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To prevent incredibly high damage combos, each move's damage in a combo sequence is scaled by 10% * (the number of moves in the combo - 1) up to 10 hits, after which a move will do 10% of its base damage. The first hit of a combo does 100% of the moves total damage, the second hit does 90%, the third does 80%, and so on down to a minimum of 10%. For Ryu's basic 3 hit combo sequence of MP, crHP xx HP Shoryuken the total damage is 245 (60 + (90 * 90%) + (130 * 80%)) rather than 280 as it would be without it. Below is a quick chart for easy reference.
Note: Minimum damage possible from a hit is 1 point including all types of scaling
The formula applies to each move, not each hit. Multi-hitting moves such as Ryu's b+HK or EX Tatsumaki Senpukyaku still only count as 1 move for the purposes of the above chart. This means b+HK, LK xx EX Tatsu would count as a 3 move combo dealing 219 damage (((40 + 40) * 100%) + (30 * 90%) + ((28 + 28 + 28 + 28 + 28) * 80%), not an 8 move combo.
Because of combo scaling, it is important to try to place more damaging moves earlier in a combo instead of later when possible. Starting a combo with a light attack will quickly increase the combo scaling leading to less damage overall. Similarly, filling especially long combo with low damaging attacks early in the sequence can lead to less damage overall.
As of Season 3, a Crush Counter causes a combo to start at 2 hits instead of 1, meaning all subsequent hits will do 10% less damage than they normally would as the next hit will start at 80% instead of the normal 90%. For example, with Ryu performing HK, HK with the first being a Crush Counter, the first hit will do 108 (90 + 90*20% from the counter hit bonus), however the second hit will do 72 damage (90 * 80%). Because of this for punishing reversals it is now a decision of getting the max damage possible or gaining V-Gauge.
Critical Arts Scaling
Critical Arts will always do a minimum of 50% of their total damage. Because of this they are great way to win a round.
GUTs is a term used to describe how damage works at lower health levels. The lower an opponent's HP is, the lower damage they will take. This system is implemented in all modern Capcom fighting games, and is designed to de-emphasis rounds being closed out by small pokes.
- Below 50% HP, moves cause 95% of their normal damage
- Below 30% HP, moves cause 90% of their normal damage
- Below 15% HP, moves cause 75% of their normal damage
GUTs applies to every move that connects under that threshold, and stacks on top of combo scaling. For example, if M.Bison (who has 1000HP total) has 500 HP left and is hit by Ryu's crMP, it will inflict 100% damage. At 499 HP (<50% HP left) remaining however, it will do 95%. These numbers also apply mid combo. A simple example is Ryu attacking Bison with crMP xx Hadouken when Bison is at 559 HP remaining. The crMP will inflict 100% of its normal damage (60) bringing Bison under 499 HP left, under 50%. Because Bison is now under 50% the second hit of the combo, the Hadouken, will inflict 90% of its original damage (due to combo scaling) * 95% damage (because of GUTs scaling) = 60 * 95% * 90% = 51 damage, brining the total combo damage to 111 HP. For more examples:
- If Bison is at 560 HP and Ryu performs crMP xx Hadouken, the crMP will do 60 damage bringing him to 500HP, >= 50%. No GUTs takes effect, so only combo scaling applies and the combo does 60 + (60 * 90%) = 114 damage.
- If Bison is at 499 HP and Ryu performs crMP xx Hadouken, the crMP will do 60 * 90% due to GUTs scaling as will the Hadouken. The total damage becomes (60 * 95%) + (60 * 90% * 95%) = 108 damage.
- If Bison is at 300 HP and Ryu performs crMP xx Hadouken, the crMP will do 60 * 90% due to GUTs, bringing Bison below 30%. The Hadouken will then do 90% scaling from being in a combo, and an additional 90% from being under 30% leading to the total damage being (60 * 90%) + (60 * 90% * 90%) = 102 damage.
This also applies to multi-hitting critical arts. Akuma's Raging Demon does 400 damage when the opponent is at maximum health, however when the opponent is at 49.9% HP it only does 332 damage, or 83% of its total rather than the expected 95%. The total damage will be slightly lower if the opponent is at 45%, as the opponent will reach 30% HP earlier in the move meaning the last few hits will be scaled further.
Similarly because of GUTs, there are certain ranges where an opponent would have been killed by a Critical Art at 50% HP but is able to survive at 49.9% HP. Balrog's Critical Art is a single hit that does 330 damage normally, 313 if the opponent has between 30 - 50% HP remaining (330 * 95% = 313), and 297 if the opponent has 15 - 30% HP remaining (313 * 90% = 297). If an opponent has 1000 HP, they will be killed at 300HP remaining (300HP means 95% scaling, 300 - 313 = -13, <= 0 means dead) but live at 299 HP remaining (299 / 1000 is < 30% so the Critical Art does 297 damage, 299 - 297 = 2 HP remaining).
For a deeper dive into the GUTs system in Street Fighter V, see WydD's Deep Dive Into SFV Guts Medium article. The health and damage values are based on Street Fighter V Season 4, however the concepts still apply.
Note: when checking damage values in training mode, it is important to let the opponent's HP regenerate. Otherwise GUTs will be in effect and give different data.
