The Rog log Balrog (Boxer) breakdown
This is by no means a tutorial, but rather a log in which I note all the things I learn about Balrog. For those who are interested in picking him up I will recommend a few things here and there, but personally I don’t feel like I understand this character well enough to tell people what they should do.
I will update this thread whenever I discover new tech. Feel free to ask questions, give feedback or share tech!
**Balrog frame data (Many thanks to Street11 and Zukuu!): **
[details=Spoiler]Balrog is a character with great normals and walk speed, which is very helpful in his footsie and throw game. Most of his normals are advantageous on block and therefore giving you several options for frame traps.
His defense is strong as well. Buffalo head is an upper body invulnerable special, which forces the opponent to be more cautious with pressure strings. Using a true low can beat this reversal, but this is where you may use a raw launcher or his other reversals. With meter he gains access to his Ex dash punches. Ex dash (low) straight and upper have armor properties, which enable him to absorb one hit. Especially Ex dash straight which is only -3 on block is a “safe” (match up dependant) way to interrupt the opponents offense. You can still be thrown, but this is where you can use his full body invulnerable Ex buffalo head.
His anti air game is decent with st. mp, cr. hp, buffalo head and (Ex) dash upper and when used correctly you may follow up with a juggle combo.
Light punch dash straight which starts up in 4 frames is a great special to punish unsafe moves by your opponent as it has a very good horizontal range.
Far st. light punch has a great range as well and starts up in 5 frames.
From what I have experienced he has issues opening the opponent up. Frame advantage is great, but you can down-back him for a really long time. His mix up game mainly consists of throws and frame traps. He does have an overhead, which is far from useful though due to its start up and the frame disadvantage on block.
Even if you do manage to open your opponent up, Balrog doesn’t have very damaging combos (disregarding turn punch) and even, if you spend a bar you will have trouble hitting 400 damage without a jump in. There are very few hit confirms, which allow you to get a down or back charge (especially down charge). You have to rely on jabs and shorts most of the time for solo combos.
Cr. mp and cr. mk have slow start up (7 and 8) and it’s not possible to link into these unless you connect a cr. mk, cl. hk or get counter hits.
Overall I think he is a very effective character, if you have the life lead. His normals are great at keeping the opponent out and if he finally manages to get close he has to watch out for Balrog’s reversal options. He doesn’t have too much trouble against keep away characters (except for a few special cases such as Jack X and Jin) due to his movement speed, dash punsh and turn punch.
He is definitely capable as a point character, but personally I have been more successful with him as an anchor. Double turn punch combos or tag cancel into turn punch and pandora are one of the reasons. The instant access to meter, if things go well is great too.
Here is a video breakdown for Balrog’s normals if you are interested. I still recommend reading through the written breakdown though as it covers ALL his normals, is more detailed and updated.
Far light punch (+1 on hit/+1 on block) 5 frames start up
Slow start up for a jab, but good range. It whiffs against crouching opponents, which is terrible. You can still use it though to punish a standing opponent. I noticed that you can link into this standing normal and still cancel into buffalo head.
Far medium punch (+4 on hit/0 on block) 7 frames start up
Anti air normal, which can be canceled into a special. If you land a counter hit with it, you can follow up with normals, specials and even cross art.
Its range isn’t very good though. So it’s not really useful in block strings despite the buff in ver. 2013.
Far hard punch** (+1 on hit/-4 on block) 9 frames start up
One of Balrog’s best normals in my opinion. If you land a standing counter hit, the opponent will slowly collapse. If you space it well you are safe on block. It has a lot of recovery though and you will be vulnerable to jump ins.
Far light kick (+6 on hit/+2 on block) 4 frames start up
4 Frames start up but less range than far light punch and you can’t cancel it into a special. You can use it for close range punishing or a standing hit confirm at best.
Far medium kick** (+6 on hit/+2 on block) 9 frames start up
Another great footsie tool. It’s +2 on block and you can follow it up with far hard punch for a counter hit for example. It has not as much recovery (12 frames), but you should always be ready for a jump in. If you are good at hit confirming, you can buffer straight into launcher.
