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Make Your Move 23; Moveset Contest! Top 50 posted! Congratulations everyone! 23 is dead; see you in 24 on Feb. 24th!

PeridotGX

Smash Hero
Joined
Jun 8, 2017
Messages
7,093
Location
That Distant Shore
NNID
Denoma5280
Switch FC
2036-9032-5151
You might have noticed that whenever I mention the AI Dungeon sets, it's just that... sets. Plural. That's because I've made a ton of them.

(this one has already been shared but for completion's sake)

Yeah, the character choices are... odd. I took requests from people in the DLC Speculation thread. The only one that was my choice was the latest, Bill Cipher.
 

Slavic

homura on the outside, madoka on the inside
Premium
Joined
Jun 5, 2013
Messages
700
Location
taco bell, probably
Blows dust from microphone
Is this thing still on??
Taps mic and clears throat
Insert funny dialogue here

Anyways, now that life has stabilized a bit for me after, well, all of 2020, I can get back to doing my reading and commenting (and maybe work on sets a bit between). To start I finally got around to Hotaru by Katapultar Katapultar who I've actually been trying to read since she was posted and just haven't for one reason or another. I'm glad I finally did, though, because she's actually got a pretty neat set! I may not know anything about KoF or Garou or anything SNK really, but Hotaru does a great job at translating the character without relying heavily on reader knowledge to do so. Like a lot of fighting game sets, we get plenty of animations to work with which helps people like me unfamiliar with the character, and there are other aspects of the presentation I really appreciate. Most notably I really like separating the cancel options into their own section in the set in a list format. It helps to break the moves up and keeps the standards from turning into unapproachable walls of text.

As for the actual substance of Hotaru, I really like the approach as an aggressively defensive character. MYM gets plenty of defensive characters but they're usually designed as heavyweights who power through the damage they take to punish. Instead, Hotaru has both unique and excellent defensive options that force players to continue to play actively. The chip damage through the shield seems really bad at first, especially because her shield isn't exceptionally great, but I like the idea of controlled damage taking to reach thresholds (something I have also used before with characters like Dunban, Gamagori, and Bakugo). It compliments her overall style well; play smart and defensive but keep mobile and turn your defenses into momentum. This goes well with other aspects of Hotaru including her super-armored DSpec and her Just Guard. Hotaru's options provide her with good recovery and decent healing, both directly tied to how well the player can manage the set and use the inputs, and there's clear effort for Hotaru to feel similar to Terry while still being different.

One of the bigger "issues" I have with the set, for lack of a better word, actually relates to the T.O.P. mechanic. T.O.P. is a profoundly useful mechanic for MYM (one that I've been looking at for a future set) and one we've got very little usage out of so far. Because of this, Hotaru feels almost like a tech demo for T.O.P., with her set pretty carefully built around the possible brackets and keeping in them. However, once in T.O.P., Hotaru gets her auto-healing, her damage buff, and then two new moves. The Super Specials are pretty fun, especially the grounded one, but the changes overall don't feel like they make it entirely worth going through the effort to stay in that percentile all the time. I assume this is part of the translation so I'm not docking a lot of my opinion for this, but as an outsider it is just a bit of a letdown in terms of potential. Other than that most other things are a few extremely nitpicky items. First, in SSpec the move sometimes says the default version has a range of 4 grids and other times 3. This could be a symptom of a change at some point and just missing one of the numbers but I thought I'd bring it up. Some of the names of moves seem like they could have typos as well, such as the Super Special G being called Ten-shou Range when other moves have Renge. I'm not versed in the source material so I could be wrong but it just stood out to me.

Other than these minor things this is a really solid transition into Smash and is a conceptually fun set to work with. Having the context of Terry in Smash also helps as a comparison to both ease description and also highlight the differences. The T.O.P. mechanic is one I want to see MYM really dig into and extract all the potential from, so I can be patient for what this set left me wanting for. A good set for getting back into the game!
 

NeonVoid

Smash Journeyman
Joined
Dec 31, 2019
Messages
212
Here's my new edits on Cinderace! While some may be hesitant to add this mon in Smash, I promise it's one of the best candidates out of those who are likely, and I know they probably won't put in that much work for a Pokemon, but I'm confident I've done my best to represent this Pokemon's archetype!

We got
  • Unique gimmick
  • Unique archetype
  • Unique move
  • Full package
  • Cinderace can turn Mario into a Mcdonald's toy

So yes, we got some exciting stuff here and I hope you enjoy it all! Even after this competition is done, please give me feedback, I love to hear it!



Cool Pyro Ball lol.png


Why Cinderace?

Currently, Cinderace is noted as the most popular starter Pokemon in Sword and Shield, and perhaps one of the best new Pokemon in the games. Not only that, but Cinderace has some of the cleanest animations in the game, especially his signature move, Pyro Ball. Because of that, I have been able to design a moveset which makes Cinderace original. Also, this whole evolution line has received a lot of promotion just like Greninja and Incineroar, and I see people warming up to Cinderace everyday, so I strongly believe that this guy will most likely be added in FP2 and release over other Pokemon like Rillaboom, a Grass type.


The cheer gimmick was added upon reviewing the pokedex description for Cinderace in Pokemon Shield, which says “It's skilled at both offense and defense, and it gets pumped up when cheered on.” That's when it snapped for me. When Byleth was revealed, Sakurai said that he and the team wanted to make the most out of another FE character, and sure enough, he was unique. I feel that this cheering gimmick would make Cinderace a very bright and innovative character, despite already having two Fire type starters in the game like Charizard and Incineroar.


Updates
  • Court Change was replaced with Bounce for Down Special. I contemplated having Court Change flip the stage over, but I knew that would either make Cinderace too confusing or too powerful. Luckily, Bounce is much more useful and funny if you use it wrong.
  • Blaze has been replaced with Cheering for a gimmick to represent who Cinderace is!
  • Unique move to Smash - Galarian Punt has been chanced to be a really reliable but more utility-based version of Incineroar's Alolan Whip.
  • Pyro Ball and the Cheering mechanic has been completely-reworked!
As such, every character has both advantages and disadvantages, so I hope there will be a fair balance like other characters.

Jabs: Cinderace will throw out a series of rapid kicks, in a similar fashion to Min Min, The first jab comes out on frame 6 and deal around 14% damage, one of the fastest jabs in the game for quick damage or for getting out of disadvantage state. This is one of the moves with laggy animations and buffering time, which could leave you vulnerable if the opponent is out of range from the jab. This move is not a good kill confirm option and is best recommended to be used at lower percents. The rapid jabs, however, are not safe on shield due to around 18-20 frames of ending lag, and the move in its entirety is not angled.

Side Tilt: Cinderace will release a roundhouse kick directly in front of it. Like Greninja’s side tilt, this will start on frame 10 and does around 9% base damage. This attack can be angled downwards and upwards just like Greninja's forward tilt, but likewise, is a move that isn't safe on shield (will have around 10 frames in the starting animation and 10 frames for the move to end after the hitbox connects). This move can also kill at around 150% if near the ledge. This move can be angled upwards, downwards, and straight ahead.

Up Tilt: Cinderace will simply hop up and use a headbutt upwards like a soccer player when they use their heads (somewhat like Squirtle's up tilt). This move comes out on around frames 7-8, and has around 9 frames of ending lag. Additionally, it deals about 7% base damage and kills around incredibly high percents such as 160-170%. This move, if in that scenario, is a good option to use on shield and is not angled.

Down Tilt: Cinderace will do a low sweep kick on the ground (somewhat like Captain Falcon's down tilt). This generally has a 30% chance to trip the opponents. Comes out on frame 6 and also does around 10% damage. This move becomes active on frame 11-12, and is safe to use on shield due to the 8 frames of ending lag. This move will generally not KO the opponent, and the move is also not angled.

Dash Attack: Cinderace will simply charge forward and slam its elbow into the opponent and push them down towards the ground (imagine the taunt that Incineroar does when he lands his dash attack). This will come out and attack on frame 8-9 and does around 14% damage. With the strike and elbow, this move would act as a double hit, dealing around 6% base damage in the first hitbox, and 8% damage in the second hitbox. This can KO, but normally around 150% damage anywhere on stage. This is not safe to use on shield, mainly because Cinderace has around 20 frames of ending lag when it connects to the shield.


Neutral Aerial: Cinderace, like Mario's neutral air, will release a kick in the direction he’s facing. This will come out and start attacking at frames 3-5 and the hitbox lasts around 20 frames. This move is good for pressuring opponents, while additionally doing nearly 8% damage. This move also has around 15 frames of end lag and is safe on shield since you are more than likely to be able to DI away from the opponent in time, and this move is not a good kill-confirm option.

Forward Aerial: This move would run like Captain Falcons kick, where Cinderace jabs a flaming knee forward. This will come out at frame 14 and does around 13% damage. This is also not safe on shield, as it has around 15-16 vulnerability frames. This is, however, a really good kill-confirm option and kills most opponents at around 90-100% damage if this move makes contact while facing the blast zone while offstage.

Back Aerial: Cinderace will rotate 180* and slam the back of his foot into the opponent. This comes out on frame 14 and will deal nearly 13% damage. This move also has around 20 frames of end lag and is therefore not safe to use on shield. This move is a really good option for edgeguarding and kill-confirming given the high knockback it has.

Up Aerial: Once in the air, Cinderace will backflip into an uppercut kick. The hitbox will be active around frames 4-7 and will do about 7% damage. It has around 20 vulnerability frames (move is almost 30 frames total) but is relatively a safe move to use on shield because you can cancel out of the move almost right after the hitbox dissipates.

Down Aerial: With this move, like other select fighters, you can spike opponents. Cinderace will stomp three feet directly below him (imagine the motion where Kirby/Meta Knight does a downward grab). Additionally, if you hit an opponent while on stage with this while they're on the ground, this will bury them. Likewise, this move comes out at frames 9, 11 and 14, with the final kick being the strongest. This move will also have around 35-40 vulnerability frames since it's an aerial attack, but it can be canceled if you hit the ground early. In order of kicks, the damage will be 5% -> 5% -> 7%, with the final kick having a meteor effect. This move is a good kill confirm option and can send opponents downwards into the blast zone using the meteor effect around 60% damage or higher. Since this move is a multi-hit, this is also a good move to use on shield given you're more likely to shield poke!


Forward Smash: Cinderace now has a stronger roundhouse kick, which slams forward. You can charge the move at frame 2, and the hitbox will be active during frames 16-19 and has around 30 vulnerability frames, making this move unsafe on shield. This move also does around 20% damage making this a great kill-confirm option!

Down Smash: Cinderace will literally do the split like Min Min's down smash, covering both the front and the back of Cinderace. Like the most recent fighter addition, Min Min, the animations would be similar to hers, but better in terms of frames after the attacks are done, as it would take a shorter amount of time for Cinderace to get up. The hitbox is active during frames 6-9 and doesn't end until around 25 frames after that, making laggy animation and buffering to follow. This move also does around 16% damage, you can charge hold the move on frame 2, and is not out of the norm for a kill-confirm option, but not a regular killing move. This is also a move that is safe on shield since Cinderace can shield or spot dodge the moment he gets back up on his feet.

Up Smash: Cinderace does a backflip and swings his feet above him. The hitbox will start in the direction Cinderace is facing and will go all the way around. The hitbox will be active around frames 9-13 and will have around 26 vulnerability frames, like Luigi's Up Smash. This also does around 14% damage and is a great kill-confirm option since a lot of combos at higher percents can lead into Up Smash, and it can kill opponents starting around 90% (lightweights around 70%). Once again, since this is a Smash attack, it is not safe to use on shield, and the charge hold is on frame 6.

Basic Grabs: Cinderace will grab the opponent and knee them in the stomach. Starts at frame 6, usually does around 2% for the pummels. This is also a good option to use out of shield.

Forward Throw: Cinderace will push the opponent in front of him and push him away using his foot (good going into a down tilt). This does around 8% in damage. The only good combo you can lead into with this is a dash attack at lower percents.

