How plus is plus?; How negative is negative?

Today I played this Cinder player, & one of the more irritating things about this particular player was that he wasn’t afraid to DP after or during my plus buttons. The irritating thing is that it was actually working. Even if he dished out a move that was completely negative, he could still follow up with a DP after the fact; sometimes 3 DPs back to back even, ultimately stuffing my punish attempt. I seek to broaden my understanding of what is really means to be + or - in this game. It’s like, you know what the right decision is, but how do you know when to make it in this regard? Are there any other examples of this in KI with other characters?


If a character has a DP then you take a risk every time you press a button when they’re safer than -5. At -5 you can jab punish without worrying about DP but anything less than that and DP is an active threat.


Well, first, there’s a lot that Cinder can do that is - on block, but if he’s DPing constantly and you block and do nothing to punish, you’re leaving damage on the table. Without fired up, his DP is horribly unsafe on block, and even with fired up, it’s only -6, which leaves room for a light button of some kind into a special, or if you have meter, you can shadow counter the fired up pillar or go through it with a projectile invincible move.

Thing is, a lot of characters will toss out their DP or invincible moves on block of a - move because at this point, you are sort of conditioned to try and counterattack, and you take that chance of eating their move. Jagos do this a lot on blocked wind kicks and laser swords. Negative on block moves give the impression “it’s safe to try a counter attack”, which is part of the deception. Cinder’s -3 on block when you block his downward Trailblazer/afterburner ground collision fireball, so while this gives you the chance to use a normal against him, that DP makes you think twice. He can also try to throw, which if you throw, is just going to tech it, but it’s the second likely option, with backdash being the final likely one.

@SithLordEDP brought up a good point, where -5 is technically a good threshold by which to consider a move as unsafe, as most characters have at least one normal that has 4 frame startup. Frame perfect counterattacking leaves the player whose -5 on block at a disadvantage. However, even this threshold isn’t entirely the point by which you should gauge unsafe.

-5 on block may leave you open to a 4 frame startup normal, but if done at the correct range, a move like this can still be hard to punish by conventional means. Jago’s endokuken is -6 on block, but at range, it is unpunishable on block, but at point blank, the -6 can be punished with normal into special. However, his instinct renders this to -4 (if the frame advantage bonus he gains in instinct applies to his specials as well) making this hard to punish too.

I’d say something that leaves you at -3 or -4 is fairly safe, -5 or -6 is maybe a little risky, but not greatly. -7 and higher is getting into the real range of risky moves, given that gaps like these are difficult to make safe even when paired with something like a DP, namely since -7 leaves room for longer reaching normals to connect for punish.

Range and timing are just as crucial to dictating if a move is safe or not, but when lacking the context of a move’s range, the -5 on block is the beginning of unsafe territory, though human reaction doesn’t exact make this reliably punishable, as reactions can be off by a few frames at times. Truly unsafe begins close to the double digits, giving plenty of time for reaction and anticipation to meet and form a counter offense.


@SithLordEDP has more or less given you everything you need - if an opponent isn’t at least -5 after doing something and he has a DP, you are at risk of eating said DP.

Cinder is -6 after fired up pillar (which is the best case scenario) however, so he shouldn’t ever be able to string DP’s safely if you are within crouch light range. Depending on spacing you may not be able to punish, but in general fireflash is always punishable if blocked.

And as a note, DP’ing during your opponent’s plus frames is a sound defensive option. Instead of eating frame traps, utilizing this option forces them to give up their turn when they otherwise would not have to. Against a character like Thunder, who has borderline silly command grab options off his frame traps as well (which punish you for playing defensively), this is a particularly good thing to establish early.

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To be fair, this is not KI related exclusively, it happens in all FGs.

If a char with a dp at -4, he could always take that route. But since DPs are unsafe, it’s risky

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does that -5 apply to offline play? or are u taking into account the minuscule lag?

In my experience, -5 is punishable online. I very regularly punish it with ease.

You should be able to punish -5 consistently online. Particularly with something like fired up fireflash, which all told is probably something like 30 frames (at least) between the DP itself and the follow-up pillar.

Online too. You don’t have to react in 5 frames. You should automatically react to any move which is unsafe. Like, if you block a Ruin(or any move ), you could mash your punish button into opener.

If I use a -5 move,you should use jab into opener in the very moment you block it

Well, as stated this really isn’t something exclusive to KI at all. Frame data knowledge is really good as a sound base for your pressure game and also for ways to avoid your opponent’s pressure, aka working on your defense.

But it won’t be useful at all if you don’t clearly understand what its concepts mean. Simply accepting the idea that once you’re + it means that you’re at an advantage and that it’s your turn is a mistake, just as much as thinking that once you’re - it’s your opponent’s turn.

Any kind of move or ability with invulnerability frames will break these generally true “rules”, allowing your opponent to interrupt your pressure in between your + frames (as long as there’s a gap in the string, meaning it’s not a true blockstring because you’re not + enough that your next attack’s active frames iniciate before your opponent leaves blockstun), and also allowing you (or your opponent) to not give up momentum even when you’re - (as long as you’re not - enough to actually be punishable, as is the case for most DP’s, including cinder’s, and in which case you just need to punish with a move that’s fast enough to catch the recovery frames).

I cant stand it when Jagos or Fulgore’s DP out of something unsafe…ugghhhhhhhhhh!!! As soon as you wait it out and not respond they dont DP.