Far hard kick (+4 on hit/-1 on block) 8 frames start up
Another decent footsie tool with good range. It has no special property but it’s only -1 on block. It’s slightly better for whiff punishing due to the shorter start up.
Lots of recovery though (19 frames), so you have to be careful with this one as well.
Close light punch (+6 on hit/+2 on block) 4 frames start up
Used to be pretty good, but now it has too much push back. You can cancel it into specials. Definitely mix this up with his crouching normals to make yourself less vulnerable to low crushing moves such as raw launcher, or Hwoarang’s light kick hunting hawk.
Close medium punch (+6 on hit/+2 on block) 6 frames start up
Currently I don’t see the point of using this over close light punch which has the same frame advantage, less recovery and it can be canceled. It’s only useful as an anti air.
Close hard punch (+6 on hit/0 on block) 5 frames start up
It forces standing and you can link far light punch afterwards. Useful normal to mix up with throws on the opponents’ wake up. It also has its use in corner combos.
Close light kick (+7 on hit/+3 on block) 3 frames start up
His only 3 frame normal. If the range allows it use it for punishing or standing hit confirms. You can also cancel it into a special. Lots of hit stun to link into other normals such as cr. mp.
Close medium kick (+5 on hit/+1 on block) 5 frame start up
It has decent start up and might be useful in frame traps. Personally I haven’t made use of this normal often yet. However it’s very important in corner combos.
Close hard kick (+9 on hit/+3 on block) 7 frames start up
Great normal that gives you a lot of hit advantage. You can link a far hard punch/kick and buffer into launcher or link crouching medium punch for solo combos. Close hard kick also forces standing so you can combo into (Ex) dash upper. Mix it up with throws for frame traps.
Crouching light punch (+6 on hit/+2 on block) 4 frames start up
His main hit confirm tool. Links into itself three times on hit, which is enough to get the down charge for buffalo head.
Crouching medium punch (+6 on hit/+2 on block) 7 frames start up
Decent range and useful for frame traps. On hit you can link a crouching light punch.
Crouching hard punch (-2 on hit/-5 on block) 7 frames start up
It forces standing, but there are better normals for that purpose, since you can’t even special cancel it. It’s just a more damaging anti air in my opinion.
Crouching light kick (+5 on hit/+1 on block) 4 frames start up
I would use crouching light punch over this one, but crouching light kick is a true low. Definitely use this over crouching light punch in certain match ups (e.g. Kazuya).
Crouching medium kick (+8 on hit /+4 on block) 8 frames start up
Nice advantage on block. Links into itself (1 frame link) and into crouching medium punch (2 frame link).
Crouching hard kick (hard knockdown on hit/ -10 on block) 8 frames start up
The range is decent, but you don’t want to throw this out often, as it is pretty unsafe. The recovery (25 frames) makes you susceptible to jump ins, too.
Neutral jump light punch (5 frames start up)
Best vertical range of his neutral jump normals, starts up quickly , but has only two active frames.
Neutral jump medium punch (5 frames start up)
The hitbox is slightly above his head and it therefore misses standing opponents (I have to test characters such as Hugo). Decent air to air move, if you anticipate a jump in.
Neutral jump hard punch (5 frames start up)
Great air to air move with lots of active frames (9). By pressing back or forward you can alter the fall arc. In my opinion the best choice, when you neutral jump next to lp and hp. I can see some mix up potential in this move. More later.
Neutral jump light kick (5 frames start up)
The small range alone makes this normal seem useless. Difficult to hit a standing opponent with it
Neutral jump medium kick (6 frames start up)
Slightly more range than nj, but slower as well.
Neutral jump hard kick (5 frames start up)
Decent vertical hitbox, but only 2 active frames.
Jumping light punch
Similar but smaller hitbox than j. hp. Personally I haven’t found a reason to use this normal over the others yet.
Jumping medium punch
The hitbox is above Balrog and it’s therefore not recommended for jump ins and should be used, if the opponent is higher in the air than Balrog.
