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Release Your Inner Messatsu!

For the record, this guide was intended for when Akuma was first added to the Street Fighter V roster. It is still relevant from what I could see with the roster and throughout any of the changes done to him. I’m going to introduce a few additions to this from what I’ve gathered through playing and watching of Akuma. Without further ado, let’s get things rolling.

After his release, I got back in the saddle of this game to try him out. From the moment I selected him from the training menu to the end of my session, I noticed right off the back that Akuma is the most fun character in the game. His playstyle has a Necalli type vibe to me; just with a little more flair to the arsenal. Welcome back to my little shop of Quambo Mechanics!

Akuma’s Playstyle

To be a decent Akuma player, you definitely need to know the good, the bad, and the ugly. In every Street Fighter game that Akuma has been in, he has always been a character with heavy damage but low health. He has a glass jaw so to speak. His health stands at 900 which means that he has the lowest health in the game. With his health being so low and his damage being so high, you have to be very cautious with the buttons you throw out. A lot of being Akuma is about the set ups, mix-ups and counters. Luckily, his palate has everything you need to succeed. Most of his moves can be cancelled into his special moves to set himself for safety as well. When canceling normal to specials, the most useful moves to use are Demon Flip and the fireball.

Demon Flip is used more for taking the high road to either palm for the pressure or use the dive kick to catch your opponent pressing a button. It’s not always a good move to cancel into, which makes the fireball a little more suitable move to use while poking midrange. His fireball is -6 on block whether low, medium, or heavy. If you choose to Demon Flip, the slide ender is the safest of the choices; keeping in mind that it’s -2 if blocked. Again, everything depends on how you want to play your matchups. Keep your opponents in check with c.MK and s.MK. It’s also okay to throw out your light buttons while applying pressure. I did notice that against charging characters that light attacks don’t work out too much when they throw out some medium buttons. As I said, throwing out your medium attacks will keep them at bay.

First thing to know with any character is what buttons and special moves are beneficial for you. The following moves are negative on block:

s. HP -5
s. MK -2
s. HK -2
c. MK -1
c. HK -15
f+MP -6
b+HP -10
HP > HP -12
V-skill > P -10
V-skill > K -13
LP, MP, HP Fireball -6
LP R. Fireball -6
MP R. Fireball -7
HP R. Fireball -8

 

The chart basically represents the moves you should be wary about using a lot of, seeing how they are definitely punishable by a lot of the cast. I didn’t put the dragon punches and tatsus in because we all know not to do it in most situations of pressuring your opponent. So, don’t do it!

On the brighter side of things, Akuma does have a few things that are positive on block but yet depending on the character you’re going against, can’t be punished; but not enough to take huge amounts of damage. The next chart represents the moves that are encouraged to use to gain an advantage in the matchup.

EX Hadouken 1
VT Hadouken (LP, MP, HP) 1
EX Sekai (Red Fireball) 8
Hyakkishu (EX & Close) 2
Hyakkishu (LP, MP, HP, EX) (Late) 8 (+9 for EX version)

 

To explain the brief abbreviations, for the Hyakkishu, which is the half-circle forward kick motion, the term ‘late’ pertains to pressing a punch button a brief time after the special move is ongoing to make it easier to apply pressure to your opponent. For example, while you’re on the offensive while your opponent is blocking, standing or crouched, using Hyakkishu launches you a fair distance and using the punch version of the move would produce a palm to apply more pressure. Any button pressed by your opponent in this sequence would cause them to take the hit and you’ll get a knockdown. Of course, when blocked you’ll have the advantage in this situation.

The Sekai is the fireball that has the one, two, or three variant on each button respectively but the thing to note is that the EX is the ONLY one that is positive of the four, at a close range. For everything but the EX version, it’s best to be at a distance that is a little bit farther than the mid-range game to avoid a jump-in counter. Another thing to note that the startup for the ex is the fastest move that Akuma has to use which is great for the sake of the meter. Almost forgot to mention. Any of his fireballs that are connected up close will cause a knockdown in any situation. But be warned: it’s not always safe to throw any kind of fireball so close against anybody.

Some of the last things to mention for Akuma is how his V-skill works, what his V-trigger does and a few combos that are his BNB. His V-skill comes in two forms: a knockdown and a launcher. The launcher (V-skill + MK) can only be connected with standing MK whereas the knockdown (V-skill + MP) can be connected with just about any normal that you can throw out.

Akuma’s V-trigger adds extra properties to a good amount of his special moves. Once the Shoryuken connects, it is treated as a command grab; slamming the opponent into the ground. If used as an anti-air it has a chance for it to keep the original property as just a normal uppercut. Another property that’s added is the aerial fireball; making it produce an additional one to follow the original one. That helps apply a little cover time for you as you jump in towards your opponent. One of the last two changes with V-trigger is adding a full screen fireball on any level Hadouken used. One thing to notice is with the non-V-trigger hadoukens it has different lengths. Light is full screen, medium is a few meters less and the heavy ends midscreen. Also, to note that while not in V-trigger the air fireball can only be used during a forward jump whereas in V-trigger you have access to aerial fireballs with neutral, forward, and back jump-ins.

The last thing to note is that instead of having one Critical Art, Akuma has access to two once you pop the V-trigger. At the cost of all the rest of you V-trigger and your critical art meter, you can use the famous "Die a thousand deaths" attack from the previous games. Understand that with using this particular CA puts you at a major disadvantage when you use it too early or missed the opportunity. As I said, you lose all your meter and on top of that you’ll take a huge chunk of damage. In many scenarios, it would make it an ultra-high-risk vs high reward.

What is a guide without any combos!? I have a list of a couple combos that are essential to any player that decides to play Akuma, whether it’s for his playstyle or because of his luscious mane of hair to be as powerful as a lion! The following is a list of the combos (note that these aren’t all the combos that can be done but just a few of them to get an idea):

  • HP, st. MK xx v-skill xx kick xx LK demon flip, palm
  • cr. HP, st. MK xx MK tatsu, EX shoryukenst. HK xx HK, st. MK xx v-skill xx LK demon flip, palm
  • cr. HP, st. HP xx v-trigger, (walk in) st. MK xx MK tatsu, shoryuken
  • cr. HP, st. MK xx LK tatsu, hadouken, shoryuken (during V-trigger)
  • st. HK (CC), cr. HP, st. MK xx v-skill xx kick xx LK demon flip, palm

Crush counter combos (only two)

  • cr. LK, cr. LP xx LK tatsu, HK tatsu (only viable on standing opponent; crouching will cause a whiff thus opened up for big damage)
  • cr. LK, cr. LP xx LP shoryuken

…And many more!

This marks the end of this chapter of Quambo Mechanics (thanks, Aphro). Be sure to tune into the next guide where I’ll switch it back to a different game! If you have any inputs, questions or comments, please be sure to leave them for me. I’m always looking for more feedback. Until next time, Quambo out. Peace!!

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