Samurai Shodown VI/Nicotine
Nicotine's sprite may be outdated but his repertoire has been caught up to speed, with high/low mixups leading to damaging juggles and extra utility from his pole swing at his disposal. A zoner at heart, Nicotine can use his multiple seal-based moves to flood the screen with various fireballs, covering multiple geometries at once without leaving much of a gap for the opponent to slip through. However, these specials are burdened by a cooldown mechanic where Nicotine must wait for the seal used to vanish before he can use the same move again. This means he must be extra careful in figuring out when to use each special, lest he be stripped of important means of space control or damage output when he needs them most. Additionally, Nicotine suffers from particularly awful defense, meaning he will have to be on the ball with his decision making to stay effective.
- Dash type: Run
- Damage taken: 117% (3rd Frailest)
- Rage retention: 60 (Lowest in the game)
- Rage duration: 10 seconds
- Miscellaneous: Nicotine's blocked Continuous Slash can be counter hit.
Nicotine is frail, but with his seals he can defend himself. His life seals (214S) not only give him a flurry of attacks to pursue behind but also a high/low mixup depending on the strength. 214A is not one of these mixup options, but it is an important tool for its quick startup and Nicotine's ability to move quickly after it's set. This makes it great for combos and setplay as you would expect, but also for supporting Nicotine himself. Nicotine's best grounded pokes are 5B and 2B, the former leading into combos and the latter being an undeflectable sweep, but neither of them reach very far. To poke from a distance he has fire seals (236S) for the ground and thunder seals (623S) for the skies. He can have all three of these specials on the screen at once to protect himself, the area in front of him and the area above him respectively, but these come at an important cost. When any of these specials end, a small seal will float down a bit before puffing out. While this seal is on the screen, you are not able to perform the same sort of special it belonged to. This effectively places a cooldown on these specials, which forces Nicotine to make important decisions as to when to use them. Does he use 214B/C now for a mixup or 214A to protect himself as he makes his way in, or does he save 214A for his high-damage juggle combos? Does he need to use a fire seal now, or is he fine managing the ground game with his other tools for now (i.e. if he has enough cover with 623S to support his long-reaching hitgrab poke (63214D) without him eating a jump-in combo, for instance)?
Nicotine's 2C would be an amazing anti-air if it didn't conflict with n2C which is not, so he often has to take to the air for his jump punishes. jB and jD can get the job done, but aside from them being stubby Nicotine's jump isn't the fastest. Is it a lost cause? Not exactly - jB, jC and jD are cancellable, and Nicotine has a special which takes him to the ground instantly. This is the fake version of his Cane Swirl Cutter (j1236D), which can be used to make his backdash travel faster and to make his air-to-airs much more rewarding in terms of frame advantage. Additionally, it can be used in conjunction with the real Cane Swirl Cutter (j1236S) for some tricky mixup potential. j1236S is not only a half-decent air-to-air and counter-poke itself but it's an overhead and a crossup as well. It can be tiger knee'd for an instant overhead to help crack opponents open, but additionally Nicotine may also use the fakeout version, land and then go for a low/throw/etc. to get more mixup potential out of it. jC is a strong crossup on its own, but when paired with j1236C Nicotine can hit in front with jC, then hit behind with j1236C. Nicotine can spice this up by going for lighter versions of j1236S for non-crossups, but don't get too tricky because this move is punishable.
Another gimmick Nicotine has is his Wildheart Whammy (623D), which recovers way faster than the other seals. It deals very little damage but in addition to causing a hard knockdown it also flips their inputs for six seconds. Not only does this make his mixups harder to block but the opponent will typically be focused on adjusting to the new inputs rather than the match entirely. Nicotine can easily confirm this from a 214A combo or his close mediums, but it faces stiff competition with 63214D as an ender. Both give hard knockdowns but 63214D results in high damage. The problem with 63214D, however, is that it pushes the opponent too far away for okizeme, meaning Nicotine can only really zone from there. 623D, in exchange for pitiful damage, leaves the opponent very close to him. This sets up 214A setplay and TK j1236S/D mixups nicely. Whether Nicotine wants to zone or attempt okizeme typically depends on how well he's been going beforehand. Nicotine is most comfortable zoning when he's on a cushy lifelead and the opponent is trying to reach him, but when he's falling behind then rewarding setplay or a big confirm into WFT might be just what he needs.
Nicotine has a strong WFT for punishes and anti-airing, so with II Spirit this carries the extra benefit of destroying the opponent's weapon so they can't contest his space as easily for a while. However, he also appreciates VI Spirit's access to Hyper Guard as a defensive tool, and furthermore its offensive Rage build ignores his high Rage retention and rewards his zoning and setplay nicely with meter. IV Spirit is a balance between the two as he can confirm easily into Continuous Slash II during 214A, while on the defensive side he gains Rage Explosion and a dodge.
- 5A - Nicotine flicks his hat in front of him. This is pretty quick for its range.
- 5B - A forward swing angled a bit upward. Makes a pleasant ringing sound if it recoils just like his other weapon normals. This is special cancellable, giving Nicotine a far hit confirm.
- 5C - A forward stab with about the same range as 2B. That is to say, not much.
- 2A - 5A but lower.
- 2B - A low-hitting sweep. This actually has more range than 5B and it recoils as well. This is special cancellable but the sweep doesn't allow for combos; instead, you can cancel into 236S to catch short rolls.
- 2C - A diagonal stab upward. This is fairly quick, deals big damage and causes a knockdown on hit. The range is nice but up close the input runs the risk of getting confused with n2C, which ends in a similar way but has a much slower startup for its anti-air hits. Nicotine has really bad defense so if you're going to use this move then be sure to space it.
- n5A - A quick elbow jab.
- n5B - Same as far version.
- n5C - A forward swing with the staff, then two hits swinging downward. Most of the damage is weighed in the final hit, but more often than not Nicotine is pushed back too far for it to hit. The first hit is special cancellable but deals less than all of your other combo starters, which all do the same damage. Ignore this move.
- n2A - n5A but lower.
- n2B - A forward push with the staff. This has a large proximity window which may mess with intended sweep inputs but it can be used as a special cancel just as well as 5B can.
- n2C - A forward push with the staff, then two hits pushing upward. The final hit is where the big damage is weighed and it causes a soft knockdown on hit, but it's so high it will actually miss on small characters even if they're standing, including Nicotine himself. The first hit is special cancellable.
- 5D - A dinky upward kick. It's quick but also stubby and not cancellable.
- 6D - A low-hitting slide which covers more range than 3D. Of course, this can be made safer by spacing it as the recovery is quite forgiving.
- 2D - A low kick.
- 3D - A low-hitting sweep.
- 66A - Running n5A. A high-priority jab which can be used for harassment.
- 66B - Running n2B. This is also a combo starter.
- 66C - Running 5C which knocks down. This is not only a half-decent punish tool given its damage output and Nicotine's okay runspeed but it also works well in 214A juggles.
- 66D - An overhead leap kick. The recovery can be cancelled into air specials but they won't combo.
- jA - Aerial 5A. Surprisingly has the best reach out of all of his air normals, but it's not special cancellable.
- jB - Aerial n5B. This may look completely useless for its short range compared to jA, but this is actually special cancellable. This allows Nicotine to get much more out of his air resets, as he can land instantly with j1236D and immediately start preparing a mixup for the opponent to land on. Or you could go with j1236S if you know it will chip kill.
- jC - A crossup with worse horizontal reach than jB but it's way better at reaching below him. This is also special cancellable, leading to some potentially nasty when j1236S is involved.
- jD - A small flying kick. The worst range out of Nicotine's air normals but it's special cancellable and it has plenty of active frames going for it.
- u5S - Same as 5A.
- u2S - Same as 2A.
- u66S - Running hat sweep. Knocks down. The range makes this helpful for getting your weapon back and you can use this in 214A juggles. The hit effect graphics on this move are distorted, if you can forgive the team for that.
- juS - Same as jA.
Hyper Slash (I)
- A+B - Surprisingly is on the higher end of Hyper Slashes damage-wise, but it's his 5C which means it's stubby as hell.
Continuous Slash (IV)
- A+B - Nicotine is one of three characters who is put in a counter hit state after Continuous Slash is blocked. The other two are Gaira and Shizumaru.
3B, can be done unarmed
- Nicotine slowly bows his head. This is an overhead which causes a soft knockdown quickly after it hits and it has the damage and range you would expect from such a polite nod. You can potentially land it if the opponent is blocking 214A, but unless you're unarmed there's no reason not to just go for TK j1236S instead. It's really unsafe on block.
Note: ★ = Seal move. Moves of this type involve Nicotine using a seal. This has the in-game effect of enforcing a cooldown on these specials; upon either the move's natural completion or if it makes contact with the opponent, you must wait for the seal to vanish before you are allowed to perform the same move again.
★Shikigamireifu Fire - 236S, can be done unarmed
- Nicotine summons a fiery humanoid figure to run straight across the stage. Strength determines how fast it runs. This is an excellent move for ground control as it's quite a large fireball, skimming the ground while also reaching pretty high up, and additionally it causes a soft knockdown on hit while also pushing the opponent away. Its slow startup means you can't normally combo into this, but then again you wouldn't want to because of the seal restriction in place. You want access to this move at all times while you're fullscreen and you'll have to think of substitutes for when it's cooling down.
- This move no longer hits low like it did in Samurai Shodown II.
★Shikigamireifu Thunder - 623S, can be done unarmed (Samurai Drive)
- Nicotine summons an electric avian figure to fly across the stage in a diagonal line. Strength determines the steepness of its angle and how fast it flies. This doesn't knock down, and even if it hits a grounded opponent Nicotine doesn't recover in time to take advantage of the hitstun, so it's not particularly good for combos even though it's easy to juggle into. This move should be saved for controlling the area above Nicotine (623A is good for this), ideally in conjunction with other fireballs to occupy space. Although it does put a roof over Nicotine's head the recovery means this move isn't suitable for setplay.
★Shikigamireifu Life - 214S, can be done unarmed
- Nicotine summons an image of himself to strike the opponent three times. Hitting Nicotine will not destroy the image. All versions deal the same damage but are used for different things. The image itself is incapable of pushing the opponent, so these attacks may completely phase through an opponent if performed too close. This also means this move is rubbish when done too close in the corner. All of these move launch the opponent for a juggle.
- The image will still attack with a weapon even if Nicotine himself is unarmed.
- 214A has the fastest startup and is Nicotine's primary combo tool. Nicotine is free to move a little after the first hit connects, making juggle combos much more flexible than with the other versions. Additionally you can do this over their knockdown for setplay, but you won't have access to the mixup variants if you do this.
- 214B's first hit is a low. The rest are mids that will combo from it. Nicotine is free to move just before the third hit connects, meaning he can still go for running followups.
- 214C's first hit is an overhead. The rest are mids that will combo from it. Nicotine is free to move just before the third hit connects, meaning he can still go for running followups.
★Wildheart Whammy - 623D, can be done unarmed (Samurai Drive)
- Nicotine summons a seal in front of him. This hits mid and does very little damage, but if the opponent touches it then they will take a hard knockdown while a question mark appears above their head. This is to indicate that their directions have been flipped; that left is right, up is down and vice versa. This effect lasts for six seconds. If the opponent is hit by this move again then the six seconds will be reset. Against an opponent who can adjust quickly to the flipped inputs the trickery of this move will mainly come from where their directions are at once six seconds has passed.
Cane Swirl Cutter - j1236S
- Nicotine points his staff directly below him. Once it touches the ground he starts swinging around the pole as he descends. Strength determines how far forward the pole moves while Nicotine swings on it, with j1236A not moving forward at all. This is an overhead which causes a soft knockdown on hit. Given Nicotine's positioning is dynamic this move is pretty hard to stuff.
- As Nicotine swings around pretty far out this move has some defensive utility. Cancelling your backdash into this will actually extend its range a bit, but will also serve as a defensive poke for when an opponent is trying to bumrush you. This can also be used as a serviceable air-to-air on its own.
- When tiger knee'd, this move can be used as an instant overhead in the same way as Ukyo's Tsubame Gaeshi. To add further trickery he can mixup between this and the fakeout version listed below, which gives him access to the rest of his grounded kit to mixup with. TK j1236S gives him hop mixups but not necessarily hop pressure.
- This move is great as a tricky crossup on its own, particularly if the jump-in is spaced well enough for a j1236S crossup to be ambiguous. However, its crossup potential is strengthened with other tools in his kit. jC reaches far below Nicotine making it already ideal for crossups, but because it's special cancellable Nicotine can time it so that jC hits in front and then j1236C hits behind. He can play with this mixup, opting for weaker strengths to cause another frontal hit or just crossing up with jC from the get-go. Unfortunately there don't seem to be any way to force a crossunder mixup from cancelling air-to-airs into this move.
Cane Swirl Cutter - j1236D (Samurai Drive)
- A fakeout version of the above move where instead of attacking he lands instantly, though there is a little bit of ground recovery to be mindful about.
- Nicotine's jump is a bit floaty, which would normally make all his air-to-airs pretty lousy advantage-wise. j1236D solves this issue. By hitting jB, jC or jD then cancelling into this move Nicotine hits the ground well before the opponent does, carving out a much better advantage than he would have had otherwise. It's not plenty of advantage but enough to poke at the opponent safely or make a retreat. If your opponent is a sitting duck then a mixup could potentially be feasible, but keep in mind Nicotine doesn't have any running lows. He can cancel 66D into this to extend pressure.
- This can also be tiger knee'd to create a fake instant overhead, but Nicotine's lows ain't all that. He can use 2D for tick throws or 6D and 3D for some sort of damage and vortex. Or he could run up grab, or go for an actual instant overhead straight after the fake one if you are daring enough. You don't have much to work with here but you can still get creative.
- Like the real version, cancelling your backdash into this will actually extend its range a bit. Do this after every backdash to show off how big your brain is.
Chains Of Sin Blast - 63214D
- Nicotine extends his staff to reach over halfscreen, extending itself by breaking its sections apart and revealing a chain. Think of it like Scorpion's spear, but unlike in Samurai Shodown II it no longer dizzies the opponent for a free hit. This is a hitgrab which will deal eleven hits and result in a hard knockdown after launching the opponent back a great distance. This also beats fireballs, but one should exercise caution if using this in neutral because Nicotine is in for a world of hurt if they jump. You may need to back it up with 623S before trying to poke with it.
Toy Transformation - 412146E (II)
Seal Demon's Spell - 236AB
- Nicotine transforms into his younger self back when he was a samurai, then travels nearly fullscreen for a punish. This move is pretty quick and will combo from close mediums without 214A if you had recently used that seal. Because Nicotine gains a height boost from this move it may also be used as an anti-air.
★Underworld Pummeler - 641236BC (II), 236BC (VI), can be done unarmed
- Nicotine's old WFT from Samurai Shodown II. He casts a large seal which upon hitting the ground casts the image of a deity. The very same one which Gaira would end up using, in fact. It's too slow to combo from most grounded starters but it combos nicely from a 214S juggle. It may also be used as a far anti-air.
236S and 623S are not listed because not only are they suboptimal enders but using them also locks you out of them for a bit while the seal is active, making doing so detrimental to your zoning game.
- 5B/n5C/n2B/n2C/66B 214A/63214D/236AB - Close medium combos. All starters deal the exact same damage except for n5C which deals a bit less.
- 214A, 5C/66C/jC/63214D/236AB - Your best juggles from 214A. For knockdown enders 66C does more damage while 63214D leaves them in a better position for zoning. 5C deals the absolute most damage but the opponent lands on their feet after being pushed back a fair distance, so it's only good for closing out rounds. jC deals the least damage but it can be cancelled into j1236D to give him plenty of advantage
- 214A, 66B 63214D - Hitting 66B before the juggle will result in more damage.
- 214B/C 66C/63214D/236AB - Juggles from Nicotine's mixups. These are less flexible because it takes longer for him to recover.
Secret Move (II/VI)
- 214S, SM - Your best bet at landing this move.
Continuous Slash (IV)
- 214A, A+B - Easy way to confirm into Continuous Slash.
- A+B BBC 63214D/236AB - Standard juggles.
State Of Nothingness (V)
- 214S, ABC - The third hit of 214S juggles with a small window to link into Issen, but the rest is susceptible to Rage Explosion. The third hit will miss if performed too close. Use this for a rewarding 50/50 at mid range.
Frame Data - Provided by Tekitogate
|Attack||Startup||On Hit||On Standing Block||On Crouching Block||Notes|
|6D||11||KD||N/A||-12||Active for 9 frames|
|66D||15||-13||-16||-11||-3 on crouching opponents|