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Street Fighter 6 Drive System Explained

11 min

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Street Fighter 6 Drive System Explained
It is an important mechanic to be ultra-effective in your matches (and sure, get many victories)

Most fighting games give something extra in addition to the basic moveset — a resource, a meter you could spend for especially strong attacks, a boost of abilities for your character, or some cool tricks. In Street Fighter 6, it is the Drive System.

Using this mechanic properly is essential for your success in SF6. And this guide on DashFight explains the Drive System in detail.

Drive Gauge  

Like other fighting game energy/resources, the Drive System has a special meter, Drive Gauge — with six bars.

When you have enough of this resource, you can spend it on the following:

  • Drive Impact — 1 bar;
  • Drive Parry — 0.5+ bar;
  • Drive Rush — 1 bar / 3 bars;
  • Drive Reversal — 2 bars;
  • Overdrive — 2 bars.

How to fill up the Drive meter?

The Drive Gauge bars refill automatically while you just play SF6. Blocking normals and attacking speed up this process.

What happens when the Drive Gauge is empty?

If you were careless and used everything in the Drive meter, your character will enter a Burnout state:

  • All Drive abilities are unavailable.
  • Your character moves slower and deals less damage.
  • The defense is weaker, and your character takes more damage.
  • The opponent’s Special Attacks cause chip damage on block (non-grey) and can KO.
  • Your character gets four additional frames of blockstun from every blocked attack. The chances for the opponent to be plus are pretty high.
  • If the opponent hits you with their Drive Impact in the corner, your character gets stunned — yep, an invitation to start a devastating combo.

None of this looks good, so it is highly advised to avoid Burnout at any cost.

Not only overusing Drive abilities leads to Burnout. There is a risk of emptying the Drive Gauge by just blocking too many Special Attacks in a row. Be very, very careful!

Drive Abilities

Ok, the idea of the Drive meter as a boosting resource in SF6 is pretty clear. But what about those abilities it can be spent on?

There are five Drive abilities in the game, and it is important to understand what they do.

Drive Impact

Basically, it’s a very powerful attack that can lead to a lot of damage. It costs one bar of the Drive meter.

Your character moves forward to land Drive Impact. On hit, the opponent is pushed back and gets knocked down. Near the corner, Drive Impact leads to a wall splat, so you can easily continue with any follow-up. 

When blocked, Drive Impact takes one bar of the opponent’s Drive Gauge and slightly pushes them back. If this happens in the corner, you again get a wall splat, so the victim eats combo.

It’s even more dangerous for characters in Burnout. When the victim has no meter and stands near the corner, Drive Impact activates stun — and it means being totally defenseless. Bring up your best combo to deal as much damage as possible. 

SF6 Drive Impact has two hits of armor. This property allows you to absorb attacks and convert them into grey health. If you time Drive Impact properly, you have a Punish Counter, and the opponent gets crumpled, which is practically the same effect as wall splat.

Drive Impact is reactable, though. The startup is 26 frames; with good training, you have enough time to respond. For example, you can activate your own Drive Impact, so the opponent’s attack will be absorbed, and you will win in this situation. Quick Light attacks are pretty effective against Drive Impact. Drive Parry is also a good defensive tool against DI.

It is pretty easy to see Drive Impact happening thanks to the color paint splashes. To perform this attack safely, you should avoid spamming it in neutral. Street Fighter 6 considers Drive Impact a Special Attack, so you can cancel various moves into it — those that are special cancellable. Learn your character’s moveset to know how to be generally safe with your Drive Impact.

Drive Impact is activated by pressing Heavy Punch and Kick simultaneously. It is certainly a good idea to bind this attack to a macro button and be really quick with activating it.

Sure, Drive Impact is an important ability within Street Fighter 6, but the Drive system offers some other cool options, and knowing them is also crucial.

Drive Parry

We have quite an effective defensive ability here. Drive Parry protects from most attacks in a way that you don’t need to bother about mixups — everything will be just blocked. Even multi-hit moves, projectiles, and such powerful offense options as Drive Effect will not cause you trouble.

You could just hold Drive Parry to be (generally) protected. This stance drains your Drive meter, and it is not the most effective way of using this ability. 

