Trying to attack Johnny Cage after blocking his pokes can be quite difficult due to his pokes having the ability to low-profile underneath attacks. If Johnny Cage is using consecutive + or + pokes on block, you may find that counterpoking will sometimes not work. One way to stop this is to walk back and whiff punish the next poke with a ranged attack.
Another tactic Johnny Cage might use is cancelling his + into a Special Move such as Nut Punch or the Rising Star ability if equipped. This will beat your attempt at counterpoking Johnny Cage’s +. To counter this, continue blocking after his + and punish if he cancels into Nut Punch. If Johnny Cage has the Rising Star ability equipped, then he’ll be able to safely use it after pokes. Be sure to block high afterwards as the 2nd hit is an overhead. In order to keep himself safe, Johnny Cage must Amplify the Rising Star and spend 1 bar of Defensive Meter in order to keep himself safe, so at the very least he must use up resources when using Rising Star.
In addition, take advantage of Johnny Cage’s slow mid attacks by poking when you are at a slight disadvantage. Johnny Cage’s fastest mid attack is his +, which has a start-up of 14 frames. This means that anytime you are at -6 or less up-close against Johnny Cage, you’ll be able to safely poke to stop his next attack. Johnny Cage will only be able to stop you from poking by using his own poke or going for a throw. Note that this will depend on how much space is between you and Johnny Cage. If you’re not directly near Johnny Cage and attempt to poke, he’ll be able to walk backwards and whiff punish your poke with a +,. Poking is also not always safe because Johnny Cage also has the option to Flawless Block and punish your poke.
Punishing Massive Strike
Johnny Cage’s Massive Strike (+) is an advancing high attack with great range. One way to counter his + is to throw out pokes. Because you will be crouching, your pokes will avoid the +. If you wish to punish his +, you can also duck on a read and interrupt with a quick jab attack. Keep in mind that Johnny Cage can counter this by using +, or +,, however +, is very slow on start-up and +, does not lead into a combo.
Many of Johnny Cage’s moves leave him at advantage on block. For example, after blocking his ,, string and Amplified Straight Forceballs, he will be +1. These moves however create pushback on block. One option is to use a poke to interrupt his follow-up attack. Because of the pushback, you’ll be able to interrupt him before his attacks reach you. If you suspect that he may follow up with a +,,, duck underneath the 1st hit and punish with a jab.
It should be noted that Johnny Cage can counter this if he waits and uses an attack such as +, or +,, which will whiff punish your poke or stop you from ducking. This will however give you more room to escape his pressure, so you’ll be able to move backwards or jump away. Johnny Cage’s +,, is also highly punishable on whiff so you’ll also be able to whiff punish it with ease. Of course if you wish to remain safe, you can also continue blocking during Johnny Cage’s pressure and wait until he eventually gives up his turn.
Johnny Cage has very strong staggers. These staggers include his ,,, and +. You will at times want to interrupt his staggers to prevent him from continuously attacking. After blocking any of these attacks, throw out a poke to interrupt his next attack. It can be worth interrupting after Johnny Cage’s , because he cannot combo from his ,,. If in the corner however, Johnny Cage may use his ,, which can be converted into a combo. Because of this, it’s much riskier to interrupt his staggers if you are cornered.
If Johnny Cage staggers his +, it will leave Johnny Cage at -4 on block. Throwing out a jab after Johnny Cage’s + can be a viable strategy as it will interrupt his next attack for a full combo. However, this is a hard read because if Johnny Cage does not stagger and instead uses his +,,, he’ll be able to safely hit confirm into a combo.
Nut Punch Restand
Johnny Cage has the option to end his combos with his Nut Punch move, which will cause a restand that will leave him at +5 on hit. Fortunately, Johnny Cage’s fastest mid is 14 frames, meaning he’ll have a hard time stopping opponents from interrupting his follow-ups. A good option after Johnny Cage’s restand is to challenge him with a poke. There is little risk in using a poke in this situation because Johnny Cage will only be able to counter this by using his own poke or going for a throw, both of which do not deal much damage.
