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Tekken 8 Beginner Series: Movement and How to Cancel It

Patrick Bonifacio

Our Tekken 8 Beginner Series continues! In this edition, we’ll be covering one of the most important fundamental concepts in Tekken 8: movement, and the act of canceling your movement into more movement, or attacks in between.

Tekken 8 Jin Kazama

via Bandai Namco

Tekken 8 is unique in this regard compared to other fighting games, which normally don’t allow you to cancel things like forward and backward dashes. This creates a dynamic form of gameplay between both players, where baiting the opponent into whiffing a move by quickly darting in and out is a legitimate strategy.

There are some nuances to this concept, though, which we’ll of course be detailing in this article. Welcome to our Tekken 8 movement guide!

How to Cancel Movement in Tekken 8

First, we need to lay the foundation that we mentioned in the introduction to this guide. As we said, Tekken 8 allows you to cancel regular movement into more movement options, or into just about any attack you can think of.

This is in stark contrast to games like Street Fighter 6, where the recovery frames tacked onto most movement options (aside from walking back and forth) limits what you can do in between. You can only act so soon after forward or backdashing in other fighting games, which means that attentive opponents can punish you hard for overusing these options.

In Tekken, executing movement options is generally a lot safer because you can act almost immediately afterwards thanks to movement canceling. Movement canceling also allows you to take advantage of openings created by movement, which is crucial in a 3D game like Tekken 8.

To cancel movement, simply input any action after a forward dash, backdash, crouch dash, sidestep, or sidewalk. For example, you can cancel a forward dash into a sidestep, or cancel a backdash into a launcher like Dragunov’s Scimitar (d/f+2). The latter is especially good as a whiff punishment option against opponents that recklessly throw out short ranged moves.

Sidestepping: How to Evade Big Moves

Let’s talk about sidestepping, which we talked about in our very first entry in the Beginner Series. Every attack in Tekken 8 has a certain amount of lateral tracking (whether to one side or both), with some moves having much better tracking than others. What we mean by this is that certain moves can hit those stepping to the left or right, but also that certain moves get blown up this way by sidestepping.

Moves that fall under the latter category tend to be strong attacks with good properties tacked on. A classic example is Devil Jin’s Demon Paw (f,f+2), a knockdown mid that deals a good chunk of damage and is only -8 on block. However, it has basically no tracking to the right, making sidestep left or sidewalk left a strong option against it.

A lot of highly abusable “scrub killer” moves are actually linear in this regard. But because new players don’t really know how to sidestep effectively, their opponents can just get away with it all the time. Take Azucena’s Espresso Agresión (WR 3,2) for example. The first hit has poor tracking to the left, which allows the defending player to evade the move entirely. From there, it’s just a matter of punishing the opponent for whiffing.

Do note, however, that you cannot block while sidestepping or sidewalking. Whenever you move this way, it needs to be an informed decision and not just something that you do randomly. Sidestepping without putting any thought into it is bound to get you clipped by a move with tracking towards the side you’re stepping to.

Frame data also affects when it’s safe to sidestep or sidewalk. If you are at a large frame disadvantage, you won’t have enough time to complete the sidestep animation when you try to evade an incoming move this way. Knowing your frame data helps you decide when it’s best to just block in the meantime, or try to create an opening with lateral movement.

Finally, you should also consider homing moves, which fully track lateral movement no matter what. Homing moves generally have big weaknesses tacked on to balance out the fact that they can track so well, though, such as most of them either being duckable highs or punishable mids.

Crouch Dash Cancels: How to Wavedash in Tekken 8

Crouch dashes are a slightly special case here, as it’s actually possible to cancel a crouch dash into a forward dash, then crouch dash again ad infinitum. This is called the wavedash, which is just the act of canceling crouch dashes into one another. Wavedashing is a great way to enforce mixups on the opponent, as you will have full access to moves locked behind crouch dashing while doing so.

Moreover, wavedashing is useful for quickly closing the distance between you and your opponent. Finally, wavedashing constantly realigns your character with the opponent if they sidestep or sidewalk, making it much harder for them to evade your mixups with movement of their own. The active realignment is by far the strongest characteristic of wavedashing, especially in higher levels of play.

To do a wavedash, first you must be playing a character that has a crouch dash in the first place. These characters include Kazuya, Jin, Devil Jin, Reina, and King — though more may come in the form of DLC characters. Next, perform a crouch dash as normal (f,n,d,d/f), then cancel the latter frames of the crouch dash with a forward dash by tapping f.

That last forward input will simultaneously count as the forward input for the next crouch dash, so from there you just have to input n,d,d/f,f — and repeat. So the full input here would be f,n,d,d/f,f done over and over.

Unfortunately, this is very difficult to do especially for newer players, and it may take months if not years of practice to get the muscle memory down. We recommend starting slow to get a feel for the input, then focus on chaining two crouch dashes together at first. From there, you can include wavedash drills into your warmups every time you play Tekken 8 so that you can gradually increase the speed at which you execute the technique.

After all, a slow, sloppy wavedash is only likely to get called out by your opponent with a quick mid launcher. A fast wavedash with clean inputs on the other hand can be frightening to face, and causes opponents to freeze up while you assert your dominance. It will take time — lots of it — but we promise the juice is worth the squeeze.

The Korean Backdash Cancel

Walking back in Tekken 8 is slow. Extremely slow. Backdashing covers more distance in a shorter amount of time, making it the ideal way to create distance between you and your opponent.

However, the backdash is an exception to the rule which states you can cancel movement with more movement. Just trying to cancel a backdash into another backdash by tapping b,b over and over doesn’t actually work. It doesn’t matter how quickly you mash this input repeatedly; the game simply won’t allow you to chain backdashes together this way.

This is where the Korean Backdash Cancel, or Korean Backdash (KBD) for short, comes into play — as the input b,b to start the initial backdash, then d/b,n,b repeated infinitely. Exploiting the way arcade sticks work, the KBD is a technique that gives you a “free” back input after interrupting your regular backdash animation with d/b and allowing the stick to go back to n.

Using this technique allows you to backdash much faster than you would just doing it the normal way, while also allowing you to block in between backdashes.

That latter part is especially vital to the KBD, as technically speaking you can chain backdashes together by crouching or sidestepping in between each one. But backdashing this way leaves you vulnerable for a split second in between (i.e. unable to block), making this method not that reliable when it comes to creating space and whiff punishment opportunities.

Mastering this technique will take a lot of time, much like the wavedash — but is a must for intermediate and advanced play.

But even with all that said, it’s much more important for beginners to keep movement simple and crisp. Wavedashing and KBDing can come later with practice. Just focus on spacing yourself properly versus your opponent with sidesteps and occasional backdashes, and you’ll be on your way to making the most out of every opportunity in a match.

Patrick Bonifacio

Patrick Bonifacio

Patrick has been playing Dota since the dawn of time, having started with the original custom game for WarCraft III. He primarily plays safe lane and solo mid, preferring to leave the glorious task of playing support to others.

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