day it can lead to lucky wins against even the best players. In other words, you’re trying to negate footsies by crossing over the mid-range boundary and relentlessly sustaining close combat.

Stage position is important as well. It’s critical to keep out of corners at all times when fighting corner pressure specialists like Guile and Sentinel. Against some characters, such as Urien and Gouken, it’s better to stay midscreen in general because their damage potential is far more reasonable away from those combo-empowering walls.

Sometimes it’s simply wiser to run away and build meter, when it would tilt the matchup scales heavily in your favor. For example, ST Dhalsim has direct reactionary counters to everything Ryu can do, but gaining access to his Shinkuu Hadoken super gives Ryu instant comeback potential. It’s also smarter to run away from an opponent who already has meter, rather than face the possibility of single-combo death when you’d need to land three combos to win.

As you can see, there are quite a few situations where it’s easier to avoid playing footsies. Never underestimate the power of blocking, because it’s much safer than trying to be a hero all the time. Calmly do whatever it takes to win tournaments. However in training, i wouldn’t pass up the opportunity to practice footsies against better players, because you’ll probably learn more from an intense loss than a mindless win.

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  1. ThundaSnake
    February 21st, 2010 at 10:41 | #1

    Wow, I would have never thought of avoiding footsies altogether. Sometimes, as I’m fighting a rather obviously skilled player, they seem to force me to play their footsies game through zoning with projectiles (either keeping me in the corner, or forcing me to approach them where footsies is seemingly inevitable). Thanks Maj, you’re a hero :)

  2. Tarnish
    February 21st, 2010 at 16:08 | #2

    I’ve had some nice examples of both playing as Guile.

    With Chun Li, I find that if she starts getting hyper aggressive, things can go sour very quickly. Because in ST, Guile basically has no buttons when she gets in, and, hell, you might as well say he has sparse buttons if she isn’t in his face. Sonic Boom isn’t very imposing in that match. Guile either bides his time and tries to keep her AWAY or Chun Li rushes in and just ruins Guile’s life.

    For Ryu vs Guile, that is a very interesting match. It’s difficult, but Ryu has tools to completely avoid Sonic Booms from max distance, while preventing Guile from moving in to press any sort of attack that isn’t a gigantic risk. The match seems very even until Ryu gets Super, but what many players don’t realize is that sometimes Ryu can just chip you and then keep you at bay with hadokens while spacing himself properly to avoid whatever Guile does with Tatsus. Guile has a lot of geometry to work with when it comes to intercepting attacks, he must think a lot about pressing buttons otherwise he’ll pay for it… but Ryu wins the match just as well by not letting him use those at all and narrowing it down to 3 special moves that Guile has to take risks against that don’t necessarily inflict enough damage to make Ryu STOP.

  3. February 21st, 2010 at 19:24 | #3

    Okay, so I had an incident happen where I just couldn’t get this guy to get into a footsies encounter. I kept trying to get him into it because I feel I’m pretty good with my FeiLong’s pokes. He kept finding a way to move away from me everytime. Is there any way to trick of force someone into a footsies period?

    Well, I guess it depends on the character, since the guy was using an Akuma, and kept gliding away everytime I’d get close, but, even then, is there any experience you have that could enlighten me?

  4. February 22nd, 2010 at 00:20 | #4

    ThundaSnake: Haha i don’t know about “hero” – especially since this is the dark side article. But i’ve got one more to write and i’ll try to end it on a positive note.

    Tarnish: Guile’s a little weird because he’s so effective at mid-range that most characters have no incentive to even try to compete there. Sometimes their goal is just to find a way in so they can turn it into a dirty brawl. Since Guile’s only reversal is a down-charge special, they can find ways to turn the odds in their favor. It’s still gambling because you can still lose even with great odds, but some characters simply don’t have a better option. (That’s why ST players usually have backup chars.) Guile vs Shotos is a great match though – lots of very cool dynamics.

    Snoooootch: Sorry dude, there’s no easy answer to that dilemma. Your best bet is to stay patient enough to get ahead in damage early on, then be willing to win the match by time out. At least that way, you make them come to you and then you can force them to play footsies. But if you fall behind, it’s pretty hard to make a comeback against a dedicated runaway character with an invincible teleport. Bottom line is, he’s trying to frustrate you so don’t let it happen. Kick back and build meter if you’ve got nothing else, just so you can make it count if you ever do create an opening.

