How does someone get better at KI?

I keep getting these points in my playing through killer instinct where I get stuck and can’t get any better, then through some miracle I learn something. For instance the first time this happened was when i was going from bronze to silver leauge and i learned that shadow counters and counter breaking helped lol. Then it was from gold to killer where i was stuck for 4 months and I just got better by going into every game only blocking and grabbing the entire time. And it really increased my defensive skill and I balanced that with offence. Now I’m stuck as a killer league who keeps getting Beaten by what seems like the “masters” of ranked, tj combo, riptor, and shago. (30+ games against only these characters online and losing 90%) And it’s getting really annoying not facing any other characters along with the fact of not knowing how to get better. And it doesn’t help when ranked is broken and puts me up against a 5 pro star player when I’m no where near that level. But my question is, how do you guys get better, and how could I reach that next level?

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Man I am on the same boat as you, KI is the first fighting game I ever sat down and tried to git gud at. Dont let the big FGC before my name fool you, thats just there to say Im into fighting games.

Im Gold-Master so you take what I say with a grain of salt. Right now 3 big things Im trying to get down are “Footsies”, “Fundamentals” and “Frametraps”.

Execution stuff like manuals and hit-confirming are also problems I have but thats something everyone will be working on from the highest Killers to the lowest Qualifier.

Dont take this the wrong way but, I used to play Counter-strike GO competitively. I was Gold Nova 2 before I finally put the mouse and keyboard away for the ecksbakz controller.

As a “Pro” in THAT game, the thing I realize is things that work in CASUAL do NOT work in COMPETITIVE. Now this is why I say not to take what Im about to say the wrong way. In all sincerity, perhaps your problem is youre using Casual strats in Competitive.

In CS, I can wallbang Dust 2 Long doors all ■■■■■■■ day because Silvers would just regurgitate flowchart answers and try to punish bad play that their level tended to make. They were “scrubs” who only knew how to win against “scrubs”.

You are at a point where you cant cheese wins anymore. I used to cheese wins by going Instinct on Wakeup and Demoning their grab setup. That worked until I got to Gold. Now I eat damage.

In conclusion, figure out what part of your repetoire is legit tech or cheese tech, and evolve from there. Footsies, Fundamentals, Frametraps.

Hope that helps.

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^^This general kind of thought process might be the next step you’re looking for.

Might also help to know which character(s?) you main.

Ranked may be putting you up against said 5 star player because they’re the only one currently sitting in the matchmaking pool in Killer in your region or something.

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I’m not a pro player. I just play a lot.

Back in 2013 I was getting a feel of the game. I watched Max’s videos and twitch streams here and there. I started off as a button masher. Dude, I didn’t even know how to consistently perform heavy linkers until early last year.

When Iron Galaxy took over, they made a conscious effort to explain every design decision to the community. If you have a favorite character, I would look at one of there past broadcast streams where they breakdown a specific character. Granted because Season 3 is vastly different from season 2, some of the strategies from the streams might not apply any more. But most of it is still useful. I remember when they were breaking down Omen and I fell in love. :purple_heart::purple_heart::purple_heart:

After that I just played with Omen for a long time. I watched other people play with Omen. I came to the forums to ask questions and to get answers. I even supplied the forums with tech to see if it was viable. I give advice and in return I get advice. We’re all getting better together.

Here are two things I recommend for beginners:

  1. Do some exhibition matches with a few people from the forums. You can really learn a lot of thing by doing FT5 or FT10 sets with people who main a certain char. (Hit me up if you ever want to play an Omen, Cinder, or Gargos)

  2. Try to spend some time with most of the cast. Get a feel of thier game plan and see how they flow in a match. You can get a feel of thier strengths and weaknesses when you battle against them with your main character.

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@Infilament 's guide has been the go to learning tool here for a while. Don’t know why I can’t find the post here about it, but here’s the link

Also, be sure to hit up the dojo. Even if you’ve already run through it, going through again for a refresher never hurts. And plenty of practice!

I know most of the mechanics and how things work thanks to Infil’s guide. My issue, however, is more mental - I get too emotional or go on autopilot and let bad habits take over. I’m currently working on slowing things down by keeping calm, blocking more, and watching for patterns. I’m also working on reaction speed and finger control to reduce mistakes and input errors to a minimum.

It seems like every time I feel like I’m getting close to the top, everyone reminds me that I’m only really just beginning - and that can bee a had pill to swallow. :persevere:

You should get knowledge about anything about the game. Frame data, basic and advanced mechanics…
You should be able to see a match and identify what is happening, and why it happened. This category will help you:

And this guide it’s a MUST:

You should practice a lot against other people. I remark people, since the CPU is bad for training, since you will use strategies which doesn’t work on human opponents. Try to fight against people who is better than you, and who fully understands the game. You don’t have to be destroyed by a 5 stars killer, but if you play against someone who beats you consistently AND explains where your bad decisions were and how to fix them, you will start to improve
You can look for people here:

Ask, and be humble:
Nobody is perfect, and all of us are learning. Don’t be afraid about asking anything, even if looks basic. Some people are eager to help you, and even if the answer you get doesn’t show you nothing new, it can be used to consolidate your knowledge, or to help someone else.

Focus in your goal:
Put some(realistic) goals to yourself. If you are bronze, you can’t ask yourself to be the next EVO winner. Go step by step.
Are you gold? Your goal is becoming Killer
Are you killer? Your goal is being confortable with your main
Do you struggle against X character? Look for someone who can teach you the MU to improve your results

Be patient:
Fighting games are dense and hard to master. It can take years. Don’t be overhelmed if you feel you are not making progress. Be patient, and eventually you will improve. The best part is the way you walk, not the goal you achieve.

Have fun:
Over all the things, enjoy the game, because if you don’t, then you are wasting your time. If you are frustrated and can’t focus or have fun, stop for a while, and come back later. KI is a videogame, and it’s goal it’s giving you a fun time.


I only get to play a few hours a week. Maybe something like 8 to 10 a week, but more like 5 to 7 hours. I’ve managed to get to Killer where I won my promotion match on a disconnect. However, I have played against a lot of other players and have won against a fair number of Killers. Feels good that I can consistently defeat those ranked less than me.

It can be tough. I think sometimes you hit a plateau in your skills where your bad habits are your own worse enemy (and we all do it!). Right now, I am working on spacing. As a Jago player, being about 1 to 1.5 character spaces away is a good plan and not just being right up in your opponent’s face. Also knowing not to rely on double roundhouse just because it has good frames. But you have to spend time to realize that. Sometimes you get help from the person you have played against, which is nice, but it is mostly on you.

Remember that many people that play this game and are consistently beating you probably have the chance to play a whole lot more than you. Don’t feel alone because you aren’t.

Maybe you should post some of your replays and get feed back that way? There is a time when you get to a point that you just have to up you decision making game rather than in game execution and all that. Getting an outside perspective on what you are doing / what you could be doing differently, may help.

Finding a small group of people/friends to play with around and above your skill level is good too. And when you play them get in a party chat and ask questions. Ask a lot of questions. I did this in SFV and it helped me improve a lot. I am still not good at SF, but I improved a lot compared to where I was when I was only playing casuals/ranked.

I actually hope to do the same thing in KI soon too when I get back home and have a decent connection to play on lol

Play. If you aren’t playing the game, watch someone play it. If you aren’t watching someone play it, think about it.

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Wow, I guess there’s a lot of possible answers to the question. First, though, your experience is not surprising or unique. I’m guessing most or all of us hit these plateaus for various reasons as we play the game. Personally, I’m probably currently not as good as I once was - just due to dwindling hours spent playing the game and lack of matchup knowledge for some of the newer characters and latest patches. I’m a Killer tier player and I win maybe a little more than 1/3 of my ranked matches. So yeah, I have a decent understanding of the “fundamentals” of the game but there are lots of places I know (and some I probably don’t know) that I could improve.

I think the advice already here is great. Play. Practice. Watch others play. Watch your replays. If you are seeing consistent poor performance against certain characters, learn how to play those characters. Watch people play against those characters and find someone who plays those characters that you can practice against. If you have very specific questions, bring them to the forums. The more specific the better (i.e. “What should Riptor do after blocking TJ’s powerline” is much better than “I can’t ever seem to beat TJ.”).

But without knowing more the answer is almost always play more sets. The best learning experiences are against people above your skill level in long sets. Outside of that, pick one area to focus on getting better so that you can see results in that area and aren’t just looking to increase your W/L ratio in ranked. The problem with just looking for more wins is it can be very deceptive due to the randomness of ranked matchups. So if you truly want to get better you need other metrics (“Today I’m going to improve my counter breaker play”).

Good luck. Just as a final note, it always helps to know what your goals are. I am never going to EVO, and as much as it sounds fun I will likely never go to an offline event. My goal is to try to stay moderately competitive so that I can enjoy the game. I enjoy the game more when I am thinking about improving, but the truth is there are many things that I know I could get better at if I spent time in the lab, in long sets with people I know from the forums etc. But I just don’t really want to put the work in. I’d rather just play some ranked matches and win 1/3 of them and see if I can find ways to better my play. So, that’s on me. I can’t really complain when my abilities don’t improve if I’m not putting the hours in. This is a ramble, but I always feel like it’s important to recognize what you are hoping to accomplish with your training and make reasonable choices about it. Then be happy with the choices you make.


its all in your mind as well and your attitude when you enter a match. dont pay attention if they have stars on there or not. dont pay attention to their names, mute the voice chat, and focus. go in there with no mercy, have the intent to K.O. the opponent, and be confident. fighting games are mental more than anything else out there, if you are confident you can learn more and get stronger even if you lose.

my suggestion:
-hit training mode for 10 min before engaging opponents
-practice bread and butter combos
-work on execution
-if someone was nailing you with tech, set the dummy to replicate it and defend against it

also, and this is very important, do what you HAVE to do in the fight. do not do what you WANT to do. if you dont, you can find yourself going into predictable patterns and loops, then the opponent will flow chart you to the loser’s screen.

I recommend trying to understand “why” things hit when they hit, and “why” you get hit/opened up when you do. Take fights for the mental chess matches that they are, and don’t let yourself get into the habit of just doing stuff because “it mostly works/is good”. Understand why people get hit by certain things, and then exploit that understanding to hit them again.

The thread I’ve linked below is a bit of a read, but delves more deeply into the kinds of things I’m talking about, as well as about patterning your opponents in general.


This info here could help your game

I’ve recenty been having issues when I fight Shago at first but yesterday I was able to consistently beat 3 Shagos in a row, one player I fought twice, Once as Fulgore, another time as Riptor basically being patient and giving them rope to hanf themselves. Before that I always had alot of trouble than I started to apply spacing and patience and it helped my game alot.

This is actually a very important piece of the puzzle, as getting good at KI mostly consists of training your cognitive functions and your muscle memory by performing moves over & over.

It might also be noted that a lot of the neural net reconstruction happens while we’re sleeping. So if you’ve started noticing you’re doing bad, just take a break & get some rest. You’d be surprised how much that actually helps when you feel like you’ve plateaued.

For those of us with kids this is especially obvious. It’s not at all unusual to be working on something with my son and he can’t do it at all. Wakes up the next morning and he can do it perfectly while I stand there saying “what happened?”

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interesting advice though I can’t jus ttake a nap when I want to sadly .3. still worth a consideration