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Super Street Fighter IV/Universal Abilities/Armor Breakers
Armor Breakers serve one main purpose: to override the Focus Phase's ability to absorb a hit. When a Focus Attack loses out to an Armor Breaker, you'll hear a very distinct "glass shattering" sound effect and see some shattered glass-like effects coming from the hit spark.
Natural Armor Breakers
There are two types of Armor Breakers. The first type are just one or more Special Moves for your character that have been assigned the Armor Breaking property. There is no system to this: it's just whatever move the developers thought were suited to be an Armor Breaker. Example of these are Honda's Sumo Headbutt, Balrog's Dash Low Smash, Dhalsim's Yoga Flame, and Dee Jay's Machine Gun Upper.
Some Special Moves that hit multiple times may have the Armor Breaker property only applied to one of the multiple hits. The main example of this is with Fei Long's Rekkukyaku: only the first hit of the move Armor Breaks. All other hits can be Focused.
Some Super Combos and Ultra Combos also have Armor Breaking properties. Abel's Heartless, Gouken's Forbidden Shoryuken, Rose's Soul Satellite, and Adon's Jaguar Revolver are all Armor Breakers, for example.
And as mentioned earlier, all Level 3 Focus Attacks are also considered Armor Breakers.
Reversal Armor Breakers
The second type of Armor Breakers are Reversal Armor Breakers. Anytime a Special Move, Super Combo, or Ultra Combo is performed as a Reversal, it automatically gains the Armor Breaking property. So even though a move such as Ryu's Shoryuken does not Armor Break naturally, if he performs one on wake-up as a Reversal and you happen to be performing a Focus at the time, you will lose out on the first hit with the same glass-shattering sounds and visuals that accompany a normal Armor Breaker.
It should be noted that when performed as a Reversal, every hit of the move becomes Armor Breaking. So in the example listed above for Fei Long's Rekkukyaku, where only the first hit is naturally an Armor Breaker, if you perform the move as a Reversal, all three hits will Armor Break.
Other Armored Moves
Focus Attacks are not the only moves that are considered "Armored" in the game. There are several moves that gain Armor that can absorb hits. These moves will all lose to Armor Breakers as well. Examples of these moves are Gouken's Kongoshin, Juri's Kasatushi, El Fuerte's EX Habanero Dash, Balrog's EX Dash Straight, Dudley's Cross Counter (though there is oddly no glass-shattering effect on this move), and Abel's Breathless.
There are also two Counter Ultras in the game: Cammy's CQC (Cammy Quick Combination) and Fei Long's Gekirinken. These Ultras will lose out to all moves that are naturally Armor Breakers, but interestingly enough, they will successfully beat all Reversal Armor Breakers. So only the first type of Armor Breakers will defeat these two Ultras, though no glass-shattering effects will be seen or heard.