Home > Strategy > Street Fighter Footsies Handbook, Chapter 5

Street Fighter Footsies Handbook, Chapter 5

January 2nd, 2010 Leave a comment Go to comments

One of the oldest textbook guidelines in Street Fighter is “Don’t jump.” That’s been true since the beginning with SF2: World Warrior and it’s still true today. When you jump toward your opponent, you surrender control of the joystick for two whole seconds. Think about that.

Hopefully stating it in those terms reveals the massive risk inherent in jumping. You’re essentially gambling with the momentum of the match every time you try it.

However, the confusing part of accepting this advice is that jumping can be secretly good in special instances – when set up properly. The real predicament is knowing how and when to jump. And if you don’t, then you’re better off adhering to “Don’t jump.”

Element 13: Give your opponent a good reason to throw a fireball then jump over it. Do you see how this concept revolves around what they want to do as opposed to what you want to do? It’ll only work if you successfully establish, without a shadow of a doubt, that you don’t need to jump to win. Watch how Daigo waits 65 ticks of game time before jumping forward at Watson. In fact, he makes it through the set’s entire first round plus 50 seconds of the second round without ever leaving the ground. How long do you spend observing your opponent’s rhythm before taking that chance?

By the way, the critical moment of that final round occurs at the 3:32 mark. That’s when Daigo was instinctively “supposed” to jump but didn’t. Watch the whole round from his perspective and you’ll feel an urge to jump at that point. That’s what convinces Watson that Daigo has no interest in jumping, which prompts Watson to get a little reckless with his Hadokens. Credit Daigo for being able to detect and exploit that subtle psychological shift.

Element 14: Set up a crossup by baiting a sweep at close range. The main tactical advantage here is that it can be executed from within an opponent’s sweep range, which makes it a viable tool even when you’re cornered. Choi and Bas took turns demonstrating this maneuver during the B5 SFA3 winners’ bracket final. Obviously this is something to attempt sparingly. After all, it requires an irreversible committment to be based on a predictive whim. Baiting a sweep isn’t exactly easy, so save it until after you figure out your opponent’s sweeping habits.

Element 15: Analyze your jump attack ranges and leverage them to construct a mixup. For instance, Zangief’s j.HP has excellent reach. If you jump at someone from maximum j.HP distance, you can cause their uppercut to whiff by not pressing anything. However i wouldn’t recommend trying to play air-to-ground footsies too often; not even using a character equipped with divekicks and air fireballs. Whoever’s on the ground always has better options. But if you’re up against characters who force you to jump such as Sagat and Charlie, then you may as well create some measure of uncertainty for your opponent.

Here’s what everyone needs to do yet nearly nobody does: Before you jump, ask yourself what you intend to land on. If your answer is, “I don’t know, I’m just trying to land a combo” then you’re jumping onto an uppercut. Only jump if you know what your opponent is going to do and if jumping is the best counter to their action. That’s how to turn the odds in your favor.

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  1. Smileymike101
    January 3rd, 2010 at 08:20 | #1

    Nice reading ,Maj,but if the opponent has weak antiair (Abel) or the player just cant antiair,should you abuse this weakness?

  2. electric
    January 3rd, 2010 at 11:59 | #2

    @Smileymike101

    Just so you know, Abel’s anti air options aren’t weak at all. The second hit of cr.hp will lead to ultra, falling sky or super, and cr.mk and st.hp work really well at different ranges. Just because he doesn’t have an uppercut, doesn’t mean his AA is weak :)

  3. otter
    January 3rd, 2010 at 17:57 | #3

    While its true that moves other than DPs can be great anti-airs, Abel still is pretty terrible in that department.

    Crouching fierce takes days to start up, and it is hard to tell which hit is going to connect. So if you try to do Cr.Fiercexroll into skyfall, you will often get Cr.Fiercexroll into the opponent’s reversal.

    Crouching forward? If you are lucky enough to get it to hit, it does low damage and air resets rather than knocking down. Not nearly enough power to scare the opponent out of jumping.

    Skyfall does not work as an Anti-air and it was never supposed to.

    Super? Sure, it works as an anti-air but giving up all that much meter means you’re also giving up two attempts at CoD FADC Cr.Fierce. This puts Abel at a crippling defensive position for most of the round. (Sometimes longer than a round to store that much meter).

    Great article again Maj, thank you :)

  4. jamheald
    January 4th, 2010 at 14:49 | #4

    Well said otter.

  5. January 4th, 2010 at 15:10 | #5

    otter: You’re right, you have to use every advantage the matchup provides. If you’re up against someone with weak anti-air, then you have to know how to exploit that weakness.

