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Messages - Frofighter

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General Discussion / Re: Tier lists and Character Discussion Thread
« on: May 05, 2015, 06:36:06 PM »
Now on to our sulking DLC victim, the claw version of Iori Yagami!

Reward Assessment: A+ Rank
Just to throw this out there, Iori is JUST shy of hitting the S ranks here. Without meter, his midscreen combos knock the opponent out of his favored offensive positions unless he sacrifices a bit of damage. With meter, he can get a hard knockdown and good damage from almost any combo thanks to his super juggle from QCB+C (although the level 1 super can miss at certain distances). The corner is a different story thanks to the added option of EX QCB+P, granting him both good damage and solid meter regain during it. His HDs are the star of this category, particularly with the corner, as his damage ranks well among the stronger characters from almost all starters. The Neomax giving him a hard knockdown afterwards is a good bonus. Overall, Iori has very good rewards for hitting, particularly with HD available, but if he is low on resources he can struggle to get the most out of his chances.

Neutral Viability: B Rank
A very matchup-dependent category. Iori's normals are as good as ever, with stand B and D providing a poke wall on the ground that is supplemented by his jump B and D for air wars. Stand CD has a Terry-style retreating-then-advancing hitbox, but it isn't quite as effective as a counterpoke. Sweep is fast but comes with notoriously horrendous recovery. For anti airs, his close C, crouch C, DP +A (or EX) when timed well, and even his standing kicks can keep his space clear. His movement speed is very fast, with a very fast run, extendable backdash (with back+B), and fast-moving jumps at all arcs. It's against characters with similarly strong poking games,good projectiles, and/or good anti-hop kits that Iori can struggle to find his space. He can struggle against strong zoning since he has to spend meter to attack through projectiles (EX QCB+K or EX Super). While his buttons and strong mobility make him capable at neutral, he is primarily looking to go on the offensive if possible to maximize his rewards from successful hits.

Offensive Viability: S- Rank
Iori's close game has always been strong, and that has not changed in this game. With his (safe) 3-frame close C, he has a strong close button that doubles as a deterrent to jumping away from him. Add his great run speed, very fast air speed with great aerials for all purposes, and solid hit confirm game (forward A being the main tool from both crouch B,A and close C) and you have a strong offensive threat. In blockstrings (depending on the matchup) QCB+C leaves him close-range at -2, which can be OK for him to keep going after with a close C. Just don't use it on grapplers. Just for good measure, he has a slow but throw-invincible command grab from which he can get combos, and can even HD combo from is his back is to the corner. His command crossup augments his mixup by being possible from a hop when the opponent expects a low, and just by being an ever-present threat from his air game. He also has an overhead that he can super cancel or HD from. It's a very potent offensive set that makes Iori the threat he is. However, again characters with good anti-hop tools can limit his offense a bit, because his low altitude makes him easier to wall out by characters who can control that space well. Still, a potent threat that is difficult to stop.

Defensive Viability: B Rank
A distinct weakness of Iori without meter is his complete lack of good wakeup options, as his only possible invincibility is against throws with his command grab, and against lows with QCB+C. With a meter he gets EX command grab (5 frames and leads to a combo) and EX DP (4 frames, but hits better in front of him than above him making it dangerous depending on the angle). His pokes can come in handy with their large hitboxes when he has to deal with pressure, and his close C can get him out of trouble if the opponent doesn't respect it (or tries to jump over expecting EX DP or command grab). Be careful with close C, however, as it CAN be baited. EX super is another 4-frame option that adds range to help with long-range punishes. EX QCB+P carries over the low invincibility of the C version, which can be used if you expect a low in your opponent's offense. Looking at it, Iori does have some viable defensive options, but each tends to cover specific options and he doesn't have overall strong enough options here, especially since he only becomes intimidating on defense if he has meter to access his best reversals/ be able to do damage and reverse momentum. Even with meter, there are enough ways around his defensive options that make him more vulnerable here.

One Chance: A+ Rank
Iori's damage and hard knockdown/mixup potential make him a very scary character in big meter situations. However, depending on the matchup, he may struggle to find the chance he needs to make that happen.

Team Flexibility: A Rank
Point: Weakest position overall, but can work against characters that he can bully with his pokes/offense once he's in his range.
Second: One of the two choices he should go for. He'll get his super juggles available here and, in case he runs into a tough matchup, will have more possible reward to handle it and more options as well.
Anchor: The position where he once made himself highly popular, and with good reason. He maintains momentum well with his strong offense, enabling his comeback potential should he be tasked with making one.

Current Assessment: A+ Rank
Claw Iori is always capable of finding chances for his offense and damage to take over. He is solid enough in neutral and defense to always keep his chances alive, though he does not excel in either. With stronger meterless damage and/or options for defense or neutral he could have been among the absolute best, which he isn't far off from as is.

General Discussion / Re: Tier lists and Character Discussion Thread
« on: May 03, 2015, 09:08:27 PM »
We're back, and it's time for our favorite sensei, Takuma Sakazaki!

EDIT: Some modifications were made based on feedback from Dylan Bryson on Facebook. Shoutouts to him!

Reward Assessment: S Rank
The crowning jewel of Takuma's overall game, as long as he has some meter to use, his damage dwarfs that of a large chunk of the cast. The only exception is his meterless damage from lows. Every other opening he gets can net him some very favorable rewards, even from some of his simpler combos. Highly damaging HDs? A potential stun combo? Singe drive cancel combos that can still deal very high damage? Corner carry, especially with HD? Hard knockdowns with a 1-meter ender or a reset opportunity? An anywhere juggle for 1 meter if you need it? Takuma has all you need in terms of rewards, and it is the core of what makes him an extremely terrifying threat.

Neutral Viability: A- Rank
Takuma's neutral is quite solid. His long-range projectile (QCF+P) helps him control farther space, whereas his guard-point-laden close-range version (QCF+K) offers a potential counter-poke or counter-zone at that range. His jump CD is among the best in the business, possessing a very good all-purpose hitbox that only suffers from timing commitment (whiffs on crouching when done too early). It can lead into combos near the corner, even without a counter hit, thanks to EX Zanretsuken's anywhere juggle property. It's when he's forced to stay grounded that Takuma can struggle, especially mid-close range. His pokes either lack range or speed, apart from his sweep with comes with the usual risk of losing to hops. His far C is not amazing, but its ability to cancel into forward B affords Takuma the threat of a potential counterpoke into a full combo. He also can choose to spend meter on the (almost) safe EX Hien Shippu Kyaku to approach/surprise the opponent at mid-range, and that can net him another valuable combo opportunity. His best anti air is his C Ryoku Ranbu, which requires a meter. His grounded anti airs are lacklustre, with jumping back into a CD potentially being superior in a lot of ways, but that comes with its own risks. A strange trump card is the large hitbox of his Zanretsuken, which can surprise opponents taking the air for granted against him. That mid-close range is Takuma's definitive weakness in neutral and brings down what is otherwise a very solid tool kit.

Offensive Viability: B+ Rank
Takuma's blockstrings aren't the tightest nor does he gain the biggest frame advantage. However, he does have a solid hit confirm in his close C, forward B series, and his 3-frame crouching A can help keep opponents honest, particularly when he has HD available. His very low and fast hops, combined with the beefy (and crossup-capable) jump D, the useful jump B, and the all-purpose jump CD can make Takuma scary to defend against. Even if he gets pushed out to poke range after a fireball blockstring, he can potentially poke with Zanretsuken and its surprisingly large hitbox, and drive cancel if it hits, which while a bit risky in itself can be worth the reward.His command grab may be very slow (8 frames), but its existence as a combo starting threat can make everything else he has become scarier, and the EX version's invincibility can help counter opponents trying to attack on defense. While Takuma can run a scary offense once he's in, his offense isn't very tight, and he can struggle to find his hits especially when he's chasing the match. His rewards make up for it, but that is why that is a separate category.

