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3 important lessons we've learned about using V-Shift effectively in Street Fighter 5

Posted by John 'Velociraptor' Guerrero • March 19, 2021 at 7:15 p.m. PDT • Comments: 31

When we got our very first glimpse of Street Fighter 5's latest mechanic, V-Shift, the potential felt almost overwhelming. Was it something that would completely change the way the game was played? Would it only be useful to escape pressure? How effective might it be on offense?

Now we've had this new ability for nearly a full month and while more answers are surely to come, we've started garnering a reasonably vivid idea of what V-Shift truly means for Street Fighter 5. While it doesn't seem to be the catch all some of us feared it would be, it's certainly altering decisions and commitments in the heat of battle, and we've hammered down a few useful truths to help you better wrap your mind around V-Shift.

We're seeing V-Shift used more and more often as players build it more and more naturally into their game plans. It requires a good bit of intent with a certain threading-of-the-needle approach, (which lines up nicely with Street Fighter 5's general style) as simply tossing it out can quickly drain both your V and life gauges.

That said, some of the most routine situations we've come to know in SF5 are no longer hard truths we simply have to hold and hope to live through, and understanding where and when to precisely use and look for the use of the maneuver is becoming increasingly integral to seeing success in this newly evolved game.

We've previously covered some of the basics and first thoughts about V-Shift, and now we're getting into a bit more of the nitty gritty. Below you'll find three very important takeaways about this mechanic that should help your Shift game level up by a good margin.

It Can Stop the Turn Stealers

A good pressure string isn't going to leave any room for interruptions, but a number of Street Fighter 5 characters have long been taking advantage of untrue strings that simply look a lot like real ones.

This often goes for the likes of Necalli, who so frequently will combo his normals into light stomp, but can steal extra advantage if he goes into heavy stomp. You'll also see Kage slip in turn stealing attempts as his axe kick functions in a very similar manner.

Seth is probably the most notable offender here as he very often uses low forward into light spin kick as a true string poking tool, but can substitute heavy spin kick to steal frame advantage and an additional turn. Characters can try to interrupt here, but it's very difficult to see which strength attack he does while in the heat of battle.

Seth's sequence here isn't as straightforward as Kage or Necalli's, however, as the light spin kick string still leaves a tiny gap that you can Shift. You'll need to mess around with timings here and put most all of these strings into Training Mode to be ready for any and all nuances.

Timing a V-Shift to interrupt these strings means you don't have to play this particular mini game at such a disadvantage. If the aggressors get greedy and go for the heavy versions, you can now V-Shift out of the situation and, since you're talking about moves with relative ton of recovery, score some gnarly punishes.

The Stakes go up in the Corner

V-Shifting in the corner becomes a bit of a different beast for both the defender and the aggressor as there simply isn't as much space for the characters to move.

This means the stakes are higher for both parties as whoever winds up at advantage after a corner V-Shift is likely going to be able to dish out heavy damage as a result.

If the defender Shifts and doesn't get the slow motion parry, they leave themselves in a counter hit-able state without having placed any extra distance between them and the aggressor.

If the player on the offensive gets one of their moves Shifted, they're much more of a sitting duck and can be hurt much harder for attacks that can only be punished with V-Shift Break when mid-screen.

This naturally means we should expect to see a bit more hesitation in corner rush down, which leads us nicely into our next point.

Manipulating via Mere Threat

V-Shift's direct effects are very significant, but they don't encompass everything the new mechanic brings to SF5's meta. At a broader level, the maneuver simply adds one more potential layer to the mind games that organically come with rock/paper/scissors style choices.

That's not to imply the majority of SF5's interactions are simple 50/50's or 33/33/33's as there are many more factors that go into making such decisions as to whether to strike, throw, or block on wake up, for example. It is to say, though, that attackers have one more variable to consider, one more juggling pin to keep in the air, and one more thing to convolute their execution processes.

You should be using V-Shift, but you should also be considering and using the mere threat of V-Shift to manipulate your opponents.

If your foe is looking for it, (perhaps you're in the corner and they know you're really needing an out) it might mean they hesitate to allow you to Shift your way into an early grave.

It seems inevitable that the option to resort to wake up and reversal buttons is naturally going to become more efficient as competitors on offense have that much more reason to hesitate. It's important to think of this as one more tool you now have to influence and cloud your opponent.

Closing Thoughts

By no means does this paint the full picture as already we're seeing players begin to figure out kinds of option selects and other more advanced ways of dancing with V-Shift, but it should give you a good few things to become more aware of and practice while you play.

Has the mechanic manifested in the way you expected it to? We'd be very interested in hearing how you perceived it vs. how it's actually functioning in your own experiences. In this same vein, are there any particular scenarios you've found V-Shift to be especially useful in?

Sound off in the comments and help us as we try to master this new and exciting chapter of Street Fighter 5.

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