Twitch Baits

A twitch response is what happens when the opponent baits you into doing something. This technique in general is usually referred to just as a "bait", but since that's such a broad blanket term the actual mechanics of the technique tend to get lost. It's sort of like reverse tunnel vision, or simply exploiting anticipation or panic reactions. It's almost so simple that it feels a little ridiculous explaining it. But let's start with an example:

- c.LP walk forward throw (classic tick throw).
- c.LP walk forward -pause- c.LP

This is one of the most basic twitch-response exploits. The reason it works is because the defender is sitting there afraid to get hit, so they keep blocking and end up getting thrown a bit. After getting thrown enough they start looking for the throw so that they can tech/jump out. The problem is, most good players will just walk right up in a blatantly obvious/telegraphed manner, knowing damn well that the defender is afraid of the grab now, and then instead of grabbing they punch them in the nuts.

The reason this is so effective in games like SF4 and CvS2 is because jabs link to strongs which combo to specials and supers. Even better, if you attempt to tech the throw high you'll whiff a throw attempt, and if you tech it low you'll do a jab which gets stuffed by their jab which results in a counterhit.

It was made more effective in SF3:3S because this pattern could include down parry, as in c.LP walk forward down parry attempt c.LP/throw, where if the defender is hitting buttons to defend themselves aggressively/panicky they'll get parried and eat heavy confirmable damage, or again if they try to optionselect tech the throw by teching while crouching the defender would stick out a low jab and get parried.

It was also pretty effective in SFA2 and SFA3, and can be found in most fighting games where throws aren't instant and either counterhits or jabs/shorts are really powerful.

This is just the basic foundation of getting in your opponent's head and baiting out reactions that you want though. Pressuring people in the corner while whiffing obvious pokes or throwing fireballs tends to bait people to jump, which gives you free anti-airs. Doing a move with frame disadvantage tends to bait people into attempting an attack even if they know they can't punish it, which gives you an opportunity to beat their attack with an invulnerable or partially invulnerable move. Wiggling just within sweep range can bait people into trying a sweep despite most sweeps being incredibly risky and punishable.

Because you're getting into the opponent's head and getting a read on people, players will often mistakenly call this a "mind game" when it's not. It really is just a simple mixup. This mixup with the first example is a two option mixup, like flipping a coin. Either it will be a jab, which is melee and you prevent damage by blocking. or it will be a throw which is a grab and you prevent damage by avoiding it or teching it. In other words:

Melee/Grab == c.LP/throw --> block/tech (or jump or backdash or walk back or whatever).

Something Azrael said a while back made me realize SF4 was teaching a legion of MB and GG/BB players what the basic twitch-response mixup is in most "classic fighters". At first I thought it was the other way around, I thought SF4 was teaching SF/GG/BB players what staggers were. But that's mostly because I don't actually play the game, so it wasn't until I thought about it more that it became apparent that it was indeed teaching GG/BB players the twitch.

I'd say MB players already sort of know the twitch and the stagger, because it works like KoF or run-grooves in CvS2, but honestly I think a lot of players get wrapped up in what they are doing that they don't bother thinking about the opponent or what they want the opponent to do (other than lose) to really get a grasp on it. For example, it's easy to just go into auto-pilot mode and fall into the habit of running tick throws or block strings without actually even giving your opponent room to twitch or panic.

I daresay a player who is too focused on doing only tick throws and/or block-strings is missing about half the actual game, even when utilizing both ticks and strings. I also daresay the scariest pressure is the one that has holes, usually intentional holes designed to bait the twitch.

- Copyright © Xenozip.

SFA3 Rose Sucked

A few people I know play Rose in SF4. And Rose is pretty much the only SF4 character that I care about, so I tend to get into Rose-related discussions from time to time (despite not playing SF4 at all). These conversations naturally lead to how bad she is and wishlists for SSF4, and all I can say is "at least she ain't A3 Rose". This more or less escapes a lot of people because: while A3 players are rare these days, A3-Rose players are even more rare.

