Help against Cinder

So today I played some exhibitions and found myself matched up with 3 consecutive Cinder players and each time found myself in what seemed to be endless pressure with little or no gaps for me to retaliate. I can block it all for the most part, but it seems like there is no end or safe place for me to press a button because when I do, I get hit.

This is not a complaint thread I know the character is not OP or anything, I am just looking for some tips/suggestions to help me deal with what I personally seem to be having a lot of issues with.

1 Like

Honestly, I have no answer for Cinder pressure. And he has a Guile Flashkick with seemingly no punishment on whiff. Crazy. When I look at him, I kind of remember why this game isn’t as popular as it could be. Too much reliance on blind aggression. And Cinder gets away with a lot of it.


What? His flashkick is easily punishable on whiff! He can’t do anything unless it connects, and he falls down making him an easy target.

His trailblazer is easy to block/interrupt too if you know how to read it.

The only real issue I have with him are with his punch chain combos that make effective block strings into fission frametraps.

1 Like

The main gap in Cinder’s pressure is if he tries to do two trailblazers; there is almost always a gap between them where you can fit in a jab. From the very tip of the horizontal trailblazer range (ie, if he does it from far away), then you can’t press a button, but if you’re playing your average Cinder player online, they aren’t going to be nailing this range very consistently.

I would advise you trying to press more buttons (pick your fastest button! if you don’t know what your character’s fastest button is, tell me your character and ask me) after you see the first trailblazer. If he doesn’t do the followup you’ll still get him, so don’t worry about that. You’ll knock him out of the air with a knockdown and then his offense is over.

The main problem with this is that trailblazer actually happens really fast, so sometimes you will miss the window, press a button too late, and then get hit instead. So you might need to try and improve your reactions to this move a bit.

If he ever crashes into the ground with trailblazer and causes that explosion, he is -3 after that, meaning his offense is over unless he risks doing the flash kick to invincible his way through your challenge. Cinders do like to do this a lot, but I still recommend pressing a button here fairly often to “take your turn back”. Then, sometimes block and punish the flash kick.

When fired up, Cinder gets the extra pillar on his flash kick, but if you block this it is still -6 and punishable by every character in the cast. It just takes a decent amount of practice to reliably punish it, because the window is kind of small and it happens quickly. That said, this is something you can easily practice! In training mode, pick your character as P1 and Cinder as P2, then set instinct to infinite. Turn the dummy on “record” and then quickly activate instinct for Cinder, then pause/unpause to restart the recording. On the new recording with Cinder, do a neutral jump, then as soon as you land, do a LK fireflash, then hold down-back (to block) for about 2 seconds. Pause the game and set the dummy to “playback”. Now, walk forward and wait for Cinder to neutral jump (helps you with timing). Then, block the fireflash and the pillar after, and see what the timing is for pressing your fastest light attack until Cinder doesn’t block and you get the “punishment” message. Practice this timing until you can get it 5 times in a row! It will serve you very well in online matches against Cinder players.


It’s funny because I read this exactly the opposite way. Cinder takes some patience to fight against. You have to find your openings and exploit them. He has a lot of pressure strings but not much ambiguity and he’s one of the few characters that I would suggest you can pretty much reliably block all day long.

And I don’t want to derail the thread but I would be hesitant to say that every matchup you don’t enjoy is “the reason this game isn’t as popular as it could be.”


Wow thanks for in deep write up man!

I mainly use Spinal so I think his fastest normals are standing lp and crouching lp? I am not sure myself I am just guessing on visuals alone lol

I do notice a small gap when they try to come in with trailblazer and I can usually block or power devour it but when they start pressuring me with those blockstrings I am almost scared to press a button anywhere haha

and thanks for that bit about the training mode as well, I will have to give that a try!

It’s the fact that this game doesn’t have more obvious punishes compared to other games. Cinder’s trailblazer or whatever should be a high risk manuever, without somebody having to go into practice mode or study clips to figure out how to get in. And this is just one example. Low risk, high reward for aggression. A “casual” player has too hard a time learning on the fly. I don’t think that’s necessarily positive or adding any “depth” to the game. And, to be clear, I beat almost every Cinder I face (and 90% of players that post on these forums) … But, there are a few (starred players mind you) that know how to get into those flashkick loops and blockstun pressure where I feel there should be more obvious punishable gaps (that pillar on the missed kicks is as dumb as Maya’s former dagger throw bailouts on her missed dp’s in S2). KI does alot right, but not everything.

