•Gonna try and get organized, bear with me as I’ll try to recompile and update info from the old thread into this one… please refrain from posting until I have the first 45 or so posts reserved.
•Gonna try and get organized, bear with me as I’ll try to recompile and update info from the old thread into this one… please refrain from posting until I have the first 45 or so posts reserved.
Abel: Health 1050, Stun 1050
(From the Abel sub-forum introduction thread, modified with ULTRA in mind)
Abel is a rush down character at heart; once he gets in, Abel can begin his mix-up games and typically have his way with his opponents. This is emphasized by his f+mk (step kick) which lets him get to point blank range at +3, leading to control in that moment. With the introduction of SSFIV, Abel now has two great (rather than 1 good and one subpar, as others do) ultras; U1 is easily combo-ed into, whereas U2 is basically an armored, very fast, very strong, forward moving grab. However, Abel does have his disadvantages. If zoned, Abel cannot get in and start an offense. Some characters also have a stronger footsie game than Abel, forcing him to resort to a less-than-common offense.
-Excellent mix-up game
-Dominant at mid-range because of f+mk
-Has a command throw that beats every throw (besides Ibuki’s Radia) in the game
-Fastest forward dash (tied with Elf) in the game and relatively quick backdash
-Relatively high damage output
-Slightly above average health and stun
-Lacks a variety of pokes.
-Poor defensive options.
-Anti-air has a rather steep learning curve; Abel has to learn to use 3 or 4 anti-airs rather than 1 catch-all. Abel’s AA also tends to have a high-risk, high-reward feel.
-Able can be zoned by projectiles (not too big of a deal, as roll, EX wheel, and U1 ignore projectiles) and characters with exceptional footsies.
-Several bnb combos are 1-framers; this tends to require plinking.
-Somewhat poor wake-up options.
His special moves aren’t typically a huge threat to Viper, nor are his normals. One could argue that Abel is a little less far down the “mix-up heavy character” spectrum than Viper or Fuerte for instance, but still considered to be a mix-up based character. His mix-ups come mostly from rolls, being at +3 frames after a step kick, a quite good crossup with medium kick, Tornado Throw and to a lesser extent, Change of Direction. Much of dealing with any mixup is learning to block correctly, and once blocked, many of Abel’s special moves can be punished with some practice.
Falling Sky - Most Abel’s dont consider it a good anti-air unless the EX version is used. Keep in mind the regular Falling Sky variations land you behind Abel while the EX version puts you in front of him. It’s probably not a good idea to just spam Burning Kicks all the time, but again, the move kind of sucks as a straight up anti-air.
Change of Direction - When dealing with mix-ups these can be frustrating to block as they have lots of block stun but with practice you can see how unsafe these “rekka” really are. First hit is blockable high or low, either of the follow up hits have to be blocked high if they are done with punches, or low if done with kicks. It’s not extremely difficult to see which direction to block, just make sure to pay attention and not get interrupted by going for an ill-timed punish. As for punishes, the first hit is unpunishable on block at only -3 frames. The second or third hit can be punished with cr.HP which of course can lead to either LP or MP Thunder Knuckle, or EX Seismic Hammer. Generally you are pushed too far away for a full FFF punish. Alternatively if you block the first hit of Change of Direction and see that the opponent is choosing (stupidly) to continue the move, HP Thunder Knuckle is usually your “go to” reversal. EX Change of Direction is a little trickier because it absorbs a hit at the beginning so keep that in mind, also remember he can FADC out of the first hit and the second hit if done with a kick.
Wheel kick** - Very punishable on block (-10,-11,-12, respectively, EX is -6), can be anti-aired with HP Thunder Knuckle. Some Abels use these to get over Seismic Hammer so it’s possible to bait them out. If blocked at a certain distance, it’s slightly safter, but using cr.MK to punish should still be able to work. EX version I believe gets pushed back further when only the last hit gets blocked but otherwise it can be reversal U1’ed and hit with cr.LK. This move is useful against players who neutral jump a lot, so look out for it in that regard. A very well timed EX Seismic Hammer can beat out this move.
