You're not logged in | Login / Register | News Filter | Submit News

5 moves that should be nerfed in Street Fighter 5's next balance update

Posted by John 'Velociraptor' Guerrero • January 7, 2021 at 3:40 p.m. PST • Comments: 71

It's been a good year now since we last saw one, but Street Fighter 5 will soon undergo a new balance update for 2021. The game has already been refined a handful of times over the last five years, but there are still a few attacks that are clearly too good and that ultimately sap away from the fun of the game when they're abused.

I've gone through and selected five such attacks that I think should be first in line (though they're in no particular order) for a good beating via Capcom's nerf bat when the next update rolls out some time in later February.

Kolin's V-Trigger 2 (Absolute Zero)

It feels almost as though the moment V-Trigger 2 became available, every Kolin player migrated to using Absolute Zero and left Diamond Dust in the... rear view mirror. This enhancing Trigger gives Kolin insane mobility, much more range with her normal punching attacks, and seems to last forever.

Kolin is a decent character without Absolute Zero, but becomes a contender for top 5 with it. The fact that this clearly incredible Trigger is just two bars is an issue for many an SF5 player, and Capcom should most definitely make it cost three bars of V-Guage going forward.

Many two bar Triggers are especially useful because characters can often activate them twice in a round, and while this is technically true with Kolin, Absolute Zero tends to last for quite a long while and is often used to deliver the final blow. It seems relatively rare that this comes out twice in a round, but at least we'd see it pop up later than we do now.

I can see an argument to have it consume more gauge while active, but we should probably see what the move to three bars is like before going any further.

Bison's EX Head Press

This is a move that seems to beat almost everything you throw at it. Once EX Head Press is out there, you very quickly learn to simply block and do try much in the way of trying to beat it. Bison flies through the air in a fashion that can easily make anti-air attempts whiff entirely, bounces off your head, and comes down with yet another attack or a quick flight to the other side of the screen.

You can see this move coming a mile away and still it feels like there's almost nothing you can do about it... when you can say that about an attack, there's a good chance it's just not very balanced.

Those of us who have been playing SF5 since the beginning can probably agree that we've seen this attack countless times, learned our lesson about trying to beat it, and every so often still find ourselves trying to counter it (because it's so obvious and because Bison hangs out in the air for so long) only to be painfully reminded of how good it is.

On top of all this, Bison has multiple options in mid air both before and after the stomp makes contact. It's somewhat difficult to imagine how to nerf this attack effectively, but perhaps a good place to start would be to make Bison's hurtbox wider during his out of stomp options so he doesn't get free jump in situations there.

Akuma's Air Fireballs

A downward-angled fireball from the air is naturally a powerhouse tool in a two dimensional fighting game like Street Fighter 5, and developers did tone this move down from Akuma's SF4 iteration (in which he was able to toss them while jumping backwards), but still we so often see air fireballs grant ridiculous and unneeded advantages.

You can't really take this attack away from Akuma, I get it, but you can most definitely balance out the risk vs. reward. Air fireballs make foes hesitate by blocking out a huge portion of the screen for a few moments, offer a ton of hit stun that almost always leads into a full combo when one of these bad boys lands, and they change jump trajectory.

In the event that Akuma misses with one of his Zanku Hadokens, he's left vulnerable for a punish for a whopping 4-11 frames depending on the strength of his attack. The rewards are massive, the risk is nearly non-existent as you'll rarely be in position to punish a whiffed air fireball, and when you are, good luck timing it correctly with any kind of consistency.

Add 10 frames of recovery on landing. He can take it, he's a big boy.

Seth's Axe Kick (Annihilate Sword)

This move just gets too much mileage without enough thought behind it. While not exactly a dive kick (one of the fighting game genre's most infamous types of attacks) Seth's axe kick changes his trajectory in mid-air, and essentially turns jumps into mix ups.

The amount of moves Annihilate Sword winds up beating is uncanny, and it carries extremely low risk as the light and medium versions recover just nine frames after landing. While not impossible to whiff punish, axe kick has a huge hitbox out in front of it so it's rare a foe is in the perfect spot to get it to whiff and be close enough to do something about it.

The fix here is to simply add some risk given the huge and multifaceted rewards. Seth should stumble for a good deal more than a measly nine frames if this attack doesn't find its target, perhaps for a total of 14 or 15. Seth is surely a strong character, likely one of the game's best, but tweaking this attack alone will surely make him feel more honest.

G's V-Trigger 1 (Maximum President)

This was my main hope last year when Capcom updated us into Champion Edition, but instead of toning down this embarrassingly strong V-Trigger, they simply tried to encourage more use of V-Trigger 2 by buffing that. G may not be the best character in the game, but Maximum President is overpowered and has been doing a lot more harm than good over the last few years.

G has a handful of strong other facets to his game, but many of those have been explored and opponents have figured out effective strategies to counter them so they now, more or less, fall into the enticing back and forth that is real time Street Fighter problem solving. Maximimum President, however, still tends to lead into less thoughtful 50/50 situations that allow for way too much damage.

By not nerfing this move last year, Capcom seems to have made something of a declaration that this is what they want G to be. Fine, especially since he depends so heavily on it, but how about instead of allowing him to use it to make up to 5 low rush punches safe, we tone that back a bit?

My suggestion for this attack is to make it consume more V-Gauge than it currently does. Some characters are just going to have super powerful tools when they activate, but maybe G's VT1 should get about two thirds of the mileage it currently does.

Load comments (71)