Stealing Frames (More Footsies)

I have already said most of this already, so I probably sound a bit like a broken record. But I'm going to try, this time, to make it sound a bit different.

- Evasive anti-air. Example: Ken walking pixels out of Urien j.RH.

Photobucket Click thumbnail for larger view.

The above example is something that happens quite often in SF3:3S. Either because of parries or because of really good jump-in options or maybe just force of habit, the Ken player we see reacted to Urien's jump and walked backwards literally pixels just outside of Urien's maximum effective jump attack range. This is what would be considered an evasive anti-air, and in Ken's case he also has a very very swift backdash to add to his options for moving backwards in these situations.

Why is it good? Well, fighting against Urien who is jumping at you is a pretty bad idea simply because of the risk/reward ratio involved with air parry. If you manage to anti-air him then you at worst get a reset and at best get a knockdown, and in either case you only get minor damage. In Urien's case, if he manages to parry your anti-air then at worst he gets a jump-in with tick throw potential, which may or may not succeed for a knockdown, and at best he gets a jump-in combo for large damage plus knockdown.

That said, it's better to avoid the situation and "steal frames". Because you moved outside of his range you earn a few frames of initiative. The time it will take him to land after you've moved yourself out of range is yours. Technically, in 3S almost everything is a guessing game at neutral, but there's no denying that an advantage is still technically advantageous. A player would not normally risk a down-parry or forward-parry against Ken who could do either a RH or c.RH, or any number of other things in his neutral-arsenal (such as walk-throw, c.MK/MK, etc). Though generally, the concept of evasive anti-airs does not belong to 3S alone.

- Baiting a poke. Example: Ken baiting Ibuki to whiff a poke in order to gain initiative in which to perform a jump-in or dash-in.

Photobucket Click thumbnail for larger view.

Photobucket Click thumbnail for larger view.

In the first scenario; Ken attempts a jump-in "naked". What that means is, Ken tries to jump without first creating the situation where he neutralizes Ibuki's anti-air options (he tries to jump without doing anything else first). Thus, what occurs is what we see: Ibuki does a c.HP on reaction to Ken's jump, which when performed at that range is practically infallible without meter. Ken's only option for not eating the c.HP is to parry, so if he does not parry then he is hit. If he does parry, then this also is not a success story,since Ibuki is still able to highjump cancel the c.HP even if it's been parried. Once in the air she is free to air parry herself. Worst case scenario, Ibuki gets hit with a light jumping attack for minor damage and reset, best case scenario Ibuki air parries and hits with a jumping attack for minor-to-decent damage and reset.

So, with an anti-air like this in the game, that is supposedly infallible at neutral, how does one actually beat it? Well, once again the answer is to steal frames.

In the second image we see Ken walking towards Ibuki first. This puts pressure on a turtling Ibuki player because Ken is now invading her space. He could quickly dash in and throw, or attack from afar to gain initiative, or any number of things. It's a natural human reaction, when in defensive-mode, for a player to want to keep the opponent out of their personal space. And normally the action spawned there is to poke with the best move available to keep them from getting any closer.

But as we see in the image, Ken knew his spacing perfectly well, and stepped only as far as he could go while still avoiding Ibuki's c.MK range.

Now, it's certainly no simple task to react to such a swift move, but we can assume that the Ken player knew the Ibuki player would "freak out" and attempt to poke a forward advancing Ken. Thus, with a little anticipation and timing, Ken is now able to do a jump-in or dash-in.

This is entirely taking advantage of frames. Ibuki is now stuck completing her c.MK animation for a good while and is unable to act until it ends. In the original scenario of Ken jumping at Ibuki after either reacting to or anticipating Ibuki's c.MK, he won't necessarily be able to hit her (she could "just block"), but now he has completely neutralized almost all of her anti-air options. For Ibuki, c.HP is out of the question, she is neither in the ideal range nor does she have enough time for it to come out before Ken is in deeper than the effective range.

At this point her only valid option is to attempt a DP, which is entirely too risky because it has high chances of either whiffing or being parried, and in either case Ibuki will suffer massive punishment damage. Ibuki also can not walk backward outside of the range of Ken's j.MK as we see in the image, but she can also not walk forwards under Ken's j.MK or Ken will still connect with the j.MK as a cross-up hit. Ibuki's only real option is to either block or attempt a very risky parry or forward dash.

- So what.

Well, the point of this is that it's really basic and core to a lot of 2D fighting games in regards to ground-based footsies. It's significant enough that players who utilize these concepts effectively are almost always a tier or two above players that do not (there's always exceptions though.. oh what a world).

