Street Fighter 5 Guide: Learning The Basics

Street Fighter 5 Guide

Now that Capcom's Street Fighter 5 is out and would-be champions are attempting to stake their claim as champions in the online scene, we thought it might be a good idea to put out a guide to help those new to the series. Street Fighter 5 can be a complicated game, and there's no shortage of unique move skillsets, complicated combinations, and a variety of gameplay elements that might make the fighting title confusing to newcomers. Despite how daunting this can be, the game is certainly worth playing for those dedicated to the fighting scene.

Without further ado, here's an overview of the essential skills behind Capcom's latest title:

The Basics

Ready to start your career as a pro full-time Ryu impersonator? Let's make sure you have the basics locked down first. The game is commonly played on extra peripherals like Arcade Sticks and Fight Pads, but we'll pan over the PlayStation 4 controls for the sake of simplicity:

  • Light Punch: Square
  • Light Kick: Cross
  • Medium Punch: Triangle
  • Medium Kick: Circle
  • Heavy Punch: R1
  • Heavy Kick: R2
  • All Three Punches (EX): L1
  • All Three Kicks (EX): L2

If you're wondering what an EX is, read on and we'll cover that below.

How To Block

While Street Fighter 5 is focused on delivering damaging blows to your opponents in order to KO them as soon as possible, blocking is a huge part of the game as well. Those who button mash often forget this key component, and will find themselves getting knocked out faster than ever if they go online.

To block, simply hold the directional pad away from the other player, or do a combination of crouching and blocking by hitting down and back on the directional pad. This will block low attacks like sweeping leg kicks, and players can instigate a V-Reversal on their enemies from this position. We will detail how to do so below.

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How To Dash

Okay, so you've mastered the basics attacks and blocks, but this doesn't leave much room to quickly move around and surprise opponents who may be playing the distance game. Much like in Smash Bros, dashing is a huge part of the strategy here, and a quick dash can be performed by simply double tapping the stick either towards or away from the enemy, which prompts your character to dash in that direction.

Performing one of these dash moves is a great way to either dodge an incoming attack or put yourself in range to deliver some crunching blows. Speed is the key here, as once a dash is performed it's usually best to follow it with some quick moves before the opponent has time to dash away themselves, or get back in range for a close melee attack. Each Street Fighter 5 character has a unique range for their dashes, so players should experiment with each character to see which one fits their fighting style the best.

The EX Meter

The EX meter is one of the most important aspects of the game. Much like the meter from Mortal Kombat, it allows the player to perform special moves that deliver much more damage than the moves in their regular repertoire. Virtually every move from the game has an EX version that can be performed, and players will find that using these moves at clutch moments can make the difference between a close loss and a narrow victory.

To perform an EX move, players simply press more than one attack button at the end of their combination. For example, the Hadoken is performed by pressing Quarter Circle Forward and punch, but the EX version of this move can be done by pressing Quarter Circle Forward and, this time, two taps of the punch button. This will deliver more damage, but players should also be aware that letting the EX meter - which has three bars - fill to the maximum will instead let them perform super moves that are unique to each character and deliver maximum damage.


V-moves help make Street Fighter 5 a unique fighting game, and players will find three types of them here: V-Skill, V-Reversal, and V-Trigger. They each accomplish completely different things, so we'll go over them all.

A V-Skill is a skill move that is unique to each of the game's roster characters. To perform them, players simply press both of the medium buttons together. Nothing too fancy here.

The aforementioned V-Reversal is a move that allows a player to counter against an enemy that is on the offense. When a player makes a successful block (which is covered above), they can quickly tap all three punch buttons to instigate the reversal. This will put the blocking player on the offense, allowing them to quickly deliver some crunching blows. If this reversal is miss-timed, however, the player leaves themselves open, as they will have cancelled their block in the attempt to make a V-Reversal.

Lastly, Street Fighter 5 introduces V-Triggers, the franchise's successor to Ultra moves and the Revenge Meter. As one might expect, the meter for V-Triggers fills up when players take damage - this is the red bar on the bottom of the screen, for those who thought they were untouchable this entire time. Once this meter fills up completely, the player can hit both heavy attack buttons to enter a powered-up state where their attacks deal more damage. Of course, it takes plenty of hits to get there, and it's more of a game-balancing move than anything else.

Throwing Your Opponents

Street fighters have the ability to throw their opponents while in close range, and those who have played Street Fighter 4 will find that the system hasn't changed at all in the new iteration. These moves can be performed by pressing LP+LK at the same time, which will throw the enemy in a forward motion onto the ground if successful. To throw them backwards, simply press LP+LK while holding backwards on the controller. It's worth noting that select characters can throw enemies while airborne, and these characters will have this ability noted in their individual move lists.

Of course, for every action there is an opposite reaction. Players who think an enemy is attempting to throw them can also press LP+LK, which will block the throw if successful. This will lead their character to slap away the opponent's grapple, and they will likely have a split second of surprise to go on the offense and deal some damage of their own.

Quick Rise: Get On Your Feet

Players who are dealt a crunching blow will find their characters on their backs, winded after taking some damage. At this point, there are two options: remain on the ground until the character gets back up themselves, or get to it and jump up to re-enter the fray as soon as possible.

It's a strategic choice that can potentially surprise opponents, and it can be done by pressing two punches to Quick Rise up where the player fell, or two kicks to Quick Rise and move away from the opponent. If a player is thrown, they can only Quick Rise where they fell. No character can Quick Rise after getting hit with a super move, which makes them even more devastating.


Those who have beaten the remarkably short story mode for the game will have likely experienced stunning, a feature of the health meter. The stun meter builds up when players take damage, and even slowly creeps up when successful blocks occur. The stun meter is located directly below a player's health bar, and once filled makes the player go into a powerless state where they are unable to continue blocking blows. This prevents players from spamming the block move, and it naturally depletes when a player isn't actively blocking. This forces active fighting, so those content to sit back and block will need to find a new strategy.

Charge Moves

The last aspect of Street Fighter 5, charge moves, involve holding the movement stick in a certain direction and then switching this direction in order to execute a move. One example of this is with Chun Li's staple fireball move, which forces players to click backwards, then forwards, then press the punch button. The timing of these moves is important, as players who hold back for too little will fail to charge her fireball. The timing of these moves is unique to each character, so it's literally a trial by fire method in this case.

The above moves should help newbie players on their path to becoming a champion in Street Fighter 5. The game is admittingly complicated, which shouldn't come as a surprise considering the series is now over 28 years old. We hope the above guide helped, and we hope to see Ranters practicing their Hadoken online soon - provided the game's initial lag problems are sorted out.

Street Fighter 5 is currently available for PS4, PC, and Linux.

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