Thursday, 6 January 2011

Dancing with the claw - For beginners; Part IV

Welcome to Part IV of a Beginner's guide to using Vega in Super Street Fighter IV. This will be the final article covering the beginners and basics part of using Vega before I go onto intermediate.
If you have any questions regarding any of the information given up until now, please either write in the comments or find me over in (this thread over at SRK).
So, onto the next section; Anti-airs, Super and ultra, Simple BnBs and Meter Management.

'What is an anti-air?'
An anti-air, is a move that can be used by a character to defend against a jumping/aerial attack from their opponent by countering with an attack of their own; one that generally out-prioritizes the opponent. It generally needs to be fast to startup, have very good range and a good hitbox.
Hitboxes? I've mentioned yet another word important in understanding how these little engines work. In every fighting game, every character has at least one anti-air and they vary by character, their decency, as I just mentioned, is often very reliant on their hitbox properties, which I will explain as I go through anti-airs and air to airs.

An insightful post by TonyLew/SupernovaX explains how to understand them which can be found under the spoiler tag below;
» Understanding Hitboxes «

So, what anti-airs does Vega have?
I'll be honest with you, none that are particulary effective, but you would have known this from Part I with it being listed in his weaknesses. However, there are several that people do use and when spaced well are able to do their job (Click the name of the attack to see its' hitbox);
  •  cr.HP
    As you can see, from the attack box that while it is considered an anti-air for Vega, the attacking hitbox is extremely low to the ground and very small. Truth be told, it is fast, and the range itself is decent; however due to the low hitbox you are more than likely going to either trade hits or just get outright stuffed before you anti-air them.
  • st.HK
    The hitbox on st.HK is a fair bit higher than that of cr.HP, it is also larger, has more reach and comes out just as quickly, you'll also notice that his vulnerable hitboxes are positioned differently, making him less viable to be stuffed or to take a trade. Eventhough it only hits once, it is still a far more effective anti-air than cr.HP. On a non-anti-air standpoint, up close it's a great stopper for focus attempts as it hits twice.
  • lk.ST
    This is more for if you're catching the opponent on a far jump-in, it can be followed up with varying strengths of another ST due to it putting them into juggle state. I find myself using hk.ST more and then following up with mk.ST. However, if you want something quick to start then lk.ST is your better suggestion of them all.
  • st.MP
    While I personally have had a lot of success in using this (due to it technically being a taller cr.HP on terms of hitboxes), I wouldn't recommend trying it at a first glance. You need to find your own standpoint with it because you cannot throw it out as an emergency anti-air like st.HK.
  •  Cosmic Heel
    I really wouldn't recommend this as an anti-air, however, if you manage to Anti-air your opponent with it, it's a free ST followup and can even lead into Ultra II (See Vega's Trial #24)

Just like I mentioned in Part III about Sky High Claw. Just...don't do it.
Unlike his version in ST, where it activated on grab, in Super Street Fighter IV, it activates upon touching the wall. This is incredibly bad for several reasons.
The most obvious being that it is already hard enough at a competitive level to land izuna drops out of the blue. Your opponent has ample time to react due to Super Freeze (Super freeze being the lightning animation in which everything on the screen slows for a moment when a super move is activated). And it doesn't take much to anti-air Vega from this before he can grab you due to the properties being the same as his walldive.
Avoid using his super wherever possible, it simply isn't worth it (Shoutouts to MoshpitPetey, because you need to learn to stop it!)

Ultra usage:In Super Street Fighter IV, you might find yourself using ultras a lot because they've become a more vital part of the engine than before. However, some character's ultras are better than others, being that some can be combo'd into, other cannot; some are easier to land than others too.
In the Street Fighter IV series, Vega's ultras have some use to them, but you should never find yourself relying on them. Here's a quick run through on both of his ultras and the pros and cons to using one over the other.

Ultra I - Bloody High Claw
Bloody high claw, since it's first incarnation in Street Fighter IV has always had it's various pros about as much as it's cons. The properties since vanilla SFIV have been modified so that it now has a "launcher" on the way up.
I'll lay it out straight with ultras because there's very little explaining to do.
The Pros:
  • Full screen fireball punisher.
    As it stands, on reaction this can be used to punish fireballs mid-full screen. This is, of course, with the exception of projectiles thrown by Guile and Chun-Li as they recover far too fast to hit them even on reaction. However this is without the use of the launcher as the launcher does not have fireball invincibility and so you would have to move to the wall behind you.
    If you don't know how to control which wall it goes to, it is dependant on the direction that you end the motion on. For example, the motion itself is listed as;

    Down-Back, Down-forward, Down-Back, Up-forward.

