Why Fulgore's pip-canceled DP now loses to some shadow counters (video/picture explanation inside)

So, it’s no secret that Fulgore can pip-cancel into a DP if a special move is shadow countered.

(As an aside, why only a special move, you wonder? It’s because when a move hits a shadow counter, the game treats it as if it whiffed, which means you can’t pop instinct or do other things to save yourself. Fulgore (like most characters) also cannot cancel a normal if it whiffs, which is why Fulgore cannot do anything special if his fwd+HP is shadow countered. But Fulgore can (and often does) cancel special moves into each other on whiff, which is why this works.)

But if you play Fulgore, you’re probably wondering why pip-canceling into DP is more inconsistent in S3. For example, sometimes it works like this (Fulgore blows through it) (video not showing? click here):

And other times, it looks like this (Fulgore gets counter hit) (video not showing? click here):

Why is that? I thought they normalized all the shadow counter startups in Season 3 to be 8 frames? (Did you know? In S2, Aganos had the fastest shadow counter at 7 frames, and only four characters had shadow counters that were 9f or faster (Aganos 7, Shago 8 [built for S3, probably!], Wulf 9, Sadira 9). Everyone else was 10 or slower, average was about 11 or 12, and the slowest were Maya at 17 and Aria at 17)

Well, let’s take a look at why this is happening, with the magic of 60 frames per second, starting with Fulgore’s SC.

Here is the first frame Fulgore’s SC becomes active. You can see Fulgore is trying to DP, but is currently in his startup invincibility frames (he has no hollow hurtbox of any kind, which means he is invincible, and no solid red hitbox trying to hit anything). The defensive Fulgore, meanwhile, has a hollow red hitbox (which means it is projectile invulnerable, as shadow Blade Dash is), and you can see the solid red hitbox of his shadow counter hanging out in front of him.

The next frame, Fulgore’s DP becomes active, but Fulgore himself is still invincible. This is the important frame to study. You can see that Fulgore’s DP has a massive hitbox that goes all the way to the floor, overlapping in large part with the defensive Fulgore, so he should get tagged here.

And yes, the next frame, the game resolves the situation and Fulgore’s DP works.

So, what happens with Aria’s shadow counter? If shadow counters really are the same, we should expect the same situation right? Let’s take a look.

As expected, Aria’s shadow counter becomes active one frame before Fulgore’s DP does (which indicates, yes, these SCs do start up in the same amount of frames). Notice that Aria’s shadow counter is also a hollow red hurtbox (meaning it is also projectile invincible), but the location where she hits is different. Here it is:

What happens next frame? Fulgore’s DP becomes active, just like in the previous example, and he is still invincible like before. Fulgore’s DP is overlapping nicely with Aria’s hurtbox, and has no hitbox of his own to be hit.

And the frame after that? Fulgore gets hit somehow!

The key here is the 2nd image in each sequence; the one where Fulgore’s DP is active. And it’s because of the priority system.

In KI, all hitboxes are also hurtboxes, and when they trade (that is, they run into each other on the same frame), the winner is determined by a priority system. In particular, grounded shadow moves > grounded special moves in this priority system.

And here’s the crux; in the Fulgore example, his shadow counter is really far forward, such that it dodges the actual hitbox of Fulgore’s DP. Aria’s shadow counter is considerably stubbier, and it happens to magically coincide with Fulgore’s DP hitbox, which means it actually wins the trade outright (despite Fulgore being “invincible”). Note that this has to be a grounded shadow attack to work! No other move in the game can out-prioritize a grounded special move. If this situation somehow occurred with a normal attack, Fulgore’s DP would win the priority trade.

Also note that this only works on shadow counters that are 9f of startup or faster. These shadow counters are all 8f, which become active 1 frame before Fulgore’s DP; if they were 9f of startup it would still work, but 10f or slower is no good because Fulgore’s DP would have nothing to trade with and would just win directly. This is why you rarely saw this happen in S2 (except for Aganos, which did this same thing!); only Wulf and Sadira had fast enough shadow counters, and my guess is that both of those shadow counters extended the hitbox very far forward, not unlike Fulgore’s in our above example. But now, every shadow counter is fast enough to do this, so whether Fulgore can pip-cancel DP and beat a shadow counter depends on where the hitbox for the shadow counter is located. If it happens to overlap in any way with Fulgore’s DP hitbox, the shadow counter will always win. If not, the shadow counter will always lose.

And now you know!


I’m not sure what video player you’re using to show the scenarios, because I don’t really see anything. The pictures you have are there though, and paint the picture well enough for me.

