Defending yourself in IaMP is somewhat like defense in other games. But once again, the bullet and graze systems existing in IaMP modify a lot of how players perform even the simplest of actions.
Here we see Yukari Yakumo performing her 2B and 6B (respectively). As you can see from the approximate (now exact) hitboxes placed in the pictures, these attacks appear to be incredibly good. In the case of the 2B the slash is the hitbox, and it extends very far vertically into the air, which seems to make for a wonderful anti-air attack. Likewise, Yukari's 6B appears to be an anti-ground attack because the majority of her body sinks into the ground so that her hittable box becomes very small, while she extends some signs that have no hittable box, but are actually just solid hitboxes. These hitboxes are quite large and start right in front of Yukari and extend a large distance forward in a sweeping fashion. These attacks might well be considered on the same level as Cammy c.HP / s.RH (of Capcom's CvS2 fame), and Chun c.HK / s.HP (of Capcom's 3S fame). But in this game, these moves alone don't quite cut it due to bullets and Cover.
Here we see a couple pictures (scaled 50%) of instances where Yukari is at a disadvantage due to the bullets that Sakuya has placed on the screen. In the first picture we see Sakuya performing j.2C then air dash canceling; this sends off some knives diagonally downward and lets Sakuya follow closely behind. Against this, Yukari can not use her 2B for anti-air against Sakuya because the knives already on the screen will hit Yukari out of her 2B. If Yukari instead tries to graze with a high jump then Sakuya can hit with her j.A, and if Yukari tries to graze forward then Sakuya can hit with j.B.
In the second picture we see a rain of knives from Sakuya's 214B. In this instance Yukari can not use 6B to keep Sakuya away on the ground due to the knives that would hit Yukari out of the 6B. And again, if Yukari tries to graze by high jumping then Sakuya can hit with her j.A, and if Yukari tries to graze forward then Sakuya can hit with whatever melee she likes.
This is where Graze Attacks can become useful. They are attacks that are performed while ground dashing forward and the attacks themselves are able to graze while their hitbox is extended. Thus, you are able to attack while grazing. Every character except Remilia Scarlet comes equipped with four dash attacks, although some graze while attacking and others do not, therefor some are certainly more useful for grazing than others.
Here we have Patchouli Knowledge performing her 33B and 66B (respectively). Despite how they look they are both technically melee because they can not be grazed. But these are also graze attacks which means they can pass harmlessly through bullets while active.
As you can see, Patchouli's 33B is angled diagonally upward, making it a rather good anti-air for situations outlined previously, such as Sakuya's j.C airdash cancel:
In that situation, Patchouli's 33B can pass through Sakuya's knives while attacking at an upward angle and hit Sakuya out of the air.
However, Patchouli's 33B is angled upward and isn't particularly effective against grounded opponnets. So in the case of Sakuya on the ground; Patchouli could instead use 66B to attack in a horizontal path.
These types of attacks aren't all-purpose though and can be baited. In the situation of Patchouli using 33B, Sakuya could simply air block the 33B and punish, or airdash out of it's hit area and punish from a different angle. On the ground Patchouli's 66B has a fairly sized hitbox, but it's not large enough to beat all of Sakuya's moves. If Sakuya predicts Patchouli's 66B then Sakuya can counter with her own 66B or 6B, or some other move that directly counters Patchouli's melee hit area.
Thus, baiting becomes part of the game. It is important for players to be aware of their opponents potential reactions to each movement. When you're aware of their potentiality, you can take steps to bait these reactions and punish. Such as in the Patchouli vs Sakuya example; one might expect Patchouli to anti-air with the 33B, but knowing that Patchouli is capable of this the Sakuya player can take steps to avoid being hit by it and punish it.
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