Strategy How To Thread: Cages Weaknesses

Discussion in 'Johnny Cage' started by Sao87, Dec 22, 2011.

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  1. Sao87

    Sao87 Well-Known Member

    I see a lot of misinformation about Cage across the boards and I've decided to make a thread to put a microscope on Cages weaknesses as a character. I intend for this thread to be a guide on how to play against Johnny Cage. This is for two reasons, I want to help people understand the match up and I hope that other top players will follow suit and make similar guides for more characters.

    The first thing I want to explain before I go into this is my perception of the learning cycle. There are 4 steps that apply to learning anything in life and it goes like this.

    Unconsciously Incompetent - You are not even aware that something is an issue.

    Consciously Incompetent - You learn that there is a problem and you don't know how to solve it.

    Consciously Competent - You become aware of the answers to your problem but you need to devote mental resources towards applying the concepts

    Unconsciously Competent - At this point you have worked the answers to your problem into a mental state/muscle memory state where you just naturally apply the answers to your issues without thinking.

    The one thing a lot of people don't think about is their defensive game plan. I wan't this thread to detail how you DEFEND against Johnny Cage.

    I feel like this learning cycle is important because I want to help people get to step 3. Your issue is that you do not know how to fight Johnny Cage but that's OK because I am going to give you the answers below.

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    This guide mainly applies to offline players.

    Johnny Cage is a very one dimensional, he is arguably the worse character everywhere on the screen except up close which is where his strengths shine. You should be taking advantage of this fact by limiting Cages ability to close space, he doesn't really have options to approach. I've played games against people where I've felt like my offensive opportunities were limited to maybe 10% of the match. Learn how to zone properly and do not let him in.

    First I wan't to go through the basis of Johnny Cages offense, he has 3 strings primarily that define how he will apply pressure and stay on you once he is in close.

    Before I explain how to beat these 3 want to explain a very important fighting game concept. A concept called "mental resources", players are really only capable of assigning one reaction to a 50/50 situation. In Cages case I want to explain what he is looking for when he uses the pressure strings below.

    When Cage starts his offense you need to be aware of what he can potentially do mix up wise. Once he's started offense your default defensive position is crouch block with a fuzzy guard reaction to overheads. (fuzzy guarding means if you see an overhead coming you continue to hold block but you release the down motion. Your character will block the overheads while remaining in a crouch animation)

    f3,3,b3 string - His forward advancing knee with high priority. Players will mix a variation of each part of the string because each piece has advantages.

    f3: This one hit alone leaves the Cage player at block advantage, do not waste your time trying to poke out of it because he is throwing a high priority hitbox at you with frame advantage. If you predict the Cage player will use this string over and over your reaction will be to jump away after blocking it successfully. Cage players will not use this string over and over because it doesn't do much for him offensively.

    f3,3: Cage players assign what their "mental resources" towards hit confirming into a nut punch. If the string is blocked Cage is at slight advantage. But he is still vulnerable to either jumping away or fast normal's. Use a normal that is 6-7 frames to poke out the moment you've released crouch block.

    f3,3,b3: The final hit on this string is an overhead, if Cage commits to this string he's essentially said I am allowing you to escape my pressure. If you fuzzy guard this overhead on reaction (which is simple) you are out of Cages pressure.

    2,1,f2 string - His string with very short range that will hit an opponent crouch blocking.

    2: Alone this string doesn't have great properties. A Cage player might use it to tick you after nut punch which will put you in a block stun animation allowing him to throw you almost for free since most players brace for the second hit.

    2,1: This is part of Cages frame trap pressure game, Cage expects you to brace for the 3rd hit so they will end this string short to loop other aspects of his 3 string pressure game. Cage also devotes his mental resources on this string towards hit confirming off of the first 2 hits and into f2. If he lands this string and completes it, he gets a combo into nut punch.

    2,1,f2: The last hit of this string is an overhead, same concept apply's as the knee string. If Cage has committed to the 3rd part of this string, he once again has given up on pressuring in favor of a mix up. If you fuzzy guard this you are out of his pressure and free to start your own.

