East’s Corner 03: Commentators, The Story-Tellers

About a year and a half ago, for work, I needed to learn about golf. Granted, back then, and even now I didn’t give a damn about the sport of golf, or it’s players, but for the sake of becoming better at my job, I needed to learn about the pro tour, the different championships, and the players in it. So to get up to speed I would watch commentary clips of the different games and the highlights. In a matter of a months I was caught up to speed and for work, whenever I needed to talk about golf, I could probably fool you into thinking that I had been an avid fan for years. I’ll be honest, learning about the pros playing the game actually became pretty interesting.

So what the hell does this have to do with fighting games at all? Well as of late, the topic of conversation with my fighting game friends has been, “Who are the best commentators” in the FGC. It’s actually been a pretty heated discussion, mainly because we’ve had a hard time nailing down exactly what makes a good commentator. A lot of the favorites names have been thrown out, “Tasty Steve, Sajam, James Chen, Yipes, Ultradavid etc.” and frankly when I think about it, I think they all do something pretty well, but as far as having all-round best commentary, I’m having a hard time being convinced.

I think a commentator’s job is to make whatever you’re watching more interesting. Now that sounds simple, but there’s actually a lot of moving parts here. It’s only now that I appreciate my time spent trying to learn about golf, because I know what it feels like to be hear commentary for something I don’t really know or care about. I feel doing that really gave me a deeper understanding of the whole topic. When I watched and learned about golf, I felt the best commentators were the ones, who would bring you in and make you want to learn more about the scene itself. They were entertainers, but you could tell they were passionate about their sport. They were able to decipher why players would make certain decisions, and do it in a way without explaining exactly what you were seeing [Pokemon VGC commentators are notorious for this].

Taking that past experience into account, I think the person who really embodies this in the fighting game scene is MajinObama [@2djazz on twitter]. Whenever he commentates Guilty Gear, I can see that he loves the game, is knowledgeable about it, and knows the lore and stories behind what’s going on in the match. He can tell you stories, about the players, rivalries you may have never heard of, while also keeping current focus on the game at hand. He’s got the gift of gab, which may or may not get him in trouble from time to time, but he’s who I would say is the current best commentator. He’s the kind of guy who can take a person who doesn’t really care about Guilty Gear, and pull you in. He makes people want to become a part of the scene, to learn the game, and to learn about the players. I feel like that is the true mission of a great commentator; To take the uninitiated and initiate them. Everyone is always talking about growing the scene and honestly I think commentators carry the biggest burden when it comes to this.

Who do you think is the best commentator? What do you think makes a good commentator? Let me know on twitter or in the comments below.  

East’s Corner 02: Dragonball & Under-Night

So it’s been about two weeks now since Dragonball FighterZ came out and let me tell you, between that, Monster Hunter, SFV, etc. I’m struggling to find time for real life. I was hyped about Dragonball’s release after actually getting my hands on it, but at this point I think I can objectively look at it without the Rose-tinted glasses. Gameplay is fun and it’s been set up in a way that no matter how strong or good you are at fighting games, every character makes you feel powerful. That’s great for people coming into the scene and getting interested in fighting games in general I think. It seems that the player always has a plethora of options like vanish, super dashing, tagging, etc. I can admit though I’m still feeling a little overwhelmed and as a result I still don’t feel confident in the neutral game. My brain is still trying to find the pros and cons of different options and when is the “right” time to do something with the least amount of risk involved.

That being said, I’ve spent most of my time in training mode and in arcade mode just practicing different scenarios, instead of fighting against other people. Perhaps the biggest reason for this is also currently my biggest gripe with the game:

The matchmaking system feels like it was pulled straight outta Yajirobe’s jock-strap.

In Tokyo, where at least the first 10 rooms are always full, I get about 1 ranked math every 30 minutes. This in addition to the Vegas dice-roll that is trying to set up a room with friends, are really my two big turn-offs. Because of that, I’ll be honest, my excitement for the game has gone down quite a bit. If this gets patched for the better, I think I would genuinely enjoy this game. Here’s to hoping my and other player’s pleas are heard.

If you can believe it, there is actually a silver-lining to Dragonball’s matchmaking being a Buu-sized turd. I’ve been playing less Dragonball and started to learn Under-Night In-Birth. To give you a little insight to my fighting game upcoming, when I was in high school, I dabbled in a ton of un-popular anime games: I had a friend who was super into-them, and so I just learned them while I was over at their place [See me in Vanguard Princess]. That friend is actually visiting in Tokyo this week and staying at my place so we’ve been playing the game together and it is a ton of fun. I picked up Byakuya, the spider-themed character with feet 3-times too small for his body and have really been enjoying him. For me, someone who has grown up loving 1-on-1 fighting games, this is right up my alley. In addition, the tutorial for the game is at least 3 times better than any other tutorial you will find in any fighting game out currently or has ever been made. I’m really excited to find the local scene here in Tokyo and put my character’s size 4’s in someone’s ass.

I guess if there was a theme for this post it would have to be this: If you are playing a game and it’s not fun, try something else. You might end up having the time of your life with it.

Quick notes before I get outta here:

I’ve been learning Ken just for fun in SFV Season 3. If you’re interested in the character at all, check out my quick guide to using him here

I just saw the patch notes for Guilty Gear Xrd Rev2 update coming. Someone please tell ArcSys to undelete Ky.

