Can't get better?


I’ve been playing fighting games for a few years now and wanted to go play in tournaments however I’ve a major problem with combos. I practice BNB any free chance I get, can barely do them in training mode, and can’t do anything against anyone when ever I play someone, online or off. I’ve tried learning to play SSF4, BB:CS, and now with MVC3, but I’ve had very little success with any game I play. Exception being 3D fighters I’m decent at playing DOA and Tekken, but they’re boring to me. There is something I’m doing wrong but I’ve no idea. Any advise?


for mvc3 what combos are you trying to do, with what characters exactly.

and for blazblue… for me jump cancels are hard :<


Its hard to really give that kind of advice when no one knows that much about the time you spend. Tekken is a lot more technical to me than any 2d fighting game I’ve ever played but that is just my opinion. I think you just don’t give up that is all there is to it. I’ve been playing fighting games since Street Fighter II and I’m still just a decent player. It takes time to learn I remember my friend told me it took 8 months before he learned to master a Tekken character and that is not a short amount of time. You have to keep it up man its just not going to come right away. For combo’s its always been a memory game. I learned some great advice from vesper arcade on youtube(great Street Fighter IV tutorial) break everything down little by little until you feel comfortable with what you are executing. So for example MVSC3 wolverine ground combo into air into super combo c. S,M-H, c.H-S, sj. M,M,H,L+S, d+H,H-S, sj.M,M,H, QCB+atk+atk that is a lot to remember at once so you have to break that down. You might be ok with the first part and forgetful of the second part of the combo so just focus on doing that part until it makes sense. Another thing is timing that c.S,M-H,c.H-S after c.S,M-H you have to time that c.H-S if you do it to fast it whiffs. Another thing is to pay attention to the sound sometimes that helps with your rhythm there is a lot to it you just have to keep at it. If your frustrated take a break, then come back to it but don’t just give it up completely I don’t get much time to play either but any extra time I can get I spend it in training. I’d be happy to work with you on some stuff add me as a gamertag.


For MVC3 I’m still trying to get decent team together that doesn’t consist of the “evil tin can” so I’ve been trying most every characters BNB’s and mission modes. I’ve watched all 11 chapters of Vesper tutorials and while it helped me understand the game it did little good for me in game. I practice combos roughly 2-4 hours a night, but a friend of mine says it have trouble with combos of a lack of experience with other players. I would play online but I’m sick of paying $70 (after tax) for a service I could/should get for free simply because Microsoft is an open box of Summers Eve’s.


It’s all muscle memory in the end. Just keep practicing, and eventually you will get it. Make sure you are practicing viable combos though. Check the character forums for the best Bnbs, even if they aren’t as long as you would think.

The more hits a combo does, the more meter it builds but with the cost of less damage. After learning a combo, I try to find ways I could set it up it in a match. Record/replay is godlike, especially on Sentinel. If you find a spammable move, record it and go off finding ways around it.


also with each hit the stun gets weaker, making combo chains harder to land


Seriously dude, just play. Don’t worry about getting all the combos. In a lot of SF games, you don’t really even NEED combos that hit more than 2 or 3 times to win anyway. If you’re spending 2-4 hours practicing a night (and I’d like to know how many nights a week you practice) and still not seeing any improvement, maybe you’re just not practicing the right way.

Take some of the advice in the thread and break it down, but also, don’t be afraid to just play the game and see if there’s a style you can make work for you that doesn’t involve lots of combos since they don’t seem to be your strong suit.


I practice everyday, 2-4 hours a day, and random hours on weekends. Someone told me a while back I should find a character that clicks and that I like then stick with that character, problem being the characters that “click” are usually the odd characters that are hard to learn. e.g Makoto SSF4


this is completely true, i saw a balrog vs dhalsim fight and there were barely any combos, just alot of pokes


practice/play & watch your replays(to see what you did right/wrong in the matches).


