Wednesday, September 26, 2012

If I were patching Soku...

623 Ascension Kick: Level 1+ gains startup invincibility, rather than MAX
412 Dimensional Rift: Level 2+ Button can be held to fake the attack; recovers quickly
623 Sliding Ascension Kick: First kick is a graze attack with startup graze (all levels)

66B: Now a melee attack.
623 Busky Sweeper: Now a melee attack; hitbox slightly larger
214 Up Sweeper: Now a melee attack.
Star Sign "Gravity Beat": Startup shorter, striking hitbox wider; hits low to the ground.
Perversion "Sure-Fire Master Spark": Startup slightly reduced; still basically impossible to combo, but some new CH or monsoon combos become possible

No idea on Alice, tbh
B bullets: Linger slightly if Alice jump cancels
623 Volatile Doll: Buffed in some way, iuno; probably same at level 0
623 Doll Cremation: Probably buffed in some way, iuno

B bullets: 1f more hitstun; proration reduced.
Tengu Drum: All followups possible at level 2, possibly level 1

j2A: Bullet cancel window slightly later (?)
6C: reduce spirit damage per knife
236 Magic Star Sword: Throws fewer knives at level 0; gains the lost knives at Level 2
no good way to fix her other than to buff everyone else.

6A: Hitbox extends to the stage floor and slightly above Youmu's sword; can't crouch it anymore
j2A: Now special cancellable
236 Netherworld Reflection Slash: Bullets created (the Youmu bullets) move much faster (like 2x)
214 Slash of Life and Death: Can cancel either version into subsequent hits as soon as the move connects
unsure of what to do about Youmu without making her totally broken
22 Medium's Bind: Very high bullet "HP;" will pass through dense bullets and still hit, and will eat most non-dense bulets.
Youmu needs moar buffz tho; possibly increase hit/blockstun on B bullets, B bullet travel speed or make her DP slightly safer; unsure

no changes probably

6C: HJC/fly/airdash cancel window 1-2f later. Super/special cancel window still the same.
623 Dance of the Butterfly Dream: ~2f slower recovery.
623 Reverse Screens: Creates a few butterfly bullets that hit in front of Yuyuko as well as her normal trail

Divine Spear "Spear the Gungnir": Hits more reliably on a cornered opponent (travels slower on hit/block)

probably needs some buffs, but I dunno what to add

2B: Hits high and takes one orb on wrongblock. Guardcrushes when charged if blocked low.
Spectre - Dense:  Level 2 C version and up have startup superarmor; Level 0-1 have it on frame 8. More superarmor overall. B version gets startup superarmor at Level MAX.
Gnome - Dense: Can be airdash/fly cancelled shortly after Suika reaches the peak of her bounce.
Foot Bellows: needs buff badly
Gnome - Thin: One wisp always travels in a predictable location. Wisps last much longer. Has late highjump and backdash cancel window (rather than none).
Four Devas Arcanum "Demolition in Three Steps": Superarmor at startup and throughout entire move.
Will-o-wisp "Superdense Conflagration": Faster recovery.

no changes
my personal changes would remove all 623 moves and make Undersense Break a 22 special

Wisps: All explosion wisps now home in slightly on the opponent. All wisps last 4 seconds.
Dead spots on various 5AAAA hits reduced or removed.
All aerial normals: Startup very slightly reduced (~1f for most; 2f for j2A)
5C: Comes out faster, cancellable earlier, travels slightly faster, hits more times.
2C: Comes out faster, cancellable earlier.
66B: Now special cancellable (CONTROVERSIAL!)
214 Floating Spirits of the Indolent Dead: Can have more than one use of this card onscreen at a time.
623 Bound Spirits of the Earth: Wisps hit on the way up.
214 Scythe of Exorcism: Now melee. B version has no dead spot.
22 The Endless Way: Startup much shorter; to the point of "bad but almost useful"
22 Taste of Death: Drains 2 orbs if blocked low; recovery reduced (safer on high block, though still unsafe)
These changes probably put Komachi somewhere highish on the tiers; definitely not slumming in low tier anymore.

Melee specials more unsafe on block
236 Dragonfish, the Able Swimmer: Much faster startup.

probably totally fine

No idea on Sanae; she needs huge buffs to anything not her meta playstyle

j2A: Hits much further in front of Cirno and directly below her (can cross up)
j5A: Larger frontal hitbox; possibly add an ice graphic to her punch to make it visually bigger
5C: Counterhit freezes enemy in place rather than bouncing (only on initial counter).
66B: Is special cancellable.
Generally increase damage.
Cirno just needs a lot of work, but too much work would definitely make her too good. I think the 5C counterhit change makes her tons better, though it doesn't make her more interesting.

6A: China dashes forward slightly more while doing her slam. Same speed.
j2A: Startup reduced to within 1-2 frames of j6A
236 Fragrant Wave: Startup reduced; relative startups still the same (B version fast, C version slow). C version huge advantage on block.
623 Scarlet Cannon: Horizontal hitbox slightly improved.
214 Spiral Light Steps: Startup much faster; grazes during latter frames of the "stomp" rather than only during the dash. B and C versions start up at the same speed.
22 Yellow Tremor Kick: Charged version guardcrushes if blocked high.
214 Descending Flower Slam: Both kicks graze for entire duration.
These changes are much too conservative (esp compared to Komachi) but I don't have a good sense of what is broken with China.

No idea. My guess is that she needs midscreen help and is too easy to rush down, but iuno what to do about her. She has so many awful matchups that my guess is she just loses in melee fights and can't start momentum easily. I'd probably add some Yuyuko-like traits to her (faster 22 or something) but I dunno even where to start with Suwako.

Airdash: Startup reduced. Still laggy compared to a normal character.
6A: Hits further away; probably creates an explosion on the ground (so you can actually see it hits low)
j2A: Comes out faster, bullet cancels faster.
6B: Orbit bullets mega-dense, beat virtually all non-laser bullets (Okuu 5C can beat it, and Reisen C bullets still destroy it due to followup explosions hitting the core). Cancel time reduced.
236 Ground Melt: Explosions occur sooner; they start as the laser is painting the end of the trail.
623 Rocket Dive: Always has the 5f initial hit, even at level 1; flames are wider and bullets instead of melee, grazes after 27f initial startup
236 Radiant Blade: Has an initial short-ranged melee hit, does more damage.
Has something that makes the vs. Sakuya matchup not impossible

Monday, September 17, 2012

Rifts Combat Version 2

This is a work in progress. As always, feel free to fill in gaps.

