oK so I’ve been playing ki off and am primarily a Street Fighter player. I love playing but I’m not really sure what to do combo wise. Does anyone have any decent tech for a person trying to really learn Jago
Try this, Jago page
Also, maybe @oTigerSpirit, a truly awesome Jago, can give you some help
The Jago sub-forum also has a tech thread, as well as other threads with videos and discussions, check it out.
I think most of them can be learned at the dojo.
To start with, at midscreen you generally want to do one of these things:
- Throw out a medium wind kick – unreactable, combo starter, safe on block.
- Walk/dash in and put a double roundhouse (fwd+HK) on your opponent – +3 on block, reactable confirm into combo starter on hit. Your opponent can shadow counter this on block if they have the meter and good game knowledge and reactions, but your opponents aren’t going to have all these at your level, and you can think about how to adapt to this threat when you’ve got the basics down.
Generally speaking, in a Jago mirror, 1 beats 2 beats 3 beats 1. You’ll often find yourself downbacking and cowering in fear of unreactable forward-moving specials at midscreen in KI, because many of them are safe on block and open combos on hit. If your opponent is cowering in fear, that clears the way for you to walk in and put a double roundhouse on them and start your frame trap-driven pressure (or just go for a mixup sometimes – more on this stuff below). If you predict your opponent is coming in to lay something like a double roundhouse on you, make them eat your foot with an unexpected wind kick to the face. Finally, if you expect your opponent to check you with a wind kick from midscreen, simply blocking will hand you a healthy three frames of advantage to start your offensive turn with. (Er, unless they DP on block. Hopefully you bait that and wreck them, but even the most patient of us eat a fist to the chin on occasion.)
In this way, KI (or, at least the Jago mirror – KI is a very matchup-rich game) presents a kind of rock/paper/scissors mind game at neutral – wind kick/block/double roundhouse – that’s comparable to the poke/whiff punish/advance mind game you expect out of the neutral in a Street Fighter.
(EDIT: it should be noted that, at a little out from midscreen, Jago mirrors take on a bit more of a Street Fighter-like neutral quality – you can try to clip your opponent with a wind kick, or sit just out of range and bait and whiff punish a wind kick, or move forward, or throw a fireball, etc.)
At a distance Jago can do some light zoning with fireballs, but Jago isn’t really a zoner and will need to go in to find damage. You’ll mainly use fireballs to clear the way for an advance at full screen (especially against zoners), to extend pressure beyond laser sword range, and to build meter – fireballs generate Jago lots of meter on block, especially in instinct when you’re making your opponent block two of them at a time. Note that throwing fireballs at midscreen or closer can get you blown up by projectile-immune moves in KI, many (but not all) requiring your opponent to have meter.
For anti-airs, you have crHP, standing HK, and DP. You can cancel crHP and HK into laser sword (probably heavy) for juggle combos, but honestly, just focus on actually landing the anti-air at all at first, and think about what you can do to capitalize on the hit once you’re comfortable anti-airing at all. Your main aim here is to prevent braindead aerial approaches from steamrolling you, and also to give yourself a fighting chance against aerial specialist characters like Sadira.
Moving along, what to do with frame advantage up close:
- Frame traps – buttons like crLP, crLK, close MK, and crMK, are fast and plus on block, allowing Jago to prolong his pressure. Whilst it’s possible (and advisable at higher levels) to convert counterhits off the first three of those moves into combos, as a beginner you’re probably best off pressing MK or crMK and then cancelling into medium laser sword, which opens a combo on hit and is +1 on block, and repeating that on block until you’re out of range, at which point you can double roundhouse back in if you want and keep going. You can frame trap forever like this, but it’ll get picked apart at higher levels by various means (e.g. shadow counters).
- Mixups – you can opt for the standard throw, but get used to the range – you have to be point-blank with Jago to not whiff this thing. Dash-forward throw should always connect, but you’re forecasting your throw with an obvious tell. The real breadwinner is neck cutter (back+HP), a quick overhead which reaches alarmingly far, and cancels into whichever opener special you deem more suitable. You can even use neck cutter instead of double roundhouse when approaching from midscreen, or put a light fireball on the screen, dash up behind it, and throw a neck cutter out as your opponent recovers from blockstun. Jago also has a filthy crossup in jump HP, which you can throw into your pressure game and sometimes make very ambiguous depending on the spacing.
