How do you attack effectively? (beginner)


Hey guys,

I need your help learning offense and how to attack and pressure properly…

I’ve never played fighting games seriously until a few weeks ago, when I got into sf4/FGs on pc, so I am a complete scrub. (I’ve played wow arena, tera, CS 1.6, unreal tournament, at a competitive level)

I’ve watched all the beginner videos on YouTube multiple times, read and studied the basics like footsie, zoning, cross ups, etc. I even bought a TE stick and have been practicing with it in training mode for a couple of hours a day to work on my execution to basic proficiency along with combos, links, and cancels.(I’m still not very good or consistent but it’s only been two weeks)

Anyways, I’m struggling with attacking in general. I understand the concepts from everything I’ve learned but when it comes to actual matches, it’s so different. I played someone yesterday online for like 20 matches in a row and lost every time (2000 pp) then someone who was like 500pp and lost too. (I’m completely OK with losing but I just want to be learning)

I’ve been playing and practicing with ryu because the guides told me he’s good for learning the basics and guile because I like his style and heard he’s a good starting charge character with good normals and basics.

Tldr: when do I use light, medium, and heavy attacks? How can I start combos? How do I punish? After I block, how or when should I attack back? It seems like people are just constantly attacking me and I can’t do anything about it except block and get caught in a combo if I try to retaliate.

how to get in?

I think Justin Wong once said that a good beginning strategy is to learn one of your character’s better normal attacks, and just practice constantly with that normal attack vs opponents. So for Guile I would suggest his far standing hp, it’s a very good poke. Don’t overwhelm yourself with every single attack your character has; just first learn the best times to use that one attack. When you’re ready, move on to another attack. Keep in mind not all normals are that useful, I would check the forum character guides for summaries of a character’s normals and the situations to use them in.

As for defense, the first thing you need to nail down is anti-airs. Don’t let characters jump in on you. The rest of defense can get kind of tricky. You have to sort of learn when you’re at frame advantage or disadvantage to decide if you want to counterattack or just keep blocking. But with a strong ground game and anti-air defense, you will limit how much you get put under pressure.


Thanks. I’ve read the beginner’s guide for both ryu and guile so I’m somewhat familiar with what the bnb, good normals, anti air options are. Like Ryu’s cr mk > hadoken or using Guile’s boom > St hp as a poke. Cr hp and fk for anti airs and etc. I’ve gotten decent with that. It’s just that in the matches I barely do any dmg because that’s all I know how to do. Then I try to counter attack by doing a combo and I get hit in the middle of it or after it gets blocked and my opponent just punishes me with combos left and right.

Maybe I need to play for months before I start knowing how to attack? My frustration is coming from my opponents attacks’ looking very profound while mine looks like I’m pressing just one or two buttons. (I’m trying not to “mash” just for the sake of attacking and trying to let my character be an extension of my mind, where every punch or kick has meaning) is that the right way to go? I want to play SF at a competitive level and I’m here for the long term so I want to learn properly. I don’t expect to be at daigo or Justin wong’s level but I want to be decent.


It is tricky, I was in a similar boat, and I’m only just getting out of it.

I’d say first thing is to learn and perfect your best punish, and try to get as much damage out of making your opponent whiff attacks etc.

If a recent cross counter episode is anything to go by, you can get suprisingly far by throwing out fireballs if they’re over half screen away and then just throw c.MK to fireball if they’re closer and anti air if they try jumping xD

learning to get in safely to land the combos you practice in training mode is the hard bit, safe jump setups are a good way of getting in safely, but try to avoid jumping unsafely!


The thing with Guile is that he doesn’t do lots of damage, even if you’re playing him well. You could learn punish combos for when you do things like see a DP whiff, but generally, you’re not going to be shitting out damage like some characters can.

Do you have your punish combos down? They’re also what you do when you land a Focus Attack and crumple the opponent. Ryu’s is f.HP xx HP.Shoryuken and Guile’s is df.HK > EX Flash Kick (I think you have to buffer down+forward as soon as you dash for that one)

You’ll find that as your punish game becomes more consistent, your damage will skyrocket on newer players who go to invincible reversals too often (If you bait them), while your game will still feel just as slow against players who take less risk.

In neutral, you seem to be doing the right stuff. You just need to look at how close-range pressure works. Do you tick throw? Do you know what OS Tech (Down+Back+LP+LK) is? This will answer a lot of questions about when to use light attacks.


Thanks man. what is tick throw? Is that when you throw after like a lp to put them in block stun then throw? If so, I don’t do that a lot. In fact I don’t throw a lot. I always try to here and there but gets “beaten to the punch”. What is os tech?

