Street Fighter 6

Street Fighter 6 (SF6) is a 2D fighter that focuses on meter management and balancing risk and reward. The Drive Gauge is the game's central mechanic. Players start each round with full Drive Gauge, granting them access to almost all their best tools from the very start. Drive Gauge is spent on various offensive and defensive tools, including a versatile combo starter and extender. However, depleting the Drive Gauge completely results in a disadvantageous state known as Burnout. A player who spends all their resources on a huge combo may put themselves in Burnout and potentially cost themselves the round if the combo doesn't kill. Another exciting aspect of meter management is that players don't have complete control over their Drive Gauge. A player can't deplete 90% of their Drive Gauge then play it safe because their opponent can deplete the other 10% and force them into Burnout. In Street Fighter 6, you're constantly thinking about not only your own resources but your opponent's as well.

Helpful Resources

The SF6 wiki.
The Street Fighter Reddit.
The SF6 Resource Hub Discord.

Notation

Attack Notation

LP Light Punch Jab
MP Medium Punch Strong
HP Heavy Punch Fierce
LK Light Kick Short
MK Medium Kick Forward
HK Heavy Kick Roundhouse

Directional Notation

up-back up up-forward
back neutral forward
down-back down down-forward
ub u uf
b n f
db d df

High attacks are overhead attacks that must be stand blocked. Mid attacks are attacks that can be blocked with both stand block and crouch block.

Street Fighter 6 uses Modern frame data notation. If an attack has 7 frames of startup, it hits on the 7th frame.

Drive Gauge

The Drive Gauge is the meter under the character's health bar and it's spent on many different offensive and defensive mechanics. Players begin each round with 6 Drive Stocks. Drive Gauge depletes and temporarily stops building when blocking attacks and suffering punish counters. Drive Gauge builds automatically with time and builds faster by walking forward and attacking. You can perform actions that consume Drive Gauge even with insufficient meter, but doing so will completely deplete your Drive Gauge and put you in Burnout.

Overdrive attacks are enhanced special attacks. Perform them with the special attack input and two punches/kicks. Overdrive attacks cost 2 Drive Stocks.

There are no invincible DPs without meter. You'll have to spend 2 Drive Stocks to make a special attack invincible with Overdrive.

The Super Gauge is the gauge on the bottom of the screen and it carries over between rounds. Super Arts are this game's super attacks. You have a Level 1, Level 2, and Level 3 Super Art. Level 3 Super Art becomes Critical Art at low health when your health bar turns yellow. Critical Arts function the same as the Level 3 Super Art except it does more damage and has a cooler looking cinematic. Super Attacks deplete and pause your opponent's Drive Gauge, while your own Drive Gauge continues to build.

Damage scaling for Level 1 Super Art is never more than 30%, Level 2 Super Art is never more than 40%, and Level 3 Super Art is never more than 50%. Level 1 Super Art is cancelable from normal attacks. Level 2 Super Art is cancelable from Overdrive attacks and normal attacks. Level 3 Super Attack is cancelable from special attacks, Overdrive attacks, and normal attacks.

Since Drive Gauge replenishes at the start of each round and Super Gauge does not, it's preferable to spend Drive Gauge before Super Gauge. Drive Gauge builds automatically with time so you're encouraged to spend it instead of hoarding it.

A counter hit happens when you attack the startup frames of your opponent's attack. A punish counter happens when you attack the recovery frames of your opponent's attack. Counter hits add 2 frames of frame advantage to your attack while punish counters add 4 frames of frame advantage to your attack and depletes your opponent's Drive Gauge. I like punish counters because players are rewarded with big combos for having good neutral and whiff punishing instead of for rushdown and mixups.

In addition to extra frame advantage, many attacks gain special properties on counter hit or punish counter. For example this knee launches but only on punish counter.

