How to fake being good at KI

I hope you guys will indulge me in this weird thread. I was reading some of the comments in the fortieth discussion of counter breakers and something @CrazyLCD said made me say to myself “wow, I would never be able to do that anyway, let alone counterbreak afterwards.” Which got me thinking about improving as a KI player well below the skill ceiling (the point at which you can execute anything you just need to make good decisions). We have a lot of guitar players in the forum and the concept of “faking it” is generally understood in guitar playing - you don’t have to play it the way Van Halen does, find an easy way that comes close and most people listening won’t know the difference. This concept can be applied in fighting games too.

As one example, in Season 1 high level Glacius play involved a lot of dirty hail and shatter setups. I was never good enough to actually use these setups (and rarely used shatter at all) but I took advantage of the fact that many of my opponents were conditioned to defend against shatter/hail setups and so were making decisions against a limited set of options. I just had to avoid letting them find out I was a fraud. Similarly, back in the arcade days when a US SF machine was likely to have a circular gate and highly abused micro switches it was pretty common to have one side that could do reliable DP’s no matter how good you were. But Ken and Ryu’s d.HP in that game is a perfectly good antiair so you learned to do that instead. Effective doesn’t always mean showy.

So, where am I going with this ramble? We have great debates ongoing for high level play and Aesthetics. But intermediate players are always kind of on their own. So I thought I would put an open question to the community. What are you KI “fakes?” Strategies that may not be optimal or effective at EVO, but are good enough to help you win random online matches? This could be basic fundamental advice (stop guess breaking!) or more matchup specific stuff (throwing Jago after a blocked wind kick is not safe but most mid-level Jagos won’t DP on blocked windkick, so go for it and make him prove he knows before you respect that option).

This will either fail completely or people will share some really cool stuff.


Well, something that I use against people that can stop for a moment to think is a motion that will be unsafe and then a shadow, mostly an invencible shadow move. That is pretty good online, it works well, depending on the opponent but yes. I don’t expect doing that in a tourney unless I’m sure or have instinct cancel. Maybe I’ll do it as a hard read :sunglasses:
However, I tend to get caught with those shadow invencibles too, specially vs TJ players, that go down-up 2P when you think you can punish.

Some Jagos do this quite much with frametrap dp, but it gets old in no time if you have the read. Annoying dps…=P

1 Like

Haha, I play Rash and blocked boot into shadow boot works every single time!


Normally, it’s good practice to constantly be mixing up your attack strength in order to keep your opponent guessing, and as a result, making your combos hard to break. But, I had a match once where I was matched up against a guy (pretty sure he was new), who would always immediately break lights. So, although I know it’s not good play, I did nothing but heavy autos/manual/linkers the whole match. I still can’t believe it worked. He just refused to not immediately try light breakers.


Simple just pick Gargos.

It’s funny that you say Gargos though…

I just had a match today where i was (as a Kim Wu) fighing normally and whatnot. All of a sudden, he did something where i thought i could punish with Shadow Dragon Kick. I hit the imput, he went for Reckoning, the first hit of Shadow Dragon Kick missed, and i sniped him out of the air with the second hit. I was so shocked, i lost the match afterwards lol.

Break all (and only) heavy auto-doubles or easy to see heavy linkers. Ignore the rest.

Counter break after your first opener or your first heavy auto-double immediately when you get paired against any player (presumably good or not). Take your free 50% damage, or get hit by jab jab or throw for 2-6% if you’re wrong. Early in the match is a great time to counter break when playing randoms, because it is very unexpected and it catches a ton of stuff.

Do nothing but resets on an opponent after 0 or 1 break chances, then cash out when enough white life is there. Works especially well with the S1 characters who have tricky, often fast reset options and massive damage on all their first hits.


This is great stuff guys, thanks! (Except “pick Gargos.” Salt can be directed to other threads)

I think so many people are conditioned to guess break lights or mediums (because heavies are reactable and therefore spurned by mid-high level players) that I often start a match ONLY doing heavy ADs until they show they are going to break me. It also seems that light ADs are the most common after shadow linker so you can hit heavies and catch people guess breaking or try for one of infil’s early match Counter breaks here and catch people frequently. Like some other “fakes” this only works if your opponent hasn’t had time to figure you out.

I love to fake jumps against Jago’s to see if they will try a DP, then I just land and punish. :grin:

Fake jump?

I think “pick Gargos” is actually pretty terrible advice for “faking” being good at KI. You actually have to be decently good at the game to play Gargos…he gets blown up incredibly easy if you don’t know what you’re doing.

With Hisako, just go for command grab resets in instinct. A good 75% of the player base will not jump them, ever, no matter how many times you hit them with the command grab.

And probably the two biggest, easiest things to learn to immediately level up your game are to (1) do only opener->linker or opener->manual, and (2) learn how to properly meaty with your character of choice. The first will let you beat virtually any mash breaker, and the second will let you beat any of the (many, many) people who simply refuse to block on wakeup.


Unless your name is Sadira(or a few others), do not jump. NEVER jump against anybody on neutral.

Jumping makes you very vulnerable. You are spending more than 1 second in the air, where you can’t block or(with some exceptions) make something to avoid being punished from opponents with good antiair reactions.

You can see fights between very good players where the jumps are always safe. There is never a jump that could be punished by aware opponents, because it’s just free damage.

