Hit The Ground Running #2: The First 8 Fighters

An article series by Jay "Viscant' Snyder.  

The access we've had to early pre-release versions of SFV is unprecedented in fighting games.  We've had an opportunity to play multiple builds and see changes that we never got to see before in earlier titles.  

Usually when a game first comes out, the first couple months are spent just trying to figure out exactly what the developers intended.  It's a mini game that's both fun and frustrating at the same time.  You'll look at a move and think “why is this move so bad, it looks like it should do something specific but it doesn't work for that at all.  Why would they do that?”  And the answer is usually because someone found something in testing.  This time around since there were so many various builds that the public had access to and since everything is on youtube it's much easier to follow the trail and understand the reasoning behind various nerfs and buffs better than we could have in previous games.

This process has major implications for competitive play.  If something is changed, I want to know WHY it was changed.  If a buff was given late in the development process, it was given for a reason.  It's a finger pointing you in the right direction.  And a nerf isn't necessarily just a middle finger straight from Capcom to you.  A nerf is telling the player “we want you to look at other parts of this character” just as often as it is a “we don't like you don't this, please stop!”  And even when it's the latter, that can be a starting point just as much as an ending point.  If Capcom thinks something is overpowered, this intrigues me.  If you're telling me I can't have something, that just makes me want it even more.  It makes me want to look for as many possible other ways to get whatever it is they took away.  

So we're going to break down the first 8 characters now, focusing mostly on the changes that affected the character's overall gameplan.  There are too many changes and too many builds to go over everything but I'll try to hit the biggest and most important ones.  For the purpose of this exercise, I'm going to assume that Capcom is smart and they know what they're doing.  Not all changes will work out exactly as they intended but I'm going to assume that all the changes have a purpose.  Let's get started.

Ryu

Ryu is a good place to get started because he's received round after round of nerfs.  Almost every time a new build was released Ryu would have something taken away from him.  This upset a lot of people who started calling the game Nerf Fighter 5 and what not.  So let's look at the major changes and try to understand why things changed.

A lot of the nerfs Ryu received early on in the patching process were combo related nerfs and this is mostly because Ryu was the hardest hitting character early on. His medium hurricane lost the ability to hit crouching characters. This serves no other purpose than to lower his damage output off of common starters a little bit. Towards fierce into low fierce was removed during the third beta before the change was reversed in the final beta.

Back roundhouse into standing strong was taken away during the third beta as well.  These changes were made so that the normals would retain their purpose but the damage output for landing one goes down a bit.  This is especially important for the back roundhouse button which we've learned through the beta tests is one of Ryu's best buttons to throw out any time.  It comes out in 8 frames, leaves him neutral on block and still leads to standing short into uppercut.  They could have nerfed this kick even more and it would still be a great button to throw out there as often as possible.


Other combo nerfs were less for damage and more for function.  He lost the ability to cancel out of crouching short into uppercut.  So instead of low short, low short, uppercut, you can still do crouching short, crouching jab, standing short into uppercut for example, but that requires you to be closer and a string with two lows is easier to catch people flinching with.  Also Ryu lost the ability to do standing strong into sweep as a link.  This is an interesting nerf because the combos you can get instead of the sweep, like a low forward into fireball or crouch fierce into uppercut for example, will actually do more damage than just the sweep.  But positioning is the key here, the game doesn't want you to pressure with safe-ish jump in setups or meaty back roundhouse.  

And what we've learned from the beta process is that the game REALLY doesn't want you to have any kind of setup that either guarantees the unblockable denjin or sets up unblockable denjin mixups in any way.  Any time one pops up like off a crush counter sweep, the next revision of the game would take it away.  

This is exactly the kind of thing that I look for when reading patch revisions.  It's a clear signal that Capcom thinks something is too good.  You can't really fight against combo related nerfs; either something combos or it doesn't, there isn't a lot of room for the player to game the system.  But when it comes to setups, there's wiggle room here.  We know what kinds of setups used to work, now it's up to us to find things that either work just like the setups that are gone or are sort of like those.

