How to win at Street Fighter 5

PRO

Peak practice 

Street Fighter 5’s offline mode is preposterously awful, with one notable exception: the training mode. When you’re not fighting people online, you should be here practising everything we’ve talked about. Pop fight request on, and hone your skills in the mean time. Pay particular attention to the recording options. Unlike Street Fighter 4, you can record wake-up and guard recovery actions. Opponents spamming you with wake-up Dragon Punches? Record it, then practice punishing it in training mode. There are also multiple slots you can use for other attacks. For example, you can record a mix of fireballs, jump-ins and throws, then practice counterattacks, anti-air defence and teching. If you’re practising specific combos, save yourself some time by using the reset button. Hit L3 and you’ll return to your original state, so you don’t have to sit through the same (admittedly wonderful) animations. It’s a powerful tool which warrants its own article, but you’ll just have to make do with this handy videoinstead.

You’ve been framed

If you’re feeling flush, the Prima Strategy Guide has frame data for every single move. There’s also an amazing app called V-Frames, which has similar info, as well as combo specifics, links to streams and more. Why should you care? Well, the entire game is a roshambo of feet and fists, played at an graceful 60 frames a second. Startup data tells you how quickly a move is executed - essential if you want to hit your opponent first - and you also need to know which moves leave you at an advantage. If a move has a +2 frame advantage on block, you’re essentially two frames ahead of your opponent. Likewise, a move that’s +4 on hit will combo into a move that has a four-frame startup. It all comes down to simple mathematics, but if you’re getting confused this excellent video explains it well.

A league of your own

Now that you’ve mastered those skills, you need to know where they’ll take you. Thanks to this Reddit thread we can speculate how league ranking works in Street Fighter 5 (although we’d still argue ‘Ultra Bronze’ sounds far worse than just ‘Bronze’). Try not to get too hung up on rankings, though. Search r/streetfighter and you’ll see many tales of woe, with players hemorrhaging 1000s of points in a single session. Some of us will stay in the bronze league so long we oxidize. Remember that it’s a hard game to be good at, and even the best players lose. Good luck!