How to Start the Fire - Smoke Basics and Matchup Thread




“Originating from Prague, Tomas Vrbada was recruited by the Lin Kuei for his impressive ability to escape capture. Able to transform into a wisp of smoke, his talent has proved useful on countless missions. Smoke has no memory of his childhood. His only family is the Lin Kuei, more specifically the younger Sub-Zero, who is like a brother to him. It has been Smoke’s hope that through the Lin Kuei he will discover his past - and the origin of his power.”


B = Back
F = Front
D = Down
U = Up
1 = Front Punch
2 = Back Punch
3 = Front Kick
4 = Back Kick
xx = Cancel
–> = Link
j. = Jump or Jumping
nj = Neutral Jump
cr. = Crouching
AA = Anti Air


Unlike some other members of the cast, there is no one particular playstyle for Smoke that is noticeably more advantageous than everything else. Unlike Cyrax, who relentlessly searches for an opportunity to use his command throw reset, or Ermac, who plays careful footsies with his opponent to best use his long-range special moves, Smoke can work well at a variety of ranges, but he does not excel in any particular category. Playing Smoke requires the player to be clever, versatile, and knowledgeable about what situations his opponent is weakest in.


  • Excellent anti-zoning toolset
  • Great Mobility
  • High Abare (damage off of random hits)
  • Odd style causes opponents to play differently and be more susceptible to mind games


  • Mostly slow normals with little high/low mixup opportunity
  • Smoke bomb whiffs on moving opponents and does not cause chip damage, making his full-screen pressure game lacking

Special Moves

Shake (B, F+1) - Smoke vibrates in place. If he is hit by a projectile, Smoke teleports above the enemy and strikes straight down. The retaliation is unblockable and unavoidable by any means. Startup and recovery is fairly small, making this an excellent move to use on reaction to projectiles to shut down enemy zoning attempts.
Enhanced Version: Smoke counters everything except for low attacks and x-rays. A good move to get out of pressure or to use when you’re waking up.

Smoke Cloud (D, B+2) - Smoke throws a ball of smoke at the feet of the opponent, which teleports the opponent in the air in front of you to be juggled. This move tracks, but it will whiff if the opponent is moving quickly enough, and it will always miss an airborne opponent. It causes no chip damage, but you still gain meter for the enemy blocking it. Fairly fast and decent enough damage to usually come out ahead in trades with other projectiles (if you don’t combo after it, the fall causes an extra 6% damage, for a total of 12%). Doesn’t actually count as a projectile, so projectile counters such as Jade’s Shadow Flash, Nightwolf’s Reflect, or Smoke’s Shake won’t protect against it. Colloquially referred to as Smoke Bomb.
Enhanced Version: It deals more damage and has a larger hitbox. Not too useful.

Air Throw (Throw in air) - Smoke tosses the opponent behind him. Takes priority over other air attacks and can combo into Smoke Bomb if done low enough to the ground. Can be combo’d from j.3 or j.4.

Teleport (D, B+4) - Colloquially referred to as Teleport Punch. Smoke appears on the other side of the screen and punches the opponent then appears on the other side of the opponent and punches him again. Smoke’s TP is the fastest of its kind, beating Ermac’s and Scorpion’s by miles. It’s much more viable than either of the other two as an anti-air or full screen punish attack due to it having much more priority, and you can punish some projectiles on reaction with it (but be careful, against some opponents your enemy can block in time). Also, unlike the other two, Smoke’s TP causes knockdown. Blocking this attack leaves you in a vulnerable aerial roll state, so be careful using it.
Enhanced Version: Adds a third hit that’s an overhead. Decent for getting a bit of extra damage on your punishes, and the extra hit and overhead can sometimes surprise your opponent, but like the non-enhanced version, it is very punishable so be careful.

Invisibility (D, U+3) - Makes Smoke translucent, but you can still see vaguely where he is. Causes a small period of projectile invincibility. Useful for masking your approach patterns and mixups, but it’s hard to buy the time necessary to perform the move.
Enhanced Version: Smoke is completely invisible. The only way to tell where he is is by camera movement. Not really worth spending meter on IMO, but your mileage may vary.

