SF4 Game Mechanics: Frame Traps



Youtube Video - Frame Traps 1: Crouch-tech
Youtube Video - Frame Traps 2: Exhibition
Youtube Video - Frame Traps 3: Applications

A frame trap is Almost the opposite of a blockstring. A frame trap introduces a punishable gap in a string of attacks that can beat mashing and O/S crouch-teching. From a mind game perspective, frame traps can entice the opponent to attempt to press button and can produce a counterhit (for big damage). Frame traps can come in the form of strings of normals, special cancels, invincible frame traps, and tick throws.

What beats what:

Frame traps > Mash
Normal frame traps > O/S crouch tech
Invincible frame traps > Mash & crouch tech

Block > Frame traps
Block > Invincible frame traps
Backdash > Some frame traps

In general, frame traps seem pretty innocuous, meaning that you just see a player pressing buttons and the other blocking and/or being counter-hit. At first glance, you’ll probably think to yourself, he should just block and stop pressing buttons and he wouldn’t have to worry about it (Cammy for example). And the truth is that Street Fighter is, at its base, an RPS (Rock Paper Scissors) game; very defensive behavior such as continuous blocking opens up an opportunity for your opponent to take advantage and attempt, say, a throw. So people press buttons because they’re afraid of being thrown, or they figure that their opponent’s possible damage output from a throw is much greater than being counter hit while trying to press buttons.

In SF4 frame traps exist BECAUSE of the defensive O/S crouch-tech. True, your opponent may be mashing buttons etc, but frame-trapping normals is an art in itself; but frame trapping crouch-techs is extremely easy. To explain crouch-techs, throws need to be understood in their entirety:

The throw is by far, the universal equalizer between all characters. The frame data for a throw is as follows:
Startup [3f] - Active [2f] - Recovery [20f]

Tech Windows:
stand-tech: anytime within a 14f window
(regardless of who initiates the first stand-tech)
crouch-tech: once within a 7f window
(dictated by when the opponent initiates the stand-tech)

Although normal throws have varying ranges between characters, it’s frame data is static. Throws can be broken by stand-teching or crouch-teching. A throw can only be initiated from frames 4-5 and if not in range of a grab box, it will go through it’s recovery/whiff animation. Crouch-tech works by crouching and pressing cr.lk and cr.lp. Crouch-teching allows teching of throws on the first startup frame, and no others, while stand-teching can tech throws any time during the stand-tech window between frame 3 and 10. This means two things: stand-techs have a much longer window to tech throws whether doing it defensively or offensively, while crouch-techs have an incredibly shorter window, and if they whiff they can have less than 20f of recovery.

In general, it means that a crouch-tech is easy frame-trap bait because for it to be successful, an opponent has to gauge when you’re going to go for a normal throw (stand-tech), and press those buttons during the tech window i.e. delayed, making it susceptible to most frame traps. Crouch-techs are preferable to jumping against normal throws since they recover from the whiffed throw earlier than you recover from your jump and may be able to punish.

Crouch-tech/Frame trap Practice

[details=Spoiler]To practice a crouch-tech, record Balrog walking forward, cr.lp, and then throwing. Notice that if you stand-tech, you can press the buttons at varying times and still get a tech. Try to crouch-tech, you’ll notice that the window is specific and that if you want to avoid the throw, you have to press the buttons within this window.

Now Record Balrog, walking up with cr.lp, then cr.hk. Try to stand-tech, and then try to crouch-tech. You’ll notice that you can attempt a stand-tech at different times which will allow you to block the cr.hk, while if you crouch-tech you will always be counter hit unless you go for a very late crouch-tech.[/details]

At this point, this is all you really need to know to understand how frame traps work, and get an idea of how to punish them. The rest of the article is really granular as far as what it teaches, but is in no way necessary to understand frame traps. You CAN stop reading (I warned you).

