Gameplay/strategy question

To start off, I have seen many people say that one way to improve your game is to watch high level players who play the character you play. As a person whose favorite character is Spinal (and is my main) it was obvious who I needed to watch…UA Bass.

After watching some of his recent videos I noticed that he does the following a lot…Standing HP - Run Cancel (which eats a skull) - grab. So I decided to go into practice and get this down. Which I did, but even so this helps me little because I don’t know why I am doing it. I can go on youtube, study a pro’s playstyle and try to mimic it all day, but it won’t do me any good if I don’t know why they are doing what they are doing.

So that is why I am asking this question. Why should I be cancelling standing HP into a run then a grab as apposed to, just doing a regular combo from standing HP? Bass is a professional and the best Spinal in the world (IMO) so there definitely is a reason behind it, I just don’t know what it is. Is it because it’s unbreakable damage after the ST.HP that also leaves Spinal with an extra skull ? Or is there something else?

Can anybody help explain it to me? I am eager to learn and improve so any tips at all will be much appreciated :slight_smile:

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Run cancel far HP is +4/0 on hit/block so you can’t get any combos off it (you actually could if you counter hit with the HP but largely you cannot) so it’s mainly a hard to react to tick throw setup.

Edit: if you want a heavy button to RC for combos use far HK, it is +11/+8 so allows any strength follow up, including a Cr.HP which has the added benefit of refunding the run cancel.


I am also trying to re ajust to spinal after his changes by watching Bass. I suck at the skull cancels and haven’t really practised them much. I’m not even really positive how to do them do you just do a move and special cancel into something else and it eats a skull?

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I asked Bass on his youtube channel and he said you can do the run cancels from any normal move except crouching HP and crouching HK on hit at the sacrifice of one skull.

I myself don’t know about canceling into other moves, I have just been run canceling into the grab since that is what I see Bass doing all of the time, but I am still unsure why I am doing it (hence this thread asking lol) I guess it’s just a good way to sneak in a grab and get some extra damage or something?

You should be able to medium manual out of the run cancel?

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Yeah I think I can, as long as it isnt crouching HP/HK then it should be able to cancel if I have a skull. My main question is what advantages does run canceling into grab have over just canceling into a full combo? I am just trying to understand so I know when I should be doing it, know what I mean?

You are run canceling into a throw (as opposed to another hit or special) because pressing another button is (1) reasonably blockable, (2) shadow counterable, and (3) because Spinal’s throw leads into his vortex with both favorable positioning and a skull.

Even though HP->run cancel is technically 0 on block (and therefore beatable by DP and often mash jab), in practice it is very hard to react to, so the opponent’s most likely response will be to simply continue blocking. You could technically guess right with an overhead or low, but the opponent is kind of looking for that mixup, and throw will beat both of their blocks at no risk to you - worst case they tech the throw and you’re back at neutral (real worst case is they DP you in the face, but this is unlikely unless at high level).

The throw also gives you a setup, and in higher lever play the setup is often prized more highly than outright damage. Spinal is extremely good at opening people up, so having a guaranteed setup option is very potent for him. It’s ok to sacrifice a little bit of damage in the now if I’m nearly guaranteed to get more in future.

Hope that helps :slight_smile:


This is exactly the answer I was looking for, thank you so much for breaking it down for me!

Yep, what he said. Bass uses the throw for the hard knockdown to set up his frame traps and vortex. He also uses the cancel into Shadow Skull to set up curses and such as well.

Thats my favorite move with Spinal, its so fast and most players dont know what to do when its all happening so fast. Plus it just looks cool! lol

Banemobus is your go to guy for all the spinal frame data info…he will make your head explode with all that stuff.


Makes sense thanks for the heads up. I have been playing spinal since launch but I never really take advantage of his cancels. I’m sure they are a huge part of his pressure and mix up game but I just don’t know where and when to do them. Never think about it during fights.

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Thanks for the info I will for sure check him out. I have decent combos but not much to set them up with. Does he have decent videos showing off the vortex aswell?

Awesome man, now it is starting to make sense. I sadly don’t quite understand frame traps (or frame data at all for that matter) yet lol even though I have played fighters my whole life casually I just started playing fighters “competitively/seriously” like last year so I am still kind of a newb when it comes to that kind of stuff lol

@CrimsonGhost119: I feel ya dude, I am in a similar boat. I have his pretty basic stuff down and am just now kind of trying to delve into his more advanced stuff.

I just started to understand it myself… MK actually got me to understand it more than KI since in MK you basically have to know all of your mains start up frames in order to “beat your opponent to the punch”.

Thats how I beat MK story mode on Hard difficulty. I only used moves/combos that started with 8-12 frames.
Also the 50/50 corner game. Which is also where Spinal shines. So basically you want to move your oppenent to the corner… get a hard knock down and as they are getting up they have to guess how to block either your overhead attack or your low attack.

All you have to do is guess correctly with your hit comfirm into combo.

SO if opponent is blocking high upon wake up… you do crouching light kick into opener and continue combo. Or if they block low you do overhead into opener and continue combo.

Or you can throw your opponent instead in case your opponent blocks correctly.

I use this with Kano in MKX and its very deadly!

Now Spinal has an over head and a great light crouching kick so you can have a field day with this once you master it like BASS.

So basically knowing that your move is gong to be less frames than your opponents move, therefor if you hit buttons at the same time you are going to win.

It gets much deeper and I dont claim to know much more than the basics but it is very helpful once you “get it”.


Does @MBABanemobius have videos? LOL…he is right above your post! Ask him…but I dont think he does. He is just really knowledgeable on the Spinal frames and stuff. He can answer any Spinal questions you have much better than I can.

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Lol ah I actually looked him up on YouTube found nothing. Feel like a jackass though ha. Thanks for the solid info. I have also played a lot of MKX and know a little about the 50 50s but wasn’t sure if spinal had some solid b and b’s that I wasn’t aware of.

Awesome dude, thanks for explaining.

What is Spinal’s best move to use when under pressure? For example lets say I am on the defensive and blocking my opponent, once I see that its “my turn” is crouching light the best button to press? Or does he have a faster move that is likley to come out before my opponent recovers and attacks again?

Good question, I’m also wondering this. From what I have seen today crouching light kick is the best fast option. I haven’t gone through his whole move sets frame data yet. His overhead can be a little tricky too. It comes out slow and can get knocked out of it with faster attacks without proper timing.

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Yeah I sadly have been under using the overhead because it seems like I get knocked out of it a lot of the time, I guess I just need to figure out when the best time to use it is or something

Yea I’ve found so far doing it when the opponent is about a step away is best or when they are walking forward is a good time to hit it. Or when they are crouching in the corner. Got to kind of condition them to expect a low to get them to crouch and block then just try and stay about a step away then throw that shield down on their head. Also that heavy punch poke is an awesome tool that has great range to start out combo on people who are walking or running in.

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prob crouching lk…but to be certain ask banemous or look at your frame data in command list or practice attack data. infills guide might list this info as well

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