Street Fighter 6 on Hit Box - Dragon Punch Shortcuts / Alt-Cuts

Input shortcuts are designed to give players a little bit of help when it comes to tough moves like Ken's Shoryuken (Dragon Punch Motion).  Here at Hit Box we were lucky enough to get in on the Street Fighter 6 Closed Beta testing and we found 6 different ways to perform our 623's (Dragon Punches) before our precious time with SF6 ran out!

UPDATE:  After December's Beta Test we went back into the lab and found 18 different ways to input a Shoryuken!!!

18 Dragon Punches? Wow, Ken.

This would be input overload to bring all of these DPs into your game, and not all of these 18 motions here are very useful.  Today is more of an academic look at what is possible in the SF6 game engine and why.

Beyond this guide, this is still the beginning of what Hit Box Dragon Punches have to offer on your road to becoming an SF6 champion.  Things get really practical when we talk about the most useful alt-cuts and how they can be used in a round in Street Fighter, more than simply compensate for flubbed inputs.

Alternate inputs (alt-cuts) vs. shortened inputs (shortcuts):  Up to this point everything has traditionally been referred to as "shortcuts," but with all of these many new and seemingly unpractical ways of inputting moves, "alt-cut" is a more fitting distinction.  After all, these DP motions still require 3 directional inputs, which is not a shorter move at all... just different!  In reality what we call it is not a big deal.  We can (and do) use them interchangeably, but it has become a growing need with the many new moves, ideas, and concepts we have advanced over the years.

Introduction - The Traditional Input

Forward -> Down -> Down-Forward (623):  This iconic zigzag motion has been the standard input since the beginning of Street Fighter.  Historically, special moves in the original Street Fighter were extremely stringent and nearly impossible to do consistently in an arcade.  Over time it has progressively gotten more forgiving, leading us all the way to modern Street Fighter with the fun alt-cuts we have today.  "Modern Controls" with SF6 are even simplifying moves down to one button press -- I guess that really makes it 19 Shoryuken inputs!

- - - - -

Now for the alt-cuts (alternate inputs).  To help understand them we are going to separate them into three categories:  Standing, Crouching, and Falling.  This can hopefully put some method to the madness.  Hopefully.

Numeric: This guide references some numeric notation as a shorthand way to describe motions.  Each number symbolizes a direction as laid out on a keyboard numpad.  "623" would mean "Right, Down, Down-Forward."  If you would like a visual reference, check at the very bottom of this article for more on numeric.

Standing Alt-Cuts 

For all of these alternate inputs, the idea is to start with some form of Forward and end with some form of Forward -- so long as you have SOME form of a Down input between them.  Let's break it down with more detail.

Here is what the game looks for in each input of a Shoryuken alt-cut:

  1. First input contains any Forward direction: Forward, Down-Forward, Up-Forward.
  2. Second input contains any Down direction:  Down, Down-Back, or Down-Forward.
  3. Third input contains any* Forward direction to finish (except for Up-Forward in SF6; though it does work in SFV):  Forward or Down-Forward.

Forward -> Down -> Forward (626): Three button presses; no diagonals.  Try this one out by tapping each button with just your Index finger alone!  This is the core of what dragon punches really are in modern SF when it comes to inputs:  Forward, Down, Forward.

Forward is a true "Forward) direction in this 626 alt-cut.

Forward -> Down-Forward -> Forward (636):  This one's nickname is "The Walking DP."  You are able to aggressively use Dragon Punches moving forwards, as well as easily combo DPs off of a standing jab.  Hold Forward as you tap and release the Down button.  Remember to let go of the Down button before you press Punch! 

 Down-Forward serves as our alternate "Down" direction in this 636 alt-cut.

Forward -> Down-Back -> Forward (616):  The strangest of the standing alt-cuts.  We're just calling it "Huh?" for now.  Forward to Down-Back to Forward again.

Down-Back serves as our alternate "Down" direction in this 616 alt-cut.

Crouching Alt-Cuts

For demonstration purposes, these "Crouching DP's" are all done from a neutral standing position.  But you can already be holding Down-Forward and ducking (which is the common situation to use these in).

Looking at alt-cuts starting from a Down-Forward position:  Down-Forward still has a Forward in it according to our input rulebook above, meaning we are still in the clear!

Down-Forward -> Down -> Down-Forward (323):  This is called the "Crouching DP" because it allows you to hold the Down button the entire time and stay crouched through the entire motion.  This is not only a powerful anti-air but can help in combos as well, such as a crouching Light Kick into Shoryuken.

Press Down-Forward, release the Forward button, and then repress it again to Down-Forward.

