Cross-Ups and Divekicks - Why Do They Work?

I’ve thought about this for a while, and I’m sure there’s more experienced people who can explain it. Basically, why do cross-ups such as j.MK or things like Gief’s bodysplash work so well? The same goes for divekicks such as Yun’s and Rufus’s. I’m not asking about how to perform the moves or applications; I’m asking why do you believe they are effective and proven to be viable since forever.

Concerning cross-ups, the answer is obvious - the opponent holds the wrong direction to block as you go over their head, specifically jumping over a hard knockdown opponent who is getting up. But if an experienced opponent knows this, why would they get hit? Why not block the correct direction? I know it’s sometimes a guessing game with ambiguous jump-ins or odd spacing/timing, but it just seems odd that it would work so often. And against a character with a good wake-up option like Ryu/Ken DP, why don’t more cross-up attempts get shut down? Is it all just skill and timing or is there an effect of the pressure that causes people to just freeze or forget their defensive options?

Divekicks are another thing that I’m unsure just why they’re so dominant. Characters with divekicks are usually high ranked in SF - Yun, Rufus, E. Ryu, Cammy, etc. Is this type of move so good, because it’s usually safe, too fast to react to, or is it ambiguous and hard to predict? In my head I think, “Just DP it, duh.” But that’s not reality. The reality is that divekicking your opponent is a very effective way to apply pressure over and over.

Any input would be interesting to hear - whether it’s frame data, strategy, or psychology.

There are crossup setups that will cause a DP type move to go the wrong direction if done as a reversal from a knockdown situation. Also most DPs only really are good at anti airing during the invincibility frames of their move, otherwise they tend to trade A LOT in SF4 which leads to people hesitating to do them. Lastly, a whiff DP is extremely unsafe while a crossup attempt is usually very safe. At worst you maybe take 80-100 damage for going for a crossup unless the opponent has an ultra stocked, 2 bars to FADC, AND can combo into their ultra from a DP situation. Meanwhile a whiffed DP or blocked DP can end up costing the opponent 300+ life.

Dive kicks allow you to control your jump arc, typically an area where characters are most vulnerable. In addition it grants you an additional angle of attack that some characters lack a way to combat (not everyone has a DP or invincible anti air.) It allows you to pressure an opponent without getting pushed out as quickly and lets you threaten the act of a jump in which would hit overhead and require them to stand. They also give you a way to approach while avoiding the threat of low attacks which typically dominate the ground based combat. Plus dive kick pressure is usually safe from throws which makes frame trapping with them extremely effective. You can often throw Dudley, Guy or Cody out of their frame traps with a properly timed stand throw attempt unless those characters do something risky or are weaving in and out of your throw range. However Cammy’s EX Dive Kick, Rufus’ instant air dive kick, and Yun’s dive kicks aren’t subject to this weakness. Sakura’s LK Tatsu and Dan’s LK Danku also function in a similar fashion when used for frame traps as they beat both crouch teching and throws while also being safe on block and in Sakura’s case, able to lead to high damage.

I’d suggest you read these parts of Maj’s footsies handbook as they discuss the hopkick and dive kick.

Really, I’d recommend reading the whole thing if you haven’t.

after reading that interview with Mike Z, it seems some moves have a “cross-up” flag? this could explain the unblockables to an extent instead of a more natural feeling cross-up like in previous titles but i don’t know if he’s guessing or if he’s actually seen this so called flag. someone with more knowledge please jump in here about this in particular please :slight_smile:

oh looks like this isn’t so much about unblockables and just simply about why cross-ups are effective in general. sorry, though if someone has an answer about what Mike Z was talking about in that interview, it would be appreciated.

The crossup flag is mentioned in the bug list. I’m not 100% sure HOW the crossup flag works but it makes some moves easier to crossup, it also makes it so that fireballs can hit the back of opponents. If the “can crossup” flag is removed a lot of meaty fireball setups in SF4 would whiff. I should explore exactly how it works.