    That said, i still don’t think jumping should ever be your first option. Capcom has a way of balancing the ground-to-air game so that characters with weak anti-airs have some other way of making up for it.

    In Abel’s case, he has one of the most lethal wakeup mixup loops in SF4, second only to El Fuerte. Neither of these characters have great anti-air capability but you’re not just jumping into their low fierce. You’re jumping into what’s potentially a really bad spot. Ryu might have the most solid ways of knocking you out of the air, but getting knocked down by Ryu is nowhere near as scary as getting knocked down by Abel.

    The same is true in reverse (for defensive characters). SF4 Guile’s anti-airs suck and he doesn’t exactly get a ton of damage from wakeup games, but that still doesn’t mean you should jump at him when you have him cornered. If he does land that Flash Kick, that’s his ticket out of the corner. Instead of capitalizing on a huge advantage, you effectively hand him a “get out of jail free” card. That’s what i meant in the article when i said jumping is gambling with the momentum of the match.

  6. January 4th, 2010 at 18:51 | #6

    ‘Gief has some good wakeup traps as well. Between the body press, lariat and j.a.d.n.* -> 360 I cringe when a seasoned ‘Gief player has me pinned down.

    El’s anti-air is difficult, though low FP does a good job, and Guacamole Slew EX snuffs just about everything, it’s a fair trade. For air attacks, though, with triange jump I find his MK to be perfect against people who are same height or slightly lower, and MP if they are same height or slightly higher. I reserved j.FP only for normal jumps into combos after tripping them up.

    * jump and do nothing

  7. jamheald
    January 5th, 2010 at 09:38 | #7

    when i’m using fuerte if they jump i do what you’ve said or just run and catch them on landing or ex run their atack then back hp. throw them.

  8. January 5th, 2010 at 11:29 | #8

    @jamheald If I have them trapped in the corner I air grab them often since most players just jump out of reflex.

  9. January 5th, 2010 at 11:31 | #9

    Maj, here’s an excellent video example of not jumping, or, jumping so little that you force the opponent to do so. Sanford’s Dan shut down Mariodood’s Bison completely. It has a followup of Dan v Zangief and Sanford jumps maybe once a round, if that. Very impressive zoning.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a6gLrUWDJHE

  10. jamheald
    January 6th, 2010 at 14:38 | #10

    I love I when people jump online. I can be on the ropes and knocked down and they’ll jump so rose’s ultra on wake up and they’re dead.

  11. baka101
    January 8th, 2010 at 05:03 | #11

    In this sf4 footsies thread http://www.shoryuken.com/showthread.php?t=176980&page=1 they say amongst other things.

    Footsies – Drastically different

    I think of all the new mechanics, this is the one that separates SF4 the most from previous SF games.

    Footsies are very very hard to implement past mid-screen in this game, and even then, they’re very rough, mostly due to the clunky movement. It’s too slow to really let you pressure by walking forward and there are long pauses between when something hits and when you can move again (lots of disadvantage), making it difficult to bait whiffs after doing a block string or single hit.

    It’s very evident when you watch better players do their thing. Most people just backdash or jump after blockstrings because walking to bait whiffs isn’t really an option anymore.

    This game seems to represent a shift away from more movement-based gameplay. Whereas, before, you would get something to miss and punish, now you just use a focus attack to absorb it or backdash and reset the footsies back to mid-long range.

    I have to say, this is one aspect of the game that I’m not entirely comfortable with. Footsies feel very very simplified in this game.

  12. January 8th, 2010 at 05:48 | #12

    Compared to what though? You should’ve seen some of the heated discussions about 3S when it started becoming popular. Parries are just like Focus Attacks except even worse because a missed parry has no recovery animation. You can shut down so many things with safe parry option selects without even thinking.

    And yet 3S still has footsies at high levels. There’s no way SF4 is in worse shape. That guy makes a couple of good points but he’s also seriously oversimplifying the situation. Plus nobody in that thread actually agrees with each other.

    Focus Attacks don’t “beat footsies” because Focus Attacks are a part of footsies, just like rolling in Capcom vs SNK. It’s just another weapon to account for and punish.

    If you ask me, it’s better not to waste time getting sucked into old timer discussions. There will be plenty of time for that once SF4 is no longer popular. For now, take advantage of the comp and learn/practice while you can. If you really want to learn fundamental footsies and you’re lucky enough to find HF or ST competition, play that. Otherwise SF4 is totally good enough.

  13. baka101
    January 8th, 2010 at 14:17 | #13

    Thanks Maj, as I am new to footsies after like watching in my city arcades 23 years of constant jump ins, and jump around play absolutely no one played footsies so all I knew was jump ins and jump to get to your opponent.

