I’m currently trying to get a grasp of all the character types in Super Street Fighter 4 Arcade Edition, and would like to know the easiest of each type to get to know. I want to learn how to play them so that I may counter them when I come upon them online. As it stands, I have a working understanding of Ryu-type characters. I’m sorry if this question is a little scrubish, but I want to improve my game. I just got it a week ago.
First things first, a scrub is someone who doesn’t want to get better but wants to win without any effort, so by virtue of you asking a logical question you’re already not a scrub.
Ryu-type characters (fireball, uppercut, hurricane kick) are called Shotos, for reference. If your goal is to learn enough to be able to counter then I’d suggest:
Charge - Balrog
Rushdown - Cammy/Yun
Pressure - Cody/Fei Long
Keepaway - Sagat
Grappler - Zangief
The main difference between charge characters and motion characters is the lack of options charge characters have while moving forward. They can’t use specials if they want to advance. If you couldn’t Shoryuken for a second after walking forward or backwards you’d think a bit about if you had to walk before you did. Maybe you walk forward, but find a normal that’s a good anti-air that you can use quickly if they jump. After you get used to playing a charge character you’ll better understand the mentality that those players have.
While most characters want to get in close to do damage, rushdown characters are unique in that they usually have better tools than other characters. Cammy and Yun can alter their trajectory in the air, for instance. If you mistime an anti-air against them, which is much easier because their jump is no longer a constant, then you get hit for a good chunk of damage. Next time they jump you’ll be hesitant to try to anti air them and they can start applying their mixups that they get from jumping in.
I’m going to be honest with you, Cody is not one of the better characters in this game. He has some very important flaws that you’ll have to play around if you pick him, which is why I also suggested Fei Long. However, Cody is arguably one of the best in the game at frame traps, one of the most important things for a pressure character to have. The difference between pressure characters and rushdown characters, at least the way I define them, is speed. Rushdown characters are fast, usually having ambiguous crossups and tricky setups. Pressure characters aren’t slow, but they’re more deliberate. Frame traps are, in my book, the most important thing for a pressure character to have. In case you don’t know, frame traps are where the player leaves a tiny gap in a string so you can stop blocking, but not large enough to where you can get a move out (aside from an invincible move, obviously). I’m going to suggest you play these characters last, and only after you’ve looked at the frame data for the character. Frame data just means how fast a move comes out, how long it takes to finish, etc. Since SF4 runs at 60 frames per second, if a move takes 30 frames from start to finish it lasts precisely half a second. I won’t go into frame traps here since this is already getting quite lengthy, though, just know they’re tiny gaps in your offense.
I want to be as clear as possible when I say this. Keepaway isn’t easy. It looks very simple, and it is to an extent. There are two things a good keepaway strategy requires. Fireball spacing and anti-airs. Sagat is the best character to teach these things by far, in my opinion, because he extends his arms very far forward when he throws a fireball, which extends the area he can get hit by an attack. His fireballs are also slow to recover, so it’s a large commitment to throw one. At the same time he has many distinct anti-airs. Standing roundhouse, forward roundhouse, uppercut are all good anti-airs, but at different times and different ranges. He also gets arguably the best damage for an easy anti air in the game, a forward roundhouse or two straight into ultra. When you see the big rewards for a successful anti air you as a player are more likely to anti air again in the future. I didn’t list Dhalsim in keepaway because even though he does want to maintain a large distance he’s such a dramatically different character from the rest of the cast that using him to learn the matchup would teach you about him specifically, not about the archetype of characters that operate well at fullscreen.
Note that a huge part of playing a grappler character is being able to do command grabs from a neutral position, called a standing 360. That can be tricky to learn, particularly if it’s your first week and you don’t intend on using the character, but opens up many options for grapplers. Walk up command grab, if the player has their spacing down perfectly, can be a very scary option. Grapplers in SF4 also have to rely heavily on their good normals to control space since their special moves are usually meant to cover options that their command grab does not. One of the “most different” archetypes in the game, so it’s important that you’re aware of both what the opponent wants to do as a Zangief player and what he wants to do as a person. Does he go for command grabs a lot, does he ignore them and focus on punishing you for being afraid of them, etc.
There’s another major archetype called “Vortex”. Those are the characters that put you “into a vortex” of mixups, where the risk-reward is in their favor, and if you fail to defend properly you get put into the same situation again. They also usually have many ways of putting you in the vortex to begin with. While you should be familiar with the mixups, I don’t suggest playing them for that reason, if that makes sense. I see a lot of new players learn a vortex character, let’s say Akuma, but learn only the actual vortex and little else. They don’t have good spacing with normals, they consistently throw fireballs at bad times, and only focus on the vortex instead of playing the rest of the game just as well.
One last thing to keep in mind, most characters aren’t in just one category. Makoto could be classified as a grappler because of her command grab but she’s also a rushdown and pressure character. In different matchups you’ll want to play characters differently. If Ryu is fighting a grappler then he’ll want to stay as far away as possible, but he’ll play differently if he’s fighting a keepaway character. Even when you play against the same archetype of character you’ll realize that each grappler plays a bit differently and there are certain things you’ll want to do in the Ryu-Gief matchup that you might not do in the Ryu-Hawk matchup. Some characters don’t fit cleanly in archetypes at all, and you’ll need to figure out what to do against them. I’m simplifying this quite a bit obviously, but it should be a good starting point.
If you have any more questions don’t hesitate to ask.
You are a godsend, sir. I have been doing the basic challenge trials with each character, so I’ve been learning their specials and what they can and can’t do. I’ve actually played 100 matches already, but have only won 4… But yeah, I’m not discouraged. I can’t wrap my head around Charge characters. Unless I were to turtle until I can do a move, I don’t see how one can do combos with them. As it stands, I love Shoto characters. Whatever Adon is, I also like him, but not Sagat. I’m having issues with Grapplers also. I don’t know, they just don’t suit my playstyle. Also I like Dudley, but I’m terrible with him.
Combos for charge characters depend on the individual character. For example, Balrog has enough time during a cr.lk->cr.lp->cr.lp to charge a headbutt or dash punch and cancel the third hit into it while Chun-Li’s only practical method of landing spinning bird kick is from a jump in. In her case she combos with links more so than specials.
Adon’s an extremely pressure heavy character, I actually should’ve mentioned him above but I forgot. What do you like about him?
Dudley’s another big pressure guy. He benefits greatly from being able to combo from both his low and his overhead, but it can be tricky.
Keep in mind you don’t have to play every character style in the game within the first week, or ever even. You can learn a lot about grapplers just by messing around in training mode for 10 minutes and playing against them.
I like how Adon can jump over projectiles and punish people who spam those moves with his wall kick. I also love his EX set up. Jaguar Avalanche is really awesome. As well as his flash kick-like Jaguar Kick thingy. I love how he can get in people’s faces and make it to where they can’t do anything about it, and how he goes all in and if he pulls off the combo right the match is his.
@RadicalFuzz your description of a scrub is good, though a little too brief… Heres a bit more for you @SakuraFighter
A scrub is:
-a guy who thinks he’s fly
-is also known as a buster
-Always talkin’ about what he wants
-just sits on his broke ass
-a guy that can’t get no love from me
-also is a guy who hangs out the passenger side of his best friend’s ride, trying to holler at me
Dont do any of those above listed things, and listen to @RadicalFuzz and you wont be listed as a scrub in my book