Welcome to the lesson of the Turtle Hermit School series on combos.
Combos are the primary focus of a lot of guides and a lot of players. They are fun, flashy, easy to practice and they can win you games. In my opinion every other lesson before this is more important but without combos you won't be making the most of the opportunities you're creating.
This lesson will teach you a method of approaching learning combos that will apply to literally any combo in the game. The important thing is maximising the number of situations you can combo off, not so much how many hits you can squeeze out.
When learning a combo I recommend you follow the below tips as close as you can until you get more comfortable.
Finding a combo
The very first step is picking a combo you want to learn. Combos are best found by watching match footage or discussing them with others, character specific guides are also good for finding important combos. It's important to not bite off more than you can chew, find a combo you are confident you can learn. Anyone can learn any combo but if you try to get too advanced too quickly you'll end up with an uneven toolkit.
always start in practice mode
This will be where the majority of your practice will take place, be sure to turn on input display to help diagnose input errors (see lesson 1). Once perfected in training mode, move to local matches vs AI and then take it online. Remember that your win condition is whatever you want it to be, if you land a combo you're trying to learn, I call that a win.
Break the combo into segments
I'll be providing an example int the excercises section but by breaking combos into smaller natural segments, they become a lot easier to practice. You can string the segments together once you are comfortable. A lot of combos are actually built of very similar sections, the more you learn, the easier learning combos will become.
Start slow and speed up
Like with all skills, nothing hurts more than practising the wrong thing. Focus entirely on slowly running through the sequence first, once you can run through it naturally, speed it up a bit more. Don't even pay attention to the screen until you start to get comfortable doing it at speed.
Clean inputs and Relaxed fingers
While some combos can be performed by mashing each button in the sequence and swapping after each attack comes out, it's much better to only hit each button as many times as necessary. Getting comfortable with this will make advanced combos much simpler. Make sure you have your quarter circle motions perfected (see the lesson on training). If you feel yourself tensing up when performing a combo at normal speed that means you aren't yet comfortable with the sequence, slow it back down and ramp the speed up over time.
Diagnosing timing errors
The major problem a lot of players have with combos is the speed. Thats why its so important to start slow and work your way up. Most combos are pretty lax about timing, you can simply hit the buttons as fast as you can and they should come out. If the attack you pressed doesnt appear, you may have pressed the button too early. If the attack you pressed does appear but doesnt combo then you pressed the button too late.
Practice on both sides of the screen
The inputs given in combos always assume your opponent is on your right but they will be to your left just as often. The inputs are reversed when your opponent is on the left side so be sure to practice this way as well.
Practicing against the AI can often do more harm than good, low lvl AI opponents are push overs and high level AI is psychic and immune to most common forms of attack. It definitely does help to play against weak AI and focus only on landing your combo on an opponent that moves around and fights back.
If you don't know what these letters and numbers mean, there's a link to a notation guide at the top of the page.