For example corner setups involving full meter are still in and likely will remain in the final build.  Ryu can make the opponent block crouching fierce in the corner, activate v-trigger, shoryuken into critical art, then combo them while they're staggered.  This setup will likely remain intact.  Capcom has known about this setup for multiple builds and left it alone.  It requires full v-trigger and full super meter and there are opportunities for the opponent to v-reversal out.  

And then there's the group of setups that are somewhat similar to previous setups but not guaranteed.  Ryu can wait for the opponent to jump, activate v-trigger to freeze time then jab shoryuken to hit them with just the tip of his fist.  Then when he lands, charge up the denjin.  This is not a guaranteed setup because they still have the option of quickrising or staying down but people were using it in the final beta last weekend to some success and since it isn't guaranteed it stands a good chance of remaining in the final build.

While Ryu's damage has been normalized and isn't likely to ever reach the levels he had in the E3 build where he was hitting the high 300s regularly, the denjin setups he lost might be replaced.  If he can get back the kind of reliable unblockable setups that work in real matches that he had in earlier builds, this character is going to be a major threat.

Chun-Li

If Ryu is one side of the nerf coin, Chun-Li is the other.  Ryu was brought down damage wise by a repeated wave of nerfs but Chun-Li was mostly left alone.  And at least for her sake the process seemed to have worked out.  Most people seem to consider her to be one of the day 1 top tier characters largely due to things she had in the earliest builds.

Take her bread and butter combo for example, the low jab, standing strong, low forward into forward spinning bird kick combo.  A pretty straight forward, 200+ damage confirm.  But during the Mad Catz V Cup, commentators said on stream that this combo was the main reason she was a top tier character.  What's the big deal?  The big deal is that very few characters retained the ability to link lights to mediums.  And very few characters retained the ability to have 3 normal hit confirms.  And very few 3 normal hit confirms are safe with all normals.  Chun has all of these in one and even has frame advantage on her low jab and standing strong.  In earlier versions, most of the available characters had something like this but theirs all got taken away.  Why did Chun retain hers?  

It's impossible to say for sure but it's likely due to her v-trigger.  In order to keep the overhead link into low jab, low jab link into low forward and towards roundhouse link into low jab in v-trigger the hit advantage on low jab couldn't be tweaked any further than it actually is.  Taking out her light to medium hit confirm would require a complete overhaul of the character.

She didn't dodge the nerfs completely, but the major ones she received didn't affect her core gameplay too much.  Along the way back roundhouse was made less effective as an anti-air but this was one of the nerfs that was more a suggestion to do something else than a hard “stop doing that” nerfs.  Air throw and jump straight up roundhouse pick up a lot of the anti-air slack and using standing short as an anti-air actually leads to a mixup which is a better situation than the original.  She lost combo damage and some cancels off her low fierce but this was made up for with the change to her spinning bird kick when the forward version was changed to hit crouching characters.  So actually her bread and butter confirm off a light was technically BUFFED from first builds to the final beta.  Before she'd have to finish combos with lightning legs which does less damage and doesn't create as strong a setup.

So what are the tradeoffs here?  Does Chun-Li have any negatives at all?  Her main negative in Capcom's eyes may be execution.  The spinning bird kick cancel in her bread and butter is difficult.  It's nothing that Chun players shouldn't have mastered in a few weeks but by SF5 standards, it's pretty tough.  And her instant air stomp and low air lightning legs.  She's had those tricks since the first public beta and most people theorized she'd lose them.  They're still there and they're still somewhat high risk techniques; missing either of them will leave you wide open.  Also Capcom played with her health repeatedly, lowering it all the way to 900 before walking it back a little bit.  Another clear sign that they recognize that the character has strong tools and it'll take other methods to balance her out.

So while this is a more technical Chun-Li than previous versions of her have been, she also looks strong right out of the box, which is a really good sign if you're a Chun-Li player.  Low health, high execution characters are usually good in Street Fighter games.  Over time people will master almost anything that seems difficult on first glance.  She seems to be a big winner in the beta process mostly by having her key and defining tools left alone.  

Nash

Nash has had an up and down beta process.  In the first public beta people hated the character.  Everyone thought he was cool but they also thought he was surely the weakest.  Then in the second public beta he was mentioned with Karin and Vega as possibly the strongest in the game.  Even after a healthy wave of nerfs between the second and third public betas he was still thought of as a very strong character and that opinion has stayed the same going into the final build.  Almost all the changes the character has gone through in the end come down to one question.  How much safe pressure is this character allowed to apply?

