Juggling is a term used in regards to fighting games, including the Street Fighter series, to describe the act of striking an airborne foe multiple times.
Description[edit | edit source]
Juggling is generally defined as the act of striking an airborne opponent in such a way that they are sent flying again. This usually results in the opponent "bouncing" up and down with each hit, which earned the term its name.
Tactics[edit | edit source]
Most normal attacks reset an airborne opponent, putting them in an Air Reset state that keeps them invulnerable until they land. However, certain normals and most special moves lead to a juggle state, in which an opponent will be knocked down on hit, and have juggle potential, the capacity in which they are capable of hitting an opponent in said juggle state. Upon hitting an opponent with a move that causes a juggle state, a counter based on the move in question starts with a specific value. So long as subsequent attacks have a juggle potential above or equal to that value, they can combo afterward, increasing the value of the juggle state for each hit landed. Many special moves have this property to ensure that they function properly against opponents, instead of having them fall out of certain moves in the middle of a combo.
For example, Akuma's Heavy Goshoryuken has a juggle potential of 3 for the first hit, 4 for the second, and 5 for the third, ensuring that if the first hit lands, the rest will follow. A Light Tatsumaki Zankukyaku has a juggle potential of 0, meaning that the move does not combo on airborne opponents. Instead, it is used to launch the opponent into a juggle state of 2, letting it combo into Goshoryuken and all three hits reliably.
A free juggle state occurs in certain circumstances, allowing any attack to juggle an airborne opponent, including normal attacks and Ultra Combos. Generally a free juggle state costs meter or some sort of special context to land, such as a Level Two or Three Focus Attack on an airborne opponent, or a Crush Counter.
Juggling is a relatively easy concept to grasp and execute. It is also essential for setting up combos. However, long juggling combos may take time to master, due to requiring knowledge of what a character's moves can do. Specifically, a player must know exactly what moves launches the opponent into the air, setting themselves up for potential juggle combos. These combos can be used maintain pressure and inflict maximum damage. Certain characters may have different hurtboxes due to their size or stance while being juggled, forcing players to learn which combos can and cannot be performed on such opponents.
Super Arts, Super Combos, and Ultra Combos often use juggles as a balancing factor. Dudley's Rocket Upper works well in juggle combos, while Rolling Thunder falls out in exchange for more raw damage on grounded opponents.
Some juggles can be ended with an Air Reset rather than a finishing combo. This can be used to set up a situation where the opponent has to guess the correct way to defend because once the character reaches the floor in a standing position Damage Scaling is reset.
Worth noting is that some games have varying mechanics for juggles. Street Fighter × Tekken allows normal attacks to juggle opponents instead of air-resetting them to replicate Tekken's own juggle combos, while Street Fighter III: 3rd Strike allows supers to combo after air resets and normals to combo juggled opponents. Knowing the depths of each game's juggle mechanics allow players to optimize their combos and squeeze out more damage from each opportunity.