Alright so I’ve seen a lot of people with mixed opinions on Fei, many people seem to be struggling with him, but there are a couple of users who just seem to “get it” with Fei and who are doing great with him. I personally think Fei is a pretty damn good character once you learn his ins and outs, so hopefully this guide from my experiences can help you guys out.
Part 1: How am I supposed to play Fei?**
When you look at Fei’s moveset, he’s got a lot of good options. Rekkas and Chicken Wing for closing space, a great overhead, a long range focus attack, a command grab with good damage options, a decent DP, as well as some really solid pokes. So what does this mean and how do you put it all together?
IMO Fei is capable of rushing down or playing the spacing game, depending on the matchup. He’s got all the tools he needs to do both. It’s your job to determine what style you should choose to use depending on the player you are against.
Note that I say “player” and not “character”. Often times a rush down style of play just won’t work vs certain people, and sometimes turtling is just ineffective. To be good at fighting games, it’s not only about knowing the matchups, but more importantly, reading and adapting to your opponents tendencies.
SF4 is a somewhat high risk game. You have to read your opponent well and make educated guesses a lot of the time in order to be successful. This doesn’t mean that you should be doing unsafe things like flame kicking every chance you get when you expect your opponent to throw out a poke on a blind guess, because if you’re playing someone decent, they probably are TRYING to make you do that. The best thing to do is make these educated guesses in your favor, where even if you guessed wrong, you’re not exposing too much of your position to your opponent. You should never give the game away with Fei, you should make them take it from you.
With that said, let me get down to the specifics in the next section.
**Part 2: Fei’s specials and how to use them.
:qcf::p: Rekkaken AKA Rekkas
Rekka Punches are probably one of the most important parts of Fei’s game. It allows him to strike from almost half way across the screen, punish whiffed moves many other characters cannot punish, as well was surprising an unsuspecting opponent. It’s especially important in matches such as vs Zangeif, as rekkas net you a knock down and give you a lot of space to work with before being backed into the corner. Also because of the huge knockback of the rekkas, you can send your opponent into the corner pretty much every time you land a rekka combo.
Now there is a downside to the rekkas and that’s that they are punishable if not spaced correctly or improperly hit confirmed. If you’re aspiring to be a competitive Fei, you MUST learn these skills.
There’s a simple trick to making the rekkas safe and that is to always make sure you hit with the tip of Fei’s fist. If they are blocked, ALWAYS stop at the second hit if you go that far. It’s safest to stop at the first but if you didn’t space the first one properly, you can delay the first hit so they’re pushed back slightly and then follow up with a second one using the LP version. If done correctly, it should push them out to the tip of Fei’s fist, making the move safe from retaliation.
The second part is hit confirm. After doing the first rekka, always pay close attention to if it hit or not. You have surprisingly long to decide whether or not to finish the series after a hit, so train yourself to spot hits and run with them. There’s a useful option in training mode called “random block” under guard which can help you practice hit confirming your rekkas. I’d suggest giving it a shot.
Once you’ve mastered these two things you can move on to the almighty-
This little block string is amazing for pressure. The cr.LP is quick and has good range, and on hit allows you to combo into the full rekka series. If spaced correctly you can stop after the first rekka punch and continue to do it again on a scared opponent. You can mix in a second rekka punch to throw off their timing and make them hesitate, so when stopping at the first rekka, they won’t immediately retaliate. This series also combos off of cl.MP and cr.MP.
** :l::d::db::k: Shienkyaku AKA Flame Kick**
This is a pretty standard DP. It’s fast and has invincibility on startup, and is unsafe on block. That’s all fairly common knowledge. The problem with fei’s flame kick is that it’s hit box is not as large as a shoto’s DP so you really have to exercise a lot more skill in using it. It’s a valuable tool once mastered and can be used the same as a shoto’s DP, so practice hard.
Deciding which version to use in which situation is important. In previous street fighter games, the LK version was much safer and was usually the choice move to go to for his reversal. Not anymore. It’s just as punishable as any other DP in the game and has 1 less frame of invincibility than the MK and HK versions. So in other words, do not use this version.