    So only this year when I fully got into fighting games I found out about footsies, I am having trouble trying to break 23 years of bad play by playing a ground game and stopping myself from jumping, I even returned back to SF2HF and CE against the cpu jumping vertical over fireballs and walking forward.

    On GGPO there is ST competition but really I need a video guide on how to do footsies in ST as I am still quite vague I guess I am a slow learner, also with your next guide will you cover SF4 footsies or are they exactly the same as the previous incarnations of SF series because I am just learning here after years of bad practice.

  14. January 8th, 2010 at 15:27 | #14

    Most of it is staying on the ground and seeing what you can do. 90% of your options are on the ground so you have to learn how to utilize them, especially in clutch situations.

    Jumping is kinda like shooting three-pointers in basketball. You should only do it if you get an open shot and there’s nobody else open on the floor. It’s not a useless move but jacking up threes is a pretty good way to give away a lead and take yourself out of the game.

    Sometimes you get lucky and make two of them in a row, and it seems like the strongest move ever. Other times you get lucky with rebounds and you forget that you missed a shot. Other times Kobe hits a fadeaway three falling out of bounds to win a game. But you gotta learn to separate luck and desperation from the core of your gameplan. There’s room for those things at the edges but not in the middle.

    Everything i’ve covered so far is universal knowledge, but there are definitely game-specific footsies. Maybe i’ll get into that stuff later on, but there’s still a lot of general concepts to cover.

    Btw whatever happens, don’t get discouraged. There are only maybe 5 or 10 people in the whole world who i’d say have mastered footsies. And i’m sure as hell not one of ’em. There’s a lot to this and always something new to learn and always a new way to apply an old trick.

  15. baka101
    January 8th, 2010 at 16:33 | #15

    Thanks Maj for the understanding, yes I have been jumping for many years thinking that is the only way to play because thats all they did in the arcade. I gave Rufus ago in SF4 now on the ground, I focus fireballs and use

    Notable Normal Moves
    Crouching HP
    Standing MP and MK
    Forward MK
    Jumping HP and HK

    From http://mycheats.1up.com/view/section/3163881/25953/street_fighter_4/xbox_360 a guide on rufus play now are the Notable Normal Moves his pokes/footsies I really need to understand this to progress further.

    To move forward if they fireball must I first learn FADC to absorb the fireball and move through it to reach the opponent or simply Cr. HP to poke him. Yes I know these are very much scrub questions but on SRK they dont mention much in the Rufus guides about how to do footsies or what his footsies are. Where can I find some helpful stuff on footsies specific to SF4, are there famous vids I can watch to see footsies games.

    Because if I am to stay on the ground I must figure out a way to move Rufus forward without being constantly punished with Hurricane Kick,Fireballs and Tiger Knee which keep me pushed back and blocking and never moving forward. But Rufus does have tornado so he can absorb fireballs so I guess he can start to move forward on the ground.

  16. January 8th, 2010 at 20:25 | #16

    Oh you use Rufus? He’s kind of an exception to the jumping rule (along with Cammy) because he can do his divekicks without a minimum height requirement. Akuma has to reach the top of his arc before he can divekick so opponents still have time to react. Dhalsim has drills but they have terribly slow recovery so they aren’t very useful either.

    But with Rufus, you can use instant divekicks and then mix up your divekick timing to make your opponent hesitate about when they should uppercut. To make it work, you need find the right spacing and timing to make your opponent’s anti-air whiff. Once you punish that, they’ll be way more hesitant the next time you jump. But that’s not even that important with Rufus because he has no use a normal jump attack anyway. Divekick is always his best air-to-ground option.

    He can definitely do a lot of stuff on the ground though, especially at close range. If you want examples, check out some matches of Rufus played by Ricky Ortiz. His ground game has always been solid in every game he plays. But pay attention to matchups because the focal point of footsies changes a lot based on the matchup. Stuff like F+MK is great against some characters, useless against others.

  17. baka101
    January 8th, 2010 at 23:31 | #17

    Thank you again Maj you like MYK from Tekken 6 have done alot to improve my game, without shutting me down for asking such scrub questions. Also before Rufus I did use Cammy, but Cammy was not in the arcade unfortunately so I save her for console casuals and tourneys.

    And I have neglected to follow any of Ricky Ortiz matches as I have always just followed Japanse, Justin Wong, Mike Ross, Gootecks, Alex Valle, John Choi, Artuo Sanchez, Mike Watson, Jeff S, Sanford Kelly etc.

    So thanks once again for you advice I will use his dive kick in the right way, watch some Ricky Ortiz matches and figure out how to use F+MK to my advantage and what characters it will work on and witch it will not.

