Novice Angst


Hi, new to the Shoryuken forums. First time Street Fighter, First time Poster.

Obviously, I’m still deep within the beginning stage of Street Fighter, and fighting games in general, that stage being me losing with no remorse or mercy to the veteran performers on XBL. I bought SF4 a long while ago, but only recently have I bought SSF4: AE to play the game once more. And, as before, I’m still awful. I’ve been attempting to learn combos, learning my main (Sakura, for now), and other beginning tactics, but I’m still getting punished.

22 wins and 145 losses, if you want specifics.

Gameplay wise, I have problems both offensive and defensive-wise. For defense, I’m just somehow terrible at blocking. I understand the set mechanics of blocking (Jumping attacks go through crouch-blocks, crouching attacks go through standing blocks, etc.), but it seems that people are easily able to break through it, most likely with crossups. I think it may have to do with my reaction time, but does anyone have any helpful guidelines to follow regarding blocking/defense?

For offense, simply put, I jump in WAY TOO MUCH. I know, the simple solution seems to be “don’t jump in”, but I seem to have a bit of an addiction to it, if I can say that. I always feel the need to attempt a cross-up or try cornering my opponent everytime I knock them down. I just seem to be lacking patience in general. For anyone who has had a similar problem like this, any ideas on how to get out of it?

Now, this is probably the biggest problem of them all that I’m facing regarding this game: With me getting dominated each and every time I play, I just can’t really get myself to have fun. I know, winning isn’t everything, but it just feels like the same old song and dance every time. When it seems like I know what the outcome will be each time, it’s really hard to have fun with this game. I find myself getting frustrated a lot with this game, so that’s obviously not helping.

So, for anyone here who’s been in this situation, how did you pull through and enjoy the game? Or, for anyone who’s still in the novice stage, how are you getting yourself to enjoy the game? I don’t just wanna quit now, but at times, it just feels like the frustration I have to go through to get any bit of improvement just isn’t really worth it.


Try to play passive-aggressively (not full defense, and not full out rundown offense) and check out how your opponent plays. Try to poke them at random times to the point where they’re afraid to approach, or where they make mistakes, ultimately make them respect your space, that’s what I learned until recently. I’m new too, and I’m learning also, and I understand your frustration, I’ve been through this.

It took me a while to enjoy the game, and I nearly dropped it. I then understood, the game was out for a couple years, and I shouldn’t expect to really have a fighting chance against those who had experience for 3 years with Street Fighter IV in general, and probably played fighting games for like 10 years.

So, to make myself feel better, I lurk SRK, play games on GGPO, attempt to get my fundamentals down, and I watch replays of fighters from YogaFlame24, and I learn slowly. I probably won’t become good at the game until a long time, but I’m on a journey… a journey to well… become better.

So, accept your beatings, and look at each match.

These resources helped me greatly:

David Sirlin’s “Playing to Win”

Sonic Hurricane dot com’s “Footsies” Handbook


Play people more on your level to learn the game. Or play people willing to teach you. Getting absolutely destroyed 100 times in a row doesn’t help you.


When you fight against a pro, you learn exactly what not to do. Some people learn better this way.


Personal opinion:

Losing is when you learn the most. But you don’t learn much when you fight someone 3-5 levels above or below you. There are so many levels of understanding between “I’m knocked down, let me mash DP” and “I knocked him down; I wonder if I should OS against the TP or the DP or should I just bait the DP out. Maybe I should do empty jump short or counterpoke the wake up crouch tech into another knockdown.” What happens is that the beginner keeps losing and losing without fully understanding why they’re losing. I can do a jumpin that beats Guile’s cr. fp but does that mean that Guile should never anti-air? Beginners will just be overwhelmed with info: “Oh you should do A, B, C, and then after that you should do D, E, F, but watch out for G, H, I. That’s the perfect opportunity to do J, K, L.”

Trying to coach beginners is hard because you see all the mistakes that they’re making but they won’t be able to keep up with all the things they should change. Then you tell them don’t do all the things that come natural to them (jump ins, wake up DPs) and they play the entire match scared and confused as to what to do. They should be able to win a match mashing DP so that they know when it’s useful and not be punished every single time by a player who knows their gameplan.


Dear Minty_Fishbowl, just chill the fuck out. Remember, this is not EVO, there is literally nothing on the line here. Honestly, just relax, and calmly assess the situation ingame, watch the opponent and see how you can exploit his weaknesses. Does he just keep jumping in? Anti-Air dat shit. Is he just fireballing all the time? Jump over the first couple fireballs and get closer to him. Just throwing plasma at you puts him at a frame disadvantage (I think), just read him, see when he’s going to throw that next fireball and kick him in the fucking face, then trip him. Punish your enemies mistakes, doesn’t have to be a massive combo, just a few normals/throw.


My win-loss ratio is mostly 1-10,20 or even 0-10,20 , even worse than yours. I play only in endless.But I dont mind losing. Plus I am too old to be annoyed by that shit and derogatory comments.

How am I having fun you ask? By playing other older fighting games (KOF, SFA and other classics). Even Breaker’s Revenge is much funnier than SF4. there I lose a lot too but at least I find them funnier. Instead of focusing on just SFIV where the frustration would be greater, I lay my mind somewhere else.

In fact I think I have improved a lot more by playing those other games than if I was just focusing on SFIV. Novices should really be introduced to as many games as possible and there pick on their own what suits them.

because all those good players you see have certainly not played SFIV their entire life.