A major nerf the character took between the second and third public betas was regarding his standing jab.  At first a lot of people assumed this was a combo nerf.  Nash could no longer go from his short-foward target combo into his jab-strong, or from low short to the jab-strong target combo.  The jab would push away.  And yes, this does affect the amount of low risk damage Nash can generate but the more important change was pressure related.  Making the jab push away farther makes it harder for Nash to start sonic boom and moonsault slash pressure.

The moonsault slash was at the same time an overrated and underrated move during the betas.  On the one hand Combo Fiend had to come right out and say “guys, this is a worse version of Adon's jaguar kick, don't be afraid of it, just hit a button and you stop it!”  So the move became overrated for a time because people would just do moonsault slash, jab strong, moonsault slash, jab strong, etc. as a block string or just naked moonsault slash for no reason and expect to get away with it.  This was never a great idea but people still complained.

But the move was also underrated because the threat of repeated moonsault slashes would allow Nash to start mixing in strong and fierce sonic booms at a range that could set up crush counter opportunities, overheads, dash into throw or low short mixups and that sort of thing.  In addition to the previously mentioned standing jab nerf, Capcom changed the frame data on Nash's sonic booms just as a double nerf.  Fierce sonic boom went from +1 to -1 on block at point blank and strong sonic boom went from -3 to -5.  They really didn't like this strategy.

But what's interesting to me is that they left the frame data of moonsault slash mostly alone.  They want the move to still have a purpose but just weren't so sure about the followups it generated.  All strengths are still positive on block and you can still get one jab out, you just can't use the target combo to evaluate before committing to your next move.  So there are still opportunities to create strong pressure with the move, it's just slightly more of a risk.  You'll have to count on the opponent knowing that they're supposed to block after moonsault slash to do low strong into sonic boom and then carrying on, or a slightly unsafe low jab into sonic boom.  But seeing as how strongly discouraged this kind of pressure was, it makes me want to know exactly what I can salvage going forward.  This character wasn't supposed to be able to press this hard, so how much can I still get away with?

Another interesting change comes in the juggle properties of Nash's sonic scythes and v-skill.  In the second public beta, Nash could do roundhouse sonic scythe and then EX sonic scythe for a big damage ender in the corner.  They took it away by the time the third public beta rolled around and that seemed to be the end of that.  But during the PAX build and the final beta, they gave a little something back in the ability to use v-skill as a juggle ender.  This set up an interesting v-skill cancel to v-trigger teleport mixup in the corner but it also made me ask some theoretical questions.

That may be the newest way to use v-skill in combos and in blockstrings but it isn't the only way.  How much should Nash risk trying to get a second v-trigger usage per round?  It's mostly safe on block (-4) so I've noticed some Nash players using it in blockstrings or after fierce sonic booms.  It seems like by adding juggle properties Capcom is gently reminding players that the v-skill is for more than just wiping out fireballs.  Seeing as how v-trigger is almost guaranteed damage the way people are playing the game now, if Nash could get two v-triggers per round, he'd become a monster.  Is it worth going out of your way for though?  Time will tell.


M.Bison

Bison has possibly undergone more minor changes to his gameplay than any other character, even including Ryu.  His general gameplan looks about the same, his combos look about the same so most people who don't play Bison a lot haven't seen what's going on here.  But if you look closely, almost all of his special moves and some of his important normals have changed.

The scissor kick changed in almost every build up until the third public beta.  During the E3 build the short scissor kick was slightly negative but still safe always.  For the first build that Ken was introduced in, the short scissor became very unsafe and was easily punished, possibly as unsafe as -7 at point blank although no conclusive testing was done in this build.  They changed that back to -4 for the second public beta where it's stayed since then.  After that they started changing the forward and roundhouse scissors.  From the third public beta onwards, forward scissors has been -3 and roundhouse scissors has been -2.  So the move is actually backwards from Street Fighter 4, the higher strength versions are safer.

