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Super Street Fighter IV/Universal Abilities/Special Moves

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What Makes Them Special?

Every character in Super Street Fighter IV have what are called Special Moves. A Special Move is an attack that requires a specific joystick motion or a combination of buttons to perform. Examples of Special Moves are Ryu's Hadoken (which requires a Down, Offensive Crouch, Towards joystick motion before pressing Punch), Zangief's Double Lariat (which requires you to hit three Punch buttons simultaneously), Blanka's Electric Thunder (which requires you to tap Punch as fast as possible), and El Fuerte's Quesadilla Bomb (which requires you to hold any Kick button for a period of time before letting go of the Kick button).

There main thing that makes Special Moves significant besides the more complex motions are the fact that they do damage even if the attack is Blocked. This is known as "Chip Damage" or "Block Damage". Chip Damage is always 25% of the actual damage. You can actually be knocked out from Chip Damage. So even if you Block the Special Move, if you do not have enough life left, you will lose.

Chip Damage is also affected by the Damage Reduction talked about in the Life Meter section. So at 50% of life, Chip Damage is only 95% of the original value. At 30% life, damage is reduced to 90% and at 15% life, damage is reduced to 75%.

The Two Special Move Classes

There are only two classes of Special Moves: Super / EX Focus Only Cancelable Special Moves and Non-Cancelable Special Moves. Just like with Normal Moves, some Specials, after they connect on the opponent, can be canceled into a Super Combo or an EX Focus Attack. Non-Cancelable Special Moves don't really need an explanation. They are Special Moves that cannot be canceled into anything.

There are actually a certain set of Special Moves that actually can be canceled into a Super or EX Focus Attack regardless if these moves hit the opponent or not. All basic Projectiles (Hadokens, Sonic Booms, Soul Sparks, etc.) fall into this category. There's just a specific window in which the moves can be canceled. Ryu, for example, can throw a Fireball and cancel it immediately into a Super if he has the proper amount of Super Meter at any point in time. There are no requirements for this to be possible.

Outside of Projectiles, there are only two moves that come to mind that can be canceled on whiff: Dudley's Ducking and Dudley's Thunderbolt. Both of these moves can be canceled into a Super Combo or EX Focus Attack during a certain window in the moves.