SF4 Notebook – 4/14/2009

by casperOne 14. April 2009 13:22

Zangief

Zangief’s Ultra Combo is not like Akuma’s or Abel’s in the sense that the latter two, while appearing to be grab moves, require contact to be made with the opponent in order to inflict damage.

To get out of this situation on reaction, one can just tap (not hold) up during the Ultra Combo animation to avoid the move, as both require the character to be on the ground in order to connect (being in the jump animation counts as not being on the ground).

Zangief’s Ultra Combo, however is a true command throw which is instant, so if you are in range, you’re done on execution.

The frame data supports this (emphasis mine):

Name Startup Active Recovery Block F.A. Hit F.A. Blockstun Hitstun Damage Stun Super Meter Gain Block Cancel Ability
Ultra Combo 1+0 2 46 - - - - 600 0 0/0 1.4 -

That bolded “0” indicates that after the “intro” to the Ultra Combo, there isn’t any window of opportunity to react.

But along comes this video of the Korean National Champion in SF4 (he is playing Zangief):

At ~3:16, you see Zangeif enter into the animation for his Ultra Combo, which Ryu counters after the animation with a SRK.

The consensus over at SRK seems to be that the input for the SRK was put in before the Ultra Combo animation, and because at least the first frame of the SRK is invulnerable (to throws as well) it was able to counter Zangief’s Ultra Combo.

This makes sense, because I would never try to psychic DP if my expectation was that an Ultra Combo was coming out.  However, on knockdown, with a player trying to cross me up, a SRK reversal is natural.

So it goes to show that Zangief’s Ultra Combo can be reversed, but only if you are psychic, and not on reaction.

Fortunately, there is this comment about Sagat’s Tiger Uppercut (all versions) in the frame data (emphasis mine):

1-5f invincible, 6-7f throw invincible, 8f~ airborne, opponent is in jugglable state on counterhit

Which means that in a similar situation (knocked down by Zangief who is trying to jump in/cross-up on wakeup), the Tiger Uppercut will get me out of a situation where Zangief might jump in early and try to Ultra Sagat on wakeup.

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SF4 Notebook – 3/29/2009

by casperOne 29. March 2009 23:42

Ryu

The more I see of better players playing him, the more it is apparent he is the best all-around character in the game.  He will consistently deliver damage, but not overwhelmingly.  The juggle potential with the LP Shoryuken is also very good (e.g. he can do it into the EX Hadouken).

Rufus

His juggle potential is the greatest in the game, IMO.  The Tornado Galaxy can juggle in the corner (they can get an extra Tornado Galaxy if the first one hits), and he can juggle into a full Ultra Combo, I believe.

Additionally, the Jatotsu Nature can be juggled into (but I’m not sure after which normal move).

Claw

I learned an interesting piece of information at the Play N’ Trade Last Minute Tournament this weekend from a claw player.  From what I understand, when claw loses his mask, the damage he does goes down by 10% and he takes 25% more damage.  When he loses his claw, the damage he does goes down by 10% as well.

When I asked how to get the mask to come off, the player responded “hit him in the face”.  Duh.

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SF4 Notebook – 3/22/2009

by casperOne 22. March 2009 23:00

General

Lately, patience is the name of the game.  I’ve found that people are more patient now, which definitely suits my style of play.

I still think that it’s incredibly important to improve my rushdown/pressure game though.

Ragequits seemt to be common now.  It’s just f’n annoying when trying to get BP (although I realize that BP is not what is most important).

I’m starting a separate category for ragequits that I’ve come across while playing on the PS3 version. 

I’m beginning to work more people into the corner as well as improving my zoning game.

Akuma

When he does the far HK (which hits twice), jumping over him and trying to punish with a Tiger Uppercut always failed.  I was countered consistently with a SRK.

Sagat

Against a Ken player, I got a much better feel for the distance required to use HK for anti-air.  I really have to get more comfortable with using the Tiger Uppercut in closer situations though.

I’m also not using the Tiger Knee enough.  The LK has a nice amount of pushback which can be used to apply pressure.

Also having a little more success with digging deeper when crossing-up with the j.LK in the corner.

Blanka

Blanka’s Backstep Rolling attack can hit behind the head if timed right (about mid-range, and there are Blanka players out there which are timing it right).

Ryu

An early j.HP seems to be a nice counter against the early j.HK.

Ken

See notes for Ryu on j.HP.

Dhalsim

Sagat cannot use his Ultra to go through Dhalsim’s Ultra.

Boxer

Still getting mixed up when defending against the Dash Punches, have to read the difference between high and low better.

Chun-Li

Her reverse kick from behind is dangerous, as a hit leads into a cr.LK –> Lightning Legs.

Cammy

Cammys are not spam-happy with the Cannon Drill anymore, so opportunities to counter are more rare.

My reaction time to the Hooligan Combo is slow, need to combo better, although jumping counters or evades about half the time.

Seth

His array of moves is much more varied than I thought.  He has the air-step kick that Chun-Li has (and can hit three times in the process), as well as something like Gouken’s dash which goes through fireballs.

Sakura

I feel really guilty playing against her in her alternate uniform (the school gym outfit).

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SF4 Notebook 3/18/2009

by casperOne 18. March 2009 03:07

General

Tonight was another total grind fest.  While I played about four-five hours, I went from +350 BP on the night, to –150 BP on the night, and barely eeked out with +50 BP at the end of the night (~3200 BP).

On the bright side, Blanka, Balrog and Cammy feel like more comfortable matchups for me, but all the familiars, and Ken and Ryu most notably, seem to have better players now on the other end.

My execution was particularly poor tonight.

As I kept losing, I let my attitude get the better of me and goad myself into games with a mindset that was not geared towards winning.  It was worse than fear, and my play suffered (most notably ripping Ultras when I had no business doing so).

I’m trying to figure out what i learned, but its not coming easily to me.

El Fuerte

Does anyone have a viable f@$king option when playing this flying rat?

Ken

I absolutely hate, hate, HATE losing to scrub Ken players, or any Ken player for that matter.  Then again, they are all scrubs.

This is quickly becoming an infuriating matchup for me.  A lot of Ken players are timing the j.HK in the air to stuff a good number of my anti-air attacks (HK, Tiger Uppercut, j.HP).

Ryu

Like Ken, this is another source of anguish.  On top of that, it seems that more and more Ryu players are rooted to the ground.

With Sagat, DO NOT do cr.HK 2x in a row.  Ryu can tag you with the LP Shoryuken on the second cr.HK.

Have to be very careful when he has Super/Ultra meter, as many of them are doing a LP Shoryuken and then juggling into the Super/Ultra combo in the air.

Zangief

Can throw him immediately after blocking the Green hand.

Always do the Ultra when he is doing the Spinning Lariat.

Boxer

Can do Sagat’s Ultra in between hits on the Boxer’s Ultra.

Abel

A lot of them just keep rolling.  I think that zoning would help here (and in general) and I think that part of my game was particularly weak tonight.  Abel can get dangerously close with the roll, and I’m not reacting fast enough to it.

Gen

The combo with his j.HK (I believe that’s it?) hits from behind when you cross-up (he literally turns in the air to hit your back) –> cr.LP (which knocks down?) –> cr.HK or cr.HP is a nice little combo.  It’s hard to block that first hit (although for some reason it seems easier to block when Chun-Li does it).

How does one block the straight down kick off the wall?  I think the option here is to move.

Sagat

How do I get players that are rooted on the ground to get in the air?  Given that SF4 is a much more strategic game than ST, its not easy to bait people into jumping.  The game is more forgiving if you can’t react instantly.

I’m also not following up with what can be done after a LP Tiger Uppercut.  There are combo possibilities with the EX version of moves (Tiger Knee EX, Tiger Shot EX) but I’m not following through.

I have to stop hoarding the Super meter hoping to get a cr.MP –> Low Tiger Shot –> Super Combo.  I’m not executing the cr.MP –> Low Tiger Shot now as it is, so I should use that EX meter for something else.

While the j.LK crosses up people better, I throw it out high so I don't always connect the cr.MP (the character is too high in the air and the hitstun is not long enough).  I have to get the j.HK out later.

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SF4 Notebook – 3/13/2009

by casperOne 13. March 2009 02:34

General

Tonight was a total grind-fest.  It was one of those nights where execution was spotty at the worst times, and my BP just kept going up, then down, down, down.

In the end, after four hours, I might have made about 70-80 BP to end up at ~2500 BP.  I try not to focus on the number, but it’s hard to hover around a single point for so long (a few weeks is long?).

One really annoying thing was when I played someone without checking the match details.  He set the match to best of one round, and 30 seconds.  By the time I noticed it, he had won, and I lost 120+ BP.

Always check the match details before engaging.

Ken

I've come to the conclusion that I really think lowly of Ken players ever since I saw the flowchart which lays out his course of action:

kenflowc

(source: unknown)

While it is pretty true, I get pretty mad at myself when I lose to them, because I usually didn't punish the Shoryuken.

Ryu

His Ultra can hit Sagat’s Ultra when Sagat starts his Ultra right after his and he is a little bit past mid-range.  It was the only time I haven’t gone completely through his Ultra to punish.  I’m not concerned about it, yet.

Cammy

Felt a little more comfortable in the matchups.  I think that’s partially due to not putting myself out there for the Cannon Drill too much.

Sakura

On the other hand, the two times I played against Sakura, I got destroyed.  Her j.HK stuffed everything that I put up (HK, Tiger Uppercut, etc, etc), which leads into her nine-hit combo (I think it’s nine?) as well as some more nastiness if you are in the corner.

On top of that, the people playing her were great at zoning (whereas my zone game is suffering) so I was just off my game with her the whole night.

El Fuerte

I got slammed by him this evening.  The Tostada Press (I think?) just crosses me up every time, and he’s like a little rat scurrying around, it’s hard to get a bead on him.

Abel

Another annoying M.F., but not so much tonight.  Getting used to the odd high-low blocking for his three hit grab, but I don’t have an answer for the grab part yet.

Also, as fast as Abel’s Ultra combo is, Sagat’s Ultra combo can be executed to punish even when Abel is very close (as is the case with most Ultra/Ultra match-ups).

Boxer

I end up executing the Tiger Knee against him all night long.  It seems to be the only move he doesn't have a good
response to (although he has a response to everything else, it seems).

At least the SoCal Balrog army wasn’t out tonight.  I must have played ten ‘Rogs in a row the last time I was online.

C. Viper

At first, I was intimidated by her moves, as they are very flashy, but that’s really all they are.  They do damage, but they don’t have hitboxes that are the same size.

However, you do have to be aware of her jump angle, as her’s is more like an ST jump angle.  She also seems to be able to juggle pretty easily, and switch her trajectory in the air for some interesting combo/juggle opportunities, so it’s worth it to be cautious.

Blanka

When blocking an EX Rolling Attack, countering with a low EX Tiger Shot always seems to punish.  I’m still not so sure on a response to the regular Rolling Attack though.

While Blank’s slide is annoying, Sagat can do the LK Tiger Knee right over him, recovering before he will and usually putting him in good position to punish from behind.

Sagat

Sagat’s cr.MK seemed to be getting punished with a regularity I was uncomfortable with tonight.  I had a feeling that the cr.HP was faster, but I wasn’t sure it was the right alternative.

Here’s the frame data for the two moves:

Name Startup Active Recovery Block F.A. Hit F.A. Blockstun Hitstun Damage Stun Super Meter Gain Block Cancel Ability
c.MP 5 3 10 +1 +4 13 16 90 100 40 HL SpS
c.MK 7 3 15 -4 -1 13 16 90 100 40 L SpS

Hitstun, blockstun, damage, stun, super meter gain and cancel ability are all the same.  The startup is two frames quicker, and you actually get frame advantage on hit and block for the c.MP.

So the obvious choice here is to use the c.MP.

The problem is, I play on a PS3 pad and my MK is mapped to the R1 shoulder button.  I usually use this to combo from c.MK –> Low Tiger Shot or Tiger Knee (all three require only a kick).  Mapping the MP to the R1 shoulder button is an option, but I’d have to fiddle with my thumb on the pad for the Tiger Shot/Tiger Knee, or use the L1 shoulder button, which would be more cumbersome.

I guess I could put MP and MK on the right hand shoulder, with the Px3 and Kx3 on the left shoulder buttons, but then the Ultras would be more difficult to get out (they have saved my ass more than once and I’m not sure I’m willing to give that up just yet).

Maybe I’ll just get my left hand up to speed (I’m a righty) after all.  I don’t like fiddling around with the buttons, as there is too much muscle-memory built up over the years.

Hopefully, all of this will be moot when I get my Mad Catz Tournament Edition Fight Stick, if they ever come out that is (and I hear the Standard one is crap).

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SF4 Notebook 3/7/2008

by casperOne 7. March 2009 18:45

Blanka

I’m more comfortable with the matchup now, or the Blanka players I’m up against aren’t as good as before.

Seth

I can’t believe someone actually plays at him.  I assume that he is going to be banned from tournament play, and it’s a little bit of a waste to spend time to learn the character if that is the case.

His diving kick is an overhead attack, and you have to be careful to block against it.

His Ultra Combo doesn’t do as much damage as a player as one would think.

Dhalsim

His Yoga Fires are sooo slow, but when he teleports to the other side of you, it’s a pain to figure out what way to try and block.

Also, have to be careful of reacting instantly to the teleport, because he can attack in the air when recovering from the teleport.

Ryu

When a player wants to hunker down with Ryu, it can be really annoying to try and get in.

Claw

Like Blanka’s Backstep Rolling attack, the cross up of the Wall Dive is a bitch, but I managed to blocked it once.  Jump back and HK doesn’t seem to be as effective against it now, but Tiger Uppercut still dominates.

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SF4 Notebook – 3/4/2009

by casperOne 4. March 2009 22:00

General

I didn’t notice that the characters heads tilt up to look when the opponent jumps.

I was right about my impression about invulnerability time on wake-up being reduced.  From the Neo-Empire SF IV System Guide (the “Sixth Video” section):

This video:

shows an example of wake-up invulnerability time has being reduced in SF IV. Zangief knocks Honda down and then SPD's him on his wake-up because Honda was caught napping!
I also have these notes:

Wake-up invulnerability time has been reduced

For SFIV, it feels like there's almost no invulnerability time when you wake up from a knockdown. While this would be okay if it was just restricted to regular throws, this also applies to special command throws, so players have to be extremely careful on knockdowns.

During a wake up without holding the joystick up, jump straight up and your opponent can't throw you. So when you think a throw is coming, jump up to force your opponent's throw to whiff and then come down with a jumping attack into a combo. You can also throw out an attack with invincibility frames as a reversal and have it connect, so depending on the character and the circumstances, you can do that too.

Absorbing a hit using a Focus Attack will fill your Revenge Meter as if you had been hit by it.  Again from the Neo-Empire SF IV System Guide (emphasis mine):

- Use SA to parry projectiles:

It lets you increase your revenge gauge without taking damage. You eliminate black stun. You also get no damage for blocking a special move. No damage refers actually to "recoverable damage".

Cammy

I still can’t beat Cammy, it seems that the recovery from her Cannon Drill is non-existant.

Dan

I got beat by f’n DAN.

Ryu

If playing as Ryu as well, executing the Hurricane Kick after your opponent launches his Ultra will always go through the Ultra.  Because of the extra-long recovery time on the Ultra, it will always connect.

Blanka

Sagat can punish Blanka’s Ultra with his own Ultra or the Tiger Knee when blocked.

Also, can punish the Backstep Rolling attack with a Tiger Knee on block as well.