The primary goal is to perform Perfect Parry. It happens when an attack hits during two starting frames of Drive Parry. The recovery will be reduced so that you can activate your next attack after it and punish the opponent. Perfect Parry sure requires proper timing (reaction, attentiveness). But you will be rewarded with in-fight advantages, quickly converting defense into offense.

The blank Drive Parry stance is too risky, though. It does not protect from normal throws, and if it happens, you take much more damage.

The recovery after normal Drive Parry is pretty long, and if you get hit during the recovery frames, this causes a Punish Counter. To prevent it, you can use the normal block while recovering.

The minimal cost of Drive Parry is half a bar, but you get the resource back with a parried attack.

Even normal Drive Parry is an effective tool against projectiles — obviously, you are protected from throws. In addition to this, you don’t lose the meter blocking projectiles in the normal way. But Perfect Parry against projectiles is even more rewarding. Thanks to quick recovery, you will have extra time to close the distance and start your offense.

Like the other Drive abilities in SF6, Drive Parry is not something you would want to spam mindlessly. Attentive, careful use will be rewarded significantly.

Drive Rush

This is both movement and offensive ability. Your character dashes forward, covered with green energy. And the first hit after Drive Rush gets an additional 4 frames of advantage, both on block and hit. So, not only do you close the distance quickly, but also, you can bring out a usually risky move and be safe with it. Bigger chances of opening your opponent up or just starting your pressure strings are good advantages of using Drive Rush in SF6.

There are different ways to activate Drive Rush, and the cost of this ability directly depends on which one you choose. 

  • Out of Drive Parry — tap forward twice while in the Parry stance. Such Drive Rush costs one bar meter. It is not necessary to wait for the blue splash of Drive Parry to start your rush, as the opponent can see it and get prepared. Practice to parry and then rush as quickly as possible.
  • Out of cancellable moves — double tap forward right after a special cancellable move. This costs three bars of Drive meter. The list of cancellable moves varies from character to character. (To see what moves are cancellable, turn on Cancel Timing Display in the Screen Display Settings, so your character will glow red doing those moves).
  • Directly from neutral — double tap forward, but add the Drive Parry input to the second tap. Or you could try and tap forward -> Drive Parry -> tap forward. The execution is pretty tough and requires practice. But Drive Rush is faster this way. The cost is still one bar. It is generally pretty tricky, but the speed makes it worth practicing.

Those +4 frames of advantage are precious, and they help SF6 players perform miraculous combos.

Drive Reversal

It’s another defensive option among SF6 Drive abilities.

Drive Reversal is an effective punish for your opponent’s attacks. It works even against throws.

If your timing with Drive Reversal is not that good, and the opponent blocks it, you are -8, which is not awful, but it’s not good either. 

Also, the thing does not work at a distance. The opponent should be really close to your character for Drive Reversal to hit.

Drive Reversal might be effective when you are a victim in a corner situation — to break out of the pressure. At the same time, it is rather “expensive” (2 bars of Drive meter). And the damage with it is not impressive at all (and it’s grey, recoverable).

Press forward + Heavy Punch and Kick while blocking to activate Drive Reversal. 

It is not the best ability in the SF6 Drive system, but still, it would be better to remember about Drive Reversal and use it at proper moments.

Overdrive Specials

If you want to perform an improved/enhanced version of a Special Move, press two attack buttons while performing it, and you will get Overdrive. Yep, it is a way to get EX moves in Street Fighter 6.

Overdrive Specials are pretty cool. They often have faster startup and lower recovery, deal extra damage, or provide invincibility. Check out what your character is capable of with their Overdrive.

You should be careful with these Specials, as they are expensive, costing 2 bars. Keep some of the Drive meter for other abilities. And totally avoid Burnout — it activates automatically if you activate Overdrive having less than two bars.

Drive System in Street Fighter 6 opens quite a few awesome opportunities. Take your time to bring the basics from this article into the actual game and convert theory into practical skills. Periodically refreshing info in your mind is also a good idea, as we tend to forget stuff and stick to specific patterns in fights — so, feel free to revisit this guide again.

For some general tips, check out our article How to Get Good at SF6. To get to know your options in this title, take a look at our explanation of Street Fighter 6 Game Modes.

And stay tuned to DashFight for everything fighting games related.

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