Footsies Handbook

August 25th, 2013 Leave a comment Go to comments

“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.

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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.

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  1. February 27th, 2010 at 18:40 | #1

    Not quite sure how it happened, but somehow this thing got out-of-control popular and a number of people went through the trouble of translating it into different languages. Here are the available options so far:

    Footsies Handbook in Chinese translated by AhDee

    Footsies Handbook in Brazilian Portuguese translated by Sarda

    There’s also a Spanish translation coming up and maybe more down the line.

  2. March 1st, 2010 at 03:29 | #2

    Thanks for all the info and taking the time to put all this together Maj, I haven’t read it all but I will defiantly be doing so. I really want to step my game up in SSFIV when it’s released and hopefully start finishing higher at tournaments here in Australia.

    I also posted this on our sites to help more players see it.
    http://www.shadowloo.com/?p=853
    http://www.gamerhold.com/?p=613

    Thanks again Maj.

  3. June 1st, 2010 at 18:13 | #3

    Sup Maj, nice reading. Hey, you mention that there is a work in progress about a spanish translation, but havent heard any news about it yet.
    Anyway, I translated it myself. You can see results in here

    http://raginglemon.blogspot.com/2010/06/footsies-handbook-espanol_01.html

    Hope that helps, thanks again for the amazing article

  4. June 3rd, 2010 at 02:12 | #4

    Cool, thank you sir. Not too sure what happened to the other planned Spanish translations. Actually three people volunteered independently, but i guess they all lost interest or had other things to do. Anyway i really appreciate all the effort you must have put into completing that much work. Hopefully some people find it helpful.

  5. squidfist
    August 7th, 2010 at 18:11 | #5

    I wanted to say that you are truly amazing and everything I’ve seen(and probably everything I haven’t seen) on sonichurricane is very inspirational to the point where I’ve taken into account strategies on street fighter into real marital arts too(nunchuck power!)and in street fighter of course. Keep crankin out the good shit! Thanks man!

  6. December 4th, 2010 at 14:35 | #6

    Whoa, now there’s a French translation too, courtesy of the SF Loft – a new Quebec fighting game community website.

    Footsies Handbook in French translated by Gabriel

    He also added some extended notes to each chapter, which obviously i can’t read, but i’m sure they’re helpful as well.

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