Segments, Actions, and Turn Order
  • Each 15-second round is divided up into three 5-second segments.
  • At the beginning of each round, each character rolls initiative (d20 + bonuses) as normal. This initiative is retained between segments.
  • If a character loses initiative, he automatically goes to the bottom of the initiative order, acting 1 initiave below the current lowest initiative. If multiple characters lose initiative at the same time, they are ordered in their previous initiative order at the bottom of the initiative. If initiative numbers go to zero or negative, this is fine; it's a measure of turn order, not a discreet measurement of time.
  •  A character's actions per melee are divided evenly among each of the three segments. If there are extra actions per round, they are added to the later segments first. As an example, a character with five actions per melee gets one in the first segment, two in the second, and two in the third.
  • When a character's turn comes up, he may take any number of actions he has available in that segment. As examples, a character with two actions may make two attacks, an extra move and an attack, cast a two-action spell, or reload a magazine-fed weapon with which he has proficiency.
  • A character may delay one or more actions to act later in the round. If he does so, his initiative for the rest of the round moves down to the initiative in which his last action was taken. If he holds his action to dodge, he retains his rolled initiative. Unspent actions are retained until the end of the segment,
    when they are lost.
  • Each segment, a character may move up to his SPD value in feet. If a character has a listed speed in some other form such as miles per hour, convert it to SPD.
  • On a character's turn, he may move any amount up to his maximum movement for that segment in addition to taking his actions. He may also retain some of his movement for pursuit or dodging later in the round.
  • A character may expend any amount of his movement for the segment when taking a dodge action. If he has no more movement left he must dodge in place, which may be ineffective against attacks that require movement such as leg sweeps or area attacks.
  • A character may also expend any amount of remaining movement to pursue an opponent he has deadlocked who is moving, regardless of whether or not it is his turn.
  • A character in a deadlock must expend 2 feet of movement to move 1 foot, unless he is pursuing a foe he has deadlocked. A character deadlocked by multiple opponents must spend 2 feet of movement to move 1 foot at all times, even if it is to pursue.
  • A deadlocked character may attempt to move his normal movement, rather than half on his turn by spending an action. If he does so, he provokes an attack of opportunity from all deadlocking foes. He may make a normal dodge action as part of the movement to dodge all opportunity attacks, although he is -2 for every deadlocker beyond the first. If none of the attacks hit, the character may move at his normal speed. His opponents may still pursue.
  • Once per segment, a character may spend an action to gain an additional 1/6 of his speed in extra movement. This can only be done on his turn and the movement must be taken during the turn.
  • Any remaining movement left at the end of the segment is lost.
Parrying, Dodging, and Defensive Actions
  • A character gets 1 free dodge and 3 free parries per segment which do not consume actions. A character may spend 1 action to get 1 additional dodge or 2 additional parries. This action is spent at the time the dodge or first parry is desired.
  • Characters may not defend against attacks from behind, from invisible opponents, or while blinded.
  • If a character is deadlocked by multiple foes, only one enemy may be selected to defend against. The other enemy is considered flanking.
  • Any dodges or parries that are unspent are lost at the end of the segment.
  • A character may also spend an action during his turn to adopt a defensive stance, gaining +2 to defense rolls during the segment. This cannot be combined with any special defense such as multiple dodge, automatic dodge, or circular parry.
  • A character with a held action who is intending to use it for defense may name a specific opponent. If that opponent attacks the character, the held action is expended but the defensive action is +4. This can not be applied to any special defense. This held defense can be used to evade an attack from a flanking enemy.
  • Ranged attackers are automatically considered flanking if they attack an opponent already deadlocked with someone else. However, ranged attackers are -4 to strike a deadlocked character and have a 50% chance of hitting one of the other meleeing characters if the attack misses for any reason (including if the attack is dodged). Exceptionally large targets may skirt this rule if they tower over their deadlockers.
  • A character with multiple special defense options may only use one such defense in a segment.
  • A character with a shield and WP: Shield gains an additional 2 parries per segment and may block flanking attacks from one enemy. This can be used for a held action or defensive stance but otherwise counts as a special defense.
  • A character using paired weapons and the paired weapons ability gains an additional parry each segment if he does not use any double strike attacks. If he uses any double strikes, this parry is lost in addition to the normal costs for double striking. This extra parry counts as a special defense.
  • A character with the automatic dodge ability may make an extra free dodge action during the segment. This counts as a special defense.
  • A character with the multiple dodge ability may spend an action on his turn to multiple dodge. If he does so, he is not considered flanked and can dodge any number of attacks, although he is still limited to his normal movement. A character multiple dodging may not take an extra move action during the segment. This counts as a special defense.
  • A character with the circular parry ability may make any number of parries per segment and cannot be considered flanked. A character using double strikes may not circular parry but it may be used with a shield, as long as it is not a tower shield. This counts as a special defense.
Close Quarters Combat and Deadlocking
  •  A character within melee range of his opponent may "engage" his opponent. This is called a deadlock, and characters in a deadlock have limited actions and movement. A deadlock ends if the deadlocker cannot maintain melee range with his target using pursuit.
  • A character is automatically deadlocked to his opponent if he initiates a melee attack against his opponent that is successfully defended. Likewise, the opponent is deadlocked to the attacker unless the attacker has no movement left.
  • A character is also automatically deadlocked to his opponent if he ends his turn in melee range of an opponent he has attacked as long as the defender is able to engage and attack him.
  • Prone opponents, or those stunned or affected by most half-APM debuffs cannot deadlock enemies. They can still be deadlocked and have their actions limited. Likewise, invisible attackers can deadlock foes but cannot be deadlocked unless they can be detected and struck. This includes partial (-5) as well as full blindness. Obscured characters (-1 blindness penalty) can still be deadlocked.
  • Defenders are -2 to defend against flanking opponents; that is, an opponent who the character is not deadlocking, but who he is aware of. If a held action is expended to avoid a flanker's attack, the defender suffers no penalty.
  • Characters cannot cast spells while deadlocking; doing so provokes an attack of opportunity. Spells that can be cast as a free action do not provoke attacks of opportunity. Some spells or class abilities may bypass this restriction. Any damage dealt to a spellcaster while he is casting normally disrupts the spell.
  • Using Dimensional Stalking/Dimension Sense versus a teleporter and a similar teleport ability does allow a deadlock to be maintained between teleports, although this is a very extreme, unlikely case.
  • While deadlocked, a character is -3 to strike with missile weapons, but the opponent is -3 to defend. WP: Sharpshooting waives these penalties (having it removes both the strike and defense penalty; opponent vs. sharpshooter still has -3).
Damage in Combat (unchanged)
  • Most attack multipliers are additive with other attack multipliers of the same type.
  • Critical multipliers are tricky. All of them are additive: Dice crits, backstab crits, and power attack crits all add together; thus a backstab power attack with a natural 20 will generally do quadruple damage (x1, plus 3 crits for x4)
  • Items that improve crit range artificially add a critical multiplier, allowing a character to double crit on its numbers if an appropriate combat skill is known. For instance, if a weapon gives 19-20 critical, and a combat skill gives 18-20, the character will double crit (for triple damage) if a 19 or 20 is rolled.
  • Weakness multipliers are not additive. The most effective weakness modifier applies. This includes charmed weapons and death strike attacks.
  • Hit multipliers (such as burst size) generally multiply on top of other multipliers.
  • Multiple attacks (such as paired or speed weapon) have separate rolls, calculate each separately.
  • If a normal strength character is hit by SD damage in excess of PS * 10, he must make a Roll With Punch against the attack to avoid being knocked down. Each subsequent 20 SD (2 MD) applies a -1 to this roll. This Roll With Punch is a free action.
  • A supernatural strength character can withstand three times this (PS * 30 in SD damage) before needing to make a roll, with each 5 MD applying a roll penalty.
  • Knockback applies a -6 to all defenses and a -6 to all offensive actions. A character may use a melee action on his turn in order to stand up. Melee attacks against a knocked down opponent deal +4 damage.
  • A character hit by knockback automatically loses any held actions, whether the knockback is successful or not.
  • A character hit with knockback effects who is braced in some way may choose to suffer 50% more damage, but not be knocked down.
  • Non-physical damage, such as laser, ion, and plasma weaponry, does not inflict knockback. P-beams do.
Grappling and Ground Fighting
  • There are four basic fighting maneuvers to initiate a grapple: grab, throw, takedown, and slam. All of these require a strike roll to hit, and if successful, a contested grapple check to initiate the maneuver. Untrained grapplers cannot parry these attacks, and in some cases they may not be parried.
  • Grappling skill follows three different skill levels: untrained, trained, and expert. Some characters might have super unique "master grappling" or something but I feel no need to incorporate this at this time.
  • Opposed grapple checks are the same as the old rules. D20 plus PS modifier; add strike bonus if trained or better. If supernatural/robot versus normal, double PS modifier for the supernatural; if no PS modifier for supernatural vs. normal, add +1. Add +1 for each grappling limb advantage (limbs carrying weapons don't count), and of course, common sense for grappling applies eg. small size characters can't grapple large ones effectively.
  • Grabbing the opponent puts him in a grappled state, though the situation is neutral and either grappler can perform any grappling moves. A grappled character is locked in the grapple and cannot move without attempting to drag the opponent around. Grappled characters cannot defend against attacks except those from whoever they are grappling with.
  • While grappled, a character can attempt to perform a throw, takedown, disarm or turn the grapple into a hold. All of these actions require an opposed grapple check. A success allows the maneuver to be performed, a failure does nothing. If the opponent is armed with a grapple-appropriate weapon (knife, claws), he may deal his weapon's damage on any failed grapple attack.
  • A throw knocks the opponent down next to the thrower, or may propel the enemy further if the strength difference is great enough. A grab-and-throw can be done as a single attack. The opponent may roll with punch to reduce damage but can't avoid falling if the throw was directly on the ground. If the throw propels the opponent a great distance (more than a body length), roll with punch can be used to regain footing.
  • A takedown is a grab that follows the opponent downwards, pinning the opponent but effectively knocking both characters down. It can be parried. A takedown can be done as a single action or executed from a grab, like a throw.
  • A slam is a clothesline, sweep kick, or body check intended for knocking the opponent down. Slams can not usually be parried. A slam requires some momentum to perform, which means that the attacker needs some space between him and the defender or a slam can't be effectively performed. Sweep kicks are special slams that don't require momentum, but they can be parried by a trained fighter (4th level basic, 2nd level expert, 1st level everyone else). A character with a heavy shield can attempt to parry a slam, and a spiked shield of any kind may do serious damage to anyone attempting a slam.
  • After a takedown or when grappling a fallen opponent, a successful grapple check may be made to pin the opponent. Additionally, if the Wrestling skill is known a pin occurs on any 18, 19, or 20 on a strike roll to hit with a grapple. If a character is pinned, he cannot get up, move, or defend himself. The attacker can still deal his crush/squeeze damage, but cannot attack normally. The defender can make contested grapple checks to get free or attack with any wielded weapon, but is -6 and cannot apply strength bonuses to any attack damage. A pinned character can still use psionics or thought-activated magic items, but cannot cast spells.
  • A character in a grapple may turn the grapple into a hold with an opposed grapple check. A held character is -6 on attacks and opposed grapple checks and cannot make defensive actions, just like being pinned. A held character may use magic items that are in his free hand as long as their activation does not require another hand, plus psionics and thought-activated magic items as normal.
  • A martial artist with both Wrestling AND Body Flip/Throw from his combat style (except Basic even at level 8) may attempt to turn a hold into a joint lock. Make two contested grapple checks. If the opponent succeeds on either, he breaks free. If the attacker succeeds on both, the opponent is now locked and cannot do anything except activate psionic powers or trigger thought-activated magic items, but even then the character must make a saving throw vs. pain (14+, PE bonus applies) or forfeit his turn. On his turn the attacker may cast spells, use psionic powers, release his opponent, or break his opponent's joint. This deals 2d6 damage direct to hit points (cannot reduce HP below 0) and gimps his opponent appropriately. An opponent whose limb was just broken must save vs. pain (16+) or be incapacitated for one minute while he writhes on the ground in agony.
  • A trained grappler may attempt to turn a hold into a choke. Make two contested grapple checks. If the opponent succeeds on either, he breaks free. If the attacker succeeds on both, the opponent is now being asphyxiated. If the opponent has blood flow in his neck that can be interfered with, he will lose consciousness for 1d4 melee rounds if he failes a save vs. poison (14+). The opponent may do everything he could do in a hold, such as break out or activate psionic powers. The attacker may release his choke. If he does not, the opponent must save or be rendered unconscious. In addition, the attacker may either do nothing or deal damage (same as a hold). No other actions may be performed.
Magic and Special Powers Combat