Down Throw: Cinderace will do what Greninja does for his Down B and will simply throw the opponent towards the ground. Like Greninja, this is good for transitioning into many different combos. This does about 6% damage, which is why many combos have an origin of down throw due to the ability to avoid buffering delays.

Back Throw: Cinderace will throw the opponent backward and give them a hard knee, which is good for a kill-confirm at the ledge if the opponent is near 120%. This in general does around 13% damage.

Up Throw: Cinderace will headbutt the opponent upright, kind of like how a soccer player would hit a ball with their head. This, like forward throw, also does around 6% damage.

Gimmick - Cheering: I figured I’d make the most out of the possibilities for Cinderace, so this is a gimmick that boosts this character's power when cheered on, like it's said in Cinderace's Pokedex description in Pokemon Shield. There will be a bar above the player icon (kind of like the MP bar on Hero), and it resembles the Dynamax level bar that you can find on a Pokemon's stats page. Cinderace, unlike any other character, can get the crowd to cheer with almost anything stylish he does, including a combo or edgeguarding, or even a strong hit from a move like a smash attack or Pyro Ball. Even gasps will fill this gauge. Once the Cheering bar is filled, it will boost one attack (more specifically, a Special attack), and the cheering boost will affect the first special move you use after the Cheering is active. Their effects will be listed in the moves themselves below. Additionally, the Cheering effect will not stop until Cinderace loses a stock. You also can't change the special move Cheering affects after you already chose one.

- Cheering is actually very hard to activate. For reference, landing one charged Smash attack will fill up around 1/3 of the bar. Landing a fully-charged Pyro Ball will also fill up 1/3 of the bar. Lastly, a combo (four or more hits) will most likely fill up a 1/3 margin of the bar as well. These moves have to actually hit the opponent for them to work, they can't hit the opponent's shield. Since it's so hard to raise the bar, it's somewhat like Terry, where the bar will most likely come into effect after 100% damage has been taken, and this is practically a last-resort option. When the Cheering is active, a cheering noise will start in the background and you can hear a crowd chanting like in the Gym Stadiums in Sword and Shield.

Neutral B: Pyro Ball

So I contemplated how I wanted to make this move work several times. This move definitely has to be in Cinderace's moveset since that's his signature move, and the only reason I struggled with making this work is because you can do so much with it. My decision on how to work this move came from watching a couple of the more recent episodes of the Pokemon anime (as Cinderace made his debut a couple of weeks ago alongside one of the current main characters in the show). In the anime, Cinderace's Pyro Ball is compared to Lucario's Aura Sphere, except Pyro Ball is way stronger.

Ultimately (no pun intended), I decided to make this a more unique charging move (like Lucario's Aura Sphere, Mewtwo's Shadow Ball, and Samus's blaster). This move contains three visual phases, and the timing for when you launch the Pyro Ball is important. You can fire two versions of this attack, one is a weaker Pyro Ball and the other is a fully-charged Pyro Ball, and out of these three visual phases, you can launch Pyro Ball during the second two phases, so here we go!

- Also, in terms of physical properties, the Pyro Ball is in no way like Mario's fireballs. Instead, the Pyro Ball retains the tangibility and traits of a soccer ball; meaning it can bounce off the ground and deal more damage. Like King Dedede's Gordo, this smaller Pyro Ball (in the second visual phase) can be bounced around between opponents, and every time Cinderace kicks it back, it gets slightly bigger, making the Pyro Ball much more high-risk to both opponents.

- First visual phase: The player hits the B button and Cinderace kicks the ground and a pebble goes flying into the air, not too high, just relatively above Cinderace's waist line. It's a small pebble thats roughly the half the size of Diddy Kong's peanut.

- Second visual phase: This second phase has two options. The first option lets you attack, and the second option allows you to keep charging the move and going into the third phase. If you choose to keep charging the move, Cinderace will knee the pebble for a second time, turning it into a small Pyro Ball. This one is roughly the size of Mario's fireball. If you choose to attack instead during this phase, then you must hit the B button right where Cinderace is supposed to knee the pebble. If you do that, then Cinderace will instead knee the Pyro Ball forward towards the opponent. This little Pyro Ball will do the same amount of damage and have the same velocity of an uncharged Aura Sphere from Lucario, which is around 10% damage. This little Pyro Ball isn't a good kill-confirming option, but is nonetheless great for edgeguarding the opponent. If you are a good distance away from the opponent, then this move is defintely safe on shield.

- Third/Final visual phase: Again, as a reminder, this third phase will only happen if you choose to keep charging. This time around, after Cinderace knees the pebble and turns it into a decent size Pyro Ball, Cinderace will do what he does for the move in Sword and Shield, which is jump up and roundhouse kick the Pyro Ball towards the opponent. Timing is everything here. To fire the now large Pyro Ball, you have to hit the B button right when Cinderace roundhouse kicks the ball. If you hit B before or after that the Pyro Ball will turn back into a regular pebble and diminish, never to be seen again. Assuming you get the timing right, the Pyro Ball will lunge forward, if you have a lot of ground in front of you, this ball will probably bounce off the ground once or twice. This time, the Pyro Ball is much more tangible and is almost three times the size of Mario's fireball. Pyro Ball in Sword and Shield is supposed to do as much damage as Charizard’s Flare Blitz, which is about 28% damage (aaaaand you take no recoil)! This move also is normally safe on shield, as like Byleth's side B, this can get the opponent close to having a shield break. This is a great kill confirm option and, like Steve's diamond weapons, can kill INCREDIBLY EARLY like around 70-80%, maybe even 60 if the opponent is already near the blast zone! Unfortunately, most players will probably use small Pyro Ball since it works better for edgeguarding.

- FOR CHEERING: Additionally, however, if you use Cheering on this move, you will be able to entirely skip the second phase of charging. Instead, Cinderace will simply kick the ground for a pebble, and can go straight into roundhouse kicking the Pyro Ball. Since this move charges quicker, the move will only do 24%, but will do much greater knockback, killing most people at 70% on stage anywhere, and depending on the circumstances, can kill lightweights starting at 30%.



Side B: Iron Head

Cinderace would charge forward and slam his head into the opponent. This can be used for knockback, but could leave you vulnerable if you missed (imagine Banjo’s side B but slightly weaker). This move comes out almost instantly and the hitbox is active at frame 3, dealing around 16% damage. Additionally, if you make contact with this move on an opponent while they're offstage, they will be unable to stop Cinderace. This move has high knockback and can kill starting around 90%. This move is quicker than Banjo and Kazooie and has around 64 frames in total. The actual hitbox is active around frames 18-35 and the move cannot be canceled out of, making this option very unsafe on shield. However, this is a good option out of shield!

- FOR CHEERING: This time around, Iron Head becomes very dangerous. The frame data still remains the same, but instead of knocking back an opponent, it actually plants them into the ground when Iron Head makes contact. If used offstage on an opponent, this move has a meteor effect and will spike them downwards into the blast zone. The frame data might remain the same, but instead of being vulnerable you can cancel out of this attack by shielding, making this safer to use on shield.


Up B: Galarian Punt

- I did contemplate how I should do this, but honestly it made sense to give Cinderace a move exclusive to Smash, since they did that with Incineroar and all. I wanted the Galarian Punt to be based off of that, but also unique enough to where this move is much more useful than Incineroar's Alolan Whip.

- Instead of having just a recovery, this also makes for a good aerial attack! When off stage, Cinderace will use this move as a recovery and will have a mini-trampoline spawn under him.

- I know it is technically impossible for Cinderace to spawn in a trampoline out of nowhere, but I remain confident in the fact this move will be fun and useful! Plus, Incineroar and Banjo/Kazooie spawn in a wrestling ring and a springboard, so I don't see the problem of doing it to Cinderace! :)

- If offstage, Cinderace will pull back towards the trampoline and you can hold the button (Up + B) to gain momentum, and you can release the button at any time. The longer you hold the button, the further you'll go, and vice versa. Additionally, you can use the joystick and tilt in the direction you want to be launched. If you're on the ground, you can still tilt the joystick, but there won't be any trampoline this time. TIlt in the direction you want Cinderace to go, and Cinderace charge with breakneck speed and will command grab the opponent (like Lucario's Force Palm) and start kicking them as a ball (this is the archetype, where Cinderace treats opponents like a soccer ball).

- In this case, every character gets turned into a soccer ball with the size of a soccer ball and with soccer ball properties, and Cinderace will knee the opponent into the air. Like Incineroar, timing is everything. Cinderace will do a backflip while kicking the opponent forward. if you press B right when Cinderace's foot makes contact (which is the strongest form of this attack), the opponent will be launched forward. Like Joker's Eifa, the opponent will catch fire and take minimal damage for a short while. This isn't a good kill-confirm option, but is relatively a good move to use.

- If you press B too early or too late, Cinderace will do the backflip but instead kick the opponent upwards, and this will not set the opponent on fire and make them take minimal damage. If you don't hit B, then the opponent will change back to normal and will most likely be able to escape.

- When I say the character becomes a ball, I mean they are LITERALLY sized and turned into a soccer ball. For example, Mario becomes a ball like the Mario Ball Mcdonald's toy, and Kirby transforms into a ball like in the game Kirby: Canvas Curse for DS. The move can connect as early as on frame 6 and does a maximum of 20% damage.

- FOR CHEERING: If cheering is active, you can use this move twice if you miss the first time and you won't have to deal with vulnerability frames. If this move is used as a recovery, Cinderace's little trampoline will remain where it was used for a few seconds and other people can jump on it. Lastly, if you're on the ground and using this as an attack, you can hit B right before the command grab starts and CInderace will slam another roundhouse kick instead, like his forward smash attack. This, in particular, is a great kill-confirm option, and will set the opponent on fire for a few seconds.


Down B: Bounce This move is very simple but at the same time very enjoyable. This works with the same physics of Zero Suit Samus' down B. Cinderace can knock opponents towards the stage, but instead of groundpounding, this instead does massive damage if you use this move and land on someone holding their shield, making it easier to get a shield break. Like Sonic in sidescroller games where he can spinball off the ground repetitively, Cinderace can continuously kick off the stage and go back up in the air, and you stop bouncing after the third strike. This must be used either on or above the stage. If you use it below the stage, Cinderace will “think he can fly” and flap his arms like wings and ultimately fail. The animation is really good if you’re looking for humor. Cinderace will kick off the ground on frame 8, the hitbox will stay up until he lands, and this does as much as 18% damage.

- FOR CHEERING: This does as much as 24% damage if the cheering gimmick is active instead of the normal 18% damage rate. While in the air, you can hold Down B again to charge the move for around two seconds. If you do this, you can tilt you joystick towards where you want Cinderace to land, and he will leave a gust of wind that is relatively the size of 1/4 of Battlefield. The windforce with Bounce while Cheering is really good for edgeguarding, as the windforce, like Palutena's forward Smash, will push the opponents away.

Final Smash: Gigantamax Crusher
Cinderace will start by throwing a Pyro Ball at the opponent, dealing around 15% damage and will cut to a cinematic. This cutscene takes place at the Wyndon Stadium, and the opponent will get up, only to be met with Cinderace Gigantamaxing and kicking his strong “mind of its own” Pyro Ball towards the opponent, who is small and powerless against this giant fireball, which does about 50% damage. Cool cinematic with the size comparison between the player and Gigantamax Cinderace.


Speed & Jumps: Cinderace will maintain a low jumping distance, but can move extremely fast. While High Jump Kick is an excellent recovery option, Cinderace’s speed and jumps are somewhat on par with Little Mac.

Out of Shield (OoS) options: Great, as Cinderace has a lot of options after shield buffers and other moves, almost like Chrom & Roy.

Grab Range: Pikachu

Weight: Lightweight

Up Taunt: Kicks the ground and kicks around a small pebble.

Side Taunt: Proudly pounds his fists up with excitement.

Down Taunt: Gets down on his knees and roars, like in Sword and Shield (more specifically the Dynamax starting animation without Dynamaxing).


