What's new

" I Only Need One Take." -- Johnny Cage Living Guide

FoughtDragon01

Ask me about my Mileena agenda.
OVERVIEW
In MK11, Johnny doesn't possess the same oppressive rushdown prowess of his predecessors, but in exchange receives a versatile toolkit that can make him a real threat in the right hands. From long-ranged, respectably fast normals, to a parry that can launch for a full combo, to a psuedo-unblockable to catch the turtlers off guard, he has the means to not only make you nervous to press buttons, but to also easily punish those who throw out attacks too eagerly. He also has access to arguably one of the best projectiles in the game in his standard Forceball, allowing him to remain a notable threat even at fullscreen. Not only that, but his amplified Forceball grants him plus frames, allowing him to enforce further mixups on those who respect his frame advantage, and to punish those who don’t.

As mentioned earlier, Johnny lacks the same rushdown tools that he had in Mkx, such as his A-List cancels (sort of) and Stunt Double clones, and has more of a stronger focus on footsies and spacing. Normals such as F3 and B3 make him one of the best characters in the game for whiff punishing, and they’re also very easily hit-confirmable, meaning you don’t need to commit to unsafe specials on block, and can instead initiate your block pressure or even stagger into throws if your opponent is expecting a follow-up.

He also possesses one of the best pokes in the game in his D4. At 8 frames of startup, it’s one of his fastest normals, tying with his S2, and only beaten by his S1 and D1. His D3 boasts similar speed at 9 frames of startup, as well as similar range, but where that move is only +10 on hit, D4 is +17, easily allowing you to jail into his F3, granting mixups once your opponent begins respecting those frames, and practically handing you a full combo punish on anyone who tries to press buttons after a D4 check.

However, Johnny certainly isn’t without weaknesses. As the majority of his best combo starters (12, 244, F21, F344) begin with high attacks, it is very easy for him to be beaten out by low pokes. This can be especially troublesome if the opponent begins to crouch in the neutral, effectively removing his F3 as an option unless you want to risk eating a D2. This means that his best options are F4 (which is a mid, but difficult to confirm into a full combo), and his B3 (a low starter, but just slow enough to let the opponent block on reaction). And if Johnny does manage to get a full combo started, as a large chuck of his damage relies on his amplified Nut Punch launcher, it leaves the vast majority of his combos vulnerable to the Breakaway mechanic. If done at the right time, the Breakaway can very well leave him full combo punishable.

Another significant issue is his lack of practical krushing blows. Outside of the universal D2 KB, Johnny struggles to get value out of any of the krushing blows available to him, if he can get them to trigger at all, as some of the requirements are far more trouble than they're worth against a competent opponent. This effectively blocks him off from a very important feature of the game, and denies him access to practical, high-damaging combos.

And perhaps his most damning flaw is his hitbox issues, especially in regards to his forceballs. Against female characters, and even Johnny Cage himself, his forceballs, amplified or not, will fly right over them if they’re crouch blocking, which not only takes away that option as a blockstring, but leaves Johnny full combo punishable. This makes playing him into female characters significantly more challenging than any other characters in the game.

STRENGTHS:
  • Versatile toolkit
  • A great walk back speed for baiting out whiff punishes.
  • Amazing low pokes that synergize well with his other normals.
  • Decent, long-ranged normals that require respect in the neutral
  • Very hit-confirmable and safe strings that rarely leave you full combo punishable.
  • Great staggers
  • Very few strings have gaps, leaving Johnny fairly safe from Flawless Block counters
  • Has access to restand and plus frames via Nut Punch
  • Shadow Kick gives him amazing corner carry potential
  • Fairly strong zoning in his forceballs.
WEAKNESSES:
  • Very vulnerable to neutral ducking and D2
  • Struggles against crouch blocking
  • Inconsistent hitbox issues, especially against females
  • Consistent combo damage requires offensive meter
  • Combos are very vulnerable to Breakaway
  • His best mids are on the slower side
  • Impractical krushing blows
FRAME DATA (as of Patch 1.06):

NORMALS & STRINGS:

1: A 7-frame high that’s +3 on block. Great for staggers if you get your opponent blocking. Also makes for a respectable anti-air, which can be converted into a full combo.


12: Neutral on block, second hit is a mid. Not as plus as S1 on its own, but still a great stagger tool as most opponents will expect the full string.


121: One of the enders for this series. -7 on block, meaning it’s barely safe from most of the cast, but can be special cancelled into Amp’d forceballs to still leave you plus. It’ll primarily be used as a combo ender, and if used in conjunction with Shadow Kick, it’ll grant you amazing corner carry. In the corner, cancelling this into Amp’d forceballs on hit allows for a full combo.


