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The #1 move you aren't using (part 2)
Blogged by Ryan Hunter on Friday, October 8th, 2010 (08:52 AM)

Welcome back for the thrilling conclusion of: The #1 move you aren't using! If you missed the first part, you can find it here. Let's get right back into the list!


Gen – Crane Stance Super: Although Gen is generally regarded as a weak character overall, he still has some very unique and strong tools as his disposal. One such tool is his Crane Stance Super. This move didn't get used often, mostly because he needs to spend meter to have good reversals. Even if he managed to build up Super, it was usually used for Mantis Style Super to go through fireballs, or after a hit confirm, since he can juggle after the Super into a Gekirou or an Ultra.

However, Crane Stance Super has a very unique, and extremely powerful property to it. It is an air grab super, but it becomes active on the very first frame after the super flash. What this means is that if the opponent is in the air during the Super freeze (and in range, obviously), they are grabbed, no matter what. This obviously makes it a strong anti-air, but that's not all.

Due to the speed of the grab, it becomes impossible to safe jump Gen, and this Super can be used to punish opponents who try anyway. As with any other anti-air attack, opponents that can alter their jump arc have a little more freedom against this, but not as much as in other cases. The grab hit box for the Super is fairly decent, and again, since it's so fast, it's hard for the opponent to alter their jump enough to get away from it.

Gouken – Far s.HK: Gouken is usually played very one-dimensionally. Although he can deal huge damage, he has extremely limited mixup potential, so most players spend a lot of time trying to zone the opponent using his powerful fireball game. However, one thing most Gouken players don't do is supplement this fireball game with pokes.

Although Gouken doesn't come with the standard “shoto poke package”, he has some strong pokes that can force the opponent to respect Gouken's poking game. His s.HK specifically comes out relatively fast for a heavy-strength attack (8 frames), yet has a great hit box and range. It reaches deceptively far because Gouken takes a small step forward as he executes the kick, and does a great job of going over low attacks and counter poking. Not to mention it hits like a truck at 110 damage and 200 stun.

Using s.HK in conjunction with far s.HP and c.HK, which are also strong pokes in their own right, a Gouken player can make more of an attempt to hold his ground once the opponent has closed some of the gap. This will help to ensure that Gouken isn't just spending the entire match running away, which will always lead to the player backing himself into a corner.

Guile – t.MK: Although Guile's b.MK gets used regularly, the forward-moving version, t.MK is rarely used. This is understandable, because it is a move best used while poking from close-mid range, or when pressuring the opponent, and these are two situations Guile does not want to spend an excessive amount of time in.

However, when in these situations, if Guile anticipates the opponent will poke with a low, t.MK can be used to easily counterpoke due to its low-body invincibility. It is not invincible for the full duration of the move, and takes a few frames to get off the ground, so it must be timed somewhat well, but it has a good amount of frames where it is low invincible. Since the t.MK version moves Guile forward as he attacks, it can be used from ranges where Guile wouldn't have a strong poke to beat an opponent's long range low poke, such as Ryu's c.MK.

Guy – EX Air Grab: Guy's EX Air Grab is a unique move that has multiple applications, yet rarely gets used. To start, it is fully invincible from startup until the first grabbing frame, which happens to be the third frame. This means that doing it right off the ground is a perfect anti-air, provided the player can react properly to a jump with it. Of course, this also makes it a prime choice as an air-to-air attack as well.

However, there is another use for this move. Although it is risky, Guy can use a jump to bait the opponent into anti-airing with a move that leaves the ground, like a Dragon Punch, and use the EX Air Grab right before he would be hit to go through the anti-air, and subsequently grab the opponent out of their anti-air, since they have left the ground. This can be done both on a random jump, and also as the opponent is waking up. Although it is a guess, and therefore risky, if the opponent has shown that they anti-air consistently with a move vulnerable to the EX Air Grab, it can be a great way to get momentum at a crucial time or even potentially sneak out a win.

