Street Fighter V can really make you angry. Sometimes you don’t know how to counter or escape from a rough situation, but other times you know you could have won if you’d only made one less mistake. That comes with any competitive multiplayer game, but so does the joy of beating someone you know should have beaten you soundly, or clutching out a close victory. These are good feelings, and you should want to experience them more than losing.
If you want to lose less, you’ll have to become a better player (or stop playing, I guess). To do that, follow these e-sports-certified tips on what to avoid doing in Street Fighter and you’ll become the best e-sportster in the whole business. Or e-sportsman (sorry, e-sportsperson). When you’re as good as these tips will make you, you can choose what they call you!
Sometimes you end up having an intimate staring contest with your opponent. It happens in the heat of battle: as you go for a jumping attack, they block it, and you move back. Suddenly, you realize you may love your opponent but don’t know what to do about it. So you both decide to crouch down and block for seconds, waiting for the other person to confess their love. Instead of letting the moment come, you throw out a crouching heavy kick, your opponent blocks it and whips out the 30% damage combo they’d practiced for hours in case they’d come across an opponent who didn’t profess their love.
You have to stop getting in your own way, Street Fighter V player. Let them tell you how they feel. Or better yet, walk up and throw them.
I get it. When you’re playing online and someone’s being a little too aggressive, this works. You can uppercut your way to some easy wins, but in the long-run, it’s not healthy for your life as a player. Eventually, someone is going to get wise about what you’re doing, block while you get back up, and make you eat a full combo, because they’ll have eternity to figure out what they want to do with your sorry ass after they’ve blocked your Shoryuken. I would go as far as to say wake-up Shoryukens are the devil’s Shoryukens.
And you, the Birdie who’s always falling for those wake-up Shoryukens. You have to understand something about the lower leagues of Street Fighter play—everyone’s a little dumb. You’ve probably heard about “conditioning your opponents” to do certain things over the course of a match, but some people don’t want to learn, and they’ll never realize every devil’s Shoryuken they throw out digs them deeper into the Street Fighter abyss. So stop giving them that respect. Don’t think they’ll ever learn until they prove it you.
I know this is literally the exact opposite of what I just told you, but bear with me. Sometimes you have to do one thing, and sometimes you have to do another. If you want to get better, wait until you get a good baseline read of what your opponent is like before completely disregarding their intelligence as a human being. Fighting games are to some degree guessing games, and part of that involves “guessing” whether your opponent will fight with dignity, or succumb to the devil’s Shoryukens.
I get the idea behind mashing out your combos. You get more opportunities to hit the right button on the right frame, but see—oh, you nailed that combo again, huh? Look, I know you think it’s easier, but once you learn actual timing, you’ll—yes, I know you just nailed it ten times in a row. But in the long-run, not mashing—fine, I guess you have it down consistently with mashing. Do whatever you want.
One of the most frustrating things you can do to your opponent is not be on the level about how serious you are with this shit. Like sometimes you’ll go for a throw on their wakeup three times in a row, and that sends a mixed message; your opponent doesn’t really know if you’re serious and will assume you have to be fucking kidding them. I mean, really. And while you and I both know you’re absolutely dead-serious about jumping straight up and down and hitting them with a jumping kick five times in a row, they might not be. So make sure to send every opponent you face a handwritten letter, delivered to their home, answering in no uncertain terms their query about what the fuck that shit was.
The best way to learn whatever character you’re playing as is to watch people better than you play that character. You’ll get a good idea of what their game plan is, and maybe even find a few combos that work in real matches. But whatever you do, just watch. Don’t feel like every high-ranking player is your new best friend, and definitely don’t think you’ll end up playing with a popular streamer by sending them an invite to your lobby. This advice won’t make you a better player, but it will make you a better person. Or someone who isn’t disappointed all the time, at least.
There will come a day. Your fraudulent 70-game win streak will be revealed for what it is. A facade. You cannot handle the pain of being an adult and taking a loss like you should, so you hide behind not being punished for disconnecting mid-match. But your day will come. A day when you lose your streak, your LP, and everything you’ve come to know and love. Your mother will know, and she will look upon your sullen face with shame. Your day will come…but probably not. Goddammit, Capcom
Street Fighter V puts a lot of emphasis on the online, competitive side of the game. This might lead you to think those precious league points matter. They don’t. I know you think you should be at a certain tier of matchmaking and have night terrors about winning a rough match only to get a disconnect error and lose your hard-fought points, then having your next loss get counted. So stop fussing over them because the servers are bad right now. Instead, start getting into Amazon reward points (which are super-serious as hell), or better yet, take up wood-carving. That’s a fun hobby where you don’t have to worry about your league points. I also don’t recommend entering the wood-carvers’ league, where there are league points.
This isn’t going to make you a better player at all.
Suriel Vazquez is a freelance writer who just can’t get his meaty timings down, and no, that’s not a euphemism. He’s written for Paste, ZAM and many others. You can follow him @SurielVazquez