Usually, the best choice is the MK version. Unlike the HK version, it only has one hit, so clipping them with the far end of the move results in the same damage as netting a meaty hit up close. Both versions are invincible into the first active frame of the move, meaning if timed correctly, this should never trade. Up close, the HK version does 2 hits and more damage, but often times you will only get 1 hit out of it, resulting in less damage. So if you are able to discern when you should use MK vs HK, then by all means go for it, but if you’re just starting out then I suggest sticking with the MK version. MK is also more damaging if you’re planning on using it for an FADC combo.
The flame kick has a couple of uses. On the ground it can be used to reverse people’s attacks against an overly aggressive or predictable player. You can use it on wake up to escape meaty attacks, or during mix up situations such as after an HK chicken wing blocked. You can mix it up with a throw so that if you condition your opponent to throw break after a chicken wing, the flame kick will beat out a throw or a poke / DP from the other player.
Beating DPs with the flame kick is something I don’t see many players do. The trick is to wait a second during a situation where you think the opponent with try to reverse with their own DP such as on wake up, and then flame kick. This ensures that your invincibility frames overlap theirs and you end up going into your active frames after their invincibility has ended. I would suggest using this tactic late in a match where you know the opponent will die from block damage, or in a situation where you have 50% meter and are not taking a risk if it’s blocked.
When anti airing with the flame kick, you have to be careful, since it loses to jump ins if timed incorrectly. Always wait until the opponent is low to the ground before letting the flame kick rip loose, as it can lose to some of the stronger jump ins such as Ryu’s j.HK. Also, it’s can be difficult to anti air extended limbs unless you are really comfortable with the timing. I would suggest not trying to use the flame kick as a long range anti air vs an extended limb, as it can be really risky and often lose. He has other normals for this purpose. Instead, wait till they jump in where they will be coming down right next to fei, to ensure that you don’t lose or trade.
**:hcf::uf::k: Rekkukyaku AKA Chicken Wing. **
One of Fei’s more difficult to use tools, but also the most rewarding, chicken wing is a somewhat safe alternative for a reversal compared to the flame kick with more reward. It can also be used in air combos after a flame kick FADC and has a surprisingly long amount of invincibility frames during the startup on the HK version.
Only the HK version and EX version of this move are really all that useful. The MK and LK versions are faster but are too bad on block and net no reward on hit to really see any use. The EX version also has a special property of being immune to fireballs. This means that if you react quickly, you can close in on a turtling fireball character and if you were really fast, even get a free combo.
Using the HK chickenwing effectively is one of the key factors of playing a good fei. It’s risky to use it to close in from a far distance as it can be reversaled easliy by shotos and loses to neutral jumps for big damage combos afterwards. That’s not to say you shouldn’t use it to get in on someone from max range but DO NOT whore it out, as you will pay the price. At mid range, it can be used to reverse longer range pokes such as Dictators st.HK. On hit you can combo into cr.LP -> rekkas or even cr.MP -> Super. There’s a 1-2 frame link for st.HP afterwards as well but you have to land the chicken wing really deep and time it perfectly in a heated match, something I find extremely difficult, so I’ve avoided trying to use this in my game as you risk being reverse and giving up damage opportunities. Instead I always go for the cr.LP > rekka combo, as it’s the most reliable from any range and still nets a good reward and a knockdown
Another interesting use for the move is that it’s throw invincible on startup, meaning that if you’re in a situation where you can to guess throw or an attack, those will beat both options. Don’t use this vs Zangeif though because the whiff animation for his throw causes him to duck under the chickenwing. Hopefully this is fixed in the future but for now, just don’t take the risk.
On wake up you can use the chicken wing as an escape option thanks to it’s invincibility frames. It’s especially good for dodging corner cross ups and resetting momentum, as you will fly straight away from them and land with them in the corner and you far away from danger. If you’re going to try to reverse, try to use this instead of flame kick unless you have 50% meter, as it’s more rewarding and much safer.
