It’s no secret that Patrick Miller, a past contributor to Shoryuken, has been on the forefront of providing fighting game knowledge for newcomers and veterans. Hell, he dropped a whole book on the subject back in 2014. It’s really good, too.
Following up on previous subjects like general improvement strategies and learning from a loss, Pat recently shared a handful of tips for quickly learning to play Street Fighter V’s Laura. He’s graciously given us permission to republish it in full, so check it out below or in its original form on Medium.
When Street Fighter V came out, I decided I wanted to play the field a bit and learn the game from all angles before deciding on a main character — I don’t really care about trying to optimize for tournament performance, and I figure since we’re probably going to be playing SFV for several years, it’s worth getting a broad base of experience early on. So I started with F.A.N.G. the first week, Ryu for the second, and I picked up Laura for this last week, but this time, I decided to document my journey a bit better.
Keep in mind that this is by no means a comprehensive guide on being a Laura master. Think of this as a guide to help you get started learning her basics and giving you a foundation to work from.
How I learned Laura
First off: Analyzing replays in CFN is quite possibly the most powerful learning tool we’ve ever had in fighting games, so I highly recommend doing a lot of that! I streamed some sessions where I studied VRyu and AutoMattock (aka JiBbo)’s replays, and the VODs are embedded below. The AutoMattock one was especially cool because he actually stopped by the stream chat while we were going and helped out!
Of course, there are lots of good Laura guides out there currently. These are the ones I used:
The GLHFtv Laura Character Guide is a solid introduction to the character’s basics.
Dandy J’s Laura Mixup Starter Guide was super helpful for seeing some of the potential applications of her meaty fireball and crossup/crossunder mixups.
Bafael’s Laura BnB Guide is useful for learning some of her basic strings and interactions between moves, so once you feel comfortable enough with her moves to start working on combos, definitely check it out. There’s also a video version here.
AutoMattock is working on a Laura tutorial and has a few commentated match videos on his YouTube channel, so check it out and give him a follow. Also, you can find his CFN replays under player name AutoMattockMusic.
VRyu made a great Laura intro video as well.
And if you want to swap tips with other Laura players, ShowdownGG’s Carolyn (MamaDao) Dao started a Facebook group. It’s closed, though, so you’ll have to ask for permission to join.
You should play Laura if…
Laura feels very similar in play pattern and toolset to Makoto from Street Fighter III: 3rd Strike; her movement is fast and explosive, and she has some pretty powerful damage opportunities with her frame traps, throws, and high/low/left/right mixups, but she’s really only scary when she’s standing next to you with a frame advantage.
She has a lot of tools to get close, but they’re all situational and dangerous, so a smart Laura player will be patient with footsies, fireballs, and vigilant anti-airs while she waits for an opportunity to close the gap. You can play wild and reckless to get in, but good players will be looking for every opportunity to knock you down and put pressure on you — and Laura’s wakeup tools aren’t particularly good. So if you play her because you like the in-close shenanigans, know that you’re going to have to play patiently to get there. (Interestingly enough, this is the part of Laura’s design that I like because it really evokes the way great Brazilian Jiu Jitsu fighters win: Methodical, patient, gradual advantages, then a quick finish when the opportunity presents itself.)
As far as execution goes, she doesn’t appear to really be one of those characters that locks a lot of power behind difficult execution gates (she doesn’t even have any Dragon Punch inputs in her kit, which is nice). However, once you get past the basics, your damage output will require you to learn how to link her normals, especially off counter hits and crush counters.
8 Laura newbie tips
1. Be aggressive with her standing LP and LK; they both combo into her QCF+LP Bolt Charge, which gives her the frame advantage (+2) to continue pressuring if it hits, and is safe (with a slight disadvantage (-2) on block. Once you hit the QCF+LP Bolt Charge, you can go for a command grab (which can’t be teched but can be jumped out of), a regular grab (which can be teched and jumped out of, but you can recover from your whiffed grab in time to punish their jump with an anti-air), or more jab pressure to beat their counter-throw or poke attempt and combo into another LP Bolt Charge.
2. Laura’s V-Skill is probably the most interesting part about her kit. Use her dash to constantly change your range, and occasionally throw out the overhead to punish people who try to react to her dash somehow. You can use the dash to cancel her normals, meaning you can dash forward to catch people with a surprise grab, or dart out and bait a counter-poke. Also, if you hold the V-Skill buttons down after a dash, Laura will immediately go into the overhead, which is handy (V-Skill backwards into overhead can beat people trying to chase you down and poke). Also, her V-Trigger buffs her dash and her overhead, so don’t be afraid to activate it just to give yourself more opportunities to get in!
3. I know I’ve said this already, but be patient. Take your time counterpoking. Throw some fireballs out at midscreen just because. You can do a lot of damage in a very short amount of time, so get comfortable waiting for that time to come. And if you’re patient and they jump at you, you should be ready to anti-air with standing MP or her QCF+HP Bolt Charge and then you get momentum for free!
4. When you’re being pressured, be comfortable blocking for a while. Getting thrown three or four times isn’t the worst thing in the world. Be ready to counter-poke with standing LP at close range, standing LK a little bit further out, and standing MK a little further from that, but don’t get caught pressing buttons too much.
5. Get comfortable using her LK command grab after a connected QCF+LP Bolt Charge, a standing LK (on hit or block), and after her MP, MK target combo (on hit only), but don’t get too comfortable. Once they start jumping out, switch to your other pressure options for a little while. You’ll need to pay attention to which of your many damage options they’re most concerned about at all times, or else you won’t be able to convert her pressure into damage.
6. Her mixups are nice at midscreen, but she gets real scary once she puts you in the corner. Be careful about risking your screen position for crossups, as it’s usually more advantageous to slowly much them into the corner meat grinder. This means that you shouldn’t go for, say, meaty jump-in crossups after a knockdown unless it also puts them closer to the corner, and you should make sure you’re using the right P or K followup to her QCF+MP Bolt Charge (P makes you switch sides, K stays on the same side) to push them ever closer.
7. Use her fireballs. EX Fireball in particular is really good for covering pressure strings up close (cancel pokes into EX Fireball to stay all up in their grill), forcing them to block after a knockdown, and just letting you walk forward. One EX Fireball stays on the screen for like 3 seconds and goes for like a half screen, so even if they never get hit by it, you get a lot of screen space and pressure for one EX stock. Also, lots of people feel compelled to do something stupid when they see that fireball (like jump over it or DP through it) so be ready for that.
8. Her standing MP and crouching MP are great pokes that can lead to damage; I will cancel them into her fireball for pressure, or her QCF+LP Bolt Charge if I’m not sure whether the poke will hit, or her QCF+MP Bolt Charge if I know it’ll hit (say, hit confirming it off a jump-in or something). Her crouching MK is also very good; even though it feels a little slow, I consistently manage to catch people with the tip of its range, and then I cancel it into QCF+LP Bolt Charge to start the shenanigans.
That’s it for this post! Next up: Vega!