It’s been a long while since I’ve booted up Street Fighter V. I haven’t really found a reason to play the game lately because, well, I haven’t found a reason to play it. There aren’t any big tournaments because of what’s been happening in 2020, which just so happens to be continuing on to this year. This means there isn’t any real new tech being displayed to try out. However, Capcom did give me renewed vigor for Street Fighter V when they announced they were going to put out one more season of content before putting the current iteration out to pasture. This was going to be packaged with a new system, the V-Shift defensive mechanic as well as additional characters to play around with. Just a couple of days ago, we got our first taste of the incoming roster members with Dan returning to the fold.
However, there’s something really different about this version of the Saikyo-ryu master. In his previous appearances, Dan was never, shall we say, close to being a top tier character. He was a lamer version of the other Shotos of the roster as most of his moves are deficient in some way. He was never the fastest in movement nor the strongest when it came to pumping out the damage. That was alright because Dan was designed to be a joke character right from the start.
Not anymore! Dan seems to have improved his Saikyo-ryu style and, honestly, I’m a little worried because he’s looking incredibly strong in Street Fighter V!
Capcom didn’t exactly overhaul all of Dan’s moves. Most of his normals are still rather pitiful but they did get some revisions to make them a little more viable. His Gadouken, his version of the Shoto fireball, still blinks out after traveling a few inches from his palm. His Koryuken, his pitiful version of the traditional ShoRyuKen, is a good anti-air but not as good as the other Shotos. However, the two special moves that Dan does have which don’t mimic the Shoto attacks are really good.
His Dankukyaku, the one where he leaps forward with a series of kicks are great in so many ways. The range is good because Dan does move forward when doing this. Each kick has excellent juggle properties, making it good for tacking on extra damage on an airborne opponent. It also has great corner carry if you use the multiple hitting ones. Dan got a new move: the Danrestuken. It’s a multi-hitting rapid punch attack kind of like E. Honda’s Hundred Hand Slap. This is Dan’s best special to close out combos as it’s the most consistent when it comes to actually connecting, from my experience, anyway. Also, spending a bar to do an EX version of the Danrestuken will launch Dan’s opponent into the air. Since all strengths of the Dankukyaku have great juggle properties, you can bounce them use it after the EX Danrestuken to send your opponent all the way to the corner!
Another thing which makes Dan exceptional this time around in Street Fighter V are his V-Skills and V-Triggers as they definitely have some really good uses depending on your playstyle. His V-Skill 1 and V-Trigger 1 seem more designed for beginners while his alternate version are definitely for the more advanced and competitive players. His V-Skill 1 is basically a taunt but has a hitbox and does a miniscule amount of damage. It doesn’t seem like much on paper but it still has its uses because you can cancel it from any of his special moves. This helps Dan tack on just a little more damage at a time while building your (and his opponent’s) V-Gauge. It’s also safe on block so, if you cancel it at the right time, even his most unsafe Dankukyaku can be made safe. He can also use it to roll away from danger as well in a pinch.
His first V-Trigger is the Haoh-Gadouken. It does, well, laughable damage. I’ve measured it and it just does slightly above his heavy attacks but it does do okay stun. Like his regular Gakouken, it dissipates after a while if you just let it rip. You can hold the buttons down to charge it up, which will power it up to do more damage and can guard crush when fully charged, making it an excellent meaty attack for downed opponents. However, the best thing about the Haoh-Gadouken is it only takes 1 bar to activate! This does mean Dan is the only character who has a V-Trigger that’s totally filled in 1 bar, limiting the number of V-Reversals and V-Shifts he can use as he can only stock one of them at a time. On the flipside, this means Dan can let the massive (but weak) projectile multiple times in a round! Combine this with V-Skill 1, which can be worked into his combos pretty easily, Dan can always have this threat in his back pocket.
Where things get interesting and scary for Dan are his secondary V-Skill and V-Trigger moves. Let’s start with his second V-Trigger. It’s “normal” as it does require 2 bars to activate and it buffs out his regular Gadouken and Koryuken specials. Activating it makes them do more damage and gives them additional properties; the Gadouken causes a knockdown and the Koryuken is fully invincible. You can still power it up even more if you input the button press the instant you enter the final direction on your stick. It’s not as difficult to do as, say, Karin’s command dash attacks so any noob worth their mettle should be able to execute them with relative ease.
While powering up some of his specials isn’t particularly frightening, the damage Dan can do with his second V-Skill is. Functionally, it’s a taunt which can cancel from practically any of his normal attacks. The taunt attack does a tiny amount of damage and is super unsafe on block. However, Dan can cancel the taunt animation with another normal or special attack! This allows him to chain together impossible attacks, like 2 heavy attacks together if you become super good at doing so! The potential damage is insane and, as of right now, allows for infinites and doesn’t require any meter but at the very start! You have to be skilled to perform the V-Skill cancel consistently but the timing is kind of lenient so pro players can potentially exploit this trick!
This wouldn’t be all that scary if Dan’s normals weren’t all that good but he has some awesome normal buttons. His standing medium kick and crouching medium punch have some great range, making them excellent poking tools. His standing medium punch can link into itself or his crouching medium punch, allowing for some sweet combos. You can even try doing the aforementioned link, cancelling into V-Skill 2 then into his standing heavy punch, activate either V-Triggers to really get the party started! He also has a couple of crossup jumping attacks, making him even work with mixups.
As good as he seems, Dan still has some weaknesses. He stuns rather easy and he might has some trouble getting in close where he can do the most damage. Still, I wouldn’t be surprised if we see a few Dans in the future of Street Fighter V’s tournament scene. While I don’t exactly see him as a top tier character, he can definitely be scary in the right hands because of his V-Skill 2. He used to be a joke character but I don’t think many people will be laughing if they face a very skilled player using him online.
What’s your take on what Capcom did with Dan for Street Fighter V? Let me know in the comments section below!