Type of Frame Traps:

Normal Frame Traps

String (BLOCK) > Gap > Cancel > Block > Hit > CH – ?

cr.lp, cr.mp > 3f > sp > -2 > +1 > +4
st.lp, cr.mp > 2f > sp > -2 > +1 > +4
cr.lp, cr.hk > 4f > su > -6 > UKD > +3,-
cr.lp, st.hk > 4f > su > -4 > 0 > +3,-
cr.lp, cl.hk > 3f > su > +3 > +7 > +10 – !
st.lp, st.hp > 5f > - > -7 > -3 > 0
st.lp, st.mk > 5f > su > -1 > +2 > +5
cl.hk, cr.mp > 4f > su,sp > -2 > +1 > +4
st.lp, cr.mk > 3f > su > +4 > +7 > +10 – !
cr.mk, cr.mp > 3f > sp > -2 > +1 > + 4
cr.lp, cl.mp > 2f > su > -4 > +1 > +4
cr.lp, cl.mp > 2f > su,sp > -4 > +4 > +7 – !
cr.mp, cl.hp > 7f > su > -3 > +2 > +5
cr.mp, st.hp > 11f > -

String (HIT) > Gap > Cancel > Block > Hit > CH

st.lp, cr.mk > 0f > su > +4 > +7 > +10
st.lp, st.hp > 1f > - > -7 > -3 > 0

! Best for CH setups b/c of godly frame advantage on counterhit

Normal Frame traps can occur on hit and block. Frame traps on block are better in the sense that they always happen, while frame traps on hit can throw away good combo opportunity. There are situations where the combo can’t be continued and a frame-trap is a decent way to possibly net some damage and keep the ground-game at neutral (e.g. max distance st.lp to st.hp).

The best attacks to start a frame trap with are cr.lp and st.lp; the safest to end with are st.mk, cr.mp and st.hk because they’re generally unpunishable by the cast. The best attacks to counterhit with are cl.hk and cr.mk because they offer the most frame advantage on CH (+10).

Most frame traps are pretty set in terms of what they can and can’t punish, but good range normals at max distance can cleanly beat or trade with attacks in a way that’s not supported by frame data. The animation of every attack, especially those with range, go active before they’re at max distance. So, there are ranges where you can counter poke the attack before it can come into contact with your attack’s hurtbox.

*Low profiles

Frame traps can be performed with normals that low profile. These have their own pros and cons: pros being that they can avoid certain moves like Balrog’s rush upper and dash straight, cons being that they generally startup slower and are susceptible to faster attacks to beat frame traps.

Low Profile Examples

[details=Spoiler]Fei Long: Chicken Wing
This special can be low profiled with ANY of Balrog’s crouching normals. Because hk.chicken wing is not strike invincible and only throw invincible, there’s less reason for Fei to attempt it. But, if he thinks you will throw he might use it. Applications can look like the following: [media=youtube]vC71I7WsPvU[/media]

Ken: f+mk, cr.mk
This is a well known O/S started. f+mk on block leaves ken at -2, and cr.mk is 4f. The pushback on f+mk is enough to where cr.mk is almost at max distance. cr.mk low profiles so it will beat non-ex headbutt and low profile ex.hb so forth and so on. Examples are here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=ajvoh5pcPbY#t=332s

*for early crouch-techs

Early crouch-techs are used when the frame trap normal is very positive (e.g. cr.lp, walk up throw). When you want to frame trap an early crouch-tech, you need a smaller frame gap of about 1-2f. The majority of crouch-tech situations use late techs which also allows for O/S Blocking. Early techs can usually be blown up with cr.lp or st.lp because they are so fast. A good example is this: cr.mp xx mk/hk.ru (on hit), cr.lp. mk/hk.ru is +1 on hit and cr/st.lp has a 3/4f startup leaving a 2-3f gap.

*for late crouch-techs and stand-techs

Late crouch-techs are used when the frame trap normal is negative (e.g. TAP, throw). When you want to frame trap a late crouch-tech, you need a longer frame gap and/or more distance to counter-poke the normal. This can also be used to frame trap stand-techs as well. A well known frame trap for stand-techs is walk back, cr.mp xx lp.ds/ex.ru. or…TAP, headbutt. The frame gap for headbutt is pretty ridiculous; it’s about 10f for lp.hb and 14f for hp/ex.hb. Non-ex.hb will lose to attacks that hit low, and ex.hb will whiff against attacks that low profile. You can also use armored specials to beat the normal that comes out with the crouch-techs but this loses to stand-teching. You can force this situation by using a normal that’s even on block (e.g. cr.lk).

*Long Range/max distance traps

You can also frame trap using normals with significant pushback. When a normal has significant pushback (At least out of throw range), you can use a normal with a decent amount of reach. Balrog’s normals and specials that push him out of range are cr.hk, st.hp, and dash low (ex.dash low is the only one that matters). When these starters are used, the only way the frame trap will connect is if they push a button. If they don’t, generally they whiff. This type of technique is an off shoot of whiff punishing, just not on reaction.

