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The Basics of Combos: Cancels in Street Fighter

Hello, fellow fighting game enthusiasts! Welcome to another installment of the SF Seminar, where I, Mr. Bug, your trusty skill smith and lecturer, will be delving into the world of combos. Today, we’ll be exploring a crucial aspect of combos called “cancels.” So grab your controllers and let’s dive in!

Cancels: Unleashing the Power

A cancel occurs when you perform a special move just as a normal move hits, causing the special move to overwrite the motion of the normal move. This powerful technique allows you to connect the special move seamlessly, bypassing the remaining active frames and recovery of the normal move. However, it’s important to note that cancels can only be executed at the moment the normal move connects, not during any other part of its animation.

The timing may sound daunting, but fear not! The “moment the normal move hits” includes the hit stop time, which gives you a window to execute the special move cancel. The longer the hit stop, the easier it is to perform the cancel. This means that heavy attacks are generally easier to cancel than light attacks. Interestingly, cancels were not originally planned as a game feature but emerged as a by-product of efforts to facilitate the execution of special moves.

Limitations and Exceptions

Cancels can only be performed from normal moves to special moves. Attempting to cancel between two normal moves, from a special to a normal move, or between two special moves is usually not possible, with a few unique exceptions. While the range of moves that can be canceled is limited, any special move can be executed from the cancel. For instance, Ryu’s crouching MK can be canceled into his iconic Hadoken, Shoryuken, or Tatsumaki Senpukyaku. To summarize the fundamentals:

  1. Not every normal move is cancelable, only predetermined ones.
  2. Cancels can only be performed at the moment the move hits.
  3. The command input can be executed during the hit stop.
  4. Cancels are only possible from normal moves to special moves.
  5. Any special move can be performed from the cancel.
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Keep in mind that these fundamentals may vary in different games. Some games allow all normal moves to be cancelable, regardless of whether they hit or not. However, let’s focus on the general principles for now.

Kara Cancels: The Art of Timing

A kara cancel occurs when you cancel an attack before it hits with a different action. This term derives from the Japanese word for “empty.” Kara cancels are not limited to just normal move to special move cancels; they encompass various other actions as well. While exploring the intricacies of kara cancels goes beyond the scope of this lecture, know that they hold immense potential for advanced players.

Chain (Renda) Cancels: Unleashing a Flurry

Some normal moves allow you to cancel their recovery into the same attack. These are typically light attacks and are referred to as chain (renda) cancels. Similar to regular cancels, specific moves can be chain canceled, and the cancel window is usually more forgiving compared to special move cancels. Although chain cancels vary based on the game, the key takeaway is that only light attacks can have their recovery canceled into the same move.

Embrace the World of Cancels

With the rise of fighting games featuring complex systems relying on cancel mechanics, understanding the fundamentals of cancels will undoubtedly enhance your gameplay. While it might be challenging to grasp the workings of cancels purely through an explanation, fear not! In the future, I plan to provide a supplementary seminar on cancel tips, including practical applications of special move cancels. So keep an eye out for that!

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Until then, keep practicing, hone your skills, and remember that mastering cancels can elevate your combo game to the next level. Stay tuned for more SF Seminar sessions in the near future!


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