After the popular article I wrote on How To Be Good At Tekken, I’ve had many players email and message me asking how to build a Tekken Flowchart. I responded to a few, and decided to compile the info into a post and share it with all of you.

Why do I need a Tekken Flowchart?

My favorite part of playing Tekken is how open-ended the game is. There’s no one way to play it: you can turtle, you can space, you can be aggressive, and you can be a mix of those elements. This is also what makes the game difficult: given how many play styles are available, it’s tricky to cover all the options, and predict how your opponent is going to play.

The game is also very momentum based. I always like to say that the player with the most confidence is probably going to win.

This is where the Tekken Flowchart comes in. A flowchart always makes you confident and secure, because you always have a plan.

Why are flowcharts so important though?

There are three main reasons.

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First, if you put your opponent in a certain situation that could be beneficial to you, you want to know all your options so you take maximum advantage of the situation. For instance, if you get a knockdown where he’s face down, head towards you, you want to know which moves you have, and which of your opponent’s escape options they cover.

Then you won’t hesitate, you’ll just choose one option and go with it. This speed of thought will also keep the pressure up, and won’t let your opponent get away.

Second, a Tekken Flowchart is strong when you run out of ideas, or are in a high pressure situation, where your mind goes blank. For example, if you’re in a tournament, you’re going to miss combos and such because of the stress. You may even start to panic, and wonder what to do.

At that point, you run a flowchart, by trying to land a flowchart starter, and then move into autopilot. All of a sudden, your opponent is doing all the thinking, when all you’re really doing is going through motions you’ve rehearsed before. You’ll relax, feel less pressure, and free your mind up to start thinking about other things during the match.

Third, knowing all the options in flowchart situations means you’ll be able to focus 100% on the mixup, and how to break your opponent. The mental pressure is diverted from you and lands squarely upon your opponent’s shoulders.

Building A Tekken Flowchart

The first step to building a Tekken flowchart is to find a flowchart starter. To do this, make a list of all your character’s moves that do one of the following:
-knock down on hit or counterhit. Example: Armor King’s f+2,1
-give you large amounts of frame advantage on block/hit. Example: Lili’s f,f+3
-put opponent in an awkward position where you can dodge his move and punish. Example: Yoshi’s 3~4

Next, for each of those, make a list of all the opponent’s options.

If he’s standing, usually he can:
-sidestep
-block
-backdash
-crouch
-press a button

If he’s knocked down, usually he can:
-stay down
-get up straight
-backroll
-sideroll
-get up kick low
-get up kick mid

Phew. That was long.

Finally, the most important stage, you need to figure out which moves of yours will beat out these options, by going into practice mode (see video below). Remember, it’s better to find moves that cover multiple options, so you don’t have to guess as much.

Let’s take an example of each kind of flowchart to make them more concrete. I’m going to use Armor King in all examples, because he has all three, and his moves are easily recognizable.

Example 1: The Knockdown

With Armor King, an easy knockdown flowchart starter is f+2,1 on hit or CH. It’s a strong mid that knocks down on any hit, but is very punishable (opponent can crouch and launch the second hit), so only use it to whiff punish, or if you’re SURE your opponent is going to eat it.

So, f+2.1. The opponent gets knocked down. The flowchart begins. My next move is:

-3+4. It beats most get up options, including kicks, get up straight, and tag. If the opponent does one of those options, he gets floated, and I followup with BT d+2, crouch cancel d+2 B! into a juggle. If he stays down, it does ground damage, and he enters the next flowchart, where he’s at Armor King’s feet.

or

-Sidewalk. This will avoid the Tag Crash if your opponent has rage, and you can juggle him in the back for crazy damage.

or

-I do dash 3+4. It beats the backroll option, and leads to the same juggle as before.

Here’s a brief video of how it works: you’ll notice the 3+4 beats most options, and I make an adjustment for the backroll with a dash, because it whiffs.

Basically, for you to create something similar, you would need to do what I did, and go through each escape option in practice mode, then come up with a creative solution for every one.

Example 2: The Frame Trap

The Frame Trap is one of the most important setups in Tekken. It’s a bit complex and mathematical, but I’ll try to break it down.

To start a frame trap, your opponent either blocks a move, or eats a move, that puts you on plus frames. This is the number of frames that’s added to your opponent’s next move. You follow up the plus frames with a move that’s quicker than your opponent’s fastest option (their fastest is usually a 10-frame jab).

Example: Armor King lands f,f,n,2.

Armor King gets +6.

If the opponent uses a 10-frame jab afterwards, it will take his 10-frame jab 16 frames to come out. Why? Because Armor King is at +6.

Simple math: 10frame jab + AK 6 frame advantage = 16 frames.

This means that Armor King can do any move that’s 15 frames or less, and his opponent still can’t cut through. That includes slow mids, and grabs.

So the flowchart here is to take advantage of the frame advantage. You want to either continue with another move that gives you plus frames, or you want to start a mixup, by incorporating grabs, mids, and lows.

Watch the following videos to see it in action.

f,f,n,2 frame trap part 1

f,f,n,2 frame trap part 2

Example 3: The Weird Dodgy Moves

This option is the most complex and difficult one to pull off. It relies on spacing, predicting your opponent’s next move, and often a high risk/high reward gamble on your part.

The flowchart starter is a move that puts the opponent in an awkward position. Your options then all involve Sidestepping or Backdashing your opponent’s next move out of this awkward situation. Once you’ve trained your opponent to do nothing, you can just do the flowchart starter again, and put him back into your mixup.

With Armor King, the prime example is d+2. When the opponent blocks d+2, you’re at -2, and you’re both in full crouch. If you both mash a WS+4, the fastest option, they’ll win, due to your negative frames.

What you want to do then, is do a d+2 at max range. This will allow you to move, and avoid whatever button the opponent presses. This is where the prediction comes in.

If the opponent does a ws+4, you can backdash and Dark Upper as a whiff punish. If the opponent does nothing, you do another d+2, and put them back in the same mixup.

However, certain characters like Lars have a WS+2 that goes really far, and catches Armor King’s backdash. In this case, you need to sidestep and whiff punish. Beware! It’s risky, because there is no blocking during a sidestep. If the opponent anticipates which direction you’re going, they can launch punish you for it.

The End… or the Beginning?

That’s all I’ve got for you today folks. Be sure to go into practice mode and try some of these options out. Remember, a flowchart isn’t the only solution to Tekken. There are many other factors, including confidence, tempo, spacing, and mind games.

A flowchart is just a great place to start, and will make all other options easier.

15 comments add yours

  1. One point, you can block from sidestep by cancelling it, so they can’t launch you if you cancel it.
    But if you’re committed to a full sidewalk or are doing moves like Baek b+3 or Steve weaves (where you get lateral movement but you can’t block), you’ll eat moves that will track against your sidewalk.

    • Sure, you can definitely cancel a sidestep. But if your goal is to sidestep a specific move, and you time it as the move comes out, there’s no cancelling at that time. That’s where it gets dangerous: if I anticipate your mid, and I sidestep, but your mid happens to track in my direction, I get hit.

  2. Was that “Tempo” a Brazilian Word? 😡
    Legal você ter vindo ao Brasil, e aprendido coisas! xD
    I’m Still trapped in Pickup first step man, never aproched any 1 (out of my comfort zone off course) and yeah… I know Pick up, for at least 2 years, but still do nothing :/
    I’m glad you passed trought it. sorry my english, cause I’m a Brazilian and never went to study this leanguage properly ‘-‘

    I still have so many questions, but don’t know if it will be inconveniant for you.

    Btw, Greatest blog ever :]. I never seen this before. Games, woman, all put together… Keep up the good Work

    • Experience IS the best teacher. But when you reach a plateau, it helps to have a little push and outside help to increase your skill.

      It’s like learning a sport: you can get good on your own with time, or you can get great with a coach in half the time.

  3. this doesn’t really sound right. the whole article sounds like it’s asking you to play rock-paper-scissors. autopilot will work against weaker players but not always, and will definitely not work against even decently strong players.

    a play style that’s very rock-hard and set in stone won’t get you far in a game like Tekken, since you have to use your moveset in creative ways, adapt on-the-fly, even change your entire approach at times. it’s good to know your options, but you also have to know better than just follow patterns, since that’s essentially what they are – patterns. you may have 1000 patterns but you’ll eventually run out of them. that’s why playing solid and focusing on adapting to the character/opponent is much more useful. it will also help you improve your game overall.

    • I think you missed the point Newton. Creating flowcharts isn’t about playing like a robot: it’s about knowing what your best options are in any given situation, as well as your opponent’s escapes.

      For instance, if you end a combo with King’s Shining Wizard, the opponent is directly at your feet. You have tons of options that can float him if he moves, and good damage if he stays on the ground. But what if he siderolls? Or siderolls and backrolls? Or siderolls and stays down? Or siderolls and kicks?

      Having a flowchart for that situation gives you a deeper understanding of how the mixup flows from there, and how you can tilt it in your favor.

      As I mentioned, a flowchart isn’t the only strategy to consider: there are tons of other things you need when you play Tekken. A flowchart is simply a very strong tool to have in your arsenal. Believe me when I say that all the best players have flowcharts, which they mix into their other gameplay.

  4. Yall putting too much thought into it. Either you can play or you can’t. I been playing Tekken since one and I promise, unless you already have the skill to get with me, a flow chart and gonna do jack for you in a fight. Sounds good on paper but trying to follow predetermined strategies would get you your ass handed to you in an actual fight. The best fighters always know how and when to switch it up according to the person they are fighting. IJS

    • That is the biggest load of bullshit I’ve ever heard. When someone doesn’t know how to do combos, do you just say “oh, if you don’t have the skill to know which moves are the right ones, learning the proper ones aren’t going to do jack for you in a fight.”

      Knowing your options is a super important part of Tekken, and that’s all a flowchart is: knowing which option is best suited for certain situations.

      When you do a move that knocks down, do you know what the best followup is? Then guess what, you’ve just used a flowchart, where move A links into move B. If you don’t know what the best followup is, then you’re missing a crucial part of your game.

  5. Just wanted to say, here from the future in 2019, that your article has been insigthful. I don’t know if you’ll ever read this, but if you do, know that your two posts regarding tekken have helped me.

    I came home today after participating in a Tekken 7 tournament. I googled “how to get better at tekken”, your first blog post came up. There’s another tournament in 1 month which I’ll participate in as well – I’ll read your 2 posts once a day and train by them. It makes complete sense to me how golden this is on a competitive level. I wish you’ve written more.

    Thank you, Tekken coach from afar.

  6. Lmao at the two guys trying to pretend like this doesnt work. Idiots. Great article dude if you would see this comment in 2019.

    Saying flowcharts aint gonna work on you is such an ignorant thing to say. Unless you’re undefeated with nothing but perfect rounds, you’ve been at the recieving end of somebodys flowchart. Even if they didnt know they were doing it.

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