Proof of concept example


If Balrog does cr.hk, and then st.hk, cr.hk, or cr.mp xx lp.ds, he can catch certain long range normals. Record Balrog, doing cr.hk, st.hk. Then as Balrog, block the cr.hk, then attempt to use cr.mp, the st.hk will hit the cr.mp during its recover (but not trade nor counterhit). Replace st.hk with cr.mk to combat shoto crouching forward, cr.mp has a bad hurt box at his feet and is beat out by cr.mk’s like Ken’s, but Balrog’s cr.mk beats it clean. Very useful to setup an O/S Super

Special Frame traps

Special String > Gap* > Cancel > Block/Hit/CH

cr.lp, cr.lp xx lk.smash > > su > -5/-/-
cr.lp, cr.lp xx ex.smash > > - > -1/-/-
cr.lp xx ex.oh > >
cr.lp xx hp.oh > >
TAP, cr.lp > 5f >
TAP, throw > 5f >
TAP, hp/ex.hb (invinc) > 14f >
lvl 1 FA**, cr.lp > 1f >
lvl 2 FA**, cr.mp > 5f >
lvl 2 FA**, cl.hk > 5f >

*gaps started at single jab distance (e.g. j.hk, cr.lp, cr.lp xx lk.smash)
**lvl1 FA: -2f, lvl2 FA: +4 on block

Special frame traps have their own pros and cons, mostly that boxer’s lose to grabs in general, whether reversal or reaction, especially ex.dashes which lose to normal throws. Frame traps with specials other than TAP and headbutt are difficult because the distance from the opponent determines the startup, and aside from deep jump-in combos on hit its hard to determine the special startup.


Armored traps are easily hit and miss, but can be really useful in matchups like Balrog and Shotos (non-armor breaking dash punches for Balrog and DPs for shotos). lvl1 and lvl2 FAs have frame advantage on hit and block after dashing cancelling. Boxer’s lvl 1 is -2, similar to TAP, but with a much closer range while lvl 2 is like the frame advantage after ex.ru with much closer range, but no back-charge. Balrog’s FA is really bad in terms of its hitbox and its range, but at close range he can FA, peg the op in place with proximity blocking, connect, dash in, then go into a jab blockstring with the added ability to crumple stun and hit confirm. This is also balrog’s kryptonite in matchups like Chun who is positive after dashing in after a lvl1 FA.

Also, RopeDrink found a tool that can be applied to frame traps with FA’s. If you land a CH lvl1 FA or a lvl3 FA, you can buffer in your dash and get enough back-charge to land a dash punch or Ultra/Super against a grounded opponent. (Link)

Ex dashes are mostly safe on block (usually <= -3f) and will offer you the ability to armor cancel if they press a button, as well as absorb a single hit. They lose to armor breakers (moves that can hit twice before it goes active) and throws. Armor traps can also beat some non-ex.dps. For example if Ken does a reveral dp after TAP, you can ex.dash absorb a hit and knock him out of his DP. This goes double for DPs that have 5f startup and only hit once. Beware that reversal specials break armor, but you have the options of baiting and blocking. And along with the focus-tech backdash, there’s less to be worried about.

In addition, Balrog can create armored frame traps by canceling laggy normals into focus attacks, charging briefly and dashing. For example if Balrog sweep is blocked and the opponent attempts to punish with a normal or they see you FADC and attempt to crouch-tech, you can absorb the hit, dash forward and grab, or release for crumple stun which will hit SOME crouching opponents.


An issue that Balrog may come up against are invincible frame traps (he has them as well, but they’re significantly more unsafe). For example if Rufus or Ryu reads you and thinks/notices that you mash throw/crouch-tech during block string he can setup a 2-4f trap with ex.dp/ex.mk and FADC backdash if you block. Invincible frame traps are different in terms of Balrog because his only offensive option is to ex.hb which can’t be made safe. For example, if Ryu frame traps with dp, his non-ex dp can be beat with a reversal ex.dash (if its not a reversal), but his ex.dp cannot. Balrog’s only offensive option is to ex.hb, which will pass through Ryu and allow Balrog to follow-up with any ground combo in range. *Especially in AE, where his grounded recovery for headbutt on whiff has been increased. In Super, if the opp does ex.dp and Balrog does ex.hb, he’d land and recover first, but in AE, he may either be even with recovery, or worse. * With Ryu specifically, DP xx FADC backdash has about an 8-frame gap with about 2-3 character spaces. In the corner, this is probably in range for normals, but mid-screen, its only in range for U1 and Super.

