How do you learn character matchups?

TLDR: How do you learn matchups in KI?

Hello fellow killers,
i have been looking around the forums lately and i found a lot of topics about certain matchups. But there was no thread about the approach to learn a matchup, which is pretty interessting imo.

I’m fairly new to KI (coming from SF4) and my biggest weakness right now is matchup knowledge. I have decent fundamentals so i’m able to play a solid ground game, but i feel like in some matchups this is not enough.
I would like to ask you guys, how you guys learn a matchup. I just want to get some input to get inspired by to optimize my own approach. To give you a little insight here is how i learn a matchup atm:

  1. Check the ranges on normal and special moves and figure out there best poking tools and other properties of the moves (e.g. overhead, low, invincibility, etc.)
  2. Learn which moves are unsafe
    (specials and normals) and find the optimal punish.
    For now the optimal punish in KI is probably a normal canceled into an opener and play the combo game from there, which is a big difference to SF4.
  3. Learn the wakeup options (with and without meter)
    This is really important to me since i’m a thunder player. I need to know their options after a knockdown and my options how to counter a specific wakeup option.

Thats pretty much it for what i do. It’s pretty basic i guess. I guess i’m missing some KI specific stuff. For example Auto-doubles/linkers: what is your approach on learning to recognize the specific strenght for autos/linkers to break them. If you disagree with some of my stuff pls let me know why, always happy about constructive criticism.

So yeah pls let me have some insight on your way of learning a matchup in KI. Pretty interested in your approaches.

Wish you guys a nice weekend and good luck to all contenders at frosty faustings!

On a side note: I’m always looking for people to play with. So feel free to add me, so we get some sets in.


Here’s how I do it.

One: watch videos of pros playing at tournaments, preferably with good commentary (looking at you, Sajam). This will give you a pretty good idea of what you’re supposed to be doing. Two: play games against people who main that character. Nothing beats learning from experience. For specific setup timings, you need to go into the lab, record the dummy and just test things out.

As far as breaking goes, Infil’s site not only shows you what all the doubles and linkers looks like, it also provides an in-browser simulator for breaking shadow linkers. Really good stuff. Of course if you want to do it on your controller of choice and ingame, you can go either into training mode and record the dummy doing stuff, or use the combo breaker practice mode. I tend to just set the dummy to go ham on me and tell myself “I will only break heavies” or “only mediums” or “only shadows” and then just do that for a while.

Finally, some characters have really weird playstyles (Sadira really grinds my gears, but there’s also Cinder and Omen) and you have to approach the matchup a little differently, ie. you won’t get to play as much of the neutral game as you would with other characters.

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Something I find useful once in a while is to put AI At maximum and see how it counters some stuff. But most of the things I do is what you say and also watching the high level players. Asking people who main X character to help me fight it is helping, despite the frustration of losing, it will give results in my future MUs, no doubt!

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I’m actually quite a bit less structured in how I pick up MU’s. I generally prefer to just run into the character online to see how people actually use them. I watch streams to see how higher level players are using the character so I usually have a good knowledge base of what the character is capable of, but I like to see how Joe KI typically approaches the character as well.

If I run into a problematic MU or setup, that’s when I’ll go into the lab to try and figure it out. But usually I’m pretty content to try and just figure things out in the context of the fights. On occasion I’ll try and find a main for a particular character to run a longer set with.

While it’s definitely useful to learn breakers in and out, I’m actually far more a pattern-recognition player than anything. I’m generally looking for habits and tendencies within combo, as that applies regardless of which character I’m up against, and I don’t particularly care to spend my limited time trying to memorize 100+ AD animations, and a lot of what’s in the combo game isn’t reactable anyway. If you have the time I’d recommend learning double animations, but if not then being observant of habits can also take you pretty far.

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Thanks for the answers so far.

You guys are totaly right about watching high level players, i totally forgot to mention that.

For Thunder, my absolute favorite is GutterMagic, he just plays such a solid, sneakily oppressive neutral game. Other notables include Rico Suave and Shin Tristan.