Down-Forward -> Down -> Forward (326):  Yes.  This is the Dragon Punch Motion in reverse.  Why not?  It still fits the input requirements.  Down-Forward has a Forward input in it!  As a quick note, if you finish the motion by pressing the Punch button at the exact same time as Forward, you still will stay crouching before the attack begins, even though Forward is not a crouching input!

Down-Forward -> Down-Back -> Down-Forward (313):  This all all diagonals DP can also be called the "Crosscut DP."  Hold the Down button the whole time and alternate between the Forward and Back buttons [3131313].  You do not have to stop alternating your diagonals because it is a self-cycling input!  Who cares which side your opponent is on?!

Landing Alt-Cuts

Beginning a Dragon Punch motion with an Up-Forward is a new concept (to me at least), since in SF6 you would normally jump before the motion can finish.  However, this starting position of Up-Forward may have some very interesting applications when it comes to option selects on landing and wakeup.  This could also be a new way to approach tiger knee inputs. But for now it is just theory crafting.

Up-Forward -> Down -> Down-Forward (923):  The simplest example from Up-Forward is finishing a DP as normal.  Instead of from Forward (623), we are beginning with Up-Forward (923).

Up-Forward -> Down-Forward -> Forward (936):  While this looks nothing like a Dragon Punch, the F-D-F inputs are hidden within:  Up-Forward serves as our Forward input, Down-Forward serves as our Down input, and Forward serves as our Forward input (traditionally Down-Forward).  All the pieces are there for a Shoryuken motion.

Up-Forward -> Down-Back -> Forward (916):  "Wait, what?"  This will be our most extreme example.  Up-Forward is our "Forward" requirement, Down-Back includes our "Down" input, and "Forward" is the only part of the traditional "Down-Forward" needed to finish an alt-cut.

See the trends within the madness?  Ugh, get it together, Ken!  As long as there is some form of Forward, Down, Forward in your input sequence, a Dragon Punch will come out.  A new Ken flowchart is in town!  All the more reason to be careful with your inputs and prevent accidental uppercuts.

Unfortunately, so far in our SF6 testing we cannot end a Dragon Punch with an Up-Forward.  This has not been the case in SFIV and SFV and is a heartbreaker for us 639 "Instant DP" fans out there.  As best I can tell it has less to do with the F-D-F alt-cut rules we have established this lesson, and more to do with all motions ending in an Up-Forward + Attack in general.  It appears jumping begins at frame zero across the entire engine (or something), even if an attack is pressed simultaneously. 

A lab monster's job is never finished.  There is still lots more testing to be done in the next beta!


This guide has served more of as an academic look into the game engine.  We plan on putting out many more tutorials with Street Fighter 6's release, and we hope that this overview helps you prepare for whatever the future holds.  This knowledge is all from beta testing, so things may change, but we will be exploring the game right alongside with you.

Overall, shortcuts and alt-cuts are not a new concept to Street Fighter.  That's how we were able to sniff these out so quickly.  Before the beta we already had a few ideas in mind to try out as soon as we logged in.  These alternate inputs show that SF6 has quite a bit in common with its predecessors when it comes to inputs.  Believe it or not, SFV actually has more alt-cuts!  Wow, Ken, slow down.

All of this begs the question:  If this three-step input requirement (F, D, F) is how the game looks at Dragon Punches, does that mean that the traditional 623 SRK is now an alt-cut -- and 626 is secretly the new true input for Dragon Punch?  It technically might be the case in this era of modern controls.  This is not a bad thing either.  While we don't need 18 alternate ways to Shoryuken, SFIV, SFV, and now especially SF6 have done a great job being inclusive to new players by expanding their input systems, while simultaneously giving us tech nerds more tools to push the metagame competitively with.

As for strategizing how to put these alt-cuts to work:

"How would I use these in a match?  Which ones are good?  Should I just pick one and replace my normal Dragon Punch Motion?"

This is too big of a subject to fit into one guide, and the tech never stops growing along with the game itself!  If you are interested in seeing a practical look at how to effectively use shortcuts / alt-cuts in a match, be sure to visit our Street Fighter V Dragon Punch tutorial.  All of these "shortcuts" exist in SFV, but we prune things down to just a few of the most powerful to learn.  We plan on upgrading all of our guides as we transition into the next gen of Street Fighter, but nearly all of the information is forward compatible.  With that I recommend checking out all of our Street Fighter content!

So, for now, if you have any questions about Street Fighter on Hit Box, please join our community on Discord and visit the #2d-traditionals channel. In addition, be sure to explore the "Hit Box" and "SF6" tags at the bottom of the post and visit our SF Index for more How-To content.

Happy Training,