Frame Trap 101

I thought I’d do a small and hopefully concise thread for people who are struggling with the concept of “frame trapping”. The term gets thrown around a lot these days and, as you progress through Street Fighter 4, the need to understand and utilise “frame traps” becomes more and more vital, especially as it’s almost the “counter tactic” to opponents who are adept at delayed crouch techs.

I hope you all enjoy and understand it!!!

So, first of all, we need to understand the concept of a true block string.

A true block string is a series of attacks that are performed one after another with absolutely no opportunity for your opponent to retaliate. To keep this Ken orientated here is a basic example:

Jumping FP, xx fierce DP

Each attack creates so much block stun that the next attack is striking the opponent before they leave the block stun of the previous attack. No matter what the opponent is trying to do while they are in block stun, they cannot perform a move. They can even let go of their stick/pad and they won’t even be able to stop blocking.

So, using a true block string doesn’t really give your opponent an opportunity to do anything and this includes the opportunity to make a mistake. Thus, in Ken’s case (we have no “safe” specials that we can use to keep us in the advantage at the end of a true block string), true block strings are of very little use to us.

So this is where “frame traps” become useful.

In it’s simplest terminology, a “frame trap” is basically a “gap” in a block string, designed to allow the opponent the opportunity to make a mistake.

I’m going to discount special moves, Supers and Ultras for the time being and just discuss normal moves to begin with.

The fastest starting normal move in the whole of SF4 and SSF4 is 3 frames. Therefore, leaving a gap that is smaller than 3 frames long means that your opponent CANNOT hit you with a normal attack.

As an example, Ken’s cr.lp leaves him at +2 frames on block. If he were to perform a (has 4 frame start-up) immediately after a cr.lp, he has, in effect, left a 2 frame window in his block string.

Now, if the opponent had been mashing on crouch tech (, the chances are they would have let loose a during this 2 frame window. But because the takes 3 frames to become active, Ken would hit them with his for the counterhit and a combo opportunity.

Is everyone still with me? Good…

The slower and more controlled that your opponent is will reduce the likelihood of them “mashing” on crouch techs and thus, the general “frame trap” tactic is to extend the size of the gap that you are leaving them.

This gives them a larger opportunity to make a mistake but, unfortunately, it also gives them enough time to complete a mashed out normal move.

Here is an array of “frame traps” that Ken could use, with varying sized gaps.
(Please note that chains into cr.lp leaving no gaps in block stun), cr.lp, fierce DP = 1 frame gap (cr.lp = +2 on block, fierce DP = 3 frame start-up.), cr.lp, = 2 frame gap ( = 4 frame start-up.), cr.lp, = 3 frame gap ( = 5 frame start-up.), = 4 frame gap ( = +0 on block, = 4 frame start-up.), = 5 frame gap
cr.lp, = 6 frame gap ( = 8 frame start-up.), = 7 frame gap ( = 7 frame start up.)

etc etc…

“So What’s best?”

So, the beauty of all this extra level of tactics is that neither small nor large gaps is better. Smaller gaps are safer but are less likely to beat someone diligently timing their crouch techs. Larger gaps are more likely to lose you the advantage but also give the opponent much more room to make an error. It’s VERY tempting to stick out an attack in a big 5 frame gap!!

But if you leave your opponent a nice big 7 frame gap and they STILL don’t fall for it, guess what, they would have gotten thrown if you’d gone for a tick throw.

Obviously, we then need to add in the layers of tactics that Specials, Supers and Ultras add in to the mind games, but I’ll leave it there for now.

I hope that this clears up a few questions for people and hopefully we can keep the Ken forum clear of the “frame trap” questions that fill many of the other character threads across SRK. I know that for quite a few people, this will be extremely obvious stuff, but I hope that this helps a few Ken mainer’s “catch up” so to speak, so that we can all level up together!!



Extended explanation by our very own Joon. Shoryuken - JoontheBaboon Frame Trap Explanation

Nice write-up G77, the Ken Scientist of the forums. =P


I was looking for that so I could link it as a more advanced section to the guide.



