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.


I’ll try to field this best I can but my word is based off experience nothing actually concrete.

For your first question as long as you push in the opposite direction of the charge you can maintain charge for a noticeable amount of time, maybe 3-8 frames. Evidence of this is holding charge, walk a few frames and hit the button, the special will execute. This isn’t a storage mechanic, it is an input leniency buffer.

Second question, so far the leniency buffer cannot be extended and charge cannot be stored.

Third question, because auto correct is yet another input leniency buffer and has nothing to do with charge I expect that you would lose your entire charge the moment the window for input closes. Because charge cannot be partitioned you will have to store again.

The situation you’re describing with cl.hp xx Psycho Crusher is no different from a normal auto correct situation except that you are canceling cl.hp on the first available frame where the game considers you can still use Psycho Crusher. I’ve seen similar things with Blanka st.lp beast roll.

In the end I think it cannot be made easier to auto correct normal and canc to a charge special because they appear to be frame perfect.

As for Super, the buffer on super is large because it has 3 additional direction inputs as opposed to a charge special which has one. Charge supers so long as you have charge in the first place are almost mashable…

Hopefully I’ve helped you understand sfiv charge and input features. Input leniency is useful to degree.


+1 on the input leniency. I also do walk forward scissors/rush punch/headbutt on someone if I know they’re scared. Pushes them into the corner quicker.


Yeah great for punishes as well.