Yesterday’s winter update blew the Street Fighter 5 community away as Capcom showed lots of exciting changes along the way for the game’s fifth and final season, but there’s one new addition that has our attention with a no doubt stronger grip than all the character shows combined: V -Shift.
Fans have been calling for a defense mechanic to shake up the overly crime-ridden Street Fighter 5 for years, and V-Shift seems to be checking the exact box … and maybe some.
We have already learned a lot about what this new mechanic is, but still have many questions as the devil is so often in the details of these things. It is impossible to say exactly how much V-Shift that will change the flow and feel of SF5 to FGC gets its hands on it directly, but there is good reason to speculate that the meta may develop to become almost unrecognizable after February 22. .
Given the footage we have, let̵
What is V-Shift?
By using a V-Shift in SF5, your character will flash blue and quickly stick backwards at the expense of a bare V-Gauge. Your character will be invincible to throws, projectiles and strikes during this movement, and if you have time for Shift to happen just as an enemy’s incoming attack is about to hit (it looks like normal throws) , you get a refund of half a bar V-gauge and go into slow motion mode where you get great benefits.
Watching the opponent’s whistle in slow motion will allow you to react with the best punishment for the situation, and this can be done with any of the character’s techniques that can reach in time. or via a V-Shift Break: a forward attack that strikes down and can only be performed after a successful V-Shift.
Incoming attacks with fast recovery will probably not be too prone to Shift penalties, as we saw a character V-Shift an opponent’s pause during the show window, but larger attacks with more recovery will probably be fewer and longer between when this update is implemented.
Given that Shift costs V-Gauge and can be performed almost anytime during the match, we will naturally see less V-Trigger use, as players will tend to use the meter to escape sticky situations.
We have to wait and see how common the mechanic is during games, but it is certainly a scenario where the game’s meta changes heavily to be based on this new tool.
V-Shift seems to serve as a strong counterweight to obvious attacks in the neutral, and will likely cause players to use much more hesitation and thought before throwing out big buttons or obvious specials.
In fact, SF5 is notorious for allowing cavaliers to use powerful tools because they have too little risk, and this may very well change the nature of much of the game’s overall risk vs. reward dynamics.
Changes in neutral
Something similar to SF3’s parry, this will add a universal alternative based on the players’ ability to predict and react to the enemy’s movements. Now instead of waiting and holding unavoidable far-reaching heavy buttons or quick special attacks that can be safely and advantageously interrupted in V-Trigger activation, we have a more usable answer to these scenarios.
We saw in the moving display window that V-Shift has an interesting effect on incoming attacks that can be specifically interrupted on blocking. Ryu sticks out a hooking medium kick like technical whips as Rashid V-shifts it, but Ryu is still able to interrupt in his fireball, which means that buffers in the neutral will get a little nervous about this.
Necalli, for example, likes to buffer his trampling behind some of his norms since it is relatively safe on blocking. If he does this and his opposition changes one of these norms, however, the tramp will still come out in slow motion, and they will have all the time in the world to watch and punish it.
In addition, slowly moving projectiles such as Laura’s Thunderclap, Dhalsim’s critical art, Ed’s V-trigger 1 or Guile’s lightweight Sonic Boom can be displaced, which means that some of the traps such attacks create very well may need to be reinvented. It also seems to provide a new escape route for unavoidable but non-blocking stunchip-out situations as with G’s Critical Art.
Changes in nearby skirmishes
V-Shift seems to have some direct implications for how the extremely common close-ups push interactions in SF5.
It essentially adds a new and very viable alternative to the mix, as defenders can use it to counter frame traps, and much of Street Fighter 5’s meta has always revolved around the great benefits of having a frame advantage in the face of the enemy.
Frame traps, which are now cemented in many players’ muscle memory, can now be counteracted with V-Shift.
We saw it escape three frame holes during the Winter Update stream, and it’s already big, but if it works the same way for two or one frame hole, SF5’s pressure coil can be turned upside down.
As already indicated, we are very interested in finding out exactly how quickly invincibility sets in when you activate V-Shift. This will greatly affect the usefulness, and honestly we are a little worried that it has the potential to make the game too defensive if it is too versatile.
Can this be used when you wake up to avoid virtually all the options? This seems to quickly break the game if true, or at least get rid of waking pressure to a dizzying degree.
We also have to wonder what kind of counters will be possible if players sniff when an opponent chooses to switch. Can you wonder about that and get more reward than the opponent’s just loss of yards? After all, players still stand to get the reward of escaping pressure, even if they do not get the slow motion effect and potential punishment.
Maybe forward jumps or hyphens will be able to chase V-shifts down, even if it does not seem that the maneuver has enough recovery to be punished very hard in the recordings we have seen so far.
We also do not know what the inputs are for Shift and Break, nor do we know if a successful Break actually deals or gray damage.
There are many that have yet to be answered and unpacked for this mechanic, but it seems almost certain to change the way SF5 is played.
We will probably see a lot more strategic throws and jabs when V-Shift adds risk to many big moves that badly needed it, and it may be that we actually breathe a little relief when opponents activate V-Trigger just because it takes this option off the table .
Many members of society are already speculating that this will be an incredibly powerful tool in the hands of regulators such as Dhalsim or grippers with weak defenses. In theory, it can get rid of an important weakness around which strategies against such characters are based.
That said, we’re talking about a game that is about to be re-imagined with lots of new variables. How these variables affect things in a vacuum is different from how they will work when they are in line with each other, so it is almost impossible to know how things will shake out before we have had plenty of time to experiment directly.
One thing is for sure at this point, and that is that Capcom has brought new potential and lots of intrigue to Street Fighter 5’s latest chapters. Hopefully this adds to the kind of balance and nuance we have hoped to see in SF5 and gives great speed in Street Fighter 6.