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

it’s like boxing: if you are a good counterpuncher, by all means attack when the other guy opens himself up. But, if opening yourself to punish him leads to you being knocked out, it’s your fault. Just block instead of punishing.

The mindgame for me has become more along the lines of “Okay I know he’s a masher, and he’s going to mash a guess break here without a doubt, will my counterbreaker connect?”

Guess I have to hit the lab to “get good” with my counterbreak timings, until then I’ll just keep getting my combos broken and get punished due to the major risk I am facing as the one who made the right read and opened up my opponent, and read that he would break accordingly. I get it, Killer Instinct likes to punish smart play, time to switch to one of the less “intellectual” characters and play the game how it’s meant to be played. Herp Derp.

I think the confusing part is that timing lockouts on manuals simply cannot be counter broken, because you can never input the counter breaker early enough. This is a bit weird, because the other timing lockouts (during startup of linkers, etc) can be counter broken as you expect.

So if you expect someone to mash break on a manual, your only option is to let them maybe lock themselves out (or maybe their haphazard mashing misses the startup of the manual and hits the 1st frame of your manual and then they get a legit shot at breaking).

But I think “fixing” this system is really difficult, because I think you want the opponent to be able to lock out on the startup of manuals (which is unlike the startup of special move manuals, which can generate no lockouts), and it doesn’t make sense to counter break from a neutral position. I suppose being able to counter break the startup of a manual (if the opponent is in hit stun) is an option but I don’t think it will be easy to input this in time. What you’d really like is to counter break like 10-15 frames ahead of time, but that’s when the offensive character is in neutral.


So I guess the question is, is it worth trying to counter break your opponent’s Mistimed Lock Outs in S3?

This is what I’m confused about because I inputted counterbreaker with the coldshoulder input to erase any chance of a counterbreaker coming out out too late.(Look at the input in the gif) But I was still able to lockout. I can’t find explain the science behind that.

Going by keits explanation it simply means glacious can never counter break in that specific instant. The buffer window is making the counter break come out in the first possible frame allowed and it’s still locking out.

Maybe you need to travel ahead of time to make it work but I don’t have that kind of yomi power

This is indeed strange behavior. It means there is a “dead zone” between cold shoulder opener and when Glacius can counter break where your opponent is able to lock out, even if Glacius doesn’t do a manual or anything else here.

As far as I can tell, though, this is not a game-wide thing and seems to be specific to just Glacius cold shoulder (maybe a bug?). Basically, I can’t find this dead zone for other special moves, and I tried an assortment of them in training mode just now. Maybe a few others exist but this seems like a problem isolated to just a few (or only one?) special moves, not a game-wide problem?

The buffer only applies to manuals. The issue being described here is something else entirely.

There does seem to be a buffer at play here Infil, in the gif the counter breaker input is before the combo breaker one so he does actually input it on time but it comes out a few frames later (and therefore too late).

Edit: in fact the counter breaker input is before the move hits so it is definitely buffered, but I agree that this lockout deadzone is its own issue.

I think there has always been this buffer after an opener though, it wasn’t the buffer that was added in 3.1, is what I meant to say.

And it just seems to me like Cold Shoulder has some weird behavior where the first possible counter breaker frame is after the opponent can lock out. Like I said above, I can’t find this behavior for any other special move. It might exist because I didn’t try all special move openers exhaustively, but it seems isolated to just a very few special moves.

Also, I tried to verify the cold shoulder behavior and, while I eventually got it to work, it was a little challenging. Meaning that this is probably pretty frame tight.

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Ahhh, gotcha, makes sense.

On the original point, I think if they did choose to add a damageless hit to counter breakers it would actually potentially solve the issue Cupcake is reporting and remove the NEED for the buffer, since I assume the reason you cannot break a manual until it is active is that they put this restriction in to ensure that there was enough hitstun for the counter breaker to work. If the counter breaker itself guarantees the hitstun then it doesn’t need the manual to connect first and you could break during the startup.

Ok so exploring this a bit more, I ran into an issue with Jago’s (medium) laser sword opener; if the opponent is mashing and manages to break on exactly the same frame as the counter break happens, he gets locked out with a STRENGTH lockout.

It took me a long time to shoot this video (something like 20+ attempts) before it happened, and every other time I got counter broken properly, so I don’t think this will reliably happen in matches. But it’s really interesting… I dunno what’s happening. Maybe I’ll just leave it here for the developers to take a look at.

Some notes:

  • I don’t know if I counter broke at the first possible opportunity doing the recording for Jago’s laser sword. I think I did but maybe I missed by a frame or something.

  • I’m not sure if this “same frame” behavior happens for other special moves (since it’s really hard to test), or even if it’s really that big of a deal. I’m just really surprised to get a STRENGTH lockout here. But it does seem like counter break + combo break on the same frame should let the counter break win?

  • After the recording, I was mashing the break by rotating the right analog stick on an Xbox controller. You can see in my gif below I get a few extra break attempts before the counter breaker comes out and they are (rightly) ignored by the system because they don’t line up with a breakable window yet.

  • I freeze-frame the moment in question for a bit longer, so you can see that there is a precise frame where counter break shows up at the same time as a break attempt, and you can see the startup of the lockout appearing.

  • You can see what the animation of a lockout X looks like! (Devs please make it appear instantly for reasons I describe in my other posts). It takes 8 frames to animate from its first appearance as a small, transparent box until the strength/timing symbol shows up. This is a lot more than I thought and probably contributes a huge amount to “I swear I counter broke early” feelings. (What is actually happening in most cases it that you counter broke n frames after your opponent locked out. As long as n is 7 or less, the lockout symbol shows up after your counter breaker starts, so it feels like you got robbed)

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It wouldn’t solve it entirely, though. As long as you are mid-combo and in hit stun, you can attempt to combo break, but you can’t always attempt to counter break (if you are, say, in neutral because you are about to do a manual).

