Five takeaways from Street Fighter 5's Season 4 update

A lot of things have changed

Posted by Steven 'Dreamking23' Chavez • December 17, 2018 at 8:36 p.m. PST

We're still trying to process everything that Capcom unveiled last night at the large, end-of-the-year spectacular that is the Capcom Cup. For starters, we have a brand new character on the Street Fighter 5: Arcade Edition roster — the vicious, evil Shoto, Kage.

We went from not knowing Kage existed to playing him with a matter of hours, and our heads are still spinning a bit.

On top of that, Capcom released the Season 4 update that added a massive wave of balance changes. Everyone on the roster saw some tweaks, and it almost feels like we have an entirely new game to learn now.

As just one of the EventHubs staff members who helped get all of our Street Fighter 5 coverage on the front page last night, I can attest to the fact that there is a lot of information to digest here.

So, in order to make things a bit easier on you fine folks, today we're going to share our five takeaways from the big Street Fighter 5 Season 4 update.

There were a number of important changes and additions made to the game over night, and we're here to help point them out and explain them to you. Let's get started.

Capcom is "doing things differently" this season

As we know, Kage is officially the beginning of the next Street Fighter 5 season. What's odd is that Capcom has yet to refer to it as "Season 4" — the fighting game community is calling it that for the time being.

In previous seasons, Capcom has be open and up front about the numerical title for each new year of content. On top of that, we've seen the same formula for the last three years / seasons: six additional fighters join the game by way of DLC over course of the year, and fans can purchase them individually with Fight Money, real money, or get the Season Pass for access to all of them.

We're now the midst of this next season, whatever it may be, and it is very clear that Capcom is changing things up. In fact, they said as much in last night's Capcom Unity blog post:

"Kage is only the beginning of the next season of Street Fighter 5: Arcade Edition! We’re doing things differently this year, so we’re eager to share the details with you soon!"

This means that the conventional rules for Street Fighter 5 seasons has likely gone out the window, and us fans are going to have to try a bit harder to predict what's coming in 2019.

As it stands right now, there is no Season Pass for this new season available or announced even. If information on how things are going to work isn't divulged soon, it could become troublesome for those looking to purchase all of the DLC characters and would like to do so in one fell swoop.

Characters that were big trouble got big nerfs

Shifting over to the official patch notes for this new Street Fighter 5 season, we see that several characters were toned down pretty severely. In particular, two characters that seemingly received more complaints than anyone else on the roster — Cammy and Abigail — saw a number of big nerfs.

On the Abigail front, most people expressed their dislike for how much damage the character did when he got an opening. The damage on many of Abby's main tools has been reduced, making it so that his combos won't be doing quite as much when he lands a hit.

On top of direct damage reductions to things like standing heavy punch (both regular and VT1 charged) and jumping heavy kick, Abigail was given heavy nerfs to his V-Trigger 1. This V-Trigger is has gone up to a 3-bar Trigger (meaning it'll take longer in a game to get it), the timer on it was reduced, and his V-Gauge gain from several attacks has been reduced in an attempt to make him less oppressive in battle and not as capable of robbing players.

Cammy also received several important nerfs. Firstly, her stun was reduced from 950 to 900, making her easier to dizzy. Abigail also saw his stun dropped from 1075 to 1000.

Her offensive pressure was also toned down due to changes such as her forward throw leaving her further away from the opponent after it lands (likely addressing the "just take the throw" meme that came about from Cammy's dominance when she has an opponent cornered). Crouching light punch has also gone from +2 to down to 0 on block, giving Cammy less advantage with jab pressure.

A number of her attacks are also more punishable now, including standing heavy kick and crouching medium punch — who now have 3 frames and 2 frames more recovery on whiff, respectively — and V-Reversal going from -4 to -6 on block. She also saw a reduction on her stun output so that she won't steamroll opponents quite as quickly anymore.

"Considering how continuously she can keep up the pressure, and her stun, we've adjusted the parameters for each of her special moves, and her defense," Capcom's developer notes said about Cammy's changes. "We believe this brings a balance to her risk/reward while keeping her sharp offensive flavor intact."

Certain invincible reversals now get punished harder

An interesting universal change was also implemented in the latest Street Fighter 5 season. After the update, certain invincible moves can be punished harder on whiff or block.

Basically, EX Reversals or other moves that have invincibility on the first frame will now take 1.2x more damage than normal from the first hit that lands during the punish window. "Only the first hit will deal 1.2x damage, but depending on the move used to start the punish, it could lead to a very damaging punish," Capcom wrote.

This means that moves such as Ryu's EX Shoryuken and Cammy's EX / VT1 Cannon Spike will be taking even more damage when they risk a strong reversal.

Ryu potentially gets the changes he so desperately needed

Another big takeaway here is Capcom's clear attempt to finally make Ryu better. Back in Season 1, Ryu was among the best characters in the game. However, after Season 2 dropped, the Street Fighter poster boy hit a long rough patch.

One big thing that people wanted to see Ryu have is a strong neutral game. The classic world warrior has always had two major staples in his arsenal that help him control the screen: crouching medium kick and fireballs. Both of these tools have been lackluster in recent Street Fighter 5 times, but it looks like they have both seen improvements in the latest update.

Ryu's Hadoken has seen a 2-frame reduction in overall movement, meaning every version of the fireball recovers slightly faster than it used to. On top of that, the push back on blocked Hadokens has been increased making it so that opponents are going to have a tougher time closing the distance.

Crouching medium kick has also been given an added frame of advantage on hit. This not only makes it a better poke, but in conjunction with the increase of Ryu's heavy punch Hadoken speed, cr. MK xx HP Hadoken should now combo from farther out — though it still doesn't seem to work from max range.

New tools for a handful of fighters

In the spirit of a fresh-feeling game, a handful of fighters were given entirely new tools to play with. We've seen the same happen back in Season 3, and this batch of new moves seems a bit more useful than the last set.

F.A.N.G was given an air dash where he flaps his shirt flaps like a bird and flies through the sky. It seems a little goofy at first, but players have already been sharing mix ups with his poison special moves and anti-fireball maneuvers that look pretty scary.

Abigail also gained a new command normal. By hitting downback + HK, the towering giant drops to the floor for a more traditional sweep — one that doesn't move him forward and require a huge commitment for the knock down.

Lastly, Chun-Li now has a new follow up to her V-Skill that adds more combo potential. Hitting MP + MK again after V-SKill sees Chun perform another kick in the air, which allows her to combo HK Lightning Legs when she lands (if timed correctly).

It seems like Capcom is trying to add some brand new flavor to the game each season, not just changing what already exists.

What were the big takeaways from the Street Fighter 5 Season 4 update that you noticed? Let us know in the comments below.

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