Marseilles Roll - All rolls are vulnerable to throws throughout the animation. Physically LK, MK, and HK, rolls are vulnerable up to frame 5, and on their last frame. EX Roll is invulneralbe to physical attacks completely. Needless to say, grabbing is probably your best bet when dealing with Roll. Even Viper’s quickest normals would be difficult to interrupt it, however I sometimes randomly do an overhead when they roll to mess up their spacing.
Tornado Throw - Viper’s hardest to deal with part of Abel’s mix-up game. The goal here is basically to predict it and LK Burning Kick it, or otherwise get yourself in the air so you can punish the recovery. HP Thunder Knuckle may be a more viable option now that it has throw invincibilty up until the first active frame, but with certain timing the startup invinciblitly of EX Tornado Throw can still allow him to grab her. Other times, she may just fly through the grab and land still in front of him with neither character really being in a good position to punish.
Typical strategy against Abel is really just a “business as usual” Viper mix-up game, frame-traps can be somewhat useful, as well as baiting out Tornado Throw and using a max damage punish. His wake-up options still aren’t the best (typically roll, the occasional EX Change of Direction). The footsie game is about even, slightly in Abels favor, but Viper has some good tools here with decent range on her normals, being able to feint them, and with her overhead. Always consider her counter-hit setups and combos. Middle-ish range MP Thunder Knuckle is good because it catches lots of stuff, including early frames of Wheel Kick and of course, Focus Attack. Getting knocked down by Abel is where the matchup starts to get really tricky. Vipers wakeup is somewhat vulnerable to his mix-ups, especially ones that involve roll into ambiguous normals or Tornado Throw. EX Burning Kick may help out when waking up, but we all know it’s a risky move. As far as any kind of distance game, Seismic Hammers should be used sparingly especially if Abel has any kind of meter, whether its Super/EX or especially Ultra. If you let one rip, Abel has the ability to Roll through it, Wheel Kick over it, Ultra through it, and basically do the typical avoidance maneuvers to make sure you can’t SJC out of it to make it safe, and punish you. Speaking on Ultras, Abel may choose to use either/or in the Viper matchup. Souless means guaranteed damage off of a combo, while Breathless can catch any kind of recovery time Viper has. Breathless is good for catching all kinds of Viper screw ups, and needs to be feared and respected. Viper’s low vitality is a big factor to consider when dealing with the Abel matchup.
Vs. Juicebox matches start at 7:45
Adon: Health 950, Stun 1000
Adon doesn’t seem to excel or be at a disadvantage in any one area, having decent normals, good damge and spacing off his special moves, and two viable Ultras. Good zoning can be troublesome for Adon, but like many characters with that weakness, there are ways around it. Save for Rising Jaguar, his special moves are generally safe on block with the worst one (EX Jaguar Tooth) being only -5 frames. His mixups generally revolve around his oki game, with OSs into respectable damage or knockdown. His corner game is strong with Jaguar Kick and decent anti-air options. Top Adon players have to be masters of spacing, and can be comfortable waiting the other player out, or putting pressure on his/her opponent with Jaguar Kicks.
-Far st.HK and cr.HK are great tools
-Has a quick Focus Attack
-Specials that are safe on block
-A quick, far, and hitbox lowering forward dash
-Great corner game
-Decent anti-air with Rising Jaguar and several normals
-Two specials that beat Focus Attack
-All of his special moves put him airborne
-He can be safe-jumped, as LK Rising Jaguar is his quickest reversal at 4 frames.
-Slightly below average health
A skilled Adon can be very tough for any Viper player to handle. His normals alone may make you want to keep him at a bit of a distance, but one Jaguar Kick, and he’s right back in your face. His specials are safe except Rising Jaguar so if you can bait it out and punish as hard as possible, you’re on the right track. Dealing with his strange jump arc and Jaguar Kick mixups can be a pain, so just as he/she needed to learn the proper spacing for it, so should you, and recognize when you have an opportunity to anti-air. This matchup is definitely winnable, some players say good for Viper, others claim it’s in Adon’s favor. In either case, keeping your wits about you and having good reactions can make or break this matchup.