Drive Parry

Drive Parry with MP+MK. It costs half a Drive Stock to activate and is essentially an enhanced version of blocking. Drive Parry activates immediately and parries all attacks. It parries high attacks, mid attacks, low attacks, attacks from the front, and attacks from behind. You can hold Drive Parry after its initial activation by spending more Drive Gauge. Drive Parry doesn't change the frame advantage of the attack that was parried. Drive Parry has recovery frames and during these recovery frames the parry properties disappear but the character is still able to block attacks. If you get hit during the recovery frames of Drive Parry, it counts as a punish counter.

Parrying attacks build Drive Gauge. The amount of Drive Gauge you build depends on the attack you parry. At the very least, you will build as much Drive Gauge for parrying an attack as you did activating Drive Parry. If you parry multiple attacks with the same Drive Parry by holding it, you can build much more Drive Gauge. Parrying doesn't sound rewarding but remember that blocking attacks depletes your Drive Gauge, so think of parrying as a way to block attacks without losing Drive Gauge.

Drive Parry is low rewarding so it's low risk. Don't worry too much about punishing Drive Parry with damage. Getting your opponent to waste Drive Gauge on a failed parry is a reward in itself because Drive Gauge is such a valuable resource.
Throwing is the best punish to Drive Parry if you're in range. Throws cannot be teched at any point (including the blocking recovery frames) of a Drive Parry, the throw does a lot of extra damage as it's a punish counter, and the throw will be a hard knockdown.

If Drive Parry parries an attack on the 1st or 2nd frame of activation, the screen freezes and it becomes a Perfect Parry. Perfect Parry does not cost any Drive Gauge and it freezes your opponent for a punish. Perfect Parry only has 1 frame of recovery and is invincible for 6 frames. Perfect Parry is cancelable into Drive Rush. Perfect Parry is very advantageous, you can punish your opponent's light attacks with your own heavy attack. Damage is scaled 50% on Perfect Parry to prevent it from becoming too powerful.

You have to actually time your parry with the impact of your opponent's attack to get a Perfect Parry. This means you can't buffer or hold parry out of hitstun, blockstun, or wakeup and get a Perfect Parry if your timing is not perfect. For example, my opponent hits me with an attack and it leaves me in hitstun at -4 frame disadvantage. I hold parry during hitstun and my character will parry as soon as they exit hitstun. My opponent does an attack that hits on the 6th frame. Even though the mathematics add up (6-4 = 2) and I'll parry their attack on the 2nd frame of my parry, it won't be a Perfect Parry because I didn't time the input of the parry with my opponent's attack.

Drive Impact

Drive Impact is a forward moving armored attack performed with HP+HK that costs 1 Drive Stock. It is armored on frame 1 and will absorb two hits with armor. It absorbs strikes and projectiles but can still be thrown. On block it is -3 and inflicts a lot of pushback so it is completely safe on block. On hit it knocks your opponent far away and depletes 1 Drive Stock. It's a useful defensive mechanic.

If Drive Impact connects against a cornered opponent, on hit or on block, it wallsplats and starts a combo.

If Drive Impact absorbs an attack OR is a punish counter, it crumples the opponent for a big combo.

There are exceptions to this wallsplat mechanic. On hit, you can't combo into Drive Impact and get a wallsplat. On block, you can't have Drive Impact in a true blockstring and get a wallsplat. That means you can't force your opponent to block an uninterruptible string of attacks and get a wallsplat with Drive Impact.

Drive Impact is treated like a special attack and can be canceled into from special cancelable normal attacks. For many characters, a standing or crouching heavy punch into Drive Impact is a real combo and a useful way to deplete 1 Drive Stock from your opponent. On block, it's a useful way to push your opponent into the corner.

Drive Impact is slow and extravagantly colorful so it is designed for you to be able to react to it. The best counter to your opponent's Drive Impact is your own Drive Impact. Drive Impact will always absorb the opponent's Drive Impact and punish it for a combo. The player loses 1 Drive Stock for activating their own Drive Impact, another Drive Stock for getting hit by their opponent's Drive Impact, and half a Drive Stock for suffering a punish counter. A failed Drive Impact can result in the player losing a massive 2 and a half Drive Stocks and a lot of health.

If your normal attack is absorbed by Drive Impact and it's special cancelable, you can cancel into your own Drive Impact. That does mean that attacks that aren't cancelable are susceptible to Drive Impact.