101: Ken Image

101 Series: Ken

The 101 series is meant to help new players quickly get acclimated to a character and to give them the knowledge and tools to play effectively with a character as fast as possible. This series won’t be covering the complex aspects of each character, rather we will talk about the basic points of the character and what makes them strong. It is our hope that this series serves as a jumping-off point for you to more deeply explore the character.

What is he good at?

Ken is one of the basic, well-rounded archetype characters in SFV. While Ryu is geared a bit more toward the defensive side, Ken is the opposite, skewed toward pressure and mixing the opponent up. He’s got every tool someone needs to be an effective character; a fireball for play away, an uppercut to interrupt offense and a a myriad of other moves to keep him in your opponents face. While his length of his attacks isn’t stellar, if one of them lands the reward is heavily skewed in his favor. If you want to be a jack of all trades, but favor offense a bit more, Ken is the character for you.

Footsies

Ken’s footsies and attacks at mid-range aren’t great, but his heavy attacks have massive reward if they crush counter an opponent. Though slow and punishable, you’ll want to pepper them into your arsenal to reap the rewards from time to time.

s.MP

One of Ken’s faster and farther reaching attacks that is completely cancellable. While doing c.MK xx qcf.HP can be interrupted, Ken’s s.MP xx qcf.HP cannot, making it safer to use. Be careful as you must be standing to use this move and most characters often low hitting attacks at mid-range. There’s a good chance your legs could get hit. This also has some interesting uses with Ken’s V-Skill.

s.HK

One of Ken’s big reward moves. Albeit slow to start and slow to finish, if Ken crush counter’s an opponent with this move, he can use his V-Skill attack or V-Skill run and follow up with a Shoryuken. Again, because of the time it takes to recover and the time for this move to start-up, it’s recommended you overuse this move, but rather carefully pick your spots.

 

qcf.HP

As a basic “shoto” character Ken comes equipped with three things: A dragon punch, a hurricane kick, and a FIREBALL. While Ken’s isn’t as good as Ryu’s, he still has the option to use Hadouken’s when far away from his opponent. When the opponent cannot reach you is probably the best time to use this as the move is slow to recover, and if the opponent jumps in one time, you’re gonna be in for a world of hurt.

Anti-Air

c.HP

Good Anti-air and has the ability to crush counter opponents, although very unlikely. Works well if the opponent jumps and will land right in front of Ken or they are jumping over Ken. The forward range of this attack is pretty limited, so best not used if the opponent jumps from far away.

dp.MP

Ken’s tried and true, signature move, the Shoryuken. Has upper body invincibility and will not lose to air attacks. If you need to hit someone jumping in and can input the dragon punch motion fast enough, this should be your go to move, without exception.

dp.HP

While c.HP and dp.MP are good if the opponent is close to Ken, there are some cases where the character will jump and attack from far away. In such circumstances, the heavy version of Shoryuken is the way to go. It’s got some good invincibility but most importantly the forward range on this move is massive.

Combos

c.LK, c.LP, s.LK xx dp.HP

Ken’s quick, low damage, hit-confirm from a light attack. If the opponent is blocking, you can end the move at s.LK to stay safe, but if you’ve confirmed that you hit them, cash out with the heavy shoryuken for good damage.

c.MP, s.LK xx dp.HP

Always good to keep this in mind if during pressure you connect a c.MP. The s.LK will connect if you’re close.

c.MP, b.MP > s.HP xx qcb.HK

Great combo in terms of damage, stun output and moves the opponent toward the corner really really far, and leaves you the opportunity to mix up the opponent. Be careful if the c.MP is a counter hit as it will sometimes mess up the combo and your b.MP may not connect at all.

f.HK, qcb.LK, dp.PP

Ken’s overhead step combo. do the EX Shoryuken as quickly as possible, as the timing can be a little tight. This takes nearly a third of an opponents life from a single overhead, so always keep this in your back pocket, if the opponent keeps crouch blocking. If your opponent is in the corner when you land the f.HK, you can use dp.HP to save resources, but note that it will do less damage than using the EX meter.

Offense

Frame Traps

c.MP, b.MP
c.MP, s.LP, s.MP
c.LP xx s.LP, s.HP

Ken’s medium punches are all great tools to pressure your opponent with. His first frame trap, c.MP, b.MP is a fairly tight frame trap which will catch any non-invincible attacks that opponents try to sneak in between your attacks. This does require a fair bit of concentration as you have to check whether the b.MP hit. If it hits, you can cancel into his target combo with HP afterward and follow up with a shoryuken [dp.HP] or tatsu [qcb.HK]. Be careful as if you accidentally perform the b.MP > HP target combo when the opponent is blocking, you can be hit afterward. You can make the string safe if you have some EX meter, by cancelling into EX fireball as a last resort.

c.MP, s.LP, s.MP is for opponents who try to attack back once there is some distance between Ken and themselves. On hit, you can follow up with MK version of tatsu [qcb.MK]. If you have really practiced it and can confirm the hit, I recommend learning to follow up with HK tatsu [qcb.HK]. Regardless of your skill level, You always have the option of doing EX tatsu [qcb.KK]; this does great damage and moves the opponent relatively far to the corner. If the opponent blocks the whole string, the final s.MP will miss.

Remember when I said you should pepper Ken’s high reward moves into your gameplay? The last frame trap is a great example of that. When doing c.LP xx s.LP, s.HP, if you do this move directly you can be interrupted before the s.HP, however if you hold back when you do s.LP and move back just a smidgen after the opponent blocks the attack before doing s.HP most quick attacks your opponent can do will whiff and miss you completely, and the s.HP will smack them.

