Cody - advanced guide (Part 2)
Cody's main strength lies in his ability to frame trap the opponent and setup counter hits where he lands his most damaging combos. A frame trap is a sequence of normals, that usually have frame advantage on block, where you leave a gap of 1-3 frames to the opponent into pressing a button to induce a counter hit from the next incoming move.
Cody has various frame traps that can be utilized for different situations. If the opponent likes to press buttons during your frame traps, Cody can use a frame trap that leaves a gap of 1-2 frames to catch the opponents attempt. Knowing which f-rame traps to use and how to condition your opponent into wanting to press a button, teching a throw, trying to jump away, etc. Is vital if you want to play Cody at a high level.
Here are Cody's most useful frame traps with explanations and situations they are best used in:
cl.MP -> c.LP: 0 frame trap.
This is one of Cody's only TRUE blockstrings when hit with the correct timing. The huge frame advantage of cl.MP allows you to vary the timing of the c.LP enabling you to counter hit crouch tech and 4 frame or above reversals and poke attempts. This frame trap is best used when you know your opponent is crouch teching or likes to poke through your blockstrings.
c.MP -> c.MP: 1 frame trap.
A brilliant frame trap against opponents who like to crouch tech or poke through your blockstrings. You can link c.HP or c.HK off a counter hit c.MP for high damage combos or an untechable knockdown.
cl.MP ->c.HP: 3 frame trap.
This is one of Cody's strongest frame traps for the damage potential. By cancelling the c.HP into EX Bad Stone you can link into various combos, including Last Dread Dust. This is also the best frame trap to use against crouch tech and or 4 frame or higher reversals.
c.LP -> c.LP or c.LK: 2 frame trap.
Although you could make this a true blockstring by chaining the c.LK or c.LP, by delaying the last hit you can counter a crouch tech attempt and mess with your opponents timing.
cl.HP -> c.LP: 3 frame trap.
The long animation of cl.HP can confuse the opponent into thinking they can counter with a poke or reversal only to find themselves in a frame trap getting counter hit. Good frame trap against opponents who mash pokes through everything.
These are the main frame traps that you will be using however there are plenty more that can be found and applied to your game.
To calculate the frame gap between a frame trap you simply subtract the blockstun of the first normal (if that normal is + on block which it should be) from the startup frames of the following normal for example, cl.HP is +1 on block and c.LP starts up in 4 frames. To work out the frame trap you subtract 1 from 4, making it a 3 frame trap.
Counter hit setups
Knowing what frame traps to use and why you should use them is not enough to apply them to your gameplay. You must be able to condition your opponent into attempting throw techs or pressing buttons and Cody has several ways to do this.
The throw/frame trap mixup
Although this isn't a character specific mixup, Cody's high priority, superior normals give him an advantage in this element of the game. The most useful normals for this are f.MP and cl.MP. Reason being is they both give frame advantage, they both have a 3 active frames, upon counter hit you can link both into Last Dread Dust, they leave the opponent at Cody's deceptive kara throw range (Plink s.HK with s.LP~s.LK) and the counter hit allows you to hit confirm into big damage combos.
The most effective way to set up throws is in between a frame trap for example, cl.MP --> (input throw here) c.HP. This is an effective tactic because the opponent will attempt to crouch tech when you use the same frame trap and if they start to crouch tech complete the frame trap and punish them for it. This will also condition the opponent to stop crouch teching, allowing you to go for throws again.
An important variable to remember when mixing throws and frame traps is to mix up your frame traps. If you use the same frame trap over and over you're opponent will start finding gaps and punish you for it. You don't even want to give you're opponent that opportunity, so mixing frame traps will make them think about ways to punish each one. Eventually, they will be forced to take risks in order to punish them.
Although Cody's gameplay is revolved around his frame traps, there are times when frame traps shouldn't be used. These 'times' depend on matchups, how much meter the opponent has and other variables. I will go in depth in each of the matchups in the matchup specific post.
Vital for high level Cody play. Meter for Cody makes his unsafe blockstrings safe, increases punish damage potential and gives him a wakeup option. The threat of a reversal EX Zonk Knuckle at any time can condition players to bait it thus, relieving Cody of pressure.
Cody has decent ways to build meter during a match. Each of his specials build a respectable amount of meter with Zonk Knuckle building the most. There are several opportunities during matches where Cody can build meter.
At long range Cody can FADC fireballs, use Bad Stone, whiff Criminal Upper and Zonk Knuckle fireballs. The most useful out of those is using Bad Stone and FADC fireballs while Zonking through them.
At mid to close range you should be using frame traps, blocking attacks and landing combos.
Ending combos in medium punch Criminal Upper instead of heavy punch builds you more meter (a lot more).
If you end a combo with a light kick Ruffian Cody has two options to build meter; you can either use Zonk Knuckle, building more meter but recovering slower or use a medium kick Ruffian, building less meter but recovering faster.
If you end a combo with any Criminal Upper you can use a light kick Ruffian. This is a useful tactic against characters such as Dhalsim and Guile where you want to stay at close range.
Cody Fact: 7 Zonk Knuckles build one bar of meter
Meaty setups are as important to high level Cody play as counter hit setups and frame traps. Meaty is a term used for hitting an opponent on the first frame when they recover from an uncontrollable state (wake up, reset, air reset etc..) with the last active frame of one of your moves.
Cody has a variety of meaty setups that can be utilized from a variety of situations. I will list the ones I've found for different situations.
After light kick Ruffian
- Execute a medium kick Ruffian immediately after you recover from the light kick Ruffian. The timing is strict and takes some getting used to so take time out to practice this in training mode.
- Move Cody forward the smallest step and then execute Crack Kick after the light kick Ruffian. This has less strict timing than the above version and sets you up perfectly for a meaty with any move.
After any Criminal Upper (Opponent must quick rise)
- Execute a Crack kick immediately after recovering from the Criminal Upper. Sets you up for a meaty f.MP.
- Execute a light punch Bad Stone immediately after recovering from the Criminal Upper. This allows you to follow up with a safe light kick Ruffian which is useful for staying at close range with characters like Dhalsim and Guile.
After f.MP air reset
- Walk forward after landing the air reset then execute a f.MP. There's no special way to note the timing you must find the timing and remember it, use training mode.
Note: All meaty setups lose to wake up reversals, to land meaty moves you must condition your opponent to press buttons on wake up, attempt throw techs etc. Make sure that is done before attempting these or you will eat reversals all day.
To become a high level Cody player you must embed all of this information, including the other guides, as second nature when out there playing. The ability to condition you're opponents and land those counter hits or meaty setups and be allowed to frame trap is all a part of levelling up.