I certainly hope that the majority of us are aware that this property exists – your attacks do less damage on hit 50 than they do on hit 5, as a base example.
Since I have not seen a general thread discussing it however, I feel that it would be useful to a few people to have a short discussion about it, and how it relates to the way you should be thinking about your combos.
First off: Level 3 Hyper Combos ignore damage scaling. For this reason, they are the ideal finisher to a very long combo. However, many characters utilize a level 1 hyper to finish things off more routinely than they do their bigger brothers – most of us are happy to have lowered damage per combo for the opportunity to immediately combo into another super afterwards. For instance, X-23 usually ends her combos with Rage Trigger, a level 1 multi-hit hyper.
X-23’s Rage Trigger super does 245,400 damage when landed outside of a combo from point blank range. This number is mostly just a reference, as our chances of landing it outside of a combo are very near zero.
A basic combo for X-23 is :l::h::s: sj. :h::d:+:h: :qcf:+:l:, :qcf:+:m: (charge) xx :qcf:+:atk::atk:. This combo does 329,500 before the hyper and 475,700 afterwards. Note that the hyper combo is only dealing 146,200 damage here.
An even easier combo for her is :h::s: sj. :h::d:+:h: :qcf:+:l:, :qcf:+:m: (charge) xx :qcf:+:atk::atk:. 371,000 damage before the combo and 537,000 afterwards. Note that this easier combo does 41,500 more damage (about an extra :l: worth) before the hyper, which here does 166,000 damage (19,800 damage more than the hyper does in the long version, above).
The shorter combo does more damage and by the nature of having fewer inputs, is more reliable (i.e. you won’t be dropping it as often). This is not always the case – X-23 certainly has long combos that do more damage than this (the forum for her is up to just over 600,000 damage on one combo ending in Rage Trigger).
As a second example, let’s look at a hyper that is only a single hit – Spencer’s Bionic Lancer. Using :l::h::s: sj. :h::s: (land) :qcf::uf:+:h: OTG xx :qcb:+:atk::atk: as a basic combo with hyper ender, we get 388,200 before the hyper and 537,800 afterwards.
Trimming this down to :h::s: sj. :h::s: (land) :qcf::uf:+:h: OTG xx :qcb:+:atk::atk: yields 361,500 (slightly less) before the hyper and 545,200 (slightly more) afterwards. Here the hyper (which does 250,000 raw) does more damage because it isn’t scaled as much.
The longer Spencer combo builds 3/4 meter, while the trimmed one builds 1/2.
Longer combos do gain more meter, which is usually more useful than slightly higher damage. But if you’re going for the kill and desperately need another ounce of damage, this is something to keep in mind. Similarly, those of you playing online may have noticed that we tend to drop the stuff we can nail outright every time locally because of lag. :shake:
My overall point is this: If you cannot land one of the longer combos because you’re dropping it, see if you can cut out some connecting :l: and hits. Cleaving them from your combos will lead to higher damage and easier combos at the expense of meter gain. Similarly, if you are cancelling a special move into a hyper combo, ALWAYS do the :h: version if it doesn’t break the combo – it does more damage and you’re cancelling out of the longer recovery anyway.
TL;DR: Anyone trying to find extended combos for characters should be focusing on how to land more :h: hits and special moves in combos. Extra :l: and hits lower the overall damage of your combos (though you do gain more meter for getting more hits) until you cross a scaling threshold so as to approach an infinite combo.