  • Casting spells in melee range of an opponent always put the spellcaster at serious risk. If an opponent is within melee range or has the mage in a deadlock, the opponent can make an attack of opportunity on the mage. If the attack hits, the mage's spell is generally interrupted, and the mana is spent as though the spell was cast.
  • Functionally, spells take action after other actions done at the "same time," so held actions to interrupt when used from range also carry this function.
  • If the mage takes a defensive action (automatic defenses notwithstanding), spell casting is interrupted.
  • Opportunity attacks that deal no knockback magnitude AND deal no damage directly to the mage (eg. hits armor) may not interrupt the casting (GM discretion). This means that, in general, don't use targeted interrupts on a mage if you're armed with a ranged energy weapon.
  • Environments that are awkward, irritating, or damaging, generally prevent a mage from casting spells. Tear gas, Sand Storm, and similar environments prevent spell casting even if the eyes and face are protected, unless the entire body is protected via EBA. Some effects that bypass armor, such as Havoc, prevent casting entirely. In general, if in a damaging or awkward environment, and damage would be inflicted (even if it's SD to MD creatures), the environment prevents spell casting until the round after it is exited.
  • Environmental damage (eg. deals x damage per round) now applies that damage per segment, though I may alter the durations of some DoT effects to compensate. However, environmental damage from a single source may only do its environmental damage once per segment, and only at the end of the segment.
  • Reloading a TW firearm is a thought-activated magic item. Unless the creator states otherwise, powering a TW item is thought-activated.
  • Ley Lines influence magic in profound ways. Ley Lines add 10 points of mana generated per minute (nerfed!). Nexus points generate 10 per melee round. LLWs get double this amount. Surges generate the same amount as before, but LLWs can get double mana during a surge as well.
  • Spellcasters can pad their spells, mostly to protect against Spellshield and negas/nullis. A spellcaster can add any amount of mana to his or her spell, but each 25 mana raises the effective spell level by 1.
  • If padding raises the spell level of a spell above 7, the spell costs 2 melee actions instead of 1. If a spell normally takes fewer melee actions to cast, raising its spell level also reverts it to taking the normal number of melee actions for a spell of that level. Spellcasters may pad with 24 mana with no effect. 
  • Single-action level 8 spells as well; they may be padded up to 24 mana, but any more will incur the below issues.
  • If padding raises the spell level above 9, the spell must be cast as a ritual. Spells cast as rituals can have as much padding as desired, up to the maximum limit.
  • Level 9 and higher spells cannot be padded without a ritual casting.
  • The maximum amount a caster may pad is equal to 20 points of mana per level of experience.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Soku character recommendations for Jakey

