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Super Street Fighter IV/Universal Abilities/Throws
Throws Aren't Cheap
As with every Street Fighter game since the beginning, Throws are an integral part of the game. Throws are the main way to defeat opponents who are Blocking as Throws are unaffected by Blocking. The only downside of a Throw is that you have to get in close to your opponent to Throw them. So typically, the times you most get to Throw your opponent is when you have them scared of your attacks and they grow overly defensive.
To perform a Throw, just hit the two Light Attack buttons (Light Punch and Light Kick) at the same time. Your character will reach out and try to Throw the opponent. It won't matter if they are Blocking or not, Throws will connect on the opponent if they are within range. However, as mentioned, all Throws have generally very short range, so if the opponent isn't close enough, you'll execute a Throw Whiff animation which leaves you in delay for a short period of time.
Forward Vs. Back Throw
Every character has two Throws: a Forward Throw and a Back Throw. Both Throws are always unique Throw animations and will always put your opponent on the side you are holding the joystick. A Forward Throw will always keep the opponent in front of you and a Back Throw will toss the opponent behind you, making you turn around after the Throw completes. If you leave the joystick at Neutral or hold Towards on the joystick, you will perform a Forward Throw when you hit the two Light Attack buttons. If you hold Back on the joystick when you hit the buttons, you will perform a Back Throw.
No other direction on the joystick can be held to perform a Throw. For example, if you are holding and of the three Down position on the joystick and hit Light Punch and Light Kick at the same time, a Throw will not come out and a Normal Attack will occur instead.
There are several states where the characters cannot be thrown:
- They cannot be thrown out of Hit Stun or Block Stun. For example, if you perform a Jumping Hard Kick on the opponent and land and immediately try to Throw, your Throw will whiff because you tried to grab them during their Block Stun.
- Characters can never be Thrown while they are knocked down and lying on the ground.
- Characters cannot be ground thrown if they in the air, whether they are Jumping or performing a move that is considered airborne, such as Juri's Close Hard Punch, Rufus's Vulture Kick, and Ryu's Tatsumaki Senpukyaku. However, they can still be air thrown.
- Certain moves are immune to throws, typically on their startup frames. For example, Abel's regular Tornado Throw cannot be thrown unless it whiffs.
- Characters cannot be thrown for 2 frames when they are eligible to perform a Reversal. This means meaty throws will whiff, and certain tick grabs will whiff even though you are in range and the opponent has already left blockstun. It also means you will never be able to throw reversal moves that start up in 2 frames or less (Zangief Spinning Pile Driver).
Throw Frame Data
Throws are NOT instant in Super Street Fighter IV. All normal Throws from the ground have a 2 frame startup window and connect on the third frame and fourth frame. That means even if you Throw one frame too early and the opponent is still in Block Stun or Hit Stun on the first Active Frame of the Throw, if the opponent ends their Stun on the second Active Frame of the Throw, it will connect.
If the opponent is not in range or not Throwable on either of the two active frames, however, you'll go into the Throw Whiff animation that lasts for 20 frames. And although that time is relatively short (1/3 of a second), alert opponents can easily use that delay to their advantage and punish you during the Whiff animation.
It's really important to remember that Throws have start up time. Just those two frames of startup mean they cannot be used on Wake-up, for example to beat out Meaty Attacks. You will always get hit during your startup frames if the Meaty Attack was timed properly. And if an opponent tries to hit you with a move and you start the Throw before the move connects on you, you can still be hit on the first or second frame of your Throw attempt if their move connects in time.
It should also be noted that Gouken is an exception to the startup frame count. His Back Throw actually has 4 startup frames, so it connects on the 5th and 6th frames. Capcom was apparently worried that Back Throw into Ultra would be too powerful, so they increased the startup time for the Back Throw, making it easier to react to it.
Every character has a different Throw range. Here is a chart that shows the Throw ranges for every character:
It is worth noting that this information pertains to normal Throws only. Many characters have Command Throws that fall into the Special Move category. These have their own startup times and ranges and abilities that are unique to those moves. Experiment with your character's Command Throws to figure out their properties.
Some characters have Air Throws they can perform while Jumping that can catch opponents that are also in the air. You perform them by Jumping and, during the Jump, pressing both Light Attack buttons at the same time, just like with ground Throws. However, it does not matter what direction on the controller you are holding when you press the buttons for the Throw, as all directions will result in an Air Throw attempt. Air Throws also have whiff animations if the opponent is not within range or cannot be Air Thrown.
Most characters do not have Air Throws -- only a select few do. And those that have Air Throws generally only have one Air Throw with the Exception of Guile. He's the only character that makes a difference on the direction you are holding the joystick. Any of the three Back directions on the joystick makes him perform the Flying Buster Drop and the other 6 joystick positions make him perform the Flying Mare.
Again, depending on the Air Throw's range, they can grab pretty much anything that is airborne. Guile, who has a particularly large range on his Air Throw, has been seen Air Throwing Blanka out of his Rolling Attack, Akuma out of his Tatsumaki Zankukyaku, and even Viper out of her Viper Elbow. And unlike ground Throws, which have a universal startup time of 2 frames, each Air Throw has their own startup frame count.
There are also some Special Move Air Throws are well, such as Guy's Kaiten Izuna Otoshi and Cammy's Crossed Scissors Throw from her Hooligan Combinations. They require a different motion to perform, but other than that, the same rules apply.
Here is a chart that shows the Air Throw ranges for every character: