I finally got all the parts necessisary for my Madcatz Fightstick TE Mod, so I went ahead and slapped it all together. The video and pictures are below if you just want to get to it, but I'll tell you what I've done to it anyways.
I ordered a custom plexi and artwork with the 6 straight button configuration, the artwork which I made myself.
I replaced the buttons with custom Sanwa OBSN-30's (threaded) that have a red/black color scheme.
I replaced the white balltop with a red one, to match and everything.
I added spring tension to the Sanwa JLF joystick by purchasing a Seimitsu LS-33 spring, and putting it inside the stock JLF spring.
I got a couple questions regarding this so I figured I'd make a video on arcade stick hand placement/style. I personally use a modified wine glass, the straight buttons, and index/middle finger for throws. Feel free to make a video or text response of your own showing how you use your arcade stick, since as I said in the vid, no right or wrong way to do it. Video is two parts, let us get on with the innuendos!
I wouldn't feel right putting an explanation point at the end of this blog title, I know some people are extremely offended by the phrase "Get Hype!" and I figure it's because we're always yelling it at eachother. Maybe if it was posed as a question, people would get a warm fuzzy feeling instead. Buy anyway.
Yeah, I got a Madcatz TE Fightstick, get hype! I'm going to be modding it with custom plexi, artwork, and hardware -- which will be documented on video. But until then, here's a video blog thing of me talking about it and touching it a bunch. Enjoy.
I completed my artwork for the stick, and have ordered the plexi/artwork/hardware, so prepare to get even more hype when that stuff arrives. I went for something abstract and simple, it'll fit nicely within the color scheme I'm aiming for. I made it with this High Res SFIV Akuma Artwork almost exclusively, with the help of the Art Hobbies TE Template, and photoshop of course.
I ordered six red Sanwa OBSN-30's, that were custom fit with black plungers to give it that menacing vibe. I like threaded buttons, they go in the same every time, where as the snap-ins after one removal don't have that viper grip anymore. To accompany my red layout, I also picked up a red Sanwa balltop (debated bat top for a while but didn't want to part with or modify the shaft cover already in place), and a Semitsu LS-33 spring to add some tension to the joystick. You can put Semitsu joystick springs inside the JLF spring to make it more resistant, which gives makes the stick snap back to neutral position much quicker.
Next on the list is Akuma, a lot of people seem to think mirror match strategies are pointless, but since the Gouki Gouki one is full of so much shenanigans, I have to cover it. This is the match I know so well, that it makes me sick. My early SFIV career was based solely on mirror matches, and it shows.
Jab Akuma’s all purpose hit-confirm is his jab. Crouching, standing close, standing far, they all offer good frame advantage on both hit and block, and have only 3 frames of start-up. Getting clipped with a far standing jab means you’re going to get hit with far roundhouse or sweep. Jump jab is Akuma’s best air-to-air, since it has 7 active frames. Sure it doesn’t do a lot of damage, but it sets up a mixup on the ground immediately after.
Strong Standing and jumping, the strong punch isn’t too useful. It can be used as a neutral air-to-air from time to time when you read a jump, but other than that, not great. Its true use lies with the crouching version, which is one of his best pokes. Counter-hit c.MP is pretty common if the Akuma is hitting his buttons at the right time, and since it only takes 4 frames to start-up, and offers a ton of hit-confirming opportunities afterward, expect to see this often.
Fierce A deadly normal. Jumping fierce is an ok air-to-air option, but that’s not the half of it. Close standing fierce comes out in 4 frames, making it one of the fastest hard normals in the game, and is the primary tool for punishing BNB’s. He can even cancel the recovery of the close fierce with a demonflip or fireball which makes it a relatively safe option, and useful for hit-confirms. Crouching fierce stands up your opponent, but the primary use is for anti-air. Down fierce is traditionally one of the best Street Fighter normals, and it’s no different for Akuma’s. Any jump-ins that are too close for comfort can often get clean hit by down fierce, even cross-up tatsus. Akuma can even cancel the down fierce into a demonflip for rushdown shenanigans.
Short Jumping and crouching short are the two main uses for the normal. Air-to-air it beats out stuff similar to jump jab, and it’s one of his best ambiguous jumping attacks as well. A lot of the times you’ll be expecting a cross-up MK and you get a standard jumping LK instead. Crouching, the short replaces a jab in a hit-confirm, and is used in conjunction with option select tricks. Starting with a low is often a good way to get the ball rolling, and offers similar frame-advantage to that of crouching jab.
Forward Medium Kick is used for poking primarily, but is also his basic jumping attack/cross-up. His crouching forward isn’t nearly as good as Ryu or Ken’s, but it’s still good enough to 2-in-1 a fireball or ex fireball, into FADC into whatever else. I personally find that people don’t expect low forward into fireball like they do for Ryu, so Akuma can use this to his advantage. Of course, this is also the button of choice when buffering the demon, so a lot of times Akuma will be throwing out a crouching forward and buffering something nasty inside it, be cautious and spot these if you can.
Roundhouse Akuma’s best normal, maybe one of the best in the game. His roundhouse is superior in all fields, the only exception being close standing roundhouse. Crouching, it’s a very fast sweep, faster than most others. It has nice range and can be used as a poke since it’s much harder to punish than other shotos. Jumping, it’s a great attack with nice range and damage, and is implemented in the vortex a fair bit. But yeah, there’s that whole far standing roundhouse. Some people say it’s pretty good. Hits twice, combos, pretty coo’.
Overhead Chop The overhead chop has its place during EX air fireball pressure and wake-up games, but is also highly unsafe if blocked, and comes out super slow. It can also be used to buffer super or ultra, a technique called “kara”.
Dive Kick The normal dive kick flat out sucks. There’s a demonflip version which we’ll get to, and that’s more than likely the one you’re going to see. If this version hits shallow, it won’t combo and the opposing player gets a free punish. If can often be mashed right through, proving how unreliable it is.
Fireball His main tool for zoning being a shoto, the grounded fireball comes in four variations: LP, MP, HP and EX. The difference is the rate of speed they travel, with good spacing he can catch you slipping by varying the speed of the fireball and by whiffing normals for mindfuck purposes. The EX version hits twice and knocks down on hit. In a corner Akuma can get creative with EX Fireball combos, with the ability to juggle afterward with an SRK.
Air Fireball Akuma can throw an air fireball at any point while airborne. The angles of the fireballs vary on which strength is used, LP being the steepest and generally the safest (provided it’s a tiger knee fireball). The jab fireball is also used for cross-up tricks, so be on the look out. EX Zankuu shoots two fireballs at slightly different angles, and it’s probably the safest way for Akuma to jump in on an opponent’s wake-up as they act as a shield when he’s falling. He can of course get EX-DP’d through it, but other than that pretty safe. The EX fireball sets up a blocking trap in the corner as well.
Red Fireball Akuma’s secret tool in the fireball is the shakunetsu. When he sees a gap he will strike from a safe distance with this, and depending on which strength is used, it will hit from 1 to 3 times. The stronger version of the fireball that is used, the slower the recovery, making this pretty unsafe – but also allowing his opponent to be tricked into thinking a jump attack is safe, the LP Red FB is useful for that. EX Shaku recovers just as fast as the jab version, does more damage and stun than HP, and is +12 frames on block, allowing Akuma to pressure you into a corner with it.
Shoryuken The all purpose shoto anti-air and a prime ender for combos, shoryuken is something you have to respect when fighting any shoto character. This used in conjunction with safe fireballs gives Akuma a Ryu-like stature, but the main use is in his bread n’ butter combo. After popping his opponent into juggle with an LK tatsu, Akuma will usually juggle with LP or HP Shoryuken. The LP version if he’s FADC’ing into shakunetsu fireball. LP version hits once and does 130, MP hits twice and does 80/80, and HP hits 3 times and does 80/60/50. In FADC combos LP or MP will be used because of damage scaling. EX version has the exact same frame data as the HP, but it’s invincible all the way up, making it one of Akuma’s safer wake-up options.
Hurricane Kick The LK Tatsu is used primarily in the BNB as already mentioned. After a jumping attack and normal/string the LK Tatsu is used to pop Akuma’s opponent into the air for a big juggle ender. MK version is fairly useless since the HK is better on the ground in every way. HK will be used to pass over projectiles; frames 7-36 are invincible so improperly spaced fireballs can be read and punished with it. If the distance is perfect, Akuma can also SRK juggle afterward, but this is very touchy. EX version hits may times and offers some nice invincibility, but the prime use is for hit-confirming on crouching opponents (since a normal tatsu will whiff). In a corner the EX tatsu can set up some sexy juggle combos, so be on the lookout.
