Start playing fighting games with Abel

I play SF4 on XBOX360 with some friends, and SF4 is our first fighting game. We all suck badly with gamepads, since we are computer gamers. Nothing hardcore as you can see, we play SF4 for “quick fun”, but surely its depth looks interesting.

For some reasons, I chose to play with Abel. For some reasons, most of my friends picked Ryu.

To put it clearly, we just have gone through the “smashing button” period. We can execute every special move, but with less than 50% success, not talking about right timing or spacing.

I really start enjoying myself playing SF4 and I wanted to develop my “skills” as the game seems even more enjoyable with some understandings and better execution. So I start reading some stuff here but cannot find suitable answers for me.

Now my “problem”:

With charge & Ultra against Hadoken, and with Wheel kick, I had a strategy to win from long range (Lack of execution still makes me die from EX Falling sky, but that’s ok since I got the idea).

Now that my friends understood that, they rush on me jumping forward and backward, as if they could not stop jumping all around me. They would randomely lend a Shoryuken/Hadoken and if I try to defend, they will eventually throw me. Everytime I try something to harm them, I miss since I am too slow (they would already be above my character’s head, not to say behind his back). Only thing that I can do in reaction is the “crouching strong elbow”, but even this come off too late to connect.

I know that nothing come without practice, but I would like to ask you guys ; do you have some basics of what to do in such situation that would not need those “godlike skills” of yours?

Overall, is it a good idea to begin at fighting games with Abel?

Thank you!

It is a good idea to begin fighting games with abel. using abel, you are required to have a pretty good defensive game (i.e …block and tech) due to the fact that abel doesn’t have any spammable reversals, and by starting fighting games with him, you’re pretty much forced to learn how to defend, or you will lose a lot. he’s not a great character, however, to teach you basic footsies (ken would be good for that), but for mindgames, execution, and building a solid defense, he’s a good starting character

Well thank you for your answer, even if I am not sure to understand everything you wrote. The one thing that made it through my mind is that I will be raped with Abel at every SF4 parties until I put a lot more effort on it than the others. But if you cannot learn much from easy wins, neither you can from getting your ass ripped all day long. I guess that makes me a “Ryu noob”?

Yeah as Teez mentioned, learning to play the game with Abel is a long road for beginners, because you have to play very defensive. However if you put in the time, you will see results, as learning how to block is a fundamental skill that will help you with all other characters as well. Abel has a whole bunch of options on wakeup so it’s tempting to spam them, but the truth is all those options suck (except maybe ex roll). Block is honestly the best option.

I’m not sure what parts of Teez’s post you didn’t understand, so i’ll try and break some stuff down:

Spammable reversal: Let’s say you get put into a state where you can’t do anything. For example if someone is hitting you, or you’re blocking something, or you’re knocked down, you can’t press any buttons because the game just won’t allow any moves to come out. Now if you do a special move on the very first frame out of that state, that’s called a reversal.

A common example is when Ryu gets knocked down and he mashes on shoryuken, the very moment he gets up, the shoryuken will come out. That’s a “reversal”. Some characters have stuff that’s easy to spam, Abel doesn’t really have any thing useful. So you have to learn how to just block, and wait for your chances. Abel’s main strengths are when he knocks someone down, so wait for that opportunity, then go all out for a few seconds… then block again.

Footsies are more complicated, but Maj has an excellent breakdown here:

Here’s a chance for me to toot my own horn, but I think this match is actually a great example of low-mid level play in Abel vs Ryu:


Notice that every time I try to do something stupid like roll xx ex-tornado throw, or wakeup wheel kick (i think that was supposed to be an ex roll :sad:), I get punished. However, when I just blocked and waited it out, or did safe stuff like, the opponent just hung himself, usually by jumping.

Patience is the key! Learn to just block and tech throws on reaction. Remember, sometimes not teching throws is more useful than teching throws! (if you think they’re going to ex hurricane or uppercut).

Nice video, you sure know how to react on a bad jump!

I think I have (very) little idea of what footsies are, very fascinating stuff but it seems of no use for our current level of play. Everyone keeps jumping on me.

The “reversal” thing is more appealing and it is probably the main reason for my loosing streak, with the Technical on a throw.

I cannot imagine I will ever be able to react quick enough to do a Technical. Somehow, sometimes, I can see it coming so I am able to block the throw. But when they do a throw after some quick low range hits, I always get owned. I loose because I have to guess their mind, whereas they are free to attempt the throw whenever they want without risk.

