Please Help me Beat Thunder


In my experience there is no “Zoning” or “keeping out” thunder this season because he can just get in whenever he wants with full screen DP/dropkick which all 3 are projectile invulnerable. It’s not so much that these things are unsafe but rather the mobility that they give him while also providing mixup potential with skyfall which can also cross-up at certain distances. IDK it all just seems so silly to me.

The player in this video didn’t wakeup block once…and why would he when he has the tools to avoid doing so. Let’s also not forget his new ability to dash cancels all his stomps…


I ran into a Thunder player that did nothing but DP into Skyfall cross up the other day. He got me for the first half of the match at least 6 times. then I realized it was a cross up and I was able to get the read, block and grab.
I had never seen anyone do this before as a cross up…I was actually impressed. But also like ," Great, another tool for Thunder to just totally wreck you with. In the hands of a great Thunder player Im sure he could turn it into so much more… glad he wasnt that great.


@CrazyLCD after watching the video, i dont see where the issue is.
Most of his “wins” were form LP -> Command Grab tick throws, and from 3 cross-up DP -> HKs in a row.

If you had caught on to either of these, you would have easily done enough damage to win.

He beat you in the breaker game, and you missed 1 or 2 full combo punishes. It just seemed like unfamiliarity with the player more than anything.


I feel like something deep has been learnt about the way offensive and defensive tools relate to each other from this. Or at least I didn’t foresee this happening at all. I remember suggesting before the rebalance reveal that Thunder could get a meterless light DP with no follow-ups in exchange for losing the invincibility on shadow DP (which didn’t happen), under who knows what thought process. Making his wakeup game more consistent in exchange for making it actually disadvantageous for him when he does have meter, I guess.

Looking back at the rebalance change list, it looks like maybe Thunder got the meterless DP because he lost DPDPDP and his damage was lowered in a lot of places, and also I guess because he may’ve been considered a bit lacking in S2 anyway. I don’t think I’ve ever heard anyone at IG explain the change, Keits said nothing about it in the KIWC demonstration. If I were to guess, I’d assume they felt that making Thunder one of the better characters in the game on defense was just compensation for weakening his neutral by taking DPDPDP away.

Can many characters even justify contesting his wakeup? I brought up this argument before the rebalance, but it seems like if he sinks one bar into his wakeup then he has two strong options, one an invincible reversal and one that punishes baiting, that each offer more than 20% expected on hit, and you’ve just listed off a bunch of other options which require different answers depending on the situation. I guess if you can force him to waste a meter and get a punish for every time you eat a shadow CotE it’s worth it, if barely.

It’s less of an issue for characters who can make Thunder contend with some form of assist, e.g. Riptor can take CotE off the table with flame carpet. But it seems like a lot of characters might be better off backing the hell off, which is strange.


I think this is the reason, yeah. I think Thunder (when not doing DPDPDP) is a really interesting character and they were scared about making him bad in the face of all the new characters that got stronger, particularly zoning; they would have known that Gargos, Arbiter, etc were coming and that Jago, Glacius etc had better zoning.

It’s hard when the entire cast shifts balance like at the start of S3, but I think they didn’t predict how easy it would be for Thunder to make 1 read and get around all zoning (with DP + drop kick) and they didn’t predict the insane damage on DP stomp cashouts. I’m sure they knew his flipout was very good, but everything put together just proved to be too much. In many ways, I think he is a considerably less thoughtful character now than when he was doing DPDPDP in S2, sadly. :disappointed:

When I first heard about light DP, I was pretty apprehensive, though. I’ve been wrong in the past so I thought maybe it would be different in practice, but it turns out to be actually worse than I thought IMO (I didn’t realize, say, Thunder could predict a block and then do heavy DP on wakeup + followup to get out of dodge, and I underestimated the power of instinct dash).

Yeah, I think they probably are. You’d have to crunch the numbers on just how much damage Thunder gets on his reads vs how much you get for being right. For example, baiting shadow COTE on wakeup can be done by jumping (and jumping tends to get you weak punishes in KI because you can’t frontload damage before an opener), or by doing a meaty and canceling into an opener (again, not a ton of damage typically). If you’re wrong, shadow COTE hurts 20% raw for sure, and on average considerably more considering the fact that you will probably get flipped out or reset, and that white life could be cashed out later before you get away from him.

Meaties and jumping lose to light DP, which doesn’t get Thunder much damage and he risks a punish; in general though, people get away with light DP a lot because medium DP looks very similar and, on block or whiff, you might try to get your punish and then get dunked. So it’s definitely not a very binary decision like it is vs some other DP characters. Reminds me a bit of how much Cinder players get away with even non-fired up DPs… getting dunked by the pillar trying to go for your punish earlier in the match just means you might not even try to punish the next blocked DP at all.

And then you can throw instinct dash into the mix, which definitely beats attempts to meaty/jump on Thunder, and mixes up/beats blocking a fair percentage of the time too. And it all leads to pretty big damage without any resources spent. So you can back up and try to contest Thunder in neutral, which is fine, until you realize he always has meter to make shadow COTE a mega threat, and any time you get clipped by DP, it’s a strict guess between flipout and shadow DP cashout (ie, your guesses are very rarely biased one way or the other because he doesn’t have meter for cashout).


Yeah, I think they made the DP follow-ups specials solely because of Spinal. It was pretty crappy in S1 when Spinal would read DP, and then get dunked by skyfall because he couldn’t absorb that hit. Ironically though, I think this made it worse for the rest of the cast, because the follow-ups gained a point in the priority system, and now everyone else has to deal with a fast falling special that tends to trade with their AA’s.

Overall, I think I’m good with Thunder’s S3 balance except for that light invincible DP. Thunder could actually already kind of force you to guess high/low on your mixup even in seasons 1 and 2, because you needed meaty low to beat DP, and meaty non-low to beat ankle slicer. Some characters could catch both with certain attacks, but in general I think Thunder’s defense wasn’t quite as bad as a lot of people said at the time. Given how potent he is offensively now, and how easily he can cover the screen to put hands on you, I don’t think the true meterless DP is at all necessary for him to be viable. Unless you have access to a character-specific setup that blows up his DP, he’s pretty scary to approach on knockdown.

In terms of how to beat him generally, I think you have to try and beat him the neutral (massively helped if your character has a parry or counter, since it removes DP->nonsense as a viable approach option), and then apply as safe a pressure as you can on knockdown. I also think it’s really important to shut down DP cashouts as much as possible - if you reliably let Thunder rack up stomp damage into cashout (or an eventual flipout reset) then he’s just going to hurt you more than you can keep up with.

@GalacticGeek - I don’t think they’ve changed the speed at all on his DP stomp. Skyfall has always been stupidly fast.


Hmm, maybe it’s just because people are using it a lot more now since you can follow it up thanks to the ground bounce…


Yeah. that would be my guess. Before he got the knockdown, which was good, but it was a pretty cut and dry risk (getting blocked) versus modest reward (knockdown). Now the reward for landing it is immediate damage leading to a pure mix-up with very high reward (either DP loops or flipout, or a combination of both).