Ultra Street Fighter IV/Advanced Techniques

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Ultra Street Fighter IVUSFIV-Header.png


Plinking, short for "Priority Linking", is a fundamental technique to getting the most out of your combos. It makes difficult combos much easier to achieve.

The Technique

Plinking is done by inputting two consecutive buttons exactly one frame (1/60 of a second) apart. It sounds a lot harder than it really is. However, it is typically very difficult to perform on controllers apart from an arcade stick because of the button layout and design on most pads (i.e. standard Xbox/Playstation controllers). The catch is that it only works if a higher priority command is input before a lower priority button.

The Mechanics

This technique exploits a mechanic in USF4 that gives certain commands priority over others. The formula is relatively simple: medium attacks have priority over light attacks, heavy/hard attacks have priority over both, and kicks have priority over punches. The priority list looks like this:

LP < LK < MP < MK < HP < HK

Plinking allows you get an extra frame to hit the next move in your combo, which makes the notorious one-frame links entirely possible. There are two reasons to use plinking over attempting to hammer the same button twice within 2/60's of a second. One, it is almost physically impossible to do so. Two, the game will not recognize the same button press on two consecutive frames, as it interprets this as the button being held down. A button must be released before it can be hit gain, so the fastest possible mashed input would occur every other frame. Thus, it wouldn't be useful for attempting a one-frame link even if you could physically do it.

The technical explanation for the existence of plinking is most likely to make button combinations like throws, focus attacks, taunts, and EX moves more lenient. In games like SF3: 3rd Strike, it was not uncommon for players to fail an attempted EX special move because they hit the two attack buttons one frame apart. Plinking repeats the first input on consecutive frames and allows the system to register the second input of the higher priority command. When done successfully the inputs should appear like this: Plinking.jpg

Notice how the first input is registered twice? This is what adds that extra frame to the one-frame window used in many difficult links. Because of the priority system, the lesser input (MP) is ignored in favor of the higher input (HP). This principle applies to any input and any combination of inputs, allowing for a large amount of plinking possibilities.

You can only plink a LK~LP when crouching because Throw takes priority while standing. You cannot plink MK~MP or HK~HP because Focus Attack and Taunt take priority at all times. LP has priority over nothing, so it cannot be plinked by normal means (more on that later).

Double Plinking

This technique is a plink that utilizes three buttons instead of two. It helps make a plink successful if the timing of the first input was a little off. It does not give an extra frame, it simply increases the plink's chance of succeeding. This is because it acts like you plinked twice.

True Double Plinking

The difference between regular double plinking and "true" double plinking is true double plinking actually involves two different plinks in rapid succession. This further increases your chances of hitting the one-frame link. It acts somewhat like an option select, but depends on your timing rather than the opponent's response. An example of this would be adding a MP+LK plink to a HP+LP plink. If you somehow miss the timing on the first plink (HP+LP) the second plink (MP+LK) will come out. This can be useful if you're having trouble with certain links.


This bizarre plink involves the use of the Back (Xbox) or Select (Playstation) button, thus Blinking or Slinking. The Back/Select button is secretly the lowest priority input in the game, effectively having priority over nothing. Its usefulness is derived from its unique ability to double any input or any combination of inputs, giving an extra frame to each and can essentially plink the combination rather than the individual inputs. This includes light punch (which was previously impossible to plink), grab/throw, and ultras (3-punch/3-kick buttons). This is very useful for trying to do strictly timed throws, or even kara throws, ultras, and anything else. Unfortunately, this technique is not available in Trials mode, as Back/Select brings up a menu screen displaying the combo notation.

On arcade cabinets, the Start button serves the same purpose, although the location of the button can vary to the point where it becomes impractical. Blinking/Slinking is not possible for 3DS users, since the Select button acts as a second Start button. The slink will register and come out if done correctly, but at the cost of momentarily pausing the game. It is therefore not a reliable way to practice the technique, nor is it good to use in online matches.

Kara Canceling

In Street Fighter 4, some moves can be canceled very quickly into another move which gains additional properties it otherwise might not have had. The cancel has to be done 1 frame (and only 1 frame) after the first move is inputted, and this type of cancel is known as kara canceling. Typically, the added benefit is just increased distance, and the second move is typically a throw. The pairing of a kara-canceled move with a throw is thus known as a kara throw.

Kara Cancelling Distance Comparison

Every character in the game has a move which can be kara-canceled, but each individual move typically adds a different amount of distance. Some moves actually give no distance when kara-canceled, and a few moves actually give negative distance, meaning they move the character backward.

Below is a list of the added distance gained when kara-canceling each move, excluding karas with minimal effect (under 0.010 distance). "Lenient" karas, like the ones built into Sagat's f.LK and f.HK, are not included because they are not technically karas.

As an example, when Vega performs his Far HK kara throw, he adds 0.289 distance to his throw range (1.07), for a total of 0.289 + 1.07 = 1.36. As a reference, the stage is 15.0 units wide, and the characters start 3.0 units apart at the beginning of the round. All numbers are truncated values (rounded down).

Note that the proximity range of normals affects how and when they can be used. For example, Evil Ryu's Far HP has a good kara range at 0.2204, but his Close HP doesn't move him forward at all. Additionally, many close normals actually have shorter proximity distance than the character's throw range, which makes them pointless for kara throwing.

Moves with a blue background are special-only karas; they can be used to kara EX specials of a higher priority, supers and ultras. Moves with a red background are negative karas that move backwards a noticeable distance.

