Street Fighter 6: Bad Habits Holding You Back
Street Fighter 6 is a mental game just as much as it is a mechanical one. Tendencies and habits lead to openings that your opponents can exploit, whether or not you are aware that you have bad habits in the first place. A lot of the time, these bad habits are enough to hold you back from reaching the next rank or just improving in general.
Fortunately, such patterns are common across the fighting game genre as a whole, so identifying these habits isn’t too difficult. What is difficult however is actually breaking these habits, which may already be ingrained depending on how long you’ve been playing fighting games to begin with.
But fret not, we’re here to discuss what the most frequently held bad habits there are and how to fix them — in order for you to level up in Street Fighter 6.
Mashing on block
It’s tempting to press buttons after blocking attacks in order to take your turn back. Perfectly understandable, of course, as it’s just natural to want to take advantage of every chance you get to pressure your opponent or try to fight your way out of a sticky situation. But more often than not, mashing on block will just get you killed — especially if your opponent knows how to do frame traps.
Instead, we suggest blocking more and being a bit more patient. Sometimes it’s just what you have to do in order to not eat a counter hit combo. You do not have to challenge every blockstring the opponent throws at you — unless of course you know that their pressure is actually fake and that there’s a gap in between hits somewhere.
In all other cases, though, blocking or even parrying is a much safer option. Drive Parry tends to go underutilized by novice and intermediate players, which is a shame considering how powerful of a defensive option it is in Street Fighter 6. Keeping your cool will pay off more often than not, particularly against players that tend to go crazy with the pressure. Don’t worry, you’ll get your turn back eventually.
Teching throws too much
Pressing throw tech (light punch + light kick) every time your opponent even so much as breathes in your direction after a knockdown is not a good idea. Trying to escape every throw is guaranteed to get you opened up, either by a meaty, a neutral jump, or a shimmy. Actually, mashing on wakeup after a knockdown doesn’t work here either. It is possible for your opponent to time a throw such that the active frames of their throw beat out even the fastest light attack you can put out upon getting up from the ground.
Sometimes, it’s better to just take the throw. Accepting the small amount of damage that you get from a throw is often better than risking a full combo from your opponent by trying to escape every single grab. Of course, this doesn’t mean you should just sit there and take the throws forever. You will have to do something eventually against someone throw looping you — but you can think of your health as a resource that you can afford to spend so that you don’t get shimmied.
Jumping backwards instead of backdashing
This is something that new players tend to rely on more than they should. Jumping backwards to create space does accomplish that goal, but because you can’t block while in the air, you are liable to get punished for it. For example, someone like Ken can actually anti-air your backwards jump by doing Quick Step into Shoryuken, which is one of the longest range anti-airs in the entire game.
E. Honda meanwhile can use Sumo Headbutt as you’re coming down from your jump, which puts him right next to you on hit. This means that your original goal of creating space becomes entirely moot, and you even take a bit of damage for it. Instead of doing this, try backdashing — it’s way safer and doesn’t put you at such a huge disadvantage. It also doesn’t go quite as far as a backwards jump, which can end up putting you back into the corner on the opposite side.
It’s likewise worth noting that unlike in Street Fighter V, backdashing does not put you in an airborne or automatic counter hit state. This makes it way less of a risk to backdash while you’re cornered, especially if you’re expecting a throw — as backdashes have 15 frames of throw invincibility.
Skipping neutral by jumping in
And speaking of jumping, trying to skip the neutral game by recklessly jumping at your opponent is perhaps the worst bad habit ever in Street Fighter. Landing with all those plus frames after a jumping heavy kick is very rewarding, of course, but you have to remember that this game has dedicated anti-air moves that will prevent your approach from above.
Refusing to play neutral properly will only result in you taking a bunch of damage for no reason. It also just becomes frustrating every time you try to get in this way, only to get stuffed on the way down. Improving your ground game, which we’ll cover in a separate article in the future, will stretch your success rate much further than jumping over and over.
Relying too much on sweeps
Ah, the Silver League Special. Sweeps (crouching heavy kick) are useful for a number of applications, but new players really tend to go ham with them when they don’t really know what to do. This is especially true when they run into defensively-oriented opponents, as they try to open them up with a Hail Mary sweep in neutral.
Well, guess what: sweeps are ridiculously dangerous in this game. Even at max range, some sweeps are so negative on block that most characters can throw out a long range normal (that isn’t their own sweep) to score the punish, then cancel into Drive Rush in order to get a full combo
This isn’t to say that sweeps are useless, of course; sometimes it’s the only way to reliably punish things like Zangief’s Lariat. But tossing it out randomly in neutral in hopes of getting a knockdown is really just asking for trouble. Everyone you encounter online will be crouch blocking for about 80 percent of the time or more, so relying too much on sweeps will get you killed.
In order to open up defensive players, we suggest going for throws, shimmies, or low/overhead mixups instead — as these are much safer and less predictable overall. We’ll discuss offensive pressure in a separate article in the future, so stay tuned for that.