Street Fighter Footsies Handbook, Chapter 3
This segment focuses on the massive advantages gained by cornering your opponent. As you may have noticed, the capacity to safely/stealthily withdraw from an opponent’s attack space is a crucial aspect of footsies. Backing your opponent against a wall negates their ability to walk backward, giving you sole control over when you’re in and out of attack range.
Element 07: Whenever you knock someone into the corner, establish a safe position slightly outside their reach. Then as soon as you get the feeling they’re about to advance or let their guard down, step forward and poke their toes with a low medium kick. Getting hit by one of these gives a lot of players the urge to retaliate with one of their own. Simply let it whiff then strike their extended limb or throw them right back into the corner. However, keep in mind that veteran players often take a step forward before counterpoking, so you might want to give them a little extra room.
Element 08: Shortly after succeeding with a typical tick-throw setup, repeat a similar sequence except step backward instead of executing the throw. If you catch your opponent’s tech attempt whiffing, respond with a damaging combo. The corner severely limits your opponent’s options for escaping throws, thereby forcing them to take greater risks. They’re certainly not going to walk out of your throw range, so they have to do something proactive to avoid dying to simple throw loops. Having nowhere to go also makes them an easy combo target when they get baited.
Element 09: Following a basic combo or block string, poke with a light attack from its maximum distance. The corner will ensure your attack doesn’t whiff, so you lose nothing if they continue blocking. On the other hand if they happen to press a button, yours will usually come out sooner and stuff whatever they were trying to do. Most everyone’s natural reaction to having their attack interrupted is to block, which makes it easy to walk up and throw them in their moment of hesitation. Some people have a habit of jumping instead, which can also be punished with an uppercut on reaction.
Generally speaking, there are two approaches to corner offense. Either you can press the advantage and rush them down, armed with the confidence that your pokes aren’t going to whiff. Or you can hold your ground and counter their every attempt to exit the corner, waging a battle of attrition which heavily favors whomever the corner benefits.
It’s actually difficult to find good examples of corner footsies in tournament finals, because both players are fully aware that everything can be punished. Therefore the cornered player becomes extremely defensive, while waiting for a way out. Five to ten seconds can go by without anything major happening, because the other player doesn’t want to open up an escape route either. Yet it’s no coincidence that the longer someone stays in the corner, the more often they tend to lose.
Rule #2: Dictate where the match will be fought. Easier said than done, but Alex Wolfe’s unbelievable EvoWest2k6 comeback in the final round of an elimination bout provides an excellent example. His HSF2 N.Dhalsim catches a few bad breaks at the start, but once he manages to recover, he simply refuses to play the game at mid-range. Usually Dhalsim dominates at that distance, but not against CE Bison. Thus he stays as far away as possible, waiting for the one mistake he can capitalize on. When the opportunity arrives, he does everything in his power to prevent Bison from escaping to reset the match.