Skeletal's Ranked Challenge Month Three: TJ Combo!

Coming off of a Mira month, TJ doesn’t compare to her level of “■■■■ me, what just happened?”


So, I’m not one for arbitrary tributes for celebrities, but maybe I should use TJ’s streetfight set often for the rest of the Challenge, purely because it’s based on Kimbo Slice.


I’m doing it.

RIP Kimbo Slice.

Don’t forget to use your TJ Kimbo-nations!

In a completely unimportant tribute to the late Kimbo Slice, I decided to use TJ’s black Street Fight set for all of today’s matches. I had a lot of Gold/Killer opponents, meaning I had a fair number of matches where I would lose the first fight, then need to make adjustments in order to come back and take the last two. I felt fairly confident while playing today, and I think I did reasonably well, although I now have as many Ranked wins as losses. I can’t complain too badly about a 50% win ratio, though. I also managed to reach Level 50 with TJ, which is nice. (except for having the game disconnect me as I hit the character select screen five times, which gave me needless losses.)

I’m trying to work on the feedback you guys have given me, and you’ll notice I’m using Powerline more, in particular. Powerline -> Shoot Toss saved me several times today!

After some really frustrating losses today, I have a feeling that Sadira, Hisako, and Tusk might be some of my most difficult opponents as TJ.

Sadira’s multi-jumps make it difficult to actually catch her, but she often manages to open me up with a follow-up after her kunai, or the low-over-your-head double jump into kick. I struggle to even pull her down with Tremor, and it feels like if she wants to, she can practically stay up there forever. Characters with DP specials (like Thunder) feel like they have a much better way to drag her back to the dirt, although you would think a recapture would be the best option.

Hisako and Tusk both give me some trouble with Deflect and Counter, though I’m also trying to work in more Shoot Tosses to counteract that. I also don’t break either of these two very well, at least visually, so I’m usually forced to break by listening to the hit sounds. That can also be frustrating, as Hisako’s “rekka” (right?) special looks exactly the same to my untrained eye, and Tusk’s specials don’t seem obvious either.

Any specific matchup tips against these three that you’d like to share?

You can also block the deflect and counter attempts (Hisako and Tusk respectively) and then open them up with a target combo (mp + hp). Or, just throw them when they try it. Once you’ve conditioned them to not try their counters on the grab, then you can poke them to open them up when they try an offensive move. As you’re finding out, TJ is sorely lacking in some areas and requires good reads and alot of thought to be effective.

As far as Sadira goes, good luck. She’s a nightmare for TJ in the right hands…All I can say is, once you get a hard knockdown on her, you better stay on top of her and really have to know what you’re doing. Using resets helps to keep her on the defensive.

Here are some of my vids to give you some ideas as to how to keep the offense flowing (notice the use of the reset lk):

1 Like

I may have been silent in this thread for a few days, but the Killer Instinct arena has been filled with the impact sounds of fisticuffs and the clangor of the ringside bell! I have been pushing myself hard working on TJ, and learning what things work well to combo together, or how to force people to stand still while I punch them. I’m getting better at reading what people like to do against TJ, and I am becoming more adept at going for recaptures and flipouts, too.

Tusk is becoming a bit less of a problem. I’m slowing myself down a bit and baiting out his deflect normals like I do with DPs; I’m also going for Shoot Toss a bit more, as well.

Against a Rash who is constantly using Heavy Wrecking Ball, I’m not entirely sure what to do. If he gets me backed up into the corner, I sometimes get stuck. It’s definitely a matter of blocking and making sure to land the right normal after; the one which has worked most for me has been Spin Fist.

I’m finding a lot of players get caught off guard by switching up cr. HKs, throws, and the df. HP overhead, plus the occasional neutral jump. It works especially well in the corner, but bullying people that way can take off a large amount of my opponents’ health without being in a combo. It’s been fun to “train” people to block the sweep and then switch it up to the overhead. It doesn’t always work, but it’s fun when it does.

It is my pleasure to share the following matches with you;

So, I found myself looking at this screen after a few hours of play;


With some hard work and the advice and suggestions from everyone here, TJ is the first character in the Skeletal Ranked Challenge that I have successfully reached Killer with! It feels really good. Reaching Killer Tier with Thunder was amazing, but I expected that one day I would eventually make my way there. With the SRC, I consider a Challenge month successful if I can reach Gold tier; TJ reaching Killer was far beyond my expectations, to be perfectly honest. I’m enjoying this character a whole lot, and I think I can safely say TJ joins Thunder and Kim in my go-to-character arsenal.

Thanks again for all your advice and interest in these challenges, I will post up some clips and musings from the run towards Top 32! Not that I have a PRAYER of reaching it, but hey, it’s worth seeing how many points I can accumulate in the next couple of weeks, right?

1 Like

Wow, lots of write-ups and videos here! I admit that I didn’t watch every single match, but I think it’s super neat that you’re recording your progress like this, both so that you can analyze and learn, and so that others might be able to learn from this too.

Also, congrats on getting to Killer with TJ! That’s no small feat when you’re learning a new character. You’re movin on up in the world!

