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What's the best way to link normal moves? I have been playing Street Fighter 4 for quite some time now, but I always have had trouble learning any combo that isnt two inputs long (for instance: hp -> dp+hp). Are there techniques to hitting the links more consistently?

To be clear, my main problem isn't about canceling or focus canceling. I am concerned with combos where a technique like "plinking" would be useful.

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up vote 7 down vote accepted

It's just very, very tricky. The rule of thumb is to watch the animation. The common mistake is to try and link too soon - you literally have to wait until the last animation has finished. Also, some moves just don't link. The timing windows in SFIV are really strict - which allows for a real range of skill levels.

Generally speaking, to get long combo strings out, you need to work more with lights and mediums - so you might jump in with HK, standing LP, crouching LK, crouching LK

There are several methods for linking moves:

  • Cancelling: Most common, where you break out of a normal by executing a special. Same goes for specials to supers, and supers to ultras.

  • Focus Cancel: Where you execute a move but hit the focus attack during it to cancel, generally used in the opening of a special

  • Kara Cancel: you start a move, but hit throw during it, allows you to throw from extended range. Have yet to pull this one off

  • Plinking: Hitting a descending strength of attack almost simultaneously - i.e hk -> mk

Here's a combo for you to try that should give you a feel for it

Akuma:

Jump in - HK

Standing HP

LK Spinning kick (juggle)

HP Dragon Punch 

* you can focus cancel the Dragon Punch and try a fireball if you're up to it..

You'll get a good six hits out of it.

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I appreciate the answer. Is it possible for you to elaborate on plinking? I usually need more help with challenges higher than 20, so cancel and focus canceling aren't my main concern. I will also edit my question to be more specific. – TeeOh Jul 17 '10 at 4:12

You can read about plinking here:

http://shoryuken.com/forum/index.php?threads/plinking-tsuji-style-kara-buffer-inputs-for-easier-links-and-more.64022/

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Whilst this may theoretically answer the question, it would be preferable to include the essential parts of the answer here, and provide the link for reference. – Ullallulloo Jan 25 '13 at 0:40

First off, of all the techniques listed in the "answer", only one ("plinking") is actually about linking normals. The rest are all cancelling of some sort.

Plinking is an advanced technique, but if you are having trouble linking normals, I wouldn't recommend learning to plink just yet. Plinking is particularly useful for advanced players who are interested in improving their execution on combos which involve one frame links--one frame links are very difficult to execute on a consistent basis, even for pros. That being said, most characters in the game do not need one frame links to execute bread and butter combos.

Here is my recommendation: practice. I know it sounds like the obvious answer, but there is no shortcut to being a good at Street Fighter (or any fighting game for that matter). Practice is important because it builds muscle memory that will help you link moves on a consistent basis.

Go into practice mode and practice the specific links that you find difficult. That means don't attempt to learn an entire combo all at once, but learn each of the individual links first, before you put everything together in a full combo.

Use failed attempts to help you get better. You can set the practice dummy to block anything after the first hit--that is, block any move that you did not successfully link. Practice the links and pay attention to how your character and the dummy react. If you attempt the link, but the second move never comes out, that means that you performed the second move too early. Take this into account, and try delaying the second move a little more. If you were able to perform the move, but the practice dummy blocks it, that means that you performed the move too late. These steps will help you narrow in on the right timing.

A useful tip to help narrow in a little further is to pay attention to the animation frames or voice of your character during links. Hopefully you can landmark the right moment to execute the second move.

After all is said and done, if you still have a hard time linking and you feel like giving up on Street Fighter, try out a character with target combos! Target combos are very easy to execute because they don't require links.

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