Defensive Viability: C+ Rank
Ouch. Takuma's defensive capabilities are definitely very suspect. His EX command grab and C ranbu are his go-to invincible moves, and both come with their own risks. Ranbu is slow, and EX command grab is still a command grab at the end of the day, and both will lose to safe jumps. Although it may seem that one option can succeed where the other fails, certain safe jump setups are even tailor-made to get past both, leaving him very vulnerable. His fastest buttons (crouch A, close C, crouch B) don't have stellar defensive hitboxes to work with against pressure, and his lacking grounded anti airs can make strong hop offense even more problematic. The saving grace here is this: If Takuma manages to land certain options here (Super or grab especially), he gains a momentum shift that, especially in the case of EX grab, can take him to victory. The natural risk and the weakness of his meterless defense are the primary issues Takuma faces here, and potentially the biggest reasons his DLC-based alter ego gets to see a lot more action than he does.

One Chance: S Rank
Takuma's got the damage and the ability to land it, and IF the opponent survives a hit from him, they are usually incredibly weakened to the point that he can close it out. Definitely one of the most dangerous characters to face when he has the resources.

Team Flexibility: B+ Rank
Point: Inadvisable. Resources make a big difference to Takuma and he has to work hard here just to generate them. He is still capable here, but odds are you have a battery for him here instead.
Second: The ideal spot. Takuma can minimize his resource spending and still get possibly huge damage, while still building enough extra resources to keep going in the clutch. Gains the most from being here, and one of the strongest candidates for this position solely for his burst damage.
Anchor: Still highly capable here, but the difference from second is minimal. This is a position other characters stand to gain more from, and his weaknesses can be more problematically exposed here.

Current Assessment: A Rank
Takuma is very much a damage machine, and he can land that damage consistently enough to be a threat anytime he is on the field. His defense is a problem, however, and can cost him his life very quickly. He also somewhat lacks good options for chasing opponents down which can hurt him if he falls behind. Honestly, Mr. Karate and Takuma being mutually exclusive holds Takuma down, but Takuma is still quite strong and capable.

General Discussion / Re: Tier lists and Character Discussion Thread
« on: April 29, 2015, 10:36:47 PM »
With Ryo already done earlier, time for our resident rich boy, Robert Garcia!

Reward Assessment: B Rank
Robert is as average as it gets here. His damage is very middle-of-the-road, excluding his meterless damage being potentially high off specific starters. His drive cancel and HD damage do their jobs. As far as useful knockdowns go, Robert has a few to work with, including his command grab, normal throw, and EX super. Most of his other knockdowns (midscreen) reset him to neutral. His jump arc can dilute the ambiguity of his jump-based setups due to its lack of speed and abundant height. He still gets enough to work with from hits to keep him a decent threat, assuming he lands a combo. His EX command grab won't net him much damage without a lot of resource-spending, and his normal command grab will net him just the knockdown with no options beyond it at any point.

Neutral Viability: B+ Rank
Robert's neutral is solid ground for him to work from, but each aspect of it comes with its own shortcomings. His faster pokes (stand C and D) are a bit lacking in range, whereas his others somewhat lack speed. His fireball does its job for a typical KOF zoning game but has slightly longer recovery and a smaller hitbox than the better zoners. His C DP has enough speed and hitbox to anti air effectively but needs to hit deep to do so, and his anti air normals don't cover that farther anti air zone quickly enough to compensate, with the exception of EX Ranbu, but that is a 2-meter option. Stand CD may be his one standout option here in terms of its general properties. His sweep is solid as well and forms a good one-two whiff cancel set with stand CD. His mobility is nice with high run speed and  command normal to extend his backdashes, but his jump arc is a bit high and slow. Even the command backdash has the drawback of not being usable near the side of the screen without forcing a wall jump. He can alter his jump arc (or backdashes or walljumps) with his normally negative to unsafe dive kick. Running theme with this character: Each good tool tends to have a drawback or blind spot that affects it. His neutral has the most complete set of options though, and will tend to be what keeps him in fights more often than any other.

Offensive Viability: C+ Rank
Robert has usable hitconfirms from both mids and lows. His forward B is a good string ender thanks to its pushback and only being -4, normally forcing a metered punish if he doesn't commit, and it is also a low. He can continue the chain to forward A, but that is less safe. The issue is that, aside from solid confirms, Robert doesn't have much of a way to pressure the opponent. His hop arc is unusually high and can stunt his pressure, and the angles on his jumpins don't particularly cover that. His jump CD is great for preventing escapes, but it is hopeless against crouching opponents, with the small exception of the the biggest characters (Maxima, Raiden, Daimon). His hop arc also makes it harder to use his command crossup effectively. Speaking of, the rather specific hitbox on that thing can make it whiff on crouching opponents at certain distances, so Robert needs to use it with care. His command grab is viable but slow, and only the EX version will net any big reward to make the opponent think twice about blocking low while watching for hops. His special moves can't help his blockstrings much, seeing fireball is the only safe one he has and that is vulnerable to GC roll. Continuing the theme here with Robert, each useful tool he has is held back by either the lack of solid backup for it or the tool itself having a drawback. His offensive hitconfirms are his best asset here, and they are good enough to net him the rank that he gets.

Defensive Viability: B- Rank
Yet again middle-of-the-road here. Robert's invincible meterless reversal (C DP) is 6 frames which is actually quite good, and with drive and a meter or two he can convert some damage from it. EX DP is 4 frames which should make it useful for stopping slightly missed safe jumps, but its hitbox moves in an awkward forward then upwards motion, making it suspect at doing what it should. EX Ranbu can come in against loose blockstrings (particularly with projectiles). Under block pressure, Robert has passable anti-hop buttons (standing A, B, D, crouch C) if he can spot his chance. They each will cover certain angles and speeds that the others won't. He does not do well in defending high above his head and against crossups if he doesn't see them in time to DP their way. He does fair better in defense than he does on offense.

One Chance: C+ Rank
Robert's average damage and general difficulty landing significant combo starters typically get in the way of him getting his chances to make comebacks. His setup off a non-kill combo typically won't land him in the best situation (especially without meter) to end a round, but with his solid neutral he can manage depending on what he is up against.

Team Flexibility: B- Rank
Point: Solid meterless damage and neutral make this a solid case for Robert, where other character will probably benefit more from having the meter he can build in the later spots
Second: Still a viable choice depending on your team makeup. His damage isn't bad after all, so given the chance he may run the lead you need or even finish the match.
Anchor: Least viable option in my opinion due to the troublesome characters he would have to end a match against, many of whom will have better ways to land the significant hits needed, and you won't have a backup plan if he bites it here.

Current Assessment: C Rank
Popularly discussed at one point as one of the game's worst characters, I don't think Robert is THAT bad. He has his selling points, but generally any reason you choose to add Robert to your team will usually be better represented to a significant degree by other choices. Capable, but outclassed.

General Discussion / Re: Tier lists and Character Discussion Thread
« on: April 28, 2015, 05:44:20 PM »
Next up, the second mid-boss and troll's favorite, Ash Crimson!
Second: Ideal position in my opinion. Gets the meter he needs to maximize his threat and tools, and if he messes up, at least all the meter he built for the opponent will (hopefully) go into killing him.

Gave me a solid chuckle.

I was going to disagree with you on Billy's defense, but then I realized when I'm pressuring the Billy players I play against the only thing that gets them out of trouble (aside from my execution errors) is his EX DP. That 45 degree gap he has is my usual way in on him too.

Keep'em coming! It's certainly great getting an overview of how these characters are generally played, and sometimes you point out weaknesses which might help some of us with our problem matches.

Glad to be of help, and also shoutouts to having my favorite KOF lady as your avatar! :D

Time to finish off the mid-bosses with Saiki!

Reward Assessment: S- Rank
To get the negatives out of the way, Saiki's meterless damage, particularly off lows and especially midscreen, is subpar. That being said, Saiki's rewards for hitting are one of the scariest aspects of this character. Midscreen jumpins land him good corner carry, and his corner damage for relatively little resource usage is very good, especially when optimized with accurate and frequent air back B juggles. This is before we get into his terrifying corner HDs, which stand among the highest damaging overall in the game, and are Saiki's biggest threat, even being capable of 2-meter kills given the right starter. Admittedly his midscreen HDs won't do as much damage, but he can typically carry into the corner to make that up a bit. With just a bit of tweaking Saiki could have been the game's biggest damage threat.