124: The other ender for this series. This string is +6 on block and is not special cancellable. The move has a decent amount of pushback on block to give yourself room to breathe, but it also leaves you with very few options to take advantage of those plus frames. Even in the corner, there’s a noticeable amount of pushback, leaving you too far away to utilize the majority of your normals. The best option after it’s blocked is F4, as it can’t be ducked, and will catch an opponent trying to jump. Once they begin blocking, that’s when you can attempt dashing in for further mix ups.


D1: 7-frame low poke that’s only -3 on block. Great for taking your turn back in a poke war, and on hit, grants you 10 frames of hit advantage. This means that it jails nicely into S2, though the timing is tight, and is inconsistent against the cast, most notably, this doesn't work against females. However, once you’ve mastered it, your opponent will have no choice but to respect the frames, opening them up to further mix ups.


Jump 1: 7 frames of start-up and makes for a great air-to-air.


2: 8-frame high that’s +3 on block, similar to S1. Has nearly identical uses in terms of stagger pressure, though is perhaps more effective due to the string it leads into.


244: -2 on block. As the first hit comes out in 8 frames, this is an excellent string to punish with. The lengthy animation of the kicks also makes this one of the easiest strings in the game to hit confirm. Beware, however, that you MUST only press 4 twice if you want to cancel into any of your specials. Pressing it even just one more time than you’re supposed to will make it impossible to continue the combo on block or on hit. It also makes for a respectable stagger string if the opponent expects you to cancel into a special, however, this can be blown up if you become too predictable.


244U4: The full string of this series. Frankly, unless you’re farming for Johnny’s ‘No Hollywood Strings Attached’ brutality, there is very little reason to use this string. There is a Flawless Block-able gap before the U4, it can’t be special cancelled, unlike 244, and is -17 on block, compared to 244’s -2.


B2: A 14-frame mid that launches on hit. It’s Johnny’s only real way to access decent meterless damage, but isn’t without its drawbacks. It’s -14 on block and can’t be special cancelled, making it full combo punishable to the entire cast. This requires you to be very careful when using this move, if you want to use it at all. It makes for a decent whiff punish, and a passable anti air. It has its uses, but it’s definitely Johnny’s riskiest normal to throw out.


F2: 11-frame high that’s -2 on block. Has decent range for its speed, and can be used to punish certain moves that neither S1 nor S2 can reach, and that F3 is too slow for.


F21: The second hit is a mid that comes out in 16 frames. Not as easy to hit-confirm as 244 or F344, but still possible with practice. This is your go-to punish string in situations where S1, S2, F3, or F4 don’t work. -5 on block, so it’s unpunishable, but it may be worth cancelling into Amp’d forceballs to maintain plus frames.


F212: The complete string and is -3 on block. Similarly to 244U4, there’s little reason to use this string, as it can’t be special cancelled, and has a Flawless Block-able gap between the last two hits.


D2: His uppercut. 9 frames of startup and only -7 on block. Not bad as an anti-air, though its small horizontal range is a notable weakness.


Jump 2: His go-to jump in. 9 frames of startup and reaches down significantly lower than his Jump 1.


3: 11-frame high that’s +2 on block. Again, good for staggering into other options, and can even make for a decent punish tool similar to his F2.


34: Only -1 on block. If used in conjunction with what this string leads into, it makes this an especially effective stagger tool if the opponent expects you to finish the string.


34D3: One of the two enders for this series. Ends in a low that’s -11 on block. However, there is a significant amount of pushback that can leave you safe against MOST punish options.


34U3: The other ender for this series. Ends similarly to 124, a kick that’s +6 on block with a lot of pushback. The same follow-up option in F4 applies here as well.


F3: And here we are. One of Johnny’s most useful buttons out of his entire kit. Its range makes it an excellent whiff punishing tool, and the string it’s attached to rivals 244 in terms of hit-confirmability. On its own, it comes out in 14 frames and is only -4 on block. Again, thanks to the string that virtually every opponent expects you to go into, this makes it another very strong stagger tool. However, be careful not to become too reliant on it. It is a high, meaning that it gets blown up by simply neutral ducking, but there are ways around that strategy. Make no mistake, this is a very important button to learn when picking up Johnny.


F344: Again, this is another very important string to learn if you’re new to Johnny Cage. Just like 244, it is very easy to hit confirm into a full combo, and on block, allows you to cancel into Amp’d Forceballs to maintain plus frames. Similarly to 244, it’s possible to stagger this string into other mix ups if your opponent expects you to special cancel, but due to the distinct animation of the kicks, it’s an easy tactic to adapt to if you become too predictable. F3 on its own is a much better stagger tool in this regard.


F344U4: The full string of this series. Again, just like 244U4, there’s very little reason to use this string. It has all of the same weaknesses: -17 on block, has a gap, and can’t be special cancelled.


B3: If F3 is the head honcho, then B3 is the right hand man. It’s on the slower side at 18 frames of startup, and is -6 on block, but it does have certain advantages over F3. To start, it’s a low starter, meaning it can’t be neutral ducked, unlike F3. Despite its slower startup, it’s another very good whiff punishing tool, with deceptively long reach, even longer than F3. Seemingly insignificant at first, but it is possible to catch someone by surprise with this. And again, thanks to the string that follows it, it makes for an effective staggering tool.


B34: Johnny’s other effective whiff punishing string, alongside his F344. It takes practice, but this is hit confirmable as well, though not as easily as F344. On its own, it’s -7 on block, but there’s a small amount of pushback that practically makes it completely safe from any of the cast’s options.


B34U3+4: The full string for this series. This is a strange one, as it doesn’t come out on block, but is still listed as being -14 on block. Since there are far more damaging combos available after landing B34, and since B34 is already hit-confirmable, this is another string that falls into the ‘No Real Reason to Use’ category.


D3: 9-frame, low-hitting poke that’s -4 on block. Has slightly more range than D1 with the exact same hit advantage at +10. This means that you have the same option of following up with either S1 or S2 to jail. However, it’s worth noting that landing this at its max range leaves you too far away for either S1 or S2 to connect. Otherwise, it can be used near identically to D1.


Jump 3/4: Both kicks are identical at 7 frames of start-up. Despite the data itself saying that it’s -7 on block, waiting for a late jump-in kick can leave you as much as +10, allowing you to pressure with further block strings, or to go for a grab. Very powerful, but vulnerable to anti-airs, so it’s important not to do this too often.


4: 12-frame high and +2 on block. Nothing particularly special about this normal as it doesn’t lead into any strings. It can be special cancelled, but the damage you get out of it can also be reached, if not surpassed, by other, more viable options.


F4: 14-frame mid and -9 on block. This is another useful tool, one that complements F3 quite nicely. It has the same startup, has the same range, but hits mid, meaning that the opponent can’t just neutral crouch while waiting for the F3. However, while it can be special cancelled, it’s one of the least hit-confirmable normals Johnny has, meaning it’s possible to leave yourself full combo punishable if you make the wrong read. But despite being -9, it can still make for a good stagger until the opponent adapts.


F44: One of the enders of this series. This is the safest way to end F4 as it’s only -5 on block. However, since this can’t be special cancelled, your turn will be over after this string. Typically, be ready to tech a grab after the opponent blocks this.


F43: Again, this is another string that has very little utility. It may be +7 on block, but good luck landing this string as there is a MASSIVE gap in between the two hits, and the last hit completely whiffs over crouch blocking opponents. The only vaguely positive thing about this string is the krushing blow attached to it, which requires the final hit to be the only thing that connects. Not massively viable since, at 37 frames of startup, it’s trivial for your opponent to knock you out of it.


B4: Johnny’s sweep. Serves its purpose well. At 13 frames of startup, there’s little reason to use this over his other low pokes as they lead to far better options in terms of mix-up.


D4: And thus, we’ve completed the trifecta of Johnny’s most important normals. Along with F3, and B3, this is one of Johnny’s best buttons to use and abuse during the neutral. At 8 frames of startup, it’s also among one of the fastest D4s in the game. It’s also safe at -6, but the real fun starts once it hits. At 17 frames of hit advantage, this allows you to easily jail into F344. The opponent has no choice but to block this, otherwise they’ll eat a full combo punish. And if they do begin blocking, then that just opens them up to staggers and throws and other forms of mixup. This is an EXTREMELY important button, one that I’d personally suggest you abuse in order to keep the opponent from overwhelming you with their own offense.

SPECIAL MOVES
(This will only cover the specials granted in the Shock Jock tournament variation. Specials unique to Shock Jock will be
color-coded)

Mime Time (DB1): Johnny’s parry. Takes 12 frames to come out and counters highs, mids, and throws. Loses to lows and jump-ins. During parry animation, can be amplified twice to extend the duration. After parrying an attack, can also be amplified to allow for a full combo. In terms of implementation, it can be used to punish a wake-up attack, or can be placed in situations where the opponent typically likes to poke (i.e after they block your own poke, after a string that leaves you negative). The parry can also be used to enforce mind games, such as placing it after staggers if the opponent begins poking out. Bear in mind that if the enemy opts to use D3 or D4 as counterpokes, it will significantly reduce Mime Time’s effectiveness as it doesn’t work against lows. The animation for the parry is also hilariously obvious, so don’t expect much success tossing it out raw in the neutral either.