Hakan – s.HP: Although Hakan is obviously a grappler character, as with the other grapplers, he has a few pokes that seem almost unfair for a character that is supposed to be designed to only be effective up close. For Hakan, s.HP is one such poke.

s.HP is a pretty ridiculous all-purpose move. First, it is one of Hakan's best anti-airs. In the early frames that Hakan is bringing his arm past his head, it will swat away airborne opponents very effectively. Against grounded opponents, it can be used to break armor because it hits twice inside its max range. As a poke, it has an amazing hit box. His arm reaches way out giving it nice range, but it also swings down low giving it the ability to go over and counterpoke low pokes. All this in a single normal that starts up in 8 frames, with two hits that do 80 and 40 damage respectively make it a very underestimated attack.

Ibuki – t.HK: If you've been reading most of this list, you'll see a recurring theme where I emphasize the value of attacks that can go over, and counterpoke lows. Ibuki's t.HK is another prime example of this type of move. Having a tool like this is important because some characters have extremely good low pokes that can be very difficult to answer otherwise. t.HK moves Ibuki forward which adds on to its already-good range, and can be used to go over and beat any good low poke.

Now, I do have to mention, there is a very big reason this move does not get used a lot. t.HK is -5 on block, and even on hit, it is -1. This makes it a potentially liability, because it is possible for a vigilant opponent to punish it on block, on reaction. Realistically, however, if it is not abused, the opponent is not likely to punish it, but even without a punish the move is at a heavy frame disadvantage, which makes it difficult for Ibuki to maintain pressure afterwards. Therefore, while this move can have it's uses, it must be used smartly to avoid it being more of a hindrance then a help.

Juri – Super: Juri has some great EX moves between her EX Fireball, EX Senpusha, EX Counter, and EX Dive Kick, so it is no wonder Juri players rarely find themselves with a full super meter. However, Juri has a very strong, and very versatile Super, so once the meter is full, she will almost always find a way to land it.

To begin with, Juri's Super has 3 versions. LK version keeps her stationary, the MK version moves her forward a bit, and the HK version moves her backwards a bit. Therefore, for different applications and screen positions, the correct version must be used.

Perhaps the best use of the Super is as a midscreen option select when poking with c.MK. Juri's c.MK is already known to be a very strong poke, but by using it out of range she can option select it into either HK Senpusha, which can then be canceled into Super on reaction, or simply option select the c.MK directly into MK Super. This makes Juri's c.MK significantly more intimidating when she has Super stocked.

Alternatively, Juri's Super can be used in all sorts of juggle combos to score major damage off of random hits. For example, after hitting an opponent with an air-to-air j.MP, Juri can juggle directly into Super, or into Super after preforming other juggling normals first, such as cl.HP.

Ken – b.MK: Ken already has an extremely strong mixup game stemming from his karathrow. Due to this, most players overlook the value of his b.MK overhead. However, if anything, the threat of the karathrow makes Ken's b.MK that much stronger, because while opponents are looking for a potential karathrow, they aren't looking for overheads.

Though it doesn't have the range it did in 3S (or hit twice), it still has better range then it might first appear, as it can be done from outside Ken's karathrow range. This is probably the best range to use the move, because when inside karathrow range, opponents are more likely to squirm, either twitching on crouch tech at the first sign of a gap, or by holding up and back to get away from Ken at any cost. However, outside karathrow range, the threat of Ken's amazing c.MK and also t.MK can be enough to keep an enemy grounded and blocking low with a little conditioning. Using b.MK in this situation can be some nice free damage, and help to open the opponent back up to start getting hit by Ken's other mixup.

Makoto – Hayate Feint: Quite simply, the Hayate Feint is one of the most important tools Makoto has. Without Hayate Feints during pressure, Makoto is extremely limited and linear. With Hayate Feints, she becomes an incredibly scary force to an extent that most players do not understand because they have not played against it at a high level.

The option to cancel a normal into a Hayate Feint allows Makoto to choose to sacrifice frame advantage for positioning. The reason this is so powerful is because it is done at a speed that is incredibly hard to react to while defending.

