A followup post to my old SFA3 Misc post. The video shows a bunch of different concepts like unblockables, tech traps, escaping unblockables, escaping tech traps, and a guard crush VC example, among other things.
With V-ism custom combos the shadows that follow you retain all of the move properties that the shadow copies. VC1 (activated with light attacks) makes the shadow follow you very closely. So, a jumping attack followed by a low attack creates an unblockable situation. As seen in the video with Chun-Li the j.LK can be blocked, and her c.LK can be blocked, but the shadow of the j.LK must be blocked high and it connects at around the same time as the real c.LK which hits low. So c.LK low + shadowed j.LK high = high+low = unblockable, since you can't block both high and low at the same time.
These are fairly difficult to avoid, especially ones that involve a crossup, because most Alpha Counters and reversals won't even stop them.
But, they are not inescapable. Everyone in V-ism can activate a VC and use the activation invulnerability to escape/counter the unblockable. In A-ism there are a number of characters that have particular moves that can get out of these unblockables, which are typically teleport moves, as seen in the video.
Not seen in the video. But, these are actually even more evil than high+low unblockables. During a VC, a command throw will break all normal throw rules, allowing the command throw to grab opponents during: hitstun, blockstun, and jump start-up. So, after performing a crossup you can then activate the VC and immediately command throw.
The reason this is even more evil is that they are even harder to escape, and there is a lot less risk involved because you can confirm them off the crossup. In other words, if the crossup whiffs you know the opponent escaped, so you don't activate your VC and do nothing. If the crossup hits or gets blocked; you can activate the VC and then command throw them. So, while you can escape these with teleports and activations, the one doing the unblockable doesn't waste their meter even if you do manage to escape.
And, there is basically no way to escape after you've blocked the crossup except with Juni and V-Dan's character-specific push-block moves. Most Alpha Counters fail to prevent from getting grabbed.
In SFA3 the way air teching works is you can technically air recover at any time that the opponent is in a state that is called "neutral". What this generally means is the last few frames of recovery from a move or an uncanceled landing from a jump. In other words it has little to do with what state you're in, rahter; you're allowed the tech when the opponent is finishing a move.
When you air tech you are temporarily invulnerable and unable to perform normal actions for a while. However, the invulnerability wears off before you're able to do anything, including block (airblock). So, if the opponent hits you with something right as the invulnerability ends you will be hit because you won't be able to do defend.
Thus, players learned to create tech-traps wherein they are able to hit you right as your invulnerability from a tech is ending, or hit you even if you don't air recover.
As a quick note, I feel I should point out that the unblockables and tech traps in the video were not performed incorrectly. If the opponent had not attempted the escape at the proper time, each setup would have had guaranteed success.
I believe escaping unblockables is pretty self explanatory. Actually, I explained that above and in the video, so read up and/or watch the video.
Tech trap escapes: Technically even though you are unable to perform normal actions when air recovering, you are actually able to perform special moves and supers, which will immediately cancel the invulnerability as well. In addition to specials/supers, V-ism activations are considered supers, so they can also be done immediately after teching while you're still invulnerable, as seen in the video.
Once again, A-ism is limited in this department. There aren't many characters with air-based special moves that are actually useful for getting out of tech traps, and there are even fewer characters with air supers. Actually, Gen and Akuma are the only ones with air supers for that matter. Some are pretty interesting though, Dhalsim has his air teleport which has invulnerable startup, and R.Mika has her air command throw which has zero startup at all (it's instant, AFAIK). And there may be others. Sadly (or perhaps fortunately?) wall-jumps and command normals don't count, so those won't cancel your recovery state.
Specific Air Activation Glitch
Specific characters in V-ism are blessed with a special "glitch". The characters are: Adon, Akuma, Cammy, Charlie, Dhalsim, Guy, Juli, Juni, Rose, and Sakura.
When these characters activate a VC in the air they will remain completely invulnerable until they either attack or land. There's one frame of vulnerability between the transition from air to ground. In other words, one frame where they are still in the air and vulnerable, and unable to perform a ground attack. That prevents them from transitioning from air invulnerability to a ground invulnerability seamlessly. They also become vulnerable if they attack after the "normal" invulnerability duration has ended.