Thanks again @Infilament, really good explanation of a tricky situation.

Wait a minute. You’re telling me I can hit Tusk’s sword when he does that jumping attack where he sticks the sword out half screen? This whole time I thought that was un-anti-air-able because his hurtbox was too far away to hit!

I’m using gfycat embed. It should work on most browsers? If not, I just edited the post above to also provide physical links to the videos, so click those if the embed is not working.


Air attacks are also -1 on the priority system (which is shadow move > special move > heavy normal > medium normal > light normal). So a medium grounded normal will outright beat a medium air normal (e.g., Tusk jump MP) because it has one less level of priority than it regularly would. Basically, if you can get a heavy or medium normal’s hitbox out in that space where Tusk is trying to hit, before Tusk can, it should always win.

If you do it late, though, you’ll get counterhit in startup and still lose.

1 Like

hell yeah, i dp that ■■■■ everytime

My Noscript was blocking GfyCat. It runs now. Nevermind! Sorry.

Still good article.

Is this the reason why Aganos’ Shadow Counter was believed to be invincible in Season 2? It just low-profiled the DP?

Except for many of Kan-Ra’s normals, which will win every trade they become involved with.

Yes, this is the reason; Aganos’s gigantic natural disaster hitbox just hit Fulgore’s DP hitbox, and because Aganos was one of the few SCs that was fast enough to make this work, we thought weird things about it. It’s not really a low-profile either (Fulgore’s DP clearly overlaps with Aria’s hurtbox in that above example), it’s more of a startup frames thing.

Yeah, if a hitbox is pink (and not red), then that means it wins every trade. These hitboxes have a special class at the top of the priority system. Combo breakers, for instance, also have this special pink hitbox, so that they never magically trade with anything accidentally:



Awesome work Infil!

Every character in the cast gets punished by a DP before their shadow counter even comes out. If Fulgore is getting hit by certain shadow counters, You are DP’ing too late.

No longer true in S3. This happened with Aganos in S2 as well, it was well-documented behavior because his SC was fast enough and the hitbox aligned nicely. Now they’re all fast enough.

If you can show me how Fulgore can pip cancel light laser with a DP and avoid Aria’s shadow counter, I would be interested to see it. I certainly can’t get it to work, and I’m confident my recording is correct.

It might be a spacing thing? Maybe if you don’t use fwd+HP in the block string and instead start with a ranged cr.MK, then Aria’s SC won’t overlap and Fulgore will win clean, or something? But then some other shadow counters will be in range, etc. I don’t think it’s me being late on the DP cancel.

(By the way I am talking about DPing on reaction to the shadow counter here, not doing laser + DP immediately, if that somehow changes anything)

If you do it fast enough, the opponent should get hit by the DP before the startup frames of their shadow move is even seen. Even if he spaces it out with Cr.MK, I bet it will be the same result.

Yeah, if you DP before the shadow freeze begins, you can always win. I think that’s probably pretty tough to do reliably in matches, but if you can do it, more power to you.

It doesn’t change the findings here, though. In S2 you didn’t ever need to be that fast, because (aside from Aganos) Fulgore could just safely DP after the freeze and always win. Now that’s no longer true and the reason why isn’t very obvious until you slow it down and look at each frame.

In S2 I think his DP after the flash lost only to Aria, Aganos and Thunder. I don’t remember being able to DP after the flash against her in S2.

Thunder would make sense because of the armor, yeah. Thunder was 11f startup I think, so he probably takes the hit of armor and then 2f later his shadow move wins the priority trade before the 2nd hit of DP comes out.

I would be really shocked if Aria shadow counter beat Fulgore in S2, since it was 17f startup, and the hitboxes are probably the same. Unless we ask a dev to test on the old S2 build I guess we’ll never know for sure though.

Actually. I can make that request happen. Most likely in a few hours.

Also it’s amazing to actually talk about the mechanics of KI on these forums for a change. This thread is probably the first time in, like… 3 weeks I’ve made an actual post about the game, rather than in some complaint thread.


I heard a lot about these forums. I just came for laughs when bored.

I know what you mean. Instead of discussing things like tech, strategy, character strengths and weakness, actual gameplay related stuff, there are too many threads popping up to complain about one little graphical thing that doesn’t affect gameplay at all like Kim Wu has too much purple or something, or just talk about how the game can’t win in the long run against its competition.

I do wish there were a lot more activity in the character discussion sections of some of these forums. Cinder’s feels pretty dead in particular sometimes…

I understand. It’s like other than a few people, no one wants to share tech… :sob:

4 day late reply hype