A stagger is referred to as an attack that is not completed when done on block. Usually these attacks have very little blockstun, making them very difficult to react to. Most characters can stagger using single-hitting jabs, such as their or . Jabs work great as staggers because they have quick start-up and also short blockstun. Staggers are incredibly useful for offensive pressure because it allows you to stay unpredictable with your attacks.
In the following example, Johnny Cage staggers his then follows up with a throw. Rather than completing the full string, Johnny Cage stops it short by only doing a single hit. Since the opponent is expecting to block Johnny Cage’s ,, string, Johnny Cage is able to mix this up by staggering with . This is a great way to sneak in throws against ill-prepared opponents.
Opponents may also attempt to react to the stagger and interrupt the follow-up. If they however react too late, then they are prone to being hit. Below, Johnny Cage staggers his then follows up with ,,. The opponent tries to react to the stagger, and as a result, is hit by the follow-up attack.
Staggers aren’t just limited to single-hitting moves. Any hit of a string can be used as a stagger as long as it has short blockstun. In addition to Johnny Cage’s , he can use , for stagger pressure. If mixed up well enough, opponents will have a tough time defending against Johnny Cage’s jab attacks.
The main weakness to staggers is that they are difficult or impossible to hit confirm because they usually consist of 1 or 2 hits. If the opponent gets hit by a stagger, then it becomes a missed opportunity that could have lead to a combo. Another downside to using staggers is that opponents will have more room to escape your pressure. Repeatedly using a stagger creates more holes in your offense, thus giving opponents more chances to interrupt and take their turn back.
Despite its flaws, staggers can be an amazing tool when used in offensive pressure. With how little blockstun staggers have, they can be extremely difficult to react to and defend against. If your opponent isn’t ready, then are likely to be thrown or counter-hit. When used effectively, staggers become an amazing strategy for opening opponents up and breaking an opponent’s guard.