Approaching when you have the longest poke


I realized that everything I assumed about footsies sort of depended on this being true your opponent has to be able to control the space that you’re effective in. As in, I assumed that your opponent should always be able to be kept out of range by you poking them and vice versa.

Thinking about it, this doesn’t seem right. It seems like in every matchup, one character is going to have a poke that outranges every normal the other character has. From there, it seems like one character would be unable to control the space where the other character is effective. That is, a character can be just outside of your pokes and still poke you.

If this is the case, why do characters with slightly longer pokes than the other ever have to approach into the other character’s effective range? What’s stopping them from just camping in their perfect space, free from attempts at space control? And why is it that in high level play even characters who seem to have somewhat longer pokes frequently get close to their opponent instead of laying back?

I would think the only way that you wouldn’t be able to simply hang around outside of their controlled space and poke all day long would be if they were good at footsies and whiff punished your pokes, which would make you have to second guess your poke attempts and probably give your opponent a chance to get closer. Or maybe if your long pokes didn’t link into anything and your opponent had a life lead you would have to get in close and take a risk to get back in the game.

Another thing that confuses me about characters who have a longer poke: why would you have to walk backwards against the other character? It seems like they would be the ones who would have to walk backwards if you outrange them enough.

Or maybe having slightly longer pokes really doesn’t make much of a difference because it’s impossible to find your ‘sweet spot’ just outside of their range but in range yourself in a battle where you are both thinking and moving.

I feel really ignorant talking about this, but that’s why I’m asking.


Actually, the main thing this is trying to get at is whether or not controlling space matters if you are outranged even slightly by the other character. Even if you can’t control the space they have to be in to hit their longest poke, is there really a reason for the other character to be in range of your other moves?

I thought about it a little bit and the answer seemed like it might be straightforward- obviously a character can’t just spam the same button over and over again whether or not it outranges you, you can just whiff punish it if they’re button-happy or time a jump or something like that. Besides, to get a combo or a really meaningful hit they’re going to have to get closer to you, probably close enough for you to control that space.

So I guess the main point of confusion is
-what stops the character from just only poking with that move and staying at that range
-is there a good reason for them to ever get in range of your moves

I think it might have to do with longer pokes being easier to punish, or being slow so that you can’t really spam them and even if you tried they could get in close enough to stuff it

wait maybe blocking nullifies spamming a long poke that hits from a space you can’t control


Good questions I’ll answer them as succinctly as possible, though in the future if you could post your questions in number format it will be much less of a pain to answer them:

There is a term I made called block beaters. Basically, overheads and throws are generally short ranged but they beat certain forms of blocking. So if the long range character doesn’t just want their pokes blocked all day long, they will have to approach or hope the opponent approaches them. This is assuming that the character with the longer range pokes doesn’t have the lifelead. If either character has the lifelead, it’s basically the onus of the character with the life deficit to close range so they can start mixups that beat block, otherwise the character with the lifelead can just do nothing till the timer runs out and win the round cause they have the lifelead.

Other blockbeaters are crossups and chip damage and low attacks, but generally in streetfighter the most available and easiest to apply blockbeaters are throw and low.

Chip damage can be a factor as well when playing against a character that has a very strong projectile wall.

Generally, the threat of the opponent dashing in or jumping in forces the longer ranged character to take pre emptive measures to try and poke them before or during their dash attempt. Note that dash here could be any move that moves forward. Once the longer ranged character has committed to preemptive ranged attacks, the shorter ranged character can take counter measures such as jumping over the ranged attack. There is a basic “dash or jump” mixup at neutral that lesser ranged characrers can use against longer ranged characters, to get inside.

I partially answered this up above, but basically they try to get in because they tend to have higher damage options upclose than from far, and they may also have a good upclose offense. Like chun can play ranged games, but it isn’t till she gets close that she can do good damage. Whereas at range the risk reward can be skewed:

If she throws a fireball and it hits the opponent or makes them jump so she can AA them, she does like maybe 100 damage on average… And that’s only when things work out. However if she gets her fireball punished by a jumpin, she could lose anywhere from 220 health all the way up to around 500 damage depending on character… So the ranged game though good, comes with risks.


You are forgetting about counter moves here. Like if dhalsim is poking ryu with long limbs, ryu can still DP those limbs. Other characrers have armor options or options to go under or over the long ranged pokes.

Very good question.

It has to do with movespeed. The trade off for long range moves is that they as a rule startup slower than shorter range ones, and though not always the case, many longer range moves are more negative on block than their close ranged counterparts.

So basically this is priority. If I’m close to you and you are dhalsim, well all your moves are slow and mine, if I’m a shorter ranged character, have priority up close, meaning my moves will overwhelmingly tend to beat yours since my moves are faster.

Now take that concept and instead of applying it to point blank, think in the more abstract:

If dhalsims best ranged poke has say 100 range and is 10 frames startup. What happens when he’s playing against a character that has a move that is 50 range and only 5 frames startup… At a range of 40 away from the opponent?

Well technically dhalsims 100 range poke is still good here since it will still make contact, however it will be vastly outperformed by the other characters 50 range attack since that move is much faster and still in the 40 range (let’s say that point blank, aka throw range, is 10 range and lower)

This is why sim likes to move backwards even when he has a range advantage… He’s moving backwards to take away his opponents SPEED advantage, and generally speaking, once any character is in its effective poking range against sim, that character will have a speed advantage against him since just about every other characrers pokes have less range.

Sweet spots are easy to find and recognize… They are usually at around 80-90% of any given moves max range. At that range you are concentrating speed and range into one and coming out with the best possible option based on those 2 factors for the move you are using.

The thing that skews this though is character state. Some moves only affect grounded characters well (like most characters sweeps and’s) Some moves are better as AA’s.

And most pokes will straight up lose to armored or invincible attacks or jumpins. So just because you are in range for a move doesn’t mean that that move is the right call at that time. Sometimes the best call is just to block/react.

Don’t, everyone starts out somewhere and there is no reason to not ask intelligent questions.


Does this sum up what you’re saying: having pokes that hit the other character from spaces they can’t control with their own pokes is kept in check by:
-long pokes having slower start up and therefor getting beat out by faster, shorter normals when close enough
-long pokes not resulting in much damage and being risky even from ‘safe spots’ due to the possibility of jump-ins
-dash ups forcing preemptive use of long pokes, which can be countered by a whiff punish or jump-in
-long pokes being easily blockable and not having the same damage potential for close range attacks

So in short, having the longest poke isn’t powerful enough to win games alone because of the numerous counters to it and risk required in going for it preemptively. Also, long pokes don’t completely rule out the opponent having to control space because of the many reasons you will have to go for an attack within their effective range anyway.


Yes, basically.

Also, if you want to see these things in action, just pick a character with an abusive poke and then try to win using nothing but that poke. You may be surprised by what you learn.

Most things are pickup able via simply playing the game. Not that asking questions is bad, just yeah, play the game and these answers should come to you :slight_smile: