Game Mechanics (DPs in particular)

If there was one thing I would like to see changed in this game, is the fact that DPs are SAFE. I’m not saying people can just throw them out and not get punished for whiffing or getting blocked because we all know that ain’t true. My point is that a good player will almost never allow you to get a FULL punish on a DP whiff or block because they will break you.

Here’s an instance with facing Jago, which right now is the most annoying match up for me. So the most used normal is his low forward. People normally chain that with a wind kick. If that sequence is blocked, the majority of people will mash out a DP instantly after that trying to bait you to hit a button after the wind kick gets blocked. Solid frame trap. My problem with it is that even if I block all 3 hits, I cannot get a full punish because any combo I do after that DP is breakable. I see it more and more with Jago players abusing the hell out of the system by doing this.

I can manual with every character I use so it’s not like I’m punishing with the same buttons over and over again. It’s the fact that they do not get properly punished ever. I mean if you whiff a DP or have it blocked, you should definitely get hurt off of it. Not this little bitty 10-15% combos because they break it. You should definitely fear for your life when deciding whether or not to throw out a DP.

At this point and time, no one is afraid to throw it out. Jago and Fulgore players are so annoying because of this. They throw out DPs like there’s no tomorrow because they know, “■■■■■ it, imma throw it out. I can always break them”.

If there is ever a time for a change, right now is it. If people throw out DPs and whiff or get blocked, they should get locked out from being able to break a punish after that in my humble opinion. Seeing a lot of “YOLO” play right now. People are just abusing frame traps by mashing out DPs knowing if they can break the punish, they’re fine. This shouldn’t be this way. I mean, I played it right by blocking the low forward, to wind kick, and to DP, I should be rewarded for good defense. Right? I’m not one to complain, but this is ridiculous. Every Jago player I see does this same exact thing over and over again.

By this logic, everything in the game is safe, which it isn’t. Do you yourself never worry about being opened up because you can always break? The grass isn’t greener on the other side. It’s just as much a problem for Jago to be opened up as for any other character.

There are many ways to counter and punish this behaviour. Counterbreaker, trying to lock out your opponent or go with less damaging, shorter combo’s or even just punish with throws if you are so certain your combo will be broken, just to name the most obvious strategies. Pay attention to your opponents breaking patterns and use it against them.


There was a similar thread about DPs the other day (and an even older 1 that was EXACTLY like this 1 in the S2 forums). In the other thread, there was a discussion about getting hit by a low normal into wind kick, followed by a DP. The overall suggestion was to simply keep holding your block. It’s really a very simple solution. It appears you already know this - it just sounds like you’re actually afraid to punish for fear of being broken afterwords. Here’s a tip - that’s ALWAYS going to happen at some point, whether you fear it or not. So, don’t fear it - instead, take control of the situation and follow TimelessVisions’ advice:

It’s sound advice.

That being said, I myself have a really bad habit of not holding the block when Jago players do this, which means I’m actually 1 step behind you. I let go of the block after the wind kick, thinking I can punish them with a throw attempt, and only end up getting punished by their DP instead. Just yesterday, I learned about the block solution listed above and fought a really good Jago player who used this strategy. Over the course of 10 fights I only blocked it properly ONCE, even though I knew what I was supposed to do to counter it. For me, the decision to throw is no longer a decision for me - it’s ingrained through my mind’s ability to cause my hands to automatically do it because I’ve trained it that way. I need to undo that and train it to keep blocking instead, but it’s hard. It’s just as hard as it is for you to commit to a proper punish, I imagine. So, don’t give up! Just keep practicing.

My advice? Go into practice mode and record a Jago doing this maneuver and practice countering it. Then change it up a bit to account for mix-ups and learn how to counter that as well. :wink:

A better question is why aren’t you shadow countering after the m.k to catch the wind kick. Plus if they can break it,they you can counter break it.

