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When Zoning Fails: A Robocop Close Distance In-Depth Guide



  • For Robocop, his dashes are both incredibly fast and incredibly far, comparable to Joker’s and Spawn’s dash movement. In comparison to other “zoners”, Skarlet’s back and forward dashes are just as fast, however they do not reach quite as far as Robocop’s. Shang Tsung’s back and forward dashes are one of the slowest in the game, but go a greater distance than even Robocop’s.
  • This means that Robocop not only excels at escaping from close distance, but can very quickly establish pressure from greater distances with relative safety as well. As a result, he is more likely to outspeed and outmaneuver a great portion of the cast.
  • J3 and J4 are Robocop’s 11-frame jumping kick attacks. They behave like most other character’s jump attacks in that you can input an attack which only comes out when the jump kick hits, but otherwise it’s a great move on block to begin your pressure with your 10-frame mid Forward3 strings or throw. Be aware that the animation of the jump kick makes Robocop very susceptible to anti-air attacks than an empty jump would.
  • J2 is the star of the show for Robocop’s jump-in options. It is an 8-frame jump attack that can be cancelled upon landing on block with Standing4, an 11-frame high that is jailed. Using J2->S4 puts Robocop in an extremely favorable position on either hit or block, making it his safest jump-in option. It is +6 on block with an immense push on the opponent and does 129.5 damage on hit with knockdown. You can also practice hit-confirming the J2->S4 into Variation 2’s Arm CC Cannon special attack for full-screen distance on knockdown. Be aware that certain attacks at certain distances can make the J2 whiff, which can be remedied with a Jump Kick instead. Otherwise, this is an extremely powerful option to begin your offense, space yourself away from your opponent or simply dominate the air game.
  • Using J2 is also a good air-challenge attack, especially for opponents that prefer their Jump Kicks. While at some angles you are able to hit confirm on the ground with Back2 into F32, your most consistent options are to hit-confirm with just F32, or at extremely close landing distances, Standing121. Knowing when to hit-confirm into either F32 or S121 will depend on your immediate distance from your opponent upon landing and the arc of your own jump. Being able to hit confirm off your air-to-airs will take time and practice, but will be worth the effort.
Notable Buttons/Strings:
  • Here I want to point out some notable strings, I will not be discussing or covering them all, just the ones that I believe frankly, actually matter.
  • Standing1 is an 8-frame startup high attack that is -5 on block. This attack is a frame slower than many others 7-frame Standing1’s and is too slow on block to stagger. It is also significantly shorter in range than many other Standing1’s, Robocop’s will whiff at distances where his opponent’s might hit him at a frame sooner. The string Standing121 has no flawless block gap and is -8 on block, making it unsafe as well. The only times you should use this string is to call out your opponent’s staggers at point blank distance or for very specific combo strings.
  • Down1 is a 7-frame mid that is -5 on block, fairly standard affair here all things considered. Keep in mind that on hit Robocop has a 14 frame advantage, just 1 frame short of his flamethrower on hit for comparison. If Robocop gets a hit with this move, which should regularly happen when you check pressure, he has enough frames to start a 13 frame mid strike/10 frame throw mixup offense or jail into Standing4’s High to create some distance to get back to zoning in relative safety. The sheer amount of options Robocop has available in this situation makes him a very scary opponent indeed.
  • Forward2 is a 13 frame mid advancing attack. I’ve talked quite a bit about F2 and its following strings but I’ll very briefly mention it here as well. Generally speaking in a neutral state this isn’t really a good attack to use, it’s great for whiff punishing or when your opponent’s negative on block, like Amp Arm CC Cannon on block or Flamethrower on hit. But otherwise you might want to use F3’s 10-frame mid since it’s just a bit faster if you can afford the shorter range it has. There are a lot of opportunities outside of a neutral state that give you the opportunity to use F2, such as Down1 on hit, Down3 on hit, Down4 on hit at closer distances, Flamethrower on hit, and so on. Using Forward2 in a neutral state for its advancing purposes I think leaves you vulnerable to it’s slower startup frames and its otherwise fairly stubby range compared to a much better approaching button he has.
  • Back3, in my opinion, is one of the most important tools Robocop has available. It is a 17-frame advancing low attack that is -6 on block and Back32 is -5 on block. It is a very long range, extremely forward-moving attack that lets Robocop in relative safety approach his opponent. And the fact that Back3 is a low starter string can make this attack a very effective Shimmy tool in conjunction with his relatively scary movement options. In just a dash or two with maybe a microwalk, Robocop can close the distance and whiff-punish, or otherwise catch opponents off guard, forcing them to crouch block in place. When I played ranked online, this was one of the hardest things I’ve found opponents able to adjust to and I think you’ll find similar results yourself.
