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Tech - Unbreakable Living on a Pixel

Jeffrey Wolf

YouTube: Jeffrey B Wolf
One of the best parts about playing Unbreakable Sub is that--thanks to his Frozen Aura/Ice Aura--he can mount a full comeback when other, lesser characters would easily die to chip damage. However, in order to accomplish such a feat, you’ll need to know how to setup Aura safely, as well as what attacks to avoid, since some actually go through Aura on block!

Safe Aura Setups

On Block

EX Aura is so fast it can be used at almost anytime safely. In fact, if you cancel into it from a string on block, it will leave you plus. A full list of that info can be found here:


However, using EX Aura is expensive, so unless you’re going for a frame trap, regular Aura will usually be the better option. Regular Aura is much slower than EX Aura though, so the only time that you can cancel into it from a move and be plus on block is:

F4~Aura = +3 on block​

Beyond that, there are two other times you can cancel into Aura on block. Neither is safe, but they are relatively close:

3~Aura = this cancel can be punished by Reptile’s EN Slide, but it’s safe against his Dash, so it's probably around -7. This likely won't be used much, but hey, it's there.

11~Aura = this cancel isn't safe against Reptile's Dash, but it is safe to Sub's Slide, so it's probably around -8. Again, not something you'd normally use, but if you have godlike reactions and notice that you're not hitting with 11 into Ice Ball you could cancel into Aura instead and be safe against a fair number of standard punishes.​

In Combo

Since using Aura is so limited on block, you’ll mostly be getting into it on hit. Nearly all of UB combos feature the sequence of B12~Aura, then 242 or another B12. This is great because the Aura cancel not only increases UB’s damage, but it also lets you put Aura on.

If you already have Aura on, it should be your goal to take it off and then put it back on, mid-combo. There are multiple reasons for this. First, shredding the Aura with Burst will gain you meter. Second, by putting on a new Aura, you’ll increase the amount of time in the neutral, after the combo is over, that you’re protected by it. Lastly, if you standardize when Aura goes up, you’ll get used to how much time is left before it goes down.

As for how to take Aura off mid combo, after any ground hit into Ice Ball, you have enough time to walk back, Burst, and then jump in punch (1) to continue the combo. If you hit with EN Slide (with Aura on so it launches), you have time to Aura again before continuing the combo. This will cut the damage, but the trade off is worth it if you’re trying to stay alive. Unfortunately, the freeze from Parry doesn’t last long enough for you to Burst mid combo, so you’ll have to look for another opportunity to reapply Aura.

Combo Ender/Footsies

Ending combos in Burst leads to Unbreakable’s highest damage, but it also uses up your Aura. Midscreen it’s safe to put Aura back on after Burst, but in the corner, it’s not. Because of this, it will usually be in your interest to end your combos in Slide, so you can retain Aura and get follow up pressure.

Once the combo is over and your current Aura is reaching it’s end, you’ll be looking for your next opportunity to reapply it. Starting another combo will of course give you a chance to do this, but sometimes you’ll connect with a simple footsie attack or start a combo that you can’t easily put Aura on during. In those instances, it’s important to which options give you enough time to Aura up safely after.

Unless otherwise noted, all of the below on hit will let you put Aura on unpunished. Information has also been included about their frames on block, so you can weigh the risk/reward of their use:

NJK (if opponent blocks, it's plus if it connects late)

F12 (if opponent blocks, it's safe at only -2)

F33 (if opponent blocks, it's safe at only -4)

B4 (if opponent blocks, it's safe at only -5)

112 (if opponent blocks, it's punishable at -9)

B33D1 (if opponent blocks, it's punishable at -12)

Slide (if opponent blocks, it's of course very punishable at -22)

Burst, as stated above, is only a safe Aura setup midscreen.

Throw into Aura can be safe midscreen too, but it depends on the match up. For example, Reptile's Ex Slide punishes it.​

So, all in all, whether it’s on block, during the combo, or as an ender/footsie attack, there are multiple instances where you can use regular Aura. In fact, if you plan correctly, you can have it on almost perpetually.

Attacks That Go Through Aura

Besides all throws, command grabs, and unblockables, damage over time (i.e. DOT) effects can hurt UB Sub while he has Aura on and is blocking. Here they all are:

Acidic Alien’s Acid Blood/Erosive Blood

Acidic Alien’s Exo Sting/Exo Splash (puddle only) - This one is odd. If you get hit by the projectile, the puddle it leaves does no damage. However, if the projectile misses and then you walk into the puddle, you’ll take damage.

Hellfire Scorpion’s Flame Aura/Burner (just aura, not initial explosion)

Dragon Breath Bo’ Rai Cho’s Ground Fire/Ground Blaze

Erron Black’s Caltrops/Double Trops (all variations)

Dualist Liu Kang’s Soul Sphere/Dark Sphere (only when stopped)

Flame Fist Liu Kang’s Shaolin Flame/Shaolin-ferno

Kotal Kahn’s God Ray/Sunlight (all variations)

Reptile’s Acid Puddle (all variations)

Noxious Reptile’s regular aura/Poison Gas/Noxious Fumes

Master of Storm Raiden’s Static Trap/Full Trap​

And there it is! So, if anyone tries to convince you to play SF5 because no chip death is hype, say, “I know. I use Unbreakable Sub.” =)

Bonus Info!

It’s worth noting that Ancestral Kung Jin’s Vampiric Arrows and Sorcerer Quan Chi’s Black Magic attacks still steal meter from UB with Aura, though they do no chip.

It’s also worth noting that Sorcerer Quan Chi’s Final Hex has no impact on UB with Aura on (i.e. UB still takes no chip). This is the same for any other move that “increases chip damage.”
I appreciate the informative guide!

I'd like to one day master this character and show how good UB is now in the current patch. With you and others like you puting out this much useful information it shouldn't take too long. Keep up good work.
Ive found you can do an aura on blocked strings when the opponent is expecting the rest of the string or an ice burst so even if you didnt do the f4 into it theres still a good chance youll get away with it..

Jeffrey Wolf

YouTube: Jeffrey B Wolf
Ive found you can do an aura on blocked strings when the opponent is expecting the rest of the string or an ice burst so even if you didnt do the f4 into it theres still a good chance youll get away with it..
Yup, Bursting at the ends of strings or even sometimes after a D4 can work as a nice frame trap.

Jeffrey Wolf

YouTube: Jeffrey B Wolf
I havent tried burst after d4 because it has a gap how would it work
There's definitely a gap, but because of that, if the opponent doesn't attack fast enough or uses a slow attack, the Burst will catch them. Same principle as canceling into Burst at the end of a string that isn't a block string (i.e. there's a gap). The D4 is slightly larger, but a lot of people don't expect it.