I think there’s an interesting discussion to be had about the properties of DPs in this (and other games). But this is really more about (again) the idea of combo breaks. KI has combo breakers. That’s it, end of story. For what it’s worth, I main Glacius and I find Jago’s endless pressure annoying as well. Everyone used to complain about TJ combo and it “always being his turn.” Well if you are Glacius fighting Jago, it’s always his turn too. But it’s not an impossible matchup. You just have to pattern your opponent and sort it out. As far as combo breakers - if you aren’t locking him out 2/3 of the time you need to work on varying your combo structure more.

You should not bring something like this up on this forum. You can punish them with heavy normal into Heavy opener into Sweep for 17-20% Guaranteed damage (a bit more or less than a counter hit Jago DP).

For the rest there are well educated counter breakers. If someone does a shadow fireball after that just take it like a man and punish that if you can. KI is a pressure fight game and counter breakers are there for a reason.

@BigBadAndy actually the matchup is even or for most Top Players in favor of Glacius

I ain’t as good at using the counter breaker like that. I can do it, just not great at it. As for counter breakers, in most instances they guess break on a linker or mash it out so I can’t react to it. I rarely guess break on linkers so I don’t try to counter break for them a whole lot. I don’t know. I’ve played since release and it’s becoming more prevalent. Guess I should start expecting it now.

Appreciate all the constructive criticism guys. I don’t play nearly as much as I used to. Seeing as how matchmaking has gotten quicker, I may start playing more. Just going to have to practice a bit and use counter breakers more.

Heck, if you’re Hisako, all you need is a mere few frames with which to grab the opponent once their feet touch the ground from their flying majestic DP which hit nothing.

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If they mash it,counter break riht away. If they do it during linkers,counter break during linkers. Just because you aren’t good at them doesn’t mean the devs need to change it.

The real issue here is “how much damage should I get from blocking my opponent’s DP?”

In SF4, a lot of characters (Rose, Rufus, etc) will just get fierce into special move for blocking a DP. The DP would have done around 160 damage, and their punish combo does like 200ish damage. That’s 20% in KI terms. Some of the crazier characters can push 300 damage with no meter, and with 1 EX you can maybe get 350 if you’re at the very high end of damage. With full super and ultra, 550-600 is not unheard of.

In KI, as Lycan said, almost every character can start their DP punish with between 15-20% pure unbreakable damage. Jago’s cr.HP xx shadow laser sword opener does 19% unbreakable damage and is easy to start your punish combo. Even if you are immediately broken, you have already come out ahead. If they lock out, you can easily push this damage to 50-55% without any more resources spent. You have to survive one more mixup that’s in your favor, but surviving it nets you HUGE damage (for only 1 bar! if you have 2 bars, you can get this into the 60%s), while losing it still brings out ahead.

It’s mostly a psychological thing that DP punishes can be broken, but it’s one you have to make your peace with if you’re gonna play this game. Fortunately, the math works out in the attacker’s favor if you can look past the frustration of the moment. If you are punishing DP with low forward xx light wind kick for 9% unbreakable damage, then this is an area you can improve as a player.

To be honest, DPs don’t lead to much in KI (the only exception is Jago due to instinct cancel + high raw damage). They aren’t like SF4 where you might just immediately die if you get hit by one. I’m surprised you mention DP punishes more than you mention, say… blocking Sabrewulf’s running overhead and then getting immediately broken on your punish combo. That one leads to real damage and the situations are pretty similar; an unsafe move being made safe by a fortunate combo break.


Infil beat me to it again! I was going to say that 1 bar of meter should net you a ~18% opener with most of the cast, and the following manual is probably free because most shadow openers can be followed up by heavy manuals; and then with the sliver of PD built from that you should be able to go on to capitalize into an extra ~15-20% damage in the expected case, with numbers on the order of 50-60% in total very possible on a lockout or counter-break.

