Buried deep within the SRK servers are lost strategy articles written by the likes of Valle, Choi and many other fighting game greats. We’ll be republishing these must-read gems as we find them.
Street Fighter Pros Share Their Secrets to Winning – Day 3: Buktooth
Originally published October 23, 2010.
Campbell “buktooth” Tran is originally a Northern California native who after doing a short stint living in Japan, has settled down in Dallas, Texas. A strong competitor in both Tekken and Street Fighter, he is most well known for his unique Capcom vs. SNK 2 team of N groove Iori, Morrigan, and Hibiki. But he is a jack of all trades in fighting games and is a formidable opponent in obscure fighters such as Fighting Jam, Breaker’s Revenge, and Kenichi. He is a very methodical thinker and applies his analytical thought process to his approach on Street Fighter.
1. After every match you play, try to mentally review and identify the critical points of the match, such as:
- Which situations gave you the most trouble?
- When did you receive major damage?
- How was your opponent defending your attacks?
2. Fighting on the ground, extremely simplified: (footsies simplified to rock, paper, and scissor format)
- Sticking Out Moves beats Walking Forward
- Walking Forward beats Whiff Punishing
- Whiff Punishing beats Sticking Out Moves
Of course, there are a million more wrinkles to it than that, but applying these three things will allow you to solve a whole lot of ground-game-based problems in Street Fighter.
The Walking Forward part is a little abstract, and deserves a bit of explanation:A player that is looking to whiff punish something is not going to be pressing buttons; they are going to be either standing still or walking backwards, waiting for you whiff something. Walking forward exploits this by closing the distance and/or pushing the opponent back towards the corner, as they walk backwards to maintain their desired spacing.
Whiff punishing means to put yourself just outside the opponents poke range and wait for the opponent to stick out a move that whiffs and countering with a quick move of your own. An example of this is in a shoto (Ryu, Ken, Akuma) match, one character sticks out a low forward kick that whiffs then the opponent sweeps it with crouching roundhouse kick during the recovery.
Sticking out moves is pretty self explanatory. You anticipate someone to walk into range so you stick out your attack first so that the move is already in hitting frames by the time they walk into range.
3. Blaming losses on execution errors is a dead-end in the learning process. It’s also a sort of cop-out to make yourself feel better: “I would have won if only I had hit that combo.”
It’s a given that any serious player should devote some amount of time ensuring that their commands are clean and consistent. Instead, focus on the things that went wrong leading up to that point in the match.
4. When playing a session of casual matches always have a set of goals in mind. Just trying to win your matches at all costs can often stunt the growth process. Some example goals:
- Learn a character matchup better
- Blocking more, not getting counter hit or whiffing throws
- Practice whiff punishing a certain move
- Anti air every jump possible
- Incorporate a new tool you’ve discovered in training mode
Ibuki Specific Tips:
1. Playing as Ibuki, remember to be patient. Play a solid ground game and knockdown opportunities will develop naturally. Avoid doing the following things randomly in a frantic attempt to get your offense started:
- DF+MK slides
- Command dashes
Instead, try to get into the mindset of earning your knockdowns with solid play, and your Ibuki results
will become much more consistent.
2. Every Ibuki player does way too many DF+MK slides (myself included). In most situations it ends up being disadvantage on hit or unsafe on block. Trying to space max-range slides is unreliable on a moving opponent, as they will often move forward into it (making it unsafe) or walk backwards, causing it to whiff completely.
The most reliable time to use the slide is when an opponent is attempting create the spacing to whiff punish Ibuki’s s.MK or c.MK. They will also typically be walking backwards, not blocking low.
3. Tsumuji (the rekka kicks) are an invaluable part of Ibuki’s ground game. They’re her longest range poke, lead to an untechable knockdown on hit, and inflict a fair amount of chip damage. Proper use of Tsumuji on the ground will force opponents into actions that will earn you the all-important knockdown.
4. The MK version of Tsumuji (without the ender) is even frames on block. Depending on distance between yourself and your opponent afterwards, you can do several things:
- Counter hit with F+LK (4 frame start up), which then combos into MK Tsumuji for a knockdown. On block, more chip damage is inflicted upon the opponent, which may induce a reaction for you to take advantage of
- Walk back and allow your opponent to whiff a poke, then use your whiff punisher of choice: c.HK, s.MK into Tsumuji/Neckbreaker/Ultra 2, F+LK into LK Tsumuji
- Do the sweep ender of the Tsumuji with delayed timing. This is the most reliable way to counter players spamming strong low jabs (e.g. Boxer and Ryu)
- Take advantage of your opponent’s hesitation to press buttons to walk in closer and create more pressure
5. Against characters that have easy ways out of the kunai mix-up, like Chun Li and Balrog, set up a safe jump after your knockdowns instead:
- After neckbreaker, whiff c.MK and normal jump (safe to 5 frame reversals)
- After MK Tsumuji, whiff s.LK and normal jump (safe to 4 frame reversals)
Choi’s Key Takeaway:
Campbell makes an excellent point about lack of execution as a cop out for losses. So many players resort to that excuse then immediately go into training mode to practice the combo they missed over and over thinking that will fix the problem next time. This aspect is minor compared to why you got in that situation in the first place. Focus on analyzing weak areas in strategy rather than just combo execution.
Footsies is a key component of battle but is very difficult to lay out in specific terms. Although highly simplified, Campbell has laid out the 3 pronged fundamentals of footsies nicely. Focus on categorizing your footsie move set into the paper, rock, and scissor categories to help you better understand and improve your ground arsenal.
This post is a part of the 7-day Street Fighter Pros Share their Secrets to Winning series.