    MYK usa champ for tekken 6 said the way to understand the game more was to understand framerate data so you know what will punish what and how each move you do what will recover etc. I followed the guide from eventhubs on how to read frame rate data. And got the same idea from Don’t train hard. TRAIN SMART!!!! http://shoryuken.com/content.php?r=47-Don-t-train-hard-TRAIN-SMART-21-21-21-21

    I will study Ricky O to see how me moves forward, whether he absorbs fireballs, whether he inches his way forward or does tornados a whole lot.

    Thanks again.

  18. January 9th, 2010 at 00:24 | #18

    If you’re actually out to learn, there’s no such thing as a scrub question. The only time i get annoyed is when someone’s wasting my time trying to pick a fight because they have an axe to grind, especially when it has nothing to do with me.

    One thing to keep in mind though – frame data isn’t as important in SF as it is in true 3D titles like Tekken and Virtua Fighter. That’s because SF takes place on the entire stage, through projectiles and jumping and Dhalsim and all this other stuff. In Tekken when you knock someone to the other side of the screen, there’s nothing to do except run up to them again.

    As a result, the core of Tekken has shifted to close range mindgames based on direct counters. It’s less about controlling space and more about knowing which move beats what, which move punishes what, which move interrupts which high/low mixups, and so on.

    If you’re used to analyzing Tekken frame data, then you can pick up all the SF frame data you need in less than a day. The rest is positioning, zoning, angles, movement, and controlling space – stuff can’t really get from studying frame data.

  19. GreenTea
    January 9th, 2010 at 14:42 | #19

    you said
    By the way, the critical moment of that final round occurs at the 3:32 mark. That’s when Watson was instinctively “supposed” to jump but didn’t. Watch the whole round from his perspective and you’ll feel an urge to jump at that point. That’s what convinces Daigo that Mike has no interest in jumping, which prompts Daigo to get a little reckless with his Hadokens. Credit Watson for being able to detect and exploit that subtle psychological shift.

    I don’t think Daigo was expecting a jump there, but was waiting for his fireball to leave the screen to do another. Wattson threw a sonic boom which Daigo blocked and Daigo threw a fireball right after because Daigo was stuck on his pattern. There was an irregular pause that daigo was forced to have which lead to him attacking right away because of the pressure of not attacking .After that, the blocked sonic boom gave Wattson an easy timing to jump over. Well, thats how I interpret it.

  20. January 9th, 2010 at 22:21 | #20

    Maybe it would help if i outlined exactly what happened, step by step.

    At 3:27, Guile walks forward and Ryu jumps back, resetting the match.

    At 3:28, Ryu throws a fireball and Guile nullifies it with a Sonic Boom.

    At 3:29, Ryu throws a second fireball.

    At 3:30, Guile nullifies it with a Sonic Boom. Ryu throws a third fireball.

    At 3:31, Guile is forced to block it because he doesn’t have charge. Ryu throws a fourth fireball and Guile nullifies it with a Sonic Boom.

    At 3:32, Ryu throws a fifth fireball and Guile jumps straight up over it.

    Now if you look at the entire sequence, Guile certainly wasn’t going to jump at Ryu after he jumped back, so the first fireball was safe. It might have been a good idea to jump over the second fireball, but still risky because Daigo hadn’t established a pattern yet. The third fireball was safe because Guile’s charge time forced him to nullify the second one too late. The fourth fireball was completely safe because the third one locked Guile into block stun.

    That fourth fireball was nullified by a Sonic Boom relatively early and by this point Daigo had established a fireball pattern. Most people would have jumped over the fifth one because that was the first true opening of that entire sequence.

    Furthermore, the alternative sucks: either you have to kill it with a Sonic Boom which requires precise charging and it’s going to be a close call, or you have to jump straight up over it which is never easy. Keep in mind that Guile absolutely can not afford to land on a fireball that close to the corner with so little life left.

    Right at that second, everything is telling Watson to take the easy way out and jump. But if he had, he couldn’t have hurt Ryu from full screen away. And even if he landed safely, he couldn’t stop Ryu from walking up and initating a throw mixup because Guile would’ve given up his charge by jumping forward. It doesn’t seem like that big a deal, but that’s a tough spot to find yourself in against an experienced player like Daigo. Especially against bully HF Ryu.

    As for the blocked Sonic Booms, you’re absolutely right that they set up those jump attacks perfectly. However, my feeling is that Daigo would never have thrown those fireballs if he wasn’t convinced that Watson wouldn’t jump.

