Option Selects in KI

Explain how these work in detail please! Plz don’t use SF as a reference, use KI

Well - that’s a pretty general question, because each OS works in specific scenarios for specific reasons - but I’ll provide a general answer to your general question:

An option select works because you’re feeding several types of inputs to the game within a specific input buffer, so the game is left but to choose the best option based on the situation your character is in during that specific moment.

That’s what it is? I always thought it was just a mixup by a different name (in that you put your opponent in a situation where you can do 2 or more things, making it harder for them to predict which 1 you’re going to do). While similar, your explanation seems more specific in that it sounds like you’re inputting 2 similar moves at once and only 1 of them comes out. I didn’t even know you could do that in KI. I’d like some specific examples (in KI), if you don’t mind. :wink:


If you want an example, PaulB has a OS video for Hisako on YouTube. I’d post it, but I’m on my phone.

Edit: Nevermind here it is:

Yes. Option Selects are when you just do a single input (sometimes a very complicated input that actually has several valid inputs mashed together) but the result is interpreted differently by the game depending on the situation. Basically you’re putting yourself in a situation where something useful will always come out, but you’re not sure exactly what.

The basic explanation is that you’re inputing commands that are interpreted by the game in different ways depending on the situation, so you get different results depending of what the situation was on that particular instance.

Imagine in our hypothetical game if you have one bar of super and you’re put in block stun you can cancel the block stun into a counter by doing hcf + any P. You’re also using a character that has a command throw done with qcf + any P and lastly you can do and tech throws in this game by doing lp + lk.

Now, you’re knocked down and your opponent is aproaching. You believe he’ll either use a meaty to put presure on you, throw you or do some overhead move near you. Right when you’re about to get up you input hcf + lp + lk kinda of slow, but fast enough to register as either of those options.

If your opponent hits you with a meaty attack you’ll block because he got you in either ‘back’ or ‘down back’ of your hcf (hence why you did it slowly) and then you’ll complete the move and do the counter, the game will just ignore the kick input because when you’re in blockstun the only thing that makes sense is hcf+P to spend a bar and counter the move.

If instead he tried a throw your hcf will be completely ignored and the game will register the lp + lk because it doesn’t make sense to read an hcf while being thrown.

Lastly if he tried an overhead then either you’ll do the command throw with qcf + lp or a simple throw with lp + lk, depending on how the game places throws and special moves on the priority list.

So basically you did a single motion that could result in three different outcomes and all of them would benefit you. Sure, it doesn’t cover all situations (the opponent could just jump neutral and you would either wiff a normal throw or wiff the command throw) but it usually cover enough of them so that you actually can turn 4 possible options into just 2.

I’m not sure it works in KI, it does in SF4 but don’t in SF5. The most basic OS is the getting up tech throw.

In SF4 you can’t throw while crouching, lp + lk will just register as a light kick in this situation, but you CAN tech throw. What that means is that in SF4 many people just wake up after a knockdown mashing lp + lk. If the opponent tries a throw a tech throw will come out but if just just tries a meaty attack a light kick will come out because you can’t throw crouching. Since light kicks are very fast, usually you’ll either trade or beat a slower move on his part.


@Dancovich Absolutely fantastic description - that’s exactly what I needed. Thank you! :smiley:

It’s not really an option select, but with the whole “combining moves” aspect, it reminds me of something I could do in Injustice or Mortal Kombat (can’t remember which) - I would input b+P for a normal, and then I could press f+K for a special.

Basically, it was b+P (a command normal); b, f+K (a special move) that got shortened to b+P; f+K to get the exact same thing because of how the game would read it; learning this made extended combos significantly shorter.

b+P; b, f+K is 3 inputs whereas b+P; f+K is only 2 inputs, does the same thing, AND is faster as a result. :slight_smile:

Nah, that’s not it. What you’re describing is taking advantage of the input buffer and it happens all the time in SF (for example, to cancel Ryu’s fireball into super you would normally do qcf +P, then two qcf and another punch - so three quarter-circles total - but if you do it right, you only need two, because the game will remember the first quarter circle that you put in for the fireball and treat is as the first qcf of the super).

Also, stuff like buffering a normal into a special (like, say, Jago’s m.HP into Wind Kick) is not technically an option select, even though it only comes out on hit or block, but not on whiff (so two possible outcomes to the same input). In KI, you can use this with instinct, for example, you can teach yourself to always try to activate instinct after you do a DP with Jago; if your bar is not quite full yet, nothing happens, but if it is, the instict activates.

Unfortunately, KI has always been a lot less about those in my mind, so I never bothered to figure out or look up any existing option selects here.

