"Priority" in Fighting Games


So, I’m a Street Fighter player, and I see the word “Priority” thrown around a lot, which doesn’t actually exist in Street Fighter.

So, I was wondering, is there some sort of “Priority” system in any fighting games out there, or is it just a word used by people who don’t understand the system?


This is a good hitbox guide and it will help you understand what makes some moves beat others: http://www.eventhubs.com/guides/2009/sep/18/guide-understanding-hit-boxes-street-fighter/

The guide applies to all street fighters. Essentially it all has to do with where the move’s hitboxes are and how it changes the character’s hitboxes. Better moves are faster/have good hitboxes or have invincibility frames.


Thanks, but I understood that, the questions was if any fighting games actually have a “priority” system, since I know the SF series just basically has hitboxes.


if you’re talking about like killer instinct priority where certain projectiles trade where others clearly win, then the answer is yes and no. Priority types exists in mvc2. Psylocks hadoken basically goes through fucking everything where as striders dog\bird loses to everything. You don’t really see this in SF though, its really black and white.

I also believe there is the command throw priority that exists in certain SF games. iirc, if 2 people are playing and player 1 does a command grab, player 2 does a regular grab @ the exact same time, I think the command grab has priority over the regular grab and will always win.

what you’re asking is pretty technical and I can only speak for the little bit of knowledge I have. Perhaps a GG or KOF player can post up additional knowledge. In some shape or form, I think GG\kof will also have a type of priority system.

priority in terms of hit boxes is just a way to judge the strength of a move. Like guile’s c.fp in mvc2 has TONS of priority. Meaning it has a great chance of winning in most situations. I can see how thats confusing for a new player though. Its probably a loosely defined word that gets thrown around.


BlazBlue has this a little bit. Moves have different properties assigned to them, such as head, body, foot, and projectile. Some moves then have properties like invulnerablity to attacks with the foot or projectile property. Knowing this, you can then use a foot-invulnerable attack to stuff a predicted low attack, or a projectile-invulnerable attack to go through projectiles, and so on.

Generally though, people just use the term priority to describe moves that have really good or bad hitboxes. It’s easier to say that a move “has priority” over another move than it is to say that “this move’s attack and vulnerability hitboxes are arranged in a manner that allows it to strike the opponent’s vulnerable hitbox while avoiding their attack’s hitbox in this situation.” Everyone knows that priority generally does not exist, but everyone uses the term to quickly and easily describe this situation, or to describe a move that stuffs a lot of other moves as having “high priority.”

Usually any time a game has any sort of dedicated priority system it is only to determine things like grabs vs command grabs, projecile clashes, and other more unusual situations. Move vs move, it’s almost always a matter of hitboxes/invulnerability/superarmor/etc.


Tekken’s high and low crushes are a bit like that as well, where rather than having hitbox invulnerability where a move should miss like something in Street Fighter, a move will flat out always plow through highs or lows. Or both if you’re Lars.


Short answer: no.

Saying something has good priority is just a simple way of saying its got a good hitbox or quick startup.


…booya from MKU?


In SFIV some moves have throw, strike, or fireball invul, so TT always beats throws, and EX TT always beats hits (assuming the throw or hit does not also have throw invul), Also, ground to ground throws always beat normal attacks if they would otherwise trade, and I think air to air throws are the same, although ground to air throws (like soul throw) will however “trade”, so there’s more going on than just hitboxes.

In 3s (and SSFIV AFAIK) you can punch kunai’s out of the air. I think you can do the same to rocks in a3, although I could be wrong. This could be explained by hitboxes, if you assume the kunai and rock have their own green hitboxes, and one hitpoint of their own. This might not be how it’s programmed however.

In general, however, it’s a work thrown around by people who do understand the system (pretty much everyone who posts a decent amount on SRK is going to understand hitboxes), but realize that fussing over details isn’t important. In general, priority is discussed in a particular context, as in, this move has a good hitbox for this purpose. Lots of people will say Rog’s cr fierce has good priority, but you wont see them attempt to use it as a poke or counterpoke, because it’s understood that this is shorthand for “it’s hitbox and speed means it will beat out most jump in attacks”, and since every idiot knows that there’s no such thing as actual priority, then that’s the only possible meaning.


I’m pretty sure most people who use the word know how the system works. But the thing is, it’s much easier to say that move A out-prioritizes move B, rather than describe the frame data and shape of move A’s hitboxes and how it interacts with those of move B.


Ultra > Super > EX > Special > Taunt > Stance change > Focus > Tech > Throw > Command Normal > HK > HP > MK > MP > LK > LP

Or something like that…


You can trade with a throwing weapon, for the record. So yeah, they just have a hitbox and get deflected if hit. Most normals that don’t suck ass have better extension at a reasonable angle.


from what i understand “priority” is a catch-all term that encompasses the strength of a move, it can take into account, start up frames, large/small hitboxes, recovery, safe/unsafe, etc. You could argue that priority is no “one” singular thing but a group of things about a certain move that determine it’s effectivness.

hope this helped.


In Virtua Fighter (At least VF4 Evolution, the only one I know) there is a priority system to avoid most hit trades. If two attacks connect at the same time, the most damaging outprioritizes the other one and is the one that hits. This way, there’s only trades when both attacks do exactly the same damage.


Isn’t this just hitboxes (or absence thereof) but in the ArcSys tradition of making everything sound more complex than it really is


Soul calibur, doesn’t verticals have priority over horizontals?


I think Smash has priority…


From my understanding it goes beyond just the usual hitboxes. In Guilty Gear, most characters have upper body invulnerabilty on their forward+punch, but a deep enough jumping attack with a downward hotbox can still beat it. In BlazBlue, if an anti-air has invulnerabilty to the head attribute and a jumping attack only has the head attribute, the jumping attack could reach all the way down to the grounded character’s feet and still lose.


“Upper body invulnerability” typically just means that only the the lower half of their body has a blue box (the “get hit” or “take a hit” area) as opposed to the whole body (normal state), or none of the body (as with during invincibility frames). I didn’t know GG had anything special going on there; I never imagined it was using straight-up pre-programmed rules/exceptions like how large portions of the duration of SF4 Blanka’s EX horizontal ball and HDR Cammy’s spinning backfist pass unquestioned through fireballs, or like how VF4 handles side-step evasions.

I’ve heard of some very amateur/hobbyist developers making fighting games where attacks resolve themselves using a numbered priority system because it’s easier to code. I wouldn’t know any sort of details on timing or trading or hitboxes or anything, but it sounds to me like it would probably be a decidedly subpar solution.


What this fella said.