Want to get into Street Fighter V but don’t know where to start? We’ve got you covered with the best SFV beginner characters. Insights from our very own Justin Wong.
Street Fighter V is one of the biggest competitive fighting games on the market, and the Capcom Pro Tour is just starting its 2021 season. Maybe you’ve watched some matches or some highlights, but you don’t know where to start with the game? This guide will give you a bit of a hand with which characters to start out with, giving you a head start on the competition. These are the best SFV Beginner Characters out there, and Esports.gg's Justin Wong helped us narrow down the list to just five.
1. Ryu - The original Chad
Ryu is the poster boy for the Street Fighter series, and he’s always been a character that doesn’t take a lot to get started with. He has 4 special moves, and each one of them has a simple application.
Hadoken is his fireball, a standard projectile for screen control and a rather safe cancel option from his normals. Shoryuken is his anti air special. The medium one is air invincible, making it the perfect option to use against opponents jumping towards you.
Tatsumaki Senpukyaku is the famous hurricane kick. This special moves forward and is projectile invincible, making it a good tool to try and get in against opponents who become too predictable with their fireballs. Lastly, he has Jodan Sokutou Geri, or more commonly referred to as “the donkey kick”. This special move reaches far and deals fairly good damage, with the EX version causing a wall bounce that lets you follow up with another move for big damage.
Ryu has a simple gameplan, and simple but effective moves to help him achieve his goals. Using his good range poke tools that can cancel into his special moves, he can easily chip away at an opponent’s health bar. If he does get an opening, he can use some of his EX meter in order to hit harder than a lot of the cast. He has very high damage that’s easy to obtain.
2. Cammy - The rushdown Queen
Cammy is a simple to understand rushdown character. Like Ryu, she doesn’t have too many complicated things about her, and her plan is simpler than Ryu’s. She does one thing, but she does it well, she likes to get in on the opponent and pressure them with fast, hard hitting moves that leave her up close to continue her assault.
Her Spiral Arrow is going to be the move you use the most often. It hits low, and it hits fast, leaving you right next to the opponent after it hits so you can continue to pressure. The EX version is even projectile invincible, helping you close the gap against zoning focused characters. Her Cannon Spike is her uppercut, working similarly to Ryu’s as an anti air option, though her’s reaches a bit further forward.
Her Hooligan Combination allows her to have a bit of mix up with her approach. If you don’t push a button after inputting the special, she’ll hit low, if you press a kick, she will hit high, and you can even follow up with a grab against grounded or airborne opponents! Her final move is Cannon Strike, her divekick which allows her to not only change her approach timing, but also allows her to change her airborne momentum in order to mix up the opponent’s anti air timing.
With lots of long reaching normals and her fast special moves, she is a strong rushdown character that any beginner can fall in love with.
3. Ed - the psycho powered boxer
Ed is a newcomer to Street Fighter V, and he was actually designed with beginners in mind. Rather than having traditional fighting game inputs like quarter circles and dragon punch motions, his specials rely only on the buttons.
His Psycho Flicker is a quick hitting, safe on block special similar to E. Honda’s hundred hand slap. All you need to do is mash punch buttons for it to come out. He has a simple fireball with Psycho Spark, only needing to press forward and medium punch to start it, then follow up with another punch to choose the speed.
Ed's uppercut, Psycho Upper can be performed by pushing two punch buttons at the same time, and the EX version is completely invincible.
His Psycho Rising is another uppercut style move, but it’s more for use in combos since you can follow it up with Psycho Splash. Finally, he has Psycho Knuckle, a move that’s safe on block, and causes a crumple state on hit, only needing you to hold Heavy Punch to use. If memorizing the various inputs for special moves isn’t your speed, Ed could be the choice for you.
4. Sakura - easy footsies
Sakura was a bit on the weaker side when she released, but since then Capcom has given her quite a few buffs to make her quite the threat. She shares special move inputs with Ryu, having a similar fireball, uppercut, and hurricane kick special move spread, but her versions of the moves focus more on rushdown.
Her Shunpukyaku is her version of the hurricane kick, but rather than knocking the opponent away after the move lands, she leaves the opponent standing, and she lands right next to them. One her strongest tools is actually one of her nomals.
“Sakura is able to just keep the pressure going on and just abuse pokes with her standing LK which will make people who don’t have footsies actually do have footsies.”
Esports.gg's Justin Wong says, “Sakura is able to just keep the pressure going on and just abuse pokes with her standing LK which will make people who don’t have footsies actually do have footsies.”
Her standing Light Kick in particular reaches much farther than most other characters’ light buttons, and is cancellable into her hurricane kick or her uppercut, allowing her to get some meaningful damage off of a very fast poke.
5. Nash - Jacked zombie
Nash is another character who has recently benefited from buffs, making his pokes faster, safer, and able to lead into more damage than before! He has an amazing forward and back dash, which allow players to easily manoeuvre into a range that they feel more comfortable in.
Esports.gg's Justin Wong says, “Nash I believe is also very easy because he can zone quite easily because his moves are not charge like Guile and he is also super fast which will get people caught off guard. A lot of times people really find it easy to learn Nash just because you feel like there is so much freedom with his movement in general.”
He’s got a very good fireball with his Sonic Boom, good anti air normals and specials, and a strong cancel option with his Sonic Scythe special. He even has a dive kick like move with his Moonsault Slash, allowing him to close the distance on his opponent, and even combo if it hits. With his command normals acting as incredible pokes, he is a great character to use if you want to abuse strong normals to chip away at the opponent.
The 5 best SFV beginner characters
Each one of the characters listed in this guide are excellent starting points for new players to learn how to play different fundamentals of Street Fighter. Each one of the characters is also well represented in higher tiers of play, making it simple to watch a pro level match in order to absorb the information, strategies, and concepts that higher level players use to pilot those characters to success.
"Going through the trials of the character you want to play. You have to learn the combos as best as you can."
These characters can either be a stepping stone as you move onto more difficult characters, or they could even be your long term main! For a quick crash course, be sure to do the in game trials for your character of choice, Justin Wong even says, "Going through the trials of the character you want to play. You have to learn the combos as best as you can. If you have issues learning the combos then focus on grabbing a lot. Grabs in this game are so essential and you MUST use grabs at any given time.".
You can also watch these pros for some tips on how to use these characters.
Ryu: Momochi, Daigo, MDZ Jimmy, Justfog
Cammy: Kbrad, NL, Mago, Kazunoko
Ed: Infiltration, Nemo, Trashbox
Sakura: Nauman, ChrisCCH, Alex Meyers
Nash: RonaldinhoBR, Bonchan, Infiltration
To check out more of our SFV guides head over to our Street Fighter section.