Balrog in Street Fighter V is an offense powerhouse. His normals combined with his fast walk speed allow him to play solid footsies against most of the cast. He’s extremely dangerous up-close as one mistake can melt your opponent’s life bar. His main weakness is his defense. He’s particularly vulnerable on wakeup as he lacks an invincible move outside of Critical Art.
- Great vital stats
- Plays good footsies
- High damage
- Strong against zoners and fireball users
- Lacks defensive options
- Struggles against grapplers
- Relies too much on strike/throw mixup
Balrog Basic Stats
- Life bar – 1025
- Stun bar – 1050
- Forward Walk Speed – 0.048
- Backward Walk Speed – 0.03
- Forward Dash Speed – 17
- Backward Dash Speed – 24
- Neutral Jump Speed – 47
- Forward Jump Speed – 46
- Backward Jump Speed – 47
- Throw Range – 0.85
Balrog’s normals are predominantly suited for controlling horizontal space and putting pressure up close. His frame data gives him plenty of options to frame trap opponents when mixing them up. The pushback on some of his stronger buttons gives him some added opportunities to force a mistake out of his opponents.
Punches (startup frames, block advantage)
- Standing Light Punch (4 frames, +3)
- An overall good pressure and hit confirm tool. Its range allows it to stop opponents from dashing in.
- Standing Medium Punch (5 frames, 0)
- A great tool for anti-airing opponents jumping in on him.
- Standing Heavy Punch (12 frames, -3)
- This button has good range and works as a great poke. It’s hard to punish due to its pushback.
- Crouching Light Punch (4 frames, +3)
- Another good tool for stopping approaches and for light pressure.
- Crouching Medium Punch (6 frames, +2)
- One of Balrog’s best buttons. It’s your go-to attack during neutral footsies to control space and for catching the opponent doing something.
- Crouching Heavy Punch (8 frames -5)
- A situational anti-air that works best against big-bodied opponents jumping from further away. Hitting this up close makes it hard to punish due to pushback.
Kicks (startup frames, block advantage)
- Standing Light Kick (3 frames, +1)
- This is your go-to defensive tool on wakeup as it’s his fastest button.
- Standing Medium Kick (6 frames, +2)
- This button is good for pressure due to short pushback. It can also be thrown out in neutral to catch the opponent pushing buttons.
- Standing Heavy Kick (9 frames, +3)
- Use this button when you know you will either catch your opponent doing something or attempt a counter hit.
- Crouching Light Kick (4 frames, +1)
- Similar to c.LP but slightly more range.
- Crouching Medium Kick (7 frames, -2)
- Good button for catching people trying to move when they’re closer to you.
- Crouching Heavy Kick (8 frames, -14)
- This is Balrog’s sweep and leads to a knockdown. Its speed makes it quite reliable as a follow-up after some of his longer pushback moves.
Unique Attacks & Target Combos
Balrog has some of the most target combos in the game. To perform these short combos, you need to execute the buttons in sequence, like a chain. Some of these lead to some solid hit confirm damage and knockdown pressure.
- Hard Lead In – MK > MP
- Launches opponent for a quick follow-up.
- Hard KKB – MK > MP > MP+MK
- OTB – MK > MP > MP+MK (with V-Skill 2)
- Hard Smasher – MK > MP > MP+MK (V-Skill 1) > P
- Places opponent in juggle state for follow-up.
- Hard Pressure – MK > MP > MP+MK (V-Skill 1) > K
- Under Impact 1 – LK > MK
- Second hit can be canceled into V-Trigger 2.
- Under Impact 2 – LK > MK > HK
- Second hit can be canceled into V-Trigger 2.
- Stomping Combo – cr.MK > cr.MK
- Second hit can be canceled into V-Trigger 2.
- There’s a special VT cancel version that takes longer to recover but has slight invincibility upfront.
Dash Straight (charge back (40f), forward + P)
Balrog’s most famous attack, Dash Straight is a fast forward moving punch that is at its best when spaced correctly. All versions are -4 on block so you want to avoid tossing it out up close. EX Dash Straight is +1 on block so it can be used for pressure.
When you space Dash Straight correctly, the pushback allows you to catch most buttons your opponent tosses up with a follow-up attack. You can cancel Dash Straight into his V-Skill 1 for some solid pressure but you can’t cancel into V-Trigger 2.
Dash Grand (charge back (40f), forward + K)
Also known as Dash Low, this is another one of Balrog’s famous moves. All versions of Dash Grand are very negative at -7 on block, with the EX version being -2. Similarly to Straight, this move can be spaced correctly to get the opponent to toss out a button and make a mistake. Grand can also be canceled into V-Skill 1 but not V-Trigger 2.
Screw Smash (forward, down, down-forward + P)
The most important thing to understand about Screw Smash is that it doesn’t hit crouching opponents. This means you shouldn’t rely on it as a combo ender unless you can see your opponent is standing. It’s also important to not use this attack willy-nilly as it’s -10 frames on block, so it’s very punishable.