Also Ken’s CH hp.dp causes free juggle, so he can land full animation U1. Keep this in mind when he has meter.

TAP Shenanigans

After a blocked TAP you’re at a frame disadvantage, but few opponents have moves that can attack you before you recover. You can condition an opponent to always attempt to guess after a TAP if they’re not reaction punishing like they should. They have the frame advantage, but at best they ALWAYS have to guess on block. You can space a TAP (like dash punch) to be out of range for throws, you can even space it where you can walk out of a grab reversal (since a throw doesn’t cause any proximity blocking). TAP on block, works a lot like Ken’s tatsu mixups on hit.

After a blocked TAP you can grab, headbutt, high/low ex.dash or defensively backdash/neutral jump. The best kind of offensive mix-up is alternating between low ex.dashes and throws. For example, if you’re facing a shoto, a high ex.dash will beat most non-ex.dps (Akuma’s hp.dp ALWAYS wins). As all ex.dashes are vulnerable to throws (and reversals), this loses to a throw (but will beat some crouch-techs). And then offensively, ex.hb beats all of those options, although it will whiff against low profiling attacks. Ex.dashes will beat most pokes that aren’t cancelled into specials that are invincible through some of their active frames (or they will trade).

Tick throws
A tick throw works by performing a special/normal then attempting a grab very close after. This is easiest after moves that have negative frame advantage. This is why TAP works so great if your op blocks instead of reaction punishing. Tick throwing can come in two forms, hit ticks and whiff ticks. Most characters use hit ticks like Balrog (TAP-throw, jab-throw) but grapplers like Zangief will use whiff ticks like st.hk - lp.spd OR in Balrog’s case against Fuerte he can do j.hk, cl.hk (whiff) U2. Whiff combos work because of proximity blocking to some degree. 1) You can’t jump out of whiffed attacks for example gief’s st.hk if done in range can’t be jumped out of, especially if you’re crouching; 2)if you’re holding back anticipating it hitting you, you’re planted in place briefly because of proximity blocking, so to backdash you’ve gotta go into neutral first. Whiff ticks simply throw you off; they’re completely avoidable using neutral jump/backdash.

Balrog has whiff tick options during an opponents wakeup. This is most useful against opponents who have 5f invincible reversals. You can train your opponent with, say, a meaty jab, and then time it so that the meaty jab is maybe a frame or two off. This will allow you to recover in time to block if they do a reversal. After doing this, you can jab on their wakeup so it whiffs, and then just throw as they’re anticipating having to block the jab (since they can’t throw a meaty jab on wakeup).

Balrog can also tick throw on block with other attacks utilizing 2 ex bars for FADC. Balrog is at most -1 after focus attack dash canceling dash punches and some normals, thus an immediate tick throw will always connect if in range since the opp will have left blockstun. Good attacks to use this are cr.hk, lp.ds. You can also use autodash U2 to do the same thing and catch an opponent who attempts to tech your throw or backdash to avoid the throw. Keep in mind that this is a “late tech” situation.

Some characters are very difficult to grab because of how their grab hitbox expands and contracts depending on whether they are crouching or standing. Balrog is one of those characters; if he crouches, stands, and crouches again, his hitbox actually pushes him further away from the opponent (this happens mid-screen and in the corner) so he’s out of grab range. This happens with characters whose stances are somewhat hunched over so the bulk of their torso is behind their feet and arms (compare and contrast Dudley and Balrog with shotos).

How to dash punch? - Balrog General Q&A thread
Abel FAQs + Hitbox Videos
How to dash punch? - Balrog General Q&A thread
Chun-li Q&A: Ask simple questions here!
Frame Trapping and Counter Hitting with Gouken
SSF4 AE Gouken Consolidated Video Thread
How to dash punch? - Balrog General Q&A thread
Optimizing combos

This post will serve as a companion text to the third Frame Trap Video: Applications!

Counterhit Combos

Counterhits give you bonus damage and advantage. You get an extra 25% damage on the first hit of any Counterhit and you get +1 for light attacks, +2 for medium attacks and +3 for heavy attacks. There are counterhit combos generally because when you pop an opponent for trying to crouch-tech, you’ll get a counterhit and more specifically, they will almost ALWAYS be crouching. This means two things: you don’t to do ex.ru loops easy and it’s harder to link Ultra. This obviously doesn’t apply to frame traps that use cl.mp which forces stand on hit.

CH cl.hk, hp.ds xx FADC, cr.lp, cl.hk, cr.mp xx hp.ds
CH cl.mp, cr.lk xx ex.ru, cr.lp, cr.mp xx hp.hb
CH cr.mk, U1
CH cr.mk, hp.ds xx FADC, cr.lp, cl.hk, cr.mp xx hp.ds
CH cr.mk, cr.mk xx Super

You are most likely to land counterhit cl.hk when fishing for a delayed crouch-tech, so frame traps like cr.lp, walk forward cl.hk, or j.hp, delayed cl.hk are usually the traps that will net you a CH cl.hk. The biggest pain is maintaining back-charge when setting up the frame trap if you want to go for something flashy like hp.ds or ex.ru (it is possible). Otherwise you just get a much easier 4f cr.mp link to which you should be able to cancel into ex.ru and go in for a combo of your choice. The same setups listed above work for cl.mp except you don’t have as much horizontal range with the move and you NEED cl.mp not st.mp for it to be useful.

You are most likely to land a counterhit cr.mk after a frame trap like cr.hk, cr.mk or a combo into max distance st.lp (hit), cr.mk. cr.hk (block), cr.mk is good for trapping shoto cr.mk, it doesn’t work against Sakura and Evil Ryu, they have stupid horizontal range on their cr.mk hitboxes. Think of situations where you’d land the cr.mk/st.mk O/S super, those are generally the situations where you’re likely to get a CH cr.mk.

Options after Headbutt

After a landed HB, Balrog gets a lot of options/setups. They are: Ambiguous cross-up jump-ins, Meaty TAP and a Meaty cr.mp (which has limited usage). Some of the setups are specific to whether they quick rise or not. Meaty TAP can work on quick rise or not, while meaty cr.mp requires that they not quick rise, and ambiguous cross-up requires that the opponent quick-rise. You’re likely to land headbutts as a tech-trap, like the well known TAP, headbutt/ex.headbutt.

Ambiguous jump-in cross-up varies by character (I have a spreadsheet), but generally if you jump-in with j.hp/j.hk after a headbutt and the opponent quick-rises you’ll cross them up while if you use j.mk, you’ll land in front. This generally only works mid-screen. You land before they wake up so you’re 100% safe from reversals. Best rule of thumb is to block, but you can also get a semi-meaty cr.lp off. You can mix-up the strength of headbutt and the jump-ins to change which side you land on as well. Keep in mind when attempting a meaty that you have to “eyeball” the timing. Too early and you’ll lose to wakeup stand-tech while too late and you can get blown up by invincible reversals.

Meaty TAP is the easiest “eyeball” setup i think. To do it you land a headbutt, charge TAP, then, hold down, as soon as you see Balrog crouch, release TAP. If the opponent quick-rises you get a meaty TAP and are at least +4 but not +7 on hit, so you can link cr.lk into whatever. If the opponent doesn’t quick rise, charge TAP again and hold down+back, when Balrog crouches, release TAP and you get the same setup. Diclawsus came up with some awesome O/S using meaty TAP as well. This is by far the most damaging reset when used within a combo, but any character with a respectable reversal can beat TAP, especially since you can’t take advantage of the additional active frames for higher level TAPs.

Meaty cr.mp is kind of useless, but maybe someone will figure out something more. It requires that the opponent not quick rise after headbutt. To do it, perform headbutt, do the meaty TAP setup for quick rise, then cr.hk, slight delay, cr.mp. cr.mp is -1 on block, so it’s probably +1 or +2 in this situation. Generally it’s useful for those characters who have shitty wakeup hitboxes and since cr.mp has a lot of horizontal range it tags their hitboxes when waking up. This applies to characters like Balrog, Zangief and Blanka. They obviously have reversals that eat cr.mp alive. There’s a possibility that it’ll beat both wakeup lariats by Zangief when used as a meaty (like Fei Long’s cr.mp).

Character Kills/Stuns

This section was made to show that with one reset Balrog can kill a character given he has enough meter and there are even some meterless setups that give you a stun. Some of these use the meaty TAP as a reset, or mk.ru throw/walk back cr.mp as a reset etc. I try to pair resets that have a decent chance of working with certain characters.

These are generally for when you’ve got Akuma pinned in a corner and/or you have him on the ropes. This usually isn’t the case, but this is a setup that can work as Akuma’s like to spam cr.mp and st.hk.

j.hk, cl.hk, cr.mp xx mk.ru, walk back, cr.mp xx hp.OH

This is ridiculous, but will stun Akuma with only a single hit (so damage scaling is at a minimum). This requires no meter, but is obviously dangerous since OH on hit is -5 and there’s a big enough gap between cr.mp xx hp.OH. This is useful for when Akuma is throw happy, or you’ve got him with mk.ru, throw enough times. This should also catch Akuma’s who try to use st.hk to chase you after you make some space. On the other side of this situation there is:

j.hk, cl.hk, cr.mp xx ex.ru, cr.lp, cr.mp xx mk.ru, throw

This only requires one bar, and if you land the throw, you get a 3-hit stun. If you have full revenge meter, you can Kill Akuma, by doing lvl3 FA, U1. Doesn’t even need to be grounded.


These setups are generally worthless as Seth has a lot of get out of jail free cards and some that don’t require meter (teleport, tandem engine).


Hakan has a crap load of health and a really high stun (1100). The most consistent way to whittle that stun down is with a reset, specifically a reset into U2. 1100 is very hard to land. Trying to do this with two resets leaves you with too much damage scaling and you can’t get any decent damage after stun, but to be honest after two combos and he’s at 1100 stun, he should be dead. In these situations you can always use Vanilla technology: focus attack resets by JWang.

The upside is that Hakan has a stupid wide hitbox. You can actually do the following combo:

hp.OH, cr.mk, cr.mp xx hp.hb

I tried to find some silly resets with a blocked cr.mp and the pushback after blocked cr.mp modified his hitbox enough so the cr.mp was out of range. Keep it in mind, might be useful. The combo I used to stun with U2 is pretty obvious:

j.hk, cr.mk, cr.mp xx mk.ru, U2

This puts you at 1100 stun with 3 hits, Hakan should be down about 700 damage give or take and from that point, you can’t kill him if he started from no health. Also keep in mind that unlike the rest of the 1f grab Ultra’s, Hakan’s U1 has 3 active frames and more invincibility frames versus T. Hawk, Akuma/Evil Ryu, and Zangief who have 1+0f startup, 2 Active frames and 1f of invincibility. Because Balrog’s Ultra is 0+1f, the first frame of invincibility is ignored and it will win…except against Hakan.

El Fuerte

El Fuerte is probably the BEST case scenario for using meaty TAP. Fuerte’s options against meaty TAP are very few. Both Ultras and super beat meaty TAP. ex.guac only escapes and Balrog recovers first. So he is forced to block a TAP (he also can’t ex.run since TAP breaks armor), and from there you can control the match since it revolves around attacks that break armor, Balrog’s j.hp and normal throws. So in the event you land this combo/reset:

cr.mp xx ex.ru, cr.lp, cr.mp xx ex.ru, cr.lp, cr.mp xx hp.hb, meaty TAP, cr.lk xx lp.ds <STUN> lvl3 FA, backdash, grounded U1

So this setup is pretty braindead, you can always do the cr.lk xx lp.ds since it’s safe on block. Grounded U1 probably isn’t necessary, but helps for sure (extra damage). Shoutouts to Ropedrink for giving us that technology. Also keep in mind that if you land a fwd.throw you can also do Jav1ts setup with meaty smash (fwd.throw, jump back, lk.smash) which is safe on block and breaks armor.

Character Specific Setups

These setups are more…matchup specific in terms of using frame traps to create favorable situations for that matchup. My idea here was to combine all of the technology and tactics learned in all of my other articles/videos with matchup information to give anyone who’s read all of the articles an idea of how to put all of it together.


So this is a pretty even matchup, but Ryu has two REALLY good tools that can sometimes put him in really bad shape. Those are cr.hk and his fireball. In that matchup, I feel that you need to be able to bait it out and then punish it. Balrog has a way to punish fireballs anywhere inside of 3/4 screen. Some of you guys should be aware of the Maeda Taison setup with having Ryu block a cr.hk and then doing Ultra after he throws a fireball. That’s the basis of this.

The goal is to get Ryu to block a cr.hk repeatedly. As I showed in my Ryu Punishes video, Ryu can punish Balrog’s cr.hk on block with his cr.hk because it’s so fast (5f startup). BUT, his cr.hk is so unsafe and SLOW. So if he were to whiff it he could get punished really heavily. Or if the Ryu think’s he’s smart, he may try to use cr.mk to punish attempts to advance after a blocked cr.hk.

