Blockstrings/frame traps


#1

Hello guys, I’m trying to understand the theory behind this topic, but I’m a bit confused. As far as I know:

  • a blockstring is a sequence of moves that keeps the opponent in block animation
  • a frametrap is an intentional gap in the blockstring, made to bait a reaction

Am I right?
I main Chun-li. Looked at her frame data and made some counts. My to-go blockstrings (or what i though was a blockstring) are:

  • cr.lk, cr.lp, cr.mk
  • cr.lp, cr.lp, cr.mk

If I understand corrrecty how to read the frame data, this is what comes out in frame terms:

  • [ CR.LK(-1 block)] >4F< [(3 start)CR.LP(+2 block)] >4F< [(6 start)CR.MK]

There’s a 4F gap in between each move, i would assume this is not strictly a blockstring.

  • [ CR.LP(+2 block)] >1F< [(3 start)CR.LP(+2 block)] >4F< [(6 start)CR.MK]

This one looks more like a blockstring should look, at least the first two CR.LP

So, the question here is: are these two strings actually blockstrings? Are they frame traps?
Please help me clarify this topic.


#2

From Wikipedia…

Block String

A block string is a string of linkable attacks that are blocked. The opponent is forced to block during the entire duration of the block string, or else will be hit. A block string may be understood as a sort of combo that is blocked, hence a blockstring becomes a combo if unblocked. Possessing and knowing your character’s block strings is key to applying pressure, for it forces your opponent to block longer, thus granting you offensive benefits.
**
Block Stun**

The term block stun is used to refer to three different things: The first and most rare is to refer to the delay after a player ceases to hold back or press the block button before the player can move again. The second is the delay before a player can perform another move after successfully blocking a move. The third is the delay before a player can perform another move if the opponent blocked his move. In Mortal Kombat 1-4, both the blocker and the blocked recover at the same time, while other two dimensional fighters have subtle differences depending on the particular move used.

Frame Trap

A tactic in which you use a move that seems to be punishable but is actually advantageous on block, baiting the opponent into being punished when they attempt to retaliate. An example of this would be Lilith’s c.HK canceled on block into her Luminous Illusion, in the Darkstalkers series.

I’m not going to lie, I don’t know how to read frame data all that well. But to simplify:

A block string is a safe combo that doesn’t give the opponent an opportunity to retaliate. They don’t necessary need to be in block stun, but they can’t punish.

A frame trap is a move that looks safe to punish. It does not have to be in a block string. I’m not sure about SF since I don’t play that much, but it’s usually going to be a heavy attack that can be canceled on block into a special. The trick is to have an attack that can be canceled on block as well as something swift to cancel it with.


#3

That’s the gist of it. But low blockstrings will cause the opponent to get hit if they let go of the stick (there’s a whole technical discussion about forcing block, auto-guard, free-guard etc, but it’s not important for this thread). The definition of a blockstring has been relaxed in modern SF games because there are fewer blockstrings (noobs hate blocking). These days when people talk about blockstrings they usually mean “pressure” strings (ie. a series of attacks meant to apply offensive pressure, but doesn’t necessarily force them to block). So keep in mind the difference between “true” blockstrings and “blockstrings”.

Also, it’s possible to break out of true blockstrings in certain games eg. Using Alpha Counter-style mechanics, burst mechanics, red parries etc, but again, it’s not important for this thread.

Not necessarily. Sometimes the gap is not intentional (see above about fewer “true” blockstrings in newer games) but it just so happens to be the best pressure string. Also, don’t think of the gap as “bait”. Just think of it as a trap, maybe to catch a tech throw attempt. The analogy would be something like a bear trap. The meat that goes into the trap is bait. In frame traps there aren’t really any baits because it’s virtually impossible for the opponent to react to the bait… Unless of course you use intentionally delayed attacks, which is can be thought of as “fishing for a counter-hit”. So while a frame trap might be cr.mp->cr.mp, fishing for a counter-hit would be cr.mp…<wait>…cr.mp. Unfortunately, uninformed commentators usually refer to both of these attack patterns as frame traps.

Yep, see the first point. This is actually a pressure string, but lazy people and people who like to sound like they’re OG still call them blockstrings. However, you should keep in mind the difference between chained and linked attacks. Attacks that can chain will cancel the recovery of the first move and go directly into the start up of the next, so you can ignore the recovery of the first attack. Linked attacks are series of attacks where the successive attack only comes out after the previous one has completely recovered.

Don’t worry about the terminology too much. As with language itself, the meanings and definitions will evolve over time.