  5. Bob Sagat
    February 22nd, 2010 at 01:18 | #5

    Oh man, my footsies were getting better and better readin all this stuff. Then yesterday I played an ST ranbat and I was jumping all over the place, ’cause I got nervous!
    (Still got first though. Hawk for life!)
    Thanks again for writing all this down Maj. And for actually making it quite understandable.

  6. February 22nd, 2010 at 01:23 | #6


    Thanks! I completey forgot about the time lapse!

    I like the personal touch you give your fans, bro.

  7. February 22nd, 2010 at 15:40 | #7

    Bob Sagat: Congrats! It’s tough playing footsies when your character has such slow walk speed. At least T.Hawk’s got some decent pokes. Though his sweep sucks as bad as Guile’s does.

    Snoooootch: We’re all in the same boat, i think. You’re only as good as your competition so if nobody shares knowledge then maybe you can win locally but you’ll never get to the top internationally.

  8. Bob Sagat
    February 22nd, 2010 at 16:18 | #8

    Thanks Maj!
    I kinda like his sweep though. It reaches so far, it catches people by surprise. Though most of the time I was trying to stuff fireballs with st.strong. There were so many Ryus that day, we called them Ryu Army. Damn those fireballs!
    At least in the final I pulled off a walkup 360 ftw when my opponent hesitated when we were both low on life.

    But yeah, for some reason I kind of threw out my regular footsies game, I just couldn’t help it. Though now when I look at your article again, it’s kinda like I was going for the extreme offense tactic. Most of the time I kept advancing, taking a hit or two. Then when they were in the corner I’d throw loop them when I got the chance. Otherwise it was Rising Hawk mixup time.

    Anyway, couldn’t have done it without your articles Maj, keep up the good work!

  9. Robin
    February 23rd, 2010 at 00:52 | #9

    Great that you keep adding to the footsies handbook. I’m definitely the all-out offense type, I love to get in my opponent’s head and destroy the walls they put up for me. But even when playing all-out offense you have to know your footsies, there’s no way to ignore it all together. You have to play footsies to get in, you have to play footsies if your offense fails and the opponent manages to escape. Or in a game like SF4 where an opponent on low health can deal 50+% damage you’re also kinda adviced to take a step back and play some footsies.

    So yeah, I think everyone should read the footsie handbook, no matter what style you play this stuff is essential.

  10. February 23rd, 2010 at 01:25 | #10

    Oh, definitely. The proper way to play offense is to start from solid footsies so you can move in and out of close range at will. Controlling the ground game allows you to shift the battlefield whenever you want.

    If you don’t have footsies, then all you can do is rush in blindly and stay there as long as you can, hoping that you win more 50/50 guessing games than your opponent does. Like i said, it’s certainly an alternative to playing footsies, but not necessarily one i’d recommend.

    The funny thing about extreme offense is that sometimes you can actually get away with it even if you don’t know the game or the matchup you’re playing. Just get in there and brawl with simple throw mixups and you might come away with a ghetto win. But if your opponent knows the game better than you do, it’s not gonna take them long to adapt and shut you out.

  11. February 27th, 2010 at 01:01 | #11

    Finally got around to adding a screenshot above, because why not. I was thinking of showing Makoto dash-punching her way straight past mid-range, but it didn’t come up in the example matchvid above. (Instead J scored a random knockdown via air dropkick from half screen away.)

  12. jamheald
    February 27th, 2010 at 13:50 | #12

    My footsies are sooo much better thanks to all these Maj. Thanks a lot.

  13. September 2nd, 2010 at 18:49 | #13

    Updated the Makoto matchvid link since the old one had the audio replaced with some dumb song.

  14. Ryukenden
    January 3rd, 2012 at 13:08 | #14

    Tokido vs Justin Wong 3S match was taken down. Replace link with new one:


  15. January 4th, 2012 at 21:29 | #15

    Cool, thanks for the heads-up.

  1. April 7th, 2012 at 22:20 | #1
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