I have been playing SFV for a while, and one thing that still confuses the heck out of me is how to use light attacks when I am offense.
On defense I feel like I understand the usage fairly well. In any situation where I have frame advantage after a block, that’s a great time to use a Light. Sometimes it’s a punish, sometimes it’s just a chance to start up pressure. But it usually works out, because they are typically very close after the attack, and a Light attack is a natural thing to do at that range.
On offense though, I don’t get it. In order for my light attack to hit, I need to walk up very close to them. And in almost all cases, they will be able to hit me first with a Medium attack as I try to close the distance. I just get swatted away every time.
Yet, I keep reading that “Light attacks are low risk”, and “Jabs are so powerful”. How am I supposed to be using them offensively? As an side, I am a Bison player, so my terrible walk-speed may be influencing this problem…
With Bison you can dash in pretty quick and do throws, tick throws, and frame traps. If they are throwing out moves to keep you from dashing in, you have some good crush counter options.
An example of a very basic frame trap would be cr.LP, cr.MP, MP Psycho Blast. If they block the cr.LP and try to throw out a grab or normal, they get counterhit and you get a combo. MP psycho blast is safe on block, so if they block everything you are alright. I’m sure there are better frame traps than that, but I’m not a Bison player(or much of an SFV player) so I don’t know them. But you could certainly dash in and do that, do a throw, or do a tick throw. The idea is, you dash in and throw and tick throw until the opponent starts teching your throws. Then dash in a do a frame trap. If you’ve conditioned them to tech throws after you dash in, they will attempt to tech and get stuffed by the frame trap.
This is actually more a of a character specific discussion though. Some characters can do more with jabs than others.
If you are walking straight up to them you will get hit. If your shimmy is right you can land a light hit. As you step in and step back out again they will attack with whatever button and you can throw out the light. If you can walk in and drop a medium or heavy you can drop a light. His standing light kick is really good for doing just that. And is very easily confirmed into a combo. Though his crouching medium punch is probably the tool you should be using. Not all characters have viable light attacks, well they all somewhat do, but you as the player have to really work to set something up. I feel with Bison it doesn’t matter to much though since he doesn’t have an over head. So the opponent will always be blocking low. Look at his frame data, find his fastest normal’s and test them out. Then pick the one that goes the furthest while standing at a decent speed and the same for crouching. Then pay attention to what pokes your opponent is throwing out. If he is Ryu there will be a lot of crouching punch and crouching medium kick I think it is. So your fast crouching poke is best for him. You can hover just outside of its distance and when you expect him to use it you throw out your crouching medium punch. As you get better at that you can start getting in closer and practicing with the light attack buttons. Though crouching medium punch is the go to poke I think. I also think I lost my train of thought there and went off on a tangent. But the point should be hiding in there somewhere.
@Evolution169 , I’ll have to try out the dash-up more often. I’m always afraid they’ll read it and just knock me away, but I probably just need to find better times to use it. In general, it does seem like most Light strings I see from Bison videos are from a dash-up or jump-in, so I should get more comfortable with those. And CR. LP, CR. MP is a good frame trap, thank you.
@TKR, thanks for the footsie advice, that is what I am really struggling with. It seems like I’m always on the losing end of the equation; my Lights always whiff, or I get hit walking up. But I probably just need to work on my observation and my timing. Also, yes, CR. MP is an awesome button. But as I have found, the hurtbox is huge and very punishable if my opponent knows it is coming. That’s one reason I am trying to get comfortable with Lights, because if Cammy/Ibuki/whoever gets up in my face and starts countering my Mediums with positive Light strings, I just don’t have an answer for it.
With the fear thing you are talking about of getting knocked when going in for a throw or light button. Pay attention more to what you are doing. If you get hit and die whatevs, you lost a match. But you also gained valuable information about what didn’t work. You can then work on not doing the same thing. If you aren’t mentally processing what you are doing and memorizing the effect your attack, move, button, plan had on the opponent then you wont grow.
Focus on learning. Not winning. I have said that a lot lately, and I blame Daigo’s book. But it really covers a lot of the mental understanding a new player should be working on. He says that when he was training to win he was stressed out and unhappy and actually screwed his health up. But when he switched his thinking, and focused on growth, things got better. He would plan to improve his game play, when he had a problem his goal was to fix the problem. And as a result he started winning more and more consistently. So if you are having a problem with your poke game, and you focus on winning and stress about the wins, you will have a rough time. If you take your losses like a champ, and dedicate time to understanding why your poke game is off and focusing on fixing the poke game, you will start to see an improvement and the wins will come.
Using light attacks on offense is primarily designed to go into a counterhit confirm. CH confirms tend to give most characters bonuses that they don’t get normally because the light attack on normal hit, usually won’t combo into a medium attack.
I know nothing about bisons frame data, but I’ll give you an example using chun, and it should be usable for most characters:
Chun can normal combo cr.lp,st.mp… so it would seem that there is no reason to use a different string right?
Well, in practice that combo for Chun has to be done near point blank… but what if you ARENT point blank?
Well if chuns uses a CH combo, all of a sudden she can get confirms from much further out, from basically her max low jab range… and it’s easier to get in range for a max range CH cr.lp,cr.mk confirm than it is to get in range for point blank cr.lp,st.mp confirm.
But that’s chun. What about other characters?
Well, since most characters don’t actually have a jab>medium confirm… using your jab>medium as CH actually give you more combo possibilities than if you hadn’t. Yeah you can use karins cr.mp confirm into st.mp.
But if you are on offense, you can instead opt to do cr.lp,cr.mp looking for the cr.lp to CH and then the st.mp gives you enough time to confirm into a st.mp.
But why use it? Because the jab is faster and therefor has more priority even though the cr.mp is a higher priority normal. The CH combo also does more damage and gives you more time to react, plus it starts from a cr.lp so you can use it to transition into a tick throw/shimmy if you think it will be blocked.
If you walk forward and try to do the jab, yes you may be hit out of it. It happens all the time. Against bad players, using big stagger timings doesn’t work super well. Just use a blockstring and people will get hit since they are mashing. If you notice all your blockstrings are getting blocked though… that’s when you add in a slight microstep forward into your max range light>medium CH string confirm.
Other places to use this on offense is after a dash in, or with a slight delay after a blocked jumpin.
@Dime_x whoa. Your post melted my mind a bit but thank you that is some great info with examples.
One thing I don’t quite get though. How are blockstrings good against button mashers? I thought blockstrings were a sequence of moves that are totally uninterruptible, like 3 lights. How would I get close enough to do that against somebody who is spamming attacks?
What you are thinking about is a “true blockstring” as we like to call them in the fgc. That’s a blockstring with no gaps and can’t even be reversaled out of. Those are few and far between in sf5.
What I’m talking about is more of a setup or knock back blockstring where you do a string designed to either frame trap, or setup a certain distance on block, or simply knock the opponent away from you so you can start some midrange offense/defense.
These types of blockstrings usually have big gaps in them, and that’s one of their weaknesses.