Wondering Why Your CounterBreakers aren't working? Find out why!

One day you’re in the middle of an intense match in KI. You and your opponent are both in the red health bar and are both below 50% health. You know that one counterbreaker can seal your opponents fate and he’s been guess breaking your combos this whole time. You finally go for that counterbreaker, The read, the perfect read… But lo and behold you hear the two words before you wiff the counterbreaker then die. Those two words are…


Here’s why.

After some practice mode sessions and looking for flaws within the combo system. I have discovered some things that I didn’t actually notice for a long time. It turns out that, there are different rulesets when it comes to breaking combos when you narrow it down to Manuals, Special moves and Shadow moves.

So I will break this down into 3 sections.
It will be called.

Exhibit A: Manuals vs Counterbreakers
Exhibit B: Special Moves vs Counterbreakers
Exhibit C: Shadow Moves vs Counterbreakers
Characters used were Jago and Cinder.

NOTE: This info applies to the whole cast of characters for KI.

Here is Exhibit A, Gif 1: http://giphy.com/gifs/3o6EhM4iRxvVK7Yvgk/html5

As you can see, Cinders counterbreaker is not registering… Why is that?
Here is a few things that I learned. When it comes to performing manuals in a combo, the opponent is able to attempt to break the manual before the manual makes contact with them. That means they are able to attempt to break during the startup frames and I believe this was implemented in the combo system to cause timing lockouts. The character that is doing the manual,(Cinder in this case) cannot attempt to counterbreak unless his manual makes contact with Jago. So Jago can actually lockout BEFORE Cinder is even allowed to counterbreak him.

Also note, If you do a manual in a combo, the opponent can actually attempt to break anywhere on there screen but as I said before you cannot counterbreak unless your manual makes contact with the opponent. Here is an example of this happening.

Exhibit A, Gif 2: http://i.giphy.com/3o6EhGwBM69lWAtfZC.gif

Exhibit B, Gif 1: http://i.giphy.com/xT4uQ8UcFC50p3ryrS.gif

For this one here. If you do a opener and then a special move, The aggressor cannot attempt to counterbreak unless the special move makes contact with the opponent, If the special move misses, then nothing happens. The defender cannot attempt to break the special move before the special move hits them. It is impossible for the opponent to lockout before a counterbreaker. So the special move MUST hit the Defender before a combo breaker or a counterbreaker can be attempted. Therefore it is a even playing field in my opinion.

Exhibit C, Gif 1: http://i.giphy.com/xT4uQAiOpp14vxPi2A.gif

This one is a special case, If you do a forward advancing shadow move in a combo, the opponent can lockout before the shadow move touches them, but the aggressor can also counterbreak beforehand anywhere on the screen. But this completely depends on the range that the aggressor did their shadow move. For example, in Cinders case, he can be anywhere on the screen and do this sort of counterbreaker. But in Jagos case, he has to be midscreen for the counterbreaker to activate because being fullscreen doesn’t work. Here is an example of this.

Exhibit C, Gif 2: http://i.giphy.com/3o6EhUHoAZ1QnjfsKk.gif

What are your opinions and what do you guys think about this. Yay or nay?


Interesting. So this applies to the entire cast? Thanks for taking the time to make this, helps a lot for certain situations. Like hearing the lockout cue early enough on a Manual should let you continue in to a high damage combo instead of whiffing a CB.

That being said, couple of tiny issues.

Those two were kinda nagging me :stuck_out_tongue: sorry.

I don’t have to put “Or” Because you can both be on red health bar and have less than 50% health.

Only true error was low and behold

Fair enough, given the discussion I thought OR was a better choice. I was hoping this wouldn’t be the only part of the post discussed but hey, I didn’t give enough to respond to so that’s my bad, Here’s my question, in what ways do you think knowing this could be applied into a match to your advantage? Hypothetical situations are very much welcome.

Your best chance at landing a counterbreaker is by following exhibit B’s and C’s concepts.