Countering Flawless Block
Johnny Cage is one of the few characters who can punish pokes with Flawless Block. The most common scenarios he might try to Flawless Block are after his +,,+, or after restanding with his Nut Punch. To stop him from trying to Flawless Block your poke, use an attack that has slightly slower start-up than a poke. This will hit Johnny Cage if he is trying to Flawless Block your poke. Additionally, you may also use a Back Throw, which Johnny Cage won’t be able to Flawless Block.
Johnny Cage has the ability to Armor Break with his Flippy Kick move, or Pissed Off ability if equipped, to counter your Breakaway. This is usually done after Johnny Cage has hit you with his ,,,+,+KB or Amplified Nut Punch. Since Flippy Kick can be done at any point in Johnny Cage’s combos, you may find it very risky to use a Breakaway during his combos. By not using a Breakaway, you will avoid the risk of wasting Defensive Meter. Only use a Breakaway when you feel it’s absolutely necessary and when you think that Johnny Cage will not try to break your armor.
Punishing Mime Time
The Mime Time ability is a parry attack that has exceedingly long duration. Johnny Cage can can also Amplify the Mime Time to increase its duration. Because of how long the Mime Time lasts, this gives you enough time to use a jump attack to punish the parry. If you have a low attack that can lead into a combo, you may also use it to punish the parry as the Mime Time cannot parry lows.
Interrupting Caged Rage
If Johnny Cage has the Caged Rage ability equipped, he is able to perform an advancing attack that changes properties with each use. Each time the Caged Rage is blocked, its move type changes. On its first use, it will start off as a high. Once blocked, it will then become a mid the next time it’s used. If blocked again, it will hit as an unblockable attack. Caged Rage however has a very slow start-up of 29 frames. If used up-close, it can be easily reacted to and interrupted with a poke. The first time the Caged Rage is used, it can also be ducked under and punished with a +KB because it will be a high.
Avoiding Stunt Double
If Johnny Cage has the Stunt Double ability equipped, he’ll be able to call in a stunt double to assist him in the fight. It’s important to pay close attention to Johnny Cage’s hand gesture while calling his stunt double so that you know which direction the stunt double will attack from. When using the Clothesline move, Johnny Cage will point his finger and send out a stunt double from the front. This move has very slow start-up and can easily be blocked or jumped out of on reaction.
If Johnny Cage uses the Stunt Double move, he will call the stunt double to attack from behind. Make sure to block high as the stunt double will hit as an overhead. If Amplified, the stunt double will hit as a mid instead but will grab you for a combo. Another option is to jump forward to avoid the stunt double and punish Johnny Cage for a full combo. Do not jump or attack too early because Johnny Cage’s stunt double will stay on the screen and if mistimed, you’ll be hit out of your attack. You should also be wary of Johnny Cage’s stunt double when zoning because he may throw it out to counter your projectiles. If Johnny Cage uses the Amplified Stunt Double, it will trade with your projectile and grant him a combo.
Fatal Blow Cancels
Johnny Cage has the unique ability to cancel out of his Fatal Blow for pressure. When he cancels his Fatal Blow, he will be at an advantage depending on which move he uses it off of.
The following lists the block advantage for Johnny Cage’s Fatal Blow Cancel:
, = +10
+ = -4
,, = +9
+ = +9
+, = 0
, = +10
+ = +10
+, = +9
+ = 0
+,, = +9
+ = -7
+ = +9
+ = -4
It is possible to challenge Johnny Cage after his Fatal Blow cancel with a poke. Poking will stop Johnny Cage’s next attack unless he uses his own poke or immediately follows up with a +,. Both of these do not deal much damage which means you won’t be taking much risk by interrupting with a poke. Since Johnny Cage cannot hit confirm his +, he must commit to a Nut Punch after + if he wants to combo from it. Johnny Cage also has the option to not cancel out of the Fatal Blow which will stop you from interrupting, however his Fatal Blow is extremely punishable on block. This means that in order for Johnny Cage to punish you for trying to interrupt his cancels, he must take a huge risk by either using + into Nut Punch or not cancelling out of his Fatal Blow.