What this means for tech trapping is that these characters can activate their VC immediately when air teching and they will remain invulnerable until landing. So even if the tech trap was really good and hits all over the place (like Sagat's) they are safe from being hit until they either attack or land. This can be seen in the clip with Cammy, normally Sakura's shadow should have hit Cammy, but the prolonged invulnerability duration glitch made it possible for Cammy to land then anti-air combo Sakura.
To further decrease the effectiveness of unblockables and tech traps, you also have a couple of options for making them weaker.
Not teching is one. Because if you're unable to escape then you're better off letting it hit you. The reason is because damage scales very steeply with the number of hits in a combo, and by the time most characters get you into their tech trap they are only going to be doing about 1-pixel of damage per hit, which isn't a whole lot. They may choose to do an infinite on you and kill you one pixel at a time, but it depends on the character. A lot of characters don't even have infinites, such as Akuma and Sakura, who really only tech-trap you in order to rebuild their meter after their VC has ended. In other words, you never ever want to air tech a trap against Akuma and Sakura (or anyone without an infinite) unless you're absolutely positive that you can punish them for it. If you tech and get hit by the trap, all you'll be doing is resetting the combo count and resetting the damage scaling, increasing the damage you take by a lot.
Mashing buttons is another. In SFA3 you can reduce both actual damage and guard bar damage by pressing an input. This includes both directionals and attack inputs. Amusingly (or perhaps unfortunately?) this reduction is a flat 50%. So if you mash every hit of a combo you literally reduce the damage by half.
Chip damage is always only 1 pixel per hit, but damage reducing on block will also lower the amount of guard bar damage you take by 50%.
The Special Four
Normally when you transition from a ground combo into a jump attack you must enter a neutral state, which is why tech-trapping is necessary (because the opponent can tech when you jump).
Pretty much everyone can start a crouch cancel series if they first take place air-to-air (both characters in the air). Though this requires a counter-hit to put the opponent in a juggle state, or an air special move that will put them in the juggle state.
The only other way most characters can bypass a neutral state is by using a dizzy and having a delayed shadow hit the opponent when the real body has already gone into the air. For example: dizzy, activate, whiff an uppercut, jump, let the shadow hit the opponent into the air, continue with air attack and crouch cancel series.
However, there are two characters in the game that can transition from a ground combo to an air combo seamlessly, and two that have pseudo-airtight setups. They are: Guy, Rolento, Chun-Li, and Sodom.
In Guy's case, both his oc.HK (down+toward+HK backflip) and the last hit of his Bushin Chain (LP-MP-HP-HK target combo) put the opponent in a forced back-roll state in which they are unable to air tech from even if Guy enters neutral. Therefor, if Guy can hit with either of these moves on the ground he can then jump and attack without worry of the opponent air recovering.
Rolento is more simple, he has a super jump which technically counts as a special move, and therefor during a VC he can cancel his normals and specials into this super jump, transitioning from ground to air seamlessly.
Chun-Li and Sodom have pseudo-airtight setups. Technically they are airtight in the arcade version because their setup hits the opponent at the exact same frame they are leaving the ground. Thus, the opponent is locked in hitstop and unable to airtech while Chun/Sodom are technically transitioning from neutral.
Some combos are designed to chip away at your life and guard bar regardless if you block or not. Some of the more popular ones are the "hadou-rave" and Yoga Fire customs, in which you throw a bunch of fireballs in the opponents face very rapidly. There's also others like Vega's Claw Roll and Cody's Criminal Upper loops which rip through your lifebar and guardbar.
The wonderful (or fucked up) thing about these is that apart from Juni and V-Dan, most characters are forced to Alpha Counter in order to avoid these. However, Alpha Countering not only costs meter but also permanently costs a portion of your guard bar. So whether you Alpha Counter or not, you're losing a section of your guard bar for the rest of the round.
This means that X-ism is basically screwed. You're also kind of screwed if you happen to be meterless at the time of eating one of these. Blocking fills your super bar, so you'll eventually be able to AC once you have enough meter, but by then you'll have taken enough damage that the result is basically the same whether you AC or not. And, if the person happens to be really good at taking chunks of your guard bar away, you're going to find yourself eating Guard Crushes over and over throughout the round, each GC or AC lowering your maximum guardbar by a full segment making it easier to GC you.