#1: Suika
Suika is a fast melee brawler with strong options at close and mid range. Her dial-A does huge damage, giving her an easy learning curve. Her basic combos, even without her dial-A, are fairly easy and she does pretty large damage even with j6a j6b and no followups. Her attacks are quite fast so mixups will take some practice, and her block pressure is fairly hard to perform for beginners since it relies on minimum height j6a. She also lacks a good graze attack (66c is her only graze attack), which can make the vs. Yuyuko and vs. Utsuho matchups hard. She is a powerful threat though and can punish mistakes from anywhere with a little practice.
Deck: 4x Oni Spirit Bomb, 4x Missing Power. Spiritual Strike Talismans are useful as she has no DP without losing Oni Spirit Bomb (requires level 3 Spectre: Dense) which is unacceptable. Fire Oni is generally seen as very useful. Other good cards include the rock throw 2-card (forget the name) and Throwing Atlas. Her spellcard variety is so-so. You only need 1 Spirit Bomb and can use the rest on spellcards.

#2: Meiling (China)
Meiling is basically a more well-rounded, shittier Marisa. She has more respectable zoning, a crossup game, and a graze attack, along with a good variety of spellcards. She has more deck variety than Suika, who basically has to run certain skillcards. She relies on fighting midscreen or fake pressuring in the corner, but has no ways to keep the enemy in blockstun and must rely on ghetto tricks. China is very dangerous in close, but it is fairly easy to guess her mixups. Her game mostly ends up being about punishing mistakes. Her vs. Iku matchup is extremely hard, but she is fairly decent against Yuyuko, Suwako, and Utsuho.
Deck: Most China decks ignore her 236 move entirely, as there are no good options for it. Her 214 attack has many good options, as does her 623. She has several invulnerable spellcards and should take at least one. Spiritual Strike Talisman is also a good idea.

#3: Iku
An easy-to-play, melee-focused midrange character with good zoning, Iku is both incredibly strong and easy to play. She is Nick's main. Iku requires precise spacing which can only be learned with practice, but if Nick can learn it, anyone can. Iku has some tricky combo execution for random midscreen hits, but none of it is hard. Her midscreen dial-A followup is also somewhat hard to execute; Nick can't do it reliably. Iku has a lot of deck diversity, with only one card really being mandatory. She probably needs defensive cards, as she has a very weak close-range game despite her strong melee.
Deck: 4x Lightning Fish "Swimming Thunder Shot, 4x Spiritual Strike Talisman. Other than that, Iku can run a fairly wide variety of skill and spell cards. I see a lot of Lightning Sign: Elekiter Dragon Palace in high level play. Iku's 214 options are very diverse and it's worth playing with all of them. Thorn Sign: Thundercloud Strikeback is one of her best spellcards, too. I really like Veils Like Time, but I'm a weirdo.

#4: Marisa
She's super-China. She takes the strengths of China and magnifies them greatly, and her fullscreen laser gives her a way to punch through bullets and punish mistakes at any distance. Like China, she focuses heavily on doing big damage with random hits. It's up to you to land those random hits and confirm for big damage, though and while I personally find her execution easy, the rest of the group cannot confirm off of random jump melee (Nick being a notable exception and only with Iku). Because Marisa generates big damage off of any hit, she is much more dangerous than many of the other characters I've recommended (Suika does more, though). Marisa lacks a graze attack and must fight for midscreen position with her laser or 5c in most situations.
Deck: 4x Spiritual Strike Talisman. A lot of options here. Her default 214 is decent for combos and can be upgraded to be safer on block and allow for post-block mixups. Her 214 broomgun is also really good and is the most commonly used Marisa skillcard in high level play. Her default 623 is her only real graze attack, and it has startup graze which allows her some ghetto tricks. However, it does not have invincibility; it is not a real DP even at max level. She also has very good options for her 22 bombs and they can be used to control the map. Her spellcards vary widely and almost all are useful. For shits, 6c > Narrow Spark > Master Spark combos for all the lasers.

#5 Utsuho
Considered by top players to be the second-worst character in the game, Utsuho deals massive damage off of most hits and has easy combos. I'd almost recommend her over Marisa, honestly, as her combos are much easier to learn. She is pretty slow though, and her sluggishness makes her hard to defend against. Fortunately, most of us are bad so her huge damage and huge bullet density are more powerful.
Deck: 4x Spiritual Strike Talisman, 4x Hell Geyser (also known as Gunflame). Shooting Star is also quite useful and Divine Raiment is helpful when you're getting rushed down. Rocket Dive is very popular for combos and shenanigans. She has very few useful spellcards.

