Impacting Focus

Reacting on What's Important

With the new Street Fighter around the corner, and an open beta even sooner approaching, being able to react to the blood red of an aggressively positioned Drive Impact looks to be far too fundamental to the approaching flow of battle. It takes a few trips to the lab to learn how to react to the red, setting up Street Fighter 6’s built-in Drive Impact Training Feature, and learning to respond in turn against the computer who revolves around this one action we’re all afraid to take the hit from.

But why then, does it still smack us upside the head until the stars spin?

But I thought this game had footsies?

Street Fighter 6’s core offensive design revolves around having a surplus of options, all of which cause massive damage if answered incorrectly. Every one of these can be reacted to and punished independently in training mode, but the part that makes each of them so deadly is the very existence of one another, because while you can react to one at a time while you’re looking for it, your opponent is sending a different one, and you’re too busy looking for the wrong signal, all while you’re trying to remember how your combo goes when you finally get that sweet, sweet Punish Counter.

Your goal on offense is to overload your opponent's mind by giving them too many things to worry about at once, and so is your opponent’s. This is where your opposition is trying to find ways to make you worried about one too many things and create that psychological blind spot. On defense, you need to be ready for everything, or perhaps, pick and choose which situations are more important to be cognitive about. This is often what pro players mean when they say to mix up your offense. They're not saying to jump in pressing with a different normal, they're saying to do something that they haven't had to consider in a while.

It’s important to recognize which of the many offensive options in Street Fighter 6 is the deadliest at a given time. Getting hit by a Drive Impact while in mid-screen is significantly less impactful than getting hit by one in the corner.

While you’re mid-screen, Drive Impact is significantly weaker and offers much less reward, meanwhile, a jump-in closes the distance between you and your opponent and allows your opponent to start pressuring immediately. In these positions, worrying about the jump in, or the dash up is far more important. Hedge your bets and don’t stress about things that give your opponent low equity at the moment, unless your opponent has represented themselves to be the type of person to do it in very inopportune positions, consistently. Focus on being ready with your anti-air, or your checks for the opponent’s dash, or Drive Rush.

Haha! Man, you sure got me there.

Once you’re in the corner, the consequences of not stopping a Drive Impact become extremely deadly. This is the moment you should be most aware of the potential of a Drive Impact, as it will cause extreme damage if it lands while your back is against the wall. Be ready on the trigger in these positions.

Wait no, it's not funny now.

Similarly, while you are performing your own block strings, you don’t have to worry about things like the opponent jumping out or attempting to strike back because they will be getting hit by your normals by default. If your pressure consists of cancelable normals, you can end your string early at any time with a Drive Impact, and react immediately to your opponent trying to steal their turn back through the Drive Impact. Some characters can even end their block strings in specials, like quick fireballs, and still have enough recovery to respond with a reversal Drive Impact. Experiment with your characters and see what’s possible.

Justice is an illusion.

Simply knowing what to do is not enough to win, you need to be ready to do it, and it’s not feasible to be ready for everything all at once. Take the time to consider what’s important at the moment. Everything you learn how to do will always be at the top of your mind and will take a large amount of time to become habitual and automatic. Take your time, and no matter what the results screen shows, give yourself a win when you see that Punish Counter shine bright.

It's not over.