The SFxT Team Building and Synergy Compendium


#1

Here is my attempt to create a comprehensive guide on the subject of team building as well as how to get the most synergy out of one’s existing teams in Street Fighter x Tekken. Constructing an optimal team and using it to full potential are among the most important aspects to master in SFxT, and since 100% of it is mental and pre-planned there is no excuse not to have a firm grasp of these concepts. I believe that finding a synergystic team in the long run will always be better than just playing your two strongest characters, and much of the lack of character differentiation at the higher levels stems from people not taking the time to explore team building and how certain characters can be used. It is my goal to provide a source of detailed information and analysis to those just getting into the game and/or unfamiliar with team building, but it would also thrill me if more advanced players learned a thing or two and/or became inspired to re-examine some of the teams they have been repping.

As for the rest of the topic, I’ll be happy to turn it into a kind of Rate my Team thread, where people can bring in their current teams and stables (more on them later) and myself and other posters can assess its synergy and make suggestions.

I welcome all critiques and comments.

**Chapter 1) Point and Anchor: A Tale of Two Trades **
In this chapter, I will discuss the concept of point (1st) and anchor (2nd) characters, explaining the roles each position is meant to accomplish and the qualities necessary to be successful in each position. In addition to giving quick examples of characters designed for either point or anchor use, I will cover those that occupy a gray area in the middle, and convey the significance of not seeing the two roles as black and white.

Section 1: The Point Character.
The Point character is the one who starts the fight every round. A strong point character must be self-sufficient, versatile, set up the anchor character in his or her ideal situation, and above all dictate the pace and positioning of the battle from the first second on.

The point character’s ability to dictate the pace and positioning of the match from the start of each round is their most integral role to fulfill. There are sundry ways in which to accomplish this: a strong zoning game, versatile rushdown tools, and an impressive poke and footsy game. Selecting a character first that possesses** at least one of these options is essential. Poison exemplifies this rule **because she not only has a suitable zoning game with her projectile and long pokes but also is capable of pressuring her opponent with other tools such as Love Me Tender and fireball traps, and thus can start the match either way depending on her partner and the opponent’s own point (Get it? She goes both ways…).

A point character must also be able to execute their gameplan without relying heavily upon meter. Meter adds a variety of options to every character and should never be ignored, but some require certain EX moves to approach efficiently or utilize signature strings. Such characters are ill-suited on point because they do not have access to meter at the start of round 1 and it is not guaranteed in later rounds either. Sagat’s special moves gain relatively little utility when used in their EX form, allowing him to function fine without needing them constantly. Thus, he can save meter to either give to his partner or tag cancel Tiger Uppercuts for often safe, always brutal tag combos.

Just as important as not spending excessive meter is the ability to quickly build it, and so many point characters should be adept at building meter faster and more efficiently than their opponents. Some of SFxT’s scariest anchors require a great deal of meter to be effective, and thus should be paired with those who ensure them consistent access to it. Characters can build meter by whiffing attacks and CADCing, outside the usual attacking of course. This means the best for building meter are those such as zoners who use attacks fullscreen, especially the ones whose chargable move is safe to use or bait with from a distance, like Guile or Ryu.** **M. Bison in particular can spam his super-chargeable Double Knee Press as well as his Devil Reverse and Follow-Up to build meter and goad opponents into making unwise approaches or risk you stocking up.

Additionally, a point character should ensure that they tag their partner into whatever situation is ideal for them. In most cases, this means possessing a strong footsy game so they can close the gap and tag the anchor in right up in the enemy’s face. Normally, any universal launcher will do or tag canceled move that starts a juggle. On the other hand, there are many moves such as Bob’s Cracker/Giga Jacker and Ryu’s Joudan that send the opponent a full screen away, allowing for a safe tag into a zoning anchor and giving them the space they need to start their shenanigans.
Every character benefits from hard knockdowns, which prevent a foe from teching their wake ups, but mix-up and oki oriented anchors such as Paul Phoenix particularly enjoy points such as Jin and Zangief who cause hard knockdowns on many of their unique and special moves and tag canceled command throws respectively. It prevents them from having to end their tag-in combos on sweeps to achieve the hard knockdown.