Like… let’s say you do a heavy linker and then try to do a light manual, and you have a 10 frame window to land your link. If the opponent tries to combo break in any of these 10 frames, you will always get a lockout and you can never counter break it, because your character has finished his heavy linker.

If the opponent was always put in a minimum of n frames of hit stun every time you counter broke (via a phantom hit or some other way), then you could (in theory) try to do a manual and then counter break it on the 2nd frame of startup. But if he ever happens to hit that gap between your heavy linker ending and your manual startup, there’s nothing the devs can do about it, I think. They could maybe change it so that any attempt to break here is ignored, but a) that might mean a huge overhaul to the combo breaker code and b) I’m not sure that’s any better, because being locked out is actually good for the offensive player and you want it to happen when the defense incorrectly breaks.

Apologies, I should have clarified: my thoughts were that the timing restrictions on when you could actually counter breaker could be entirely removed (except after opener ender situations if course) as the need to guarantee a certain amount of hitstun would be fulfilled by the breaker. It would basically turn a counter breaker into an unsafe on hit, damageless attack active on the first frame which you could cancel into at any point during a combo as soon as you pressed the button. This would mean that they wouldn’t have to do anything about the above situation you list except let you counter break.

So if I’m moving around in neutral playing footsies, and I hit MP+MK, I get counter breaker?

No no, if you have hit the opponent and are mid combo, pressing mp and mk does the counter breaker, it does nothing in neutral just like now. No changes to when you can activate it, just a change to the mechanism behind it.

I guess the concern is that the game doesn’t really know if you are in neutral and you’re 1f before trying to do a manual, or if you’re just in neutral. I guess they could take a look at whether the opponent is in hit stun or not, but you are still “counter breaking from a neutral stance”, you aren’t canceling anything into counter breaker, you know? Depending on how counter breakers are coded this could be a lot of work to implement and debug, but I obviously have no insight into that.

Ah yeah I see your point, could be tricky from a manual perspective. They could maybe make it so you can counter break whenever there is a breakable window to get around this? The game can recognise when attacks were done during the hitstun of a combo even if said attacks don’t actually come out fast enough and the combo drops (as it will still show the strength of the attack in training with the breaker icons on even if it drops) so it might be able to use this recognition for the counter breaker activation requirements.

Well, that’s currently what is happening, no? Except for the inability to counter break the startup of manuals (which maybe is easy or hard to implement, I dunno).

It wouldn’t fix the issue of the defense being able to try breaking/lock out while they are in hit stun after a heavy linker, but you being unable to counter break because you are technically in neutral, ready to do a manual next frame. The only way they could fix that is to let you counter break from a completely neutral pose, i.e., counter breaking is no longer a cancel of your startup/active/recovery frames but rather just something you “do” at any point while your opponent is in hit stun. This seems like a fundamental code change to me which could introduce lots of issues, but that’s just a guess.

Also, think about air combos, like Cinder… he does a trailblazer juggle, then as he and his opponent are falling to the ground, his opponent is able to try to break, even though Cinder is in a neutral state (this is a S3 change; in S2 you couldn’t timing lockout on air combos). He can lock out, but Cinder cannot counter break if they are both just falling. This is pretty important for Cinder’s air juggle stuff, because he wants the opponent to have to guess the timing on his manual. If he does a delayed air attack on the way down, he keeps the combo going while the opponent needs to guess strength AND timing. So it has applications beyond just grounded combos, but in either case the same issue crops up.

To be clear;

The counter breaker input and counter breaker action are two separate things. Same with combo breaker input and combo breaker action.

The counter breaker action must come on the same frame or before the breaker action. This has always been true. Various situations in S2 allowed the counter breaker input to come after the combo breaker input but still come out on the same frame, which is undesired. In S3, with the new counter breaker buffer to help with manuals, it is possible to input counter breaker before combo breaker is input, but the combo breaker ACTION triggers a timing locking before your counter breaker ACTION occurs.

It is not at all easy for us to allow you to perform counter breakers outside of the current rules (like in neutral, or during the startup of manuals which may or may not whiff), and it will lead to a massive number of new bugs and issues, including but not limited to a possible whole new set of safe counter breaker setups.

“I got robbed” feels tough, but both players are playing by the same rules and if you were wrong, no matter how robbed you feel, you wrong in that instance. There were plenty of these ‘i was robbed’ moments in S1 and S2, but I think we are seeing this issue get discussed a lot right now because the rules changed a little. And we all know how humans react to that.

This is the line I was looking for, and it makes sense.

I think there is a bit of bandwagoning going on… people are saying the counter breaker system is “broken” (which it isn’t), or they’re getting robbed in situations that would have worked in previous seasons (which, for the most part, is also incorrect). I don’t really like the bandwagoning because people don’t know what they’re talking about.

But there are two things I do kind of fault the game for creating bad expectations:

  • The lockout X not showing up immediately (something that changed only at the very end of S2) gives false feedback to the player on what actually happened. Having gone back and watched some S1 and early S2 footage recently (with commentary), I saw a lot of these 2 frame late counter breaker things, and because the X shows up immediately, they know they were just a hair late and immediately state that as the cause. The 8f animation of the X really messes with people.

  • That situation I mentioned in the other thread (which you have acknowledged there) where hit stun is inconsistent, making counter breakers difficult. I think a lot of the reason it’s coming up in S3 moreso than in S1 and S2 (where it was also a thing) is because the new S3 characters “randomly” have this phenomenon apply to their doubles/linkers more often than many S1/S2 characters.

But I do think these two things are known “issues” for the devs, so it’s just a matter of finding the time in a massively busy schedule to consider these things.