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MKDA: In Depth Character Guide

any questions on the terms used in this guide? see the complete system guide.

Characters in order of rank:

The second time in MK game history Scorpion is in the top and the first time he occupies the #1 spot. he's not really a big combo character because his single attacks and hellfire are why hes so good.
hapkido is too unsafe overall and doesnt set up much, there is no reason to be in this stance ever. ninja sword is COMPLETELY worthless, it has nothing besides a few meaningless pokes that set up nothing and a 4 hit chain launcher. scorpion should be played in pi gua at all times.

d2 - this move guarantees a free summon hellfire on hit
sp - life up that can be used out of a jump cancel for faster animation
Branch Combos:

Pi Gua:
3 - by far the BEST move in the game. its extremely fast because it hits on its opening frames and allows you to bdc out of its follow through making it 100% safe no matter what vs all characters. if done right this move will beat every move in the game. basically, if this move is coming out you have 3 choices... 1. avoid it, 2. block it, 3. get hit by it. also, because of bdc you can throw this move out into thin air and be totally safe barring a lucky projectile. when it hits if the opponent doest techroll you get a free summon hellfire then feel free to come in and mix them up because after hellfire they cant do anything but guess.
4 - low heel kick. this is the best low in this stance because its bdc is faster off of this low then his others. this move is safe vs non fast jabbers but fast jabbers can punish it but its very hard to do. vs non fast jabbers this move is 100% safe. if it lands its a free hellfire then proceed to come in and mix up again.
b2 - hand sweep. again like pi gua 4 this move is safe with bdc vs everyone but fast jabbers and again its still hard for a fast jabber to punish. when it hits it results in a knockdown that cannot be techrolled and a guaranteed hellfire. when hellfire hits come in and mix up again.
b1 3 - overhead chop to pi gua 3 finisher. 100% safe vs all characters with bdc and presents the same scenarios as pi gua 3 when it hits.
b4 - fast overhead double palm. its not a guaranteed hellfire but it is 100% safe vs all characters with bdc. the down side is that if you want to follow up after this move hits then you cant bdc but then that makes the move unsafe. basically use this move only when you KNOW the opponent will crouch.
f2 - overhead spear chop that guarantees a hellfire. is 100% safe vs all characters but fast jabbers and again its extremely hard for them to punish anyway.
221 - 3 hit string ending in a swinging chop. its safe vs all characters but fast jabbers with bdc. remember that on block this string can also be punished by an interrupt after the 22. if this move lands the opponent cannot techroll allowing for a free hellfire and scorpion can come in for more pressure.
223 - 3 hit string that consists of two jabs and pi gua 3 finisher. on block its 100% safe vs all characters however you can interrupt this string after the 22.
sp - an unblockable shove that hits mid so it cant be ducked either

Ninja Sword:
4113 - chain combo launcher

b,f1 - his spear move which in this game is 100% worthless. if you insist on using it then feel free to die quickly.
f,b3 - flipkick that again is worthless in this game. has no range at all and does NO damage.
d,b 2 - summon hellfire. this is an awesome special. not only is it unblockable but it hits you anywhere on the screen unless you ss or jump it. it makes life ups, power ups, and ss'd projectiles all free hellfires allowing scorpion to punish and come in for pressure.

as i said before, you want to stay in pi gua the whole fight. besides its ridiculous move set, its also one of the faster moving styles in the game and while i listed his most useful moves in that style every move in pi gua can be bdc making 99% of its moveset safe vs non fast jabbers. you want to use pi gua 3 to come in, this will prevent opponents from firing proximity moves to keep you out. even though theres no hellfire guaranteed after pi gua 3 and b1 3 hit remember that even if they tech you can still walk right in and if they even breathe wrong another pi gua 3 hits then in the face. when they finally decide to stop eating 3's then you can come in for a mixup.

when in close use 3 and 4 for a mixup and remember to bdc, you could also use b1,3. heres whats so good, by using bdc you always bd even after hit BUT you still get the hellfire. after the hellfire you can come in and still beat them out or mix up again and by the time you come back in and hit the opponent with the next strike the timer on hellfire will be reset so after the next strike lands you can bdc and hellfire again.

you can use pi gua b2 for a range low as it has a little more range then pi gua 4 and remember to bdc.

vs unsafe moves that leave the opponent close punish with pi gua 221 then hellfire. vs unsafe moves that put the opponent at a distance outside jab range use pi gua 3 to punish. vs branches, interrupt with pi gua 3 because scorpions jabs are only about medium speed and its kind of hard to consistently interrupt with them.

scorpions shove is best used as a corner trap. doing shove then hellfire in open space doesnt work and no its not even a mixup for the spear if they jump. why? because you dont have to jump out. if scorpion shoves someone in open space all you have to do is bd and hellfire wiffs and spear gets blocked. in corners hellfire can only be escaped by jumping out. when scorpion gets someone cornered its bad news and basically game over. use the shove to keep the opponent cornered. if they stand there you can hellfire then double shove and hellfire timer will be reset. if they try to jump out of hellfire use pi gua 3 or b1 3 and if they dont tech hellfire then ss to put them with their back to the wall and shove them back into the corner, if the opponent does tech come in with mixup or just hellfire if they stand there guarding. after the hellfire repeat the above steps to corner them again. while in the corner trap if the opponent believes you will use a mid strike, use pi gia 4 then hellfire then repeat shoving. basically scorpions corner trap is all freestyle. you could hellfire then shove shove hellfire repeat until they finally try to jump out then smack them with 3 or b1 3. you could shove 4 then hellfire shove 4 hellfire shove shove hellfire etc etc etc....

a side note on the corner trap: if you want to loop it then you cant really bdc after your strikes because by the time you come back in they opponent can jump and even though they'll still be hit it allows them to tech. also, the only reason i dont use other strikes in scorpions arsenal in corners is to avoid the opponent hitting the invisible barrier off ground hits and teching off.

a side note on scorpions branches: when they end in the weapon launcher the opponent cannot tech and scorpion gets a free hellfire an can continue pressure.

