Controllers vs Arcade Sticks: Which one is better for Killer Instinct?

I’ve often think about getting myself an Arcade stick for Killer Instinct but, is it really worth it or does the controller have better options for playing?

People have success with both, it really is just personal preference.
I prefer stick, and feel much more consistent with it vs dpad or analog on a controller. A couple controllers have had different problems, 1 button or down arrow going out… Basically makes the entire controller useless. If a button goes out on my stick it’s cheap and easy to fix… Bigger upfront investment though.

It’s all personal preference with this game. (unless you want Mira’s instant airdash super easy, in which case get a hitbox) If you watch tournaments like Texas Showdown last week almost the entire top 8 was pad users. I think only Rico used a stick.

Just adding to what’s already been said. Pad or stick is pure preference for the most part. I’ve been trying to learn pad for a bit now, but I have full-grown-man hands and as such a typical pad is difficult for me to use.

There isn’t really any ‘better’ way outside of a hitbox or using a keyboard (a keyboard is a hitbox) and a hitbox is only ‘better’ (still open to argument) for stuff like instant air dashing or guns/projectiles.

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Totally preference. You can be great at KI with either. The “advantages” to a stick are that you have full access to multiple fingers to use on the buttons. This makes things like Glacius’s multi hail much easier. The advantage to a standard controller is that all of the movements and button presses require much less actual physical movement. This gives you (at least until you get used to a stick) much more precision. Some people have much more difficulty doing rolls or dragon punch motions on a D pad, but many people do these just fine.

For me, I prefer a stick. The primary benefit is the access to multiple button presses at once - but frankly that’s not the reason I use one. It’s almost purely nostalgia driven. I remember fondly my arcade days and I learned to play fighting games on a stick. So now, whenever I can I play those games with an arcade stick.


Although I’m an analog stick/d-pad player, I would have to say that arcade sticks are the best…There’s just that learning curve with them. If you really want to take it to the next level, I think that the stick is the way to go. I still love playing at a mid-tier level with the controller though.

*Back/forward characters, like TJ, work well with analag thumbstick preference…Dashing was hard to master with the analog, and analog just doesn’t have enough responsiveness to reliable pull of a DP (Jago etc).

This, I’m on my 4th controller…Either the bumper(s) dies, buttons get sticky or the analog sticks drift like a ■■■■. That’s my experience anyway…XBO controllers don’t have the build quality to withstand fighting games.

I’m pretty much repeating what’s already been said, there’s not a real advantage using one or the other, the only real problem would be switching if you’re used to one over the other, as you have to train a different set of muscles to perform an action the other is already familiar with, and that takes time.
I’ve had a fightstick since S1, and I use a controller a lot more often than the stick, because my reaction times are slower because my wrists haven’t had as much fine motor skill tuning as my thumbs have. I’ve been playing primarily on a controller since the SNES days.

If there was any advantage, I would say if you have any degree of carpal tunnel syndrome, a controller might be better, because the side-to-side wrist motions on a stick could aggrevate it. And this is coming from someone with that issue. Still been trying to get better with a fightstick on the days it’s not flaring up.

I’m a stick guy. I used to play arcades when i was younger when i got into middle school was forced to use controllers and ultimately made me quit fighting games. I played them off and on never seriously till ki season 2 i got li season 1 on sale i fell on love but felt like something was holding me back. I said ■■■■■ it invested in stick 3 hours with one i was doing everything i could on pad and then some

Since I have tried controller and i can play but not at the level i can on stick

I say to anyone unsure first try a fightpad with a brooks converter or findin your local arcade scene every state has one the shoryuken forums help find people in your area and try a fightstick for awhile before investing

O see people here having issues with controller durability same with fightpads

I was very intent on picking up an XBOne Elite controller but you guys are making me want to get a stick. I’d like the elite controller because I also play FPSs. But I recently have been able to play SF Third Strike and always wanted to try and play that with a stick.

First world problems indeed. Lol

If you do decide to get an Elite Controller, buy a warranty with it.
I’ve had mine for about 6 months and the RB doesn’t click anymore, pretty upset about it.
Despite that, im purchasing a new one, the paddles and button mapping can make it easier to go to the next level. Like everyone else has stated, it’s all preference.


I personally think whatever you grew up playing with is probably what you should stick with, although it certainly is possible to learn on the other one.

I think pads are better for movement (dashing and back-and-forth is much quicker/more precise on a dpad), but sticks are better for providing good access to all your buttons. I made the switch from controller to stick over the buttons thing (and accidental brushing of the right analog stick :unamused:), but in truth my motions are still actually better on dpad than on the stick.

Either will work though - whichever you’re more comfortable with is fine. If you do go to stick though and you’re not used to them already, be ready for the learning curve with it. It can take a bit of time to get everything down. I also recommend increasing the tension in the stick (add another spring) - that will make dashes and motions feel tighter and more responsive.

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Buy a hori mk fight pad with six buttons like the old sega ones. Works well for KI

I used to only play pad, and i heard everyone say: “The controller you should use is JUST preference.”

I thought that was TOTAL BS because the controllers seem so different. But now that i have both, i can tell you, HONESTLY, it is JUST preference.

Also, if you have never had the “arcade experience”, then it is TOTALLY worth the $$$ to get a fightstick, as they are very fun to use. (and learn)

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