Street Fighter V’s V-Shift mechanic explained

Go with the flow, and then strike back.

Screengrab via Capcom

Capcom had been teasing bits and pieces of its Street Fighter V Winter Update for months. Now that it’s finally out and players have been able to practice with it, we can dive into the game-changing mechanic that was added: V-Shift.

V-Shift is a new defensive mechanic added as a free update along the paid fifth season of SFV DLC, which included the return of Dan Hibiki and the surprise addition of Eleven as a bonus fighter. 

Just like with any other major addition to the game, Capcom made sure V-Shift could be used as more than just a way to get out of tough situations, including new V-Shift Break counterattack options too. But the main use of the move is to get away from potentially dangerous attacks, at the cost of one bar of the V-Gauge.

By pressing Heavy Punch and Medium Kick at the same time while they have a bar in their V-Gauge, players can perform a back dash. In doing so, their character will emit a blue and white aura, causing a brief slowdown for their opponent’s attacks, thus giving them time to react accordingly. 

Image via Capcom

The default V-Shift animation is the slight back dash, which provides a player with a brief period of invincibility to get away from any attacks, including throws and projectiles. But a slowdown will not occur when using V-Shift against a throw. It will just make you invincible briefly to get out of it. 

There is also an added bonus if you time your V-Shift perfectly, with a successful usage allowing players to regain half of their spent V-Gauge bar.

Once you enter V-Shift and begin the backdash animation, players can hit Heavy Punch and Medium Kick again to enter their V-Shift Break. This counterattack will have the player’s character lunging forward with a strike that will knock their opponent back and even cancel ongoing combos. 

Image via Capcom

V-Shift Breaks have an extended range, are safe on block, and provide a good combo-canceling option. The damage dealt is nothing special, however, since it will almost always deal recoverable damage to an opponent. 

To get the most out V-Shifting, you should learn your character’s best follow-up options out of the move, because the damage done directly after using a V-Shift is not scaled down. You can add this to your list of available options alongside V-Reversal and V-Trigger, which makes the V-Gauge all the more important to any player’s gameplan.