When Crows Cry

Relatively low tier, Thunder doesn’t have many answers for everything, but he can be dangerous in the right situations; given you’re able to get to that point. In my competitive experience of playing Thunder, I find myself having to make calculated adjustments & decisions in most of the match ups; where as many other characters have highly abusive attributes that allow them to either toy with Thunder from a distance; never allowing him to get in, or beat him to the punch & toy with him on wake up. Here are some pro’s & cons.

-High damage output.
-0 frame shadow command grab with massive reach.
-Decent DP with an invincible start up frame.
-4 frame, LP LK frame traps can be canceled on block to M or H COTE.

-Very slow walk speed; terrible mobility.
-Telegraphs slow making him easy to combo break or shadow counter.
-No significant form of defense against heavy zoning.
-COS is useless in most situations & match ups.
-Loses more match ups than he wins.
-Has a lot of unsafe attacks, considering he’s required to be combative up close in order to get any kind of damage.

My issue is that the Cons heavily out way the Pros in most cases; thus making most match ups seem slanted. Considering all of his strengths & weaknesses, I’ve stuck with him because I like the challenge of having to calculate and think instead of heavily relying on super shenanigans to win a bout. Spinals, Fulgors, Sadiras, Arias, Glacius(s), Cinders, Kan-ras, Aganos(s), Hisakos, Riptors; I don’t care how good you are with Thunder, you know you’re about to have some serious issues when these match ups come about.

Make no mistake that Thunder is superb in his areas of strength, but there is absolutely nothing I hate more than finally managing to catch up to a Kan-Ra after a long chase, then have him vanish to the other side of the screen, or having fulgor/spinal teleport circles around me, towards me, and away from me. I honestly feel that the grappler isn’t cut out for a lot of these match ups & in most cases he can’t win them. Quite frankly, he needs a little more than what he has to really compete; some move improvements at the very least. His current state makes me nervous for his viability to contend in S3. I’d love to see him go at least mid-tier in the future. He’s such a cool character.

What are your Thunder struggles? & what are you doing to cope with them in this current state of the game. What fair improvements do you believe would insure Thunders viability for S3? All thoughts & opinions are welcomed.

I understand you are passionate about Thunder and I’ll admit he seems a bit lacking, but that is the beauty of KI. A character who seems to be low tier can still do incredibly if put it the right hands. Just look at how many Thunders we still see in tournament, one of which placed 2nd at EVO this year. I’m not saying this to try and insult or discourage you, but my point is that people have prospered with Thunder and beaten the odds in some matchups.
If you want to get better, I suggest watching some of the Thunder gameplay on the 8 bit beatdown tournaments, they usually have some high level play. Also, one of thunders other pros is that he has the easiest manuals in the games, so if you haven’t you can try getting better with his manuals. I hope this was helpful and I’m sure you will “walk with the law” :wink:


I have a lot of trouble against runaway/zoning players as well, but I also struggle against characters like Jago, who has the ability to effectively attack and defend at the same time (due to frames allowing him to drop into block), strike much faster than Thunder, and knock me out of my attacks. Projectile spam, anything Kan-Ra does, and teleporting are major hassles for my Thunder.

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I disagree with Thunder being low tier. He may not be the best, but he’s certainly very viable and some of those match ups you think are against Thunders favour I believe are the opposite. Specifically Riptor, Spinal, Sadira, and Aganos. Though I’m not seasoned enough with Thunder to form an opinion on the others, I don’t think he has it as bad as you think.

Some strong pros you missed;

  • has the easiest and most ambiguous safe jump set ups
  • very strong frame trap set ups off of all strengths of triplax
  • high tier normals
  • CoTE/Triplax option selects (basically rendering spinals wake up w/o meter useless)
  • speedy tricky cross ups off sky fall

If Thunder is played right, he’s a very competitive char. Just watch some of the recent beat downs, he’s often used by more than 1 of the top 8. Which, in a cast of 17, says a lot.

Basically I’m just saying maybe a further understanding of his options could help you improve, instead of the opinion that he’s just not good enough.

Except for Kan-Ra vs Thunder, that match up is straight up whack.

Just to clarify as well, his dp is not invincible on startup. So if you ever get stuffed on wake up, it’s not an input error, your dp literally got stuffed.


…and don’t underestimate his reach with a lot of his normal attacks: f+HP (pushes opponent into a corner and hits as an overhead); standing HP (greater reach and speed than you might think); standing MK (also very fast); standing HK (this is 1 of my favorites, as it moves him forward and has low invulnerability to a certain degree because of how he picks up his leg); jumping MK (great for a crossup); jumping HK (great in-air range); jumping HP (great for punishing throws); crouching MK (also very fast, like his standing MK); crouching HK (great for hard knockdowns) - and those are just his normals. :wink:

The statistics rate Thunder 3rd lowest tier chatacter in the game. Its just that he’s not granted many guaranteed luxiers in the listed mu(s) of competitive play. The pros you mentioned aren’t guaranteed luxiers, but kore so high risk high reward. I play a pretty seasoned Thunder, & in the realm of high competitive play it often seems like there aren’t many options against these characters. Here’s what I encounter against highly skilled players in accordance to the characters I mentioned.

I often encounter a lot of hail & shatter; with a regular jumping back MK/HK also making it very hard to get in. Thunders safe jump in this mu is his best bet. DPs will often 50/50 trade with a floating hail either doing damage to Glacius & Thunder, or just Thunder alone. For the most part I’d say this mu is 6.4 in Glacius favour considering he has great luxiers. Those double unblockable attacks are very scary. By this I mean heavy hail & shatter spammed at the sametime. It works like a charm.

