[USF4] I feel cheated


Hey there,

I started to play fightning games “seriously” some months ago and managed to reach a decent level on SFxT (10’000 BP) and on TTT2 (Destroyer). I know those are online achievements and are not truly representative of skill but there is no fightning game community in my country. When USF4 came out, I decided to start playing the SF4 serie again and mained Cody. However, I’ve never been so frustrated by playing a video game. Among all the fightning games I’ve played, this game felt the most infuriating for a certain number of reasons:

  1. The amount of situations where luck is involved is unreal. For example, I block a Ryu’s HK Tatsu standing. At the end of it, he can either throw or DP FADC. If he throws, I can tech or backdash. However, I don’t think it’s possible to whiff punish his missed throw attempt after a backdash with Cody. If he DPs, my only option is to block, as Cody’y backdash is not good enough to make it whiff. A simple risk quantification shows that Ryu loses nothing by doing this. Another example is Adon’s Jaguar’s tooth followed by a throw or a DP. In SFxT, both alpha counters and the possibility of rolling help immensely.

  2. This game feels very unbalanced. I know I shouldn’t care too much about balance at my level and focus on my own mistakes, but I really feel weak in USF4. My characters is Cody and winning against Chun-Li, Ibuki, Guile, C.Viper. T. Hawk etc. seems extremely hard. As soon as I’m knocked down, my chances of wining decrease significantly as my wake-up options are heavily unsafe and require meter. I feel that the tiers in SFxT and TTT2 are much more condensed than in SF4.

  3. Reversals seem very strong. I know they are very unsafe and I always try to maximize my damage when I make them whiff one, but I feel that the simple fact of having a DP is enough to win games. For example, against Ryu, I always start my first string by cr.LP, cr.LP and block to see if they mash DP. However, this often seems counterproductive as I lose momentum if they don’t DP. Also, sometimes, people never learn and even when I punish 2 DP, they get me with the third one and kill me with FADC ultra. If I play very safe and never leave gaps in my strings, all my offense is smashed into smithereens because my best tools (st.HP into cr.HP, cr.LP into cr.HP, etc.) are gone.

  4. The characters intrinsic properties outshadow general fundamentals. In TTT2, characters are very different, but they basically have kicks and punches. In SF4, every character have special moves that make the match-up against them completeley unorthodox (e.g. El Fuerte, Dhalsim, Blanka, etc.).

I don’t like to complain and I know that everything I wrote here is probably false, but this is the first time I feel “cheated” when I lose in a fightning game. In TTT2, I know that I could’ve ducked that EWGF, block that perfecty seeable Snake Edge, etc. In this game, I feel that I will be forced to play a top tier character, which is a shame because I’ve always been a loyalist :frowning: I would be very thankful if someone could tell me why I’m wrong and how I can overpass this paradigm.


SF4 is a game that loudly screams “you suck!” to beginners. You will hate this game, oh boy, trust me, you will. But give it time, it’s gonna be worth it.

  1. The mixup you posted is not an actual mixup, but a gimmick and that’s for two reasons. First, you should NEVER put yourself in a situation like blocking a whole tatsu: that move only hits high, so if you crouch it, you’re gonna duck it.

Second, even if you do put yourself in that situation, you can actually option select a throw tech and a block: block for a few frames in case the opponent decides to dp, and then tech the throw, since the tech window is 7 frames. This way you cover both options, even if the timing is a bit strict.

Also when you block Adon’s JK, you can usually backdash into safety and avoid the mixup completely (backdashes have some frames of invincibility in case you didn’t know).

  1. The fact that certain characters are weak on wakeup doesn’t make the game unbalanced. You’re right, Cody sucks on wakeup but he is a tank when played offensively. Some of the characters you said you have trouble with actually aren’t very good at all, you just seem to lack the matchup experience.

