Contributors: Gunsmith & Grimulus
Notable Clark players:
Summary: Clark is one of the few grapplers who can continue a jump in pressure after a grab or tackle, and he gets a safe jump on top. He now also has an overhead and easy, easy climax combos!
Version 2 update: buff! Clark can now super cancel from his flashing elbow, which pushes him high up in the tiers! However, he cannot cancel from the ex tackle > pick up> elbow.
Best Position: Point or Anchor
- Air grab
- → LK
- Has special music vs Ralf
This guide is aimed at introducing, and helping, potential recruits to play Clark effectively. Here you will find enough simple strategies, and explanations, to set you on the road to earning those legitimate wins.
Welcome to the Clark Army!
Since the huge 2.0 update many now consider Clark to be a brain dead character, with only one game plan – to use B version command throw, in to super for some easy damage. Well I would like to say, and I think that I speak for most pre 2.0 Clark users, that if you are indeed one of those people who use Clark in this way… please stop.
Clark is a character designed to be played exactly how his persona suggests – up close and in the thick of battle. As an old soldier, Clark is quite used to seeing bits of shrapnel narrowly missing his face, so someone’s foot shouldn’t make a difference, right? He is agile, intimidating and able to cause a ton of damage, with very little effort. He is also very versatile, can be placed in any position on the team and is able to be played with as much, or as little technical know-how as you are willing to invest.
Although Clark’s basic game plan can be easy to grasp (get in, utilise Kung-Fu Grip and win ) he isn’t really an entry level character, and has many nuances. Of course, your own personal success will depend equally on your knowledge of Clark, and on that of the character you’re fighting against. First and foremost he is a grappler and all grapplers, no matter which game you play, require you to learn your opponent’s move set. That’s 54 match ups. Think about that.
Using Clark effectively will require you to practice your ability to whiff punish, play reactively, utilise good spacing techniques and to also read your opponent well. There are no invincible dragon punches, no high priority normals or any specials that leave you with a distinct frame advantage.
Basic Strategy Types:
Previous to the important 2.0 update, Clark didn’t have many defensive options. He still doesn’t, despite what you may think of his armoured grab, but that isn’t as important as his main game plan… of attack, and counter attack.
Clark sits best, and also rather uncomfortably, just outside of most character’s normal attack range. Your consistency at maintaining this range will be one of the largest weapons in his arsenal. He has long limbs and can use both Crouching C and Crouching D as tools to whiff punish and to begin a counter attack your opponent.
Standing C can also be used to good effect, but it will whiff when used against most crouching opponents. For best results, use this move at will on ‘big body’ characters like Chang, Maxima, King of Dinosaurs, Xanadu, Daimon, Antonov and Verse.
Clark’s normals are deceptively good. At first glance they seem to be slow, cumbersome and hit at awkward trajectories but, when you begin using them for their intended purpose, you start to see them in a whole new light. When you remember that they are designed to keep people in place, you start to appreciate their odd hit boxes.
His normal move set is designed to keep people grounded, punish them for pressing buttons and to stop them from jumping upwards to avoid his grab.
In the air, especially when low jumping, two of his most useful buttons are A, B and D. The former, because of its angle (which hits → and ↘) is great for annoying grounded opponents as you make your entry. The stun they encounter on impact is usually sufficient enough for you to be able to follow up with something afterwards. Using B in the air covers mainly this angle (→) and is great for reaching that much further, or even stopping aerial challenges before they get off the ground. His third most useful air button, in my opinion, is D which has this angle (hitting → and ↗) it can challenge in the air, but doesn’t have as much priority as the other two buttons.
At close range, your opponents feel even less comfortable, especially since the 2.0 update. Clark is a monster in close combat, with the ability to inflict quick damage and keep the enemy in a loop of pain with the safe jump he earns after the flashing elbow. His main weapon up close is the Super Argentine Back Breaker (SABB – Half Circle Forward, B or D) The B version now provides a couple of hits of guard point, a mechanic which nullifies damage until the grab becomes active, while the D version is active after only one frame and is most useful for quick punishes.
