Can anyone explain the general idea of it for example, In the following Sakura combo you are supposed to plink the cr.hp to link it easier> What does that mean? What inputs should I be using?



l. tatsu -> down hpmplp -> ex. tatsu. You have to “piano” the inputs, press them in the order I listed so fast it’s almost simultaneous. Eventhubs has a really good guide on plinking, I recommend you check that out.


A brief primer on what plinking means. P-linking, priority linking.

Thing to know #1:
When you hit :mp:+:hp: by itself (no stick movements) the stronger button will come out, in this case, a :hp:

Thing to know #2:
Pushing a button takes 1 frame. Releasing the same button takes 1 frame. This means that the fastest you can put in the same :hp: input, is once every other frame.
1st Frame: :hp: pressed, :hp: triggered
2nd Frame: :hp: released, nothing triggered
3rd Frame: :hp: pressed, :hp: triggered

How to plink:
To plink you hit the button you WANT to come out (in this case Sakura’s :hp:), and then you hit the button in lower priority, the button to it’s left (yes this does mean you cannot plink lp or lk). You have to hit these two buttons in such a short time apart from each other it really does feel like you’re pushing both at the same time.
This is notated as :hp:~:mp:, the ~ means you will be hitting both, but really only getting the :hp:

How does this work?
SF4 likes to help players out, it will turn near half circles into half circles, it will let you put in super jumps while buffering another move - lots of little “shortcuts”. A side effect of this is when you put in :hp:~:mp:, two buttons so close to each other, the game goes through this process:

Frame 1: Game sees you hit :hp:, I guess trigger the :hp:
Frame 2: (this is when you hit :mp:) Now the game thinks you really meant to press :hp:+:mp:, because who hits 2 buttons one frame apart on purpose? The game then produces a :mp::hp: command, which if we look back at Thing to Know #1, the :hp: will come out because it’s the bigger button.

If you’re in training mode you will know this works because you will see:
It will see the hp first (so it’s at the bottom of the list, new commands come from the top in Training mode), then it will see the :mp::hp:, which really is just a :hp: unless you were trying for an ex Hadouken or something.

What does this all mean?
With this knowledge you are able to put in the same button, in two frames back to back. If you remember from Thing to Know #2, you know this isn’t something normally allowed by the game engine - plinking is the only way to input the SAME button two frames in a row.

There are combos that give you only ONE frame in order to time them correctly, and with p-linking you can turn this into 2 chances. If you hit the plink on the link (sounds funny but keep up), then it will hit the button you’re looking for twice back to back, which gives you slightly more room to get harder combos off.

Your Sakura Example:

In this case you would do:
cl.:hp: xx l.Tatsu, cr.:hp:~cr.:mp: xx ex.tatsu, Otoshi

Any time you have a link, you can p-link, even super easy combos can be plinked without any issues ever coming up - it’s just a different way of making sure you hit your links. Just note: you cannot plink :lp: or :lk:, if a combo requires you to get a link with those (as many Sakura combos do), then you just have to man up and learn the 1-frame link*.

I didn’t want to read all this:
Sorry, plinking is pretty simple but to understand why it’s simple you need to understand a bit of the engine first. If you still don’t “get it”, don’t feel bad - just watch videos until you finally do, it’s not a hard concept, just not a very straight forward one either.

Resources on Plinking:

This is Vesper Arcade’s tutorial, he does a great job of listing everything I just wrote out.

Boring video but gives you a good shot of the fingers in action - as you can see it’s pushing both buttons nearly at the same time - it’s kind of a hard thing to get consistently at first, and not something a pad player will be relying on, or really using in anything but edge cases.

  • There are really dirty tricks you can do by plinking with select/start buttons - but that’s really more for technical jokes - nobody ACTUALLY does this.


Thanks for the indepth explanation it helped alot now all I gotta do is practice, practice, practice.


Yeah, p-linking is one of those things you learn how to do once, and you can just use it forever, it’s not something that is set-up specific, if you’re comfortable with plinking then any combo with a link can become easier. And as a bonus if you “mess up” plinking and hit both the buttons at the same time - the stronger button (the one you wanted) comes out and nothing is messed up, it really is fool proof.


Thank you GordonsBeard. I was having trouble hitting links (its something im really bad at, apart from the whole game) so hopefully this should help me hit more combo’s.



Nope you still won’t be able to.


NOTE: you can plink light kicks with light punch, but only crouching light kicks! If you do it standing a throw will come out!

if you set taunts to none in char select you can even plink ultras!
Just do the ultra motion and press HP+MP+LP and plink it with HK. Should work with Kick button ultras too, if you plink them with HP