(re)Improving in SSFIV: Basic questions from a once again noob


So, sometime between Vanilla MvC3 and Ultimate, I stopped playing SSFIV and my reactions and skill went to shit. In all honesty I forget how to react properly in AE2012 now. I was wondeirng if you guys had tips on improving reactions and specific aspects in SSFIV. I know of the basic go into training mode have a dummy jump around and do stuff or playing people online and off. I do that. I’m wondering if there’s any specific tips like, “Have your hands in a certain position when blocking” etc etc.(i use stick)

To be specific my issues right now involve properly blocking continuous crossups, FADC in a defensive way (SRK FADC for example) and reaction on jump ins so I can anti-air properly. I watched some of my replays and these seem to be the 3 issues that are screwing me up big time.

Another issue I may have (unrelated to my execution and skill level) is I don’t have a real main, I kind of spread myself too thin. I play with Hakan, T.Hawk, Gouken, Seth, and Rose. I probably play Hakan and Seth the most. Should i force myself to stick with one or is it possible to grind out playing hard with 5 characters. I don’t mind taking time to practice but i just don’t know WHAT specifically to do. Any help would be greatly appreciated! Thanks.


There’s no real definitive way to train reactions, but what you can do is train your muscle memory to respond to certain attacks. Reactions is something you develop over time, with real match experience, and is not going to be an overnight process. Set your training dummy to walk back and forth, throwing out pokes, and jumping it at random times with different attacks. Try to pretend as if you’re playing a real match, so play footsies with the dummy, and once you see the jump-in, do an anti-air. The anti-air doesn’t necessarily have to be a DP, it can also be a normal move such as a cr.hp (Ryu) or a cr.mk (Abel), anything that can prevent your opponent from jumping on you for free. As far as hand positions go, they should be in whatever position you feel comfortable with holding the stick. While it is easier doing inputs starting from a neutral position, you will not get this luxury very often in a match. Practice doing your anti-airs from a standing or crouch blocking position, since that’s where you’ll be most of the time.

The same training dummy, with the random jump in attacks and walkign back and forth motions, can be used to train continuous cross-ups. A good training dummy would be Ken, since he has an excellent cross-up (mk). Try to get a feel for what the spacing looks like when Ken jumps in. Defensive SRKs can be practiced in training mode by yourself. If you can do it ten times in a row, in training mode, then you should start a basic exercise with your training dummy. Set the dummy to trip you, and then jump in with an attack on wake-up. Try to do a reversal DP, FADC, backdash. After that you can set the dummy to do 3 crouching light attacks, walk up throw. This helps teach you how to do it from a defensive crouch position when you’re being put in an opponent’s attack string. All the problems you have can be worked out in the training room.

Try to focus on one or two characters. If you invest some major time in a select group of characters, you’ll quickly see improvement. If you play several different characters, it’s difficult to get a feel for how specific matchups should be played out. Familiarity with your character, and matchup knowledge, take time to develop and start gaining the wins, and it’s difficult to do that if you’re constantly switching characters.

Once you can do these things in training mode, consistently and without error, you’re ready to try it out in real matches. You’re never going to learn something completely until you’re able to pull it off in a match. It’s easy to practice motions or setups in training mode, where there’s zero pressure and you’re in complete control of the situation. However in a real match, you never know what the opponent is going to do, but the very least you can do is prepare for their options and setups by working it out in practice, so that you’re ready.

Think of it like doing drills for a sport. It’s repetitive and tedious, but it help develop your fundamental skills.


I generally do those “drills” online, while I’m playing. Every few games or so, you set yourself a target (I play Rose, for reference) “I will not allow any jump-in to go unpunished” or “I will whiff punish all jaguar kicks with st.HK” or “I will max damage punish all ducked hurricane kicks” or “I will get the life lead, and then block EVERYTHING”.

You might lose the match or round because of this, but you get to train your reactions “in the heat of battle”, which IMO is better than training mode for things like training your anti-air reactions, or blocking crossups.


Great advice guys. I will definitely take it to heart in the lab. I’m still having trouble narrowing down which characters I like the most. I’m leaning more towards grapplers because for some reason my execution with standing 360s/720s is much better than my 1 frame links. Need to do more thinking. If anyone else had more advice i’m open to it! Thanks again.


Definitely try and focus on one character for a while; a significant part of succeeding with a character depends on having intimate knowledge of that character’s hitboxes, frame data, move properties, and so forth. If you’re bouncing around between half a dozen characters, your knowledge about each one will be pretty shallow.

While the execution demands of a character are worth considering at some level, those are ultimately something that you can overcome through practice. Before anything else, I think you’ll find the most success (and enjoyment) if you can identify your natural playstyle tendencies, and then pick a character that complements that playstyle. As an example, a long time back I made the realization that I tended to play pretty defensively – even with characters that aren’t really designed for that. Consequently, when I tried my first zoning-based projectile character (and later, grapplers), it felt natural, and I was able to play to my strengths more effectively.


So I was thinking Rose and Hakan as my 2 mains because even though I play Rose less, I win with her more for some reason. Is it necessary to memorize her 1 frame links at all or is it ok to just do basic stuff with her. For example I’m not so good with connecting her tighter links with the lp into lk into mp into spiral type combos. I know her game relies either on zoning or footsies with her normals.


