Combo Engine Overview (XMCOTA)

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Chain Combo and Combo Terminology

This is pasted from James Chen's XMCOTA combo FAQ, since I haven't seen this anywhere else on the Wiki, I'm copying it here for easy reference
--JedahsMinistry 04:12, 15 August 2006 (CDT)

Magic Series: Here is a list of definitions to help understand the Magic Series.

Weak Attacks: Jab punch and Short kick.
Medium Attacks: Strong punch and Forward kick.
Hard attacks: Fierce punch or Roundhouse Kick

ZigZag 1 - The Series used in Darkstalker's Revenge. Basically, it's:
-Jab -> Short -> Strong -> Forward -> Fierce -> Roundhouse
ZigZag 2 - Backwards of ZigZag 1:
-Short -> Jab -> Forward -> Strong -> Roundhouse -> Fierce
Punch to Kick - Can cancel any punch button with any kick button.
-Jab/Strong/Fierce -> Short/Forward/Roundhouse
Kick to Punch - Can cancel any kick button with any punch button.
-Short/Forward/Roundhouse -> Jab/Strong/Fierce
Stronger - The Series used in Darskstalkers 1. Can go to any stronger attack.
-Jab/Short -> Strong/Forward -> Fierce/Roundhouse
Note: Can skip the medium attacks from the Weak attacks if desired.
Weak Start - Start on Jab or Short and end with any of the other four attacks.
-Jab/Short -> Strong/Forward/Fierce/Roundhouse

--For COTA I'll add one more:
Stronger Cross - Start with a weaker attack and move to one stronger one, that must be the opposite kind of attack. Examples:
-Jab -> Forward, -or- Short -> Strong, -or- Jab -> Roundhouse, -or- Short -> Fierce, -or- Strong -> Roundhouse, -or- Forward -> Fierce

General Combo Terminology ---

Launcher: A move that knocks the opponent into the air at a vertical angle, although most launchers in COTA go into an arc that makes them most useful in the corner.

Mini/Micro-launcher: A move that pops the opponent up but very low to the ground.

Knock back/Knock away: Pops the opponent up but knocks them away at a harsh horizontal angle. Can be good for juggles and launches in the corner.

Launch String: A combination of micro-launches/low juggles and/or multiple launchers to get the opponent at the proper height for an air combo. Usually needed on heavier characters.


It's impossible to list every combo in a system as open and variable as this. This page will attempt to give a basic understanding of the system and character pages will have some example combos.

The simplest combos would be chain combos cancelled into specials. Start with a throw, chain XX special or super. Corner juggle and aircombos are fairly easy (depending on the character), mid-screen juggles (beyond very simple things) are very character and opponent dependent.

With almost any long combo/loop/infinite, you have to keep a close eye on you and the opponents position. You might have an aircombo/juggle that will loop, but minute changes in your timing and positioning could lead it to break in the next rep or so. Some air combos might require you to hold toward the opponent on the way up, and let go of the stick on the way down, lest your last attacks/relauncher miss around when you land.

Launch/Air Combo Basics :
To get air combos akin to games later in the series, you must "manually" super jump cancel any launcher. Done by tapping down, up (or a quick rolling "tiger knee" motion, which is useful in some cases), or tapping all 3 kicks.

Very few launchers in this game hit the opponent straight upwards (as opposed to the later games), the majority launch at an angle, and the opponent is flown further away if the launcher is hit off a dash. Hence most air combo loops take place in the corner.
Because of the large difference in character weights, varying "launch strings" are often needed to get an opponent at the right height for a certain air combo or loop.

The corners are different "sizes", with the left being tighter than the right. In the right corner if you dash for the launch string then hold forward for the aircombo, there's a good chance you'll end up behind the opponent. This is far less likely in the left corner. Corners will also "cancel" certain moves (Omega Strike, Berserker Barrage), referred to as "wall cancel".

The left corner appears to have a bug where certain moves when performed "offscreen" (because you dashed underneath your jumping opponent and attacked so deep the hittable area of the move is as far left as it can go) will either be unblockable, or must be blocked fowards rather than backwards. This does not occur on the right side (unless you end up behind the opponent legit). This seems to be most noticeable with upwards-striking moves and vs large characters.

Damage Calculation

Damage Scaling
Every hit in a combo is damage scaled incrementally. That is, each hit does a fraction of what it normally does, and that fraction is lessened each hit in the combo. After around 8 hits, all hits in the combo do one pixel of damage, including most (not all) comboed throws and supers.
Some examples:
Sent vs Storm - LP, HK does 3/4s of the damage a single HK does.

For maximum damage, try getting all the hard hits in as soon as possible, and super as early as possible.

Counter Damage
Getting hit out of attacks causes more damage to be received. (more research needed)


Air to Ground Throws -
To combo/get a ground to air throw, the opponent should be just above you when you hit toward/back and attack. Kinda like you're grabbing where they're going, and not where they are.