Finally, just as we will later learn that anchors pride themselves on dealing high damage on tag ins, some point characters can deal abnormally high damage pre-tag, or have certain moves that lead into more powerful tags. Ken is considered to be one of the strongest point characters due to his ability not only to use Target Combo into launcher rather than a Light starting Boost on punishes and jump-ins, but also more importantly HK Ground Tatsu, if tag canceled early enough gives his partner enough time to perform a free jump in combo. Be sure to remember moves that keep the opponent occupied for a while, such as Tatsus, Hwoarang’s HK Hunting Hawk, and Steve’s Gatling Punch, because they can open up huge tag combo potential.

Section 2: The Anchor
At the birth of Street Fighter x Tekken, several characters were heavily neglected on account of possessing poor neutral game options, something that is often synonymous with a death knell in other fighters. While it is inarguable that some characters are, umm, lacking, these shunned characters are meant to occupy the role as secondary, or anchor characters, and are thus constructed differently than would be allowed in, say, SFIV where the 2v2 mechanic does not exist. Anchor characters often lack many of the footsies and/or other tools to get in or out on their own against the majority of the cast, but in exchange, they possess qualities to ensure that once they are in proper position they shall remain so until the enemy is dead, predominantly through either a high straight damage output or a high potential damage output through mixups, oki, and resets.

Hugo and Heihachi are two prominent examples of anchors, as a straight damage and potential damage anchor respectively. It don’t take no rocket surgeon to tell Hugo hits like a locomotive and has a modest amount of options such as his body splash, armored attacks, and CH Leap Attack to go into his mammoth damage once he finds his comfort zone. The hitboxes on many of his limbs are deceptively small, however, and while his antics can ruin the day of a beginner he can find it nearly impossible to successfully approach experienced players. Heihachi’s snail walk and telegraphed options from far out give him similar problems as Hugo, but once he gets close his mixups, counter move, and hurtbox altering pokes all serve to put his opponent through hell just trying to react to his offense. Gee, if only there was a way for these fullscreen-deficient characters to start immediately in the mid-short game…

Besides mitigating the footsy and fireball games, the anchor position also offers characters the opportunity to start their offense sitting on the meter provided them by the battery in point. King for instance desperately requires meter to be utilized to his full potential. His EX Konvict Kick is likely his single best tool, for this safe attack is able to turn any boost, jump in, or hit confirm combo into either a big damage combo by linking Knee Lift or a mixup reset by linking elbow rush (he can even do both if meter allows). Additionally, King desperately needs the Strike immunity granted to the EX variations of his command grabs to prevent him from being jabbed out of them in many of his key mixups. By pairing the likes of King with point characters who are not as meter hungry, the team is better able to streamline its projected meter use and ensure both characters run optimally.


Lastly, it is important to know that many anchors are highly specialized in what I call sub-games, and should ideally be used only within the parameters of these games. These are often derived from Tekken more than Street Fighter, and the two most common sub-games are the Oki Game (the guessing game that ensues after you knock down the opponent) and the Corner Game (self explanatory). Paul Phoenix, largely thought to be the worst character overall (and he’s definitely not top tier >_>) actually has a great deal of tool for both of these games, and thus thrives in the two environments. His Mountain Raze allows him to corpse hop and cross up foes without needing to telegraph a jump, he has the strongest normal throw in the game, and his possession of a low-hitting OS and a mid-hitting auto-correct attack give him a 50/50 mixup regardless of whether or not the opponent forward rolls. The last part is also integral to his corner game (where rolls are more common), and in addition he gains access to more damaging and safer combos when the opponent’s back is to the wall. Characters like Paul may seem pretty useless in most facets of the game (and in fact, he is), but if used correctly in the anchor position they can dominate in his or her favored sub-games.