    This would give you the launcher (Provided it is not full screen, it misses some characters mid-screen too). However, if you wanted to go for the wall behind you (Which is often your best option), you would need to input the ultra like this:

    Down-Back, Down-forward, Down-Back, Up-Back.

    The control of direction can also be applied to his walldives and sky high claw depending on your motions ending in up-back or up-forward.
  • As a general punisher;
    It isn't the greatest, but should you block a move attempted by your opponent that has a lot of recovery, you can punish, along with the launcher, for a lot of damage. On some moves it an interrupt them using either the launcher or moving to the wall behind you. I will be going into further depth on where you can do this in the matchups section.
  • It's fast.
    I think, for an ultra, this is generally what can make one great when you consider Vega's mobility. I'm not saying to throw it out at random, but it is very easy to catch your opponent off guard with it due to it's speed.
The cons:
  • Easy to interrupt if done up close.
    Unlike in vanilla SFIV where he wouldn't lose his ultra before he touched the wall, he can be easily light punched out of it if you attempt it in close quarters. You shouldn't be throwing ultra out like that regardless, but it is important to know that it will not get you out of a pressure situation.
  • Using the launcher as an anti-air.
    When you consider the properties of the launcher, it might seem like a good idea at first to punish mindless jump-ins. It is not a good idea.
    The launcher has a habit of anti-airing, but then the rest of the ultra will whiff. Meaning not only is this free damage for your opponent, but a waste of what could have been 450+ damage.
Now, onto Ultra II.

Ultra II - Splendid Claw
If you're looking for an anti-air ultra, this is it. It travels full-screen, is low to the ground and comes out fairly quick just like it's Ultra I counterpart.
Once again, there isn't much of an introduction about this other than this is what you will find yourself using versus non-projectile characters. Some Vega players even prefer this over Bloody High Claw versus projectiles, but as with most of his playstyle, it's down to preference. So without further ado, here are some pros and cons to using Splendid Claw;

The Pros;

  • Anti-Air
    The great thing about using Ultra II over Ultra I is that it can be used as an anti-air. The timing isn't particulary difficult, though not as simple as something like Hakan's Ultra II to pull off; but it is reliable. You cannot be poked out of it unlike Ultra I because it has invincibility for a few frames of startup (making Vega invulnerable to attacks).
  •  13-frame invincibility on startup
    The first 13 frames of Vega's Ultra II are invulnerable to attacks, this also applies for fireballs during that time (but it generally requires the ultra to be activated at around close range to eliminate the chances of your opponent blocking). I personally use it against people who are a little happy at pressing too many buttons in either a block string or over your wakeup.
  • Has 'Auto-Correct'
    Much like the varying versions of Vega's Scarlet Terror, Ultra II has something called 'Auto-Correct'. You might find when playing that your opponent will try to cross you up somehow (A crossup being that they are aiming for the back of your hitbox which means you have to block towards the attack instead of against it; IE, block the other way to avoid being hit), that your move will follow and Vega will start off his attack facing the opposite direction that you inputted for it.
    A lot of the time, you are going to catch the opponent offguard with this, especially if they attempt a crossup into a throw or into some other unsafe move that leaves them vulnerable.
The cons:
  • As a fireall punisher.
    As a fireball punisher, Splendid Claw is decent, per se. It is neither a great fireball punisher nor a bad one. If you're solely looking for an ultra that might stop a pesky shoto throwing projectiles, you're probably better off using Bloody High Claw.
  •  Damage
    The damage isn't as great as Bloody High Claw, but in itself, it isn't much of a con when you see the pros that really make up for it in comparison.

