Focus attack advice for someone looking to take their game to the next level

I consider myself to be a pretty above average player, I have my moments when things are really clicking and it seems like i’m unbeatable… I also have my moments where it seems anyone above straight newb level can give me a run for my money, but more often then not it’s some shade of grey in between.

What i do have going for me, is a good grasp of general fighting game basics, and especially with my bison, a decent footsie as well as damn decent grab game… but it pretty much stops there.

I’ve always acknowledged the existence of the focus attack, but i’ve used it maybe a dozen times total, and while i haven’t been a constant player(i did switch to blazeblu til it’s online community all but died) I have played a whole lot, starting right from the day of it’s release, so we’re talking never here for my focus attack usage…

It started off with me just wanting to make sure i had the basics down before i complicated things, but then as i started getting more and more comfortable with my characters, and having more and more success i just kind of forgot about it entirely discarding it as gimmicky and unneeded.

Well a few months ago i decided to get serious about it again, in preparation for ssfIV and have been running through championship mode to get my chops back up… but as i’ve climbed higher, i’ve noticed a common thing about all of the best players i meet… they all use focus attack, and they all use it liberally. Often times i feel i’ve got a better grasp of basics than these players, and feel like i should by all accounts be beating them, but because i barely even think about focus attacks existence i’ll end up doing something stupid and get hit by one and next thing i know i’m eating an automatic ultra, and i’m dead… so i’ve come to this conclusion, it’s time for me to learn the freaking thing so i can make myself a better player.

Now i do understand the basics of it, i know how it works, and i know about the three different levels of it, but as for when it should be used, and when it shouldn’t be used I’m clueless… what level i need to beat what, and all that jazz are beyond me as well. If it’s something as simple as just practicing it, then that’s fine i’ll keep on working on it, but i’m just hoping there is some kind of trick to it like there is to most everything else.

Thanks in advance for any advice!

P.S. sorry if this has been addressed a thousand times before but i didn’t see anything off hand… and sorry that this turned into a wordy mess as well :stuck_out_tongue:

Learn what moves you can focus. I cba to list all of them, but things like a chun spamming sweep, a bison using his roundhouse slide or blanka rainbow ball. Don’t try to focus against a bison spamming scissor kicks or a ryu buffering into hadouken. Learn the range of your focus, and even better, all the other focuses. Some focuses lower your hitbox, or makes you take a step back. Use it to your advantage. Somthing i do is when the opponent uses focus attack, i do the same. This scenario has 3 diffrent endings

  1. The opponent releases his focus early, it wiffs or hit me, i release my focus and get a free combo.

  2. The opponent aborts his focus, and dashes forward or backwards. Just do what he did.

  3. The opponent decides to go for a level 3 focus to break yours. Once you see him go into a sertain level of focus, he cant dash out of it and is forced to release it. The trick is to backdash as soon as you see him go to that level, and quickly forward dash and punish his wiffed focus.

Ofcourse, this is just once of many things you can do. Some people use focus as an anti air. It can be of great use if the enemy cant find a counter. All they need to do is empty jump grab. Some focuses, like sagat, can be used as a “real” anti air since it hits so high, and sagat is so talk. I would not recommend relying on this strategy. It will not work against anyone decent.

Focus is also good in blockstrings, toss out a few jabs after a jumpin. If he don’t block the jabs, go for a combo. If he blocks, quickly charge a level 1-2 focus and release it, even if you dont see him doing anyhing. Most of the time if you time it right, you will land the focus exactly as he is trying to jump/backdash/grab/armorbreak. Level 1 focus gets crumple on counterhit, so dont feel like you have to charge that long.

You can also use it to bait attacks. Charging a focus as a meaty attack, and then backdash just as the enemy gets up can be good to bait reversals. Mix it up with actually going for the meaty focus now and then. Stuff like charge focus, forward dash and then instantly backdash can be usefull to see what they do.

Did he backdash? Did he wiff a throw? Did he jump? Where did he jump? Did he mash out a srk? Use these things to your advantage. Lot of people play flowchart on a advance level :stuck_out_tongue:

There are a billion more uses for the focus attack. Watching good players use it can give you ideas, but actually trying out yourself will work better, since your opponent might not be on the pro players level. For a reference, i think daigo uses focus quite a bit.


90% of people in championship mode are bad players, with bad habits. Find good players and play them in 1 on 1 lobbies and your feeling of invincibility will change :slight_smile:

Focus attacks can be used in various ways; after knockdown vs gief, for example, some people will focus then dash cancel to bait a lariat or something unsafe then punish. Think about how you can do this to different characters.

That’s just one example, there are many others, eg blocked scissors - fadc to throw. I’m not a Bison player so this may not be viable, I’m just throwing out suggestions.

You can use focus defensively as well - against spammy fireballers, focus them to get free ultra meter without taking block damage. Just make sure you let your health recover. Also, instead of using focus as anti-air, you have the option of focusing the jump-in attack and then dashing away. This keeps you mobile without being forced into block stun. Also, I think some characters focus-cancelled dashes are different from (quicker/slower than) their regular dashes.

Excellent advice, i think the idea of a matching game with the focus attack is a perfect place to start, and is definitely something i wouldn’t have thought of.

And great starters from everyone else as well… I do realize that this is going to be mostly me picking this stuff on my own, but i really appreciate an idea of where to start.

As for the 90% of people on championship mode not being very good, believe me i know this, that’s why i’m so unprepared whenever i finally run into someone good… but as you said i do frequently friend, and challange the better players to 1 on one matches, and that’s where i do most of my learning. but usually when i’m playing someone better, i try to play as smart as possible, and trying to learn something completely new in those matches is a daunting task. And i do watch them meticulously to pick up common combo strings and what not, but to date the uses for focus attack have seemed pretty random, and i hadn’t picked up much on when to use it, so you guys have already given me a much better idea of where to start.

Especially as something to use against someone else’s focus attack, because the biggest problem i’ve had with dealing with focus attacks has been that i always try to punish them, and at least half the time i end up not getting off the two hits needed to knock them out of it, and bison’s psycho crusher is his only move with armor break, and truthfully, it’s not something i’m accustomed to using, since armor break is about all it’s good for without ex.

Haha and yes, i know all too well that my invincibility only counts against lower skill players, but even when i’m losing to better players i can tell when i’m on, and i have many times over given better players a good run for their money when i’m having a good day, and i know that adding focus attacks to my arsenal will only help this.