Overall, the game is well balanced but that’s just at the highest levels. At low levels, where players do a lot of mistakes and lack the matchup knowledge, the game does feel unfair since some tactics are just there to abuse your lack of patience/knowledge. It’s a matter of experience, and with time you’ll realize that, for example, while Chun-li is very strong on the ground, she completely lacks an AA at certain ranges and her reversals suck if you know how to make her lose her charge.

Also, if defence is not your strong quality as a player, then maybe Cody isn’t for you? Just saying.

  1. That’s a common complaint from beginners. You just have to know how to bait them, find the range where the opponent’s reversal would whiff and attack from there, just be careful not to be overdefensive because if the opponent sees you’re baiting, he’s obviously not gonna reversal and you completely lose your offensive momentum. Again, it’s a matter of experience.

  2. Yeah some characters like El fuerte, Blanka, Dhalsim are all very unorthodox and require a lot of matchup experience. They all pretty much suck at high levels, but they seem specifically designed to frustrate beginners.

Sorry if this isn’t of much help, but really, the only way to overcome most of these problems is to keep playing and playing. However… if you feel like you don’t enjoy what you’re playing, you can always go back to other fighting games, the ones you listed are very good games especially tekken. Play what you like!


To me it seems unfamiliarity with the game and matchups above anything else that is making you feel the game is unfairly balanced. I have to add though that Cody although a great beginner character that teaches you alot about the game…is not a character that you can win with as easily as say with a shoto…like Ryu. Cody doesn’t really have gimmicks or very straightforward answers and mostly you’ll need to deal with the mixups by blocking.

Cody teaches you a strong defense as one of the first things, if you are bad defensively…you’ll get undoubtedly better, it’s something you’ll take with you once you use other characters.

1.Block/duck a tatsu low and punish with a cr.hp or sweep. Never block this move standing.
If you’ll block standing keep in mind that no tatsu is + advantage on block, so you’ll beat any normal of his once you do a cr.lk, however if he decides to do a dp than you’ll lose.
If you want to challenge, then do an EX Zonk as it will allow you to punish medium DP because EX zonk goes through you. It also beats throws. It does cost you 3 meter to make it “safe” though.
Best is to delay tech in this situationn, or just block. If Ryu does a dp fadc, you can punish him if he dashes forward with a throw or if you are fast with a cr.lp into full combo.

  1. Cody is bad against character that have good pokes in combination with a good walkspeed, and is also bad against heavy mixup characters. Grapplers he can keep out.
    Character with good walkspeed and pokes you’ll have to find out which pokes the’ll like to use and counterpoke those moves. In Chun-li her case if she like’s doin a sweep, focus from a range you’ll think she’ll do it and lvl2 crumple her or dash forward and punish with combo. her far mp is annoying but you’r f.mp has enough forward movement and active frames to deal with it. Use it from the range Chun-li will do it, best to use it after she does the poke, this way you might get a punish and at worst you are back in her face to apply pressure.
    Her cr.hp is fast and far range but has a high hitbox, you might want to try cr.lk or even a sweep as a whiff punish, however generally they are out of range or too slow. cr.mk is you friend to use against this move, perfect answer.

Mixup character you’ll just have to block, be aware of their setup and try to practice these setup in trainin. Cody doesnt have the answer alot of other characters have against Ibuki like focus dashing out or a sbackdash, or teleport etc. He has to block it. Best is to try to beat them i the neutral game. You can use your reversals after you have blocked a kunai or mixup if their blockstring isn’t tiht enough. Also do a Delayed Wakup, if they dont react to the technical message you can actually punish ibuki her kunai crossup.

As for Viper, focus attacks are nice against a burn kick but a cr.mk low profiles it, allowing you to apply pressure or even punish them in their recovery.