As for the cross up flag making things unblockable? It MIGHT have some indirect correlation but there are unblockables with moves that DON’T have this flag. For example: Cody’s FJ HP (the elbow drop) is able to crossup and can even be setup to be an unblockable but does NOT have the “can crossup” flag. @Razor5070 was exploring the possibility it has to do with the Float values on hurtboxes which I dunno how the float values function whatsoever.

just a few points :

  • when peoples get pressured they lose their anti air reflex

  • its hard to know every cross up setup from every character, you’ll probably eat most of them simply because you dont know them

  • most cross up are unsafe, peoples simply dont try to punish them, only lately we’re starting to see top players punish them , you can even dash out if your character has a good f.dash

  • Yun and E.ryu dive kicks are heavily unsafe despite how safe they look, peoples simply dont punish them, it only take you to press one button to punish Yun dive kick, Yang dive kick is even worse, E.ryu dive kick on wake up can be punish by 10 billion things, Yun cross up dive kick on wake up is actually hard to land, you can put yourself in a negative frames situation even if it hit, there are setups where it will land in cross up and frames advantage but they are known and only work against few characters

  • its 50/50 situations, we naturally are afraid to gamble, and just try to block

  • very few top players can stay focused on ground play and keep their anti air reflex like Daigo

  • cammy is brainless, same for Rufus at close range

Lol at yun’s DK being “heavily unsafe”. He has the best in the game for footsies.

Dive kicks also throw off AA timing. I see this happen with Sakura a lot. Your opponent does their AA to stop your jump in but the start up of the dive kick throws off the timing of their AA

Crossup that work well are that way for two reasons:

1.) They have a hitbox that is positioned a good amount behind them, meaning even if they jump at you and you happen to walk forward, you might still have to block it instead of it whiffing.

2.) The pushbox (part of move that dictates if you can pass through your opponent or not) is fairly large and usually positioned a bit higher than normal. This makes it so that even if done early, the move has a chance to push the character the opposite direction making them have to block it as a crossup. Pushboxes like this are one of the main reason that ambiguous crossups exist, as changing the timing even slightly can be enough to cause the pushbox to push you away enough to have to block a different direction than expected (great example is Cammy’s cannon strike dive kick).

Divekicks are a tough type to balance, as it is necessary to cause them to have some sort of delay during startup, or else they would be impossible to anti air
(SEE: SF2 Second Impact Akuma divekick). Only way to make them easier to combat without completely changing the way they work, would be to drastically increase their hurtbox during startup so that the slight “pause” effect they have wouldn’t disrupt anti airs.

Pretty sure Rufus’s is better.

Upclose Rufus his divekick is better, Yun his divekick is better for the neutral game as he can use it actually as a footsie and spacing tool.
Yun his blocked divekicks are pretty bad unless hit really low. If blocked as crossup and standing, yeah, guarenteed punish.

Yeah this is a big one I think. You can definitely see this firsthand when playing someone who’s good. Just jump and you’ll get anti aired. But make them focus in on stopping you on the ground and jumps become way more likely to work.

Where can I play SF2 Second Impact? Is it as good as SF3 Hyper Fighting? Kappa

In my opinion, dive kick is very powerful for several reasons.

  1. It can act as a powerful anti throw tech. For example, it reminds me back in the SSF4 days when Sako’s Cammy mop the floor. He baited the opponent tech throw by quickly executed Cammy’s TKCS at the throw range. A wrong guessing like this can lead to a big damage.

  2. It can suddenly change your air trajectory, causing your opponent to hesitate whether it is safe to anti-air or not; or using the correct anti-air options. Yun vs Dhalsim is a prominent example. Dhalsim anti-air can be pretty darn good against Ryu but against Yun, it will be one hell of a ride. When is the right time to hit Sim anti air buttons, based on positioning? Or more importantly, when does Yun decide whether to change air trajectory or not while he is neutral or forward jumping? It’s definitely a big risk to gamble.

  3. Meaty dive kick. Top level players definitely knows the timing to land a meaty hit dive kick against the opponent that grants them frame advantage, therefore leaving them an option to pressure the opponent into pressing the wrong buttons. Execution wise, a meaty dive kick is very hard to anti air even with DPs, let alone not the mention the risk of whiffing the DP leaving yourself vulnerable.

Regarding to the cross-ups, in my sense of logic the reason it is effective is because it acts as a mix-up tool. If you hard knocked down your opponent and go for a real cross-ups every single time (for example Ryu’s jumping MK), the opponent will adapt and knows how to block it correctly. That’s why you see vortex player like Tokido mix-ups his opponent by going for a fake cross-ups at the corner (for example Akuma’s jumping LK). The question is whether to bait them into thinking what kind of shenanigans will you use; front or back.

Yay another thread on why moves that allow you to change your jump arc in Street Fighter IV are dominant! Great idea…