No, a crouch tech is a valid OS. If you get thrown, you tech, if you don’t, the light button comes out. An OS might take advantage of an input buffer (many, many of them do), but so long as you can get two (or more) moves to come out from a single input, it’s technically an option select.

Another simple KI example would be something a lot of Sadira players used to do to TJ on his wakeup:

Meaty jump+HK->QCF+LP

  • If TJ blocks, then you get the jump HK into light widow’s bite, and will be more or less neutral in front of TJ

  • If TJ backdashes, then the widow’s bite doesn’t come out (b/c Sadie can only cancel normals into air specials on hit or block), and instead the game reads the QCF+LP as a buffered ground special and you get a demon blade that travels to catch TJ’s backdash.

  • If TJ rolls, again the widow’s bite doesn’t come out and instead you get the demon blade, which will catch the roll as he’s coming out of it.

  • If TJ presses any buttons, then he gets hit with the meaty jump-in and you go straight into combo.

I might be a little off on the particulars (can’t remember if there’s a delayed MP buried after the QCF+LP part that makes a medium demon blade come out instead), but that’s a pretty simple example of a small OS that can be very powerful. Just by “letting the game figure it out”, you basically got to shut down every single option TJ has off knockdown with a single input.

1 Like

VesperArcade shares the ultimate wisdom on this subject, though it may be Street Fighter 4 he’s demonstrating, the same concept easily applies to Killer Instinct.

This is pure raw knowledge from a very awesome dude.


…and I never said that it was. I merely stated that it reminded me of it due to the circumstances (you migt want to re-read my post again).

Regardless, this makes me think 2 things:

  1. this is the kind of thing that separates the not-so-skilled players from the much-more-skilled players.
  2. Option selects, IMO, seem cheap and should not exist in KI or any other FG - it’s practically cheating! If you put in 1 move, 1 move should come out. This whole combining buttons thing is all kinds of wack!

It reminds me of the whole BXR thing way back in Halo 2. It was an unintentional bug that people abused to get an advantage and those that didn’t know about it or that didn’t know how to execute it properly (like me) had an inherent built-in disadvantage that broke the balance of the game when it never should’ve been there in the 1st place. To this day, it kills me knowing that the practically god-like devs over at Bungie never took it out or fixed it (and was absolutely devestated when they made the decision to keep it in in Halo 2: Anniversary Edition). It made the game unfun for me, unless I could get my hands on a power weapon. Also, this is not like knowing about and/or being able to do manuals, for example, because those were intentionally put into the game for a reason. BXR was not.

Now, they may exist, but for me personally - as of right now, I don’t want them in KI and I hope that the devs patch them out. We can do just fine without them. The game was built that way. :wink:

1 Like

They can’t be removed, they’re sort of a byproduct of the way fighting games are built. The only way to maybe remove them is to force players to have frame perfect inputs and no one wants that.

Hate to disagree with you man, but it’s hardly an unintended side effect, and if you don’t want to use them, that’s your choice, but I don’t look down on anyone who uses them. They are a smart move, and they aren’t easy to find, which is way the smarter and more skilled players generally have a good number of them. However, holding yourself back from using such powerful tools, that even the developers use or tell you to use, is a somewhat naive gesture when you think about it.

I remember watching a video of JWong doing a training session looking for option selects with Sabrewulf and finding a pretty good one, though I forget what it was. The top tiers are looking for them, using them, and they probably won’t share all of them, as nice a set of guys as some of them are, that they will use in competition.

Basically, it’s the super huge lenient window of input buffering that makes it possible. So while an element of an execution barrier is removed, it creates this new ability that allows you to take advantage of these lenient input windows to create this scenario where the game picks the best option for you, a bit of a double edged sword of sorts. But don’t fear it, use it.

I think the solution is actually very simple (in theory). Don’t have moves that are so similar in regards to inputs that allow for it to happen.

Conversely, you can just have the game’s programming prioritize 1 over the other, so that 1 always comes out, no matter what.

Having option selects to me is like saying that I could (not really, but I’m using an example here) get a LP natural disaster roll with my Aganos while also doing a LP payload assault against an opponent that is jumping in at close range, simply because I pressed both LP and LK as I did the QCF-motion, and the game chose the correct one. That’s not how any FG should work. That shores potential mistakes players can make and reduces the amount of mixups in the process, even if you guessed wrong on which mixup to use, because the game is on auto-pilot. The game shouldn’t play the game for you.