At the #2 spot we have Bo' Rai Cho(brc). his drunken fist stance is probably the best style in the game. there is no way to fight this style in close which is probably the main reason why this style is slow as far as movement. brc should be played in drunken fist unless you are forced to go to a faster style to avoid losing to a time out because you need to make up life. while his weapon and mi zong styles are faster moving styles they dont really have a good/safe move set.

Drunken Fist:
d4 - sweep that leaves the opponent at extreme disadvantage and is totally safe from everything but characters that have a fast mid.
32 - one of his best moves. this move does 18% and if they dont techroll and jump you get a free ground stomp. only fast jabbers can punish this move.
23 - 2 hit poke that is safe.
232 - 3 hit poke that is safe but you can PTI after the 23.
b4 - jumping flip kick that is safe.
d3 - double fist uppercut that launches the opponent over you shoulder. this move is punished by full branch.
sp - life up taunt
Branch Combos:

Mi Zong:
d3 - low poke that gets punished by full branch on block.
b3 - low sweep that can be teched. this move is punished by full branch on block.
b4 - kick launcher. even with bdc this is still punished by full branch on block.
u4 - jumping kick launcher. even with bdc this is still punished by full branch on block.
22b4 - jab string ending with the b4 launcher. you can PTI after the jabs.
22u4 - jab string ending with u4 launcher. you can PTI after the jabs.
sp - shove

d3 - low foot poke that gets punished by full branch.
b4 - low leg poke that leaves brc at advantage. gets punished by full branch on block.
b1 - launcher that gets punished by full branch on block.
chain combo launcher - 24b1

d,b1 - flipping attack. this attack is worthless. its unsafe, does little damage, leads to nothing.
f,f4 - belly bash that again is worthless. its unsafe, does little damage, leads to nothing.
f,b3 - ground stomp. this is actually a good move to use after attacks that knock the opponent far. dont use it close because its easy to see and jump in and punish.
b,f2 - puke puddle. awesome move, unblockable, when opponents get caught its a free infinite. if it trades with anything, even a sonya kiss or sub-zero freeze, brc recovers first and can still land his infinite.

in drunken fist in close you are basically unbeatable. the only way brc can lose is if you can stay away from him while being able to cross/punish the puke and/or punish his life up. when in close abuse d4. people will rarely duck it because if you try to duck then you get punished by his branch into infinite so players will usually eat several d4's. if infinite is blocked they can interrupt you so rather then infinite to punish someone for trying to block the sweep you can poke with 23 then sweep again or mid poke again. you could use 232 then continue the mixup but they can interrupt you after the second hit but thats a trap in itself. see 23 is safe so if you 23 then block and they believe you will 232 and try to interrupt then you can now block their branch attempt and interrupt them with the drunken fist branch into infinite. if you a fighting a character that cannot punish 32 use that over 23.

vs characters that do stop you from life up and puking still try to get in with drunken fist. if the opponent is in a faster stance you can even try using b4 to close space. if you go down life dont abandon drunken fist too quickly. i usually try to wait it out in drunken fist till about the 30-25 second mark in the round. when i get to this point i dont use mi zong to close the gap because mi zong has too many problems and its a double cs to get back into drunken fist. use his weapon style to advance faster then drunken fist style allows you to. when you get in or close cs to drunken fist.

vs characters that cant cross/punish the puke or punish life up behind the puke then you have no worries. if you go down on life you can puke then life up and they cant stop it and this also makes it so they cant poke and run because they cant let you set the puke because you'll life up. vs these characters you also dont always need to force your way in because you have the option to turtle up and set puke traps all day and in MKDA the puke puddle's active frames and hit box are HUGE!

vs characters that cannot punish 32 ABUSE IT!!! easy to make track and 18% off 2 hits and if they dont tech you get a free stomp.


a few puke setups to use here....
1. puke then jump over it and 32 in drunken fist. if its a character than can punish that move and they attempt to punish you they'll move onto the puddle.
2. puke then wiff b4 in drunk fist to jump the puddle then d3 right away. d3 has great priority and will launch careless opponents trying to punish the wiff late over your head onto the puke.
3. drunken fist d4 in blocked you can 2in1 it to a puke puddle and while its a punishable move and setup its good to throw in sometimes because it does work.

vs scorpion and shang tsung you cannot fight them in drunken fist. use his weapon style and try to get in close then ics to drunken fist attacks. if you were to try to fight shang in drunken fist then its possible to time your jumps and jump through the 3D fireball and land in front of shang.

Drunken Fist -
Mi Zong - 22b4 or 22u4 then cs,b1,24b1
Jojutsu - b1 or 24b1 then 24b1

infinite combos:
Drunken Fist - 2211,cs,2,cs,b1 pause puke repeat
Mi Zong - 22b4 or 22u4 then cs,b1 pause puke cs 22 11,cs,2,cs,b1,pause puke.... repeat
Jojutsu - b1 or 24b1 pause puke cs cs 22 11,cs,2,cs,b1,pause puke ... repeat

side notes:
1. when doing the infinite from drunken fist on shang, quan chi, and drahmin the infinite will miss and get blocked in the cs transition from drunken fist to mi zong in the branch and they get out of the infinite. this happens based on their stances meaning whos in open stance and whos in closed stance. this also happens sometimes when doing the drunken fist infinite on them while facing their back. what i do in this situation is shorten the infinite. if i land the initial drunken fist branch i'll puke puddle then switch to mi zong and repeat the infinite from mi zong until i have those characters in a corner where the drunken fist infinite hits them all the time.
2. there are a few variations of the infinite but i only put the best ones. in theory if you ant to be an ass you could be in weapon and b1,b1 pause puke repeat and take 5 minutes to kill them.