Smoke Away (F, B+3) - Smoke turns into a cloud of smoke that travels backwards a short distance. Has some startup, so not particularly useful for getting out of pressure situations, but it can be useful for spacing. It is completely invincible and you can block as soon as the invincibility ends, so it is quite safe.
Enhanced Version: Lower startup and travels farther. Useful if you need to make a major retreat and know the enemy isn’t going to attack you in the next couple of frames.

Smoke Towards (B, F+3) - Smoke turns into a cloud of smoke that travels forwards a short distance. Again, the teleport is completely invincible and you can block or attack as soon as it ends, so it is a safe and effective approach tool so long as you don’t get so close to the enemy that he can beat your slow normals with his quicker ones. A good tool for approaching through projectiles without jumping, which can throw off enemies’ zoning routines. Many people get scared when you use the move, not knowing what to expect, so throwing immediately after the move can be an effective offensive pattern. If the enemy performs a move while you are in front of them and you travel behind them, their move will whiff and give you a free mixup opportunity, but the distance that you must do the teleport from to get the cross-up isn’t particularly safe.
Enhanced Version: Has much quicker startup and travels much farther, making it much easier to approach with this move. It can also cross-up from a much safer distance. Leads to good mixups if you perform it after you land a throw.


Smoked Out (Sweep) - B, F, B, F+1
Tremor (Sweep) - B, B, D, F+2
Stage Fatality (Touching) - F, U, U+1
Babality (Jump) - D, B, D, F, D (you cannot block during the winning round to perform a babality)


Important Target Kombos

1, 1, 2 - Fast high attacks that leads to a knockdown. Moderately useful for escaping pressure.

B+2, 3 - Starts with a fairly fast medium attack. Can combo into Smoke Bomb for an easy 31%.

3, D+1, 2 - A 3-hit string that launches. The second hit is an overhead. This is your big damage string. Decent for mixing up and your go-to punisher.

Beginner Combos

Combo 1 - 3, D+1, 2, j.k, Teleport Punch (25%)

Combo 2 - Smoke Bomb, dash, 3, D+1, 2, j.k, Teleport Punch (24%)

Combo 3 - B+2, 3, Teleport Punch (18%)

Advanced Bread and Butter Combos

Off of a Jump-in Punch or 3, D+1, 2

Combo 1 - 3, D+1, 2, j.k, air throw, Smoke Bomb, dash, 3, D+1, 2, j.k, air throw (42%)
*Make sure to wait as late as possible so that you’re close to landing before performing the first j.k to air throw. Doing so makes linking the Smoke Bomb much easier. Also buffer the Smoke Bomb while you’re landing from the air throw so that it comes out as soon as you land.

Combo 2 - 3, D+1, 2, dash, 3, 2, dash, 4, Smoke Bomb, dash, 3, D+1, 2, j.k, air throw (37%)

Combo 3 - 3, D+1, 2, j.k, air throw, Smoke Bomb, x-ray (49%)

Off of Smoke Bomb

Combo 4 - Smoke Bomb, dash, 3, D+1, 2, dash, 3, 2, j.k, Teleport Punch or air throw (28%)

Combo 5 - Smoke Bomb, nj.punch, dash, 3, D+1, 2, j.k, Teleport Punch or air throw (29%)

Off of B+2 Overhead

Combo 6 - B+2, 3, Smoke Bomb, dash, 3, D+1, 2, dash, 3, D+1, 2, j.k, Teleport Punch (35%)

Off of Jump-in Kick

Combo 7 - j.k, air throw, Smoke Bomb, dash, 3, D+1, 2, j.k, air throw (38%)

Technical Tricks

Jump Kick Option Select

If you land a jump kick, you can combo into an air throw. Air throws leave you in a recovery state that your opponent can capitalize on. However, if you perform a jump kick and press air throw at the same time you would combo it, if the opponent is blocking, the air throw won’t come out. That means if you use this option select, you land a full otg smoke bomb combo if your opponent does not block, and if your opponent does block, you have advantage and can continue to mix up on the ground. The best options for mixup are B+2 to 3 combo for a fast overhead, sweep for a fast low and another jump kick OS, 3 to D+1 to 2 for a high damage overhead, or throw.

Okizime (options while your opponent is waking up)

When you knock your opponent down, their options are limited while almost all of yours are available. Pressing this advantage is called okizime, or wake up game. Here are some of the best options off of any given knockdown situation.

Universal Options

No matter how you knock your opponent down, you can always try to throw a smoke bomb as your opponent gets up. The smoke bomb is so fast that they can’t do anything but block. It’s a good idea to start your first one or two okis in any match with this to test your opponent. It’s totally safe and gives you meter even if they block. It does no chip damage, however, so you can’t use it as genuine pressure.

Another option off of any knockdown is enhanced teleport. It’s fast enough and goes far enough to get you right in the face of the opponent. From there, you can throw out meaty 3, meaty B+2, or meaty sweep, or you can try a cross up jump kick. There’s always trusty throw if they’re blocking too much. It uses meter but gives you the most options.

Off of a Combo ending in Teleport Punch or Air Throw

As always, you can check the opponent’s blocking ability with smoke bombs. After a couple of those, making sure to train your opponent to block, you can input a teleport punch right when you land from your combo. The teleport punch will whiff, which makes it recover much faster than a blocked TP. From this position, you can quickly input B+2 or sweep and they’ll come out as meaties. Standing 3 isn’t fast enough to be meaty, but it might still work. Throw will work if you know that they’ll block. Doing this also might mess them up if they try to roll backwards - they may end up holding forward by mistake since you switch sides so fast.

You can also try for a cross up j.k, but your opponent has a bit of time to react to it.

After a Sweep

Smoke boasts one of the fastest sweeps in the game. People knock it as a low option because it doesn’t do a ton of damage compared to low strings, but it leads to some great wake up options.

Pretty much any of your ground options can come out as meaty. If they don’t do an invincible wake up attack after a sweep, they have to block your normals. Again, your options are B+2 for a fast overhead, sweep for another knockdown, and standing 3 for very big damage. Throw if you think that they’re very scared and will turtle hard.

You can also easily cross up jump kick from this range, and they almost certainly have to block it. If you perform the jump kick OS (explained above), you’ll either get big damage or an extra mix up opportunity. Jump kicking at this range also has the added benefit of tech chasing rolls. If they roll, they have to block the jump kick (wake up attacks lose their invincibility if you roll). It’s almost always worth it to try this first because it’s so much more advantageous than the other options. Only stop doing it if they display the knowledge of how to get out of it (which is very hard to do).

Off of a Front or Back Throw

You recover too slowly after a regular throw to be able to whiff a TP, which limits your options. The universal options of Smoke Bomb and enhanced Smoke Towards still work though.

You also have time for two dashes in either direction (and if you do them towards, you can threaten a jump in), or one smoke teleport. You can use this as an opportunity to adjust your spacing if you know he’s going to block the smoke ball and don’t want the tiny bit of meter it gains.


Until spoiler tags are re-inserted, use this thread.





Format stolen from the Cyrax boards. I found their beginner’s guide very helpful and informative, so I figured I’d make a similar one for Smoke.


Good job taking the initiative to throw this together, ApocaLips. For the advanced BnB combo, please add a second Smoke Cloud after the second j.k -> airthrow. As long as you hit the j.k low enough to the ground (going up this time, not down) the final Smoke Cloud is guaranteed for more damage, and who doesn’t like more damage (opponents not withstanding)?



I could only get it to work in the corner. Are you absolutely sure it’s not corner only? I couldn’t for the life of me get it to work midscreen, but I’m willing to take your word for it.


I’m positive: I test all my kombos mid-screen. I don’t have a kapture kard, but i’ll try to get some grubby footage of it on my cell phone today. Thanks for the update!


Don’t sweat it. Although I couldn’t get it in training mode, I just got it in the middle of a match… lol.


Nice. Yeah it’s a really tight timing. After the second 3, d+1, 2 you have to cancel a forward dash into a jump and then into the j.k, airthrow very quickly, and then still enter the really quick Smoke Cloud buffer on the way down.

If you start this with a forward jumping punch, it’s a 49% meterless BnB.

For all you Smoke players out there: there is no reason not to try this every time, as near as I can tell. Even if the last Smoke Cloud whiffs, you still recover fast enough to be safe, plus they’ll be on the other side of the screen.


It’s pretty hard to get and you give up your oki if you miss it, which is at least free meter and at best another full combo.

I didn’t dash before the last j.k when I did it. It’s only 2%, so if you can get it, good stuff, but if you can’t, no biggie.


What I’d like at this point are two things:

1.) Point out any errors. I really don’t want to give new players false info. Tell me the corrections if you see any!

2.) Start talking about tactics matchups. Let’s stop being preoccupied with flashy combos and start getting to the substance of the game - how to play against other people. The more specific, the better the info. What do you do to beat specific strategies from other characters?


Added a non-otg smoke bomb bnb in anticipation of the patch.

To anyone lurking - please let me know whats useful to you, what you think is missing, what could be improved, etc.


Added matchup info for Cyber Sub, Ermac, Kung Lao, and Sub Zero. Please offer commentary. I feel like the smoke players aren’t discussing strategy nearly enough. We should be passed the point of being dazzled by combos and should start thinking seriously about matchups. Please offer your own opinions and advice, and please let me know if you think anything I said is wrong!

Edit: Also added Noob and the Smoke mirror.



First of all, I’d like to say that the basic guide at the start of the thread has been very helpful. :slight_smile: Anyway, I’m new to the game, coming from an SF background. I’m not sure if this thread is the right place to ask, but I’m still not that well versed in MK game mechanics yet, so I had a few questions:

  1. What are Smoke’s okizeme offense options? Does he have any good ways to maintain pressure while staying (reasonably) safe against wake-up moves?

  2. So far I’ve been using his teleport punch for AAing, but I was wondering if he had any good anti-air normals.

  3. Which of his strings are safe on block?

  4. How safe is Smoke Bomb on block at different ranges? (point blank, sweep range, etc.)

  5. Regarding enhanced shake, can you get hit out of the start up by a non-low hitting move? Or does it start countering stuff immediately?


Glad you like it.

I covered this in the okizime section, but I’ll summarize here. For more detail, see that section.

Up close, it’s all about cross up jump kick OS air throw. Safe option that leads to a lot of damage and messes up wake up attacks by reversing controls (and specials usually don’t autocorrect anyway).

From far away, smoke bomb beats wake up attacks. If they start blocking, you can go in for a mixup.

Smoke’s AAs are ass. TP is risky but a decent AA.

All of them to my knowledge, and at the very least the ones I mentioned.

I’m not sure about its advantage on block, but at close range your opponent can threaten to jump to make it whiff and punish you with a full combo, so be careful about using it at ranges where your opponent can land a jump in.

It parries immediately.


Revamped the Okizime section to be more specific about your options off of any given knockdown. Get working on your Smoke vortex!


ok just 1 thing about invisiblity ex version

the thing its great for is mind games back 2 is an over head an back 2 3 is an over head launcher that was made for smoke bomb

now what does invisible do for you trip trip trip get them scared to stand up then when they cant see you over head smoke bomb


Yeah, it can be good for hiding your mixups, but in all honesty his sweep and B+2 are so fast that no one is going to block them on reaction anyway.

In my experience, decent opponents throw out cr.3 when you try to approach while invisible, which ends the invisibility with even one tick. If that’s what’s gonna happen, I’d rather use the time that it took to perform the move to get myself into a position for better setups.

That’s just my experience though. I’m not trying to call the move worthless, but I rarely use it because in my experience it’s proven suboptimal. It definitely has benefits though, and if it’s working for you then more power to you.


In the Kung Lao matchup, you say never jump, however, can you use a jump to bait a spin, then TP to punish it? If so, that could be a good tool for making Kung afraid to spin, which would be incredibly helpful in the match.


I love doing his juggles, but lately like against Katana and Liu Kang i’ve been hit and run with my play style. Sure it wins, but it disgust me. Ground bounce OTG smokebomb is tits.

So how is the Katana match up, do i just dash in and out, or do i have to put on the offensive, damn her ground bounce