#4

Thank you both for your answers

@ilitirit

Are these chainable attacks the ones marked with the CH cancel ability in street fighter v frame data?

So considering the string:

cr.lk, cr.lp, cr.mk

There is actually a 3F gap (startup frames of cr.lp) in between the cr.lk and cr.lp (not a 4F). Is this right?
Both cr.lk and cr.lp are marked with CH cancel ability in frame data and they come out very fast in sequence.

But… is <cr.lp, cr.mk> a 4F frametrap? This is where i get very confused. I read somewhere that the only “true” Chun’s frame trap is s.mp, which is +3 on block. What does that mean??


#5

Yes. And for all intents and purposes, chained attacks are true blockstrings, which means there’s no gap between them. There’s the odd exception in certain games, but no need to worry about that. The other thing is that not all chainable attacks can be cancelled into each other, even if they are marked with the chain property. You should test this in training mode with the character you play.

I don’t know much about Chun Li in SFV, but this should be easy to test in training mode. Just record the dummy doing cr.lk cr.lp against you as fast as possible and see what happens if you let go of the stick after blocking the cr.lk. If you stay blocking then it’s a true blockstring and in all probability a chained attack.

Yes, the frame data indicates there’s a 4f gap between the cr.lp and cr.mk on block.

There’s no such thing as a “true” frame trap. Different frame traps can be used to “trap” different buttons, in the same way that you use different traps to catch different animals. What they probably mean is that the opponent can beat this with a 3f light attack, which they can’t do against cr.lp st.mp. In SFV, normal moves of higher strength beat weaker moves even if they connect on the same frame, so even there’s enough room between cr.lp and st.mp for the opponent to slip in a 3f light attack, it will always lose to the st.mp.

But, because players in general know that they shouldn’t press buttons after cr.lp, it makes cr.lp cr.mk also usable, especially because it hits low, and is hit-confirmable (don’t worry if you aren’t able to do this yet).

Furthermore, against characters who don’t have 3f light attacks, cr.lp cr.mk is generally fine, although it could trade with certain medium normals (which isn’t a completely horrible thing).

Of course, the great thing about the cr.lp, st.mp sequence is that because you’re now at +3f (after the st.mp), you can follow-up with cr.mk for another frame trap. This is of course predictable so you need to mix it up.

Also note that invincible specials with enough speed and range will beat frame traps.


#6

@ilitirit

Thank you very much, I’m a little closer to full understanding :wink:

Now, let me take advantage of your knowledge if you don’t mind. I have an off topic question regarding meaty. I basically get the point of a meaty, but I can’t figure out how to calculate the frame advatage a meaty give.
I’m practicing with chun’s f.Hk which is 18(s) 5(a) 13® and -2(block) 2(hit) 4(counter). how can I calculate how much additional frame advantage i get if I hit a meaty whit this move?


#7

The only real way to know is to test it in training mode (or to inspect the actual character files).

OK, so in theory the total recovery of a move basically includes all the active frames minus the active frame number it connected. The fewer active frames that have to animate after the move connects, the less the total recovery, and therefore the higher the frame advantage (again, this is just the theory). For meaties, the idea is that for each frame after the active frame where the move connects, you add 1f to the frame advantage.

Chun Li’s frame data indicate that move has 5 active frames

If it hits on the:

  • 1st active frame: -2f on block, 2f on hit, 4 on counter hit. (basically a regular hit*****)
  • 2nd active frame: -1f on block, 3f on hit, 5f on CH (from this point forward, just keeping adding 1f to the advantage )
  • 3rd active frame: 0f on block, 4f on hit, 6f on CH
  • 4th active frame: 1f on block, 5f on hit, 7f on CH
  • 5th active frame: 2f on block, 6f on hit, 8f on CH

As you can see using simple arithmetic, the meatier a move connects, the higher the frame advantage.

HOWEVER, this is based on the assumption that each of the active frames generate the same amount of frame advantage by themselves (ie. if you assume no recovery). While this is true in general, developers will often adjust frame advantage on individual frames so that moves don’t become too strong. eg. Sagat’s LK Tiger Knee in SFIV Vanilla, or SFIV Boxer’s Overhead.

So if you want to test the max frame advantage possible, set up a situation in training mode where after a knockdown Chun’s st.hk will barely hit, and then try to link into cr.mk (regular hit) and st.mk (on counter-hit). If neither works, either your setup is wrong, the frame data is wrong, or Capcom has adjusted the frame advantage of the “meaty” frames.

***** this isn’t technically true, but just assume so for now.


#8

Thank you very much @ilitirit

I wish there were more people willing to share their knowledge with noobs, just like you do