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Frame Data Tutorial

Understanding frame data is essential if you are looking to take fighting games seriously. If you are completely new to fighting games then seeing these numbers might be confusing. This guide will explain frame data and how it works in Mortal Kombat 11.

First let’s try to understand what a frame is. Mortal Kombat 11 plays at 60 fps (frames per second). This means that after every second, 60 frames will have passed by. One frame is the equivalent to 1/60th of a second. We can use this to determine how fast certain moves are in the game.

Start-up

Start-up is the amount of frames a move takes before becoming active.

In this example, we’ll be using at Jade. If we look at the start-up of Jade’s Back+2, we see that it has 10 start-up frames. A move with 10 frames of start-up or less is very fast as it comes out in 1/6th of a second. The lower the start-up of a move, the faster that move will be. In contrast, the higher the start-up of a move, the slower it will be.

Let’s compare this to Jade’s Forward+2, which has 28 start-up frames. This move comes out much slower than Jade’s Back+2. In general, it’s not wise to use moves that have slow start-up as they can be beaten out if the opponent uses a faster move. However if you know that the opponent will block, then you’ll be able to use more slow attacks.

Active

Active is the amount of frames a move has while it is in its active state.

Looking at Jade again, her Back+2 has 21 active frames. This move will stay active for quite awhile compared to Jade’s Forward+2 which only has 2 active frames. Moves with a lot of active frames will have a greater chance of hitting an opponent and will be difficult to beat out.

Recovery

Recovery is the amount of frames a move has after being used before a character is be able to move again.

Jade’s Forward+2 has 34 recovery frames. This means that after Jade has used this move, she can no longer block or move until 34 frames have passed. Moves with a high amount of recovery frames are very unsafe if they miss as the opponent will have ample amount of time to go for a whiff punish. However, moves with very little recovery frames, such as jabs or pokes, can a lot of times be freely thrown out because they will be harder to whiff punish.

Cancel Advantage

Cancel advantage is the amount of frames a move gives when cancelled into another move. To view the cancel advantage of a move, you must turn on Frame Data in Practice Options and perform the move on hit or on block.

Jade’s Back+1 has 31 cancel advantage on hit. If the opponent is hit by this move and it is cancelled into another move, they won’t be able to move for 31 frames. Cancel advantage however is different on hit than on block. For example, Jade’s Back+1 has 31 cancel advantage on hit, but it has 10 cancel advantage on block. If the opponent blocks this move and it is cancelled into another move, they won’t be able to move for 10 frames.

If we look at Jade’s Edenian Spark, it has a start-up of 20 frames. If Back+1 is cancelled into Edenian Spark on block, the opponent won’t be able to move for 10 frames, but will be able to move afterwards before the Edenian Spark connects. If the Back+1 hits, then it will combo into Edenian Spark because it has 31 cancel advantage on hit, which is greater than the start-up of Edenian Spark.

Note: This is different from the cancel advantage listed in the Move List. The Move List cancel advantage is the 1st frame in which a cancel occurs. For example, the Move List cancel advantage for Jade’s Back+1 is listed as 21. This means that on frame 21, Back+1 will start to cancel into another move.

Hit Advantage

Hit advantage is the amount of frames a move gives after it hits.

Jade’s Back+2 has 15 hit advantage. If the opponent is hit by this move, they won’t be able to move for 15 frames.

Block Advantage

Block advantage is the amount of frames a move gives after it is blocked.

Jade’s Back+3,4,3,4 has 5 block advantage. If the opponent blocks this move, they won’t be able to move for 5 frames.

Most moves however will have negative block advantage. A move that has negative block advantage works in the opposite manner. For example, Jade’s Forward+2,1 has -13 block advantage. If the opponent blocks this move, then Jade won’t be able to move for 13 frames. Moves with a high amount of negative block advantage are generally unsafe. In order to punish Jade’s Forward+2,1, the opponent will need to use a move with 12 start-up frames or faster.

Note: A move with 13 start-up frames will not work here because the move doesn’t become active until the 14th frame, which is the first active frame. However if a Special Move with 13 start-up frames is done as a reversal, then it will work because reversals have 1 frame shaven off.

Flawless Block Advantage

Flawless Block advantage is the amount of frames a move gives after it is Flawless Blocked.

Jade’s Forward+2 has -19 Flawless Block advantage. If the opponent Flawless Blocks this move, Jade won’t be able to move for 19 frames. Some moves if Flawless Blocked will become more disadvantageous than if they were blocked like normal. This makes it possible to punish moves that are normally safe on block. Additionally, Flawless Block can be followed up with an Up+2 or Up+3 to punish depending on the start-up of the Flawless Block Attack and whether the opponent can block in time. In most cases, a well-timed Flawless Block will punish the opponent’s attack.