Yuyuko (easy, strong bullets, easily rushed down)
Patchouli (powerful bullets, strong zoning, hard combos; more difficult, higher damage Yuyuko)

Sunday, September 9, 2012

The Dwarf rifle

Unable to sleep and thinking about guns, I got to thinking about how a dwarf-made firearm might work. We've kind of established flintlock guns, which make a lot of sense until percussion explosives are invented. Note that percussion explosives are kind of the barrier to making any progress in the field of firearms and flintlocks were kinda used for hundreds of years so I don't know that is even plausible in this world.

Anyway, a flintlock mechanism involves having a spring-loaded flint held rearward by a mechanical arm, called the cock (hence the term "cocking the gun"). When the trigger is pulled, it releases the spring, causing the cock to fly forward on its hinge. The flint hits a striker, which causes hot pieces of the flint to shard off into a pan which catches the hot shards. There is powder in the pan; the hot shards of flint ignite the powder, which feeds into a tube carrying the main powder charge. When the burning powder reaches the main charge, the main charge ignites and shoots the bullet forward.

This is pretty inefficient, all things considered. First, flintlock rifles are bullshit. I don't mean like they didn't exist because they did, but in the real world they were a million and a half bitches to load and no one really used them, aside from hunters and military marksmen. There weren't even really "sharpshooters" back then; the term was coined from the Sharps rifle which kinda shoots .45-70 black powder cartridges. That's cartridges, like rounds, like made of brass with a jacketed bullet. Most flintlock guns of their day were muskets. A flintlock rifle takes about 50 times longer to reload because you have to forcibly slam the damn musket ball down the bore, so a musket, where you put the main charge in the bore, put the ball down the bore, put the powder in the pan, cock the action, sight in and shoot all in 20 seconds is a much more reasonable deal. If you want to narrow it down to 2 full-round actions to reload and another to sight in and fire (with appropriate reloading class features or feats) that would make sense. A rifle takes many times that because of the difficulty in getting that damn ball down the bore without damaging the bore.


So dwarves are a little bit smarter than that, with paper cartridges that hold the main charge. How can we best use that technology?

The best way to use a paper cartridge is in a two-piece load. You pull the smaller piece of the cartridge off and open it up, pouring the powder into the pan. The other piece of paper cartridge just feeds into the muzzle of the g...FUCK THAT TOO.

Instead of muzzle-fed bullshit, we can also improve there. The main charge is glued to the bullet itself, and the whole thing is fed into the breech. A break-action design simply won't work for a flintlock though; the pan and striker and trigger assembly are all kinda in one spot and you can't break that open. Instead, a falling block action can be used to feed the paper cartridge + bullet into the chamber. What's a falling block action?

Basically, a lever on the gun, most likely located underneath the trigger housing, lowers a block (hence the name) that conceals the chamber. The main charge and bullet are fitted into the chamber by hand, then the lever is retracted, sliding the block back into place and sealing the chamber. You want the falling block mechanism to hinge vertically though. If it's hinged horizontally (like a bolt-action rifle) the explosion of the powder will act against the mechanism holding the action in place, and since it's made to slide that way, the action will eventually break.

Modern bolt-actions are held in place by locking lugs, which rotate when the bolt is turned to seat the bolt so that it can't move. In fact, bolt-action rifles have multiple locking lugs to distribute stress on them between several points of contact so a high-powered rifle cartridge doesn't break them. It is possible that a bolt-action, chamber-fed gun is the next step in dwarven firearms evolution but really the improvements would be minimal compared to a falling block action.

The main flaws in this design are the problems with any unjacketed lead bullet fired through a rifled barrel; lead and propellant fouling in the barrel and paper/propellant fouling in the chamber. The advantages though are a gun that can probably be reloaded as a standard action or possibly even a move action. There's probably severe accuracy problems if you fire more than 3-4 shots without cleaning it though.

The actual bullet itself has a lot of potential from this design. You can make an actual bullet, rather than a lead ball, though actual spitzer bullets weren't invented until the 20th century IRL and were only really feasible with jacketed bullets anyway which is totally not something that would be invented anytime soon. Even without a real bullet, you can squeeze a ton more accuracy out of this. The chamber is mostly airtight, except for the pan (not sure how that problem was solved), but more importantly the bullet is slightly bigger than the bore so the bullet flies perfectly straight down the barrel, swaged by the rifling for amazing accuracy, relative to its predecessors. Reloading this sucker is super fast too. Operate the lever, put the bullet and main charge in, break the paper for the secondary charge in the pan, close the lever, cock the gun and sight in. Probably a standard action with a feat or class ability to improve it to a move action.

These rifles would be useful for infantry with some caveats. The main issue is that massed fire of black powder weapons creates a lot of smoke, especially flintlocks that burn powder in a pan outside the rifle. However, other elements of D&D warfare kind of render infantry formations stupid; the military adoption of the fireball, grease, and entangle ordinance make massed infantry a really bad idea. Most likely, infantry operate in squads with a unit commander and individual objective orders, with squad leaders, team leaders, and specialists assigned as needed. Unfortunately in D&D, magic was invented before the radio. How does siege warfare even get done? I'm not really sure. The ability to conjure also has issues since it's harder to starve an army of provisions and nearly impossible to run it out of water, even in desert combat.

My guess is that you just don't attack fortifications in D&D unless you want your siege weapons getting wrecked by scorching ray snipers.

Friday, September 7, 2012

In crazy dream

Another weird dream time!

So naturally, the first crazy dream I've had in a while. Sorry, you're not in it. In fact, the only person I know that I recognized in my dream was Calen White, who a few of you might know and I have no idea why he would be in this dream because we don't really talk. He played no real major role.

So, for whatever reason, I'm in the military on this remote island complex. We're in some research facility with a bunch of civillians and I'm one of the military guys that has no idea what is going on.

One of the civillians comes to me and gives me an object; a device, which I later learn is a detonator, with a box and a key. I'm not 100% sure he gave me the box, I might have had that on my own but either way, the detonator gets locked in the box and placed in my personal storage space. I keep the key on me, along with another key that opens a different box on my person. The different box has a replacement set of glasses in it. Note the box is fairly small, eg. size of glasses case. It's fairly clear, either way, that the detonator thing needs to be kept out of the military's hands, probably due to some corrupt officers or corrupt government potentially abusing it.