Okay, I did, what I did right…first hit I guess…what I did wrong, failed to block, tech throws, get out of the corner, whiff (a lot), drop combos after 1st or 2nd hit.


if you want to get better at fighting games, the simplest process Ive found is as follows:

  1. pick a basic character. ryu, ken, ragna, wolverine, etc. This doesnt mean they are bad or low tier either. Just that they have fairly straight forward gameplay mechanics, tools for many occasions (zoning, defense, rushdown, good hyper/distortions/supers, wake up, etc). they arent complicated or require unique gameplay mechanics or what not. for example, i wouldnt start with a hazama or low stamina akuma or pheonix.

  2. go to training and practice normals. dont even worry about special moves. learn your normals. learn what normal move beats a jump-in. learn what your sweep is. learn the ranges (in training stage, the room usually has a grid. the grid is used to measure ranges for moves. is your punch one block? two blocks long? etc.) try to visualize this grid while playing and position so a sweep at max range so the edge of foot hits. learn the speed they come out, which ones leave you vulnerable on blocks, etc. once you get a feel for how the character works with normals, play some friends or put the dummy on cpu and ONLY do normal moves. assuming friends arent extremely good and doing fadcs, etc, you should be able to at least compete using only normals.

  3. now that you understand options and what you can punish with simply using only normal moves, time to learn some defense. holding down back and LP+LK is an option select for blocking and throw rejection and poking low with relatively safe LK. option select means the game will pick the best option of those 3. this is the most basic version. when you see pros breaking throws all the time, its because they option select to throw on block usually. in practice, the best way to test this is to have a friend or program the training dummy to sweep you and then stand next to your body and throw or punch you at random. if you do it right, you will block the punch or stuff it with your poke (depends on when you push your buttons) for a counter hit. if its a throw, instead of blocking, you will tech the throw.

that is the absolute biggest problem new people have with being thrown nonstop on wake up. the next big defense you need is cross ups. this is when they jump over you and hit you in the back of the head with a kick instead of in the front of your body. this means you have to push forward to block the attack instead of back direction since the attack comes from behind. have the cpu jump over you and do it (use record and playback in training). remember though, you should pay attention to ranges of characters. jump arcs are fairly short, so its difficult to cross up if they are far away and it will hit you from the front, so block back. if they are close to you, they are usually going for cross up. forget exact range, as different for many characters, but roughly 3 blocks in training is a crossup range i think.

now that you can block basic throws and crossups, thats huge damage and position you arent giving up anymore. now to learn blocking of basic block strings. the most basic thing a lot of beginners do is jump + HK then c.HK. this is usually a high attack jump in you have to block standing up followed by a low sweep to knock you down. program the cpu to do this and practice the high low. pretty simple, right? now remember the option select block? many will do jump + HK, land and tick throw (after you come out of block stun, they throw you instead of continuing the combo). you expect sweep usually or some kind of low attack, so do the down back + LP+LK option seleect block. they sweep the leg, you block. they tick throw, you reject! you start feeling like a pro teching throws all the time despite how easy it becomes to stop basic and common throw tactics this way.

now that we have a simple jump in stopped and know how to stop throws on wake up and can stop cross ups, you can start learning basic block strings from characters. this is usually low pokes. some mix up with an overhead attack that requires blocking high. so you might see c.LK, c.LP, HP (assume the HP is an overhead attack of some kind). you have to block low for the first two and then stand up to block the HP. you can program simple block strings into the computer and practice blocking low/high over and over.

good way to practice blocking is turn computer on or play friends and ONLY defend. do not attack in any way. just try to survive the fight. go with 30 second matches, then 60 seconds and finally 99. up difficulty if you are surviving easily. if its friends, let them go to town and try to tech throws and block everything.

now that you can block and do normals, you are finally ready to learn specials. practice motions. do 10 fireballs in a row without messing up. do 10 shoryukens without messing up. easy? do 20 in a row. start over if you mess up. now switch sides and do them on the right. practice air moves (air tatsu) since many find them hard to get out consistently (jumping forward and doing the QCB motion can be difficult for some).

when you can consistently do specials, learn to combo with them. do something like HP, fireball. other options are to do a crouching move into fireball. that lets you “cheat” by doing down+say MK, and continue your fireball motion and press random punch. it shoudl feel like one smooth motion of D, MK, DF, F, P and look like the c.MK stops as soon as it hits and a fireball comes out. got that down? learn to combo that now. do a j.HK, c.MK, fireball. try and tack on a fireball to any combo. can also do SRK or tatsus. depends on what you use to start the combos with.