Ground to Ground Throws -
A few characters are capable of ground-to-ground throws in a combo, which the engine normally tries to prevent. Usually off of specific moves, although they may not work on all characters. The timing is very tight. Some known ones:
Storm: After Lightning Attack or Lightning Storm
Sentinel: After super deep j.down+HK
Psylocke: After s.HK
Wolverine: After super deep j.HK


After a throw-type move, a character can be comboed as they are landing "on the ground". When they're hit after they've hit the ground, they will stand up in hitstun. This only works after a throw-type. If a character is on their back during any other kind of knockdown, they'll instantly wakeup after their hitsun has stopped.

OTG Time -
The time you have to OTG depends on the character. Sentinel and Colossus have the least, while Psylocke, Cyclops and Akuma have the most. Full order to be posted.

OTG Penalty -
For a few characters, if their feet are facing the corner,they can be hit infinitely by a fast, repeating move (like Storm or Akuma's c.LKs); or they could take a super on their back. This is avoidable, as it only works if the opponent doesn't roll. Akuma is roughly the only one in the best position to abuse this (Storm would have to airdash over, where Akuma just needs and Hard throw and the opponent not rolling/wakeup reversalling instantly).

Damage/Dizzy -
Heavier characters (Sentinel, Colossus) take extra damage from throws.
Throws will not cause a dizzy but they do add to the dizzy counter, even if they do not change the portrait themselves.


Momentum and Juggle Trajectory

Momentum applies to both dashing and superjumps. Vs many characters, a dash attack will add a little extra hitstun (this is what makes jab infinites possible). Dash momentum will also make forward jumps go farther. An example, Silver Samurai cannot normal jump over a standing Sentinel, unless Sam dashes.

Dashing launchers will send the opponent further away from you (when midscreen). There's a bug where some dashing towards the left side aren't affected.

In an air combo, an attack typically juggles in the direction of the attack animation (down knocks down, up pushes up), although there are exceptions. Momentum adds a modifier to some. Example: Cyclops' j.MP on the way up will send an opponent higher relative to him than a j.MP that's on the falling down arc. Downward hits always knock downward, but if you're on the way down yourself you can typically "catch" the opponent before they hit the ground.

Weight Classes and Character Specifics

  • Feather - Storm, Spiral, Psylocke
  • Light - Akuma, Wolverine
  • Middle - Iceman, Cyclops
  • Heavy - Omega Red, Silver Samurai
  • Super-Heavy - Colossus, Sentinel

The top 5 lightest might all be in the same class, but I don't believe so. Weights may possibly be further broken down into an order (eg: everyone's a different weight even if it's by a little), but I'm not certain.
Pushback (how far the attacker gets pushed back after a ground hit, the opponent in hitstun is the variable) and ground hitstun length seem related to weight, with heavier characters having less of both.

Storm - "Larger" hitbox that it looks like, doesn't fold much when she's hit during juggles (think Rogue in XvSF or Captain America in MSH). Not a very long OTG time, but has a penalty if she doesn't roll. Super-low crouch.

Spiral - Folds a lot when she is hit, things that hit others in her weight class may miss her. Not a very long OTG time. Her tech hit teleport is vulnerable when she reappears for a few frames.

Psylocke - Very long OTG time.

Akuma - Longest OTG time, but glitchy as he "bounces" during the landing.

Wolverine - Super-low crouch.

Iceman - Folds alot when he is hit, things that hit others in his weight class may miss him. Not a very long OTG time, but has a penalty if he doesn't roll. Bent in half when dizzy.

Cyclops - Very long OTG time.

Omega Red - Super-low crouch. Bent in half when dizzy.

Sentinel - Shortest OTG time, but has a penalty if he doesn't roll. Due to his size, Sentinel's penalty is worse.

Stage Influence

Stages that (are believed to) have no influence on combos or matches:
Wolverine, Cyclops, Omega Red, Iceman, Storm.

Breakable floors:
Colossus - Breaks in 6 hits, afterwards there are no further obstacles on the stage.
Spiral - First 3 floors break in 2 hits, afterwards there are no further obstacles on the stage.
When the floor breaks, throwable boxes appear to be disabled until the characters land, unless they are hit on the way down.

Obstacle stages: (outline)
Psylocke - Barrels in the corner, girders appear and scroll across until the stage reaches the maximum height.
Silver Samurai - Obstacles in the background break when hit then disappear (more detail needed).
Sentinel - Corner pillars affect juggles, pillars always stay. Juggernaut - Corner pillars like Sent's stage.

Obstacles affect juggle trajectories and recoveries, and in some cases cause a slight hit stop (minute pause, like when an opponent is hit) on impact. Sometimes this can aid combos, other times it hurts them. In extremely rare cases, they will count on the combometer but this could just be an emulator bug.


Escape Tech Screen Lock:

Floor Break Related Bugs:
1.) Floor breaking tends to disable the throwboxes until one character lands (at least on Spiral's stage).

2.) Floor breaking during Akuma/Gouki's teleport removes his pushbox for at least 10 seconds.

Character Specific Bugs:


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