Either way, I form a small group of informed conspiracy theorists, including Calen, which form as our cadre to find out what the military is up to. As far as I know, I'm the only one who knows about the box and the detonator. The military guys do a search of the base and I'm found with the fake key, but I tell them what it's for (my glasses case) and they are like ok. They do not find the real box, but do see the real key, but don't ask about it.

We discover some purple substance, which we assume to be moldable, crystalline explosive. Actually, this is when we assume that the thing is a detonator. There's a fair bit of stuff that goes on after this point, as the government/military guys are sure there's an insider (due to missing stuff) and go on full alert, while we continue to search for what the big issue is and subvert it.

At some point, the bulk of the crystalline substance explodes in the lab when the government guys forcibly induce it with some unknown process that we don't learn. I am clued into the fact that the situation is extremely dangerous and bunker up in the motor pool area, which has its own blast doors. All of my subversive group, many civillians and some regular soldiers also gather there.

The explosion is so powerful that it blows through the first set of blast doors in the lab and literally kills everyone in the lab area, including those people thought safe in the observation area. It also explodes upwards and downwards, killing everyone above and below the labs too. The explosion is so intense that we feel the heat inside the motor pool and it heats our blast door, though it does not weld it shut or penetrate it. We are not the only survivors in the complex, as some people are in other safe rooms and some people are outside. However, we fear that the explosion is radioactive, so going into the wreckage (which is still also mega hot) is a big no-no.

We begin a survival mission to try and gather supplies from outside the base. Some conspirators are clearly in the motor pool and are worried about the state of the experiment, but we quiet them because we are worried about survival. FYI, I say they are conspirators because I assumed they were, but I had no information except that they were worried about the experiment.

I think the explosion also exploded my substance, and I may have worried that someone else had the detonator, but I definitely still have the key and the detonator is still in my hidden storage, locked in its box (I check.)

Either way, drama happens where we continue to try and discover what the conspiracy is, but the mystery is never revealed. We try to adventure into the wreckage with NBC suits, but I'm not sure we discovered anything other than how powerful the explosive substance was.

we heart Remi

Building on fundamentals

Almost all of you suck at basic Soku fundamentals. I'm not saying I'm good, but most of you guys lose to me because you give opportunities away and I make more of my opportunities than most of you. Sam is the exception but only with his two characters and only really with Utsuho. He knows Utsuho's options very well and can play inside of those options.

Blockstrings are a basic thing for every character, though Iku is weaker at it than the rest of the cast. For most characters, your goal when blockstringing is to guard crush the opponent or punish her as she tries to escape. The basic syntax for a blockstring is f5a/2a, 3a/6a, bullet, HJC9 into a character specific followup. Some characters use multiple bullets. If you land a blocked close 5a, you want to continue it into the last move that can be cancelled into 3a and/or 6a and you definitely do not want to do any move that cannot be cancelled into bullets. Some examples:
- Yuyuko: 5a (close or far)/2a 3a/6a 6c 421c hjc9 j2a land repeat. Not airtight, but 6c can be replaced with 623c if the opponent is expected to graze to create the illusion of pressure. A blocked 623c can be spellcard cancelled to maintain pressure, as well.
- Iku: f5a/5aa/2a 3a/6a 5c hjc9 5c d6 j5a land repeat. Very not airtight. 5c must be mixed up with melee specials in order to create the illusion of pressure. A blocked melee special can be spellcard cancelled to maintain pressure.
- Utsuho is a bit weird. Her 5aaa is 2 overhead hits followed by a low. Any of the hits can be chained into 6a (low) or 3a (overhead) so she has more options in the basic hits if she doesn't start with 2a. Then 2c hjc into a jump mixup, as nothing is airtight after that. Additionally, 2c is only airtight if the opponent wrongblocks.
- Yukari: 5aa/f5a/2a 3a/6a 5b hjc9 2c d6 j5a land repeat. I'm not 100% sure if the 5b is airtight but if it is, it has a very small number of grazable frames if done properly and is definitely airtight on wrongblock. As with the others, you can cancel the 5b (actually the 5b and not the 3a/6a) into a 623c if they try to graze forward though it is unsafe if they high jump. If they block the 623c you will need to spellcard cancel or you will die.

However, the biggest fuckups I see are midscreen in neutral. I screw this up too, but it's worth covering. There are three things you're trying to do in midscreen. The first is get in and melee, the second is to deploy bullet cover and then exploit it, and the third is to punish the enemy for setting up bullet cover. Don't throw bullets mindlessly, throw bullets that are actually going to control space on the screen and then F-ING TAKE ADVANTAGE OF THEM. This means don't fucking throw bullets on the screen and jump back. If you're already predicting the opponent is going to beat your move, why the fuck did you throw it in the first place? I'm not saying expect your shit to hit all the time, but position yourself so that you can take advantage of your bullets and not try to set up more bullets.

There are a few exceptions to this rule but none of you do them. Specifically, if you have a danmaku advantage on the screen right now you can trade some of it to deploy delayed bullets that will give you an advantage later. The biggest examples of this are Tenshi's alt 214 earthquakes and Yuyuko's default 214 butterflies. In general though this is a bad idea. If you throw bullets on the screen and then don't cover them, the enemy can just graze them and hit you while you're trying to throw your delayed shit. Again, Yuyuko is a bit of an exception in that she may throw B bullets to try and get C bullets out, and it is generally hard to graze and hit her while she's throwing C bullets. You should not do this as a general strategy though if your opponent has a laser, or anything that can cut through your B bullets (including graze attacks), which is MOST OF THE CAST. It should be more of a backup strategy that you're trying to get away with rather than a main strategy. The default strategy is to deploy cover and exploit it, so do that.

Exploiting cover means different things for different characters. I'm going to use Yuyuko as an example again because she's one of the best examples of weird exploiting bullet cover. 6c is amazing because it puts this annoying homing bullet behind the enemy, but that bullet is useless if you meet the enemy in a head-on confrontation and lose in a melee priority battle or trade. Once you have it out, you want to position yourself in the most lucrative sweet spot the enemy has and block rather than directly attack. The same is true for her 214 butterflies or most delayed bullets like Remi's default 214. Once the enemy is forced to block the bullets (generally slightly before), get aggressive with melee and end with something that's going to keep the advantage.

For most characters though the bullets are generally a shield that you have to be as close to as possible. Throw a bullet and move in behind it; as you're doing so, anticipate anything that might beat it such as a laser or graze attack. If you don't see any of those, melee behind your bullets to prevent graze and go from there into a blockstring. It's important that your melee be aimed to hit the enemy as they're potentially grazing your bullets.