Win Animation #1: Cinderace is seen doing all sorts of flips and kicking a Pyro Ball in a circular motion around him. This ends with Cinderace taking a kneel and having his foot on top of the ball like a soccer player.


Win Animation #2: Cinderace is looking around with cheering noises in the background, and Cinderace is visibly proud.


Win Animation #3: This will be unique, as you’ll get a background view of Cinderace jumping from another distant island, and he will land on his knees, skidding across the ground and leaving fire behind him.

Bonus Win Animation: If you take the last stock with a final smash, then the victory screen will pause and you'll see nothing but that giant Pyro Ball with eyes. This is like Joker, where the game can end instantly if the finishing move is a final smash.


Idle Animation: Cinderace will follow his idle animation from Sword and Shield, where he will eventually start to kick a pebble and turn it into a Pyro Ball. Cinderace will kick it over his head, and the ball will disappear. This is unique, where an opponent can actually take damage if hit by the ball.
(I know, this won’t really have any effect in competition, it’s just there as an easter egg)


Analysis: Cinderace is a highly unique fighter with quick speed, stylish combos and animations, and strong options for combo starters and kill confirms. A perfect character for entertaining players like content creators who create montages and such. Edgeguarding has been built into this character’s concept, with Pyro ball and Iron Head being great utility moves. Out of shield options give Cinderace a great deal of flexibility, and speed allows it to easily bait and punish his opponents. However, buffering and somewhat counter-productive offstage play can make competition tricky, but still interesting. Cinderace thrives in the advantage state, and the ability to go offstage with Iron Head, as well as using bair/fair can easily make Cinderace a threat to you once you’re off that stage, especially if Cinderace can read you.


Difficulty - Hard: For any player devoted to Cinderace, it will be difficult to control his mechanics, as you have a lot of risky scenarios with a high reward. Moves like Iron Head leave you vulnerable, which could end in a quick defeat if you're not careful. If you know Cinderace's combos and can time your smash attacks just right, then you might be able to quickly gain control of the final outcome of the match, regardless of how far down you are in stocks.


Fighter Classification (Hit & Run/Zoner): Depending on how you play, Cinderace can easily be used to quickly approach the opponent for close-combat attacks and get out of the opponents range just as easy, due to a small hurtbox from the front and back ends. Cinderace can also classify as a Zoner thanks to Pyro Ball. Like Pikachu’s thunder jolts, Pyro Ball is a stellar option for edgeguarding and stalling the opponent, as it can go off the screen to hit an opponent into the blast zone, as well as bouncing under the stage when necessary. A lot of moves give Cinderace quite the variety of uniqueness!

Classic Mode - Courageous Spirit!

In this route, Cinderace will take on opponents that have some relation to arrogange or determination.

Cinderace's whole evolution line, as described by developers is drastic growth and character development.

Scorbunny is the baby starter and first in the evolution line, and represents an energetic kid who loves to run around and use their feet for soccer
Raboot is the second in the evolution and represents an awkward teenager who is going through an edgy rebellious phase
Cinderace is the final evolution in this line, and is fully-grown, powerful, and has rediscovered his interest in soccer (really quite touching lol)

This path would represent that same personal journey. Cinderace in this classic routh will work towardsimproving for the better by working his way through overcoming arrogance from the ground up, and by beating (learning from) characters that have passion and motives, as well as overcoming darkness (the boss). I want this mode to be about personal growth because that describes the evolution from Scorbunny all the way to Cinderace.

The idea here is to not include any type of items. That way, the route can help represent Cinderace overcoming adversity. Instead, Cinderace will get his final smash when his cheering meter is filled. He can only get one final smash per round.
  • Stage 1: :ultkrool: on :pirateship:
  • Stage 2: :ultbowser: & :ultbowserjr: (Bowser’s Castle on Paper Mario; multi-battle with two Bowser and the koopalings)
  • Stage 3: :ultryu: & :ultken: (Suzaku Castle; Free for all, stamina battle)
  • Stage 4: :ultfalcon: & :ultwiifittrainer: (2v1; Big Blue)
  • Stage 5: :ultgreninja: - Greninja gets Final Smash every 30 seconds and also starts the match with one (Kalos Pokemon League)
  • Stage 6: :ultincineroar: & :ultcharizard: (free for all; Wyndon Stadium)
  • Boss - Eternatus (Eternamax form): While it’s unlikely, one can dream, and this would be a cool way to add more bosses to the game for fun. Cinderace will look at Eternatus in confusion at the top of Hammerlocke tower (separate from Wyndon Stadium) and see Eternatus slowly get bigger and change into its Eternamax form. During battle, parts of Eternatus will pop in and out of the screen, and that’s when you damage it. Cinderace will be on a platform that rotates around Eternatus, surrounding it in a circular motion. After a while, Eternatus will break the platform and you’ll be wandering on chunks of debris, or even Eternatus himself. In this fight, final smash on Cinderace is disabled.
New Game Feature - Boss Blitz: Sort of like the all-star mode, Boss Blitz will allow you to go through all of the bosses in the game for prizes, including a couple of new bosses to be added in over time (Eternatus, for example).

Stage - Wyndon Stadium: This is a different stage compared to other Pokemon stages. In this stage, the players will be on a platform that moves throughout the Galar region, and this will partly work like Poke Floats did in Melee.
  • The battle will start on a midair platform made out of glass (you can't go under it), with three additional platforms above it (like Pokemon Stadium 2 with an additional platform). The stage will move around the rim of the Wyndon Stadium. You will see two Pokemon fighting down on the field, but soon, the Pokemon Dynamax. These Pokemon will be random, but mainly, new Gen 8 Pokemon will appear. The fossil Pokemon, Galarian forms, the other starters, and even some Gigantamax Pokemon will appear. While the super-sized Pokemon fight, the platform will begin to disappear and drop you on to the Dynamax Pokemon, where you can move around like Poke Floats from Melee. The players will eventually return to the platform, and the two Pokemon fighting will use Max Moves that result in a bright light covering everything but the platform you’re on.
  • When the light goes away, you’ll see that the platform is moving away from the stadium, still filled with battling and cheering. The players will continue to tour the Galar Region, and the platform will fly by all sorts of places in the region, such as the other cities and the hometown.
  • The next stop is the Wild Area, and the platform will move all around it, kind of like the Prism Tower stage, just horizontally. You’ll go through parts like the bridges and the Lake of Outrage, and you will see a bunch of Pokemon running around and living in the area.
  • After a while, the stage will approach and enter a max raid den. You enter as the raid is starting, and you'll see a random Dynamax/Gigantamax Pokemon fighting four Pokemon below. Once again, the platform will drop you onto the Pokemon, soon enough, another Pokemom from below will Dynamax, and the Pokemon will collide with each other. This will end with the raid Pokemon blowing your platform out of the den.
  • This is how the cycle goes, but you can also turn off stage hazards, and you’ll just fight on a floating platform, with one mini platform above it. This time, the Smash fighters are the attention. Dynamax Pokemon will come in, but they will fight each other and not interfere with you in any way. Occasionally, they will glance at the platform, however.
  • Obviously, no new Pokeball Pokemon will get added, but this stage will more than make up for it.
  • Additionally, stage hazards can be turned off, and you’ll just stay on the glass platforms and stay in the stadium, making this stage legal in competition.

Music Tracks
  • Battle! Wild Pokemon (Remix)
  • FInal Battle! Hop
  • Battle! Gym Leader (Remix)
  • Battle! Marnie
  • Battle! Rival Bede
  • Motostoke
  • Hammerlocke
  • Wyndon
  • Battle Tower
  • Battle! Max Raid
  • Battle! Zacian/Zamazenta
  • Eternatus Phase 1
  • Eternatus Phase 2
  • Eternatus Phase 3 (Remix)
 
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BKupa666

Barnacled Boss
Moderator
Joined
Aug 12, 2008
Messages
7,763
Location
Toxic Tower
POLTERKITTY:
On a pure character choice level, it's great to have some company with a second set from the Luigi's Mansion 3 ghosts. Several months back, when you floated Polterkitty, I wasn't entirely sure how one could craft a full set outside the context of a Hellen Gravely summons, but in previewing what you put in chat and now reading the full product, it's clear you had a vision for the character and saw it through to fruition. I'm particularly fond of how movement is incorporated into both Polterkitty's specials and standards. In my observation, a lot of MYM sets will cover movement in the context of spacing for static attacks, but outside a move here or there, not really push into territory where the character relies on mobility outside standard dashes, jumps and maybe floats. Not so with Polterkitty, who has methods of altering her profile (Up and Down Specials), a cool option to cancel out of an U-Smash burst and varying cross-up opportunities with alternate D-Tilt and D-Air. The total package really is evocative of a demon ghost cat, slinking around its prey in anticipation of just the right moment to close in for the KO.

I'd be higher on Polterkitty if I didn't have a few outlying gameplay or balance concerns revolving around a few Specials. Neutral Special is a strong signature move from a conceptual standpoint, but eyebrow-raising to me is the possibility of foes forcibly pushing Polterkitty into traps or constructs just by turning to face her during startup. Though the window for this isn't too bad (ROB's rocket-based aerials coming out between frames 14 to 20), the fact that Polterkitty only can move linearly backward could definitely become troublesome for her. I wasn't sure whether this was part of your vision for counterplay against her, in which case an explicit mention could help; if not, it could be cool if, during startup for her retreat, the player could input a direction to control her backward movement (perhaps leaping into the air so she can retaliate with something like falling F-Air). And I'm a little leery of Side Special giving Polterkitty super armor on command while having both fast startup and end lag. The latter serves its function in allowing the close-range hitbox to become a combo starter, so the workaround might just be having the super armor diminish if the player spams the move to continually take half-damage. To a lesser degree, Polterkitty has a few more simplistic, albeit characterized moves here or there; maybe one or two more beyond D-Tilt could be fleshed out to where she flips the foe around to better set up Neutral Special's grab-and-tumble?

At the end of the day (night?), Polterkitty is a substantive step up from Robobot Armor and will be sure to steal a spot on my vote list whenever we ultimately end up getting around to that.

THE PRIMORDIAL DARKNESS:
When it comes to heavyweights, movesets tend to fall into two camps — either the weight, movement speed, power and so on is an incidental byproduct of character choice or is infused into the set's design such that it's a core part of how the character feels and plays. Primordial Darkness definitely falls into the latter category, with several highlights that appear to take Ultimate elements from both heavies and non-heavies alike and push them to the nth degree. Super armor, for one, has become an increasingly prominent staple, culminating with K. Rool's mechanic. Mr. Darkness goes a step further with Neutral Special, pushing beyond just sponging damage to unlock one of several temporary buffs or combos by way of frame-data improvements. I have some nagging concern that 75% is too low of a threshold for it to go on to wear two armors, but the concept itself is a stellar one. Darkness in essence has a far more compelling version of rage, letting it choose between said buffs or create a more customized bullet hell playground with Side Special.

I mentioned in chat, but Up Special is perhaps my favorite among all of Primordial Darkness' moves, in terms of it taking a staple Smash move archetype, the linear dart recovery, and innovating as a terrifying, yet committal solution to the combo spam that invariably becomes the bane of big-body existence. The damage multiplier component means Darkness can attempt to mix up specifically when during a string it bursts out to hit a foe, subjecting itself to more damage in the hopes of a more devastating payoff, in exchange for getting bodied even harder on whiff. Foes, meanwhile, are incentivized to play in a more interesting, calculating way, making sure for the love of god, they deal a sufficiently strong hit before Darkness can dart in at them. And then, there's the miasma, which ironically feels more in-Smash than much of the rest of the set because of Hero, and is in my opinion the optimal way to work instant-KOs into Smash. I could maybe do with an added visual indicator as to how close a foe is to getting overtaken (mist starting to seep out of them or something), but beyond that, the clouds have great synergy within the set — Darkness either can place them to steer enemy movement into his more imminently dangerous attacks or else use those attacks (projectiles chief among them) to land a foe unavoidably in the miasma.

