Learning a New Character

The only character I know how to play is Dhalsim. I didn’t learn him with any plan or any fundamentals, and so my Sim play – while pretty respectable, at this point – is riddled with bad habits. I’d really like to pick someone else up for a bit of a fresh start. I don’t intend on abandoning Sim, but I think a break from the familiar and knowledge of another character would really help my overall game.

My question to the vets is this: how do YOU learn a new character? Do you learn how to anti-air and go from there? Do you learn bnbs? Do you learn normals first?

I’d like to learn my next character in a less here-and-there, more organized way. Any opinions on how best to do this would be much appreciated!

I am not a vet but my advice should still have some weight.

Learn your normals first. Especially your most effective normals for anti-air, horizontal spacing, and frame traps (high priority moves). Then you should learn chains and links by practicing bnb’s. In SF I prefer to use my normals more but my specials are for spacing and getting in. I suck at SF4 though, so my advice is more applicable to fighting games in general.

First thing you wanna do is learn your best, most important normal(s). Focus on placing them well and use them a lot. You can even use them a little too much, just to know when it’ll work and when it won’t. For example, for Sim I would say your best normals are st. HP, back+MP, and back+HK. You can fuck up a lot of people by being patient and using just those 3 buttons.

After your normals, just try to find the most abusable shit your character has. Maybe this is stupid, but think a really good way to learn this is to watch match vids of low BP Japanese players. They’re usually smart, but not so skilled that they can be fancy. So they just do what they need to win. Maybe thats nonsense, though.

You want to make sure you are finding real, abusable, consistent tactics, not gimmicks.

If you have an aggressive character, find your character’s best mixup options. Find the ways they can set up those mixup options. Find out their best defensive options and think about how to vary them.

I think a great character to learn fundamentals with is Ryu. I’m pretty bad with Ryu, but if I were going to learn to play him I would just focus on a couple of key moves, such as:

HP Hadoken
Cr. MK/Cr. HK
EX Tatsu / Throw (Mixups)