Air Hurricane Kick The air hurricane is mostly HK version, and is used either as an escape from a corner (coward copter) or as an offensive cross-up attack (x-up tatsu). The cross-up tatsu sets up a sweep afterward for an untechable knockdown, and thus begins the vortex. Of course Akuma vs. Akuma this doesn’t work too great, since he can just teleport out in response. You can also get clipped with a shoryuken after a x-up tatsu hits if Akuma just wants the guaranteed damage. The EX Air Tatsu is widely referred to as the “PHD” or “ED MA” since it’s a stunt performed by Ed Ma at the Denjin SBO 2009 Qualifiers. EX Tatsu causes akuma to stop in mid-air and spin around a bunch, which can set up a mixup upon landing next to an opponent, such as SRK, throw, or demon.
Demonflip The demonflip offers so many options that it’s kind of silly to think about. It’s essentially a command jump, with four different follow-up attacks depending on what Akuma does afterward. It has three distinct ranges, and is good for punishing predictable projectiles since it travels almost the length of the screen with the HK version. The EX version has auto-tracking, which will go where-ever his opponent is located, but has a nasty habit of landing behind them. The demonflip can be whiffed repeatedly to gain meter as well.
Palm Strike must be blocked high and is armor breaking untechable knockdown, so it stops pesky focusing in no time. It can seldom be used as an air-to-air, but the primary usage is in whiffing it. There is no landing recovery time if the palm is whiffed, and it sets up Akuma’s oki game very nicely.
Dive kick is the equivalent of a jump-in attack, although it’s a little weaker than j.HK and a lot safer than it seeing as demonflips are harder to anti-air. It doesn’t have to be blocked high like a normal jumping attack, but it stands up opponents on hit allowing Akuma to combo however he pleases afterward. The biggest perk is that if it hits a combo is essentially guaranteed, unlike the normal poopy dive kick.
Throw is like a normal throw, except done in the air. The range and timing is a bit difficult at first, but it’s one of Akuma’s better mixups. The strength of the demonflip also determines the range of the throw, the stronger verion the larger range. These are usually seen after Akuma conditions his opponent to expect jumping attacks/empty jumps, at which time they block and get thrown. Using this In conjunction with demonflips canceled out of normals can be very tricky.
Slide is the last and least interesting option, and is done by hitting no buttons after inputting the Demonflip. It has a ton of recovery but does have the same properties as a sweep, and can be used meaty on an opponent’s landing. It definitely has use, but limited use.
Teleport Teleport is the get out of jail free card, Akuma will use this to escape wake-up/mixup pressure and corner traps. It’s very readable so he has to be careful when using it, and it has a huge recovery time as well. But still, this is probably what people find the most upsetting about Akuma. There’s two ranges, short and far, as well as two directions he can go in. Learning how to spot these is essential in catching the bastard.
Super Combo The super demon is essentially a zero frame grab, so at point-blank range, it’s inescapable on reaction. The only way an opponent could jump out is if they did so before the demon was activated. This is the main use for super, and it can be buffered into overhead chop or a demonflip palm for trickery. It only does 330 damage, but the way an Akuma player sees it: That’s a free 330 damage. You won’t often encounter the super since Akuma also enjoys the luxuries of EX moves and FADC combos, but once in a blue moon you’ll be reminded when the screen goes all black.
Ultra Combo The ultra demon does a TON of damage, and is often a deal-breaker in what is otherwise a pretty chill match. It can’t be thrown out randomly since it’s easy to escape, even at point-blank range. It does have a fair bit of startup invincibility however, which makes it deadly in conjunction with a c.MK or c.HK buffer. Once Akuma has ultra, it is no longer safe to jump, ever. He can grab you during your landing recovery frames, even if it’s an empty jump (provided it’s timed correctly). It’s great as a reversal through unsafe moves and ultras that are blocked, but the only way to combo into it is from a level 2/3 focus crumple. A good Akuma will be buffering demon jabs into just about everything he does, making any move you do in response very risky. Look out for demons buffered into cr.HK, a lot of the time the other Akuma is fishing for a focus, and when they receive it they will finish the demon and obliterate.
The Akuma mirror is largely dependent on tricks since a lot of the zoning and wake-up games don't really apply. The opposing Akuma as well as yourself can teleport or otherwise escape out of a lot of situations that would normally put another opponent under a lot of pressure. Akuma travels by demonflip much of the time, so anti-airing with your typical shoryuken becomes a very risky proposition, and red fireballs should be used sparingly in fear of ex flips on reaction.
