Starting To Take SF4 Seriously


So I’ve been playing SF since I was a kid. I’ve always loved the characters and action in the game. It wasn’t till around February that I realized the true competitive nature of SSFIV. A friend of mine who I also share a band with plays and competes and started getting me into the game. Now here we are in May and I’m getting ready for one of my first bigger tournaments coming up in late June (South Texas Gamers Expo).

The semester is ending for me so I am going to have plenty of time starting next week to put in practice time. I’m not as good as most of the guys in my local scene but I’m starting to win rounds and games. I started off maining Cody but since have picked up Guile Balrog and DeeJay (charge characters seem to work a lot more naturally for me). I also play a little Ibuki and Zangief.

I’m really wanting to start taking this game seriously and start playing at more local fight nights without getting completely bodied. I’m determined to learn as much as possible and apply it to my gameplay. I have so much fun playing this game and so much more fun when I actually win.

So my questions are:

At this point should I start working on a small handful of characters (2-3) or just stick with who I’m best with and work on them till they’re great? Also what would be a good ratio of training to actual play against other players?

Any other tips would also be greatly appreciated.

Thanks for reading guys!


Stick with one char in my opinion if you’re going to be maining at a tournament and try to learn all the match ups you possibly can. So learn how that character matches up against the rest of the cast. The game has so many things to learn that learning it with multiple chars especially when you’re new just isnt viable.


if your main has a lot of bad matchups, then get a backup char to compensate for those


Hi TurboTex.

First off, the fact that you’re having fun with the game is awesome, and it’s one of the most important aspects of the learning process. Many people come here because they saw some video of a pro player doing something incredible and want to replicate that, but that’s the wrong mindset imo. All they think about is reaching that level, and not actually having fun, which makes the process a lot more frustrating.

In my opinion, sticking with one character might be better. Personally, I would choose a character that teaches you how to play, rather than someone that gives you easy wins. Ibuki for example is a strong character, however she’s also pretty weird, and even if you start winning consistently with her, you probably won’t learn how to space properly, since she doesn’t rely on spacing to win.

Among the characters you listed, Guile and Balrog are pretty good choices for a beginner as they are pretty straight-forward, solid and overall complete characters. Deejay is good too, however he has some glaring weaknesses that might make him a bit frustrating in the long run.


focus on one character and learn the game through that character, then once you understand the game a little bit better then you can probably dabble into a secondary character.


I’ll jump on the bandwagon of the “learn by using only one character”. My advice would be: Rose OR Guile. They are both good at teaching you fundamentals (especially the use of normals) and you can see if you prefer using Charge (Guile) or Motion (Rose) inputs for specials.

Only after you have “mastered” (you’ll never stop learning. I’m still learing ways to counter Vortex Charas with Rose, even after almost 2 yars of playing and supposedly “knowing my main inside-out”) your first character you could move to a Pocket One (possibly one that covers eventual bad match-ups with your Main, obviously).