Jaguar Kick - Besides maybe Rising Jaguar, this is Adon’s most useful special attack. The 6 different trajectories for this move make it hard to predict and react to, but not impossible. Generally the best bet to beat it is to HP Thunder Knuckle as late as possible to if you want to prevent a trade. After a trade however, it may be possible for Viper to dash in to follow up for more damage. Certain ranges can just straight up beat out HP Thunder Knuckle however, but this is very specific. Alternatively, EX Seismic Hammer may be used but again, your timing needs to be good enough to take advantage of the invincibility frames. Also if the Adon is going for Jaguar Kicks right above your head, close st.MK might be an option to think about.
Jaguar Tooth - Another tricky move, it can be used against you to take advantage of Seismic Hammers that you accidentally let rip, or bait out anti-airs with the LK version. Prediction may be the name of the game here, as a LK Jaguar Tooth can be Seismic Hammered if predicted. Beating out almost any other version is easy enough, late HP Thunder Knuckles do well here, along with well timed EX Seismic Hammers. For the sake of saving meter and not predicting wrong however, it may be a good idea to try beating Jaguar Tooth with normals. Far st.HK works well because it has 6 active frames and a decent hitbox. However if timed properly there are many normals that CAN beat a Jaguar Tooth. Try out far st.HP for HK Jaguar Tooth and even far st.LP for EX Jaguar Tooth (very risky but doable)!. Jumping HK is also a viable option here. The EX version is probably the hardest to beat simply because of how fast it travels, so avoiding it altogether may be the best option, but again late HP TK and EX Seismo are your friends. LP Thunder Knuckle can also be used against Jaguar Tooth to some degree.
Rising Jaguar - The best thing about Rising Jaguar is probably its horizontal range. Be wary of attacking Adon on the ground during his wakeup. If baited, you basically have enough time to crack your knuckles and get ready to rip into him with a FFF combo. This move can be safe-jumped, the LK version has 4 frames of startup, while the other three have 5. The HK and EX versions have invincibility at the start up. Going for Burning Kick mixups on Adon’s wakeup can be dangerous because this move works very well when auto-corrected. Of course, this move can lead to an U2 with the meter to FADC so keep that in consideration. The horizontal angle of Rising Jaguar can also be used against Adon, because Viper can be right over top of him doing a Burning Kick on his wakeup.
This matchup seems to come down to not getting opened up by his pressure, both by normals and Jaguar Kicks. This means as Viper you might have to stay on the defensive more than you’d like to. Capitalize on any punish opportunity you get, and beat out whatever you can. Getting the knockdown can be a big accomplishment when fighting Adon so don’t let it go to waste, the best idea is to probably just go for a simple safe jump and try to react to whatever he does in response to it. Reaction can be a very important tool here, it might be a good idea to practice timing your moves against his in training mode. The mid-range footsie game CAN be dominated by Adon but his best normals at this range are slow-ish so timing things like jump-ins, MP or LP Thunder Knuckles, or EX Seismic Hammers can make or break you. Feinting Viper’s specials can be quite effective in getting Adon to throw something out, but be ready to deal with whatever comes your way. Dancing in and out of his ranges with back dashes can be a good way to keep Adon on his toes or make him miss a move altogether, giving you an opportunity to deal some damage.
A good Adon is going to exploit Viper’s weaknesses especially on her wakeup. There’s some OS’s involving Rising Jaguar, standing roundhouse, and sweep, so feinting HP TK then blocking on wakeup may(?) be a viable solution to protect yourself against those. Ultra doesn’t really bring anything different to this matchup, he got some minor tweaks in hitboxes and damage but otherwise it’s really Viper’s changes that make this matchup just slightly harder than in 2012. His Ultras can be interchangeable in this matchup with U1 catching Seismic Hammers and being able to combo into U2 for respectable damage. Gamerbee, probably the most famous Adon player, uses U2.
Akuma: Heath 850, Stun 850
Akuma is a veritable “jack of all trades”. He has a tremendous footsie game, great ambiguous mix-ups, respectable damage, and good zoning. His “vortex” style of play is what most people think of when his name gets brought up, but his real strength is in the extremely specific setups he has when dealing with okizeme. Top players have a mental database of safejumps, option selects, character specific combos, and just generally difficult setups to deal with. His sweep is one of the best in the game, giving him the knockdown he needs to get his pressure started. The Zanku Hadoken is tough to deal with for many characters, which coupled with his Ashura Senku (teleport) can almost shut entire matchups down. Dangerous is the Akuma player with matchup knowledge and airtight execution.