From the second to third public betas psycho blast was changed pretty dramatically also.  The move went from -6 for jab, -3 for strong and -3 for fierce to -4 for jab, -1 for strong and +2 for fierce.  The move was then buffed again in the final beta with a slightly expanded hit box, most noticeable on the fierce version of the move.  

Then you look at the psycho inferno.  For the E3 build and first public beta this move had frame advantage on the higher strengths of the move and was a charge move.  Then for the second public beta it was a charge move but highly negative on block.  And for the third and the final versions it became a motion move that was even more negative on block, -12 for jab, -11 for strong and -10 for fierce.

When you look at the three changes together the message is clear.  Capcom is telling Bison players that they have to choose between minimal frame disadvantage and safety on block strings.  They can't have both like with SF4 scissors or E3 build psycho inferno.  The fierce psycho blast looks like the no brainer solution to all block strings but it's also easily interruptible.

Then you look at his normals.  Low forward went through a pretty significant change from the second public beta to the third one.  Originally the move was not cancellable but positive on block and able to link back to jabs or low strong.  The move is now cancellable but no longer has frame advantage.  Bison players are divided on this change.  Is it a nerf or a buff?  On the one hand for a character who walks as slow as Bison, losing meaty pressure is a big blow.  But on the other hand, a move with good range that you can option select to scissors or walking forward option select to psycho inferno is pretty nice since walking away from Bison was solid strategy in earlier builds.  Time will tell on that change.

There is no ambiguity with the psycho axe though.  Changing the move from -1 in the second public beta to +1 in the later versions is a major buff.  Previously Bison players were trying to find a use for a move like this, thinking that if it was going to be this slow it should at least be an overhead.  But with frame advantage it allows Bison to get back in to create more frame traps without having to walk or jump.  This is a clear signal from Capcom to use this move more.

In the end everything with this character is going to come down to speed and how the character is able to move forward and apply pressure.  On pure walk speed the character is the slowest in the game, even slower than Dhalsim.  He has no overhead and no real ability to tick throw.  He has to spend meter to advance safely and create mixups once he's out either with EX scissor kick (+1 on block) or EX psycho blast which becomes a slow moving fireball that he can dash or headstomp behind.  His walk speed means that he's missing things that most characters take for granted, not just in SF5 but in Street Fighter in general.

But in return he has things that SF5 characters aren't supposed to have.  Capcom made a big deal out of hard knockdowns being out of the game.  But Bison EX scissor kick is a guaranteed hard knockdown.  Before the second public beta Bison's dash was changed to a teleport that allows him to phase through normals; it's less a dash and more of KoF style roll.  He can also generate damage from his low short, with low short, low jab, standing short, psycho blast.  In v-trigger you can cancel that to EX scissors or EX psycho blast to EX headstomp near corners making a low short a major damage dealer.  Street Fighter 5 characters aren't supposed to have that, especially a character who has a v-trigger dash that's a built in left-right mixup.

I see Bison as an experiment more than a character.  How effective can a frame trap character be without the threat of a throw?  Is the white life mechanic scary enough that the other side is going to be afraid to block 3, 4, 5 strings in a row?  Or will they just yawn and keep on blocking until they can finally get away and turn the tide?  Characters who lack basic fundamental tools but have things that no other character has tend to be either really strong or really weak, rarely anywhere in the middle.  They either have enough tools to overcome their fundamental deficiencies or they don't.  I'm super curious to see where Bison ends up.

Birdie

Just based on raw hours on public betas and locations tests, I've put more time into SFV Birdie than any other character.  Here's the question I've been kicking over for months now.  Is Birdie a grappler or isn't he?  Let's look at the beta changes and his tools and try to find out.

It's clear that he wasn't a real grappler in the earliest builds and the first public beta.  Players gravitated towards his pokes and hit confirms, especially off the low jab which was probably the single best normal in the game at that point in time.  Even Tokido stopped what he was doing at E3 to mess around with Birdie's jab a little bit and when Tokido thinks he's found something, people should take notice, that guy is one of the best in the community at exploiting new games.

