Street Fighter 5 - Best Characters - Prima Games

Street Fighter 5 – Best Characters

by Bryan Dawson

While it’s always best to pick a character you enjoy playing, especially if you’re new to Street Fighter, it doesn’t hurt to pick a character that is considered good by the masses. It’s too early to start discussing a tier list that ranks the characters in the game, but for novice players we can offer some advise concerning which characters are easiest to play, work better offensively, defensively and those character who you just want to stand on the far side of the screen and chuck plasma with! That doesn’t necessarily mean that any of these characters are the best of the best, but you should do well with them early on.


Ryu is one of the most basic characters in the game. His neutral game has been changed up quite a bit since Street Fighter 4, and he is now meant to use his fireball more often than not. He can no longer rely on crouching Medium Kick to save the day as it’s not even his farthest reaching normal anymore. Luckily Ryu can be played a variety of ways and still be effective, which means that you can fireball spam from the far side of the screen, or try to pull of frame traps and combos from close range and you’ll still be effective against a lot of players.


Ken isn’t the Ryu clone he once was (even though there have always been differences). With the new V-Gauge system Ken has a lot of unique tools that separate him from Ryu. He’s much more of an aggressive character than Ryu is now, but he can still stay on the far side of the screen and throw fireballs, using his Shoryuken as an anti-air if the opponent jumps over them. His execution is a bit more demanding than Ryu, but it’s still fairly easy compared to some of the other characters in the game, plus Ken has always be a favorite for people just getting into Street Fighter.


Birdie is similar to Ryu in that he can stand on the far side of the screen and use his V-Skill options to keep you away, or he can move in and use his great normals and specials as he creeps closer to you and eventually gets you in range of his command grab. Almost any button you push will give you something good with Birdie, from his crouching Medium Kick anti-air to his various chain options. There are a lot of ways to play Birdie and they’re all pretty effective.


Karin and Laura are probably the rushdown characters of choice, but between the two Karin is the easier character to play. We say this because Karin has built-in mix-ups with her various special moves and V-Trigger abilities that lead into automatic overhead or low attacks, and you can maintain pressure with her Light Kick Mujinkyaku because it’s the only version of the Mujinkyaku without a follow-up. Your opponent will have to wait for the follow-up, allowing you to shift into something else, or attack and risk the chance that you used the Medium or Heavy Kick versions, in which case they get hit in the face.


Chun-Li is another character with a lot of options, but her rushdown game shines when you activate her V-Trigger and most of her attacks change from a single hit to two hits. This gives her the ability to really pressure an opponent and make them think twice about pressing a button. In addition, Chun-Li has good aerial attacks with the ability to use the Hyakuretsukyaku (Lightning Legs) in the air, and the attack is now a fireball motion to make things easier. If that weren’t enough, she has a projectile attack to use from a distance if you don’t want to hang out up close anymore.


Nash has options for almost every situation and a built-in mix-up with his V-Trigger abilities. At first glance you may not think of him as an offensive character, but he has multiple normals that leave him at advantage when you’re up close, and his Heavy Punch Sonic Boom is safer than many other projectile attacks. The Moonsault Slash actually gives Nash advantage, which allows you to continue pressure up close. If you end a blocked combo with it (watch out for anti-air attacks), you can continuously pressure an opponent until they crack.

We’ll be going more in-depth with the characters in Street Fighter 5 over the coming weeks, so stay tuned to Prima Games. In the meantime, be sure to check our quick and essential character strategies for Karin, Ken, Laura, M. Bison and Nash!

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