Tekken Tag Tournament 2/System/Frames Part-2

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This series of lessons are aimed to introduce the offensive systems Tekken has, which include hit ranges, throws, crush system, frames and the combo system, in a way that the readers can take advantage of this system in a fight.


Frames What? pt. 2


  • To show tactics that take where frame data are of vital value
  • To introduce counterhits, CH-hunting and frame traps

Now that we know what frames are, as well as their use for measuring a move's speed, what's next? Well, in this page, we're gonna try to make sense of some things that relate with the uses of frames in the heat of battle. This section will focus on the aspects of counterhits. Prepare your calculators! (Well, not really...)

Counter Hits

First, let's review. As of now, we know that:

  • When we make an attack, we CAN'T block
  • We divided the frame interval of every move to three, the startup frames, the active frames and recovery frames
  • When we get hit during the startup frames, we usually take more damage and some more nasty stuff depending on the move.

What I forgot to say though is that a strike during the startup frames is called a Counter Hit (abbreviated as CH). Well, the idea about counterhits in real life is that when you strike someone while he attempts to strike you, you're using his force moving forward against him, increasing the damage the attack would cause. Looking for Counterhits is pretty common in martial arts, especially in striking arts such as boxing, muay thai, and even in MMA.

As you can see, that idea transfers directly into Tekken, but its effects vary for each move. It's a general thing to have increased damage when some strike goes counterhit, but many move causes stuns, or even start a combo. Some strings are not natural combos, but becomes one when the first hit registers as a counterhit (those strings are abbreviated as NCc, which means natural combo on counterhit). The benefits of counterhits are so good that some players make their playstyle and setups about getting counterhits, and some characters, like Steve, are perfectly suited for this playstyle.

Note: In practice mode, the game recognize this and label your hit with a COUNTER sign. Use this feature if you want to test which moves you have will have special features on counterhit.

CH Hunting

There's a problem though... Remember that you need to strike your opponent in their impact frames of their attacks to get a counterhit. In layman's terms, you need to hit them first before their strike hits you. The problem is, most pokes in the game have only 10-12 impact frames and the fastest CH tools in the game are usually around 12 impact frames. This makes counterhits a little bit tricky to get, since most of the time, you should start your strike way before your opponent.

This is where the art of CH hunting emerges. You actually need to predict if your opponent's gonna charge to you, and your opponent should be aware if you're looking for counterhits or not. As the CH hunter, one thing you can do is to make setups to make your opponent attack you. This is called baiting. Some baiting tactics include turtling around and making your opponent impatient and perform a reckless attack on you. One riskier tactic is to purposely miss a move, making the opponent charge to you in an attempt to whiff punish. The setups you can do are only limited by your character moves, and especially, your creativity! So, be creative in your setups!

Frame Traps

Baiting can be fun to do, but sometimes, a smart opponent (especially a turtling player) knows when to bite the bait or not. And that's a bit problematic. In this case, frame traps are helpful. Frame Traps are just moves that gives you frame advantage on block, commonly because they produce block stuns. Wait, that's a lot of terminology over there...

Let me explain this with an example. Let's take King's Dropkick (f+3+4); King does the dropkick (frame trap) and his opponent blocks it. Yes, no damage is inflicted to him, but still, he got dropkicked by a heavyweight, so the opponent staggers on block (block stun). Because of this, King can stand up and do his next attack while his opponent is still staggering (frame advantage).

Basically, frame traps allow you to do things earlier than your opponent. King's dropkick gives you +3 frame advantage, which means your opponent has 3 frames before being able to do anything. Let's say your opponent does a jab (10 impact frames), and since he's on -3 frame disadvantage, his jab will hit you after 13 frames (3 block stun frames + 10 impact frames). That means if King's does his reliable CH tool of b+1 (12 impact frames) after the dropkick, it will hit his opponent on CH!

Basically, frame traps also gives you a chance to get counterhits especially when you're attacking, which helps aggressive and defensive players alike (but mostly, aggresive players use this more). Always be aware of your CH tools and Frame Traps on your Frame Data links and be aware of them 'cause they'll always come in handy...

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