Wednesday, 2 March 2011

Dancing with the claw - For Intermediates; Part II


And now for something completely different...or not really.
A word you may or may not have heard before and that this article is now covering is "Okizeme"; Which is just a fancy word for "Wake-up game."
An Okizeme is a series of attacks and baits, ranging from meaties to safejumps to whatever your specific character has that can pressure your opponent into making a mistake as they recover from a knockdown, that may lead to another knockdown or a very damaging combo.

I think the first, most important thing that we need to look at when assessing what to use in an Okizeme, is the risk vs. reward factor of what each of your attacks do.
For example, if a Ryu has an ultra stocked, along with two super meters, you most certainly do not use an option that will trade or get stuffed by a wake-up Shoryuken (as this will inevitably lead to FADC into Ultra, and you really don't want to be eating that damage).
Another example, is versus Zangief, once again, with an ultra example. If you cr.MK, he has the opportunity to grab you with Ultra 1, and nine times out of ten, this is going to happen to you. Therefore, to keep yourself safe versus Zangief's ultra, you would stick to a jump-out method of attacking, like Jump-Back HP.
In essence, it is extremely important in the first place, that you keep track of what your opponent likes to do on wake-up. After a knockdown or two, it should be pretty obvious to you what they do. Some people throw out a wake-up reversal, some people try to throw, others backdash and some just block.
At this point, it does become a bit of a game of rock, paper, scissors;
  • If he wakes up with an attack, you block.
  • If he wakes up with a throw, at the correct spacing, you can attack and your opponent will be hit.
  • If they like to wake-up just blocking, you can throw them.
A little further down the line, it becomes more like chess, but this is when your frame-traps and Option Selects begin to come into play. These will not be covered in this article, but rest assured, they will be at a later date. At the moment, you need to learn your okizeme properly before implementing such advanced techniques anyway.
There isn't much more to an explanation other than that;Just like baiting, you're aiming to make your opponent make a mistake, only this time, it's on their wakeup.
So without further ado, let's start with Meaties.

What is a 'Meaty' attack?
A meaty attack, is where you are catching the opponent with your LAST active frame of your attack which will generate the largest amount of frame advantage possible (In the case of Cosmic Heel, it is +3). Or, where you are hitting them on their first frame of an uncontrollable state, say, recovering from a knockdown.

These can become a vital part of Vega's okizeme game and it's important to know when and where to use them; So I'll go over some examples of a wakeup (Read: Using on your opponent's wakeup, not your own) meaty to give you an idea;
    cr.MK is probably a more commonly used meaty on wakeup (Afterall, this is a article about Okizeme). Mostly because it baits out a lot of wakeup reversals and will easily stuff them provided they are not an invincible reversal (IE Shoryuken). As an example, if you meaty cr.MK over Balrog's wakeup and he attempts a Headbutt, the Headbutt will be stopped before it can hit you by your cr.MK.
  • L.Rolling Crystal Flash² (² = Second hit)
    This is an unusual, yet decent meaty and with enough practice and forcing yourself into the habit, it isn't too difficult to land either. The good side about it, is that it has deceptively long range due to the hitbox on his claw at the end of the roll and because of this, you are more prone to catching your opponent offguard.
    On block, it is very safe (In that you are at +2, so your opponent would be unable to reversal you.), and if it connects, say, on a backdash or a counterhit, you are then able to link it into a four-frame of your choice. I like to use EX.Scarlet Terror, simple, effective, and is an excellent game ender.
  • Slide (cr.HK)
    This is the easiest meaty to time right due to it's lengthy active frames, however, at a higher level, it is barely worth the risk of being punched by a reversal due to it's recovery if spaced even a little bit wrong (While it's easy to time, it can so easily be mis-spaced and it then becomes incredibly unsafe on block).
  • EX.FBA
    This is another easy meaty to time correctly, due to it being almost exclusively active frames until Vega touches the wall. The downside? It costs meter and is extremely risky if you run it into a block.
    However, it is good for the following situations;

