Guile Guide: Welcoming an American hero to Street Fighter V

Alright all you family men, it’s time for a lesson in how to be a real American. Guile has just dropped for Street Fighter V, and we are going to look at his moves, tools, and changes to make you the perfect soldier, or at least a pretty competent Street Fighter player.

Remembering the Past

Guile is perhaps the least changed character in Street Fighter V. If you remember how to play him in Street Fighter IV, or even Street Fighter II, then you will be decently prepared to give this incarnation a whirl.

He only has two moves to remember, the Sonic Boom and the Flash kick, and they are executed exactly as they were in Street Fighter II. The Sonic Boom is a charge back to forward motion and a punch and the flash kick is a charge down to up motion and a kick.

To make up for his lack of variety, everything Guile does is just plain good. His normals hit hard and have a ton of range (yes even his patented upside down kick) and they look exactly like they did in the past. His Sonic Booms take up a lot of screen space and their speed has the most variance of any projectile in the game. His Flash Kick isn’t invincible anymore, but its range is so great it doesn’t have to be.

An Old Dog’s New Tricks

What Guile lacks in special move variety, he makes up for in normal move variety. He has a whopping seven command normals, far more than most other characters. He also has five target combos, once again, more than any other character on the roster. This makes him incredibly versatile in neutral game. He has a different button to throw out in nearly any situation, and can convert most buttons to big damage.

That’s the meat and potatoes of Guile’s game. Most characters in Street Fighter V are aggressive in some fashion, but Guile has been described as “pretty much a wall.” He is more than happy to sit in a corner chucking Sonic Booms at you, forcing you to come toward him, and then countering you with his incredible normals.

In past Street Fighter titles, Guile could easily enter a fireball-war stalemate with other projectile users. His only real option to break through another player’s projectiles was his EX Sonic Boom which delivered multiple hits, eating up other projectiles in the process. But this cost meter, which meant it was a solution he couldn’t regularly rely on.

In Street Fighter V, Guile has been given the Sonic Blade V-Skill which will allow him to edge out other projectile users in a fireball war. Sonic Blade puts a stationary projectile out in front of him. It’s incredibly quick to trigger and will eat up other projectiles that come his way.

More importantly, if a Sonic Boom hits a Sonic Blade, it becomes a Sonic Cross. The Sonic Cross takes up much more screen space and is far harder to avoid than the standard Sonic Boom. It also eats other projectiles and does multiple hits, much like his EX Sonic Boom but without spending meter.

The Sonic Blade can also be used to control the space in front of Guile. Placing one over a rising opponent will force them to block, granting you a mix-up opportunity.

Another new tool is his V-Trigger, the Sonic Break. When active, the player can continuously fire Sonic Booms simply by tapping punch buttons. You can vary the speed of your thrown Sonic Booms by changing the punch buttons you use. That means you can fire a long string of EX Sonic Booms or spam the screen with super slow light punch Sonic Booms. This aids Guile in the fireball war, but can also be used as an incredible combo extender. Additionally, it’s a great way to wear your opponent down with chip damage before using a super for the win.

It’s All About Control

Guiles biggest buff isn’t to his character, but to the way Street Fighter V parses its control inputs. Charge commands are now much faster. “Hold back for two seconds” is a complete misrepresentation. You only have to hold back for about as long as it takes for a medium punch to come out.

This makes storing a charge a lot easier. Early Guile combo videos show strings of hits that include five or six Sonic Booms in the same combo!

He also has the ability to move forward while crouching, which doesn’t do much for throwing Sonic Booms but does allow him to approach while keeping a Flash Kick stored.

He also benefits greatly from the new input buffer. Guile’s strength lies in his incredible normals, and the buffer allows you to mash out them out and still manage to complete combos with strict link timing.

The addition of his V-Skill and V-Trigger make combos incredibly easy to do. Connecting with a series of rapid Sonic Booms in V-Trigger mode gives you more than enough time to charge up your super motion (which is the traditional double back forward input). This combo alone does well over half of most opponents’ health in damage and takes almost no skill to perform. You can easily hit confirm this off of one of Guile’s target combos, meaning your opponents are always in danger of losing the match suddenly to a random super. His V-Gauge grows quickly as long as you use his V-Skill, which is a central part of his game, so you will be in V-Trigger without losing much life at all.

This is where we see two different styles of Guile gameplay come together. Traditionally, Guile is a zoner that loves to keep you away behind a wall of Sonic Booms. But when Guile’s V-Gauge is full, he gains the tools to become a rushdown monster. He can keep you on block for near the entire duration of his V-Trigger, mixing you up with highs and lows. If even one hits, he can link it into his super and you will be eating a ton of damage.

It’s hard to say where Guile stands in the overall tier list right now because he is so new to the game, but many pros are judging him to be close to high tier. Despite his short move-list, he simply has so many tools to choose from. His damage output is high, he’s difficult to get in on, and he can apply a high pressure game in certain situations. The only thing holding him back is his moves being charge motions, but at high levels of play that technical difficulty will be non-existent.

What do you think? Will you be using Guile in Street Fighter V? Let us know in the comments.