There are two very different types of Street Fighter players. You have the people who have been playing fighting games for some time and Street Fighter 5 is just the next one on their list, then you have those who don’t generally dabble in the fighting game realm. For the latter group, some of the terms for certain attacks, techniques or strategies may be foreign. We’ve composed this glossary to help explain some of those terms so you know what we’re talking about and what other people are talking about while you’re trying to learn Street Fighter 5.


Any attack that knocks an opponent out of the air is considered an anti-air attack. This can be a special move (Dragon Punch) or a normal attack, so long as it works well to knock an opponent out of the air when they jump.

Block String

A series of blocked attacks that chain or link together is referred to as a block string. Think of block strings as a combo that the opponent blocks. In most cases you won’t be able to interrupt in the middle of a block string, just like you can’t block in the middle of a combo. Once the first attack of a block string is blocked, the rest cannot be interrupted, so remain blocking and don’t try to attack until the block string comes to an end. Block strings in Street Fighter 5 are generally 2-4 normal attacks in length and sometimes have a special move tacked on at the end.

Chip Damage

When you block a special move it inflicts a small amount of damage. This is called chip damage. Unlike previous Street Fighter games, you cannot die to chip damage in Street Fighter 5, unless it’s chip damage from a Critical Art.

Critical Art

The Super Moves in previous Street Fighter games are now referred to as Critical Arts. This isn’t the first time Street Fighter has used the term, but most novice players will know it better as a Super Move. You need a full EX Gauge in order to use a Critical Art.

EX Gauge / EX Special Moves

The blue meter at the bottom of the screen is the EX Gauge. The gauge builds when you perform special moves, block attacks, take damage or inflict damage. It controls your EX special moves and Critical Art. An EX special move is a special move executed with two attack buttons instead of one (i.e. any two punch buttons instead of a single punch button) and uses one stock of your three stock EX Gauge. When you have all three stocks (a full EX Gauge) you can use a Critical Art. The EX Gauge carries over from round to round, so it’s recommended that you don’t end the first round with a Critical Art so that you have and EX Gauge the following round.


Footsies or the neutral game is the term used when you’re moving back and forth, throwing out normal attacks (and in some cases special moves) in an attempt to keep your opponent at a specific range and hit them if they try to move in closer to stick out an attack.

Frame Advantage / Disadvantage

While we won’t get into the technicalities of frame data, just know that frame advantage is when you can attack with your fastest move (generally a light attack) before your opponent can attack with their fastest move. After blocking an attack (or in limited cases, getting hit) there’s a period of recovery before either character can perform another action. An attack that give advantage on block means that the attacking player’s recovery is shorter than that of the defending player. If you use an attack that is disadvantage on block, that means the attacking player’s recovery is longer and therefore the defending player can attack first.

Grey Damage / Life

In Street Fighter 5 any medium or heavy normal attack that is blocked, causes grey damage. This means a small portion of your health bar becomes grey, then slower returns to normal. If you get hit while you have grey life, you lose all of the grey life in addition to the normal damage of the attack that hit you.

Link / Chain

A link or chain is how you create a combo or block string. It’s basically two or more normal attacks that can be used one after another without interruption. Only certain normal attacks can link or chain together. While this is different for every character, usually light attacks can link to one another, or a light may link to a medium attack or vice-versa. Links and chains are the basis of combos in Street Fighter 5.


Any normal attack (Heavy Punch, Light Kick, etc.) is considered a normal. Most characters have standing, crouching and jumping normals. A command normal is an attack that requires a single directional input such as Forward + Heavy Punch.

Safe / Unsafe

A safe or unsafe attack is determined by frame data. Similar to frame advantage and disadvantage (see above), some attacks have more recovery than others. An attack that has so much recovery that the opponent can hit your first (not just attack first, but actually hit you before you can block again) is unsafe. There are a large number of attacks in Street Fighter 5 that are unsafe if the opponent blocks. A safe attack simply means that while you have more recovery than the opponent (frame disadvantage) and can’t attack before they do, you still have time to block your opponent’s fastest attack.

Throw Tech

When you break out of a throw it’s referred to as a throw tech. To do so, you must press Light Punch + Light Kick just before an opponent tries to throw you. While you can technically throw tech as soon as you’re thrown, you do not have much time. It’s easier to throw tech if you anticipate the throw and break just before it happens.


The V-Gauge is the red bar at the bottom of the screen. Different characters have V-Gauges of varying lengths. You fill your V-Gauge by using your V-Skill and taking damage (getting hit). Once the V-Gauge has at least one stock you can perform a V-Reversal. When the V-Gauge is full you can perform a V-Trigger. The V-Gauge resets after every round, so try to use your V-Gauge abilities frequently each round so it doesn’t go to waste.


A V-Reversal is essentially an Alpha Counter for those familiar with the Street Fighter Alpha series. While blocking an attack, press Forward + All Three Punch Buttons. You will perform a parry-like animation and immediately follow with an attack. This is good for getting out of blocking strings or heavy block pressure.


Each character has a unique V-Skill that may be an attack, movement or something else entirely. Use your V-Skill to build your V-Gauge.


Each character has a unique V-Trigger. Some come in the form of an attack or movement, while others may just buff the character by giving them increased attack damage or some other ability. For example, Chun-Li’s V-Trigger changes many of her attacks to hit two times instead of just once. In some cases the V-Trigger may last the duration of the round (Necalli), while others drain rapidly if you use special moves (Cammy).

We’ll have more Street Fighter 5 novice tips and strategies all week long. For now be sure to check out our article on the basics of Street Fighter 5!