For example, it is arguably impossible to react to the difference between a standard s.MP and a s.MP canceled into a Hayate Feint by the time the opponent is out of block stun. Yet, the difference between the two are like night and day. The first pushes Makoto away slightly, but leaves her at a solid +2 frames on block, making it undesirable for the opponent to push a button. Conversely, the latter actually leaves Makoto at about -1 frames, but instead, moves Makoto forward enough to maintain her original distance.

The applications for this are endless, especially considering it can be applied in different ways to all of her normals. The ability for Makoto to stay within a chosen distance during pressure allows her to maintain the threat of the command grab, which feels like an impending doom the longer Makoto is allowed to pressure her opponent.

M. Bison – s.MK: Most players are probably already aware that Bison's s.MK is a strong poke. The reason I'm listing it anyway is because I don't feel that Bison players recognize just how strong it is, because it gets overshadowed by s.HK. We know why s.HK is good: it starts up in a ridiculous 6 frames, is only 25 frames total, does 100 damage, and has great range and a nice hitbox.

However, s.MK is on the exact same level as s.HK. It also starts up in 6 frames, and is slightly faster overall, at 23 frames total. It only does 30 less damage (70), though it only does half the stun at 100. The benefit Bison gets for this slight loss in damage and stun is a different, and arguably significantly better hitbox for footsies. Although s.HK has long range, if used from a distance, it will whiff against crouching characters because it is angled upwards. s.MK doesn't have this problem, and because of this, can be used reliably from max range to dominate the ground game. On top of this, due to the angle of the kick, it destroys low pokes instead of losing to them like s.HK would.

Again, this is mostly common knowledge, but I really feel the need to emphasize it, because I see so many Bison players using s.HK in situations where they should be using s.MK instead.

Rose – cl.MK: Rose is well known for having some obscenely good normals in all combinations of speed, evasion properties, range, and priority. However, many people do not realize that for a poking-based character, Rose can actually have a fairly strong mixup game based around throws. This is almost completely due to her cl.MK.

cl.MK is a mixup by itself because it is 100% throw invincible from the first frame to the last, which makes it a natural throw bait. On top of that, as with Rose's other standing kick normals, it raises her off the ground, making it stronger against lows. This gives it the incredibly unique power to beat both a regular tech throw attempt, and also a crouch tech attempt. If the bait is successful, Rose can link cl.MK into a c.LP and use the time to hit confirm it into a Soul Spiral for a knockdown. This throw bait is a constant threat when Rose is in close, because she has an above-average throw range.

Rufus – t.MK: Rufus has such a strong mixup game through the basic throw/dive kick mixup, that most players don't feel the need to branch off in any other directions. However, there are other options that are interesting, and worth exploring, even if they are only executed occasionally, and for no other reason then to keep the opponent on their toes or open them back up to the main mixup.

One such option for Rufus is his t.MK command overhead. There's not much to this move. It's an overhead that's a reasonably decent speed, and goes over lows. It might only do 60 damage, but if it's a free 60 damage, why argue?

What can make this move more interesting is how the opponent reacts after they are hit by it. It's -1 on hit, so depending on what the opponent does, they can be set up for anything from a throw, to a dive kick, to an EX Messiah Kick.

Ryu – j.MP: Ryu's j.MP is a solid move with multiple applications, yet many Ryu players forget it exists, opting for the more common j.HK or j.HP. The most obvious application for j.MP is as an air-to-air attack. It juggles on hit, allowing Ryu to combo into many things including Ultra, yet most Ryu players have not trained themselves to react to an air-to-air confrontation with it.

Besides the obvious application, j.MP can be extremely useful in another way. As an air-to-ground attack, it becomes a mixup for a blocking opponent because it is two hits which must both be blocked high. Opponents that are not paying attention will often block low immediately after blocking an aerial attack, and quickly get hit by the second hit, which can lead to a combo when Ryu lands. This mixup can be easily applied after Ryu gets a knockdown and a free safe jump off a throw or sweep, for example.