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I think you shouldn’t be able to break in a spot where your opponent isn’t able to counterbreak but also you shouldn’t be able to counterbreak in a spot where your opponent isn’t able to break, for example during lockouts. This is why mistimed counterbreakers cause so much frustration right now. I mean, I get that your counterbreaker shouldn’t be successful if it came slightly after the opponent’s break attempt. But you also shouldn’t become super punishable after an unsuccessful break attempt from your opponent if you had the correct (albeit slightly too late) read. A first frame guess break attempt from your opponent becomes a lose lose situation for you. Either you are punishable or your combo gets broken which ironically is the better option because it’s at least back to neutral then.

I apologize for not really commenting on OP’s cases but I think it’s a somewhat related matter and I had to get it off my chest.

Keits posted a response to this issue a while back when people pointed out exactly as you have that lockouts are coming out on counter breaker attempts most commonly on manuals and juggles. This is the intended result the counter breaker must come out before the combo breaker if it does not a lockout or combo break will occur instead of a counter breaker. Understanding that in case of manuals this puts the opponent at an advantage as they will be able to hit their combo break before you can counter break. As a possible solution IG is looking at options to add a small buffer window (similar to the buffer window on wakeup reversals) for the aggressor where counter breaker can be input to guarantee it gets priority in those instances.

I’m not sure where IG has landed with this but that was the last I heard about it.

“Lo and behold” is the correct rendering of that phrase. You had it right the first time. :slight_smile:

Minor quibble on Exhibit B, but I don’t think it entirely applies in standard combo formats (“standard” being an opener that can be followed by an AD). In a standard combo, the opponent is free to mash break as soon as the opener hits. This generates a timing lockout in all situations of opener->linker, and I believe the attacker is free to counter break at any point therein as well.

I do think your formulation holds true though for nonstandard openers of the type seen in the link. You specifically said “special after opener”, so that may have been your way of saying “nonstandard” opener->CB situations - apologies if that was the intention and I missed it.

In Exhibit B. Cinder is doing a special move after an opener. Not a linker, But a special move. Jago cannot break unless the special move touches him, therefore he cannot lockout before cinders counterbreaker. So Jago getting counterbroken off of this will be very consistent. If you look at the GIF. You can see me mashing breaker as jago while cinder is wiffing trailblazer in the first few seconds and nothing is happening.

Yep, I saw that. Just wasn’t sure if you were saying “special move” specifically for this instance (or similar ones) or as a general blanket (which would have included linkers, as they are technically special moves done after openers). It was the former, so I’m good.

Quibble addressed - just wasn’t entirely clear on your chosen terminology. :slight_smile:

I think understanding the rules for manuals is very important. Everyone screws this up at all levels, if your read is they are guess breaking then don’t put in the manual at all, just counter break. Breaking manuals is difficult anyways, so until they prove they can break it off reaction there is no reason to counter break it

One thing I’d really like people to get out of their heads is this;

So if you had the read to input a reversal, but you were slightly too late and got hit instead, do you deserve credit for that?

If you were playing 3rd Strike, for instance, and you had the right read on a parry, but input it a late, do you deserve to score that parry anyway?

None of this makes any sense, but people apply this odd ‘i was right but i was late’ logic to counterbreakers as if they deserve a win there. To be right, you need the right timing on top of choosing the right action. Otherwise, you were wrong. Period.

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You know, I can’t really argue with your parry example. In the end, most decisions in a fighting game are also timing related. I can only try to elaborate why this one is different to me.

Let’s say someone guess breaks wrong. I assume you would agree that he made a mistake. And now, one frame later you go for a counter breaker. You also made a mistake, because you were late. The thing is, these two mistakes happened within 1/60 of a second and the second mistake completely negates the first one. It just doesn’t feel fair to me.

Again, I’m not asking for the counter breaker to be successful in that case. Just the fact that you are super punishable doesn’t sit right with me. It feels like counter breaking isn’t the right strategy against first frame guess breakers because it’s always a lose lose situation unless you also hit that first frame perfectly. Considered that by guess breaking, the opponent’s chance of being wrong is twice as high as the chance of being right, maybe counter breaking isn’t even meant to be the answer to that.

