Clarification of the 3-hit combo breaker rule

I’m a bit confused over the 3-hit combo rule, particularly in regards to target combos. Aganos’ Peacemaker target combo (LP>MP>HP) is breakable, while other 3-hit target combos (Sabrewulf, Cinder) aren’t breakable. Cinder’s is unbreakable in a way that leads to ridiculous-looking juggle combos that Domi has shown a few times in tournaments.

I could understand the reasoning that those target combos lead into a full combo, which gives the opportunity to break, whereas the Peacemaker combo leads to a hard knockdown, which normally wouldn’t have a break opportunity. I would disagree with it, but I can understand it.

However, if Aganos cancels the 2nd hit of the target combo into an opener (Natural Disaster), the opener is breakable. The LP>MP combo is serving the same purpose as Sabrewulf’s target combo, and is cancelled into a multi-hit opener that provides break opportunities following that opener (just like Sabrewulf).

What am I missing here?

That Aganos yet again gets the short end of the stick for fear of breaking his precious balance?

I’d have to check this myself to be sure, but it is probably because the opening hit of the target combos for those other characters aren’t being registered as actual combo openers.

When a combo is started with a manual hit, that hit usually just counts as an unbreakable manual hit, where the following special move usually counts as the actual combo opener. I think the under laying breaker system rule says something like “any 3rd hit of a “combo” can be broken.” If that is the case, technically, even if the target combo is 3-hits, if the first hit isn’t counting as an opener, the series counts as a 3-hit unbreakable, manual combo, which wouldn’t be able to be broken.

I believe any first hit of Aganos’ peace maker acts as a combo opener, which would make any third hit of a combo after it, even of his target combo, would be breakable.

I think Aganos’s target combos are bugged. My best guess is that they forgot to apply the target combo logic to Aganos’s chain, so each hit counts as its own hit for the 3-move rule. As you noted, no other target combo in the game acts like this.

It is worth noting that, as far as special moves go, only Hisako/Orchid’s rekkas count as “one move” for the purpose of the 3-move rule, probably because they are all listed under the same move on the move list. Cinder, for example, can’t do trailblazer opener -> afterburner without the afterburner being immediately breakable, even though it’s kind of an extension to the same special move (my guess is because they consider afterburner its own special move on the command list and in the game engine, not actually a “later stage” of a previous special move). It’s basically “trailblazer is special cancelable into another special move called afterburner”, as opposed to “trailblazer and afterburner are two stages of the same special move”, and these two rules are 100% indistinguishable except for how they interact with the breaker system. So there is a bit of inconsistency here in the special moves as well, although I think this particular case was intentional by the designers.

The Domi combo is possible only when you launch them in a non-opener state (via cr.HP or 3rd degree ending in HP), and then whiff the first hit of the next target combo over and over. My guess is that, for some reason, only the first hit of the target combo is advancing the combo counter for the 3-move rule, so all these other hits are just unbreakable (because you’re not hit by a special move or an opener) and you never will pass the 3-move rule. Again, it’s almost certainly just a glitch because maybe the devs didn’t think about the possibility that only the 2nd/3rd hit of the target combo would hit.