Home > Answered Questions > A Basic Guide to Anti-Air Attacks (Part 1)

A Basic Guide to Anti-Air Attacks (Part 1)

A question received by an anonymous writer asked about how to deal with people  jumping in SSF4.  Jumping is the basic starter for most combos in more traditional fighting games.  It moves you forward and allows you to attack while in motion.  It also travels over any low moves that are on the ground, so why not jump?

Although game specific, most of the time a character in the air cannot block and loses all defensive options.  If you can repeatedly and consistently knock an opponent out of the air they will not only take damage but lose an approach to attack you.  The more you discourage them from jumping forward, the more annoyed your opponent may become and the more mistakes you will force them to make.  Combine this with the reduced damage and pressure you take and you’ll have a lot more breathing room to pull out wins.  There are several ways and specific situations for anti-air attacks to work, but for this guide we will divide them into 3 types.

1:  Normal attacks

2:  Special attacks

3:  Projectiles

Knowing your matchup will be very important in landing consistant anti-air attacks.  Keep in mind who you are playing.  Characters like Abel and Sagat are in a fixed arc once they jump, but others have ways of changing their jump arcs.  For example, Ken, Ryu, and Akuma can do hurricane kicks in the air to change their trajectory.  Rufus, Yang, Yun, Cammy, and Juri can dive kick, which will bring them down to the ground much quicker.  M.Bison, Rose, and Chun-Li have very floaty jumps, and will be in the air for a lot longer.  Blanka’s jump is very fast and short.  Zangief can punish you for trying to anti-air with the wrong move.

The other difficult part about stopping jumps is recognizing the distance of the jump.  Using a move that hits above your head won’t do you a lot of good when the opponent is planning on landing in front of you.  You must be prepared to use the appropriate move for the distance your opponent tries to jump from.  It’s like a fast game of rock-paper-scissors; you have to know which moves you have beat which moves your opponent is doing.

These are all things you have to consider before the match starts, so that you don’t get caught up in routine and get hit because your plan didn’t work.  This part can be worked on with practice.

-NORMAL ATTACKS

Normal attacks make up the simplest type of anti-air and are generally the easiest to react with.  Rather than input a motion all that is required is a little timing and the push of a button, while at the most holding the stick in a specific direction.  They’re not flashy by any means, and sometimes poked fun of (The Mexican Uppercut is an old nickname for crouching uppercut attacks).  But they get the job done; they knock the opponent out of the air while keeping you safe.  These moves work because their hitboxes rise far above the character’s hurtbox.  This means a character trying to jump in with an attack will get hit by your move before they can hurt you.

For many characters the common anti-air attack is crouching fierce.  If your character’s cr. fierce animation is an uppercut, you’re in business.  Akuma, Guile, and Balrog are a few prime examples.  These characters have excellent cr.fierce attacks that come out quickly and reach high, stopping anyone from jumping right on top of you.  For these moves to be most effective you want the move to connect when the punch is fully extended, to allow the hitbox to be as high over your head as possible.

Other characters have more unorthodox anti-air normals.  These are moves that don’t seem like anti-airs but work due to amazingly good hitboxes.  A few known examples of this are M.Bison’s standing roundhouse, Cody’s back+Strong, Dhalsim’s back+roundhouse, or Abel’s close standing fierce.  Again, each of these normals are great anti-airs but work at specific ranges, so practice and learn which normal works best for that situation.

There are moves that you may not even consider to use as anti-air but will fit the situation regardless.  These include standing jabs from Ryu for jump-ins that are just in front of you, or Guile’s standing forward for jump-ins that land too far in front.  Even if the move does little damage or seems awkward, remember your goal is to stop the opponent’s jump-in.  Who wouldn’t get frustrated after being jabbed out of the air several times?

Neutral jump normals with long reach or priority can also stop jump-ins, meeting the opponent before they expect to attack, or simply out-reaching the opponent’s move.  The best example for this is E-Honda’s neutral jumping fierce.  Done correctly, very few moves in the game will beat it air-to-air!

Don’t be afraid to experiment with your character to see what works.  A good way of testing this is to go into training mode and use record dummies with excellent jumping attacks (E-Honda’s jump in strong and Balrog’s jump-in fierce are two examples) to play over and over.  If a certain character’s moves jumps are giving you a hard time, record it.  Try all your normals and see which normals can beat, trade, or lose to certain moves.  Also try stopping jumps at different distances.  Once you find what works, find a way to use it in match.

Coming soon:  Part 2 – Specials and Projectiles!

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