Nice write up G77. I really like the 1-7 Frame Gap list :tup:.

I would also note that, cr.lp, fierce DP = 1 frame gap (cr.lp = +2 on block, fierce DP = 3 frame start-up) is an Invincible Frame Trap that can allow more Frame Gap window for your opponent to press a button.

Great contribution! Am loving the list too! Keep it up G77.

would the step kick to firece DP count as a frame trap. cause i do this all the time and get a counter hit for a full ultra.

[media=youtube]E6VSqQ19t8o[/media] go to 1:08

it’s a frame trap in where you know the move leaves you at a disadvantage but you know what move can beat their’s if they press a button.

My favorite is fishing for far MP counter hit, so I can score a sweep. I’m trying to use cl.MK CH setups but the people I play don’t seem to fall for those lol. c.MP on CH is pretty good too, you can link into c.MK if it’s a CH.

This is true.

I probably wouldn’t use it after a move that leaves me +frames on hit though, as it is basically “wasting” the invincible frames of the fierce DP.

I would argue that the best time to use Ken’s fierce DP is when he is at +0 or, better still, when he is in negative frame advantage.

The more negative Ken is (up to and including -2) the more likely Ken will be at outprioritising ANY move that the opponent makes AND he is leaving a bigger gap for which your opponent has to hold off pushing buttons.

The perfect example of this is as mentioned above, Ken’s Step Kick leaves him at -2 on block. Many, many, many players will be VERY tempted to try to stick out an attack after a blocked Step Kick.

Doing an immediate fierce DP after a blocked Step Kick is an ideal frame trap. It is basically leaving a 5 frame gap in your string with the added bonus of Ken being invincible for the last 3 frames of it. This means that even if your opponent sticks out a 3 frame normal, it won’t beat your 5 frame “trap” because you are invincible!!

Just remember though. This sort of frame trap requires 2 stocks to make it safe.

Glad everyone appreciates the thread. Would people like me to do any others? If so, suggest a topic and I’ll do a write up and tag it with the “101” suffix. Maybe then, we could sticky them for future reference?



One thing about that step kick frame trap though: can some chars backdash from that setup?

Most characters can backdash it at full range but if you do it point blank (which still gives you your -2 set-up) only the usual suspects (Chun Li etc) can backdash it.

Backdashing is probably one of the safest escapes from frame traps but it is also one of the hardest to perform timing wise and execution wise as it will often cause you to stand up and get hit by a low attack.

Backdashing also surrenders ground to your opponent and thus you can only do it so many times until you put yourself in a corner.


It’s actually ideal to use Invincible (F. SRK) Frame Trap during positive frame advantage because it forces the opponent to late crouch tech making it a fixed timing: [media=youtube]innQHJtPm0U#t=2m55s[/media]

Invincible Frame Trap during negative frame advantage is effective, but not ideal because the opponent can decide if he wants to take the positive frame advantage or play it safe and late crouch tech. Some characters also has to play it safe and late crouch tech because their crouch tech is 4-Frame/5-Frame start-up. Normals are hard to perform on the 1st frame possible since they don’t get reversal windows too. Performing F. SRK on -2 will beat out most invincible moves but that’s assuming that the opponent decides to perform a reversal which is hard to do under pressure/from a MK block stun (Step Kick).

I don’t understand how it forces them to do a late crouch tech?

If I do, cr.lp then an immediate Fierce DP, because I’m at +2, the first 2 frames of my DP are invincible yes, but my opponent is still stuck in block stun. It’s only the 3rd frame after the cr.lp that they could even possibly perform a move.

If I do, then an immediate fierce DP, the rythmn I’ve set up is the same, but now I’m at +0. So if I do an immediate DP, I’m leaving a 3 frame gap instead of a 1 frame gap, all of which I am invincible for.

If I put myself at -2 and do an immediate DP, I’m leaving a 5 frame gap of which I’m invincible for the last 3, meaning even a light attack isn’t fast enough to punish me.

I know I’m only going by the numbers so can you explain what I’m missing?