Straight Forceball (BF2): Johnny’s primary zoning tool. Respectably fast at 14 frames, so it can typically go head-to-head with most other projectiles, and does 6% on hit. It can hit crouch blocking opponents, but like most other projectiles, goes over neutral crouching enemies. Can be amplified to send another forceball for a total of 12% on hit. Not just that, but a blocked Amp’d forceball leaves you +3 on block, making it a useful special to cancel into during block pressure. It’s also +5 on hit, allowing for further mix up options that will be discussed further later on. However, against female/small character hitboxes, even if the opponent is blocking, the Amp’d forceballs will still fly over their hurtbox, leaving you vulnerable to a full combo punish. For this reason, it's typically ill-advised to play Johnny into characters with such hitboxes.


Brass Knuckles (DD2): A buff that grants Johnny double chip damage for approx. 5 seconds. Despite the visual, the buff applies to ALL attacks, from his punches, to his forceballs, to even his kicks. Though it sounds useful, it can be a struggle to use it effectively. With a whopping 52 frames of startup, using it raw in the neutral leaves you very vulnerable to counterattack. There are safe ways of activating it, however, both midscreen and even in the corner. For midscreen, activating it at full screen can keep you safe from everything save for teleports and projectiles. Or, you can end a midscreen BnB with 121xxKnuckles. For safe activation in the corner, you'll want to utilize this combo:

StarterxxAmp’d Nut Punch, 2, 2, 2, 34xxKnuckles.

This will allow you to recover from the activation frames in time to block even the fastest wake-up attacks. That said, with its duration only being 5 seconds, it can be difficult to use it to its fullest before it wears off. It isn’t a make-or-break special to learn, but is worth keeping in mind if you need help chipping someone down.

Should you manage to safely activate Brass Knuckles and get in on your opponent, these are some blockstrings that you can utilize to achieve significant chip damage. Note that you will have to consider whether or not your opponent will respect your pressure post-blocked Force Balls, and will have to adjust accordingly:

For opponents who respect:
(JI2) F344~BF2-AMP F344~DB4 (depending on caged rage level will vary damage delt, but approximately 200 dmg, 300 if unblockable DB4 is charged)
(JI2) F344~BF2-AMP F4~DB4 (least damage, 130ish, but a safer option due to not having a high starter)
(JI2) F344~BF2-AMP B34~DB4 (160ish, enables player to low profile certain highs that may be disrespected with)
(JI2) F344~BF2-AMP 244~DB4 (200ish, faster high starter)
(JI2) F344~BF2-AMP [12 or 121]~DB4 (less damage, goes with your fastest high starter)

For opponents who disrespect:
(JI2) F344~BF2-AMP D4 F344~DB4 (200, 300+)
(JI2) F344~BF2-AMP D4 244~DB4(200,300+)
(JI2) F344~BF2-AMP D4 B34~DB4(150,250+)
(JI2) F344~BF2-AMP D4 F4~DB4(130,230+)
(JI2) F344~BF2-AMP D4 [12 or 121]~DB4(140,240+)


Nut Punch (BD3): One of Johnny’s most iconic moves, and does exactly what it says on the tin. A 13-frame mid that has the ability to restand an opponent in a juggle state, removing their wake up options, and leaving you in their face at +5. While that may not be as plus as its predecessors, it still leaves you with a respectable number of options to follow-up with, though your opponent can escape if they make the right read. A common follow-up is to check with a low poke. As you’re +5, any of your pokes will beat out any option save for a Fatal Blow. Even if they attempt to jump, a D1 will catch them, allowing you to convert into a full combo. If they like to block post-Nut Punch, you can simply go for a throw. It’s also Johnny’s go-to launcher via amplify, though be mindful that his combos will be vulnerable to the Breakaway mechanic.

There's also a useful piece of tech involving the Amp'd Nut Punch that allows you to be left at significantly more hit advantage than the standard version. If spaced correctly at the end of a combo, the second hit will whiff, leaving you plus enough to grant guaranteed pressure afterwards, similar to how D4 jails into F3 on hit. Here's a video demonstrating this tech, courtesy of @Wigy :

Here's another video showing other conversions into this tech by Irish Mantis:

Note that this obviously requires at least one bar of offensive meter to achieve, two bars if done from a grounded combo, making this an expensive set-up to achieve. Therefore, it will be most optimal to only use this tech after an anti-air, leaving you with one bar of offensive meter left to allow for a full combo punish should your opponent not respect the plus frames.

Shadow Kick (BF4): Another signature ability. Though primarily used as a combo ender to achieve significant corner carry, at 11 frames of start-up, it can occasionally be thrown out in the neutral to catch your opponent off guard. It covers a large chunk of ground, leaving you at roughly sweep distance if used all the way from full screen, making it a useful way to get in on zoners. Keep in mind that this is a high, so it will completely whiff if they’re neutral crouching. It’s also -23 on block, so use this move sparingly, otherwise you’ll eat a full combo punish.


Flippy Kick (DB3): An 11-frame mid. Though at first glance it seems like a decent anti air, S1 and D1 are significantly better for that purpose, and being -14 on block means that you definitely don’t want to use this in blockstrings. However, it is a viable replacement for Shadow Kick at the end of combos to achieve very similar damage (less than 1% difference) without knocking the opponent full screen. Useful in match-ups against strong zoners. It can also be amplified to add ~3% more damage to your combos. Can be useful to get the extra damage needed to close out a round, but generally, there are better uses for your offensive meter.


Caged Rage (DB4): A 29-frame ‘high’ that’s -3 on block. This is a very interesting move due to its mechanics, making it tricky to use at first, but another useful tool in Johnny’s kit once mastered. This move has 3 tiers of strength, and levels up to the next tier every time it’s successfully blocked. If the move hits the opponent, however, its strength is reset back to Tier 1. The different tiers are as follows:

  • Tier 1: Its base state. Hits high, meaning that it can be neutral ducked if the opponent makes the right read.
  • Tier 2: Now hits mid, meaning it can no longer be crouched under.
  • Tier 3: The highest tier available. Becomes completely unblockable. Resets to Tier 1 upon a successful hit.
On top of being unblockable at its highest level, it can also be amplified to add ~4% damage. This practically gives you a free ~15% damage at Tier 3. This can be an excellent way of breaking through the defense of a highly defensive opponent, but at 29 frames of start-up, it is a very slow move, and must be used carefully as it can be easily poked out of. This is where conditioning becomes extremely important. Staggers into throw, staggers into parry, and flat-out finishing strings on top of staggers into Caged Rage are required to see the most success with this move. If the opponent doesn’t respect your options, and pokes at every chance they get, you’ll likely have to refrain from using this move until they’re conditioned to block more.

A particularly effective option is to use 12xxCaged Rage. At Level 2/3, even a frame perfect fast poke will trade with you at best. Be mindful though, as the gap will still be vulnerable to Fatal Blow and invincible interactables.




FATAL BLOW:

And The Award Goes To (Block + Stance Switch): At 27 frames, Johnny’s Fatal Blow among the slowest in the game, making it difficult to combo into out of a juggle. However, it’s unique in the sense that it’s the only Fatal Blow in the game that can be cancelled (note that cancelling it does NOT remove it permanently, and it will return normally as though it whiffed). This is as close to A-List as he’ll get in MK11, and similarly to A-List, use of these cancels can very easily throw off your opponents defensive options on block. On hit, these cancels also allow Johnny to add more grounded, unbreakable damage on top of his usual BnB damage, ~10% if you cancel out of his F344 string. If used effectively, this can make Johnny's comeback potential very real and very scary.

Some notable normals to cancel out of on block are his F3 and F4, as your opponent will typically expect you to complete those strings or special cancel into Force Balls, rarely leaving them prepared the grab following the cancel. And since you still flash as though you're going to let the FB rip, opponents will almost always keep blocking, expecting the full thing. Be mindful that if you become too predictable and your opponent makes the right read, they can full combo punish you for the attempt.

However, a very interesting piece of tech exists that takes advantage of the armor that the Fatal Blow grants you in the form of a flash parry. If timed correctly, you can actually activate Johnny's Fatal Blow during the gap in certain kombo strings, use the armor to absorb the following hit, then cancel out of the Fatal Blow before the opponent can recover in time to block, giving you a full combo punish without having to fully spend your Fatal Blow. Once the FB comes back, you'll be free to do the exact same thing again. These gaps that you can exploit are typically Flawless Block-able, so if they're vulnerable to that, then they're a prime target for this piece of tech. You can refer to this guide to figure out which combos have large enough gaps in them.

Bear in mind that since Fatal Blow armor doesn't kick in until the 5th frame, the window to do this properly is tight. You'll find the most success inputting the FB as a reversal. You'll know that you did it correctly if you see 'Reversal' appear on your side of the screen. This ensures that it comes out in the very first frame that it's able to so that the armor can activate in time.