That said, a few things:

Well, at least they’re not cancelling into laser sword instead of wind kick. Depending on opponent’s meter and various other factors, maybe the main thing Jago has going for him is that he can stay at frame advantage for days, whilst still opening you up on hit. Cancelling a crMK into a wind kick instead of a medium laser sword is just giving that up for basically no reason, so you should be grateful! :wink:

Uhh, that might push the expected punish up to more like the 60% that’s at the high end of DP punish scenarios right now, which is kind-of a scary thought.

So, I’m going to advise you to get better at varying up your linkers and manuals first, before you consider counter-breaking on unreactable stuff like linkers and manuals. This is something that I’m hoping to put some analytics together for soon, but it appears that in some mathematical sense, the counter-break option in guess-break situations is overshadowed by simply varying up your strengths and letting it rock. (There’s some intuition here: it’s far more valuable for a defender to let your manuals rock rather than attempt a 50-50 or worse break and risk the higher lockout damage, so a counter break isn’t likely to catch anything.)

On the other hand, you should try to get better about reading your opponent’s reaction breaks (i.e. sussing out whether they’re going to reaction-break a medium or heavy auto double or a heavy linker) and counter-breaking there on occasion, because auto doubles are at least necessary to make light linkers useful, and counter breaking plays a part in making auto doubles good.

Finally, and I mention this because it’s among my worst habits: tone down the heavy linkers to only occasional use, especially if your opponent has demonstrated the ability to break them. Light and medium linkers should be your bread and butter.

Oh, and finally finally: none of this is to say you shouldn’t follow your heart, make reads, send signals, etc. If you think your opponent is definitely going to mash guess break on the first manual, go ahead and counter-break that ■■■■. I’m just hoping to give you some baseline advice that might have you coming back to complain about getting broken less often.


Others have already hit a lot of points, so I’ll just say that I tend to think that getting consistently guess broken on linkers usually means you are being predictable or aren’t varying up your linkers as much as you should. Mash guessing is very dangerous, and is only rewarded long term if you aren’t playing with enough variety. If they’re reaction breaking that calculus changes somewhat, but that isn’t what is happening to you from what I can gather.

And I’d actually say do more heavy linkers - people don’t tend to consistently mash out heavy breaks in my experience :-p

Well, it comes down to whether your opponent is capable of reacting to it consistently. If they can’t, then heavy linkers are very powerful, because the heavy linker manual game is strong and having 3 “unreactable” strengths for your linker game is strong.

But I’m more thinking of those times when you get broken on heavy linkers a few times “for free”, and so next time you opt for a medium linker because you don’t like light linkers but you “need” an unreactable linker, and you end up getting read like a book and broken again. While it’s tempting (and partially correct) to suggest you just got out-yomi’d, you’re probably better off in the long run using light linkers and playing the auto double game occasionally, rather than frequently playing the heavy linker game.

I think the use of heavy linkers requires a lot more exploration, actually.

Firstly, not every character has an easy to react heavy linker. Some of them are really, really hard in my experience (Aria grenade, Sadira recluse come to mind) and usually you have to realistically wait past the break point for the medium linker to allow your reaction + recognition to influence your decision, even on the reactable ones. They’re less like auto-doubles, where you can identify and break heavies but still change your mind and identify and break mediums, and yet still not flinch they did a light double and you didn’t see your reaction points.

So IMO, reacting to linkers is “different” than auto-doubles and it doesn’t fit into the analysis quite the same way. If you want to guess, you really have to guess (which means you aren’t reacting to “not heavy” and guessing between medium and light before the break window expires; I don’t see how this is consistently doable for all linkers). If it forces people to truly guess, doesn’t that increase the value of heavy linkers? If they wait to react to the heavy linker, basically all they can do is say “yup that’s a heavy” and break, or say “well I guess that wasn’t heavy” and not break. To use an extreme example here, look at TJ’s spin fist linker. To my knowledge there is 0 indication of whether it’s light, medium, or heavy except for number of hits (if there is, someone please correct me). The heavy one is an absolutely trivial break, but if you see 2 swings you have no choice but to guess break medium, or wait to see if it’s heavy and forfeit the break chance if it actually was medium.

