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Everything you need to know about Street Fighter V, Season 5

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Street Fighter V’s Season 5 is here, featuring a patch that brings new mechanics and system-level changes. Here’s everything you should know, with help from Canada's biggest grappler advocate, Brutus.
By Ilyas MohamedPublished on
With Street Fighter being the face of Fighting Games to many, the new season is bound to bring in new players and old players alike. Now on its 5th Season Street Fighter V has changed quite a bit, and unless you keep up with the game on the daily it can be a lot. With the addition of new characters, new mechanics, and a change to the meta, it can be a bit hard to follow.
Of course, with a new season, comes excitement - and many questions. What do you have to know in order to pick up the sticks, and get back to pressing those buttons? Has anything changed about your main character (better or worse)? Are the new system changes meta defining?
That's where with the help of Brutus, a Canadian player who placed top 8 in the 2019 Capcom Cup Online qualifiers for the East Coast, we got you. We've put together a list of things you need to know before hopping into Season 5 of Street Fighter 5.
Abigail will have a resurgence this Season. [We] can still kill in one hit, and guess what - Abigail now has V-Shift! An actual defensive option!
Brutus

Out with the old

Take the throw.
Season 4 of Street Fighter V was ushered in with a very much needed patch: a universal change where every character could now get hit during the activation of their V-Trigger. It also brought in guaranteed counter-hit status for frame 1 invincible moves, as a fix for season 3’s adjustments of crush counters.
The meta favored a strong neutral game on top of characters having v-triggers you had to respect and couldn’t stop. Matches became so throw-heavy that even the SFV uninitiated understood the concept of “taking the throw”. Season 4 was also played mainly Online, during the Covid world pandemic, resulting in our first "at-home" Capcom cup.
Due to these circumstances, the event held 12 feature exhibitions between the 20 players and 4 invited individuals in a best of 7 format, instead of the usual end of the year bracket. Exciting matches were played and we got to see Daigo "The Beast" Umehara show us why he is still the GOAT winning his set with a broken pinky.

New characters

Saikyo-Style Karate is making a comeback.
As announced earlier this year, Season 5 is bringing some classic characters back into the mix. Fresh off of releasing Seth and “Street Fighter V: Championship Edition” to cap off Season 4, we were graced with the reveal of Dan, Rose, Oro, Akira, and Eleven for Season 5 bringing the overall roster to 44 characters. The only playable character from the group (as of this writing) is Dan, who returns in full force with his trademark Saikyo-Style Karate.
With his first appearance coming in Street Fighter Alpha back in 1995, Dan (a character who parodies Ryo of the King of Fighters series) brings a somewhat unorthodox style. The taunt-focused, Saikyo-Style Karate creates interesting variations in gameplay that feel true to the character, making his taunts more useful than most.
Dan's V-Skill 1 is a multi-purpose taunt that can be used to cancel his special moves and make certain special moves safe. His V-Skill 2 is a grounded taunt that can be canceled into another normal or special move making it great for frame traps. Both of these V-Skills do have the "taunt" focus that Dan is known for, but the variations allow for different playstyles to prosper. Both of his V-skills build V-Trigger for him and his opponent, and any V-Skill canceled normal will only do half stun. It certainly adds another element to think about when weighing your options. What matters more, styling on your opponent or sticking to a bread and butter combo to finish the job?
Probably the most unique V-Trigger in the game to date, Dan's V-Trigger 1 only needs 1 bar to be performed, which can be seen as both a blessing and a curse. With the newly introduced V-Shift using a full bar on whiff, it might be a little risky to use - but you’ll get multiple V-triggers in 1 round.
A big part of Street Fighter V was deciding between V Trigger 1 or 2 since they would have either 2 bars or 3. With V Gauge being tied to many defensive options (such as V-Skill, V-Reversal, and the comeback factor of V-trigger) one had to way the risk-reward of each one. Having just 1 bar that fills up relatively quickly allows you to use it more freely depending on the situation.
V-Trigger 1 is a multi-hitting projectile that, if charged, can cause a guard break, making it ideal for Okizeme scenarios. V-Trigger 2 changes his fireball and dragon punch specials, allowing for more combo potential. We asked Brutus about his take on Dan. He said, while his offense is quite strong, he will have a hard time dealing with characters with a strong zoning game.
I think Dan is pretty interesting. He has strong offense in the corner, and his pressure with the V-Skill Cancels is pretty cool. Once Dan gets in, he can be scary. But, he will be plagued by bad matchups. Characters that have strong fireballs or longer reach than him will give Dan a hard time.
Brutus
With his interesting approach to Street Fighter, and the most realistic critical art yet, it looks like Dan will be a great addition to the game. Pro players like Panda Global’s PunkDaGod have been using him in tournament quite frequently, so there’s no shortage if you’re looking for some great Dan gameplay to watch. Be sure to try him out yourself, and see if you could be the next star pupil of Saikyo-Style Karate, or even take over, since it looks like our favorite martial artist is venturing into entrepreneurship.

