How To Win Street Fighter 6 Matches [Top 10 Tips]

Chun-Li extends her hand to help the player in Street Fighter 6's World Tour.
Let Chun-Li show you how to win your Street Fighter 6 matches.

Street Fighter 6 is a great fighting game stuffed full of gameplay options and features. So many features, in fact, that being intimidated by the bevy of them available after starting the game is understandable. This potential frustration will only increase as you delve into matches and start fighting other opponents online, and could boil over into a stressful opportunity. But fear not; there are tips and tricks to help guide you into the game like E. Honda settling into the hot springs. You’ll become an expert in no time.


1. Play the Tutorial

Don’t think you’re hot stuff and skip this.

There is not a better way for a new player to start learning how to properly play Street Fighter 6 than by playing the tutorial, including those who’ve played prior Street Fighter games. Street Fighter 6 is a complex game with several new features compared to prior titles. Others have been modified so their mechanics work differently compared to similar ones in Street Fighter IV and Street Fighter V. Not to mention how different the controls are depending on whether the “Classic” or “Modern” control options are chosen. The Tutorial carefully walks players through all the new features.

This is also a prime opportunity to figure out whether you want to adopt the “Classic” or “Modern” options, to learn how different both control methods are for using basic attacks and Supers. The Tutorial also remarks on the other differences between the two, with Modern options reducing the number of player functions available thanks to the usage of fewer buttons. Moves also do less damage. This is the period to carefully consider which option to master.

  • The Tutorial isn’t too extensive, which makes it an even better idea to experience upon starting the game.
  • SF6’s Tutorial teaches gameplay features that are fundamental for all characters, regardless of which one you want to focus on. (We’ll delve further into that topic later.)
  • This is great for teaching you the basics of how to have a good offense and defense for basic attacks.
  • Finish every tutorial lesson available. Don’t leave a single one untouched.


2. Play the Character Guides and Combo Trails

The same goes for the Character Guides and Combo Trials. Complete them.

The next essential step after learning the gameplay fundamentals is knowing which character you want to play. Street Fighter 6 isn’t even a year old yet, so the roster isn’t too overwhelming at the current count of 20 (soon to be 22). But nearly every character has a distinguishable style, which means you should think carefully about which one you’ll want to focus on. This is all made easier in this Street Fighter installment thanks to the extensive guides for each of them, though they’re so robust that you should only focus on one to start with.

The Character Guides and Combo Trials will walk the player through several moves each character is capable of. In addition to their basic special attacks and Super Arts, the Trials will even teach basic and advanced combos. It’s worth playing all of these to fully understand what you’re getting into depending on which character you want to play. You should know if you can handle the heat at an advanced stage, after all.

  • The Character Guides are comprehensive, but won’t teach you everything. Feel free to experiment on your own time in the training room too -- AFTER you’ve settled on a character.
  • If you’re stumped at a character’s basic combos, consider switching to another character. Don’t worry, you’ll find one.
  • If one advanced combo from a character has you stumped, consider whether it’s practical to learn.


3. Master the Drive System in Particular

The Drive system, well, drives Street Fighter 6.

Finishing the tutorial and character guides for specific characters is essential, but it’s worth taking the time to practice with the Drive System in the Training room by itself. The Drive system in Street Fighter 6 is its own unique and complex beast, worth using for enhancing attacks, performing the best and strongest combos, and rushing the opponent down. So many functions are attached to it that any player should take time to tinker around with the attack and combo possibilities to determine how it can best be used with your chosen character.

Specific elements of it should be focused on here. You should find out the best attacks each character should use after performing a Drive Rush towards an opponent, and when they should be used. Also practice how well Drive Impacts can be used in the corner against opponents, which will create the best combo opportunities. This will cause the opponent to crumple and collapse even if they block it.

  • Every character has a different speed attached to the Drive Rush. Learn how fast the character, and you by extension, can react after a Drive Rush with your chosen character. Don’t waste that meter for nothing.
  • A corner Drive Impact is one of the best combo opportunities in the game. It will crumple the opponent if blocked, but will also dizzy them if they’re in a Drive burnout stage.
  • That said, don’t overly rely on the Drive meter. Playing Street Fighter 6 well is all about being unpredictable. Using Drive Impacts and Rushes too frequently will leave yourself open to counterattacks


4. Don’t Stay in Training Mode for Too Long

The lab is nice, but it’s also nice to step outside it.

It’s far too easy to remain in the Training room practicing and honing combos for too long to get down the timing for certain techniques and counterattacks. This goes double for Street Fighter 6 thanks to all the data available during Training, with options not only for displaying damage values but also frame data. Those are cool and useful features and all, but be careful not to spend too much time with all of them.