It may seem strange that Drive Impact has exactly two frames of armor because in almost every fighting game armored attacks have either one frame of armor or unlimited frames of armor. This is for a very specific reason. Drive Impact was designed to counter buffered attacks in neutral. Buffered pokes like crouching medium kick special canceled into fireball have been very common in Street Fighter for decades. Buffered pokes like that were typically completely safe to perform, but in Street Fighter 6 they are now a big risk because Drive Impact will absorb both hits and punish with a big combo.

Drive Rush

Drive Rush is a quick rush of forward movement that is cancelable into normal attacks. It is activated by pressing forward forward during two situations: after connecting a special cancelable normal attack and during Drive Parry. It can be performed with MP+MK during a cancelable normal attack. It costs 3 Drive Stocks when performed after a cancelable normal attack and half a Drive Stock when performed during Drive Parry. Drive Rush differs from character to character as some characters have faster Drive Rushes than others. You can't block during Drive Rush until around the end of the move but you can start a normal attack out of it on the 8th frame. An attack performed out of Drive Rush gains +4 frame advantage. This +4 frame advantage stacks with Burnout, counter hit, and punish counter frame advantage. Unlike the previous games in the series, characters in Street Fighter 6 typically have very few attacks that are advantageous on block. If you want frame advantage to start rushdown, you usually need to spend Drive Gauge on Drive Rush.

Drive Rush can be used like a Roman Cancel and it allows you to hit confirm off of attacks. Street Fighter 6 was specifically designed to have shorter confirm windows than Street Fighter V. It is humanly impossible to react to many things in this game, notably hit confirming off of many low normal attacks. You'll have to spend Drive Gauge to hit confirm off of most of your normal attacks.

Drive Rush can be performed out of Drive Parry for an additional half Drive Stock. This doesn't have an official name but players informally refer to this as “Parry Rush”. Parry Rush is much cheaper than Drive Rush canceled from a normal attack and is a common way to approach in neutral.

Here are the frames of Parry Rush. The character has to Drive Parry for 3 frames before canceling it into Drive Rush, then they have to wait 8 frames before they can startup an attack. Since the fastest normal attack a character can have hits on the 4th frame, that means that at minimum a Parry Rush into normal attack will hit on the 15th frame because 3 + 8 + 4 = 15. When you add the screen freeze to Parry Rush, there is enough time for a human being to react to Parry Rush. It's difficult to do at first, but eventually you will instinctively react to a green screen freeze with a normal attack to interrupt Parry Rush.

Drive Rush reduces pushback on attacks as the character carries the momentum into their attack.

Drive Rush juggles airborne opponents. It's great to use as an anti-air or in combos.

Drive Reversal

Drive Reversal is this game's Alpha Counter. Press forward HP+HK in blockstun or parry to perform it. It costs 2 Drive Stocks, is invincible, and armor breaks. It knocks the opponent away and inflicts recoverable damage. It's -8 on block so it is unsafe on block. It's still a very good defensive mechanic as it beats strikes, throws, and Drive Impact. I like to use it when my opponent cancels a normal attack into Drive Rush because they spent 3 Drive Stocks and I negated their pressure with 2 Drive Stocks.

Burnout

When you've depleted all your Drive Gauge, you enter Burnout state. In Burnout you lose access to all tools that require Drive Gauge, attacks you block will inflict 4 more frames of blockstun against you, blocking special and super attacks causes you to take chip damage, and you can now die from chip kill. You'll exit Burnout when enough time has elapsed. You can exit Burnout sooner by blocking attacks and attacking your opponent. Once you exit Burnout, you'll immediately gain 6 Drive Stock.

Suffering a wallsplat from Drive Impact in Burnout results in a dizzy. The character is completely vulnerable while dizzy. They exit Burnout after recovering from dizzy.

When you're in Burnout, you're not able to use defensive tools that require Drive Gauge such as Drive Impact, Drive Parry, and EX DPs. Methods to counter Drive Impact without requiring Drive Gauge include attacking 3 times, using a multi-hitting special or super attack, using an armor breaking attack, jumping to make the Drive Impact miss, or throwing your opponent.

