The Definitive Beginners Guide to Street Fighter V
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Fighting games are notoriously difficult to get into due to the high skill caps, brutal competition, and sometimes less than helpful tutorials. Combo this with genre and game specific terminology and you have an environment that is less than simple to dive into. The shame of it is that fighting games, while holding a steep learning curve, also offer a pathway to some of the most satisfying competitive gameplay available, as well as one of the most passionate and inviting communities in all of gaming. So where do you start?

I personally have been dumping an absurd amount of time into Capcom’s latest fighter Street Fighter V, and even though the game had a less than smooth start, it has evolved into one of the most played and respected games in the scene today. No I’m no Street Fighter V god, but with all the time I’ve spent investing into this incredible game, I’ve been able to isolate 5 easy steps to get your Street Fighter V career off on the right foot. Here are your 5 step definitive beginners guide to Street Fighter V.

Choose Your Character Wisely

character select

The easiest place for most new players to get caught up is which character to begin with. As of the writing of this article there are 23 different characters to choose from, all of which come with their own strengths, weaknesses, and play styles. Most places will suggest you start with Ryu as he is the mold that almost all character begin from, however I take a bit of a different consideration. Certain character types differ so greatly that the way you may want to play may be very dissimilar from Ryu’s playstyle. In my opinion the easiest way to figure out if there is a character you click with is the run through the character story mode for each. This soft touch with each character will allow you to answer these 2 important questions.

Do you like the character model?

You’re going to spend a lot of time looking at this character, hearing their barks, and listening to their theme. If any part of that experience doesn’t sit well with you you’ll only lose patience faster, so seriously consider aesthetic. Plus it just feels so much better when you see a character you like winning!

Are you comfortable with their play style?

There are three main types of characters in Street Fighter 5, Shoto, Charge, and Grapplers (don’t worry what those mean right now). You may like the way that Guile looks, but charging sonic booms and flash kick may just simply not feel comfortable to do. So play each character and see which ones makes sense to you.

If you’ve done all that and found the character your ready to invest in there is one last thing to know before moving to step 2. Stick with that character. Only half of Street Fighter V is knowing how your own character operates, the second half is knowing that characters match ups with the rest of the cast. Every time you switch characters you’re resetting the progress you made in learning the cast, so while I know it sounds limiting, when beginning, stick with one character.

Do Your Challenges


The added in game combo challenges for each character are excellent tools that any new player should use. These are a huge tool to help learn your characters special moves, basic combos, and also start to unpack what moves to use in what situations. What moves are good to open with, what are good finishing moves, and what attacks link together. Start to notice things like how special moves, while very cool and flashy, almost never begin combos and are mostly used as enders. Simple understandings like this will help prevent you from getting punished for using moves you want to use, rather than what you should use.

Play Ranked Matches (while in Training)


It may be scary to think about jumping into ranked matches right away, but Street Fighter V does a pretty good job of lining you up with other player of your skill level. By exposing yourself to the competitive scene and digging your heels in, you’ll begin to learn your characters match ups in actually useful situation. Many new player will tend to play offline against AI opponents to start being that this is a “safe” environment to learn in, however playing against computers will only slightly help in gaining true skill in a fighting game. Only by applying your skills and learning in a true competitive environment will you begin to understand whats safe, whats dangerous, what moves work against what opponents and when. There are so many factors at play when competing in a real life setting that all contribute to how you will evolve as a player, but the only way to activate those parts of your mind are by putting them to the test. To make your time playing even more valuable, be searching for matches while you train in training mode. Instead of waiting at a search screen make use of your time by practicing inputs for specials, and linking certain combos together, and do this a lot. When ever I’m in training waiting for matches I practice my inputs for dragon punches because out of every move in my characters toolkit, the dragon punch motion moves are my most inconsistent. So while in training I’ll do 10 in one direction, 10 in the other, and then do that series 3 times in a row without missing. Through repetition the motions will get easier, and when a match is found, you’ll already have gotten the muscle memory down pat.

Don’t Be Discouraged By Losses (And Watch Replays)


It’s going to happen. No matter how much you train there will be a time when you lose, but this can’t be a deterrent. Whenever playing against someone that’s better than you, it’s an opportunity to learn and evolve as a player. Take the loss in stride, participate in rematches when possible, and do your best to understand why the loss happened. Where they doing a certain move that you don’t know how to deal with? Where you getting punished for something you did wrong? After a particularly bad match go back and watch the replay. Try to unpack what went wrong and where. Try to see where your opportunities where, and if you had any bad habits the other player exploited. While it may suck in the moment, these situations where we go back and evaluate are often the most illuminating times in our development as players.

Do Your Research


No one knows everything about a game just by playing. A game like Street Fighter V has been played and evaluated extensively by its community, and they have provided incredible resources to help enhance your game. Learning about how to play a better footsies game, combo tutorials, and training setups are all great places to start in your development as a player. The deeper you get in your understanding of the game the more interested you’ll become, I assure you. Here are some fantastic youtube channels to start from.

Core-A Gaming

Just Keep Playing


The key to getting good at anything is repetition. If you’re serious about developing you game in Street Fighter V make a consistent effort to play everyday, even if its only for 30 minutes. By maintaining your exposure to the game, match ups, combos, and mechanics, it will all slowly become second nature and each time you log in you’ll find yourself preforming more consistently, and competently.