I do not have any idea of how to record a video so here is a little script for a match :

If Ryu launchs a Hadoken, I jump in, score a hit with medium kick, then try to link(?) with some normal attack, I got “shoryukened”. As soon as I stand up, I have to block an air kick, then I have to guess between a shoryuken or a throw. If I guess wrong I am knock down, and then the same loop: jump in and guess (as I have no reversal). If I guess right, they will jump or hadoken, most of the time I try to roll to score a Tornado Throw. If I miss I am punished. If not, I knock them down then I try to “apply pressure” (as i read it here). Problem is, their shoryuken beats anything I can do. So most of the time I do nothing, hoping they would try it so I can score another Tornado Throw. Even then, I loose most of the time to 2 quick low punch shoryukens as I am slow. Finally, if I got them too often with a Tornado after a bad reversal shoryuken, they will just jump around me then throw, sweep or shoryuken.

Overall I get screwed if I stay in contact, so my best tool are a well timed, short Wheel kick or a small Marseille Roll with a Tornado Throw to punish their jump. But as soon as they let me come to them or apply pressure on me, they win. How can I have them at middle distance with offensive state?

I have the feeling of being mind fucked by a 5 years old kid who throws random stuff and whatever he does, wins.

PS : Sad thing is I have been tempted by the dark side of the Ryu, and just tear them down with him, or at least even the matchs (Mostly by smashing buttons).

if you’re having a lot of trouble with teching on reaction, you can learn how to crouch-tech (look it up if you don’t know what it is) as a stepping stone intermediate, and eventually learn teching on reaction with time and practice. crouch teching is pretty good when using abel, but like using it with all characters, it gets raped by certain character’s tools ( i.e rufus dive kick).
rolling in and TTing is a common beginner abel tactic, very bad idea, most people will wait for the roll and punish you hard during your recovery frames, or just grab you.
when playing against fireball characters, abel can easily deal with that zoning tool without jumping, roll only when you know it’s safe, his dash is like lightning, focus dash covers a lot of ground quickly, and when you get to a certain range, poke with st. lk or attempt counterpoking with fw. mk (you’re probably going to have to learn other basic strategy first, look it up in the abel strat and matchup forums)
Abel does have reversals, just not safe in the least (ex TT for strikes, TT for telegraphed throws), and you mention not being able to deal with ryu jumpins, abel does have anti-airs (cr.fp,, etc bla bla) that all have unique uses in different situations. random wheel kicks are bad. learn how to apply pressure with abel offensively both on wakeup and in close range, gain an understanding for baiting reversals and getting the most out of their whiffs with good punishes, and you are going to have to learn how to be patient and block when it’s necessary and tech, very effective against most characters as a wakeup tool (except, say, zangief and abel, their offensive options vs your defensive wakeup options almost force you to guess if they are good at it, i have the weakness of jumping more than i should against abel, the mirror is very momentum-based imo).
hope this helps a little, i’m basically just reiterating info from the matchup forums though, so you should check those out

What you should do is go to training mode, record ryu jumping at you with roundhouse, and learn what distance you have to be to anti air him. If you’re just standing and ryu jumps in at you, you can ALWAYS hit him, you just have to figure out what button to press. The most common options are c.fierce, s.fierce, and One of these will almost always hit, or trade.

I understand where your problem is, and honestly the answer is just to block for now. Getting thrown at this point is a better option than getting shoryukened. If they guess wrong and shoryuken while you’re blocking, you get a free combo (i suggest c.hp (1 hit) xx change of direction).

One thing to remember about fighting games, is that a LOT of it is about muscle memory. When you see punishable situations, you shouldn’t be thinking, your hands should automatically be doing the best punish for the situation. For example in training mode have ryu do a shoryuken… wait a second or two, then another shoryuken. Block the first shoryuken, then practice a punish combo that comes out quickly and easily. Then keep doing it.

Once you do this, when you’re in a match and you block a shoryuken, your mind doesn’t have to think, it already knows the best combo to deal with the situation in front of you.

Thank you for all your answers! I searched and read a lot on this forum and I just wanted to thank you for your patience when there is so much stuff already available! I just missed some key words, I guess.

I trained too, against some recorded Ryu randomly jumping, hado/shoryu and throwing. I tried option select on defense / offense, but I cannot get the right execution. I tried for few hours but I just got badly beaten by the CPU. Since I am sooooo slow, I anticipate what anti aerial attack to use, and never have the right move or the right timing. That was not frustrating but boring, as easy it seems to be on youtube, and as bad I am.

So I stopped playing Abel for the moment, since I have no fun with him. I guess the lack of results made me forgot my love for the character. But I feel bitter, because SF4 is repetitive playing only with Ryu/Ken/Sagat. But for “noobs” like us, the game feels too much unbalanced to have fun with other characters. I just hope that I will improve quickly enough by having fun to retry Abel before I get bored of this game.

this game is very balanced. abel is very very good.

you just gotta watch some high level abel play to get you inspired back to the game


Yes, the game is balanced, but no, Abel is not very very good. Abel is very mediocre, and most of his matchups are even. This means that in order to win, you have to know the matchup, and you have to be as good or better than the opponent to win.