SF4 Biweekly TACV 11: M.Bison / Akuma
Despite apperances, M.Bison and Akuma both obey strict combo limitations. Neither character has much that could be considered an x-factor, apart from Akuma’s strange Shakunetsu Hadoken juggle behavior and Bison’s interrupted ultra. As a result, most of these combos contain only one interesting detail. Still, this episode turned out better than i expected.
0:11 Bison’s EX Head Press slams grounded opponents straight down, but acts as a standard knockdown on air hit. Cammy is considered airborne during the last stage of lvl2 Focus Attack crumple fall, with her hitbox as low to the ground as possible. EX Head Press connects deep enough to follow up with EX Somersault Skull Diver, which has a juggle potential of one. Unfortunately he needs to float forward to reach her, making it impossible to charge for ultra.
0:19 Bison’s lvl3 Focus Attack trades with Dhalsim’s vertical j.LP, creating enough elevation to allow for F+PPP Bison Warp and lvl1 Focus Attack startup. There’s plenty of time to charge before backdashing, and then the LK Knee Press Nightmare input is executed slowly to outlast the backdash. It would’ve been possible to juggle Bison’s ultra after forward dash, but it’s far too slow to connect after backdash under these circumstances.
0:27 With the right corner spacing, Bison’s HK Head Press can trade with Gen’s HP Zan’ei and result in Bison landing behind Gen. This setup pulls Gen closer to Bison instead of pushing him away. Light attacks combo into MK Scissor Kick but not HK Scissor Kick, so the MK version is used both times. The c.LK -> s.LP link requires c.LK to land meaty, which it does at far range due to Gen’s c.LP hit stun. The rest is straightforward, with a focus on variety. I had to get rid of the First Attack message using a single hit of Gen’s LP Hyakurenko, because there was no other way to avoid it and it looked terrible. This combo deals 391 damage and 565 stun.
0:39 Rose’s far s.LK has the rare capacity to serve as a counterhit setup during a trade, which is important because that LP Soul Spark would disappear if Bison took the time to charge up a lvl2 Focus Attack. Bison stops one frame short of walking into Rose’s fireball before performing that lvl1 Focus Attack, which only causes crumple stun due to counterhit. There’s no trick to comboing Bison’s Nightmare Booster ultra directly after j.HP other than precise charging and quick execution. When the torpedo portion of his ultra connects, it knocks down the opponent and initiates the cinematic finisher. Running into a projectile frees Bison while the opponent continues along their elaborate swirling trail. They’re not technically considered airborne, yet the juggle counter still registers them in standard knockdown state. Bison has time to teleport into the corner with F+PPP Bison Warp, then jump backward to juggle with j.MP -> j.MP, since the second punch has a juggle potential of one. Rose reverts to grounded hit stun, but the juggle counter is raised to one, meaning all of Bison’s normal moves would whiff at this point. LK Knee Press Nightmare becomes his only remaining option aside from EX Psycho Crusher. This combo inflicts 494 damage and 310 stun.
0:53 Akuma trades lvl3 Focus Attack with Dhalsim’s vertical j.LK, then cancels HP Gohadoken into whiff Raging Demon super strictly for transportation. LP Shakunetsu Hadoken has a juggle potential of one and the last hit of HP Goshoryuken has a juggle potential of two. This whole combo is rather pointless because Raging Demon is essentially useless in SF4 combos. There’s really nothing it can do that FADC couldn’t accomplish at cheaper meter cost.
1:01 Akuma’s EX Airborne Tatsumaki Zankukyaku trades with Rufus’ j.LP, pulling Rufus hard right and taking Akuma along with him. Akuma lands first and lands on his feet, so he juggles with two hits of HP Goshoryuken and three hits of EX Tatsumaki Zankukyaku. The initial setup works on many characters, but EX Tatsumaki Zankukyaku only connects twice against most.
1:07 Akuma’s HP and EX Shakunetsu Hadokens are strange. First of all, both have the same startup, exhibit the same juggle properties, deal roughly the same damage and dizzy, so the main difference between them is recovery time. Generally speaking, the EX version is better for juggle follow-ups, unless you intend to FADC, in which case the HP version provides identical results for less meter cost. Every individual hit acts as standard knockdown and carries a juggle potential of three. Here’s where it gets weird: The second hit of HP/EX Shakunetsu Hadoken can only raise the juggle count from two to three. It can’t raise the juggle count from zero to one, or from one to two. In this clip, Akuma’s MP Zanku Hadoken and HP Shakunetsu Hadoken strip away four hits of Dhalsim’s Yoga Catastrophe ultra, slowing it down in the process while Dhalsim’s F+KKK air Yoga Teleport closes the distance. Dhalsim’s j.B+LP trades with Akuma’s HP Shakunetsu Hadoken, which connects twice before the third hit is nullified by the only remaining hit of Yoga Catastrophe. At this point the juggle count is at zero. The next HP Shakunetsu Hadoken raises the juggle count to two, in the following order: 1, 1, 2. The last EX Shakunetsu Hadoken connects once and immediately raises the juggle count to three, at which point the rest whiffs. Akuma quickly takes a small step forward and kara-cancels s.HP into EX Tatsumaki Zankukyaku for two more hits, since it has a juggle potential of five.
1:17 Akuma possesses exceptional dizzy capability. He can dizzy Seth without using any meter at all – or in this case, buning one bar at the beginning then restoring it back to full along the way. The post-dizzy portion is a slight variant of a Combonauts original which happened to be my favorite Akuma combo at the time. Despite appearances to the contrary, Akuma doesn’t have very many ways of bypassing the standard uni-directional mold that defines most of his juggle strings. This combo totals 547 damage.
1:32 This entire combo revolves around whiffing the second hit of HK Tatsumaki Zankukyaku in order to connect the third spin, permitting Akuma to recover in time to juggle HP Goshoryuken. Somehow Rose is the only dummy character who leans into Akuma’s knee after getting hit by c.MK, then leans away from Akuma’s foot. Her Illusion Spark ultra invincibility simply serves as a meaty setup for Akuma’s EX Zanku Hadoken, which wouldn’t combo together at that range otherwise. Once again, Akuma demonstrates the ability to rebuild an entire bar of meter in the midst of a combo without relying on dizzy. The interesting thing about that EX Shakunetsu Hadoken is that it’s actually HP Shakunetsu Hadoken kara-canceled into EX Shakunetsu Hadoken. This trick provides no functional benefit, but it does double the amount of red waves emanating from him. It’s also possible to add red waves to EX Tatsumaki Zankukyaku via the same method, but not in this particular midscreen combo because Akuma must kara-cancel s.HP for added range instead. This combo causes 459 damage and 690 stun.
1:45 Personally, i think this is the least interesting combo in the video, although it was the most difficult to record by far. The only notable component occurs at the end, where Akuma cancels an s.LP -> s.LP chain directly into his Wrath of the Raging Demon ultra. There’s actually a buffer delay between chained light attacks which makes it possible to complete the ultra input in five frames instead of two. However, there’s no leniency whatsoever for timing the last input. If it’s pressed any sooner, Akuma kara-cancels the s.LP before it connects. If it’s pressed any later, the KO halts input recognition. Another oddity is the fact that this combo should add up to 87 hits, but post-KO Wrath of the Raging Demon only registers as 26 hits for some reason, instead of the usual 27. This combo clocks in at 670 damage before the ultra.
This is a tool-assisted combo video recorded with two ASCII PAD V Pro programmable controllers. Absolutely no cheats, hacks, or game-altering devices were used in the making of.