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Street Fighter 6: How to Play Defense

Patrick Bonifacio

Developing a good defense is crucial to victory in any fighting game, and Street Fighter 6 is no exception. Blocking attacks, teching throws, Drive Parrying, and more all come together to form the game’s defensive aspects, which protect your character from incoming damage.

Street Fighter 6 Defense Ken


But with the way the Drive System works in Street Fighter 6, defending for extended periods of time isn’t the best idea. Blocking in this game takes away precious Drive Gauge, which can end up putting you into Burnout at a bad time. And Burnout really sucks, because you lose access to the entirety of the Drive System while in this state.


Still, defense remains important in Street Fighter 6. There is no one in the world that can get away with not playing defense — and with there being a plethora of defensive options, choosing how to protect yourself can be overwhelming. If you’re struggling to make heads or tails of the choices available, you’ve come to the right place.

Before we start, please note that this guide will tackle defending upon getting up from a knockdown — otherwise known as “wakeup“. Waking up from a knockdown puts the onus on you to decide how to defend against your opponent’s pressure, so we’ll be talking about that situation primarily.

Crouch blocking

Crouch blocking is the most basic and fundamental defensive option. Done by holding down and back at the same time, crouch blocking protects you from strikes that hit mid or low. Incidentally, most normals in the game hit mid or low. During the act of blocking this way, your character and that of your opponent will naturally be separated through pushback.

Pushback creates distance between the attacker and defender, and is key to the balance in fighting games in general. For example, a normal that is plus on block but has a large amount of pushback cannot really be used as a tool for continuous pressure. Conversely, a plus on block normal that has just a small amount of pushback is considered very powerful and oppressive, as you can use it to lock down your opponent for a long period of time.

Whatever the case may be, the existence of pushback means that the attacker cannot just keep pressuring the defender forever. If the defender crouch blocks patiently, the attacker will eventually get pushed away far enough to give the defender some breathing room.

The primary weakness of crouch blocking is that it leaves you vulnerable to throws. Throws cannot be blocked, and will deal a small amount of damage and reward the user with a knockdown.


Double tapping back causes your character to dash backwards, creating a bit of space between you and your opponent in the process assuming you aren’t cornered. While backdashing, you are completely throw invincible, both against normal throws and command throws. This makes it a less committal way of getting away from grapplers like Manon and Zangief — at least compared to jumping.

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Backdashing is most effective out in the open, where you actually have space to move. It is especially good against opponents that try to shimmy you on wakeup, or bait an invincible reversal from you. You will create distance between yourself and your opponent this way, while they walk back trying to elicit a reaction out of you.

This does come with many of the same disadvantages as forward dashing, though. Backdashing leaves you vulnerable to strikes and projectiles during the animation, which will get you tagged by follow-up attacks.

Back jumping

Similar in nature to backdashing, back jumping creates an even bigger gap between you and your opponent. It is throw invincible as well, since being airborne means that you cannot be thrown.

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And just as with backdashing, back jumping leaves you vulnerable as you try to get away, so you will still get hit by follow-up attacks.

Invincible reversal

Otherwise known as “wakeup DP” (dragon punch, the English name for Shoryuken), the invincible reversal is exactly what it says on the tin. This involves using an fully invincible move such as Ryu’s OD Shoryuken or Luke’s OD Rising Uppercut on wakeup. The invincibility frames that come with these moves blow straight through everything — whether they be throws, strikes, projectiles, and even Super Arts.

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Wakeup DPs also tend to cause knockdowns on hit, thus resetting the pressure situation and giving you room to move. They are extremely powerful on defense, but have one fatal weakness: they leave you extremely negative afterwards if your opponent blocks your wakeup DP. In fact, you will be left in a Punish Counter state for as long as you are recovering from the blocked DP, which leads to big punish combos and therefore huge damage.

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Thus, the invincible reversal is not to be used at every wakeup situation. Not only does it require Drive Gauge, but getting too predictable with wakeup DPs will lead to free damage for your opponent. They have to respect the fact that you have this as an option, but use it too much and you will get punished for it severely.

Wakeup Super Arts also fall under this category. Most Super Arts have full invincibility on startup, particularly level 3 Super Arts. However, this isn’t true of every single one in the game, and some characters don’t even have invincible Super Arts below level 3. Incidentally, the three characters placed low on our Street Fighter 6 tier list don’t have invincible reversals outside of Super Arts.

Wakeup attack

The polar opposite of the wakeup DP, throwing out a fast normal on wakeup is another option for defending yourself after a knockdown. Often referred to as “wakeup jab” due to light punches coming out at around four frames, this option is good against opponents that often mistime their follow-up attacks as you’re getting up from the ground.

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Wakeup jabs tend to score Counter Hits in these situations, allowing you to continue into a small combo afterwards. This essentially turns a defensive situation into an offensive opportunity for you, which leads to a knockdown in your favor and space for you to start your own pressure.

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But be wary: astute players can time their attacks right as you get up, and stuff your wakeup jab for their own Counter Hit combo. This is called a “meaty” attack, as it hits you on the very first frame where you can act after waking up.

Delayed throw tech

Finally, we have what is perhaps the second most powerful defensive option in Street Fighter 6: the delayed throw tech. This involves crouch blocking on wakeup for a split second, then pressing the button combination for throw escape (light punch and light kick simultaneously) afterwards. Doing so first protects you from incoming strikes, while escaping throw attempts at the same time.

Essentially, this method defends from two offensive options on wakeup simultaneously. If you block an incoming strike, you will take no damage and avoid having to go through the throw whiff animation. If you escape an incoming throw, the situation is reset and you get to act freely thereafter.

The delayed throw tech does lose to shimmies (also known as “throw baits”), though. Your opponent might try to walk forward a short distance after you get up, then quickly walk backwards to make you whiff a throw. During this time, you are left wide open — and you will probably eat a massive punish combo.

Thus, it’s important to consider just blocking or accepting throws in order to avoid getting shimmied. Sometimes it’s better to just eat a small amount of damage from the throw rather than risk whiffing an escape attempt. This is especially true if you have a lot of health still left over, as you can afford to get thrown over and over for a while.

Drive Parry

This option is exclusive to Street Fighter 6, for obvious reasons. Drive Parrying on wakeup is actually a really strong option, as it’s basically the same as crouch blocking, but it rewards you with Drive Gauge as a bonus. But unlike crouch blocking, Drive Parry also blocks overheads automatically, making it easier to defend yourself against opponents that try to close out rounds by forcing you to stand block otherwise.

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The problem with wakeup Drive Parry is that it is extremely vulnerable to throws. Being in Drive Parry as well as recovering from it upon releasing the button combination (medium punch and medium kick simultaneously) puts your character in a Punish Counter state. Throws will do almost twice as much damage during this time, and shave off one bar of Drive Gauge.

Patrick Bonifacio

Patrick Bonifacio

Patrick has been playing Dota since the dawn of time, having started with the original custom game for WarCraft III. He primarily plays safe lane and solo mid, preferring to leave the glorious task of playing support to others.

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