Allow me to Break the Ice - Tusk Combo Thread

Time for your daily recommended dosage of the German Suplex

Instinct juggles are pretty fun!


I like it.

I’ve thought of something like this, but I don’t have the execution for it lol.

Well let’s get this going properly then.

One of Tusk’s biggest strengths is that he can confirm off of a large number of his buttons thanks to the massive stagger some of them cause letting him easily open up opponents. Add on to the big damage they can do and it can lead into some rather nasty one chance breaks like this 44% opener-ender into throw.

44 opener ender

Or this 57% opener ender into throw.

57 Opener Ender

Or if you don’t like the stagger ender and want raw damage you can go for 61% one chance break.

61 percent one chance

Stagger combos like these help form the core of Tusk’s damage. Being so easy to break on his AD’s one chance breaks like these are useful.

The trick to this is that hitting with s.HP on a grounded opponent will be rare. Rarer still will be hitting with fwd.MP.

More commonly you’ll hit with s.MP (in the corner or with immortal spirit at close range) or c.MP.

cmp stagger

smp stagger

As you can see the damage is still very respectable even with the loss of damage and a bit of corner carry. Making these ideal for Tusk’s stagger and knockdown enders to set up for crossups, meatys, baiting wake ups, or simply backing out to mid range and forcing them to stay in the corner.

Once you’ve established this you can mess with the opponent a bit. If they start breaking it you can throw in a counterbreaker and delete their lifebar.


So to edit things from before.

Stagger combos are now breakable like manuals.

Some would say this is a nerf.


sniff Maybe.

But I have yet to meet the man who can nerf counterbreakers.

You can still do respectable triple combos such as s.HP->c.MP->c.HP (27%) or fwd.MP->s.HP->c.HP (33%) so don’t be afraid to use those.

Okay, so while in the lab practicing with Tusk, I’ve discovered something really rather unusual regarding him that makes him hard for me to adjust to: unlike other characters, I cannot chain into an opener for a combo when I hit my opponent with a standing MP or HP. Why is that? Every other character can do it, so why can’t he? Is there another way to combo into it, or is it literally just supposed to be a 1-hit wonder unless you nail the deflect timing?

Furthermore, I find that if I try to do an AD or manual after his qcf+K linker, I almost always drop the combo. I know I’m doing the inputs correctly, so why does that not work?

I’m confused and frustrated with Tusk, because his incredibly slow attacks don’t seem to flow as easily as with other characters, and for me so far, that’s a game-breaker.

The Medium and Heavy are purposely done because the deflect windows and the moves stagger on hit which gives him an opener situation. In Instinct, he’s able to special cancel like the cast from those buttons, however, I think it would have been too good to give him these special cancels considering how well those buttons are.

Watch the Tusk reveal stream for a more precise answer.

Tusk’s stagger buttons aren’t special cancelable.

But because they cause stagger, you can do manuals into a ton of different attacks, including shadows. You can start the combo from those instead.

Which attacks then? Everything I tried failed to come out. To me it looks like the stagger ends during the recovery of the MP/HP… Also, what about the linker situation I mentioned?

After a standing HP, you can link numerous attacks. They include: light skull splitter, shadow skull splitter, run -> shoulder, run -> slide, shadow run, cr.MP, st.MK (close range), st.HK (close range)… probably some others too.

These are links, not cancels, so you have to wait for Tusk to completely finish the st.HP swing. They aren’t tight links though, you should have no trouble getting them to combo.

The linker thing is just you dropping the input I’m afraid. There’s no special case or trick to know about it, keeping the combo going after shoulder linker is no different than any other combo in the game.

This, right here, is what I’ve been doing wrong. Interestingly enough, it also explains why I get locked out by him so much as well as explains those large gaps in his combos where I’ve felt like he should be dropping them (which is what would likely happen with just about anyone else with such a delay).

While we’re on the subject. Anyone had any success using manuals with Tusk?

Need to learn how to do that as the crowd I run with is far too comfortable breaking me on like the first couple frames of an AD. Naturally counterbreaking would be ideal but I obviously can’t rely on it.


I wanna talk a little bit about instinct juggle theory with tusk. Most of the time, what I’ve been seeing of instinct juggles is some manner of DP, air skull splitter, repeat until shadow DP for the cashout. This isn’t bad, as you can use all 3 versions of both moves in the juggle and the damage is pretty good, but I think we can do better.

The thing about this is it creates a fairly predictable timing for the combo, so even if the opponent has to guess between strengths, they’re not going to be thrown off on the timing all that much. If you’re willing to put the work in, you can vary the timing up a lot more.

The first obvious thing that comes to mind is that LP DP can be cancelled into grounded specials, opening up many more options for your combos. LP DP cancelled into LP skull splitter pops the opponent up pretty high and the hits are much faster in succession than doing DP > air skull splitter. Not only is the timing different, putting the opponent higher opens up more options for juggles. When the opponent is high up, LP DP can juggle into grounded MP and HP skull splitters as well, which can then lead into further grounded options. Command dash works well too, as there’s a variation in timing between juggling with shoulder and slide; shoulder has a higher hitbox than slide and can juggle from some things on the way up, while slide is low to the ground and can be used to catch the opponent right before they land. Also keep in mind that command dash can be cancelled at any point into any DP, just to make things even more confusing for your opponent.

You should also be mindful of your options to transition into juggles. A strong move is instinct cancelled 5HP, the stagger is long enough for pretty much any option that leads to a juggle. Unfortunately (or maybe fortunately for everyone else?) now that 5HP counts as an opener, his most damaging combo option afterward, 6MP, is extremely easy to break.

