Player 1 selects a control type before a battle with Jamie in Street Fighter 6.

Since Street Fighter 2’s launch in 1991, the series became a pioneer of the VS fighting genre. Furthermore, Street Fighter is a gaming institution that made characters like Ryu and Chun-Li household names. However, the series has also suffered stigma due to a highly competitive audience and a steep learning curve.


Related: Street Fighter 6’s Greatest Asset Is Diversity

Fortunately, Street Fighter 6 reinvents itself by introducing accessible mechanics with a foundation from the classic arcade fighter we all know and love. So, if you’re new to fighting games, a master martial artist, or somewhere in between, we guarantee you’ll wield your fisticuffs well, especially with these fighting tips!

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You Can Learn Something New From Each Control Type

Street Fighter 6 made an unprecedented move for the series by including three control types! That’s welcoming news for players intimidated by the competitive fighting game scene.

Still, OG Street Fighters may feel compelled to stick to the Classic format they’ve always known. Conversely, Modern control players may not see the need to burden themselves with complex technical maneuvers. So why abandon what works for you?

Whatever your preferred playstyle, we recommend leaving your comfort zone to experiment with each control type (yes, even Dynamic). You’re bound to learn something new!

For instance, Dynamic controls use AI to determine the best attacks for different situations. So, you’ll experience a character’s combat style firsthand, including practical combo strings and vital situational strategies. Thus, playing with Dynamic controls is a brilliant way to introduce yourself to new characters, even if you’re a veteran player.

On the opposite end of the spectrum, Classic controls include six normal attacks and even more special moves for some characters (i.e., Ryu’s Hashogeki, Chun-Li’s Spinning Bird Kick). So if a Modern-control player finds a main character they love, Classic controls will give them a more expansive toolset.

Light, Medium, And Heavy Attacks Serve Different Purposes

An avatar demonstrates light, medium, and heavy attacks in Street Fighter 6.

Street Fighter is well-known for its six-button fighting system, which encompasses three strength levels of punches and kicks, respectively. Furthermore, did you know the original Street Fighter used pressure-sensitive buttons to measure attack strength? But, of course, that’s a story for another time.

Since Street Fighter 6 introduced the Modern Control type, it is no longer exclusively a six-button fighting game. Still, whether you’re playing with six attack buttons or three, the premise behind each attack strength remains the same.

When examining attack strength, there are three effects you must consider: damage, vulnerability (move start-up/recovery), and range. As an attack increases strength, it causes more damage and extends more range. However, it also increases your exposure to counters due to longer animations. Let’s break this down further:

Attack Strength

Available Attacks

Attack Properties

Light

  • Fast start-up time/recovery
  • Short range
  • Low damage
  • Great for hit-confirming, interrupting opponents, and initiating combos

Medium

  • Average start-up time/recovery
  • Medium range
  • Medium damage
  • Great for poking opponents and mixing into combos

Heavy

  • Slowest start-up time/recovery
  • Major damage
  • Great for punishing whiffed attacks
  • Crouching heavy kick can knock down your opponent

One last note: your attack strength during a special move input will dictate the attack’s properties. Light special moves are faster with less range. Heavy special moves are slower but with more range or damage. Medium special moves fall in between.

Related: Which Street Fighter Character Should You Play Based On Your Zodiac Sign?

Defensive Play Includes More Than Blocking

Jamie drive parries against Kimberly's kick during a fight at Bathers Beach in Street Fighter 6.

The saying goes, “The best offense is a great defense.” Still, what does that mean regarding fighting games? Should you block every attack you can and wait patiently for your next opening? And what happens if your opponent’s attack is unblockable? In defensive play, blocking is only one piece of a larger concept.

Instead of viewing defense as avoidance, view it as how you can respond to your opponent’s attacks. Many times, the best response is a block, but not always. Furthermore, blocking too much can lead to Burnout and push you into a corner.

Fortunately, you have many tools to effectively respond to your opponent’s actions. Here are some examples:

  • Throw Escape: You cannot block against throws. But you can push your opponent away with a throw escape.
  • Armored Attacks: These attacks prevent you from reacting to damage from an opponent. Instead, you’ll follow through with your attack unfazed. For instance, a Drive Impact can withstand two hits before getting countered.
  • Invincible Moves: These moves negate your opponent’s attack. However, they are often conditional. For example, Ryu’s Shoryuken is only invincible when attacking airborne characters.
  • Projectile Cancelling: Suppose your opponent keeps hurling projectiles at you. In that case, you can interrupt the opponent’s projectile with your own. Furthermore, if your projectile is stronger than your opponent’s (ex: Heavy Hadouken vs. Medium Hadouken), it will barrel through their projectile and hit them!

Stay Mindful Of Your Drive Gauge To Avoid Burnout

Ken nails Ryu with an explosive drive impact counter during a battle at Genbu Temple in Street Fighter 6.

Each Street Fighter iteration incorporates unique mechanics that differentiate them from each other. For instance, Street Fighter 4 introduced the Revenge Gauge. Street Fighter 5 utilized V Skills, V Triggers, and V Reversals. Finally, in Street Fighter 6, that defining mechanic is the Drive Gauge.

The Drive Gauge is a self-charging meter that lets you perform game-changing fighting techniques. Your Drive Gauge has six blocks total, and each technique costs a different gauge amount. These techniques include the following:

Drive Technique

Function

Gauge Cost

Drive Impact

A Drive Impact absorbs your opponent’s attack while you launch an offensive attack. It can also crush your opponent’s guard when they’re cornered.

1 Block

Drive Reversal

A Drive Reversal cancels a successful block or Drive Parry into an offensive attack that pushes your opponent back.

2 Blocks

Drive Parry

A Drive Parry is a special stance that lets you deflect all opponent strikes.

  • Drive Parry stance diminishes the gauge over time.
  • BUT successful parries replenish the gauge.

Drive Rush

A Drive Rush is a dash cancel you can perform out of a Drive Parry or a special-cancelable move. Normal and unique attacks perpetrated during Drive Rush will have different properties.

  • Parry Drive Rush: Half a block
  • Cancel Drive Rush: 3 Blocks

Overdrive Attacks

Overdrive Attacks enhance your special moves with new properties and more significant damage. You may remember them as EX Attacks from earlier Street Fighter games.

  • 2 Blocks
  • Note: OD attacks that branch from another OD attack cost 1 block (3 blocks total).

We’ll be frank. The things you can do with Drive Gauge are freakin’ awesome! But, the Drive Gauge is a finite resource. So, spamming Drive mechanics can quickly deplete it. Furthermore, standard blocks cost Drive Gauge to execute (hence why the game refers to them as Drive Blocks).

But if your Drive Gauge will eventually refill, what’s the harm in using it up? The answer is Burnout, a weakened state that decreases the effectiveness of blocks and counters, making you vulnerable to being stunned. You can quickly give your opponent the matchpoint if you fall into Burnout at the wrong time.

So, use your Drive Gauge strategically. You can start by looking for key moments where a Drive technique would work best. For instance, if your opponent is cornered, a Drive Impact is the perfect opportunity to break down their defense. Or, if an opponent begins a Drive Impact, get into a Drive Parry stance to deflect it.

By working with diligence and discretion, you will better maintain your Drive Gauge and get the most value out of each Drive technique.

Next: Street Fighter 6 Lets You Fight A Fridge

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