Jumping hard punch (7 active frames)
A good air to air move if used early, as it it has a decent amount of active frames.
Jumping light kick (+12 on hit/+4 on block) 5 frames start up frames, 6 active frames
Currently I believe that this is the go to jumping normal.
Starts up quickly, has a good amount of frames… aaaand it’s a cross up. If you are able to consistently get the right spacing for it, you will be quite dangerous, since you know… Boxer usually doesn’t cross you up.
Jumping medium kick
Still have to test this one.
Jumping hard kick (8 start up frames)
A bad air to air move from my experience, but a good jump in normal. You can hit it early due to the active frames and the hitbox which is slightly below Balrog as he punches downwards.[/details]
Here a breakdown video for Balrog’s specials.
Dash punches: All dash punches vary in start up depending on the covered distance. Balrog will dash forward until he reached the maximum range of his special or the opponent and then go for the punch. Dash punches from a greater distance are more obvious and can be neutral jumped/thrown/blocked and punished easily. That doesn’t mean that you should never do it though.
Light punch dash straight (-2 on hit/-4 on block) 4-15 frames start up, 100 damage
Some normals and specials are tough to punish sometimes (e.g. Law’s fury fist rush). This is where you might want to use light punch dash straight as it starts up quickly. In some combos it is difficult to connect a medium or hard punch dash straight. When in doubt go for this version to make sure it hits. The fast start up makes it ideal for close distance chip KO’s.
Medium punch dash straight** (+1 on hit/ -3 on block) 7-24 frames start up, 110 damage
This is the safest meterless dash punch. It is definitely punishable if used point blank (Raging demon, 3 frame uppercuts/normals).
Hard punch dash straight (+1 on hit/-6 on block) 7-37 frames start up,120 damage
Generally used to end a combo (120 damage) when dash low straight is too slow to connect.
Ex dash straight (+4 on hit/-3 on block) 8-35 frames start up, 140 damage
This move has armor and will absorb one hit (some super arts included). It’s safe against a good portion of the cast on block. You can use it to escape ambiguous setups and you can interrupt the opponents offense and be in an advantageous position. Do not rely on it during your wake up as you can be thrown out of it. Other than that it’s one of Balrog’s best specials in my opinion.
Light kick dash upper (0 on hit/-1 on block) 5-15 frames start up, 70
It’s a very safe special with one problem: all dash upper versions whiff against crouching opponents. Throwing this out is risky as you are vulnerable, if it whiffs. It is possible to anti air with it and follow up with a jumping normal or a cross art for example.
Medium kick dash upper (+1 on hit/ -4 on block) 7-23 frames start up, 70 damage
I have yet to find a specific reason to use this version over the others.
Hard kick dash upper (+1 on hit/ -7 on block) 7-36 frames start up, 70 damage
You will use this as a combo extender.
Ex dash upper (+5 on hit/-3 on block) 8-35 frames start up, 140 damage
This special absorbs one hit as well. On hit you can link a cr. lk for example and either go for solo combos or a boost chain. The armor makes it really easy to anti air with it and follow up with a combo. Other than that you should only use it when you are sure that your opponent will be standing. Otherwise it will whiff and you will be punished.
Light punch dash low straight (Hard knockdown on hit/-11 on block) 13-23 frames start up, 100
You can regard this as a long range sweep or a slide. It has the same risks. It is unsafe on block and when neutral jumped you will get punished. There is no need to take such a risk, when you have the life lead.
Medium punch dash low straight (Hard knockdown on hit/-11 on block) 14-30 frames start up, 110
Travels a greater distance with increased start up. The same rule applies to this version. Do not take such a risk with this special and use it sparingly, if you need quick damage.
Hard punch dash low straight** ( Hard knockdown on hit/-11 on block) 14-43 frames start up, 120
I recommend using this one to end combos. It deals the same damage as dash straight (120 damage) and causes a hard knockdown.
**Ex dash low straight **(Hard knockdown on hit/-7 on block) 14-41 frames start up, 140 damage
If it wasn’t for the slower start up compared to Ex dash straight, this special move would easily be one of Balrog’s best specials. It also absorbs one hit and causes a hard knockdown. It’s risky to use since it’s -7 on block.
