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7 Steps to Choose Your Main in Street Fighter V

Fighting games offer lots of characters, and this is obviously a good feature. Many fighters make the whole experience interesting and unpredictable – you can find your perfect way to win matches, and at the same time, you’ll not get bored of fighting the same virtual opponents again and again.

The opposite side of big rosters is the difficulties for newcomers in choosing their main character. There are so many of them, even too many! You can find yourself in exactly such a situation in Street Fighter V – the game has 40+ characters, and those who do not have a significant prior experience risk getting confused.

This guide will help get the max from your time with Street Fighter: choose your main character, develop powerful skills, and have lots of fun.

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Why are they locked?

The first thing you may find confusing is shopping carts that lock most of the fighters. Where are those 40+ characters?

There are two versions of Street Fighter:

  • Arcade Edition contains only basic 16 characters;
  • Champion Edition – with 40 characters from four Seasons.

Capcom is going to release five more fighters as part of Season 5 in SFV. They sell the Character Pass for having them separately.

If you have an Arcade Edition, you can purchase the Upgrade Kit. Or, you can unlock all SF5 characters directly in the game.

Find your perfect fighter – 7 steps

A problem may arise even when you open the starting screen. The game has so many modes that you may not know where to start.

Step 1 – Complete the story

There are two options:

  • General Story – A Shadow Falls. It can be locked in your game. To play it, visit Steam or PS Store and install the free DLC.
  • Character Stories that explain background and motivation of the fighters.

Complete General Story. It allows players to feel the atmosphere of that world and the subtle spirit around the characters. It’s also a chance to feel them in the fights.

Don’t go through all the character stories in one go. The combat here is pretty easy. The stories are too vague. It would be better to complete the story of a character you are interested in and then play them in other modes.

Step 2 – Play Ryu and Ken in the Arcade and Survival modes

These characters give the general feeling of the fighting mechanics. Ryu is the face of the Street Fighter series, so naturally, most of the beginners like him and play him. The moveset of Ken is slightly different, and he is widely considered to be a better fighter.

Both the Arcade and Survival modes consist of a series of fights against different opponents. In Survival, fighters should use special power-ups to regain health and improve their stats. Both are fun to play and not too hard for beginners – Arcade adjusts opponents to your level, while Survival has four levels of difficulty.

Look for the Survival mode in the Challenges section.

Step 3 – Repeat the plan – Character Story + Arcade/Survival

Spend a decent amount of time with both Ryu and Ken. You need to learn their Basic and Unique Attacks, practice their Special Moves, and easily get victories in Arcade and Survival. Then abandon those guys for a while.

One mistake many Street Fighter beginners make is sticking to their first character (often, it’s Ryu). The game is much bigger than this, so don’t limit yourself!

While gaining experience with Ryu and Ken, you meet many opponents. Who do you want to practice next? Don’t think too much, choose just any. Then practice with this guy or girl in the same way you practiced with the first two characters.

Reach such a level of mastery when you understand the character and know their features. Then move forward. 40 characters to practice is a significant number, but the process is exciting, and you will be able to learn all your potential opponents. Finding the best character especially for you – this achievement is worthy of the efforts.

Step 4 – Choose one and rush into multiplayer

The beauty of this Street Fighter V guide is that you don’t have to follow the specific sequences of the steps. If you feel ready to try multiplayer matches immediately after practicing Ryu, do that. But again, don’t stick to him or anyone else so far. Give others a chance!

Multiplayer fights in Street Fighter (and many other fighting games) are a tough experience. Beginners risk getting destroyed and losing their motivation, so proper preparation is crucial. On the other hand, only multiplayer matches give the real powerful joy of playing Street Fighter. You should test your skills and understand your character much better – playing against real people is a perfect way to do so.

No need to go to multiplayer with each SFV character. Select only those you enjoy and those you get victories with.

Play Casual Multiplayer Matches! Get enough experience first and only then start the Ranked fights.

Step 5 – Check out tier lists and watch esports tournaments

Street Fighter has gained its exceptional popularity in the fighting game community not only for the variety of characters but also (and mostly) for the depth of the fighting mechanics. The more you play someone, the more effective stuff you can perform with them. But to actually do this, you need to invest much more time in practice.

While choosing your Street Fighter main, take into consideration how well this guy or girl is performing on the professional scene. Pro players choose mostly those characters who can compete at the super tough top level. Can your potential main be seen at such events as the Street Fighter League?

Also, it may be helpful to check out tier lists of Street Fighter characters. For example, you may find such characters as Ryu and Nesh at low levels, so it would be better to choose someone from the upper tiers as your main.

Step 6 – Reach the highest level possible and… reconsider your choice

At this point, you should know for sure who your favorite characters in the SFV roster are. But wait a moment! Who told you to make a decision once and forever? The best way to win in many different matches is to remain flexible. Reserve the right to change your main. But don’t jump between characters too often.

Play one fighter really a lot, develop your skills to the max, and only then take a look at other characters in your personal list. Most of the prominent SF players are effective with 2-5 fighters, so feel free to follow their steps.

Step 7 – Never stop learning

Street Fighter V has been changing since the original release. The developers add new fighters and adjust the abilities of existing ones. And you should always be able to adapt to this ever-changing situation.

In fact, the process of choosing your main may never end. For example, Olivier “Luffy” Hay played Rose in Street Fighter IV but then changed his main to R. Mika in SF5. And now, he can return to Rose again as she is part of Season 5.

Never-ending learning means always keep opportunities open – for changing your main and for improving your skills with the current favorite fighter.

Street Fighter is a huge game. You can delve into it as deep as your dedication allows. Having signposts in this journey may help a lot and prevent entering bitter deadends. Hopefully, this guide is helpful for you in the process of selecting your Street Fighter 5 character and in having no obstacles to enjoy the game.


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BossMac Suba

Owner and lead reviewer for Back2Gaming. More than 10-year of corporate IT experience as well as consumer IT journalism. His extensive skill set and experience in communicating complicated technical details into easily understandable bits. He's been with you since dial-up and the ISA slot. His favorite animal is the scapegoat.

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