Street Fighter Alpha 3/FAQ

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I have seen some matches where characters get put into an infinite combo, how is that fair?

Alpha 3 has been played for a *long* time. What once was considered too difficult is now commonplace, and what was considered too hard then is still too hard now, like Rolento's infinite. Also, most infinites often require additional set-up to be used, and aren't even *true* if their opponent uses V-Ism activate after an air tech. There are some exceptions like V-Birdie who have access to their infinites whenever they have bar, but is often time their only saving grace in the competitive landscape.

Even with all that, pros still drop them, and they scale so much that the opponent will often have more meter than you do by the end, so they aren't exactly risk free. The average player is in no way able to do them consistently, so if you go play online right now there is a sub-1% chance that you will actually get hit by one in a set. They aren't the defining feature of A3 as many people think it is.

I've heard V-Ism is very dominant, are A-Ism/X-Ism characters not worth playing?

Again, Alpha 3 has been played for almost 25 years. In a setting where high level players have had over 2 decades to perfect their characters, it does tend to skew over V-Ism as the superior option most of the time thanks to their much improved whiff punish game, ability to guard crush or do an unblockeable, and damage potential.

However, this is far from the truth outside of high level. If one is not able to abuse VCs to the fullest, V-Ism comes with many drawbacks. Your damage is lower than other ISMs outside of VC, confirms suffer greatly without a super, guard cancels cost more than in A-Ism, and unlike super moves which often have neutral applications, activating VC in neutral makes you unable to block and getting hit gets rid of all the gauge. Not only that, since VCs are made of a lot of individual hits, they will more often than not fill up your opponent's gauge to the max, so if your character lacks good post VC meter build, you may be in some trouble.

There are even characters that after all this time prefer A-Ism over V-Ism, and even some X-Ism characters, which are generally considered to be worse versions of A-Ism characters, can give everyone a lot of trouble no matter the skill level thanks to their obscene damage output from just a jab starter thanks to their unique CPS1 chains.

The point being, unless your aim is to play at a high level, there is no real handicap to playing the other Isms outside of some problem MUs which are few and far between. If you are starting to play Alpha 3, learning your character and how to deal with the roster will take you way farther than labbing a VC combo that you are unable to use outside of training mode.

Wait, X-Ism has "CPS1 chains"? What is that?

CPS1 chains are a mechanic for X-Ism characters that is a throwback to a glitch found in CPS1 versions of Street Fighter II. The process is actually fairly simple.

Basically, any chain into a light lick can be a chain into hard punch if both are pressed at the same time. For example, Juli cannot normally combo into her 236K specials from lights, but her lights all chain into each other, so by doing something like 2LK > 5LK+HP, Juli will chain her low short into her cancelable heavy, which can cancel into 236K for pretty solid meterless damage.

This notoriously gives certain characters like X-Sakura and X-Zangief absurd damage for no bar spent. Getting acquainted with this mechanic is what gives X-Ism a fighting chance, as their damage potential from basic confirms is to be feared.

Juli? That name doesn't show up in the character select screen, how do I pick them?

On the arcade version of Alpha 3, there are 3 secret characters that can be accessed with certain commands. The save-states for matching with an opponent and training mode in Fightcade 2 already have the respective dip-switches turnt on for them to be available, so you don't need to tinker with anything. The three characters and their methods of unlocking are:

Juni : Highlight Karin for 5 seconds, go to random, hold either right or left, then press a button

Juli : Highlight Karin for 5 seconds, go to random, hold either up or down, then press a button

Balrog/Boxer : Highlight Karin for 5 seconds, go to random, hold start, then press a button

What's the Tier List?

Characters are listed with their best Isms. Historically, Anyone B class and above is viable for winning tournaments. Although characters from C class have also won majors.

According to a recent (2016) Japanese tier list from VER (current #1 player in the world) - Current Street Fighter Alpha 3 Tier List

VER's Tier List

(Widely considered the current #1 player)

A3 Tier List - All ISM

Street Fighter Alpha 3 Tier List (Written version)
Tier Character(s)
S V - Dhalsim, V - Sodom, V - Akuma
A V - Sakura, V - Claw, V - Karin
B+ V - Zangief, V - Ryu
B V - Charlie, V - Sagat, V - Cody, V - Rose, V - Cammy
C V - Rolento, A - Gen, V - Ken, A - Guy, A/V - Chun-Li, V - Adon
D V - Juli, A/V - Dictator, A - Blanka, A - Boxer, V - Juli, V Dan
E A/V - R. Mika, V - Birdie, V - E. Honda

Kyokuji's Tier List (2022)

(Current WNF Retro Season 2/Season 3 + 2XISM Winner)

(Kyokuji - IMO, anyone B tier or above has a good shot of winning a tournament. Characters in C+ can and have won tournaments before, but it's gonna be a lot harder)


Where can I find Match Videos?

VER Zero 3 channel

Monte Zero 3 Channel

BigOne Arcade SFA3 Casuals/Tourneys

Takedaru / Nagoya Game Box Channel

a-cho arcade

Game is Drug

Tenten channel

Oriren/443 channel

Makoto channel

Kyokuji channel

Fightcade replay archives


Crouch Cancels 101

Walk Cancel Guide

V-ISM explained

Reset invincibility glitch

Miscellaneous (Commercials, etc.)


riz0ne / Super Lore Boys (WNF Retro/2XISM)

D44Bas (Big-One Zero 3 re-streams)

Notable events

Ultimate Zero

Ultimate Zero (Z-ISM only)

Tower of Champions / Platinum League

TNF / WNF Retro

2XISM (Gimmick formats)

Game Navigation

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