Intro to combos — special move cancels
Development lore tells us that the special move cancel was found during Street Fighter 2’s development, an unintended trick that was nevertheless deemed fun and left in. Thus the combo — and the main building block of a combo — was born.
How it works
Normal attacks and special moves have a unique relationship, in that we can cancel normals into specials. Look closely.
When Ryu uses that low kick, his leg retracts. However, note that Ryu does not retract his leg the second time. The very next frame of animation is that of the hadoken. This is intentional. We call this a cancel because it cancels the recovery of the previous move and begins another.
How to cancel
It's simple: Use a normal attack, and at the moment of its impact— but before your character finishes moving— input the command for the special move. That’s a cancel. This is one of the main building blocks of the combo, so experiment with it and figure out your own tricks.
How to use a cancel
If you're fast to react, a lot of stray pokes can turn into small combos with a simple cancel. Laura is able to turn a successful poke with her low medium kick into a charge that puts her right on top of the enemy. This character's strong point is that, once she hits, she can stay close and keep applying pressure.
For ease of use, combos in Street Fighter 5 tend to start with two hits, facilitating what we call a "hit confirm."
- On the first hit, you're paying attention to whether or not the move landed.
- On the second hit, you're confirming that the first hit landed by continuing the combo.
This is both easier and less risky than confirming a single hit into a special move would be.
Canceling into a special
It's also possible to cancel into a special move that does not necessarily hit.
As a Karin player I'm particularly fond of this tactic. Cancelling a long-range low medium kick into Karin's dash (but without actually attacking) puts Karin right on top of an opponent who probably expected to see a combo hit here. You can take advantage of that disoriented moment with a throw or a punch.
Just be aware that this trick is highly risky and easy to see coming once you've seen it once, so you have to mix it up with Karin's many other attacking possibilities (including attacking during the dash itself, forcing the opponent to guess "will she or won’t she").
- What am I trying to do in this game?
- Basic movement
- Basic attacks
- The poke game
- Special moves
- Control and execution
- Counter and crush counter
- Critical meter and critical arts
- Stun gauge
- Dealing damage and combos
- Character select
- Advanced techniques
- Good buttons
- What’s different in Street Fighter 5 Season 2?
- This is just the beginning