“Footsies” is oldschool slang for the mid-range ground-based aspect of fighting game strategy. The ultimate goal is to control the flow of the match, bait the opponent into committing errors, and punish everything.
When i first found the tournament scene back in CvS days, i remember it took me a very long time to understand what players like Valle and Choi were doing on the ground to control the match. At first sight it seems like a bunch of spontaneous normal moves and pokes, but there’s a clear purpose behind each of them.
Nobody really talks about footsies in concrete terms because it’s seen as a complex and elusive subject. Hopefully these articles will help change that perception, because anyone who wants to compete at tournament level absolutely needs to know this stuff. You don’t have to use it but you have to be aware it exists.
Each installment covers three or four specific tactics which you can integrate into your gameplan to achieve practical results. Think of it like one of those chess books showing common situations and how to solve each one. If you absorb enough of these pieces, suddenly you’ll have a solid gameplan.
Street Fighter Footsies Handbook, Chapter 1
– Footsies 101 begins with three universal concepts axiomatic to all Street Fighter games, and the fighting genre in general. Punishing whiffed attacks, intentionally making yourself appear vulnerable, and using poke patterns to set up throws are all fundamental skills.
Street Fighter Footsies Handbook, Chapter 2
– Light attacks often serve as feints due to their quick recovery time. Knowing how to shut them down is equally important as knowing how to use them.
Street Fighter Footsies Handbook, Chapter 3
– A cornered opponent can not escape your attacks by backing away. Obviously this presents an opportunity to capitalize on a massive advantage, if you know what to do.
Street Fighter Footsies Handbook, Chapter 4
– Super moves inflict far too much damage to treat casually. For every matchup, you need several reliable ways to fool opponents into wasting meter without putting yourself at risk.
Street Fighter Footsies Handbook, Chapter 5
– Jumping is one of the biggest gambles you can take in traditional fighting games. Despite the potential for high rewards, jumping usually leads to getting anti-aired, knocked down, and crossed up. It’s risky to say the least, but there are a few right ways to go about it.
Street Fighter Footsies Handbook, Chapter 6
– Although footsies primarily occupy mid-range zones, quite a few basic footsies components can be effective in close quarters too. In fact, having a solid foundation of mid-range footsies opens up direct gateways into point-blank range. Get in there and cause some damage!
Street Fighter Footsies Handbook, Chapter 7
– Always be on the lookout for minor tricks which can help make you a little tougher to beat. For instance, knowing when to stand in neutral instead of crouching is a big one. It’ll seem straightforward once you read it, but many players don’t know about this and it’s very useful.
Street Fighter Footsies Handbook, Chapter 8
– Hopkicks are significant to the landscape of footsies even though only a few characters possess them. Here’s a basic overview explaining their advantages. If you’ve got ’em, use ’em. If not, figure out a way around ’em before you face someone who knows how to use ’em.
Street Fighter Footsies Handbook, Chapter 9
– Jumping is absolutely a facet of footsies, but the ground game has to come first. Having read all the previous chapters about ground fundamentals, now’s a good time to look into reliable ways of setting up crossups – a major part of offensive footsies in their own right.
Street Fighter Footsies Handbook, Chapter 10
– Any offensive gameplan requires leaving gaps for the opponent to give you something to punish. However, it’s essential to prevent opponents from picking apart your preferred waiting spots, because then they’ll never hand over what you want. Occasional chaos is a good way to fill some of those hesitant pauses with feints to mess with your opponent’s head, making it harder for them to read your gameplan.
Street Fighter Footsies Handbook, Supplement A
– No discussion of footsies is complete without a tactical overview on projectiles. This entry is more abstract than previous installments, but it was too big a concept to leave out and too big a concept to cover in one article. Consider this a primer on the topic and look for more fireball strategy articles in the future.
Street Fighter Footsies Handbook, Supplement B
– After writing so many articles about footsies, it makes sense to write one about avoiding them entirely. Sometimes blocking is the best course of action. Running away works too, especially from easily frustrated opponents. Crazy rushdown is another option for bypassing footsies. It’s always fun to do and watch, but prepare to have your heart broken sometimes.
Street Fighter Footsies Handbook, Epilogue
– Playing footsies the right way demands a certain core confidence. Without it, you’re just somebody’s training dummy. With it, you’re always making progress, always learning, always moving forward, even when a (temporarily) superior opponent destroys you. If you want to improve your game, eliminate doubt and play without fear. The rest will take care of itself.
| Further Reading
Browse Strategy Articles
What Is Zoning? | What Are Footsies?