To close the gameplay portion of this guide, we’d like to offer some tips that are slightly beyond a beginner level but which are easy to understand. Rather than explain the properties of special moves, combos and setups at length, we think it’s more important to build from the bottom, walk before we run.
As such, here are some strong or easily overlooked single moves for every character in no particular order. You won’t have any trouble executing this stuff, and it should be easy to see their strength when you use them against other players. Let’s call these moves "good buttons."
Ryu’s good button
It is tough to find good buttons for this character, as so many of his strong normal moves in Season 1 were weakened to make them merely average.
As such, I offer Ryu’s humble low medium punch. Whether it hits or is blocked, this move leaves Ryu at an advantage, allowing him to continue pressing the offense. Additionally, it has better range than the average low medium punch and can be cancelled directly into a hurricane kick if it hits for a quick knockdown.
Ken’s good button
Ken players cannot overlook his forward + hard kick (hold the button down) overhead, especially as you can now start a combo with this move after a successful counter hit. (One combo that will work in all counter situations is standing light kick to shoryuken.) This was a good move before, but the reward for landing it has now been greatly increased. Use it along with the fake (forward + hard kick, but don’t hold it) to approach in a way that’ll confuse the opponent.
Chun-Li’s good button
It is hard to pick one for this character, as every button Chun presses is so strong, so I’ll point to her least immediately obvious instead: back (or forward) + medium punch. This is a fast, high jab with long reach even among her moves. So long as you keep the proper distance and are wary of low counter-attacks, it’s quite safe to use over and over again (perhaps not as much as you see here!) at this range and is supremely annoying.
Cammy’s good button
I’m going to cheat here and say that it’s both of her medium kicks, standing and crouching. You can’t really talk Cammy without talking about these moves. Both the range and speed of these two moves are tremendous as Cammy sticks out her leg like a spear. Note that the effective range is just a little shorter than the visual range, as we’re able to almost hit Chun several times in this video when the foot is clearly making visual contact.
Pay attention to the pose itself when looking at these moves: Both have the part of Cammy that’s hitting (her leg) way out in front of her, whereas the part of Cammy that can be hit (her body) is stretched backwards, far away from the opponent. Attacking from safety is the criteria for a good poke move, and Cammy’s medium kicks are gold-standard.
Necalli’s good button
In a game with few good overheads, Necalli has down/forward + hard punch, his hopping claw. This move has surprising range and often you can catch opponents who are crouching at a distance where they might not expect an overhead to be able to hit. Plus, it can crush counter, creating some big openings. However, it’s risky to use this move up close, as it is highly unsafe on block.
Of course, like everything else Necalli has, it gets better in V-Trigger mode. In Season 2 V-Trigger Necalli can charge this move by holding hard punch, creating a combo opening if it hits.
Weirdly, note that the slash effect does not hit, giving this move a slightly shorter range than it appears to have.
Karin’s good button
Standing medium kick (MK) is a long poke that hits at just such an irritating range that most opponents won’t have a good answer for it whether it hits or blocks. If standing MK hits, try using standing MK again. If your standing MK gets blocked, try using standing MK again. This is annoying, and your opponent will either have to retreat or leave themselves open approaching you. Annoying your opponent is always a good thing.
Laura’s good button
Standing medium kick is a fast close-range knee. When it’s blocked, Laura is at a slight disadvantage, safe from immediate reprisal and still in the range she wants to be. When it does hit up close, Laura can continue with a small combo: a standing light punch or kick into her light punch elbow. This puts her point blank and at advantage to do whatever she wants, whether that’s a throw, a low strike, or … standing medium kick again. Did I mention standing MK, like the rest of her normal moves, also cancels into her V-Skills? In conclusion, standing medium kick.
Rainbow Mika’s good button
In Season 1 this was definitely the back (or forward) + medium punch irish whip, a move that defined Mika’s crushing pressure game. But that move was weakened pretty badly in Season 2. It was just so crucial we felt obligated to mention it.
So let’s talk about standing light kick. When you know this move is going to hit, you can continue with medium punch into a simple combo. When it’s blocked, you can repeat … or you can take advantage of the wide range of Mika’s command throws (half circle back + punch or kick) and give the opponent an unpleasant surprise.
This classic grappler strategy will work if the opponent doesn’t jump, back dash, or use an invincible move. If they do that, then keep attacking. Remember: Grapplers have to think differently from everybody else.
Alex’s good button
Alex’s forward + hard punch is a crush counter with very little recovery time, meaning when the opponent does block it, he’s still effectively safe. If he hits, you get to combo for huge damage. There’s no downside aside from the move’s long windup, so it’s a great move to use when the opponent is standing up from a knockdown and can’t counter attack it.
