Anti Air Help?


I’m an old guy coming back to fighting games after ~ 20 years away. I played SF1, SF2 and SF2 Turbo in the arcades quite a bit as a kid. Couldn’t play well on pad so I got a stick and am much more comfortable on it. Took everyone’s advice and played Ryu for the past couple weeks (I mostly played Ken back in the day), (~ 300 games, won 20% of them, some of those were from mashing though.)

Anyways, didn’t feel like I was getting better with Ryu, and so I started trying characters. Finally tried Balrog, and love him. I don’t mash, when I win it feels right, and generally when I lose I know why I lost, unlike with Ryu where half the time when I won it was because I did something stupid that happened to connect and often when I lost I just felt lost (vs. Evil Ryu for instance.) Balrog slows the game down for me in a way that is fun.

All that said, I’m having trouble with anti airing with Balrog. I’m used to SRK, and to a lesser degree dfp with Ryu. With Balrog, I seem to either trade with dfp most of the time, or get stuffed, mostly against dive kicks I think, but also against a fair number of jumping normals.

Read all the Balrog beginner stuff I could find, and the anti air game seems to be mostly just distill down to “use dfp and smp to anti air.” I’m missing something fundamental about the timing, or something.

For context, played about 40-50 matches with him so far, and am a complete beginner.

Thanks for any help.

** Edit: I’m playing online if that matters.

Standing medium punch is your main anti-air. It hits high and starts fast so it’s excellent for stopping cross-up attempts. Crouching hard punch is mainly for very obvious/hail mary jump ins and has some matchup-specific uses (easily stops Honda buttslam for example).

Headbutts are also good situational anti-airs. You shouldn’t maintain a down charge just for anti-air purposes, but if you have charge generally go for headbutt because your hurtbox is lower during startup, which means it gets stuffed outright less often. Another advantage of headbutt is that it will defeat both regular jump or delayed dive kicks. HP headbutt goes quite far and you can often catch lower level players neutral jumping, especially in the corner.

Against certain characters such as Seth and Rolento, your only anti-air in most situations is going to be focus attack. It’s fairly difficult to master this so I’d recommend finding a Seth player to practice against. Focus attack is also the perfect counter to Ibuki’s neutral jump kunai attack.

Hope that helps.

Thanks much, exactly what I was looking for. I had it reversed – thought crouch fierce was the go to. I’ll experiment with stand strong next time I’m online. I know I need to use headbutt more, but I’ve barely touched it so far…


Been doing better with this, thanks.

What about vs Juris divekick? Is it just that my reactions are too slow?

FYI, in SF4 few characters have really good 100% tools to beat dive kicks. about 90% of the cast can’t deal with dive kicks effectively (e.g. in the way that cr.hp stops jump ins).

In case of Juri and Adon, cr.hp stuffs all of their dive kick like moves really easy, like scary easy. You just need really good reactions. cr.hp is overall Balrog’s best AA because it’s only weakness is it’s shit horizontal range. as @Uroboric said, is really good for pre-emptive or really early anti-airing because it hits high and has more horizontal range, but in the same breath it has more hurtbox available for a trade (and less active frames). This Zangief video has a short portion about how to AA him, which may help give you an idea about different AA’s and in what situations they can apply:

Thanks for the response.

My reactions are pretty slow, so that is probably part of the problem. Practice for the last few days with cr.f and has helped lots. I’ve also made a conscious effort to mix in lk jap upper on long range jumps and that has proven effective as well.

I basically don’t use headbutt at all, except in training mode trying to get consistent with ultra juggling, so mixing that in will probably help (flip side of this is I use all the various dashes and think I’m getting comfy with what they are good for at their various strengths, even if I probably use dash lower way too much against other people as bad as I am.) I know I need to get comfy with that move.

As per Juri and Adon, I think I’m just too slow, at least with online lag. Against Juri this isn’t as much of an issue, at least at the really basic level I am playing at, as she doesn’t seem to have the crossup game as much as Adon does. Against Adon I just feel like a free win as soon as he starts the side to side crossups.

Thanks for the link, I’ll watch it in the morning.

Wanted to say thanks to everyone who gave tips in this thread, really helped.