Introduction of V-Shift

Finally, some defensive options...
In SFV, a common complaint was about the scarcity of defensive options. The game played, at times, like a clinic on 1 sided oppression, and characters that didn't have a frame 1 invincible move had to hold a lot of stuff on wake up. V-Shift is a new defensive option, introduced as part of Season 5, that uses one bar of the V-Gauge by pressing Medium Kick and Heavy Punch together (from neutral) to perform an invincible back dash. This back dash will have your whole character emitting blue energy, sort of like Ultra-Instinct in Dragon Ball.
If a V-shift is performed as an opponent attacks, a slowdown will occur. This slowdown allows you to create a more optimal punish - but isn't the best in every scenario. That’s why there is a follow-up mechanic, "V-Shift Break". The V-Shift break is a counterattack that occurs if you hold down both buttons or press them again as the slowdown occurs. Your character will retaliate with a decently ranged strike back at the opponent. V-Shift is invincible to attacks as well as throws but the slowdown will only occur upon successfully evading an attack that would have connected.
I think it's going to be a very matchup dependent system. Because it is so specific, I think it will really reward lab time, figuring out your opponent's strings, and seeing where it's really good. At high-level play, it's going to be pretty hype, seeing some of the top players utilize it.
Brutus
The introduction of V-shift makes every defensive option in the game better, simply on the back of that added layer. It provides a way for players to reliably get out of 50/50 resets (think Urien's mirror - instead of holding 3 mixes, now you only have to guess on 1). It also allows characters that had no defensive options, like Abigail who is already pretty strong, to have a wake-up option to keep himself at bay before resuming the offense. The inclusion of V-shift looks to make the game healthier and stop the robbery situations that used to be a big problem. It’s not an answer to everything - more option selects are being labbed every day - but it does its job well.

Overall changes to the system

Literally built different..
Naturally, with a new season, comes new changes to the system. The season-based approach to fighting games challenges developers to find ways to make the game more fluid, and listen to the community outcry. Capcom has added a few, well-received, system changes to Street Fighter V such as The inclusion of V-Shift, adjustments to the anti-air properties of grounded normal attacks, special counter-able states from anti-airs, and the added scaling on throws that caused stun.
Adjustments to anti-air properties were something Street Fighter 5 players have been asking for, for years. Many jump in attacks had hurt-boxes positioned lower than their hitboxes, while grounded attacks had high hitboxes. This allowed characters to use fast, light attacks to anti-air. These moves generally aren’t meant to be used like that, leading to things like the much decried, "anti-air jab". Light attacks are fast buttons that recovered quickly, and some characters used crouching medium attacks which proved to be effective anti-airs because of their quick start-up.
This effectively made anti-airing somewhat of a muscle-memory reflex rather than a reaction, since you could just throw out a light kick or jab to check a jump in. For some characters, they would have to input the dragon punch motion just to get a reliable anti-air - and in order to do that, they would have to fully react to the jump to have enough time to input the motion.
To adjust this, hurt boxes on the lower half of all jumping attacks are now invincible to grounded light attacks while the character is descending after a jump. For medium attacks, a higher hitbox was added to some characters crouching medium punches, and the upper half of the hitbox for some characters crouching medium punch will no longer hit airborne opponents.
Characters with moves (double jumps walljumps, etc) that change their mid-air trajectory will now have a special counterable state until they land. They now run the risk of being put into juggle state, which can be followed-up on, if they’re not careful. In general, it makes some character's movements a little bit more predictable, since now they will now take more damage for a failed attempt at escaping the corner.
Like all system changes, the whole cast of characters is affected a lot in terms of their viability and gameplan. Characters like Dhalsim were hit the hardest - his V-Skill, which allowed him to float, was a great movement option but is now an easy way to punch his ticket straight into a juggle state. Anti-air changes affect him a lot too since his jab used to be a really good check tool.
Systems changes affect some characters more than others. For example, Dhalsim's anti-air ability, float neutral and his offense have all been seemingly nerfed.
Brutus
Anti-air jabs seemed to be a huge issue in Street Fighter 5 so players are happy that Capcom has finally taken a harder stance on removing them. In previous iterations, Capcom tried a couple of things such as making the invincibility/priority of jabs decreased for many characters causing more trades than a complete anti-air.
This didn’t really remove it but did make anti-air jabbing a little more timing-dependent. If you were someone who disliked the game based on jumping in and getting jabbed, now is the best time to get back into it.

Final Thoughts

What's next for the World Warrior?
How does the game feel right now? Overall, Street Fighter V seems to be in a healthier place thanks to the addition of V-Shift. Playing against someone and you lose because you blocked a normal into a V-Trigger activation before subsequently getting thrown four times to death never felt good. But ‘take the throw’, right? Sometimes you don't even feel like you made a mistake. We asked Brutus how he felt, regarding the state of the meta right now, and he seems to be enjoying it.
"The fact that they give you ways around the V-Trigger activations on the block is a big deal - I think it makes SFV more of a two-player game on offense and defense. Before, if your opponent was +3, you would have to hold that,” says Brutus.
“The inclusion of V-Shift, and not just [the act of] V-Shifting itself, makes all the other defensive options stronger and allows the game to be more like chess when an opponent gets knocked down.
In its fifth and final season, Street Fighter 5 became the complete game many were looking for. Support for the game is still alive and the introduction of system changes, in creating defensive mechanics and getting rid of anti-air jabs, is a great direction for the game to move in. Character balance, system-level changes, and new mechanics are all telling for a great season. While our friend Brutus is claiming Zangief is dead this season, boot up some Street Fighter V and try to prove him wrong!
Street Fighter is very much a numbers (frame data) driven game because there weren't many options to deal with certain scenarios, but now with the fluidity of offensive and defensive choices it feels less about hard numbers and more about the person you are playing.
Brutus