Ultra Street Fighter 4 Kara Cancel Data
Character Kara Canceled Move Distance Added
Abel close LK 0.165
Abel far LK 0.091
Abel crouching HK 0.174
Adon close MK 0.306
Adon far HK 0.098
Akuma close HP 0.126
Akuma far HP 0.178
Akuma close HK 0.294
Akuma far HK 0.041
Balrog Any Dash Punch (L/M/H) 0.110
Balrog Any Dash Punch (EX) 0.120
Blanka far LP 0.218
Blanka Forward Hop 0.221
Cammy far MK 0.065
Cammy crouching MK 0.031
Chun-Li forward+MK 0.060
Chun-Li Hazanshu (H) 0.070
Chun-Li Lightning Kicks (EX) 0.200
Cody close HK 0.102
Cody far HK 0.135
C. Viper Burning Kick (H) 0.060
C. Viper Burning Kick (EX) 0.070
Dan Dankukyaku (L/M/H) 0.021
Decapre close LP 0.094
Decapre far LP 0.012
Decapre close LK 0.012
Decapre close MP 0.031
Decapre far MP 0.043
Decapre far MK 0.064
Decapre close HP -0.057
Decapre far HP 0.025
Decapre crouching MK 0.031
Decapre down forward+MK -0.046
Dee Jay far MP 0.018
Dee Jay close MK 0.138
Dee Jay crouching MP 0.021
Dhalsim crouching HK (slide) 0.013
Dudley standing HP 0.070
Dudley Machinegun Blow (H) 0.442
Dudley Machinegun Blow (EX) 0.542
E. Honda Hundred Hand Slap (H) 0.120
Elena standing LK 0.098
Elena crouching HP 0.059
Elena crouching HK 0.096
Elena forward+MP 0.038
Elena forward+MK 0.116
Elena down forward+HK 0.010
El Fuerte far MK 0.011
El Fuerte close HK 0.016
El Fuerte far HK -0.025
Evil Ryu far HP 0.220
Evil Ryu close HK 0.185
Evil Ryu far HK 0.076
Evil Ryu crouching MK 0.350
Evil Ryu forward+MK 0.132
Evil Ryu Axe Kick (L) 0.392
Fei Long far HK 0.102
Fei Long forward+MK 0.018
Fei Long Rekkaken (H) 0.167
Gen (Mantis) close / far MK 0.259
Gen (Crane) close / far MP 0.050
Gen (Crane) crouching MP 0.063
Gouken close MK 0.153
Gouken far MK 0.052
Gouken far HK 0.191
Guile far MP 0.186
Guile close MK 0.255
Guile crouching HK 0.125
Guile Flash Kick (ALL) 0.237
Guy close MP 0.031
Guy far MP 0.135
Guy close HK 0.257
Guy downforward+HK 0.073
Guy Hozanto (EX) 0.146
Hakan forward+HP 0.024
Hakan (not oiled) Oil Rocket (ALL) 0.120
Hakan (oiled) Oil Rocket (ALL) 0.100
Hugo standing MP 0.046
Hugo standing MK 0.017
Hugo standing HP 0.017
Ibuki standing MK (neutral) 0.175
Ibuki crouching MP 0.219
Ibuki Kasumi Gake (ALL) 0.250
Juri close MP 0.175
Juri far MP 0.266
Ken forward+MK 0.413
Ken forward+HK 0.325
Makoto forward+LK 0.336
Makoto forward+LK xx Karakusa
(6f window, later = farther)
M. Bison close MK 0.025
Oni standing HK 0.242
Oni back+MP 0.205
Poison close LP 0.053
Poison far MP -0.136
Poison forward+MP -0.030
Poison crouching MK 0.020
Rolento close LK 0.105
Rolento far LK 0.257
Rolento close/far MP 0.042
Rolento close MK 0.217
Rolento far MK 0.111
Rose crouching HP 0.020
Rufus close HK 0.050
Rufus far HK -0.043
Rufus Galactic Tornado (L) 0.050
Rufus Galactic Tornado (EX) 0.071
Ryu close HK 0.185
Ryu far HK 0.104
Sagat close MK 0.120
Sagat forward+LK 0.039
Sakura close / far LK 0.054
Sakura close HP 0.195
Sakura far HP -0.015
Sakura crouching HP 0.106
Sakura forward+MK 0.019
Sakura Shouoken (EX) 0.100
Seth far LK 0.088
Vega close / far HK 0.289
Yang close / far HK 0.104
Yang Mantis Slash (H) 0.189
Yun close / far LK (Genei Jin) 0.350
Yun close MP (non-Genei Jin) 0.178
Yun far MP 0.122
Yun close MK (non-Genei Jin) 0.044
Yun far MK 0.178
Yun crouching MK 0.170
Yun crouching MK (Genei Jin) 0.153
Yun forward+MK 0.168
Yun Lunge Punch (L, Normal/Genei Jin) 0.366
Yun Shoulder (L) 0.217
Yun Shoulder (L) (Genei Jin) 0.340
Yun Shoulder (M) 0.169
Yun Shoulder (M) (Genei Jin) 0.370
Yun Shoulder (EX) 0.247
Zangief far HK 0.221
Zangief Banishing Flat (L) 0.130

Game Navigation

Controls & Notation
Basic Elements
Game Systems
Universal Abilities
Advanced Techniques
Change List
Omega Mode
C. Viper
E. Honda
El Fuerte
Evil Ryu
Fei Long
M. Bison
T. Hawk