Below is a video courtesy of @HellblazerHawkman ,originally posted by FGMonkeyBizness demonstrating this tech:

It is worth keeping in mind that you'll still want to be very careful when using this tech. Since you only have access to this if your Fatal Blow is available, it will be worth keeping an eye on your health as there will be situations where you won't even be able to take another hit, armor or no armor. But beyond that, proper use of this technique will make Johnny very dangerous at low health.


COMBOS:

MIDSCREEN:



[7-frame starter]

12xxAmp’d BD3, Dash Cancel, 2, F4xxBD3 [234]

12xxAmp’d BD3, Dash Cancel, 121xxBF4/DB3 [260/255]



[8-frame starter]


244xxAmp’d BD3, Dash Cancel, 2, F4xxBD3 [252]

244xxAmp’d BD3, Dash Cancel, 121xxBF4/DB3 [275/270]



[11-frame starter]

F21/34xxAmp’d BD3, Dash Cancel, 2, F4xxBD3 [244/283]

F21/34xxAmp’d BD3, Dash Cancel, 121xxBF4/DB3 [270/265] // [309/304]



[14-frame launching normal]


B2, Dash Cancel, 2, F4xxBD3 [161]

B2, Dash Cancel, 2, Dash Cancel, 121xxBF4/DB3 [214/207]



[14-frame long-reaching starter]

F344/F4xxAmp’d BD3, Dash Cancel, 2, F4xxBD3 [272/245]

F344/F4xxAmp’d BD3, Dash Cancel, 121xxBF4/DB3 [295/290] // [273/267]



[18-frame long-reaching starter]

B34xxAmp’d BD3, Dash Cancel, 2, F4xxBD3 [252]

B34xxAmp’d BD3, Dash Cancel, 121xxBF4/DB3 [275/270]



[Air-to-Air]

Jump 1, Dash Cancel, 2, F3xxBD3 [161]

Jump 1, Dash Cancel, 2, Dash Cancel, 121xxBF4/DB3 [214/207]

Jump 3, BF4 [153]



[Anti Air]

S1, Dash Cancel, 2, Dash Cancel, 2, F3xxBD3 [167]

S1, Dash Cancel, 2, Dash Cancel, 121xxDB3 [195]

S1, Dash Cancel, 2, Dash Cancel, 2, Dash Cancel, 121xxBF4 [222]

B2, Dash Cancel, 2, Dash Cancel, 2, F3xxBD3 [181]

B2, Dash Cancel, 2, Dash Cancel, 121xxDB3 [207]

B2, Dash Cancel, 2, Dash Cancel, 2, Dash Cancel, 121xxBF4 [231]

D2, 121~BF4 [254]

[Anti-Crossup]

1 or 2:

Jab, dash~2, dash~2, dash~2, 121~BF4 [241/251]

D1:
D1, dash~2, dash~2, 121~BF4 [222]

[Amp’d Mime Time]

Amp’d DB1, Dash Cancel, 2, Dash Cancel, 2, F3xxBD3 [241]

Amp’d DB1, Dash Cancel, 2, Dash Cancel, 121xxDB3 [267]

Amp’d DB1, Dash Cancel, 2, Dash Cancel, 2, 121xxBF4 [291]



[D2 Krushing Blow]

D2, Dash Cancel, 2, Dash Cancel, 2, F3xxBD3 [314]

D2, Dash Cancel, 2, Dash Cancel, 2, Dash Cancel, 121xxBF4 [360]

D2, Dash Cancel, 2, Dash Cancel, 121xxBD3 [337]



CORNER:



[7-frame starter]

12xxAmp’d BD3, 2, 2, 2, 2, 2, 121xxBF4/DB3/BD3 [323/319/319]

121xxAmp’d BF2, D1, 121xxBF4/DB3/BD3 [353/347/347]



[8-frame starter]

244xxAmp’d BD3, 2, 2, 2, 2, 2, 121xxBF4/DB3/BD3 [332/328/328]



[11-frame starter]

F21/34xxAmp’d BD3, 2, 2, 2, 2, 2, 121xxBF4/DB3/BD3 [333/329/329] // [372/368/368]



[14-frame launching normal]

B2, 2, 2, 2, 2, 2, 121xxBF4/DB3/BD3 [278/272/272]



[14-frame long-reaching starter]

F344/F4xxAmp’d BD3, 2, 2, 2, 2, 2, 121xxBF4/DB3/BD3 [352/348/348] // [339/335/335]



[18-frame long-reaching starter]

B34xxAmp’d BD3, 2, 2, 2, 2, 2, 121xxBF4/DB3/BD3 [333/329/329]



