When to choose a secondary?


I wasn’t sure where else to ask this, so this seemed like the safest place to post.

I’ve been playing Street Fighter IV for three years. I’m nowhere near an expert. I got into the competitive scene pretty late and only started going out of my way to play with others locally a while ago. My main character is Cody, and I just hit 3000 BP tonight on XBL. Needless to say, I’m pretty confident in him. By no means am I godlike; I still have a lot to learn about him, more specifically his matchups. But I have a good feel for him.

Unfortunately, I’m a very fickle person, and sometimes playing the same character over and over again can get stale. Sometimes I feel the need to pick up a secondary. Whenever I bring that up to my training partners, however, they tell me it’s more important for me to stick with Cody and learn him to a T. That’s something I can totally get behind, but they’ll give me weird restrictions like, “get B+ with Cody before you can even think about using anyone else”. “It’s easy,” they’ll tell me, but I’m not sure if the grind is actually worth it. I want to be a really good player, but I’m not aspiring to be a pro by any means. I love using Cody as a main, but there are quite a few other characters I like using, too, namely Sakura. Not because she’s a better character or because she covers Cody’s bad matchups. She’s just…fun. And that’s why I play Cody.

I guess what I’m trying to ask is…what’s a good point to start learning a secondary character? I may listen to the advice of my friends, but I wanted to get some outsider opinions.


Reach a level you are satisfied with when using your main. Since the next character is your secondary, before you learn any character, figure out a gameplan. Is your secondary going to be for bad match ups? Is your secondary a scrub buster that helps you not get randomed out in tournaments (a good example is: in marvel, having a morrigan team as a test to see if your opponent is good enough to play your real team because morrigan blows up players with out marvel fundamentals.) Is your secondary a crowd pleaser that helps you change the atmosphere in finals or just troll your opponent? Once you pick your plan and choose a character based on that plan, train with your main as a secondary to your secondary first. This means that if you use your secondary for bad match ups, but you know your opponent is better at that match up than you, make sure you can handle that situation with your main first. After you have done all of that, start training on your secondary…


Three years ago lol. A good place to start with a second is take your character’s worst match up, and play that character’s worse match up.


So does Sakura fit within that category? Because while Rose seems like the better option, there’s been a recent flow of Rose players, god knows why. Plus, she doesn’t deal well with pressure, like Cody. I feel like Sakura compliments Cody pretty well, but there are probably better choices. They’re all too boring to play.


If you feel comfortable and having fun with Sakura, by all means, use her. I believe you should find a secondary character for your bad match ups. I was terrible with Sakura in certain match-ups and I was looking for character who looked fun and had some good normals, so I pick Cody (hahaha, we both choose the same characters). Also, it never hurts to have a third character under your belt. This character could replace your secondary character (should you not like your secondary) or could be an ace up your sleeve.

There’s always Yun. :rolleyes: :rofl:


Please, I don’t want to win THAT badly.


Rose won Evo, that’s why a lot of people are playing her. As for a secondary character, strictly competitively speaking, the other people are right in that you play someone who fills out the bad matchups, once your game is at a high enough level where matchups start determining win/loss more than straight up skill, but I just play characters that i like, and if I random someone that is fun, I pick them up. I’m actually “maining” like 4 or 5 characters. Funnily enough, other than Gouken, my main “main”, none of them have fireballs. Guess it’s cause I fail with less godlike fireball games.

tl;dr: for competitive scene choose secondary after you hit a ceiling with your main, for casuals play as many characters as you want.

EDIT: Cammy started out as my “Scrub-Buster”, now she’s my “AutoPilot” Character. Sadly I’ve been having to learn actual footsies and spacing cause people know how to block crossup now. :frowning:


Like @finkledoodoo said, when you’re comfortable with your main is when you pick up a secondary. Gen really doesn’t help me with any of my bad match ups with Rog (Except Hakan, which is 5-5) but I find him a lot of fun to play. If you wan’t to play Sakura, then do it :smiley:


Any time is good to pick up a secondary, if you find the game is getting stale with just cody but you still really enjoy then picking up a secondary will help fix your problem almost immediately. Its extremely satisfying to pick up a new character and after already learning to use one it is much easier to get the basics down the second time. Using a secondary solely to cover bad matchups can really help but ive honestly found it to be more of a crutch than anything else. While you may gain a better matchup by switching you lose character knowledge. Regardless of how hard the matchup is you generally tend to have better instincts and reactions with your main character since you are so used to all of their tools.

My advice for picking up a secondary would be training mode it up hardcore to begin with (especially with someone as link heavy as sakura) and be prepared to lose, it’ll take a little while to figure out how to use all of her tools.