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I went through the tutorials and of course I get how it's done mechanically - though it's a little different than MK series I'm used to, I can't seem to block in time and once an enemy combos starts I'm essentially mincemeat for higher-level players or the AI.

Since blocking involves both crouching and standing, is it just a matter of knowing to the t what other player's combinations are?

In addition, is there a rule of thumb on when to block and when to stop blocking to punish?

I feel like getting this covered would hugely improve my game.

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First of all, it's important to point out that blocking is an absolute fundamental if you want to play ANY fighting game, so it's important that you do commit to learning more about it if you want to get better at them.

I'm not an injustice player so I can't speak for that game, but in general your default stance should be a crouch block, done with down + back. If you're getting frustrated because you're getting hit over and over, just take some time to crouch block and look at what the opponent is doing. Obviously there are ways to beat someone who just holds down back, but this is a safe bet especially against AI opponents. You're right however to assume that you'll just have to learn to recognise what strings require you to start stand blocking in the case of overheads (moves that cannot be blocked crouching, and in Injustice often lead to full combos from what I've seen from the little tournament footage I've watched). Some examples would be jumping moves, which are almost always blocked standing.

A more high-level concept that you might not be familiar with is frame data. In regards to your question about when to stop blocking and punish, this is where you'll need to learn what moves from the opponent are punishable, ie. the negative frames on block of that move are higher than the startup frames of one of your moves. Core-A Gaming has a good video on understanding frame data here. In addition, even if the move you just blocked isn't punishable, many are still minus on block but still safe. While you can't punish these moves, these are situations in which you might use a fast move like a jab to 'steal your turn' from the opponent and change their pressure into your pressure, since jabs are often plus on hit meaning you're at an advantage when you land one.

Just as an aside, once a combo starts by the opponent, there isn't really a way to stop it in general, unless Injustice has a breaker mechanic like MKX does. If it does I'm not aware of it. So, you have to rely on your defence to stop your opponent from landing those combos on you and waiting for them to make a mistake. A good defence in any fighting game will take you a long way, but it takes practice and experience to develop a good defence so keep at it and you'll get there eventually! Just always remember that it takes a lot of losing and reflection on what you're doing wrong in order to get good, just try not to get discouraged.

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