Bruce Irvin by TheF8Spinner

Updated: 09/25/12 | Printable Version

BRUCE 101 (The real guide for aspiring Bruce Irvin players)

First off let me start by saying that I don't know everything about the game
of Tekken.  While I do know more than most I am always looking to learn more
and encourage players of any game to do the same if they wish to play it on a
competitive level.  With that being said I have won several Tekken tournaments
in my day (T2,T3, & TTT1) and while I no longer consider myself to be
"tournament ready" the knowledge is still there.  I made the decision to put
this out there due to several close friends constantly picking my brain for
more information about the game.  While I do not mind the questions, I figured
with all that I know why not share the knowledge with aspiring players.
Fortunately for new players the hard work has been made easy; strategy guides,
forums, websites, online play, and YouTube (look up championship matches to
see how a character SHOULD be played) have taken the guess work out of
practicing.  Tekken before the internet consisted of traveling to local arcades
(where I won my tournaments) and spending countless hours (and quarters)
learning how to play.  If you were lucky, you met someone willing to take
the time out of their schedule to show you what they know... instead of just
beating you up repeatedly until you were out of money.  For most of us
though, it was a painstaking process of both playing and watching more
experienced players.  While I hope this little 1-player guide sheds some light
on how to play one of my all-time favorite Tekken characters it is by no
means a replacement for actually getting out there and playing against good
competition.  For you knew players out there, the first thing you need to know
before doing ANYTHING ELSE is learning how to read the Tekken language.  I
assure you that if you try to jump into a forum in an attempt to learn some
secrets of the trade, you will not comprehend a damn thing being said.  The
Tekken language can be a bit like reading Morse code or a trigonometric
equation at first. While I find it quite redundant to create my own chart with
so many established publishers having done so already, I have provided a link
from another FAQS article written by Wild Man X and Drake The Demon to get you

Character synopsis -
While Bruce's participation in the Iron Fist Tournament has never had any
impact on the actual storyline, he has always been a strong playable
character.  He first appeared in Tekken 2 as sort of a sub-boss in the game.
Unfortunately Bruce was left out of T3 and replaced by Bryan who had
(and still does) many of Bruce's attacks and combinations.  Bruce would next
appear in TTT1 only to be left out of T4.  Although Bruce has since been in
every installment of the franchise however, in my opinion, he is nowhere near
as popular as Bryan, the Laws, or Paul simply because he lacks the charisma of
just about every other character in the game.  With that being said, anyone
who knows anything about Tekken will tell you that they acknowledge Bruce as
a highly effective and dominant character in the right hands.  Now onto the
fun stuff...

Bruce's Top 12 Moves (in no particular order)

1). b+2 - This 16 frame, mid-hitting, safe on block move has exceptional
reach.  It has a tendency to "smother" incoming attacks that are thrown at the
same time granting a CH juggle starter.  Add the fact that it can't be
reversed and there's no reason why you shouldn't be throwing it out 2 or 3
times a round... at least.

2). d+4 - The Trident Low is an absolute beast of a move.  At 13 frames it is
unseeable, deals good damage, and has exceptional range for it's speed (you
can connect at the start of a round but be wary of low crush round starters).
This move only backfires when you as a player become predictable.  Bruce is
launchable on block and make a special note to the fact that you are at
negative frames on regular hit as well.

3). 1,4,3 - The Southern Cross combination is your 10 frame punisher.  If you
know a move is punishable but unsure of by what... "When in doubt Southern
Cross it out".  In order to maximize this moves potential you must learn to
hit-confirm the entire combo.  Bruce is launchable (-15 frames) on block so
learning to cut the combo off at 1,4 is an important skill to master.

4). Crouch Dash options - Mixing up CD+2 and CD+3 are a nasty mix-up when done
correctly.  Proper spacing is important with every character but perhaps even
more so with Bruce.  While Bruce can technically connect with these moves from
any range, there is a certain "sweet spot" that increases their effectiveness.
I won't get into Tekken zones because everybody's interpretation of what zone
1,2, and 3 are is a little different so I will attempt to create a mental
picture instead. Imagine if you will, standing just inside of "running range"
or in Bruce terminology, just outside of b+2 range -- this is the approximate
distance you ideally want to be in.  The reason why is because you aren't so
far as to give your opponent time to evade the incoming attack and you aren't
too close as to have the CD motion interrupted. Keep in mind that both moves
are launchable on block and CD+3 leaves Bruce at negative frames even on
regular hit.  Don't underestimate the use of CD+1 as a standalone move either.
Although it does require the use of CD for minimal damage, the move itself is
what I interpret as the game's only 9 frame attack (minus CD input time). If
you manage to input the 1 at the same time your opponent jabs you will beat
them every time.  I personally throw this move in on occasion to setup frame
traps as it's only around a -1 frame on block.  You can also set your opponent
up for a later round by using CD+1 as a standalone move only to come out with
CD+1,4.  Another rarely used CD option is Bruce's chain throws.  In this
particular instance I recommend starting the CD from within throw range.
Bruce yields even better results of landing the throw when your opponent's
back is to the wall (they stand in fear of a mid attack wall splat).  My
advice is to practice your CD so that it is virtually unseeable; it has a
psychological effect on your opponent when they feel like they can be hit by
things they can't react to.  Hop kicking, random ducking, and jumping out of
range are all signs that your opponent is having trouble dealing with your CD.

5). 4 - Bruce's stand alone right kick (aka magic 4).  At 10 frames this move 
is great for keeping the pressure on.  4 Counter hits into a full combo and 
that reason alone is why you need to throw it out on occasion (a perfect time 
is after CD+1).  Using 4 actually does two things; it increases Bruce's chances 
of landing a juggle, and it makes your opponent hesitant in their actions. 
Land a CH 4 juggle to open a round and I promise you most opponents will 
simply back dash (or attempt a high crush move) to open the second. 

6). 3,2,f~ - The Shotgun Shell transition is a multitude of moves built into 
one. For starters, 3 by itself (aka Shutout Kick) is a mid that keeps your
opponent in Bruce's ideal range. 3,3 is safe on block and garaunteed on CH for
a nice damaging knockdown. Secondly, the Shotgun Shell transition gives Bruce
one of the best wall carries in the game. The move has a certain rhythm to it
in order to pull off but with a little practice it should become easy --
master it along with all of it's variations.

7). u/f+4 and d/f+2 - Bruce's generic hop kick and elbow uppercut are your
most basic options to start a juggle combo.  The moves are virtually
interchangeable as far as frame data goes.  The hop kick is slightly more
useful due to having more range and low crush properties.  However, if you are
playing against Asuka, Jun, or some other reversal happy character you may
want to opt for the elbow.  They are punishable on block so employ them wisely.

8). f+2,4 - An overlooked move by a lot of Bruce players that I've watched.
At 12 frames it doesn't seem to serve much purpose over Bruce's Southern Cross
combo but there are significant benefits to adding this to your repertoire.
f+2,4 is a natural combo on hit and scores the much needed knockdown that
1,4,3 does not.  f+2,4 is perfect for ending a juggle early in an attempt to
land a high wall splat.  In addition, when pressuring an opponent that has
their back to the wall try and bait a whiffed or blocked attack.  Most
opponents are looking to score a knockdown in this position (in order to get
some breathing room) so the moves they often choose are punishable.  However,
if your opponent is smart they won't throw out moves that will get them
murdered either.  This is where Bruce's rare, 12 frame wall splat punisher
comes into play.

9). WR 2,1 - Bruce's duck and punish move of choice for whiffed high attacks.
It is a natural combo and does good stand alone damage to deter reckless,
Steve-type jab spamming.  The "Double Tomahawk" is also quick enough to
provide a nice 50/50 mix-up with his Amputation Low Kick.  Unlike other "top
__ moves" lists that rate WR 2,1 over FC d/f+4, I don't see it that way.  In
my opinion, this move is only as effective as it is because of the existence
of FC d/f+4.  WR 2,1 can be followed up with CD+3 or d+3,4 (with some
maneuvering) for a nice juggle.  However, I will note that the d+3,4 "float"
juggle is iffy at best and extremely unreliable in online play.

10). b+1+2 - The dreaded Spinning Backfist is a 16 frame juggle starter with
slight high crush properties. The key to this move is using it right at the
edge of it's range.  At only -11 frames on block, most opponents will have
extreme difficulty punishing it.  The trick to landing this move more often is
to throw it out "off timing".  I will discuss the off-timing principle more
later on.

11). SS 1+2 - Hands down my favorite move in Bruce's repertoire, this sidestep
elbow starts another one of Bruce's many brutal juggles on CH.  SS 1+2 is
important due to many of Bruce's attacks being linear.  Block and whiff
punishing is one thing... showing your opponent that you have the ability to
play in 3D is another.  Just as important as the move itself is
knowing how to set it up properly.  There is another "sweet spot" (for lack of
better terms) in negative frame advantage that will both provoke an attack
from   your opponent and allow you to "slip" their incoming attack.  While I'm
not going to get into all of Bruce's moves you should know that the ones that
leave him between -2 and -6 frames on block set SS 1+2 up perfectly. f+3,1 and
1,4 (Southern Cross cut short) are both good examples.  The reason why these
frames work best is because anything less than -2 and players tend not to
attack feeling that they are not at a good enough advantage.  Anything greater
than -6 frames and chances are you will get tagged by an incoming attack
before you complete SS 1+2. SS 1+2 is also safe on block, irreversible, and
less likely to be interrupted when SS to Bruce's left.

12). FC d/f+4 - Bruce's Amputation Low Kick is what sets up his WR 2,1. It is
a vicious, long reaching low kick that grants a garaunteed CD+3 on CH. Unlike
most other lows that don't cause a knockdown, the Amputation Low grants Bruce
a whopping +9 frame advantage. The perfect time to employ this move is after
successfully interrupting your opponent's attack with a low jab. However, if
you feel your opponent might try and low crush, simply hit them with WR 2,1.
There is nothing they can hit you with that will interrupt WR 2,1 after a
successful low jab. Keep in mind that FC d/f+4 is severely punishable on block
so don't get predictable.

I chose to list those moves in no particular order mainly for the sake of
argument. At the same time I think any knowledgeable Tekken player would agree
when I say that your character's "best moves" are whatever is working at the
time. Your move choice from round to round will come down to how much your
opponent knows and your own personal play style. I cannot tell you how many
times I've setup some beautifully advanced trap only to be punished by a brand
new player. Advanced tactics fail at times because your opponent doesn't know
enough to be fooled, not because it isn't a good setup. Know your character and
understand the mindset of the person your playing against. With all that being
said, some honorable mentions are: Bruce's running 3, u/f+3+4, Bruce's
unblockable, d+3,4, and b+1,2,1 -- the list goes on and on. The more you know
about the game, the more ways you will find to employ what where seemingly
"useless" moves at first glance.

Random Bruce Tips

1). Keep an eye on the way your opponent gets up after a knockdown;  if they
have a habit of tech rolling after EVERYTHING hit them with an unblockable or
run up and throw them; if they have a habit of rolling backwards (sign of a
new player) hit them with d+3,4 and start a juggle combo; if they have a habit
of using rising kicks, try and bait one out and smash them with a CH b+2.

2). Try to employ your CH attacks "off-timing".  This means that the moment
you feel that you and your opponent have established a rhythm -- you block me
and I'll block you, you block me and I'll block you, you block me and I'll
block you... you need to break that pattern with a CH hunter like SS 1+2.
Your new pattern should look something like -- you block me and I'll block
you, you block me... and then eat a SS 1+2.

3). Moves that generate heavy guard stun (i.e. Bruce's running 3 and u/f+1+2)
are perfect setups for b+2.  Because of this advanced players do not usually
bite, choosing instead to protect themselves defensively.  Against advanced
players you should try ditching b+2 in this situation and opt for a throw or
d+4 -- some damage is always better than no damage.

4). Practice your juggles from different angles; front, side, behind, and 
while jumping characters fall drastically different even when using the same
juggle starter.  Recognizing the different "float" animations will help you
decide which move to follow up with.

5). Bruce's Dillinger Hanuman combo (d/f+1,2,1,4) is extremely risky because
the last two hits are not guaranteed on regular or CH.  However, if you treat
it for what it is, a flurry of moves designed as a round finisher, it does
prove useful. Set this move up by using Bruce's natural two-hitters (d/f+1,2,
d/f+1,4, d/f+1,1 f+2,1, 1,4, d/b+3,4, etc) periodically throughout the match.
By the end of round 2 or 3 your opponent will be so "conditioned" to
counterattacking after two hits that they will walk right into the final
strikes of the combination.

Juggles -
Bruce has approximately 16 juggle starters (not including f+1+2, FC d/f+4, and
f,f+4 that each grant a guaranteed CD+3 follow up for you smarties) that I
know of.  Bruce's ability to seemingly start a juggle off of anything is part
of what makes him so intimidating.  Bruce's juggles average anywhere from 40
points to around 115 points of damage depending on varying factors. Because of
the fact that the majority of his more "effective" juggle starters only combo
on CH, Bruce is best played with an aggressive approach to the game.  I am not
saying that he can't be played defensively (he's actually quite adept at the
"bait and whiff" and "keep out" game).  What I am saying is that Bruce is a
well balanced character that can be effective using any playing style... just
don't expect to land CHs in high level play by throwing out
one-hitter-quitters.  Also note that there is a fine line between playing
aggressive and playing reckless.  Below is a list of 5 juggles; all used in 
different situations and all can be executed with really high consistency.
Also understand that Bruce probably has the most interchangeable juggle
combinations in the game.  Don't be surprised if you perform a juggle starter
and get to the finisher using a different combination or different moves all

1). b+1+2; f+3,1; d/f+4; MTS f+1 (bound); 3,2,f~1; b+2 __ 3,2,f~2 __ u/f+3+4.
This is one of Bruce's staple, whiff punishing juggles.  There are tons of
variations and it's really going to come down to personal preference as far as
what moves you put together with him.  Note that the underscore (__) means "or"
in Tekken juggle listings.

2). CH SS 1+2; d+3,4; 3,2,f~1; d/f+4; MTS f+1 (bound); 3,2,f~1; b+2 __
3,2,f~2 __ u/f+3+4.  My personal favorite.  The trick to landing this combo
consistently is getting in "deep" or as close as possible when landing the
initial SS 1+2.  If you connect with SS 1+2 at the edge of it's range it
becomes virtually impossible to pick your opponent up off the ground with

3). CH d/b+3+4; d+3,4; MTS f+1 (bound); 3,2,f~1; 3,2,f~1; b+2 __ 3,2,f~2 __
u/f+3+4.  A sneaky combo that most Bruce players do not use do to it's slow
startup.  It's not a bad option to use on players that "shell up" or play
turtle on you.  A unique way to employ this move is to immediately charge
Bruce up (by pressing 1+2+3+4) upon knocking your opponent down. When your
opponent holds back in fear of an incoming CH mid, catch them off guard with
d/b+3+4.  Sounds extreme but hey, anything you can use to catch your opponent
off guard is worth a try.

4). d/f+2; f+4,3,4; MTS 3 (wall splat); d+3+4 (bound); f+3,1; d/b+2,1,4
__ u/f+3+4.  Bruce's Shotgun Shell transition actually works against him in
the more confined boards.  This juggle gives you a much shorter overall travel
distance while still allowing you to tack on big damage at the wall.
5). b,f+4; u/f,n,4; 3,2,f~1; 3,2,f~1; f+2,4 (wall splat); d+3+4 (bound);
f+3,1; d/b+2,1,4 __ u/f+3+4 __ d/f+3+4,3,3,3,3.  This is the most powerful
juggle I know.  It will net you a consistent 100+ points of damage depending
on the finisher and whether or not you land the starter as a CH.  If your
opponent gets hit with this try and refrain from laughing and finish the round.

How to deal with...

1). Jab spammers - this term refers to players that initiate their offense by
tapping "1,2".  First off, you should know that jabbing is GOOD... until, like
anything else in Tekken, you get predictable.  They're used a setup tool for
traps and more severe follow ups.  Advanced players that throw jabs are
monitoring your reactions.  They are  well aware that on block they're only at
-1 frames and on hit they're are around +7 (give or take depending on the
character).  Iíve heard many a player cry about being literally "jabbed to
death" and I sincerely hope you arenít one of those players.  I quoted "1,2"
earlier in the paragraph because itís the signature phrase of the character
Steve Fox, who is a boxer.  Whining about Steve murdering you with jabs is
like complaining about King repeatedly throwing you, or Bruce d+4ing and
CD+3ing you to death.  The moves are by character design and are supposed to
be difficult to deal with.  With that being said Bruce has several ways to
deal with the jab but his most effective way is to use his swaying kicks
(d/b+3 for low or d/b+4 for high).  The move has a built it dodge that is
extremely quick and follows up with either a low kick or a high kick.  The low
kick can be comboed (d/b+3,4 or d/b+3,4,f) and is garaunteed on CH.  Being
that the only options from the sway are a low or a high, don't get predictable
or you will be punished by a ducking opponent.  Bruce also has his Right Cross
or Right Straight (f,f+2).  The trick to it is to be at even frames and
execute the move at the same time your opponent starts the "1,2" combination.
Although itís a right punch counter, the move is much slower than the jab and
was intended to be used as a jab-string stopper and not a standalone right
punch counter.  Bruceís Right Cross is quite frankly one of the most gruesome
counters in the entire game and for that reason alone itís worth practicing. 

2). Stance happy players - Eddy, Christie, Tiger, Ling, Zafina, Hwaowrang,
Baek, and Lei players are some of the most confusing, and frustrating
characters to go up against.  Their stances provide them with true 50/50
mix-ups as well as a slue of other options not otherwise available to them.
Occasionally you will run into a cocky (or over confident) advanced player
that walks around in Eddy's handstand, hops around in Hwao's flamingo, or
speed dashes in using Ling's Phoenix stance. More times than not however,
you can take this as a sign that your opponent is not experienced. Watch an
advanced player of one of these stance oriented characters and you will notice
that the only time they enter stances are when they are certain their opponent
is helpless (i.e. whiffed move, on the ground, lockdown poking strings, or
during a juggle). The reason for this is because stances leave their character
vulnerable. If you have difficulty with some of these characters your problems
can be solved with the use of three moves: b+2, d+4, and standalone 3.

b+2 - When you see a foolish player walking around out of range,
telegraphing one of their many stances throw out b+2.  The move can't be
reversed by a built in auto-parry (Lei), it hits lower stances that otherwise
cause high attacks to whiff (Ling, Lei, Eddy, Christie, Tiger, Zafina), and it
closes the gap quickly which often catches your opponent in a CH.

d+4 - you should always be ready to unload d+4 on your opponent but in the
particular case of stance users it is even more deadly.  Any time you detect a
stance change off of a blocked attack (i.e. blocking Lei's Razor Rush or
Ling's D+1) d+4 should be an automatic reaction.  Drive home the point that
"anytime you leave yourself open you are going to instantly lose 16 points of

Standalone 3 - At 13 frames Bruce's standalone 3 can be used interchangeably
with d+4.  You may opt for 3 over d+4 if you've nailed your opponent with so
many d+4s that you're anticipating a low crush (in which case CH them with
3,3 for good damage).  Other reasons to use standalone 3 are to reestablish
spacing and swing momentum in your favor (remember that 3 transitions into
Shotgun Shell/Slug).  Baek and Hwaowrang are a different breed of stance users
altogether.  For those who wish to play on higher level, the only ways to
learn to deal with Hwao's pressure is to find an experienced Hwao player and
practice or learn to use Hwao yourself for a better understanding of his
capabilities and limitations.

3). Turtles - Playing a good turtle can be extremely frustrating and dangerous
if you play a CH reliant Bruce game.  Turtles capatilize on their opponents
mistakes rather than initiate their own offense to deal damage.  The most
important thing to do when playing a turtle is to recognize one.  Once you do
this you can dump all the unsafe moves and replace them with a more
conservative style of offense.  Try replacing those monstrous mids with throws
like f,f+3+4 or the Shotgun Shell transition into a chainthrow. Poke away at
health with d+4 and standalone 3 -- if the turtle is losing the damage battle
he/she will eventually come out of their shell.  Another good tactic is to 
throw out moves that initiate heavy guard stun like u/f+1+2 or f,f+3 to force
them into a 50/50 mixup situation. All good turtles have one thing in 
common... they know your character.  Putting a turtle player in situations
where they have to guess instead of knowing forces them to become more
aggresive in order to avoid certain situations.

Bruce's Wall Game - 
Bruce's wall game is just as strong as his game in open space.  To simplify 
things, your basic options at the wall are going to be between powerful mids, 
lows, and throws.  Below is a list of some of Bruce's best moves to keep the
pressure on when your opponent's back is to the wall.
1). b+2 -  use this to provide immediate pressure during instances when your
opponent gets up next to the wall before you have a chance to close the
gap.  If your opponent foolishly tries to punish you with an unsafe move,
block and punish with f+2,4 for a 12 frame wall splat. Also see f+2,4 listed
above in the "top moves" section.

2). d/b+2,1,4 - At the wall this move will catch any movement by a grounded
opponent and connect for a full combo.  The key to not giving up your
advantageous position is to learn to cut the string short after the second
attack unless the first two hits connected.  Being that the only way your
grounded opponent can avoid this move at the wall is by not moving,
immediately follow up with d+4 after cutting the string short.  It's also
worth noting that each hit of the string can be delayed.
3). f,f+3 - Use it in place of b+2 when you see your opponent trying to SS/SW
away from the wall.  It's a mid that has great reach, tracking, causes guard
stun, and wall splats on hit -- 'nuff said.  

4). u/f+1+2 - This slow mid crushes lows, starts a juggle, and causes heavy
guard stun on block.  If your opponent tries to retaliate in any way, frame
trap them with b+1,2,1 for a high damage wall splat.

5). f,f+1+2 - This throw has increased damage at the wall (50) and is a MUCH
safer option than d+4.  It has a small throw-break window and a double button
escape making it Bruce's go-to move for mid defending opponents that have
their back to the wall.  

Wall Game Summary - 
Bruce's wall game is simple but but effective.  I cannot express enough how
important it is to resist the temptation to use d+4 on anything other than a
grounded opponent at the wall.  Unless it's potentially the final blow, you
risk the chance of being punished on block and give your opponent positive
frames on hit.  In most cases it is wiser to replace your low attacks with a
throw; hence why they gave Bruce a throw that deals extra damage at the wall
(hint hint).       

Hopefully this little guide further enhances the game of my fellow Bruce
players and encourages those who are curious about the game to come join the
fun.  I can't stand a good player that hoards their knowledge of my favorite
game. I enjoy seeing others flourish and appreciate any tips thrown my way as
well.  If anyone has any questions, please don't hesitate to ask.


                                The F8Spinner 
    "Everbody has a plan until they get punched in the face." - Mike Tyson