Utilizing Focus Attacks

I used the search function but not one the topics addressed what I will be asking toward the end of my writing. So I have finally started to get into SSFIV. I didnt play Vanilla just because I was enjoyed the mechanics of games like HDR, Capcom VS Snk2, etc. But I have put aside those issues and decided to learn the darn game and treat it differently.

I am not a great player by any means but I do think I am pretty smart in recognizing what is going on. So like a coach I know what takes to beat, say a great player but actually doing it is another. Dont we all :sad: What I have noticed is, as I play better competition, they truly utilize focus attacks. I understand there are 3 levels. The first is to basically absorb projectiles, maybe attacks (correct me if I am wrong) which also allow you to gain your ultra meter faster. The second allows you to stun your opponent so you can follow up with another attack and the third is an unblockable attack which allows you to come up with a big combo to inflict damage on your opponent. The first and third FA I understand how and why you would use them. How does a person get out of the 2nd level focus attack?

My next question is, do all focus attacks come out at the same speed and do all focus attacks have the same range. I use Dhalsim and it seems when I go to use my focus attacks…wait I dont use my focus attacks because they seem to come out very slow compared to when my opponents use theirs, say Chun Li, Cammy, Ryu, Ken, etc.

Any help to this would be great. And now that I have figured out that training mode is pretty sweet in this game maybe I can toy around with this but until then any feedback would be greatly appreciated.

Firstly, all FAs absorb one non-armor breaking hit. Thus its called Focus Armor
Secondly, 2nd level focus attacks crumble a opponent when hit, 1st level FA crumbles if it was a counter-hit, 3rd Level is unblockable crumble
Lastly, Ya everybodies Focus Attack has different range and speed

VesperArcade’s YouTube channel has some good stuff on focus attacks. He starts talking about it at around Chapter 6.

Well your first part doesnt make any sense to me but that is okay I just need to keep reading and watching. Thank you for acknowledging though that everybody has different range and speeds. That now makes sense to me.

Thanks man. I will check it out.

Sim’s focus is pretty bad actually, I believe its punishable negative frames on a level 2 on block if you dash either way. I wouldn’t recommend really using that unless to focus a slow move and dash back to create some space.

He is referring to the official game term for what happens when you use focus attack to absorb a non armor-breaking move. Basically, when you activate Focus Attack, you gain “Focus Armor”, which basically is what he mentioned. Its pretty much one level of defense that can absorb/nullify one non armor-breaking move. An armor breaking move is a move that, well, can BREAK focus armor (use the command list and look for abilities that have a lightning bolt next to them).
The Lv2 Focus attack can be blocked, and if it is not blocked, will crumple (you will fall to the ground, on your knees). The Lv3 Focus cant be blocked at all, which im sure you know.

Also, it is worth noting that Lv1 Focus attacks will leave you at NEGATIVE FRAMES when you perform them, whether or not it is hit or blocked. So get into the habit of dashing away from poorly used Focus attacks.

Yeah the light is flickering now. I watched the tutorial the one gentleman posted and it’s starting to click now. The wheels are turning. I guess once I finally made the conscious effort to learn this game and stop comparing it to other fighting games it has made the process easier. I still need to learn how to stop the repetitive use of jabs and short kicks from my opponents and how to stop the throwing but that is another topic and another day of learning.

Thanks for all the help guys. I can see my Sim leveling up big time.

In Vanilla SF4, Sim’s AA were b+hk and b+mp, should be the same… can’t give much advice but I think knowing this should help you out alot… you should already have good footsies and zoning skills to begin with…

Focus attacks absorb only a single hit until it’s released. They all attack at the same speed once you release the button or hit level 3. Level 3 is different, it’ll absorb a hit even when it’s attacking. It’s called crumpling when they hit and make the opponent comboable. Level 1 crumples on counterhit(when you get hit in starting animation of an attack), Level 2 crumples on unguarded hit, Level 3 crumples always.

You can dash either way whilst charging a FA, making them fairly safe to use at times, and you can dash cancel them on hit as well. Level 1 is quite good as just a punisher when they use an unsafe attack where you can just absorb an attack and hit them, say for a bad example you can FA against guile’s sweep for some weak damage. Level 2, is good for baiting out attacks such as reversals as crouching to standing leaves you slightly less vulnerable, making things whiff when you’re standing, that would’ve hit while you were crouching. Level 3 is fairly impractical, only if they’re dumbfounded or just not paying attention will it hit.

DO NOT try to use this on wakeup, unless you have godlike range on your FA, it’s rather stupid as they can just backdash out of it and you just wasted your wakeup game, and if you have the desire to dash forward to counter their possible backdash… well congratulations the guessing game is now in their favour and you better hope you had a good read on them.

The usefulness of your FA depends on the range it hits, and your dash speeds. Dhalsim’s FA sucks with bad dashes and okay range, i’m no sim player so they may use FA at some point, maybe to absorb a fireball or something. Fei-Longs is awesome, huge range, awesome dashes.

Sorry. I was speaking for Cammy, my bad.

Don’t worry, most FAs do leave you in - Frames

Thanks man that actually explained a lot for me. I know you said getting hit with a level 3 is impractical but if what you said is true, in that some focus attacks come out faster than others, wouldnt getting hit by a level 3 be more probable? I ask because I was playing a Bison who got me in the corner and somehow after getting knocked down and jumping back I got smacked by it.

Anyhow I played around with it and found some success but Dhalsim’s sure is slow. I just need to familarize myself with his gameplay and keep working at it.

Again thanks for all the responses.