Pokes (when and why)

Ok, I know my character’s pokes, the big question I have now is when are you supposed to use pokes, and what do you use them for.
Are they just for small amounts of damage or are you supposed to combo with them, or is it for spacing (or measuring or something). Most of my pokes seem to get punished with DPs and focus attacks and whatnot. So the whole safe damage thing is out.
I dunno, just some basic guidelines would be helpful

get out of my dreamssssssssss, and into my carrrrrrrrrrr

What’s your character? No offense, but it should be a requirement in this forum to always start off with what your character is. So many questions can’t get answered, because of this.

For example, if you main Bison, your pokes are st. mk and st. hk which are used as a zoning tool, a pressure tool, a punish, frame traps, and footsies. Notice you can’t combo off of it or cancel it. Now if you main Ryu, your main poke is cr. mk which is used mainly for footsies, but you can also combo off of it (into a fireball) or you can hitconfirm into Ultra (cr.mk -> Ex hadouken -> Ultra).

As to why you use pokes- depends on character. If you have good footsies and spacing, you can lock other players down and make them not want to hit a button because you keep counterhitting them. At high levels, you have to poke a lot because footsies are the only reliable, safe way to get damage.

If you get punished, you have to be more careful. Again, this goes into what character you have. Bison has no way to punish focus without charge so walking forward, you have to be careful of focus attacks. This is where you dash in throw or do something that whiffs so you can punish their focus. Other characters have easy armor breakers (tiger knee) or two hitting normals (forward mp or forward hp for Ryu).

How the hell do you keep getting punished by Donkey Kong? We playin smash now?

This is the result of all the people who offer up the blanket open ended statement of “learn your pokes” to new players.

http://sonichurricane.com/?page_id=1702 these articles should give you the idea on “learning your pokes”.

I play bison and I’ve been having a hard time dealing with people focusing my pokes or just outright keeping them out with my pokes

What characters in particular? Sometimes you have to be not so predictable with your pokes. Other times you want to dash in throw. Still others you want to have charge ready (although be careful about distance, as most of Bison’s moves are too slow to punish somebody who plans to backdash if they’re not really close).

Well they’re 3rd strike players so they’re focusing as a reaction to my pokes so I doubt I’ll catch them charging a focus attack but it was happening against Ibuki and Ryu.

I don’t use focus very much and I was forced to start using it while fighting them so it was difficult to deal with the better players and having to play with a new mechanic I’m not comfortable with. The hardest part about matching their game is balrog and bison have such short focus attacks so retaliating with the same tactic was a task.

Obviously focus isnt really a poke but that was part of my problem with poking.

Pokes are moves that you can throw out to test the defense of your opponent. Good pokes always consist of moves that usually fast and with good priority, and is usually safe (when you want to use them.)

Pokes are usually normals but they don’t have to be. For instance, Ryu’s fireball. Most people consider his fireball to be a zoning tool. That’s mostly correct. However, if you watch higher level play, a Fireball throw somewhat close to an opponent can be a great poke. Fireballs have an enourmous hit box. and when close to an opponet, it’s hard to react and jump over (and usually get hit if they try it.) And if it’s blocked it almost always safe.

Of course Ryu’s Medium kick is godly anyways, but that’s besides the point. Some characters look for the small opening in your defense, because their pokes lead to ridiculously large amounts of damage. This is rare, but in Third Strike, this is one of the many reasons why Chun-Li is amazing.

Chun-Li’s pokes are amazing. They beat almost everything, and if you take one, Chun-Li gets a free super if she has the meter. This tactic is so strong that whiffing an attack in front of chun with meter is death.

It’s always good to know what your pokes are, because everyone needs a move that they can throw out there relatively safely to try and get a reaction. Back to fireballs. Projectiles are essentially long range pokes. You throw a fireball, you don’t care about the fireball doing damage per se. But they are enough of a threat that you can’t keep taking them. The real power of a fireball is forcing your opponent to react to them.

Pokes can be used as great pressure tools. Bison has great pokes in SF4. his crouching short is good, and can be canceled into lk knee press for amazing pressure. Then he can use standing roundhouse if you try to jump out of said pressure.

If they’re reacting to your poke (unless it’s slide or something stupidly slow), then it’s unlikely that they’ll hit you with anything less than a lvl 1 FA and if they dash in, then they’re at frame disadvantage. Otherwise they’re just pre-emptively focus attacking hoping your poke will come out. That’s if I read what you’re saying correctly. The only times lvl 1 focus crumples is on counterhit.