Guile you should do safejumps and crossups against on knockdown to take away his charge. If they walk forward after a sonic boom and want to press a poke, try a cr.lk cancelled into a criminal upper after a blocked sonic boom. If his blockstring isn’t tight you’ll counterhit him. You will absolutely ahve to risk an EX Ruffian at some point if you are losing, don’t use it too close because then you’ll get hit out of ex ruffian by the sonic boom. You can actually compete with Guile in the projectile war with bad stones, do it, however watch ou when he has an EX bar for ex sonic boom. Try to neutral jump or forward jump when you see the chance, this way he has to wait before the sonic boom is of the screen to throw another, and this way he can build meter less fast. You can focus early on if you want the Ultra meter for U2. It is really difficult to use U2 on reaction against a sonic boom but it might help to stop Guile be less liberall with throwing sonic booms.

3.Yeah dp’s are very annoying to deal with for a character like Cody, all i can say if you are in the lead don’t pressure them. If they have don’t have enough meter to fadc you can take a risk as one dp doesn’t lead to anything too damaging. if you are reset them in the are you might want to jump immediately over them again, this will make alot of dp’s whiff, it is a bit of a gimmick though. Be aware of untrue blockstring from shoto’s their cr.mk xx hadoken, you can zonk through that or even U2. There are specific setup which allow you to make a DP whiff when you crossup, for instance using a forward hp. I suggest really looking at their meter and apply pressure accordingly, also take their habits into account. If you are in the life lead don’t take unneeded risks unles you see a clear opening play the neutral, hold zonk ALOT(hp preferrably).

If you get a jump in, try to hit it deep, same goes for a crossup mk, try to hit it deep as your followup attacks will be a tree blockstring, i almost never use a cl.hp after any jump in unless i know for sure they don’t have an invincible(reliable) reversal or it is a punish. Otherwise i’ll do a cr.lp. A cl.mp after a fj.mk allows for nic frame advantage however you might get stand thrown or dp’d out if the j.mk wans’t deep enough. Alot of characters with dp’s do a dp immediately after a blocked jump in. Be aware of that.

As for setups go into the Cody forums.

Most people who play USFIV know how to play the game decently, there are almost no beginner anymore so for someone trying their hands for the irst time at SFIV it can get really really frustrating. Look up replays of say Sasaki(Dmn3rd and Momochi) against characters that YOU have problems against and see how they del with it.

Hope you’ll stick with :slight_smile:


The first few issues you’ll overcome with practice, just keep at it. Though I definitely agree on the complaint about unorthodox characters. Sometimes I feel like I’m being penalized for not jumping and for trying to stay grounded. You have some characters that just jump around like idiots, make your AA’s trade, throw out random focus attacks, and just completely neglect fundamentals.

There definitely exists a portion of the roster that I’d eliminate permanently.


Thanks a lot for your precious advices ! I read everything carefully and managed to reach the C+ rank in one session ! I still need to learn my own character more in depth before thinking about match-ups, but I will try to at least become good against Ryu/Decapre/Blanka, which are the 3 characters I meet the most.

Thanks again for your very accurate answers !


I’m in a similar boat right now. I played SFxT a whole lot, and decided to pick up SF4 again once Ultra came out. However, I haven’t played the game in about 2 years before that, and it showed…big time. I had to basically relearn the entire game, and unlearn what I thought I knew.

After literally getting back in the game for a little bit, I realized that this is a game that puts a heavy focus on being patient and very precise with your executions (especially since I’m trying to get used to Poison’s new incarnation after SFxT). However, playing this game with my character of choice is also helping to sharpen up my execution dramatically, making me a better player in the long run.

Ultra is it’s own game, and while it has it’s shortcomings like any other game, it’s uniqueness also makes it a really fun one too, win or lose. Keep up the good work!


I really don’t like the fact that ULTRA meter is obtained by taking damage, because this basically allow the player that did mistakes to comeback into the game. This makes certain character’s plain dumb to me (e.g. Gouken throw into ultra, Makoto command grab into ultra, Rose’s U2, T.Hawk fake condor spire into U2, etc.). Is it even possible to distinguish between a fake Blanka Ball/Condor Spire and a real one (by fake, I mean short distance into throw) ? Anyway, I have some questions about Cody. I know I should ask them in the corresponding forum, but you seem to know a lot about him :stuck_out_tongue:

  1. Is there a specific timing to zonk through cr.MK xx Hadouken ? Is it distance-dependent ?
  2. Any specific tricks to Zonk FADC U1 in the 1P side ? I can’t do the qcf qcf motions fast enough on this side, is it maybe possible to buffer the input or something ?
  3. Is it possible to hit-confirm CH f+MP into U2 ?