-Great reversal options
-Good damage from bnbs, typically leading to a knockdown
-Great anti-airs and air-to-air moves
-Wrath ot the Raging Demon does great damage
-Low health and stun
-Relies on setups to land his most useful Ultra
-Requires strict timing on most of his advanced techniques
For Viper, Akuma lies on the difficult end of the matchup spectrum. His sweep alone gives Viper a hard time, simply because of how fast it comes out and how far it reaches. Just for perspective, Akuma’s sweep has 6 frames of startup. Viper’s cr.MK has 7. His fireballs aren’t too big of a problem for Viper, even his air fireballs have drawbacks if Viper knows what she’s doing. Just like any of the other shotos his Shoryuken can’t be safe-jumped, and teleport gives him a “get out of jail free” card in sticky situations. Dealing with a character with so many great tools can seem like an uphill battle for Viper, but when you know the tricks and focus on making every hit count against his low life, the matchup may not be quite as scary.
Gahadoken - The typical shoto fireball. At certain distances, it recovers quick enough to Shoryuken an opponent trying to jump over the fireball. Like just about any other character with a fireball, this can be HP Seismic Hammered if done at full screen and super jump cancelled to avoid the fireball itself. Alternatively, at less than full screen range, a well timed EX Seismic Hammer will allow the fireball to go through you and will still hit Akuma. At close range, you can go for the jump in, do an overhead over the fireball, or use LP Thunder Knuckle to go under. EX version is dealt with in the same way, but it just comes out quicker.
Shakunetsu Hadoken** - Same deal as Gahadoken, but starts up and recovers slower. You typically only see this coming at you if you’ve jumped at full screen, or are getting up and Akuma tries to chip you out. If that’s the case, having meter will save you as you can do a reversal EX Seismic Hammer.
Zanku Hadoken - Akuma’s trademark air fireball. Unless spaced very well, these can be dangerous against Viper. Anything relatively close and Viper can LP Thunder Knuckle under the fireball(s) and hit Akuma. Anything from full screen can be EX Thunderknuckled with good timing or Seismic Hammered. If he throws a particularly poorly timed Zanku you can just dash under it and do as you please. It’s not hard for these to beat out Burning Kicks and HP Thunder Knuckles so keep that in mind if trying to chase him down.
Goshoryuken** - Typical shoto uppercut rules apply here. Its going to beat out pretty much whatever gets thrown at it, but can be punished badly if baited out. 3 frame startup across the board means no safe-jumps for Viper.
Tatsumaki Zankukyaku - On the ground, it’s not a big deal outside of combos or punishing non-feinted Seismic Hammers. Just crouch it and hit HP or LP Thunder Knuckle to hit the lowest part of his hitbox. His EX version starts very quickly and can set up for some corner juggles. The regular airborne version of Tatsumaki Zankukyaku is typically used as an ambiguous cross-up and does well at avoiding HP Thunder Knuckle. Sometimes you can get lucky with an auto-correct on HP Thunder Knuckle or EX Seismic Hammer but it’s probably better just to block it or avoid it with EX Seismic Hammer feint. Airborne EX Tatsumaki Zankukyaku can beat out just about any air-to-air attack and has no recovery upon landing so it is often used to bait out a counter attack. For a punish just wait until he stops spinning and try to HP Thunder Knuckle while Akuma is still in the air.
Hyakkishu - The demon flip. No follow up attack causes him to slide along the floor with his foot out. This has to be blocked low but can be punished on block. It has a whopping 15 active frames so EX Seismic Hammers invincibilty frames arent typically enough to beat it unless you catch only the end of the slide. The palm follow up has a really good hitbox and will beat just about any aerial move. If the palm whiffs, he has no recovery upon landing so it’s also a good baiting tool. Kick follow up if mis-timed can be HP Thunder Knuckled but it’s often used as a safe-jump so be wary. Also has no recovery on landing but usually used with the intent of connecting on the opponent. Look out for trades as they can usually be followed up by Viper for more damage. The grab follow up is especially tricky. Viper has no way to lower her hitbox enough to avoid it so she usually has to rely on airborne frames to avoid it. The best way to deal with Hyakkishu and it’s follow ups is to hit Akuma out of the flip as early as possible. Jumping forward with an early HK/HP can beat it out fairly well. Viper’s less than stellar wakeup game makes this a very dangerous move.