Light punch dash swing blow (+10 on hit/-9 on block) 23-32 frames start up, 100 damage
His overhead is rather slow and even if you use it sparingly your opponent can react to it. The reward is great though, as you can do a full combo.
Medium/Hard punch dash swing blow (+10 on hit/-9 on block) 24-39/24-52, 100 damage
Travels a greater distance with increased start up. Not worth using in my opinion.
Ex dash swing blow (Ground bounce on hit/-6 on block) 24-51, 130 damage
Less punishable and greater reward. You will usually hit a crouching opponent. In that case your opponent will stagger allowing you to follow up with a combo.
Light kick dash low smash (knockdown on hit/-6 on block) 13-22 frames start up, 100 damage
I still have to experiment with this special. -6 is clearly unsafe, but there is quite some push back on block. It’s great at chasing a backwards jump and even neutral jump.
Medium kick dash low smash (knockdown on hit/-6 on block) 14-29 frames start up, 100 damage
Same case. Not quite sure where to use this special yet.
Hard kick dash low smash** (knockdown on hit/-6 on block) 14-42 frames start up, 100 damage
This version can be used in corner combos. You can connect cl. Mk afterwards.
Ex dash low smash (wall bounce on hit/-7 on block) 14-41 frames start up, 100 damage
Great combo tool. After the wall bounce you can follow up with practically anything including a turn punch, pandora, etc.
Light punch buffalo head (float on hit/-13 on block) 9 frames start up, 100 damage
One of Balrog’s reversal and anti air options as it has upper body invulnerability. It can be beaten by low hitting moves. It deals the most damage but has the smallest range of all the versions and it’s therefore not advised to confirm into this one, as it tends to miss especially crouching opponents.
Medium punch buffalo head (float on hit/-13 on block) 11 frames start up, 90 damage
Slightly more range, 10 less damage, but reliable in combos. Can be used to chase a neutral jump.
Heavy punch buffalo head (float on hit/-13 on block) 13 frames start up, 80 damage
Most range, but least damage. Use it to punish a neutral jump from a farther distance.
Ex buffalo head** (float on hit/-13 on block) 13 frames start up, 100 damage
Unlike the others this version has full body invulnerability frames. When in doubt use this version for reversals or anti airs.
Crazy Buffalo (super art) (hard knockdown on the last hit/-14 on block) , 320 damage
PPP version 18 (hold kick 15)
KKK version 22 (hold kick 20)
PPP version 1-20 (hold kick 1-17)
KKK version 1-24 (hold kick 1-22)
As you can see from the data you can decrease the start up of this move by holding down the kick button at the cost of a few invulnerability frames.
Keep in mind that, if you hold the kick button, Balrog will throw a punch that looks and behaves similar to dash upper meaning that it will WHIFF against a crouching opponent.
Due to the invulnerability frames you may use this super art to punish projectiles for example. In juggle combos you (those which push the opponent into the corner) you should hold down the kick button to make sure that the last hit (80 damage) connects. Even after the first hit you can alter between the punch and kick button animation as you might know from the SF4 series.
Cross art (character switch on hit/-20 on block) 9 frames start up +150 damage
Balrog’s cross art has a decent range and 10 invulnerability frames, which allows you to punish projectiles for example. Due to the forward movement it can be used after a juggle dash upper as well.
[details=Spoiler]How to use dash upper:
Dash upper is an important tool in his arsenal as it is possible to follow up a dash upper with another one or a different special move for more damaging combos. You can get the necessary time for the back/down-back charge for another special move, by pressing and holding the kick (for the charge attack animation) and instantly holding back/down-back. Then you release the kick to use dash upper. Since you are still holding back/down-back you can immediately follow up with another special move or even super art.
- Thanks to Darknid for teaching me this technique!
