Tips for the usage of TJ's instinct in the first life bar

Hi guys. I ve been playing with TJ recently and im having a lot of fun. His offense is nice and mind games are real with this character.

But there is something bothering me: i cant make a good use of his instinct during the first life bar. The most obvious thing i can think is make shadow vortex safe in case of my opponent blocked it.

For the second lifebar i always save it for last breath. I think it is really good and one of the coolest instincts in the game

I know he gets crazy fast but does he gain new setups, pressure or stuff like that?

He gets + frames on a lot of stuff. It’s a really good instinct, actually. Mind boggling pressure!

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@TheNinjaOstrich Used them for crazy setups when he fought me. He may have the clips, if not I’ll post me getting bodied by his TJ when I get home.


Yeah he becomes plus like a mothereffer. Everything is a frame trap when he’s in instinct.

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I can’t tell you specific setups for it, but I can confirm that TJ’s insane speed basically makes any action an instant frame trap, and he gains access to otherwise impossible juggles and hard-to-breakables involving staggers and powerline. The instinct flash can also be used defensively, to allow you to see whatever mixup your opponent is applying at any given moment. Can also use it off of unsafe tremor overheads as well, the same way you see Spinal cancel instinct from his slide.

Personally, I think saving your instinct in the second bar for last breath is a waste. Many people have anti-last breath setups that they use to still keep the pressure on TJ as he gets up, and you lose a significant chunk of your instinct without getting anything offensive from it whatsoever. I’m a heck of a lot more afraid of a TJ with some life and a full and active instinct than a one-touch TJ with a couple of second of extra speed. Just my take on it.


I’ll reiterate the advice in here that I’ve said in other threads: unless you value giving yourself ONE extra hit over 7.5 seconds of instinct time and a free mixup, you should never use last breath. The only time I can see it being valuable is in matches where both players are in danger (because allowing yourself to be hit one extra time is a big deal there, and the extra instinct time isn’t likely to matter), but even then I can see many reasons why you would rather spend your instinct on an unsafe mixup or something.

Here’s what happens when you save for last breath:

  • You get half the instinct time, and arguably less because your opponent will either mix you up on wakeup or run away, thus costing you a few more seconds. Much of the time, you will die before you make any use of your instinct at all.
  • You don’t get to use instinct at all for the second half of the fight, meaning you must gamble on wakeup and play safer/get punished on mixups
  • Your instinct isn’t turned on while you’re at frame advantage, which makes you “force the issue” against an opponent
  • You get one extra hit

Here’s what happens when you use instinct in the last life bar:

  • You get the full instinct time
  • You get to make a mixup safe, or get a free reversal, which means you get immediate offense (either a frame trap or a punish). You are very, very unlikely to not get a chance at using your instinct for some positive effect.
  • Your expected damage, due to immediate offense plus more instinct time, is at least 2x higher than during last breath, and probably more
  • You don’t get one extra hit

If I’m in danger and my opponent has 75% health left on his last bar, using instinct for last breath is a huge waste. You need to do a lot of damage to your opponent, but you are choosing the path that does the least damage, with the worst chance for landing a hit. But the psychology of last breath (ie, a “safety net” for their game losing mistake) is so strong that people continue to misuse this instinct 18 months after he came out.


Thanks for the answers guys. I definetely getting the hang of his instinct now. Its very good. While in instinct i feel comfortable enough to press buttons in footsies because they come out really really fast. My only fear is to get shadow countered but tj has enough mix up tools to avoid this situation (tumble, shot toss and backstep) so i think is all about doing some crazy fast pressure while mixing it up.

I ll follow some of the advices and experiment not using last breath and see how i feel about it too…

I like Last Breath because it gives me a psychological advantage of my opponent having to kill me twice. I’ve won so many matches simply because my opponent feels exhausted that they ultra’d me, and that I’m still there. Lol. Don’t discount the psychological element. This has been overlooked in the discussion I’ve read.

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