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 – 4/9/2009

by casperOne 9. April 2009 23:31

General

While not new news anymore, the Bad Losers Wall of Shame is up.

What is interesting is the post by Seth Killian over at Capcom Unity on the subject:

In other news, have faith--SFIV has a sweet new puller-punishing system is on its way...

Now that’s going to be interesting, to say the least.  Hopefully, it will help reduce the activity in my own SF4 Ragequits category.

Zangief

His j.MK will counter Sagat’s standing HK.  It’s a little reminiscent of Sakura’s j.HK except it doesn’t angle down as much, so it still seems stuffable.

However, I’ve seen j.HP stuff standing HK a few times as well.

From a distance, Sagat’s standing HK will hit the lariat clean.

Rose

She can counter the the standing HK from far away with her j.HP.  She can also counter the standing HK close with what seems to be the j.LK or j.MK.

I wish the frame data were available for her, as she seems to have a very short startup time on most of her moves.

Blanka

The better Blanka players are not getting countered consistently with the EX Low Tiger Shot after an EX Rolling Attack.  I can’t tell if it is my reaction time or theirs.

I didn’t realize that how far forward the Backstep Rolling Attack goes is controllable.  This is why it crosses me up so much.

Sagat

Players are consistently jumping in close on Sagat now, and the standing HK’s effectiveness is much less than from a distance.  I also wasn’t using the Tiger Uppercut consistently for fear of trading off.

I believe that moves that are EX-able, but not an EX move at the time, when they trade, they have a shorter recovery time than if they were hit cleanly, enough time to set up another attack.

Sagat’s Tiger Uppercut is an example of this.  If he trades with the uppercut then he can go into the F + HK, which then sets up for the Ultra Combo (if you have meter).

I’ve been practicing this with good results, and I’m probably a little short of spamming the Tiger Uppercut now.  At least I’m more confident in using it now in tight situations.

This applies to all strengths of the Tiger Uppercut.

The next step is to get this combo down in a non-trade situation:

Tiger Uppercut –> FADC –> F + HK –> Ultra Combo

I need to experiment with better combos to use when connecting with F + HK and I don’t have the Revenge meter stocked.  EX Tiger Shot Low or EX Tiger Knee will connect, but I need a solution for when I don’t have EX meter either.

This combo:

j.FP –> cr.FP –> Super Combo

Does almost as much damage as a fully charged Ultra Combo (it might do a little more, actually), but the timing is harder, since it is a link from the cr.FP –> Super Combo.

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SF4 Notebook – 3/19/2009

by casperOne 19. March 2009 12:00

General

The up and down of obtaining BP is frustrating.  At one point, I was +300 BP (at ~3500 BP) and then I just as easily lost it.  At least this time I had the good sense to walk away.

Later that night, I was down to ~3300 BP.

And then today, I shot up to ~3900 BP, and then lost it by the end of the night to end up ~3300 BP.  About ten or so hours in all, and nothing to show.

I think I need to consider having player matches, since I’m focusing too much on the battle points and it causes me too much stress, to the point where I am not learning from my mistakes.

Ken

Ken is becoming increasingly frustrating and it's getting in my head.  I definitely need more practice against him.

Sagat’s standing HK doesn't seem to be a viable anti-air option against Ken.  The Tiger Uppercut doesn’t reach out enough to hit him if he zones correctly.

I’m convinced that the offensive hitboxes for Ken’s j.HK and Ryu’s j.HK are different, even though the frames are very similar.  IMO, Ken’s has a much bigger hitbox, and a MASSIVE priority.

I beat a Ken later in the day.  It felt SO good.

Cammy

The cr.MP –> Low Tiger Shot or Tiger Knee is a really nice response to the Cannon Drill.  Takes some of the pressure off.

Akuma

I’ve noticed a lot of Akuma players like to do the two-hit standing HK then to cr.HK.  The recovery time on the two-hit HK though is enough that you can jump out before the sweep comes out though.

Gouken

He can miss his throw -> Ultra.

Fei-Long

His flame kick has good range forward (kind of like Ken’s Shoryuken).

Dictator

His HK has really high priority.

Dhalsim

This is such a defensive character.  While I typically like it, I find him annoying.

Against characters with longer recovery times on projectiles, if both characters are not against opposite walls, Dhalsim can j.HP (towards you) from almost anywhere on the screen and hit during recovery.

I have to find a better solution for when he teleports into my space.  I can defend most of the time, but I still get switched up and don’t always block the overhead attack.

Guile

He can link cr.MK –> MP, which is an overhead.  Have to be very careful with the blocking on that.

Blanka

Trying to jump in after a knockdown is a risky proposition unless you can hit deep.  If not, will shock you.  In the event you hit early, hitstun/blockstun is short enough that he can get the electricity out before you can get to the hitframes of the next move in the combo string.

The Backstep Rolling attack can be hit on the way down.

When close, do not jump back if he has charge stored up, otherwise, he will hit you with the Anti-Air Rolling attack.  With Sagat at the start of the match, do not jump back, as any Blanka player worth their salt has charge on open.

Zangief

The same applies here that applies to Blanka with the shock, just replace the electric shock with the lariat.

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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 – 3/4/2009

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, 2/25/2009

by casperOne 25. February 2009 20:28

General

Definitely feeling more comfortable against people at the same level (~1800bp).  Also getting more comfortable being more aggressive and taking certain hits.

Sagat

In a mirror match, it’s not a good idea to do a low Tiger Shot when he throws a high one.  You will get hit on recovery (you don’t duck down far enough like in ST).

Getting the cr.MK –> Tiger Knee much more now and it’s an obvious improvement in my game.  It’s not that these combos are hard, it’s about consistently executing them in reaction to punishable moves.

Given the very quick recovery in the game, the cr.MK –> Tiger Shot Low tends to connect, even when you are not right next to the person when executing.

While working on the execution of cr.MK –> Tiger Knee, I’m sure there is one more move that can be linked in before the cr.MK.  Frame data is going to help in figuring this out.

Zangief

Such a beast.  Still not used to the timing for recovering characters, so trying to meaty him on his wake-up usually ends up with an SPD which is brutal.

People also seem to be getting more comfortable with Zangief, as I played three in a row.

Still having problems countering the Spinning Lariat.

Cammy

The lack of recovery on her Cannon Spikes and Cannon Drills seem nonexistent.  The Hooligan and her tumbling midair grabs have crazy range, so defense is a better tactic against her for now.

E. Honda

A whiffed headbutt on his part has the same result as Akuma whiffing the Demon Rage, where on jumpback you are right next to the character on recovery.  Note to self, learn to punish in the same way.

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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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