Usually Veserius is the one who starts these discussions and provide great information about Blanka I figured footsie is a topic that’s not covered but I find it extremely important for Blanka.
My general understanding of footsie is this.
Understanding the range of your attacks, walk speed, hurt box, and other movement options versus your opponents. Then using the knowledge to create a strategy of limiting your opponent’s options as much as possible while creating an advantageous position for you to deal damage.
I plan to expand on this topic slowly through time,
The topics covered here will be
- Detail analysis of Blanka’s main buttons and maybe in the future even cover the ones that’s less used
- General footsie strategy’s (the dos and don’ts)
- Specific character strategy
- Things to look out for against different player to potentially exploit their play style/patterns when playing footsies with them.
General Strength/Weakness of Blanka’s Footsies.
Blanka is pretty decent at footsie’s he’s got a variety of normal moves that covers different range and speed with good hit box and hurt box. Blanka also have an above average walk speed which also significantly make his footsie game better. Finally he’s got an above average throw range (0.93) which is great because what people might not realize is his kara throw range is also pretty good as well. Depending on where you are playing (arcade/home) and your button setup you may want to try using either LP (+0.2175) or forward hop (f+KKK)(+0.2213) to kara his throw. With kara throw he’s once again above average when it comes to throw range. Not to mention his post throw game is also above average because it gives plenty of time to setup your next attack, re-position yourself to a more advantageous position or simply use it to build some extra meter. His focus attack is also among the best when it comes to speed and range.
Although all the above factors seems to be key ingredient for a powerful footsie character he does lack some important ingredient to become what most players defined as a strong footsie character, which is also the reason why most Blanka players might not focus or even forget about Blanka’s footsie game. First the biggest weakness to Blanka’s footsie game is despite him having plenty of great footsie tools, he has a hard time converting them to big damage. His combos are really difficult to do, all of them are either one or two frame links and it’s not easy to cancel them to his special moves because they either all require charge or need to end with electricity which have limited range. Finally he pretty much have no way in SSF4AEv2012 to link his footsie tools into Ultra.
Fortunately in USF4 this situation might improve a bit and more information will be added when the game is out.
General Footsie Strategy and Terminology
I think a big part of playing footsie with any character is the ability to recognize when you are in an advantageous position and when you’re not and making the best options given the position you’re in. So to better understand and discuss about footsie I first will need to go over some terms that you might or might not be familiar with and how I define them.
The general idea of footsie which has been mentioned in other guides is whiff/block punishing beat pressing buttons, pressing buttons beats walking forward, and walking forward beats whiff punishing.
To clarify this idea more when you are waiting for your opponent to whiff a move or to punish them on block you are generally moving backwards, since if you need to make them whiff chances are you’re moving backwards more than you’re moving forward so they miscalculate their range of their attack and you can punish them, or if you’re just blocking their moves hoping they do something unsafe to punish them you are also moving backwards from blocking.
In the mean time walking forward beats whiff/block punishing because while your opponent is waiting for you to attack so they can block/whiff punish if all you do is walk forward you’ll eventually move them into the corner, and when they are cornered the options they have severely decreases and it’s much easier to put pressure or to score damage on them.
Finally ‘pressing buttons’/attacking/pokes will discourage them from walking forward. While obviously whenever you try to attack there’s a chance you might get whiff/block punished.
Of course in the actual game it’s more complicated than that because you also have throws that essentially beats whiff/block punishment but must be done at fairly close range. Also there’s focus attack which discourages your opponent from using certain attacks.
This is probably one of the most important aspects of footsie if not the most important. In the ‘general idea’ above you can refer to this as “pressing buttons”. However when people talk about it for beginners or even intermediate players they might not realize there’s different kinds of pokes for different reasons. Here’s my understanding of pokes: Using normal or special moves to attack your opponent so that they can not punish you easily if blocked (or hit). The objective of poking is to pressure them one way or another, these objective will definitely be different from characters to character. Here’s a list of possible objectives you might want to achieve when you poke.
- To keep them away from you. The goal is the further they are away from you the better.
- To keep them within a certain range so that you have more options than they have. Essentially you’re provoking them to do bad option so they will whiff, do something unsafe or you beating them with a counter poke.
- To maintain a constant frame advantage or at a range where you can throw out more pokes and they are forced to block or commit to a risky reversal.
- To push them into the corner
- To build meter. The one who does the attack gets more meter compared to the one who’s blocking your attacks, unless you do a EX move.
- To move closer to your opponent by mixing it with pokes with frame advantage and walking forward.
When both you and your opponent are playing footsies you can also expect them to poke you while you want to poke them back. There are certain moves in the game that works well to counter the moves they use to poke at you. The objective of the counter poke is to punish their pokes, discourage them using pokes against you and either hitting them clean or trading hits with them so that you can either hit for more damage than they can or to prevent them from having an advantageous position.
Another aspect of the footsie game is punishing your opponent when they whiff a move against you, usually because you’re moving back and forth and they mistimed their attack when you are out of range. Then you punish their attack during their recovery. This is a little bit different compared to counter poking because with counter poke you are specifically attacking them while their attack is still in either the start up or active frames, while whiff punishing is you’re baiting for a move to whiff and punishing the move during it’s recovery.
A lot of the moves particularly moves with longer reach might not be safe on block especially when you do a long range move at short range distance. Block punishing is also another important aspect of playing footsies. Some of the best footsie moves like c.HK for a lot of characters is one of the best footsie move the character have but it is extremely punishable on block. If you don’t punish it you’ll make a good move for them into an extremely good move for them. By knowing what moves you can block punish you will discourage them from using it and perhaps even eliminating that particular option.