Charge - How does it really work?


So I wanna know the mechanics of how charge works and I haven’t found a single guide or tutorial which explains it in detail. I’ve been playing predominatly charge characters since vanilla SF4 but there are a few things I’ve never really understood theoretically.

My main questions are:

  • How long is charge stored after releasing back?
  • Can you prolong it somehow?
  • Is it possible to keep charge (indefinitly) after switching places with your opponent without breaking it and re-charging somehow?

I do know how to perform a raw Psycho Crusher / Scissor Kick after switching places with your opponent. Like when they cross you up in the air or you cross them up with empty Devils Reverse on their wakeup. That’s kind of easy and proves that charge doesn’t vanish the moment you release your charge input, but doing it after a normal is a little bit trickier.

I stumbled upon this problem while trying to maximize a punish after a blocked Fierce Thunderknuckle from C.Viper, which makes her leap over you. I could sometimes manage a cl. st. HP/MP xx Psycho Crusher but can’t get the timing down. The wierd thing is that it is really easy to get st.HP xx Super just by mashing back and forth on the stick, but getting a regular PS/SK is really awkward after she has leapt over you.


-Charge vanishes instantly when you let go of back/down, but input leniency allows you to space out the input of specials/supers/ultras to an extent, which is why dash Ultras work.
-Not really.
-As long as you’re still holding back/down, the charge won’t be broken, even if you switch sides. If you manage to switch direction during the same frame where the opponent crosses you up, you’ll maintain your charge. But it’s virtually impossible to do by hand, at least consistently.

In the case with C.Viper, I can’t really visualize the situation, but I think what you want to do is release back just as she crosses you up, then you press MP/HP and immediately press forward (which is now the same direciton you charged in) and then another punch for PS. If you hold the stick during the entire period of time, you might press forward too soon, meaning you can’t draw out the input for long enough. Or maybe you simply need to block it standing to make her cross you up later.


That’s was I was thinking too, but I only ever managed to get cl. st. MP xx Psycho once and HP xx Psycho a couple of times while she’s still airborn, so it doesn’t combo. If I do it too quickly a raw Psycho comes out and too late I just get the punch.

I can actually get Psycho Crusher by either holding down/back and then press forward+HP just as she crosses up or just down/back and then press back+HP (a little later).


I think after you break your charge you have 26f~ leniency for supers/ultra but about 10-12f for specials. why you can dash ultra but not dash into a special.


Charge does not vanish instantly after letting go of the direction you have to charge, it is coded on a move to move basis. Ultras usually have more charge store time than special moves, which is why things like walk up u1 with guile/vega work consistently.


That’s because of the input leniency, not the charge remaining. But the difference is extremely subtle, so I guess you can interpret it however you want.


So if I want to delay a charge move as long as possible after someone crosses me up, to cancel it from a normal for example, it doesn’t really matter which way I hold the stick (even neutral) after I get crossed up and my charge “disappears” as long as I complete the move before the input leniency window goes out?

So both of these would work to get psycho crusher after losing charge?:

a) db (charge), -opponent jumps over me-, keep db 10-15f or whatever the window is, then, f+HP (so the F now is actually the same direction as the db since we switched places)

b) db (charge), -opponent jumps over me-, release stick 10-15f, f+HP


Exactly. Both of those should work yes.


No, there is a coded value for each move. Open Guile’s file in Ono! and check the “Charge” section. You will see that one of the unk values (I forgot exactly which one as I haven’t used it in months) has a different number between his different moves. Some have a “9” value while some have a “12” value and so forth. Input leniency does play a small part in the ease of executing things like dash charge ultra, but it’s not what makes it possible.


Wait wait, you’re gonna have to explain this a little more. What exactly makes it different from input leniency?


You guys mean the charge time necesary for a move to come out?


Basically, the values I am referring to are what makes it possible for the charge to remain valud while inputting a different direction. So even if the input leniency was 80 frames, if the other value was only valid for 15 frames, the input leniency would be pointless. Basically, I’m saying that they have to work hand in hand, and that input leniency isn’t the only determining factor. If you still don’t understand, hopefully someone can explain it better, as explaining things is one of my weak points.


Nah, I got it. Thanks.

  • A special move is made up of a series of inputs (excluding stuff like TAP etc)
  • You have to input the commands in the correct sequence
  • You also have to input the commands within a short window
  • The window between the various inputs are coded individually
  • You can do whatever you like during that window as long as the next move in the sequence is inputted and you don’t put yourself in a state that prevents you from doing the move (eg. jumping, performing a normal move)

This is how it works for charge moves as well. The command interpreter just cares that you performed the moves in sequence, within the allotted frame windows. Charge isn’t “stored”. You just get a certain amount of time to input the button press after the last directional input. This varies between moves.

I think you get nearly 30f in total to perform a DP. But that doesn’t mean you can input the first two moves within 10f and the last one 17f later. If you don’t input the next command within the required time, the command interpreter “resets” to that point and it starts looking for a new move.

All this is why b, f, b + punch works for charge moves. But it’s useful in other situations as well. eg. you block a laggy move, buffer your Ultra and hold forward and the required button inputs, the opponent tries to confirm something but instead you keep holding forward so you walk towards them for a few frames. They throw a fireball, you release the buttons and hold downback. If it’s within the proper frame window, you get an Ultra. If it’s not, you block the fireball.


See, I knew someone would come and explain it better.


Wouldn’t the Ultra come out as soon as you come out of blockstun if you already completed the sequence? Aren’t you required to withold the last input of the move to stop it executing prematurely?

If I understand you correctly you have to delay each input as long as possible the get the maximum amount of execution time? You can’t just wait with the final input until the end of the allowed input window for the entire move?

This still poses a problem though in regards to my original punish situation since the normal preceding the execution of the special move (Psycho/Scissor) will actually count towards the special move aswell… >_> Talking about punish a crossup (blocked Viper HP Thunderknuckle) with for example st. HP xx Psychocrusher now. It would be ideal if I could press forward before the normal move to extend the input leniency to allow the normal taking place before executing the special move… But doing that would just execute the special move instead of the normal move even coming out…


You press and hold the buttons during blockstun, so the move will not come out. Then you release and hold down-back. If the release falls within the command window, you will get the ultra. If it doesn’t you block. I use this technique in matches.

When you are holding (down)back to block the HP TK and she crosses you up, your charge resets. You will need to gain at least 55f of charge which is incredibly hard.

Suppose you block it on the 1st active frame. She will have endure 42f of recovery in total. But, she only crosses up much later in the move. Let’s say you get the full recovery frames to work with, considering that you have to be quick enough to switch your blocking stance to build charge. That’s 27f TK recovery - 11f st.HP startup + about 12f impact freeze = 28f. Not nearly enough to build charge. Even if she crosses up on the first frame and you switch quickly enough, you still won’t have enough time to build charge using st.HP alone. Remember, before you can artificially prolong your charge (not true, but for the sake of brevity), you first need to build it.

You’re better off doing a Level 2 FA into something else. And I’m not even sure how feasible that is.