Sagat – s.MK: Sagat's s.MK is a solid poke that doesn't get much use because most Sagat players are quick to go directly to s.HK when they need a long range poke. The problem with this is that s.HK is very vulnerable to being whiff punished, and becomes a huge liability against an opponent with strong footsies.

Although s.MK is significantly slower the s.HK (9f startup vs 5f startup), it is also 5f less in total duration. Besides that, it does not whiff against crouching characters from far away, and has a strong hitbox against other pokes, specifically low pokes. The combination of these two aspects make the move much less risky to throw out.

The interesting part of this comparison is that even though s.MK is less vulnerable to other pokes, the reward for hitting it compared to s.HK is similar. The two hits of s.HK do 80 and 40 damage respectively, and s.MK does 80 damage as well. This means if Sagat only hits with the second hit of s.HK, it actually does only half the damage a s.MK would do. However, it should be noted that s.HK can hit from slightly further away do to its second hit, and any range where s.MK would hit normally, s.HK will get both hits, doing the full 120 damage. However, s.MK is a strong poke to use from outside its max range, and allow the opponent the chance to either walk or poke into it. s.HK is not as strong in these aspects.

Sakura – t.MK: For any mixup character, it is important to have a method of opening up the opponent's defense. Having an annoying overhead can be one way of doing this, and even if only for this purpose, Sakura's t.MK is great.

Sakura's t.MK is fast enough to be effective with a 16 frame startup, and although it can't combo into anything normally, it does 80 damage on its own, so it can't be ignored. On top of that, it's got enough range to be a nuisance at any time, and on hit it leaves Sakura at +2 frames, which allows her to maintain full control. For Sakura players that find themselves unable to crack an opponent with solid teching skills, t.MK can be an invaluable tool.

Seth – Tanden Engine: Tanden Engine is an extremely versatile move with a ton of possible applications. To begin to utilize it properly, the player must first be familiar with its basic properties. The three normal versions of the move vary by range and duration. All 3 become projectile invincible shortly after the move begins (around the time Seth completely changes colors), so it can be used on reaction to certain projectiles to punish them. On the down side, Tanden Engine puts Seth into a counterhit state for the duration of the move. For the character with the lowest health and stun meter in the game, this is extremely dangerous.

An aspect of Tanden Engine most people are not familiar with is that the hitbox of the move is actually classified as a throw, and not a strike. This means it can pull characters in out of moves that are completely strike invincible, but not throw invincible, such as Abel's Roll. This also means that the opponent can escape it by putting themselves into an unthrowable state (for example by jumping) before they begin to be pulled in.

The EX version is slightly different. It costs 50% super instead of the standard 25% other EX moves require. However, the EX version has almost as much range as the HP version, but its hitbox is a strike, and not a throw. This means that while it wont hit strike invincible opponents, it will hit opponents out of their prejump animations. Additionally, this allows it to hit opponents in a juggle state, and return them to the ground while continuing the combo.

Besides its built in anti-fireball use, the most common use for Tanden Engine is during pressure, to bring the opponent back in after pushing them away. Besides allowing Seth to restart pressure and mixup (which is significant in itself, due to his amazing mixup game), this usage has the added benefit of also punishing opponents who try to backdash away. Tanden has more then enough active frames to catch the recovery of an opponent's backdash and then pull them all the way back to Seth, giving him a free combo. However, this use is somewhat risky, because if the opponent is fearful of a command grab, they are likely to hold up, which will also escape the Tanden, and give them huge damage.

T. Hawk – j.LP: T. Hawk always wants to be in his opponent's face, preferably with them on the ground. When T. Hawk is lucky enough to be in this position, his j.LP can be useful in a few ways. The first is as a direct tick throw into his command throw. This usage is the closest T. Hawk can get to mimicing Zangief's jumping d.LK, where he uses a jumping normal with incredibly low hit and block stun to tick into his command throw faster then the opponent expects.