Balrog has answers to all of the above:

First, cr.hk, cr.mk beats attempts to counter poke with cr.mk after blocking cr.hk. The pushback is perfect for setting up O/S cr.mk/st.mk xx super. There’s also the possibility of a counterhit and you can link cr.hk, st.hk, or st.hp at that range.

Second, if Ryu attempts to fireball Balrog can do one of two things: U1/Super or Focus Attack. By focus attack I don’t mean to cancel the cr.hk (As you don’t have any armor), but to FA after cr.hk recovers. If he does fireball, you can Focus attack dash cancel through the fireball and throw or auto dash U2. He can’t get out of either by jumping, he has to FADC backdash.

Third, if Ryu attempts to punish with cr.hk and it whiffs (or it’s late), Focus attack dash forward throw, U2 (and probably jab), will punish and he can’t do anything about it since cr.hk isn’t super cancelable.


This is the best application of something I was hunting for a long time ago: combo-ing into low dashes (smash and dash low). These attacks are really slow so its generally very difficult to combo into.

With the Guile matchup, you’ll generally be in the corner or have Guile in the corner. IF you’re in the corner then you will be looking for an opportunity to create space by jumping over a bad boom (or any ex.boom). Guile loses all charge after a boom so has to rely on normals. There are ranges where he has to pick the correct normal and if he chooses the wrong one you get a free jump-in or out of the corner. If Guile is in the corner you should be going for frame traps and tick throws; the goal being to continually apply pressure or bait flash kick and block.

So flash kick is a really good 4f invincible reversal. It makes it difficult to pressure Guile on his wakeup. Jav1ts found a safe jump off of a quick rise after smash, the problem was that it was difficult to combo into smash. Thus I found the following combo (dunno if I was first):

cr.mp xx ex.ru, cr.lp, st.lp, cr.mp xx ex.ru, cr.lp xx lk.smash

You can also land this combo to the same effect but it’s more difficult:

j.hk, cl.hk, cr.mp xx ex.ru, cr.lp xx lk.smash

The first combo will corner carry an opponent about 60% of the screen and on Guile gives you a 4f safe jump to bait a flash kick. And then you can blow him up.


I’m incredibly impressed. Due to being at work, I didn’t have the time to read all of this during the day. And I was very excited to read it all. Great stuff dude, this is extremely informative and useful!


yeh…I really hate that I can’t dedicate as much time as i’d like to, well as much time as I did. But i’ll get it all out in chunks, sooner or later.


Hey fellas. I found an interesting piece of tech, though im sure it’s nothing new.

CH cl. hk can easily be linked into ultra 1, making the cr. lp, cl. hk frame trap all the more deadly. The combo nets a nice 522 damage plus all the perks that come with U1.


not new tech, but definitely worth bringing up again.

[S]Just keep in mind that CH cl.hk, or cr.mk into Ultra ONLY works on a standing opponent. Since both are only +10 on block and if you do U1 with uppers (necessary for it to startup in <=10f), it’ll whiff on crouchers. So…not as useful a punish for blowing up crouch-techs, but certain mashes/specials, yes.[/S]

Edit: You can link Ultra after CH cl.hk/cr.mk on a crouching/standing opponent if you activate with KKK and hold PPP, definitely easier on a standing opponent, since holding KKK makes the startup 8f, and makes it a 2f link versus a 1f.


Then what’s the meaning of this?

Sorry about the poor quality, but did this link work because of something character specific? Or does pressing KKK then releasing it provide the ultra with the proper start up frames of 10?

EDIT: It’s not character specific, I’ve done it on enough of the cast to be sure that it works on everyone.


Could you explain how you did that above please?

By the way, great thread, once I’ve not got work I’m going to read through this and try to properly understand what frame traps are etc, and hopefully start putting them to work with Boxer. Thanks for the information.

I’m going to be -that- guy though, and ask, what do CH and cl. stand for?


No problem. CH stands for counter hit and cl. means close standing. And really all i did was go into the training room and turn on counter hits. Deo a close standing hard kick and then link the ultra. The reason I’m surprised that it works is because the frame data doesn’t really match up, like 3nigmat1c said earlier.