*PRO-TIP*

Buffering
For the frame trap above, if the opponent blocks the first two hits, the last hit won’t actually connect. It will miss completely. Because of this unique situation you can immediately press V-Skill afterward and if the opponent presses a button and gets hit by s.HP, Ken will immediately run forward. You can hold the V-Skill and actually combo into the V-Skill kick if done correctly. If the opponent blocks and the s.HP misses, the V-Skill run will not come out. This is an advanced technique known as an empty buffer. Talk about the best of both worlds!

If you’ve done it correctly, you can do s.HP xx V-Skill, qcb.LK, dp.HP

Okizeme [Knockdown Pressure]

Ken’s Knockdown pressure can be a bit tricky. He basically gets a great reward if he guess right and hits the opponent but if he guesses wrong or the opponent blocks, he has a hard time safely continuing pressure. Because he has a run [V-Skill] and a normal forward dash the set-ups for attacks can be a bit complicated. We’ve tried to simply as best we could using the flowchart’s below.

qcb.HK

After the HK tatsu Ken can use his regular forward dash and work with a fairly straightforward mix-up as follows:

Quick Recovery:

f.dash, c.MP or Throw [c.MP follows up into s.MP xx qcb.MK, dp.PP]

Back Recovery:

f.dash, s.HP [s.HP will be a crush counter if it counter hits, and you can follow up with V-Skill, qcb.LK, dp.HP]

dp.HP

After Shoryuken, Ken’s options are a bit trickier to remember. You can either follow up with:

Quick Recovery:

V-Skill [MP+MK], c.MP or Throw [Like before, you can follow up c.M pwith s.Mp xx qcb.MK, dp.PP]

Back Recovery:

V-Skill [MP + MK], s.HP [Like before will be crush counter if it counter hits and you can follow up.]

Defense

As one of the more well-rounded characters Ken gets decent defense options for SFV. With meter he has access to his EX shoryuken which will pretty much blow through anything without fail. In addition to this, his V-Skill is fairly straight forward and leaves him with a bit of breathing room afterward.

V-System

Ken’s V-Skill is pretty useful as it allows him to close the gap between he and his opponent fairly quickly in order to continue offense or to continue combos. By continuing to hold the V-skill buttons down he can cancel the end of the run into a kick as a combo extender as well. The regular run is great to use if the opponent is hesitant to press buttons and attack at mid-range. It’s your chance to sneak in a throw here. Ken’s normal attacks can all be canceled into a run, with the safest attack into run being s.MP. Be careful as you can still be hit during this time. It’s best to use these kinds of tactics when the opponent is being overly defensive.

Recommended V-Skill Combos
s.HP xx V.Skill, qcb.LK, dp.HP
s.HP [Counter] xx V.Skill, b.MP > HP xx qcb.HK

Ken’s V-Trigger’s and their uses are easy to understand. You should ask yourself the following question when choosing V-Trigger: “Is my opponent Rashid or Guile?” If the the answer is yes, pick V-Trigger II, else V-Trigger I.

V-Trigger I is a basic power up on all of Ken’s kick attacks, adds new properties to his special attacks and allows him one combo extender from many of his moves upon activation when he automatically runs forward. The difficult part here is that it takes longer to fill than V-Trigger II. You may have to give up the option to use V-Reversal to use V-Trigger I in a match.

Recommended V-Trigger I Combo:
s.HP xx V-Trigger, s.HP xx V-Skill, qcb.LK,  dp.HP

V-Trigger II isn’t very impressive if you’re using it for the damage. At best it adds about 50 damage to his regular combos which all things considered is bad resource management. That being said, it is a great way to interrupt characters with relatively tricky or safe fireballs. In Rashid’s case, if Ken has V-Trigger II, and Rashid tries to do an attack canceled into his fireball, the Ken player just needs to mash HP+HK and it will eat through the attack and deal a good bit of damage. It also has a unique vacuum effect which pulls in enemies who are just outside of Ken’s range. Unfortunately using this does not grant Ken much knockdown pressure. While you can mash buttons to extend it and do more damage, it’s recommended you don’t, and instead conserve the remaining V-gauge to shut down your opponents options.

Goku Image

East’s Corner 01: Become FGC Super Saiyan

So I actually don’t really play too many games, but last weekend was the absolute triple threat. For those of you who don’t know me, I live in Tokyo, and if you follow the fighting game scene at all, then you knew that last weekend was the first EVO Japan tournament. Sort of like the sister tournament of EVO world that’s held in Las Vegas every year in late summer. In addition to that, Monster Hunter World was released. I’ve been a big fan of “hunting dragons wit ya boys” since the days of the Monster Hunter 3 on the DS. And the perfect combination to absolutely ruin my sleeping schedule was the release of the new Dragon Ball Fighters Z game. Although it’s not out here in Japan yet, I still got that handy American bank account that lets me buy from both regions, so I picked it up as soon as I could.