My only real nitpick with Darkness has to do with the intersection of its design and balance. It would be easy to look at a move like F-Smash or D-Smash in a vacuum and scream oVeRpOwErEd in spite of how laggy they are, and yet I don't know that that's the case. Others might disagree, but Ganondorf's memetically powerful attacks haven't kept him from the bottom of bottom tier for three games running, so I applaud your gumption for taking KO percentages in that territory, going a bit lower and then layering on properties to give the moves utility. My concern, however, is that I feel a good chunk of Darkness players wouldn't have a ton of incentive to delve into its most fascinating options, like going for insta-KOs or enhancing projectile activity with F-Air, when their fastest path to victory lies in them racking up just a bit of damage, landing one of Darkness' hitstun-heavier moves and then casually doing one of those two Smashes, depending on their positioning and if they had a jump/air dodge left. In other words, look at what 99% of Ganondorf players do with his F-Smash and then replace the sword with a massive f***-you demon hand reaching across all of Battlefield to KO even sooner. The counterargument to this is of course that Darkness players who did that and nothing but that would be predictable as hell, which is true. I'm sure the better ones would dip into the rest of his rich move pool over the course of higher-level play, I'm just left with the impression that those parts aren't as central to its game plan as I'd like, given the sheer power it has elsewhere. To that end, there's no overarching fix I'd recommend, but depending on what others think, you could consider some -slight- nerfs to KO percentages and ranges for Darkness' stronger options to ensure his neatest ones get the gameplay spotlight they deserve.

All that aside, topping Pennywise for my favorite MYM23 set so far was always going to be an uphill climb but Darkness gives It a damn good run for Its money, and almost certainly is the set I'd get the most mileage out of playing in an IRL game. A well-deserved kudos, and I hope Darkness isn't your last foray into boundary-pushing heavyweight territories as this contest winds down.
 
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Katapultar

Smash Lord
Joined
Nov 24, 2008
Messages
1,033
Location
The Make Your Move Rooligan Society
Neutral Special is a seriously cool concept! The idea of possessing your opponent to fire out projectiles and do your set-ups from them is really fun, would be great on a ghost character. Like Judgement, this is a Neutral Special that could carry an amazing set with extra detail and having the rest of the moveset play off on it. But 10 seconds is a pretty darn long time to spend inside of your opponent, time that they don't get to spend fighting you and can't reduce in any way like button mashing. Reducing it to some 2-2.5 seconds would be more ideal, and actually bring this set up higher for me.

I notice that you can fire bullets while possessing your opponent - but there doesn't seem to be any detail or acknowledgement of the bullets themselves? How far and fast do they fly? Can they damage outsiders, maybe catch the possessed opponent? Do they cause flinching? I could imagine Mokou say, sending off bullets forwards, leaving the foe and using those bullets for stage control, maybe even to extend her combos or pin the opponent in place for stronger attacks. That she has to possess the foe to fire them off means she has to earn them beyond simple camping. With the set's current detail, they seem to serve only as a damage-racker against the possessed foe.

Your detail here is good, but it can be little niche at times: like talking about bypassing reflectors in Neutral Special, which is perfectly fine but not all characters have reflectors. I'm also a little lost on what you mean by move cancelling - it doesn't sound like buffering, which iirc lets you cancel the last 5 frames of your attack into another attack, given N-air implies that different moves have different cancel frames. I don't think that's an existing mechanic in Smash Ultimate, but there's certainly nothing stopping you from applying it in your sets! It's just a little vague, that's all, and you do already have neat numerical details like frame data and stat numbers, heck even air dodge frame data. For future sets, you don't necessarily HAVE to get too specific on these kinds of stats, or even frame data, only if it's really relevant to the gameplay and understanding a facet of the moveset.

I get the impression that, while the moves here fleshed out on an individual basis, there isn't too much acknowledgement on how they work together and how they play off the Specials or into them. For instance, you could use a weak move dealing low upwards knockback to combo into Neutral Special's grab hitbox. Combo or set up for Side Special, or use what sounds like a very dangerous hitbox to threaten into other bits of her melee game. The move also claims to have a lot of kill power, but I don't quite have an idea of just how much knockback it deals or how early it can kill since you use units. Saying that it KOs at 50%, for instance, would really sell its power.

I apologize if you've some or all of this from Froy, but it's always good to get feedback from multiple MYM'ers on the same subject. I did enjoy the extra Touhou character from you, and I enjoyed her set presentation. Both Judgement and Mokou had a fantastically potent NSpec that you could really run with with more focus and detail, pointing them out in your more basic moves where reasonable.

"The cloth seems made of shredded, worn copies of Hina's outfit, likely reused old clothing." Heh, seems like Hina doesn't know how to apply those convenient self-cleaning glyphs mentioned in Velvet's set.

Is it just me, or are your attack animations becoming more cool and elaborate? That's the impression I got from the very first move. Such descriptions would contribute to your recent sets' longer length, which I know you've been conscious of, but honestly I have no problem with that whatsoever! They absolutely enhance the set. You've got some of your work cut out for you with these OCs, having to describe all these aesthetics and character descriptions since they don't exist anywhere on the internet.

As far as trimming down word count for your future sets? The technical details behind the scarecrows is great and just about all relevant, covering, neat little details like hitlag and what not. If anything, I could see bits like "* The Scarecrow's frame data matches Hina's perfectly." being something that readers would assume, but that's no big deal here as there are only 7 words here.

The scarecrows are excellent, being potentially dominating but still balanced out by the fact that they're easy to destroy individually and that you can lose your entire set-up if you're attacked. The smash hold dash sending out all scarecrows and letting you turn any attack into a projectile feels particularly peak projectile play! The Down Special is particularly delicious for playing off the scarecrows and blooms, where the set really starts to come together. Splitting up your blooms into 3 projectiles on the shelves certainly seems nuts, but is short-lived. The U-Smash is particular awesome, and feels very much inspired by Quilby's Side Special with its ability to cancel your attack animations. Definitely my favourite of the Smashes, and its melee synergy with D-Smash's blindspots is nice. The Smashes being cancel-able to de-sync your scarecrows is rather unique too, not just a cancel for the sake of it.

Hina is an absolutely incredible set concept-wise: I can understand why you're so proud of her in that area. I only have two issues. I'm still uncertain about Side Special's slashing range, even when nerfed down to 3 grids. If the range is to cover nearby scarecrows, then I don't think it's necessary: Hina does have her Down Special's i-frames for protection, and can use the range on her Up Special to poke through them (unless I mis-remembered). While the max range of 3 grids is only at the very front of the crescent hitbox, that's still pretty relevant on the ground and has more reach than her 2.5 grid F-tilt, which has more range.

I also wonder whether her projectile and trap game is a bit too dominating in some areas. Even without scarecrows or planters or pillars, she can set down 3 separate Bloom traps that all have some damaging/disruptive hitbox when a foe touches them. They need to be attacked (or scarecrows they're on) or replaced with new copies to be destroyed, and cover a bigger area on planters or spikes and are harder to destroy when placed on the former. When you think about it, Hina does have a high dashing speed and could easily capitalise on a foe quickly attacking or getting around her blooms without any other set-up, even use her disjointed Side Special! Perhaps the Blooms could be given a 6 second or so time limit for when placed on the stage OR on a planter (unless you whack it to get the shelves), meaning they don't stick around forever and they're more rewarding to use with your planters and scarecrows, but the latter risks losing them if you're attacked and the scarecrow disappears. If you placed a few of these time limits, it would mean that Hina has to work quickly to get some of these potentially big stage control moments - ironically similar to her friend Naomi, who also has to use her set-ups quickly in an allotted time!

On a different note, I also wonder whether being able to have 4 U-Smash boomerangs out might be a bit much: you do have to earn that 3 scarecrow count, and the boomerangs aren't as powerful, but once you do get them out those boomerangs they made will stay out even if the scarecrows disappear. Perhaps you could make their boomerangs a bit smaller, or put a slight emphasis on them dealing less hitstun?

In spite of a few uncertainties, Hina still ranks extremely high for me, and I was unsure whether to place her above or below Mysterio - that's just how GOOD she was. For now, she's just below Mysterio, but if some or all of these issues were addressed, or I was convinced at their balance, then I would have no problem putting her above and calling her my favourite set this contest ala FA - something you've definitely earned! You've really outdone yourself on this one and this contest, US, and set a high bar and hype for any Witches or Yu-Gi-Oh! girls you might grace us with. If the first boss of Naomi's spin-off is THIS powerful, I'd hate to just how strong the later bosses are...

First and foremost: additional detail would absolutely enhance this set, as it would Matt and Natalie. Giving these guys a longer intro would massively help readers get invested in their characters. I didn't know anything about them before reading their sets and looking up their source material, which lessened the experience of reading their sets since there was no real character to play off. Only "Lance is the gunner of the EBF Team and is definitely Not a NaziTM." Though the quotes here in this move do help a bit.

Matt, Natalie and Lance all do have backstories and circumstances in how they met, particularly in EBF5 which I"m assuming you're basing their sets off given NoLegs appearing in Matt's set. Why not mention that Lance was a former enemy to Matt and Natalie before joining them? The more you can tell without feeling you're spoiling or anything, the better.
 
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UserRed

Smash Rookie
Joined
Jun 10, 2020
Messages
5
Lance, the final of the original three EBF Team members, goes in guns, bombs, and other things blazing!
 

UserRed

Smash Rookie
Joined
Jun 10, 2020
Messages
5
"Don't worry guys, they say I'm a prodigy. Not my words, not my words baby"


(hey u gotta uhhhhh click that pic)​
Reading this set, I think it was very interesting overall. The credits system as well as the headshots seem like a nice way to incorporate FPS elements into a fighting game. Overall, the type of zoner that Pheonix is is quite unique and I thought that Run It Back especially was a cool idea.
I think you should also specify whether a KO percent is from center stage or at the ledge, as if the killing throws require that high of a percent at ledge, then they are exceptionally weak compared to other kill throws, which while being around the 180s at center stage, can go as low as 110% at ledge (for example, Dr. Mario's back throw kills at ~109% on middleweights at ledge).
 
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Katapultar

Smash Lord
Joined
Nov 24, 2008
Messages
1,033
Location
The Make Your Move Rooligan Society
This set seems to have slipped entirely under the radar, as I'm not sure if anyone has read Daisy despite being posted earlier and before Cuttlefish. But Daisy is pretty interesting! She's basically a more "MYM" take on an existing Smash (eco) fighter. Her main highlight is the superball, a bouncy projectile she can vault herself off of to get a momentum boost, which is fun and definitely meaningful when she retains her slow Peach mobility. I also quite like the concept of a recovery that is influenced or downright enhanced by a construct you've set on stage, not being something you teleport to (Which is also great too).

Daisy manages to be short and meaningful, a great combination. But I felt that the set could be vague and confusing, in a way that made it hard to visualize her set in action and enjoy her potent ideas as much as I could. For instance:

"True to her debut game, Super Mario Land, Daisy uses a Flower for her Neutral Special, as she takes a pitching stance and throws a Superball to the floor. This Superball then bounces up at a 90 degree angle with high speed. This makes it a much faster projectile than the otherwise similar Fireball, being used less for covering an approach and more for pestering the opponent with projectiles."

The first sentence makes me think that Daisy throws the Superball straight down, then bounce straight forwards > parallel to the ground since it's going on a 90 degree angle, but that's just me. The fireball comparison does make me think that Neutral Special has the same frame data as that move and basically behaves similarly as a projectile, only faster. My current interpretation of the move is that the Superball basically skips along the ground under normal circumstances. For this kind of big tool in Daisy's kit, it may be a good idea to be a bit more specific in how how it skips with each bounce along the ground, say 2-3 grids for instance, as I personally have a hard time imagining it with Mario's Fireball. But that's just me. There's also the reference to the Gardens and Trampolines before their moves are introduced, which is not really necessary information-wise.

The vagueness can also extend to moves like Side Special and F-Smash, which seem to be based on Fox Illusion and Peach/Daisy F-Smash entirely, the former not giving a distance, the latter requiring readers to go and look up how strong said F-Smash is. Those kinds of extra details would enhance Daisy and make her feel more like her own set. Also, the Flower Trampolines, Flower Gardens and U-Smash Beanstalks don't have any duration listed, so I presume that they stay out forever/until she makes another one or is KO'ed? Flower Garden doesn't specify how much more damage a Superball deals when it becomes a Flowerball, but that's an easy fix.

I brought this up in the chat, but will bring it up again for posterity's sake: instead of limiting the Superball to bouncing off walls, which is pretty niche, why not make it bounce off of opponents and their shields? That way, you could have a Superball bounce back towards you, then Trick off of it and propel yourself towards the foe! That would actually be quite cool, and perhaps provide the foe with incentive to jump over the ball instead of blocking it. Having said that, the ball presumably only deals hitstun to opponents, and a regular Trick propels Daisy as if she jumped, which I can only see really leading into her D-air and being kind of predictable.

While Trick'ing on a Garden give Daisy other options, she needs to be in the Garden so it's pretty position-specific, making her more campy and predictable. She can't even relocate her Flower Garden on-demand! Instead of making these Tricks unique to being done inside the garden, why not let Daisy use them anywhere? Maybe she has a 30 frame window where you can input a direction to make her vault in a certain way during her Trick, either based on what Flower Garden she has out or just give her access to all the movement options anytime, which wouldn't be too powerful in my opinion. That way she can actually use the horizontal boost better: the Trick section in the Neutral Special says her dashing speed is boosted to Captain Falcon's on the ground, but she can't really do that with normal Tricking when doing so makes her jump. Giving Daisy all of her momentum options from a Trick would definitely make Trick'ing off the ball more rewarding if it hit a foe and bounced back towards you, as it would make Daisy's mix-up game much more threatening!

Thinking about it now, it may be a good idea to give Daisy a limit to her Tricks in midair, similar to performing a Footstool jump, as it could potentially get out of hand in situations where the ball has many surfaces to bounce off.

Food for thought: Daisy has plenty of ways to rebound her ball and enhance it... but no ways to apply or enhance its knockback. What if throwing a ball from a garden gave it the ability to deal decent (set?) knockback to opponents? Maybe once per lifetime to prevent cheap juggling via Tricks. For instance, Orange Flowers could make it deal horizontal knockback so you can zone the opponent and rush in with your Trick enhanced dashing speed, Blue Flowers upwards knockback so you can jump up and start your beloved U-air juggle. And Pink Flowers deal diagonal inwards knockback so you can combo the opponent! But maybe with very low hitstun, so they have a chance to fight back when knocked towards you from greater distances.

One other way to enhance this moveset would be in the melee area. U-air is simple and nice, but it would be great if you talked about how her Aerials, Throws and Smashes work in with the grand scheme of her Trick game. F-air feels fitting as-is for a slow finisher that benefits from a momentum-boosted approach: I could see Daisy throwing a ball off an Orange Garden, knocking the foe forwards and off-stage, Tricking off the ball to fly towards and then going into F-air to spike them! I could even see the ball you Tricked to fly backwards bouncing off a U-Smash vine (it can do that, right?) or Trampoline to fly forwards again and lock the foe for said F-air, requiring a specific set-up but being a very well-deserved early KO if you actually get it. The Smashes seem to exist mostly for their more "MYM" effects - nothing wrong with that, but it's absolutely possible to make fun Smashes that are just simple melee moves with no bells and whistles, something I can see being a bit more common in the future. The Smashes are a bit vague lag and KO percent wise (I like including the latter because it better sells a move's power), and while there's a solid amount of content in U-Smash it would be great if you addressed them a bit more in the set, like Daisy being able to stand on the beanstalks' leaves as a platform: that could lead into all sorts of stuff with her Standards and throws.

Overall, Daisy has a lot of potential that's held back by a lack of clarification and some vagueness, but she could absolutely be quite a solid set with a bit of work. I know you were focusing on improving Cuttlefish this contest, wasn't sure how you felt about Daisy, but she definitely shouldn't be overlooked as a set! It wouldn't take much to get the ball rolling, heh, and honestly you could edit both sets post-submission period and have two very neat sets in your hands. In any case, hopefully my comment was helpful in addressing some of Daisy's issues, and even gave you some ideas of where to start.
 

PeridotGX

Smash Hero
Joined
Jun 8, 2017
Messages
7,093
Location
That Distant Shore
NNID
Denoma5280
Switch FC
2036-9032-5151
This isn't a serious submission, but I made AI Dungeon generate an Ameterasu moveset. Half because I thought it would be funny, half because I wanted to see what it could do.


Also, if anyone's wondering why I haven't done an actual submission this contest... I've been busy, there won't be a new set from me this contest. I'll have a lot more for MYM24.
1605408135611.png

what do you know, I actually managed to put out a set (that wasn't written by an ai). It's in a pretty dodongish state, though.
 

Rychu

Thane of Smashville
Joined
Jul 5, 2010
Messages
781
3DS FC
1908-0105-4965
COOKIN UP SOME COMMENTS WITH RYCHU



(you gotta click the image, bud)

Here's a running tab to show what's been commented so far!
  • Hotaru Futaba
  • Exeggcute
  • Bleak
  • Lance
  • Club Penguin
  • Primordial Darkness
  • Mysterio
  • Carrot
  • Ernest Amano
  • Plague Knight
  • Rufus Shinra
  • Cap'n Cuttlefish
  • Cooking Mama
  • "Lucky" Louise
  • Pennywise the Dancing Clown
  • Tomoe Mami
  • skekMal, The Hunter
  • Fierce Pork Trooper
  • Il Blud
  • Ochako Uraraka
  • Gnasty Gnorc
 
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Almand

Smash Journeyman
Joined
Jan 20, 2018
Messages
213
Ditto!

200px-132Ditto_Ranger3.png


Pretty late in the game, but I thought I'd post one last thing! It's not technically finished, as I still have to add those pesky pictures... You'll be seeing a lot of placeholders, just the phrase "[picture]" interspersed at the beginning of moves. These'll hopefully be filled in later! But we'll have to see. Depends on some factors, as I'm fairly busy these days!

I'm also trying something different to cut down on my word counts! I'm introducing one version that's long-winded, covers lots of corner cases, detailed frame data and kill percents, the like, and then another version that's much shorter, the fat mostly cut out. If you care about how safe a move is on shield down to the exact frames, or if you wanna read 23k words, check out the longer one! But if you want about 10,000 fewer words, you want a general idea of frame data and kill percents, and just wanna have a good time learning about the funny blob thing, check the concise one!

Click For Long!

Click For Concise!
 

Smash Daddy

Smash Master
Joined
Apr 29, 2007
Messages
3,299
Location
K Rool Avenue

Stop your whimpering Chamberlain! It's time to crown the new king of all Skeksis. Today it will be... trial by hunt! Whoever kills more of these duplicitous rodents and winged-gelfings is the winner! They'll make a fine meal for my Garthim. Don't get in my way or you'll join them in the pit!

skekUng,
The Garthim Master



skekUng, also named at various points The General, The Garthim Master and finally The Emperor, is a major antagonist in 1982’s Dark Crystal. One of the frightening skeksis who rule over the world of Dark Crystal, skekUng like his brethren towers over the gelfling and other races, hunched over from centuries of unnaturally prolonged life. skekUng’s monstrous personality befits his appearance. The militaristic skekUng inherits the empire – by the time of the film, only a gloomy castle overlooking barren, empty plains – only to be defeated soon after by a couple of Gelfling and spends his short time as the skeksis leader desperately trying to stop the skeksis’ downfall. At the end of the film, skekUng along with most of the skeksis is “reunited” with his mystic counterpart to become an otherworldly UrSkek. The UrSkek, an alien race banished from their own world (thanks unsurprisingly to Chamberlain’s UrSkek) had accidentally split themselves into two beings long before the events of the franchise and their reunification marks the end of the Dark Crystal story.

As skeksis go, skekUng is a particularly nasty one and that is an impressive feat. All the skeksis revel in consuming the essence of other living creatures to unnaturally extend their own life span and spend their days wallowing in riches forcefully taken from the helpless Podling and scant other survivors in Dark Crystal’s post-apocalyptic world. skekUng had leaded the skeksis army as The General after the first one was murdered and he was summoned back to the castle. skekUng’s initial banishment was ostensibly for being too extreme for the skeksis during the long, peaceful period where the skeksis lived relatively peacefully with the other races merely paying tribute to them, before the crystal was corrupted and needed to be refreshed by sacrificial lambs. While this is yet to be seen in the series, it's known the war caused by this event precedes an apocalypse-like devastation to the entire world that leaves scant traces of life besides the skeksis and few others. skekUng started as The General (all the skeksis have such titles) and later becomes the Garthim Master, an interesting title that hints at his ruthlessness, controlling the abominable experimental monsters, the Garthim, first created by skekTek the Scientist. The war is in fact called The Garthim War, so it would suggest skekUng was instrumental in the skeksis victory, impressive as the skeksis suffered casualties and humiliating defeat early in the war, as shown in the Age of Resistance series.

skekUng was present at the death of the original Emperor, skekSo, who perished after centuries of abusing the dark crystal's powers of regeneration. skekUng and two others fight over who successes the Emperor; skekSil, the manipulative Chamberlain and skekZok the “ritual master” who had no chance of becoming the Emperor. skekUng and skekSil engage in Trial By Stone to decide who will be the next Emperor. This involves the skeksis chipping away at a large stone to see who is the strongest. skekUng completely destroys the stone showing off his great power, and then has skekSil humiliated, his clothes torn off and exiled to the harsh outside world to die without the dark crystal's essence the skeksis need to stay alive. Throughout the film skekUng is then shown as the leader of the skeksis in their castle keep fighting against the Gelfing like a distant General, while skekSil directly goes out to take advantage of the situation to worm his way back into the other skeksis' good graces.

skekUng originally appeared as one of the surviving Skeksis in the original Dark Crystal film released in 1982. skekUng stands out from most of the other skeksis as being exclusive to the film and not appearing whatsoever in Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance. The first season cuts off just as the villainous skeksis are on the retreat and decide to call back the banished skeksis including skekUng. Unfortunately the future of the series hangs in the balance but there’s still plenty to be drawn from the film and what can be pieced together about skekUng’s background.

There are two Generals, skekUng and his predecessor skekVar. skekVar also has a feud against skekSil and it is possible what happened to skekVar because of skekSil is part of why the two strongly dislike one another. During the film skekUng is shown to hate Chamberlain’s mannerisms such as his “mmmmMMMMMmmmm” whimper and his general demeanour. skekZok commented at the end of Age of Resistance that skekUng is “a strong fighter” which is a big difference from the snivelling politician skekSil, another clue as to why they don’t get along. Despite this rivalry the Trial by Stone was by design never going to physically harm either combatant, showing how despite their differences the skeksis would still never actively hurt one another, if only out of a sense of self-preservation.

statIstics

Size ⚔ 10
Weight ⚔ 9 / 118 Units (5th/Tied with Ganondorf)
Air Speed ⚔ 4 / 1.015 units (51st, above Squirtle)
Ground Speed ⚔ 8 / 1.97 units (20th, below Bowser)
Fall Speed ⚔ 4 / 1.55 units (45th, tied with that idiot Chamberlain, Mewtwo, Palutena and others)
Jumps ⚔ 6 (Comparable to Bowser)


The statistics on the left are graded out of 10. skekUng towers over much of his opposition as he does the Gelfling in the Dark Crystal universe, a littler taller than Rosalina while being a decent bit wider, comparable to Charizard at his base, while a bit slimmer than that near the top of his chunky frame. He's a full on heavyweight unlike Chamberlain and a super heavyweight at that ranking in at the same weight as Ganondorf, though not reaching the top ends of the weight tier. He's not that slow on the ground surprisingly just below fellow super heavy Bowser and has a shockingly good initial dash for his stature, a terrifying shuffle that barely reveals his decrepit legs beneath his robe. His fast fall is very fast, so he has the benefits of both a floaty and fast faller.

skekUng’s battle stance resembles the image above, hunched over, a massive target for attacks, not aided by his high weight and ironically does lend to him being countered on the face of things by small combo-heavy Gelfling lightweights. skekUng can take out his sword for some moves like Ganonodorf’s Space World/Melee sword, skekUng’s is from Trial by Stone. The curved blade can be seen in the art for his neutral special. This sword is highly comparable to Ganondorf's sword he pulls out for his smashes in size. skekUng is not such a great combatant in the air, though does move with a basic degree of mobility akin to other big bodies like Ganondorf or Bowser to not be a sitting duck. His air speed is a little worse than skekSil because of his size increase while, like his ground speed, skekUng benefits from being a stronger fighter with competent jumps. skekUng shares Chamberlain's middling fall speed, arguably ending up worse for combos because of his larger weight/size. The better jumps do help a little however.

