Potemkin has a flexible set of moves that allow him to convert from a variety of starters into big damage and above all else, a knockdown. His easiest combos will get the job done, get a knockdown, and allow you to run his core gameplan. On the other hand, his harder combos reward you with top shelf damage. As Potemkin you want to get in and never leave. Unfortunately, his selection of burst safe combos are limited without sacrificing tension you could otherwise spend on damage. But for the limited burst safety, tough links, and character specific knowledge, Potemkin can deal damage many characters can only dream of. And if all else fails, you have a pretty good command grab.
Meet 5K, your low starter. This starter and their brother, 2K, have an initial proration of 90%. Despite this, combos started from 5K are capable of dealing massive damage. 5K is 2f slower than Potemkin's fastest ground normal, 5P. The main reason you skip 5P and take on the proration of 5K, other than 5P not being a low, is Potemkin's main grounded combo resource, spacing. Potemkin's best combos happen when you're closer to him. The main spacing you will account for in a combo is if your opponent is within range to hit 2H, or if you need to use 2D. Before getting into what we're doing with 5K, let's talk about 2P. 2P is a rather slow P button at 9f. While it has longer range than 5K and 2K, it has a limited gatling tree. 2P > 2K > 2D is a solid option but because 2P reaches further than 2K, you can put your opponent out of position to land 2K. Because of this, 2P is a niche normal for combos.
The Bread and Butter
5K > 2S > 2D
This is the most important combo Potemkin has. If you are in range to hit 5K, you are in range to do this combo. Without deviating too far from combo theory, this is also just a fantastic blockstring for Potemkin and you will likely score rounds where this is the only combo/blockstring you do with one or two mixups on top of it. You can easily begin doing safejump oki after 2D, which you should be sure to HFB. 2D has RC conversions, but you'll find that the return on your tension spent is not very high. It's an "if it kills" kind of tension spend. If you can RC 2D to 5K > 2S > HK or another way to score some extra damage to kill, go for it. In fact, go all the way and learn the exceedingly difficult 2D > HFB > FRC > 5K sequence (not really, please don't waste your time on this).
The REAL Bread and Butter
5K > 2S > 2H > xx
Now we're in business. 2H floats the opponent into the air. The opponent is sent up and slightly away from Potemkin. For starters, this is a free combo into Heat Knuckle, giving you a healthy dose of tension and the best knockdown Potemkin has. Heat Knuckle / Heat Extend is your combo ender in general so get used to routes that end with it. For beginners, 5K > 2S > 2H > HK is as far as you need to go here. You're getting around 100 damage on average, great tension gain, and a great knockdown.
Hammerfall Break Combos
5K > 2S > 2H > HFB
This is where Potemkin begins to open up in his combo options. By mastering Hammerfall Break, you unlock significantly more damage. You already need to learn HFB for general play, so this part shouldn't be too much to handle. In combos, Potemkin can HFB 2H to allow him to follow up on 2H with an air series. The basic air series is this
- sj > j.P > j.K > j.S > j.D
Slightly more damage than your Heat Knuckle combo, but not by much. This is as simple as it gets in the air. This is also as good as it gets against specific characters without tension or very strict delay timing. Four of these are Baiken, Jam, Johnny, and Axl. All different weight classes but they all share this quirk, why? We need to look at the optimal meterless air series to explain this.
- sj > j.P > j.P > j.K > j.S > delay j.H > xx
We've finally arrived at the optimal, meterless air series for the majority of the cast. This combo allows Potemkin to tack on damage while he drags you back to the ground to wrap up the combo. There is a significant delay between j.S and j.H. If you do not delay j.H the opponent will float away, ending the combo prematurely and losing your chance at a knockdown...unless you're going for a very cheesy Heavenly reset. After landing your j.H and returning to the ground, how do we wrap up this combo? There are a few options. The most consistent of these, is 2S. 2S > Heat Knuckle is not only a good ender to this combo, but to nearly all combos for Potemkin. If you ever find your opponent floating directly in front of you, 2S > Heat Knuckle. The highest damage ender is 2H > Heat Knuckle. This will work on less characters than 2S if you aren't landing j.H as close to the ground as possible and 2H as soon as possible. 2H and 2S are both 13f, so this is purely a matter of vertical spacing. 2H can launch a character too high to connect with Heat Knuckle, 2S won't. An important character specific note is the usage of c.S > 2S > Heat Knuckle as your ground ender. This is the easiest ender to perform since c.S is 4f faster than your other options here. This ender works on a fair amount of the cast (list to come) and will make this BnB even more reliable in a match.
So why doesn't this combo work on some characters? There are a few reasons. j.P > j.P > j.K moves lightweights too high for j.S to connect. No j.S, no dragdown. Why not just omit a j.P? Jam is superlight and skipping one j.P actually does allow this combo to work on her. Her air hurtbox is long enough for Potemkin to convert whereas another superlight like Baiken doesn't afford him the same conversions. In some cases you still have some options with 5P and c.S after landing, but you're stretching your options thin to still end with a knockdown. What about the midweight or heavy characters like Axl and Johnny? The delay timing for the air portion is much more strict. This turns what is supposed to be your go to meterless combo, into a character specific exercise.
Though this is where you would end your meterless combo, there are multiple places to add damage and corner carry once you have some tension on hand.
This section will only cover 6K and 5D. Air normals are overhead starters, but unless you score a counter hit with j.S nothing is really changing here. 6K is a key weapon in Potemkin's arsenal. 6K is special cancelable, jump cancelable, and gatlings into 2D. 6K > 2D is particularly useful against Faust and May as 2D converts into Heat Knuckle at the distance you would use 6K at. The true power of 6K lies in Hammerfall.
6K Hammerfall Combos
6K Hammerfall is a powerful combo when tension is available to spend on Hammerfall's FRC point. This grants Potemkin the ability to convert any grounded 6K hit into massive damage. Your primary normal to use after the FRC is 2H. 2H puts you back on your main air combo tree. Certain distances and characters can complicate landing 2H after your FRC, so keep in mind simpler options like 5P > 2S > Heat Knuckle or c.S > f.S/2S Heat Knuckle. Much of what you can do here is essentially your standard air combo which deserves its own paragraph.
5D isn't very subtle and depletes the opponents guard bar by 20 points, twice as much as your next normal. Damage is not going to be high off 5D without a cranked guard bar for that reason. With that being said, the utility of 5D is still high. For impossible dust, Potemkin can use FD j.H for an easy, almost autotimed starter. You can delay j.H slightly when going for an impossible dust combo and it will buy you more frames to play with. Here's an example of an impossible dust combo, 5D > FD > j.H > j.K > j.S > j.H > 2H > HK. Potemkin also has regular dust combos, typically some assortment of j.S and j.H that provides corner carry and APB/HK enders.
Potemkin's air combos generally revolve around the use of j.S. Being able to drag the opponent back down to the ground allows Potemkin to convert a variety of hits into full rejump combos for great damage. We've already covered the main super jump combo for Potemkin (j.P > j.P > j.K > j.S > delay j.H > xx), but let's look at some other building blocks to his air game.
Meterless Air Combos
At lower heights (5P/6P/c.S/6H > HF > FRC) Potemkin has the luxury of going around the world with his air normals for good damage and a grounded ender. j.PKSH is most consistent when j.P is pressed as soon as possible after leaving the ground. If you start this series early in the combo, Potemkin can do this twice, using c.S or 6P as the grounded link between them, and ending with 2S or 2H > Heat Knuckle. Typically, the higher the opponent is in relation to Potemkin before landing j.S, the better. j.PKSH and other air combos most commonly drop when j.S causes the opponent fall too low for Potemkin to use j.H. You can always use j.D to finish an air combo if this happens.
Connecting with a stray j.P higher up in the air will only lead (at best) to j.P j.K jc j.K j.S j.D or sj.PKSD, but a knockdown is a knockdown.
Aerial Potemkin Buster
Huge damage, corner carry, loopable, damaging followups, Aerial Potemkin Buster is the main ingredient to Potemkin's top shelf damage. Characters will change what you can do and how easy it is, but it is absolutely worth learning every APB combo available to you. There are a good handful of character specific details, but everyone has something worth learning. A quick note if you haven't read the main description, APB will move you in the direction opposite of the jump used beforehand. This means to move forward; you need to jump backwards. The input j.6321476D accomplishes this. A clockwise 360 input starting at 6 is an easy way to think of it, just be careful not to go too fast or you may get a neutral or forward input.
While this won't occur very often, it's important to know your true best punish. FDB > 6H > Hammerfall > FRC > xx > APB. FDB allows you to use 6H with no proration, and on most positions on screen, combo into Hammerfall. From here, you can use 2H, c.S, or 6P to then hfb/jump cancel into APB. The normal you use, or skipping the normal entirely, will be context dependent. Experiment in training mode to get a feel for it. 6P will be the most reliable starting off but 2H > hfb is optimal where possible. This is excellent damage for the base 50 tension spent and can be extended with APB FRC / meterless enders or corner APB routes if needed.
Midscreen, you can follow up APB with (see this table) f.S/2S > 2S/2H > Heat Knuckle. 2S is a one frame link, but without it, APB is not all that spectacular midscreen vs the characters that require it. Grind these out and you will appreciate every time you land it. How does Potemkin combo into APB? Nearly anywhere you can jump/jump cancel, you can APB. See the combo tables above for ideas.
In the corner you unlock 2H after APB on everyone but Justice and Johnny. Depending on the untech available to you at this point in the combo, you can loop APB in the corner in a variety of ways. The optimal loop is APB > 2H > HFB > APB. Unless you connect APB raw or from a 2H starter, you will only be able to do this once or twice before substituting c.S for your post APB loop fodder. Since you can jump cancel c.S, it's a great alternative to 2H > HFB but has its own challenges due to c.S not launching the opponent nearly as high as 2H. Notably, single APB combos in the corner have the luxury of ending with c.S > 2S > Heat Knuckle for an easy and solid damage ender. For multi APB combos, 2H > Heat Extend is your ender. This is also a one frame link. Notice a pattern? Potemkin's 13f moves (6P/2S/2H) after APB are all 1f links. Your other easier option to end longer APB combos in the corner is a quick j.D, very lackluster in comparison, but depending on your scaling at this point, not entirely out of the question.
Heavenly Potemkin Buster is a terrible way to spend 50 tension. There are a few situational uses for it, but in combos, this is not a good option at all. Wherever you can replace HPB with APB, do so.
Giganter and Gigantic Bullet. There's a lot to play with here unlike HPB. Giganter, while doing no notable damage alone, has a lot of practical uses. As you're probably aware, Giganter is a very high stun move. If you look at the Bear Stun Formula, we want to use Giganter as early as possible in a combo to maximize stun damage. A great way to do this is 6K. While the initial proration of 6K dampens the stun damage of Giganter, this is a good way to exercise the threat of 6K without the executional barrier of 6K > HF or the lackluster returns of 6K > 2D. 6K is also hit confirmable into Giganter, with practice. If stun was the goal, 6H > Mega Fist is a great option and a solid, simple ender. After a grounded Giganter you have enough time to use F.D.B. and extend the torture on your opponent's controller. From here a solid option is sliding in closer with a Hammerfall > delayed Break > PB. Potemkin Buster mid combo is a rewarding chunk of damage, and without additional meter to spend this is likely your best post Giganter option. You also have the chance that your opponent will get out of stagger right as you grab them, giving you a (deserved) full damage Potemkin Buster. What if you have tension remaining after Giganter? This comes down to your position on the stage. Midscreen with 50 tension, let 6H rip and follow up with Hammerfall FRC. Depending on character weight, you can use 6P (more reliable) or c.S (faster, more damage by a very small amount, lower hitbox, less untech) to combo into APB. Unfortunately, if you started with 6K, at this point in the combo you can't do much in the air. This is why midscreen you won't get much from 25 tension combos post 6K > Giganter. j.S, your cornerstone of air combos, is too slow for the untech available. Once we move to the corner however, any tension is loaded directly into the APB cannon and promptly fired. If you land Giganter in the corner, do whatever needs to be done to get into APB. Nothing too specific to cover in regard to that. I know this seems like a long paragraph for essentially one starter (6K > Giganter). That's because outside of 6K, landing Giganter on a grounded opponent isn't all too exciting. 6K, 2S, and 5H are the only normals that combo into Giganter. In reality, you may find yourself landing Giganter raw more than off 6K. It's not a great reversal, but it will punish anyone foolish enough to use an attack with too much pushback should they find themselves between you and your mirror. But what happens if we land Giganter on an airborne opponent?
Opponents hit by Giganter while in the air are put into a long, slow, falling state. Potemkin has all the time in the world to pick his next move. You really can do just about whatever you want at this point. An important note here is that 2H sets up HFB combos primarily on grounded opponents. If you use 2H on an airborne opponent, especially on lighter weights, you won't have much of a combo left. This applies to super jump combos, including APB. If you want to use 2H after an air connect Giganter, you want it to connect when the opponent is as close to the ground as possible. One way to modify this route is to utilize 2H FRC. This changes up the timing Potemkin ascends and descends relative to the arc 2H sends the opponent on. This is also the case on grounded opponents but typically that meter is better spent on APB. 2H FRC opens up new routes for Potemkin to still drag down with j.S and even optimize his air routing to get more out of the guard bar. For example, 2H FRC can turn (sj > j.P > j.P > j.K > j.S > j.H > xx) into (normal jump > j.S > j.H > xx). This saves a significant amount of guard bar. Other than that, the air combos you've been using previously work just fine here. With 100 tension to spend, you can deal immense stun damage. While it's unlikely to land a raw 2H outside of a slashback, grounded 2H can combo into Giganter on heavyweights or characters with specific hurtboxes. This can require a delayed cancel from 2H to Giganter on some, such as Ky. So should you have the opportunity, 2H > Giganter > 2H > Giganter > 2H/5H > HK is a very high stun combo. You'll need to jump or HFB in-between the Giganters to get closer. Why not use 6H? 2H has a 1.25x dizzy modifier and 6H has a .75x modifier. Therefore 2H is a higher stun normal. 6H can still be useful in the corner to gain more height depending on what you need. A note on lightweights, 2D > Giganter works. Have fun with that.
But what about Gigantic Bullet? It's a great way to close out rounds with unburstable damage for starters. Connecting with Bullet on a grounded opponent either gets you nothing, or a pretty sizable combo. This is weight dependent. Around the middleweights is where you no longer can convert grounded point blank Bullet to 5P/5K > xx. Since Bullet requires Giganter, you can't exactly get more space to work Bullet's frame advantage to your favor. This is of course assuming you aren't going to send Bullet whether Giganter hits or not, don't let me stop you there. Regardless, a simple Giganter > Bullet > 5P > c.S > j.PKSH > 2S > HK is a solid upper 200s damage combo. But notice that we didn't start with 6K. Adding 6K to the front of that combo yet again doesn't give us enough untech to land j.S. You can replace this combo with:
- 6K > Giganter > Bullet > 5P > 2S > HK
- 6K > Giganter > Bullet > 5K > 2H > HK
Similarly to Giganter, Bullet is much more rewarding when you have some height to play with. In fact, the higher the better really. With enough height, you can use any normal you want to follow up. Depending on where and when you land Bullet, you can send your opponent in the opposite direction. Generally, the higher Giganter connects, the more likely this is to occur. Bullet will always net a wall bounce either way, but this is worth accounting for if you're trying to keep corner or set up a specific combo. This also means the wall bounce from a normal Bullet hit can put your opponent behind you. Things get pretty freeform here due to these complications. As a rule of thumb, the closer you are to the corner, the less worthwhile Bullet becomes. You're very likely to put yourself in the corner after fighting to put the opponent there.
Counter Hit Combos
Let's break down the notable CH buttons one at a time.
CH j.S causes a ground bounce on airborne or grounded opponents. This gives you ample time to react and tee up some of your biggest damage. The opponent moves slightly away from Potemkin so it's important to walk forward after landing to get as close as possible for your follow up. Same rules apply here as most air combos that have been discussed so far.
CH 6P modifies your normal 6P combos. This is due to the extended hitstop which allows Potemkin to enter the air sooner than normal in relation to your opponent's hitstop. If you can react to CH 6P, you can jump forward and j.H right before landing, then continue into your air combo of choice. Also of note, the CH hitstop can alter the timing of j.PKSH, potentially requiring you to use j.KSH with a more delayed j.K to compensate for hitstop. Other than that, not much changes here.
CH j.H has just enough grounded hitstun to combo into 6H. This is one of the best ways to get a full damage 6H in your combo. Air connects with CH j.H don't have as much untech as you may think. Waiting to connect a c.S or 6P after it could lead to a tech out. Practice hitting CH j.H and going directly into an air combo.
CH 2S staggers on the ground and gives you a long untech on airborne opponents. The stagger is pretty short. However, since this stagger only occurs on CH, you could catch your opponent off guard and late on the shake out. Point blank, a 2H or 2S > 2H would be optimal. Otherwise, if you're in range for Potemkin Buster, go for it. On airborne opponents, they're still vacuumed in and you have enough untech to go into an air combo. Going for c.S before jump canceling may result in a f.S on some characters and distances. They're both jump cancellable but the longer startup of f.S can mess up your height, placing the opponent too low for jc j.P.
CH 6H isn't as devastating as it may initially seem. Remember, 6H has an initial proration of 50% and a dizzy modifier of .75x. With all that being said, this is still a freight train of a counter hit. 6H > HFB > 6H > Mega Fist is an acceptable amount of damage. In the corner you actually lose some combo functionality as the long trip from your fist to the wall is much shorter in the corner, thus giving you less frames to work with. If you are getting CH 6H from a Guard Bar counter hit and this isn't the first hit of your combo, congratulations, you've won the round. More seriously, in the maybe not as rare as it seems situation this happens, it would be one of the few times spending some tension on an RC is well worth it. Pulverize them with 6H until it doesn't counter hit, then convert into APB or end it with HK/MF. I haven't labbed this, sorry.
CH 2H is the grand slam of counter hit buttons. It's so good you might want to use it as an anti-air even though you know better. It's so good that Slashback punishes that get you CH 2H are well worth putting the practice in for. Slashback Greed Sever? Ky is dead. CH 2H is a 2.5x stun modifier and is fully untechable. Other than actually landing CH 2H, it's not a particularly intricate move. With 50 tension for Giganter you can stun a good handful of the cast. With 100 tension you can stun the entire cast, or outright kill some of them.
CH 5H is a button you'll find yourself racking up counters with pretty often in comparison to some of these other moves. CH 5H is a true combo into Slide Head as well as many normals after a Hammerfall Break, notably your 13f normals like 2S and 2H. CH 5H also combos into Hammerfall, but there's a catch here. Hammerfall after traveling the minimum distance it always does, activates based on proximity to the opponent. Typically, this doesn't cause any problems and 5H can even combo into Hammerfall point blank without a counter hit. The issue arises when the hitstop from CH 5H causes the opponent to begin their pushback state later than normal. Potemkin will end the startup of Hammerfall because he is within the proximity needed, but the opponent will slide out of Hammerfall's hitbox. The distance this occurs at will vary based on character hurtboxes but this is an important note and you may want to use Hammerfall's FRC point on whiff to OS a hit/miss. It's an expensive option but can save you from a punish or convert into a larger combo at a premium. On airborne opponents 5H gain enough untech to combo into 6H with or without HFB. Given the range of 5H and how far it knocks your opponent back, 6H is a great fit. With the extra height granted from 5H, 6H is even deadlier. Not only is 6H dodging its initial proration, but a Hammerfall followup can convert directly into APB. Adding 6P after Hammerfall FRC is a very consistent set up to jump cancel into APB.
CH Hammerfall extends the hitstun and untech of Hammerfall, leading to a knockdown on any hit. The higher the move connects, the more frames you have to make a combo out of the hit. This includes our 13f friends, 2S, 2H, and 6P on optimal height connects.
CH F.D.B. wall splats. 6H is basically always your best option here. Corner 6H has some variance in combos based on positioning, height, and character hurtbox. In the case of 6H on a wall splat opponent, you typically get a WORSE combo from a wall splat than a grounded stagger. If you've practiced corner 6H combos on grounded opponents, test if they work on wall splat and at what heights.
CH Slide Head from the low hit of the move, not the unblockable, grants a combo. I think we've been through this enough times at this point for you to get the idea of this. Use 5K or c.S to convert and go to town.