Neutral Viability: S- Rank
How does Saiki score higher here than Ash despite having fewer projectile options? It's kinda simple: His options beyond the projectile tend to be superior. His DP reaches farther, his QCFx2+K super is an incredible anti air that reverses corner positioning and grants a hard knockdown, his crouch C is faster so it can anti air earlier, and on the ground he gains standing D, which is an a very powerful poke and is neutral on block to boot. Saiki also has his C projectile, which cannot be reacted to when looking for the A version and will anti air errant jumps as well. This grants him a longer anti air range overall to serve his zoning game behind his large A fireball. Add his air command normals into the mix as well, as they can alter his jump arc to help him approach and/or bait anti airs from the opponent. For when it may be needed for it, his Neomax is a screen nuke that can punish errant actions and/or chip the opponent to death. What prevents him from S ranking are two things. First, when a character with stronger pokes gets into their range, Saiki can struggle to keep up even with how good standing D is. Second, against other zoners, Saiki doesn't have a full-screen EX projectile to contend with theirs. Still a very strong neutral presence, and winning neutral grants him chances to try and score hits for his strong damage.

Offensive Viability: B- Rank
This may seem odd when looking at his possible rewards, but here we are examining how well Saiki maintains an offense and scores hits, not what happens after he hits. While Saiki can get some nice frame situations between his crouch A (+3 on block) and stand D, his hitconfirm game is rather weak, usually limited to two crouch Bs or one close heavy at most. Linking off crouch A doesn't help his case as it has to be done rather close. He has some nice jump normals for approaching (A, D, CD), with the former two being solid crossups that he doesn't get to set up very often. His throw is a soft knockdown that only gets him back to neutral (except in the corner). His C fireball is a bit of a wild card here, as it can prevent opponents from jumping out and (depending on screen positioning) land Saiki a combo. Stand can also deter any lows. Deterrence is Saiki's MO on offense, but he will have to work for his hits, and that is probably his biggest shortcoming.

Defensive Viability: B  Rank
Another potentially odd ranking here, but let's examine Saiki's options. Reversal-wise, his fastest are his two command grab DMs (both 1 frame), and his anti air super (4 frames). All those options will lose to a 4-frame safe jump. For punishing, his AA super does the job thanks to its range, but the command grabs have rather mediocre reach, especially the level 1 version. His DPs are a bit on the slow side (6-frame B version, 11-frame D version) and only the D version has invincibility. They will do their job when anti airing hops/jumps on defense, but as reversals only the D version is functional and it is slow. His DPs also carry a lot of forward momentum, which can make them miss at certain spacing. On a more positive note, landing his AA super or a D DP will help Saiki reverse positioning and momentum, alleviating the pressure. His close C and crouch C can snipe hops if he sees them in time as well. He has some solid options, but each comes with its shortcomings.

One Chance: A+ Rank
Simply put: The damage. Despite Saiki not being the best at landing his big hits, his damage threat factor is huge and will always keep him in any round he is a part of. His strong neutral can help close out rounds on the off-chance he doesn't kill outright.

Team Flexibility: A Rank
Point: Decent choice for his zoning capabilities, but he is a much more ordinary character here and he loses his best anti air options and, more importantly, his damage. Can be good depending on the matchup.
Second: The ideal choice. Here he will typically have the resources he lacks on point. His damage will more frequently come into play here.
Anchor: Also capable here, but if you have an anchor that wants this spot more second is enough for Saiki to do his work. It's not that he isn't capable here, but that he doesn't gain anything from it that other characters can't make more use of.

Current Assessment: A rank
Saiki is an extremely dangerous threat, but one that is not always capable of realizing said threat. His lack of good confirms, tight offense, and more dependable defense hurt his cause, but his strong neutral and excellent damage make him an ever-present danger capable of turning matches around very quickly.

General Discussion / Re: Tier lists and Character Discussion Thread
« on: April 27, 2015, 08:07:21 PM »
Next up, the second mid-boss and troll's favorite, Ash Crimson!

Reward Assessment: C- Rank
Ash is capable of solid damage and very long corner carries, though not always in conjunction with each other. His combos will typically allow him to set up his zone with a Ventose or (preferably) a Genie trap or, even better, both. Germinal is a unique combo finisher as it seals the opponent's meter temporarily, which no other character can do. So why do these rewards not rank him higher here? Simply put, Ash's typical combos build FAR too much meter for the opponent, and his damage is not strong enough to compensate for that factor. Although opponents gaining a lot of meter during combos is a game-wide mechanic, Ash suffers from it the most by far, and it can come back to haunt him for every round/match he doesn't finish after landing a hit. Germinal can temper this risk, but only for so long.

Neutral Viability: A+  Rank
Ash has a very good set of projectiles to help out his neutral. A Ventose is a more typical choice, C Ventose can stuff one projectile and fire the next while being a fakeout for those expecting A Ventose, and Genie adds a trap that only interacts with the opponent's hitbox, which Ash can use to protect his own area or to limit the opponent's movement. EX Ventose is one of the fastest EX projectiles as well, augmenting his zoning game. His main anti air, D Nivose, is reliable when timed correctly, and he can typically charge it during a Ventose recovery. With two meters, he gains Sans Culotte as an anti air, which gives him a two-meter corner carry from an anti-air and potentially a sealed meter if Germinal is used. However, things can get trickier for Ash when he has to play at poke range. His normals don't have the best range and speed, sans maybe his sweep and low-invulnerable back B. The rest of his options don't stand out, and this is the range that doesn't let Ash's neutral go into the elite ranks.

Offensive Viability: C Rank
Midscreen, Ash doesn't maintain the best offense outside of typical crouch B,A strings and attempting back B hit confirms. His A Ventose, crouch A, and back D offer him frame advantage, but they won't keep him in too much as far as staying in offensive pressure range. Back B as a confirm can be risky as it is not a blockstring from crouch B, opening it up to reversals. It is fine from close C though. Back B's followups can be a bit finicky midscreen, so Ash needs to watch his distance before committing to one. For jumpins, Ash has jump A, D, and CD to help him attack and they serve their purpose, but it's what happens on the ground that limits him. In the corner, he gains better offense behind correctly set Genies, temporarily adding better possible pressure. Having Sans Culotte at the ready powers up Ash's offense as a deterrent to escape attempts. Still, the gaps in Ash's offense leave him liable to a momentum-shift, and his risk/reward in these situations does not help.

Defensive Viability: A- rank
Ash has a decent amount of defensive options for keeping the skies clear. His B Nivose is 3 frames, as is Sans Culotte, helping keep his opponent cautious of safe-jumping him. Being able to delay his Nivose, as well as Sans Culotte again, help defend him against crossup attempts. Those threats can help keep offense against Ash a little more predictable, but his tools for ground-based defense don't hold up as well. Stand A is a servicable anti-hop and crouch C covers higher angles but not too reliably due to its speed. He doesn't have the best buttons to stick out, and otherwise has to try to land a Nivose or Sans Culotte as his most reliable options if he spots a jump. Those options are solid enough that they help keep Ash alive should he be knocked down/ forced under pressure, with Sans Culotte again offering a good advantageous situation after the combo. Better defensive pokes and incurring less risk/reward are the primary issues here.

One Chance: C Rank
Ash's damage is capable of killing but only with huge resource expenditure (typically), leaving it up to his neutral to seal it. While his neutral is strong, that issue with his meter building for the opponent comes back into play here, as Ash will typically be defending himself from death after he does a combo. For most situations where he needs to close out by playing neutral, other characters can simply finish the opponent.

Team Flexibility: B Rank
Point: Keeps his zoning at its safest and his payoffs at their absolute worst. Depending on the matchup it can be a good choice.
Second: Ideal position in my opinion. Gets the meter he needs to maximize his threat and tools, and if he messes up, at least all the meter he built for the opponent will (hopefully) go into killing him.
Anchor: Viable choice for his damage and (depending on the matchup) ability to wall out the opponent should he not kill, playing on their anxiousness to land a hit. Still risky due to the much discussed risk/reward factor.

Current Assessment: D+ Rank
This may feel like a very harsh rank looking at all the other aspects rated here, but Ash's risk/reward, particularly when it comes to damage dealt vs. meter built for the opponent, is a factor that underlines a lot of his matches, and one he doesn't naturally minimize with his preferred tools. He is still a capable threat, but this is a comparative rank at the end of the day.

General Discussion / Re: Tier lists and Character Discussion Thread
« on: April 26, 2015, 07:55:40 PM »
Two write-ups in one day, why not? Since all of Team Fatal Fury is already done, time to go to our first mid-boss, Billy Kane!

Reward Assessment: B
Billy's damage off the right openers can be very good, especially near/in the corner. The only issue is that his best ranges and general plan aren't necessarily conducive to landing said damage. Billy isn't a defensive character per se, but he gets his biggest/least risky mileage by walling with pokes, leaving his reward for most of his hits a bit low. His post-knockdown situations aren't the greatest either, not usually setting up anything particularly special, but the possible exception being his throw's hard knockdown. His corner damage is the primary factor raising this rank, and it is definitely worth the trouble.

Neutral Viability: A Rank
Billy's neutral at his preferred ranges is a wall of utter annoyance. Between fwd. A, crouch C, jump A and C, and jump CD, Billy has a great toolbox full of pokes great at irritating the opponent into mistakes, which he can capitalize on. His EX DP, while a tad slow, works well as an anti air that gives him a combo afterwards, and makes opponents weary of trying to exploit the potential (small) blindspot in his anti air/air to air game by coming in from 45 degrees above. Another issue Billy faces is how he handles characters with similar poke zones/ fireballs, as his stick is a hurtbox that can get him in trouble, and his mobility isn't the greatest. It's matchup dependent for sure, but very few characters can keep up with Billy at poke range.

Offensive Viability: B- Rank
People fighting Billy for the first time will struggle in handling fwd A, but Billy's offense overall is more reliant on his strong pokes walling you in than any real pressure he keeps up. Fwd A is -2 on block, giving a potential chance to poke him back or attempt a neutral jump (character dependent) if you think he will go for it again. His hop game comes in here, as he can force you to sit back on the ground using his air-to-airs and j.CD for jumpin pressure. His special moves all leave him at disadvantage, with most of them being punishable. His slower-than-average normals will eventually leave a potential gap costing Billy this phase, and if he happens to get knocked down during the exchange things could become very bleak for him. His offense needs a good read on opponent movements to escape, and the existence of that risk is what makes it solid, but not special.

Defensive Viability: C- Rank
Where Billy can fall apart. He has no invincible reversals without meter, and the ones he has with meter are rather slow and punishable. His fastest normal for defense is his 4-frame crouch C, which can be whiff-canceled into fwd A, but if the opponent has given you that much time you are rather fortunate. The saving grace here is that, IF Billy lands his EX DP, he can get a full combo from it leading into a more favorable spot. It's 11-frame startup will normally interfere with that being a possibility, but it's something.Billy doesn't have what it takes to survive a knockdown outside of his player's wits, and this weak spot is easily his biggest one.

One Chance: C- Rank
Billy's solid HD damage can make him a threat in these situations, but he isn't the best at finding his crucial openings. Granted he can use his poke game to irritate the opponent out of getting those hits themselves, but then Billy is granting them more chances to get back at him. 

Team Flexibility: B Rank
Point: Lowers his damage output, but his poke game remains mostly unaffacted. Not having EX DP as a combo-starting anti air may be an issue, and if he runs into a tough matchup here he won't have as many answers to deal with it.
Second: With that bit of EX and drive meter, Billy gains more meaningful combo potential off any successful baits, including potentially high damage if he lands a hit near the corner.
Anchor: Likely the last choice you will want. Billy's defensive frailties will be most easily exposed here, and his opponent having a touch-of-death threat will not go over well.

Current Assessment: B- Rank
Billy's most consistent hits don't fall in line with what a character needs to win in a high-damage, offense-oriented game like KOF XIII. That being said, his application of his offense is strong enough to be a credible threat, and he can be a surprise package for those who can't handle his strengths. He would probably hop up if he had more viable defensive options.

General Discussion / Re: Tier lists and Character Discussion Thread
« on: April 26, 2015, 03:12:48 PM »
All of these are very interesting to read. I can't wait for them all to be done =) I also can't wait for a couple other characters in particular.

Glad you're enjoying it so far, man! On that note...

Time to round off Team Japan with KOF's trademark big man, Goro Daimon!

Reward Assessment: A Rank
This is less based on Daimon's damage output (which doesn't stand out all that much when you see it) and more about how great his post-hit/combo situations are. Everything Daimon does off a hit leads to a safe jump/grab mixup afterwards, thanks to his command roll giving him all his grab options when he chooses to attack behind it. He has several counter-call measures in his mixup to stop the opponent from escaping, and that is where his strength is. His typical combo structure usually requires him to spend drive to keep you cornered, which is a bit of drawback. His damage output, as mentioned earlier, isn't really a standout factor either. His momentum is really that good and the main factor in him getting this rank.

Neutral Viability: B- rank
This may even seem high for a character as large and slow as Daimon, but it comes down to the matchup. Against characters where Daimon can habitually play at his standing B range, his neutral is very scary because any hit can land him that precious knockdown. Add his collection of anti airs (stand D, anti air grab, etc.) and he can give close-range characters fits. His unique j.CD is another threat, as a counter hit from it gives a counter wire (wall bounce) which again leads to knockdowns, or even an HD combo. The other side to this story is zoners, which are Daimon's nightmare. Careful zoning is something Daimon can't handle well, even with his command roll and earthquake. The earthquake recovers rather slow, potentially negating the advantage he attempts to gain from it. His big size and slow movement don't help here at all, and make certain matchups very problematic for the big man.

Offensive Viability: A+ Rank
Feeding from his reward assessment, Daimon on the offensive is terrifying. His multi-layered mixup from a stand B to command roll can cover a lot of options. His big suite of anti airs are great at preventing escapes if he decides to hold back, and as long as he is within reach you are never truly out of his offense. Jump CD is a unique threat, especially near the corner, as at that distance it guarantees combo followups for him. Up close, he can use stand A chains to confirm and/or gain a little frame advantage. So why isn't this higher? Simply put, he runs the grappler risk. If the opponent gets one good read on Daimon, he is going through a command grab whiff, which means major punishment. Avoiding this kind of guess can require the Daimon player to try playing a safer mixup, taking the edge off. That is what keeps his offense out of the elite ranks.

Defensive Viability: B Rank
Daimon's defense suffers the grappler issue more than any other. Granted, his punish game is strong with a 1-frame command grab and 4-frame standing B. The issue is that, with any reversal Daimon attempts to use, he tempts fate. One wrong choice and he is eating a full combo. What makes this rank not any lower is that a successful Daimon defensive read grants him a knockdown, sometimes into a super cancel for some nice damage. If his reversals had better anti-safe-jump measures and/or weren't so awful on whiff, this rank could have been a whole different story. As it stands, he is too risky on defense, and if he chooses to play it safer then he can get rushed down quite easily.

One Chance: A Rank
It's all about that momentum again. If Daimon gets in and runs his offense he is capable of many a comeback, and he can spend meter to make many rounds end in 2 hits. Again, the typical grappler risk is what keeps him below the bona fide comeback masters.

Team Flexibility: B- Rank
Point: Contrary to what people used to think, this may be (depending on the matchup) a very strong case. The opponent doesn't have as many answers, and Daimon's mixup doesn't require meter to be effective. He also doesn't suffer as much from mistakes.
Second: Still a solid case, but one where his risk/reward will have to measure up to that of the opponent. Mistakes will mean more here for Daimon.
Anchor: Again contrary to where people saw him once upon a time, Daimon as an anchor runs the risk of dying very quickly off any mistake, and his high meter-spending for HD damage can limit what rewards he can get afterwards, especially if he needs to take out more than one opponent. Against just one, he can be a strong choice. Beyond that he can suffer.