Personally, I feel amateurs and scrubs generally don't get it at all, or don't care to. And perhaps in response, or just coincidence, a lot of new-generation fighting games take great measures to dilute these concepts or to try and make them irrelevant entirely. Games with excessively advantageous airmovement or defensive options, or games with piss-poor anti-airs, seem to want players to be able to fight without having to deal with such fundamental concepts as footsies, usually resulting in a point-blank slugfest which turns into a momentum-based rushdown/okizeme game for the remainder of the match after the first couple hits. Or games like SWR which are so devoid of anything resembling consistency it makes me want to retch.


To put it simply, it isn't always a bad or good thing. It really comes down to preference.

To use an analogy, it would be like comparing gambling to chess. I believe that for most people; it's a lot more fun losing and winning to chance when gambling, than it is to consistently lose at chess and not understand why.

But this is precisely why I like competitive gaming in the first place. I'd much rather be the latter group than the former. If I were the type to be in the former group then I'd probably prefer cooperation/team games or solo-play because competition and consistent negative results would be frustrating. Additionally, I would only be there for the enjoyment, and therefor anything that forced me to actually try/learn or pay attention would annoy me. On the flipside I genuinely do prefer competition because I enjoy the challenge and excitement of winning and losing.

So, this is why I personally feel games shouldn't ever try to mix elements in order to appeal to both types. Either build a game designed entirely for competitive play or don't mess with competition at all.

Cadillacs and Hooker Pumps

This is just a repost from an SRK thread. I think I already covered a lot of it in previous posts but whatever.

Re: Midler (Jojo's Bizarre Adventure)

I dunno, she seems pretty intuitive to me. Like [SRK member] said she's got strengths everywhere.

She's pretty good at rushdown so you can probably play her rather orthodox autopilot if you wanted to. Her tick throw is good, her staggers/frametraps are easy and solid, her crossup is really good and it isn't difficult to get into position for it, her overhead kind of sucks but you don't really need it. Off a knockdown she has Cadillac super into instant high/low with while-rising j.A1 or c.A1. Which is nice because you can pester with c.A1 for a bit and then do the j.A1 basically randomly and still get a chunk of damage plus juggle if it hits. If timed right they can't really avoid it, since guardreversal is risky for them and pushblock doesn't get them out of it if you anticipate it, you just need to make sure you meaty them so they can't reversal-roll on wakeup, then plant the mixup.

But the reason I like her so much is her midrange game. So I play more of a reaction/anticipation footsies game with her, roughly around sweep distance. Cadillac is an awesome anticipation anti-air, it's not totally safe because you're vulnerable while it's out but I still love that move to death anyway. When unactivated she is able to move pretty soon after the H.Priestess disappears, so you can even just throw out the caddy and crouch or dash under jumpins or jump back if the opponent comes at you from the ground. It's really all about dashing-c.A1 and sweeps and just random pokes and basic footsies. IMO, being patient with Midler is easy and rewarding, provided you're able to put yourself within the midrange where opponents with superior max-range games can't abuse distance.

A lot of her while-activated moves are great pokes for pestering, but I play with her mostly unactivated for a number of reasons. First of all, qcf+D activation is really important. Combos off anything and it's a really reliable/good anti-air, fast and huge vertical hitbox plus can't be air blocked. And more importantly you can whiff cancel her normals into the qcf+D activation, so it buffs her poke game a lot when you're unactivated. Like, if you stick out a sweep and miss you can still protect yourself with qcf+D or caddy or harpoon. Second, because most of her main BnBs become activated ones from being unactivated anyway. While-dashing c.A1 while unactivated is just too good, and really easy to hitconfirm into either her slide into qcf+D or her activated chain. Third, her specials really blow when activated, since Midler is stuck during the whole move, which isn't that big of a deal for her overhead move but it is a big deal for caddy and to a lesser extent the harpoon. And lastly because getting standbroke on the ground sucks against quite a lot of the cast so I go out of my way to keep the Priestess unactivated outside of combos.

Cadillac super is really just good. No one should be jumping at Midler when she's stocked unless they have a way to avoid Caddy super, which I don't think most characters can do. And Caddy super is also really good on anticipation in general since it beats so much shit and she can just run away if it whiffs or they roll. It's sometimes possible to tech-trap with it too, which is good to remember during those situational times when you use her qcf+D BnB and the opponent happens to be in a bad spot for teching.