In the #3 spot we have reptile. reptile is simple but effective which often times is a deadly combination. of the top 3 characters hes the most user friendly. Reptile's range game is very weak making it hard for him to come in but once he does get in hes a handful. of his 3 stances only 2 are useful as his weapon stance is worthless.

Hung Gar:
f4 - low sweep with some decent range. on hit it puts reptile at a big advantage.

b3 - insanely fast low that grants reptile big advantage, is 100% safe, and does 12.5% damage.
b2 - launcher that is actually high but will hit the opponent in transition to low block in attempt to block your sweeps and leads to a 28% combo. this launcher is 100% safe.
sp - reversal

there is no reason to ever use his weapon stance except for an impale attempt.
sp - impale

Lizard Ball – f,d1
Acid Spit – b,f1

your main goal here is to get in close and be in crab. This can be hard vs someone good because crab has no range and you can only do so much to make his useful crab moves track. This is where you use Hung Gar f4, as soon as this move hits go straight into crab and pressure. The threat of a 40% branch is more then enough to keep opponents afraid to even breath wrong so Hung Gar f4 isnt THAT to hard to land. again, if they try to duck or ss Hung Gar f4 then his full branch will connect and dont forget to use the tracking method. a crab set up off of his branch from Hung Gar is to start the branch 134,cs,1b2,cs then quickly double cs back into crab and mix up. this works because the opponent cannot tech after the weapon bounce so they are forced to guess on wakeup.

another way to get in is his lizard ball. its super fast and hard to block at closer ranges because it just how fast it is. if its blocked its unsafe but only if the opponent goes back to high block the instant they low block the ball other wise the ball gets blocked but rolls over their head and to safety. the only time the opponent doesnt have to return to high block to punish is when they block the ball at max range. anyway, this move is FAST and vs someone who isnt returning to high block fast enough its 100% safe and super abusable. in fact, vs people who dont punish it, it can actually serve as an abusable mix up to set up a branch or crab b2. anyway, once the lizard ball hits move in and be in his crab stance and mix up between b2 and b3.

crab also has a reversal that will catch any high,mid, or low thats not a weapon/projectile/throw. once you land a reversal then b2 is guaranteed and you get a free juggle. you could come in with a reversal and try to time the opponents strike as a means to getting in but thats VERY risky. the overall broken thing about crab is that not only does it have a reversal, but the 2 main attacks from it take huge chunks of life with lightning quick speed while being totally safe. just eating 3 b3 crab sweeps is 38% gone and should you try to block one crab b2 is 28% gone. even worse, if you eat a few sweeps then guess wrong and eat b2 its your life bar gone. there are no words to describe how fast crab b3 is or describe how fast you can chain them together, its ridiculous.

the acid spit projectile is a very poor projectile. its got some what of a slow start up and doesnt cover ground quickly and its pretty unsafe, only use it from a very safe distance.

as far as combos go Reptile only has one combo thats not a branch thats used in high level play. crab b2,b2,2x cs,132. his other primary combo is his branch combo from hung gar with a juggle ender, hung gar 134,cs,1b2,cs,cs,132 for 40%.

the best way to sum this character up would be to say that if he gets you in a crab mix up.... you lose.

Taking the #4 spot is Drahmin. he's played in one stance and one stance ONLY! if you try to use his other to stances you will find yourself passing the stick/controller quickly. he has the best and only real usable throw in the game and hes got the best overall power up in the game. Drahmin also has the fastest backdash in the game and it covers the most ground as well which is good for when you need to get away. he has an infinite but it stops doing damage after a few rotations.

Worthless stance, never use it. the only time you should be in this stance is in round 1 when the match first starts.

Another terrible stance, the only usable move in high level play is is special which is a shove.

Iron Club:
4 - a fast neck jab thats only punished but faster jab characters
b3 - great low sweep that untechable.
b2 - overhead chop that is great for relaunching in juggles.
sp - power up

Ball-O-Flies - b,f2
Propeller Clock - f,f2
Super Uppercut: d,b1
Ground Pound - b,d4(unblockable)

The single biggest mistake you could make with Drahmin is to play him by doing bd all day and mix up between pound and fly ball. as fast as it may look i assure you that at high levels of play you can see the fly ball/pound mix up all day from a distance. also, while is bd is good remember that the good characters can and will catch you so you better know how to properly play keep away and fight in close when needed. now vs someone who cant see the pound/fly ball after his bd then you are unbeatable.

anytime you land a throw,pound,b2,propeller clock then you want to go into his infinite. here are they ways to do it..
1.throw,b2,bd then SMALL side walk down,pound,b2,bd then SMALL side walk down,pound,b2 ....
2.pound,b2,bd then SMALL side walk down,pound,b2,bd then SMALL side walk down,pound,b2 ....
3.b2,b2,bd then SMALL side walk down,pound,b2,bd then SMALL side walk down,pound,b2 ....
4.propeller clock,b2,bd then SMALL side walk down,pound,b2,bd then SMALL side walk down,pound,b2 ....
after a few rotations you will notice that you have stopped taking damage. now, if you are up on life then continue the infinite until time runs out. if you are not up on life then after the damage stops finish the rotation ending with then pound b2 then power up. if they stand to guard a throw then a power up b3 HURTS. what hurts even more are two power up b3's. if they try to block the b3 then throw them for a power up throw into infinite. if they eat one b3 then remember that as you come in for a b3/throw mix up that the the pound timer will have reset and you also have the option for a pound as well so they cant even just sit there and block either.