Well let's examine how bad she really was in A3 (in comparison to SF4):
- Jabs and shorts did not combo into any special move (unless on CH).
- No links at all, her only link worth mentioning was c.MP into c.LP at point blank which only comboed into Lv.3 super. Or meaty c.MP into c.MP.
- Her crossup j.MK was really tiny and difficult to space.
- Her jumping HP lost to most anti-airs since the hitbox wasn't particularly good. So for the most part she couldn't jump.
- All versions of Sparks were -F on block.
- The LP and MP Sparks were very punishable on block/hit (which would reward with CH).
- All Sparks had a very long animation which were really easy to jump over and punish.
- Sparks pushed Rose/Opponent back depending on strength used so HP version was useless in blockstrings (since it's -F on block anyway) though it was technically the only one "safe" on block due to pushback range.
- All versions of Spiral were punishable on block. You could only really make the LK Spiral "safe" but landing it from max range and hoping your opponent couldn't reach you.
- Her MK Spiral and HK Spiral were slow startup and only comboed from close HP or c.HP (you couldn't make them airtight on block).
- Spirals knocked the opponent too far back for a meaty crossup j.MK.
- Both LP and MP Reflects were punishable on block which rewarded CH.
- Her HP Reflect was safe on block but all reflects were only comboable from point blank close MP or c.MP or c.MK and none of those into HP Reflect were airtight on block (opponent could hit Rose before the HP Reflect hit).
- Slide (df.MK) was unsafe on hit/block from most ranges except absolute max range.
- Slide (df.MK) did not go under fireballs at any point.
- Her close HK was actually her f+HK except it didn't move forward after the kick, and was not cancelable.
- Her close MK wasn't cancelable either.
- Her anti air options sucked: c.HP, MP-Reflect, f+HK, Soul Throw, and Slide were all garbage.
- Her forward/back throw was a mashable hold both ground/air, which meant it didn't do much damage, especially when teched.

Don't get me wrong, not hating on the character, we all have our low-tier love. But thinking about it, the one thing that A3 Rose had over SF4 Rose, IMO, was her supers, which weren't all that great. The Soul Throw super would throw the opponent behind her, so doing it against a cornered opponent put you in the corner, plus you could mash down the damage fairly easily (cutting the damage down by 50%) since it was so few hits and very rhythmic/telegraphed. Her Spark super wasn't bad at all, generic fireball super at level 1, autocombo that moved forward at level 2, and a super-reflect into fireball at level 3. And her friends super was good, kind of like Yang's friends super in SF3 except hers was glitched too giving her unblockables. I'd say it was the only thing that kept her out of the bottom tier.

I would also say that A3 Rose could combo anti-air c.HP into Soul Throw but the fact that c.HP wasn't a particularly good anti-air makes that kind of trivial/worthless. Her MP Reflect was her better anti-air option and yet it lost to so much mundane shit like Shoto j.MK that it didn't really matter.

Overall Rose was low tier in A3, just barely escaping bottom tier. Although that's still her status in SF4, she was improved upon by leaps and bounds compared to her A3 incarnation. Her A2 and CFJ versions are a different matter altogether. Though thinking about it, they didn't really change much about Rose from A2 to A3 except speeds and hitboxes, which just goes to show how frames and rectangles (the shit we don't really see) can make or break a character (turning a top tier Rose into a low tier Rose while changing "nothing" about the character).

Though, SF4-Rose can combo Spirals and Reflects from c.LP. And she can link to c.MP from c.LK in SF4 which let her combo Sparks and stuff. Not only that, at least HK Spiral and HP Spark were safe (HP Spark is actually advantageous in SF4). The main things I like about SF4 Rose is her jab into Spiral or into into spiral which sets up a crossup, her HP Spark being advantageous, and her really good j.HP and j.MK (all things her A3 version didn't have). But there's other little things that were nice too, like her close MK being cancelable and her slide going under fireballs (even under low tiger shots!), among other things. So personally my SSF4 wishlist for Rose is that they change nothing but numbers.

Oh and if you were wondering, she was one of the chars that had an infinite in V-ism. Meanwhile four of the top five characters did not have infinites. Which also goes to show that infinites don't automatically make a character broken (or even good).

I still think the one thing that I miss about A3 Rose is her airthrow (everyone in A3 had an airthrow). And that's about it. Well, that and fool card winpose.

- Copyright © Xenozip.

RE: SF4 Unblocks / Seth

So I did further testing with Seth. He has a couple setups actually that work differently.

He can SPD into LP-Boom then Ultra. This setup works exactly like Sagat's, basically. If Ryu is blocking pre-flash he will be hit, and if Ryu does not block pre-flash he can block post-flash.

His other setup is backthrow into MP-Boom then ultra. This one works exactly like Rose's but better. Ryu can't block pre-flash or post-flash (meaning he can't block at all), he also can't backdash AFAIK. In fact the only way to escape it with Ryu is EX-DP. But Seth is safe if Ryu does EX-DP since they recover at about the same time. Seth is also able to just not do his Ultra and that lets him bait escape attempts for free. Regardless, if Ryu has no meter he's fucked since there's no way to avoid it.

Now I need to test some Ken stuff. And keep in mind this sort of thing MAY or MAY NOT be possible with Sakura, Dan, Dhalsim, and Gouken. It's definitely not doable with Ryu because he can not perform an Ultra while there's a fireball already on the screen, so he's out, and it's basically useless for Akuma because his ultra can't grab people out of hitstun so he's out. I would have suspected Chun and Guile not to be able to do this, but weirder shit has happened so maybe they can (I dunno).

- Copyright © Xenozip.

SF4 Unblockables

Ok, so a "glitch" was recently discovered in SF4 that allows you to force an unblockable projectile hit during ultra flash, which naturally combos into ultra for a lot of characters.

- Sagat
- Rose
- Seth
- Ken
- Sagat again

- Rose again
- Sagat again

On further inspection here's what I've learned about Sagat's. With the LK-TigerShot setup seen in my video, Ryu can crouch. He'll still get hit, but the Ultra will whiff. Testing a MK-TigerShot setup reveals that Ryu will get hit standing if he attempts to block at all before the flash which lets the ultra hit too. If he does not block before the flash in either setup he can block after the flash. I don't really know why, it doesn't make sense, but it's true AFAIK.

This isn't inescapable though, Ryu can EX-DP or HP-DP and both characters will whiff each other. Ryu can also MP-DP and Ryu will beat Sagat out of his Ultra.

With Rose there is no option of blocking either before or after the flash, Ryu simply gets hit during the flash regardless if he is blocking beforehand or not. However he can backdash pre-flash and he will be hit out of the air by the LP-Spark which causes the Ultra to fail.

I tested a bit more with MP-Spark setups and against Ryu-sized characters this setup is only unblockable if Ryu attempts to block low, however if he blocks high the MP-Spark completely whiffs him. Though with this MP-Spark setup Ryu could not backdash because the Spark whiffed entirely which let the ultra grab him out of backdash. Thus Rose's only legit setup (against Ryu-sized characters anyway) LP-Spark.

Personally I haven't gotten around to testing Ken or Seth much, but I can tell you that Seth's is definitely the best out of all of them. Reason: he doesn't need to FADC.

In the case of Rose, if you see the FADC you can react accordingly and avoid the unblockable (backdash preflash). But with Seth there's nothing to react to. That allows Seth to bait escape attempts for free any time he has Ultra. If you attempt to escape when he doesn't do his Ultra he can punish your escape attempt. With Rose and Sagat they are kind of committed after the FADC so they are wasting two bars of super-meter (and ultra if they attempt the ultra).