All his normal moves combo into the SSAB D version, apart from close D and his command normal overhead (fwd B). Only Close C can be cancelled in to the B version.
Clark has a number of basic strategies which make his life easier. Here are a few of them:
- Overhead: Clark’s overhead (Forward B) is the most unique overhead in the game! It’s the only overhead that retains its properties when made active from another move. It can be chained from almost any of his normals (specifically Close Standing C, Down C and Down D) and can in turn be cancelled in to a super, or become the start of a Max Mode Combo. This is a very important tool, which can’t be overlooked.
2. Super Argentine Back Breaker (B Version). The SSAB (Half Circle Forward, B or D) now gives you about 2 hits of guard point nullification. This means that Clark will not take strike damage, while the guard point action is active.
This sounds great, until you consider how easy it is to misuse. Clark was given this ‘buff’ to be able to deal with the characters he previously had no answer for, like Leona, Mature, Terry and all of the characters who have rush specials which previously could not be punished effectively. When you consider the situations this new move can be used in, you’ll begin to think outside the box. It is incredibly easy to bait however, so be sure to use it wisely.
3. To UABB or not to UABB? The Ultra Argentine Backbreaker (Half Circle Back x2 A, or C) is the powered up version of the SABB. It’s the move you now get for free after the flashing elbow, and the one which apparently makes Clark brain dead. The truth is, using this move isn’t always the best choice in a match.
Not only has the damage for using this super been reduced, but when you use the UABB after the flashing elbow, you lose your positional advantage, the opportunity to safe jump and with that the chance to continue the pressure for even more potential damage. You also lose, depending on Clark’s position on the team, any meter which could benefit a character you’re stronger with.
4. Far Normal Cancelling. Sometimes it can be hard for Clark to get close for a hug and, in those moments, it’s good to consider cancelling your far normals (including Crouching C) in to either a super move or a max mode activation. All of his heavy normals move him forward, ever so slightly, which can help cover that extra pixel needed to confirm a whiff punish.
Controlling Clark, just like any character in KOFXIV, will take persistence and probably a ton of losses to begin with. You’ll find that using him is very unlike using a character like Terry, Robert or Iori who seem to have an answer for everything with high priority buttons and a free get out of jail card!. None the less, Clark is a great character and is a ton of fun to use.
I hope you found this brief introduction useful! Hopefully it will inspire you to learn more about this amazing character; once you have the basics, dig into the other tips in the main part of the guide.
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- Crouch : for combos, cancels, everything
- Stand : Great anti hop move! 4f!
- Far : same as stand
- Hop : best move for jump ins 5f
- Jump : same
Notes: crouch LP is very important for Clark and with less damage than LK, has better range and more cancel buffer.
LK “Light Kick”
- Crouch: combo starter, chains into LP and cancels. 5 more damage than LP.
- Stand : fine for confirming into grab but doesn’t chain or link
- Far : ok poke, use after stand HP when blocked.
- Hop : use early to win air to air 5f
- Jump : same
Notes. Hop LK is essential for advancing but wont hit a crouching opponent. You might think far LK is good for max mode, but in fact crouch LP has more range.
HP “Heavy Punch”
- Crouch : good fast poke and anti air!
- Stand : 2 hit easy confirm for MM and fast (4f). 0f on block so it’s safe to spam.
- Far : ok poke, super cancels
- Hop : wont hit crouching opp, slow and needs to be executed early like Iori’s, which means you get that pressure bonus… And it will whiff if done late… but still looks like it will hit :3
- Jump : Same as hop
Notes: air HP hits high like Shermie’s, and if left late enough will completely whiff while still activating Clark’s audio speech sample. Some opponents will block on hearing this, allowing you to immediately grab or throw.
Far HP will super cancel into UAB at any range
You can buffer hcb with any button, there is no overlap.