Whoever can poke better and capitalize on opportunities seems to win this match-up. You wouldn't think so, but Akuma has a hard time getting out of a corner against another Akuma, the opponent can trap you effectively with moderately spaced ground fireballs, and mixes it up jumping in with air fireballs as a shield, going into a three-way mixup with either a low attack, overhead, or throw as the fireballs connect.
The far st.HK seems to obliterate, which is both good and bad since your opponent can also abuse it. Upon a blocked far st.HK, there is a 0 frame advantage/disadvantage for both players, which sets up a metagame in itself. Either player can choose to poke/counterpoke, jump, walk-up throw, shoryuken, walk back, etc.
Poorly spaced air fireballs while jumping forward or backward can lead to anti-air ultra, which can either be buffered into a cr.MK/HK to lower hitbox, or with far st.HK to traverse under said fireballs. This little trick can be counter-acted by tiger-kneeing jab air fireballs, which will usually hit Akuma as he tries to slip under them.
Use Shakunetsu Fireballs sparingly, even the quicker ones are easily punished by psychic flips.
Go for the damage whenever possible, since mix-up and vortex have little effect on another Akuma.
Never back yourself into a corner or you’ll get a taste of your own medicine.
Don’t overuse teleport, especially when the other Akuma has meter. Demon demon demon!
Buffer demons with far st. HK to traverse under air fireballs, and c.MK for everything else.
Don’t fight midrange with another akuma if your footsies aren’t good enough, st.HK beasts on Akuma.
If you're losing in the rushdown game, by all means back the hell up and revert to Ryu-style fundamentals. Simple and effective.
So I figured since I was compiling a bunch of information on match-ups for my infamous Street Fighter Binder, that I would make a write-up on each character to aid with this process. What follows is one of many posts, one character of 25 (until super anyway). Of course they’re all written with Akuma’s offensive and defensive options in mind, but some of the information will be applicable to many. We’re going alphabetically, and I will probably make follow-up posts on said character once I learn a bit more about how things go. Abel is up first.
Step Kick This is his best poke because he can cancel it during the animation with a normal dash. Since the command requires a forward input, all he needs is to tap forward once more for him to dash up in your grill. That will set up his mixup game, and from there you have to make an educated guess what happens next. If this connects and he has meter he can st.HP -> CoD -> FADC -> Elbow Launch -> Ultra.
Elbow Launch This move hits twice, the second hit launching his opponent into the air, putting them in juggle state. From there he can Falling Sky, Ultra, or do Marseilles Roll shenanigans into resets. He can also cancel the first hit into rekkas. It’s usually done meaty for a wake-up or anti-air, since the second hit is what is most important.
Jumping HP Abel’s best Air-to-Air attack by far, when jumping forward or backward it has 8 active frames, and seems to swat a lot of things you would attempt to do out of the air. If you become predictable this will be the bane of your existence.
Jumping MK His primary jumping attack will be with MK, be it neutral, jump forward, or cross-up attacking. It is decent as it offers a nice horizontal hitbox.
Crouching MK Abel doesn’t have much in the way of anti-air, but this would be about as good as it gets for his normals. It has a tricky angle and kicks upward, and because of this you may be hit on what appear to be safer jumps.
Close HK This is an overhead attack that is done close-up in conjunction with Abel's other mix-ups, and can often net him a some good stun and damage when done meaty.
Wheel Kick Helps him get over projectiles, and is useful for pressuring from certain distances. It’s relatively safe if the player knows what he’s doing, and it’s an overhead.
Tornado Throw Nice command throw that serves as an important pillar in his tick/reset/mixup shenanigans.
Change of Direction Rekka-type move that has a total of three actions, the second and third can be either a mid attack or a low attack. He can even FADC during the CoD to create more mix-up opportunities, and it’s a lot easier to perform than actual rekkas. This can be combo'd off of most of his normals, but is punishable if any hit is blocked. EX version has hyper armor.
Marseilles Roll Great maneuver for evasion, positioning, and mixup. He’ll roll a different distance depending on what strength is used. This can be swept or thrown if it’s projected.
Falling Sky Command anti-air grab. It’s done from a grounded position, but isn’t actually that useful for anti-air. It is more often than not placed in the end of a mixup, but can also be whiffed to build meter from a distance.