I'll probably do some more testing with Ken and Seth, but for now I'm posting this before my thoughts get all jumbled and I forget everything.

Jinrai compiled a list of escapes and such for Seth's unblockable here. And there's a discussion thread here.

[Edit]: Made a post about Seth.

- Copyright © Xenozip.

RE: Samurai / Amakusa notes

Re: Samurai Shodown Five Special. Amakusa in Samurai Shodown 5Sp seemed like a weaker version of Dhalsim to me; ridiculously floaty jumps and really long range pokes and a teleport. A Dhalsim-lite, for an SNK Fighting Game. But lately I've been tinkering with him and I've come to realize that he's not really a Dhalsim clone. Though he does have certain features that are similar in some ways, the features that are different are what really defines him. Either way, he's an interestingly gimmicky yet solid lower/mid-tier character despite how he looks at a glance.

One really cool thing about him is that his 66S is an overhead, but it's -7F on block which makes it basically safe (in SS, that's technically safe). And a safe overhead is quite a commodity. It's also part of a gimmicky midsreen 4-way mixup out of dash. His 66K is low, and his 66H will hit from behind if it passes through the opponent, and you can throw out of a dash -- that gives you high-left/low-left/right melee 3-way plus dashing throw for a 4-way. Unfortunately all of his dash attacks are unsafe on block except the 66S overhead or throw, so it's not really that scary of a mixup, especially since most of those options do basically very little damage anyway.

His 5S is also an overhead on the way down, though it becomes a mid attack when he calls it back to him. The interesting thing about 5S being an overhead is that it's about the same range that you can pester the opponent with 2P or 5P which are both lows. That gives him "outside of sweep range" high/low mixups, though (un)fortunately 5S isn't safe on block and the hitbox for it is a very thin vertical point. On the other hand, 5S does not knock down, so in Mu no kyochi (timeslow mode) 5S allows you to combo into his Issen (runpast) or basically anything else, which is kind of scary if you don't Rage Explode because of his 5P/2P/5S being low/high mixups from outside of throw range, all of which will combo into whatever.

Speaking of combos, his n.2H combos to 214H or to his WFT, which does absurd amounts of damage. Mostly a punish type of technique though, but on the other hand n.2H allows you to teleport cancel on recoil/block which essentially makes it safe, but if you hit with it you can combo to the portal for stupid heavy damage. At point blank his n.2S also combos to 623K for a bit of damage, plus small pursuit if near corner. His 66A also links into 623K.

Speaking of his teleport, it does have a few frames of recovery, but these frames can be canceled by anything (much like jump/dash/wakeup recovery) including another teleport or a throw or jump (literally anything). This teleport is really what makes Amakusa so interesting. It's a great movement option, but it also makes a lot of his otherwise-unsafe moves safe by virtue of recoil canceling. For example 5H would be ridiculously unsafe, but if blocked you can cancel the recoil into a teleport and you're fine. This makes his c.5S, c.2S, f.5H and c.2H all safe to use whether you confirm them or not because you can just teleport cancel them on recoil.

The one thing he lacks is anti-air, IMO. His 623K grabs limbs so it can work as an anti-air. His 5K can also hit anti-air and has the benefit of being OTG which minimizes punishment if he's hit out of it (namely against multi-hitters like Yoshi j.S or j.H). Despite how they look 66P and 66S are NOT anti-airs, they have really low hitboxes and suck etc. Though 66H can work as an anti-air by virtue of being invulnerable once he starts to teleport and hitting from behind with a relatively high hitbox. The problem with 66H is the somewhat slow 19F startup, and ridiculously punishable recovery if it fails. Alternately a preemptive j.S or j.H can be used as anti-air, but in both cases it's a bit risky since the opponent is likely to land before you do. His 5S would seem like a good anti-air but it doesn't have a large hitbox so it's actually kind of garbage. Instead, 5H actually does the same thing you'd think 5S would do but better. In fact, as long as you're sure you're out of range of the opponent's attack then 5H is actually fairly easy to use as an anti-air and does loads of damage. But if they are within range to attack you then you're limited to some pretty risky options. The only attack that he has that hits ridiculously high into the air his n.5H which is not something you'd use very often, probably just if the opponent happens to jump vertically right in front of you or something. But personally, I teleport.