I know the very basic punishes like the one you mentioned above. My biggest problem is that it seems like nothing I do is fast enough. Maybe I’m getting frame trapped or whatever it’s called? Everyone looks like they can block, and counter attack into combos, but when I try to counter attack, they beat me to the punch and I’m eating a combo. Or if I play careful, I get put in a constant block stun until I die.


Some great info in this thread, OP is def. taking the right approach compared to similar threads like this (eg ; i just bought a stick when do i git 10k pp)


You should throw a lot, honestly. It’s damage and a knockdown your opponent can’t block. It’s not as flashy as combos, but who cares? It’s damage. It also opens up the option of frame trapping people, because they’re trying to tech your throw, although that’s when it starts to be come a bit more advanced.
A tick throw is doing a light or two and then throwing, and one of the nice things about that tactic is that it meshes nicely with trying to hit-confirm off of light attacks. So, I suggest a little training exercise: go into training mode, set your dummy to random block, and do 2 jabs. If the jabs hit, finish the combo with whatever option your character has. If the jabs are blocked, instead of finishing the combo, take a slight step forward and throw. It’s a very simple pattern, but it’s very effective, especially at lower levels.

OS tech is someone pressing the input for throw while holding down-back and crouching. It defends against a lot of offensive options: If they’re in blockstun, nothing comes out. If they’re getting grabbed, they’ll tech. If they’re not in block stun, they’ll do a c.LK, which recovers very fast compared to a grab and is therefore hard to punish, in addition to the fact that they can sometimes even confirm that into a combo.

Yeah, that stuff takes time to get used to. All I can say is that it gets better with time and practice.


Oh OK. I need to start doing the OS tech then. Thanks for the suggestions. I’ll try the training thing you mentioned next time I play.

Quick question for you. I struggle with taking advantage after I knock my opponent down. I know what meaty attacks are (I think) and I know it’s a good time to go for mix ups and etc. What is a good basic “punish” I can do and what should my mindset be after I knock my opponent down?


Wake-up pressure? To start with: do the basic hit-confirm I mentioned (2 lights, finish the combo if it hits, throw them if they block). For Ryu, the whole sequence on hit would be either c.LK > c.LP - HP Shoryuken or c.LK > c.LP - c.HP xx HK tatsu, for Guile it’d be c.LK > c.LP - c.MP xx HK Flash Kick.
You also have a multitude of other options to go for once you put them in blockstun. If they block, instead of going for the throw you could safely finish the sequence with something like c.MK xx fireball, which would hit them if they try to mash crouch tech. Or you could take a slight step backwards, see if they whiff something, and punish them if they do whiff. Or you could do an overhead on them. Or jump over them and cross them up. Or, instead of forcing him to block two jabs, you could just make him block one jab and then go for the throw, or any other mix-up option I mentioned here. Or you could just wait if you think they’re going to mash reversal, and make them feel silly when you take the combo opportunity they handed you on a platter.

Bottom line is, you want to apply pressure relatively safely(if they’re in blockstun, they can’t hit you, thus you’re pretty safe), and when they’ve learned to react to one of your options, you go for a completely different one that counters the option they picked. There’s also no shame in backing off once in a while if you think your opponent is going to mash a reversal out.

For someone starting out, I suggest just keeping it simple. Like I said, do the aforementioned hit-confirm on their wakeup(you might want to use practice mode to learn to properly time those meaty jabs as well, by the way. Knock the dummy down and try to time them as early as possible). Finish the combo if it hits, throw them if they block. Believe me, you’ll get a lot of mileage out of it. Once you start getting comfortable with this, and/or your opponents start getting good enough to defend against this, you can start to expand and add other options to the mix. But as you’re starting out: just keep it simple. =)

As for punishes? Ryu has c.HP xx HK tatsu and f.HP - HP Shoryuken, Guile has df.HK - HK Flash Kick and c.MP xx HK Flash Kick.


OK thanks man. I really appreciate your input. Idk if it’s all FGs or just Street fighter, but everything is so complex. Much more than i thought. I only wish I picked up these concepts earlier as I was growing up instead of mashing through all the mortal kombat and sf2 games, and shaq fu(lol).


Awesome thread for beginners. Pretty important stuff to know!
Thanks Naeras for linking me to it!


Nice…very nice,we need this… no secret, just open up the box and show all tools needed to make someone succeed,i’m on the same boat and by the date of the thread, i’d like to know are you by now @Deadend7786 ?

I thought my reflexes were/are too bad, till i read that it’s not all about reflexes,it has to do also with prediction.I don’t care if i loose to,but i want to learn with the lost and when i don’t , it is very frustrating see your DP trading with a normal just because you did not have reflexe or predicted a jump for example.
Sorry my bad english :slight_smile: