Why does “Wake up buttons” work? How to use and fight against it yourself.

This is example uses Mortal Kombat 11 but it can be applied to all fighting games.

Shao Kahn waking up

Wake up buttons works because of the threat and established threats of:

  • Invincible wake up reversal 3
  • Air invincible wake up reversal 2
  • Wake up Flawless Block Reversal
  • Delay and non-delay wake up
  • Roll
  • Wake up Fatal Blow/Super

There is no one option that covers all unless they don’t have the meter and you get free unchallengeable meaties.

What is a meaty?

A meaty attack is an attack that is fast and long enough to challenge the opponent from getting off the ground with anything that is not invincible.

An example of a meaty are most characters crouch pokes.

They are all fast enough to check wake up buttons but there are other normal and special moves that are unique to each character for you to use. Example: Kung Lao f1

You will need to force the opponent into wasting their meter by launching or knocking them down to make them spend it on something (roll, reversal)

And when you get the knock down go for “safe” meaties. Use attacks that don’t have a lot of recovery frames so if they do anything else but invincible reversal you are able to recover in time to block or attack again.

Means yes they can use an invincible reversal to stop you but you want to cover the options in case they get up and roll and you are challenging their delays.

Without meter changing up your/their timing with delay/non-delay get up can throw off your/the opponent’s timing.

Be Unpredictable

When you have all of your resources available, cycle through them in an unpredictable rotation. This will make your defense harder to read and let you go for “wake up buttons”.

Once you knock them down you have to bait them into doing their wake-up options and punish them accordingly.

This means to sometimes lose damage to force them to wake-up reversal 3 since you cover the rest of their options.

I wouldn’t try to read them as much until after you established what you are doing.

Don’t let them set the pace be the pace setter.

Example of mind game layers that most don’t think about:

  • You can get hit by wake-up 3 on purpose so you can block the next hit to take your turn and be aware of the grab to crouch/escape the grab and/or land an uppercut. If you land a hit the opponent can’t break out of the combo due to spending meter on the wake up. This makes getting hit by the wake up worth it.

  • Opponent goes for a meaty vs you but you wake up with flawless block and get a guaranteed reversal attempt.

And you could be wrong and the opponent carries their momentum from the wake-up attack.

That is just how fighting games and fights in general go.

You have to make a decision and be ready for the outcome and think about the next moment.

The Strategy In Practice

The mindset I go into a match with is even when I am knocked down I’m still just as dangerous as when I am standing up.

When you are knocked down you gain a bit of invincibility at your disposable to make the opponent miss if their timing is off.

Using that window to hit them when they miss. If they sync up with your get-up timing that is when can you go for the invincible up 3 reversal to guarantee you beat out their meaty attack.

Advanced Wake Up Strategy

The advanced version of this strategy makes it guaranteed that you don’t waste your meter on a read because that is why it is good. Let you conserve meter without wasting it.

I much rather block/flawless block when getting up instead of guessing with invincible reversal 3 to get keep opponents off of me.


Wake up Flawless Block reversal. It can be tricky to learn because you have to wait till the last second to block their meaty attack.

The payoff is great because you get to do reversal up 2 which is a launcher.

The skill check here is timing. Online I understand people may not want to go for it but it’s the same concept as flawless blocking an air normal to anti-air.

If you are wrong you just have to deal with pressure or you might get your turn back. The way to beat this strategy is for them to grab but I rather get hit by a throw than a combo starting meaty attack.

The best option for waking up outside of Folgers lol. This strategy is a 80/20.

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