  21. GreenTea
    January 10th, 2010 at 04:46 | #21

    I think that on the 5th fireball most intermediate to high level players don’t jump at the first sign of an opening. Usually they do it at the second chance since it seems like you’re just spamming fireballs. Try throwing nothing but fireballs and you will see that people dont jump on the big predictable one but the one right after. It’s like rock paper scissors after 2 rocks in a row people expect you to throw something else but if u keep with rock they will think “damn he doesn’t change”. At that point, they will go paper next turn more often than not if they are thinking that you will change at that clear point.

    I don’t really think in 5step patterns when i play and try to think in 1 or 2 step patterns as most good opponents change their pattern and adapt with 1 or 2 steps ahead not 5. It’s much easier to tap into someones patterns if you can figure out their intention fast than slowly over time.

    I agree that guile not jumping and ryu throwing lots of fireballs is a theme though. Ryu kept throwing fireballs which probably implies he doesn’t think wattson can counter this strategy.

    The thing I think that was more important was the pause in the game at 3:33. From my experience these pauses are very important to footsies. There are tons of examples in almost every game where a slight pause which breaks someones offense off causes the opponent to play more aggressive or at least switch their pattern when they mentally recover.

  22. January 10th, 2010 at 13:53 | #22

    Hm, it seems like you’re contradicting yourself all over the place. If someone just threw five fireballs, wouldn’t that constitute a predictable pattern? And wouldn’t jumping at the first opportunity be responding to “their intention fast than slowly over time”?

    You also say that it’s important to wait until your opponent repeats something twice, then jump at the third one (although your RPS example suggests we should jump at the fourth one). But then you say the important factor was the pause which “causes the opponent to switch their pattern.” Why would it be a good idea to jump when someone’s about to switch their pattern?

    One way or another, the fact is that Daigo was testing Watson’s habits from a safe distance and Watson made the right choice by not jumping at 3:32. That choice led to better opportunities a couple of seconds later.

    To be honest, i’m also kinda having trouble figuring out where you’re disagreeing with me. Seems like we both agree that Watson made the right decision at 3:32.

  23. scribbleART
    January 11th, 2010 at 03:06 | #23

    Greetings Maj, I have just recently discovered your website and spent the last week or so reading through your posts. First of all I would like to thank you for taking your time to write these articles. I have found the footsies handbook to be particularly informative.

    You commented before on how Abel has one of the most lethal wakeup mix-up loops in the game second to El Fuerte. I main Chun and am currently trying to learn Abel as a secondary.
    I’m having trouble wording this question so sorry if it comes off a little vague, but, what would be the best way to capitalize on Abel’s wakeup mix-up game? I never get the feeling that I am the one in the advantageous position when I knock an opponent with a DP down, when using Abel, because all of his mix-ups get beat by DP. It always feels like a 50/50 situation dependent on if they DP or not, and most of the time I feel that it works against me because I become less aggressive on knockdowns. Should I just be patient and bait/block more? practice safe jumps? both? neither? respect the DP less? I’m not looking for a quick fix to this problem just some insight on what would be most effective strategy to focus on for now. Also how do you determine risk vs reward in your opinion. I know that throwing a fireball at Chun with a full ultra is high risk low reward, but I mean on a smaller scale. Like the wakeup DP situation.

    I realize most of this is highly situational but any advice would be great.

    Also I was watching one of the videos that OneHandedTerror posts on u2b and he stumbled upon something interesting while using Chun. He juggled a jumping opponent with a kikousho and then hit them on the way down with her target combo. You may have already heard/seen it before but I thought it may be of interest to you nevertheless if you ever make a Chun combo vid.

    Anyways, thanks again for the posts

  24. GreenTea
    January 11th, 2010 at 13:00 | #24

    My writing isn’t as clear as yours but I’ll try to explain. Great articles by the way.

    If someone throws a fireball while you are still learning how they play, at different timings, and while you are unable to punish, it is easy to see how 5 fireballs might not be a predictable pattern that could be exploited. Well you said it yourself “Most people would have jumped over the fifth one because that was the first true opening of that entire sequence.”

    You say it was the first true opening, but why couldn’t it be the first true trap? I mean he did throw a fireball but you can not base that on the previous fireballs which is my point here.

    When I play, I try not to adapt based or repetitions of a pattern. I adapt to my opponent if i can figure out their intention. This isn’t easy to explain though and would take some time. Something along the lines of people have patterns and emotional responses to their patterns. I try to find the weak emotions and patterns and exploit that.

    On the other hand, I use it the opposite way sometimes as an offensive trick by forcing someone to experience a pattern a certain amount of time I can understand when they will adapt to me. Depending on the opponent and situations, If you can understand how they work emotionally you can predict when they will adapt.

    I’m not disagreeing with you. I just wanted to point out that the psychological factors that surrounded the moment was a big theme.