There are checkmate situations that happen because of Burnout. You can force a character in Burnout to block a heavy normal attack then cancel it into Drive Impact to wallsplat and dizzy them. While there is a gap between the normal attack and Drive Impact, a character in Burnout isn't able to interrupt the Drive Impact because the 4 added frames of blockstun make any attack they have too slow and because they lack defensive tools that require Drive Gauge.

If you don't want to be in a checkmate situation, don't put yourself in a checkmate situation. Don't block your opponent's heavy normal attack while in Burnout in the corner. Don't put yourself in the corner while in Burnout. Don't put yourself in Burnout in the first place. You control your Drive Gauge so if you end up in Burnout, that's your own fault.

Being in Burnout is clearly unfavorable but it doesn't guarantee you'll lose the round. You can decide if it's worth it to go into Burnout. I've willingly put myself into Burnout to get a huge damage combo, to put my opponent a few hits away from dying, to put my opponent in the corner, and to get my opponent away from me. Intentionally putting yourself into Burnout is a risk but sometimes in life you have to take risks to succeed.

Throws are performed with LP+LK and are teched with the same input. There is a whiff animation if unsuccessful. If a throw and strike are active on the same frame, the strike wins and counts as a counter hit. If two strikes are active on the same frame, it's a trade and both hits count as a counter hit. Throws in Street Fighter 6 have 5 frames of startup. A punish counter throw results in a hard knockdown and inflicts a lot more damage.

Characters are throw-invulnerable for 2 frames after coming out of hitstun, and blockstun, and 1 frame after knockdowns. Backdashes are throw-invulnerable from frames 1-15. They are not airborne.

Characters automatically quick recover after a soft knockdown. Or you can press two attack buttons on wakeup and roll backwards. Back recovery has the same amount of frames as regular recovery but it creates more distance between you and your opponent.

In this game, a hard knockdown is a knockdown where the defender can't roll backwards on wakeup. This term may be confusing because it's different from how other fighting games define the term hard knockdown. Counter hits and punish counters can turn soft knockdowns into hard knockdowns, and can increase the amount of time the defender is knocked down after a hard knockdown.

In Street Fighter 6, many knockdowns give a lot of frame advantage. If you knockdown your opponent in the corner, you're usually guaranteed good okizeme but if you knock them down in the middle of the screen, your opponent is usually too far away for you to get okizeme. This is intentionally designed to force you to spend Drive Gauge on a Drive Rush to get okizeme after knockdowns outside of the corner.

Since Drive Impact is almost always available to the defender and has armor immediately, it may seem like using any meaty on knockdown that isn't special cancelable is a risk because the defender can wakeup with Drive Impact. This is not the case, as Drive Impact is not that fast since it takes 26 frames to hit. You can meaty with an attack that has less than 26 frames of remaining active frames and recovery frames. I'll use Blanka's standing medium punch. It has 2 remaining active frames and 15 recovery frames, which is 17 frames. Even if the meaty gets absorbed with armor, it's fast enough to recover before Drive Impact hits.

Forced knockdowns are a little confusing because they're not really knockdowns. Forced knockdowns float a character out of the air into a juggle. Forced knockdowns happen when you hit a character out of an air special attack, air super attack, or air command normal attack (an air normal attack that requires an extra button input).

Perfect Parrying projectiles doesn't freeze the screen but it still has the same cancelable properties as a regular Perfect Parry. You can use this to your advantage by buffering Drive Rush during a Drive Parry and it will automatically come out when it's a Perfect Parry.

The fireball game in Street Fighter 6 is unique. Fireballs deplete Drive Gauge on block instead of chipping health. A cool technique is to shoot a fireball then Drive Rush to run behind it for positioning. The defender can counter fireballs with Drive Parry and Drive Impact so the attacker needs to vary the timing of their fireballs so it doesn't get absorbed or Perfect Parried. One strategy is to shoot a slow fireball when your opponent is expecting a fast fireball to get them to parry early and waste Drive Gauge.