How am I supposed to play offensively in fighting games?

Okay, so I’ve been playing a lot of SFxT and have noticed that while my midrange/footsie game is decent and my defensive/keepaway game is good, my offensive ability really sucks. I don’t think I know how I’m supposed to approach offense in fighting games.<div><br></div><div>How do you approach people from midrange? Obviously you’re not supposed to jump because you’ll get blown up. But how do you get in so you can start applying pressure? If I walk forward they can just poke, if I try to wait for a fireball and jump they can just recover in time and AA. </div><div><br></div><div><br></div>

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<div class=“QuoteAuthor”><a href="/profile/50248/Scrub%20Saibot">Scrub Saibot</a> said:</div>
<div class=“QuoteText”>If I walk forward they can just poke, if I try to wait for a fireball and jump they can just recover in time and AA.</div>

Bait the poke, whiff punish it.  Give them a reason to throw a fireball at an unsafe distance then jump over it.  These are basic footsie techniques.  But like most things, they are easier said than done.  You just need a lot of practice.  Unfortunately it’s kind of hard to use some of these techniques them in SFxT because many characters in that game don’t have viable AA’s at ranges where they can whiff-punish or bait easily (characters in SFIV can get around this limitation using AA Focus Attacks).  That’s one of the reasons some people find it hard to play aggressively at footsie range in SFxT.  Unless you’re willing to take big risks (or have a play character with a solid ground and AA game), you’re pretty much forced to play at mid-range and wait for mistakes.<br>

You have to play footsies. You only get to be offensive if you can get them to be passive enough to do bullshit like walk up throw. Most players HATE people doing this, so they will pre-emptively hit buttons. So it becomes a big guessing game, of when should you frame trap them. This is all assuming that they are playing passively in the first place. You need to punish them for hitting buttons with whiff punishes or counter-hits to get them there in the first place.

Ultimately if someone wants to hit buttons you can’t usually rush them down. Just take your free damage. If you have a safe setup you can attempt it on knockdowns.

Once you get a knockdown, you get to abuse your meaty frame advantage to force them to deal with offense. Meaty low hit-confirm, if they block throw, is the simplest way to execute this. Scrubs will either start mashing shit or just get hit over and over and over.

Ultimately the best thing you can learn to do in most fighting games is learn to play reactive and safe. Either you just win for beating their flowcharts, or you can take away their options which means you can be more aggressive.

For example, in SF4, Fei Long’s lp rekka punishes Akuma’s sweep on block. Akuma LOVES to sweep because it’s basically safe at most ranges and leads to ridiculous vortex. However, if he uses it badly in this matchup, he just loses. Even if he stops sweeping, he then has to deal with Fei Long’s excellent midrange pressure. An Akuma that doesn’t know the matchup will just flat out lose to you if you bait sweeps, block, and punish. Fei loses very little from waiting for the sweep at the correct range, making the reward very high for something simple.

Akuma doesn’t have to sweep. He can do other stuff too (like walk up throw!). So you need to realize when your opponent knows what you’re doing and be willing to switch up your gameplan, and quickly.

Don’t worry about “offense” versus “defense.” The real goal is to analyze your opponents play/mental state and exploit holes in their gameplan.

You can’t just walk up and start doing stuff. Rule 1 of offense is to be safe. At the VERY LEAST, receive an equivalent reward from your risk.