However, T. Hawk's j.LP has a second use, that is potentially even more valuable. It is special cancelable. This means it can be canceled into his Condor Dive, and when done against a grounded opponent, it will combo into a knockdown. However, Condor Dive can be blocked low, so this doesn't offer T. Hawk any kind of surprise second high attack off a jump in.

Instead, this tactic can be abused by performing a fuzzy guard. After the opponent blocks a meaty j.HP or jumping d.HP (usually done when the opponent is waking up), T. Hawk can immediately do a j.LP right off the ground, and the opponent will be unable to crouch it. By canceling into Condor Dive, T. Hawk knocks the opponent back down and puts them into another mixup.

Vega – s.MK: Vega has a great set of normals, but one of his strongest pokes, s.MK, seems to be underused by most Vega players. This is somewhat understandable, because at first look, s.MK seems to be outclassed by c.MP in almost every way. It starts up in half the time (4 frames as opposed to 8) and is 3 total frames less, yet does the same damage and stun. The difference is that s.MK has even more range then c.MP, which already goes extremely far.

s.MK has incredible range for a normal that can't be crouched. However, this extra range over c.MP comes with a vulnerability. s.MK reaches farther overall, but this is because Vega pivots on his back foot and moves his body forward. Conversely, when Vega performs c.MP, his hitable area stays in place. Therefore, the hitable area underneath the extended strike of the moves is significantly less vulnerable for c.MP.

This makes s.MK less effective against characters who poke at Vega with a low move just outside max range. If Vega performs s.MK at the wrong time against these types of moves, he will push himself forward into them and get counterhit before the kick comes out. On the other hand, using c.MP against these types of moves will beat them clean. However, if Vega is able to avoid misusing s.MK against these types of moves, it is an incredibly strong poke that can be used to completely control the spacing game.

Zangief – s.MK: Zangief's s.MK is a solid addition to his ground game, which is strong overall for a character who is most effective at close range. Although s.MP is an amazing poke, s.MK is very good as well, and can even do a few things better then s.MP.

First off, s.MK is a little slower then s.MP, but that doesn't say much, because s.MP is ridiculously fast. s.MK starts up in 7 frames, which is more then respectable given its range, which is more then s.MP. s.MK is 31 frames total, which is slightly on the slow side, but not bad. However, the hitbox on s.MK is amazing for fighting low pokes, and poking in general. s.MP will sometimes beat some low pokes, but it's somewhat inconsistent and will often just whiff since its hitbox is higher off the ground, especially when nearing its max range. This problem doesn't exist for s.MK, and this consistency can be useful during footsies.


And that's it. This whole thing took me way longer to write up then I originally expected, mostly because I didn't plan on elaborating on every single move individually like I did. But hopefully that extra detail will help explain my point of view on some of these moves and why they can be useful. More importantly, I hope this list opens some people's eyes and minds to some new ideas and strategies, and gets people out of their ingrained play styles. It's always good to try new things. Even if they don't work out, you'll often learn new things in the process which will subsequently make you stronger.

Again, please let me know what you think in the comments. Like I said in part 1, whether you agree or disagree, or have an entirely different suggestion for a character, I'm always up for a discussion, and I'm sure some other readers will be interested to hear some other opinions.

Thanks for reading!

