How to win at Street Fighter 5

INTERMEDIATE

Don’t get crossed up, get even

Cross-ups are an exception the jumping in rule, but they should be used with caution. A cross-up is when you jump over your opponent and hit the back of their character. Helpfully, Street Fighter 5 tells you when this happens. Most characters have at least one move which crosses up. It’s a great way of starting a combo, but it’s equally important to learn how to defend against them. The moment your opponent jumps over you, switch the direction of your block so you're pushing away from them. Alternatively, jump back and use a normal attack or, even better, an air throw. Finally, if your character has a Dragon Punch, here’s an excellent tutorial on a technical way to counter cross-ups.

Hit confirms

Practising hit confirms will change your game. Basically, this means only finishing your combos when your opening attack connects. Don’t just mash buttons and hope your opponent forgets how to block. The best way to learn this is to go into training mode, set block to ‘random’ and try your combos. If the first attack is blocked, pull out. If it connects, finish the combo. If your opponent isn’t doing this, it means two things: 1) you can punish them with a safe combo of your own once they finish flailing at you and 2) they’re clownshoes at Street Fighter. Pummel them with your knowledge.

I’ve got a Crush Counter on you

Crush Counters are new to Street Fighter 5, and they change the game. All characters generally have two of these, and they offer you a chance to counterattack for massive damage. When you land one of these on a counter-hit, the result is similar to a charged Focus Attack from Street Fighter 4. Your opponent will crumble like a discount souffle, and you can follow up with a tight combo. Certain specials, such as the Shoryuken and Cannon Spike, are also vulnerable to Crush Counters on recovery - tease players into trying them on wake up - that is, hitting a safe move the moment they get back to their feet - then batter them like Atlantic cod. As I mentioned earlier, they’re also a great way of timing a safe jump to start a combo: check out this handy tutorial which uses normal attacks after a successful Crush Counter to perfectly time your jump ins.

The space between us 

Spacing is crucial. Eye tracking was used in this video to show where top-tier player Sako looks during his matches. His zen-like focus is remains resolutely on the gap between characters. This is because all moves have an optimum distance, and the effectiveness of your character directly relates to this. For example, Mika's dropkick gives you frame advantage when executed from the correct distance. This means you'll have a number of 'free' frames of animation to react before your opponent can move - more on that in a bit. Learn which attacks work best, and from where, and watch out for scrubby Mika players (i.e. me) who try to nudge you into dark places.