Of course in certain matchups where characters have a good reversal or don’t spend much time standing, this move doesn’t have as many uses. Vs. Ryu, it’s often dangerous to try because he can react to it and DP you out of it for big damage. He also tends to spend a lot of time crouching, so you’ll end up going over him up close and possibly getting punished. The important thing to remember is that it’s only good vs standing hit boxes unless spaced from far away, so try to catch people out of their moves with it.
You can also use HK chicken wing to go through fireballs but the timing is much more tight. It’s better to use it on wake up to dodge a meaty fireball than anything else, as it usually doesn’t last long enough to get you through one in a neutral situation.
:hcb::k: Tenshin AKA Command Grab
The infamous command grab. It has very slow startup and short range but when successful results in big damage. The difference between this move and a regular command grab is that it usually shouldn’t be used without a setup unless facing an extremely scared opponent. It has such long startup that it’s best to use it after a blocked move. The EX version of this move has much improved range.
Timing is tight though so practice up landing moves after it connects, as you don’t have long. The input window starts just as he lands from rolling over their back.
On hit you can land st.HP -> Rekkas without meter or st.HK -> super with meter for max damage.
My personal setups for this move are:
*Jump in / Cross up > Land > Command Grab
walk up point blank or after a jump in cl.LP canceled into command grab
cr.LK cr.LP EX command grab
st.MP walk forward slightly command grab
Flame Kick FADC command grab
level 2 focus dash walk forward slightly command grab.
On hit, HP Rekka x2, stop short and EX command grab. *
Many of these situations are escapable if used too often so always mix it up and use it sparingly. The important thing is conditioning. If you can condition them to block after things like a level 2 focus, or a cl.MP, it’s a very rewarding and inescapable choice compared to a regular grab.
:qcf::qcf::p: Rekkashinken AKA Super
Fei’s super. The stronger the button you use, the further he goes. I mainly use this in combos or in certain long range punish situations. It’s easiest to hit confirm off of cl.MP folllowed up by cr.MP super. You can also do cr.MP x2 > super or cr.LK st.LP cr.MP super after chicken wing or a cross up to get an easy hit confirm.
Other situations it’s useful are generally places where you catch an opening but are too far to capitalize with anything else. IE: zangeif whiffs a PPP lariat, you can dash forward and punish with this as he recovers.
Don’t try to reverse with this as it’s risky and wastes your full meter. Play smart and play safe. Don’t be a scrub.
**:qcf::qcf::3p: Rekkashingeki aka Ultra **
Fei’s amazingly cool and amazing shitty ultra. It doesn’t do very good damage, is somewhat slow on startup, can’t be comboed into for good damage, and has short range on the second hit so that even if you successfully land the first hit as a reversal, the second hit will often whiff and leave you open for punishment.
So what should you use this for? Mainly, as a combo after fei’s focus, or to add extra damage after a chicken wing air hit. You can land it after a flame kick FADC and get 3 hits out of it if you time it early, but it’s pretty difficult and barely does more damage than just a chicken wing follow up. So generally, save it for after a focus, or after a flame kick FADC chicken wing where they have just a little bit of life left and you need something extra to kill them, as you will only get 2 hits out of it.
You CAN combo it off of a j.HK on hit though, so if you know you’re going to land a hit IE: you jumped over a fireball, it can be a good damage option later in the match.
The only other use for it is punishment. Namely, blocking DPs and ultras, or blocking zangeif’s PPP lariat. You can use it to go through close up fireballs on wake up when close to the opponent but that is risky. It’s better just to sit on the ultra and just continue to play safe than to take a huge risk and go for it. Save it for when you KNOW it will hit. Playing good means not taking dumb risks and while random ultra may hit every now and then, it won’t win in the long run. You must play the odds my friend.
**Part 3: Fei’s normals and how to use them. **
Fei has a great set of normals that you can use for most any situation. I think proper use of his normals is what separates a good fei from a bad one. Take time to learn the use of each and their proper spacing, and you’ll soon be getting many more wins with him than when you were just spamming chicken wing and rekkas. Fei is very capable of playing the footsie game, so use that to your advantage.
