A stagger is referred to not completing a full string on block and instead stopping it short at the 1st or 2nd hit. Usually these attacks have very little blockstun, making them 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 little blockstun. Staggers are incredibly useful for offensive pressure because they allow you to stay unpredictable with your attacks while setting up other means of offense.
In the following example, Johnny Cage staggers his then follows it up with a throw. Rather than completing the full string, Johnny Cage stops it short by only using the 1st hit. Since the opponent is expecting to block Johnny Cage’s ,, string, Johnny Cage is able to mix this up by staggering with his . This is a great way to sneak in throws against ill-prepared opponents.
Knowing this, the opponent may try to react to the stagger and interrupt the follow-up. If they however react too late, then they can be hit by another attack. Below, Johnny Cage staggers his and goes for a throw. The next time he staggers his , instead of a throw he follows up with his ,,. The opponent tries to react to the stagger, and as a result, is hit by the follow-up attack. This can be especially useful against opponents trying to tech a throw using a Throw Escape.
Staggers aren’t only limited to single-hitting moves. Any hit of a string can be used as a stagger as long as it has good block advantage, little blockstun, and the opponent is conditioned to block its follow-up. In addition to Johnny Cage’s , he can use his , for stagger pressure because it is only 0 on block and the opponent must respect the last hit of Johnny Cage’s ,,. If mixed up well enough, opponents will have a hard time defending against Johnny Cage’s jab attacks.
The main weakness to staggers is that they are either difficult to hit confirm or cannot be hit confirmed at all because they usually consist of 1 or 2 hits. If the opponent is hit by a stagger, then it will be a missed opportunity that could have lead into a combo. Another downside to using staggers is that opponents will have more room to escape your pressure. By repeatedly using staggers, it creates holes in your offense, giving the opponent more chances to interrupt your pressure and take their turn back.
Despite this, staggers can be an amazing for pressure when used correctly. Due to how little blockstun staggers have, they can be extremely difficult to react to and defend against. If your opponent isn’t prepared, then they are likely to be thrown or hit for reacting too late. It’s important to include staggers in your offense so that you can set up other attacks and open your opponent up.
Last Updated on January 7, 2020