[Air-to-Air]

Jump 1, 2, 2, 2, 2, 2, 121xxBF4/DB3/BD3 [278/272/272]



[Anti Air]

S1, Dash Cancel, 2, 2, 2, 2, 2, 121xxBF4/DB3/BD3 [275/268/268]

B2, Dash Cancel, 2, 2, 2, 2, 2, 121xxBF4/DB3/BD3 [278/272/272]

D2, 2, 2, 2, 2, 121~BF4 [319]


[Jump-In Kick]

Jump 3/4, D1, 2, 2, 2, 2, 121xxBF4/DB3/BD3 [322/316/316]



[Amp’d Mime Time (must throw your opponent into the corner)]

Amp’d DB1, 2, 2, 2, 2, 2, 121xxBF4/DB3/BD3 [338/332/332]



[D2 Krushing Blow]

D2, 2, 2, 2, 2, 2, 121xxBF4/DB3/BD3 [404/399/399]


GENERAL GAMEPLAN (in progress):

As mentioned at the beginning of this guide, Johnny in MK11 is nowhere near the oppressive rushdown monster he was in previous games. Though he has access to tools that leave him with plus frames that he can absolutely take advantage of, he’s generally best played with a more patient playstyle, with an emphasis on spacing and whiff punishing. If your grasp of footsies is weak, playing Johnny can certainly help you better develop them, though it will be a rough road. D4 is the one button you want to abuse as much as possible, as that will lead your opponent respecting your F3, which in turn opens up further mix-up options, such as Dash InxxThrow, or F3 stagger into throw.


It’s important to remember that his plus frames on block don’t guarantee anything. Even his Nut Punch doesn’t jail into anything anymore unless you utilize the Amp'd Nut Punch tech mentioned above, meaning your opponent has options to escape your pressure, and it’s up to you to adapt to each opponent accordingly. This can be considered one of Johnny’s strengths, as he’s a jack-of-all-trades type of character, with tools to assist him in most situations. You have parry for people who like to mash pokes, Caged Rage to help break through more defensive playstyles, and Forceballs + Shadow Kick to help deal with zoners. B3 and F4 can help to deal with neutral crouchers, and cancelling into Amp’d Forceballs on hit or on block leaves you plus enough to grant you further options.


This guide is a continuous work-in-progress, and will always be updated when patches/new, undiscovered tech rolls around. Thank you for taking the time to read through, and hopefully, you’ve learned something new. If you have anything else to add, by all means, let me know, and I’ll update the guide accordingly. Hopefully, I’ve inspired some of you to explore the Cage Mage. Either way, good luck out there!
 
Last edited:

FoughtDragon01

Ask me about my Mileena agenda.
I'll also need some assistance in listing the frame data for the Fatal Blow cancels, as I have no clue what any of them are.
 
Last edited:

greatz

Noob
Wow this is amazing. Thank you for writing this up. Great work

What's the trick to getting the dash cancels in his strings to work. are you doing these consistently?
 
Last edited:
Wow this is amazing. Thank you for writing this up. Great work

What's the trick to getting the dash cancels in his strings to work. are you doing these consistently?
Its something youll have to lab a lot, but its worth it. especially for the carry and damage. My entire combo strings are dash cancels
 

FoughtDragon01

Ask me about my Mileena agenda.
Wow this is amazing. Thank you for writing this up. Great work

What's the trick to getting the dash cancels in his strings to work. are you doing these consistently?
I've found the most success double-tapping forward than immediately pressing 2. Rinse and repeat. It's more of a micro dash, really. It's just important that the dash comes out in the first place.
 
For some reason, I can never land the combo consistently with B2, so I just opt for a Dash Cancel 2 instead. Doesn't sacrifice much damage, and is much easier for me to land online.
It took me a few hours to learn it, the hard bit is landing the b2, once you get it then the f4 and np are perfectly placed so no need to time it. xx121 brass nuckles I need to use more, since I use his amp FB a lot in strings
 

FoughtDragon01

Ask me about my Mileena agenda.
Very well put. You took a lot of time writing it and it's awesome.

P.s. he also doesn't have a throw KB which in his gameplan (and in the gameplan presented in the kombat cast - that is, heavily relying on throws) would matter a lot.
I typically try not to get too upset over things in this game, but that legit made me salty when I first learned that. It's an even bigger slap in the face when you realize certain characters have a KB on both of their throws.
 

Macoomba

Noob
I've always loved Johnnys charisma and never mained him.
Is him worth right now? I mean, is still enjoyable considering all of his problems/bugs/weaknesses?
 