I’m only going to cover the normals I find useful.
st.HP: THE HAND SHAKE. Fei’s notorious poke from ST, and still a great move. It’s got good range, a good hit box, and does good damage. On hit it leaves you at +1 so you’re free to continue poking at them and if they try anything, they get hit again. Use this to keep them in check at mid range and pressure them without much risk.
cr.MP: Probably one of fei’s best normals. It’s extremely fast, has good range, and recovers quickly. It can combo into itself on hit and can be super canceled. Practice hit confirming it into super and you have a really nice punishment tool as well as a mid range poke that will frustrate the hell out of your opponent. Over all I believe this is his go-to mid range poke.
cr.MK: This move is quick and practically makes Fei melt into the floor. He maintains a really low profile, so it will go under a lot of pokes. Use it to frustrate your opponents approach and push them out, as well as getting some quick hits in. Like cr.MP, it’s hit confirmable into super. Mix this up with his overhead and you’ll start getting them scared.
forward+MK: Fei’s overhead. An awesome mid range tool that does more than just act as an overhead. On block it’s not very good but usually leaves you at a range where it’s not punishable. On hit it leaves you at +1 allowing a quick cr.LP to CH anything they attempt to throw out afterwards. On counter hit it COMBOS into cr.LP, so get good with that timing.
This move also has the excellent property of being airborn as he does the kick so it can evade throws and low pokes like ryu’s cr.MK and many characters crouching jabs. Use this after you’ve pushed them out a bit to close back in and put pressure on them again. You can also mix it up on hit with a throw or a flame kick. It’s especially good vs charge characters as it keeps them from sitting on a charge too long. Abuse it.
close.MP**: Probably fei’s BEST normal when you are in range to use it. It leaves you at a whopping +3 on block and +7 on hit. When used in pressure situations, you can continue to follow it up with mix ups such as cr.lp rekka to keep them blocking, walk forward and throw or command grab, or go for other pokes. Train them to block after it and you can work fei’s mind games. On wake up it’s probably fei’s choice move vs characters without reversals, making for an excellent meaty.
On hit it combos into cr.LP rekkas or cr.MP -> Super. Comboed into a sweep, it nets you 300 stun! That’s a lot. You can also use this to stop people from jumping away from you up close when you’re on top of them. It really adds a ton of pressure to fei’s game and should be used as much as possible.
The other useful thing about this move is after a jump in, it’s a much safer option than cl.HP. Since you don’t have time to hit confirm, this lets you keep the pressure on and not give up your options on block, but not give up your damage on hit.
cr.LP: One of fei’s other good pokes, use this to keep pressure on the opponent. It can combo into itself or rekkas, has good range and is fast. Use it after frame traps canceled into rekkas to keep the pressure on, you can really harass someone with this outside of their effective poking range where you will outspeed almost anything they throw out. Vs. characters with no reversal you can get away with cr.lp > rekkas often many times over.
cr.LK: a great low for starting combos and a good tick throw. Use it after a cross up or in a mix up situation to make the overhead more effective. On hit it combos into cr.LP or st.LP cr.LP rekkas for easier timing on the links. You can also do st.LP cr.MP super afterwards on hit for good hit confirmable damage. It has good range and is pretty fast, so you can use it like you use cr.LP up close.
st.LP: leaves Fei at +frames on block to continue walking forward and harassing them. This is fei’s best setup for the command grab imo. Just make sure they block it before going into the command grab, as on hit, the command grab will whiff and leave you open.
cr.HP: Fei’s longest range poke, use it like you use cr.MP, just slightly slower and from further away. It can be used to go under things because of it’s low profile, like zangeifs lariat. Use it to catch people from off guard after a block string from a safe distance. Can combo after cr.MP on counter hit.
cl.HP: unsafe as hell on block, don’t use it in pressure. It’s great as an anti cross up tool when the opponent is close to you.
st.HK: an extremely long ranged anti air, use this over flame kick when anti airing from a distance. On characters with large hit boxes, it hits them while crouching, so whore it out vs zangeif. This move is KEY to defeating the russian giant that gives many fei’s a hard time, so master using it. It’s a very important tool in his arsenal. Be careful against certain characters like shotos though, because if you use the move too late, it will lose out to their jumping moves.