Even if jabs weren't going to be universally nerfed, clearly something had to be done.  Command grab was one of Birdie's least important tools during the E3 build and the first public beta.  What made him good was his strong midrange pokes, v-skill options, his 1 button anti-air with the low strong and that low jab.  Players weren't fighting as aggressively with Birdie as Capcom had hoped since they didn't need point blank range to generate damage.  At the time I posted in a few places that Birdie standing fierce and standing forward were unlikely to make the final build intact.  A Capcom grappler just doesn't have those kinds of buttons.

But those buttons made it to the final version and will probably make it into the final game.  Standing forward's hurtbox was tweaked a couple times from E3 but it's still an amazing button, borderline spammable in the mid-range.  Standing strong also made it into the final beta intact as a counterpoking normal that combos into bull head. 

But nothing was done to encourage the command grab until this final beta where the standing short was buffed from +5 on hit to +6.  Birdie really only has two functional command grab ticks.  Standing short into grab and point blank low forward into grab, the 3s Alex/CvS2 Yamazaki tick, usually done as a meaty since it's extra negative on block.  Other buttons can be used but are much less likely and less suited for that purpose.  Even with standing short being buffed a little bit, it's still not plus enough on hit to let the player react to the hit or block and then decide to finish the combo or go for a grab.  The player has to decide in advance what they want to do.  Going from a 3 light hit confirm to a 2 light hit confirm actually made Birdie play less like a grappler than he did in the earliest builds.

None of Birdie's other tools encourage grappler play either.  The chains are designed to catch someone coming in.  His v-skills are designed to be done at a distance, with the banana peel specifically designed to keep the opponent from approaching.  He has one of the better one button anti-airs in the game with low strong.  The aforementioned standing forward and standing fierce are distance pokes.  The bull revenger hopping grab is only effective if the opponent is otherwise occupied at a distance either throwing a fireball or waking up.  None of this toolset suggests an in close character at all!

I think Capcom is sending a clear message here.  Does this mean Birdie's command grab is bad?  No, definitely not, it may not have great range but has its uses.  But if we're going to play the character most effectively out of the gate it makes sense to concentrate on the best parts of the character.  I think the beta is telling us that Birdie is a strong character but not necessarily a grappler.

Cammy

Cammy is another of the characters who partially survived the universal light to medium combo nerfs.  She retains the jab to target combo link since the first hit of the target combo, back+strong activates in 4 frames.  So thanks to this link staying intact, she's another of the characters who can break 200 for no meter off a light.  Not quite as good as Chun-Li's since the target combo won't always connect but it's still important.

If anything, her light button pressure game has been encouraged.  In the final beta this weekend her standing short was buffed from 0 to +1 on block and her crouching short improved by 1 frame also.  Now on paper these seem like minor changes, just 1 frame here and 1 frame there, but it's a nice buff for her throw and frame trapping game.  Cammy was already one of the more effective characters in the tick throwing game, this just reads to me like encouragement from Capcom to keep at it and keep playing her like a Street Fighter 4 character in Street Fighter 5.

Other than minor frame related changes, the main changes to Cammy all revolve around her v-trigger bar.  From her introduction up to the second public beta, Cammy could do three specials in v-trigger but from the third public beta onwards she can only do two.  This is a huge nerf and I was surprised people didn't make a bigger deal out of it at the time.  Since the main function for Cammy's v-trigger is combo extension, this change basically turned her v-trigger into a SFV version of an ultra.  You fish for a normal, land one, activate v-trigger and combo to spiral arrow into cannon strike and then it's gone.  Whereas before you still had enough to either look for a dive kick, or take a swing with a safe-ish spiral arrow, or fish for a hooligan.  

In compensation she had her v-skill buffed from +1 to +2 on block for the third beta.  Then for the final beta the v-skill was buffed again, going from 60 damage on hit to 90 damage on hit.  Any time I see two straight rounds of buffs on the same move that makes me take notice.  Was the move that bad to begin with?  Or is Capcom just trying to encourage Cammy players to try to get two uses of v-trigger per round?  I'm not sure but just like with Nash, if Cammy players can consistently sneak a second v-trigger per round, her damage potential goes way up.

Ken

I think when I said that I was going to address the changes from the “Capcom is smart” perspective, a lot of people scrolled down to the Ken section.  I don't blame them.  Ken is the most visibly nerfed character from earlier versions of the game, even worse than Ryu.  After the third public beta he was almost everyone's pick for worst character in the game.