    1,1,f1 string - An upward advancing Jab string used for anti air reads and whiffs over people who are crouch blocking.

    1: This string is rarely used alone unless you are jumping in on Cage for an anti air option.

    1,1: This is the string most commonly applied in his pressure game. Cage sticks it out because he notices you are either standing or hes made a read that you will be jumping out of his pressure (This is almost everyone's biggest problem, their default answer to pressure is to hold up)

    1,1,f1: The final hit of this string leaves Cage at slight advantage, but also pushes you forward. Cage might use this spacing/frame advantage to use his 13 frame move b3 and launch you, or he may dash forward and attempt to apply more pressure. On hit or block just stay where you are or jump backwards.

    Next I want to cover what many consider to be Cages biggest strength.

    EX Force Ball pressure - Cage relies on his opponents to be standing when he makes a decision to apply ex force balls to his offensive pressure game. There is only one way to guarantee an opponent is standing and that is with a jump in punch because you always have to start out blocking high, Cage will then use an f3,3 string to keep you jailed standing and toss 2 ex force balls.

    Once you've blocked the the knee pressure we go to our default defensive position, we hold down and block. Eventually your character will be put in a ducking animation where its your turn to decide when to poke out or escape pressure.

    Now I hope at this point it is very clear to you that Cage is at his biggest disadvantage offensively when you are crouch blocking.

    There are some other topics I want to briefly address.

    Poking against Cage, some players will tell you that great Cage players will cover their offensive holes with d1. Although this is true, you need to understand when Cage may place his d1 and reply to it with a d3. d3 is great for going under and out prioritizing Cages d1. You are most likely to see d1 from Cage after the following strings: (f3,3.. 2,1.. f3,2..)

    F3,2 - Even though Cages f3,2 sees little to no use anymore it still servers a purpose. It has very safe forward advancing properties and on hit it causes a stagger granting him a free throw opportunity, on block it is a risk. When Cage throws you, hes put himself in a position where he has to re approach you however so a throw is not favorable.

    This string no longer links into nut punch so you wont really see what you aw at EVO. When players talk about Johnny Cages success at tournaments they point to a player named JOP who did very well at EVO. He was taking advantage of 2 primary rules that have been removed from the game since then.

    F3,2 used to be a pseudo block infinite with d1. He was capable of hit confirming the f3,2 into nut punch or if it was blocked he would follow it with a d1 which used to grant enough advantage to pull off another f3,2. The reason it wasn't considered a true block infinite is because you could match Johnny Cage with a 6 frame move and at that point the game would randomly decide a winner because there are no ties in the game.

    Hopefully you've learned something valuable with this information and can start to work on how you approach the Cage match up. Once you've reached the 4th step of the learning cycle you will be where a majority of my friends are at right now and hopefully not so scared of Johnny Cage.

    I will revise this a little more and add to it as I think of things, but I really wanted to get this started.

    YautJard asks: Very, very nice Cage's analysis, man. Could you explain the advantages or disadvantages of .... f4,44 ?

    Alone f4 doesn't see much use. But here are some situations where you may see f4 come into play.

    F4 is tricks, off of a jump in punch there is enough block stun/hit stun to reliably land the f4 which of course leads to (dash 2, dash 2, dash 2, dash 44 nut punch.

    This is the most common scenario you may see because f4 on block leaves Cage in a neutral state so he risks nothing by using the normal.

    There are also situations where Cage might decide to drop a string early in favor for an overhead f4 mix up. For example if I anti air you with a 1 I will dash 1,1 dash 1,1 dash 44 (I can land this nut punch or go for an unexpected mix up with f4) The mix up comes into play when Cage needs to steal a life lead back or wants to get way ahead with a risk. Or off of a 21f2 combo you might dash forward with f3 which normally gets cancelled into nut punch. You could just 21f3 dash f3 (which drops the combo early) then press f4 which will land exactly when they wake up leaving you with a free combo (f4 should be looked at as his option for resets).

    The 4,4 string alone doesn't see much purpose even though its his furthest range poke at 9 frames. When I have someone cornered I might stick out a 4,4 string if i realize my opponent is hesitant to jump. But you mainly want to float pressure back and forth to capitalize on the anti air game and press the opponent in the corner.
  2. Sao87

    Sao87 Well-Known Member

    I'm hoping players like F0xy Grampa, Dizzy, Marvaz, or anyone that feels like they are at a top level competitively with Cage will read this. I'd really like to hear feedback from you guys and wonder if your perception of Cage is similar to mine.

    Also ugh, the more I write this the more I realize why I don't enjoy trying to explain the finer details of this game. I feel like the information is very important for newcomers and even players trying to improve. Just hope I've explained things well enough while I'm falling asleep on my chair.
  3. yautjared

    yautjared monkey business Premium Supporter

    Very, very nice Cage's analysis, man. Could you explain the advantages or disadvantages of .... f4,44 ?
  4. Sao87

    Sao87 Well-Known Member

    I've added this but I am so incoherent at this point that I'm not sure it makes much sense, I will definitely fix it up tomorrow for you.

    YautJard asks: Very, very nice Cage's analysis, man. Could you explain the advantages or disadvantages of .... f4,44 ?

    Alone f4 doesn't see much use. But here are some situations where you may see f4 come into play.

    F4 is tricks, off of a jump in punch there is enough block stun/hit stun to reliably land the f4 which of course leads to (dash 2, dash 2, dash 2, dash 44 nut punch.

    This is the most common scenario you may see because f4 on block leaves Cage in a neutral state so he risks nothing by using the normal.

    There are also situations where Cage might decide to drop a string early in favor for an overhead f4 mix up. For example if I anti air you with a 1 I will dash 1,1 dash 1,1 dash 44 (I can land this nut punch or go for an unexpected mix up with f4) The mix up comes into play when Cage needs to steal a life lead back or wants to get way ahead with a risk.

    The 4,4 string alone doesn't see much purpose even though its his furthest range poke at 9 frames. When I have someone cornered I might stick out a 4,4 string if i realize my opponent is hesitant to jump. But you mainly want to float pressure back and forth to capitalize on the anti air game and press the opponent in the corner.
  5. yautjared

    yautjared monkey business Premium Supporter

    Thanks a lot, your Cage's gameplay knowledge is impressive and almost .... unmatched, hehe :D
  6. ReelGeizt

    ReelGeizt New Member

    First off all: thanks for this great Guide!

    Secondly i have to say that i dont doubt this guide "against" johnny cage maybe helps me more then one in his "favor". Beacause the more advanced and used the players become to a game, Mortal Kombat for us, they can foresee the things that will come in a match and maybe even before it begins planning theyr key strategy. So you have to be prepared they will answer to your actions in the best way they , (or the game allows the), they can and you have too read this too. Gues overall its what we call mindfucking the enemy ;)

    So anyway thats just my opinion. But your guide is really awesome!
  7. Sao87

    Sao87 Well-Known Member

    Thats a great mindset to have when approaching fighting games and trying to improve. When I play offline with my group of MK players they will tell me what I am doing that is strong and what isn't strong. I try to help them figure out answers to everything because at the end of the day I need to be prepared for every possible scenario.

    Thats why, when I am with friends. I have no problem telling them how to beat me, my job is to adjust back.
  8. A F0xy Grampa

    A F0xy Grampa Nerf Demander Premium Supporter

    His D3 gives him an option select from a F32, even on block sometimes it allows for you to get a F3 out before the opponent can poke back (strange)
    His 11F1 also gives him gauranteed F3 in open space/corner on block
    F4 leads to mind games
    B3 is amazing in footsies and can catch back jumps easily

    For the most part you'll wanna ignore his D1 because that is gonna let them get away from you easier than it is if you end any of his overhead strings (imo)
    D3 gives more advantage on hit and has less recovery and encourages them to jump more which is a good thing.

    Crossover when you think the opponent will poke.


    The most important thing to know is that sweet spot where the F3 will crush any opponents low move, despite them throwing out a faster poke, then bait the pokes.
  9. smokey

    smokey MONEY POWER DEATH

    I never knew about the d3 on block giving enough for the f3, ive been getting stuffed occasionally for it and couldnt figure out why, this explains it though!

