Links: The bane of my existance

So I’ve had Street Fighter 4 for awhile now, and have been playing with the stick for as long as I’ve had it. I’ve chosen Blanka as my main and have stuck with him as I really enjoy the character and how he plays. My spacing, footsies, and other basic stuff is pretty decent. I’m generally pretty good about, using ball/ex ball/vertical ball to punish the opponent, using the Ultra at the right time, and incorporating his hops into my gameplay.

There is however, a big problem. When it comes time to do a combo, whether its from a jump in or a cross up, my game goes to shit. Simply put, trying to link moves one into the other, and cancel a move on top of that is very frustrating and probably the weakest part of my game.

I’ll give an example. Blanka’s basic bread and butter combo is jump in HK, cr.MK, xx HP Blanka Ball. When I go into training and try to do this combo, generally one of these things will happen.

  1. I’ll get the combo off without a hitch. I’ll then proceed to do it a few more time in a row, but then I’ll start messing it up again.
  2. I’ll whiff it completely.
  3. I’ll get a rainbow roll instead of horizontal roll.
  4. I’ll mess up the roll and just get a 2 hit combo and then a fierce punch.
  5. I’ll do the combo but just get 2 hits and a ball instead of 3 hits.

If my understanding of links is correct, a link is where you do a move after a move’s animation completes but while your opponent is still in hitstun. A cancel is actually when you cancel the move into another move. Combos can only have one cancel.

So, essentially, my brain thinks of this combo as: jump at your opponent (charge back while doing this) and hit with HK. When the animation completes quickly press cr.MK and cancel that into a ball.

The problem is my muscle memory can’t get this down. Aside from seeing if the combo the only way I can see if I did it right is if the game tells me the combo was three hits.

So, I’ve identified the problem as having sloppy execution when it comes to combos (more specifically, links) and cannot perform them reliably enough to incorporate them into my gameplay. I guess what I’m asking here is: What is the best way to practice linking? I spent an hour today practicing this dumb combo. I would try to do the combo as many times in a row as possible. My record is only 4. I’d like to get so I can do it without thinking.

When I first started playing this game I had a lot of trouble doing ultra combos, and this will make me sound like a noob but it was a whole two months of practicing them before I finally got them down. I feel like I’ve hit the same barrier now with combos and linking, and I’m looking for advice on how to overcome it. Basically my main question would be: how the hell do I practice links in a way that will get it into muscle memory?

In addition, I have two more questions:

I’ve heard rumors linking is getting easier in SSF4. Can anyone confirm this? Also, I’ve heard that part of the collectors edition will be a video guide to inputting combos complete with a visual guide of how you should be doing them on your stick.

Sorry for the wall of text and thanks for your advice!

edit: Someone just mentioned that the combo mentioned above doesn’t actually have a link in it. The one I was referring to would be jump in HK, cr.MK, s.LP xx Blanka Ball. The topic still stands however, I’m terrible at combos and linking and need advice.

For #3, you probably hit the kick button instead of the punch. Also, what you said about you making the ball execution, but it doesn’t count as the combo, you did it too slow. Try putting the opponent in auto guard.

You don’t have enough time to charge with that combo. The real blanka bnb is J. HK, cr. MK, standing jab cancel into HP Blanka ball. This combo gives you enough time to charge and enough hits to hit confirm it so you don’t do a blanka ball unsafely if they block it. However, it’s a one frame link, so it’s hard. Try double tapping the jab to get it to come out.

My advice would be practice just the link over and over you got it ( tapp st.jab) then add the rest.

“6. Practice more. It can take hours, days, or even weeks of practice if you don’t have prior experience with fighting games. Don’t get discouraged. Just keep at it and eventually it will start coming naturally.” -rainscape

If you haven’t already, turn on input data. I’m pretty bad at combos too and this has really helped. It’s a real eye opener when you’re sure you only hit that punch button twice and the data says three times:(

There really aren’t any magic answers to your problems, you just need more time practicing. I personally suggest practicing the links and cancels you have problems with separately, then adding them to larger combos.