EVO was good. I was initially pretty down about the fact that I couldn’t enter because of work I had to do this week. I’ve acknowledged that I haven’t been doing much in the FGC as of late and I really want to get back into the swing of things in a big way, so I want to start going to more events and overall just interacting with the Tokyo scene more. Anywho, I did go there to support my friends, so Friday night after working, I headed over to the EVO venue and it was a bit smaller than I thought. Still the air was thick with competition and that familiar fighting game funk. It was great to see so many games in one place, like at an American tournament, but the crowds were too much. The venue was actually too small to move easily. My buddy, a Birdie player managed to get to Loser’s Finals of his pool, but unfortunately that’s where his journey ended there. Saturday, I went for all of about 1 hour, to cheer on a friend in Tekken. He also got to loser’s finals in his pool, but that’s because 3 out of the 8 people in the pool showed up. After that we hung out, had steak and then I headed back home.

I then cracked out to Monster Hunter World for somewhere in the ballpark of 10 hours (not straight). If you trying to “hunt dragons wit ya boys” please let me know. That game is wonderful with friends. I passed out around 5:30AM on Sunday morning.

I then woke up around the crack of noon and turned on EVO finals [Finals day tickets sold out in 5 minutes. RIIIIIIIIPPPPP]. I had that going in the background and was playing DBFZ. I was really impressed at this new fighter. I typically don’t like team-based fighting games, but that game is soooooo good. It’s deceptively simple. The mechanics are fairly straight forward, but once you start figuring stuff out like you get a jump cancel after c.M > s.M you can start putting together and diving deeper into the mechanics of the game. I played for the entire day watching the EVO Japan finals and beyond. I’ve been running Goku Black/Kid Buu/Vegeta. All of whom I picked because they each had a pink costume, but they all seem to be fairly good and have great assists. I really can’t praise it highly enough. If you’re on the fence, please let me recommendation persuade you. I’m having the time of my life with it and I’m a turbo-scrub at it.

Fighting games are great and I want to do more with them this year.

Last minute shout outs:

Shout outs to majinObama for his Guilty Gear Commentary at EVO. Definitely one of the hardest working dudes this year [And it’s only January], and if I can be half of what he is in the FGC, I would be satisfied.

Shout outs to my buddy David who volunteered at EVO Japan and became the English/Japanese workhorse. If you’re ever in Tokyo and you’re looking for a place to play fighting games, he also has a website www.fugutabetai.com that lists all of the places and events you can play. He did a ton of updating for EVO Japan so please check it out and spread the word!

Top Tier Tips: Mid Match Style Switch

Top Tier Tips is a series of bite-sized guides about improving in Street Fighter through various means. We’ll suggest some of the “best practices” used by players to improve more quickly and become tournament caliber players.

If your current playstyle isn’t working, switch it up immediately and play in the opposite manner.

Many lower-level players feel that they always need to be moving forward and attacking. Against a more skilled opponent, this plan often fails and the lower-level player’s response is to double down on their bet and try to go in even harder. How many times has this happened to you? Consider this kind of reckless play the expressway to the loser’s bracket. Remember that Street Fighter and fighting games in general, are games of knowledge; doing what your opponent expects gives them the upper hand in the fight.

If you can instead, completely 180 on your playstyle in the match, it might give you just the edge you need to throw them off balance. Imagine a scenario where the first match, you attack attack attack and lose, then the second round, you hit your opponent and then immediately back off. This kind of plan is a great power play because it tells your opponent “If you don’t do something. I’ll win with this life lead.” and it forces them to become the attacker. And immediately you’ve reversed the roles. Now you know what your opponent has to do and you can start to better predict how they will try to attack. You’ve also forced them to interrupt their gameplan and create a completely new one on the spot.

The master level of this is to continuously switch during a match. Going from offense to defense, and back again to throw your opponent off and make your movements or strategy unreadable. An opponent who can’t predict you forces them to “play scared” relying on base reactions which can be taken advantage of. Give it a shot. Imagine how frustrated a Dhalsim player would be trying to actually go in on their opponent, or how hard it must be fighting a defensive Zangief. Attack when they expect you to defend and defend when they expect you to attack.

Senior Series: The Argument for 2 Mains

They historical norm players is to choose a character they like and gel with and then to dedicate all of their time and energy to learning the intricacies of that character, how they interacted with the game engine, and the way their match-ups were to be played. I think Joe sums it up quite nicely with his quip on Japan’s playstyle from 0:29 – 0:35

Very rarely in the history of a street fighter game has anyone ever been considered the strongest player, playing more than one character…

…. Until SFV.

With Players like NuckleDu running Guile and Mika, and Punk and his tag team duo of Nash and Karin, it seems in this game that there is a very real possibility to play more than 1 character at a high level. SFV, being a very linear game, makes the skill ceiling much lower than other iterations, and making it possible to more fully explore all the aspects of a character in a limited amount of time.

Whatever character you play, you can probably classify them into one of three archetypes: Offense, Defense, Grapple. Though opinions may differ, generally the following is true:

Offense beats Defense

Defense beats Grapple

Grapple beats Offense

You can probably think of your match-up and see that this is likely the case in determining which are advantageous, disadvantageous, and even. In order to cover all of your match-ups, all you need to do is invest time in a character who beats your main character’s weakness. Then rather than grind out match-ups with a secondary character against the cast, save yourself the time and just play only the character’s who beat your main’s style.

Some people might argue, that they want to have the deepest knowledge of the match-up and simply continue with one character, and that is a fair and valid argument, but in a game like SFV where you don’t currently have to spend 3 to 4 years exploring a single character, it’s also a fair argument that you might be doing yourself a disservice in trying to work so hard against a style that clearly dominates yours.