Super Combo The “Happy Birthday” is used mostly for an anti-air, but can be hit from a c.HP -> LK Roll as well. He can of course cancel into it from CoD, each strength has different properties to it as well.
Ultra Combo Once Abel gets Ultra you can no longer zone with projectiles. It hits from pretty much full screen, and goes through fireballs no problem. It also has limited use as an anti-air, and does a shit ton of damage on the very last hit. Top it all off, it has pursuit property so it’s sort of like a heat-seeking missle.
On paper, Akuma wins this from pretty much any range. Abel needs to get in, and you have every tool in the world to prevent that from happening. Long range it's no contest, fireball zone to your heart’s content as long as he doesn't have ultra, just make sure they're safe fireballs.
Mid range it's potentially even more dangerous for Abel, as you can poke him to death with far and crouching roundhouse. Abel's hitbox is huge so it's a good time to practice your roundhouse loops. crouching MK has limited use, only because it doesn't have the luxuries of other shotos, and gets out-poked by the step kick. The far roundhouse is a mixup all in itself since both hits connect on Abel. After being blocked it is a 0 frame advantage, which is all the more reason to abuse the hell out of it. After a blocked RH, you can go for a walk-up throw/SRK, sweep, another HK, poke cancel, neutral jump attack, or dash back/teleport.
When Abel gets close that's when it gets a little tricky, but the advantage is still Akuma, since he can teleport out of all his crazy mixups. Don't become predictable with these, sometimes you're going to find it better to just stand your ground and block, or try a different method of reversal to reset the situation. If he reads you like a book Abel will chase you down with an HK roll and beat the shit out of you, that's no fun. Of course you can condition Abel to think you'll teleport, which let’s be honest -- most would. Then you can punish the roll or whatever else he had in store for you.
If you yourself can put some pressure on Abel, go for it, just be wary of EX Tornado through block strings and tick throw setups. You're going to want to knock him down and set up a vortex at that point, and since his anti-airs leave a lot to be desired, you can take calculated risks (about as calculus as 1+1=2) that can result in a nice payoff, but this depends on the type of player who is playing Abel. Dive Kick pressure in general is hard for Abel to deal with, so for approaching by air demonflips are the way to go.
In general, Abel is probably going to take fewer risks against Akuma, only because Akuma can get out of mixup in many ways. So don't be shocked when he gets a life lead and just turtles for the following 60 seconds.
Fireball zoning works for the first half of the match, once he gets ultra the atmosphere changes.
Abuse far roundhouse when possible, but be wary of EX CoD through it.
Abel’s anti-air options are limited, so jump in and apply pressure when probable.
Don’t be predictable with your reversal options, lest you be punished hard.
You can throw Abel on reaction when he performs a Roll.
He can Super, Ultra, or Tornado Throw you out of Ultra or Super demon, use these wisely.
Change of Direction can be punished after blocking the first hit with SRK or super.
CannedHedgehogs (SpecialBuddy) and myself (LordofUltima) had a long set of matches in Street Fighter IV, which I recorded along with skype voice chat, for your entertainment. Some gold in these matches, nine parts in total. If you're lucky, you might actually see me play other characters. Playlist is here, embedded below for your convenience.
So the rule of thumb for Akuma vs. Gen is:
Teleport or AA every jump-in (..or else).
Far Roundhouse over and over again until you pummel him into submission.
Teleport some more for good measure, just to be sure.
Do not use focus attacks when he is remotely near you.
Cranked this tutorial out in half a day or so, I realized that I've talked about the roundhouse loop that Akuma has a lot, but have never actually demonstrated how it works. So here it is, even if you don't play akuma you might learn a thing or two about 1-frame links and plinking. Enjoy.
Me and west recorded some matches again, complete with skype chat and all that good stuff. here's the playlist of 10 videos or so, enjoy! As an aside, I'd love to actually give a similar treatment to matches with other people, but I had to bring a big CRT, computer, monitor, dazzle, and a bunch of wires upstairs and hook them all up to do this, so it was definitely planned for like a week. Still, if we can set something up and you can also chat on skype while playing Street Fighter, let me know.
So I'm currently playing through Alundra, you can check my day-to-day progress at my channel or the Alundra Playlist. I'll embed the 18 parts or so that I have after two days, of course you can always come back to this blog/forum post and the newest ones will be there. Enjoy.