Can someone please advise me on how to use combo breakers PROPERLY! =)

Hi guys - I’m an Aganos loyalist (killer last season…soon to be gold in this one) and I’m reasonably good at predicting opponents in footsies and spotting patterns…however I absolutely suck at combo breaking. I can’t for the life of me identify what strength someone is using so every break becomes a guess break.

How do you spot what type of strength to use to break so I can stop being a guess breaking fraud!

When do you find the best time to combo break is? 2nd linker?

Many thanks for any and all help!

1 Like

I think you should play with other characters and see how the do the different combos. The only one that i dont know what strenght is using is sabrewulf, all their attacks looks the same to me.


Krauser5 is right. It’s best play other character to see what their attacks look like. Those animations are used as well for combos. Another advice is to see how fast the attacks are. Light are the fastest, medium is…medium and heavy are the slowest. To know linkers, learn how many times they attack you with light is the shortest, medium is longer and heavy is the longest though it is hard to break linkers I feel.


One thing I hear people say is that you can look at your characters hit animation and tell that way. Personally I haven’t tried to study this yet, but it may be a thing…


Am only half a fraud. I mainly break based on the speed of the attack. If it’s a slow move it’s usually a heavy auto double. For certain characters I’ve learned their medium and heavy animations like for Jago, Fullgore, and a few others. Just playing against these guys and attempting to break based on speed has narrowed down alot of the animations for me and I now know some of them. Doesn’t work for character’s I hardly play against like Aria. I can’t for the life of me figure her out. They all look the same to me.

Yay! A fellow Aganos! :smiley:

Well, you can break on auto-doubles (easy difficulty), manuals (hard difficulty), or linkers (medium difficulty). Openers are out of the question, and enders can only be broken if it’s an opener ender combo. You can also break any combo that doesn’t have a break opportunity in it after the 3rd hit.

I like to break on the ADs, for the reason stated as above. They always hit twice and follow very specific animations for each character that you can learn and memorize. For example, I can tell you that Riptor’s light ADs always attack with her claws (from her arms or her legs), her medium ADs always attack with her head or a bite, and her heavy auto-doubles are always her flames or her tail.

I know this, because whenever I had a tough time in a matchup, I chose my opponent’s character in practice mode (this was before combo-breaker training was a thing), and I would do all of the autodoubles for that character and watch the animations very closely. Basically, I would just sit there and start with a special move (the opener) and follow it up with each of the 6 attack buttons (LP, MP, HP, LK, MK, and HK). Those would show me the animations. Do this for about 10-15 minutes, and you should be able to reliably identify them for combo-breaking.

However, I feel I have to warn you - when it comes to combo-breaking ADs, lights are the hardest because they’re unreactable (meaning if you see them and try to react with a combo-breaker, you’re already too late, as it is not humanly possible to do so - the devs have said this; so, you will have to continue guess-breaking on those). Mediums and heavies are reactable, however, so you can still wait on those. Mediums, naturally, are harder to break than heavies because they’re faster, but the heavies still offer mixup potential and do the most damage if they get through.

Linkers can be broken too, but are a bit harder to determine, because the animations for linkers are often very similar, since it basically copies a special move. With these, you want to pay specific attention to how many times they hit as well as how fast the move comes out. It’s not universal across the board, but generally speaking, light linkers hit once, mediums hit twice, and heavies hit 3x (exceptions include moves like Thunder’s triplax, which, as the name suggests, always hits 3x; also Kan-Ra’s whirlwind linker and Cinder’s flamethrower linkers both hit up to ~10x). This is why they’re harder to break than ADs.

Manuals are the hardest to break because even though they’re often used in place of ADs, they’re faster, unreactable (like the aforementioned light ADs), and only hit once (instead of twice, like the ADs). That being said, they do less damage than ADs (since they only hit once) and you can still learn the animations for them the same way as you can with ADs in order to identify patterns your opponent may be using. It doesn’t matter which strength of manual they do though - lights, mediums, and heavy manuals cannot be reacted to. This means that if you guess break all of the time, you will almost always lose. To combat this, the developers have set it up so a manual can only be of certain strengths based upon the previous linker. It goes like this:

light linker = light manual
medium linker = light or medium manual
heavy linker = light, medium, or heavy manual

So, in other words, if you can identify linkers, you can get an idea of what comes next. For example, if you see your opponent do a medium linker, you know the follow-up manual can’t be a heavy manual, since the game won’t allow it. If they do a manual, it has to be a light or medium, because of the rules above. This helps make the game a bit more predictable. It also gives you more reason to do heavy linkers, even though they’re easier to break than other linkers - because it gives you more leeway on what you can use for a follow-up manual if you choose to.

