Chain (and link!)

What it is not

This article is about the art of pressing inputs in sequence. For the practice of creating combos only using normal moves, you are looking for “chain combo”. Some people will only think of “chain” as referring to a chain combo, and they probably have a stronger etymological basis for this, but I need a word.

What it is

Chaining is the art of pressing a barrage of inputs in sequence – quickly, but with good timing, and often in a particular order (contrast with mashing). Chaining is the primary form of “linking”, the art of putting moves in an uninterruptible sequence (a “combo”) by connecting moves with quick recovery into moves with quick startup (without canceling; there is a need to watch and/or listen). Chaining in this manner is often about pressing buttons quickly in some predefined pattern.

A very special instance of chaining is the staggered press; it is usually most helpful for getting a link down right.

Links for combos (or strings)

Let’s say, for example, that when you hit with a certain attack, the opponent will be in hitstun for 10 frames, but the said certain attack leaves you in the recovery type of stun for only 4 frames. You have only 6 frames of advantage to work with, then. If you have another move that you can activate the attack hitbox for within 6 frames, you can still get a combo from the prior move, even though it isn’t using a cancel.

Good points

The main advantages of links are:

  • You can create combos with methods that would not otherwise be possible (such as from a special move to another special move, or from a special move to a normal move).
  • You can transfer over to a super special move without the assistance of a super cancel. This can be particularly good in games where a super cancel would cost you meter.
  • There is a possibility that your combo will take less damage correction (particularly that caused by cancels and super cancels; of course, you will still take it from correction that depends on hit count).
  • Because you wait longer after the previous move hits (until it recovers), you have a longer window to hit confirm.

Not-so-good points

There is practically no window for hesitation, unlike cancels (particularly with their cancel reception time). In the above example, if you use a move that starts in 6 frames, you have exactly one frame to perform the link on time.

However, in games where you can use the buffered input, you may have just a little more slack if you hesitate but buffer it in quickly; still, because there are combos (even with cancels) where if you do not time it as quickly as necessary it won’t happen, buffers are not an exception to linking.

Chains in move commands

Chain commands

Some commands have a specific order of things to input (usually composed primarily of buttons, as with chain combos). This is different from the practice of linking, but you still need the same kind of good timing most of the time.

The best-known command of this type is Gōki’s Shungokusatsu (LP, LP, 6, LK, HP).

Additional input via chaining

For some moves, a chain input comes into play after you do some initial input, giving you a kind of ranbu. These are “raves” (the term deriving from Geese Howard’s “Deadly Rave”, the original). Some such moves include:

  • Krauser’s Unlimited Desire
  • Athena’s Psychic 9 and Psycho Medley
  • Duck King’s Beat Rush
  • Terry Bogard’s Rising Beat
  • The 2nd Mr. Karate’s Buriki Ranbu
  • Tendō Gai’s Rush
  • The Ranbu Ōgi from the Last Blade games
  • Order Sol’s Dragon Install: Sakkai
  • Tsudzura Saki’s Gulf Dagda
  • Geese Howard’s Deadly Rave
  • Rock Howard’s Deadly Rave: Neo

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.