Since tusk lacks a launcher ender, your options to transition to a juggle from instinct cancelled 5HP are as follows:

Air skull splitter
Any DP
Command dash slide or overhead (for some reason in instinct these moves can be cancelled to DP without triggering the ender version)

Examining the options a little, each is pretty good. I’d say command dash overhead is the worst because its long startup makes it fairly reactable. Beyond that, there’s huge potential to vary the timing of the other options. Air skull splitter can be done immediately after a jump, late after a jump, or immediately after a jump after dashing forward. Air skull splitters technically do have visual variation between each of them, but they’re fast and the sword is often off the top of the screen, which makes reacting to the version used very difficult. Empty command dash puts them into range for DP, which means you actually do have a quick heavy option from command dash, making the overhead somewhat unnecessary. 2HP is his most damaging option; using this after 5HP is the only practical way to push the ender level to 3.

2HP itself is also a good way to get juggles going; if you AA with it, pop instinct and continue into your juggles from there. Like 5HP, you have the potential to dish out 50-60% with the juggle if you have a bar to cash it out.

When you’re already in instinct, a strong option for tusk is LP DP cancelled into command dash shoulder. This is safe on block and if you’re ready for it you can turn this into a juggle. Keep in mind though that if you’re already in instinct there’s a good chance that you don’t have that much instinct left, so your juggle may end up being short. If you don’t get to level 2 it’s your call whether it’s worth spending a stock of shadow to cash out the combo.

One problem with tusk’s instinct juggles is that the opponent isn’t pushed out very far by his DPs, which can make some moves whiff under them or past them when used outside of the corner.

If you start an instinct juggle when in the corner–say, from an instinct cancelled DP–you can actually use command dash to switch sides after landing from air skull splitter. It’s costly, burning chunks of instinct for positioning instead of damage, but worth it considering just how smothering tusk can be in the corner.

This is all a lot to think about in the heat of the moment, but I think a tusk player that can fully utilize all of his options in a juggle is going to end up being very scary. If you start a juggle from instinct cancelled 5HP you can easily push the combo up to over 50% damage for one shadow stock (over 65% if you get 2HP in there!) and if you vary your moves well enough it’s going to be extremely hard to break.


I like where you’re going with this, however:

Messing up the juggle is easy enough already due to what you’ve pointed out here, so I actually wouldn’t advise Tusk players to attempt getting cute with command dash. Since we only get so many cancels before our bar is gone I think it’s better to just fit as many strikes in as you can before the cashout. If you just wanna style, though, by all means.

I noticed you mention canceling LP DP into ground LP Splitter, which is cool, but what I think is more effective for shaking up the timing of attacks is using ground Splitter after an Air Splitter in the combo. This helps for a few reasons:

  • Changes the timing like you wanted
  • Able to use all 3 strengths (range dependant)
  • Deals more damage than Spirit followups
  • More cost-efficient for Instinct Meter
  • Allows Tusk to control the range of the combo to ensure following attacks will hit
  • Keeps Tusk grounded after an Air Splitter, allowing him to maximize the KV meter while maintaining ability to Shadow DP
  • Can follow up with Shadow DP

To elaborate on the last two bullets, sometimes Tusk will have to sacrifice damage by cashing out early in order to fit the Shadow move in where using one more move would leave us in the air (DP) so the cashout wouldn’t happen without either spending both bars or blowing out the combo.
Using grounded Skull Splitter during the juggle lets you mix up what you’re doing with less risk and lets you fill that KV meter as much as you can before cashing out.


  • LP DP xx j.LP Splitter xx LP DP xx j.LP Splitter xx LP DP xx j.LP Splitter xx Shadow DP - 34%
    The same combo with a grounded LP Splitter thrown in after any of the air splitters brings it to 36%
    (You can, of course, do an extra LP DP at the end canceled into Shadow DP before takeoff for 36% as well)
  • HP DP xx j.LP Splitter xx HP Splitter xx LP DP xx MP Splitter xx LP DP xx MP Splitter xx Shadow DP - 40%
    You can also keep Tusk on the ground for the entire juggle:
  • 2HP xx HP Splitter xx LP DP xx HP Splitter xx LP DP xx LP Splitter xx LP DP xx MP Splitter xx Shadow DP - 51%

There’s plenty of variations and great damage. I think fitting the grounded skull splitters in early are going to be the best places to bait lockouts and using them later are best for aiming the cashout easier.

Well, the command dash isn’t really about style in that situation, it’s more that switching sides and cornering them puts tusk in an extremely favorable situation, and if you practice it a bit you’ll be able to do it pretty consistently. I think the positional advantage is definitely worth a chunk or two of instinct.

Fair point, I’ll have to experiment more with the side switch aspect.
On that note, I noticed that after any Conqueror while in Instinct Mode it takes the input for Conqueror as a buffer command for Immortal Spirit so simply pressing a kick button afterwards will automatically cancel the DP into command dash. I thought that was pretty handy, and it’s very generous with timing.

Hope that proves useful to anyone reading.

Just started using him. Already strugging getting combos going itd not the stagger his normals just are slow

What are some routines i can do to get accustomed to him?

Like off his deflect and stagger normals what is possible to link too off st mp st hp cr mp so forth?

Like the combo I posted in the aria thread, these are leftovers from an old multichar CMV I never finished–a silly combo with thunder, and a stylish combo with tusk.


Trade into a fireball, get a fat combo. Pleasure doing business with you, fulgore.

Bonus: Showing how skull splitter can be used in juggles without raising KV, and showing that skewer can be used after a blowout~