Manuals however, are hard to pull off, unlike ADs. They take a lot of practice (although I’m happy to announce that they officially got a little bit easier with S3) to do. Even worse, using the example above an opponent can still throw you a curve ball by doing the medium linker in order to make you think he’s going to do a light or medium follow-up manual, only to instead do a heavy AD in place of it and locking you out in the process. This adds to the mindgames of KI and is why the manuals are considerd the hardest to break, and are among the highest levels of play in the game.

Regarding identifying many of these moves, if you’ve got a good ear or a good eye, you can actually tell many of them apart by the sound of the hits they make or the speed of the animations, rather than the animations themselves. Furthermore, you can evil tell which strength they’re hitting you with based upon the animations of your own character (which is actually better to learn if you solo/main 1 character; otherwise, learn your opponent’s animations for the entire cast). The downside to these methods of determining strength is that you often have to wait for the hit in the animation, which delays your reaction time considerably. Since moves are broken down into startup frames (when the animation starts to when it hits), active frames (any time during the animation where the move can hit), and recovery frames (any remaining frames after the move is done hitting and before the animation actually ends), using these methods will prevent you from reacting on the startup frames and only gives you a window that starts at the active frames. Usually, if you’re in recover frames, you’re already too late.

I hope this helps! :wink:


That is how I break. Look at your own character. Go into practice and see what they look like whit each type of hit. When you think you got it switch the dummy to could and see if you get it right.

1 Like

I’m bad at it too to the point of won’t even break. I’ve read everything from looking at you character’s reaction, from the sound, playing other characters etc., combo breaker training.

It takes time. I have been playing from the beginning. And it is hard to learn.


a good way to start, is to identify what strength of auto double they’re hitting you with. say you memorize sabrewulf’s medium punch autodouble. easy to see because he smacks you like a windmill. every time you see that just break (but beware, guys will counter break after a few times…even the 2nd time if they’re real gung ho)

. if you see him combo’ing you and you dont know what it is, better sometimes to just take it unless he does a shadow linker you can mash out (but watch it for counter break bait). thats how i started. i only broke, what i knew, if i didnt know it, id take it. now that the combo breaker system identifies what strength locked you out, you can always do lounges and purposefully lock yourself out just to find out what the hell you got hit by.


That was awesome to know about Riptor - she is one of the characters I have a hard time with, her and Fulgore are the ones I find the toughest (also finding Rash pretty tough but might just be because I’m new to playing vs him - any advice you have on the match up though is appreciated!!)

I’d never heard that info on manuals and linker strengths- good to know! - though I guess I’ll start with trying to get autodoubles down before I worry about that. =)

I guess I’ll start by hitting the lab with characters I’m having a harder time against and go from there!

I just guess. lmao :grinning:

Well, let’s see:

Fulgore ADs
LP - 2 straight jabs
MP - 2 elbows
HP - headbutt into uppercut
LK - knee into low kick
MK - low kick into straight kick
HK - shin kick into straight kick

LP and LK - jab into low kick
MP and MK - mace into spin kick
HP and HK - axe kick into uppercut

I quickly tested these in the lab in order to help you out (just so I wouldn’t give you any wrong info) and was surprised to find out that Rash’s ADs are the same regardless of whether you use punch or kick. The only thing that separates them are the strengths (L, M, and H). This is interesting, because it means that, unlike the majority of the cast), he only has 3 ADs. There are, of course, other exceptions, such as TJ who also only has 3 and Glacius who actually has 9 (all 6 regular ADs + 3 long-ranged ADs, 1 for each strength). That being said, the average number of ADs for the cast as a whole is still 6 (LP, MP, HP, LK, MK, and HK).