- Baits – jumping to bait throw techs is a thing in KI due to the long throw whiff recovery. Also, against characters with invincible reversals (including just about everyone with meter) you’ll want to block at frame advantage at times to suss reversals out, especially since your beginner frame trapping – i.e. double roundhouse and lots of crMK xx laser sword – has enough duration to give your opponent plenty of time to prepare their reversal timing. At higher levels you’ll need to look into a combination of baiting and fireball pressure to bait out shadow counters, which are really good against the warrior monk.
In general, when you’re up close and you need a button to press to do something, you’re probably fine to lean on either crLK (best-ranged light button) when you want a fast button, or MK/crMK otherwise. You can cancel crLK into light or medium wind kick or not cancel it and be at +2, and you can pretty reliably cancel MK and crMK into medium laser sword – it might not connect after crMK sometimes if you clip your opponent at the tip of its range, but I wouldn’t say that’s something you need to worry about much in practice. Round that out with double roundhouse when you have some range and you have your “oh ■■■■, what do I press” bases pretty well covered with just three buttons to start with, and you can explore Jago’s moveset and branch out from there when you’re ready.
Combo game at low levels, players are going to struggle to identify medium auto doubles, so you can alternate between light and medium auto doubles (and switch up your linkers between all three strengths, probably favor the wind kick linkers for now because it’ll be important when you get better) and throw in the occasional heavy auto double, and you’ll do pretty well. Throwing medium and heavy doubles out at the beginning of a match to see if your opponent can react to them is worthwhile doing, because if they can’t then you get lots of free damage and if they can then you can think about nailing them with a counter breaker.
At higher levels, this is a pretty decent snapshot of what the combo game looks like:
- After an opener: Jago in particular can link just about any manual after almost all of his openers, but the heavy manuals are often one- or two-frame links. Opener->linker is something that other characters do more-so than Jago.
- Linkers: 50/50 light/medium, with the occasional heavy linker thrown in. Heavy linkers are breakable on reaction, but don’t expect lower-level players to be capable of doing this. With Jago you want wind kick linkers, since they’re over more quickly and hence harder to distinguish in time.
- After a light linker: an auto double, or a light manual. Medium and heavy manuals are impossible here, by design. In theory you probably only want either a light manual or a heavy auto double (~50/50), but in practice you can slip unexpected medium auto doubles past the vast majority of players on occasion, and light auto doubles are a mostly fine substitute for light manuals, which are almost always 1 frame links.
- After a medium linker: a light or medium manual (again, ~50/50). Medium linker into medium manual is by far the most important link to learn with virtually any KI character, which makes life hell if your character has 1-frame links here. In Jago’s case you have a 3-frame link with close MK, which is really nice. Auto-doubles do more damage, but reactability weighs heavily on their value on average, so since you have access to two strengths of unreactable manual here it’s generally better to stick to those. (Heavy manuals are impossible here by design.)
- During a heavy (or medium) auto double: you’re in the counter breaker game, but unless you’re confident in your read you want to just let the move rock more frequently than actually counter-breaking, it’s something like 75/25 let it rock/counter-break.
If you want to grind BnB combos, first practice linking the manuals after openers and linkers, then practice various paths off of various openers. KI is a game where the BnB’s are never a settled thing – you have to remain unpredictable – but the combos are built up out of familiar components.
After a lockout: capitalize. I can’t emphasize this enough. The main reason people complain about guess breaks so much in KI, is because they do these pissy short combos that offer no leeway to capitalize when the guess-breaker locks out, because they’re afraid of getting broken. Against a smart player, guess-breaking is a great way of getting yourself hanged, because the ~10% damage you might be saving by getting the breaker is trumped by the ~30% a good player can force you to eat for locking yourself out.
A basic way to capitalize is to just do heavy auto doubles and light linkers for three seconds and then cash it out with an ender. With Jago you can do his around-the-world combo trait. You can also figure out how to fit shadow linkers into the mix (Jago’s damage shadow linker – shadow laser sword – is slow, so you try to fit it in by fitting the first three hits in the lockout window and letting the last two hang out the end). In fact, look up the Jago page in Infilament’s guide for some ideas about how to capitalize on lockouts and (especially) counter breakers, although I think his Jago punishes are in flux because of some recent Jago damage nerfs.
Enders: to start with, I’d just end combos with either DP (“damage” ender) or fireball if you’re running low on meter and want more. As you get better, it’s worth looking into launcher ender (laser sword), which is basically the optimal ender (especially after the damage nerfs), which you follow up with laser sword juggles and either flipout (light laser sword) or sweep, both of which allow you to control the terms of your opponent’s wakeup. Also as you get better you can look at wall splat ender (wind kick) which puts your opponent in a throwable staggered state (if you get the throw then it’s probably the hardest-hitting way to end a combo) and allows for some dirty mixups.
