Furthering Ike's meta with several techniques.

Rango the Mercenary

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I've been going over several theories that we can use to further Ike's meta and keep him aloft in the tier list. Some of these techniques are not used efficiently in battle, but when used as an option with everything else we have, this may be the crutch needed against all of our matchups.

1) Reversal Nair / RAR Nair. Retreating with Nair has its purposes. Unfortunately, it's a slow move that gets beaten out. Sometimes, moves like Diddy's Fair will flat-out disrespect it. Overall, it's not the best spacing move. But you can still use Nair to space out your enemies.

Using the tail end of the attack grants the largest disjoint by far. Using this as a retreat option will punish approaching players and those attempting to throw out hitboxes. If you're retreating, you will have the hit advantage. This is where it becomes a viable landing option, as well as a retreating and punish option, against the likes of Sonic, particularly when they're trying to spin into you. This is also a superior spacing option to retreating Bair, which is used better as a punish option, and one used on taller characters. Even so, characters like Captain Falcon are more likely to get punished when dashing into you. I have tested this out in money matches both against Kid Goggles and Fatality with successful results.

Using RAR Nair, as an approaching option, can be used to punish rolls. This is only useful when you're committing to the edge, however. Going any less than this can give them a safe corner of the stage and punish you. If you try it using it to catch landings, you're covering a wide area with a sizable hitbox. It's not the best option, but an option nonetheless.

Reversal Nair can also work similarly to Nair on the ledge. Using the tail end to punish a neutral ledge recovery, as well as having more range than someone using a ledge get-up attack. Keep in mind that Nair's hitbox starts above Ike and travels above and in front of him. The late portion of Nair is frame 22-27, which is long enough to cover a ledge recovery from below and behind you.

2) Quick Draw. In neutral, this move sounds like utter suicide. The cooldown is well over 50 frames, and no Ike uses it due to the obvious punish. When mixed up, however, you're covering three purposes.

The first is a long-ranged punish. Your opponent throws out a random attack, but you're too far away to punish with pivot FTilt. Quick Draw can reach them. Anything they throw out from a range will get the brunt end of your attack. This works for enemies trying to space you out, such as Marth, or even those with longer ranged attacks, like Zero Suit Samus. I was able to successfully use this multiple times in games against Mr. E, Marss, and Leo.

The second is to catch landings. This works against the likes of Sonic, who enjoys mashing Spring into autocanceled Dair. With the right timing, you have him. He cannot Bair you if he's in the middle of a Dair, but you can hit him for free when he lands. Kid Goggles was, again, who I tested this on. It limits Sonic's landing options. More testing is required to see if this can trade with Bair, should Sonic choose to use it. You can also try this against a Greninja who abuses Dair.

Finally, this move's major purpose is to reset neutral. If you're charging from mid-range to long-range, your opponent has several options. Jump, shield, roll, or airdodge. In any case you have, you can either wait for their next move, or punish their dodge option. Projectile characters have the option to attack you. However, you can consider several things. If it's a weak projectile, such as Luigi's Fireball, you can move through just fine and even attack after you're hit. If it's a chargeable projectile, such as Samus's Charge Shot, exercise caution. If it's not fully charged, you're suffering minimal punishment. If it's fully charged, I only recommend using this while she is in the air, not on the ground.

Do not throw out Quick Draw randomly, even to reset neutral. Larry was able to bait one out of me just by shorthopping into shield. Use this if you're reading out an attack or they're high into the air, enough where you can go past them if they're above you. Either way, you've successfully reset the neutral and forced them into a different position, shifting the momentum.

I'm also considering testing this against characters on the ledge. This can be potentially useful against characters who recover high, snap the ledge higher than other characters, or even as a ledge recovery punish from nearly any angle, close or far.

3) Repeated Aether recovery. It's common knowledge that double-snapping the ledge gets you punished. The extent of which you're punished is based on the opponent's kill potential, their arsenal of moves that hit the ledge, your damage percent, their shield, and what they're reading.

Against characters, like Marth, this move has no use. You can not only be Countered on the ledge, but if he reads it out, a tipper FSmash will end you at early percents. Avoid abusing this against Counter characters, unless you use it as a mixup option.

Also, against anyone with a charged up projectile, such as Mewtwo, Lucario, Cloud, or Samus, you run far too much risk and are better off saving this for another character, or when their projectile isn't charged.

Other characters, such as Mario, have limited options. If their FLUDD isn't charged, you have less to worry about. If their shield is already pressured, hitting Aether into it (by dropping and the spinning hitboxes attacking his shield) can possibly shieldpoke the character.

This brings up another option. Ledge drop into an aerial, then use Aether a second time. This just gave you another hit to punish the shield. This, however, is all purely hypothetical, and has yet to be tested.

Anytime your opponent is jumping or trying to get a free punish on your ledge recovery option, Aether's hitstun will keep you safe from damage as you make your way back to the ledge. It's a less expected option just on virtue that you run risk from double-snapping the ledge, but the active hitboxes warn your opponent to stay away, giving you more leeway than most characters.

4) Picking Lylat Cruise. A stage that is blatant suicide, due to its ledge possibly inhibiting your recovery, this stage may be Ike's greatest blessing for several reasons.

One is that it's a closed space that keeps campy characters from gaining any kind of space. Sonic, Villager, and Little Mac are given far less space to camp you out and force your approach. You have your hands on them at all times and they have few places to go.

The second is the platforms give you a place to land. In my honest opinion, with the exception of Fox, any stage is better than FD for Ike. Any place that gives you a landing spot means you won't be grabbed by that character when trying to come back to the stage. Plus, with Quick Draw autocancels, it just makes it that much easier.

The third is throwing off the momentum for certain characters. PK Fire can't hit you when the stage is angled, and this applies to several other, dangerous projectiles. Your close ranged abilities are a blessing on this stage.

Fourth, you can use the platforms to your own advantage. Your UTilt, Uair, and USmash hitboxes should be enough to catch landings on anyone trying to land on them, while the ground game nets you a chance to grab or Quick Draw your opponent when punishing their landings.

Fifth, and perhaps most importantly of all, Uthrow confirms into Fair for a kill. I ended my money match with KG using this very technique. Due to the angling of the ledge, it is ENTIRELY possible to follow up Fair for a finish around the 90-100% margin, especially on midweight characters, such as Sonic. I highly encourage all players to test this theory out on as many characters as you can.

Do not be afraid to go to Lylat. It is one of the least-experienced stages for most players. Larry banned Lylat on me at UGC, which gives me reason to believe this is a potential, viable stage for Ike, as well as a curse to many others. I feel Cloud may be the pariah of this stage, due to Blade Beam traveling across angled surfaces, as well as Limit Blade Beam being a freebie kill, again due to the angle, and his Uair covering platforms. Other than that, it gives little to no advantage to many characters on the roster, while Ike can take full advantage of the stage.

What applied in 2015 no longer applies in 2016 due to multiple advances in the meta. That being said, as long as we can continue to delve into less explored options, there's still a chance Ike will remain on mid-tier and bridge the gap against his tougher matchups. If your findings produce any results in tournament, please reply in this thread with what you've discovered.
 
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Mario766

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I'm 99 percent sure doing repeated up-bs against Mario is still suicide on some stages because Mario's dash attack will cause an untechable stage spike and probably kill you at high percents if you do multiple up-bs. Most characters can also hard punish Aether for using it too much, sounds like bad advice IMO. Characters like Fox will demolish Aether from below, while any good spike will demolish Aether from above.


Also, if QD did any actual percent it'd find use as a mid-range punish tool, but as it stands the risk/reward for QD is extremely bad, doing 6 percent or possibly getting hard punished for missing the punish doesn't sound very promising when the best you'll get off the QD is a neutral reset and maybe 6 percent.
 

Rango the Mercenary

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I'm 99 percent sure doing repeated up-bs against Mario is still suicide on some stages because Mario's dash attack will cause an untechable stage spike and probably kill you at high percents if you do multiple up-bs. Most characters can also hard punish Aether for using it too much, sounds like bad advice IMO. Characters like Fox will demolish Aether from below, while any good spike will demolish Aether from above.


Also, if QD did any actual percent it'd find use as a mid-range punish tool, but as it stands the risk/reward for QD is extremely bad, doing 6 percent or possibly getting hard punished for missing the punish doesn't sound very promising when the best you'll get off the QD is a neutral reset and maybe 6 percent.
Good point. You have to weigh in which characters you use it on and their positioning. But it is an option.

As for Quick Draw, that is a good point, but it's not enough to invalidate the move in neutral. As a retreat tool, it's the best way to hit spot punishes against enemies who land wrong, but you have little time to react to. It makes for a solid read option against slower landing moves and non-autocanceled attacks. I'm also going to experiment with it more against Sonic's spinning moves and landing.
 

DariusM27

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I posted a Ike Tech thingy on the main page, but just in case you guys don't see it, here ya go! Sharing here since it seems to be topic related.

https://smashboards.com/threads/ike-tech-perfect-pivot-perfect-shield-bair.443883/

I'm a Marth main, Ike secondary, and I use perfect shields with Marth a lot. If you hit a Marth's perfect shield, you could be KOd at 50% or less. I labbed a bit with Ike, and this is what I came up with.
 

Mario766

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If Ike had better PP options, maybe. But as of now it isn't new to do OoS B-Air punishes off PS.
 

DariusM27

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If Ike had better PP options, maybe. But as of now it isn't new to do OoS B-Air punishes off PS.
I didn't expect it was new to Bair Oos off PS, but I haven't seen any dash into PP as of yet, or simply time a PP shield as an approach option - like the examples I posted above.
 

PyroTakun

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All that QD talk and you didn't even bring up the FH into Auto-cancel for an approach mixup, or a quick way to chase/ follow up without those nasty 50 frames.

Not spamable by any means, but a good mixup to throw out once or twice
 

BanGaRanG

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All that QD talk and you didn't even bring up the FH into Auto-cancel for an approach mixup, or a quick way to chase/ follow up without those nasty 50 frames.

Not spamable by any means, but a good mixup to throw out once or twice
Partially bc it's a terrible approach. But I do like to use it occasionally to tomahawk grab Cloud (specifically) that just runs away and charge limit. Or jab out a character that thinks I can't control that space.
 
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