Footsies Element #2

I’ve been reading over Maj’s footsies guide over the past few months, and while it’s given me a lot of insight I’m still a bit confused on Element #2:

“Determine which of your combos and attack strings position your opponents barely outside their effective reversal range, especially when facing characters with greater mobility. One of the best ways to trick someone into wasting meter and handing you the match is by making yourself appear falsely vulnerable.”

If anyone feels up to elaborating a little more on this element, I’d be very grateful.

That point is formulated in a pretty difficult way, even though it’s extremely powerful once you learn to apply it.
The key part is that if you manage to make yourself look vulnerable, you can bait your opponent into certain actions, which you again can counter. And one way to do this is to use blockstrings that end in moves that leave you at negative frames (and thus look vulnerable), but leaves you at a spacing where your opponent will likely attempt to counter-attack (again, because you LOOK vulnerable while you’re actually safe). You can also do this with single moves.

Let’s take a look at the video example provided in the handbook and see what happened:

After hitting Choi with a custom combo, Valle does a cross-up j.LK, followed by c.MP xx high tiger shot. This leaves him at negative frames at a pretty close spacing. Because he looks like he did something unsafe, Choi activates his custom combo in an attempt to punish, but in reality Valle was safe. This allowed him to punish the CC-activation by uppercutting.

There’s more to it than that, but for the reasons discussed in the handbook, that’s why that video example was provided. Valle used a blockstring to make himself look unsafe, and because Choi reacted in a predictable manner, Valle was able to punish him for it.

If you want to learn more about how to apply this (and have it explained by someone far better than me), I recommend reading through this discussion page ( illitirit’s posts in particular, obviously). The examples provided are great for understanding and utilizing this topic.

I remember Zaferino explaining this on a stream. This is actually his primary tactic to get through tournament pools

Basically, you do a blockstring that positions the opponent just barely outside of their primary poke range. Because of human tendency, the opponent is likely to execute their poke immediately afterwards, believing that they can interrupt your pressure because you stopped your blockstring. Using this fact, you can counter this poke with a sightly faster attack

Also, remember to be in standing position (not crouching) to shrink your hurtbox after your blockstring