Increasing Damage

What’s the best way to increase my damage in combos,been playing since season 1 and I’ve always had an average of about 24% damage when the combo meter was full and I finished it with a damage ender.Should I add manuals?Are there combos for each character that are objectively better than others?

Without seeing your combos, id wager you’re using mostly light to medium linkers and doubles and faster speed but lighter hitting openers, but not using heavies, shadow linkers or shadow enders.

As an opener, some sort of heavy button normal followed by a shadow move that isnt an ender will get you probably in the ballpark of 15% to 20% on its own.

Using Heavies will greatly increase your damage.

Manuals make combos harder to break, but do less damage than the corresponding AD.

For pure damage, sure. Heavy AD->light linker->heavy AD->light linker->etc is known as the “damage loop”, and for most of the cast is the best way to maximize damage in a combo. It is also fantastically breakable, however, which is the general tradeoff in KI. If you want more damage go for heavier and slower (more easily broken) combo elements, and if you want less easily broken combos then you use lighter and faster combo elements (which deal less damage).

Starting combos with medium or heavy normals into your opener will also increase your average damage, as they scale the combo less and deal significantly more upfront “first hit” damage than light attacks.

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If you manage to get a lockout on your opponent, like if they guessed the wrong strength or timing on the combo breaker, and they have the big “X” above their head, it’s much safer to use the Heavy AD->light linker style loop @STORM179 mentioned above, since they can no longer break your combo, and really increase your damage potential. Also, you can use shadow meter on shadow linkers to increase your damage output without increasing the KV bar, or you can use it for shadow enders and hit them really hard with a more damaging ender.

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I’m aware of lockouts but this isn’t always guaranteed I’m talking about combos where the opponent doesn’t try and break at all and no meter.

Heavies usually end combos though,which I always finish with the highest strength damage ender(unless I wanna do some setups).

Yes but only to prevent combo breakers,if they’re locked out it’s medium linkers all the way.

I do use shadow to link and finish,I also finish with heavy finishers but I’m talking more about combos that don’t use meter.

So what your saying is I should start a combo with a heavy normal for maximum damage as opposed to a heavy linker?

These are the games we play. If you want damage you’ll need to use heavies. Depending on how you use them, you’d be surprised how often you can get away with them.

Perform heavy linkers by holding LP/LK or MP/MK. As previously stated though, max damage loops usually involve heavy autodoubles and light linkers.

Yes, you should start combos with heavy normal->opener when possible - doing so adds a nice chunk of damage up-front to your combo. This is not related at all to choosing to do light or heavy linkers though.


I’ve honestly never known this for the 3 years this game has existed.

And even if you knew then it still could take a while to get used to. When I switch between other fighting games, I tend to forget that it works like this…

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Use the Dojo in game. Even if you’ve already done it, going back and completing it again can be an excellent way to jog your memory or inform you of things you might not know.

In case you can’t find it, go to Single Player, and under the Master tab you’ll find Dojo and Practice. Run through the whole thing and make sure to pay attention.
And any time you want to try something out with a character, go into Practice (or as regular users like to call it, “The Lab”). You can fiddle around with all sorts of settings; Life bars, AI Dummy Behavior, Hitboxes, damage numbers, and even snazzy music from the first game.

The game gives you lots of awesome tools. Be sure to use them!


Also different linkers vary in damage as well. For example Thunders triple axe linker is his carry linker while his ankle slice linker is his damage linker.

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Also beginning a combo with a normal makes the damage like 150% or 200% more for that normal. Not sure how viable that it. And of course if you wanna go ham activating instinct resets the meter.

The way you start a combo is dependant on character, I think. Some characters have opener specials that do about as much raw damage on their own as they would with a heavy normal opener.
Though generally using a normal to lead into your opener is the safer thing to do. You can pick at your opponent and hit confirm when you get it right.

Though as @Infilament will point out there are some pretty universal ways to get extra damage off of a punish that are important to keep in mind. Effectively retaliating and taking advantage of mistakes is hugely beneficial. Things like punishing DPs or whiffed counter breaks/shadow counters with a Heavy Normal into Shadow Opener can help net you some big unbreakable damage.

Example please? I’m unaware of any specials (excepting stagger->command throw sequences) that do more damage raw than as part of a heavy normal->special chain.

Not too sure if this counts but Kim Wu’s last hit of Shadow Dragon Kick? Does a lot of damage alone.

We’re talking combo openers, so I don’t think that counts. You can juggle after the second hit if you’ve got a dragon, but in that instance the move actually just does pure damage anyway, so it’s not like you’re necessarily getting “more” off the juggle than if you’d gotten to it by another means. Could be wrong on that, but that’s my understanding of that interaction.

Kim’s dragon kicks in general are an example of moves that scale pretty heavily after a normal though (most reversals/DP’s do as well). Not sure if the upfront damage from a DK punish is greater than HP->shadow firecracker though.

The one that springs to mind is Mira’s Heavy Traphine. Raw Heavy Traphine and HK>Heavy Traphine’s damage numbers are exactly equal (44 damage, or 12%).
Adding the Heavy Normal at the beginning does substantially effect Ender damage thanks to the extra KV (takes it from 39% to a whopping 46% off a H. Traphine>H.Reaping>Damage Ender 1 chance combo) but the opener itself will still get some significant damage in alone most of the time.

I’d probably think of more, but I thin quite a few of them were patched out (i.e. Riptor’s S2 Heavy Tail Flip).

Sure isnt. Shadow Dragon Kick is worth about 18% and i think heavy punch into Shadow Firecracker is like 14% or 15%. Main difference, like you said, is youd need a dragon to continue juggling off Shadow Dragon Kick, whereas you can one-chance the heavy punch > Shadow Dragon Kick for something like 30%.

This is somewhat true, if were talking about combo opening damage and you have dragons stocked. But that’s a ridiculously hard and situational hit to land raw. I put my findings up in the Kim Wu thread awhile back. Sure you can hit juggles afterwards somewhere in the 75% to 80% range, maybe better.

Omen and Kim have a cute thing where (and i know its a situational opener special…) if he crashes Shadow Orda Shield into Shadow Firecracker, she can get a 23% unbreakable opener. Thing is, it damn near tops off the KV meter; youre forced into one-chance at that point.