Nash’s good button
You know that things are tough for Season 2 Nash because I legitimately struggled to find a good normal move for the guy. However, he still has his back + medium kick knee. Similarly to other strong rush moves in this game, Nash can start a combo after this move hits, and has the advantage to keep attacking when it’s blocked.
Birdie’s good button
Birdie’s forward + hard kick stomp hits twice in quick succession. The second hit is an overhead, meaning that a crouch-blocking opponent has but a moment to stand up and react to it. This video demonstrates how that’s done. This move isn’t quite as effective as a straight overhead, but it’s very likely to catch overly defensive players.
Zangief’s good button
As of Season 2, Zangief’s low medium kick puts him at a sizable advantage when blocked. This means that for example, Gief can use this low poke kick at the tip of its range and immediately land a screw piledriver (with light punch) whether he hits or is blocked. This is very scary stuff for your opponent. As we mentioned with Mika, throwing after a blocked attack is classic grappler stuff and this is just the tip of the iceberg for Zangief technique.
Urien’s good button
Urien’s forward + medium punch is fast, with long range and quick recovery. This makes it an extremely abusable tool to harass the opponent, even if they guard against it.
Furthermore, because it can be chained into Urien’s overhead (forward + hard punch), this move gives an attacking Urien the option of an overhead, a low kick, or a throw. A superb mixup tool and one of the many keys to this character’s strength.
Akuma’s good button
Part of the Akuma tradeoff is that you get rid of all those good buttons everybody else has in exchange for moves that are powerful up close. Who needs long range?! Who needs speed?!
So in this spirit, Akuma’s forward + hard punch chop is a heavy, leaping strike over a short range. If blocked, he remains at advantage and can keep attacking. If the move hits, Akuma can continue into a combo from light kick (to LK Tatsumaki, etc).
Guile’s good button
Guile’s many long, straight-line pokes like low medium kick are pretty obvious, but his forward + light kick knee is a surprise attack that charges into the opponent. Spaced properly, there isn’t really a lot that players can do in response to it, making it a good tool to apply subtle pressure and put Guile where you want him to be.
Dhalsim’s good button
Of course we want to take advantage of Dhalsim’s stretchy limbs, and one of his best moves for that is standing medium kick. As the video demonstrates, Dhalsim is on disadvantage on block here … but when he uses it at the proper range, what exactly is the opponent going to do about it? There are solutions to this riddle, like trading hits, but that’s for the other player to figure out.
Balrog’s good button
Standing medium kick (which, yes, is in fact a punch) is a core pressure tool. You’re free to continue your assault they block it, and if it hits, you can continue into many different combo routes: the easiest is simply his LK, MK, HK target combo, but experiment with it because there’s a lot more than that. Balrog wants to get in and throw flurries of punches until he breaks the opponent’s guard: stand MK is a major building block.
Rashid’s good button
Though it is typically used at point-blank range during combos, you would be surprised at the range of down + hard punch, and at how long the two chops stay out on the screen.
This move leaves Rashid at a small disadvantage on block, but the idea for poking with this move is that you’re too far away for them to do anything about it. Rashid players will often end their usual attack sequences with it so as to foil your counterattack. Not your go-to poke (as usual, this is standing medium kick) but surprisingly useful and very annoying to be caught by.
Juri’s good button
Standing medium kick hits twice, and each hit is its own very useful move. The first hit stops the opponent with a close-range knee. Then Juri’s leg whips out for a long-range poke. A great panic button, as it effectively covers for two situations at once.
Bison’s good button
Standing hard kick is pretty annoying, isn’t it? Especially when Bison uses it twice in a row. Though the trick to defending against it is pretty simple — just block, don’t try anything — it is frustrating in an essential sense to force your opponent to block for as long as Bison can. Take advantage of your opponent’s fear-induced paralysis by patiently chipping at them, then suddenly rushing in with one of his special moves.
Ibuki’s good button
Forward + hard kick is a sneaky crush counter that will hop over many low strikes, especially the pesky low medium kicks you’ll see from the likes of Chun, Cammy and Karin. Space it out just right and this can be truly annoying.
FANG’s good button
Fang benefits from the fact that all his moves look really weird, so it’s hard for someone who doesn’t understand them to know exactly what is happening. As such, I recommend his low medium kick at point-blank range. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been fooled by this thing; it looks like he should be wide open after you block it, but in fact he’s got a huge advantage and can do whatever he wants.
- 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