Where to begin?


So, I’m going to cut straight to the meat of this. I’ve always wanted to play fighting games, but never really understood them, or looked into them. However, lately, I’ve been looking into the depth that the FGC takes fighting games into, and I’ve become interested. So my question is where would be a good starting point for an absolute beginner? Like how would you suggest someone who’s never really played fighting games start? And let’s say I am leaning more towards learning Street Fighter. Any advice is helpful, thanks.


Pick a character and start playing the game.
Press all the buttons and learn how to move.
That’s really all it takes to start playing Street Fighter.


Understand how the RPS mechanics work and then play the game and figure stuff out. Grab beats block, block “beats” attacks, attack beats grab, etc…

After you have a grasp on that and how use it to land attacks, then pick a character, watch/read a beginner guide for that character, and try to have fun and learn while you’re getting your ass kicked online.

You might also check out “Gief’s Gym.” I’ve heard it’s a good resource for new players.


Can you define ‘RPS mechanics’?


Sorry, I just realized that was a stupid question after I put together what RPS stood for.

Anyways, another question. I’ve always liked Akuma, watching my friend play him. Do you think he’s a good character to start with?


A good character to start with is a character that you enjoy playing. There is a lot of time and practice required to get good at fighting games, so you might as well spend that time with a character you enjoy.


Just enjoy the process of playing and learning the game.
If you don’t enjoy the game then you’re wasting your time.
Start offline, use the training feature, then start playing online without being to harsh on yourself.


Most important aspect of learning FG’s is experience, learn by doing. I’m not suggesting to go online immediately ofcourse, but do not spent too much time in training mode. To play SFV at the absolute basic level you need to focus on these things in my honest opinion:

  1. Fun above all else
  2. Use normals to occupy the horizontal space combined with positioning on the stage(neutral game)
  3. Use anti-air normals and/or specials to cover the air approach(neutral game)
  4. Defense

To not leave you hanging i’ll try to elaborate this a bit more. No atter what you do in a FG, don’t make it too much of a chore, the point of playing game is to enjoy yourself. Enjoying yourself while playing is also very important to consistent improvement, you’ll be more engaged and focused while playing. It is mostly a mindset that can completely change how you approach and enjoy the game. Do not focus on winning, but focus on learning, trying to tackle each problem as they come, once you tackle these problems during a game, small goals, you leave the match much more satisfied than when solely focusing on winning as you’re learning from your losses because you. You will lose a LOT in the beginning, it is somehing you have to accept.

Now for the core of SFV, the “neutral game”, an umbrella term for basically everything that is happening aside from attacking and defending. You first have to win in the neutral to even get close to the opponent, after you get close you still have to open them up. So neutral>pressure>combo, you can’t go straight to practicing pressure or combos and skip focusing on the neutral. You cannot practice the neutral effectively in training unlike pressure strings and combo’s, which is why getting as much experience as possible early on is so important. Big mistake new players make is information overload, they practiced their combos and pressure scenarios, hitconfirms and whatnot, but have no clue how to play the neutral or defend themselves. When the situation arises for them to do their combo…they are not ready becayse too much stuff is going on which they are’t used to.
Focus on the neutral, defense and gain experience, this way you get an idea of what to expect, how the game flows and you’ll get a LOT more comfortable playing. Get this hurdle out of the way as soon as possible so when you do focus on learning combos, hitconfirming, pressure stuff and whatnot you feel less “pressured”.

Use long range and quick normals to occupy the horizontal space, they has to be a POINT to them though. When should you press a button, this depends a lot on what the opponent their tendencies are but to keep it simple just press your poke when you are in range and when they try to walk towards you.
If you do we’ll enough with your normals in the neutral they’ll start trying to bypass it by jumping, be ready for it. Even if you think you are too late just attempt the anti air normal anyway, in the beginning you are focusing on learning, not winning. P
Play around with different normals and see when to use them and always use them with a purpose, brainlessly throwing out VERY slow moves on whiff is asking to get punished.

Having good defense is arguably the most important aspect in FG’s because if the opponent cannot open you have you will not take damage. What is considered good defense depends on the FG you are playing but to be good at defense you need a LOT of experience which you’ll only get by playing. In SFV a solid defense should look like this:

  • Ability to block crossups
  • Ability to tech throws
  • Using v-reversals(do NOT use a v-rversals against light attacks and blocked jump attacks)
  • mix up your wakeups(when hitting the ground press 2 punches for a normal recovery or hold down, 2 kicks for doing a back recovery or holding back, or press nothing and stay on the ground for a fixed time(Some knockdowns don’t allow you to change up your wakeup timings(throws are main example)))

Another person already mentioned the Rock Paper Scissors system, knowing this you can use it for both offensive and defensive purposes.

There are a a lot more aspects which make up a good defense however those are not that important in the beginning.

So, pick a character, go over their normals and specials, look for the normals and specials to use in the neutral game to occupy the horizontal space, look up the normals and specials to use as anti-air options and the ranges from which they are effective.
You can start by doing this against the CPU to get started but be aware a CPU does not show any human tendencies and it basically reads your inputs.

