Friday, 24 December 2010

Dancing with the claw - For beginners; Part I

I thought about doing something like this for a while and in the end, threw my hands up and went 'Let's do this.'
So here it is; this will be a multiple part article on the basics and the do's and don't's of how to play Vega and other things that you should consider. For now, we're starting on the don'ts.
I will be using Frame Data in these articles and so I recommend reading up on it first. A pretty decent article on how to read it can be found over here at Eventhubs but the general gist of it is that + is advantage frames and - is putting you at a disadvantage.
[Note: This article is aimed at beginners who are just starting out with Vega; I will go into far more depth and maybe start an intermediate/advanced part later on. But for now, let's start from the top.]

The first things you need to consider before you begin learning Vega is his strengths and weaknesses.
Most players will pick him up first, realise his weaknesses somewhere down the line and then switch to someone else after realising he's not for them. Here's a quick rundown as a 'Here's what you're getting yourself into.'

  • Excellent walk speed and even better backdash giving him mobility to get around the screen easily.
  • Great range on most of his attacks.
  • Isn't an easy target to anti-air due to the speed and trajectory of his jump.
  • Strong poking/zoning game
  • Focus attack has good range.
  • Low stun rating, so he dizzies very quickly
  • Low damage output without having to use EX Meter.
  • No reliable anti-air.
  • Hard to get opponent off you, for example, when cornered.
  • Losing your claw will lose you a lot of range and lowers your damage output.
  • Trading hits, especially without your mask, is almost always a losing scenario.

Still want to learn to play him? Then read on. Here's what you SHOULDN'T be doing with Vega.

 PPP Back flip.
Argue the case all you want, this move is an absolute no-go as a Vega player (with the exception of avoiding chip damage versus Cody's Ultra II). You can be walked after and thrown/hit, slid after if you're against a character with a slide (IE, Dictator) for a knockdown which then leads to further problems, or even hit with ultra if done point blank since all in all, it is a free ultra for most of the cast, and you REALLY don't want that.
Think on it; your opponent has 65 frames to think, 57 of those, you are invincible. But in that time, they'll have caught up to you and you are free to them for 8 frames. That's pretty much enough time to be hit with anything when you consider the start up (which will probably be happening mid-invul frames, so you're getting hit straight on their active and YOUR recover).
You will find if your opponent does not ultra you, they will go for an un-techable knockdown (IE Throw or Sweep); Vega has an extremely weak wake up game and most characters can take advantage of this with a simple Okizeme game (The art of attacking over a character's wakeup) or just general baiting tricks.
All in all, an untechable knockdown is bad for Vega, so avoiding a PPP flip is just one way of keeping away from situations such as these.

Full screen HP RCFs
The topic of full screen H.Roll.
I have seen many a beginner Vega do this, thinking that it's smart to use it to get across the screen in short time, or to just generally think they may hit the opponent off guard.
This honestly, is not the case; It's so slow on both start up and active frames, it's a free hit for your opponent and the same as PPP flip, the outcome can be bad.
Even up close a H.Roll, while possibly may deal decent chip, the start up is so extremely slow, that chances are, you will be hit out of it before your active frames even begin.
He is extremely vulnerable when this move is just thrown out there randomly, just like his Wall Dives (Or Flying Barcelona Attack for people who are clueless), which I will cover in the next point.
In short, Don't do this, ever. It has no invincibility, not even to projectiles; all you are doing is setting yourself up for a free combo.

Random Wall Dives
I can hear you already "But Izuna drops do really good damage!" and true enough, they do. But at a high level, the chances of spamming the move and having your opponent fall for it?
Minimal. Absolutely Minimal.
A few things to note is that despite the damage being pretty good when caught with an izuna and it being fairly easy to hit a button on a nitwit opponent and catching them claw strike or drop; It is still a very bad idea to rely solely on this.
I see it a lot from Vega's online and even at tournaments (and you can bet that they don't make it very far) and you can believe me when I say, "Don't.".
The reasons are quite simple and are as follows;
  •  Recover.
         Vega's recover off a wall dive is 31 frames (during that little hop-back that you see when he touches the ground). In these frames you are completely vulnerable to anything that your opponent wants to do to you; just like the PPP flip, this includes and is not limited to taking an ultra or a knockdown.
  • Easy to hit Vega out of the air.
       While you may sit there in some games and realise "This person doesn't have a clue how to anti-air." It is seriously no excuse to keep using the wall dive. You will become predictable and believe it or not, reflexes like a cat aside, you will not always be able to psychic izuna/claw strike someone when they decide to go air to air with you.

All in all, just like most of Vega's moves on their own; using it sparingly is key, see how your opponent reacts. If you can get away with Izuna vortex-ing them all day, then keep doing so. However, be prepared for them to adapt and you to take a lot of damage for your troubles.

Random Sky High Claws.
 There isn't a lot to say about this aside from don't do it.
Only the EX version is really viable in a fight and even then it only tends to work once and only once as a cross-over. You can use it versus fireballs, but you must be very on point and will not work versus Guile and Chun, due to their recovery being so fast.
A non-EX version will get you a nice ultra in the face even on hit, so as a rule of thumb, just don't use it. It can be used as an escape tool, but most of the time, this is not at all the case.
You will be lucky if it works and you will eventually find when it will and won't.
I will hear someone out there saying "LP version can antiair..." Yes, and so can st.HK and that does the job better. So just don't.

Spamming back flips in the corner
There should be no arguments here, it's worse than hitting random buttons and hoping for a counter hit in a corner. Be it the kick version or punch, they're as bad as each other for this situation.
This, just like every "DON'T.DO.THAT." in this article, is a free hit for your opponent as the key to being a good Vega is to stay calm and collected and wait for an opportunity.
I will cover the 'Getting out of a corner' part of Vega's game in my next article but it's time to wrap this up.

If anyone has any input on the things that I missed in these points, give me a shout and I'll be sure to add them. This is meant as just a general 'don't's article on people who are new to playing Vega in SSFIV.

Next time:
The shorter backslash, Cosmic Heel and Overhead.


Anonymous said...

So beautifully written.. Just like me!

chuckdott said...

this is a good read.

.Francys Pai said...

Sankyu ^^
I think it needs to be broken down a little more though since I do jump into some intermediate stuff (like CH followups) a bit quickly.

Riverdesu said...

Hey saw this on Neo Empire
Very well written mate.

Anonymous said...

Question, does PPP cancels into ST and U2? also seems to cancel into fba and exfba....not completly sure though meaby i just input after the recovery frames but feels like a cancel to is true that is a pretty unsafe move anyway but is good to know it can serve as a bait to punish the peolpe trying to punish your backflip...thanks for the guides and everything...

.Francys Pai said...

It doesn't cancel into either. None of the PPP flips "Cancel" you're just timing your recovery.
You shouldn't be using PPP flip anyway for that purpose.

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