Her tandem isn't really strong, but you can just treat it like a combo extender basically. I don't really bother with her tandem that much, but I probably would if I felt it was worth the damage.

Mouth super kind of sucks in the sense that it's hard to actually land it and if you fail it then you're taking a combo's worth of damage, but if you do manage to land it the damage is insane, especially with the activated A3 ender. If you find a way to use it then it's basically half life, ggpo round is yours.

Harpoon super damage blows outside the corner but it's a pretty fast super. Really though, the damage sucks unless you're close enough to the corner to add an ender onto it.

On a side note, her activated A2 can be self-chained for 3 hits which builds meter for each hit, so shorthop backwards j.A3 land [A2]x3. I can't tell if that's the best way for her to build up stock but it seems to be.

Anyway, a couple sidenotes; can't roll with stand activated and can't throw when stand is busy. If she could throw when her stand is busy then she'd be able to toss out projectiles and bait rolls like Mariah can, which for Midler would be just way too good.

In general I just think she's a fun character. I also rather enjoy Mariah and R.Soul, but for a number of different reasons.

Kevin Rian

My experiences with Garou:Mark of the Wolves was a mix bag of chips.

On one hand it's a pretty cool game. Low jumps, command feints, just defends, special breaks, JD->guard reversal, high/low dodge attacks, feint cancels, and guard crushes.

On the other hand, the game doesn't play out as wonderfully as it would on paper due to feint cancels, breaks, hit confirmation, and other such things tend to put ware and tare on enjoyment factors.

The tiers in the game are extremely similar to the tiers in SF3:3S. There's clearly a top 3, a mid-tier full of average characters, and a bottom tier. Kevin Rian is one of the more ridiculous top tiers in the game, and I sometimes wonder if people really realize exactly why he's so ridiculous.

First of all, his LP combos into his Hell Trap qcf+K special move, which is his breakable special and hits low. On block, if you break this special move it gives a ton of +Frame advantage for him to dash in and do another LP, which is an airtight blockstring if done correctly. If he gets you to block either of these moves in the corner you're basically going to take damage no matter what. If you continue to block his [LP, qcf+K(break), dash]xN you'll eventually be guard crushed and he can get a combo on you. The only way to escape this is to JD the first hit and guard reversal, or block high and allow yourself to be hit by the Hell Trap. In this situation, Kevin can still break the Hell Trap and combo into super(s) for a decent amount of damage anyway.

This isn't the only thing that makes him so good though. In addition to his already ridiculous nature, his qcb+LP Hell Rotor special move is chargable and cancelable during the charge. However, he gains meter even if you cancel it. Even inexperienced Kevin players find it easy to mash qcb+LP~MP~HK/LP~LK~HK to get a series of quick-canceled special moves which very quickly build meter.

But what good is meter if it's not deadly, well in Kevin's case it's very deadly. His qcfx2+K super will "float" an airborne opponent for additional juggle potential, and stagger a grounded opponent long enough for him to do a jumping combo, and is confirmable off his LP or stronger and combos off his BNB (break helltrap) and will also reset normal juggles.

To top it all off, he actually has pretty good dodge moves, not the best but still pretty good. And he is able to feint cancel his close HP for a link combo like much of the rest of the cast. But wait, there's more; he has a command throw too.

In general, I would say that it's obvious why both JP and US players unanimously agree Kevin is among the top tier, even though many US players only know about half of what makes Kevin so good.

Jojo's Bizarre Adventure notes 3

Some little tricks I've noticed:

S.Dio c.A3 into upwards knives. I'll have to test if this is avoidable but it seems pretty cool. If you tech you'll be forced to block the knives which gives him a guard break chance.

Chaka guard reversal links into his mid/high attacks which lets him combo Tandem. I already knew characters like R.Soul could potentially followup on a successful guard-reverse attack, but Chaka's doesn't seem to launch/sweep which is pretty interesting.

Mariah's guard reversal retains the same properties as her f+A2 it seems, as it is an overhead.

I find it interesting that a few guard reversals change depending on if your stand is active or not. While most of the cast's does not change, O.Joseph's and Chaka's actually do. O.Jo's inactive GR is his qcf overdrive, while his activated GR is his DP overhead swipe. Chaka's deactivated GR is his qcf+S sword, while his activated GR is the first hit of his qcf rekka. I'm pretty sure no one else's does unless you consider the Stand link/unlink differences for a few characters, like Iggy's and V.Ice's unactivated GR's are projectiles autonomous to them, but activated the character moves with the Stand, similar to Dio and Jotaro I presume.

The special move buffer window seems to be around 10-12 frames. In this regard, I experimented with pre-buffering guard reversals (especially after watching BBC's Chaka). And it is indeed possible. So if you first input a DP then hold down+back to block you have about 10 frames after the down+forward input to input an attack command for the guard reversal. Unfortunately 10 frames isn't how much you really get for down+back because you need to account for the time it takes to go from down+forward to down+back. I could test how many frames is it but precise numbers in this matter don't seem relevant and I can't think of any other excuse to do so other than "because I can".

Activating a Stand's Tandem then immediately going for a throw as soon as the stand disappears is pretty amusing, though I'm sure you'd have to read your opponent pretty well. But I'm thinking there may also be some option select possible here, which is pretty devious if it works.

I've known since the first time I experimented with Hol Horse's rdp super that it had the potential to be unavoidable, since it's an unblockable projectile. Sure enough, that super is pretty much guaranteed in a number of situations which you can reliably react to.

Speaking of unblockables, several characters have access to unblockable simultaneous high and low hits like in SFA3. That's one of the things that makes Vanilla Ice so ridiculous, aside from his airmovement and ridiculous pokes anyway. His qcb move is actually an overhead and acts autonomously of V.Ice, allowing Ice to hit low while the stand hits high at the same time, thus creating an unblockable hit. The same applies to Devo whose qcb move is also an overhead and acts autonomously of Devo. However, the same is true for anyone that has a stand tandem that can hit low, since while the Stand is hitting low the character can be hitting high.

I assumed that like SFA3 the mechanic of air supers canceling out tech recovery time applied in Jojo's as well. However, it seems that you are able to act almost instantly (perhaps instantly) out of a tech anyway so the super isn't really doing anything special to the tech window, other than being a super anyway.

Some characters have normal moves that move them forward quite a bit which can be kara'd into Stand/Special/Super of course. Mariah A3 canceled into stand or qcb is a good example, or Chaka c.A3 canceled into qcf+S is another. But I don't think anyone has a kara-throw in Jojo's since it would seem all the characters with command grabs lack forward-moving normals, unless you could O.Joseph's slide attacks, which I don't personally since they don't begin moving forward until the active attack frames.

Regarding Mariah's back+A2, the knife appears after 10 frames. Seems like a good safety measure when performing her laggy projectiles out in the open. For example if you set her stand on or near the ground then back+A2 then dp+A3, the back+A2 can protect you to some degree from an opponent trying to jump over the outlet. Good thing that move is not an overhead.

One of Midler's primary BNB combos involves linking an unactivated attack to an activated attack. Pretty simplistic since the Stand activation is freely cancelable. This allows her to do like: dashing c.A1 c.A1 c.S+A1 c.A2 A3

Wherein the S+A1 is an activation into immediate activated c.A1. Fortunately the link window is large enough after her unactivated c.A1 for this to be possible.

But several characters can/need to make use of this. Chaka and O.Jo use activation switches during their Tandem combos, and I'm sure other characters make use of it too.

Stands really remind me of Personas. I don't know why I hadn't associated the two previously, they are essentially the same. I'm not sure if it's an homage or not, but the Tower stand in Jojo's writes on the wall "Massacre", and one of the highlighted Personas in Persona 1 was Tower_Massacre. I should probably ask Rithli about this.

Speaking of which, before I forget, I was musing with Rithli over who else from the 3rd arc of the manga could have been added in as a playable character.

Of course the first that jumps to mind is the Tower. The user wasn't given a name in the manga but apparently he's just a joke-ish sort of battle in the PSX version.

I also feel Moon could have appeared as a playable character. The user was Tennille and put up about as much of a fight as the others, so I don't really see why not. Kind of reminds me of Aulbath anyway. But once again he was fated to be a joke-ish storymode character in the PSX version.

Empress showed up in the PSX version as joke storymode. They would totally have to improv the user's fighting style like they did for Midler though, and find an excuse for her stand to be fully formed at the start of a battle.

Rithli insists Strength could be a character. Yeah right, that thing would have to be like a mid/sub boss or something. So would Justice for that matter.

But more importantly I think the worst waste of a character slot was not putting N'Doul with Geb as a playable character. I certainly think I'd prefer him over the Hol Horse+Boingo and S.Kakyoin clone characters. Alas, he is fated to be a joke-ish storymode character. But I think he could easily have been a Sogetsu clone. It's not like they've never had a blind character in a fighting game before, hell S.Kakyoin is supposed to be blind(ish).