Sometimes it isn't clear that your danmaku will beat the enemy's right from the get-go. If that's the case, you still want to position yourself in an aggressive position and be ready to put down more danmaku. The main characters who want to do this are rushdown characters like Reisen or Marisa that also happen to have decent bullets. Yuyuko is again a bit of an issue since her B bullets are low density, so she is looking for any situation she can to throw out C bullets that can't be neutralized. Only throw C bullets out if the opponent can't punish you for trying or HJC as early as possible despite losing some of the bullets to cancel. Getting some C bullets is better than getting counterhit. Iku also wants to position herself favorably after a 6c but she has to make sure the 6c doesn't get nullified by a denser bullet, so she may assume a more passive stance.

Put danmaku in the enemy melee sweetspot. In almost all cases, it's in the air and in front of the enemy. This is of questionable effectiveness against Remilia unless the danmaku is very slow or starts behind your character and is almost useless against Alice whose sweetspot is on the ground. Everyone else you want do deny the close air approach. I get so many random counterhits off of antiair bullets that it's silly. If you are Utsuho and you aren't using 6b to cover this approach you are doing it wrong. Yuyuko does it automatically by default anytime she hits 6c since the damn thing tracks, but she also has 421c if the enemy is jockeying for that spot. Almost everyone has some kind of antiair bullet on 2b, 6b, 2c, or 6c. For most characters, it's 2b. The most notable exception is Utsuho who has 3a as an antiair against everyone except Iku. Iku's 5b is her best choice though not amazing. A lot of Yuyuko's bullets cover this space. 421c is the best, though the HJC window for it is kinda late it basically completely prevents jumpins. Most of her normal bullets cover this area. Anytime you see the enemy in the air and not immediately threatening you, the best place to put danmaku is where they will jump in at you.

This gets me to danmaku punishing. If you throw danmaku around like crazy defensively, most characters have a solid punish. I think everyone has eaten enough Iku 6c to understand this. Any reasonably dense, fast bullet can punish you if it can punch through part of your danmaku and hit you. In certain matchups, this basically defines the matchup eg. most of Suika's matchups. The first thing you need to know is where and how the enemy can punish you. For instance, if it's a laser or dense bullet, know whether it's a special and whether it can be done in the air, and position yourself away from it. If Iku is on the ground and I'm in the air, I know she cannot interrupt my danmaku so I can deploy most of my arsenal by the time she can high jump up and fire 6c, and I can airdash cancel to graze it. The same goes for Utsuho; she can only really threaten the width of her laser or possibly the width of her 5c. Remi can only punish her opponent if the enemy is low to the ground or Remi is close to the wall (and then only with default wall dive). If you're trying to danmaku punish, fish for those positions or if you can't get them, throw setup danmaku or try to get in for melee.

Approaching for melee without any cover is risky. You should only do it if the opponent is trying to danmaku punish and is therefore not doing anything. The other option is if you are relatively close to your opponent and can potentially punish the startup of danmaku with a dashing melee attack. This is, in general, a bad idea. The other option is that you will avoid most of the opponent's potential setup danmaku with an odd positioning aerial attack, such as a crossup. A neutral crossup is not very effective. In general you almost always want to have either sweetspot melee positioning (eg. Iku j2a positioning), danmaku cover, or frame advantage (enemy blocking or getting hit or knocked down) before going for melee. If you're in the close air sweetspot and there are no threatening bullets, then yes, go for melee, just be wary of antiairs and consider using quick danmaku pressure (such as Reisen j2b) to force blocking or punish antair melee.



blocked j5aa, airborne enemy (falling)
- 2a (unblockable) into 5c hjc j5a8a; limits for around 2kish. Works best if they do nothing.
- 6a (unblockable) into 6a followups; generally Spear the Gungnir or Critical (Heart Break). Punishes forward airdashing somewhat depending on enemy height, but less followups without cards.
- dash j5aa. If they do anything other than fly up or a back airdash, this will catch them and set up into j5aa loop. If it corners, you can 6a 623c for over 2k.
- 2c. Puts bullet pressure upwards if they fly up, otherwise not too good.
- 623b/c. Best for Iku or other characters that can attack you from the other options. Horribly unsafe if blocked. Can also use Red the Nightless Castle; a bit safer, but still dangerous.

airdash shenanigans
- jump back, ad6: It gives you an extra approach vector for a closer opponent and covers different space. It can confuse the enemy too since people used to Remi might be used to seeing her dash forward. At very closer distances, it's a crossup trick if you delay the airdash. You need to time the airdash depending on distance; faster if further, later if closer. You can also use d6 (towards the opponent) to get a bit closer.
- jump back, d6: This is imo a more reliable crossup since you can do d6 a bit earlier, or at least my hands can (lol). If done low, it hits in front, if done high it crosses up. It's pretty telegraphed though unless you are picture perfect on the spacing.


- 6a 623c (corner)
- super (save for midscreen)

CH j2a
- dash j5aa, dash j5a8a (2400ish, limits) The trickiness is in figuring out which way you need to dash... plus responding to the counterhit.
- 2c hjc 5c adc 8a (2700ish, limits) Much harder than above and doesn't corner them, but much more damage for 2 spirit orbs.


Destiny (Miserable Fate)
- Use after they block a 5c or other meaty projectile; MIDSCREEN ONLY OK.

Spear the Gungnir
- Huge frame advantage on block, plus a lot of chip. On block, use!



- Midscreen: 5aaa 5b (2hit) hjc j5a j6a. j5b will hit if less than halfway to the corner or so afterwards. This combo does not bluering, does only 1800. You probably want to do the j5b and fly immediately to the ground OR charge j5c and airdash forward. If you're using ripple vision you can also charge that.
- Corner: 5aaa 236b 236c. If you are a little ways from the corner, 5aaa 236b hjc j5a j6a is more reliable, but does less damage. Both bluering, double fireball does around 2500 at level 0. At level max it does over 3k. Some people don't need to rank their combo tools but Reisen really does, IMHO.

- 236b hjc j5a j6a. It's the same as the corner variant above. Does ~2k at rank 0. Kinda weak, but what can you do? It works anywhere, though if you cross up with j2a you need to wait for Reisen to turn around before doing 236b. Also, this will not work if you hit with the leading forward edge of j2a, as you're a bit too far away.
- CH j2a, LRE. It's hard to really follow up with anything if you don't have LRE; j5a j6a does less than the above combo and the above combo works, but is hard to time.