Nothing is “necessary”, but you will hit a wall if you can’t.

I main Rose, I can’t hit the 1 frame links consistently, and I’m stuck around 1600PP because I can’t get max damage punish off a connected cr.LK or cl.MK. That’s just how it is. The good news is that a lot of what makes her good is still there. You could probably get to 1000PP just abusing c.MP and HK spiral.

IMHO (and this is very guestimatey)

Low fierce most jump-ins
Pressure with c.MP, spiral, slide
Whiff punish with s.HK
Tick throw with meaty cl.MK
Stop throwing unsafe sparks

---- 1000PP -----

Hitconfirm c.MP, spiral into super
Know the ranges at which you can use s.MK, cl.MK to punish lows and play footsies.
Learn safejump setups off back throw
Punish crouch tech OS with cl.MK
Get good enough at reading your opponent, start using fw.HK to catch people trying to jump over your s.HK, c.MP pokes.
Learn ambiguous crossup ranges for jump MK
Learn U2 setups off knockdown, grab range for grabbing people when U2 is active
"psychic U1/super" off blocked spiral

-------- 1500PP -------

Start learning the OSes off your safejumps (OS U1 to punish backdash/DP, ex.Spiral to punish backdash)
Learn safejump setups off Soul Throw, sweep, unteched spirals.
Learn hitconfirm c.LP c.LK c.MP ex.spiral
matchup specific uses of c.MK to go under stuff

After that, you have all the tools, you just need matchup experience / outplay your opponent. If you want to go to EVO with Rose… ask someone else. :wink:


Rose has better zoning tools than Hakan does. With Hakan you really have to learn how his normal moves operate, both oiled and un-oiled, and can be difficult to use since his playstyle is so linear.

While you can add to your damage potential by learning her 1 frame links, if you can’t do them for now, stick to her bread-n-butter. It’s far more important that you learn to utilize her normals to control space, anti-air jump ins, and play the footsies game. Rose is VERY good at the footsies game, especially with her cr.mp and LK drill. Once you learn how to play her properly, then you might want to think about learning her 1 frame links. Since by then you’ll have learned how to create opportunities to do damage, your win rate will instantly improve if you tack on higher damaging combos.


Yeah with Hakan i’m learning how to work with him oiled and unoiled however my terrible defense doesn’t help that situation much considering how ass his wakeup game is. With Rose’s normals I have a pretty good idea of what works from what distance although I def need work with her spacing on the drill. I can do LK ok with 75% success maybe but I will keep trudging with it. I guess I can go into the Rose and Hakan forums for more info.


I would highly suggest not playing hakan if you ever plan on winning vs someone good at the game. Unoiled he is by far the worse char in the game. Hes the hardest chat to play and you need very strong defense to play him. If you love him play him but it’s not an easy road especially someone who’s not execution heavy.


Yeah I fully expect to lose often and to put in hard work to learn him. I figure playing him would help me up my defense in the long run so I can adapt that type of strategy with Rose or whoever else I use.


There’s no reason why you can’t learn to be defensive with Rose. She doesn’t really have a strong defensive move, so it requires you to be pro-active in preventing the opponent to get close to you in the first place, unless its on your terms. Once you get put under an attack string, your only move is to backdash or focus-dash.


This mindset is my favorite thing about playing Hakan.

If you like him, stick with him. He is (IMHO) secret top-tier wet or dry.


Go you low tier warrior you.


Oh of course I can learn to be defensive with Rose. But I feel I’d learn to be better defensively overall with Hakan too mainly because, lets face it, his defensive options are garbage for the most part. ESPECIALLY unoiled. For example, I’m practicing using Rose with her c.hp which is a fantastic anti air. Hakan on the other hand doesn’t have much in the way of anti airs that are reliable dry. So with him i simply need to learn to block which in turn can hopefully help me block with rose too when the c.HP option isn’t there.


Erm…this is not true. Wet, Hakan has THE BEST defense hands-down, with the ability to parry. Dry, he has still has a 2-frame air throw, st.:hp:, :f:+:lp:, :lk: super, CC…he is a very strong character defensively. I’ve heard it said that he has so many defensive options that, when playing correctly, you won’t often wind up blocking (a slight exaggeration, but still).


This can’t be true…his st. fierce is very situational from my experience…and his super is as well. Maybe I’m just inexperienced but from what I’ve played Hakan gets wrecked by rushdown.


Don’t be so quick to dismiss Hakan, people used to say the same stuff about Viper, and I know about a high level player switching from Balrog to Hakan


st.:hp: is no harder to learn the timing for than any other anti-air. :lk: super has strike invincibility, but it does take some timing to get the hang of (I still whiff it more often than I’d like to). Either way, the point remains that he has a LOT of defensive options. No, he’s not an easy character to play, but he’s immensely powerful if you take the time to learn that of which he is capable. Go post a thread in the Hakan sub-forum and ask how Hakan deals with rushdown. I betcha no one is going to say he gets wrecked by it 100% of the time (yeah, he has touch matchups like Bison, but he can handle rushdown). :wink:


OMG bison makes me cry when I’m hakan…I cry oil. What I do love is how his super has 3 different properties to it. L having strike invincibility, M throw invincibility, and H having projectile invincibility. Some people still have no idea how it works so i like to throw them off with it considering Hakan builds meter like mad