What separates an intermediate player from advanced player in SSFIV?

I’m really trying to up my game in Super Street Fighter IV and have been doing a lot of training and video analysis of my online replay matches. My question is, what do you think is a list of skill sets that separates an intermediate player, from an advanced player? Here is some skills I can list off the top of my head:

-Using cross ups and being able to effectively block them as well
-Dashing in and out of focus attacks
-Knowing when to use a focus attack to disrupt poking/combinations in progress
-Ability to pressure your opponent (I main Adon)
-Understanding priority with hit boxes
-Understanding differences in frame data and how to use them to your advantage
-Being unpredictable and mixing up your combinations

Some things I still don’t know how to do yet:
-Play effectively on the arcade stick

Should I be focusing more on developing my own style now? Or learning how to better read my opponents in order to play mind games during the match? I find myself often starting round 1 with lots of footsies to test the opponent’s overall skill and then in round 2, the momentum for my character really starts to picks up.

there are some high level pad warriors out there.

While all of those are good things to know if you want to be a better player, I think a key thing that separates advanced players in my mind is the ability to think on their feet, to adapt quickly. You should strive to never be on ‘autopilot’.

I’m not very consistent with FADCing myself, and I hate how I feel like I’m mashing it even though it seems like there is no other way to do it fast enough. I guess I just need to train my hands more. I can actually do the Rising Jaguar xx FADC, Jaguar Avalanche with Adon, though I haven’t tried adding the Jaguar Tooth for the trial mode yet, I like to separate the parts before I try to put them together. But anyway, to make the dash come out easier you can do one of two things really. When you do the DP move, you can hit :left:+:mp:+:mk: and then hit :left: again while holding the buttons (I think), that first :left: will count towards the dash. This gets your dash out the quickest. The other way is to just hold the focus attack a little longer and just dash out of it that way. This way feels less mashy to me, but it’s much slower and I have a lot of trouble doing anything afterward due to the time constraint.

As for the stick, there is a great stick FAQ in this forum if you haven’t checked it out.

All those points are good, and you should def. train as much as possible to get those technical points right.

There is no obvious answer to this, but I’d say that a intermediate player is able to react accordingly to the situation. Know what button to press for anti air, etc.

What separates the intermediate from the pros is the ability to make people press the buttons you want them to, be able to dictate the match. Know what to do to make them react the way you want to. Walking left and right at almost full screen to bait Bison’s slide against is a good example against a novice player. Being able to condition a player to do a certain thing, etc.

So my point is, excecution should always be top, no matter what player you are. You can do well on pad too, many players proved this. But unless you start understanding how your opponent tends to react to what you do and don’t do, you’ll be still playing a reaction-based, intermediate game. That’s what separates intermediate from the pros. You probably already understand this, but knowledge also takes a big part of all this. Know what moves beats what, etc.

Honestly, all those points are things that separate a beginning player from an intermediate player. Some are pretty basic, even, FADC for example.

Some of the big things that separate an intermediate player from an advanced one, imo:

-) Much more sophisticated understanding of matchups. I don’t mean a general idea of how to play a matchup, I mean knowing lots of little matchup specific tricks, subtle spacing differences, etc. This includes concrete understanding of their character’s options vs the whole cast at any range.

-) Consistency well above that of an intermediate player. 70-90% consistency might be OK for intermediate, but it is not for an advanced player.

-) Ability to adapt and problem-solve mid-match.

-) Extensive tournament experience.

Thanks for the responses guys, it really has helped me to see things from another perspective. After reading this, I realize how much (less) I truly understand about the deep game of SF IV (or fighting games in general).

@Starcade RIP: IMO, I think you are referring to the (well honed) professional level. These are top guys who are very active in the (big) tournament scene. The criteria you put is probably at the top 5% if 70-90% consistency is not acceptable for this category. I know this sort of has nothing to do with SSFIV, but since I used to be involved in MMA, I will use this analogy. Notice that the difference from an advanced fighter to a professional is not necessarily that their skill or knowledge is too far apart, but more of the conditioning of a fighter and time commitment needed to stand out above the rest.

Beginner: UFC fan, goes to train at a local gym and learns some techniques

Intermediate: Has some background experience in wrestling, maybe has fought some amateur/backyard fights, and trains consistently at the gym. A good intermediate who is ready move onto the advanced level may have fought at events like KOTC

Advanced: Trains about 3-5 times a week at the gym with other fighters, has attended a few tournaments, has fought amateur MMA fights and maybe even a couple of professional ones. What separates advanced from professional is the dedication and willingness to make MMA a full time career.

Professional: Trains over 30+ hours a week, even travels to various gyms. Sponsored at MMA and is able to pay the bills (or part of them) through the sponsorship. The fighter has won enough important matches to be known throughout the regional or national level, and is a serious contender for big leagues like UFC, Strikeforce, or a top Japanese MMA organization.

No, I’m really not. I know nothing about MMA, so rather than trying to follow your analogy, let me keep it to street fighter. “Pro” level is even a higher standard that what I noted, plus compensation from a sponsor.

A lot of the things you listed are very basic; cross ups, blocking cross ups, dashing out of focus, FADC, etc. People who can’t employ these sort of things are not even intermediate level players, much less advanced level.

In my opinion, an advanced player is someone that plays the game on an entirely different level. He is no longer worried about things like, frames, playing with sticks, FADC, etc. He already knows everything about this, and in fact every intermediate or high end-intermediate player should know all of that already.

The only thing he worries about is the mind of the other opponent, and how good his reading skills are. Theres nothing mechanics-wise or execution that would really surprise an advanced player because he already knows these things, his real opponent is the person next to him. When you start seeing You vs Him instead of just the characters on the screen, thats when you know you are pretty up there. Other things are adaptation like it has been said before, and the ability to out think your opponent on the fly.

Knowledge of the game and execution is the easy part that you can do in training room and reading SRK, but the mentality, your scoping skills and adaptation is what truly separates the good from the really damn good.

i dont really agree with any of that list. as im intermediate, and i do all of that pretty well, yet i remain where i am. however i do agree with the bolded part. i really need to improve on reading things and acting on them

Your list is definitely what separates intermediate from beginner. Control of the match and reading your opponent is definitely most important, but some other more technical things you really need to have down solid to be “advanced” are:

-option selects
-safe jumps
-frame traps and ability to consciously bait crouch techs

imo distinctions between “intermediate” and “advanced” are pretty pointless, but Starcade RIP gets it as close as anybody


I wouldn’t say there is such a thing as an ‘advanced’ player, intermediate covers pretty much everything except for ‘newbie’ and ‘pro’.

Footsies, mindgames, and adaptation.

At some point you stop playing against the character; you start playing against the player.