Current Assessment: B Rank
This may seem low when you look at all the above ratings, but I believe Daimon's risks hold him back from being a truly strong character. He is solid, and does all you want a grappler to do, but he doesn't go far beyond that, and in a game with such a legitimate touch-of-death threat potentially looming frequently, this doesn't serve his purposes or playstyle well.

General Discussion / Re: Tier lists and Character Discussion Thread
« on: April 21, 2015, 08:35:35 PM »
Moving on through team Japan, time for Benimaru Nikaido!

Reward Assessment: A+ Rank
Beni is a lop-sided character when it comes to his rewards. Midscreen, he absolutely has to spend meter to get his best corner carry and combo conversions, especially since he will default to comboing into Iaido (QCF+K) in most situations. A command grab nets him a hard knockdown for either a crossup or ambiguous role. It all becomes so much better once the corner is near though. Even without his potential corner infinite off a drive cancel, Beni has very strong corner damage for a drive and a meter, and he can get it from many different openers into EX Raijinken, including EX command Grab, Iaido, and even normal throw in the corner. This basic low/throw game in the corner is terrifying from Beni especially, and one of the big reasons he is regarded as a very strong character. He doesn't score higher due to his lacking meterless damage, and the lack of setup potential/momentum after a lot of his midscreen combos, and his HDs not being anything special, especially midscreen.

Neutral Viability: A+ Rank
Beni's neutral is very... odd. He doesn't have the biggest set of tools, but the tools he likes to use are very strong. Stand B and stand D form a nice combination of air and ground coverage for pokes, with B doubling as an anti-hop. Iaido is another important tool due to being a 5-frame move with immense range, but it should be used sparingly due to its long recovery.Stand CD has decent speed and is positive on block, adding another dimension just inside his stand D range, as does his speedy (6-frame) cancelable sweep. His jump arc may not seem all that, but coupled with his all-purpose j.D, it becomes a tricky approach that can mess with anti air angles due to its strange arc. His anti air capabilities are solid, between his standing B, DP+D, and QCBx2+P super, he covers many possible attacking angles, and that aspect helps him keep the skies clear for him to take initiative.   

Offensive Viability: A Rank
For how little pressure Beni actually maintains, his offense can be very potent. Beni's normals are average in speed, so their ability to help his pressure are dictated by him establishing an advantage to work them in first. Beni won't establish advantage all that easily, but once he does, he plays a strong passive offense where he walls you in with his possibilities, primarily his long-reaching pokes and the possibility of a DP if you attempt to get out. His basic low/throw mixup is very potent, especially with meter, and even moreso near the corner. However, there is one issue with Beni and that is hitconfirms. Crouch B chains are his only legitimate confirm from the ground, which costs him some flexibility in his combo starting options. His jumps' strange arcs combined with j.D (and j.B and j. CD if you have a read for their angles) can help him clear defensive poke/anti air attempts and come down and punish. Cornered opponents will be scurrying to get out as quickly as possible, and Beni has a multitude of ways to keep them trapped between his Raijinkens (ground and air), pokes, and DP. If Beni could frame trap/chain/hit confirm better to minimize his risks this would have been significantly higher.

Defensive Viability: A+
Beni's defensive options are nice and varied, with each allowing him to cover certain options. DP covers above him when the opponent neutral jumps or hops. Command grab and Iaido kick are both potent punishes within their respective ranges, each of which will put momentum back in Beni's favor. His Rolling Thunder (QCBx2+P) is a strong call against crossup setups that will still catch in the front as well. If the opponent's keeping all these in mind, it can make them approach from suboptimal angles or in a way that's safer for you to try to escape. He is susceptible to safe jumps though, and all of his strong defensive options will leave him open if the opponent fakes Beni into doing the wrong one. Regardless, his options here are quite good, and with a fast normal up close for breaking pressure he would have been even better.

One Chance: A Rank
Beni loaded with meter will usually kill in two hits, the first of which sets up the second. His strong air game and throw mixup can put him in prime position to take home a kill. His HDs are easy enough to land should they be the optimal option based on the opponent's health.

Team Flexibility: A- Rank
Point: Probably his weakest spot. Loses his corner carry and big damage possibilities out of the box. Still has his pokes and strong air game, but can struggle more than normal when knocked down due to losing Rolling Thunder and EX DP.
Second: Strong choice. Beni is able to function on drive meter alone and his supply should be good here. His options should all be available so he can be the full threat he is capable of being.
Anchor: Arguable choice, but riskier than second if he winds up short on drive meter. He is capable but you will find stronger options here.

Current Assessment: A+ Rank
For a character once considered one of the best, this may seem a surprising rank. I still see him as basically a measly step below being S-, with that step being tighter pressure that doesn't allow the opponent to guess on him as much. Still a very scary threat with his air game and throw game, and his corner payoffs are ridiculous.

General Discussion / Re: Tier lists and Character Discussion Thread
« on: April 19, 2015, 06:47:24 PM »
@ the Fluke: I get where you're coming from but in a lot of ways you echoed my sentiments on him. Joe's got great damage but he struggles in a lot of phases outside when he's comboing you. His confirms aren't the worst but I compared him to what other characters can do and to me they felt lacking, especially because of how slow his normals are on average and how much has to commit. I could be wrong of course. Thanks for the feedback!

For the rest of the writeups, I'll be doing what I should have started with: Do the characters as per character select screen order, starting from Team Japan. The DLC characters will be done last.

So, without further ado, our hero, Kyo Kusanagi!

Reward Assessment: A Rank
Kyo's meterless damage and corner carry are among the best available in the game, and his BnBs build him lots of meter and put him in position to go for his next offensive series. With one meter he can carry almost across the entire stage from a cornered position. However, his rewards get more marginal as his meter goes up, descending more and more into average, particularly with HD. The damage is still enough overall to keep him a threat, with his strong offense allowing him the chances to work in his next hit. His sweetspot is his drive cancel corner combos, as that is where he can gain the most damage, including a possible stun combo/ reset situation. His rewards are definitely good. Others just happen to be better.

Neutral Viability: A- Rank
Kyo has the natural tools for good enough control of the neutral, with a typical projectile/DP combination, and a couple of solid mid-range normals at his disposal, with stand D being the most notable. His jump CD is a wall-like hitbox that can get him crucial counterhits into easy knockdowns with HCF + K. His fast hops and run speed can allow him to close distance quickly to get to his strong offensive game. However, certain mid-range spots are tricky for Kyo to navigate, particularly at times where his stand D can get outpoked. His meterless anti air game works best closer to his body, but add one meter and gets EX RDP+K, which can anti air from very far distances. Even better with two meters is EX Orochinagi and its 2-frame startup. Kyo has all he needs here, but can struggle depending on his meter situation and matchup, and that is what prevents all these strong tools from ranking him higher.

Offensive Viability: A+
Kyo is scary up close with a host of good pressure tools, including jump CD, his 3-frame close C, and the crux of his offense, jump down C. That attack gives so much hit stun it is practically almost a confirm on its own, and the fear of it can make the opponent try to commit to risky options to try to stop it. It also has great crossup ability, particularly off jumpin pressure or hard knockdowns such as his throw. Its only issue is the potential to stuffed/low profiled depending on timing, but mixing in a j.CD or j.B can scare the opponent off of trying that. With meter, he gains a 180-damage command grab to further his mixup, and with HD he adds an overhead possibility. His hit confirms could use being a little more varied for pressure purposes, but they still do their job. With 2 meters, he has the hilarious possibility of linking an EX Orochinagi from his close C. If Kyo could maintain strict pressure for longer and/or gain more damage as his meter went up, this would be even higher.

Defensive Viability: A
Kyo's no slouch on the defensive. C DP, while not the fastest reversal, is fully invincible and drive cancelable off the ground for a combo. EX DP and EX command grab are 4-frame reversals that each come with their own situations where each is better, and with two meters, you have the unique 2-frame EX Orochinagi for punishes that most characters can only dream of. Wanting to jump over any of these options can open the opponent up to Kyo's close C, putting Kyo back into the mix. The main drawback is that Kyo's defense is meter-heavy for its best options, and if he uses that to survive it can limit his resources when he goes back on the offensive. Meterless, his options aren't as intimidating here either. Still a threat to be respected especially when he has meter.

