It’s been already more than a week with the new season 3.5 on Street Fighter V. A rather unexpected balance patch struck everyone, but mostly the pros, since it came out right before The Brussels Challenge: Major Edition. That caused people to adapt to the changes or face defeat. We’ll take a quick look at the general changes.
The first thing on the list is throw escape, also known as tech. Tech-ing a throw while doing a special move was something not known to most players, so this wouldn’t make much of a difference except on the competitive scene. A good example would be Hajime ‘Tokido’ Taniguchi’s Akuma, who while performing a tech frequently did the input for an ex-Demon Flip. That caused him to avoid being thrown if the opponent went for it and also perform the special move if they went for a shimmy. This issue has now been addressed with the patch and won’t allow you to do both of the actions above, but rather choose one, as it was initially intended.
Crush counters bear a resemblance to ‘focus’ attacks from Street Fighter IV. The latter allowed you to take a risk by betting your opponent will only make a single hit, if the guess was correct, usually it was followed by a nice punish. Right now, the crush counter serves the same purpose, it’s possible with heavy attacks that leave you exposed for longer, but if you get it right, the damage output was so good. Perhaps too good. That’s the reason the scaling on it is increasing, meaning that follow-up hits after that will inflict less pain than before.
Next up we have throw loops. Even though Capcom tried to get rid of them with the start of Season 3 some characters still had them. In this case, to completely solve the problem, they’ve added more frames to some throws or increased the distance. Few of the cast that still had throw loops were: Sakura, Ken, Abigail and more. But in order to make up for the lack of them, the damage and stun on throws have been both increased. This might seem like a small change, but it’ll change the way pro players think, as more often than not, they preferred to take a throw, than risk eating a full combo.
We’re also seeing a nerf to some overheads, making them -8F from the -6F before the update. There’s literally two characters affected by this, Alex and Urien, so you could say their offense is one idea riskier now.
Anti-air jabs are usually a last moment panic resort, that worked as a decent counter most of the time. Those have been a controversial topic for a long time, but currently have their hitboxes further reduced. Capcom is clearly showing us the way they want people to play their game.
All of the changes above made some old combos impossible, but new possibilities have opened up. Feel free to experiment yourself and try them out!