Screw Smash can be used as an anti-air when a jumping attack is coming from a distance.
TAP (hold and release 2x P or 2x K)
The move that makes Balrog strong against fireballs, TAP is a move you want to get accustomed to using. All versions are -2 on block. The longer you hold down your buttons, the higher the damage TAP deals. The most important reason to use it, however, is its invincibility frames. Strikes that hit the upper body will pass right through it which means you’ll have to be wary of low attacks. The move is also fully invincible against projectiles.
Gigaton Blow (2x down, down-forward, forward + P)
As with most Critical Arts in Street Fighter V, Gigaton Blow is best used as a combo ender when you have all 3 EX bars. It can also be used defensively as its first 10 frames are completely invincible. It’s also invincible against projectiles on frames 11-17, meaning you can use it to go through fireballs.
Balrog’s V abilities are what define his playstyle. While there generally aren’t any fast and hard rules as to which are the best picks, you should be considering your choices based on matchup.
Balrog does a spinning motion forward that gives him some projectile invincibility. You can follow it up with P or K to perform attacks that are generally unsafe on block. The best thing about KKB is that it can be canceled into TAP which can really open up the mind games for Balrog.
Balrog’s second V-Skill is an activation that powers up his next Dash Straight or V-Trigger 1 dash punch. On top of granting enhanced damage and stun, FFB also gives these moves +2 block advantage which is pretty big for building up pressure. At higher levels, this V-Skill can be outshined by KKB due to better utility. Still, it’s a decent choice against opponents you can easily approach.
The source of Balrog’s high damage potential, Crazy Rush is a powerful and straightforward V-Trigger. Upon activation, it allows Balrog to execute follow-up dash punches by pressing forward + P or K after any of his charge attacks. It’s best to activate this V-Trigger after landing a hit combo to tack on more damage. You can also use this to cancel a standing HP as it will give you good advantage on block to carry on your pressure.
Activating this V-Trigger grants Balrog access to a command grab with a lot of stun damage. By using HP+HK after activation, Balrog can execute this grab either on its own or within a combo. While its damage isn’t that impressive, it deals a high amount of stun. The primary advantage of using this V-Trigger is giving Balrog an extra option that takes him out of the strike/throw mixup, allowing him to be even scarier up close.
Balrog’s V-Reversal is one of the best in the game because it pushes back the opponent a considerable distance. While it doesn’t make up for his lack of defensive options, it gives you an added tool to get opponents off him. It’s best to use this sparingly as Balrog depends on his V-Meter to get his scary damage going.
Balrog’s Main Combos
Most of Balrog’s combos can be ended with:
Hit Confirm Combos
Use these combos up close during pressure when you want to confirm your opponent has gotten hit. You can choose to end combos with Straight or Grand when you want to favor pushback to the corner or a knockdown respectively.
- cr.LP/cr.LK, st.LK, MK, HK
- st.LP, st.LK, MK, HK
- cr.LP, cr.LP xx L/M/EX.Dash Straight
- cr.LP, cr.LK, st.LP xx Dash Straight/Grand
Use these combos in situations where your opponent is open to attack, such as when they use an unsafe move. You can choose to end combos with Straight or Grand when you want to favor pushback to the corner or a knockdown respectively.
- st.MK > V-Skill 1 > P/K
- st.MK, st.MP xx Dash Straight/Grand
- cr.MP, cr.LP xx Dash Straight/Grand
- st.HK, st.MK, MP > V-Skill 1 > P/K or Dash Straight/Grand
- st.HK, cr.MP xx Dash Grand
- (on standing opponent) cr.HP xx Screw Smash > L/EX.Dash Straight
Comboing into V-Trigger 1
Balrog can cancel into VT1 from almost any attack. The above combos can either be extended or altered when VT1 is available to deal bigger damage with the follow-up rekka attacks. The general rule of thumb is when you have VT on deck and you land a hit, activate to go in for big damage and corner carry. Arriving at the corner allows for a Critical Art finisher as well.
To play as Balrog, you need to think in two phases: playing neutral footsies and “going ham” mode.
When you’re at a neutral distance from your opponent, your goal is to neutralize their approach while looking for a way to start your offense. You can achieve this by dominating the mid ranges with Balrog’s buttons and with well-spaced Dash Straights. Once you’ve gotten up close either with a knockdown or dash approach, it’s time to start pressuring with your superior normal attacks.
As Balrog mostly relies on strike/throw mixup, you’ll want to use a mix of strings that leave some gaps for the opponent to press a button as well as throws. When you do get a hit confirm, be sure to end your combo with a Straight to push them back. Once in the corner, you can start ending your combos with Grand to get a knockdown.
Balrog’s Matchups (via Eventhubs)
Balance in Street Fighter V is generally quite good with most characters having enough tools to play effectively. Balrog has a decent mix of favorable and unfavorable matchups as well as a lot of matchups where the fight is even.
- E. Honda
- R. Mika
- M. Bison
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