How exactly is it a “double-edged sword” if the correct move always comes out? That sounds like a win-win to me, but not for the guy getting hit by it when they thought they had a pretty good mixup to thwart their opponent…

I meant as far as a system mechanic, some people prefer higher execution based games like some of the Street Fighter or King of Fighter series, where precision control, button presses, and timing are important. KI sacrifices the strict input timing and instead uses a much looser, lenient system that stores inputs for much longer. This in turn creates options selects.

Basically, you are making the special moves easier to time and make come out, but you give your enemies powerful tools in the form of option selects. That’s the double edge sword. However, there’s nothing that says you can’t use them either, but it’s finding them and testing them that’s the tricky part.

I’m okay with either of these.

I’m NOT okay with this.

I still think it’s something that can be avoided. Either give moves priority like I already mentioned all of the time (so only 1 move comes out and never the other) and/or have it so 1 move comes out immediately after the other, even though both inputs were put in at the same time - this would actually discourage the practice of using option-selects, since trying something like this gets queued up and could leave you vulnerable. In turn, the game would be relatively fair across the board, leaving the mind-games that are what really make the great intact while taking input advantage out of the picture entirely.

On the inputs side of things, there really are only so many different types of inputs you can have on a controller. If you truly wish to remove OS’s, then you tend to wind up with a game that requires such precise inputs that it is, in practice, not very fun to play, and certainly not accessible to a more casual audience.

If you’ve ever wondered why some old fighters are super freaking hard to play at any reasonable level of skill, a lot of times how they handle input leniency and buffering is a big part of it. All modern fighters use some degree of leniency and buffering, and on the whole they are better for it.

Option selects can be degenerate to a certain extent (there’s a reason crouch teching was stamped out in SFV) but on the whole they are small price to pay for fighters that are actually fun to play by lots of people.


I just don’t think a “side-effect” of the system should be the reason you win. I still haven’t heard anyone say why my ideas for getting rid of them won’t work - just that things would have to be super precise, which I don’t believe would be true, IMO.

1 Like

Unfortunately your solution won’t work, but from reading that, I’m still not sure you understand how option selects work. At any rate, chances are that as long as you have played the game now, and your are JUST finding out what they are, chances are also you aren’t too affected by them. They can give you an upper hand in opening the opponent for a combo, but once in the combo state, it’s business as usual, so they are hardly OP, at least most of them aren’t. There were a few ridiculous ones in Season 1, but they are gone now.

But your suggestion won’t work for a number of reasons. For one thing, the engine won’t store inputs of special moves for that long a period of time. In SF4 the game engine only held special inputs for a window of about 25 frames, almost half a second, before forgetting them. Second, the having one distinct move you can use as a prioritized move in the instances of multiple inputs runs the risk of you doing something you didn’t want to do a LOT, because it will happen in linkers, enders etc. One mistake in your input and you accidentally tap two different buttons instead of one, you are doing the wrong linker/ender, or are doing an ender when you wanted a linker. On top of that, the game will most likely do that one move even if you made an input for another, so you may have wanted (Cinder for example) a trailblazer, but the game decided for you that you want a pyrobomb.

Your solution would most likely create more problems than it solves. But if you really haven’t noticed option selects till now, exactly how much power do you really believe they have over you? If you haven’t noticed them till now, chances are they aren’t that OP.

Again, you may want to take a read or watch VesperArcade’s explanation on Option Selects, because based on your responses, it seems like you still don’t understand the core concept of even how they are performed. And they are hardly cheap.

There is a second and third part of Vesper’s video tutorial series as well, and parts 2 and 3 explain why the double special inputs scenario you are describing isn’t realistic of Option Select tech.

Edit: On another note though, man. There are counters to option selects in some instances. Frame traps are usually really good at ruining defensive OS tech.

I still get the feeling that because I didn’t fully understand them (and still might not, apparently) that it’s something that’s holding me back, kind of like, maybe this is what’s been holding me back this entire time, ya know?

Even if there is a counter against options selects, like with the frame traps that you’ve mentioned, it still limits your options moreso than if you didn’t do them. The whole idea of doing a mixup is to force your opponent to choose. By taking that away (where you don’t have to choose), it defeats the purpose of mixups and limits the choices that the person doing the mixups can make, since if they think their opponent’s doing options selects, it forces them to react in very limited and specific ways. This makes them more predictable, and therefore easier to beat. Meanwhile, the option select-using player gets more options for doing less. I know there’s an inherent advantage when it comes to the offensive side of things in this game, but I still think that option selects takes it a bit too far. Like I said before, it takes away the mind games that KI thrives upon.

At the very least, if you can’t get rid of them, I suggest that they be reduced as much as possible for the very reasons I just described above.