Using Poison's whip cancels in Street Fighter 5 is some of the most fun I've ever had in this game

Bait, combos, and pressure await those who put in the time

Posted by Steven 'Dreamking23' Chavez • August 10, 2019 at 12:43 p.m. PDT

We here at EventHubs have been diving in deep with Street Fighter 5: Arcade Edition's newest contenders. E. Honda, Poison, and Lucia were released shortly after EVO 2019 this past weekend, and several of us here on the team have been taking the time to play the latest fighters to see what they're all about.

The character that I have taken the most liking to so far is Poison, and while I am a fan of many of her traits, I find myself enjoying one of her new techniques more than anything else — her whip cancels.

Capcom has done a great job in bringing a fresh take on Hugo's former wrestling promoter into Street Fighter 5. While the rekka-style special move and fireballs from games past didn't come back this time around, Poison now has a ranged whip maneuver that she can hold and cancel, which opens up a world of possibilities for her.

How it works

This particular special move is called Heart Raid, and it can be performed by hitting quarter-circle back and any punch button. Depending on the strength of the button you use, you will either hit a low attack (light punch), a longer-ranged mid attack (medium punch), and one that travels diagonally upward to catch airborne opponents out of the air (heavy punch).

Using Heart Raid sees Poison move into a unique stance before she unleashes the whip, and holding the punch button used actually keeps her in that stance until you release the punch or cancel the move by hitting a kick button. Coupling all of this with the fact that Poison can perform a special hop forward or back as many times as she wants while holding the whip charge makes for a mind game that can quickly dismantle opponents if done properly.

The sweet, sweet combos

One of the primary uses for whip cancels with Poison come when she's up close and combo-ing her opponent. If you cancel a normal into one of the Heart Raids, but then cancel the Heart Raid right at the beginning, Poison has the ability to combo normals that wouldn't normally combo into each other.

Doing something like standing heavy punch, Heart Raid cancel, standing medium punch leads to a more damaging bread and butter combo than something like crouching medium punch into standing medium punch. If you want to add even more swag and damage to your combos with Poison, you can actually toss in a crouching medium punch after the first cancel for an extended sequence — but you'll have to be pretty close up to do it.

There is something so satisfying about using these cancels in combos that takes me back to playing a character like Makoto in the Street Fighter 4 series. Doing Hayate (dash punch) cancels to score bigger damage, style on the opponent, and set up mix ups with command throw was always a blast to do, and this is no different for Poison in Street Fighter 5.

Lethal pressure

Speaking of Makoto's ability to use cancels to put foes into mix ups, Poison's whip cancels act very similarly and allow her to create some very scary block pressure. Once you get things going with cancels, you have the potential to give the opponent a ton of different things to worry about, which can cause them to slip up and make mistakes.

Simply using Poison's st. MP into itself acts as a frame trap, meaning you can threaten the opponent with that to kick things off. Once they clam up there, I like to start bringing out bigger buttons — like st. HP — and add in whip cancels to either continue throwing out big buttons, walk forward and throw, go low, or any other thing I can think of to open the other player up.

Is Poison going to cancel her whip and go for another frame trap? Is she going to let it rock and whip low (and potentially cancel into Critical Art)? What if she doesn't whip at all and instead goes for flip kick?

The possibilities for offensive pressure feel so vast here, but what's great is that they don't feel overly powerful. There are considerable gaps in the offense when canceling whip, but the key is to get the opponent afraid to do anything and pick the spots properly to really take full advantage of this technique. Once you do, you won't want to stop doing it.

The ol' bait and switch

If you're more into the long-ranged game and not so much of a rushdown player, whip cancels from mid-range and further out might be your thing.

Using a combination of Poison's three Heart Raid strengths can make the opponent nervous about committing to anything. With a direct hit of the medium version dealing 100 damage and all three combo-ing into super, one misstep could make things very rough for the opponent.

By tossing out properly timed and spaced Heart Raids, crouching heavy punches (Poison's longest, low-hitting normal), and the light version of her forward whip special (Avant Line) to control the space in front of her, you can put enough land mines in place to make an opponent apprehensive, and that's when you start faking whips with cancels to get them to flinch.

Whether it be faking a low or medium whip in neutral to anti-air with up kick or not cancelling at all and letting a heavy punch whip rock when the opponent thought low or mid was coming, the tightrope walk of playing Poison in neutral is extremely satisfying when you can get into the opponent's head and control the pace of the match. Also, it's really fun to bait a Critical Art with a whip cancel.

Overall, Poison has been my favorite addition of the big three that just joined Street Fighter 5. While her various tools and techniques certainly contribute to that, the thing I find myself enjoying most is her ability to cancel her whips.

If you haven't tried out Poison yet, I highly recommend you hit the training room and play around with her different abilities — especially whip cancels.

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