Pro players give their tips on how to play Street Fighter V's Seth
The Mad King has returned, equipped with a bevy of moves and mixups to take down the opposition. We download the data with professional players to figure out how to play the game's newest character.
Slightly dysfunctional yet dangerous, Seth's ceaseless hunger to acquire the data of every fighter has led them to the fray of Street Fighter V. To match their arrival, the Champion Edition DLC character is equipped with a new Doll Unit Zero body and a different arsenal from their Street Fighter 4 debut. Mimicked special moves such as the Sonic Boom and Spinning Pile Driver from the preceding game have been dropped to better align with the former leader of S.I.N's gameplan.
This makes picking up Seth a little challenging for long-time fans, unassisted by the character's complexity that exceeds the average Street Fighter. To figure out Seth's complicated toolset, we put our heads together with some top players on how to operate them properly.
This is the power of the king
Even though the current Seth doesn't share much in common with the previous model, at least visually, many are picking up the warrior based on nostalgia. For Wong 'Denesis' Yin, his professional gaming career began using the Mad King. "Seth was the character that introduced me to competitive Street Fighter 4," he says. "I played very casually until Lee ‘Poongko’ Chung Gon's Seth fought Daigo Umehara's Yun at Evo 2011. This character made me want to grind hard since then. I'm picking up Seth simply for my love of the character."
Emirati Street Fighter star Amjad 'AngryBird' Alshalabi also travelled a similar path. "I picked up Seth because he used to be my main character in Street Fighter 4," he says. "I really liked Seth's style."
Since there's little legacy left behind, Seth fans will have to work from the ground up. Starting fresh means looking at what the warrior has at their disposal.
"When I try to use a new character, I first check if they have a three frame normal attack and a reversal," says Angrybird. "Then, I check how they approach the neutral." Having those tools helps characters in Street Fighter V to escape and/or possibly start their own pressure, and Seth happens to possess both. Their crouching light punch is only three frames, which can link into Light Hecatoncheires, and the dragon punch reversal called Mad Cradle has an EX version that's fully invincible when meter is used. Either of these can be effective ways to turn the tide of any match, especially during these early days of exploration.
Angrybird adds that learning damaging routes can be a heavy deterrent to would-be mashers. "I study how to maximise my damage with the character first, in order to make sure that whenever someone makes a mistake, they'll be punished in a way that makes them not want to repeat it," he says. Examining ways to play optimally can be the fine line between a clean victory, or an upsetting defeat.
At the start, Denesis devoted much of his time visiting the game's training mode with Seth as well. "I spent the first few days labbing, figuring out how to use the more simple V-Triggers and Skills. Also, I practiced combos and okizeme setups," he says. "I only spent, like, 30 percent of my time in a real match. I needed to get the knowledge down before I dived into matches."
Once that was locked down, Denesis tested it out on the battlefield, so that his practice didn't go to waste. "Of course, knowledge and muscle memory will come to a bottleneck if I don't play matches enough, so now I'm playing more and more matches, since I think it's time."
Witness the glory of the Tanden Engine
With focused practice came a better understanding of Seth's abilities. Denesis believes their various normal attacks, such as crouching medium punch, the Step Shoot command normal, and crouch heavy kick have great utility.
"Crouching medium kick is confirmable, so it's still good, despite its large hurtbox," Denesis comments. "Standing heavy kick is an amazing anti-air button. The reward makes me not want to anti-air with Mad Cradle, even if it is good."
AngryBird adds standing light kick to the mix, as it's great for buffering into Seth's many special moves and hit V-Trigger faster. "V-Skill 2 (Tanden Booster) is very good to gain V-Gauge fast," he says. "Since you can combo it from Seth’s normals.”
But it's not the V-Skill he prefers. "Whenever I play against a very good player, for example Adel 'Big Bird' Anouche, I would get punished for throwing out Tanden Booster in the neutral to gain V-Gauge," he adds.
AngryBird feels like Seth's V-Skill 1, Tanden Engine, is more his speed. It can be used without linking into the character's normals attacks and, if done at the right time, be a way to combat fireballs. The suction-based move still can be comboed from some of Seth's normals and the opponent can't land a reliable punish they happen to block the vacuum.
"It's -2 on block, so that's very good," he says, warning about the downsides of the Tanden Engine. "What I don't like about this V-Skill is, in order to use again, you have to use the stolen move."
While copied moves can prove beneficial, especially when granting some cool combos, the quality of what's acquired is purely dependent on the character Seth nabs it from. Finding a use for it in the heat of battle might be more trouble than it's worth, so AngryBird and Denesis suggest getting rid of lifted contraband as soon as possible.
Once either of the V-Triggers is activated, Seth becomes a massive threat. During V-Trigger 1, Tanden Ignition, many of Seth's special moves chain into each other, creating powerful extended versions that can quickly drain a lifebar. Denesis sticks with this choice due to that direct damage output. "Crouching medium kick in Tanden Ignition is too much of a threat to ignore," he says. "Plus, you get a super damaging reversal dragon punch. Also, Seth gets a confirmable Cruel Disaster into Hell's Gate. This Trigger is really good for being three bars."
That being said, he's still looking at opportunities with V-Trigger 2, Tanden Maneuver. "I think it will become a 2 V-Trigger bar weaker version of Aegis Reflector in the long run," he says. "I'll try to put more work on it until proven otherwise. The on-block activation pressure is somehow better than Tanden Ignition. And when you're making full HP comebacks, try to wait until the Tanden Maneuver mix up will kill before you activate. The mix up won't help you deplete 900HP, even if you land it on hit."
There are downsides to Tanden Maneuver however. "You can barely get it twice a round," says Angrybird. "If it's activated on block, the opponent can just wait a bit and V-Reversal."
I will put your data to good use
Though Seth comes jam-packed with dozens of ways to overwhelm opponents, they aren't without weaknesses. To compensate for an expansive set of tools, Seth has low health and stun values. Players will have to be extra careful to not get hit, because a few sequences from their enemies could be the round. And though the character's normal attacks can lead into damaging follow ups, Angrybird warns of using the mispacing ones, like forward heavy punch, as other players can capitalise.
Projectiles are another problem point for Seth, as they lack one to battle in the neutral. "It's actually quite hard for Seth. Cruel Disaster and Tanden Engine are good options, but you have to read the fireball pattern," says Denesis. "Plus, if the opponent feels it out, they tend to jump on reaction. Crouching heavy punch is okay, but a bit slow against fast fireballs/close range. I would say projectiles are actually tough for Seth to deal with, but it's not like there are no options. You need to take some risks though."
Cons or not, you can bet players as strong as Angrybird and Denesis will figure out the most optimal methods to play Seth.
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