Also, if you haven’t already heard of it or been there, a lot of people here recommend Infil’s guide, which is the best online guide for KI (or just about anywhere really). It covers a ton of info that delves really deep into the game, has been personally endorsed by the devs, and offers numerous ways to give you info, such as text, gifs, video, graphs, diagrams, etc. It can be located at :wink:

@R1stormrider 's advice is the best for starting out.

Instead of looking for multiple strengths of double, pick one every time you are opened up (either medium or heavy) and put all your focus on looking to break that. Let everything else rock.

If that doesn’t narrow it down enough, you can narrow it further by choosing just to break the kick or punch version of that double strength. Maybe do that for mediums, but not heavies- they’re easy enough as they are.

Let lights rock. They don’t deal much damage and blowout fast. Break lights only when the opponent sees you’re willing to let them fly, and they abuse this privilege.

Break less, but break more accurately. Lockouts suck.


just pay attention on the timers above the character’s head.

Strategically, your main goal as the defender in a combo is damage control: making sure your opponent doesn’t slip too many medium and heavy auto doubles through. If you can do this (and maybe catch some of those heavy linkers, since those are technically reactable), you can probably keep average combo damage somewhere around or below 30%, which is pretty decent. Keep in mind that, whilst medium/heavy auto doubles and heavy linkers are reactable, they’re also a great baiting opportunity for counter breakers, so breaking them does carry some risk, and you’ll be best served tuning the frequency of your breaks from match to match depending on whether your opponent is overeager with the counter-breaker attempts or doesn’t tend to use them at all.

You can also get better at calling out manuals and other unreactable stuff that your opponent does perhaps a little too predictably – for example, I tend to medium manual off of a lot of my openers. Attempting to break a manual will always be a guess, though, and as long as your opponent knows how to capitalize on a lockout when you guess wrong, it is usually going to be more pain than it’s worth unless you’re pretty sure you know what button your opponent is going to press. It’s also not necessary to go deep into prediction break territory as a newbie, so I’d say focus on the reactables as noted above.

I think a lot of people have given practical advice for identifying specific auto doubles and whatnot in this thread already, so I won’t go into that stuff.

EDIT: oh, and certain characters have breakable confirms, often recaptures, that are meant to balance out other parts of their gameplan or allow them to combo off of tricky openings. Examples include TJ’s tremor after a shoot toss, and Cinder’s crossfire off of a juggle. These tend to be reactable, and if you can break them on reaction then you can clamp down on your opponent’s neutral options – but keep in mind that they can counter-break, too.

1 Like

You won’t get better by guessing.

Pay attention to the audio and visual cues when you’re being hit. You’ll learn how to break and eventually you’ll learn what is good bait to counter break.

Triplax linker actually hit 3, 4 and 5 times. I would love to have any strenght hit 3 times, though, but that would probably be way too good.

I figured I might be wrong about that, but my overall point still stands. :wink:


Tons of great advice already in the thread - but I’ll offer up what’s working thus far for me:

  • Combo Breaker Mode: Custom combo settings, one strength of auto-doubles at a time, and study. Don’t even try to break at first, just take note of the animations you’re being hit with. Write key features down if it helps you to remember. After ADs, do the same exercise with manuals.
  • Reel Animations: Not totally consistent, but you’ll find your character at times taking postures specific to the strength they’re being hit with. This can land you a breaker every now and then. Mediums have the most obvious tell (to me, anyhow). Like I said - this isn’t the most consistent method (for instance, if you get nailed while crouch-blocking, you’re likely going to have to forego this unless their combo causes you to re-stand), but it’s a little something extra to help.
  • Patience: Try to get into the habit resisting the urge to break. Compulsive/reflexive breaking is a tough habit to kick, I’m still struggling with it… but you’ll be rewarded far more by patient, observant breaks.
  • Pattern Recognition: Each time you are getting hit with a combo, you’re being fed valuable information. Pay close attention to the combo pattern the opponent is utilizing - lots of players have fairly consistent strings that they will fall back on in frenzied moments (we default to our level of training and what we train in these situations) and you can use that to your advantage… not only with breaks but with counter-breaks as well.