I can agree that Cinder’s fireflash pillar should probably be more punishable. But…

KI isn’t really a “cut and dry” game like, say, SFV, where your punishes for unsafe moves are largely canned and unmissable (and even then, you’ve got spacing-dependent moves like Karin’s sweep and Nash’s medium scythe, which are technically punishable but often hard/impossible). Cinder kind of needs trailblazer to be a bit unpredictable, or else he’s not really a good character.

I dunno, the unpredictability and fast-paced nature of KI is part of its charm. I don’t think “low risk, high reward for aggression” makes a game unsuitable to casual play. In fact, if anything, it means casuals often have fun doing “random stuff” that seems to get them some results sometimes.

I mean… it’s fine if you want a game that is supremely measured and any slight hint of poorly timed aggression is punished for huge damage, but you’ll probably have to look elsewhere for that. You can be punished for bad aggression in KI (in fact, it’s one of the things I find often lacking when I watch players of all skill levels play), but the game does reward a player who skews toward aggression.


Yes, crouching LP for Spinal is a 5 frame button (ie, the fastest speed for a normal in the game, everybody has at least one 5f button), so definitely use that when trying to punish fireflash’s pillar.

I would advise against trying to power devour 2nd trailblazer, because power devour has startup. I’m not sure how much, actually, but I’m pretty sure it’s more than 5f, so you might get tagged sometimes.

Cinder’s block strings are another thing entirely. If he’s doing those punch target combos, there’s usually no gap there. You can sometimes shadow counter it, depending on the chain Cinder does, so guessing with shadow counter isn’t the worst idea. If you can shadow counter in between the 2nd and 3rd hits, then it will for sure work! But this is kind of hard in practice.

If he ever finishes his target combo with trailblazer, then you’ve got him for sure; just mash standing LP (crouching LP probably also works fine), because he’s done it from a bad range and is definitely punishable. If he does fission, the clap explosion move, then it’s a bit less cut and dry… if he does the fast fission (the M version), then you shouldn’t ever try to press a button, but this is negative on block, so feel free to take your turn back. If he does the really slooooow fission (the H version), then he is positive on block but there is a huge gap before the fission hits where you can always interrupt.

Basically, you have to decide is he going to do M fission (I imagine most Cinders you’re facing are using this one)? If so, wait and then press a button or try to bait fireflash. If he’s doing the slow H version, you need to either press a button quickly (and if he does M instead, you get hit… oops), or just block it out and accept that he will have advantage. In general, I would advise you just block fission and then see if he did the fast version (if so, push a button) or the slow version (if so, don’t push a button).

Most Cinders you’re fighting probably don’t do punch target combo -> fission x 100… eventually they will give up and do trailblazer (start mashing LP!).

1 Like

Well. I think you understand where I’m coming from. I’m a former “turtle” Guile player and it pains me to see the “impenetrable” Cinder whiffs and me blocking 6 straight attacks with no OBVIOUS openings. Even with the shadow counter in mind, I can’t get these dudes off of me. A little off topic, Cinder’s non-stop juggling tactics is just one more thing that will force me into training mode to learn the move strengths so I can break them. Easier for me to learn “on the fly” when my opponent’s choose characters that spend time on the ground. Watching my character get bounced around in the air makes the reads much more difficult for me. Again, these are experiences I’m having with the best Cinder players out there. But, I’m like 0 and 20 against 2 of them in particular. Very frustrating when I know exactly what they’re going to do when I finally do get on my feet, and I can’t see the punish.

I mean… there are openings. They may not be “obvious”, though I don’t know what your definition of obvious is. I assume you played Guile in SF4. Do you feel like there were always obvious openings in that game? When, for example, should you press a button versus a Seth that is rushing you down? How about Cammy with EX strike available? How about Cody who has you in the corner and is in range for fwd+MP? There are never “good” times to press a button against any of these characters, you have to make a complicated decision that involves game knowledge and player habits and hope it works.

In fact, I think it’s easier to get away from Cinder in KI than it is to get away from many SF4 characters! He has to commit to somewhat predictable strings with key choke points (ie, if he does fission or trailblazer ever). Unlike, say, Cody in SF4, he can’t just put you in a frame trap blender with 5 consecutive, varied normals and then confirm any of them into a combo. Cinder has to kinda just commit to a string without being able to change his mind much halfway through like most SF4 characters can.

This is easier now than it used to be. If they’re using 2x trailblazer in the air, it should be a pretty free break if you want it. If they start with up-forward trailblazer, break lights on the second one. If they start with forward trailblazer, break mediums on the second one. Doesn’t matter what the second one looks like. They can start trying to bait that by only doing one trailblazer or other things, but you should be able to stop many of the “standard” Cinder juggles.

