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Links are the most common combo tool. Each move has startup frames and advantage on block. If a move's startup frames are less than or equal to the hit advantage of the previous move (and the opponent is in range), then the move is guaranteed to hit.
A simple example is Ryu's MP, LK combo. Stand MP is +7 on hit, while LK is 4 frame startup. Since 4 <= 7, the opponent does not recover in time to block the LK and it will combo. To successfully link, the Ryu player needs to press the sLK after the MP has finished but 4 frames before the player recovers; this means there is a 4 frame window (4/60ths of a second) where the Ryu player can press LK and have it still link successfully. Because the window is so small, the input needs to be pressed only during that window. Mashing the next input in the sequence will usually just cause it to miss, giving up a large damage opportunity.
In previous Street Fighter games, there were "1 frame links" which required the player to press the next input in a precise 1/60th of a second window. In Street Fighter V, the game buffers the input to allows make the smallest possible window 5 frames. As an example: MP is +7 on hit, crMK is 7f startup. This means normally there would be a 1/60 of a second window to press the next attack button. However because of the input buffer, the Ryu player can press the crMK in that 1/60th of a second window or 4/60's of a second before, and it will still link correctly.
When trying links and failing them to connect, if the opponent blocks the move it means the next move was pressed too late. If the move does not come out, then the button was pressed too early. Adjust your timing to get it correct, and with practice you should be hitting them 100% of the time.
Links are written in combos using "," to separate moves. Ryu's MP, MP, crMK combo implies the second MP is linked from the first, and crMK is linked from the second MP. To see the hit advantage and startup of a character's move, go to their character page and look at the "Startup" and "Adv Hit" columns under the "Frame Data" section.
Many moves can be canceled into specials attacks, which cancels the recovery of the move immediately into the special allowing new possibilities. Ryu's crMK is +2 on hit, meaning he needs a 1 or 2f move to link from it for a combo, which Ryu does not have. However by canceling his crMK into Tatsumaki Senpukyaku (crMK xx qcb+K), which is performed by immediately pressing crMK followed by the special command, the recovery of the move cancels and they combo. This doesn't mean any special cancelable move is comboable through a special cancel; trying crMK xx EX Jodan Sokutou Geri (hcf+KK) will result in the opponent blocking the attack, leaving Ryu to be punished.
Special Cancels are written using "xx" notation. Ryu's go-to combo up close is MP, crHP xx Shoryuken. This is MP, link into crHP, which is special canceled into his Shoryuken. To see what moves are special cancelable, look at the Frame Data section of a character's page and search for "sp" in the "Cancel Ability" column.
Chaining applies to many (not all) light attacks, and allows you to cancel the recovery into another light attack, similar to a special cancel. Chains are performed by simply hitting the button you want to chain into immediately.
This allows for combos that normally would not be possible based on frame data. A simple example is Ryu's crLK, crLP xx Shoryuken combo. crLK is only +2 on hit while crLP is 4f startup, meaning you can only link them on a counter hit. By chaining together crLK and crLP however, it's fast enough for both hits to connect in a combo.
Chains are usually written the same as a link using "," to separate. If both moves are light attacks, it is implied you should chain them together. To see what moves are chainable, go to a character's page and under the "Frame Data" section, look for "ch" under the "Cancel Ability" column.
Target Combos work similar to chains, however they only work for specific button sequences that vary character-to-character. Some characters have several target combos, while some do not have any.
As an example, Ken's Chin Buster is an important combo tool for him. By pressing b+MP then HP, he'll perform a unique string that he can't access any other way. A common combo for him is crLP, LP, b+MP > HP xx HK Tatsumaki Senpukyaku (qcb+HK). This starts with crLP, which chains into stand LP, links into b+MP, which goes into his target combo and is performed by pressing HP immediately after the b+MP without waiting, then cancels into HK Tatsu which is performed by performing qcb+HK immediately after pressing HP without needing to wait.
Target Combos are written using the ">" notation, to distinguish from linking moves together. The examples above uses b+MP > HP, which is different from b+MP, HP. To see a character's target combos, look at the "Unique Attacks" section in a character's movelists.
With V-Trigger meter filled, many moves can be canceled into V-Trigger. Some moves are only able to cancel into specific V-Triggers; Balrog's Turn Around Punch special can cancel into VT1, but not VT2. By canceling the recovery frames, this allows a character to recover much faster and opens new combo opportunities. However as of Season 3, using V-Trigger to cancel a combo increases the hit counter by 2, drastically scaling a combo and reducing its overall damage compared to doing the same combo without it. This means using V-Trigger cancels can actually reduce a combo's total damage. For more information on this, see the Damage Scaling section below.
As an example, Balrog's Stomping Combo (d+MK > d+MK) is normally only +2 on hit and not special cancelable, meaning it is normally impossible to combo from. By canceling into V-Trigger however, it becomes plus enough on hit to allow him to link crMP afterwards which is special cancelable. From this he can then continue his combo.
V-Trigger Cancels are usually written as "xx VTC" or "xx VT1/VT2". An example with Balrog is d+MK > d+MK xx VT2, crMP xx HP+HK. This involves using his target combo, canceling into V-Trigger 2, linking crMP afterwards and special canceling it into his VT2 special "B3". To see what moves are VT Cancelable, go to a character's page and under the "Frame Data" section, look for "vt1" and "vt1" under the "Cancel Ability" column.
Certain moves, such as Ryu's jMP against an airborne opponent or Ryu's EX Jodan Sokutou Geri (hcf+KK), cause the opponent to fly into the air. Many of these moves allow the character to follow up with one or multiple moves while they are falling to the ground. Hitting an opponent in the air is known as a juggle. For more information on what determines whether a move can juggle an opponent, see the "Juggles" section on the "Advanced Techniques" page.
As an example, using Kage's f+HP > HK target combo causes the opponent to fly into the air. By V-Trigger canceling it, Kage recovers faster, allowing the Kage player to follow up with HP Shoryuken while they are still in the air. The full combo is f+HP > HK xx VTC, HP Shoryuken.
Juggles are usually not indicated in combos, and assumed the next part will juggle if the previous move launches the opponent up. Another example with Kage is crMP, HP xx EX Kurekijin (qcb+KK), dash, HP Shoryuken. EX Kurekijin causes the opponent to bounce off the wall, so it's assumed the HP Shoryuken will juggle them.