Combos, post knockdown pressure and all that jazz is not important in the beginning, seriously.


This was exactly what I was looking for. Thanks, it gives me a starting point. I probably should have mentioned that while I don’t play fighting games, I’m not entirely unfamiliar with how they are played, having watched my friend play them for quite some time.

The other thing I’d like to know is if there is a FG dictionary, or some place where all the FG terms are explained? You did a pretty good job at explaining what normals are, but there are some terms out there that I have seen that I don’t quite understand. Is there a place where most or all of common FG terms are defined?

Thanks again!


There isn’t a linear place to begin with fighting games to be honest, you just have to begin to grasp what’s happening in the game as you go. I’d always start by finding a foothold in the game with a character you really enjoy, otherwise there’s no point in learning them. Don’t settle for a “beginner” character if you don’t enjoy them.


Read this


You can also just generally go through the main website and learn things.


Thanks guys, you’ve all been a big help.

Just a quick question. Do AI opponents always have to play by the same rules as human opponents? Or can they get away with doing things that are not possible by a player? I’m just curious because I went through the story mode on SFV, and when I got to the fight between Bison and Nash, Bison was doing some crazy fast chains that had no openings for me to counter.


I think it depends on the game. When I’m warming up before going online in Tekken 7, I play the CPU in training mode on Ultra hard difficulty. Let’s just say CPU rarely/never drops a combo and don’t miss punish opportunities either. I don’t know about SF5 so much as the AI in that game is kinda suspect.


To expand on that, be prepared to lose a lot at the beginning, fgs require a certain kind of mindset, if you really want to learn and improve you need to look at your loses and see what were your mistakes.
Unlike other genres, due the 1vs1 nature of fgs, your loses are on you. I am not telling you to not get salty about losing, but to learn how to capitalize on them as learning experiences and not let them discourage you from playing and improving.

Also, don’t bother on trying to learn everything about the game from the get go. Many people make this mistake and get overhelmed trying to learn all the mechanics of the games before learning the most basic stuff.
All of the other will come into play eventually as you keep getting better at understanding the game while playing.

Focus on what your character can do 1st, what attacks can he/she use at different moments, what movement options it has, what is its general goal when fighting other characters.

Also drop any kind of notion about honor, or not using “cheap” tactics.
The game only knows about one thing and is who wins, any external madeup rule that is not in the game is only a hindrance to you.


The AI can read inputs, but as far as I’m aware it’s bound to the rules of the game.


As far as I know, the AI in SFV is not capable of anything more than what a player can do. When you get around to playing real players, you will find that players will abuse moves that give you no opening to counter, so you learn to just not put yourself into that situation in the first place, and if you do find yourself in that situation, you learn defense.


Isn’t there a tutorial mode. Just start there.

Do what it tells you. Then do it in the lab a few times to practice it. Learn some BNB’s for Akuma if you want to play him and then just play. When you see what you are having the most trouble with you can focus on practicing that.

Repeat and repeat and repeat.


I disagree. There is an unspoken code of the way you’re supposed to play certain games. Cheap tactics suck and it’s taking advantage of the bad design points of the game. People who stand in the corner with Deadshot spamming projectiles in Injustice 2 suck. I don’t want to play against someone doing that. Have respect for the genre and play head up. There’s very few things I think are “cheap” in most games, but there are definitely cheap things. If a new game comes out and we discover an infinite combo, don’t jump online and start doing that shit. It’s wrong. Period.


You’re wrong, and a bitch on a competitive level.
Please don’t try to indoctrinate new players with your honor nonsense in a fucking fighting game.

People come here to learn about the game and grow as players. When you give somebody the idea something is “dirty” or “unfair”, they’ll never start learning either dealing with it or using it themselves to fuck people up.
They’ll just stop growing and call it bullshit because blaming shit that isn’t yourself on your failures is easier than reflecting and working to make yourself better.

These are not arcade times anymore.
If a modern game is so broken that it stops being fun to play, and the developer/publisher doesn’t care to fix it, then obviously stop playing that trash game and supporting that shitty company.
That’s hardly the case anymore though, and really dumb shit usually doesn’t survive the next emergency patch.
But if it does and you can win a tournament or a set against a rival, fuck even a ranked match with it, you’re retarded if you don’t.

Nobody says you can’t complain about cheap shit in a fighting game, it’s human nature but in the end you got no choice than grow a pair and deal with it, preferably by abusing it yourself or finding ways around it.

Imposing your retarded rules on somebody else is just scrubby and the worst advice you can give to a new player.
Broken characters/mechanics are shit the fgc is dealing with since 1992 and it has tempered some of the most amazing players in the world and has lead to great metagames.
Finding that shit yourself and making your buddy feel bad about himself until he comes back next week and fucks you up with some cheap ass shit is half the fun in fighting games.

Unspoken code my ass. The reason it is unspoken is because it does not exist and you only hear that shit from scrubs.


The only time SFV even remotely comes close to a spammable cheap move is Balrog’s TAP but there are still ways around that.

So if you find something that works, use it. If it stops working, stop using it.