A Game-Changing Combo System Suggestion


The game currently has moments when some of the basics of the combo system are broken.

  • Manuals are supposed to be difficult to break, yet a manual after an opener can be mash-broken.
  • Throws after a wallsplat can be defended against by an option select that auto-techs if thrown, while allowing a block if NOT thrown.
  • First frame Mash breaking :angry:
  • Guess mashing for break / tech during stagger
  • Guess mashing for break after getting hit by a projectile.


Let a character be able to get timing locked out AT ANY POINT OF HIT STUN.

  • I know it sounds goofy, but keep in mind that im not suggesting a 100% worked out idea, its just a suggestion.
    -This would fix some issues by allowing a character to be locked out for attempting to mash during a part of the combo that is not breakable, including openers, wallsplats, staggers, ect… All of the above would be fixed instantly.
  • Getting broken is a HUGE disadvantage for some characters, while being easy for others to deal with, So this would also auto-balance the entire roster slightly by punishing mash breaking.

Please give some feedback on this idea, while keeping in mind that this is a NEW idea, so im not suggesting it be added instantly as-is. I really think this would be a great change for KI, even if a version different than the one i suggested had to be used.

Two issues i can see:

  • It would be extremely confusing and frustrating for new players, but then again… EVERYTHING in a fighting game is that way… so it makes sense. People coming from other fighting games would have no problem, though, as they are used to not pressing anything after getting hit.
  • It could cause accidents where a player attempts a throw, but gets locked out because a C.LP they didnt expect hit them 1 frame before. This could be avoided by only allowing a player to be locked out during an opener, stagger, projectile hit, or wallsplat, and NOT during any type of normal.

So… what do y’all think?

I don’t think first frame guess breaking is a problem. If you open someone up and you know he guess break at the first oportunity, do a linker, if he attempted a break, follow with a full combo.
Even if you don’t do a linker there’s still technicaly a 1/3 chance of sucesful break, if it was not the right strengh, full combo.

Then for the break after stager. Well yeah for most of the stager you can follow up with at least two strengh wich makes it a 1/2 chance (or 1/3), sure most of them are easy to break. But if your opponent is on point with these break and never miss this 1/2 chance, go for a reset. Even a simple low hit reset gets people quite often.

What i’m trying to say is that in any scenario the person that started a combo has the adventage wich make me think that making it even more difficult for the other person would be unfair.

Also you should always take a close look at ALL your options during any moment, even the dumbest action can lead to great idea.


First frame mash breaking is not an issue.

Delay your manual and get a free reset. Hell, as Sabrewulf I can actually just s.HK and I counter hit them into a stagger. They stop mashing real quick after that.

Or just let them risk a lockout that will net you a level 4 ender.


Opener into linker.
Opener into counter-breaker.
Opener into delayed manual or reset.

Yep, lots of solutions for dealing with guess-breaking, so this 1 at least is a non-issue.

What’s the OS after wall-splat? I didn’t know there was 1…

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When I saw the title I thought this was going to be something crazy. I’m relieved to see that it isn’t.

My short version is that locking out ANY time you are in hitstun is too extreme and would likely cause more problems than it fixes.

The first thing to consider is just how much of a problem “mash breaking” after opener really is. You’re suggestion is predicated on the fact that this is a BIG DEAL but I’m having a hard time understanding why. Granted, I agree that being broken is worse for some characters than others, from a spacing standpoint (arguably this is matchup dependent too). But “mashing break” still gets you locked out 2/3 of the time. I think a lot of people just remain philosophically opposed to getting broken rather than actually being hurt by guess breakers. We spend a lot of time (disproportionate in my opinion) trying to find solutions to combat what is very demonstrably sub optimal play (guess breaking). 99% of the playerbase would improve their game by not breaking so often (including me).

The other more philosophical issue is, how hard should breaking be? Manuals are indeed supposed to be harder to break. Ironically, high level play loves manuals for this reason but as a result of the tight timing manuals are ALWAYS guess breaks (or reads if you can pattern your opponent). So doesn’t the manual system encourage the guess breaking we all claim to hate? Why not eliminate manuals all together? I suspect the reason is that players, for whatever reason, realize that they are getting lockouts 2/3 of the time using manuals and recognize how good this is for them, despite the occasional first frame guess break. But for the record this is a much easier solution that would also force players to make better use of counterbreaks.