When I started to play SF4, I came from a big FG inactivity. So I used some rules to reinforce my ground game: I only could jump 4 times per fight. With that, I educated myself into not jumping unless it’s safe or necessary(Who stays grounded next to a waking up Zangief!)

This can be applied in KI too, specially against some characters. Of course there are times where the rule must be reformuled(Staying grounded against Glacius=free shatters), but if I identify a player as “not jumping happy”, at least I can guess that they could have above average grounded skills

1 Like

Me? Well, In all honesty I fully embrace “guess” breaking…so much so that I use them as part of my mind games…I typically use them to bait counter break attempts, which then fail because I have stopped “guessing” so early, leaving them wide open for a counter attack of some sort.

1 Like

I wish I knew where this idea that gargos is easy came from. This isn’t the first time I’ve heard it and it’s so far from true…

1 Like

< shrug > Someone saw the madness that is Gargos with 2 summons out at some point and thought “wow, that’s so easy/braindead!” without understanding the skill required in getting two minions out and keeping them alive in the first place.


Basically this. The logic behind this suggestion is IMO a fallacy of the converse(intended or not):

-If A, then B.
-Therefore, A

-I can fight, understand and win any character who is not OP
-I can’t understand or win Gargos
-Therefore, Gargos is OP

You can even change the arguments:
-If a character has all the tools(zoning, great air mobility, auto attack assists, a command grab…), he would be OP
-Gargos has all the mentioned tools
-Therefore, Gargos is OP

Or you can even apply this on other subjects:
-I’m very good playing neutral, offense, defense, I have good execution, skill and reads, and I have vast MU knowledge
-Sometimes I feel robbed by late CB’s, or I’m broken in scenarios where I believe I shouldn’t
-Therefore, CB’s are broken and needs to be fixed

Obvioulsy, all this examples are wrong. The first and second examples are biased and loaded with arguments that ignores important factors(Character knowledge, Gargos has bad defense…), and the last example is a opinion, not a fact. Not understanding CB’s doesn’t means that they are broken, only means that you don’t know how and when to do them.


So, I’ve thought about this a lot and it’s a lesson that I picked up in SF4, but it relates to the “pick Gargos” suggestion. I have always been a Ken player in SF. Apparently so has everyone else because in the early days of SF4 online was like a constant Ken party. I am not great but I’m a decent Ken player. The problem with that is that so many people play Ken that every opponent has decent Ken matchup knowledge. There’s nothing I will ever do with Ken that is going to surprise anyone who has played more than two hours of SF4 online.

So, at some point I picked up Gouken. He is very different and also not very popular (or he wasn’t, maybe he’s super popular now, I don’t know). I was demonstrable worse with Gouken than Ken. But so we’re my opponents when it came to fighting against him. I was HIGHLY likely to be doing something they hadn’t seen before with Gouken because no one played him.

This also worked with glacius in the early days of KI. He was probably in 6th place for popularity among the 6 cast members and because he had a very different gameplan than the other 5 people didn’t know what to do with him.

Now that KI has 26 characters there are a few that get lost in the crowd. Kan Ra for sure and you could make the case for some others as well. Gargos is both new(ish) and plays very differently. So you have a high percentage chance of seeing someone who just doesn’t know the matchup. If you spend some time with the character you might be able to perform above your relative skill because you force your opponents to play a matchup where they perform below their relative skill.

I think this counts as a fake because it has a high chance of working in random online sets and a very low chance of being successful at a tournament.


That’s a really good example. I’d actually submit that it even works at high level though - there’s something to be said for unfamiliar MU’s. Counterpicks don’t always have to be hard counters; sometimes switching to an unfamiliar fight for your opponent is just as (and sometimes even more) viable.

Both Luffy and Xian’s EVO wins in part were due to character unfamiliarity I think. A lot of their opponents didn’t have much experience with fighting those characters at that level. They’re both obviously fantastic players in their own right, but (particularly for Luffy I feel) lack of MU knowledge played a nice supporting role.


Agree. During my online sessions, I fought people who totally ignored how to stop my characters(Fulgore on S1, Aganos on S2, Aganos, Gargos and Eyedol on S3). This totally changes when I face someone who actually knows the MU.

There are some exceptions, tho. As @STORM179 said, Luffy and Xian are good examples. Both are great players, but the unfamiliarity against Rose and Gen was real. Gen was also my main in SF4(a scrubby as hell one XD), and many people just eat free Ogas and J.MK for days because they didn’t know what the character was doing.

We can even see a example of this recently on KI. When Sleep picked Gargos agaisnt Bass at EVO final, Sleep said that he did that because Bass didn’t understood the MU.

Also, I remember a historical counter-pick that also had some unfamiliar MU factor. Infiltration vs PR Balrog, when Infiltration switched to Hakan. That moment was pure gold


I main Sadira… that’s how I fake it. :stuck_out_tongue_closed_eyes: At least that is what I hear. Yeah Sadira, the original Gargos!

Honestly as a Sadira main, I’ve never been big on overtly complicated air juggle combos. Most of the tech I do, with exception of her Instinct jump cancel web shenanigans, are very simple yet effective. I’ve seen some pretty fancy air combos that resulted in a LOT of flash but minimal bang.

1 Like