Input Tricks

I might put images in this post later, but I really don't feel like it right at this moment.

- Claw Style
This is basically using your right hand's fingers for attack inputs like you do on a stick, except on a pad. Ideally this is used with a pad that has 6 attack inputs on the face of the pad (like an arcade stick). The index, middle, and ring fingers are used to press the attack inputs in lieu of using the thumb. The right-side shoulder button is also ignored (and usually the left side shoulder too).

If you're playing on a stick, cool. If you're playing on a pad, this is practically essential for performing quite a lot of techniques.

Using the thumb for attack inputs is not ideal for many games, even ones with only 4 attack strengths. While fat-fingering vertically aligned buttons with the thumb is easy, it's very difficult to hit horizontally or diagonally aligned buttons simultaneously. It's also significantly more difficult to piano, drum, or mash (seen below).

- Piano'ing
This is the act of having your fingers come down on the attack inputs in rapid succession. Such as ring finger, then middle finger, then index finger (or the reverse) very rapidly. The point to this is to press multiple inputs as quickly as possible which is very useful for reversals. Particularly useful in games with negative edge, since releasing the button will also act as a special move input. It's also useful for linking into specials or supers, or canceling attacks with very small cancel windows.

Lots of Capcom games will trigger a super on any attack strength. Thus, you can input the motion and then piano your punches or kicks in order to greatly increase your chances of executing the super on the first possible frame.

- Drumming
Often confused with piano'ing. This is the act of tapping only one input button with multiple fingers in rapid succession. A very difficult technique, especially on a controller with small buttons. It's ideal on sticks or custom sticks with rather large attack buttons. The concept is essentially the same as piano'ing, but the point is that it's designed to result in a specific attack strength (like a fierce DP), rather than potentially any strength.

- Mashing
Either rapidly tapping a single button or sliding your whole hand across the attack inputs. There's also directional mashing. A long time ago I did some research into how directional inputs are handled by SFA3 with hold-type throws. But, I dunno if every game treats them the same way, so whatever. Just know that in most games, dizzies/staggers/holds will want you to do 360 motions on the controller as quickly as possible, though moving from diagonal to opposite diagonal is often just as good/better.

- Fat Finger
Simply the act of using a single finger for two or more attack inputs. Pad players are probably no stranger to this. But, it's also possible to perform on a stick of course.

- Negative Edge
This is a mechanic found in a lot of Capcom fighting games, but some others as well. First, negative edge is synonymous with button-up, or releasing a button that was previously held. Normally, releasing an attack button doesn't perform an attack, but it will allow you to perform a special move or super. This was Capcom's way of making specials and supers easier, since they found that players tend to press the attack button too early in a motion, and this was their way of giving the player a "second chance".

- Button Up Reversals
This makes use of Negative Edge (above), in that you would perform a special move with the intention of only using the button release to execute the move, and not the actual button press. In other words, being knocked down, holding either your punch or kick buttons (all of them), and then inputting the attack motion and then releasing the buttons in rapid succession as you get up off the ground. The idea here is that you'll perform the reversal move or you won't perform anything at all. Which is particularly good if you happen to be holding down+back as the final input, since you'll either reversal or block low.

- Input Buffer Reversals
I don't know if there's another name for these, but it goes along the same line as button-up reversals. Basically, in a lot of games (particularly Capcom games) there is a large buffer window where the game "Stores" or "keeps" your special or super input for a few or even several frames (depending on the game). This is really useful for reversals and also useful for guard-cancels. Basically, if you're knocked down you can input the attack motion then quickly move the control to down+back in order to low block, then piano your attack buttons to perform the reversal. If you time the reversal wrong you will most likely block, since you're holding down+back, but if you time it right then you'll reversal. This doesn't particularly matter if your reversal move is a reverse dragon punch motion (421) but it's great if your reversal is a DP or QCF (623 and 236 respectively).

- Kara Cancel
This actually appears in quite a lot of games, particularly Capcom games. However, it is used more actively in games like Jojo's and SF3:3rd Strike. First "kara" just means "empty" which is synonymous with "whiff". Most games will allow you to cancel a normal into a special move within the first few frames of the normal move, in other words before the normal move even comes out (a fraction of a second). This was another one of Capcom's answers for making special and super moves easier to perform. Basically they wanted it so that if you pressed the attack button too early you could still potentially cancel the normal attack into a special. Though, this doesn't really get major use in a lot of games except SF3:3rd and Jojo's. Though it can be more passively seen in other ways (see below).

- Priority Cancel
This is an option select that is slightly different than a kara cancel but works on a similar principal. Some games give a priority ranking to different attacks when multiple actions are performed simultaneously. For example when you press a punch and a kick at the same time, the game will usually choose the punch. This is extremely useful in games like Garou:MotW and Guilty Gear, though it's often used in many other games. Basically, it allows you to input an attack and a throw attempt at the same time, and if you are unable to grab then your attack comes out, but if you are able to grab then you grab instead of attacking.

- CPS-Chain/Renda Kara Cancel
This is mostly specific to Street Fighter. It appears in Super Turbo. And it kind of makes it's way into SFA3, but only in regards to X-Ism mode. It has also been found in STHD and I'm sure it's also present in SFAA. In the case of SFA3 it's referred to as "Doujioshi SP", but the hell if I know why. To me, the name CPS-Chain makes the most since, because that's precisely what it is. Basically you can chain a specific light attack into another specific mid or heavy attack by using simultaneous inputs. For example, SFA3 X-Sakura could do c.LK then LK+b+HP to combo from a low kick into her back-fierce. Personally I wouldn't be surprised if it found it's way into other CPS1/CPS2 games, but I wouldn't know. Pretty much all of the Marvel and Vampire games give characters the magic chain anyway, so CPS-chaining is irrelevant in those games.

- Kara Throw
This is primarily seen in SF3:3rd strike and sometimes SFA3. Perhaps other games to some extent. The actual function of this is that some moves in SF3:3rd strike will either move the character forward or backward within the first few frames of the move. And if that move is canceled then the character will still move forward first and then perform the next action. Akuma/Gouki for example can do a toward+MP then LP+LK throw on the first frame of the toward+MP to basically "teleport" forward before attempting a throw. It's extremely obvious when he does it because he makes a grunting noise for the overhead attack, where normally his throw has no startup noise.

- Charge Buffering
This takes advantage of the buffer window like "Input Buffer Reversals". The idea is to perform the end and beginning of a charge before actually performing the charge move. For example, holding back to charge, pressing forward, then holding back to begin the next charge and THEN pressing an attack input. So for characters like Guile and Remy, it lets them begin another charge before even releasing the first sonic boom.

- Charge Partitioning
This is confused with Charge Buffering a lot, but the two are not synonymous. This is primarily a SF3:3rd Strike related technique but it may also appear in other games (who knows?). Basically, it allows you to "split" a charge. In fact, "Charge Splitting" would probably have been a better name for this. In 3S you're able to charge for about half the required duration for a special move, perform another action, then charge the rest of the way and still be able to perform the special. For example, Remy can charge for about half the normal time it takes to charge a move, dash, charge the other half, and then execute the move. But it's not limited to just that. You can actually charge the full duration, dash, and then immediately execute the move. This also isn't limited to directional charges, it also applies to rapid-tap specials like Chun-Li's Lightning Legs, where she can perform part of the necessary number of button inputs, dash, and then perform the rest and get the move. Personally I think it's really amusing to see Chun perform a back+fierce, dash, and then immediate LLegs coming out of the dash.

This is an option select that is somewhat synonymous with Priority Cancel, however it specifically applies to SF3:3rd Strike for a particular reason. I forget what the acronym stands for (and doubt it matters) but basically it involves the priority system revolving around parries. The actual action is to first input a parry, then input a kara throw. The game will accept the first action performed during a parry, so in this case it will accept the attack and not the throw, but if you don't parry then you kara throw. Basically what happens is; if the opponent attacks you will parry and then attack with whatever move you used to kara // if the opponent does not attack you "whiff" the parry attempt and then perform your kara throw.

- Parry Reaction Buffer
This is another SF3:3rd Strike concept, but it can also technically apply to other things such as super flash screen freeze. Basically it revolves around the idea that you can react to a freeze and press a button to reverse out of being hit. Note that heavy attacks give less parry-freeze to the aggressor than light attacks. For example you can perform a very slow attack like Ibuki's far fierce, then input the motion for her DP or super art 2, and if the opponent blocks or gets hit then you can just not press any following button. However, if the opponent parries you have enough time to react to the parry noise and flash to press the appropriate attack button(s) and perform a reversal.

- Reversal/Parry Safe
This is an ancient concept and basically revolves around the idea that 1) reversals are sometimes slow and 2) some attacks recover extremely quickly after the last active hit frame. This is typically a jump-in attack, though it can be any move that has very few recovery frames. An example of this would be to knock the opponent down and time a jump-in so that you land about 1 frame after the opponent gets up. I say "about" because it depends how fast reversals are in whatever game you're playing. Basically, if the opponent does not do a reversal then the attack connects (because it was active for 1 frame while they were vulnerable). If they reversal then they become invulnerable on wakeup and your jump-in will whiff. However, if you land 1 frame after they get up, and their reversal takes 5 frames before it becomes active, obviously you'll be able to land and block before their reversal can hit you.

This is maybe better illustrated with projectiles. If you throw a projectile on a downed opponent so that it connects very deep, it may be possible for you to recover before the projectile actually connects. Therefor if they don't reversal they will have to block or be hit by the projectile, and if they reversal then they'll avoid the projectile but you can block anyway.

- Hitstop Buffer and UOH's
Universal Overheads (UOH's) in SF3:3rd strike are kind of unique to some degree, though it's possible for this technique to perhaps be performable in other games. Basically, a UOH that is blocked will have significantly more blockstun than the amount of hitstop it would have if it had connected. Rather, if you hit with a UOH you land almost immediately due to very little hitstop. But if it's blocked you land much later.

This lets you do things like perform the UOH and simply input a super attack at the exact time that would allow it to combo if it hits. If the UOH does indeed hit then you'll land quickly and perform the super, but if it doesn't hit then you'll most likely be pressing the attack input while you're still caught in the air in blockstop. Which makes this an autoconfirm (see below)

- Super Jump Cancel
I don't know how widespread this technique is. Probably not at all. I'm assuming it's actually just in SF3:3S and nothing else, though I'm not entirely sure. Basically, SF3:3S has really long super jump startup, depending on character. But for all characters, this super jump startup is both throw invulnerable and special/super cancelable. This allows combos such as Yun close MK->SJ->SJC->Genei Jin. Essentially canceling the close MK into a super jump, and then canceling the super jump startup into a super. However, this also gives a bit of an option select for some characters. For example, "tiger knee"'ing a special move can result in a few frames of throw invulnerability which transitions into a reversal. The practical application of this is to help avoid tick-throw/melee-stagger mixups, such as Makoto's Karakusa grab. Though, despite popular belief, you do not retain your throw invulnerability. It ends once the SJ is canceled, once the special/super begins.

Oddly, Jojo's has some jump canceling and jump landing canceling in it.

- Jump Install
In a way this is similar to super jump cancels. But, it applies only to Guilty Gear and Fate:Unlimited Codes, as far as I know (it may also be in BlazBlue). Anyway, it's basically performing a superjump input during a combo where no superjump can actually take place, which tricks the game into thinking you actually jumped when you didn't. For example, Chipp can't airdash or doublejump after doing his crouching HS canceling into his high teleport. However, if he jumpinstalls during the combo someplace then the game thinks he jumped, so coming out of his teleport he is able to airdash and doublejump.

- Kamone/Fuzzy Guard
This might not technically constitute as an input trick, but it kind of is. It's basically a while-rising jumping attack used as an overhead. Quite a lot of games have this function, anywhere from SF and Jojo's to Melty and Guilty, etc. Basically, the function is that once you are put in blockstun, your character can not transition from standing to crouching (or visa versa) until blockstun ends or another attack is blocked. Since jumping attacks must be blocked high, this can force the opponent into a stand block animation for a long period of time (however long the attack blockstun is for). This doesn't normally matter except in situations where a while-rising jumping attack wouldn't normally hit a crouching opponent, but would hit a standing one.

In other words, a jumping HK land and then another jumping HK immediately afterwards. If the opponent crouches the first jump HK (and is hit) they will be crouching and too small to be hit by the second one. However, if they block the first one high, then immediately press down+back to block low, they will still be stuck in a stand block animation, which is tall enough to be hit by the second one. Now, even though they are pushing down+back to block low it is still technically an incorrect block and they are hit by the second jump kick.

Seen here: MBAC PC: M.Hisui "FuzzyGuard"

- 5 Way Mixups.
This isn't actually an input trick, but it's good to consider when evaluating what your character can do anyway. This is basically in every game with crossups and throws. Basically, if you're able to perform an ambiguous crossup you have the potential to hit high from either the left or right, which must be blocked by pushing either left or right. However, you're also able to time your jumpin late then land and perform a low from either the left or right, which must be blocked by pressing down+left or down+right. Lastly you can also mistime your jump-in then land a throw which must be reversal'd or jumped out of, since it can't be blocked. Thus we have a 5-way mixup: high left (block 6), high right (block 4), low left (block 3), low right (block 1), throw (reversal/mash/jump).

A typical setup would be a knockdown that simply lets you decide whether you'll hit from the left or not with a crossup.

Melty Blood wouldn't normally have 5-way's because crossups can be blocked by pressing either left or right. However, because doublejumps turn your character to face the correct direction of the opponent, some characters actually do have 5-ways, such as Satsuki.

- Pre-Buffer Hit Confirms
A hit confirm is just reacting to a hit and then performing an action. Typically a chain of attacks like c.LK c.LK c.LK, or something with a lot of hitstun. A pre-buffer hit confirm is a lot like a parry reaction buffer, only you're reacting to a hit instead of a parry. Basically, you perform the action and input the special or super before the attack even connects, then confirm the hit before inputting the attack button for the special or super. This is even better if the character doesn't have a regular special that overlaps with a super motion, like Chun-Li. It is not uncommon for players to perform a qcf before inputting her c.MK, then inputting the second qcf after pressing the c.MK (ending the entire super motion before the c.MK even connects), and then waiting to confirm the hit before executing the super with the final kick input.

The idea to this is that if you wait until the hit connects before inputting the super motion it would take forever. But if you already have the motion stored in buffer, all you need to do is press a single button.

- Auto-Confirms
Autoconfirm is almost synonymous with Hitstop buffer, except they often exist in other games and it can done in various ways. A lot of autoconfirms are based around whiffs. For example, if you stick out a c.MK and input a super when the opponent is far away from you, then the c.MK will most likely whiff and you won't perform a super. However, if the opponent advances forward they are most likely not blocking, because they are either walking or dashing or running forward and not blocking low, therefor you will hit and cancel into super. The odds of accidentally connecting with a blocking opponent are slim because the opponent is outside of your poke range. The biggest risk is if they walk forward and block at the right time, or happen to have a stupidly good dash that lets them block very soon after dashing

It is not uncommon for players to intentionally whiff pokes while executing a super during the whiff. It's often just the player fishing for a lucky hit, while avoiding potential blocks and not wasting meter on whiff/block.

Another form of autoconfirm is basically what happens when you can only perform a specific action on hit, that won't occur in any other situation. For example, being able to super jump cancel only on hit and not on block allows some characters to autoconfirm.


I'm sure there's a lot more, but this is what I could remember for the moment.

Staggers and Mindgames

I guess this post will be dedicated to Comic-Z.

I've gone over staggers and suki traps before, as well as mindgames and psychic DPs, but I guess rewording everything couldn't hurt.

The act of leaving a gap between attacks is often called staggering, because the rate/tempo of the attack inputs is "staggered". The idea behind this is, if you were to string 10-20 attacks as fast as possible (airtight) against an opponent then there's basically zero chance for them to get hit on any of these attacks unless some of them are overhead/lows. However, if you leave a frame gap in between attacks then they at least have the potential to be hit, because they leave blockstun.

However, even if there is a gap between attacks, what motivates the opponent to drop their guard? Why would an opponent try to mash out an attack between hits, jump, throw, backdash, or whatever?

Well, fear. The whole concept of fear is basically synonymous with "mindgame". It is not a mixup, it is the act of tricking/forcing your opponent into doing what you want them to do, like using a psychic DP.

It is not simply mathematics, and you can't rely on variation and moderation to pull through. That's not how it works. You have to actually pay attention to what you and your opponent are doing, and try to get into your opponents head.

If you get an opponent blocking a lot, you must make them afraid to rely entirely on blocking. If you exert that you have a strong high/low and melee/throw mixup game then the opponent will begin to fear the risk of getting hit by these actions that counter blocking (or incorrect blocking). The common reaction to this is to start option selecting with ghetto defenses, such as mashing, chicken blocking (jump block), backdashing, and attempting reversals and such. Knowing this, you can go back to specifically countering/abusing these option selects with staggers, which beat all this stuff.

The reason this can't be based on mathematics and variation is that doing so is basically guessing. And when you're guessing, you're prone to guessing wrong. Educated guessing, though it may be, is still prone to potential failure -- though is often necessary anyway, especially in netplay.

Instead, to use these techniques effectively you have to pay close attention to what your opponent is doing and even thinking. Often, if you just assume you know exactly what your opponent is going to do, or is not going to do, you may guess wrong. However, rather than guessing you can force situations where you know what the result will be. If you notice that your opponent will often react a specific way to a specific situation, then you can recreate the situation and directly counter their predictable action.

Predictability being the key word there. In my opinion, every truly predictable action does or should have a direct counter to it. Thus, if you really want to get inside your opponents head you'll need to observe what their habits are.

This is one of the major backbones to developing/learning/progressing in fighting games: breaking down habits. If two players play frequently, but never really pay attention to each other's habits, they are not likely to learn or progress at all. Often, the ones who pay no attention to habits at all are the ones that become "Stuck" at a certain level of play and are unable to improve.

Learning to beat/counter things is really essential to fighting games in general. But it is not always just your opponent that you're trying to beat/counter, you also have your own habits to deal with, and can at times be your own worst enemy.

We are not all fast learners though. Some of us take a long time to notice certain things, while others notice them instantly. And even when we notice them, there's different rates at which we correct them. The most interesting players are the ones that notice what hit them and why very quickly, and either experiment or create interesting ways to prevent it from happening again or completely countering the situation in the first place.

But while some of us are not really so keen, a good place to start is at least to "take a moment" and think about what hit you and why, or what hit the opponent and why it worked.

Personally, I'm unable to do that during the course of a set. I need a break between matches in order to "take a moment". But this is often why I post my own matches on youtube. It's not really just to showcase the game or my matches, I actually watch all my matches and try to analyze what exactly happened during the match. And hopefully I can see where I'm lacking and what my habits are, so that I can adjust.

In my opinion, reviewing your own gameplay is really crucial, especially if you are unable to actively see mistakes from your opponent and yourself during a match, and develop ways to adjust or counter these situations while actually playing.

3D Fighters

Why do people play them? I don't really know. I can only assume certain things based on my own experiences.

I've played a number of 3D fighters against players of different skill levels, ranging from the average scrub to tournament placers and a bunch of players that fall somewhere in between. Yet somehow I still feel my experience with 3D fighters is extremely limited and I'm fairly in the dark as to why people play them or think they are fun or interesting. I don't feel I actually learned much of anything while playing them, which is probably why I don't like them at all.

Most of the 3D fighting games that I've played unfortunately boil down to extremely linear gameplay, mostly both players try to get point blank and perform moves with wonky hitboxes at wonky intervals or attempt to pin the opponents actions with high speed moves. Totally an attempt to "beat" out the player's attacks on anticipation, because apparently no one can reaction block to the high/low shenanigans or reaction counter to very fast light attacks or capitalize on footsies in general.

It certainly isn't mashing, no. But, to me it seems like a yomi game that's hard boiled and simplified. It's basically a constant barrage of Rock Paper Scissors. I mean really, I don't remember the last time I saw players actually utilizing mid-range gameplay in a 3D fighter. No baiting, no trapping, no zoning, no stagger/suki mixups off block, rarely any feinting. It really does seem like all anyone does is try to use the right hitbox at the right time -- a game of risk/reward.

Mixups aside, I don't think actual mindgames (not mixups) exist in any 3D fighters, but to be fair I haven't exactly explored them all to really know for sure.

Though I've said it before; I believe anyone can genuinely enjoy just about any game given the right circumstances regardless of how poor it is. While anything from RPS to chess might not be fun to play against a machine in, I think even something as base as just RPS can be enjoyed among friends. Especially when other circumstances are added in and things get hype. And I know we all have some friends that would much rather sit around and mash out some RPS than play a game of chess, right?

So, why am I posting this? Well, I often hear the counter-argument that 3D games "must be" more than "just-RPS" because players can do consistently well/poorly against one another so there must be more to it than random guessing. Well, that's right, but same with actual literal RPS. There's tournaments for RPS after all, and those players can be consistent too. So I'm afraid that counter-argument just doesn't sit with me. There is such a thing as being very good and consistent with educated guesses and reads. However, that doesn't mean there's any more depth to it than simply that, when you consider the rules of RPS.

So, I would personally like to hear about and see some examples of an ideal/good 3D fighter with more gameplay than "just that".

Rubber Soul (Jojo's)

I wrote a little FAQ that was supposed to go up on the SRK Wiki. But I've forgotten my wiki password and am apparently unable to make a new account. So I just kinda stuck it in a text file.