I made a bunch of general tips for developing execution here:

Eh? If I understand the combo correctly (and I hope I do, because I use this one when I use Blanka), then you have ample time to charge the ball for the combo. You just have to make sure to hit cr. MK late after the J. HK. That’ll give you enough time to charge for HP Blanka Ball.

It’s a 2 frame link, so no it’s not that hard.

To the OP, charge characters are doubly fucked in SF4 because of easy reversals for motion characters and the fact that charge time seems to be way longer, making it difficult to get moves to combo after a jump in. If you’re only cancelling a single normal upon landing it’s actually alot harder than older games so you’re better off with the aforementioned combo.

Off a crossup, I’d combo jab into electricity, but that might be a little difficult for you. You can also do crossup,close (knees), stand jabxxball, but that one is a 1 framer. Unfortunately, for all his ease of use, Blanka’s BnB’s are much more difficult than say Ryu’s.

As for getting the Rainbow roll, you’re probably releasing the mk button at wrong moment and getting the rainbow roll input. If you hold it down when going for ball you’ll probably see a big improvement.

Hope that helps.

practice cr Short, cr Short, standing Jab XX Ball. Blanks links are hard. I still have trouble with them.

If you’re using a stick, then double tapping makes this combo feel easier because it’s easier to get the rhythm even though if you look at the input display the last double tapped input of a link only gets inputted once. At least for me. The thing with combos like this is that it’s mostly about muscle memory. Don’t think about it too much and just do it. You finger are good at remembering repetitive tasks.

who told you this bs?

Its true.
Heres an example…chaining light attacks counts as a cancel
c.lp…c.lp xx srk (works because the light attacks are linked, not cancelled)
c.lp xx c.lp xx srk (doesnt work because thats two cancels in one combo)

FADCs are of course the exception to this, and landing from a jump-in resets the “counter” I guess.

No, it’s bullshit. [media=youtube]lato8FmMoIQ#t=2m21s"[/media]

There’s no such rule as one cancel per combo. That stuff about light attacks has nothing to do with a cancel limit but it’s just a rule that you can not cancel out of chained light attacks. Who came up with this one cancel per combo nonsense?

You just can’t cancel off a chain. There is no hard-coded one cancel per combo rule, as far as I know.

Dunno, I just remember hearing it for the longest time and it makes sense. I forgot to include that the counter resets after links as well. It explains why chain attacks and specials dont go well together, but I just realize that ken’s target combo pretty much debunks that…

FADC breaks that “one chain per combo rule” your talking about.

Not to mention all of sakura’s combos have multiple cancels with no fadc :stuck_out_tongue:

But yeah, if you can’t combo well just practice practice practice!

Thanks for the tips everyone. When practicing that 4 hitter, I can get the 3 hit link off but I have trouble with the cancel. Are there any tricks to making the s.LP xxx Blanka Ball easier?

Ryu hard trial 2 I think.

blah blah blah into cr.HP cancel to SRK cancel to Super. 2 Cancels, no links in between.

For number 3, you need to look into negative edge.

In Street Fighter, releasing a button doesn’t make the attack come out, but it does count as an input for a special move. To test this, go into the game, hit FP and hold it (watch the animation whiff or whatever), then charge a blanka ball and release punch instead of pushing it. You get a special move.

This means in your combo, you’re releasing MK before pressing FP, which counts as the rainbow roll. Practice holding down that MK until the FP is pressed. As for the rest, that’s just timing that comes with experience.

As far as the only one cancel per combo mess, Balrog can do C.MP xx Dash Punch xx Super, which invalidates that theory. You just can’t cancel off chained light attacks. Target Combos (such as Kens MP XX FP) can also be cancelled, so you can do MP XX FP XX SRK XX Super, for 3 cancels in one combo.

When timing links, just remember the magic rule. If it doesn’t come out, you’re doing it too early. If it comes out and they can block, you’re doing it too late.