I wasn’t sure if this stuff merits its own thread, but when I realized how long the post itself was I didn’t think it was appropriate for the Q&A Thread anymore.
Anyway, background first. In the Q&A thread I made a post talking about how I have seen some players who are very good at using a psychic FA to asborb a poke, then throwing the other player during the character’s recovery. I wondered if it would be possible to something similar with Ultra.
I was originally going to edit my last post, but I thought the new content was long enough to be worth posting separately.
Beware, this post is kind of long!
I figured I could do some testing on this so I tried it out. Here is my train of thought, someone correct me if my understanding of the frame data is wrong. Chun’s forward dash takes 15 frames. Chun’s Ultra has a 7 frame startup. I understood this to mean that if Chun forward dashes and activates Ultra at the soonest possible frame, her Focus > Dash Ultra (I’ll just call it Focus Ultra) takes 22 frames total of startup.
It’s also my understanding that it’s impossible to Focus Absorb an attack until the attack has begun its active frames, that is, when it is no longer in startup frames and is now in active hit frames. So I assumed that total punishable frames (the technial term for this, I believe is non-startup frames) is active frames + recovery frames.
First I tried this against a move that was not normally Ultra punishable on block, but had greater than 22 total punishable frames / non-startup frames (that is, active + recovery). I used Dhalsim. I recorded Dhalsim to do jab, jab, d+HP, then block for the remainder of the 10 seconds. I recorded those two jabs before d+HP so that I could easily predict when the d+HP was going to come out and Focus Attack ahead of time. His d+HP has 3 active frames and 21 frames of recovery, so 24 non-startup frames. Again I’m operating on the assumption that my understanding of frame data is right, which I’m not sure it is.
Dhalsim’s d+HP is easily Focus Ultra punishable. I then tried with his d+MK slide, which has 11 active frames and 11 recovery frames = 22 total non-startup frames. This also worked, which didn’t surprise me since Focus Ultra should take 22 frames, and theoretically I figured I was connecting on the last possible frame.
Here is where I started getting into territory I didn’t understand.
I tried this again against a different character, who had a move that had 21 total non-startup frames. I figured that against that move, it would be impossible for me to Focus Ultra.
I tried this against Abel’s f.HK, recording the same fashion I had before, two jabs, HK, then block for the rest of the 10 seconds. His far standing Roundhouse has 2 active frames and 19 recovery frames = 21 total non-startup frames. Before I even began I assumed that meant no matter how hard I tried I would be unable to Focus Ultra his f.HK… Imagine my surprise when I did the Focus Ultra and after only a few unsuccessul attempts, it connected.
I then decided to try a different move with 21 punishable frames but with lower recovery frames, wondering if that had anything to do with this. So, I tested against Balrog’s cl.HP, recording him to taunt first so that I wouldn’t get pushed out of range by jabs while still being able to predict when the Fierce was going to come out. Balrog’s cl.HP has 5 active frames and 16 recovery = another 21 punishable frames. I was also able to Focus Ultra this.
THEN, I tried against a move that would have 20 punishable frames. I chose Abel’s f.HP, which has 3 active frames and 17 recovery frames = 20. I could still Focus Ultra this!
I went down to 19. Chun’s f.HP has 3 active and 16 recovery = 19. Try as I might, I could not Focus Ultra her far standing Fierce. After spending nearly an hour on it and getting no success, I concluded that I personally could not Focus Ultra a move with a 19 total non-startup frames, and that if it IS possible, it would require both excellent reactions as well as excellent execution.
I haven’t gone through and tried this against all other normals in SF4 (especially not faster normals), and I haven’t tried it against specials yet, though I assume it works against specials since specials generally have longer recovery times than normals. If it does work against all moves with 20 or more non-startup frames, though, that’s pretty exciting news. Of course, in order to Focus Ultra some of the faster moves in the game you’d need ridiculous reactionary skills, or you’d need to be playing an opponent who was being VERY predictable.
Is this practical? Against most normals, I’d say probably not. Of course, Focus Super is much quicker, as would be a Focus Dash into cr.LP, so then you could combo off that. So, practical? Not really, but interesting? I certainly thought so, and I hope you guys think so too.
I do have one concern though.
Does anyone have a solid enough understanding of frame data to explain why it’s possible to Focus Ultra a move that has 20 non-startup frames (active + recovery), when Chun’s dash is 15 frames and her Ultra has 7 frames of startup, equaling 22?