Unless otherwise stated, KO percentages are on Mario from the middle of Final Destination. All statistics used here can be found on Kurogane Hammer's site (link).

specIals



SIDE SPECIAL: GARTHIM MASTER

skekUng raises his blade in the air as pictured letting out a triumphant war cry, summoning one of his Garthim beasts to the fight! These giant beetles are intimidating creatures: a little taller than skekUng and as wide as Bowser. In fitting heavyweight fashion the Garthim creates a shockwave a little to both sides as it pinches its claws readying for its attack, then launches forward at Fox's dash speed in a shockingly fast series of snapping claws that will carry foes halfway across Final Destination before they're launched at a high angle, as the Garthim delivers a final uppercut! The Garthim then disappears, and Garthim can only summon one Garthim at a time. The initial shockwave deals 5% and will stun foes long enough to guarantee the Garthim's snapping claws combo. The snapping claws deal 6 hits of 2% damage and a final 7% hit that can KO from as low as 80% if performed near the edge, the hitbox of the claws is also too big to duck under and will catch foes that aren't entirely above the oversized beetle. The Garthim will stop at the ledge and instead snap in place so can set up a ledge trap forcing the foe to wait or roll up, narrowing their options and making it easier for skekUng to punish. When they finish their attack the Garthim will stop to taunt with their claws for 1.5 seconds, giving the foe their best opportunity to attack.


A Garthim doesn't take hitstun or knockback but can be destroyed, but unlike Chamberlain's inferior minions, skekUng's Garthim are battle hardened! They will only be KO'd after their 20HP is diminished by attacks as they are summoned, this causes them to recoil and scuttle away into the background, but does not outright kill them. There's only a brief moment to attack them before they charge forward, making it rather ineffective. Once they charge they gain a new 40HP instead before they can be KO'd, whereby they are fully killed. This persists over multiple uses of the side special. The Garthim will fall over on its back and dissipate in a much more dramatic animation when defeated this way. If they are KO'd and then skekUng can't summon them for another 10 seconds. The Garthim takes a good 21 frames to be summoned, one frames faster than Ridley's Space Pirate Rush side special. The Garthim are easy to see coming but the shockwave will combo foes so long as they aren’t shielding and the claws will easily keep the foe in shield stun, dealing huge shield damage. skekUng can use this opportunity to attack the foe to go for a shield poke or break, able to move as soon as the Garthim is out, and has much end lag as Dedede's Gordo's Toss.

skekUng can't have 2 Garthim at once, so when he tries to perform this move with a Garthim out he instead points his sword towards the Garthim letting out another distinctive war cry in a faster animation taking only 9 frames. The Garthim will immediately stop its attack or any other action it was doing and look towards the camera, writhing in pain as its body starts to erupt in dark energy emitted by the crystal, this lasts for just under 40 frames before exploding in gory fashion! The exploding Garthim is a strong hitbox dealing 13% damage and will KO at a radial angle from 70% 1.5x the size of the Garthim, and another short distance beyond that deals 10% damage to KO from 90% extending out 2x the Garthim’s hurtbox. skekUng is unfazed by the loss of a worthless Garthim. The blood is a gross dark purple and will burst out of the Garthim alongside other wriggly creepy crawlies and other little creatures you might normally find skekUng snacking on. Tasty! The downside to this is that Garthim will be unable to summon Garthim at all for another 7 seconds. This is shown by the amulet around skekUng’s neck glowing a deep bright purple whenever the Garthim is unavailable.

The foe can destroy the Garthim to stop the explosion; a Garthim who is KO'd normally simply collapses in place stopping the "detonation." This puts an incentive on the foe to at least attack the Garthim a little bit when they first spawn, or preferably, not give skekUng the space to summon it in the first place. This should dissuade the most basic attempts at camping skekUng. The Garthim won't go off stage normally but can be summoned mid-air where it will lose its shockwave but otherwise act the same way, attacking forwards in the air, making the move potentially far scarier. The Garthim does however still only attack forwards and without the initial shockwave, this is a big commitment possibly giving up a more direct gimp attempt.

skekUng can sacrifice his Garthim in the middle of their blitzing attack. This will never combo out of the claws themselves but may catch a foe off-guard or trick them into dropping shield if they think that the Garthim will start to detonate, particularly when the foe is too low to be KO’d by the claws or their shield is too plentiful. This conditions the foe to sit in shield if caught, which is important, as trying to roll behind the Garthim in shield is one of the best ways to escape its onslaught! This is where an observant skeksis General might punish the foe for their insolence when he didn’t in fact call for the Garthim’s Death by Explosion.



NEUTRAL SPECIAL: CRYSTAL BAT

skekUng points his left hand forwards, blithering out another order-like roar to summon a Crystal Bat over his head! This takes 11 frames and has little end lag. The Crystal Bat is relatively small; its main body and hurtbox is only as large as a Pokéball while its wingspan gives it a body around the size of the smoke ball item. The Crystal Bat effortlessly flaps its wings to remain hovering in place for the first few frames it’s summoned, having no hitbox. The Crystal Bat has a meagre 10HP and takes no knockback or hitstun like the Garthim, though has nothing as flashy as its big beetle brother.

The Crystal Bat is not a fighter and instead used for reconnaissance. The bat starts out in front of skekUng but shortly after being summoned it will race towards the nearest foe at Falco's dash speed batting its wings to stay afloat. When it reaches an acceptable distance of 2 Ganondorf heights, and half a Battlefield platform in front of its target, it will start to hover more calmly in place as a weak laser is emitted from the bat towards the foe! This laser strongly resembles the one used by the crystal itself, must be a skekTek creation. The laser scans over the foe’s body and as it scans will start to fill up its own crystal core on its batty body, this takes 8 seconds before the crystal is totally filled. Once that happens the crystal bat flutters its wings in place after a job well done and dissipates, an idle skekUng will chuckle to himself at his success!

This gives skekUng an icon on his HUD of the Crystal Bat’s core crystal and by shielding, the Crystal Bats will show the stock icons of the characters they’ve scanned, being able to scan any opposing character in the match. He can have one of these per foe in the match, they do get squashed down a little in big FFAs. When skekUng’s amulet around his neck glows a brighter purple than in his side special, he can do a follow-up that channels this knowledge of the foe through the power of the crystal, giving him a special follow-up! These magical augmentations help rise skekUng’s otherwise basic heavyweight play to a level befitting of an emperor. This buff lasts for 5 uses, follow-ups – called a General Move or GM will use 1 of the uses if not stated otherwise, and each time will crack the Crystal Bat shown on skekUng’s HUD until it shatters into a fiery smouldering mess whereby skekUng has to scan the foe again. While the Crystal Bat is scanning a foe at any point when skekUng already has a crystal core of them in his inventory, this gives skekUng access to all his 1 use General Moves too, but is locked out of anything stronger than that.

The foe can destroy the Crystal Bat before it finishes its scan. Any scanning will be saved for future bats to continue so long as skekUng retains his current stock and the bat will stay at its decently high height above the foe so it's not that easy to destroy. No matter where the foe moves, the bat will continue its scan from where it began, perched the same set distance when it first starts its spying scan of the foe. The only way to stop it is to destroy the bat. At the same time, skekUng can punish the foe's predictable jump to try and hit the bat if they choose to do that, so much of the time, it's better for the foe to just let it be and not give skekUng room to summon the bat in the first place instead.

The first of these General Moves is for the Garthim in the side special. When first summoning the Garthim, skekUng will be prompted to press A to lower his sword and snarl, using up the Crystal power so that the Garthim glows with energy! This simple evolution for the Garthim means that when they start to claw across the stage, if a foe is detected behind them that has been tracked, they will turn around and claw that way instead, each time they attack! This essentially gives the Garthim an auto-turn and eliminates the one weakness of their charge, as well as ramping up the pressure of the move ridiculously high so foes can no longer roll behind the Garthim. This small change allows skekUng to passively let the Garthim chase foes and easier set up for their powerful explosion hitbox, without any of his own commandeering needed!

Another General Move exists when this input is instead held and costs 2 points, this is shown to players by a sheen on skekUng's HUD as the side special is used with the regular GM. skekUng instead points at the ground, creating an ominous quite large aura of darkness and the ground around shown to be bursting up from underneath, you can imagine what lies in waiting. Whenever a foe walks over the ground or deals that patch of ground 15% damage, the Garthim will burst up from the ground and attack, facing the way it would based on skekUng's original placement. As the Garthim bursts out of the ground it seems to come out of a dark portal, allowing it to exist on top of platforms as well as thinner stages without having to physically be there besides the top of the surface where hints at what's beneath are apparent to anyone in the match.

A scanned foe will give Garthim the ability to turn around as in the regular GM, not costing any extra points, but cannot be buffed when it's placed like a normal Garthim can, which can be a burden and a curse for both skekUng but also his opponent keeping this in mind as they think they can casually roll behind its attack. This opens up the potential for the Garthim to be used in skekUng's set overall, completely detached from the rest of his set, but at the cost of not being able to summon the Garthim on his person defensively and the lag of the move mirrors that of the original side special, so is not cost-free, on top of the point cost. At any point skekUng can use side special to summon the Garthim and depending on the direction pressed, can command his Garthim to attack left or right irregardless of the foe's current scan progress, so can set it up next to ledge then have it attack forward with a delayed attack.

When a Crystal Bat is already out on stage skekUng can perform a unique follow-up that requires no crystal core, this one is free of charge! skekUng will hold up and tighten his fist with a grimace, causing the bat to wince in pain and glow an ambient purple at the centre of its body! For a moment the bat is cowers in midair and frantically bats its wings as it starts to glow on-and-off purple with overflowing energy, now slowly homing in on the closest foe at the speed of Samus’ homing missile, with the same physics/speed. Once the bat hits a foe or solid object or the closest wall/ground (ignoring platforms) it will explode in a small Wario-sized energy blast, squirming in pain as its little wings are spread all over the stage, to skekUng’s delight! As the Crystal Bat falls it’s a weak hitbox that deals 5% and radial weak knockback, good to simply interrupt the foe out of attacks although it can be hit to destroy it before it reaches foes, cancelling the explosion. The bat’s small hurtbox and larger hitbox of its wings makes this a difficult trade however this can push the foe out of range of the explosion too. The bigger hitbox is the explosion that starts off dealing 6% to foes and light upwards knockback, good for a juggle or combo starter, but can grow as the bat has absorbed the foe’s energy. A bat sent out with a full crystal core will use it up completely for its explosion, potentially wasting all of skekUng's hard work. For every 25% of the foe’s scan the bats have completed, this translates to another 2% from the explosion and grows the hitbox’s size until when it deals 14% damage, it is the size of Bowser and can KO from 125%! The foe may opt to not kill the bat to have it waste the crystal's energy on the ground harmlessly, but not if skekUng has anything to say about it! The issue with this is that it does require some start up and he has to press the input to make the bat dive into foes, all the while the bat is not a hitbox, so this requires a bit of space.