Drahmin's projectile is one of the better projectiles in the game. its ok as far as speed and startup but the best thing about it is that if it hits a pound is guaranteed. if the fly ball is blocked from a decent range then a pound is also guaranteed.

his throw is used in mid/low mix ups to punish ducking opponents, to punish unsafe moves, and as an interrupt... thats right, his throw is his interrupt. anytime his throw lands you can go into infinite but there are other options. if you need damage fast then after a throw b2 then power up. after b2 opponents cant tech so they are stuck there to guess. if the opponent stands there b3 or pound. if b3 lands come in and mix up again. if pound lands you can do a reverse supper uppercut(because the opponent goes over your head) for over 40% or you can do a reverse b2 and go into infinite. if blocked throws are punished by a branch.

4 is a great keep away move. its super fast and you can bdc after it on hit and block but beware because even with bdc fast jabbers can punish you. if it hits you can bdc and get space, if they try to attack or move 4 them again, if they block b3/throw/pound mix up. its very had to come in on this move because to come right in and standing guard means that you are really opening yourself to a pound/low mix up.

b3 is annoying plain and simple. you cant tech after it so Drahmin can come in and mix you up again and taking it often times means you have taken the lessor if the evils. the problem is that sometimes you get caught in a situation where the pound timer is reset or still active and in saying you'll take a b3 means you get a ground pound instead. even in taking the move you still find yourself in the same mix up all over again until you eventually guess right. b3 is great for people who try to stand and block and great in mix ups. the consequence for guessing wrong on a b3 is a throw/pound into power up setup or an infinite that goes to time out or a power up set up. the down side to b3 is that it doesnt guarantee anything but another mix up and without being already powered up its not that damaging and if its blocked can be punished by every character in the game.

the pound is by far his best move. you can use it vs people trying to stand and block, as a mix up after b3, as a mix up after a power up set up. remember that the pound is unblockable.

the super uppercut and propeller smash should only be used in juggles, mainly after a ground pound that lands with Drahmin too far away for a b2.

Sonya is a 1 stance character as far as overall fighting goes. her other stances are used for combos and power up's only. Tae Kwon Do(tkd) is her main stance and its deadly, its one of the best stances in the game when it comes to abusable mix ups. her flying kick is trash but her kiss projectile is the second best projectile in the game. it stuns for free combos as well as stuns already juggled opponents for damaging powered up combos.

the only useful moves in this stance are her power up, 3 hit launcher, and her branch.
sp - power up
114 - 3 hit launcher

Tae Kwon Do:
2 - downward axe kick
3 - roundhouse
b3 - ankle strike
b4 - nitro kicks
sp - reversal

Kali Sticks:
2,4,b3 is the only move used in this stance and thats only in juggles.

Kiss - d,b1
Flying Kick - f,f3

Sonya's staple is pretty simple, STAY IN TKD AND ABUSE TKD3!!! its mid, has good range, fast, totally safe, cant tech after it hits, and it tracks. when the roundhouse hits come in and mix up with another roundhouse,b4, or 2.

b3 is a great ranged poke. its unsafe but she can do b3,3 and if the opponent tries to punish b3 they will be swept and cannot techroll, this forces them to respect the follow up after b3. when b3 hits it gives sonya MAJOR advantage and she can come in and 3,b4, or 2.

b4 nitro kicks dont have too much range so you need to be a hair closer then sweep distance to use it. on hit you can either stop at b4 and come in and press your advantage with 3 or another b4 or you could end b4 with cs for 18%. on block b4 is punished by full branch or the opponent can duck the last hit then rise with a branch but if you cs after b4 they will be hit by the kali sticks, if the cs is blocked you eat a branch. also, while you cannot interrupt her nitro kicks characters with a reversal can reversal the third kick.

nitro kick corner trap:
if you get you opponents back to a wall the nitro kicks no longer push back giving sonya MAJOR advantage creating the nitro kick corner trap. after nitro kicks land vs a cornered opponent sonya's advantage is to big for them to do anything before she can. this is where i nitro kick all day until they realize the only way out is to low block. when they try to low block you can use tkd2 into corner juggle or you can tkd3 then dash in and ss so that when the opponent gets up they have their back to the wall again. i find tkd3 to be the better option because you can keep them trapped and stay safe at the same time. a good set up for this would be after a kiss hits and are in decent proximity to the wall. once you land the kiss its a 4 step process to get them trapped. kiss hits then...
1.switch to kenpo and walk them toward a wall
2.just before they recover from the stun 114,kiss
3.continue to position their back to the wall and just before they recover from the stun 114 again
4.by this point they should be with their back to the wall and you can continue by doing a power up then cs to tkd and nitro kick away.

her tkd2 downward axe kick is 100% risk reward. if it lands in open space is 47%, if its blocked you eat a branch. if it lands with their back to the wall she can take a little more then 70% with power up. when tkd2 hits you can kiss them out of the air for a stun but it must be timed right, it may seem hard at first but with practice you'll find its not too difficult. after the kiss lands double cs into kenpo and quickly power up then quickly walk over and 114, while they are still in the air kiss them again for another stun, then end with a kenpo branch 11,cs,4,cs for 47%. an easier but less damaging open space combo is tkd2,ics2,4,b3. if tkd2 hits with their back to the wall then do another 2,ics2,4,b3 and that combo does over 70% with power up.
so the combos are like this:
open space - 2,kiss,2x cs,power up and quickly come in,114, kiss,11,cs,4,cs for 47%
open space- 2,ics2,4,b3 for 41% without power up and 53% with power up
cornered opponent - 2,2,ics2,4,b3 for 76% with power up

the thing about tkd2 is that you can use the guard all technique to get out of a low/tkd2 mix up without too much difficulty. 95% of the time i get a mid/low mix up situation i use tkd3 over 2. not only is it safe but it keeps them in a mix up and you cant guard all out of it.