Haha, oh man does that bring back memories. :frowning:

I posted this in another thread but it’s worth repeating here - don’t worry about your W:L in the beginning. Hell don’t worry about your W:L until you’re at the point where you’d be willing to put real money down on your matches. Fighting games are hard and really cater to those who have spent literal HOURS a day/week for YEARS on end.

See, when the people who are beating you were new to fighting games they probably weren’t playing SF4, they were playing SF3, or KoF, or MvC2 - they were playing older fighting games. The one thing that is kind of “new” to this generation of fighting games is they all come with online play, without question really. But with this online play comes a win/loss record - a permanent record of just how hard learning fighting games are: how terrible :(. If the OG’s had to keep a lifetime W:L ratio I would say even Justin Wong might have less than a 1:1 ratio - you have to spend a lot of time losing before you realize what the other guy is doing.

  1. Realize that Ranked Matches are really hard. Until you get really high ranks, the people playing ranked matches are usually relying on some cheap online tactic (headstomps as Bison will get you near B rank, it’s kind of sad), or will just be mashing buttons. Both these kind of people are not fun to play against, nor will you learn anything.

  2. Try to find people near your skill you want to fight with. This is a hard one because (at least in my group of friends) those who play fighting games seem to have played them for a decade straight, or have “played a few” like Smash Brothers, and really think fighting games are just about mashing buttons.

  3. The bit of improvement you make isn’t worth the amount of work you’re putting in. It never will be. Unless you have plans to go to EVO and win, or place high in some majors around your area remember that you’re just playing a game and nothing is going to be worth wasting your life. That being said you should then look at this as a chance to make it as important as you want. Don’t go in trying to win every match, go in with specific strategies. It does help to go back and actually WATCH a few of your replays, even take notes about things you notice.*

*When I was making YouTube videos of my matches I had to go back and rewatch a few hundred or so of my matches over and over to find the decent parts. While doing so I also wrote down notes about the interesting parts - and in turn got to watch my own mistakes again and again. Hindsight is 20/20, but if you can watch your match and instantly see why you lost than that is a sign of learning. It will take a long time before you realize what is beating you, and an even longer time figuring out how to stop that from working.


You’re too freaked out, like others have said. I’m new to fighting games but I have played thousands of games of video baseball over the last few years. I’ve ranked easily within the top couple thousand players for The Show the last couple of years and I don’t even play that often anymore. The key is persistence. It took at least 500, full 9 inning games which takes a lot longer than a few ssf4 matches, or more games to just get proficient at playing video baseball, and it will probably take a lot more for fighting games.

Every week, assuming you’re putting some time in, you should see progress. Any progress is good. Heck as long as you’re not going backwards you’re doing OK. Maybe one session you do a good job with your Ultras or Supers. Maybe another session your block really well. What I’m saying is it takes a lot of time to realize and put it all together under pressure. So, basically expect to suck badly for the next few months, but don’t give up because you’ll get better.


i remember your username…I played you yesterday with my Juri in an endless room…i just went back and watched our replay…it wasnt so much that you jumped in too much, it was how punishable your attacks were. you played kind of reckless, you did things like random SRK with no meter or just throw out a random HK, or EX hurricane kick, which are things that are super punishable on whiff…your just inviting me to free damage once you miss things like those. you also tend to mash reversals on wakeup…again very reckless and punishable…once I figured out that you would do things like that…it just became a “wait and punish”/“bait and punish” game with you. gotta play more patient and be a lot more safe with your attacks.

and the best thing to do on wakeup 85% of the time when someone is on top of you is just block…its the safest option most of the time, definitely when you dont kno what they are about to do…watch for tricky things like cross ups or empty jumps so you know which direction to block and if its gonna be high or low.if you are pressing buttons, i’m just going to keep getting counter hits on you and its going to allow me to do what I want… also i see you tended to jump back a lot once you did get a knockdown. you had me in the corner a few times after a knockdown but you simply jumped back thats reliving me from having to deal with the guessing game of how you were going to attack me when I got up …gotta learn how to apply pressure better. learn a few block strings and mixups to make me have to guess on how I’m supposed to block on wakeup so you can continue you offense. you’ll keep improving, i’ve been playing SF for almost 3 years and I still have a lot to learn, no where as good as some of my offline peers but, just keep playing, you cant help but get better…keep reading the Sakura forums around here and practice…


This really is the #1 most useful piece of information. Blocking is boring, blocking is scary because they are just going to jump in at you when you get up and now they are RIGHT BACK in your face! This is Street Fighter though, that’s literally how the game goes. Someone who gets really good at blocking is frustrating to fight against - and if you’re really good at blocking on wakeup (don’t fall for crossups) then that’s even MORE frustrating to fight against.

Blocking is the most important skill in SF4 - so many of the trickier moves and setups rely on your opponent just confusing you with placement, they look like they are going to land behind you, but they kick and hit you in front, but then end up landing behind you instead; all that kind of stuff can be mitigated away with just blocking - boring, simple blocking.

Do not be afraid of pressure, this comes with a caveat of “learn you pressure” first. Learn good blockstrings, these are strings of normals (sometimes canceled into a safe special like a fireball or lk tatsu for Sakura) that just keep constant pressure on your opponent. Even if they block every single attack - it does start to get in their head that you’ve been on the offensive this entire round, once you’re in their head then you can start mixing it up for real damage.