For some reason, I can never land the combo consistently with B2, so I just opt for a Dash Cancel 2 instead. Doesn't sacrifice much damage, and is much easier for me to land online.
Also I forgot to add, online its a lot harder to hit because of the delay. I only really match up with people who are 100 ping and its really annoying lol. If you get used to the online timing, then go into practice mode, youll have to relearn it again with zero delay.
 

FoughtDragon01

Ask me about my Mileena agenda.
I've always loved Johnnys charisma and never mained him.
Is him worth right now? I mean, is still enjoyable considering all of his problems/bugs/weaknesses?
Obviously, I can't really speak from a 100% unbiased perspective because I love the character through and through, and still enjoy (and win) with him. It won't hurt to pick him up to start, since you WILL get better at footsies, and those skills can carry over to other characters, but he can really struggle against someone who knows the matchup even a little bit. There's also no getting around the fact that without any viable krushing blows, his damage output is severely below average when compared to the rest of the cast. For example, I picked up Jax not too long ago, and thanks to his KBs, I was shocked by how quickly I ended rounds at times. So if your main goal is to win, then it may be best to look at another character until NRS gives Johnny the fixes/buffs he really needs right now, because there are some SEVERE flaws holding him back, and I don't think it will take much adjustment for him to become a very solid pick. But if you really like his personality, then by all means, give him a shot and see if he sticks.

I hope this answers your question, I have a bad habit of rambling lol.
 

Scott The Scot

Where there is smoke, there is cancer.
Great thread @FoughtDragon01 ! This should be stickied tbh, I'd love to see it evolve and become really really solid over time. @Espio could you pretty pwease help out with that so i don't need to scroll a little everytime I want to come to this thread? :p


Here's a couple combos I found:

Uppercut Anti-Air BNB
D2, 121~BF4 [254]

[CORNER] Uppercut Anti-Air BNB

D2, 2, 2, 2, 2, 121~BF4 [319]

Anti-Crossup

1 or 2:
Jab, dash~2, dash~2, dash~2, 121~BF4 [241/251]

D1:
D1, dash~2, dash~2, 121~BF4 [222]
 

Wrath0594

Steam profile: 76561198102032134
Great thread @FoughtDragon01 ! This should be stickied tbh, I'd love to see it evolve and become really really solid over time. @Espio could you pretty pwease help out with that so i don't need to scroll a little everytime I want to come to this thread? :p


Here's a couple combos I found:

Uppercut Anti-Air BNB
D2, 121~BF4 [254]

[CORNER] Uppercut Anti-Air BNB

D2, 2, 2, 2, 2, 121~BF4 [319]

Anti-Crossup

1 or 2:
Jab, dash~2, dash~2, dash~2, 121~BF4 [241/251]

D1:
D1, dash~2, dash~2, 121~BF4 [222]
D2 into 121? Wut? D1 is like a 1 frame link already, does 121 actually work?

And if you replace the first 2 in corner combos with f3 you get more dmg.
 

Scott The Scot

Where there is smoke, there is cancer.
D2 into 121? Wut? D1 is like a 1 frame link already, does 121 actually work?

And if you replace the first 2 in corner combos with f3 you get more dmg.
It's not a 1f link at all it's super easy in fact. Harder if you hit them when they're further away obviously but if it's a tight jump in where 1 or 2 won't jab them out of the air without adjusting your timing then D2 just works all the time.

So like:
blah blah, F3, 2, 2~stuff ? Interesting I didn't know that. I can't get F3 to land after D2 though :/
 

Name v.5.0

Iowa's Finest.
Great guide so far!

Minor note about Caged Rage that could be useful. 12~CR is pretty much guaranteed at CR level 2 and 3. Trying to poke it frame perfect will at best cause a trade. 12 is the best string to use with CR.

The only thing I can't remember is if you can use Fatal Blow in that gap. Gotta go back to the damn lab now.
 

greatz

Noob
What is the point of the FB cancels? Does it open up a different combo or something? Why would anyone do that
 

Wrath0594

Steam profile: 76561198102032134
What is the point of the FB cancels? Does it open up a different combo or something? Why would anyone do that
For one, you keep your fatal blow, it just goes on cooldown.

The main reason you use it is extra damage, particularly when a fatal wouldn’t be enough to close around.

It does indeed increase combo damage. It not only ups all his regular starters by around 8%, if turns other moves into combo starters like f4. You can hitconfirm it into fb cancel f344 on hit. On block you can cancel f4 and his other strings into insanely fast throws using this as well. Even if they want to interrupt, there’s the threat you’ll just let the fatal fly and armor through them so the mindgame is pretty legit.