One Chance: A Rank
Kyo's great all-around toolbox and solid rewards will keep him in with a chance for the most part, as he can typically get one hit and use it to set up his killing scenario. If he didn't need to commit harder than the stronger characters for this he'd rank higher.

Team Flexibility: A+ Rank
Point: Strong meter building and the opponent has fewer options to answer him with. Will struggle if he's on the back foot, though.
Second: Probably his ideal position. His biggest marginal reward gain with meter is on his corner drive cancels, and midscreen he will (ideally) have his one-meter corner carry to get there faster. HD can work for him as well if he has weakened an opponent enough to make it viable to kill.
Anchor: Weakest case for him but he is still capable here because of his well-rounded nature. His HDs being rather pedestrian is what holds him back from making a stronger case here.

Current Assessment: A+ Rank
With his wide variety of options in several situations, many of which lead him to gain offensive momentum, Kyo is a very strong and dangerous character. With better rewards overall (especially in damage) he would have been among the game's elite.

General Discussion / Re: Tier lists and Character Discussion Thread
« on: April 19, 2015, 12:22:59 AM »
Been a bit busy, but on to the next entry to close off Team Fatal Fury, Joe Higashi!

Reward Assessment: A+ Rank
There will be a running theme in this analysis in general. Joe has a stun combo. This combo is his goal/main threat, and what he and his opponent will play around. This combo does a lot of damage, and Joe is quite a high damage character from his best confirms even if he doesn't land the stun. He can get this combo from ground confirms and anti-airing with golden heel/counterhit CD as well. Why not a higher rank? Because if he doesn't have drive to spend Joe can't quite establish an advantageous enough situation to keep pressing his offense. He can force a blocked Hurricane Upper from many knockdowns, but that is as good as it gets until he gets the crucial drive meter to corner carry and go to town. His stun combo will build back some meter while it goes on which is always nice.

Neutral Viability: B- Rank
And the downhill trip begins for Joe. His neutral is his most passable state, thanks to Hurricane Upper, jump CD, and Tiger Knee (especially EX) being effective at establishing some form of zoning to work with. Add Golden Heel into the mix for a long-range anti air that he can combo off of and it doesn't seem so bad. He can also utilize sweep and slide for low-profiling, though the risk/reward on those is questionable. However, here are the issues.  Joe's normals other than his CDs (both) are anywhere between average to just plain subpar, and this troubles him at midrange. Hurricane Upper is not as large as it looks, being possible to hop over at what appears to be part of its hitbox. Standing CD being his best midrange hitbox by some margin comes with dealing with its slow startup. He can spend a meter on EX slash kick (HCF +K) or space a B version carefully for a safe approach, but having to go to those lengths show his deficiencies here and why his seemingly strong tools don't provide what they should.

Offensive Viability: C Rank
Joe's blockstrings and confirms are simply not tight enough to constitute a strong offense. His forward B command normal has very long recovery on its own making a cancel necessary, which commits him to doing one if he's gone that far. He doesn't have an option from here that beats both invincible moves and GC rolls, so he runs the risk of being disrespected on offense.Otherwise he will limit himself at doing standard cr. B, cr.A chains. St.A to slide to A rapid punches (Bakuretsuken) is one way he can gain advantage, but he needs to be close enough for that to connect correctly and nothing to whiff. His ability to use Golden Heel to prevent escapes from the air is handy and will give him a combo if it lands. His jump arc is nothing special either, not allowing him to fully utilize a strong hop game. Joe's combo threat is the main thing that can keep an opponent passive against his offense, and that can only last so long against an opponent that knows the answers.

Defensive Viability: C Rank
Joe has one bona fide strong reversal: EX Tiger Kick. Despite its 6-frame startup, there is one little tidbit: Joe wakes up from hard knockdowns faster than other characters, making this reversal a lot more viable in those situations than its speed lets on. It also has great range. Sadly, that is where it stops. Joe's other invincible move is D Tiger Kick, and that is VERY slow. His normals (aside from crouch A) are all 5-frames and above, and with their mostly lackluster hitboxes they can struggle to aid him, other than the low profile on his sweep and slide (maybe). Joe has to take great risks to try to stop offense, and he just doesn't have enough good tools to do so overall.

One Chance: B+ Rank
It's that combo again. As long as Joe has that threat, that's what keeps him in and gives his player any psychological advantage whatsoever. If he were better at landing it this would shoot up much higher.

Team Flexibility: B Rank
Point: No meter to use his best asset with, but the opponent will have fewer answers when Joe goes on the offense. Depending on matchups, it can work, and if Joe takes out the first character he can have resources to carry momentum onto the second.
Second: Probably offers him his best risk/reward scenario. He should have the resources here to do his damage and carry further momentum to the next round, and should it not work out, at least there is an anchor to cover him.
Anchor: Weak case. He will do all the damage if he hits, but needing to match up to most other anchors can leave him with really tough tasks to overcome, and he honestly isn't the most suited to them.

Current Assessment: C Rank
Joe has a high threat factor but has to work hard to actualize that threat. With some better offensive tools he could have been a much bigger threat. A shame when you think of what stronger characters with similar possible damage outputs can do to land their combos and how well they can pigeon-hole the opponent into their threat zone compared to Joe.

General Discussion / Re: Tier lists and Character Discussion Thread
« on: April 15, 2015, 07:16:40 PM »
Next up, Andy Bogard!

Reward Assessment: B+ Rank
Andy's damage struggles to stand out. He has average damage in just about every situation, with his corner meterless and drive cancel damage being the only potential standout if he goes into a fwd+A combo starter to get Kuuhadan break in there. He can get decent corner carry midscreen, again with Kuuhadan break giving a lot more if it's involved. His HD damage is pretty standard fare compared to other characters. Overall Andy gets average damage for the most part with his corner damage being better than enough characters to notch that little plus there.

Neutral Viability: A Rank
The core strength of the little Bogard brother. His basic projectile game is quite good, offering enough variability purely on his Hishoken. Varying up its strength and how he handles the situation after can make him tricky to approach. Shoryudan offers a typical invincible anti air, j. CD is a great all-purpose aerial, Zaneiken can catch rolls through even from a distance, and his sweep is a strong poke that even has anti air applications. Stand CD canceled into Hishoken will reestablish your distance game on hit, and the normal itself provides good protection in front of Andy. His other normals are somewhat stubby, but you mostly won't need them to come into play aside from some niche uses (close D for close anti airs, j. B for quick air-to-air, etc.). Neomax provides a bonus cherry topper if you have it stocked at KOF health ranges thanks to its crazy speed and how it can connect from many situations, such as linking off a Zaneiken or EX Hishoken at midscreen. Andy has a lot of good screen control, and that is his best strength. With stronger normals he would have been higher for sure.

Offensive Viability: B- Rank
Andy's speed and 3-frame close C are the main aspects here. He doesn't have much pressure beyond typical crouch B,A and hopsies, and his block strings tend to disadvantage him or push him out. His standing B,D target combo is a solid confirm but it pushes him out of Kuuhadan range, and fwd A commits him to a cancel because it is unsafe on its own, and doesn't have that many cancelable frames. No special he has other than Hishoken is safe on block, making him vulnerable to GC rolls if he overcommits. J.CD helps matters for his hop game thanks to its all-purpose hitbox, and his conversions if it counterhits will land him some nice damage/meter/advantage. His throw offers him a safe jump/crossup opportunity (j.D being his go-to crossup). Overall, he doesn't have many standout offensive tools, and has to resort to a basic KOF-style mixup. His j.CD and 3-frame close C keep him from scoring lower.

Defensive Viability B- Rank
For all their uses in his neutral, Andy's uppercuts (Shoryudan) are less impressive on defense. They are all on the slower side of startup (5 frames for A and EX versions, 7 for C version). The EX version is only good to call opponent actions on the ground, as its forward movement can make it whiff hits on airborne opponents, costing you the advantage you were hoping to gain. His close C is not as good defensively since it hits only in front of him, making it susceptible to hops/jumps. His other normals are run-of-the-mill here and will require careful use if you commit to defending yourself with one. He gets by solely on having fully invincible reversals for the opponent to consider, and on the very niche value of his Neomax being an extremely fast yet resource-heavy punish.

