There are a ton of new players getting into Street Fighter with the recent release of Street Fighter 5. While many of these players will move on to other games in the coming weeks, there are a large number of newcomers who genuinely want to get better at the game. In just four days the annual Evolution Fighting Game Championship had more single game registrations for Street Fighter 5 than any game in Evolution history. To put that in perspective, the previous record was set by Ultra Street Fighter 4 last year with just over 2,000 entrants. That record was broken in a mere four days for Street Fighter 5, so it’s clear that people want to get better at this game.
To be a good player you don’t have to memorize frame data or be able to play every character like a pro. In fact, while playing online we’ve come across a number of players who all make the same mistakes. These are mistakes that can be easily corrected and would make these players considerably better, so we thought it was time to detail some of these mistakes.
The most common mistake in almost any 2D fighting game is continuously jumping. We’ve discussed this in some of our other articles, but it needs to be stated again because it is the number one biggest mistake that new players make in Street Fighter 5. Everyone seems to feel as though they need to jump toward the opponent in order to get in close. All this does is leave you open to an anti-air attack, giving the opponent and easy way to score some quick damage.
Instead of jumping, walk or dash toward the opponent. As you walk forward, they will likely start walking back, especially if they don’t want to be close to you (which is generally the problem). Eventually you will have them cornered and this gives you a significant advantage in almost any circumstance. That’s not to say jumping is always bad. There are ways to jump in safely, but most new players jump just to close the distance to an opponent or pray that they land their big combo.
No Anti-Air Attacks
Going hand-in-hand with jumping, most new players do not anti-air at all. Every character has at least one or two anti-air attacks. If you haven’t checked out our Street Fighter 5 glossary, an anti-air attack is basically any attack that easily knocks and opponent out of the air. Some characters such as Nash or Dhalsim have multiple anti-air attacks that need to be used in varying situations based on the distance and angle of the opponent’s jump. Otherwise, such as Ryu or Ken can simply use a Shoryuken in most cases.
Once you know your character’s anti-air attacks, you have to start using them. Wait about a single jump distance from the opponent and get ready to knock them out of the air. As soon as they jump, use a Shoryuken, crouching Heavy Punch, or whatever your character’s anti-air attack should be, and knock the opponent back to the ground. This will take some practice as most new players aren’t even watching for an opponent’s jump. If this is you, take a few losses while you focus more on anti-air attacks than getting in your own offense. Once it becomes second nature, go back to your normal style of play with your new and improved anti-air abilities.
Everyone wants to run in and start pressing buttons when they first play a fighting game. In many circumstances, they completely forget they can block attacks. A good number of attacks in Street Fighter 5 can be punished, or at the very least, they leave an opponent at disadvantage, meaning it’s your turn to attack.
If you continually attack with no regard for when and how you should attack, eventually you will use an attack that is unsafe or leaves you at a disadvantage. At this point the opponent can press and button and land a counter-hit for potentially big damage. You don’t want to block forever, but it’s very bad to continually attack in hopes that something eventually connects. Let the opponent make a mistake and capitalize on it.
No Throw Techs
Throws are popular among new players because they’re a way to get around a blocking opponent. What you don’t see very often is a new player who can tech (break) a throw. In Street Fighter 5, normal throws have very limited range. The opponent has to be almost right on top of you to land one. While there are some setups that work very well (tick throws), more often than not an opponent will have to stop attacking and move forward to throw.
If you’re paying close attention to your opponent, it’s relatively easy to see them take that step forward. When they do, you should be going for a throw tech. After you’ve proven you can break a throw, some skilled players will move in, then immediately back out to bait you into throwing so they can punish, but at that point you are no longer a novice player and we can start discussing more advanced strategies.