The Important Mechanics Driving Street Fighter V: The Basics

The Important Mechanics Driving Street Fighter V: The Basics

Originally posted on August 24th, 2022

In August, Kunoichi Arena displayed talented players of Street Fighter V, we are breaking down the basics of SFV to help you better understand the flow of the match and improve your game. 

Kunoichi Arena - Street Fighter V Information

Kunoichi is back with their monthly Kunoichi Arena for the second time this month. Last month we featured KEEKEEXBABY in an interview ahead of the Tekken 7 exhibitions. This month they will be displaying the talented players of Street Fighter V in 3 exciting matches. The initial first to five set will be between Chobokins and Yungwitch. It will be followed by West Coast’s Tatsunamilani and Serazale. The main event will be a first to ten set between Glitter and Rika Readman. Casting for the exhibitions will be provided by Cadence and Flexiss

You can catch the entire event streamed on Kunoichi’s Twitch channel, August 26th at 8pm EST.

What To Look For When Beginning SFV

For those unfamiliar with Street Fighter V we will compile a comprehensive beginners guide for you to better understand the game. This article will detail the basic gauges and what they are used for - these include the Health Bar, Stun Bar, Ex Gauge and V-meter. It will also cover basic strategies and win conditions employed in SFV -Neutral, Advantage and Disadvantage States are some of the ideas that will be broken down.

Life Bar

Life bar in Street Fighter V

The most important resource you have in Street Fighter is your life bar. The most basic idea of fighting games is to fight until your opponent has no life left but that is not the only win condition in the game. If you have a higher percentage of life left than your opponent when the timerruns out, you win the round. In higher level play you’ll often see players try to stall the opponent for time instead of engaging in risky situations to win.

The Stun Gauge

The stun bar builds with each successful hit culminating in a stun state if the meter is completed. A stun state forces the opponent into a vulnerable condition in which they cannot move, block or take any action. Stun is a very valuable resource and more often when a player stuns their opponent it is very likely the stunned player will lose. A stunned player takes extended damage while their opponent can set up a favorable situation. This is why you’ll see players seem increasingly desperate on defense when their stun bar is close to full.

What is EX meter?

Ex Gauge allows the players to enhance their special moves or perform a very powerful move known as a Critical Art. Ex meter is cultivated when the player receives damage, attacks a player on hit or block, and by hitting or whiffing certain specials. With one full bar of Ex, an opponent can enhance most special moves with a few exceptions. This can either allow the player to get extra damage on offense, better follow ups for pressure or use it defensively to get out of a bad situation. If the player decides to build three bars of Ex they will be allowed to perform a Critical Art. A Critical Art is a super special move that does the most damage out of the player's arsenal. Some CA’s allow the player to perform a follow up attack to continue pressure while others can procure favorable screen positioning. If a player performs a CA they may remain vulnerable if they can not close the round as CA is often a character's main defensive tool to break out of pressure. This means the players have to be very careful with Ex as it can determine an entire round.



V-Meter is another precious resource that can turn the tide of the fight either offensively or defensively. To build V-Meter you can either take damage, block attacks or land certain V-Skill attacks.  One of the main ways of using V-Meter is to fill all gauges present to build your V-Trigger. V-trigger is one of the most powerful states in the game and can be traced to many comebacks in the games history. Upon activating certain characters can enter an install state where they get enhanced moves or damage. Other characters perform one powerful attack to apply severe damage or pressure. Each character has two available V-Triggers which they have to choose from at the beginning of the game. 

Two defensive options are present with V-meter. The first is the V-Reversal. During block stun, a player can V-reversal using one full bar. This allows them to either knock back the opponent or escape away from them depending on the type of V-Reversal. 

The second defensive option is V-Shift. To V-Shift one press’ medium kick and heavy punch at the same time and can input forward or back while doing so. Upon activation if an opponent's physical attack will trigger a parry state where the player phases back and can not be interacted with until the animation ends. This parry state does not activate if the opponent throws and the opponent can punish the recovery. The player is allowed to block immediately after recovery making it a very strong defensive tool. However a player in a successful V-Shift can choose to do a V-Shift break by inputting the V-Shift button again. The player jumps forward and knocks the opponent back. The opponent might be able to block however it's not a guaranteed knock down. A bad V-Shift break can get V-Shifted right back to be punished for big damage. V-Shift requires a full bar of V-Meter but on a successful parry the player receives half of the bar back. An unsuccessful V-Shift can lead to lower come back potential for the rest of the round. 

Defining Neutral

The word Neutral is often thrown around in fighting games as it is one of the most common states players are in. Neutral can be described as where both players are neither at a clear advantage or disadvantage. In Neutral players will fight for space and actively look for openings to attack the opponent or defend the opponents advances. Players can do this by being defensive by looking to actively punish the opponents whiffed buttons. They can also decide to wait for dashes or attack the vulnerable state of jumped opponents. Another strategy could be a more offensive approach by poking buttons or taking a risk with dashes and jumps.

Glitter vs Mostaflies from Capcom Fighters

Advantage and Disadvantage

If Neutral is not being observed one player will enter an advantage state while the other will be put in disadvantage. The two most common ways to do this is by one player getting knocked down or blocking enemy attacks. Getting knockdowns is the primary source to begin applying additional pressure. It is why prioritizing advantage often supersedes damage. The player who is at advantage will then apply pressure by performing attacks that generally lead to positive interactions on hit for a combo or can lead to follow up blockstrings. Not every normal will lead to a combo and subsequently not every normal will cause enough block stun to trap the opponent if they try to hit buttons. Knowing the frame data of the characters on screen allows for better understanding when advantage and disadvantage will occur.

Understanding what the meters are used for is the first step to understanding the flow of the match. What follows is being able to tell when neutral leads into advantage and disadvantage states. With these basics down you can learn a lot from watching SFV to make your own play improve. Please enjoy the wonderful exhibitions that will be on display at Kunoichi Arena on August 26th at 8pm EST.

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Written By

Mia 'Mira' Reshel

Journalist and competitive FGC player