A Request from a Newbie: Making Sense of Protips


I’ve always started with leveling up my knowledge of a game before diving into leveling up my play skill, but I may have bitten off more than I can chew with SF4. I’ve just been so excited about the release of Ultra that I’ve been hitting the books trying to build some good habits for the characters I play, but I’m having trouble turning the pen and paper tips into real world results…

Problem 1: Optimal Combos (ex. Decapre: cr. lk, cr. lp, cr. mp xx Sting) – when it is ok not to follow them?
It’s not so hard to do in training, but under pressure, I falter the link pretty bad. I’ve noticed that if I hit two cr. lp I am able to more effortlessly hit the link, but I know that it’s not the best option. I’ve learned that crouching punches hit mid (and thus can be blocked standing) and crouching kicks force the opponent to block low. It’s a huge advantage, right? Well right now, with the amount of times I’ve dropped the link, it’s feeling like a total hindrance.

Are there times when it’s better to just do what you can perform most consistently, or should I just fail until I get it?

Problem 2: How are people playing so well both online AND locally? I can do well local, but when I go online the slight input lag turns me into a complete mess.
I feel so completely rigid. A lot of people seem to just adapt in seconds, but I feel like I need everything to be so perfect to play well. How do people overcome this? I’m afraid if I practice for online I will begin to fail locally and in arcades…

Problem 3: How should I train? Where should I begin with the basics?
I can do some decent (though inconsistent) execution, but I think that’s jumping into the later subjects when I haven’t mastered the basics. How can I improve link training? Any way people stretch their fingers to gain some dexterity? I’m looking for simple tips that can make the experience more enjoyable.

Thanks guys!


You should probably be posting this in the Newbie Forum.

Quick answers though
Problem 1: Pressure is always a problem in real matches. That said, with combos, it’s often up to the player how hard s/he wants to go with it. If you think your execution is up to it, go for it. If not, stick with simpler combos. In general, though, people overrate the importance of max damage, and at low levels it’s not as important as learning spacing/footsies.

Problem 2: You’ll get used to it with time. Just keep playing.

Problem 3: There’s no “one” way to train. In general, the easiest way I’ve found is to play a few matches, and when you lose, rewatch/rethink why you lost and try to improve in that area. Another way that Chris Hu mentioned was to simply play your matches, but focus on training up one area of your gameplay. For example, try to anticipate and anti-air every jump in. Your play in those games might suffer, but your overall play will become much stronger when you can anti-air at will. Still, you should try what works for you.


…playing online will make you worse unless you are trying to play a single player game (in other words…unless you are playing C. Viper).


Well I played Viper when I started, but her links were really simple. It took me almost half a year to get comfortable with her basic tricks, but I never really played in public. Also, can’t play Viper online because the lag kills my Fierce Feint Fierce control.

I usually just game at home with friends, but now I’m starting to try to practice to play in the arcades and online. Had a lot of fun just earlier, but I want to level up my gameplay instead of coasting :smiley: