SF & KOF XIII Execution Practice Tips Request


I’m coming from mainly a DOA & Soul Calibur background. I’ve been trying to get into SF and KOF but am having an unbelievably hard time getting “link” execution and 1~3 frame cancels down as it is so timing sensitive. In SF, I’ve been trying to learn Ken (that “kara” throw is also a pain to get consistently) and in KOF I’ve mainly been working on getting Leona, Kyo and Elizabeth

A bunch of my friends keep saying that " It isn’t that hard" and can do combos very consistently. The one thing that they keep pointing to is practicing, which I do very regularly (I spend about 1 hour in the morning doing training mode right now for SF before I head off to class and probably 2-3 hours per day in the morning during the weekend days) but have yet to see any real progress about 1 month in after this practice regiment. Is the muscle memory developed for these games really something you can develop in months or is all the experience from playing SF & KOF games from the beginning necessary to “play” the game beyond the bare basics? All my friends were huge SF2, Alpha and SF3 players so I think they underestimate how much that previous experience helps them with execution.

It’s really REALLY frustrating to spend time in the lab and not see any results, especially when I can spend time in the lab with other games and see tangible progress. I’ve pretty much memorized the SRK Execution guide and have tried every training tip I can come across to no avail. I know some people have started SF4 as their first FG and probably have made much more progress than I have.

Is there anything that you guys do that helps that could possibly help me or should I just accept that the entry barrier to these games is just way too high for someone who has the innate dexterity abilities I have? For reference, I was able to pick up MvC3 pretty easily (even though I still stink comparatively) mainly because of the chain combo system and cancel combos. Some people recommended I try either MK or Blazblue as they are more cancel and chain heavy.

Cheers & thank you for the help in advance as it is greatly appreciated!

Training mode some more lol? Pick one game and stick with it, better off being good at one then bad at both.

Do you use a stick or a pad? On one of my TE sticks I find it harder to plink and perform kara’s because the button sensitivity isn’t that great any more. Maybe try out another stick/pad?

As for the everything else, it just takes lots and lots of practice. There is no easy way around that. When it comes to stuff like links, noone really counts or tries to judge the timing manually (unless the combo requires you to do so). They just try to learn the rhythm and then try to get that into their muscle memory. It is kinda essential to learn how to plink though, and that incidentally is the same sort of input as Ken’s kara throw. So maybe start by testing out other controllers, and/or try out other techniques of doing the move.

To keep yourself motivated in the meantime, try learning some of the easier combos. Like cr.lp xx cr.lp xx st.lp, cr.mk xx ex tatsu. Or cr.lp xx cr.lp, cr.mk xx fireball. Don’t let the problems presented by a single obstacle get in the way of progress elsewhere. The same applies to KOF, or any other game for that matter.

I’m comfortable with both, as I used pad for DOA (back in PS2) days and SCIV (PS3) and currently use stick for MvC3. I just got a new TE stick as my old one was pretty worn down after a 4 years of use. I sometimes switched to Stick for SCIV as my thumbs would get blisters after a while. I don’t think it is the stick as some of my friends who have used it while out at tourneys say it works great.

I’m motivated and don’t intend on stopping but usually execution is that barrier that keeps me from progressing. The easier combos are the ones that I just haven’t been able to hit frequently enough to consider them match reliable. I think you’re right and I should probably just work on getting one or two easy combos and the “kara-throw” down before anything.

I just don’t want to invest time in a futile endeavor as it seems like the people who get good at SF are the people who were good from the beginning with other SF games. Kind of reinforces the old stereotype that if you didn’t grow up playing SF, it’s near impossible to get good at it later.

Thanks for the advice!

Keep an eye on your inputs. Usually that’s the key to figuring out where your execution problems lie. Many people tend to ride the gate with their stick and don’t put clean inputs into their motions. I would say stick to basic bnb combos and ignore trying to do advanced links for now. After you gain some more experience with your stick, you might be able to perform complex motions and 1f links at a later date, but for the sake of maintaining your confidence and willingness to play the game, just do the regular stuff. There’s nothing else to do other than sheer practice. Your friends have had a HUGE advantage by playing some of the older games, while you just barely started to get into fighting games. There is a significant learning curve in this genre compared to other genres, and it’s something that you’re going to have to work at in order to improve.

Also consider using a character that is not so combo heavy. Not everyone can be execution gods, some become top players through sheer knowledge of the game, good reactions, and focus on fundamental gameplay. Instead of worrying about your combos, worry about learning the basics of SF: spacing, anti-airs, developing good reactions, learning the matchup, understanding the game’s engine, dealing with the fireball game, etc etc.

Trust me I know what you’re going through regarding execution and believe me when I tell you that you CAN over come this. SF4 was my first serious FG and first game I ever used a stick for and at times I felt like giving up.

First I couldn’t get fireballs down consistently, then I could.
Then I couldn’t get dragon punches down consistently, then I could.
Then I couldn’t nail simple bnb’s, then I could.
Then I couldn’t FADC to save my life, then… well you get the picture.

Sometimes you dont see the results really quickly but that doesn’t mean you aren’t making progress.
Tips that helped me:
1)When you mess up a combo always, always, ALWAYS check the input display! I cant stress this enough as most people make the mistake of ‘thinking’ they’re doing something right or think they know where they went wrong when they could easily check the input display. This will tell you exactly where you’re going wrong and need to adjust. I used get ex-dp a lot when trying to do Ryu’s Ultra1 when I realised I werent ending my motions in the forward position - despite being ‘sure’ I was doing it right. To counter this I made sure to sort of exaggerate the last forward input of the motion which resulted in me hitting the ultra.
2)Chill out to some music when drilling down stuff in training mode and the time will melt away whilst providing enough motivation to continue. Sometimes I’ll say to myself: let me keep practicing this combo to the end of this track, or album etc. Works for me.


Thanks for the ideas guys! Yeah, it generally helps me when I listen to music when I practice my Marvel so I’ll start doing that for other games as well!

Generally, my motions are clean as I won’t even consider my combos in Marvel complete unless my inputs are clean (this means even if I hit the combo) but it boils down more to the timing of stuff (for example, getting links) but I’ll keep at it. FADC’s are the bain of my existence…

Are there any characters you guys recommend starting out with?

That depends entirely on what your strengths/weaknesses as a player are, and what play style you enjoy using in a fighting game. I suggest trying out every character on the roster for at least a few games, to you can gauge how these characters feel, how their normals should be used, their damage potential, etc etc. And then from there, narrow down what characters you wouldn’t mind learning how to play at a high level.