The daunting task of link consistency


I’ll kick this whole thing off by saying that I’m not entirely new to fighting games, as I’ve been casually going at them since the early 90s. Recently, I decided to become more serious about them and I’ve been playing SFxTekken for about 3 weeks now. I’ve been practicing about 3 hours or more daily.

I’ve taken what I imagine are the necessary steps to understanding my characters. Sagat / Ibuki are my mains and I’ve been spending some serious time in the training room with the both of them. I’m familiar with their normals and I feel pretty comfortable executing their specials. I suppose it’s also important to note that I’m a pad player and, though I’m decent on stick, I seem to be a lot more consistent with specials / cancels on pad.

So, despite some very diligent practice in the training room (Let’s see, 21 x 3 = 63 hours) and even a growing number of online victories , I can’t seem to understand linking and what it takes to pull off great links consistently.

^ I read that, watched the videos and everything, and still can’t really understand what it takes to practice or connect links properly. Literally nothing has improved in these past three weeks and I feel like I’m doing something wrong. I feel like I can’t get the timing down and I’m aware of the consequences of early/late button presses.

If someone out there thinks I’ve been wasting my time and probably won’t get better, I’d appreciate the honesty.

If there’s a veteran around that can help out a pathetic scrub figure out what’s wrong with his executions I’d really appreciate that, too.



I’m no veteran, and I honestly don’t even play SF that much or SFxT at all, but all you really need to learn for link consistency is plinking. While it takes some time to master it’s necessary for hitting your links consistently. You’ll still have to learn general timing, but plinking for whatever reason grants 1-2 frames of leniency to links (which is more useful than it sounds). Like I said, I don’t play either game very often but I don’t really have trouble hitting links thanks to plinking.

Plinking has always seemed pretty viable to me, but as I’m primarily a pad player, it seems like it’s pretty tough to do with only a thumb to assist. I just feel it’s really strange that I can consistently fire out the exact moves I want on pad with 90% consistency under pressure, yet linking with a standing training dummy seems like such a far off goal. I’d hate to have to switch to stick again, so it seems like I’m at a crossroads here between dealing with limited options and dropping a pretty penny on a piece of machinery.

I really appreciate the reply, though, and this is a good stepping stone for me to weigh options.


Personally, I wouldn’t use one frame links at all without plinking. I’m sure it would still be possible to get consistent with them, but grinding them daily just for maintenance purposes would be too much time investment for me.

Two+ frame links should naturally become pretty consistent without plinking, it’s just a matter of practice.

The one frames is what I think I’m having the biggest issue with. It seems like Sagat has some serious implications when it comes to linking from medium punch to anything without a cancel / boost, so I feel like it’s become my biggest downfall. I’d switch characters but I’m really comfortable with his move set and have even gotten proficient at zoning with him. When it comes to 1 frames, is that something that I need in my repertoire or do you think there’s enough higher frame links for me to get really good at the game? What I mean to say is are the one frame links usually better combos or is that something I can avoid altogether?

if the 1f links play a crucial role in the amount of damage you get, yeah you need to practice them. i’m not familiar with sfxt sagat so i don’t know if the combo you’re struggling with is essential but there r some plinks that r doable and comfortable enough on pad. if you still can’t get the timing down you might have to get creative with it like knowing when to do it because of a sound or visual queue. if it’s causing you too much frustration just let it go and practice your fundamentals until you’re bored and then come back to it. links take a long time to master so it’s not something you can rush unless you’ve mastered them in the past with other games. in the meantime, just play the game and keep at it until it clicks.

1F links aren’t that important, but I would recommend you learn how to plink on pad anyway. It’s more difficult than stick, obviously, but it’s something you can practice every time you play and eventually doesn’t require any effort. You don’t have to be able to plink 100% of the time for it to be effective. Even if your plinks only work half of the time, that will increase your combo accuracy a lot right away.

As for the method, well, it depends on your button setup. IMO the easiest is to plink shoulder to face (i.e. R1 to X), but face to shoulder and face to face are also doable if your thumb is set correctly. Just press the buttons almost at the same time, but not quite. Worst case scenario, you’ll get them together (lower priority input gets ignored) and it’s the same as if you had only pressed one button. Best case scenario, you’ll get a plink. Do that enough and it becomes second nature.

Random tip: try a digital controller. The pressure sensitivity on an analog pad like the PS2/PS3 pads can throw your timing off and make it feel inconsistent.

Thanks for all your help, guys.

I wasn’t sure if links were a facet of fighting games that were legitimately difficult or something I just wasn’t good at, so I was a bit bummed that I hadn’t been able to get them down in x amount of hours. I guess I’ll just keep doing what I’m doing, practicing them daily, and if I don’t see an improvement within six months or so, I’ll call it quits (as I figure by then, it’s gotta be a problem I won’t be able to figure out). Thanks again!

Best Regards,


That is alot of practice time, but be confident in your ability. At first it’s hard but then one day it will just “click.” Yeah, it’s one of those things.

I’m scared that you are over training, esp as a beginer. Your brain can only process so much info at first, and if you are doing things wrong for 3 hours at a time then you are creating habits that will be hard to break later on.