I know it’s just the start of Street Fighter V’s Season 4 and I will acknowledge Capcom did give the Spanish Ninja some really cool buffs. The problem is these buffs just still don’t give him the necessary tools to be effective against most of the cast. This is precisely why, after looking at Vega (better known as Claw to the rest of the fighting game community) and the things that Capcom did to try to make him better, he’s still going to struggle in Season 4.
That can still change, however. Even if the start of a new season always heralds a new suite of buffs and nerfs for all characters in Street Fighter V, Capcom has been known to further tweak the game a second time before really finalizing the changes. So it’s not too late for them to add these suggested changes that I really think would help Vega/Claw mains climb the latter a little bit more rather than just being stuck on the bottom rung of the Street Fighter V tier list.
More Switch Claw cancels should work as frame traps when switching from Clawless Stance to Claw Stance
One of Vega’s changes in Season 4 was his ability to cancel into the Switch Claw special move from any of his grounded punch attacks. This does have some potential to be extremely good but Capcom just stopped short from making this buff extremely useful.
Switching from most of Vega’s hard punches are great because you’re at frame advantage after Switch Claw finishes. This means that you can perform a couple of new combos and are safe on block. You can also use the Switch Claw to keep the opponent closer than normal since cancelling into it reduces the pushback on hit from all his punch attacks. This should’ve been great; the problem is Vega’s is negative when cancelling from both his light and medium punch attacks.
I guess you can use this the Switch Claw to trick your opponent into blocking before just walking up for a throw but that trick won’t work forever once players become familiar with the tactic. This is why I would want some, not all of his Switch Claw cancels have more frame advantage. Vega already has some slow normal attacks so he deserves some reward for actually getting close enough to do some damage. Enabling the Switch Claw to work as a frame trap, even just +1 on block on something like his Clawless standing medium punch, would benefit him immensely.
Expand Clawless Light Punch Hitbox to hit crouching opponents
I’ve always found it odd that none of Vega’s light punches can hit crouching opponents. I can live with his standing heavy kick whiffing on opponents who are ducking down but having both light punch attacks, with or without the claw equipped, is just egregious. I really think that one of them should be able to strike crouchers and, if I were to pick among the two, I’d say the Clawless version would be my choice.
The reason why I would want the Clawless version of the light punch to connect on crouchers is because it’s Vega’s other 3-frame normal. This would make it easier for him to combo into the light Crimson Terror. If the Claw version connected, Vega could then combo it into the medium version or EX version of Aurora Spin Edge. I’m sure a lot of fans would cry foul as this would be a strong tactic. So, I’m going for the lesser version to buff.
Connecting with the first hit of the EX Flying Barcelona Attack should not count to Combo Scaling Damage
Probably Vega’s best EX special move is the enhanced version of the Flying Barcelona Attack. It may not be able to hit opponent’s low to the ground and it’s easy to counter and those issues limits it’s use. But the EX version is still extremely good. You can catch jumpers or opponents trying to backdash at the correct range with it. In a pinch, it’s a great way to escape the corner. The best application for the EX Flying Barcelona Attack is its ability to combo into either a swipe or a throw.
Unfortunately, Capcom saw fit to sort of split the EX Flying Barcelona Attack into two separate moves. The flying knee is considered one attack while the follow ups is considered another. This means that this one singular move is having his overall damage nerfed due to Street Fighter V’s damage scaling mechanic.
Just in case you’re unfamiliar with it, the way damage scaling in Street Fighter V works is that each hit in a combo is weakened a bit than if you hit with an attack normally. This may seem like it’s better to just get individual hits since you do more damage but, since combos mean surefire damage, it’s always better to use a combo. However, damage scaling isn’t in effect with multi-hitting special attacks, such as Ken’s TatsumakeSenpuuKyaku or Chun-Li’s HyakurestuKyaku.
It just seems odd that the two components of Vega’s EX Flying Barcelona Attack isn’t considered to be a multi-hitting attack. I always considered the flying knee and the follow up attacks to be just part of the same move. It may not seem like much since the follow up will only get a damage reduction of 10%. But, if you connect with the first part of the EX Flying Barcelona Attack in a long combo, the last attack, whether it be the swipe or the throw, will do pitiful damage. Considering the flying knee does something like 40 damage (just a smidge stronger than any of Vega’s light attacks), it seems unfair that the more damaging follow up gets hit with damage scaling. I say remove the damage scaling mechanic for the entire EX Flying Barcelona Attack to make it a bit more damaging overall.
Give his Crouching Medium Kick One More Active Frame
I would really love it if Capcom did make all of the change above. But I would give all of them up for this one change. It’s a really small change but would improve Vega’s game a whole lot. All I’m asking is they add one more active frame to his crouching medium kick. This would make Vega’s crouching medium kick have three active frames in total.
Why would this be important? Well, it would make it a low attack that can be used in more meaty setups! You can already use it as a meaty attack now but it’s difficult to do as it currently only has two frames. Vega does have some other attacks that do have three active frames. But none of his other meaty buttons hit low like the crouching medium kick.
If Vega’s crouching medium attack had more active frames, that would make it a better tool for catching wakeup attacks, something he is severely lacking right now, even in Season 4.
Make Vega’s overhead kick Airborne during startup
Simply put: Vega’s Mercury Shard, his overhead attack, sucks. It’s only good for one use since you can’t combo from it, even on counter hit. It’s also so easy to interrupt by a low attack or a throw, which is stupid because it looks like Vega does a short hop when he does the Mercury Shard!
Why Capcom hasn’t adjusted the Mercury Shard’s hurtbox to match the animation is insulting! It’s utility is already hampered by the terrible frame data yet they still keep it so easy to counter! I’ll even say make it as slow as Ibuki’s overhead attack, as long as they make it airborne during startup!
What other buffs do you think your favorite character in Street Fighter V should have when Capcom eventually patches the game in the middle of Season 4? Let me know in the comments section below!