Anyone have tips for learning a character?

Just got back into SSF4 after a decent hiatus from SF4 in general. I know basic things, and some terminology but I’m still far from understanding alot. I was really pumped up to play Juri and she’s fun in some respects but i can’t seem to make the most out of her and am second guessing my pick ( as i am without a Main char at the moment )

So while i’m trying to decide who i’m going to learn with what is the best way to learn? what should and how should i practice in training mode? I know it’s mainly a character specific question as to what i would learn, but i’m talking dumbed down basics here.

Currently i’m juggling my choices between Makoto, Juri, maybe Guile… Dudley i don’t know. I want to stick to someone that is simple but a little advanced, I’ve played Ryu enough and don’t want to rely on projectiles as much as i have in the past.

any help appreciated.

Learn combos and the nuances of the matchups. That’s a pretty big task, and by the time you feel comfortable with that, you’ll be experienced enough to know where to go from there.

  1. Go through trial mode (at least the early levels, like 1-20 with most characters) with characters of interest and see whose links and cancel combos are easiest for you to do. These are probably the best characters to start with.

  2. Watch videos of characters of interest as played by good players to see how they function strategically. Don’t just look for how they win, look for how they lose and what they lose to. Watch how they position themselves and what they do to bait and/or mix up.

  3. Go into training mode and practice BnBs. You don’t have to have a super-curly mustache going in, but make sure that the first thing you learn is both your fastest (for just-barely unsafe moves) and most damaging (usually raw Ultra/close heavy normal xx heavy/EX special) punishment combos. Set the dummy to do common reversal moves that are unsafe if evaded/blocked like Shoryukens and SPDs and practice punishing those with combos. Set the dummy to do their Ultra, whatever it may be, and practice punishing blocked/missed Ultra with your own Ultra until your hands hurt. Being able to Ultra punish is absolutely crucial for comeback factor against a superior opponent.

  4. Play the game. You can spend hours in the lab practicing combos, but none of that will be any good if you don’t develop the nerves and experience to do those in-game against an opponent that might be kicking your ass.

Best advice for starting out is to be very conservative. Stay on the ground and walk around, trying to hover just outside of poking range. Don’t jump at them unless they’re in the middle of a move you can punish (like a fireball you jumped over), stay on the ground and poke at them. Punish any unsafe stuff they do with knockdown punishment (i.e. blocked Shoryuken -> c. MP xx Knee Press with Bison, or fierce SPD with Zangief/T. Hawk), and try to bait stuff from them on wakeup for more punishment combos. Fake crossups with empty jump, cancel Focus Attacks just outside reversal range, whiff low shorts and block, walk tantalizingly close to their body and then block, that kind of stuff. Backdash to escape wakeup pressure, and keep your cool if they walk you to the corner, because they’ll be counting on you to get desperate. Block and figure out (even if it means getting thrown) what they’re trying to bait out of you and let the “you first, motherfucker” mindgames begin.

Here is what my limited and non-expert opinion suggests:

Id suggest you try Juri first as she seems to have some easier to preform BnB’s and has a play style that might be closer to what you are used to then the other three. Dudley might also be a good fit; however, his footsies are bad when compared to Ryu’s. Makoto will likely feel very weird to you at first because her strange movement and reliance upon landing her command grab to set up combos. If you don’t want to rely on projectiles then don’t play Guile as he relies on them more then any other character.