HK “Heavy Kick”
- Crouch : Good with lag for mixups
- Stand : risky anti-jump-away move
- Far : good poke! Super cancels
- Hop : great for anti jump attacks
- Jump : Same as hop
Notes: Horrible angle in this case but you have to use air HK for jump in combos because air HP is more likely to whiff
HPHK “CD Blowback”
- Stand: Slow, don’t use it but it can combo mount tackle with a wall bounce
→ LK “Stomping”
- Chains but is not comboable
- Combos into super
- This means anytime you hit it, in or out of a chain, it will always be an overhead and will combo into super!
→ KK “Step”
- Goes over ground crouching attacks
- Improved invincibility in version 2 patch!
air throw with HP
Rapid P “Vulcan” [EX]
- EX allows a grab to follow (not a cancel)
- Climax cancel (yes it connects)
- 0f on block so safe to spam but 8f to start :/
- This is your tick damage move
K “Super Argentine Backbreaker” [EX]
- EX causes a juggle
P “Flashing Elbow”
- Only possible after Argentine Backbreaker (or Sleeper Lift)
- Booyah :p
- Safe jump possible afterwards
- HP vers. cancels on 1st or 2nd hit
- HP vers. causes juggle (if not cancelled)
- LP vers. cancels on 1st hit
- EX causes a juggle
Notes: Unlike the KOF13 version, you can cancel after the 2nd hit of HP gatling and it will connect. Looks very funny with the Running Three.
Mount Tackle sequence
1. P “Mount Tackle” [EX]
- Quite good anti air
- EX has very low arc
- EX is perhaps good anti air??
2a. LP “Clark Lift”
- Clark tosses the opponent
- No follow up
2b. K “Rolling Cradler”
- Clark rolls the opponent on the floor
- No follow up
- Most damage but Clark will lose the safe jump
2c. HP “Sleeper Lift (D.D.T.)”
- Pick up followed by a DDT!
- Follow up with Flashing elbow!
3. P “Flashing Elbow”
- After Sleeper Lift or Argentine Backbreaker
- Booyah :p
- Safe jump possible afterwards
Supers & Climax
HCBx2 P “Ultra Argentine Backbreaker” [Max]
- Cannot Adv or Climax Cancel
- Best used in combos or as a reversal (are you fast enough?)
x2 K “Running Three” [MAX]
- Running grab
- Has short invincibility at start up
- Adv and climax cancel
- The grey box as pictured is the grab hit box – it is present for level1 but only appears near the end of the run, while it is active much earlier for level 2. It means it is harder to hit Clark out of this move during Level2. While there is no grey box, as on level1, you can just punch him in the face to stop the super.
- Level 2 hits 3 times, you can cancel at any point.
x2 KK “Ultra Clark Buster“
- Air hit (will hit crouch block)
- Opponent must be standing to block it
- Can be used as anti air
- Fully invincible
All the complicated 1 bar combos are now obsolete due to the version 2 buff where Clark can cancel his elbow into a super. This also caused some damage values to change.
- cr LKx3 > bk~ fwd LP
- 153 damage
- cr LKx2 > hcf HK > qcf P
- 205 + safe jump
— Luke Clarkbert (@lpculbert) January 31, 2017
- (Corner) (anchor) Jump HP, HP 2 hit, mm, HP 1 hit, rapid PP, hcf KK, Qcf PP, dwnx2 K
- 490 damage
- Note that of course if you want the safe jump, you’ll need to use flashing elbow.
- Jump HK, HP 2 hit, mm, HP 1 hit, rapid PP, hcf HK, qcf P
- 369 damage
- optimal crouching punish
- cr LK, cr LP, K, P xx x2 P
- 372 damage
- cr LK, cr LP xx MM, HP 1hit KK, PP x2 P, qcf P
- 317 damage – now obsolete because of the version 2 elbow super cancel buff
- optimal overhead -1 bar – any position
- fwd LK (immediately hold back) xx MM, cr HP, b~f PP, b~f LP, PP xx x2 LK
- 352 damage
- optimal overhead – 2 bars
- fwd LK xx MM, HP (1hit), K, P xx x2 P
- 418 damage
- optimal overhead – 2 bars anchor
- fwd LK xx MM, HP (1hit), rapid PP, K, P xx x2 P
- 505 damage
- optimal standing punish
- HP (1hit), K, P xx x2 P
- 373 damage
- HP 2hit mm cr HP > PP > LP > PP x2 LK
- 362 damage
- hold back immediately after hitting HP and when you activate, don’t worry about running, just go immediately into crouch HP. After hitting EX gatling, wait a little before the next one, then you can snatch them just before they hit the ground with the mount tackle.
- cr LK, cr LP, LP (1hit) xx x2 LP
- 296 damage
- cr HP, HP (2 hit) xx x2 P
- 339 damage
- HP 2 hit MM HP 1hit KK xx PP x2 P, P
- 342 damage
- The link between cr LK and HP is not very hard, just wait a tiny bit. I certainly wont be using it in matches until a billion times after practice
- cr LK, HP, MM HP 1hit KK PP x2 P, P
- 349 damage
- note that if you see “LPHP”, use a macro! HP will execute as priority
- crouching optimal
- cr LK > HP (2 hit) > max > LPHP (1hit)> rapid LPHP > hcb x2 P
- 439 damage
- The difficulty is the pause between crouch LK and HP and then the max mode dash: let Clark run and then hit LP+HP to hit with close HP (hard hits always prioritise) then mash to get the EX Vulcan.
- as comparison
- cr LK x2, K, P xx x2 PP
- Standing optimal
- HP (1hit), K, P xx x2 PP
- 430 damage
- HP 2 hit > MM > HP 1 hit> rapid PP (7hits total)> hcbx2 P
- 430 damage
- HP 2 hit > MM > HP 2 hit > hcbx2 P
- 366 damage
3 bars (point)
- HP 2 hit hcfx2 K, hcfx2 P
- 525 damage
The SABB is always going to inflict more damage because it can’t be adv or cm cancelled.
Refer back to the anchor 1 bar combo video to get the most out of anchor position.
Did you know Clark can bypass into Maxmode?
- cr LK x3 > hcf LK + HP + LP > dwn dwn HP > qcf P
- 198 damage
and if you think that’s tricky you can actually bypass by pressing all four buttons. (Punch always has the priority)
- Rapid P Vulcan xx climax
Version 2 notes: now that Clark can super cancel from the elbow, he’s much more dangerous. One grab can lead to 400 damage! Because of this, he should be played in 2nd or third position. However, it’s ultimately best to just avoid the Iori Kyo K’ match up.
V2 buff: The fwdKK hop has more invincibility so it can go over more crouching attacks but against a fast opponent, it’s really not advised. Clark players love to cancel Blowback CD into hop into hcf B. It’s great against a slow, panicking opponent, who will press a button and get grabbed, but against an Iori who’s just waiting, it’s suicide. They will simply jump up, and proceed to combo the life out of you.
Quick guide: get in close with early hop LK, then crouch LK followed by crouch HK (which will knock over the opponent if they try to do anything but block) or overhead or dash and crouch LK, or dash and grab.
All that hopping doesn’t help if the opponent has an anti air, Clark needs a tick damage, and that’s where the Vulcan comes into play. However, using that will push him back and lose the grab mix up… It’s tiring but that’s all he has in terms of chip.
Quick notes: far LK is +4 on block, so jump in, hit LK then hop LP
His fastest moves are Far and Crouch LP (4f) that’s why he can use the standing LP against hops. Use crouch LP for pressure, it has a bigger hit box than cr LK and just feels easier to cancel into max mode, even though cr LK is one more frame on block. You should see what suits you.
He can get safe jumps after knockdowns with his most common specials, and with his hop LP and LK in the game, is a nightmare to deal with, especially when the opponent is backed into the corner. This is why zoners are Clark’s mortal enemy and worse, those with an instant anti air. Even still, once he can knock them down, there’s plenty to do.
He also has a super easy super combo off stand HP with all the time in the world to confirm. Same for his max mode combo. Of course now that he can cancel his grab, it’s even easier to do damage.
