SF4 Biweekly TACV 13: Blanka / E.Honda
Apart from their charge-back cannonball and button-mash specials, Honda and Blanka share a number of core design similarities. They both have long-range, high-damage normals with just enough frame advantage to get by. Both are bound by slow dashes. Neither can chain light attacks. Neither can combo into lvl2 EX Focus Attack or perform any FADC ground combos without counterhit. It’s no surprise that their basic combos follow the same blueprints.
0:11 Dhalsim’s vertical j.LP reaches into the last active frame of HP Electric Thunder. Blanka recovers in time to whiff HP Rolling Attack and juggle with LP Ground Shave Roll. The super command is delayed to reuse the same charge. This trick is easier to duplicate near the corner, because the Rolling Attack recovers much quicker. Unfortunately, Ground Shave Roll also stops instantly upon reaching the corner. Since Blanka automatically starts rolling on contact, it’s impossible to land more than one hit when starting all the way in the corner.
0:18 There are two components to pushback in SF4. Pressing a button expands the attacker’s hitbox to a specific size. If the opponent is standing at point blank range, that expansion pushes them back before the attack even connects. Take a look at Rufus’ c.HP for an extreme example. The second component is of course the pushback caused the strike itself. In this clip, Gouken’s EX Senkugoshoha thrust counteracts Blanka’s s.HK pre-impact pushback, in addition to acting as a counterhit meaty setup. Then the end flip of Blanka’s close s.HK pushes off against the corner. Combined, these two factors eliminate both components of s.HK pushback in the first combo. The second combo doesn’t have the advantage of Blanka being cornered because he needs the corner to juggle MP Ground Shave Roll after HP Electric Thunder.
0:27 Normally crossups are bad for combos in SF4, because they cause opponents to lean backward, which expands their hitbox in that direction and prevents you from getting in close. However, Blanka’s close s.MP causes so much pre-impact pushback that crossup j.HP doesn’t make a difference. It would’ve pushed the dummy that far away regardless. Blanka is usually not a good combo target but he does have a wide low hitbox, which is enough for something.
0:34 The original idea here was to have Gen jump over Blanka’s Rolling Attack, then use Zan’ei to trade from behind – instantly grounding Blanka and pulling both characters together. Somehow they got pushed apart instead, because backwards attacks behave weirdly in SF4. Luckily, the modified setup shown here does work as intended. Blanka’s HP Rolling Attack trades with Gen’s HP Zan’ei as Blanka passes through Gen’s invincible startup – drawing them as near as Gen’s backward leaning hitbox will allow. Blanka then continues with s.MK, s.LP, s.LP xx HP Rolling Attack xx HP Ground Shave Roll. This combo deals 515 damage and 495 stun.
0:45 Blanka doesn’t have any long combos. Twelve might be the highest number of hits he can rack up. This combo only works on Gouken, Guile, and Rufus. Against all other candidates, the HP Rolling Attack becomes airborne and uncancelable by the time it connects. This combo inflicts 455 damage and 565 stun.
0:55 Counterhit HP Rolling Attack causes enough hit stun to combo EX lvl2 Focus Attack. The hard part is executing the Rolling Attack after changing sides with Rose mid-air. The trick is to shift charge directions on the exact frame when the side switch occurs. Not only does this require one-frame precision, but also a great deal of trial and error since there’s no visual indicator to mark the occurence. You basically have to guess. After that, Rose’s LP Soul Spark interrupts Blanka’s c.MK xx HP Rolling Attack, which allows for s.MK, s.LP, s.LP xx HP Rolling Attack xx lvl1 EX Focus Attack. The interrupt point is somewhat delicate because HP Rolling Attack travels faster than LP Soul Spark. Not every cancelable normal can replace c.MK there. This combo causes 434 damage and 695 stun.