Canceling into a V-Trigger automatically scales a combo by 2 hits, reducing the next attack by 20%. A simple example of this is with Ryu; doing MP MP will cause 114 damage (60*100% + 60*90% = 114). Doing MP VTC MP does 102 damage (60 * 100% + 60 * 70% = 102). Subsequent hits will be 60%, 50%, and so on. This means canceling into V-Trigger can actually REDUCE the total damage a combo would normally do despite being more hits. V-Trigger Cancels often allow combos from moves that normally are not possible to combo from such as Ryu's MK, however for normal combos they should be used as late as possible to get the heaviest hits up front before the additional damage scaling effect is applied.
Another concept that you end up hearing a lot and will also be seeing a lot in this guide is the word "Frame". You are going to end up reading a lot about concepts such as Active Frames, Frame Advantage, animation frames, etc. etc. So without understanding what a frame is, you're going to get very lost very quickly.
The easiest way to understand frames it to think about everything that happens on the screen as a cartoon. In a cartoon, you have to draw one picture at a time so that, when played in rapid succession, each picture creates the illusion of movement. Each of these pictures are typically called an animation frame. In general, most video game consoles these days display 60 frames per second.
That's what happens on the screen in Street Fighter as well. Every movement a character makes, every attack they perform, goes through a set of what you can call animation frames. So some moves are made up of 20 animation frames. Some moves are made up of as many as 200 frames.
This is all we are referring to when we mention frames. Street Fighter V does indeed run at 60 frames per second, so frames are often used as a measurement of in-game "time". So if we say something like, "There is a 6 frame window you can perform this action," that means you have 6/60ths (which is 1/10th) of a second to perform the action.
Remember what was just said? That every action in the game, including attacks, are "animated" frame by frame? Well, with regards to attacks, every attack in the game has three phases: a startup phase, an active phase, and a recovery phase.
You can see it in every move. Hit a button, and your character will start a move, hit the opponent, and then finish an animation. That's all these phases are: the period of time before your move hits the opponent, the period of time the move is hitting the opponent, and the period of time after the move hits the opponent.
So take those periods and break them down into those "animation frames" we just talked about. The start of your attack before it can hit the opponent is made up of Startup Frames. The animation frames during which your attack can actually hit the opponent are known as Active Frames. And everything that comes after those Active Frames are considered Recovery Frames.
These three types of frames make up the skeleton of every attack, and all three types are super important to various aspects of the systems and concepts that make up Street Fighter V. So become familiar with these terms and keep them in mind throughout the guide.
Two terms will be used a lot in this guide: Hit Stun and Block Stun. Those of you playing Street Fighter are well aware that the game is all about hitting the opponent right?
Well, if you notice, whenever you land an attack on the opponent, the opponent gets "stuck" in a state. When you hit them, they go into an animation of reeling from getting hit. When they block your attack, they get stuck in a blocking pose for a fixed amount of time.
These are what are referred to as Hit Stun and Block Stun. Hit Stun is the concept that, when hit, you are stuck in the reel animation for a while. Any hits that connect during your Hit Stun are considered a hit that combos on you. And Block Stun is the concept that, when you block an attack, you are stuck in the block pose for a while. Any attack that connects on you during Block Stun is considered a true Block String. These are very important concepts to understand as they will be talked about a lot throughout this guide.
Hit Priority System
New to Street Fighter V is the hit priority system, which refers to when two attacks collide on the same frame. In Street Fighter 4 when two moves landed on the same frame and neither has invincibility, both players would take damage regardless of the strength of the move; the stronger move would cause more damage and have more advantage but still be hit usually meaning he cannot continue a combo afterwards. In contrast, Street Fighter V uses a hit priority system where if two moves land on the same frame, the higher strength move will win. A simple example is a 5f medium punch that is +1 on block. Pressing MP twice will cause a 4f gap; in Street Fighter IV the opponent could press a 4f light attack and trade, sacrificing health to get out of pressure or secure a win if the opponent is at low enough HP. In Street Fighter V however since medium is higher than light, the medium attack will beat the light attack with the Ryu player taking no damage. Further, it will count as a counter hit allowing bigger combo opportunities. Because of this it makes getting out of block strings and pressure in general much more difficult, and playing the neutral game scarier.
The priority system is easy to remember: mediums and heavies beat lights, heavies beat mediums, and specials beat normals. When two buttons of the same priorities collide, they will trade as in Street Fighter IV without any benefits.
Input Priority System
When multiple inputs are entered on the same frame, the game will decide what action to take based on its input priority system. It works as follows, with those higher on the list taking precedence over all those lower on the list.
- Chains take precedence over any other input
- Throw takes precedence over all others, except if the previous move can chain into another light attack
- V-Trigger takes precedence over V-Skill
- V-Skill takes precedence over specials
- Specials take precedence over any normals
- Command normals take precedence over regular attacks
- Heavier attacks take precedence over lighter attacks (Medium over light, heavy over medium and light)
- Kicks take precedence over punches
Critical Arts have the same properties as a special for these purposes.
For a few examples:
- If MP+LP is inputted, MP will be performed because MP is a higher strength than LP
- If as Ken crLK crLP+LK is inputted quickly, another crLK will be performed because chains have higher priority than throws
- If as Ken b+MK+HK is inputted, b+MK will be performed because command normals have higher precedence then HK even though it is a higher strength
- If as Ken qcb, f+HK is inputted, qcb+HK will be performed because specials have higher precedence than command normals
- If as Ken qcb+MP+MK is performed, MP+MK (V-Skill) will be performed
- If as Ken qcf, qcf+LP+LK+MP+MK+HP+HK is performed, throw will happen because it has the highest precedence.