One Chance: B+ Rank
Stocked with meter, Andy can kill with two chances like most characters. His neutral will aid him here, and he can use the threat of Neomax to spook the opponent into being more passive. Not bad, not great either.

Team flexibility: B+Rank
Point: Keeps his neutral free of opponent's meter-based options. He does enough solid damage here to make this a good position for him. May be his best position.
Second: Gains some solid options, mostly for his combo conversions. Basically his point game with more reward, so not the biggest gains compared to some others. Still solid enough.
Anchor: Hard to justify overall. If he comes in against a full team it is difficult for him to reverse OCV due to his not-so-stellar offense, especially once he has spent all his meter.

Current Assessment: B+ Rank
Andy's neutral makes the rest of his (seemingly weak) tools work well enough to make him a solid character choice, capable of holding his own against many cast members. He will struggle against high-pressure offense and/or characters that can keep up with/outdo his neutral. 

General Discussion / Re: Tier lists and Character Discussion Thread
« on: April 14, 2015, 08:38:10 PM »
Onto the next character. Another old character that made his series debut in XIII, Hwa Jai!

Reward Assessment: S Rank
No mistake about it, Hwa's reward for hitting is among the best available in this game. He may not have the best meterless damage, but the rest of what he has makes up for that. His drive cancels give strong corner carry midscreen, and his corner damage is very strong with them. His HDs will corner carry very easily, and he can do some absurd damage with them in the corner using his tiger-knee'd air DP+B. This is all before we get to his damage after activating his drinking super, which is outright the best possible for the resources barring perfectly executed infinites. A terrifying damage powerhouse for sure.

Neutral Viability: B Rank
Hwa's buttons, particularly on the ground, are quite strong. Very few characters if any can boast having normals like his standing D, or being anywhere between neutral to positive on almost every single grounded button he has on block. His stand CD will beat lows and/or grant him +4 on block. They need stricter timing to function as anti airs though, as they do not hit as high as he would like. He does have an invincible DP (albeit a slow one) and his EX super can work for long-range punishes/guesses/anti airs. I His run and jump speed are subpar, and he has a high jump arc, making him easier to anti air despite his good aerial normals. He has no strong answers to projectiles, with his only legitimate one (EX super) being very risky. Overall, despite his normals, Hwa's mobility aspects and specific neutral weaknesses hamper his strength here.

Offensive Viability: A- Rank
Hwa doesn't maintain big offensive strings outright. That being said, the moment he is in, his big normals will keep the opponent thinking twice about how to escape, and they keep Hwa advantageous enough on block to keep his momentum. His slide is a nice hit confirm, with lots of cancelable frames giving a possible "mixup" if it's blocked between whether Hwa will stay grounded or go for a possible Dragon Tail crossup attempt.He can even frame trap/gain frame advantage with a delayed slide. His air game benefits from his ground game but can still be an issue due to his jumps being a bit slow. However, it gives him the "Dragon Tail from a blocked aerial" option, which is a very scary option both on block and hit. Hwa's offense may not be the most airtight, but his strong damage factor and normals can give him enough to earn those coveted openings.

Defensive Viability: B+ Rank
Hwa's defensive options are a mixed bag. His only invincible DP variation is a whopping 8 frames of startup, making it too slow to deal with any safe jumps and only suited for big reads if you have the meter ready for a drive cancel. His 4-frame EX super can work if you spot a chance for it. His A command grab super has a 2-frame startup, enabling it to punish many things other moves can't touch. It will lose to safe jumps though since it will likely come out too soon. He doesn't have a 3-frame normal but the 4-frame ones he does have are good on block, enabling him to stifle momentum should he find a big enough gap for them. It's the possible reward that keeps this rank solid, as a successful defense from Hwa can lead to big damage/a knockdown that is worth the resources spent. The risk and resources necessary are what make his defense not as strong as it could be.

One Chance: S Rank
One of the best threats from a single opening, especially should he have drink or HD available. His flexible killing resource usage make him even more of a threat in this regard.

Team Flexibility: A Rank
Point: Least justifiable position. The lack of resources can be very limiting. Only do this if your opponent has a point character you think he can out-footsie
Second: One of two very good choices. He can be at his most drink-oriented here in order to not hog resources, and proceed to get greedier if he can gather momentum
Anchor: Another good choice and gives him full meter flexibility, but you will be in trouble if he comes up against a tough neutral matchup here

Current Assessment: A+ Rank
Despite his neutral issues, Hwa is a very dangerous threat overall with huge damage possibilities, with enough ways to get in and land them.

OK... This is one where my opinions on specific aspects have changed quite a bit and I'm not 100% sure how to place them. However, I have no doubt that Hwa is incredibly strong and dangerous, and it baffles me that we don't see him as much as we used to once upon a time.

General Discussion / Re: Tier lists and Character Discussion Thread
« on: April 13, 2015, 09:49:35 PM »
Body Organ, thank you! I'm always down to discuss anything that I post, and I am willing to alter ranks based on the discussion results! I'm trying to do every character before the Evo side tourney, and hopefully afterwards there will be a reflection to see how things change.

Now on to one of SNK's oldest characters and series mainstay, Ralf!

Reward Assessment: A Rank
Ralf's damage is very good, particularly in the corner. His meter building is passable when he optimizes his combos thanks to the extra heavy punch link after QCF+C. Midscreen, his damage takes a bit of a hit, but he gets to finish his drive cancels with a hard knockdown super which grants him a basic mixup. His HDs are also some of the better damage available in the game, with legitimate 3-meter kills on hand. He also has a stun combo in the corner, should you require it for a kill. He is a bit resource-heavy, but his combos make it worth it.

Neutral Viability: C+
Ralf is a very polarized character in neutral. On the one hand, he does well against non-projectile characters thanks to a host of strong pokes at several ranges, and his j.CD providing a good hitbox for all-purpose aerial fights. His stand CD moves him forward a great distance and is +3 on block, helping to get him in/ set up whiff cancel shenanigans. His Dive Bomber gives him a rare method of changing his jump arc, baiting counterpokes. However, against projectile characters/characters with superior air games, he can really suffer. He has no straight answer to projectiles beyond moving forward and/or hoping to Dive Bomb over them, and his average air speed and low jump height don't help matters. His anti air game is also suspect, as his df+A is not that strong for that, and everything else he has is on the slow side. His air game has a blind spot above him that he can't cover at all, augmenting this issue against opponents who opt to attack him from above. His pokes are his saving grace and they can be nullified depending on the matchup.

Offensive Viability: B-
Ralf can keep up fairly solid pressure with a combination of frame traps. His Bs (standing and crouching) are both plus on block, and qcf+C is positive as well and takes a good chunk of guard gauge. Stand CD can be used to stagger pressure on its own or combined with QCF +C. He also has an instant overhead in hop D, and his short hop is useful enough on the inside with some solid jumpins (j.A, j.D). However, his somewhat lacking hop speed can stunt this. His instant overhead is his fastest way of opening up a low block, but it puts him in a more neutral state which can be bad depending on the matchup. He is rather predictable and lacks solid hit confirms, but his blockstrings are safe enough to nullify GC roll threat. Overall, his offense is OK and the damage threat behind it is what counts.

Defensive Viability C- Rank
This is where Ralf's woes come to the fore. His defensive options are very poor overall. His only fully invincible reversal doesn't have much invincibility (Bareback Vulcan), and his armored EX QCF+AC can be thrown. He doesn't have a 3-frame normal for breaking out of pressure, and his standing A is 5 frames making it difficult to snipe hops with depending on how it was set up. He is also rather large, making him more vulnerable to crossups, as well as incapable of low profiling certain attacks other cast members can. The only saving grace is that his reversals grant him a good momentum shift IF they land. His biggest crippling weakness.

One Chance: B+ Rank
Ralf's high damage and strong poke range make him a scary threat to get that one chance and obliterate your life bar with it. That being said, his neutral and defensive weaknesses make it difficult for him to find that chance to begin with.