It makes sense why people would think this since big chunks of his gameplan were removed.  He lost his basic confirm off low short.  Low short, low jab, standing short no longer combos, the standing short is just too far away.  He lost the ability to combo out of a counter hit overhead.  The target combo launches instead of leaving the opponent standing which lowers his combo potential.  All of that is bad but it looks a lot like some of the nerfs that other characters got.  

It's the changes to his v-skill that have people up in arms.  It was not just a major combo tool, with standing fierce into canceled v-skill comboing to either low jab or target combo.  It was also used occasionally as a mixup tool.  Sweep canceled to v-skill was never safe but from the third public beta and onwards it's as bad as -10.  Even worse, all hits Ken takes out of the run animation are counter hits, meaning the v-skill used in this way is so negative, he can actually run into crush counters!  The move used as an in close mixup tool simply doesn't work.  Either Capcom deliberately put in a tool that sucks or they're trying to tell us that it's used for something else.  So it's up to the players to find a use for the v-skill.

If the move doesn't work from in close and we're operating under the assumption that these changes happen for a reason, the logical thing to do is look for uses outside the in close mixup range.  What is Capcom trying to tell us to use this tool for?  

Cancelled v-skill has uses as a weaker version of Sagat's kara tiger uppercut from SF4.  Ken can control the air from ranges where opponents think it's safe to jump from.  He can use stop short or step kick as a semi-credible mixup when closing from half screen or greater.  In a game where most characters move like their feet are encased in cement being able to set the distance at will has uses.  Say Ken throws a fireball at slow moving characters like Nash.  On reaction Ken can step kick if he sees Nash try to absorb the fireball at roughly half screen distance, something Nash doesn't have to worry about against too many other characters.  Are these uses as good as what Ken had before?  Obviously not.  But these are the types of things that Ken players should be looking for instead of trying to fit the square peg into the round hole.

Also it's a good idea to check Ken's other tools when looking at what range he's best at.  And there's a strong case to be made that given Ken's toolset he should be fighting from further away than most people are playing him.  It seems like most Ken players I ran into online are playing him at the low forward range which might be the worst possible place to play him. What other good tools made it through the adjustment process?

It turns out that many of these tools are in fact distance tools.  Before the second public beta, Capcom adjusted the frame data on Ken's best distance poke, the standing roundhouse, making it -4 on block, basically safe in this game unless done way too close.  His standing forward kick is a great range finder.  Ken's short hurricane kick is also 3f startup, another tool that's best used at a range outside of where people are playing him.  Ken can't threaten as effectively with air EX hurricane kick in close.  But he can at slightly extended ranges.

As I said before, I don't think what Ken has right now is better than what he had during the second public beta but it's not like he has nothing.  He has these distance tools.  He has the best reversal punish in the game so far with 3f jab shoryuken and 4f EX shoryuken (the shoryureppa).  A strong midscreen combo ender in roundhouse hurricane kick that leads to somewhat decent okizeme, which is great by Street Fighter 5 standards.  These don't sound like “worst in the game” tools to me.  Ken players will always miss what he once had but as long as they don't play him like he still has the old v-skill option, he's going to be a lot better off than people are saying right now.

Necalli

Necalli's been all over the place in the beta tests.  He's been both a full motion character and a charge character and he ended up a character with motion moves and a charge move...except his charge move doesn't need to be charged sometimes.  Confused yet?  I feel like Capcom was when they started messing around with his inputs.  

Necalli never had the tools that charge characters in Capcom games normally depend on to get by.  These characters usually need some kind of move that moves them forward and allows them to hold a charge.  You look at past Street Fighter games and historically Bison and Blanka had slides that let them hold their down charge and Blanka's had the hop since ST.  Guile had bazooka knee letting him push in while still holding a back charge.  Vega had a slide and backflips.  And they usually have at least one strong normal that they can use while holding a charge.  Bison has his long range kicks, Blanka had low fierce, Guile had low forward, Vega had low strong.  After 25 years of this Capcom has learned what charge characters need to get by.