Just because a player can nail a long and complicated combo in the Training room doesn’t mean they can pull them off during a live match with a real opponent. Not to mention that playing with the training dummy for too long will teach the player bad habits, as the AI cannot make guesses and react like a human being will. Go ahead and take some time to train, but live matches are even more worthwhile for learning how to play the game efficiently. 65 percent of the time should be spent in live matches, while about 35 percent should be used for training.

  • Don’t take this as an underestimation of the good data and battle honing that Street Fighter 6’s Training modes and Character Guides can provide. Just don’t do it for TOO long.
  • The training modes are useful enough, in fact, that you shouldn’t skip it before going online. You DID read the advice above this number, right? Sure you did. 
  • Fighting real opponents, online and offline, is a better way to discover where your weaknesses reside. Don’t hesitate to return to training after finding those out, unless it’s a skill you can only learn through live matches like not caving under pressure.


5. Don’t Worry Too Much About Tier Lists

“Low-tier” does not always mean “weak.”

It’s tempting to look at tier lists and think that you simply must play a top-tier or high-tier character to stand a chance online, or even in some local tournaments. This is an overrated way of thinking, especially for modern fighting games. In most cases, there is no need to be concerned about where a character rests on a tier list before picking them up. If you like that character, stick with that character.

This especially applies to fighting games still in their first year, as Street Fighter 6 is still in now. Tier lists are still extremely in flux, with players finding new tricks every week or so. Not to mention how some players can excel with lower-tier characters. With how Snake Eyez plays Zangief, for instance, you’d never think he’s regarded as one of the worst characters in the game. Don’t worry about this too much.

  • A wide variety of players with varying skill levels play online, thus making tier lists irrelevant, especially in the lower levels in online rankings.
  • Characters higher on the tier lists are also frequently seen online, outside a few exceptions. This makes them very predictable. A lower-tier character not commonly seen online has a baked-in advantage of being more unpredictable.
  • Tier lists are ever changing. A character ranked low on the list can be higher within weeks if tricks are found, or if they simply weren’t being used well.


6. Study the Best Players

Watching the experts is another good way to learn tricks and combos.

One of the best ways to learn how a character should be played involves studying the tactics of players who are experts with the chosen character. From here, you can adopt many of their tactics and apply them to learn how a character can be utilized to their fullest. A healthy and well-balanced fusion of all their tactics will give you a unique approach when fighting other opponents in any offline or online environment.

This was a tested and true tactic for fighting games that spent months in arcades before getting home console releases, one especially helpful back in the Street Fighter IV days. Fortunately, anyone jumping into Street Fighter 6 at this current stage has the benefit of watching a bunch of players who are experts with their characters in matches, outside those recently released through downloadable content. It’s far easier to watch the footage in pristine quality thanks to how advanced YouTube has become these days too.

  • Don’t seek to mimic everything one player does. Take inspiration from a bunch of players to form your own unique style.
  • There are plenty of matches available featuring a bunch of high-level players on YouTube. Search for them with their online handles. They’ll sometimes even upload their matches to their YouTube accounts themselves.
  • To pull off their tactics, you should spend time in the Training room and with the Character Guides to get the character styles down. There’s a reason why this list is in this order, you know.


7. Don’t Hesitate to Hop Online

Nothing gives you experience like some hands-on (and knuckles-on) time.

You might be thinking to yourself that you need to hone everything before jumping into the vast online arena, a competitor’s den that will sometimes determine the best of the best. But that’s not necessary, and is the result of overthinking. Don’t hesitate to jump into online matches. Street Fighter 6 is a popular fighting game, which means several other players will be learning how to play alongside you. Well, assuming they’re not trying to win by using monotonous tricks or consulting a flowchart.

Not everything can be learned in the Training modes, Tutorials, and Character Guides. Learning how to pull of those techniques and combos off in live matches is considerably more important, alongside understanding the best opportunities to pull those attacks, counterattacks, and especially combos off. Fighting a real person is a whole different world compared to a training dummy, or even an AI-controlled opponent.

  • One thing fundamental to know when playing online: Play to win. Your opponent won’t hold back on you, and you sure as hell shouldn’t hold back on them. If you’re so good that you end up creating an online combo video, that’s not your fault.
  • On the opposite end, don’t take losses too hard. It’s only a matter of time before you get your clock cleaned. Take these as learning opportunities and don’t give up too quickly.
  • Also remember that online matches aren’t always the best judges of skill. Too many variables can occur online, including iffy connections and occasional server issues. It’s nice that the online issues aren’t as bad as Street Fighter V’s, though.