Balrog combo breakdown series:
Balrog lacks damaging links while crouching, which is what he has to do for his optimal solo combos. You will end up using cr. lp and cr. lk often and in punish situations maybe cr. mk and cr. mp. The confirms in bold can be followed up with a special move without prior charging.
cr. lp , cr. lp , cr. lp (the easiest hit confirm)
cr. lk , cr. lk , cr. lk (2 frame links)
cr. lk , cr. lp , cr. lp (I recommend this one as the cr. lk hits low and the cr. lp is used simply to make confirming easier)
cr. mp , cr. lp (only leads into solo combos, if you were able to hold back/down-back before hitting the cr. mp e.g. during a jump in)
cr. mk , cr. mp (same issue you need to hold back/down-back before cr. mk hits for solo combo options)
cr. mk , cr. mk (not recommended as a hit confirm. One frame link and you won’t get better results than with cr. mk , cr. mp)
cl. hk , cr. mp (if you hit a jumping attack you should go for this one. It’s the most damaging confirm for solo combos.)
cl. hk , cr. lp , far st. lp (Most damaging confirm that allows you to combo into buffalo head without holding down before confirming. Just hold down-back as soon as cl. hkstarts up and after cr. lp you have to roll from down-back to back. While you are doing that you link into far st. lp and immediately roll into up-back for buffalo head. Important: the cr. lp will only connect, if you connected the cl. Hk against a standing opponent.)
Why? “When crouching, a character’s pushbox is wider than if they’re standing, so if you stand point blank next to them, you’re slightly farther from their center than if you stand point blank next to them while they’re standing. And the tiny distance is just enough to cause that combo not to work.“ - Thanks to LordWilliam1234 and Links for the explanation!
xx mp buffalo head , cr. mp xx dash upper , raw launcher
xx mp buffalo head, cr. mp xx dash upper , dash straight
xx mp buffalo head , cr. mp xx dash upper , dash low straight
xx mp buffalo head , cr. mp xx dash upper , lp. buffalo head
xx mp buffalo head , cr. mp xx dash upper , dash upper
This is what you want to confirm into most of the time for meterless combos. If you are certain that you can hit your opponent with it you can use lp buffalo head instead for a bit more damage.
Dash straight should only be used when it is not possible to connect dash low straight, while dash upper and buffalo head are used for tag cancel combos. After the first dash upper you may also use a raw launcher for a meterless switch. A few characters can follow up, if you use pandora after the first dash upper (e.g. Steve, Dictator, Claw, Sakura)
Post tag mid screen:
cl. hp , lk dash upper, raw launcher
cr. mp xx dash upper, raw launcher
cr. mp xx dash upper j. hp
cr. mp , cr. mp xx dash straight/dash low straight/buffalo head
Post tag corner:
cl. hk , cl. mk , cl. mk xx hp dash straight
xx mp buffalo head, c. mp, cl. hp, cl. mk xx hp dash straight
Counter hit far st. Hp:
far st. hp , KKK Turn Around Punch (LVL 1), PPP Turn Around Punch (lvl 2), j.hk, cl.mk xx hp dash straight
1 meter Bnb:
c.mp xx Ex dash low smash, turn punch, j. hk, cl. hp, lp dash straight
cl. hk , cr. mp xx Ex dash upper , cr. lp , far st. lp xx dash low straight
cl. hk , cr. mp xx Ex dash low smash , turn punch , dash upper , dash low straight / buffalo head / dash upper
2 meter Bnb:
xx mp buffalo Head, cl. mk xx lk dash upper, KKK Super Art
cl. hk , cr. mp xx Ex dash low smash , turn punch , dash upper , super art
Depending on the height you should press and hold a kick button to make the super start up faster.
j.hk, cl. hk, c. mp xx EX dash low smash, turn around punch (lvl 1), j. hp, cl. mk xx super art
6 frames (midscreen):
cr. lk , cr. lp , cr. lp xx mp buffalo head , cr. mp xx dash upper , hp dash low straight , whiff cr. hk , slightly delayed j. hk
5 frames (corner against quick rising):
cr. lk , cr. lp , cr. lp xx mp buffalo head , cr. mp xx dash upper , dash upper , instantly whiff cl. lk , neutral jump hp