Some framedata.
MoveHit Adv.Block Adv.CancelDmgBlock/Deflect
f.5P-10 ~ -5-15 ~ -10N/N6L/Y
f.5S-10 ~ +2-21 ~ -11N/N12H/M/Y
f.5H-4 ~ +4-21N/R31M/Y
f.2P-7 ~ -3-12 ~ -8N/N7L/N
f.2S-5 ~ +1-18 ~ -12N/N11M/Y
f.2HD-55 ~ -45N/N27L/N
5K-16 ~ -3-15 ~ +10N/N6M/N
3KD-28 ~ -21N/N7L/N

Some more framedata:
NameDamageStartupActiveTotalCancelTypeHit adv. f.Hit adv. r.Block advDeflectWeaponRecoil
c.5a457141~3(3)/5~14(10)Weak +1+1-4NNN
5a61211321~2(2)Weak Low -10-10-15Y (weak)Y11(1)
c.5b912133312~24(13)Medium -3+5-18Y (med)Y8~11(4)
5b122114491~2(2)Medium Overhead -10-2-21Y (med)YN
c.5ab281819531~4(4)Heavy +2+12-21Y (heavy)Y17(1)
5ab311711581~3(3)Heavy -4+6-21Y (heavy)YN
c.2a454161~3(3)/5~16(12)Weak -1-1-6NNN
2a7118281~5(5)Weak Low -7-7-12NYN
c.2b91673616~28(13)Medium -2+6-13Y (med)YN
2b1197321~5(5)Medium -5+3-18Y (med)YN
c.2ab261485322~23(2)Heavy -2+8-19Y (heavy)YN
2ab27151775xLow KnockdownKDKD-55NNN
5c6913291~6(6)Medium -16+6-15NNN
6c513143213~32(20)Medium Low -1+7-14NNN
2c26618xWeak Low -2-2-7NNN
3c778401~4(4)Low KnockdownKDKD-28NNN
u.5s463241~4(4)Weak -2-2-6NNN
u.2s473241~4(4)Weak -1-1-5NNN
u.5c8913291~6(6)Medium -16+6-15NNN
u.6c513143213~32(20)Medium Low -1+7-14NNN
u.2c26618xWeak Low -2-2-7NNN
u.3c778401~4(4)Low KnockdownKDKD-28NNN
j8.a781130xWeak Overhead ------Y (weak)YN
j8.b1142138xMedium Overhead ------Y (med)YN
j8.ab2412947xHeavy Overhead ------Y (heavy)YN
j7/9.a781130xWeak Overhead ------Y (weak)YN
j7/9.b1141937xMedium Overhead ------Y (med)YN
j7/9.ab2412947xHeavy Overhead ------Y (heavy)YN
ju.s88514xMedium Overhead ------NNN
j.c571529xHeavy Overhead ------NNN
ju.c571529xHeavy Overhead ------NNN
5bc1620341xMedium Overhead KnockdownKDKD-15NNN
u.5bc8221148xMedium Overhead KnockdownKDKD-20NNN
66a768331~5(5)Heavy +10+20-22NNN
66b13146261~4(4)/9~11(3)Medium Overhead KnockdownKDKD-7NNN
66c61012361~4(4)Low KnockdownKDKD-21NNN
u.66c61012361~4(4)Low KnockdownKDKD-21NNN
天照封鳳撃・小2633558xMedium Overhead KDKD-21NNN
天照封鳳撃・中2633558xMedium Overhead KDKD-21NNN
天照封鳳撃・大2629376xLow KDKD-21NNN

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