Team Flexibility: C+ Rank
Point: Safer bet, but he loses out on his best possible damage and knockdown rewards, and loses what little he has defensively
Second: May be his best position due to the meter situation. His defensive issues can get exposed with bigger punishes, but the opportunity for damage may well be worth it
Anchor: Tough choice to justify. He has the damage for it, but many of the top anchors will make it hard for him to find his chance, and that's not what you want to rely on.

Current Assessment: C+ Rank
Ralf's poking ability, decent pressure, and damage potential are what keep him out of the lower reaches of the cast. His defensive frailty and neutral blind spots are considerable weaknesses, and make him a choice you have to balance out with characters built to set him up/ make use of his meter if he bites it.

General Discussion / Re: Tier lists and Character Discussion Thread
« on: April 11, 2015, 07:42:37 PM »
Next up, continuing with the trend of SNK heroes, Ryo

Reward Assessment: A- Rank
Ryo's damage is actually quite good. Granted his midscreen meterless damage isn't much, but one meter on him (and preferably some drive) and he can carry to the corner to get his strong corner pressure going. His corner combos are quite damaging when optimized, including getting close to 500 damage off a hop D with a 1-meter drive cancel combo. His throw is a hard knockdown which is always nice, but he can't do as much with it midscreen. His HD damage when optimized is also quite strong. His meterless midscreen damage and lack of strong knockdown setups are what prevent this from going higher.

Neutral Viability: A+  Rank
Ryo's neutral, particularly at midscreen, can be very oppressive to many characters. His projectile has a bigger hitbox than it lets on, and allows his other tools to be more threatening than his pure frame data lets them look, including stand C and D (especially this, with its long cancelable window), as well as sweep. Kouken stuffs normal projectiles on its way as well. Add his anti airs (crouch C, DP, EX Ranbu) into the mix, as well his strong j. CD, and you have a potentially dominant presence. with meter and drive, he gets EX Kouken, and he also gets the ability to super cancel into his Ranbu for big damage from neutral. His parries add a unique dimension to his neutral that can catch errant pokes/moves from the opponent. The reason he doesn't rank higher is that a correct whiff read from the opponent can be costly, and put Ryo to where another Kouken attempt can get stuffed, and any other whiffed poke means a punish. Still strong though.

Offensive Viability: A- Rank
Ryo's midscreen offense isn't much to write home about. A Kouken leaves him at neutral, which is the core of his offense, but that is vulnerable to GC rolls should the opponent call it out. His crouch B is plus on block, his crouch C is 3 frames (linkable from crouch B), and his standing D has tons of cancelable frames. Those three moves form a good set for Ryo to rely on while attacking. Both the heavies have lengthy recovery though, so be careful. His overhead is another strong tool that (with some work) is confirmable into supers and HD combos. He can cancel into his low parry off his heavies for seemingly quick recovery, but that option is not actually safe if the opponent sees it. His air game comes with the beefy j.D and the well-rounded j.CD. Add his hard knockdown throw and you have a solid offensive kit, held back by the risk factor if he misses (long recovery) or is read correctly.

Defensive Viability: A- Rank

A Kouhou is a 4-frame DP with decent range and enough invincibility to trade at least, and the fully invincible C version can carry a super cancel threat when Ryo has the meter to burn and finds a good read situation for its slow speed. EX Ranbu can be the heavy call against hesitant blockstrings, as well as a long-range anti air, similarly to Mr. Karate. Crouch C's speed can also make is useful under staggered pressure, when buffered into a Kouken (and maybe into super after that). Ryo has typically solid "shoto" defensive options, and his vulnerability to safe jumps are his primary weakness here, with the secondary being his punishability if he guesses wrong.

One Chance: A- Rank
Ryo's HDs can do quite some damage, and with meter he can carry across the screen very quickly. He also has good drive cancel damage and corner carry, enough to be a very viable threat from one chance. He also has the threat of an overhead to super/HD if necessary.

Team Flexibility: A Rank
Point: Gets more breathing room in terms of neutral and mistake penalty, and will build enough meter when he needs it for a combo.
Second: May be his best choice. Gets access to his corner carry combos and stronger damage from both neutral and combos
Anchor: Augments his choices in second, enough to make him a decent option here, but not stronger than the elite anchors due to a weaker knockdown/mixup game

Current Assessment: A- Rank
Ryo is a rock-solid character who is powered up by a strong neutral, and can get good damage from more than just his combos. He suffers from a rather high risk factor in close-range situations and that is what holds him back.

General Discussion / Re: Tier lists and Character Discussion Thread
« on: April 10, 2015, 08:39:49 PM »
All right... time for the next character. I'm basically going to be doing these as often as I can since I want to keep momentum here. Next up: The popular (as a person) yet not so popular (in player base) hero of SNK, Terry Bogard!

Reward Assessment B Rank
What Terry gets from hitting, both in advantage and damage, doesn't stand out overall. His meterless damage is not good, his drive cancel damage is OK, and his HD damage is only situationally high, and average otherwise. Off Burn Knuckle and Buster Wolf, he gets to pursue into his poke/pressure range, but not much more. His confirms build decent meter, which feeds his drive cancels.

Neutral Viability A- Rank
Terry has several strong neutral tools. Pokes (Stand C and D, stand CD) anti airs (Stand A,C,df.C, Crack Shoot, Rising Tackle, Power Geyser) and a decent grounded projectile (power wave). With meter, he gains a strong "forcing" tool in EX power wave. With two meters, he can beat projectiles with EX buster wolf about half a screen away. This all sounds really strong and should have him higher, but the only reason it isn't is that he has to compare to the likes of King, Kensou, Karate, and others and he doesn't force mistake as well as they do, and is more unsafe on his errors.

Offensive Viability B Rank
This rank is almost entirely based on two things: Terry's good hit confirms (close C, crouch target combo) and how much Terry can hurt the guard gauge. EX powerwave also creates good offense for Terry that forces opponent actions. He can get a good hard knockdown situation with either throw or EX crackshoot. Otherwise, his offense off most of his knockdowns doesn't stand out. In pressure, he either resets to neutral with A power wave, or risks  a crack shoot, which can be low profiled or reversal'd out of. His hop arc is a bit high and slow, which somewhat nullifies his best jumpin (j.D). Granted, the higher jump can help him clear reversals if he baits them, but that isn't an exclusive strength to Terry. EX crackshoot is his only quick way to force a high block, and it is not very safe at -4. Overall, the risks Terry carries if he tries to go pure offense, and none of his options really standing out, is what keeps this from going any higher.

Defensive Viability B+ Rank
An invincible reversal that can be drive cancelled for solid damage (C rising tackle) as well as a 4-frame metered reversal (EX rising tackle) contribute to Terry needing some care when he's attacked. His selection of anti airs and his ability to weave back out of pressure (that isn't in the corner) with stand CD help him keep an opponent's offense honest. His vulnerability to safe jumps is problematic, however, as is the rising tackle's hitboxes starting lower to the ground, making them more vulnerable to being jumped over. His crouch target combo can be a good defensive deterrent if he spots a big enough gap since that can net him a full combo. He also suffers somewhat from having a rather large hurtbox for his character type. Terry is solid in defense but can be exploited with a good read.

One Chance: B Rank
Not the most reliable comeback character. He can't keep up an offense too consistently and that limits his ability to maintain momentum, and despite his good confirms he can struggle to land that significant hit. Decent, but you have better options for this.

Team Flexibility: B+ Rank
Point: Safest neutral spot, and will typically build one drive cancel meter when opponent is at half life setting up his KO.
Second: His other good choice. Gets more meter to drive cancel with for decent damage while getting access to his best reversal.
Anchor: His weakest spot due to his HDs being subpar. Odds are you will have another character better suited here.

Current Assessment: B Rank
Terry is solid and capable in most categories without standing out in any one of them enough to make him go above this rating. Characters below him tend to have specific, more pronounced weaknesses, which is not quite true of Terry.

EDIT: I felt in hindsight I slightly overrated a couple aspects and the overall rank. Doesn't change the reasoning behind anything, just what the final result is in each case.

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