Choosing Pokes



I’ve read a lot of guides about footsies 101 and the such, but I can’t seem to find a good answer to these questions(and I apologize if they’re too obvious).

a) How do you go about choosing which normals are good for poking, and which are good for counterpoking?
Is it based on their framedata, like startup, recovery, hit advantage? Their range? How do you know a normal is good just for poking, just for counterpoking, or both?

b) What makes a good antiair?

c) What if a normal is not good at any of the above? What other uses can they have?

Thanks a lot for any responses, really trying to learn to get better. :slight_smile:


All of the above. it all works very logically. A fast move with good range is harder to block on reaction and is likely to get counter hits by beating start up at a distance the opponent thought was safe. Moves with good recovery and hit advantage/block stun are safer to throw out. Think of it as a game of cat and mouse, you want to counterpoke by chasing with a move that will catch your opponents recovery while poking with the moves that are harder for them to chase.

Also consider hitboxes and low profiling moves like Blanka’s slide going under a standing roundhouse.

Mostly explained above, but generally you want to save moves with heavy recovery (think sweeps) for the counter poke because your opponent is more likely at a disadvantage at this point and will have greater difficulty punishing. You want your pokes to leave you as safe as possible and less likely to be counter poked.

Since it’s a blend of all the above factors there is a lot of trial and error. This is why hitbox viewing in training mode is so highly desired. For example sometimes poking with a sweep is a good idea depending on how good your sweep is, and the opponents ability or inability to punish.

Pretty much a low/far back hurtbox and a high forward hitbox. Speed varies depending on if you are reacting early or late.

Sometimes air to air for jumping normals, some are combo filler, some are good for ticks. Occasionally some are just useless.


a) There’s no straightforward answer to this. A lot of things factor in when deciding how good a move is as a poke. Startup, active frames, frame advantage, reach, hitbox, hurtbox, recovery, damage and possible forward/backward movement are all things that matter, and it’s not like one thing is necessarily more important than another. I guess the easiest answer is that a move is good for poking when it allows you to challenge/control screen space without putting yourself at too much of a risk. A button with good range, hitbox and damage but bad frame data on block/hit may often be inferior to a quick, low-damage move that’s safe on block and recovers so fast that it’s hard to punish on reaction. Which conveniently brings us to the second part of question A.
A move that’s not a good poke can often still be useful as a counterpoke. While the button by itself is not suited to try to hit the model of a character, it may very well be suited to hitting the extended limbs of a character that’s trying to poke you. A great example of this is Dudley’s s.HK. The move doesn’t have that much range, but it has an excellent hitbox when it comes to hitting moves that extend a limb straight forward at chest height (which is a lot of far-range standing pokes), and can be buffered into EX machinegunblow to get a huge combo when it punishes a whiffed move.
You also have the slightly less specified counter-poke, which just has great range and is fast, but is unsafe on block and whiff(long recovery), so you can’t just throw it out. People usually have to fight within the range of this move, however, so if they whiff something, you might be able to punish it on reaction, thus circumventing the fact that the move is unsafe (because if you’re whiff punishing, there’s no sense in worrying about how the move is on block: you know it’s gonna hit!). Shoto sweeps generally function this way. Great range, great speed, but unsafe if used improperly.

b) A good anti-air is simply a move that is good at punishing people for trying to jump in at you. Most characters have different anti-airs to cover different angles. Ryu, for example, has his DP, which is excellent at dealing with jump-ins from most angles. He has some spacings where the DP doesn’t cover, however, but his far s.HK covers the areas further out, while his close s.HK, c.HP and close s.HP cover the areas closer to him decently.
Most AAs extend a move upwards, but some also just low-profile the jump-in. Chun-li c.MP is a good example of this.

c) If a normal is not good as a poke, counterpoke, whiff punisher or anti-air, it’s probably a move that’s useful up close. Usually you’ll see these kinds of moves be overheads, low combo starters, moves with very good frame advantage on block/hit, moves that evade lows/throws, or moves that are useful for ticking into throws. It might also be an anti-fireball-move, or have some weird, gimmicky application. If a move is not good for any of these things, it’s probably not a move you’ll want to use all that much.


That actually was a great analogy, it made me see it from a better point of view.

So, if I’m understanding correctly, pokes should have the least recovery possible so I’m not too open to counterpoking and to stay safe, but counterpokes have more leniency since the opponent is recovering his own poke’s frames as well.
Of course other things factor into it as well, but they’re slightly secondary to the above?

Thank you very much for this example(and the others), seeing it definitely helped in understanding some more. :slight_smile:

Also thank you both for the very clear explanations of good anti-airs and other normals, time to hit the training lab to find some out!


Pretty much yes, but counterpoking can come on the front and as well, fast attacks with good hitboxes my be able to stuff your poke on start up. That’s just part of what makes footsies dynamic and explains a bit of what people refer to when they refer to priority.

This ST Dee Jay tutorial covers the topic of footsies pretty well.

Time stamp is acting funky, start at 3 min 17 seconds.