1 Like

Thank you! With 40 videos in the list, I don’t expect you’d take the time to watch all of them.

Hopefully you watched a few assorted ones throughout the list, as I think there are definitely visible signs of progression from the first clips to the most recent. Having these clips saved is great because it allows me to go back and see what was successful and what was unsuccessful; I have looked at several of the beginning-to-middle clips and can already recognize not only specific instances where I failed to capitalize on something, had an input error, or just made a terrible decision. Not that I’m immune from those issues now, but I am more conscious of them and have a greater understanding of what I should have done instead.

This little experiment is helping me learn, and I hope others are able to learn from it as well.

After experimenting with RAAM for several days, I jumped back in the ring with TJ!

I had a nice mix of opponents today, facing no character more than twice. I fought Omen, Hisako, Cinder, Tusk, Rash, Riptor, Shadow Jago, Kim Wu, General RAAM, and another TJ player. This was a nice change from the norm, where I tend to play two or three characters repeatedly over the course of a day’s session. That gets frustrating, sometimes, because we have such a wide variety of characters in the roster, and I like to spend time fighting each of them!

Check out the cream of today’s crop of matches! I enjoyed the Ultra -> Stage Ultra transitions I managed today, since I don’t often manage to be in place to make that work.

1 Like

You have improved so much! Cant wait to see what else you can do.

1 Like

What’s your strategy for flipout with TJ? I find that even when I go for it, I’m often too far away to land the LK. When it does land, the flipout is typically really good for TJ, but it’s a bit tough to land.

I’m also practicing something a fellow TJ player taught me; MP->HP-> B-F-LK and then repeating it and mixing up from there. I can do it in Practice, but it’s not so easy to land in the heat of a live match.

1 Like

I haven’t really had any trouble landing the low kick as the opponent lands. Strange. But you might also try a naked low kick after popping up after an uppercut for the reset, or with the mp - > lk juggle.

Another thing that I like to do after landing the low kick for the reset is to immediately dash cancel - > b, as they flip out. I don’t know. The space seems to give me more safety and options. You can see it here at the 10 sec mark:

The more action you’re doing as they flip, the more disorienting it is for the opponent. In my opinion.

1 Like

This vid shows a variety of reset tactics. And my poor opponent fails to break that low kick reset to his unfortunate demise. I can’t believe he didn’t rage quit. I can respect that he didn’t:


It’s probably ME, and not the game, you know? It might just be that I’m struggling with the timing.

I actually have a lot of trouble converting off Vortex, actually. I think I’m inputting Tremor too late and missing the recapture, as well as missing the flipout.

Thanks for those clips! I’ll check them out.

There is a guy I always end up playing in Exhibition that has a good TJ…he constantly does that MP, HP target combo with the fake power line afterwards…over and over and over…and it works. Its so annoying.
Im guessing it gives you the perfect spacing and timing to follow up the stagger without just standing there…pretty cool idea to be honest.

I believe its the guy I beat in the TJ bug video 2 weeks ago.

it’s really cool! I want to incorporate it into my play, and like I said have been practicing it a bit in Practice. You’re definitely stuck in the Stagger long enough that you can’t block the second string, either, and after doing it you can go for several different things to mix it up. It’s just something which is going to take practice and eventually muscle memory to do, because I have to sort of chant the buttons in my head to remember the tempo, and it’s currently a bit hard for me to manage that in a real fight.

Tons of potential, though. I’m happy that TJ is shaping up well for me, but I can see I have a long way to go and lots to improve still.

You can always shadow counter that target combo if you block and you know it’s coming. Good players will read me on it and catch me after the flipout, forcing me to mix it up. So, I’ll go in for a naked grab after the flip out or an hp to shoot toss to avoid the shadow counter attempt. Of course, players can always try a dp after you flip them out to reset, which makes things a bit more interesting.

lol…yeah if i even see it coming…for some reason it happens so fast next thing I know Im staggered and it happening. I dont even realize when i was opened up with the target combo. You dont see many TJs so when it doesnt come up you havent really had any opportunities to practice a defense for it.

I still beat the guy, but it was definitely a tough set…I think he won 5-3 or 5-4… dudes good thats for sure!

Another large set of matches to share with everyone! the TJ Combo Challenge is coming to an end pretty soon, but I will certainly be playing lots of TJ Combo in the future, both in Exhibitions and when I am done with my Challenges! I’m having a lot of fun playing with him, and I really feel I’m learning a lot about the game and how to adapt to my opponents.

Plenty left to work on, as I’m noticing that I’m still not really great with flipouts or juggles. I’m slowly working those tactics into my play, though. I’m also noticing a tendency to throw out Tremor more often than I should, which has got me into trouble a few times. Luckily my break and Shadow Counter skills are improving, too!

If you haven’t already, please check out my Introduction thread, as the July character poll is up! Every vote counts right now, because the characters are all really close; come make your voice heard and decide my Ranked fate for next month!

Skeletal's Ranked Challenge: Introduction & Poll Thread