Thanks in advance!


Ultra meter being obtained by taking damage is bad, we all know, but with time you’ll get used to it. Just be careful not to attack the opponent on wakeup when he has ultra.

Gouken’s throw into ultra is not a strong tactic by any means, that throw has a much larger tech window and it’s rather easy to avoid.

Makoto’s command grab into ultra is basically the only thing that makes her strong, because if the opponent wasn’t so scared of being grabbed, he wouldn’t try to jump away, which is what makes him vulnerable to her frametraps. So it’s not the ultra per-se that’s strong, but rather the fear factor it creates. Again… with time, you’ll learn how to avoid that setup.

About Blanka’s and T.Hawk’s “fake” setups, I’d say it’s more a matter of not being in the range where that setup would work rather than reacting to it. Find that range and space yourself correctly.

For the Cody stuff… I’m not terribly knowledgeable with him, so I can’t help you, but it seems to me like you’re already trying to do some advanced stuff and I wouldn’t recommend that. Stick with the basics first, then you’ll eventually proceed with various FADCs and counter hit setups.


this game does involve quite a bit of guessing depending on your character. but the trick is making more educated guesses as you get more familiar to the specific situations.
at this point there are so many characters that there’s a ton of knowledge you need to know so it’s not very beginner friendly from a match up stand point.

i will say this though. you should really start consulting frame data more when you have specific situations you are unsure about.

for example, in your question about blocked ryu hk tatsu.
if you check, he is -2 after you block this.
that means as cody, if you do cr.lk right away you will beat everything he does other than dp.
if you block dp and he does fadc forward. he is -5 and you can punish.
the hard part is this situation happens very fast in game. and if you do your cr.lk even 1 or 2 frames late, you will get thrown. which makes it very hard online.
but this game is balanced around offline play which is part of the reason people don’t take online seriously.
as someone already mentioned though, your best option is just to duck it and whiff punish.

another example is your question about cody f+mp counter hit into u2. this frame math is a little more advanced but basically:
f+mp is +6 on hit. counter hit adds +3 (it’s always +3 other than light attacks which are +1 i think). that makes it +9.
u2 starts up in 7 frames. that gives you 3 frames of leeway on the link (1st active frame = last start up frame)
f+mp has 3 active frames and 12 recovery frames. that means if it hits on active frame 1, you have 2 active frames + 12 recovery frames + 3 frames (from the above leeway) to visually confirm and do the link.
so the question is can you hit confirm in 17 frames? (i think it’s actually easier than 17 frames in real life as the game sort of slows down when hits occur for dramatic effect)
what i would do for this is to fish for the ch f.mp and buffer the ultra as you wait for the counter hit message. then just hit the buttons if you see it pop up. it’s actually really slow and i do it too early most of the time.
you’re going to have to check though as i’m not sure this works on every character? like for example i can do this really easy on ryu but i can never land it on crouching dudley.

as for your other two cody questions:

  1. it is spacing dependent. you can only do this at far distance because ryu cr.mk xx fireball is a true block string when it’s closer. when it’s farther though, you just let go of the zonk after the block stun from the cr.mk is done. this is the reason you can’t zonk e.ryu cr.mk xx fireball because it’s always true block string.

  2. most people don’t use any trick. you just dash up and do the motion really quick. with practice it becomes easier.
    i can give you one big tip if you really need it though. 2 x qcf motions in this game have a shortcut. it is that you only have to do d, df, d, df, f. you don’t actually have to do the whole qcf on the first one. just mash the corner and then make sure the 2nd one is clean and ends in forward.

hope that helps :slight_smile: