Home > Answered Questions > A Basic Guide to Anti-Air Attacks, Part 2

A Basic Guide to Anti-Air Attacks, Part 2

Jumping right back into this.  Last time, we left off with using normal attacks for anti-airs.  But many characters, especially the shotos, use their special attacks in addition to normals for anti-airs.

~Special Attacks

These moves are generally known as dragon punches, Shoryukens, or flash kicks.  They are higher risk, generally higher reward anti-air attacks than normal attacks are.  The disadvantage to these moves as opposed to normals is that they require stricter timing and usually have some type of input requirement, such as a dragon punch motion or having a charged move stored.  There is a stricter timing involved as well because most special attacks have a brief period where they are most effective.  Finally, if your opponent blocks or baits you into whiffing a special anti-air attack you are left in a position for maximum punishment, costing you a huge chunk of your life, if not the round.  So what is the point of using them?

As a general rule anti-air specials have more priority, speed, and range than normal anti-airs.  For example, many Shoryuken attacks (including Sagat’s Tiger Uppercut) have a window of invincibility where it cannot be hit.  Even if your opponent’s jumping kick is overlapping your character, your attack will beat out theirs.  While the timing is stricter than a normal anti-air this will allow you to beat troublesome jump-in attacks like Honda’s jumping MP by using this invincibility.

Even with the added execution of having to perform a motion or having a stored charge, specials will also allow you to react faster to jump-in attacks.  Because certain normals must be done early enough to knock opponents out of the air you must do them earlier in your opponents jump.  Otherwise, your normal will get beat out before it reaches high enough to beat safely.  A special anti-air comes out fast enough (and with invincibility!) that you can actually react with one slower than with a normal anti-air, and still manage to beat out your opponent’s attack.  The extra speed also allows you to easily use these moves in ground combos.

There is an additional range that some variations of these moves offer.  Blanka’s Vertical Ball is better example, with the EX version in SSF4 traveling insanely far.  Even a neutral jump beyond sweep distance can still be tagged with a well placed up ball.  Guile’s Flash Kick may not reach behind his head in SSF4, but it does reach forward a good distance.  He also serves as the one of the most intense examples in a legitimate Capcom fighter, with his HD Remix Flash Kick traveling nearly half screen!

Finally, in some games anti-air attacks will allow you to follow up with other moves for more damage.  The classic Ryu comeback (Shoryuken, Focus dash cancel, Ultra 1) makes jumping at him a huge risk with up to 35% of your life lost in two moves.  Is your opponent willing to risk this when you’re in the lead?


Juri and Gouken are the two obvious examples here.  They have fireballs that reach up!  But have you ever jumped to avoid a fireball, and jumped backwards right on top of it?  Some of the best players can make you fall on a fireball when you jump forward.

This is somewhat of a lost art and can only really be picked up with experience.  But it is incredibly frustrating for your opponent when even a full screen jump can get knocked out of the air.  Guile specializes in this with his wildly varying speeds of Sonic Boom as well as the move’s fast startup, but this does not mean that only Guile is capable of it.  If you know your opponent is going to jump to close distance, a well timed fireball can stop their landing easily.  Even some fireballs, like Sagat’s High Tiger Shot, is amazing to controlling air space.  While this qualifies more as part of one’s fireball game, it’s still an option to stopping jump-ins.  If you know your opponent’s going to jump, time a fireball to be where he’ll land.

~Air Throws

This is one last part of anti-airing, because only a few characters have an air throw.  But those that do have an air throw can use it very effectively.  Guile, again, is the best example here.  He can actually jump and grab an opponent out of the air fast enough to avoid most retaliation.  This is one of his most classic methods of anti-airing.

As with all things this requires more experience but not only nets you damage, but puts you at a prime spacing for most characters.  It’s important to remember there is a “minimum height” to air-throws.  If you input your air throw too low to the ground you’ll get an attack instead.  Make sure you take the time to see what this height is to avoid making a mistake and getting anti-aired yourself.

This video between Mike Ross and Fuson909, demonstrates all of these techniques at one point or another.

This finishes up our segment on anti-air attacks.  To everyone else with questions, we’ll get to them as soon as we can.  In the meantime if you have any other questions, just let us know!

  1. May 29, 2011 at 2:30 pm


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