**Ashura Senku **- The teleport. If this can be baited out or predicted well, it means free BIG damage for Viper. Her EX Thunder Knuckle is a great way to punish this because it’s fast and far reaching enough for you to try a jump-in in the corner, and just throw it out on reaction to a teleport. Depending on your spacing you can get a myriad of combos including FFF. Viper can also super jump to catch a nice juicy air attack to a full combo. Be careful if Akuma picked U2 however as either teleport can be cancelled out of to land it.
Momentum can be a big deciding factor in this match. Both characters have relatively low life and both have ways of dishing out big damage. Dealing with his vortex mostly comes down to how good your defense is, however there are ways of avoiding/punishing parts of it, especially cross-up airborne Tatsu. Try feinting EX Seismic Hammer to use the invincibility frames and punish his landing.
On the ground, you CAN play footsies to a degree, but it’s especially important to learn his sweep range and dance in and out of it. His walk speed makes this difficult however. His step forward HK is also tough to deal with as a footsie tool and because it can beat out Burning Kicks fairly easily. If crouch blocked, the second hit will whiff allowing for a nice punish. His cr.MK is great tool for stuffing Thunder Knuckles so again dance in and out of range, and be unpredictable with them. Like other shotos, his cr.MK also lowers his hitbox enough to completely avoid any Burning Kick. His cr.HP is also a very good anti-air. Far st.HP is now another footsie tool to watch out for due to his ULTRA changes, as it is now special cancellable.
On his wakeup, it’s a good idea to go for setups that either avoid Shoryuken or bait it out, or bait out teleport and give you enough time to catch it. Throwing out the occasional non-cross up, or cross-up normal can be useful if you’ve gotten in his head at all. It’s important to note that Akuma can cancel ANY normal (save for sweep thanks to ULTRAs changes) into his Super or U1 and most players have setups specifically designed to catch you in one of these devastating moves. His demon flip with palm follow up allows him to land right next to you with no recovery and is a big factor in setting up either the Super or U1. If Akuma has the meter, you also have to worry about things such as punishing a whiffed normal (like the second hit of far st.HK when crouch blocked). Doing a Burning Kick also sets you up for a cr.MK cancelled into his Super or U1.
Wanted to post these two videos from FRXVI to showcase specifically how Wolfkrone took his knowledge from seeing Latif play Infiltration before him to try and use LP Thunder Knuckle and close st. HK in the matchup to decent effect before Infiltration adapted again.
Balrog: Health 1050, Stun 1000
Balrog is regarded as having some of the best normals in the game. His 3 frame cr.LP alone causes problems for many characters trying to put pressure on him, not only interrupting them, but leading to devastating combos. The combination of quick, far-reaching normals and the speedy horizontal movement of his special attacks make him a punishment machine, able to make you lament any mistake. Being a “charge character”, players that use him learn to be patient and maintain a strong defense. This allows them to maintain a charge, wait for you to make a mistake, or sit on a life lead. His Turn Punch gives him a way out of zoning, along with some of his EX special moves gaining super armor properties. The dual nature of his playstyle, being able to rush down one second and extremely defensive the next, can be very hard to deal with if you don’t know what to look out for.
-Can punish many moves other characters might not be able to
-Execution isn’t very demanding beyond good timing
-Deals good damage
-Becomes very strong with the use of meter
-Excelent normals including anti-airs and jump ins
-Is comfortable playing offensively and defensively
-Slightly above average health
-Must have a charge stored to do special moves
-Wakeup options are limited
-Some specials can be grabbed
-Lacks a high damage combo to Ultra although it provides good postioning
Characters with a strong set of normals can be troublesome for Viper, and Balrog is no exception. The relatively slow startup of her normals and specials make her ripe for counter hits and frame traps. Being inside sweep range can be downright dangerous, and throwing out random special attacks will get you beat REAL quick, so it’s important to learn the tendencies of Balrog players, make good predictions, and make any kind of punish opportunity count. Cross-up heavy rushdown can be a useful style against Balrog due to his charge requirements, however it’s important to be aware of his wakeup options (limited though they are), and again, 3 frame cr.LP. There are ways to deal with his special attacks in terms of beating them out, that will help greatly in this matchup. Keep in mind that all of his dashing punch style special attacks have a minimum of 13 frames of a dash for the LP Dash Straight all the way up to 51 frames for the HP and EX Dash Swing Blow, so beating them relies heavily on timing your attacks vs. his. Being at point blank range with Balrog stops his dash and does the attack automatically so spacing is also an issue.
Dash Straight - Balrog’s simple dashing punch. LP Thunder Knuckles are great at stopping these, as they go under the hitbox. The only problem is that if you just throw out LP Thunder Knuckles all day, Balrog only has to delay his Dash Straight to catch you in your recovery. As with many of Balrog’s dashing moves, certain heights of Burning Kick will also beat them out. Some players that predict a Dash Straight will super jump straight up and do a Burning Kick, putting you at just the right height to catch Balrog out of it. Alternatively, as with many other character’s moves, a properly timed EX Seismic Hammer will allow the punch to go through you, and pop Balrog up in the air for whatever follow up move you choose. EX version of this move gains super armor, giving more incentive to use LP Thunder Knuckle as a solution to break the armor. A quick normal with good range can be used to hit Balrog out of it’s startup, giving you a counter hit, though this can be difficult at certain ranges and against quicker versions.
Dash Upper - Most of the same rules apply here, but it’s important to be aware that this is a very useful move for Balrog, because the EX version allows him to link afterward, continuing his combo and dealing large amounts of stun. Keep this in mind when he has meter. At certain ranges, this move is better at hitting Viper out of Burning Kick as well. If this move is crouched with Viper, it will whiff completely giving you a (very small) window of opportunity to attack him. The recovery IS there, but the move comes out very quick so it’s important to have quick reactions when punishing it.
Dash Low Straight - Besides being similar to the other dash punch moves in its start up, it differs from them by being a low attack, and having the most active frames (8f). The start up is slower which allows you to see it coming and block accordingly. It can still be difficult to block when under pressure however, so it might be a good idea to just block low by default, and react to the Dash Swing Blow which has even slower startup. The low hitbox on this move means it can be beaten by even regular LK Burning Kicks and overheads. All versions of this move EXCEPT EX are punishable by reversal U1 and reversal HP Emergency Combination.
Dash Swing Blow** - The slowest startup of all the dash punches, but must be blocked high. MP and HP versions are slightly punishable on block at -6 and -8, although it can be difficult to determine the strength of the move in the middle of a match. Both HP and EX version gives Balrog 10 frames of advantage on hit allowing him to link afterwards, so it’s very important to recognize this move and block it properly. Breaks armor.
Dash Low Smash - Similar to Dash Low Straight as far as frames go, but can be blocked high or low. Mostly used to move the opponent closer to the corner as it knocks down somewhat far away from Balrog. This move also breaks armor.
Buffalo Head - The closest thing Balrog has to a decent reversal, without having to rely on meter for super armor. LP version has 8 frames of startup so safejump away. After a blocked or whiffed headbutt you have the time to punish with anything and everything so hit him hard. FFF combos on his recovery will help immensely in this matchup as such a strong combo may give you the all-important life lead. Standing next to him as he wakes up and throwing a cr.LK will lower you enough to not get hit by any of the headbutts except the EX version. If you get hit with this move, there’s a good chance you’re going to get U1’ed so be especially careful when he has revenge meter. Each version has 11 active frames so trying to use EX Seismic Hammer against this move unless on his way down might not be a good idea at close range.