  • Forward3 is a 10-frame mid attack that is -5 on block, and F32 is -6 on block. This is the string. Whenever your opponent ends a string that is safe on block within throw distance, just throw them. Your throw is a 10-frame high, so when you take your turn back you do so either with a throw or with Forward3. This is how you get hits with this string, by mixing it up with throw not just in this circumstance, but any circumstance where you can and just might throw, you can and just might strike with this string instead, your opponent cannot accommodate for both, and is at risk for either getting thrown or getting hit by F3 anytime this occurs. This is the heart of the strike/throw mixup, anytime you have the frames to do so, use F2 instead for the added F212 and F21 backdash gameplay. But otherwise you are perfectly safe on block with F3’s strings. F322 is not safe on block and the F322111’s triple shots are highs that can be crouch blocked, so use it sparingly and it’ll be good for catching your opponent’s off guard, which you should be doing at least once a set anyway. The heart of your gameplay is to not be predictable here.
  • Down3 is a 10 frame low poke that is +14 on hit and -10 on block. While it’s faster than Down4, it has reduced range and is far more punishable at its distance. Despite this, Down3 is a very important move to check opponents who typically rely on high-starter strings for their offense as Robocop ducks during the startup of this animation very early on, and upon hit allows him to jail into Standing4 if he needs to create some distance, or otherwise start his own strike/throw pressure. A very valuable tool for Robocop to have against certain opponents.
Special Attacks:
  • Riot Shield is a high parry special attack with 9-frame on startup with 22 frames of recovery. It has a Krushing Blow that activates upon parrying U2 or U3 Getup or Block Attacks. While it is invulnerable to high projectiles, it actually loses to Low projectiles making it very dependent on your matchup. Variation 2 Robocop almost never uses Riot Shield for that purpose as Low Auto9 can whiff high projectiles while hitting the opponent back, and the only Parry Bait string that Robocop has is Stand22, a 9-frame high starter flawless gap string that can be special canceled after the flawless block into Riot Shield which I don’t find to be particularly useful compared to say Standing4 or Forward2 as far as jailing from J2 is concerned. Though parries like this are always nice to have when you don’t need it, compared to say Skarlet who more desperately needs one.
  • For all his offensive capabilities it should be noted that Variation 2 Robocop doesn’t have an amplified launcher for combos, nor does he really use his two meterless launchers either. His greatest source of damage really comes from his Flamethrower standing reset mixups and projectile zoning, and while they are not great in damage in a conventional sense, it also means Robocop isn’t really affected by his low damage output. His gameplan isn’t committal, punishing and risky like Dead of Winter variation Sub Zero’s and as a result he can retain and actively maintain his health lead if he needs to. But also unlike Skarlet his close-distance offense isn’t risky or punishable either as nearly every button or string he wants to use is a mid or a high that gets jailed into that is safe on block. The only risky thing he will typically do is his throw.
  • As a result a fight against Variation 2 Robocop isn’t one that relies on punishing him, as he often has very little opportunities to get punished and receive damage. Therefore, he isn’t as harshly affected by his own lower overall damage as other characters are.
  • It’s for this reason that Robocop will want to go for the mid strike more often than the throw, as all of his strike strings are either safe on block or bait a button for a Krushing Blow. His throw is the only part of his game plan that is inherently risky. It’s the one opportunity an opponent knows for sure they can punish Robocop for, which in my opinion makes his strike then all the more spooky.
  • Once you get a hit with Flamethrower, you’ll have enough frames to jail a throw or a F2 mid strike. If Robocop uses the F2 string, he can then use F21 stagger, backdash and Back4 to condition the opponent to really want to use not Down1 after F21. Use F212’s overhead ender that activates a Krushing Blow for Kountering any button they might have pressed after the F21, or Robocop can use F21 AMP Arm CC Cannon, which if the opponent blocks will put Robocop +7 frames on block. The issue here is if the opponent was ducking then the Arm CC Cannon whiffs, but if they were crouch blocking they’d get hit if Robocop used F212 instead. Or Robocop can simply just end his turn at F21, which is -5 on block or at F212 which is -7 on block.
Be sure to check out my video if you would like a visual demonstration of what I am talking about here, and let me know if you've had success trying anything else at close distance with Robocop!
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I haven't read all of it yet, but Christ almighty, this is what I wish everyone did when posting a video.

I will finish reading and watch the video at a later time, but I just wanted to commend you on your effort.

Very well done.


Premium Supporter
I wish more people would spend time actually trying to learn a character like this, instead of spending 10 minutes online and then screaming for nerfs and buffs. Another great job, keep it up!


Ambiguous world creator
Just watched your guides and would double-like them if I could. So much high-quality analysis and helpful suggestions. Fantastic work! Agree with others: I wish all content creators would aim to meet this standard.

And I hope this helps put an end to the myth that Robocop has no good buttons. Could see it with my own eyes, it just wasn't true--Robo can throw hands (and feet)!