As Joe said, it’s literally, “one character, till death.” Make sure it’s the right one for the job.

Top Tier Tips: In the Lab

Top Tier Tips is a series of bite-sized guides about improving in Street Fighter through various means. We’ll suggest some of the “best practices” used by players to improve more quickly and become tournament caliber players.

Take the first 30 minutes of any training mode session to explore some situation. 

It can be something you’ve had trouble with or a situation you don’t know much about. If you’re just going into training mode even to practice combos, work on learning something new within the first 30 minutes. The combo practice will still be there, and is a great way to wind down in training mode because the requirements are very simple success is easily defined; just completing the combo.

Although I recommend you practice situations with your main character, it doesn’t have to be. Anything that lets you explore the system mechanics is a worthwhile endeavor. If you can’t think of any, here a couple to get you started.

  • What happens when Ed’s V-Trigger and Dhalsim’s Critical Art collide?
  • Can you use Cammy’s c.MK to go under jump attacks?
  • Is Fang’s V-Skill parry-able?
  • Is there a situation where Ryu’s jumping tatsumaki senpukyaku can cross an opponent up?
  • Can you throw Dhalsim during the start of his teleport?
  • Is there a way to tell if Alex is going to do his slash elbow?
  • How does your character deal with Vega’s wall dive?
  • How can M.Bison [Dictator] make his devil’s reverse, move backward?

Still if you’re having problems thinking of a situation to explore, fire up Youtube and take the first 10 minutes looking at match videos of great players and picking one situation, and explore it. There is more than a lifetime of material to be found in these situations.

Great players look at every nook and cranny of a situation and explore different ideas until they can find results. At live practice sessions with Top Japanese players, they intentionally leave a set-up open for a single person, so when that person loses and rotates out to the next player, they can use the open set-up to test the situation they felt they lost in. This makes for instant feedback, and when you get a full grasp of the situation, you can rotate back in and test it out with the person immediately. This in turn builds muscle memory and awareness of what is going on in their play.

101 Series: Cammy

The 101 series is meant to help new players quickly get acclimated to a character and to give them the knowledge and tools to play effectively with a character as fast as possible. This series won’t be covering the complex aspects of each character, rather we will talk about the basic points of the character and what makes them strong. It is our hope that this series serves as a jumping-off point for you to more deeply explore the character.

What is she good at?

One of the original street fighter characters, Cammy is a offensive machine. She has a very simple tool set that allows her to pressure the opponent at nearly every turn. With great buttons from mid range and and close range, in addition to her cannon strike, dive-kick like attack, she can keep the opponent guessing at all times. She has the ability to take the enemy from mid screen to the corner by ending combos with her spiral arrow attack. If you’re looking for a character who can get in and attack attack attack without the difficult execution, Look no further.

Footsies

Cammy has some of the strongest footsies attacks in the game which really make it difficult for her opponent to keep up with her at mid range.

c.MK :

Very very long range crouching poke. Be careful, even though her body moves very low to the ground, she can still be hit by moves that are a higher than her animation appears. This move should not be used to go under attacks as it will likely fail. Also cancellable into spiral arrow if it hits.

s.MK:

Longer range than her c.MK, but is not cancellable. Also has the added effect of going over lower attacks. This is a great move to annoy the hell out of your opponent with.

c.HP:

Although a bit on the slower side, this attack moves Cammy forward ever so slightly, which makes this a great way stay in range for attacks after taking a small step back. It’s also if it hits, you can confirm into V-Trigger and follow-up for a big combo.

Anti-Air

b.MP

Incredibly fast and virtually never loses to air attacks. If you anti-air an opponent with this, you have the option to dash forward and try to mix the opponent up when they land by doing an attack on their left or right side.

s.HK

This attack is a bit harder to use because of it’s start-up, but if you counter-hit the opponent, you get a crush counter which leaves your opponent spinning in the air. You can generally follow-up by doing a dp.HK Cannon Strike.

dp.MK

Cammy’s Cannon Strike attack. A solid, “shoryuken-like” attack which has great range. You needn’t worry about opponents changing their jump-in timing by doing a delayed dive kick if you use this move. It will beat anything in the air.

Combos

c.LK, c.LP xx qcf.HK

Your quick confirm attack into a knockdown. Carries your opponent very far to the corner, which allows you to continue offense.

s.MP, s.HP xx dp.HK

Bread and butter for damage. Make sure you hit your opponent which s.HP, because if they block the DP, you will get crush countered.

f.HK, c.MP xx dp.HK

Strongest meterless combo. Linking into c.MP from f.HK isn’t difficult, but it feels a bit weird. Practice! practice! practice!

s.MP, s.HP xx qcf.LK, dp.KK

Great metered corner combo. Practice this before using it in a series, match as the timing to get the Cannon Spike after the Spiral arrow is a bit weird.

b.MP > s.HK xx hcf.PP > K, dp.HK

Probably the most taxing combo Cammy has executionally. Great midscreen, but HK Cannon Spike might be difficult. If you’re having trouble, you can change the HK to MK Cannon Spike for ease.

 

Offense

Frame Traps

s.MP, c.MP, c.MK or s.HP
c.MP, c.LP, c.MP

Cammy’s s.MP is wonderful because it grants her a lot of frame advantage and also builds white block damage fairly quickly. The first frame trap here the s.MP into the c.MP will catch any stray buttons the opponent presses. If the opponent is caught pressing buttons, the c.MP will become a counter hit and you will be able to link into c.MK. If the opponent guards the c.MP, the gap between c.MP and c.MK is can be interrupted, but generally isn’t. If the opponent starts to interrupt your c.MK, you can switch it up and start doing s.HP instead which will generally catch them.