Turn Punch - This move can be dangerous for Viper, almost in the same way Viper’s EX Seismic Hammer can be dangerous for every other character. The invincibility frames can be used to avoid attacks and put the hurt on his opponent. Trying to zone with Seismic Hammers at full screen will almost certainly get Turn Punched but remember the charge time also determines the distance he travels. Use this knowledge to predict when you should feint your Seismic Hammer to bait out the Turn Punch. Wether or not Balrog can be punished for this move is heavily dependant on the level of charge and the distance at which you blocked it.
Good Balrogs know Viper’s main weaknesses and will exploit them to no end. It’s the Viper players job to downplay these weaknesses, while at the same time exposing Balrog for his. Staying out of his jab range (while also being aware of his sweep and focus range) is crucial as it can be abused, setting up frame traps, tick throws, or just keeping pressure. Know the proper spacing for Burning Kicks, as smart Balrogs will simply focus attack them, anti-air with cr.HP, or use any myriad of air-to-air normal. Use his need for a back charge against him by crossing him up often, and again, its VERY important to bait and punish Buffalo Head. when trying to anti-air Balrog with HP Thunder Knuckle it’s imperative to be ready to do a trade follow-up. Many of his aerial normals will trade with HP Thunder Knuckle, and it can be a good opportunity to get a little extra damage. The importance of grabbing during his dash punches can not be stressed enough. Again, take advantage of the dash time on most of his specials and fish for counter hits with good normals like cr.MK, but be careful of the super armor on EX moves.
The strongest advantage you have in this matchup is being able to put wakeup pressure on him, so try to make every knockdown count. Meaty hits will stop cr.LP mashers, safe-jumps will stop reversal Buffalo Head, EX dash punches can be grabbed, etc. His U1 is rarely seen outside of combos unless used to punish, and automatically sends you to the corner putting him in excellent postion to abuse his better normals. His most important ULTRA changes are basically the universal ones. Delayed wakeup gives him an opportunity to throw off his opponents oki game, and red focus allows the possibility for squeezing out more damage during a combo.
The perils of Balrogs normals… Notice the close range that PR Rog likes to keep.
Good solid play from Jayce here but PR Balrog knows this matchup very well.
This is what can happen when Viper makes a Balrog too scared to abuse his normals. Jebaily does well here, but gives Latif just a little too much respect. Also pay attention to the range Latif stays at.
An OS for headbutt though just punishing it may yield more damage.
Blanka: Health 1000, Stun 950
Ugh, Blanka. What can be said about him that hasn’t been said a thousand times? His mobility throws traditional defensive strategies out the window. His defensive game, can be outright frustrating. Blanka’s normal attacks are really the foundation that make him a solid character. None of them are incredibly fast outside of far st.LP, but generally the hitboxes on them and on his specials are so good, he can hit you out of almost anything. His specials are good for stopping other characters’ momentum but some can be punished easily. His combo’s arent flashy but do respectable damage, and his mixup game is quite strong, but not on the level of C.Viper or El Fuerte. Wrap all this up with 2 very strong and useful Ultras and he becomes a very frustrating matchup indeed. All that said, he does take tremendous skill to use at high levels.
-Very fast jump with a great attacking arc
-Great anti-fireball game with slide, coward’s crouch, ex horizontal ball, and U2
-Great anti-air options
-Good footsie normals
-Lots of + frames on blocked electricity
-4 frame U1 which allows for meter free combos to ultra and the ability to punish heavily
-Builds meter well
-Lots of ambiguous mixups and gimmicks
-Fast focus attack
-Slightly below average stun
-Low damage output without a jump in, ultra, or super which hurts his comeback potential
-Horiztonal and vertical balls are very punishable on both hit and block
-Reversals can easily be option selected against
-Hard to break opponents defenses safely
-Must use EX meter for invincible reversal
The problem with the Blanka matchup for Viper is that, while Blanka may be a nuisance for other characters to play, he can be just that much worse to Viper due to her inherent weaknesses. His footsie game can shut many of her options down. His far st.HK can beat Burning Kicks, his far st.LP can poke you and interrupt pressure, his d/f HK slide goes under Thunder Knuckles and can beat EX Seismic Hammer, just to name a few. Viper can punish some of his moves that other characters might have trouble with, but good Blanka players know this and won’t throw out random specials. Her slower normals and special make his hop tough to deal with, and his reversals are great at stopping any less than airtight oki Viper throws out. That, and a Super, U1, and U2 that do nearly 500 damage each, can make getting hit by Blanka the stuff of nightmares.
