What it is

A combo is a sequence of hits caused by following moves with other moves. Comboing is the art of putting these sequences together. Games that make combos extremely easy to make can be called “combo games”.


An initial attack puts the opponent in a defenseless pushback state, which leads into the next attack: so long as an attack can hit the opponent during the pushback, you can basically do as you like, and there’s not much they can do about it. In fact, there are some sequences where this can continue in a loop indefinitely, or merely guarantee a win.

This only refers to tying two or more moves together; extremely simple operations such as using the same move rapid-fire or allowing a single move to do multiple hits are not truly combos on their own. Moreover, there are sequences that are intended to make things tough to defend, but the possibility still exists; these are called strings, and they are different.

Pros and cons

Combos can be satisfying experiences; in recent years, combos have been taken quite seriously, and there are now many combo games.

However, combos can get rather long-winded in the hands of an expert, and during this time, there is (almost) nothing the other person can do. Therefore, unless the enthusiast takes it easy, even just a little, a first-timer won’t even have a prayer; this can scare off beginners and casual players (and it has before!).

Furthermore, infinite combos, death combos, or combos that rival these in output, keep being made and discovered, which reduces the importance of tactics. Thus, while it is not a universal sentiment, some players (especially fans of older games) eschew these sort of combos and combo games.

In most game these days, developers have included damage correction to offset the effect of excessive damage while still allowing for the reward of longer combos.


If we could include the aforementioned simple things, the number of constructions possible would be practically infinite in number. Nowadays, we have patterns and sequences known as “recipes”.

Basically, the moves tend to segue from normal moves to special moves, and thence from special moves to super special moves; the general idea is that there are many places where one can cancel into a relatively higher-order move. The most basic combos can be made with this idea alone.


Combos that start with overhead hitboxes or low hitboxes can grant great damage after a successful mixup, which certainly comes in handy. If you view combos as automatically following these, you could think of them as “overhead activation” and “low activation”, respectively. Also, as opposed to moves with big openings, things that can get started from pokes are less risky, and are thus more convenient.

On the flip side, things that have limits on location and range are difficult to aim for. There’s still a chance for requirements like being glued or having the opponent in the corner, but for times like when there must be a very slight amount of space, that particular distance can be quite difficult to attain with an ambulatory opponent. Combos that require oneself to have been driven into the corner are also difficult to aim for, as the situation itself is not conducive to offense.

How to make

Presented below is an oversimplified way to make combos.

  1. Classify the parts of each move
    • Sort out the merits: e.g., moves that can be tied in from weak attacks, moves that can only be tied in from strong attacks but have long reach, etc.
  2. Make the constructions
    • Think about the construction pattern: e.g., from a weak attack, go into a move that ties in from a weak attack.
  3. Put into practice
    • By attempting to test it, the variations in power and the difference in degree of difficulty can be seen.

Also, in certain several recipes, as regards the point of which kinds of things you should choose, the below things are considerations:

  • Consider transitioning from a low-risk move into a high return move.
    • Recipes starting from high-risk moves have low utility.
  • Inspect the safeness.
    • There are things that won’t reach after a jump attack, things that won’t make a strict combo if the cancel is delayed, etc.; less safe combos are better left unused.
  • Inspect the situation after it ends.
    • It’s not just about damage; consider things like whether or not the opponent is knocked down.

Further reading

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Based off the article on the wiki, edited on or before 5 January 2009.
Unofficial translation published by BRPXQZME / Alfie Parthum 1 February 2009. No unauthorized redistribution permitted.