Last Updated on December 9, 2019

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Paul
Paul
6 months ago

Why tutorials have to be misleading… Jade’s Back+2 has 15 hit advantage. If the opponent is hit by this move, they won’t be able to move for 15 frames. No. The 15 hit advantage is the delta (difference) between the moment of hit fighter’s stun ends and the moment hitting fighter’s recovery ends. It is not the immobility (stun) duration. The hit adv. number is about applicable difference (a relative value), not an absolute duration value. There are basically 3 discernable phases of any successfull hit (when not airborne): 1) Beating; it lingers until active part of attack goes on;… Read more »

Jolfvaka
Jolfvaka
6 months ago
Reply to  Paul

All this just because you wanted Raptor to add : ‘after Jade has finished her recovery’,
Gtfo of here dude.

Anonymous
Anonymous
6 months ago

what are negative frames?

Anonymous
Anonymous
9 months ago

Super site! thanks a lot for that!

Python_717
Python_717
9 months ago

Hey Raptor, got a question about active frames. for instance, sub zero’s stand 2 has a 8 frame start up, while 21 I believe is 16 frame start up. does that mean that the 21 won’t be active until after 16 frames, thus cancelling the active frames of the 2 jab? because it seems like stand 2 is active quicker than 21 but I’m not sure. also is blockstun related to block advantage frames? thanks

Raptor
Raptor
9 months ago
Reply to  Python_717

The 21 doesn’t cancel out the active frames of the standing 2. Standing 2 starts up in 8 frames, then it becomes active for 2 frames, then the 21 will start up for an additional 16 frames, then it becomes active for 2 frames. Yes blockstun and block advantage are similar but not exactly the same. To put it simply: Blockstun – The total amount of frames a character is unable to move “while” blocking an attack Block Advantage – The amount of frames a character is unable to move “after” blocking an attack I should probably update the guide,… Read more »

Python_717
Python_717
9 months ago
Reply to  Raptor

thanks Raptor! this site is brilliant btw, and it’s saving me a lot of time

Carbon
Carbon
1 year ago

Is there a rule against using normals in combos?
For example Scorpion’s standing 2 is +17 on hit and his D1 has a startup of 7, but they don’t combo into each other and the D1 is blocked every time.
Also Tsuka Poke on V3 is +11 on hit, but won’t connect with any of his normals.
The only explanation I can think of is that you aren’t allowed to use them on grounded opponents in the middle of strings/combos but idk

Carbon
Carbon
1 year ago
Reply to  Raptor

I appreciate the reply
Would this be the same reason crouching poke -> special doesn’t combo?

Thank you for all the work you have put into this website. It’s the only place I will go to for learning this game

walter
walter
1 year ago

Hi, sorry I wanted to ask you, how many times can I cancel a movement with a special attack?
In the following situation:
If I cancel a move with a special attack and amplify or improve the special attack, does amplifying a special attack count as another cancellation?
Thanks, I wait for your answer.

IG: TimeVoider
IG: TimeVoider
1 year ago
Reply to  walter

Thats actually a decent question.You might have to lab it out in training

Down1_into_Strepsitera
Down1_into_Strepsitera
1 year ago

Thank you so much for the info. Tired of losing and I wanna get to know the game inside out. This site is really helpful.
Another term I really wanna understand is BlockStun. I see it a lot. What is that? Is it there in MK11? And if it is, how is it calculated?

XxGAMMAxX
XxGAMMAxX
1 year ago

I completely understand frame data after a long time of learning the terminology and slowly starting with the frames and ending with a complete understanding of it to where I can apply it to my online play and its made me a much better player and its a mixture of your teachings and and other ppls videos like dink for example but this specific guide is what made frame data completely click with me.

Anonymous
Anonymous
1 year ago

What do these terms like F2, F1, B2 even mean? Even in your combo list for characters have things like Skarlet-124 BF4. What does that even mean?

Marlow
Marlow
2 years ago

How does Cancel Advantage work?

Chris
Chris
2 years ago

Hey I am a blind player, and I am impressed with the level of accessibility for screen reader users this site has. THanks sooo much. It was difficult to find a site that was accessible.

XxxHushxxX
XxxHushxxX
2 years ago

Wow, this is the best explanation of frame data I’ve seen yet. I only really understood what start up is and that’s it and that if my move has a startup number lower than my opponent, I’ll be able to hit my opponent first if we throw a move at the same time, but I’m actually understanding this alot more. Ever consider doing a video it this? I’m sure it would be even better if you use examples. Just a suggestion. Thanks for this

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