    Is it still worth trying to get out or poke after the d3 on the risk that you may still get stuffed, or am i doin it wrong?
  10. A F0xy Grampa

    A F0xy Grampa Nerf Demander Premium Supporter

    I honestly dont have an answer for it, unless its down to blockstun or something. There really shouldnt be a reason for it to work that way, unless maybe Cages D3 is done from max range and therefore his F3 would crush a low poke.
  11. smokey

    smokey MONEY POWER DEATH

    Think the hitbox of f3 stuff pokes, i usually use it to do just that and have a very high success rate, but after blocked d3 from JC, smokes d3 (the character this keeps happening with) should beat f3 out hands down, and it more often then not does and this was one of the easiest ways i found to get breathing space and reverse the advantage enough to try break free.

    Whats Jonny cages reactions to cross over punches, i used nutpunches fairly consistently as Jc, but im not a jc player so it would be nice to hear what should be coming my way if i try cross up.
  12. Crathen

    Crathen Death is my business

    1 f3 eats short range pokes , when he starts the animation his leg hitbox raises and your poke will whiff also since f3 is 9 frames while advancing forward anything slower than 8 frames will get stuffed by it , that "golden" distance is JC best spot because he's baiting that poke or preemptive string / special and even backdashing with f3 and when you try to counterpoke it he can just walk back and b3 into a combo , this can also be set up from a simple blocked d3 since the blockstun is so small and it pushes back to the golden spot.

    2 Generally you want to counter crossjumps with d1 but that's distance depending since some crossjumps are almost impossible to interrupt with it , also if you can resist low blocking all the time you could even wait for him to cross over and standing 1 will catch them but generally you can set up so many situation where you cover many jumps with the b3 opton.
  13. GGA Dizzy

    GGA Dizzy False Information Police Officer Premium Supporter

    Good post, i hope it will mitigate the weekly "how do I fight cage" threads.

    A few things to note, F3 itself is neutral on block. More importantly, F3,3 is slight disadvantage on block, not slight advantage. I believe it was stated this is -4. Either way, after this string if the opponent D1s you all you can do is block or armor. That is the main problem with the string, as you will effectly lose momentum if its blocked, as the blockstun is long enough for them to confirm the string has ended, not allowing for "pseudo frame advantage".

    What I mean by this is, the person is unsure when to let go of block, or releases it too late, granting unnatural frame advantage that isn't there if block is released at the appropriate time. For example, if you do F3, a neutral move on block, but the person is expecting F3,3 they will not release block, waiting for the followup. On some moves, like F3 there is no way for them to visually verify that the followup wasn't performed, which will allow you to get off another move before them if they try and counter poke when they were expecting a different string. That is one of the disadvantages of strings like F3,2; if the person is crouch blocking there is no followup (aside from unsafe ones like flipkick and nutpunch) to scare them from letting go of block. They can react to the 2 ender and poke

    This is attributes to the phenomenon that Foxy was describing too. D3 is actually slight disadvantage on block, something like -3 or 4; however, that is if it is properly guarded. If they are not expecting a low poke and just reacting, they will likely release block too late, causing it to no longer be disadvantage if blocked. On the other subject, F3 does crush some lows, it is range and character specific. There is also a certain amount of startup needed for him to raise his leg and avoid the low. If D3 is properly blocked, and the opponent attempts D1 at the correct timing, F3 will be stuffed on startup.
  14. General M2Dave

    General M2Dave Interactables Master Premium Supporter

    PSN:
    m2dave
    XBL:
    m2dave
    Cage has weaknesses, but none of which are related to his pokes and strings. The game's engine inherently favors his offense because of the long transition from block to neutral and because of the lack of non-meter invincible moves (i.e., an SRK in Street Fighter). Even with armor moves in mind, the game's engine occasionally glitches in his favor. I am sure you all have experienced the "armor drain glitch". That is, Cage's strings are so tight that armor moves do not activate sometimes, yet you lose your meter. If you are a Cage player and you are constantly getting outpoked, you need to reevaluate your mix ups and your spacing. F0xy and Dizzy describe several character-specific strategies above. No character is able to outplay Cage up close. That is his territory.
  15. Playpal

    Playpal Well-Known Member

    Cmon guys, check the frame data.

    It's not F333, it's F33B3. Even if you end with this string there are still mix ups JC can do. Usually what I do after using this string is I go into footsies. I condition my opponent to thinking I will always go into footsies after F33B3. This string is safe however, and what I do from time to time is dash in for another block string. Sometimes I even go F33B3 ex force ball (which doesn't jail midscreen) for more mix ups, although this is risky

    111 is not advantage on block. 11F1 is. I can't think of a reason why you'd pick 111 over 11F1.

    F33 is -4 on block.

    44 is also negative on block, and neutral on hit.

    21F2 as a short range string? Really? It also hits opponents on delayed wakeup.

    F3 is neutral on block, slight advantage on hit. Note: you can't link F3 nut punch or F3 ex forceball and have it combo.

    JC still has some strengths mid screen. He does not excel in this area and there are definitely characters that are better than him midscreen, but he does have tools that help him. Ex force ball has great forward movement and it gives advantage, something good to use at a distance. The second hit also hits mid from midscreen. B3 pretty much hits all opponents trying to approach him.

    Surprised you didn't talk about ex nut punch. Amazing move to get out of pressure. Can be grabbed out of though, which I find very strange for an invincible move.
  16. Sao87

    Sao87 Well-Known Member

    Thanks for this post, you did a way better job than I was capable of when it comes to explaining the reality of Cages pressure game. The reason people have such a hard time dealing with it is because they hesitate expecting him to do more.

    Lots of misinformation about what his actual advantage frame data looks like and you've hit the nail on the head.

    Thanks for pointing out the typos, I've adjusted the strings to what they should be in the original post.

    I didn't talk about ex nut punch because I wanted this thread to illustrate how you fight against Johnny Cage. Ex nut punch to me is more of a defensive option Cage has at his disposal.

    I will give you my opinion on ex nut punch however. Ex nut punch is a defensive option, the fact that it exists on Cages tool belt completely legitimizes xray as a tool. It does the exact same thing you need xray for except you only spend one bar for it leaving you with an additional 2 left over for breaker. This is Cages reversal of fortune tool to get back on the pressure track if he makes a good offensive read against his opponent.
  17. Couch Tomato

    Couch Tomato Premium Supporter Premium Supporter

    44 as counterpoke?

    It works wonders if you know 100% they will poke. On hit you can dash up and continue on. On block.. not so much.
  18. Playpal

    Playpal Well-Known Member

    B3 is better. I've already said that 44 is neutral on hit. It's still safe on block.
  19. WinterWolf94

    WinterWolf94 Member

    PSN:
    GaerBear94
    nice guide, i always have problems wit jc
  20. Name v.5.0

    Name v.5.0 Well-Known Member

    D+1 after F3,2, 2,1 or F3,3. It's a get out of jail free card.

    F4 can be an amazing tool. The recovery on it is deceiving. So many people try to jump out after it only to get caught be a standing 1 into a full combo.
  21. GNG Iniquity

    GNG Iniquity Lobo Duck for DLC! No moar batz!

    d1 isn't bad, but it doesn't let you continue pressure. I need to work more d3 into my game after reading f0xy's post and I agree about F4, I just haven't been optimizing my follow ups with it. I do think however that d1 can be very useful for baiting jump ins considering how annoyed the opponent gets with it, same concept as Kitana's d1. Both of them can punish you hard for a jump in.

    Ah, yes! That makes more sense.
  22. Name v.5.0

    Name v.5.0 Well-Known Member

    I dont know if you misunderstood or not, but I meant that doing a D+1 TO johnny cage is a free out.

  23. NogunYesknife

    NogunYesknife Well-Known Member

    Im just curious but, did they update the d1 in a patch or something. Because i remember d1ing opponent and, if it hit them or not, still had enough advantage to jump out unless i threw in an AA 11.
  24. Sao87

    Sao87 Well-Known Member

    Yep, D1 used to have slight advantage.
  25. NariTuba

    NariTuba disMember

    Would you mind explaining that further F0xy? what do you do with your f4s on block?

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