When you’re the one getting combo’d: focus on reaction breaking. Your goal is damage mitigation – if your opponent casually slips three heavy auto doubles past you then you’re going to eat ~50%, but with the mere threat of a breaker, unexercised, a good defender can confine their opponent to a mere 20%, or even less if they chicken out and end early. Resist the temptation to guess-break, unless you really expect your opponent to use a particular move. Not only will mashing guess breaks stunt the learning process, you’ll also eat a lot of damage on lockouts in the long run. Be aware that a tasty reactable auto double can be a bait (often you’ll get away with breaking nearly every reactable thing, but eventually you’re going to get the best results going about 50/50 here too), and that if they attempt the counter breaker and catch nothing then you can bring the pain.
Check out the character pages in Infilament’s guide for interactive shadow linker breaking mini-games that are really cool.
A few uses for meter:
- Punishes – if you block a DP, double roundhouse xx shadow laser sword deals something like 15-20% in raw, unbreakable damage, plus a nice little slice of potential damage that you can convert with even a short combo into something in the 30-40% range, all told. Replace that double roundhouse with crHP if you want the absolutely optimal punish. If you don’t have the meter, replace shadow laser sword with medium laser sword. (Not heavy? No. Trust me, you want the medium one. It doesn’t make much of a difference, though.)
- Getting through fireballs – shadow wind kick is fast, projectile-immune, and will hit from midscreen, so you can punish midscreen fireballs (and a few other things) on reaction if you’re good. It’s even +1 on block, but if your opponent has meter beware – shadow moves are the easiest moves in the game to shadow counter.
- Shadow counters – having a bar on hand to punish blocked shadow moves is great even at low levels. Eventually you want to start learning to shadow counter slowish double-hitting moves like double roundhouse, and predictable pressure strings, as well.
- Shadow fireball – fast, eats smaller fireballs, deals non-negligible chip damage. Decent “stay out of my face” move for when you’re not sure what to do, and helps to get in on zoners.
That’s probably more than enough information to provide you with something basic to do in every situation, with extra to chew on as you advance. Let me know if any of it doesn’t make sense, if you have questions, etc.
This is one of the best character-specific posts I have read on this site. I applaud you heartily.
Great post! Lots of good stuff here to process and get a handle of.
One quick thing I wanted to mention was the use of a faster mobility tool. It doesn’t sound ideal but it will often work on runners.
Light Endo (no charge) > Heavy Windkick.
I actually noticed ThompxSon utilizing this on a few zoners once and saw its success. I tried it for similar results and was pleasantly surprised. Essentially you are safe on the recovery because your projectile leads and gives you a window of clearance. In some cases, it will catch your opponent because they intend to punish and only leave them vaulnerable by the fireball hit, which you can confirm from after your recovery phase.
Thanks so much guys I greatly appreciate it. Especially @Fnrslvr that was very in-depth and a perfect explanation.
Didn’t know where else to ask this so I’ll post here.
Does anyone know how Thompxson was able to dash cancel his sword overhead at NEC? Did he option select the overhead and go into fireball?
I did see the animation of fireball come after but the fact that he canceled his slicing overhead seems incredibly difficult to pull off.
@STORM179, you were there commentating when it happened, any clue?
That was just a really fast Fireball CADC off of the OH. Maybe a little sleight of hand, but no magic involved.
Yeah, what he said^^^ I’m pretty sure.
I’m pretty sure magic was involved:
It looks like the overhead was kara-cancelled into the CADC. Play it at 0.5 speed to see it more closely and to laugh at @STORM179 's drunk commentary.
Oooohhhh, yeppers. That’s a kara-cancelled OHxFireball CADC. Feels almost as good to transcribe as it does to watch. Good eye.
There’s gotta be a good shorthand for “kara-cancel,” that I am unaware of. Maybe just “kara”? I dunno.
So the question is, what’s a Kara cancel and how does one do that?
I’m not all that familiar with kara cancels, but it’s basically cancelling the startup of a move into something else, like we saw in the video. I would just try replicating this exact situation in practice mode. Before 3.5, I know Jago could kara cancel a charged fireball directly into a DP, but that was patched out. Maybe this is something similar that wasn’t patched? It might also have to do with the meaty fireball, because projectiles making contact have allowed some weird stuff in KI before.