Simple BnBs
BnBs, or Bread and Butter combos, are just the little strings of moves that lead into specials that you'll find yourself doing often. They are always composed of a set of hit confirms to make sure you get the damage for the special in.
A hit confirm is a sually safe attack that can combo into another which helps the player to determine if they are actually hitting their opponent before committing to an attack that would otherwise be unsafe and punishable if thrown out randomly (IE, Vega's EX Walldive is not only unsafe when thrown out randomly, but is also a waste of meter, should it be blocked).
So, to start with, I will go into some very basic BnBs for Vega which will be looked into in much further detail in the intermediate articles.
  • cr.lp/ xx lp.RCF
    After some time, you can start making it crlp, crmp xx lp.RCF, but for the time being, just hit confirming with either cr.lp, or will suffice. It does require you to already have charge though.
    The good thing about Vega's claw roll is that when hit confirmed into, it will be relatively safe on both hit and block. It's good for keeping some minor pressure in a corner with but that is about as good as it gets. You'll find yourself using other BnBs instead at a beginner level as it doesn't really lead into any knockdowns.
  • xx lk.ST/ xx hk.ST
    As you might have seen in Vega's trials, he can do a few little tricks to combo into a Scarlet Terror. Scarlet Terror, in my opinion, might be a smarter choice than a claw roll outside of corner as it leads to a knockdown and while the knockdown is techable (They can Quick-stand), it will still give you a positional advantage to start implimenting a small wakeup game which I will talk more about in a later article.
    The only problem with using Scarlet Terror, is that it will not hit an opponent if they were crouching when you hit them with the, which then leaves you open to a counterattack.
  • cr.lp/ xx EX FBAThis is the main hit confirm BnB that you will be using when you have the meter to do so. It is probably Vega's best option with meter usage as it leads to an untechable (they cannot quick stand) knockdown. This is where wakeup games become almost essential to learn and I will be going over some of them in the next article (which is where we start looking at Intermediate techniques), this wakeup game also includes something known as the Izuna Trap (or Izuna Vortex/Walldive loop etc)
  • Cosmic Heel > Scarlet Terror
    Your meterless BnB for easy damage. Of course, it is important that you remember not to throw out Cosmic Heel constantly; It should be used sparingly. As I mentioned before, Scarlet Terror is his best followup after Cosmic Heel but you should know all of this already from reading Part II.

Meter Management:
For the last part, it's just a short note on meter management.
With Vega, you really shouldn't be using your meter for anything else other than EX FBA (this will change in Arcade Edition in that it will also be used for EX Rolls for new BnBs of which this article will then be revised.)
You can build meter generally by doing empty walldives (holding back against the wall you jumped off as to not put yourself at risk of being hit.) There is also whiffing lk.STs.
Both of these, however, work at around full-screen only on account of not being punished (and even then it is character specific; some characters can still hit you from this range with devastating results.)

And now, you can happily sit back and say you're done learning the basics of how to play Vega. All you need now is to learn some more tricks of the trade, be it mind games or frame traps, I'll be going much further into it where we'll be looking at;
Footsies (More on poking), Baiting, Air to Airs and Intermediate BnBs


Anonymous said...

thank you so much for this

i read all 4 parts really helpful

Anonymous said...

Excellent stuff, just started learning Vega so this will prove to be invaluable.

Anonymous said...

Im starting with vega and im having trouble with doing the combo Cosmic heel into ST. Do you have any tips of landing it?

.Francys Pai said...

Ack, I missed the comment section here.
A simple trick to doing Cosmic Heel into Scarlet terror is the moment you input Cosmic Heel, go straight into downback. Watch for the moment you see Vega crouch. Once he's crouching, you have enough charge, so you can then go into Scarlet Terror from that.

Scarlet Terror is only 42F of charge, so less than a second =) So having enough charge won't be a huge issue.

Ruckaman said...

You are a Man among Men for the teachings of this character thnx and I will try my hardest to apply everything you've taught here without question. Keep up the good work and as always YOOOOO BLOODY HIGH CLAW XD

Ruckaman said...

You are a Man among Men for the teachings of this character thnx and I will try my hardest to apply everything you've taught here without question. Keep up the good work and as always YOOOOO BLOODY HIGH CLAW XD

.Francys Pai said...

At least I would be a man among men...were I actually a man ;) It's no secret that I am not one.

Thank you for the kind words ^_^

Daegoth said...

I must congratulate your guide, just read till here. And will go on with the rest, Had the same problem with CH>SC but will try what you responded above. If I understood correctly, you are a girl, aren't you? Sorry, English is not my native language xD Excellent player, your perfect vs Gief was sublime.

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