How the rules change for Akuma and his red fireball in Street Fighter 6

An Akuma gameplay trailer for Street Fighter 6 was recently shown towards the end of Evo Japan 2024. Shortly afterwards, a PlayStation Blog post explained how Akuma could be changed in Street Fighter 6.

Of course, the Shoto fireball, Gou Hadoken, returns. However, PlayStation Blog also noted how Street Fighter 6’s prominent red fireball has changed.

In previous Street Fighter entries, Akuma’s regular fireball and his red fireball were effectively two separate moves. It used to be that the regular fireball was executed using a standard forward quarter-circle motion while the red fireball was reached through a backward semicircle motion.

While the light version of the red fireball fired a projectile that only carried one hit, the medium and heavy versions of the special projectiles produced two and three hits respectively. This made winning fireball wars against Akuma extremely difficult for any character.

However, a lot has changed for the master of Satsui no Hado in Street Fighter 6. For starters, the way to access the red fireball is now different.

Instead of performing a backward semicircle move, players must instead use the standard fireball move and hold down the punch button. If the punch button is held for maximum duration, a red fireball will be unleashed.

This wasn’t mentioned on the PlayStation Blog, but we can see that there’s a partially charged version of the fireball as well from the trailer. Although they look like Akuma’s regular purple fireballs, they have two hits of durability associated with them.

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As expected, the red Akuma fireball has three durability. During the trailer, we saw how the red fireball was able to penetrate Ryu’s charged fireball from the Denjin and hit Ryu with its remaining strike afterward.

Of course, this also means that the red fireball will also overpower Guile’s Sonic Cross combo as well as Sonic Boom and Dee Jay’s Heavy Air Slasher combo. Once again, Akuma will dominate the zoning wars thanks to his three red fireballs.

However, there is a very important caveat that players should keep in mind regarding how the zoning rules will change in Street Fighter 6. Akuma’s red fireball, even if it has a durability of 100 hits, will not be able to be penetrated by excess projectiles.

This is important because Akuma was previously able to win fireball wars without spending a single meter even if the opponent committed to throwing EX projectiles. And with it recently confirmed that Akuma has 9,000 vitality points, which is the lowest level in Street Fighter 6 at the moment, this will definitely be an important consideration.

Overall, Akuma will likely have a strong impact on the Street Fighter 6 meta as he traditionally ranks very high on tier lists. However, players will have to be more thoughtful about how to win Fireball Wars from full-screen mode because they will no longer be able to do so without spending meters themselves.

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