'You gotta know when to jab' - Punk, Smug and PR Balrog on the secret to success at Street Fighter 5

Do they know something we don't?

Posted by John 'Velociraptor' Guerrero • October 10, 2017 at 8 p.m. PDT

I've been trying to make it out to as many Capcom Pro Tour events as possible in recent months, and while out on my travels I've been lucky enough to have some pretty interesting conversations with some pretty interesting players.

I was able to hold my own back in the Street Fighter 4 days with Gouken, but have yet to see that same success in SF5. As a more competitively-minded player, I've been trying to figure out the seemingly elusive "secret" to consistent wins when it comes to Street Fighter 5.

While I don't believe anyone has a single statement that will suddenly unlock success in a manner as simple as the headline of this story might suggest, I do think tapping briefly into the minds of top players may help with my and any others' progress as we strive for growth in this unforgiving iteration of Street Fighter.

While at SoCal Regionals this year, I was able to speak with RISE|Smug, CYG|PR Balrog and PG|Punk, and get their respective inputs on the matter. Punk is currently the number one ranked player on the CPT leaderboards. Smug has shown consistent growth in leaps and bounds with his Balrog and is all but qualified for Capcom Cup this year.

PR Balrog has had less success this year than in years previous, but is still known as one of the smartest and most naturally skilled players the FGC over. I asked them to keep their responses short and sweet so as to give people more digestible nuggets of information to process.

Here's what each one had to say:

Smug

To consistently win at Street Fighter 5, the secret is in practicing all the time to stay fresh. Then study your matches and watch to see why you won, watch to see why you lost, watch to see how you ALMOST won or lost. That's all that it is.

PR Balrog

Don't think.

Seriously. I just go in and play based off my instincts. Otherwise, I don't know what the secret would be.

Punk

You gotta know when to jab. Not just on wake up, but in opponent's block strings and frame traps. I think I've won a lot of matches just because I know when there's a window to jab, or I get a read on someone and know when they're gonna let me do it.

This is the second installment in "The Secret to SF5" series. To hear what LPN, XSK_Samurai and 801_Strider had to say, check out the first right here.

Photo credit: Stephanie Lindgren (Punk, Smug) and Chris Bahn (PR Balrog).

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