So what could allowing lockout during any hitstun do. Well, in addition to your above example where a normal cancelled to an opener could generate a lockout in anyone trying to throw (or mistiming a shadow counter or Instinct pop), any time someone is hit with a normal they could lock out, and then have it reset. If you think people hate the lockout-counter break-whiff punish scenario, think about all the lockout-reset-lockout-reset-block-punish type junk that would be possible with this change. People will be locking out all the time without knowing what the hell is going on. And of course you can counter break whenever you can be broken so get ready for counterbreakers that catch people before a combo even really starts.

I know you acknowledged that this would frustrate “beginners” but I think that’s an understatement. I don’t think making the game seem broken AF in order to fix a minor problem that annoys some high level players, mostly on a philosophical basis as evidenced by your little frowny face next to first frame guess breakers) is a good idea.

TL/DR this really comes down to how serious you think the problem of mash breaks and OS’s are and therefore how badly this needs fixing. I, personally, think the cure is worse than the disease - but it’s not at all unreasonable to think about it.


You forgot one thing OP: You need to get more active in this:

If someone is mash breaking, or assuming your opponnet doesn’t simply have a good read from expeirences or habits, throw a counter breaker out there, be unpredictable. etc, etc.


have you tried different strengths of manuals?

also @BigBadAndy has the right idea.

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I respectfully disagree.

There is nothing wrong with mash breaking in this game when players can easily work around it.


Nah, wouldn’t work out too well. Making some characters recover faster from combo breaks would probably be one of the easier solutions. Not to use my main as example but Kan-Ra has serious issues against a handful of the cast whenever he is broken. It’s something were learning to deal with, but have made just about no progress whatsoever.

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If I remember correctly, opener into linker will lockout first frame break attempts.

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I agree with @SonicDolphin117. Part of the mind games is to work around people guess breaking. I generally rotate manuals and such through out my combos. If I believe I person is guess breaking, I’ll just use heavies. It stops them pretty quick.

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How do you do this??

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Am I the only one who absolutely relishes the opportunity to fight a mash/guess breaker? They make things so easy it’s like fighting the AI.

Gives me plenty of opportunities to test out optimal lockout combos. :joy_cat:


How come? if you drop the combo close enough a throw will grab you out of HK.

About the topic

  • Throws after a wallsplat can be defended against by an option select that auto-techs if thrown, while allowing a block if NOT thrown.

If your opponent does this then just hit them after wallsplat, or even counterbreak them. The option select covers the throw and neutral jump.

  • Manuals are supposed to be difficult to break, yet a manual after an opener can be mash-broken.

True, and they are hard to counterbreak, specially online. People would break them a lot too, doesn’t mean they are easier to break but the players either have a read or they just don’t respect your manual game at all.

  • Guess mashing for break after getting hit by a projectile.

I think that’s a bug (eg: Mayas dagger which are unbreakable unless in combo).

People coming from other fighting games would have no problem, though, as they are used to not pressing anything after getting hit.

You can do that because it has no consequence, you can mash out just for boredom of being hit. The problem in KI is that that during the combo the game is still “active” and if you are happily pressing buttons because you are anxious you are going to get a lock out.

I still find the throwing game kind of hard in this game, and using the throw buffering in blockstun might get me a lock out when I think they are going to drop the combo and grab me =(

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Could someone please confirm this? I know for a fact that this isn’t true of some openers (jump-in->manual, for instance, or air-ORZ->manual). Not home for the week, so can’t lab it myself right now.

In the interim, however, even if true, opener->linker will shut this down 100% of the time.

This is merely a delayed-tech OS, and is possible to some extent in any situation where the window to tech a throw is greater than one frame (i.e. all techable throws in virtually all games). If your opponent does this, then simply neutral jump or do a delayed reset. The window you have to do a late tech is not reactable on its own, so if the opponent isn’t in blockstun he will try to throw (just a few frames later), and can totally be dunked for it.

