Dealing with Focus Attack


So I only really play 3rd strike but recently have been playing AE. The biggest adjustment I have found outside of the absence of parry is the Focus. How does the Focus affect gameplay? I’m not really sure how to use it or how to deal with it.
Any advice would be great, I main Akuma if that helps with specifics

Sorry I should say that I know how to use it to extend combos and make uppercuts safe and so forth. I mean in the footsie game and it being used to counter things - im not sure how to use it in that sense

Focus Attack

Focus is a tool which can be utilized in so many different ways. Here’s just some examples:

  1. Using focus as a parry. Lets say they do a crouching LK, LP, MK into a fireball. You know that they like using that so you can focus when they throw a fireball and cancel your focus with a dash in and get close to them for a combo while they’re still recovering. You can also do the same with a fireball further away. Just focus it dash out of it real quick and go for a sweep. This is super strong especially with characters with a good sweep like Akuma.
  2. Using it in combos and making things safe. You already know that so don’t really need to go into it much.
  3. Using it for an anti-air. Sometimes if you know your opponent likes jumping in with a medium or heavy attack, focus it real quick and time the focus to let go when they hit the ground. For example if they like doing jump in HK into crouching MK and always commit to doing that into a move. Focus will counter hit their crouching MK when they land and it’ll cause them to crumple.
  4. Using it for a simple bait too. Lets say you get a knockdown and you just focus and when they get up you just dash backwards and make them whiff a move like a shoryuken or something. Same thing can be done if they’re jumping in. Just cancel it into a backdash when they’re trying to hit you and make them whiff.
  5. Using it to absorb fireball zoning tactics and just to gain free meter. Use it to get in as well.

Just some small examples but there’s a TON of other options you can do with focus.


For footsies and countering stuff:

  • Walk into a range where one of the opponent’s moves will hit (sometimes a focus attack extends your hitbox, so you can actually do it just outside of range) and then do a focus attack, if they press a button (eg. sweep) you can absorb and punish, or backdash and punish.
  • Do a move that’s usually unsafe on block, but space it or meaty it so that it becomes safe, then immediately do a focus attack to punish their counter-attack
  • If you unexpectedly whiff a move, hold down back and immediately press focus attack. Depending on what you did, you are likely to get whiff-punished, but if the opponent mistimes their punish you will either block, or focus absorb their move.
  • Focus attack into backdash is bait for a jump at footsie range. The opponent could either try to jump over it, or do an empty jump into throw. If you backdash you usually have enough time to punish with an AA. At the edge of footsie range or even further back, focus attack into forward dash punishes jumps.
  • Tapping :f: + focus while walking gives you an instant dash. Faster to input that a double dash if you are already holding forward.
  • Some characters move slightly backward while charging for a focus attack. You can use this to bait reversals eg. off an aerial reset walk forward to the range where their move will barely hit (this is important because reversals that aren’t projectiles break focus attacks), then focus and release on their recovery. You can also use a focus attack after you have been reset to punish meaty attempts. It’s generally safer than a reversal, but it’s also punishable if you abuse it (like just about everything else in the game)