Are P-link and B-link unreliable mechanics?


Hello fighting game fellows,

Yesterday my custom made arcade stick arrived, and I got it made with the select (back) button on the left of the jab button so I could b-link 1 frame links in Ibuki’s tsumuji loop. I noticed immediately that my consistency on nailing the combo improved, but not as much as I expected, and proceeded to check my inputs on the training mode section.

To my surprise, I notice that I could pull b-links and p-links only 60-80% of the time, no matter how much I tried to press the buttons consistently. Sometimes the p-linking buttons sound were practically identical and the game would register separate inputs.

My new arcade stick has a ps360+ with lastest firmware, but just to make sure I tested it with a fried’s Madcatz SF4 regular edition modded with Sanwa buttons, and I couldn’t pull p-links consistently more than 80% of the time… It seemed a little better than my new arcade though.

What could be the cause of this? Bad execution? Game engine? PCB issues?

Sorry about the long post, but I’m a little annoyed that I invested so much time and money on a custom arcade stick just to discover that b-linking could be a mechanic that’s not supposed to improve leniency 100% of the time. Maybe that’s why Chris G doesn’t use p-linking at all.

Picture of my stick:

Sorry about any grammar errors. English is not my native language.


Sako b-links Tsumuji loops with approximately 100% success.

Note that when you press slightly too late p-/b-linking doesn’t help because then obviously both inputs are just too late.
But if you press 1f “too soon” then the second input will help you get the link.
So try to press the buttons a tad sooner.


Probably execution.

To properly use plinking (and blinking/slinking) your finger technique has to be perfect. Your timing can be a frame early, but your inputs must always be the perfect one-frame slide.

It’s definitely not a silver bullet. Watch matches with input display and you will see plenty of people, even top players, drop their plinks.

If you have 100% plink execution, plinking will offer you one-frame leniency in timing.

If you have less than 100%, all plinking does is give you more of a chance of hitting the link. In some cases, like plinking with chainable light attacks, it can make things worse (i.e. being off on timing, and whiffing a light jab, instead of at the least making contact with medium punch).

Using plinking is player choice. It has to be mastered just like everything else.


I tend to not p-link when playing most characters (habit), and I think I should. It seems weird if you don’t normally do it, but I recommend it.

  • What the others said, no need for me to repeat.


The only way I know of to get 2 of the same inputs on two consecutive frames is by P/B Linking (aka tsuji linking). It seems this was intentionally programmed into the game to get around the limitations of the input system. Contrary to popular belief, it’s impossible to double tap buttons so that the second input comes out immediately after the first. This is because a button input occupies two frames (press and release). If you try to double tap 1 frame earlier than a 1f link requires, you will ALWAYS miss the link. That’s why basically everyone uses plinking.

If you’re missing it, it could be because of execution, or some subtle sensitivity differences in your physical buttons. On my MadCatz SE II stick for example, my HP button is slightly more sensitive that the others, so if I press it at exactly the same time as another button, it plinks automatically (this causes problems in games with smaller input merge windows). With the other buttons, I have to adjust my execution to the point where I can actually here myself press the one button before the other.


you cant notice much improvement without practice, you’ve just received it as you said, so obviously you’ll have to spend hours learning to properly plink, at least as much time as you spent learning your combos without plink

and this is assuming you can already reliably perform your combos without plinking , plinking is just to eliminate 20-35% of miss at best IMO, you cant reach 100% hit chance unless you are willing to practice to death


So I tried to test this thing using a SF4 Combo Trainer, but I simply can’t run that program on my computer. I was looking for some other macro tools to use to test it and found this:

In this video Error00001 programs a p-link and he shows that even with tool assisted inputs, sometimes the game would not register the inputs as a p-link.

Could that be a result of the 16.67 ms inconsistent time window of one frame? Could someone test frame perfect inputs on SF4 Combo Trainer and see if some of the p-links are missed? As far as I know SF4 Combo Trainer uses the internal time of SSF4 to send inputs so it should be frame perfect for testing.

Thanks a lot!