her reversal comes in handy vs players who respond with strikes after a blocked roundhouse, this makes for reversal. also, sonya isnt that good at interrupting so in some branches like reptile 1,3,4 sonya can reversal the third strike or vs herself she can reversal the 3rd hit of the nitro kicks. after reversal lands 3 or b4/b4,cs are her best options as 2 is not guaranteed. as always, you can throw the reversal out to catch any strike but beware because a missed reversal is BIG punishment.

her kiss is an awesome projectile, it doesnt reach full screen but it has deceptive range and active frames. when it hits cs back into kenpo and power up then 114 and kiss again. now, this part is kinda tricky because you need the kiss timer to reset so you can do 1 of 2 things.
1. wait a few seconds until they are almost free from the stun then 114
2. even though you cant power up twice and get the power up do it anyway and the power up animation still comes out then you can 114 and the timer should be reset.
anyway, after then next 114 kiss again then end with her full branch 11,cs,4,cs.if you are too far to power up and 114 after then initial kiss then change when you power up in the combo.
so the combos go:
1.kiss, get into kenpo and power up,114,kiss,wait a few seconds then 114,kiss,11,cs,4,cs.
2.kiss, be in kenpo 114,kiss,power up,114,kiss,11,cs,4,cs.
it doesnt matter which way you do the combo as far as when you did the power up because both versions take 33%.
if for some reason you are in kenpo and land 114 before a kiss the combo is 114,kiss,power up,114,kiss,11,cs,4,cs for 39%. if you are already powered up before the combo starts its 41%.

her flying kick is worthless. its super unsafe and does little damage, you can try using it to get around a brc puke but good luck with that.

sonya's only downsides are that shes not that good of a punisher and she lacks a full screen projectile.

Shang is a top character for 2 reasons... the 3D fireball, and his crane stance. the 3D fireball is the best projectile in the game hands down. crane stance is the fastest overall moving stance in the game, best ss in the game, has a reversal, and with a usable weapon in the next stance it gives him good ics options. his soul steal is also good because it gives shang life back and can be done in juggles.

the only usable thing in this stance is a branch into crane.

2 - launching kick
332 - 3 hit launcher
1 - jab
d4 - sweep
sp - reversal

Straight Sword:
u1 - lifting swing(does not launch)
d2 - low 2 hit swipe
b4 - low stab
4 - spinning slice
423,b3 - spinning slice combo
sp - impale

3D Fireball(far) - b,f1
3D Fireball(close) - f,b1
Straight Fireball - d,b1
Soul Steal - d,b3

first i want to say that even though snake has a branch into crane that being in snake is worthless. actually there is no benefit in doing snake branch to crane juggle because the juggle does the same damage as juggles off of his crane 2 launcher. with that being said, lets begin...

crane's overall movement is very fast. its forward walk(f,f,f,f,f) and back walk(b,b,b,b,b,b,b) are VERY fast especially when back walk gets mixed in with bd. shangs ss ability in crane is unmatched, if the opponent doest use universal tracking at all times or uses attacks that cant track at all shang will easily ss and get free launchers. also, because of cranes ss ability if you ss an attack you can sometimes land an ics impale.

shang's crane 1 jab is a great poke thats good for baiting ss and reversals. after a blocked 1 you can ss attack happy opponents that either mash out attacks so fast that they dont universal track them or attack with attacks that cannot track. after a ss launch with 2. after 1 is blocked if the opponent does use an attack that universal tracks you can reversal then launch with 2. after 1 is blocked you always have the option to ss and block which a lot of times is the best option because you can still ss careless attacks and block smart ones.

2 is used after a successful ss, after a reversal lands, or to punish moves with slower recovery. 2 does 2% more then 332 juggles which is why 2 is a better option when it guaranteed. the combo is 2,2,111,cs. 2 is totally safe vs everyone except fast jabbers. vs characters that cannot punish it use 2 the same way you use his jab as far as set ups go. after 2 is blocked it is also to bdc to safety vs non fast jabbers. this move hits mid so you can also use it vs crouching opponents.

332 is his main punisher. it ends with his crane launcher and is almost as fast as jabs from a fast jabber. not that easy to interrupt after 33 but still possible so be aware of that when you use it. just like crane 2 its totally safe vs everyone except fast jabbers. vs characters that cannot punish it on block you can use it the same way you use his jab as far as set ups go. after 332 is blocked it is also to bdc to safety vs non fast jabbers. this move hits mid so you can also use it vs crouching opponents. the combo on hit is 332,2,111,cs

crane d4 is an ok low, it would be better if the opponent couldnt tech after it hits. sadly, the opponent can tech to safety after a sweep so you dont get any added pressure. one good thing about the sweep is that while it is branch punishable, shang can choose to recover in crouch on block by holding d making all high branches wiff. the best way to punish this move is with a faster mid like scorpions pi gua 3 or brc drunken fist 3,2.

shangs weapon stance is a MUST if you want to make crane fully effective. use crane to mask it and ics into weapon attacks.

straight sword b4 is shang's best low. its got great range and when it hits grants VERY small advantage allowing shang to mix up between another b4 or 4, you can also get d2 instead of b4 if the opponent is cornered. ics from crane to straight sword b4 also frees up crane 332/2 as a mid/low mix up so it actually works a little better then the crane sweep does for making players duck. on block this move is punished by full branch.

straight sword d2 is a two hit low that does good damage but its best used when the opponent is cornered because you also get a wall hit for more damage. this move is super unsafe on block and doesnt really grant follow ups.

straight sword u1 is also best used when the opponent is cornered. it tracks, hits mid, is 100% safe, and grants major advantage on hit. mix that up with straight sword d2 in corners.

straight sword 4 is his best weapon attack. its mid and is totally safe and grants small advantage on hit. you also have the option to use the full combo 423,b3 but only use it close to walls because the last hits tend to miss sometimes. after 4 hits you can press you advantage with 4 again, u1 if by walls for a corner trap, b4, or d2. straight sword 4 is also a good option to ics to from crane for a mid.

Shang's 3D fireball is the best projectile in the game. you can shoot it far or close, you cant ss it, it does 13% on hit, good block damage, and if you try to duck it as it reaches you it hits you in you transition from stand guard to crouch so you have to already be crouching. there are areas where the opponent is safe, in the middle of the projectile. its a guess though because where the middle is depends on which fireball shang throws. it is also possible to jump through the middle and land next to shang if you are close enough to him. when the opponent is at a far to mid screen distance abuse the 3D fireballs.

the straight fireball you can ss but you cant jump it like the 3D fireball. if you throw a straight fireball and hits the opponent trying to jump a 3D fireball you deal even more damage to them.

the soul steal is only good in juggles or if you ss a projectile at a decent range. i never recommend using the soul steal to end a juggle unless you are about to die from the opponents next hit. dont use the soul steal if your combo after the launch will kill the opponent.

overall shang has a lot of options. hes a solid character with a nasty zoning game.

Hsu Hao is best jabber in the game because besides having fast jabs he also has better lows then any other jabber, a reversal, damaging branch that can be cut short on the last hit giving him major advantage, and a low throw. Shuai Chiao is the stance he is mainly played in, Wrestling is mainly a utility stance that gets used for ics moves like ics reversals and his weapon is useless.

Shuai Chiao:
1 and 11 - jabs
f2 - shoulder lunge that hits low
f+sp - low throw
Branch Combos:
112,cs,b2,cs,b2 - 37%

1 - back breaker
sp - reversal
f+sp - low throw
Branch Combos:
b2b2,cs,b2 - 24%

Sun Moon:
this stance is totally useless unless.

Kahn Klap - b,d1
Stomp - b,f3

first i want to start off by saying that hsu hao's low throw is the only throw in the game that can be reversed by reversal characters. also, if his low throw is blocked it has ridiculous recovery time.

Shuai Chiao 1 and 11 are his jabs, neither 1 or 11 are safe on block but 11 cannot be interrupted. if you opponent tries to branch after a blocked 1 and you 11 then the second jab hits and they eat a branch. the fact that trying to interrupt a single jab means the opponent eats a branch combined with the fact that if you block both jabs that the opponent gets a guaranteed branch interrupt means that poking with 1 jab is usually a safe option because a player trying to punish it is rare. after 1 is blocked you can ss and block or bdc. even though 11 is a guaranteed branch interrupt on block you will many times come across players that cannot interrupt in time. if someone isnt fast enough then you can 11~bdc and be safe or finish the branch and if the interrupt is mis-timed they eat the rest of the branch.

Shuai Chiao f2 is a very fast low that does 11%. if the opponent doesnt tech after it hits then hsu hao has enough time to come in and mix up again. on block its punished by a full branch.

the f+sp low throw does great damage(around 14.5%). its not too slow but not that fast either so every now and then it is possible to block on reaction.

Shuai Chiao f2, low throw, and branch are a mix up. if you guard against then branch then f2 and low throw hit, if you guard against f2 and low throw the branch hits unless you are already in low block when the branch comes out. also, you need to poke with his jab too keep the threat of a branch out there to free up his lows.

his reversal is mainly used as an ics move from shuai chiao. i dont recommend fighting in wrestling so ics reversal is the best way to go.

Wrestling 1 has one good and only use in high level play... use it after hsu hao lands a reversal on a kick. if you try to wrestling branch after a kick reversal the branch wont connect. wrestling 1 does 19% so its a good chunk of life. if you use this attack outside of a guaranteed hit after a reversal and it gets blocked its punished by a full branch.

his b2b2,cs,b2 branch from wrestling should only be done after a punch reversal.

the kahn klap has great range and does good damage at closer ranges, its start up is pretty quick as well. this move is great for punishing brc puke and all character life up's as well as short range projectiles.

the stomp is totally worthless, never use it.

Branch Set Up:
you want to stop the branch on the second to last hit. this leaves hau hao with a big advantage and gives him a chance for more damage. after the second to last hit stop the branch and ics to f2 for an extra 11%/low throw for an extra 14.5% or if they guess low and try to low block branch them again and the mix up loops. if a branch to the mix up lands its anywhere from 45%-80% gone based on if the low it or a re-branch hit. stopping the branch on the second to last hit does 34% so you only lose 3% from the guaranteed damage in trying the set up.
so it looks like this -
1. Shuai Chiao 112,cs,b2,cs then icsf2/low throw or branch again
2. Wrestling b2b2,cs then icsf2/low throw or branch again

vs brc,frost, and drahmin dont use the branch set up because they punish it with an infinite so take your 37% damage and be happy. only use the branch set up vs brc,frost, and drahmin if you need life and time is short.

Mavado is the most user friendly character in the game. he literally uses 1 move and 1 canned string and no specials. he would be a trash character if it wasnt for the fact that he has the best weapon in the game. now i dont care what combo vids you saw of mavado doing juggles and corner combos...MAVADO SHOULD BE IN HOOKSWORDS AT ALL TIMES! the only time you should leave hookswords is to avoid taking more damage when you are being hit.

3 - 2 hit strike that starts low
244b3 - 4 hit string

Grapple Hook Strike - f,f4
Change Sides Hook - d,u2

This section will be short but its because of how super simple mavado is. theres not much to him but what he does have is super effective.

Hookswords 3 is a fast 15% low that is safe with bdc. it hits low then high but the high is guaranteed if the low hits. on hit it gives mavado small advantage so he can mix up again.

244b3 is not his most damaging canned string in his weapon stance but it slams the opponent down giving mavado another mix up opportunity. this string does 25% and hits if they try to duck hookswords 3. on block you get punished by a full branch.

mavado's grapple hook strike and change sides hook are horrible specials and dont really come into play at all.

i know mavado has more damaging combos but that requires fighting in his other stances so overall he loses more then he gains because of how much better hookswords is over his other two stances. stay in hookswords if you want to win, hookswords 3 is one of the most frustiating attacks in the game to deal with.

I'm not going to lie here... frost is only a top 10 character because of her infinite, without that shes closer to the bottom then the top. all 3 of her stances are pretty unsafe but Yuan Yang is the safer of the 3. it also is fast as far as movement, has a power up, and has better lows. the only thing she should use from Tong Bei is her branch and daggers doesnt offer much but an impale. frost has got some nasty corner combos and with a power up they do great damage.

Tong Bei:
1122,cs,411,cs,111 - 29% without power up 47% with power up

Yuan Yang:
b4 - trip kick
u3 - launch kick
44u3 - 3 hit launcher
sp - power up
4411,cs,111 - 20% without power up 33% with power up

sp - impale

ground ice - d,b3
slide - d,f4

you want to be in yuan yang to fight unless you need a full branch due to time reasons. use her full branch after a landed freeze.

yuan yang b4 gives frost major advantage on hit allowing her to follow up with more mix ups. if the opponent tries to block the low, launch with u3 then infinite. on block its punished by a full branch.

yuan yang u3 is a mid launcher that tracks. great for punishing moves with longer recovery as well as a threat to keep people standing freeing up lows. if it hits u3 again then go into infinite.

yuan yang 44u3 is just a 2 hit kick string with the u3 launcher ender. 44 is pretty fast and also good for punishment reasons. 4 and 44 have quick recovery with bdc, and while 44u3 can still be interrupted after 44, it rarely is because if the opponent mistimes the interrupt they eat an infinite. so 44~bdc tends to go unpunished a lot. also, 44u3 recovers faster then u3 by itself making it easier to juggle after the 3 hit string then it is to juggle off of u3.

her power up is great for damage over 45/50% on her juggles. the down side is that she cant power up and combo after a ground ice because the freeze over effect isnt long enough for a power up into a combo.

her ground ice must be low blocked or ss'd. you can jump over it and land next to her but timing this could get tricky. if the ground ice hits go into infinite. the ground ice can be done after launchers as well but has a hit limit of 2. if blocked/jumped up close its a full branch as punishment. the best thing about the ground ice is that it doesnt enable damage protection if it hits outside of a launcher.

her slide can be blocked high or low but is pretty fast and especially good for catching players when they bd. if it hits go into infinite. on block its punished by a full branch.

Slide Tech Trap:
a lot of times when frost needs to make up major life and time is short you will find that if frost gets in that players will duck only giving frost the option to mid launch. they do this because they know she cant launch into infinite for time reasons and by ducking they block the ground ice and all other unsafe lows and if she does launch into a juggle they can just tech roll back to safety and waste the rest of the round. this is when the fact that 44u3 recovers faster then u3 comes in handy. when the opponent ducks punish with 44u3,u3 then slide, if done right the slide will wiff and go right under them. heres what happens because of this:
1. if they try to tech by holding back they will not tech at all because by going under them it reverses their controls hence making their back direction into forward and there is no forward command to tech roll. so now they are forced to get up right in front of you and guess out of a mix up again.
2. if they realize their controls are reversed and hold forward they will back roll but by sliding under them their back is now facing you so instead of rolling back they roll forward and right into frost and must guess out of a mix up again.
3. they can tech by holding up or down but that still keeps them right in front of you forcing them to guess out of more mix ups.

Infinite Combos:
1. infinite 1 - ground ice, slide, repeat
2. infinite 2 - slide, ground ice, repeat
3. infinite 3 - any 1 or 2 hit launch, ground ice, slide, ground ice, slide, and so on

Open Space Juggles:
1. tong bei 1122,cs,4u3,u3,11,cs - 26% without power up 42% with power up
2. yuan yang 44u3,u3,11,cs - 19% without power up 31% with power up
3. yuan yang u3,u3,11,cs - 22% without power up 36% with power up

Corner Combos:
1. be about 1/8 screen distance from the wall:
tong bei 1122,cs,4u3,u3,4411,cs,111 - 35% without power up 54% with power up

2. be about 2 character lengths away from the wall:
yuan yang 44u3,u3,4411,cs,111 - 29% without power up 47% with power up

3. with opponents back to the wall:
yuan yang u3,u3,4411,cs,111 - 34% without power up 54% with power up

10. JAX
Jax may be ranked 10th but this by no means indicates that hes a slouch. Jax has fast jabs, a reversal, a fast jump cancel life up, abusable safe mid piston punches, inescapable ground pound using the block glitch, and his damage is ridiculous. Jax has 1 major problem, hes got no good damaging lows so if jax finds himself down major life and time is short theres almost no way for him to come back. while jax somewhat CAN be played in his judo style, he SHOULD be played from muay thai with ics into judo attacks. his tonfa stance offers a safe launcher and a below average low that is very unsafe.

Muay Thai:
2 and 22 - jabs
sp - life up
Branch Combos:
22,cs,4,cs,4 - 34%
22,cs,4b2 - 27%

b3 - low kick
44b2 - 3 hit launcher
sp - reversal
44,cs,4 - 20%

b4 - low trip
sp - side step launcher

Ground Pound - f,f,d3
Piston Punches - d,f1
Machine Gun - b,f4

I cannot stress enough how important it is to poke with his muay thai jab. you need to keep the threat of a near 60% combo constantly on your opponents mind. because jax's jab is so fast it can force players to just stand there and block, if they even breath wrong it could mean almost 60% of their life bar gone in 1 combo. also, the range on his muay thai jab is ridiulous. opponents really have to watch their spacing vs a jax player who knows how to use their muay thai jab(s).