    • Situation A:
      You have hit your opponent with EX.Sky High Claw (Cross-over, jumping from wall BEHIND your opponent) on their wake-up before. They may expect another one and try to block from that direction. This would mean that they wiill now be walking into your EX FBA. It can play quite a mind trick with your opponent as whenever you have meter, they will be worrying about which way to block.
    • Situation B:
      If it is timed properly, it will actually cross the opponent up. However, this is more of an advanced technique and I will be going over it in detail in a later article. Just remember this in the back of your mind for now iin case you want to try it out in training mode.
  • EX.Sky High Claw
    EX.SHC, is more of a gimmick tool than an actual meaty as you are using it for a cross-up (Refer to link in 'Situation A' paragraph). It is very risky if your opponent has played a Vega who does this before, and you can end up in for a world of hurt if they guess right.
    But it's just one more mind-game to think about; bear in mind, that like all gimmicks, however, if you use them too often, the risk/reward ratio will be inverted and you will find yourself taking much more damage.
    *NOTE* EX.SHC crossup is character specific if they wake up crouching!
    Characters of note in this are: Vega (You shouldn't be even considering any method of walldive in a mirror match anyway) and Chun-Li.
  • Cosmic Heel (df.HK)
    Until arcade edition drops on us, Cosmic Heel, right now, is a very good meaty to use long-range. It has 5 active frames, making it easy to time as a meaty and unlike slide (cr.HK) it is safe on block and yields some strong frame advantage.
    If it connects, you can the followup with Scarlet Terror (More on this later on in the article) for some pretty impressive damage.
  • Piece of Mercury (df.MK)
    This should only ever be used at maximum range as it is high risk, low reward. You should bear this overhead in mind as a gimmick for when you come across a wake-up Down-back hugger. (Your opponent constantly wakes up in crouch block).
    Once you have done this, on your next knockdown, you can then play around with a meaty cr.MK as they will more than likely be expecting another overhead. If you land cr.MK, you can hit confirm into EX FBA for even greater damage and an untechable knockdown to play this over again.
  • fst.LK (Far-standing light-kick)
    This is a nice way to reset into a kara throw mixup (Which will be covered in the next article, stay tuned.). Vega can easily play with this, showing your opponent that you have the tools to play ball with them.
    Fst.LK is going to be one of your tools that's going to make your opponent hammer their stick into the screen when you throw them a 5th time in a row. It's an excellent way to frustrate your opponent into making very easy, very punishable mistakes.
    If your opponent thinks he can win the match without taking the risk of psychic reversals, it is your job to convince him of the contrary. It also combos into itself for a hit confirm into st.HK or . It recovers so fast that it is even safe to some reversal ultras.
  • Throw
    A throw is the main threat for your opponent on wake-up because, as mentioned before, it beats block and leads to another knockdown. To defend from the threat of a throw,your opponent has to take risks and guess right. Vega has excellent walk-speed and this combo'd with a long-range grab (even longer when kara'd) makes him a pretty scary contender on wake-up.
    With a little creativity in mind, you can then play around with your opponent's wake-up to your heart's content, but as per usual. DO.NOT.GET.PREDICTABLE!
  • cls.HP (Close-standing HP, The double slash)
    This is useful in a few ways.
    First, if your opponent attempts to grab you on wake-up and you have timed this correctly, they are eating the second slash in the face, which then can lead further into cr.MP xx EX FBA. And then you can start your mind-games again.
    It allows you to retain a down-back charge due to it's active frame duration so combo-ing out of it is usually not a problem.
    It also can turn itself into a far-standing HP should your opponent try to backdash on wake-up. If it's a short backdash, you will either catch them with the second hit of cl.HP, or it will change into a st.HP and it will catch them.
    This does not apply to all backdashes as some move differently to others, have different invincibility properties etc.
  • jb.HP
    The instant overhead that will land you somewhere safe (Provided they do not wake-up reversal that has invincibility, IE, Shoryuken) It has range, is safe and lands you pretty far away. It will force your opponent out of db. block on wakeup and opens their guard for more cr.MK and bait traps.
    More on the usage of this later in the article, if you're not falling asleep right now with your pen in your hand. In which case;
And with that, we move onto the dreaded Corpsehopping.

Corpsehopping composes most of Vega's Okizeme game, it incorporates the use, primarily, of Cosmic Heel (However, this can actually be interchanged with Piece of Mercury [] too).
To be precise, a corpsehop is the act of moving yourself to the otherside of your opponent after you score a knockdown, without the use of a jump. It gives your opponent little time to react to your new placement on the screen and can generally land you in a very good position for another followup.
However, just like everything else it is important to not get predictable, IE: Do not corpsehop after every single knockdown that you gain.

