Home > Strategy > Street Fighter Footsies Handbook, Chapter 4

Street Fighter Footsies Handbook, Chapter 4

December 26th, 2009 Leave a comment Go to comments

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.

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  1. December 27th, 2009 at 10:01 | #1

    Another great read. Very good stuff.

    December 27th, 2009 at 10:34 | #2

    Needless to say some things that works in sf4 would never stand a chance in the previous SF games, i hope that the release of ssf4 fixes some of the glitches and balances out the characters, example: Zangief’s lariat should only hit high so if you are crouching it cant touch you!!! but this read is awesome and i ripped sabre of for as many moves as i could LOL!

  3. December 27th, 2009 at 17:09 | #3

    Hm, i don’t know why SF4 gets a bad rap. Then again, every new fighting game ever released gets the same kind of “this never would have worked in oldschool games” remarks. I mean, yeah there are some weird happenings in SF4 and there are some brainded overpowered moves but every game has those things.

    The bottom line is, all the ground game fundamentals are still intact in SF4. Some of them are implemented slightly differently, but the core mindgame hasn’t changed. If Daigo had jumped back after that Sonic Boom, he would have avoided Ino‘s lvl3 super and would have gotten a free crossup. But instead he took a dumb risk and paid for it.

    If SaBrE‘s Sakura had messed up a link, the same thing would have happened to her. But he was smart enough to leave a gap by using MK Hurricane Kick, which doesn’t combo from s.LK but is invincible to fireballs and therefore Ryu’s super. There’s no other way to put it: CaliPower got baited. He didn’t know how to fight Sakura and he paid for it. (In fact, most people there didn’t know at the time.)

    But if SaBrE had gone for a throw or anything else there, he would’ve eaten the super. So he knew exactly what he was doing. It wasn’t luck.

  4. magnetro
    December 27th, 2009 at 19:36 | #4

    The first link: Zangief’s 2LP barrage at the end was hilarious. I can’t believe that worked. Nice read all together as always.

  5. December 28th, 2009 at 09:14 | #5


    In regards to “that would never happen in previous SF games”, two examples I encountered this weekend, one for me and one against, both against ‘Gief against my El Fuerte.

    1. I was off the ground at about 45 degrees doing a Propeller Tortilla. ‘Gief executed his Ultra and grabbed me out of the air. Damn.

    2. Another ‘Gief executed his Ultra and immediately after El Fuerte Dynamite came out, trumping the Ultra. Hot damn.

    I think a lot of people like “absolute” rules with everything. For the most part I can agree, but oftentimes these small windows of opportunity to reverse something you didn’t think was possible can be a great opportunity for those who can master them, like Kara cancelling in CvS2.

  6. December 28th, 2009 at 09:29 | #6

    I crafted a serious nightmare comeback against a respectable Balrog (boxer) with El, who’s a pain in the ass to use against Mr. Apollo. He whittled me down to 10% while his health was full. I was stuck in the 1P corner with full Ultra and Super stock.

    I landed two Propellers on him, moving him more toward the center of the stage, then tripped him up, placing him at ~60% health. I did a super risk level 2 FA just as he was getting up, expecting footsies, and it worked. Moved in and crushed him down to about 10% as well. The next few seconds were a blur, but I kept my distance and landed a Gordita sobat xx Dynamite when he was off the ground to finish the battle. I really didn’t care about the rest of the matches that day, but that’s my personal achievement unlocked.

  7. December 28th, 2009 at 15:24 | #7

    Haha nicely done sir. Hopkicks are definitely a big part of footsies for the characters who are lucky enough to have them.

    SF4 is no less consistent than any other Street Fighter game. The only thing that throws people off is how a lot of moves look airborne when they’re still considered grounded: Blanka ball, Scissor Kick, Psycho Crusher, etc. But if you think about it, it would have to be this way so you can FADC them.

    There’s tons of weird-looking grab situations in oldschool SF as well:

    You just make a mental note of it when it happens and figure out another way to escape next time around.

  8. otter
    December 28th, 2009 at 22:17 | #8

    The part about leaving a gap in your attack strings is especially relevant in SF4, as people tend to mash reversals during hit/block stun.

    This series is my favorite part of this site. I hope you keep it up as long as possible.

  9. December 30th, 2009 at 06:19 | #9


    I never really thought moves that appear to be off the ground but in fact aren’t by the engine’s standards. That would explain how I was grabbed what appeared to be out of mid-air. The issue is I couldn’t tell if my timing was off in the attack or the opponent was that good/lucky with his reversal.

    I do enjoy cancelling El’s Habanero Dash with LK so he moves just out of sweep range. DP spammers can’t get enough of it. Or, do a half-screen Quesadilla Bomb just as they get up.

  10. View619
    January 4th, 2010 at 18:29 | #10

    “The only thing that throws people off is how a lot of moves look airborne when they’re still considered grounded: Blanka ball, Scissor Kick, Psycho Crusher, etc.”

    Are you certain that these moves are considered grounded by the game engine? I can’t speak for every move in this case since can’t list them all off the top of my head, but I know that the moves you listed are actually air-borne. Like, jabbing Blanka out of Blanka ball puts him in air reset state and you can air throw Blanka and Bison out of all of those moves (found out a few months back when I was fooling around with air throws).

  11. January 5th, 2010 at 00:58 | #11

    Scissor Kick is grounded almost the entire time in SF4, except for a short period near the end. He doesn’t leave the ground until after the first hit because you can cancel that first hit into a ground super.

    Psycho Crusher and Blanka ball are grounded at the beginning but become airborne shortly after the first few active frames. Visually though, there are definitely frames where Blanka looks like he’s not touching the ground at all but he’s still considered grounded in terms of canceling into stuff and getting grabbed or hit.

    It’s pretty easy to test this stuff in Training Mode. Just record the dummy throwing fireballs at you and run into them with special moves. Pause right before it connects to see what your character is doing. Of course you can test with grab supers as well.

  12. February 20th, 2012 at 12:43 | #12

    I reuploaded the Evo2k5 SSF2T matchvid between s-kill and AfroLegends because the original copy went down:

    The new mirror is hosted on the ComboVid Archives channel:

    Here’s more information about that tournament:

  13. June 27th, 2014 at 01:49 | #13

    I reuploaded the B4 SFA3 matchvid between Sirlin and jchensor because the original copy went down:

    The new mirror is hosted on the ComboVid Archives channel:

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