I don’t know how your experiments with the buffer window turned out but if you say that it feels good, I will gladly take your word on that. I know that it technically doesn’t address this situation of being late but at least it gives you the chance to counter break before a first frame guess break if I understood correctly.

First frame counterbreaking manuals will always be a lose lose situation because you cannot counterbreak until the manual makes contact. But they can still attempt to break the manual way before it hits. So your chances of landing a counterbreaker on someone that’s guessing it is slim to none.

I dunno, I think it’s fair to say that if you’re playing 3rd Strike and someone makes a super predictable attack at you, you could call that a “mistake”. If you parry 1 frame late, and you get hit, that is also a “mistake”, and then you lose the round because you get hit by Chun low forward into super. The two mistakes happen in very short succession, but the guy who made the original mistake wins, because your mistake came second.

The “tough” thing for me is the fact that there are times during the game where your opponent has a chance to input breaker, but you don’t have the opportunity to counter break. Your opponent will get locked out if he tries here, but your trump card is guaranteed to fail no matter what you do. I think the answer to dealing with 1st frame mash guess breakers is not to counter break, though… it’s simply to do opener into linker every time so they lock out. So while it’s pretty annoying, it’s probably not going to kill the game for me.

@cRCupcake 's findings are basically that the opponent is unable to input any breaker during the startup of a manual’D special move, even if they are in hit stun, which is… pretty interesting. It’s kind of both a blessing and a curse, because if he’s mashing lights and you do light wind kick after landing a jump in, he WILL break you, even if he inputs it way early. If you were to do a light manual, though, he locks out and you win. But it means you can first frame counter break these special moves if you want to take the risk, and you’re guaranteed to catch any and all break attempts. If you were to try the manual, you have no way to prevent him from locking out by mashing early.

I dunno, does this favor the defender or the attacker? As a defender, I don’t like having to guess strength AND timing, because that means I lock out more and the opponent doesn’t have to counter break as often.

Also @cRCupcake, you might want to take a look at some other counter breaker findings I had that don’t cover cases like this, in this thread: Exploring inconsistent counter breakers
Basically, ever since S1, doubles, linkers, and shadow linkers will do weird things to your hit stun on a move-by-move and hit-by-hit basis, making counter breaks difficult somewhat “randomly”. For example, maybe the 2nd hit of heavy wind kick linker cancels your hit stun, but the 3rd hit doesn’t, so it’s harder to counter break the 2nd hit (to give a random example I haven’t tested). The devs said they will take a look at adding some sort of prevention against this if they have time. I’m really curious if they’ll get around to it, it seems very important to me to improve the feel of the game.

That’s all fine. But the reason it comes up, and will continue to come up, is because it is a 1 frame window in a game that doesn’t have a lot of one frame windows. The combo game - we are told over and over- is there to encourage high level mind games even for low level players. Except counter breakers which require frame perfect timing. The end result is encouraging/rewarding people for breaking as early as possible and causing most mere mortals to drop counter breaker attempts and then hear “lockout” as they get punished for their failure even though they played the mind game correctly.

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You have been playing with this adjustment since Mira came out.

No, they don’t. They require you to be on the same frame or before your opponent.

The only instance of needing frame perfect timing was in 3.0 trying to counterbreak a manual, and was fixed in 3.1 with the often mentioned buffer.

I play this game too and have no issues counterbreaking the guys at the office in all kinds of situations. The difference is that when I’m wrong, I don’t blame the game and tell everyone I deserved credit for having late timing or some such nonsense.

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You have been playing with this adjustment since Mira came out.

It is still possible to lockout even if the aggressor buffers their counterbreaker in 3.1 update.


Right, because the change has nothing to do with timing lockouts. All it did was add a 5 frame buffer (stores your input) and plays it on the first frame you are allowed to Counter Breaker.

Your opponent getting timing locked out before you counter break is still a miss on your part.