WTF, Blanka can duck under the low Tiger Shot?

Boxer

I have the sneaking suspicion Sagat’s Super Combo punishes Boxer’s dash punch.  Why yes, yes it does, on block, every time

Fei-Long

Apparently he has an infinite combo that works in the corner against Seth and Abel:"

Crap, I’m very glad I don’t play Seth or Abel.

Zangief

Does Sagat’s Tiger Knee punish the Green Hand?

The EX Green Hand seems to be invulnerable on beginning frames, as I saw it go through a fireball.  Frame data doesn’t have any information to support or refute this.

Sagat

I was slighty mistaken when I observed that throwing a low Tiger Shot will make you vulnerable to the high Tiger Shot.  You can avoid it completely if the timing is right.

I need to start exploring using the high elbow as an overhead attack.

God I really need to get the FADC down and get this combo down (start at 21:40):

Akuma

Sagat barely seems to be able to jump over the air fireball, but it can be done.

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SF4 Notebook – 2/26/2009

by casperOne 27. February 2009 00:10

General

Tonight was one of those nights.  I had the confidence to rushdown and beast in most of my matches.

I feel like I'm going to have to start reading the SRK Forums too, as I think I’m at a point where I’ll be able to grok the information.

I guess it’s official that I’m maining Sagat now.

Sagat

I could swear that the Tiger Knee hit overhead at times.  My initial guess is the first attack frame of the LK version.

cr.MK inches Sagat forward.  That’s going to come in handy in close quarters when being ranged.

Linking LP ~ cr.MK is difficult, even in training mode I connected it once every ten times.  It’s not worth it at this point.

Was able to hit the F+HK –> Ultra (as observed previously in the Japanese National Tournament), and it is a MUCH better setup than trying to hit the Ultra in general.

While trying to figure out if the Tiger Knee is an overhead hit or not, I found this in the Gamespot forums:

http://www.gamespot.com/arcade/action/streetfighteriv/show_msgs.php?topic_id=m-1-44705699&pid=943709

If Tiger Uppercut trades, Sagat gets a free Tiger Knee juggle.

I need to test that out.  It will be a good alternative if the Ultra is not available.

In the end, it comes down to three things, execution, execution, execution.

Zangief

It seems like he can grab me out of wakeup.  I know it’s not possible, but sometimes it just seems like that.  In general, my response time to throws is bad and I need to tighten that up.

Tiger Knee works well against the Lariat.  At the very least, it trades, which is the best result I’ve had so far.  I think the HK one probably works the best because it can get above the offensive hitboxes and attack from above (given it’s own massive hitbox).

Ultra of course also beats Lariat, but I need to remind myself of that.

Cammy

I don’t have a solution for an agressive Cammy yet.

Ryu

Sagat's Ultra Beats Ryu's Ultra clean.

Claw

Jumping at him at close range is a bad idea, every time I did it he was able to throw me out of the air.

I think the character is better than I initially thought, but still has inherent weaknesses (namely startup time on moves).

Abel

This was my first time fighting an Abel which seemed competent.

The low Tiger Shot seems to be the only special that works against Marseilles Roll.  One has to react fast when facing it, as it puts Abel in great position for a throw on recovery.  Tiger Uppercut, Tiger Knee all whiff against it.

Get in the habit of blocking up against Abel on knockdown, as the Wheel Kick is an overhead.

Guile

The F+HK isn't an overhead hit anymore.

Chun-Li

The recovery on the Hazan Shu is punishable by cr.HK (read: there is a LOT of recovery time).  Need to react to punish more effectively though.

Gouken

EX dash move (name?) has armor (shouldn’t be surprizing, it is an EX move).

His upward fireball will hit Sagat in the head on the ground when close.

Balrog

His range is deceptive, have to be careful when being zoned.