So that’s the gist of it. Characters in the primary position should function as closely to those seen in 1v1 fighters: they must be largely self-sufficient. Even so, the best ones have sundry tricks in their bags to actively help the anchor through building meter, setting the pace, and starting damaging tag combos. Characters in the secondary position are allowed to lack many of the elements necessary for the point and make up for it by playing specialized games and emitting huge amounts of damage, thus ending rounds faster (and really, isn’t that what a whole bunch of you are complaining about?). The tag engine of SFxT allowed the developers to create highly focused characters to serve as either point or anchor that could never exist in the roster of 1v1 fighters. It saddens me that many of these are overlooked when creating a team because “they lack the complete game possessed by X and Y,” when even these seemingly complete characters really only function as half a character since they must be paired with another in the first place.

Coming Soon: Section 3: Those who occupy the gray area.


#2

Post #2: Reserved for Chapter II: What to consider when choosing teammates: exploring character synergy at the individual level.


#3

Post #3: Reserved for Chapter III: Maximizing your team’s synergy in the lab: Finding your Winning Image!


#4

Post #4: Appendixes: Here I wish to write several smaller works on the subject of teamwork and synergy if people would find them helpful. Here are my ideas, please lemme know if they rock, suck, or suggest your own.
Gem Loadouts: Further customizing your Winning Image
Every Tag Team needs a Stable: Expanding your “team” past two characters for versatility, counterpicking, and profit.
The Street Fighter x Tekken Team Player Directory:
I plan to write a series of shorter essays on the character forums that illustrate where each character functions in regard to point/anchor, the unique team-related abilities and qualities they bring to the table, and maybe a bit of their overall play. The goal is for these essays to all be accessible from here and to teach players about all of the characters in bitesized chunks and get them to expand their roster of mains. In time I could write one for every character, but it would be ideal of character experts volunteered to do one for their main. It would be of higher quality than myself just researching those I do not know, and it functions as a kind of advertisement for your favorites.

If anyone has seen or written other works regarding team building and synergy, please post them and I’ll link them on the first few posts. I’d also like for this topic to be a general discussion on team building, much like how Vulcan’s Oki and Reset topic turned out.


#5

First of all I would like to say great work, because you bring up a lot of interesting points! I would also like to give my own take/story on team synergy, and you can take idea from it to include in your further work, or just leave it as a reply that people can read sepperatly.

When I first started playing sfxt, I knew I wanted to play my sf4 main Dhalsim, but was very unsure of my second character. Using Dhalsim as a point character was natural to me, as I share a lot of your thoughts on what a point character should be. Dhalsim is a zoner who uses normals a lot, and therefor can build meter relatively safely from across the screen, draining the opponent slowly of life as he tries to get in. Dhalsim also uses very little meter, as mp is a great anti air, so ex blast is not nesessary, and his super does 250 damage, which is pretty bad.

Another factor that makes dhalsim a great point character, is his ability to punish raw tags from across the screen with a teleport on reaction, as well as his back short being a far reaching 3 frame poke that is bound to find its way through the opponents fierce fight to get in on sim. Also, having an alpha counter that is great to tag cancel from into a jugle combo for your anchor, is very useful. Basically dhalsim has the ability to gain control of a match and punish the opponent when he gets too frustrated and is trying to win the control of the match himself.

When I started with sfxt, I used Hwoarang as an anchor, and I wasnt very pleased with my team. I could whittle down the health of my opponent and punish him for getting desperate, but the punishment just wasnt good enough. It was natural to punish with a link or chain into launcher since hwoarang is a more attack oriented character than sim, but the damage just was not there. Thats when I picked up Hugo.

Now my punishes into launcher yielded massive damage, and better yet, people are very scared of being in Hugos face without the momentum on their side, so they start to zone him with fireballs, which gives me the chance to raw tag back to sim and continue zoning and building meter for the release of my next hugo bomb.

Dhalsim keeps the opponent out and punishes with great hugo damage which leaves hugo in their face, and hugo often makes the opponent run away, so I can get dhalsim back from a distance.

A factor that my team seems to lack, on the otjer hand, is the ability to combo back and forth in the same combo. This would give them the ability to control freely which character that should be left on the screen after the combo without risk.

