Here are some often overlooked tidbits to keep in mind while training with your favorite characters in Street Fighter V. These concepts and strategies aren’t always obvious and can be essential to understanding the nuanced advantages that your fighter has over the opposition. We're kicking off the tips, from the official guide's co-author Long "ShadyK" Tran, with Birdie, Cammy, Chun-Li, Dhalsim, and F.A.N.G.!
Birdie is not a traditional grappler, since his strongest tools aren’t his command throws. His hopping Bull Revenger is very telegraphed if you’re obvious about attacking with it, and his up-close Killing Head lacks range compared to other the grapplers’ “main” grabs. Rather, his command throws (particularly Bull Revenger) are mix-ups that work because opponents may be uncertain about your use of his long, powerful striking moves. He has a lot of strong, mid-range-plus tools that will give your opponents pause, like Bull Charge, Bull Slider, standing and crouching MK, and his Hanging Chain specials. If your opponent figures out how to deal with his lengthy ground poking game by jumping in, Birdie has many good anti-airs for you to choose from, particularly Bull Drop, crouching MP, and HK Hanging Chain. Your opponent’s hesitation in dealing with these options is what allows Birdie’s hopping Bull Revenger command grab to connect, even if it seems like quick players wouldn’t be grabbed by it that often. If the opposing character starts running away—scared of Birdie’s varied, high-damage options—that just gives you opportunities to use his V-Skill moves, building V-Gauge (and sending cans rolling their way, if you want to move in with cover).
Sometimes the threat of a throw is much more powerful than the throw itself. However, don’t be too hasty in resorting to throws when your opponent successfully guards an onslaught of strikes. Cammy’s throws reset precious pressure when they’re quick-recovered, leaving you with little to no advantage, so you may want to go for a corner-pushing strategy instead. Staying next to your opponent, even if they’re blocking, is often better than the damage you would earn from scoring a throw. For instance, you can stick to your opponent like glue using your quick standing jabs and aim for a counter-hit hit-confirm into a Spiral Arrow combo (which conveniently carries the opposing character into the corner).
If you’re ever put in a defensive position, Cammy has access to one of the best V-Reversals for reversing tempo, so don’t be afraid to blow all of your V-Gauge on Strike Back, considering Cammy’s main strengths come from her offensive pressure.
She’s the goddess of mid-range, but she can also apply a mean up-close guessing game with her low-altitude LK/MK Hyakuretsukyaku sequence. Get close to fake a throw attempt, and immediately go into a neutral or forward jump air Hyakuretsukyaku, leading into a potential combo if you catch your opponent whiffing a throw tech. On block, you’re safe to continue with a frame trap or throw mix-up. If you can connect with a Spinning Bird Kick combo finisher, you can repeat this offensive pattern by following the grounded opponent with a forward dash, back into the pseudo-dive-kick mix-up.
A strong ground defense is great (and an essential one when you’re playing as Dhalsim), but you can only block for so long against experienced players in SFV. You will eventually lose in up-close coin-flip situations if you’re forced to block for too long, since no one can defend against variably-timed frame traps perfectly. To optimize your defense with Dhalsim, you’ll need to learn how to stay evasive using air Yoga Teleports while sprinkling in bursts of offense. While running away, try to set your opponent up with a well-spaced Yoga Fire followed by a cross-up air Yoga Teleport mix-up. Ultimately, you’ll want to learn how to navigate the stage quickly with your teleports, backdash, and V-Skill, all while keeping in mind your opponent’s options of approach.
Although he’s a true charge character, you don’t always want to sit on the stage holding down/back. Sometimes, you’ll need to stand your ground with F.A.N.G.’s capable mid-range attacks in order to keep from being pressured into the corner. Sometimes it’s best to sacrifice your charge in order to engage into a footsie game. When zoning with Nishikyu, you can also transition to offense naturally by canceling the end of the poison toss recovery into Nikankyaku to slide into normal move range. From there, you can score hits or bait out and punish mistakes, allowing you to safely transition into your poisoning zoning game. Standing HK is a safe and efficient combo-starter, standing MK and crouching HP are exceptional anti-airs, and crouching HK is an outstanding whiff-punish or low hit-check tool. Connecting with any of these successfully rewards you with valuable breathing room.
SFV Essential Character Strategies Part 2: Karin, Ken, Laura, M. Bison, and Nash
SFV Essential Character Strategies Part 3: Necalli, Ryu, R. Mika, Rashid, Vega, and Zangief
Want even more character strategies to help you master your fighter in Street Fighter V? Get full frame data, reliable combos, and comprehensive character strategies for every character in the official guide!