1:06 Blanka’s c.LK provides +4 frame advantage and his Lightning Cannonball ultra becomes active on the 4th frame, forming a one-frame link. The first part of this combo works on characters with wide base hitboxes – for the ultra’s initial low hit to reach them after the c.LK quartet. The last part works on dummies who lean backward in response, avoiding the ultra’s upward arc until it lands on their feet. Delaying that launch gives Blanka enough time to reach the corner and follow up with LP Ground Shave Roll, which only hits once as before. This combo totals 344 damage and 470 stun.
1:18 Dhalsim’s vertical j.LP reaches into the last active frame of HP Hundred Hand Slap. Honda juggles with EX Sumo Smash, which has a juggle potential of one, so it only connects on the way up. It turns out that EX Sumo Headbutt has a juggle potential of two (or more).
1:24 Optimizing for damage is difficult and time-consuming, especially when a combo contains a multitude of interchageable range-dependent options. That’s certainly the case with Honda’s HP and EX Hundred Hand Slaps. Weighing in at 709 damage, this seems to be Honda’s best configuration against Seth. However, i didn’t have to use any kara-cancel tricks and i had a bar of EX meter left over, so it wouldn’t surprise me if someone found a more efficient structure.
1:48 With the exception of dash cancels and rapid-fire light attack chains, SF4 characters generally can’t turn around in the middle of cancel sequences. That means if Honda jumps over Rose as she throws an LP Soul Spark, she won’t turn around when she cancels into super or EX Focus Attack. Thus he can easily switch sides before her superfreeze, so he can charge for ultra comfortably in mid-air. With precise timing and spacing, Honda’s crossup j.MK narrowly evades Rose’s HP Soul Spark – connecting on the last frame before landing in order to combo his Ultimate Killer Head Ram ultra. He remains invincible until the finisher, averted by Rose’s slow fireball. Smileymike101 was the first to try interrupting Honda’s ultra this way, finding the opponent’s state to be vulnerable to throws. This combo deals 531 damage and 170 stun.
2:00 Guile throws an LP Sonic Boom, then whiffs c.HK to duck into Honda’s crossup j.HK while creating a counterhit setup. Normally Honda can combo j.HK into ultra with perfect charging, provided that j.HK connects as deep as possible. Since it can’t connect that low as a crossup, the counterhit helps in comboing the ultra. Executing the ultra itself requires the same charge direction switch as the sixth Blanka combo; except corners are weird, so Honda has to switch directions three times – all with frame-perfect precision. Difficulty aside, Guile makes a superior dummy for this setup because his Sonic Boom reaches Honda sooner, allowing him to recover earlier and prepare more elaborate followups. This combo deals 806 damage and 507 stun.
2:16 Zangief arbitrarily seems to have the ideal hitbox shape for Hundred Hand Slap combos. Honda’s HP Hundred Hand Slap has such an immediate burst of momentum that it almost doesn’t matter how the combo starts. However, it ends up causing quite a bit of pushback once it becomes stationary. Conversely, EX Hundred Hand Slap advances gradually, but can keep moving forward. Every c.LP xx EX Hundred Hand Slap repetition brings Honda slightly closer to the opponent, whereas any HP Hundred Hand Slap usage extends the gap. The HP version’s two advantages are: it doesn’t cost meter and it provides +10 frame advantage compared to the EX version’s +4. Apparently it’s possible to kara-cancel HP Hundred Hand Slap into EX Hundred Hand Slap, giving it an extra initial jolt. This trick is only used once in the combo, because it only links directly after HP Hundred Hand Slap, at relatively close range. Honda walks forward during every frame gap. The second-to-last HP Hundred Hand Slap only connects six times, but the missed hit is the fifth slap. Since the last hit connects, Honda still gets +10 frame advantage. The last HP Hundred Hand Slap normally only connects four times, totaling 618 damage and 728 stun. However, the KO provides a free juggle state and the corner keeps Zangief close, so the fifth slap raises the final tally up to sixty.
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.