From Wavu Wiki, the 🌊 wavy Tekken wiki

Cheese is any move, tactic, or strategy which is easier to use than it is to defend against. Broadly speaking, this describes throws and reactable moves, many stances and strings, deceptive moves, and unorthodox okizeme.

Dealing with cheese can be frustrating. It's important to understand that cheese is an integral part of the game and there's no point at which it stops being potent.

It's possible but uncommon for something to be cheesy and also be a credible threat against good defense.


Cheese primarily exists to make it easier for weaker players to defeat stronger players. It's hard for one player to strictly dominate another when there's such a wide variety of unsound but tricky threats. Without them, small differences in experience levels would be more decisive.

This makes the game more accessible to new players. It gives them a simple, actionable path to winning more games and a choice of which direction to go in. They can either learn to beat the cheese (a simple but challenging task), or they can use more cheese themselves. Players have different preferences in this regard, but most will spend a little bit of time in both camps.

But in Tekken there's something deeper going on. Cheese is used as a balance tool to make defensive options theoretically overpowered. If we model most mixups thoroughly, the dominant strategies are usually defensive options (such as sidestep, backdash, guard, and fuzzy guard). A dry play style that leans heavily on movement and pokes is in theory optimal. Without cheese, it'd be optimal in practice too.

But because there is cheese, there's a practical imbalance between offense and defense. Defense is sounder but harder to use. Offense is flimsy but tricky. The consequence of this design is that—at the highest level—players aren't racing to enforce their threats fastest, but rather poking, prodding, and testing their opponent's defense until they find a hole in it.

There's a popular notion that cheese isn't “real Tekken”, but this couldn't be further from the truth. Without cheese, there is no Tekken.