We can certainly agree on that. I will try not to ramble because we are wandering off topic. KI is a game that is geared towards more offensive play and every character has some “dirty” 50/50 or safe (or nearly safe) stuff that encourages players to play aggressive offense. This is balanced by the combo breaker system which allows a skilled defender to reset to neutral with a good decision, or at least minimize his damage by forcing the offensive player to be aware of his breaking. People may or may not like the system (and that’s fine) but KI has this identity.

Cinder is a very flashy character. He has a quick set of tools and lots of frustrating pressure and juggles. He’s intended to be wild in this way, and he’s balanced by having pretty low damage output by KI standards. Some of his punishes are tighter than other characters, but I wouldn’t call him unique in this regard. His fire flash is harder to punish than other DP type moves, and also easier to do. I think this is 100% intended to encourage people to use it. So I don’t think asking people to devote effort to learning to counter that type of move is too much burden on the player.

The basic fighting game cycle has always been learn your character, go play against people, encounter something you can’t beat. Work to figure out how to beat it. Come back and show that jerk you can beat his tech. This is and will always be true of all fighters. And although I agree that KI is requiring players to think more about how to stop the opponents offense and take their turn back, I don’t think this makes the game more reliant on frame data or lab time than other games. It’s just asking them to focus on different things. I lose at SFV because I haven’t labbed out the optimal punish for every situation, meaning I leave guaranteed damage on the table. In KI, optimal combos are easy to find. I don’t need to lab this up or practice my execution. Instead I need to work on identifying where to break into my opponents offense. It’s not more burdensome it’s just different.

1 Like

True, but at least with the optimal damage model you can get in and feel like you are part of the match. Sometimes, with less and less frequency as I’m now over 2k hrs played, it feels like I’m just constantly on defense and not seeing visual clues as to punishable openings. And it is this fact that I feel the casual player will just throw in the towel. Couple really long combos with really mysterious punishabke openings, and you will lose a significant number of casual players. I’ve never had so many of my opponents RQ in any fighting game I’ve ever played. I have NEVER RQ’d in this game, and I honestly can hardly believe it myself. Poundz Duval’s Cinder could end my streak though. Lol. Time will tell.

I actually think that SF (or at least SFV) relies pretty consistently on ambiguous pressure where it isn’t necessarily easy to take your turn back. I’m in someone’s face pressing staggered lights with Ken. The gaps in that pressure are pure frame traps, and it’s non-obvious when I’m finally going to decide “enough”, dash back in, and start the play all over again. Maybe instead of the dash back in I toss out a fierce, and if you tried to take your turn back, now you’re getting crush countered and I’m gonna make you eat it.

Pretty much every character in SFV has a similar capacity to apply this variety of pressure, and really a goodly chunk of “good” defense in that game is just learning to sit still until someone “really” gives up their turn. I don’t think unreactable button press vs unreactable throw vs dash/walk forward frame trap button is all that much more obvious than some of KI’s pressure strings. I think KI has a lot more MU-specific pressure that you have to understand (Cinder’s pressure looks nothing like Sadira or Hisako’s), but I think KI’s gaps are actually a lot more straightforward a lot of the time.

As a Sadira main, I’ve always hated Cinder. While I can reliably block his DP, the fact that it is simple a QCB move makes it braindead to use. I wish it was a traditional DP input. It would certainly make my life easier.

I agree about his pressure. He’s a beast.

Lol. It’s even simpler than that - fireflash is a down+up move. :-p

Wha? Sorcery!

Honestly a move that is that amazing with such an awesome range should take a little dexterity!

Something like…

QCF while holding down LP and HK and then push back twice… wow that sounds like a Primal Rage fatality… :stuck_out_tongue:

Awesome, thanks for all the advice man! I do believe the fission they are using is mostly medium as the heavy version like you said is pretty slow and kind of stands out.

This right here is what I believe my #1 problem. It seems like they can almost loop these blockstrings and recover fast enough to start another before I can attack and I sit there and endlessly block until I decide to press a button and get bopped lol

SC is definitely an option. Since this is the Spinal Thread I’m assuming you are playing Spinal. He’s not known for his quick and effective normals. But can’t you teleport out of some of this pressure?

I dont have much issue with Cinder. Not sure why but Ive never thought of him as the character I dont want to see online. Maybe because Omen can keep him grounded…I dont know. I tend to bait out flash kick and punish. Cinder players are so trigger happy on wake up you can damn near bait it 99% of the time.

1 Like