With the brief explanation out of the way, let's start on some followups;

  • xx EX FBA
    This followup can become entertaining when done properly, in both 'Did that just happen?' factor and that it's a pretty good way of showing your opponent that they need to think quickly against you.
    Usually, I do this one after a Cosmic Heel > Scarlet Terror; If they quickstand, they have even less time than usual to react to it. (Be very wary as some characters like Adon and Guy quick-stand faster than others, making a corpse-hop after a techable knockdown extremely difficult).
    To do this, you land your df.HK > Scarlet Terror, Dash forward once, Do another df.HK (So that you're landing on the other side of them; And don't forget to keep a constant down-charge when doing the df.HK or you won't have enough charge for the EX FBA!).
    Then, as they stand, input your xx EX FBA.
    I would only recommend doing this once, maybe twice during a match since your opponent can catch on quickly to what you're doing and punish you accordingly. (Remember when I mentioned a blocked/whiffed EX FBA puts you in a bad position? That.)
    Personally, I use it against Dudley's that are a little comfortable attempting Cross Counter and Gouken's attempting to always High Parry on wakeup.
    Another instance would be people who attempt to throw instantly on wakeup; The, if timed correctly, will stuff the throw attempt and give you some free damage, and of course, the opportunity to set up another trap for them.
    You won't get a lot of these at a higher level of play, but if you come across them; you know what to do.
  • Throw/Backthrow
    This creates another knockdown for you to play around with some more corpsehop shenanigans, or even safejumps (Which you will read later on in the article). There is very little more to it than that. For extra mind game fun, learn how to use a kara throw.
  • jb.HP
    The ultimate Anti-Gouken mind game. Ever played a Gouken that likes to hit that command counter on their wakeup? Now you can really make that hurt with a jump-back HP.
    When done on Gouken, the attack will be absorbed, however you will not be hit. In the meantime, his recovery leaves him open to being hit by a cr.MP xx EX FBA. The timing is relatively strict, but do-able.
    With the situational, character-specific piece out of that way another use is that it stuffs a few reversal wakeup attempts. They must have no invulnerable frames however (So, usually, a shoryuken IS going to hit you and it will hurt...especially if it's Ryu with ultra stocked).
  • Backdash
    Backdashing away from your opponent is a great way to escape throw attempts, due to Vega having invulnerable frames at the start of it. This is not only important over wakeup, but in relatively close combat too. As people will often attempt a tick throw. A tick can be avoided by this backdash as can some low attempts at attacking.
    On wakeup, it works in the same manner, it will avoid some reversals too, however it is very limited on this account and you're more likely to take damage this way.
  • Cosmic Heel > ST followups
    If your opponent is not in the corner after an ST, you can followup with a dash forward and a corpsehop (However, due to the wakeup times, this does not work on Guy or Adon). After this, I will refer you back to the corpsehop section of the guide;
    Bear in mind, the followups mentioned in corpsehop can also be done after CH > ST without the use of another corpsehop.
    Other than that, there are "Safe-jumps". As an example;
  • Cosmic Heel > Scarlet Terror > Backdash > jf.MP If the opponent doesn't quick-stand, whiff a cr.LP and neutral jump with a late nj.MK.
    *Note* This is safe to 4-frame reversals, meaning a Shoryuken WILL hit you.
And with that, we are now at the stage of thinking "...So what exactly is a safe-jump? You haven't explained this yet, Francys!"
So to elaborate;

Safe Jumping;
Safe-jumping is a method of jumping toward your opponent that will land you in a position, that, dependant on what they do, will allow you to avoid getting hit.
Most safe-jumps are performed on an opponents wakeup, which is why I have chosen to include them in the Okizeme section of the guide.
Bear in mind that some safe-jumps are character or attack specific (For example, some are safe to 3 frame reversals, such as Shoryuken, and others are not). As this is a guide about Vega, below are just a few safe-jump setups that can be performed with him;
  •  Backthrow > Instant jump forward > j.MP
    This is going to be your most common safe jump. It's safe to most attacks, including MOST 3 frame reversals (All of Ryu's Shoryukens, and all of Ken's aside Heavy...It pretty much punches your dignity right out of your face...kind of like Dudley's Cross-counter).
    For a full-indepth article on what exactly this safe-jump works on, refer to Deuy's Backthrow > MP Safejump Results thread.
  •  After CH, ST, whiff a cr.MK and jump in with a late j.HP.
    This safe jump is only safe to reversals that are 4-frames and higher, such as Chun-Li's Spinning Bird Kick. This, unfortunately means that it is not safe to that ever pesky shoryuken and not only that, but your opponent MUST quick-stand.
    Overall, I wouldn't recommend this one but instead;
    After CH, ST. Do ONE Backdash and followup with a late j.MP. This tends to catch people who attempt a throw or backdash on wakeup. It will catch 4-frame and higher reversals clean.
  •  Backthrow opponent out of corner > Instant Wall jump > j.HP
    This safe-jump, while decent, is also risky. It will not beat a shoryuken. If it is done against Honda, his Headbutt CAN Auto-correct if done even slightly late, and will anti-air you.
  •  After Izuna Drop, whiff a cr.MK and jump in with a late j.HK.
    Safe to all reversals > 4 frames.
    Personally not one of my favourites, but it is useful against characters with reversals that are greater than 4 frames.
    Out of all the safe-jump that I have mentioned, backthrow to j.MP is probably the safest and quite frankly the easiest to set up considering Vega's fantastic throw game.
PoM Followups
Last up, is the use of Piece of Mercury (df.MK) as a corpsehop.
While Cosmic Heel is always the recommended, once you develop the reactions of a cat, this shouldn't be a huge problem. It's a not-so-recognized method of corpsehopping and is also a little more ambiguous due to the low arc in which Vega moves through the air and over your opponent.

