Street Fighter Footsies Handbook, Chapter 4
Picture this: You’ve been dominating the match, you’ve got a sizeable lifebar lead, you’re nowhere near the corner, momentum is on your side, and all you have to do for a guaranteed win is stay in control for another fifteen seconds. The only obstacle in your path is your opponent’s fully charged meter. What do you do?
Whatever game you happen to play, for every single significant character matchup, you need eight to ten viable answers to that question ready to go at a moment’s notice. Otherwise you’ll find some serious nightmare comebacks waiting for you. There’s simply no denying the decisive impact of super moves in modern fighting games. If you don’t know how to bait your opponent into wasting meter, you may as well subtract the entire thing from your lifebar and try to win with whatever you’ve got left – not a bright idea.
Element 10: If your opponent has full meter and you can tell they’re eagerly fishing to land it, stay far away for a while then walk into their c.MK range and immediately block low. It’s a relatively safe gamble and if they take the bait, you can punish them or at the very least you’ll have neutralized the threat of their super meter. If you’re really advanced, you can take the hit with an airborne hop then pass right through the super. (Seriously though, it’s usually better to keep it simple. If your mindgames become too advanced for your opponent, your elaborate bait will fly right over their head and you’ll land on a “dumb” lvl3 super.)
Element 11: While on the receiving end of lengthy combos and rush sequences, a lot of players attempt reversal supers at difficult link junctions and possible breaking points. If you’ve caught your opponent gambling this way and you have a direct counter to their super move, sometimes it’s worthwhile to create an intentional gap during your attack string by inserting the appropriate counter. If it works, the advantages are numerous.
Element 12: When an aggressive opponent willingly resets the match by pushing you away, don’t spring for the first opportunity to make a major move. It could be a trap. Test the waters by whiffing a single low jab counter-bait or simply block patiently to see what your opponent has in mind. As luck would have it, both methods were demonstrated in under ten seconds at Evo2k5 by AfroLegends and s-kill, respectively. Sometimes remaining calm through a tense moment is all it takes to avoid defeat.
These examples barely scratch the surface of the countless meter bait setups utilized in tournament play. They vary based on character matchups, accounting for the properties and objectives of rival supers. Pick up as many as you can from various sources such as forum discussions, match videos, clever opponents, etc., and try them out for yourself. Memorize the dependable ones until you have enough variety in your arsenal to overcome predictability.
Rule #3: Constantly monitor your opposition’s state of mind. Certain aspects of footsies take advantage of an opponent’s hesitation while others rely on misdirecting aggression. Thus expecting passiveness from someone who has grown impatient can lead to disaster. As you practice against different players, try to detect which psychological stimuli nudge them in one direction or the other. For example, a flashing guard bar tends to make people jumpy with reversals and trigger-happy with supers. Conversely, having no meter against someone with full meter urges people to play it overly safe. Throwing a lot of fireballs lures some people into complacency while agitating others. Learn as many of these habits as possible and factor them into your decisions when choosing from your arsenal of tricks.