And just like playing defense, the game provides you with plenty of options to choose from when it comes to putting the hurt on your adversary. Not all of them are created equal, of course, so there’s lots to consider when you walk up to your opponent as they get up off the ground.
As always, we’re here to help you make heads or tails of the choices available to you. Welcome to our Street Fighter 6 offense guide.
Throws and Throw Loops
In Street Fighter 6 and basically every fighting game out there that isn’t part of the Super Smash Bros. series, blocking is one of the most natural instincts a player eventually develops. It protects from pretty much all strikes (except unblockable strikes like the ones in Tekken), preventing damage and creating opportunities to fight back through frame advantage.
Patient, defensive players take this to another level altogether. Opening players up when they show a tendency to block on wakeup is difficult when you try to brute force your way through. But this is where throws, both regular and of the command variety, come in.
Throws cannot be blocked at all. They blow straight through holding back or down-back, and in 99 percent of cases cause a knockdown. They even cause counter hits against players mashing on wakeup. This makes them useful for keeping your opponent from just playing defense all day long, as they will eventually have to do something to not die from throws.
In order to avoid getting thrown, players must either be airborne (either by jumping or using a move that puts them in an airborne state), executing a backdash, or in the case of regular throws, inputting the throw button combination (light punch and light kick simultaneously).
But for SF6 in particular, there is something players need to worry about on top of the very existence of throws: throw loops. Most characters in this game end up very close to their opponent after a successful throw, making it easy to throw them again even if they try to mash light attacks to prevent this.
Throw loops are a very strong option for Street Fighter 6 offense, and it’s not just because of the threat they present against players that block a lot. Rather, they discourage players from also using Drive Parry and Drive Impact on wakeup, as throw loops beat both options easily. Throwing someone during Drive Parry also causes a Punish Counter, which nearly doubles the damage that a throw deals.
The only real weakness of throw loops is that they don’t deal a lot of damage on their own. You’ll often see top players just take throw loops over and over precisely because of this. Yes, they do add up after a while, but sometimes it’s better to accept a small amount of damage again and again than risk trying to stop the throw.
The polar opposite of the throw loop is the “meaty” attack, which involves hitting your opponent with a strike just as they get up from a knockdown. Generally speaking, you want the strike to land on the very first few frames of your opponent’s wakeup, to prevent them from mashing out a jab or some other non-invincible reversal in hopes of stopping your offense.
Timing meaty attacks properly depends a lot on which character you play, as each character has a limited number of moves that can serve as good attacks to throw out against an opponent’s wakeup. In most cases such moves will be of medium strength, such as a crouching medium punch or a standing medium kick.
If you see your opponent constantly mashing on wakeup, meaty attacks are fantastic at discouraging this. Timed correctly, you will almost always score a Counter Hit upon landing a meaty (assuming they did indeed try to mash their way out), which leads to combo routes that otherwise would not have been possible.
This means that you can punish mashers severely with a ton of damage as your reward, and keep people honest about their defense. Of course, doing meaties all the time makes you rather predictable and susceptible to invincible reversals, so you’ll still have to mix up your options every now and again.
If you find your opponents escaping your throw loops often, you’ll want to consider baiting them into attempting the escape in the first place. Whiffing a throw attempt puts every character in the game in a pretty lengthy recovery animation, which leaves them wide open to any move thereafter.
This is more commonly referred to as the “shimmy”. It involves walking forward a very short distance as your opponent is waking up, making them think you’re going to throw them in the process. But instead of throwing them, you walk backwards a short distance, leaving your character out of throw range, and causing the opponent to whiff their escape attempt.
You can then punish this heavily with a strike, which you can practically turn into a combo from any route: Drive Rush cancel, normal combo, your own throw, you name it. Drive Rush cancel is especially effective, since it makes it a lot easier to follow up compared to doing a shimmy in previous Street Fighter games.
As a bonus, shimmies protect you from invincible reversals, since you’ll be blocking while walking backwards. The one weakness is that you will be susceptible to long-reaching low attacks on wakeup, such as Cammy’s crouching medium kick.
Opponent always holding down-back and teching your throws? Get them with the ol’ reliable overhead. Nearly every character in the cast has access to a universal overhead, with just a few exceptions here and there. Overheads must be blocked standing, and all of them in Street Fighter 6 are actually safe on block.
Drive Rush into overhead takes it up a notch, allowing some characters to get full combos off of their overheads thanks to the additional frame advantage. Chun-Li for example gets extremely good mileage out of this. Experiment with your character’s options to maximize damage.
Want to get huge damage of off a throw bait? You can neutral jump (jump straight up) when you have your opponent in the corner. If they recklessly try to tech throws every time you get a knockdown, you can get more damage off of a neutral jump compared to a simple shimmy.
After all, you get to land a jumping attack on top of scoring a full grounded combo, which nets you a higher overall reward. Be careful, though: timing your jump incorrectly will give your opponent time to recover from their throw tech attempt, which allows them to follow up with an anti-air move. Shotos like Ryu and Ken are especially good at this, thanks to their short-range light Shoryuken.