Let’s not even talk about it.

This is definitely in Thunders favour but can be extremely tough in competitive play if the right moves aren’t made. I say 5.5 here, but it does bring about some serious issues. Her flight & mobility are one of a kind for sure.

I have more issues with Spinal than Fulgore, as Fulgore plays similar to Jago. The biggest issue for me in both of these match ups is the teleporting. It’s very hard to clock when it’s going to happen & where it’s going to end up. Spinal has the regional zoning, absorbtion, run cancel, meter steals, etc. If you’re playing a Spinal that’s top tier, on point, & agressive, then you’ve got some serious problems.

It’s only tough because of his chunks; Thunder has to be in close & sacrifice taking damage just to “attempt” bring him down. In the event that you’re able to rid him of those chunks, he’s screwed. Getting rid of those chunks in high level play isn’t easy. 5.5 I’d say but you’ll definitely have to work for it.

This is a personal struggle for me. I’m not sure how many other Thunder players deal with this MU, but it’s extremely tough for me. Ouija FGC has a really on point Wulf as well as UA Flash. . I find that I’m not able to really move or block at all.

TJ Combo
Why does he come back to life again? Lol. This can be a really difficult mu with the cancels, dodges, & full screen grappling. I haven’t figured out the answer yet. Jumping definitely isn’t it lol.

All the other match ups I can deal with very well, but beginning/intermediate aspiring Thunders will certainly struggle with Sadira, Jago, Omen, etc. What advice could be offered for the match ups I mentioned above?

I’d contend that most beginning/intermediate players in general will struggle against Sadira :smirk: I’ve personally always thought that particular fight is either balanced or in Thunder’s favor once the runaway option from S1 was removed. If Sadira jumps, sammamish. It’s pretty much that simple. Unless she’s doing a mid-range jump away light kunai, Thunder is pretty much guaranteed to hit her with it.

Not really sure why Hisako would be a particularly bad match for him either (referring to your first post). Like most of Hisako’s MU’s, how the fight goes will mostly depend on how good of a read the Hisako has on your particular Thunder - neither character’s talents really blow the other away. Thunder’s command grabs also have priority over hers, as they are slower and thus quite a bit more active in general. They’re longer range as well, which is nice for Thunder.

As to the above MU’s, I’d say that Thunder always struggles against a character who can run away or otherwise keep him out. A lot of Spinal’s run-cancel pressure can be DP’d out of though, as he doesn’t have any other low option out of it other than slide, which Spinal’s tend to not like to do on account of how bloody unsafe it is. Thunder can also OS Spinal’s wakeup to all hell - once you knock him down, Spinal should never be able to get up for free.

Against Glacius, if the hail is close enough to you to force you to eat a shatter, then it’s probably close enough to sammamish out of it. Sammamish into sammamish can make the awkward spacing work out for you in some cases of you having to do this, but can also obviously get you tagged if the opponent is patient. Sammamish on wakeup is also not a terrible option in this fight, as Glacius is rarely at a range where he can meaty you low and your DP will both punish lance and avoid shatter, which is slow enough that Glacius can’t really get a good punish off on you for doing it.

For Aganos, you’re basically in the same boat as the game’s other resident grappler Hisako, with the difference that Thunder can actually strip chunks (shadow DP), while he doesn’t have the option to counter. Your goal in this fight is largely simply to keep Aganos from playing. If he gets chunked up and started the match quickly becomes a losing one IMO. Sammamish cancels into skyfall can be a decent way to punish Aganos abusing you with meaties and such, but depending on how skyfall lands and what Aganos threw out that can just get you punished for additional chunks. Thunder’s command grabs are also not great on defense unless you’ve got the hard read on a throw attempt, as the high startup makes them fodder for Aganos’ buttons.

In the other MU’s you listed I’ll leave it to some of the resident Thunders in the house. I don’t think either TJ or Wulf are generally considered to be terrible MU’s for him, however.

I don’t really have the experience to analyze all Thunders matchups, but as a Glacius player I can tell you “the grass is always greener on the other side.” I think this matchup is no worse than 5:5 for Thunder. I have no idea what a luxier is… But there are no “double unblockable” attacks. if the hail hits you then you can block the shatter. Strategically, you’re right - neutral jump to avoid the shatter and take the hit from the hail. It doesn’t hurt much. And since Thunder has a forward and a backward dash, plus COTS, I’m not really sure that setup is especially good against him. Also, you can’t discount Thunders normal in this matchup, which are pretty darn good. Just his crouching fierce punch counters ice lance or any of Glacius’s jump kick pokes. Once you get in close, there is no contest at all. Glacius has nothing that can even come close to Thunder and even an attempt to jump backwards gets stuffed by nearly everything Thunder does.

In s1 it’d be safe to say it was 5.5 as C.O.S allowed thunder to apply more pressure. Now in s2 his c.o.s is useless giving glacius the luxury of spamming hail, jumping hk, & shatter all back to back; meanwhile Thunder is left to calculate & pick his spots. . One mistake could mean the entire match. He doesn’t have anything he can abuse to stop Glacius from making a run for it. I do well with the match because I’ve adapted yet it’s still highly annoying & doesn’t move me if/when I win. It’s flat out stupid to me.