j.HK: Fei’s longest ranged jump in and best air to air. Use it in non-crossup situations to connect with an opponent after jumping over a fireball. vs. Jump happy opponents or dictators who like to spam stomps / devil’s reverse, simply meeting them in the air with this move is a very effective anti air. Learn to use it.
j.MK: Fei’s best cross up. The spacing on it takes a little practice but once mastered, is a valuable tool, especially against charge characters, as it forces them to lose their charge and lets you safely mix them up. Use it in your pressure, as it’s an integral part of fei’s game.
j.LK: Another cross up attack, this one has a slightly bigger hit box and more active frames than j.MK so use it when you are unsure if j.MK is close enough. It also sets up well for a tick throw thanks to it’s shorter hit stun.
j.MP: Has a strong downward hit box, and can often trade with anti airs that don’t usually trade. This move is one of fei’s lesser known and harder to apply cross ups, but when used correctly, is extremely deceptive. When used to cross up, it will hit on the side you jumped in from, but you will land behind them. You have to attack with it earlier than j.MK and from further away to get the cross up.
Neutral j.HK: A strong defensive tool, this move extends far out in front of Fei and slightly behind him, and although it can’t be used as a cross up, it can be used to hit someone who went under and behind you for whatever reason. Use this defensively to put a wall in front of yourself. It’s especially good for jumping over things like Boxer’s dash punches or simply evading a SPD and coming down for punishment. If you’re up on life and the other person is defending, resort to using this, it can go a long way when defending against another player’s offense. It also can work as an excellent air to air to meet a jumping opponent such as a viper attempting a super jump after a blocked earthquake.
**Part 4: Fei Long’s Focus Attack.
Why does Fei’s focus attack get its own section? Namely, because it’s a huge part of his game. Fei has one of the furthest reaching focuses in the game, as well as being one of the fastest. He’s one of the few characters that can actually use it to good effects in high level play. Not only that, but because Fei has a fast dash speed. After a level 2 focus, you’re left at frame advantage to continue pressuring the opponent.
Training yourself to release the focus on contact with your opponents attack takes a bit of work, but once you’ve got it down, it becomes second nature. Once you can do that, learning to recognize the point where the focus flashes and becomes level 2 (meaning crumple stun on hit) can really help maximize openings. You don’t always have time to charge it to level 2, but if you recognize a slow recovering poke, it’s a good skill to have.
Now being predictable with focus is dangerous. You need to recognize the ranges that your opponent likes to throw out slower single hit pokes. Learning the range a dictator likes to throw out st.HK or a sweep, standing in that position and baiting it out and then focusing will see a lot of success. Focus can also be used as an anti air as long as you aren’t predictable with it. You can lose to neutral jump> throw, but if you recognize your opponent is going for this, simply backdashing or releasing the focus early can save you in this situation. If your opponent blocks a level 1 focus, it’s usually best to just back dash for safety.
Another use of focus is simply baiting the opponent. Focusing at mid range and dash canceling it repeatedly can make them doubt themselves on their approach. You can also use this method to get in on ranged characters like dhalsim or a fireball zoning ryu simply by focusing, absorbing a hit, and dashing forward. Often times the opponent will try to attack immediately after this to capitalize on your white damage, so simply focusing again can sometimes score an easy crumple stun after this.
The plus frames on a blocked focus allow you enough time to cr.LP > rekkas to the point where the opponent cannot even reverse. This means that if you train them, you can easily work mix ups on them after a blocked focus in their expectation of a cr.lp. Some simple options include walk up throw, EX command grab, overhead, or cr.lk into combo.
Getting good at using Fei’s focus attack successfully takes time. You can’t use it in every match up and at every range, and if the opponent sees you have a tendency to use it, they may even start using armor break moves. It’s best to use it sparingly when you pick up on places your opponent likes to throw out pokes, or occasionally thrown into pressure to keep them honest. With time and practice, it does become a valuable tool in your arsenal though.