Manual Cancels — Brief important info


Hey there. I was wondering why some moves of the game actually linked after some moves that theorically hadn’t enough frame advantage to allow the link, example:

Jago’s Medium Wind Kick (+3 frames on hit) to Crouching Medium Punch (7 startup frames) → (3 - 7) = -4 frame link, theorically impossible, but this link actually works in the game.

After doing some research, I discovered this great brief explanation of Manual Cancels in the Prima Games website. Summary of it is that you have to add +5 frames of advantage to any Manual Cancel you do from an Opener or a Linker to calculate if it links or not with the next move you do. Let’s get back to the example:

Jago’s Medium Wind Kick (+3 frames on hit, plus other +5 frames because of the Manual Cancel) to Crouching Medium Punch (7 startup frames) → (3 + 5 - 7) = +1 manual cancel frame link, which means that after the Opener/Linker you have a 1 frame window for successfully Manual Cancel the Opener into the Manual.

Despite I know most of the people of this forum already know this info, I have the feeling the Manual Cancels (by the way, do not confuse Manual Cancels with normal links outside Openers and Linkers, random example: Standing Hard Punch to Crouching Light Punch) of KI3 are not that straightforward to understand, that’s the reason of this thread. I also didn’t see this information anywhere in the Dojo Mode, it would be cool to have it on the frame data lesson.

Old Spreadsheet of Manual Cancels information for each character in table mode, so you can get an overview of what’s possible:

Touch Her And She'll Break Yo Face

Spreadsheet of the possible manuals with each character.


You sir, are a star. Great job, thanks for supporting the community


time to study


This is very useful and everyone should take a look.


Good stuff, stickied.


Besides the difference in timing for breaking combos compared to auto doubles, what else do you gain from doing manual cancels? Is it a slight increase in damage as well?


Harder to break is the advantage. I think it has been proven that you cannot do more damage with manuals.

Think of it this way though, they MIGHT (depending on the opponent) lead to more potential damage. Manuals are harder and therefore riskier to break, so mixing up manuals should theoretically lead to more lockouts (big damage) or the opponent not breaking as much (also more damage).

On the other hand baiting into counter breakers with auto doubles or shadow moves is the biggest damage.

tl;dr: There is no such thing as an optimal combo in Killer Instinct. The optimal combo is the one your opponent doesn’t break.


After DevilJin owning me with manuals late Saturday, I was messing around with them some more in training and the timing isn’t very easy on them. I need to try and get them down to muscle memory though. It would be ideal to be able to mix up manuals with auto doubles, but i’m far, far away from being able to do that.

He made them look so easy too :frowning:


Great guide! Thx for the link


Just curious, if a character’s opener or linker is +8 on hit (added the +5 for the cancel), and the normal move you are trying to use as the manual has a startup of 8, is that considered 1 frame link? I got confused by the original post with the explanation of manual cancels saying an opener or linker with +8 on hit manual canceling into a normal with 7 startup is considered a 1 frame link. I thought that was considered a 2 frame link. Is KI’s formula for finding out links using frame data different than SF’s?