What characters do

-Suika is powerful in melee with very high damage with very little effort. Combo practice is minimal for her, as her Dial-A does nearly 2500 damage for no spirit. Her melee has great range and has disjointed hitboxes, making her a very scary threat in the air or on the ground. She also has many high/low options and even one of her bullets (2b) is a melee attack.
- With the exception of her C bullets, Suika's projectiles are small in number and high in density, which lets her blast holes in enemy danmaku to strike the opponent directly. However, other than 6b and her Spirit Bomb skillcard, her bullets are wonky and take some practice to use. The high-density, low volume bullets let Suika take the offense even at positional disadvantage, but bullets that attack from strange angles are difficult for her to handle as she has trouble actually creating lasting bullet cover in response.
- Suika is fast and her abare is very high. She can deal very large amounts of damage off of almost any hit.
- Suika has few graze attack options and is reliant on blasting through enemy bullets with her own.

- No idea!

vs. Yuyuko
- Yuyu has some of the slowest movement in the game, though her cancels are fast. Due to her slow speed, she must rely more on getting to a strong position in advance rather than quickly moving to take it. She also has difficulty following up from incidental bullet hits since she cannot close distance quickly.

- Yuyuko's melee is very large and covers wide areas in front of her. Like her own movement, it is slow, but it gives her a strong close-combat game once she has established control.
- Yuyuko has a wide variety of bullets. She controls the map very well and can literally fill the screen with garbage with just a few attacks. However, her C bullets do not hit enemy bullets at all (they pass through) while her B bullets lack density. She has trouble against high-density penetrating bullets, and must predict when the enemy will throw them and block while her ghostly C bullets and skillcards attack.
- Yuyuko's defense is limited, but it is better than most of the other zoning characters. She has several reversal spellcards and a powerful graze attack, and has many spellcards that can cancel laggy blocked skillcards in order to keep her on the offense.


- Remi's dash is unique and difficult to handle; she leaps forward rather than running on the ground. While she leaps forward she is considered airborne and can attack with aerial normals, giving her some of the most unique offense in the game. Her dash, her walk, and her aerial movements are all very fast, letting her punish mistakes from far outside her normal attack range and capitalize on damage opportunities from almost any distance.
- Remi's graze attacks are also very fast, but none have startup graze. This gives her a bit of an issue if the opponent is able to gain control of the screen. Like most graze attacks, hers are also unsafe, but this is less of a problem if she has spellcards to cancel her recovery.
- Remi's movement options also constitute problems since she also does not have a normal flight ability and must spend lots of spirit for 8-way movement in the air. Due to this, Remi is reliant on her airdash for aerial mobility and focuses a lot on staying near the ground and mounting her attacks there.
- Remi's bullets are weird, but they are straightforward and fairly strong. She has few options for establishing true danmaku patterns, but she has a number of delayed bullets that can lock the enemy down if the opponent is forced to block them.


- Youmu is the most rushdown-focused character in the game. Her bullets are incredibly lackluster, her movement is incredibly fast and she has some of the most frightening corner pressure in the game, especially if she uses Hakuroken or spellcards to cancel her melee attacks. Accordingly, her midscreen presence is weak due to her low-power bullets. She must generally rely on punishing mistakes with 6c or her "graze attack" DP.
- Despite having a sword, Youmu's melee is only above average. She mostly uses punches and kicks, and lacks disjointed hitboxes on most of her attacks. She must use her light, high blockstun bullets to establish control in a lot of situations, the threat of 6c, or the threat of her DPs. Her Phosphorous Sword skillcard helps a lot with melee dominance as it is a very meaty bullet attack that comes out fast.
- Youmu is one of the few characters with a true dragon punch (B version only) without using skillcards or spellcards. Her C version retains dash momentum and has startup graze, making it one of the most scary graze attacks in the game.

- Patchy is slow as balls. Even her high jumps are slow and her air mobility is shit. That being said, Patchy is a terror in the air, due to her many air options and larger angle of attack for bullets.
- In general, Patchy is extremely flexible and deck-centric, so countering her relies a lot on knowing what options she has in her deck.
- Patchy's bullets are insanely dense; her default 236 is denser than Utsuho's 5c and almost no one has anything close to the density of her normal bullets. Only her light density water bullets are anywhere near normal. She doesn't quite create danmaku the same way as other characters, but she can quickly eliminate it and be a threat from almost anywhere on screen. Some of her skillcards give her the ability to create danmaku on par with Yuyuko or other bullet-centric characters.
- Patchy's melee is balls, other than her j6a and 66b.
- Patchy has several reversal skillcards and can put them on two different motions. However, none of her DPs are melee and can be grazed. Aside from these cards, Patchy is incredibly vulnerable to rushdown as her melee is horrible.


- Alice's zoning is some of the scariest in the game. She is like a weird hyper version of both Yuyuko and Iku put together, with crazy long-ranged zoning melee and fast-cancelling delayed doll bullets that come from all directions. She is, in essence, the complete opposite of Youmu.
- Alice has fewer immediate options than any character in the game though, and is easily rushed down if she loses control of the screen. She absolutely must predict the opponent's moves and counter them with her zoning tools. If the enemy gets in close, she is likely to lock Alice down for a very long time.

- It is said that one time, a cobra bit Sakuya. After 3 days of excruciating block pressure, the cobra was guard crushed and died.
- Sakuya's offense is legendary. Her block pressure is probably the scariest thing in Soku. She is very fast, and if her opponent blocks even one bullet she can force the enemy in the corner and possibly even land a guard crush. Learning to border escape is mandatory for fighting her.
- Sakuya's melee attacks are pretty bad; she is really reliant on her insane bullets to control the match before locking her opponent down with her insane bullets.


- Marisa is a more stable version of Suika. She has many similar things, including dense bullets, good melee, and huge damage off of almost any hit. Her execution is quite a bit harder; she has to work a little to land the combos that deal good damage and can't just Dial-A.
- Like Suika, Marisa lacks a decent graze attack, but her default 623 does have startup graze, letting her use it like Youmu's 623c. However, it doesn't retain dash momentum and Marisa has fewer spellcard cancel options if her 623 is blocked.
- Unlike Suika, Marisa has somewhat decent bullet cover options that are easier to use. They're not true bullet cover, but they control enough of the screen for a long enough period to be workable.
- Marisa's offensive pressure is substantially worse than Suika's. She has large gaps in her offense and the only way to plug the holes is with high-risk melee skillcards or spellcards.

- no idea!

- Sanae is a zone control monster, but she is really at her best when she has her alt Kanako skillcard. Otherwise, she kind of has a hard time fighting for positioning against superior zoning characters.
- Sanae's 2c is character-defining. It's huge, dense, and covers a ton of the screen if done high up.
- With both alt Kanako and alt Suwako, Sanae controls so much of the map that she's hard to ignore. She is still limited by the timers on her Kanako and Suwako gauges though.