Theoretically, you’re right but I don’t think you’re taking human error and late crouch tech into account which is a big factor in this game (also the reason why theres no definite # or answer for frame traps against late crouch techs).

If you’re at positive frame advantage it’s really easy to frame trap early crouch techs so the opponent is forced to late crouch tech.

Yes, so he only has 1 frame window to perform a move (early crouch tech) but he won’t be crouch teching this early since he was at negative frame advantage. Even if he tried to early crouch tech, it’s hard to perform a Normal on the 1st frame possible because Normals don’t get reversal windows (human error).

Yes, but Ken’s C. LK and C. LP can be chained so he’ll treat Ken’s C. LK as a C. LP and late crouch tech. Even though he has 3 frame window now it wouldn’t matter because he’ll be late crouch teching.

Yes, but this is assuming he decides to take the frame advantage and you perform an invincible frame trap on the 1st frame possible. Even though he has 5 frame window now if he decides to late crouch tech it wouldn’t matter because he’ll be late crouch teching.

Did this clear it up a little bit?

I think so.

I think I’m using the term “late crouch tech” as a way of describing someone who isn’t necessarily reacting to the start-up animation of the throw but is rather leaving it as late as possible to press crouch tech.

I think you’re using the term “late crouch tech” as someone who is reacting to the actual throw animation and thus the size of the gap being left is irrelevant. Am I right here?



Are you referring to the fact that if I am at +2, I am threatening him with the possibility of a tick throw set-up, thus forcing him to commit to a late crouch tech at the very least or risk getting thrown and thus making any set-up that leaves you at + frames more of a reason for your opponent to stick out a crouch tech.

Even so, in your video link, you hesitated after the cr.lp to extend the gap didn’t you.

I think I get the tactic your describing now.

I think both approaches are valid because if you can train your opponent to be afraid taking the initiative, even when they are at + frame advantage (i.e. Ken is at -1 or -2) then surely you’re halfway to winning the fight!!

I’m really enjoying this thread…


No, we both have the same understanding of late crouch tech.

I think you’re getting me now. Positive frames forces your opponent to late crouch tech because early crouch tech can be easily frame trapped. That is the reason why I extended the gap after C. LP to frame trap his late crouch tech. If I F. SRK’d 1st frame possible after C. LP like you suggested, it wouldn’t have hit him and he would’ve continued to block.

SRK > FADC, Level 1 FA > Forward Dash, and Step Kick are all -2 on block but not a lot of opponents can use that frame advantage because:

  1. Pressure
  2. Human error
  3. Normals don’t get reversal windows
  4. Afraid of another invincible follow-up

So overall, it’s better to play it safe and late crouch tech especially if you use a character that has 4-frame/5-frame start-up.

Negative frame advantage > invincible frame trap forces the user to choose early crouch tech frame trap or late crouch tech frame trap from the start, and also risk getting hit while trying to perform a late crouch tech frame trap if the opponent decides to take the frame advantage.

Positive frame advantage > invincible frame trap forces the opponent to late crouch tech and allows the user to feel out the timing for it.

Both are effective, but positive frame advantage is ideal.

This is one of my fav frame traps. C,lk c.lp c.lp kara dp.wurks all the time and focus lv 2 dash up wait then kara dp.catches ppl backdashing all the time andd leads to full ultra

I think I understand the concept now.

Basically, if Ken is in + frame advantage he has more options available to him while also limiting his opponents options and in effect “forcing their hand”.

If Ken is at - frame advantage, he is leaving himself only 1 SAFE option open if he wishes to maintain offensive pressure and that is the invincible move to create a frame trap. At the same time, as soon as Ken leaves himself at - frame advantage, his opponent has extra options open to them.

So I guess that to sum up, being at + frame advantage gives you more options than your opponent. Which is kind of obvious really!!!

Nuff said.



So if somebody blocks a cross-up EX tatsu, then a shoryuken would stuff nearly everything they could throw out. So this would create a positive, right?
Would this apply to any other type of tatsu aswell?