these are 2-3 attacks (combo can be higher based on how many times they hit, but you only do 3 things usually). simple and effective. dont try and do some 15 hit fadc combo from the challenges starting out. learn these simple combos and block strings. they do a jump in, c.MK, tatsu to you and you blocked it? they are now vulnerable to anything you want to do, so just use one of the basic combos youve learned for free damage.

after this, you can learn to cancel into supers or tack ultras onto the end of combos or fadc or other advanced techniques. you should NOT be trying to do these out of the gate though. and always practice parts of combos, not the whole thing. so if you want to learn to fadc a L shoryuken in some combo, just do the L SRK, FADC. dont even do the super afterwards. once you can fadc the L SRK, move to the fadc part. do a focus attack, dash adn buffer a super/ultra during the dash part. you can also let the FA hit the opponent, dash out of recovery and do supers/ultras for practice too, but in an FADC, you wont be hitting with the FA part for reference. can fadc into supers now? now do L SRK, FADC, Super. notice how you havent once done a single lengthy combo? just small pieces, right? if you can now do these small pieces, put them into the basic combos you learned already! you arent learning some 6 or 7 piece combo by rote memory. you know bnb simple combos. you know how to do your L SRK, FADC into ultra. you can just tack that onto the end of any string or if you catch someone with a SRK on wakeup/jump in, you can always do fadc, ultra/super.

the biggest mistake most make when learning combos is they learn entire combos, not what safely cancels/links into special moves, which then cancel into specials or fadc into ultras.

just start small. if you want to get better, training 70% of the time, matches 30%. so spend like 40 mins in training and 20 in actual matches if you play for an hour.


I think this is great advice, appreciate the effort! I happened to find out alot of these things myself through trial and error, but you’re summary is dead on. In particular I am going to put your advice about training / playing into my routine.


I will second almost everything KirbyMorph said, but point (1) is just downright wrong. I’ll quote myself from another thread:

I don’t think it’s right to tell new players to play specific characters - let them pick whoever they want. While some characters are harder than others, player experience with an easy character will not make learning a hard one any simpler.

Basically, learning an easy character when first picking up a game and a hard one later takes more effort than just starting with the hard character.

I’m not trying to say that you shouldn’t give new players an idea of the difficulty of the various characters they seem interested in - you definitely should do that. However, finding a character’s style enjoyable is more important than the ease of picking up that character. Is learning Viper be more time consuming than learning certain other characters in SFIV? Most definitely, but it’s certainly less time consuming than learning another character and then trying to switch to Viper.

If a character’s difficulty is discouraging a player, that player can drop the character in favor of another. In terms of what keeps people around, I find it’s better for them to start with something they enjoy and adapt to its challenges than to start with something easier and not enjoy it. People don’t tend to play games they don’t enjoy.

Additionally, the list of easy-to-learn characters is a bit off for the games you’re referencing - I would have said: Ryu / Ken, Fei, Hakumen, Magneto, Taskmaster


You can’t win by simply knowing a combo, but that’s probably your best bet. Though if you still have DOA I’ll show you how creative I can be with mix ups and how good my reflexes are with counter or counter attacks. Though pros only make combo videos, never see situation videos. Pretty good with any game, except Tekken not so much, didn’t play long enough to bother with wall combos and crap.


Don’t worry about doing a big combos. Dumb it down a bit if your trying to do a combo with a relaunch drop the relauch and just hyper at the end. If you can’t even do your chars basic air series you need to practice more or stop playing that char it really should only take you an hour to get a combo to hyper down.

But more importantly combos are not that important it’s important to block. Focus on blocking and punishing most players give you lots of chances to punish them. Try not to do to much take your time pick your spots.


Just about all of the advice I’ve seen on here is great. Playing a match blocking only, learning normals/combos/etc…

I’ll have to add another thing that might or might not have been mentioned on here: learn to anti-air (AA). Some characters have weak DP or no DP AA’s but whoever you choose it’s wise to learn whatever AA moves your character has. You need to start developing that reflex early on (something I wish I learned right when I started) so it becomes easy to identify non-safe jumps.