Posted by Cheesus on Friday, October 8th, 2010 (09:04 AM)
About Makoto: I think any serious Makoto player uses Hayate feints, so it doesn't quite fit in the list. But I guess the purpose here is to make known how useful that "move" is.
Posted by Juniormints on Friday, October 8th, 2010 (09:19 AM)
Man, its going to be tough for a more in your face Juri player to build a super but on tough matchups like balrog, Honda and Bison I could see where it would limit what their options.
Posted by Tyrice C. on Friday, October 8th, 2010 (11:17 AM)
Very informative guide. Never thought about the j.Mp with Ryu like that. Makes me want to find a use for every move now.
Posted by 8ighty6ix on Friday, October 8th, 2010 (07:36 PM)
the "Shoto Poke Package", almost laughed out loud in class.
Posted by Kahmos on Saturday, October 9th, 2010 (02:09 AM)
As a Gen player, I would value a Gen tutorial greatly.
Because I play him and have excellent mixup, but I still need alot more work, and OS has the best opening combos evar! <3
Posted by Meteo2 on Saturday, October 9th, 2010 (07:44 AM)
st.mk was a good choice to talk about for Vega. It has more reach than cr.mp, and another cool thing about it is that it much more easily catches people who try to jump in or away off of the ground when they think cr.mp can be avoided. There is a benefit to it being more visible as well -- you can hit with it on the opponents wakeup and then bait with it on the next wakeup, giving the opponent enough time to see it and wiff a reversal.
Posted by DanielRGT on Saturday, October 9th, 2010 (03:02 PM)
I'd like to note that for Sakura's overhead, if you are particularly ballin' you can land it counter-hit and link st.lk, cr.lk, cr.fp, or cr.mk after to go into a combo. It puts her at +5 on counter-hit.

But you gotta have the eyes of a hawk son.
Posted by suicine94 on Sunday, October 10th, 2010 (11:04 PM)
with T Hawk is it posible to press uf + lp to do a instant j.lp and connect? does this work against all characters?
Posted by HeXxM@jin on Monday, October 11th, 2010 (12:00 PM)
is this list for new players? cuz it seems so basic. when playin online, they dont use half of em but when in the arcade....
Posted by Muttonhead on Tuesday, October 12th, 2010 (12:43 AM)
Very nice articles Ryan. Keep up the great work!
Posted by ouroborus on Tuesday, October 12th, 2010 (02:01 AM)
the problem with gens crane super is getting meter since he does literally no damage without a full bar. mantis super is a huge momentum turner and its too good to pass up in favor of gens crane super. not too sure does his crane super beat out safe jumps as he doesn't grab you when you're grounded. this has been discussed before the release of ssf4 in the gen forums.

do ryu players really under use his j.mp? the local players in my city love this move to death.
Posted by Whatupike on Thursday, October 14th, 2010 (09:36 PM)
thanks for the tip on rose it was very helpful...ryan your awesome
Posted by FightClub on Saturday, October 16th, 2010 (05:35 AM)
Awesome article st.mk is godlike but became more important in super because of hitbox changes from vanilla. The horizontal range got reduced when they range hitbox vertically to make the move better as an antiair. So due to this little change st.mk becomes just as important as st.rh.
Posted by A2ZOMG on Saturday, October 16th, 2010 (06:24 PM)
Yeah Ryu's j.mp, wouldn't it logically break focuses due to being two hits?

And I loved the analysis on Gouken's s.hk. It's also only -3 on block iirc, so it's pretty safe to throw out, and can occasionally bait people into counters lol.
Posted by Ryan Hunter on Saturday, October 16th, 2010 (11:22 PM)
Correct, it will break focus because it is too hits. However, this isn't a common occurrence because the confusing nature of it being 2 high hits is usually used on the opponent's wakeup, which is not a place people focus frequently, and if they do, they focus and immediately back dash, which can avoid the second hit. Additionally, if a Ryu player jumps randomly and the opponent focuses, j.MP isn't really needed to break it, because Ryu can simply use a deep jump in, land, and uppercut.
Posted by A2ZOMG on Monday, October 18th, 2010 (12:26 PM)
I see, I wonder if this is more useful against Balrog, a character whose reversal options are mainly ones involving armor.
Posted by Ryan Hunter on Monday, October 18th, 2010 (07:12 PM)
@A2ZOMG: Interesting idea. I'm not completely familiar with the Ryu/Balrog matchup, so tt might already be common knowledge. But assuming it does work, it sounds like a great way to safe jump Balrog in a way that punishes any option, instead of just blocking the armored moves, like most characters have to.
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