Other than what I have mentioned, there is several other small synergy factor that can play its role. Sim can do a yoga sniper tag cancel into hugos super from half screen away, and si can punish any jump with cross assault into hugos ex back breaker or super for example. This is stuff you can find with any team combination, but some are still better than others.

Ofc if we are going to talk about team synergy and 2v2, a whole new world opens up, as cross assault possibilities are more important and easy to see tag cancel opportunities become important.

PS: I wrote all of this on a tablet while riding a train, so I appologize for the many misstakes. Tried to clean it up a little!


#6

Thanks a lot for your input sim! Yep, I forgot but one of my appendixes was going to be the importance of cross assault, though I am unknowledgable on it and would love for someone else to write it.

Dhalsim/Hugo does indeed sound scary and your example covers much of what I said and continue to say. As to your worry about tag control, I would suggest trying to give King a chance as anchor. His damage off of tags is nearly as scary as Hugo, and he has the potential to do even more on account of his mixups and resets. King is also able to do a launcher from his knee juggle so he can tag back from dhalsim’s launch without meter, end the knees with j.hk tag cancel for more damage, and if fast can tc his command grabs giving Dhalsim the time to position himself wherever the hell he wants to be and even a free ch if that helps him. Hell, he even has several defensive options to help milk time and frustrate foes.
I worry only because King is so focused on playing his own game he does not help his partner cover weaknesses except damage output and hark knockdown support. I do not know enough about Dhalsim’s counters to know whether or not King can help against them or if he only adds to the problem. He also has issues dealing with pressure, so if someone can breach your sim you may be boned

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#7

Well I guess I can throw in my two cents on this topic. My team of Hwoarang and Nina, is a rush down/footsie based operation. I can either go full rush down, or trip up my opponent by playing a more patient style with pokes. What makes this a decent team is that they both have good strings that lead into 350-450 damage combos, both have reset options, can get around the fireball game easy enough.

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#8

Hey Cruz. Hrong and Nina are two of my best characters so ive experienced with this team a good deal. i agree that it is very strong, not only for what you mentioned but also because Hrong has an a.air/reversal on wakeup which Nina sorely lacks and I think HK HH allows a jumpin combo which is beast with Nina.

I was wondering though, based on what you said, if it might be better to start Nina on point. You say you switch between rushdown and footsies, but Nina delivers better rushdown with her safe moves and flash kicks than Hrong does footsies. That being said, Hrong’s dynamite heel and HH are just so great to tag cancel from. That being said, Nina I think has the better ability to work into her launcher or score a free raw tag, whereas hrong 's best tag options require a bar, a bar he’d get by coming in as anchor.
Either way, i see fast and frequent tags being key in this team for huge damage.

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#9

I use Akuma and Yoshimitsu. I don’t know if they have good synergy but that doesn’t concern me, I just use them because I like them as characters. I go with Akuma on point just because he’s my true main, and then I use Yoshimitsu once I have 1-2 bars of meter.

Pros:
-Akuma and Yoshi both have AA’s and teleports
-Akuma doesn’t need meter, Yoshi builds its fast
-Akuma can play keep-away, Yoshimitsu can be hard to zone from long distance because of his flea stance and good air attacks
-Yoshi is an awesome backup character, allows Akuma to go into basic combos with his windmill attack
-The team is unique

Cons:
-A few potentially bad matchups in Juri, Cammy, Chun-Li, Raven, Ryu (not sure of who’s truly a bad matchup yet)
-Yoshi can’t do much solo, hence you might be screwed once Akuma is out (and he has low health)

Akuma in diapers + Bison Yoshi = BAWSS!


#10

Well the reason I put Hwo first because right now I haven’t got to the point where I can set a pace with Nina, or rather not confident yet to put her first since I have been using Hwo much longer than Nina. And while she does have the better footsies, he has enough footsie tools to hold his own, even though I tend to slow it down with Nina. Also It is easy for me to get resets by tagging in Nina since her grab is easy to connect.

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