Street Fighter 6: Moves to deal with online
Online play in Street Fighter 6 is rife with moves that have abusable properties. Some have invincibility frames, some give the user tremendous advantage on block, and some allow players to cover great distances across the screen in a hurry.
Derisively called “scrub killer” moves for their tendency to put immense pressure on new players, these moves have not-so-obvious weaknesses to compensate for their annoying attributes. Learning to spot and punish these moves is key to success in the lower ranks in Street Fighter 6, so we’re here to discuss these attacks and how to deal with them effectively.
Blanka — Rolling Attack (heavy punch version)
Perhaps the most infamous of scrub killers in the Street Fighter franchise, Blanka’s Rolling Attack (colloquially, the Blanka Ball), allows him to quickly control horizontal space. The heavy punch version in particular is quite problematic online, as it causes Blanka to travel forward full screen and hit anyone that isn’t prepared to block on reaction.
And even if you block this move as such, Blanka is totally safe from punishment, thanks to the fact that he pulls back after colliding with the opponent this way. It is therefore a practically risk-free option for Blanka players when they need to score hits from afar, or dissuade you from walking forward to gain ground.
But in reality, heavy punch Blanka Ball has some weaknesses. First, any special move with invincibility to airborne attacks like Ryu’s Shoryuken or Luke’s Rising Uppercut will beat it every time — no questions asked. If you play a character with access to such a move, you’ll want to use it to hit Blanka right out of Blanka Ball.
Of course, this does require a bit of anticipation, so you’ll want to stay alert and crank out an invincible uppercut as soon as you see Blanka wind up. Projectile characters also do well here, as Blanka Ball has no projectile invincibility.
If you play a character with none of these moves, though, the next best thing is to neutral jump on reaction — particularly if the distance between you and Blanka is at the game’s maximum (full screen). If Blanka does the Blanka Ball from as far away as possible, jumping in place puts him directly behind you as you’re coming down. This is the perfect time to then use a cross-up normal like Ken’s jumping medium kick, which awards you a full punish combo once you land.
It’s worth noting that Guile’s level 1 Super Art, Sonic Hurricane, can punish Blanka Ball very reliably even on block. If you play Guile, make sure to use this unique advantage against Blanka as often as possible.
Kimberly — Hidden Variable (teleport)
Kimberly’s Hidden Variable functions kind of like Blanka Ball, except it doesn’t have an attack built into it. Nevertheless, lower ranked players will abuse this move in order to quickly close the distance to you just like Blanka Ball, and it’s another one of those things that you will have to react to.
Fortunately, dealing with her teleport is much easier than doing the same with Blanka Ball. You simply need to jab her out of the animation on reaction, then convert your light punches into a small punish combo. It also helps that the animation causes bright colors to appear on screen, making it easier to react to in a pinch.
The OD version is a bit trickier, though, as it makes Kimberly appear above you rather than in front of you. This means that you will have to use an anti-air move against it, so you’ll need to be ready for this as well. If you play Guile, Flash Kick beats every version of Hidden Variable, so punishing this will be trivial for you.
JP — Torbalan
Though the game has only been out for over two weeks as of the time of writing, JP has already become notorious online as a very obnoxious zoner. His projectile game at full screen is simply overwhelming, and new players without much knowledge of the matchup will quickly find themselves unable to even get within striking distance.
While JP has several zoning tools at his disposal, the most important one to know about is Torbalan — the shadowy, hand-shaped projectile that must be blocked either standing or crouching depending on the version used. This move is key to JP’s lockdown gameplan, but it has a significant weakness: the hitbox only activates once the hand is in close proximity to the opponent.
This means that you can actually bypass Torbalan with moves that launch you across the screen quickly. Cammy’s heavy kick Spiral Arrow, Ken’s Quick Dash, and Chun-Li’s Hazanshu are all good examples of moves that evade Torbalan as such. Use these tools to get in on JP in a hurry, as his face-to-face game is very weak and collapses in the face of intense rushdown.
E. Honda — Sumo Headbutt (all non-OD versions)
Ah, the notorious Sumo Headbutt. This move is basically like Blanka Ball, except every version is safe on block due to the pushback. Sumo Headbutt is also much less of a gimmick compared to Blanka Ball, because it serves as E. Honda’s main space controlling tool in the neutral.
Unfortunately, there aren’t really one-size-fits-all answers to this move as of the time of writing. Using Drive Parry is the closest thing to a counter here, particularly the Perfect Parry variant. However, Perfect Parry is definitely not easy to pull off, as there is a window of just two frames (2/60ths of a second). Moreover, it doesn’t really net you much of a punish after you manage to time the parry correctly, as Perfect Parry applies very heavy damage scaling to any followups.
It’s the best thing available against Sumo Headbutt, though, so you’ll have to take what you can get here. At the very least, it’ll discourage E. Honda players from just throwing this move out willy-nilly. From there, you can apply pressure up close so that they don’t do it again.