Ground Game Breakdown


Ground Game Guide (courtesy of Shie)

Shie on his blog writes neat entries about 3rd strike. I’m not going to go through the hassle of translating it word for word, but thought this would be beneficial to new or players who just haven’t learned/realized it yet. Pictures also lifted from his blog post.

What is ground game (footsies)?

Ground game is one of the simplest forms of battle within the game. It’s the battle of controlling your position on screen and the space between your characters. To describe this, if you think the opponent is going to back away, you step in and attack. from the opposite perspective, if you think your opponent will stick out a move to attack, you place a move to beat it, or step back to make it whiff and throw out a counter attack

The 3 main elements of the footsie game are:

Attack moves
Placed moves
Counter Attack moves

Attack moves

These are moves you use to attack the opponent. By hitting them, you are not only forcing them to block/freeze up but stepping into their territory. By stepping into their territory, they are forced to keep blocking or to step back, giving up their space. these are essentially pokes to attack them, ideally without much risk attached to it. (moves they can’t easily punish on block or hit).

Placed moves

These are moves you place in the space in front of your opponent. unlike attack moves, these do not make contact with the opponent unless they move toward you (walk/dash) or do a move that pushes them forward. Aside from them walking or dashing into your placement move, they can be used to crush the start up or active frames of their move. therefore, it’s ideal for these moves to be quick in their recovery and or have high priority.

Counter attack moves

Counter attack moves are used to punish a whiffed move. By visually reacting to the motion and the recovery of the move they whiffed, you can take damage from them.

*note: attack moves, placement moves and counter attack moves are not limited to normals. for example, uriens tackle, and yangs slashes can be used effectively to attack, or counter attack whiffed moves. Some supers can be used to punish whiffed moves.

counter attack moves beats placed moves by whiff punishing

placed moves beats attack moves by beating their start up/active frame of the move.

attack moves beat counter attack moves by forcing the opponent to block and prevent them from moving.

The motives behind using these 3 elements of ground game can be summarized to things like

Placement moves -
You don’t want the opponent to come closer. This is a way of holding your territory and space.

Attack moves -
You hit them to make them freeze up. By doing so, you make them feel uncomfortable in their position and walk back away from the situation. You want to take damage and screen position away from them.

Counter attack moves -
You want to pretend to attack them. By doing so, they are likely to use a placement move to keep you from moving forward, this is when you can react to their move to counter it. By counter attacking them, not only do you take damage from them but often create a knockdown or a scenario where you have the offensive advantage.

So how do you practice ground game?

Ground game and footsies take time and experience to master. Know all the moves in the game, what they can beat, what they lose to, and what their distances are. Training mode can be a great tool to familiarize yourself with the moves and can even be used to practice ground game.

An example is recording ken to wiggle back and forth while doing low mk’s here and there. familiarize yourself with the range of the move, and practice counter attacking it. this won’t replace playing ground game with a real opponent by any means, but it does help.

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Isn’t this general fighting game strategy and not limited to Third Strike?


Yes, but since the writer and translator are both 3S players, we get dibs on the info.


Awesome post!




excellent thread


I like these terms. They make it easy to explain the difference between Akuma and Ryu in SF4, and why Ryu’s midrange strength is better - both are good at attack/counterattack with some variations in strength depending on meter etc, but Ryu’s placed moves are much better.


What Komatic said. I mentioned footsies to a friend I’m teaching fighting games to and he looked at me like I had 3 heads. These particular terms made it very easy to explain to him, specially the difference between attack and placed moves.


Nice thread, deserves a sticky.


tangential - always thought footsies was a gay term. ground game sounds better

good thread :tup:


Just think how “I like to play footsies.” sounds to some people.




Glad this got stickied.


This is great, thanks a lot for the input


I really appreciate the intel!


This information is excellent, it has really helped my understanding of what I need to work over the past few months of 3rd strike practice


Other pages about footsies:

Not sure if I posted this before.

EDIT: Now that I’m browsing the rest of the site, I’m pretty sure I did (it’s a popular resource, so it’s possible it was reposted several times with translations).


This has helped me in so many games.


Know all the moves in the game, what they can beat, what they lose to…what exactly is a move winning? And what determines a winning move \ losing move?