  25. January 11th, 2010 at 13:50 | #25

    scribbleART: Instead of hearing me babble about Abel, i think it’d be better to cut out the middle-man and check out some recent ComboFiend matches. He’s the one who sold me on Abel.

    There are no sneaky tricks to it, really. He does have a couple quick crossup mixups using LK roll, where it’s kinda hard to tell which side Abel will end up on. But really it all boils down to his command grab dealing a ton of damage. So your goal is to find an equally damaging way to punish their every escape method.

    If you land any pair of command grabs or combos, that’s like half their life gone. The rest of it is staying patient until you score those knockdowns.

    As for uppercuts, you can’t let yourself be afraid of them. Whatever it takes, you have to feel like you’re in control. If you’re afraid of wakeup uppercut then you’re totally giving up the huge advantage you create by knocking someone down. In terms of risk vs reward, baiting an uppercut is just as good as landing a meaty attack. Even if you get hit by an uppercut for every single single time you punish one, you’re still coming up ahead in that exchange.

    Seriously though, whatever it takes – always be less scared than them. If you’re playing scared then you’re not thinking clearly, and if you’re not thinking clearly then you can’t read patterns. You have to be calm enough to ask yourself questions like, “I’ve knocked him down and he’s got two bars. Based on what i’ve seen of his playstyle, is this the kind of guy who’d burn meter on FADC uppercut just to get out of a tough spot?” If yes, backdash. If no, grab him!

  26. January 11th, 2010 at 14:44 | #26

    GreenTea: Okay, i see where you’re going with that. I just don’t know if anything that elaborate ever comes up in a two-match set. Keep in mind that Watson had only jumped once per round before that point. How much more convincing could Daigo need? So he set one last trap for Watson at 3:32 and then started throwing mid-range fireballs.

    Could the match have turned out differently? Could Daigo have been setting an elaborate two-step bait? Of course. But that’s not what happened, and Watson read the situation correctly. If you were in his place, it sounds like you would have outguessed yourself and blocked Daigo’s fireball at 3:34 instead of jumping.

    Does that mean Watson is a better player than you? Not necessarily. Maybe he was just having a good day. After all, there is a certain element of luck in all this. Sometimes things go exactly as planned, other times the opponent changes his mind for no apparent reason. (In fact, the very first time Watson jumps at 1:21, Daigo gets lucky and screws up a jab fireball so he’s able to block Guile’s j.HK.)

    The best we can do is point out general patterns and hope that when the time comes, we’ll be able to tell the difference between the general case and the exception.

    I can totally imagine what you’re saying coming up in extended Grand Finals sets when both players have seen the other’s “usual tricks.” However in a two-game match (especially in a quick game like HSF2), i just don’t see things progressing to that level. It’s dangerous to get too far ahead of yourself too quickly.

  27. scribbleART
    January 11th, 2010 at 19:45 | #27

    Thank you sir, for the advice. Im sure with the help of your articles I will begin to understand why Combofiend is doing certain things in certain situations.

  28. Ryukenden
    February 8th, 2010 at 11:08 | #28

    SFIII 3rd strike is exception. Just watch Fujiwara’s Dudley http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bmkw5Ok1IFY He always jumps that much.

  29. February 8th, 2010 at 13:25 | #29

    Yeah, but jumping gets Fujiwara absolutely destroyed in the first round and he only wins because of a lucky wakeup super. Then he wins the second round on the ground.

    Dudley is actually more of the exception than 3S is, because in certain matchups he doesn’t have anything better to do. Also because his jump is lower and quicker than most other characters, and his j.HK causes hella hitstun. It’s angled sharply downward so it can be used from high up to beat a lot of ground attacks and he still lands in time to combo super. In other words, Dudley’s j.HK is essentially a divekick whenever it doesn’t whiff.

    Also it’s not like he’s jumping blindly either. He jumps at 1:41 because he predicts Masaru‘s throw coming and jump back roundhouse is actually Dudley’s way of punishing that. Except he screws up the super or something.

  30. March 6th, 2010 at 23:56 | #30

    Haha so there was some confusion about who played which character in the HSF2 match referenced in Element 13. I asked watts directly and he clarified that he was using HF Ryu while Daigo was using CE Guile. So i’ve gone back and switched all of the names to reflect this, but obviously it doesn’t affect the meaning of the article at all. Though it may make some of the comments above slightly confusing, so keep in mind that the names have been flipped.

    Btw i also asked him why he didn’t just switch to one of the bully characters like CE Bison and he replied, “Cause i love HF Ryu :-)”

  31. Zatara
    April 30th, 2010 at 01:01 | #31

    Thank you so very much, Maj. Your articles have been an incredibly source of insight.

    I was disturbingly surprised at just how little I knew of fundamentals. I don’t think I ever would’ve come to learn them on my own. Your articles have been a very valuable and completely essential in learning why I’m not getting better. Also, perhaps more importantly, why I lose.

    The article #5 have been particularly relevant to my SF4 character of choice: El Fuerte.

    It’s proving difficult trying to understand the elements of footsies and try to apply them to El Fuerte. Elements found in article #5 is even more confusing, due to El Fuerte’s special moves (especially tortilla) being very close to jumps.

    I’m not sure whether things like El Fuerte’s splash becomes something akin to a divekick, being that it happens very fast and rather low to the ground.

    Or if tortilla should be treated almost as jumping. Despite being able to steer, it puts him in an irreversible airborne state once it starts.

    Is it a rare baiting tool for El Fuerte? As he can falsely telegraph a “jump” by starting a run?

    I’m at a loss, because I do think if I’m doing a tortilla just hoping it would land would be same as jumping without knowing “what I intend land on”, as your article explained. On the other hand, his tortilla and splash seems so essential to his game, unlike other characters who wouldn’t necessarily require jumping to win.

  32. April 30th, 2010 at 01:41 | #32

    Well, El Fuerte’s a little odd. He’s a prime example of an “all-or-nothing” character, like Fei Long in ST. He really doesn’t have much of a mid-range game and he doesn’t have what it takes to be an effective turtle. I mean he can run away pretty well but he’s completely non-threatening a long range.

    I think what it comes down to is you have to take some risks in order to get in so you can initiate a mixup. Basically the goal of your mid-range game should be to get a knockdown or land a Focus Attack or something of that nature.

    In other words, it’s a matter of timing. You have to choose your battles. Both you and your opponent know that you have to take a risk in order to score any real damage or to start those wakeup games. Therefore your whole goal is to take that risk at a time which is inconvenient for your opponent.

    On the flipside, what you should avoid is letting your opponent bait you into taking that risk at a time of their choosing. The key is to look for real openings while avoiding fake openings fabricated by your opponent to bait/trap you.

    The bottom line is, even though “all-or-nothing” characters don’t have the same fundamental balance as someone like Ryu, you still get to control whether you’re in “all” mode or “nothing” mode. Use “nothing” to test your opponent’s patience and switch to “all” once you sense frustration or carelessness.

    As for his various airborne specials, a lot of that is matchup-specific but your goal should be to create a mixup that favors you; however slightly. What you absolutely don’t want is to have three options that get beat by one of your opponent’s moves.

    What you do want is to have multiple options that require different counters so that you can force your opponent to guess. Ideally, each of your options should beat all of your opponent’s counters except one. That’s how you swing the odds in your favor.

  33. Zatara
    May 2nd, 2010 at 00:20 | #33

    Thank you very much for your reply, Maj!

    I’m very thankful that you’ve taken time out to answer my questions in such concise and clear manner. I realize that knowing a concept and verbalizing them in ways that others can easily understand is a difficult task and a well-practiced skill. I appreciate you and your articles very much.

    Your character breakdown of El Fuerte provides me with an invaluable insight into the character, and I really appreciate that.

    It was proving very difficult to understand a character like him, and people I’ve asked have either little interest or couldn’t verbalize it well.

    I’ve mentioned that I feel very lost, but I now feel very excited about having a solid starting place.

    I’m making a chart of El Fuerte’s options, so that I can weigh each option to see which ones give me more favorable odds, as you’ve advised.

    I’m studying TKD’s matches and trying to see what kinds of options he uses and how he uses them. I’m watching for how he’s playing the odd and seeing if it matches with my chart. I’m also watching for when he picks between “all” or “nothing” mode.

    Things you’ve mentioned in the reply is starting to make sense.

    It’s very exciting and very fun. It is also having a huge impact. I’m starting to break through my denial about El Fuerte not being a “poor” character, and accepting his numerous weaknesses. Also, it’s helping me to truly understand the risk that one must take in order to do well as El Fuerte.

    I may pick a new character, I may stick it out with El Fuerte. Either way, I’m eagerly looking forward to it. I hope that I may trouble you again with questions that I may have in the future!

  34. May 2nd, 2010 at 20:57 | #34

    No problem sir, glad i could help. Good luck heading forward. Personally i don’t think it’s such a bad idea to learn two contrasting characters. It’ll give you insight into different play style perspectives and it’s not all that difficult in a game like SF4.

    Plus you’ll have another option for those times you get frustrated with your main. I suppose that frustration can be a good thing if it fuels you to practice and improve, but realistically i think most people make faster progress when they’re having fun.

  35. RyoHazuki
    May 26th, 2010 at 14:12 | #35

    Thanks for these articles; hope you don’t mind my scrubby question(s).