because of how fast jax's jab is and the damage you lose if he lands a jab it frees up his best and only real usable low, judo b3. use this move as an ics from muay thai, on hit it gives jax good advantage and allows him to pressure further. if this low is blocked its punished by a full branch. trying to block an ics b3 means you eat a near 60% branch.

judo 44b2 is mainly used after a reversal lands. this launcher is followed up by a damaging juggle taking over 40%.

his reversal should be used as an ics from muay thai. its great for catching opponents carelessly trying to attack/counter attack.

jax's life up can be done off of a jump cancel making the life up animation lightning quick. doing this makes for easy life ups after any knock back attack.

tonfa sp is a decent launcher. its safe, fast, and launches high enough for jax to switch into judo and b2 then juggle.

tonfa b4 is a below average low. it doesnt track, isnt that damaging, and is horribly unsafe.

the piston punch is his best special. its safe, hits mid, does 15%, and has a small degree of tracking. this move is very abusable in stand and block battles. this move is best used up close, doing it too far can result in a ss or counter attack. i cannot stress how abusable this move can be in stand and block battles.

the ground pound is awesome up close in stand and block battles. the ground pound is unblockable so it must be jumped and the opponent must release block before jax begins to leave the ground for his ground pound. if they are still blocking as jax leaves the ground then they are stuck in a block hand switch animation and cant move making the ground pound inescapable.

the machine gun is an ok projectile. i'd say use it to punish short range projectiles, life ups, brc pukes, etc.. but the ground pound already does that so there is no real reason to use this move.

From Muay Thai -
1. 22,cs,4,cs,4,ground pound - 40%
2. 22,cs,4,b2,b2,44,cs,4,ground pound - 57% if 1 of the last 4 hits wiff or 59% if every hit connects
3. (opponents back near wall)22,cs,4,b2,b2,2x cs,22,cs,4,cs,4 - 65%

From Judo -
1. 44,cs,4,ground pound - 27%
2. 44,b2,b2,44,cs,4,ground pound - 42% if 1 of the last 4 hits wiff or 44% if every hit connects
3. (opponents back near wall)44b2,b2,2x cs,22,cs,4,cs,4
4. (opponents back at wall)b2,b2,2x cs,22,cs,4,cs,4

From Tonfa -
1. sp,2x cs,b2,4,4,cs,4,ground pound - 38% if 1 of the last 4 hits wiff or 40% if every hit connects
2. (opponents back near wall)sp,2x cs,b2,2x cs,22,cs,4,cs,4

Quan Chi beings a few things to the table... fast jabs, a reversal, a power up, and the second best weapon in the game. he should be played in a mix between Tang Soo Do(tsd) and Broadswords. Escrima isnt that good of a stance and offers little besides a power up and a branch into broadswords.

Tang Soo Do:
1 and 11 - jabs
d4 - low strike
4 - low chop
33 - double kick
sp - reversal
1123,cs,4,cs - 36%

sp - power up
244,cs - 25%

d3 - downward slash
d2 - low stab
3 - double swipe
34 - doom blade

Skull - d,b1
Rising Star - b,d4

what you use all depends on where you are. up close tsd is the better stance, when playing keep away or poking from far use broadswords.

tsd1 and 11 are his basic jabs. great for punishing unsafe moves and they lead to his full branch. its best to poke with a single jab rather then 2 of them to avoid an interrupt.

tsd d4 is a funny poke. on block quan chi eats a full branch if he recovers in standing block or a fast mid if he recovers in crouching block, if the opponent tries to block it they eat a full branch. on hit d4 grants quan chi small advantage so you can do it again and try to get the opponent to guard it and punish their low block attempt with full branch. the fact that you can recover in crouch guard makes it non jab punishable making it hard for some characters to really punish it with big damage.

tsd4 is a sweeping low chop that cannot be techrolled and deals a little more damage then d4. on block its punished by a full branch.

tsd33 is what you need to use after quan chi lands a reversal on a kick because its too far for a jab branch to land. on hit this move grants quan chi decent advantage.

his reversal is great for keeping opponents hesitant in their attacks creating openings for you to come in and poke or get away. also, because is reversal is in tsd it allows you to ics reversal from broadswords. this is what makes his weapon stance so deadly, not only does he have his weapon moves but he also can make use of his tsd reversal and branch.

broadswords d3 is GREAT for keep away. its pretty fast, from a range its 100% safe, and up close its super hard to punish even with a fast jabber. heres the good thing about this move... it can recover in crouch. this means that no high branch can punish it and its near impossible to punish even with a super fast mid. ohh, it also hits low so if you want to block it he can ics to tsd branch or other broadsword attacks.

broadswords d2 doesnt have the safety d3 has but it has more range. this move can also recover in crouch but its very easy to punish this with mids. from max range this move is 100% safe.

broadswords3 is awesome! its got great reach and its range safe. up close its not safe and even if you 34 you can interrupt before the 4 comes out but for range poking theres nothing better. it does great damage and when used in conjunction with d3 and d2 its deadly. any attempt to low block d3 or d2 while trying to approach quan chi and you eat 3.

broadswords34 is guaranteed when the 3 hits, it does 17% and 26% with a power up.

his power up is great for adding damage to his pokes and branches. after a power up his tsd branch does 55% and the escrima branch does 38%.

the skull is only good for punishing life up/power up attempts and brc puke puddle. a power up skull HURTS!

the rising star is super unsafe and he really doesnt even need to use the move at all but if it lands does ok damage and some nasty corner combos.

Rising Star Combos:
(corner and in tsd) rising star,1123,cs,4 - 43% and 65% with power up
(in escrima) rising star,244,cs - 32% and 48% with power up
(in broadswords) rising star,34 - 23% and 34% with power up



(S)teel (V)alley (K)ombat
Forget that! I'd absolutely love to revive MKDA on the competitive scene. Are there any old match videos on the net that I can watch for old time's sake?