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SF4 Notebook – 2/23/2009

by casperOne 23. February 2009 01:49

General Impressions

  • Obvious improvements in aesthetics.
  • Much slower than ST.  The characters feel like they are moving in molasses.
  • Move input is very forgiving.  It’s much easier to perform special moves now.
  • Jump angles are much more acute. 
  • Jumps also complete much more quickly, making cross-ups more difficult.
  • Blockstun/hitstun is much lower in this game than in ST.  Recovery from connecting moves is much quicker.

Because of the above, it feels like a lot of people are winging it right now.  People are going with all the familiar faces.  The characters I see the most in networked play are Ryu, Ken, and Sagat.  In the seven or eight hours I’ve played so far, I’ve only seen one each of Chun-Li, Vega, Balrog, and M. Bison.  Of the new characters, I’ve only seen one person play Abel.  Over time, this is sure to change.

People are also very unaware of the recovery times for moves.  Punishing people with Super or Ultra moves is very common.

It should be noted that this is currently from the perspective of someone with 1500 battle points.  Currently, the leader on the PS3 boards has ~6000 bp.

Focus (Saving) Attacks

This is the center of advanced gameplay in this installment of the series.  It’s properties are:

  • Can be stored.  The more power stored, the more attributes it takes on (unblockable, can absorb one attack, i.e. “armor”).  If it connects when stored, it will cause the character to “crumple”, which allows for a free hit.
  • All EX moves can be canceled into a focus attack at the cost of two EX bars for the entire move.
  • Focus attacks can be cancelled with a dash in either direction.

Of note are the last two points (commonly referred to as a “Focus Attack Dash Cancel” or FADC).  With the ability to cancel EX moves midway into the move, you can create extended combo chains which would lead to more damage/stun.

The other point that isn’t emphasized as much is that you can use the FADC to get out of situations where you might whiff with an EX move.

FADC is HARD to execute (then again, I’m a bit of a spaz)The Japanese are definitely using it and it’s going to be an important part of high-level play:

The FADC above manifests itself in the following move chain:

  1. Tiger Uppercut
  2. FADC
  3. HK
  4. Ultra Combo

That’s a hell of a lot of damage.  For now, I’m primarily using my EX bar for defensive purposes, in using EX versions of fireballs to overpower other fireballs and hit/chip.

Character-specific Observations

Ryu

As always, very balanced.  Ever since Champion Edition when Capcom made Ken’s Shoryuken sweep forward much more than Ryu’s, it’s been obvious that Ryu is meant to be the most balanced character in the game, and that’s the case here (Daigo plays him, that should mean something).

While I’m trying to main with Sagat as well, I find the hurricane kick to be a much better utility move than the tiger knee.

Claw

This was my main in ST, but now, he really is suffering.  The quickness and reach that he had in ST is gone, and moves seem to start up too slow.  For example, the Rolling Crystal Flash starts off slow, very reminiscent of holding Blanka’s super move in ST and then unleashing.  With the slide, the slow animation combined with easy reversals and forgiving move input to execute those reversals makes it ineffective.

Barcelona drop?  Jump back and HK will pretty much beat it for any character.

Those are his bread-and-butter moves, and with those changed significantly, it makes it difficult to be effective with the character now.

I did have a single match though as claw against a shoto, and there was one round I did well.  Then I played as Ryu against claw, and I got housed.

Guile

I found him to be really underpowered, and just not able to keep up.  Again, his response time just isn’t there.

Sagat

What he lacks in speed he makes up for in power.  I never found the Tiger Knee to be as useful as the hurricane kick with Ryu, but I like the ratio of attack and defense in him.

Against Dictator, neutral jump HK will defeat Devil’s press (or whatever it is called) cleanly.

Jump forward MP is a nice flying elbow which I believe the hitboxes are higher for when in the air than his kick attacks, which is nice for air-to-air.

Dash speed is horrendously slow.

Zangief

Lariat has wicked high priority.  I’ve found that most times, you just have to wait it out and hit the feet at the end.

Finally

I have a LOT of work to do.

One Other Thing

I totally expect the theme song “Indestructable” to be played on America’s Best Dance Crew as part of a throwback challenge highlighting boy band songs.

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