This…really shouldn’t be an issue at anything above intermediate levels of play at best. The game has multiple ways to 100% obliterate this tactic, and most of them lead to like 40% damage minimum. Mash breaking is not a viable strategy, and hasn’t been for quite some time. :confused:

I know for a fact that it’s possible to get timing locked out on projectiles and projectile juggles. It happens often when fighting Maya, Jago, and Spinal. Try delaying your follow-ups or adding other trickery to such instances, or alternately, just counter

I dunno man, I feel like, as @BigBadAndy said, you’re kind of looking for a solution to generally suboptimal strategies. If people are mashing break, opener->linker them. If they are mashing after projectiles or during staggers, counterbreak or do resets instead. The only “good” defensive strategy you’re concerned with is delayed teching after wall splat, but even that can be beaten pretty efficiently by smart offense.

If some manuals after openers can’t generate timing lockouts then I think that should be addressed. The other instances you mention seem mostly like non-issues to me.


If you’re getting thrown out of your reset, then your reset timing is off. You are at advantage in this situation, and should be able to time your reset normal to be meaty and hit any button press (or throw) in start-up frames.

You have a window of some amount of frames in which to tech a throw after it hits you. By timing your throw techs to catch the last few frames of this window while also holding down+back, you create a situation where if they hit you meaty you will be stuck in block stun (and thus cannot throw/tech), while if they throw, your throw attempt catches the last few frames of the tech window and you tech the throw.

As I said above, this kind of thing is possible in any game where the throw tech window is longer than 1 frame (though obviously the longer the tech window, the easier it is to pull off). The OS absolutely has exploitable holes though, and the penalty for being wrong on it is generally pretty high in Killer Instinct.

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Is that buffering the throw?

Thanks for the feedback everyone.

This idea comes from watching PaulBs stream last night. There was a discussion about how sub-optimal play is bad, yet there is still an imbalance of HOW MUCH it is sub-optimal in certain MUs.

For example, In most of Sabrewulfs MUs, A successful guessbreak doesnt just lead to a broken combo, it also leads to another 30 seconds of getting zoned to death. In the situation where the break happens AS SOON as the match starts, defending requires a guess counterbreak. If guess breaking is considered “sub-optimal” then guess counterbreaking is a ridiculous idea, so any sensible player wouldnt do it. So, when you get guess broken as Sabre at the start of the match, you are forced AWAY from your opponent with no resources to get in again. At high level play, we know its not a guarantee they will guess break again. They probably did it ONLY because they knew it would be ok if it missed, while being SUPER DETRIMENTAL to Sabre if it worked. Its only a 33% chance it would work, but because of the matchup, the risk-reward became pretty much IN the opponents favor to guess break.

About the “start combos with a linker to avoid first frame breaks”: This is also a tactic that only stops noobs. Most of us can react to the pause between an opener and a manual, just as well as we can react to an opener and a linker (most linkers). If you see the pause, start mashing (LIGHT in most cases). If you see the linker, dont press anything.

Now, im not still trying to argue the case in the OP. I think there is enough evidence in this thread to say that it isnt a great idea anymore… but i still think that some form of it should be used. Maybe Have the first opportunity to break be moved up slightly. For example: In an opener->Manual scenario, Instead of only being able to break once the manual hits (which allows mashing), move the start of the window to IMMEDIATELY AFTER THE RECOVERY OF THE OPENER. You know that “pause” before a manual that most people can react to? It would allow the player to lock out during that time.

No, there’s a different option select that exists after a wall splat where you won’t whiff a throw tech at all. During a wall splat, there’s a huge input buffer that starts well before you can lock out.

If you press LK+LP right around the time when your character’s back is bouncing off of the wall, then hold down+back, you’ll tech the throw, or block the reset, and you won’t lock out.


I feel like your problem is more the combo breaking separation, which is character dependent. Perhaps the devs will adjust separation ranges in the future depending on how things play out.

In what scenario is it “ok” to lockout and not risky to wait until the right time?

Sabre vs Zoner.

In the head of the zoner:

  • My opponent will NOT counterbreak without a read… that is just stupid, so im safe from that.
  • If it works, I get the break, and immediately get the range advantage. (I also avoid any range advantage my opponent would set up for themselves, such as him putting me in the corner, and going for a reset after wallsplat)
  • If it FAILS, I loose about 30%. My opponent doesnt have any meter, so i wont get hit too hard. The fact that i am in the corner is bad, but that would have happened had i done nothing anyway (assuming they ware going for the typical 1-2 chance break). I am also in an advantageous MU, so if i start at a 30% health loss, im STILL in odds to win.