The second frame trap is used for complete safety. While the first frame trap has some gaps in the latter half that are possible to break through by an opponent, this frame trap will catch anything the opponent presses that doesn’t have invincibility. If the opponent blocks the whole sequence, it also sets you up with the spacing to do a very fast cannon MK cannon strike. If you do it fast enough, the cannon strike will hit the opponents legs and you will be able to continue offense with a c.LP or c.MP. Again, this takes considerable practice so be wary before you throw it into your game.

*Pro-Tip*
Cammy’s Cannon Strike

At first glance, Cammy’s cannon strike doesn’t seem like it has much use. Generally if the opponent blocks it, Cammy is put at a disadvantageous position. This is because the attack generally strikes an opponent in their chest. To make it more effective, try hitting your opponent blow their waist. If you can do this, Cammy will retain advantage, and you can continue offense with s.LP, c.LP, b.MP, or c.MP. It’s best to visualize your opponent’s body in two different boxes. The top half which is bad, and the bottom half which is good. Practice the ranges at where you can hit your opponent’s lower half so you can keep the rush-down going. 

Okizeme [Wake-Up Pressure]:

Cammy’s knockdown situations are fairly straight forward and don’t require too much finesse.

qcf.HK

Knocking down the opponent with the heavy version of spiral arrow is like Okizeme on training wheels. Afterward, immediately dash forward and depending on their wake up tendencies, do the following.

Quick Recovery:

c.MP [You can combo into s.MP on counter-hit.]

Back Recovery:

s.MK [It’s generally difficult to do, but you can in some situations combo into s.HP on counter-hit]

qcf.LK

Ending a combo with the LK version of Cannon Strike allows you to immediately dash up  and do Cammy’s f.HK attack. The great thing about this set-up is that it will hit the opponent on both of their wake-up timings. You should be advised however, that if f.HK is blocked, Cammy is put into a slightly disadvantageous position and you should just block to avoid getting hit.

Defense

Though offense is where Cammy shines, her defensive skills aren’t half bad either. She has EX Cannon Strike which will blow through any attack, however be careful that the opponent is in range. Unlike the regular Cannon Strike attacks, this attack does not move forward at all. Cammy also has a great V-Reversal, which causes her to switch sides with her opponent and attack them. This is great because any situation where Cammy is on defense in the corner, forces her into the corner and allows her to become the attacker.

V-System

Cammy’s V-Skill isn’t great when used by itself, but against an opponent who has been condition to block, does allow it to see some use. The V-Skill attack causes her to hop forward which allow her to go over some low attacks during this time, and then attack. If you are close to your opponent when you do this attack, Cammy will hop to the other side and then attack. If the attack lands, you can generally combo into a s.HP afterward. If it’s blocked, Cammy is still at an advantageous position and can continue offense. It should be advised that this attack does have considerable start-up animation before it actually hits the opponent, so be sure to weigh the risk before throwing this out willy-nilly

Recommended V-Skill combo:
V-Skill, s.HP xx qcf.HK

Cammy’s V-Trigger is incredibly straight forward. It puts her in a state that powers up the next 2 special attacks she uses. Her spiral arrow will shoot forward across the screen and is invincible to fireballs. If it hits, it allows cammy to follow up with her Cannon Spike attack for big damage. Speaking of the Cannon Spike,the powered up version makes it a perfect shoryuken-like attack. Incredible range, fully invincible, and super-fast. And finally her Cannon Strike dive-kick becomes multi-hit, very fast, advantageous on block, and allow her to combo if it hits. A very cool thing is that against opponents stationary V- Reversals, Cammy will simply go through them and land on the other side, allowing her to continue offense or punish them for an ill-timed v-reversal.

Recommended V-Trigger combo:
j.qcb.K, s.MP, s.HP xx qcf.K, dp.KK

 

101 Series: Ed

The 101 series is meant to help new players quickly get acclimated to a character and to give them the knowledge and tools to play effectively with a character as fast as possible. This series won’t be covering the complex aspects of each character, rather we will talk about the basic points of the character and what makes them strong. It is our hope that this series serves as a jumping-off point for you to more deeply explore the character.

What is he good at?

Introduced in season 2, Ed is a kind of character that has never existed in the Street Figther Series ever before. Instead of using motion like quarter circle forward or charging motions, Ed only has special moves that are button presses. He isn’t particularly strong far away, but when he is close, his attacks can be suffocating. For opponents who are far away, Ed can also use his V-Skill which can reel opponents in and put him in an advantageous position. He also has very strong options against opponents who try to often jump at him, by aiming his V-Skill or other attacks like Psycho Rising.

Footsies

Ed’s footsies, are a bit on the stubby side, but his moves make up what they lack in range with their different properties.

c.MK :

You have to be careful using this move. Although it’s one of his longest reaches normal attacks. Even at max range, cancelling it will cause the special move to whiff.

s.HK:

This move has good range, also goes over lows and is able to crush counter opponents and follow-up for damage. Just be careful using this move very close to your opponent as you can be hit by some characters if it’s blocked.

s.HP:

This move is chargeable, and although that’s alright, what really makes it great is the fact that Ed reels back during the charge, and whenever you release the button he will punch. Ed has the ability to dodge out of the way of an opponents attack when charging, then release, and hit them opponent while their attack is recovering. Be careful not to hold it for too long or you’ll get the charged version which puts Ed at a disadvantage if blocked.