8. Go Ahead and Burn Yourself Out

You can fight through the burnout, you know.

During the beta testing sessions for Street Fighter 6, the consensus for using the Drive meter was that players should use the attacks and maneuvers whenever necessary. But they should also make sure not to burn themselves out, and leave themselves open to counterattack opportunities in the process. This advice was premature. The benefits from using the Drive meter are so great that going into burnout when the meter is expended is just fine.

After all, you don’t HAVE to feel defenseless. Most characters on the roster have opportunities to defend themselves from attacks while the Drive meter recharges. It’s also good to make sure you don’t find yourself in the corner to begin with. Being Drive Impacted in the corner will open yourself up to a massive combo under ordinary circumstances, but it’s considerably worse during burnout thanks to this leading to instant dizziness. Burning out is a risk, sure, but not taking advantage of great combo damage opportunities is an even worse decision.

  • All that said, you should still make sure to use the Drive meter wisely. Don’t simply use Drive Impacts or Drive Rush maneuvers without considering a strategy first.
  • Also don’t be afraid to throw out a Drive Reversal every now and then. The meter burn is worth keeping the opponent off you to remove their pressure.
  • Remember to learn what skills each character can use to counterattack opponents during the burnout stage in the Character Guides. Let’s again reiterate that there’s a careful order to this post.


9. Take Advantage of Corner Drive Impacts

Have a plan whenever you get a great combo opportunity.

If you’re lucky during a match, you’ll have the opportunity to land a Drive Impact in the corner. The maneuver will stun the opponent temporarily if it hits directly. But a Drive Impact in the corner if blocked will crumple the opponent as they bounce into the wall. This is a unique and quick combo opportunity, and you should not let this go to waste.

This is the time to land a big corner combo. Don’t let your opponent get away with minimal damage, and especially don’t simply let them fall to the ground with no punishment. Have a plan to capitalize when the opponent is stunned, as they’re only open for a little more than a second here. Taking the time to practice corner combos will help you get ready for this, with some combos that might be part of the Character Guides for each face on the roster.

  • Opponents are well aware of how uniquely vicious corner combos in Street Fighter 6 can be at this point in the game’s life, but you’ll still receive these opportunities occasionally. Make sure to plan for it.
  • If you have any Drive meter leftover for this, don’t hesitate to use it to capitalize on a big damage opportunity.
  • This all goes double if the opponent’s Drive meter is depleted and the character is in a burnout stage. Landing a Drive Impact on a burnt-out character in the corner will lead to a dizzy stage, giving the player a great opportunity for a massive combo.


10. Master Perfect Drive Parries

This is yet another great combo opportunity to pull off, but it’s far from easy.

Let’s not mince words here: Perfect Drive Parries are very difficult to land. This will happen when the player performs a Drive Parry on an attack just before it lands, and will grant them the opportunity for a counterattack after slowing down time. The player will also recover the Drive meter lost if it lands. It’s a high-risk maneuver thanks to the timing necessary to pull it off, but the reward is so great that every player should learn it.

Damage scaling will reduce the power of a counterattack during this opportunity by 50 percent, but it’s still worth it for the unique attack chance it offers. It cannot be understated that learning how to land these is extremely difficult. Make sure to practice the timing required for it in the usual Training mode (aka the lab), but playing the basketball minigame through the Arcade and World Tour modes is also a good way to master it. The mode rewards the player if they Perfect Drive Parry every basketball.

  • Press both the Medium Punch and Medium Kick buttons just before the attack lands to trigger this. It sounds easy, but it’s FAR, from it.
  • Let’s also be honest about how you’re not going to nail Perfect Drive Parries every time you attempt one. Even the best tournament players can’t. But at least strive for it.
  • Also learn to have a plan after you nail one. This, again, is why you should practice combos in the Training room and Character Guides.


The lesson in this guide for how to win at Street Fighter 6 is to not skip practice. It’s not a good idea to jump right into the game and hop online and expect to win. (The game’s launch window was the best opportunity for this.) Do that after getting ample practice in. This way, you’ll have the opportunity to capitalize on all the other players who didn’t heed this advice and didn’t practice. Having a baked-in advantage is good, actually.


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Geoffrey is the lowest-level Druid imaginable who read too many gaming magazines as a child. This made him decide that he wanted to do this video game journalism thing professionally.
Gamer Since: 1985
Favorite Genre: RPG
Currently Playing: Assassin's Creed Unity
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