Necalli never had these things.  His low forward and standing roundhouse were the closest thing to a traditional charge character normal but they weren't as good.  It seemed like they just arbitrarily made him a charge character because Vega and Nash became motion characters and they needed another charger for variety's sake.  So making his uppercut a motion move was a major buff to the character.  The one good thing about the “is this move charge or motion” drama is that it gained invincibility along the way which is always helpful. 

Overall his toolset is designed more for offense anyways with command grabs and a semi-credible air mixup between the divekick, jumping fierce and crossup jumping forward.  His walk speed was also improved a little bit, further cementing the change.  He still has the reputation of being a slow character but his forward walk speed was buffed to just slightly under Chun and Vega and pretty close to Cammy.

He received another interesting offense oriented buff in the final beta that went mostly unnoticed.  After target combo into v-skill, Necalli can now juggle with 3f moves like jab or EX raging light but also with low short or low jab.  In the corner this creates an interesting reset possibility.  He can go for meaty standing roundhouse, overhead, command grab, etc.  Most people ignored this since there are more high damaging options that the character can go for but it brings up two major questions with the character going forward.

How much value should Necalli players place on the reset game?  Clearly Capcom is letting us know that the character was designed with resets in mind, his EX command grab is a giant advertisement that this character has a reset game but so far I haven't seen that much of it.  Even outside of the new v-skill buff, on the occasions that Necalli players land an EX command grab, they usually just finish with uppercut instead of going for a reset. 

And secondly is it worth sacrificing damage to get into v-trigger earlier?  V-trigger Necalli is probably one of the stronger characters in the game and his stomps become much more dangerous as frame trapping options.  But is it worth it to combo into v-skill or make it a priority to harass with v-skill at the midrange?  We'll see.


_____


That's all for this week.  Next week we're going to look at the final 8 characters.  They've undergone fewer revisions than this set of 8 but there's still a lot we can learn from what we've seen so far.  See you then!

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  • Great read! As someone who infrequently played the beta, I find it very informative to get a sort of “chronological” interpretation of the game’s beta development for these characters and the changes made to them.

    Viscant, many thanks!

    • BrapTrap
  • Dear DJDevilstation,

    What may benefit you is some further research in place of critiques on this particular article. As you’ve stated, “[you have] been playing fighting games [your] whole life”. Maybe you should have spent some time examining the terms and concepts used here. Maybe in order to increase your skill level, you should research aspects of it pros and higher level players use.

    1.) Many people still use these terms as they have been common across all variations of the Street Fighter series. It’s unfortunate that you do not remember what they stand for, but since you are viewing this article via the internet, a brief Google search will answer your question.

    2.) Since this article is completely about a Street Fighter title, it seems implied that the author would be referring to a shoryuken.

    3.) The wording is confusing here.

    4.) Let’s make this simple for you: a “-” sign is bad for you and a “+” is good for you. Think of it this way, “-” is negative (bad) and “+” is positive (good). Maybe that will also make it clear why people use those terms when talking about frame data.
    Frame data is not a thing people fabricate, it’s the math that allows a video game to function and be displayed properly. Your attacks do not just get stuffed or punished because people make these numbers up. They get stuffed or punished because you don’t understand a core concept.

    5.) Target Combo is another term that would benefit from some further research. Often times Capcom will list a characters “Target Combo” under their “Move List” in a game’s menu. That’s why it’s called a Target Combo and not referred to as the sequence of button presses. It’s the same reason why people call E Honda’s special move “Light/ Medium/ Heavy Headbutt” instead of “hold back for x seconds, then press forward and a punch button”.

    6.) Yet again, researching the term is beneficial. For Option Selects, it would also help to look up video demonstrations to see a visual.

    On a personal note, maybe you should take what you can from an article instead of just blasting it. There will likely be terms you don’t know in any article that examines the details of a fighting game. But, why not take what you can, work on that, and research what’s left? The internet has been the main reason for the boom in the fighting game community (FGC) over the last couple of years. People are able to share information, data, and techniques like never before. In order to utilize all these tools, you need to take some initiative and search for them. That means beyond what Google might provide. Finding forums and websites dedicated to the FGC would be beneficial to you. Searching those websites, Google, and YouTube for terms you don’t understand will also provide a large amount of information. Lastly, moving beyond the first, second, or even third link maybe required in order for you to find something you start to understand.