Ah, thank you! That all pieces together now. I didn’t know that CH meant counter hit so I didn’t even think about setting that option in training, and therefore I wasn’t able to pull it off. I thought standing roundhouse into Ultra was a bit too gdlk. Thanks again! :slight_smile:


I stand corrected.

you can link Ultra 1 after CH cr.mk/cl.hk on a standing/crouching opponent. I forgot about the third way to do Ultra:
[]Activate with PPP hold PPP > 11f startup
]Activate with KKK, hold KKK > 8f startup
[*]Activate with KKK, hold PPP > 10f startup
Duly noted, and i’ll update soon.


Sweet, glad I could help. Awesome thread, by the way. I’m very impressed with the detail.


Can someone explain to me how you’re changing the start-up time of the ultra? I’ve never heard anything like that before, is this specific to Ryu only?


non-character specific. It’s Vanilla tech, read the post and try it in training mode. If the post doesn’t do well enough, Diclawsus is making a video I believe that’ll give you a visual idea of what to do.


Whoops I misread the post. I thought you guys were manipulating Ryu’s Ultra not Balrog’s. Okay the world makes sense again haha.


Sorry to stay off the topic of frame traps, but this is the first I’ve heard about KKK and PPP having different startup times depending on which you initiated the ultra with. Why would it matter which buttons you initiated the ultra with? I’ll need to spend some time in the dojo messing around with this, but my understanding was that, for example, if you initiate the ultra with KKK and then hold no buttons, it would default you to PPP for his punches. So in this example I guess that would refer to the 10f startup ( as if you were holding PPP after initiating with KKK ). So how does initiating this with PPP instead of KKK add in 1 extra frame? The only way I can make any sense of this is to assume that Balrog will begin the ultra with whichever method you initiated the ultra with, so the first frame will assume you’re holding PPP/KKK if you initiated with PPP or KKK, respectively, regardless of what you’re holding after initiating the ultra. So on the 2nd frame he’d then switch to either PPP or KKK, compensating for the frame differences. Since KKK is a faster startup, its quicker to go from KKK to PPP than PPP to KKK at startup.

Sorry to ramble but hopefully that makes sense to people. This would lead me to believe that if you were to Activate with PPP and hold KKK ( the fourth way ), it would be a 9f startup ( which is not listed in your post 3nigmat1c ). This would also mean that you should always be initiating the ultra with KKK, as you will get the two fastest startup times using that method.


It’s a REALLY old glitch. Like from Vanilla, so the actual mechanics behind it is vague, or unknown as far as i’m concerned. The easiest proof of this is that if you look at his frame data you’ll see two startup times for his Ultra 1 if you activate with kicks or punches. You get different startup depending on first what you activate with and second whether or not you hold kicks or hold/don’t hold punches.

The 9f startup deal is a conjecture, you’d need to test and it’d be kinda null and void given you could make it startup in 8f. I’ll leave that for you to test against something that’s -9f but how you’d test to see if it didn’t startup in 8f I don’t know.

No, you should not always initiate with uppers and hold kicks. Starting with KKK gives you Uppers which don’t hit crouching opponents and at times could be too high to juggle an airborne opponent. Straights are useful for hitting crouchers, like if for some reason you wanted to chip out an opponent with U1/Super and you know they had no reversal options, if you start with uppers, they can crouch under the first set of punches and hit you out of it with a crouching attack, while if you start with straights, they can’t crouch to avoid and hit you out of it, but they can jump over Straights because of the longer startup.

I hope that helps, but if it doesn’t direct further posts to the matchup thread and multi-quote the conversation (or i’ll multi-quote the conversation in my reply to get everyone else on track with this conversation).


Sorry what I meant here was, you should always Activate the ultra with KKK, then either hold PPP or KKK, since this will get you a 10f or 8f startup, respectively. I’m not saying you should always hold KKK or PPP after activating, because like you pointed out, each of them is useful or horrible in the given situation. Regardless of holding PPP or KKK after activation, it seems that activating with PPP will always result in +1f over activating with KKK, hence my comment as to why even bother activating with PPP.

I’m done after this post to not stay further off track, gotta say though this thread has been super duper helpful with my upping my game in terms of CH setups and how to take advantage of the extra frames -> CR.MK is a BEAST


Article is complete, videos have been added to the Original post and the Second post has been replaced with some a transcript/companion text to the third video. Enjoy! And do realize that this concludes the SF4 Game Mechanics Series I started in late 2010 (woohoo).


3nigmat1c you are a beast!

Thanks heaps.