    In SSF4 I’m a Sakura main whom’s still learning-but steadily progressing. I found around the earlier BP/PP range (or better said-against the players who don’t block, etc.), I was easily able to land my jump-in combos (I.e.:j.HK, c.lpx2, c.mk xx f.DP, etc.) but as I’ve moved up to fighting more experienced people, I find myself eating a lot of anti-airs and DPs-especially against a Ken last night. What’s some tips for jump-ins against other shotos?

  36. August 3rd, 2010 at 12:10 | #36

    If you want my advice, don’t jump. Find other ways to land damage. Sakura has a pretty good ground game, so learn how to use her normals to control the match. The further up the Street Fighter skill ladder you go, the less damage you’ll average from jumping.

    The only way to earn a jump-in against an advanced player is by giving them a very good reason to push something that you can jump over. That’s not easy to do. If you’re playing against Ryu, how many stationary moves does he have that are slower than a jump? Basically only fireball and sweep.

    If you want to land a jump-in, you have to predict one of those. Then it’s a matter of risk vs reward. If your jump-in combo does three times DP damage, then you better guess right at least 1/3 of the time. Otherwise it’s not worth it. When you factor in his crossup attempt after the DP, the risk is even higher, which means you better guess right half the time.

    And the only way you’ll get him to throw a fireball exactly when you want, is by controlling the ground game. So one way or another, that’s got to be your main focus.

  37. yeyzor
    August 16th, 2010 at 14:52 | #37

    Mr. Maj,

    You’re awesome dude, these guides are invaluable to my development as a fighter. Been playing fighting games for forever, but I’ve only recently gotten serious in SSF4 and I’m maining Guy with Cody/Viper as my alts.

    With Guy he’s quite agile and somewhat needs to jump more than others. Especially if you’re trying to abuse his command elbow which stuffs almost everything. Just wanted your opinion on whether I should continue to control air space or remain on the ground with his run xx stop/slide/overhead mix game along with TC xx lp horz or his Bushin chain. xx ultra 1 etc.

    Additionally, I’m having a hell of a time learning plinking/linking with Cody. Been watching Option Select vids of Cody and my brain turns to mush when trying to link cr. hp, cr. mp, hp criminal upper/ruff kick. I know it’s the timing, but I just cannot for the life of me get it down. Could be because I use pad due to my disdain for sticks, but I doubt that.

    At anyrate, keep the articles coming, they’re definitely improving our community as whole, no doubt about that.

  38. August 16th, 2010 at 22:33 | #38

    To be honest i’m not too sure how Guy works in SSF4, but from what i’ve seen and heard, he seems like a pretty weak character all around. If the elbow jumps are working for you, then keep using them i guess. When you have that much control over air trajectory, it becomes very difficult to punish.

    The real problem with Guy is that he has a low ceiling. Essentially most of his best tricks are gimmicks, so what do you do when they stop working?

    If you’re totally commited to sticking with him, then i think the most you can get out of it as a player is to learn how to control the mid-range ground game and to develop a strong throw game. If you can learn those two things while you’re playing Guy, then most of that skill set should transfer over to other characters.

    Otherwise you’re kind of stuck hoping that Capcom upgrades Guy and Cody in the next patch, because right now both of them have glaring weaknesses.

    As for problems with Cody’s combos, all i can say is keep practicing and believe that it’ll get better with time. Plinking sounds like a nightmare with a pad, but it sounds more like it’s just one of those unusual things that will click for you one day when it starts feeling more familiar. I mean there aren’t too many other instances where you have to link after a fierce, so it’s understandable if the timing seems unnatural to you at first.

  39. yeyzor
    August 18th, 2010 at 13:36 | #39

    True, Guy isn’t the spicyest of characters, but I love em and I’m highly committed to playing him no matter what. Despite his truth strength being shrouded in “gimmicks” it still works, just have to cycle through different setups and whatnot.

    I do agree playing Guy is teaching me about the mid-range game, throwing, and getting over my long stint about how cheap throwing is. If it works, it works. I also figured out the Cody’s plinking combos as I was doing it wrong, it was supposed to be st. fp instead of cr.

    Plinking/playing with a pad isn’t that hard at all. A bit unorthodox for some, but I like to see the reaction on people’s faces when I beat them with pad :). Plinking reminds me of doing moves in Tekken or certain moves in Soul Edge/Soul Calibur where you had to input buttons near simultaneously.

    But yeah, thanks for the advice, looking forward to more strategy tidbits to level up my game further, so keep it up!

  1. May 27th, 2010 at 03:19 | #1
  2. November 1st, 2010 at 16:51 | #2
  3. January 28th, 2011 at 02:25 | #3
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