Anti-Air

c.HP

Great anti-air and also crush counters opponents if the beginning of the move is a counter hit. Allows you to get a small combo from a crush counter.

V-Skill

Although it can be difficult to execute quickly enough for the move to come out, Ed’s down plus V-Skill can be used to scoop opponents out of the sky for a hard knockdown and net you a bit a v-meter in the process

KK

Pressing any two kick buttons, has Ed do his uppercut kick attack. This move is a great anti-air, and can be followed up with, with by pressing any punch button. If you press two punch buttons instead, you can do an EX attack.

Combos

c.LK, c.LP xx KK > P

Your quick confirm attack into a knockdown.

s.MP, c.MK xx PP

Bread and butter combo for damage. Be careful, if you are too far away, PP will miss the opponent.

s.MP, c.HP xx KK > P

Your meterless punish combo of choice.

s.MP, c.HP xx KK > PP, d.V-Skill

This is your basic punish combo with one meter. Also builds a little V-Gauge as well.

c.HP [Crush Counter], j.MP, d.V-Skill

This is a great meterless crush counter combo that builds about 80% of 1 V-Gauge bar.

Offense

Frame Traps

c.LP, s.MP, c.MK
c.LP, s.MP, c.MP, s.HK or s.HP

As Ed want’s to be near his opponent at all times, it’s important to start your pressure strings with c.LP. It also leaves Ed at a range that lets him throw afterward. The frame trap ending with c.MK is good to end in case any attack before it connects and if you do hit your opponent, you can follow-up with PP.

If you want to keep up the pressure for longer, then you can use the second frame trap listed. The double s.MP will hit an opponent trying to attack between each of them. If the opponent blocks both, you can do s.HK to over low attacks afterward and maybe get a crush counter. You also have the choice of doing s.HP. This move is interesting, because it can be held. and the charging motion reels the character back. You can use the reelback to dodge an attack and then punish afterward. Don’t hold it too long though or you’ll get the full animation which puts Ed in a bad position if the opponent blocks it.

Okizeme [Wake-Up Pressure]:

Many of Ed’s options when he knocks down an opponent are very similar even from different attacks. He does have to guess the opponent’s wake-up choice however, so be careful of taking these kinds of risks.

PP

A knockdown from Psycho Upper gives Ed two basic options. First you should dash forward, then you should do either s.HP or s.HK based on the opponent’s choice to wake-up. Check the small chart below.

Quick Recovery:

s.HP [Crush counter’s on hit]

Back Recovery:

s.HK [Crush counter’s on hit]

KK > P

If you knock an opponent down with Psycho Rising into Psycho Splash, your options are essentially the same. Both of the options from Psycho Upper knockdown work here as well. Less to remember!

Defense

Ed’s defensive options are pretty good, given he has the resources to implement them. By pressing PPP, Ed’s EX Psycho upper will blow through nearly any attack. It is very invincible, but a bit slow to come out. He can also press KK to do Psyco Rising. While not immediately invincible, the beginning is invincible to fireballs, then later on completely invincible. Be careful, as being hit during the end of the move will cause you get counter hit. Additionally, Ed can V-Reversal by pressing f.KKK while blocking to roll away.

V-System

Ed’s V-Skill is a basically an energy whip that is used to close the distance between himself and the opponent. It has two versions, an air and a ground version. The ground version has two strengths, tap and hold. The tap version pulls Ed toward the opponent and he does a quick follow-up attack. If blocked he is at disadvantage. The hold version pulls the opponent toward Ed. If blocked, Ed is at a great advantage and can continue pressure. If it hits, Ed can combo from it.

The air version is used for very confident anti-airs and juggle follow-ups in V-Trigger.

Recommended V-Skill combo:
V-Skill [Hold], KK > P

Ed’s V-Trigger is a large ball of Psycho energy that moves toward the opponent. If you do V-Trigger while holding forward, the attack will travel forward faster than normal. It’s great when used from far away because it allows Ed to close the gap, and force reactions from his opponent. Use it either in combos, or as a way to get in and punish your opponent trying to escape it.

Recommended V-Trigger combo:
s.MP, c.HP, f.V-Trigger, f.dash, d.V-Skill [Hold], PP
*Pro-Tip*

Fighting as Ed

Ed doesn’t have an overhead so his pressure can be very simple to block. If opponents are blocking a lot of your pressure, you can do his charged V-Skill. If the opponent blocks the fully charged V-Skill, Ed pulls them back in where he can rinse repeat the same mix-up. What’s strong about this is if they are relatively close when he pulls them in, he can go for a throw or do jab into a throw, or jab into frame traps again. Be careful though as the V-Skill takes a long time to come out and has a lot of downtime if it misses. 

Kolin 101 Banner

101 Series: Kolin

The 101 series is meant to help new players quickly get acclimated to a character and to give them the knowledge and tools to play effectively with a character as fast as possible. This series won’t be covering the complex aspects of each character, rather we will talk about the basic points of the character and what makes them strong. It is our hope that this series serves as a jumping-off point for you to more deeply explore the character.

 

What is she good at?