Also, one of the tough things about your mathematical model is that it’s difficult to take overloaded mental stacks into the equation. I like the analysis of using heavies and counter-breaking 1 in every 4 (I feel this number is probably about correct, assuming your opponent chooses to not break heavy doubles sometimes), but it kind of means that you shouldn’t ever really use medium auto-doubles. Perhaps the math vs a “perfect” opponent agrees, but if throwing in often-reactable medium doubles forces your opponent to concentrate that much harder on your combo, maybe you’ll force 10% more lockouts on otherwise reactable moves if you play a 5 game set, just because he gets mentally tired. I’m not trying to say you should model this (it’s likely impossible), and it’s really cool to see the theoretical limit of the breaker system in a mathematical way, but it just goes to show that the KI breaker system is an extremely complicated mental exercise.

Wait, are you suggesting that there are situations where reactable and unreactable options run “parallel” off of a move, where you can identify that the reactables haven’t happened in timely enough a fashion to then input a guess on the remaining unreactable options? That’s something I haven’t been considering at all – you get a chance to guess break (which potentially could break any of the options, e.g. early guess-breaking heavy to catch a heavy auto double is an option), and if you turn down that opportunity and the attacker used a reactable, then you play the reaction break game.

Actually, they kinda sound the same to me, except that typically two of the linkers are unreactable whereas only one of the auto doubles is. But again, that depends on what you have to say about the above topic.

Well, the heavy linker option increases the value of the linker game (i.e. where the attacker chooses a linker, and the defender chooses whether to guess break), since it’s a viable option that adds another possible strength to the guess break point, sure. (My ballpark figures had it that you should throw out a heavy linker roughly one in every 10 instances, but as I’ve been at pains to caution, my ballpark figures are pretty shaky and I need to get to work on actual character data.) The value of heavy linkers themselves is about whether the defender chooses to react to the heavy linker (and whether you choose to counter-break) having forgone the option to guess-break during the linker game, as well as the the options which can follow a heavy linker (which are obviously great).

So firstly, I have a secret shame to confess: I’m terrible at breaking. So don’t take information about character-specific visual/audio cues from me as reliable.

But I suspect the hitstun animation the defending character goes into during a spin fist linker is a dead giveaway to anyone who has memorized said animations for each strength.

Medium auto doubles seem like they should make light linkers better by facilitating the full range of strengths at the guess point following the linker, but it seems like two options are enough to mostly discourage an optimal defender from risking the lockout damage with a guess break, at which point the heavy double does (alongside an unreactable light double or manual) seem to overshadow the medium double to the point where indeed an optimal attacker never uses it. I’d expect this to change when KV is high (so that lockout punishes are lacking, hence making the guess point as varied as possible is valued), but I haven’t gotten that far yet.

And I don’t plan to! :smile:

Seriously, the fact that human players get mentally encumbered, the fact that they don’t have perfect 15-frame reactions or whatever, etc. are just more facts to add to the ever-growing pile of reasons why I fully expect to undercut average damage in practice with the expected lifeswing figures that spring from this model, and by a considerable margin at that. Whilst I do think this sort of analysis can bring light to insights (which can then be reasoned about in more practical terms) that will help people develop better habits and generally play better (it’s certainly going to help me at least), my main goal is actually just to refute the incessant claim going around that breakers are the end of the world and make the combo system favour the defender therefore once-chance launcher sweep repeat.

Another way of putting this is, I’m already convinced that average combo damage in KI is at least in the 25-30% range. I don’t need to do any of this to know that in my heart of hearts. I’m doing this for the same reason why anyone breaks out the mathematical models and starts proving cold hard theorems: because they’re already convinced of the conclusion to which they will inevitably arrive, and want to beat their detractors into submission with rigour. :wink:

Actually, I think Scott Aaronson has gotten at this sensation better than I ever could:

You see, I have no “philosophy” to offer the world, no unifying theory, no startling new idea. All I have is a long howl of rage, which admittedly tends to take the form of STOC/FOCS papers. But if you read those papers, you’ll see that almost every one of them was born when I came across some specific claim and said, “No. Dammit. No. That can’t possibly be right.”

