SRK is filled with questions on how to learn SF, but the information is scattered, and the advice given is often not very pedagogical, so I’m left with a lot of questions. For me, the biggest problem is not execution or technical, it is strategy and actually having a plan on what to do for the match as a whole and for various specific situations. This thread is not about how to do something (which is the easy part), but what to do and when to do it.
In this post, I have tried to write down as many of my questions as possible. A lot of the questions are somewhat overlapping, so I may correct that later based on the answers I get. Many of them are also character specific, or worse, depend on both your own character and your opponent’s character, so there is probably not a simple answer to each question. If possible, a general answer would be great. If not, feel free to give URLs to existing posts/articles/websites/videos that contain quality information for beginners.
To make this thread more useful to others, I will edit good answers into this first post as I get them. If you have other strategy related questions that I forgot to ask, feel free to post them there, and I will edit them into this post.
**Q: What does it mean to learn fundamentals? Blocking and normals? Are throws part of it? Anyone can hold back or down-back to block, and anyone knows how press buttons for normals, so I assume that when people say, “learn fundamentals”, they actually mean “develop a game plan based only on the simplest moves”, right? Any good guides on that?
**How to respond to common situations:
**Q: What should you do when your opponent is knocked down?
Q: What should you do when you are knocked down?
Q: Which combo do you use when your opponent is stunned?
Q: What should do you do vs jump-ins?
Q: What should do you do vs projectiles?
Q: When should you attempt to jump in yourself?
**Q: Focus attacks are easy to do, but are they easy to use properly for a beginner?
Q: When should you use FAs to block projectiles/attacks? I can often do this, but the ultra boost is rarely worth it when I am hit again before the health meter is restored.
Q: When should you use FAs to hit an opponent? I can almost never connect with the focus attack, my opponent always seems to respond to it on reaction with an armor breaking special or throw.
Q: What combo should you use on crumple?
**Q: There are 35 characters in this game, so it’s a daunting task to learn all of them. I don’t know what I can and can’t do to to each character in various situations, so I eat a lot of supers and ultras, and my moves are often punished. Any advice on this other than loosing a few thousand times, and trying to remember why you lost?
Q: A good character for beginners would in my opinion be one that has a simple game strategy that does not depend much on your opponent’s character. Gouken is sometimes recommended to beginners because he doesn’t need hard links, but at the same time, they say he is very dependent on knowing his opponent, which makes him hard to use in my book. Which characters need to adapt the least to their opponents? (I expect Blanka on this one - any non-charge characters as well?)
**Q: For character X, what should your game strategy be? In SSF4, I have mostly been playing Hawk, so I checked out a Hawk tutorial on Youtube. It turned out to be a 10 minute combo video. Not exactly what I’d call a “tutorial”. Character specific information on websites like eventhubs mostly contain move lists, which isn’t very helpful either. The match-up threads in the character specific forums are better, but are not always beginner friendly. Is there a website that contains beginner friendly strategies for each character?
**What to do on reaction and what to predict:
**Q: Since I don’t know how to respond to common situations, and I don’t know a lot about what other characters can do, I basically play the entire game on reaction. For example, I have never understood throw teching. For me, that is something that just happens when both I and my opponent happen try to throw each other at the same time. How would you know if your opponent is trying to throw you or hit you with something else?
**Counterhits and reversals:
**Q: What is the difference between these two?
Q: There are two ways I get counterhits/reversals: When I’m trapped in a combo and I mash some high priority move hoping for a missed link, or by coincidence. Are you supposed to be able to time counterhits/reversals? If this is something you must do when your opponent misses a link, you can’t predict it, so I assume it must happen on reaction. What’s the visual cue, and how much time do you have to decide what to do?
**Q: I need to boost my damage output - which simple but good combos does character X have, and for which situations should they be used? (I have done all the character trials, but they don’t teach you how/when to use them, and they don’t always teach you the most practical combos.)