Introduced in season 2, what immediately stands out about Kolin is that she has an incredibly strong counter. It can interrupt almost any blockstring and grants her a knockdown and a large damage reward if it she makes a correct prediction. If she can score even one counter, all momentum shifts to her. In addition she the ability to set traps by lobbing an iceball [her hailstorm attack] above opponents. She can create very strong mix-ups by knocking an opponent down and throwing an iceball above them. Finally, her vanity step move allows her to take a step back and then attack in a different variety of ways. She can take a step back to evade attacks, move forward again to continue offense, or jump forward for some tricky air-based offense.

Footsies

In mid-range, Kolin doesn’t have a lot of options, however she does have a few good attacks that you should constantly be using.

c.MK :

Has great range to poke opponents and also drops her body so some attacks will go over her head. It can’t be cancelled, but it does grant you the advantage to continually attack afterward because of it’s positive, frame advantage.

b.HK:

Has very good range, and goes over some lower attacks, however it is very slow. Good damage and awards you a crush counter if it counter-hits the opponent. Again, be careful of the recovery as the move is slow to retract.

V-Skill:

Kolin’s V-Skill is a forward moving swipe attack that is also a counter attack. If she is hit during this attack, she absorbs the hit, becomes fully invincible for the rest of the duration of the attack and will perform a second follow-up swipe attack. If it hits the opponent without following-up, in some cases you can continue comboing into a c.LP. Be careful as this move is punishable up close. It’s best to experiment with the range and then use it so just the very tip of the swiping attack connects. This way, if the opponent blocks, it’s very difficult to punish Kolin.

 

Anti-Air

c.HP

This is Kolin’s basic mode of hitting opponents who jump. It will often trade, and is admittedly not the best option, but is the most consistent in every situation, as her other anti-air option require some level of prediction.

qcb.HP

Kolin’s high counter is an amazing anti-air, however does require that the opponent do an attack. If they jump and do nothing, they can land and will get a large punish if you made an incorrect prediction.

j.Throw

Kolin’s air-throw is a good way to deal with jump-ins preemptively. This requires a lot of focus and to some degree good reaction to do. It’s a great choice, if you’re expecting the jump.

V-Skill

Although not effective for a jump in at a very close range, people who try to jump across the screen can be hit out of the sky, and more often than not, the counter will push them back even farther back than where they started from.

 

Combos

c.LK, c.LP xx dp.MP

Your quick confirm attack into a knockdown.

c.MP, s.MK > s.HP > V-Skill

Decent damage from pressure and builds 1/10th of your overall V-Gauge.

c.MP, s.MK xx qcf.PP, qcb.HK, j.Throw

Bread and butter for damage, and a knockdown.

s.HK, s.MK > s.HP > V-Skill

Big punish combo plus 10% V-Gauge gain.

s.HK, f.dash, c.MP, s.MK xx qcf.PP, qcb.HK, j.throw

Crush Counter combo to deal big damage

Offense

Frame Traps

c.MP, c.MP, s.MP or s.HP
c.MP, s.LP, s.MP or s.HP

Kolin’s pressure is quite good up close. Her c.MP is really good for frame traps and used together with s.MP can create very tight strings that are difficult to escape from. s.HP is great to use after c.MP because it crush counters. after the above pressure, you can use c.MK to continue pressure from far away or you can do s.LK xx LP Parabellum. s.LK is great at catching any random buttons opponent press and from so far away, LP Parabellum is hard to punish.

*Pro Tip*
After you do c.MK or or LP Parabellum, take note of what your opponent does afterward. If they always do the same attack afterward, you can use the counter in anticipation of their attack. 

Okizeme [Wake-Up Pressure]:

dp.MP

A knockdown from a MP Hailstorm gives Kolin the opportunity to pressure on an opponent’s quick recovery and back recovery. After MP Hailstorm, dash forward, and then immediately do c.MP will catch both wake-ups. In addition, You can dash forward and do a vanity step and it’s follow-ups to mix-up the opponent.

Recommended Vanity-Step follow-ups:

MK Vanity Step:

f.MK: overhead
c.MP: frame-trap

HK Vanity Step:

j.LK: high attack
empty jump, c.LK: low attack

Defense

Kolin’s defensive options are quite limited. She can sometimes use her EX Vanity step [LK+MK] to take a step back away from difficult situations. She also has the option to try and counter. Her EX counter is 1F start-up and so can be used in any situation, however you still have to choose low, mid, or high counter, which is a risky guess. If your counter fails, it will result in a counter-hit for the opponent. Finally she has the option to use V-Reversal, which is a rolling away move, but has very little range, and can be thrown.

V-System

Kolin’s V-Skill, as stated before is a forward swiping attack that can be combo’d into at close ranges, and will activate a counter-attack if she is struck during it. It is unsafe if the opponent blocks it though. For this reason, it’s best to use this attack from a distance, where Kolin cannot be punished.

Her V-trigger allows her to freeze the ground in front of an opponent. If an opponent is hit by the attacks, it knocks them far backward and freezes their stun gauge, preventing it from decreasing unless the opponent hits Kolin. V-Trigger is best used after c.MK as it can catch opponent who are trying to get away from her, or during combos, which gives her the ability to push to the opponent to the corner and dish out some extra damage.

Recommended V-Trigger Combo:
c.MP, s.MK xx qcf.PP, qcb.MK, c.HK [1-Hit] xx V-Trigger, f.dash, dp.LP