Just like corpsehopping with Cosmic Heel, I'd like to just point out that the following follow-ups are viable after a Piece of Mercury, whether you are doing it corpsehop OR Maximum range (Do not do it anything closer than maximum, point blank will leave you at -4 and Vega sitting in your opponent's face yelling 'Hit me!')
  • Throw/Backthrow
  • Backdash
  • jb.HP
And there we go, there is your Okizeme briefed, done and dusted. You'll always develop your own style as you learn what works for your mindset (every player thinks differently, and therefore will find some techniques more useful than others. Experiment to find which ones work with you.)

Next up is an article that I have long since wanted to write;
The Art of Kara-Throwing - Throw games at their finest.


Anonymous said...

Awesome! I thought you were going to put nj.MK on oki.
Ah and after CH to ST, you can sweep under them before they land, for a really ghetto corpsehop XD And then you can hop them again too.
But still, it was an enjoyable read~ Learned some bits


.Francys Pai said...

You don't have time to Corpsehop again if you sweep under because they ca technical. It's a tight enough window on some characters getting a corpsehop even with a dash-up.

And nah. nj.MK, while one of my favourite meaties, I think cr.MK is the more universal one.

brillojoe said...

TLDR BITCH :P ... vega is imbalanced!

.Francys Pai said...

Says the Balrog player <3

Cheep said...

Pai, throw a donate button on here!! I'd be glad to offer up some rupees :P

.Francys Pai said...

@Cheep: Haha. I would, but I don't think many people find my guides useful anymore X3

Anonymous said...

Is it safe to rolling cristal flash on wake up?...i mean with the right timing and everything..if it can be good for pressure, chip damage, meter building and push the other guy closer to the corner..i mean tehe stronger versions of it like mp, hp or ex..

.Francys Pai said...

No. On your own wakeup you'll get hit. On someone else's it's only safe as a meaty using a lp.Roll (read my most recent article for a better explanation =])

Anonymous said...

That's to bad..i've read somewhere that putting the opponent in the corner is a good strategy in AE...i hope you write something about what vega can do to put pressure and punish when you manage to get the other player in the corner...i mean if he can....Thanks...your Blog rocks!..

.Francys Pai said...

Yeah, you can put them in the corner with a roll, but I would only ever recommend it in combo.
I usually do either:
j.HP, cl.HP xx H.Roll
Level 2 Focus attack, dash forward, cl.HP xx H.Roll (requires a bit of buffering, but it's do-able. and safer than just throwing out roll).

I'll be covering a lot of corner pressure tactics in the next article. It's mostly my own playstyle, but kara throw setups and oki can really really set up a lovely corner pressure game.

Thanks for the support though, really appreciate it.

Anonymous said...

Loving your tutorials!
Can´t wait for the next part

Rafael B. UreƱa said...

Great find, I couldnt help but notice its been quite a while though, any plans to continues this?

.Francys Pai said...

Yes, there are plans to continue. I've been very busy lately with work and Evolution tournament so I haven't had the chance. Gimme a little while longer and I'll be updating.

View619 said...

Good stuff with the tutorial blog. You should update your safe jump setup after Izuna Drop to crouching strong now that crouching forward is faster.

You may also want to add in a note about doing the jump-in roundhouse to close fierce xx strong Rolling Crystal Flash/EX Rolling Crystal Flash to push the opponent closer to the corner, do some chip and continue pressure afterwards.

I'm down to helping out if you would like.

.Francys Pai said...

I'd seriously appreciate it.
A lot of the reason I haven't trawled through or continued is that with the whiners on SRK, it seriously seemed like my efforts went unappreciated.

I was doing this for the community, and yet the community seemingly despise me in return =/

Timothy/Tims said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
view619 said...

Yeah, I SRK forums are usually a mess. There are people checking out your blog, though. I'll pm info later on this week.

.Francys Pai said...

Awesome, thanks View.
I've been meaning to get back to it but my life has been hella hectic lately.
All of my information is on my netbook too, which I'll finally have access to tonight, so I'm gonna rip everything off there and put it on my main laptop. I started a frame trapping article and OS's on there, but there really aren't many OS's to talk about besides backdash and roll ;_;

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