Rolling Attack - If a Blanka does this to you at random, it probably means he doesn’t know the matchup very well. Block these and you get a free punish with reversal MP or HP Seismic Hammer (EX doesn’t have to be reversal’ed). If you want to hit him out of it, cr.MP, cr.HP, and far st.MK work well to stuff these if you see them coming. Burning Kicks can beat it but it’s quite hard to time them. Alternatively, a neutral jump HK or jump back HK can beat them out pretty easily. Be cautious of the LP version as it stops short, and is often used to set up grabs or electricity. Learn to spot when this is being used to cross you up on your wakeup, or in the corner to start shenanigans.
Backstep Roll** - Again if you block this move, it’s fairly easy to punish. Certain angles might let you HP Thunder Knuckle after, or MP Thunder Knuckle. Seismic Hammer works as well because he does have a small recovery window as he lands. The real news is that EX Thunder Knuckle can punish any version of a blocked Backstep Roll. If you want to stop it before it even hits you, close st.MK can kick him out of it, even the EX one, but the timing and angle need to be good. It can also be anti-aired with HP Thunder Knuckle but often will trade with no follow-up available, because it knocks you down. Can also be focused to avoid worrying about a cross-up.
Vertical Rol**l - This can be troublesome for the Burning Kick happy Viper player. Each version starts in 4 frames, and works as an excellent anti-air. Much like Rolling Attack, Seismic Hammers are usually the weapon of choice for punishing a blocked Vertical Roll. If one whiffs, he does have a bit of landing recovery but it may just be easier to hit him while he’s still in the air. If you’re feeling particularly stylish and you manage to get a whiffed Vertical Roll, you may be able to punish with an EX Thunder Knuckle, sometimes getting only one hit (if you catch him with his feet pointed down), allowing you to juggle into U1 or something else.
**Electric Thunder **- Look out for these at the end of block strings or after he performs hops. Normal versions can be beat out easily enough by an overhead or properly spaced cr.LK, cr.MK, cr.HK, or Seismic Hammer. Can also be used as an anti-air. With the EX version, overhead will trade in Blanka’s favor, but cr.LK, cr.MK, and cr.HK all still work. EX version has become much more useful since Arcade Edition as it starts up in 5 frames, so it’s also a decent reversal. EX version is also very good for chip damage.
As Viper, you almost have to break down Blankas gameplan into different sections as you approach this matchup. What will Blanka likely do at full screen? What might he do at point blank? Knowing his best options will help steer you towards making better decisions, or anticipating the all important punish. Specifically look out for his go-tos like slide (16 active frames makes it hard but not impossible to hit with EX Seismo, if done at close range focus is a good option, or just block and punish at -11 frames on block), hop (can be hit out of the first and last few frames, cr.lp, cr.mp, cr.hp depending on your comfort level), and any reversal he may throw (punish).
On his wakeup, it’s generally not a good idea to do any kind of non safe-jumped attack as his Vertical Roll starts in 4 frames, has a deceptively good hitbox, and auto-corrects easily. Be fully aware of how much meter Blanka has, both EX and revenge, this may tip you off to an EX Backstep Roll or EX Electric Thunder on wakeup, or depending on the level of respect your opponent shows, a wakeup Ultra. Essentially learning how to deal with Blanka’s specials is a main factor of learning the matchup, but having solid Street Fighter fundamentals will help seal the deal. Blankas goal may be to throw you off your defensive game by hopping around and grabbing you so knowing how to tech grabs is helpful. Same thing with footsies, not every Blanka is going to go for the standard mix-ups or random special moves. Know your normals, and look out for counter hits as they give you opportunities for extra damage in a matchup where a life lead can really be helpful. Also keep in mind his charge character nature, use overhead if you know he may be holding down + back at a given moment.
IMPORTANT NOTE: Blankas falling hitbox is strange, it may be difficult for instance to land Burst Time on him as he is falling. Keep this in mind if you don’t want to risk getting punished for a missed Ultra.
Chun - Li