    Below, I have linked many websites that address your issues. If for some reason they do not post (due to spam regulation), please Google “Newbie Saikyo Dojo”. It is a fantastic resource provided by Shoryuken[dot][com] and their forums.

    http://forums.shoryuken.com/categories/newbie-saikyo-dojo

    http://forums.shoryuken.com/discussion/106615/basic-frame-data-guide-for-newbies

    http://forums.shoryuken.com/discussion/91061/the-srk-glossary-wip

    https://thirdpersonblog.wordpress.com/2012/04/18/universal-fighting-game-guide-how-to-read-frame-data/

    http://iplaywinner.com/glossary/inputs-technique/option-select.html

    http://www.gamefaqs.com/boards/626633-super-street-fighter-iv-arcade-edition/60322050

    • n0b34ts
  • Great insights and really made me think about how to approach the characters and the minute aspects about them. Which will be important in trying to get the most out of learning and using them correctly.

    • PJClap
  • I heard this blog would be good for learning fighting games. I’m not learning anything. This is obviously intended for super-high-level players to be a little better. Not new players trying to learn or understand. I’ve been playing seriously for years, and I can’t understand what you are supposed to be teaching. Here are some reasons:

    1.) Jab, Roundhouse… These are outdated terms that no one uses except long-time experts. If you are trying to teach someone SFV, it would be good to not confuse them. So why are you using SF2 terminology on SF5? It’s called light-punch and heavy-kick. I’m real tired of having to look up “short” to see if it was MP, MK or LK… because I can never remember… because I have NEVER thought about the buttons that way. I shouldn’t need a cheat-sheet to translate your SF2 terms to modern-day ones.

    2.) Uppercut? What are you talking about? Do you mean the Mortal Kombatesque crouching HP, or the shoryuken?

    3.) “…very few 3 normal hit confirms are safe with all normals.” Seriously… what? I have never heard of the term, “3 normal hit confirms”. What do you mean? She has 3 normals which can hit-confirm into combos? Or is it that they are safe? Are all her normals safe? You go on to say, “Chun has all of these in one and even has frame advantage on her low jab and standing strong.” Now I’m even more confused. I haven’t the slightest clue what you are trying to explain there. Wait… are you saying that she has a 3-hit block-string, during which any of the hits can be confirmed into a combo? That can’t be right.

    4.) “Fierce sonic boom went from +1 to -1 on block at point blank and strong sonic boom went from -3 to -5.” I guess being an expert on frame data is required to even read your blog. Jeez. I don’t know what any of the +/- really means. I can’t remember if +1 is good or bad. Doesn’t matter. My attacks get stuffed or punished no matter what the frame data says.

    5.) Target combo. I still don’t know what a target combo is. I never have. They were listed for some characters in SF4. I don’t know why some characters had them, and others didn’t. What is a target combo? Is it any different than a normal combo? Is it just a dumb name? Is it safer or something? Does it deal more damage than other combos? “Target” makes it sound like a “go-to” tactic. Is there some reason you say “target combo” instead of the buttons involved? Is there any significance whatsoever, or is it just a name?

    6.) Option select. People talk about this all the time. I thought I understood, but I guess I didn’t. I have no idea what an option select is. One of the many complicated FGC terms you insist on using. I have no idea how you perform one motion but get 2 different moves. That makes no sense. Why would you ever do that?

    There is good information here. Unfortunately, I am not at a level which this would be useful. You speak of things that are far outside of my skill range. I cannot anticipate my opponent’s actions. I cannot perform long/difficult combos. I cannot bait my opponent into making mistakes.

    I’ve been playing fighting games my whole life. It’s clear to me, that I can never be a great player. I’ve been trying to understand high-level play for years. I just don’t understand. I don’t think I ever will. I read articles like this thinking I can improve, but everything is over my head. It’s clear that fighting games aren’t for everyone, and they definitely are not for me.

    • DJDevilstation
  • Great analysis and breakdown of characters. Would you or any other person like to elaborate or ryu’s capability of anti-air being decreased in final build. Think they scaled back on his axe kick confirm and only real confirm at best is standing jab from which is difficult to follow up with

    • Shingo