If people can jump in on you and they know you don’t AA very well, they’ll be jumping in on you all day. After a good amount of play time learn to identify when opponents are safe jumping you and how to defend against that.


I dont think I mention it, but for picking characters, I didnt mean to just main that character and never try one. The characters I chose have average health, balance of zoning, useful super/hypers, rushdown and wakeup.

Ryu in particular is the average health for SF games and everyone else gets health values based on his. On top of this, hes the poster boy of fighters and most will know his moves and what they basically do (fireball, srk, hurricane kick, etc). can easily practice fireball motions, dragon punch motions, ground and air tatsus (many struggle with air moves, especially doing a forward jump with a backwards motion). supers and hypers are easy to do with simple qcf motions and cancel and fadc into very, very easily.

so it wasnt a ‘play this guy only’, but a ‘heres some characters that cover all the basics for training purposes’. you can learn mechanics in a week or so and then pick your character and focus on their custom combos and timings and what not.

for your picks, i didnt go with ken mainly because he cant combo ultra after a fadc. its like half an ultra and completely wasted for damage (maybe i do it wrong, i cant get it to work properly for u1). ryu can fadc into metsu or super. this is a great way to learn how to fadc regardless of whether you play ryu or ken since its relatively easy adn results can be seen immediately. can just L DP, fadc. once you can fadc it, you can tack super or ultra on. you now know how to fadc adn can apply it to the character of choice. ken can technically do it, but its not really impressive fadc into his ultra (dont play him personally, maybe theres a better way than srk fadc ultra 1 with him). i dont have much experience with fei either, so just threw ryu out as his a very well known move list that covers a lot of bases. for hakumen, unique tama meter, cant do special moves without tamas, very difficult bnb combo (the falling c, 2c, j.a, iad, ja, c you tack onto everything) with tight timing and a counter drive requiring knowledge of block strings and moves of everyoen else means hes a tough character int eh beginning for beginners. taskmaster is fairly easy, but requires more zoning than rushdown and has counters as well. add tiger knee motions to extend combos and it gets a little more advanced quickly fora beginner.

but again, the character choice was for variety of moves and input commands for them as well as ability to combo into those. they arent recommendations for mains. learn some quick basics, get a feel for game and then start playing different characters/doing challenge modes for a feel of each and decide from there.


Fei’s normals are ridiculously good, making it easier to succeed when just using normals in an attempt to start learning, and his reversals are insanely good. EX Chicken Wing is 1~12F invulnerable and safe on block, even.

Ragna is weak versus zoning characters, though it’s true he does better versus them than most other rushdown characters in CS. Hakumen, on the other hand, can shut down projectile keepaway (e.g. Lambda’s) with normals. In my experience, zoning is one of the hardest tactics for new players to deal with in BB. I should point out that I would have selected Bang based purely on the same criteria as Ryu (can do everything), but I thought TK-DP motions were a bit above the scope of a beginner. Additionally, playing a character with counters helps train defensive reactions. Sure, his meter is strange, but I don’t think that’s enough to warrant staying away from him.

Taskmaster’s normals are almost unmatched in MvC3 - while other characters may have a handful of great normals, Tasky’s are all amazing. Also, his specials (other than arrows and the counter super) are honestly pretty bad. So far as I’ve seen, most people only use arrows and normals, occasionally countering a very slow attack (e.g. pipe). In second, Tasky can make it unsafe to punish other supers with direct attacks via DHC.

You didn’t touch on Magneto, which I will take as a mark of agreement.


The main way to get better is by actually playing. Play people at/above your level. You don’t need to know flashy combos, just the essentials. Personally, I think there are two combos you should focus on when learning a player:

BnB Combo- This is the combo that gives you the highest chance of doing damage. It has a high rate of hitting, and are fairly easy to do.

Punish Combos - If you opponent makes a mistake and leaves themselves wide open, land a combo that will do tremendous damage. Punisher combos are combos that would be risky to pull off naked, bc they will leave you vulnerable, but when your opponent is vulnerable (say a whiffed SRK) that is the perfect time to pull off that high-risk combo (bc you are risky nothing)