Normally this might be an irrational motivation, but there seem to be a lot of players in the competitive community complaining about breakers lately. Also, the problem is pretty interesting and I have a lot of spare time at the moment.

Mm. The fun thing about KI is all of the above can be true, with viability largely defined by the type of opponent you are playing. My advice above was specifically for people who are mash breaking.

I personally throw out heavy linkers quite a lot, and like to use them to see what kind of opponent I’m playing against. If he’s reacting, then that’s a data point that I use and adjust accordingly. If he’s mashing out though, then I also have a data point, and again adjust my play accordingly.

If you mash out a breaker on me, then I actually tend to go to that same strength again, just to see what kind of mashing I’m dealing with. If it’s uneducated mashing they will tend to keep mashing on the same strength, and if it’s “educated” mashing they’ll mash on a different one. I’ll take a break or two to let me figure out which I’m dealing with - after you get a sense for how someone breaks, it becomes much easier to exploit their tendencies.


I think that’s just good competition play in general: it doesn’t matter if something is theoretically bad because of [insert tech here] if your opponent doesn’t know said tech, so if you can suss it out, then you can abuse it and suddenly you’re playing a quite different game that’s stacked in your favour. Top players seem to run through a basic checklist, and if, say, their opponent can’t anti-air, then they’ll jump in for days and it’ll suuuuuuuuck to be the other guy. :wink:

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This is what I mean, as long as you understand that you didn’t react to “turning down the opportunity to guess break”. I either choose to guess break immediately, or I choose to wait and react and break what I can react to (but miss out on the chance to break the other things). But at least I shouldn’t lock out if I try the reactable approach; the only outcomes should be a successful break or the combo continues and I might try to break later (assuming good reactions).

I think I just didn’t communicate my idea in my last post very well, because I don’t think you find the above paragraph hard to believe. It is entirely possible that, in my head, I will say “if he does medium or heavy auto-double, I’m breaking” and if he doesn’t (ie, he does light double or there is a long gap after the linker such that I know a manual is coming) I just let it pass by because it’s under my reaction window BUT won’t accidentally trigger my medium/heavy reactions.

This is why I think linkers are slightly different, because it’s entirely possible you will flinch to a light linker and think it’s a medium or a heavy. The difference in visual/audio cues are considerably more subtle than doubles, so while heavy linkers are definitely reactable (especially if you wait until the 3rd hit, but also if you react to sound cues or other things), the possibility of you flinching is higher to me. Not so much higher that it’s unmanageable, but I think it’s a difference worth noting anecdotally.

But yes, also the fact that doubles have 2 reactable strengths while linkers usually have 1 (maybe 2 for some, maybe 0 for a select few others) means that more guessing has to happen during linkers, which is why I think heavy linkers should probably be valued a bit more? There is a lot less “I’ll wait and see” and a lot more “I gotta either let it go or try to guess” with linkers.

Yeah I forgot about this while typing my response. I want to test it in breaker training myself to make sure it’s as easy to react as it would seem knowing this information, but I’m too lazy to boot my Xbox right now, so we’ll just… pretend it’s true. :smile:

A fully acceptable (and admirable) response.

I do like your approach here, unfortunately I suspect the model’s results will only be digestible by people who already agree with the point of view you’re trying to prove. I think the model’s results are somewhat of a foregone conclusion, it just remains how severe your findings are. And if the people who prefer one-chances a large percentage of the time haven’t followed the intuition against it so far, I’m not sure the model will convince them either. But that’s not a reason to stop trying. :slight_smile:

I’m going to post this above my computer screen as the pinnacle of the art of “arguing with strangers on the internet.”

As @Infilament says, the results of the model will be largely foregone conclusions based on the data you put in to start with - but I’d still love to see the result. Because I am a nerd.