Clark needs to get a grab. To get that he needs the opponent to stay still. For the opponent to stay still, he needs to scare them into blocking, not jumping. Like any other grappler. Get in with hop LK and aggravate the opponent. Get them to jump so you can punish with stand LP or hop HK or air throw. Without baiting out that mistake, there’s nothing he can do – he has to take big risks to punish a whiffed attack with a gatling or step > grab. Personally I would play the dancing back and forth game and bait till you can get a solid grab and then apply the safe jump + mixup.
SAB or Gatling?
As a reversal, or against a slow opponent, Clark gets an SAB. But then, in fact, after one SAB + safejump, Clark is nearly always only in range for a crouching LK, LP, Gatling combo, so he never has a choice.
Opponent is jumping
- opponent jumps at you: hop HK
- Opponent meets you in air : air LK
- Opponent will be lower than you in air, jump CD
Opp hops at you: stand LP or tackle
Opponent is knocked over: get closer ^^
Opponent is standing: get into range for anti hop with stand LP and poke with far HP, far HK and LK (DO NOT WHIFF)! Early hop LK is your best get in tool.
Running at waking opponent who wants to jump: crouch HK or tackle (works better online with lag)
Waking opponent will jump after blocking jump in: Press a button or air grab
Waking opponent will jump or back dash: Your timing is off, poke and put yourself in range to hop.
Waking Opponent will block standing: Empty hop
Clark has three: after SABB, gatling and after tackle.
After SABB (plus elbow) OR Mount tackle (plus elbow)
- hyper jump
- hyper hop
If you do it early it’s not really a safe jump but a whiff. However, you can wait a little, using the opponent’s body landing flat (after being hit by the elbow) as a visual clue, this will effect a 3f safe jump, beating Ryo’s EX DP.
- HP (close or far) then hyper hop
You can use pretty much any button with the safe jump. HP is of course done late enough is a feint which allows you to grab.
Gatling is a soft knockdown but in the corner they won’t do it due to vulnerability to being thrown.
After Safe Jump Mixups
- → LK > super
- cr HK (beats anyone trying to jump away from your pause grab mixup)
- stand B > …. (Clark can actually combo into cr HK)
- pause > grab or cr LK combo
- HP (blocked) > MM > autodash > grab
- cr LK > cr LP > (now breaking the combo) → LK > super
- cr LK > cr LP > cr HK (not a combo but knocks them over if they try to do anything but block)
- cr LK > cr LP > pause > grab
- cr LK > cr LP > pause > anticipate jump to escape grab and punish with air grab by holding up fwd and tap HP
- whiffed air attack (press the button late as possible), cr.LK, LP, gatling > stand HP whiff > safe jump
air attack > stand HP (2hit) > stand LK > far HP then wait for hop attack with stand LP or pre-empt with HK
Using the overhead
Conditioning the opponent
- First, you want opponent to crouch: so annoy them with crouch LK.
- Then knock them over (easier said than done, I know)
- Waking opponent will block crouching : fwd LK super or mm
- If opp is still going to stand, use crouch LK combo
- (See notes about cr LK mix up)
Opp crouch Blocking: HP 2 hit xxMM HP 1hit Fwd LK hcfx2 K
If the opponent crouches, they get hit by the overhead and super.
If they stand then go for crouch LK!
Remember you can hit this overhead anytime and it will combo into a super.
You want them to block low so the best thing is to do cr LK, cr LP then fwd LK into super.
The fast reaction opponent will hit you out of this or worse combo you just by mashing.
So the mixup is to execute your HEAVY gatling. It’s not a combo but it will hit their mash and then you can cancel into super 🙂
One trick pony:
Hop HP or HK (whiffs) > grab
Clark really won’t get many chances on defense and you’ll find that while the grab inflicts more damage, it’ll be out of range in most cases so you’ll have to use Gatling.
eg: cr LK, cr LP, Bk~fwd LP
Versus Clark or grapplers
Hop A >
Against Kyo and Iori, stand A is your friend, to stop their hop rushdown. Try to bait them into jumping and catch them with your air throw.
When they start to do early air attacks to beat your air throw, don’t jump and instead punish with crouching LK into combo.
Be very wary of Kyo’s air dwn HP, Clark has a wide hurt box that suits Kyo very well :/
Old tech but it was great….