DOWN SPECIAL: TRIAL BY STONE

skekUng points towards the ground and barks out a mean-sounding grunt, summoning 2 Podlings (small enslaved creatures from Dark Crystal) to drag up a giant pillar - for a Trial by Stone! The pillar and podlings are not a hitbox and the pillar can only be summoned on the ground, in the air this instead summons the stone on the nearest ground in front of skekUng. All of this takes 8 frames of lag to summon, but another second to fully be set up, though the Podlings and stone are invulnerable while this happens. The podlings drag the stone up on both sides with tightly-wrapped ropes that descended into the ground, these poor slaves are comparable to the Waddle Dees in Dedede's entrance, and quickly dissipate in a miserable cowering stance on the stone is raised fully.


The pillar is roughly as tall as Ganondorf and elevated slightly off the ground where there's a little rocky ground holding it slightly off the floor. The trial by stone is not solid at any point and is erected in the background of the stage - but it can be attacked. When it is attacked, it will tilt either left or right depending on what direction the attack struck, for purely upward/downward moves this will instead push the pillar in the direction skekUng and foes were facing when he summoned the stone. The stone will take damage passively despite being in the bg much like the statues on the Castle Siege stage. The stone has 50HP and once it’s depleted fully and dealt damage over 6% in one hit, the stone will tip over and collapse onto the stage in a violent thud, dealing 22% damage and high upwards, slightly inwards knockback! This will KO from 80%! I suppose when there’s no skeksis empire to fight over, you have to settle for such brutal tactics.

The falling stone can hit skekUng, but will only damage him if the foe got the last hit on the stone. Like Pac-Man’s hydrant, the stone will only damage characters that didn’t get the last hit on the stone, and the incredibly powerful hitbox of the falling stone can make this a big deal especially in a confined fights, which the Garthim and Crystal Bat help make a reality for skekUng. These are simple, but effective tactics. The stone will fall to the ground slowly enough and is a massive hitbox that anyone in close proximity is likely to get hit and as it slams the ground, deals another 18% damage, these two hits can easily combo a shielding foe for a shield break, making it a dangerous place to be for a foe! The stone can also if hit to the left or right next to a ledge fall off-stage, falling at Fox’s falling speed. Though it does still deal upwards knockback to prevent it being a strong gimping move, this is still very powerful against any recovering foes.

Whether the stone is leaning hard right or left makes a big difference, as after falling on stage, it can either fall harmlessly to bits and the stone is destroyed there or the stone can roll to the left or right depending on what direction it leaned. Every attack will cause it to lean in the opposite direction to where the stone was hit, and each attack will shift the stone that much further in that direction. The stone will take 25% damage to be shifted completely in one direction. At that point when the stone falls, it will bumpily roll across the ground in that direction like a barrel for another 1.5 battlefield platform widths until it comes to a halt and dissipates. As long as the stone is rolling it’s a constant hitbox dealing 15% and high upwards knockback to KO from 125%. This is a far cry from its strength while falling, however if it does fall off say, a platform or the stage, it will become a powerful hitbox yet again. This means that tilting it to lean harshly either way then foisting it loose later on can be a very smart strategy. Only leaning moderately left or right will only make it roll a minimum of a Kirby width dealing the same damage and knockback.

As you’d expect from someone like skekUng he has a trick up his sleeve with the move, when the input is pressed again when the stone is already out, skekUng will point forwards with more of a glare than before. The point is very fast at 8 frames but has no hitbox. The podling are re-summoned and in a terrified rush cling to the rock on both sides. The podling will prevent the stone from being launched, though they can't stop it being leaned by attacks. The podlings will stay out until commanded to leave by skekUng, using the same animation, though only the last hit which will decide what direction the rock falls. The catch is that the podlings will not be able to withstand a hit of 30% damage or higher to the stone and this will also cause the stone to fall no matter its HP, the podlings being knocked backwards and dissipating in place instead! Luckily for skekUng, he has a few moves that are powerful enough to break through the podlings' guard and this little trick makes his stone far more easy to cheat than Pac-Man's ham-fisted Hydrant. In all, the Trial by Stone rock is a crucial part of skekUng's playstyle that combines elements of Villager's tree and the Pac-Man Hydrant for a frightening stage control tool that skekUng can easily rig for himself with but a little time to command the podlings.



UP SPECIAL: INTO PURPLE BATS

skekUng emphatically gestures forward with his degraded monstrous arm, summoning Crystal Bats - around twice as small as ones from his neutral special - to surround him and cause him to be shrouded in a mist of the tiny mammals. This will thusly be called the shroud. skekUng can then move the shroud of crystal bats in any direction, becoming invulnerable after the short start-up, essentially teleporting skekUng the same distance as Mewtwo's up special. The start up does mean it's not an infallible recovery, important to note. skekUng's bats are a constant hitbox that deals up to 6 hits of 1% with flinching knockback to foes all around skekUng's hurtbox and will largely just hit them out of any attempt to punish skekUng off-stage and can end in a ledge snap for skekUng. If he doesn't ledge snap skekUng will roar as he erupts out of the bats who scream in pain as he smacks them out of the way! This is a final hit that will combo out of the weaker hits for 10% damage and moderate upward/forward diagonal knockback to KO from 165%, not bad though is very punishable on shield due to bad end lag, similar to Zelda's up special. The up special leaves skekUng in a humiliating slow and painful free fall if he ends it in midair, grasping at the air with his hands as surprise spreads over his face.

The fact skekUng has a teleport-like up special is enough to be a big deal for his playstyle, but he can perform another move altogether with the bats by holding his up special instead. The bats will be commanded to instead move across the stage while maintaining their shroud-like properties at Fox's dash speed before settling in place. The shroud of bats obscures a Bowser-wide and tall portion of the stage and dealing foes a constant 1% damage with no flinch/knockback five times a second for up to 6 seconds, dealing 30% damage to foes in that area if they stand in it all that time. The success of the obscuring is… not that great, but enough to hide the various similar moves changed by General Moves in skekUng’s set to make a big difference! The Shroud will deal damage to the Trial by Stone and help to hide any Crystal Bats doing scouting for skekUng. The bats however can be destroyed by dealing any part of their large hurtbox 25% over their duration, though hitting them has no hitlag, so is much easier than other skekUng minions. When the bats are out too, it extends the start lag of skekUng's up special by a few frames as he has to dissipate the existing cloud, which he can only have one at a time.

The Shroud can be utilized when skekUng doesn’t have enough Crystal Core to use the stronger General Moves in his set if the Shroud is physically overlapping his hurtbox. When skekUng has a Crystal Core in stock or a Bat actively watching the foe, he will take from those instead, leaving his Shroud untouched, and only draws on its power as a resource when he has nothing else to use, and it's quite a risky venture. The Shroud is compromised of 10 uses of the Crystal Core that will be turned into crystal energy and sapped into skekUng when he attempts to do a too costly General Move. This passively lets skekUng attain some of his strongest attacks without need for a Crystal Bat technically, but at a great cost. Every use will visibly kill off a part of the Shroud and reveal segments of what’s inside, making the obscuring useless from around half and downwards, and reduce the damage done by the move to the percent of bats left alive. As a recovery skekUng’s teleport will only go up to five-percent its normal distance (!!!) as far when he uses up all the bats in his Shroud and even at half the bats, this is still a pathetic thirty-percent its normal distance, dropping massively from its normal usefulness. It takes 2 seconds for each use of the Shroud to be recovered and the bat to respawn, so it can take a long time to recover them all. The Shroud’s damage as a melee attack is equally nerfed with a minimum of 3% damage and far weaker looking ending hit if skekUng lands the move on a foe.

When the move is augmented with the power of a successful Crystal Bat, it will instead be covered in the dark crystal's energy, though he can always access his usual up special recovery by tapping the special. Holding special when the shroud is already out will make the shroud rush towards skekUng instead from wherever it is on-stage, going in a straight line at Sonic's dash speed. This deals foes 12% damage and will launch them in the direction they were headed with moderate knockback, whatever way they were faced to go towards skekUng at the start of the move, the bats do not change direction after they choose their path. This isn't likely to KO, though it can go the length of the FD main platform before the bats dissipate for a potential off-stage gimp. skekUng by comparison benefits from the shroud as if they were a gust of wind, giving him a unique movement option!

The surging shroud will give skekUng a strong boost in the direction it headed, pushing him a good Bowser width across the stage when pushed at a horizontal. This is reduced depending on what angle it pushes skekUng, only pushing him half that when angled up/down and diagonal, or purely vertical if straight up/down. skekUng can avoid this by shielding or dodging through the bats, though as has to set this up, it shouldn't be a pervasive issue. The shroud can allow skekUng some exciting utility for a super heavyweight by giving him that extra push to better his mediocre follow up and combo game, as well as avoid punishment from foes. The push is not so extreme as to necessarily push him out of range for his other attacks depending on the angle and as it attacks foes too it can potentially lead into fun combos such as shield grabbing a foe as they're thrown towards skekUng in shield. If he successfully grabs the foe, he could still throw the foe after too, potentially pushing him to the ledge for a bthrow as one example. The shroud will still be summoned back by the up special, though this can be a combo in of itself if the foe is launched into skekUng at a high percent, a combo fit for an Emperor if you find the right percent to KO!

smaShes



FORWARD SMASH: TRIAL BY SWORD

skekUng takes out the massive Trial by Stone ceremonial sword, every bit as impressive as it was in his first special and makes quick use of the huge weapon - swinging it back and as he screams out in anger swiping away at a massive portion of the stage! This deals a huge 25-35% damage, a percent higher than Ganondorf's Doriyah fsmash and has a very comparable, giant hitbox. The move's hitbox and animation is decidedly more vertical than the Ganondorf fsmash that inspired it as skekUng seems to slam the sword more overhead and onto the ground than through the air like Ganondorf. The attack comes out a frame later at frame 32 and a frame longer end lag. This is made up for by the fact the giant hitbox actually extends slightly further than Ganondorf's already impressive hitbox and the power of the move is marginally higher than Ganondorf's that KO'd from 65% at centre stage. The move will like Doriyah reach behind skekUng a good deal and will deal over half a shield's full health and nearly break a shield at full charge.

skekUng has no direct interaction with his Trial by Stone, however the stone will have an incidental effect on the move that makes it very potent. The sword will suffer significant hit lag upon hitting the stone, screeching to a halt as the sword hits the rock and delaying the end of the move, extending the time the extremely powerful sword hitbox is out, comparable to hitting Pac-Man's Hydrant. What makes this a lot more powerful as a mindgame too is that the fsmash deals so much damage it can easily knock the stone forward at the same time, destroying a full shield and pretty much ending a stock for a foe if they're caught anywhere near this terrifying area. This is doubled up in usefulness by the presence of Garthim on stage, particularly if they've been empowered by the Crystal Bats and the shroud making it harder to judge what's exactly happening with the Trial by Stone's position.


The other element that makes the fsmash particularly terrifying in the context of his Trial by Stone when grabbed by podlings is that he can charge the move to deal up to 35% damage, and at around half charge or 30% damage will be able to knock the Trial by Stone down no matter its HP! Depending on where the stone was placed this can be a hindrance to foes to say the least whether at the ledge or to stop foes shielding around it due to the pressure of both the sword's delayed hitbox on the stone and it collapsing on top of them. When the stone does collapse, the sword's delay from hitlag on the stone will end earlier too, freeing up skekUng faster otherwise the sword's hitbox is more greatly delayed causing an even more horrifying Doriyah than usual. The shroud that skekUng creates can make it hard for the foe to tell too, both whether skekUng is going for a charged fsmash or if the stone's HP is high enough for it to matter as damaging it to 25HP or so is not that difficult when it's taking constant damage.

skekUng can use a General Move here, accessible when he's just started fully swinging his sword. This will cause skekUng to be shrouded in bats just like in his up special, and become invulnerable for a short time. skekUng will automatically re-appear 5 frames later but by holding the follow-up press of A skekUng can delay his return another 5 frames, up to 30 frames by using up all 5 uses of his Crystal Bat power! This will save whatever charge the attack had but give the more 4% super armour for every use of the Crystal Bats to max out at 20% super armour, armouring through most moves in Smash Ultimate. The armour is an important factor but being able to delay when the powerful sword attack comes out can in of itself swing the match in skekUng's direction as he fools a foe trying to attack him at ledge or attack him out of the move. The catch is that the bats around skekUng have 10HP that will force skekUng back into the match, so is best for weaker single hit moves, though when skekUng comes back he can utilize his armour to power right through the foe's next attack. Alternatively, the arrogant Emperor can whiff all of his crystal power at once! Unacceptable.

The bats do have low HP but they will still tank a hit for skekUng even if the attack they tank deals up to 15% damage, only hitting skekUng at 16% and above. This increases by 5% for each use of the crystal core. This is just another way for skekUng to cheat with his own Trial by Stone to tank a hit if the foe does manage to knock it on top of skekUng who will then re-appear and attack where the foe was! It's more viable too in this case due to the hitlag the foe will take while attacking the stone. This doesn't require much crystal power, maybe a few uses of the Crystal Bat, to get past the foe's attack and the stone but skekUng appreciates the ability to use as little or as much as he needs depending on the match up.

This is one of the best uses of the shroud too, combining them and the GM so that the foe finds it hard to tell where skekUng will end up using the crystal-powered Shroud to push him a little back or forward, potentially catching rolls or jumps. If he is shrouded by the move's own GM too he can be pushed around before he re-appears to add another level of mindgame to the Doriyah. It is possible to see small signs of what's happening behind the shroud but can be turned into a mess of bats with both GMs utilized at once. In tight situations however and with a Garthim or Crystal Bat itself attacking the foe skekUng can manipulate the situation to catch the foe off-guard using his minutia of mindgames with Trial by Stone and his minions, making this an even more terrifyingly powerful attack than Ganondorf's fsmash in the right hands.

UP SMASH: LINGERING DARKNESS

skekUng triumphantly holds his ceremonial sword with both hands, then raises it straight above his head causing it to surge with dark energy and striking foes for 1 hit of 1% damage, 3 hits of 2% damage and finally a powerful final blast of energy for 16-22% damage! This will KO from 80% with purely upwards knockback. skekUng holds the sword triumphantly like a trophy, this is why it's a touch laggier than it otherwise would be. The first hit will combo foes into the rest of the move from the front, but has a blind spot behind skekUng. This is highly comparable to Roy's up smash visually. Unlike the fsmash, this will linger all on its own and even gives skekUng the same intangibility on his sword hand as Roy's arm (his hand is pretty big), making it a great way to catch out foes trying to jump over skekUng! Moreover, this is a fantastic move for its range, stretching the huge sword 1.5x as far as Marth's up smash, being an absolutely outstanding anti-air.

An anti-air this good is significant as skekUng loves to catch foes in the air trying to knock down his Crystal Bats and in general, he needs all the anti-airs he can get as a super heavy in Smash Ultimate. The move comes 2 frames slower than Roy's at frame 14, still a very fast move by skekUng's standards, the issue being that like Roy's attack this has a long, punishable duration lending to the move's FAF of 61 (2 frame more than Roy's 59 due to the 2 frames longer start up). This duration is the move's saving grace too, the multiple hits and how long the move stays out means that foes won't find it so easy to cross up skekUng. Likewise, this will reach up so high that trying to even get to a Crystal Bat will be difficult with skekUng in the way, drawing a useful line in the sand for skekUng to deter foes with his own intimidating figure.

skekUng can perform a follow-up that alters the final hit of the attack, by pressing A before the final hit comes out. skekUng instead growls and raises the sword even higher into the air shooting out a shroud of bats directly upwards that deal 2% damage to foes each and have weak homing properties. Their formation starts as a small triangle and grows to a diamond with more bats. The amount of bats ranges from 2-6 depending on charge and each is roughly the size of a Pokéball, each one will deal damage and low knockback however near the top of the stage, this can act like a MegaMan UAir tornado to slightly push foes enough to vertically KO them especially at higher percents. Each bat will reach the foe at roughly the same time so dodging them all at once is easy when just 2, but scales up to being impossible at 5-6, while being difficult at 3-4.

The bats will fly off the top of the screen if no foe is within a close range but have homing that will greatly sharpen when a foe is within a battlefield platform width of the attack, chasing them down if they get in range! Unlike the other bats, these are purely made of crystal energy upon closer inspection, counting as a projectile. This means foes can't casually destroy them like the other bats and have to simply avoid the bloodsuckers. On the other hand, skekUng has to watch out for reflector-users! The bats themselves won't be boosted by the GM, however with the moving shroud chasing a foe, they become indistinguishable from the rest and much more of a pain for the foe to keep track of! As the foe can't really dodge the regular shroud, this can prove to be a debilitating combination.

skekUng can perform a GM by pressing the input on hit upon hitting a foe, and if hitting multiple foes will pick the closer one, or default to controller port priority in rare situations where no foe is closer. The foe is shot upwards as normal but there will be a magical Crystal Bat shadowing above them who follows their movement and is launched above their location as if they were hit by a move that deals 30% more damage than skekUng's attack. After being launched the bat will swoop back down towards the foe with strong homing at Falcon's dash speed and deal 7% damage with moderately strong upwards knockback. This is regardless of the bat's exact angle/position, so is always a good juggle or vertical KO attack, but the bat will only be around for 3 seconds so has to be used fast! This can even be used to pressure the foe around the Trial by Stone as the 7% is above the threshold to launch the stone at low HP, so can be a surprising stock ender around the almighty rock.

The bat will still just hit the ground if the foe moves particularly horizontally in the air due to not perfect homing, but this can telegraphed their movement to skekUng as well, especially at low percents. In general this is a massive help to skekUng's anti-air playstyle and can help the bat's fellow brethren in the air to force them out of the way. This is another element of skekUng's playstyle that also benefits from the shroud, particularly one that's already homing in on the foe too, though the two variations in this move can't be used at once as using the follow-up makes the GM inaccessible.



DOWN SMASH: BUG SLAM

A gluttonous look on his face, skekUng holds out one hand as a stream of disgusting little bugs - ranging from worms, to beetles to giant ants - fall from his open hand and crawl across the stage, all taking place over start-up and charge time. At the same time, skekUng lifts his huge sword one-handed over his head, showing off considerable strength as he then slams the sword down, dealing 8% damage and dragging foes over his head to take the brunt of his damage, 15-21% damage and high largely flat horizontal knockback to KO from 75% on the front side! The start up is a little slower than the usmash but has comparable great range to fsmash, just more focused on the back and front sides of skekUng with less overhead range. skekUng has a devilish look on his face as all those poor bugs are turned into a splash of otherworldly goo! Any of the leftover bugs are but a nuisance and can be quickly gobbled up like Smash food items by skekUng for a useless, but delicious 0.1%, able to heal a paltry 1% damage if fully-charged and the most bugs are released, can't get em all!

The goo from the slain bugs will be thrown forward across the stage for a puny 2% damage to all it reaches, ranging from hitting just a Kirby width in front of skekUng to up to a full battlefield platform, and ranging from a crouching Kirby to a full standing Kirby's height in size, with only flinching knockback, largely just helping to make the move safer against shielding foes or foes trying to wait just in front of skekUng to punish a whiff. The bugs leave behind a pool of their own variety of colours of goo from being crushed that will stain the stage in a Bowser-2x Bowser wide puddle, decreasing the traction of foes to 0.65x when on the puddle, and giving weakened ice physics from stages like Summit. While not quite that bad, foes will find themselves sliding not only on the bugs but for a short period after that. Any character standing on the puddle will also have this effect continue for 5 seconds after being on top of the puddle.

The puddle really helps skekUng with his great usmash to have a much better dash into other attacks. For skekUng this is great to rush in and catch foes in the air. His Garthim also directly benefit as they will slide 1.2x as far with each of their claw swipes expanding their reach to a far greater degree and helping them push a foe off-stage from further away. The foe sliding around the stage will help with skekUng's general playstyle of wanting stage control and with his shroud especially, as the foe will have to have more staggered movement to stop sliding into it or into a disadvantageous position. The puddle lasts for 8 seconds.

skekUng can perform a GM with the move by pressing A as he raises his sword above his head, after charge and about to strike even as a foe is still being swung over to be hit, so uniquely can do this while a foe is in the middle of being attacked. skekUng cries out as his sword glows purple and he strikes the ground. Instead the foe is launched at a more diagonal angle as the magic of the sword bursts against the ground, dealing a slightly higher 20-28% damage to KO from 75%. This is not only stronger but much better for skekUng's playstyle versus just sending the foe off-stage where recovering low, skekUng has fewer options. The more important change is there has been a reprieve for skekUng's creepy crawlies!

The bugs will not be killed be launched by the burst of magic and instead launched all over the stage. The range of where the bugs end up from this attack is largely comparable to the splash from the default move, shifting the bugs into that area rather than their gooey remains. The bugs have no hitbox but will potentially crawl forwards at Ganondorf's walk speed, while not fast, their size means they can cover a surprising amount of the stage. This gives skekUng the potential to gobble down up to 3% worth of bugs if he gets a run of the stage. Any character that directly walks on the bugs will crush them into the ground potentially creating a much bigger puddle of goo to slide on. These bugs are more prone to spreading goo than the ones simply being splashed across the stage by skekUng's sword and skekUng merely walking over the uncharged portion of bugs will create as much of a puddle as a fully-charged dsmash, this scales to create up to 2x as much goo on stage as the regular move because of more bugs. This goes for the Garthim too who will cover all of the stage they walk over with the goo, for the duration of their attack. The downside of this is that any puddle created in this way lasts a shorter 6 seconds, trading longevity for range.

skekUng inadvertently aids his disgusting minions when they feast on the bugs! A Garthim at the same time as crushing the insects under its girth will eat the goo that splashes onto them, healing them for a constant 1% up to 5 times if they charge over a full stream of bugs even with an uncharged amount, at least healing for 5%, which can be significant if the foe was ever getting close to KOing the Garthim. The shroud of Crystal Bats from up special will feast on the bugs just like a foe when overlapping them on the ground. This will sustain them just like a foe would without needing a GM to do so, but will only heal them for 2% once a second and will periodically cause 2-3 of the bugs to be exploded to death! Nonetheless, don't say skekUng is such a bad guy, he truly does care for his subordinates after all.

standArds

JAB: PIG POKE

skekUng is suddenly more inspired by Ganondorf than usual as he rams out his hand with a flat palm, coursing with dark purple crystal energy, dealing 6% damage and moderate knockback. The jab hits a foe in an arc like Ganondorf's own ftilt so can be a real pain for characters like Mac when sent off-stage above middling percents. The animation is a little more curled over then down than Ganondorf's jab so it's not identical and the angle makes a bit more sense. Effectively this means the move will miss more low/crouching foes but can curl around low hitting attacks too. This is not quite as strong as Ganondorf’s jab, but is just as fast and has slightly short end lag, making it much more spammable. A key difference is that skekUng’s comes out a touch higher so is easier to crouch under and reaches slightly further due to his long reach. This is his go-to for foes trying to approach haphazardly to push them back into a mid-range position that he prefers to fight.

A move this spammable is an obvious choice to attack the stone. As a quick move with short end lag, the attack is perfect to manipulate with the hitlag mechanics present in the Trial by Stone, extending the short duration to abuse, while maintaining the short end lag once it’s over. At the same time, the 6% damage is the perfect amount to damage the stone without unearthing it fully when its HP is depleted, whether or not the Podlings have been commanded to keep it in place. This lets skekUng casually wear down the stone with no worries of ever having it unsettled from its current spot.

The General Move for this attack is performed by just holding A, a simple follow-up with the other arm doing a reversed underhand but slightly more forceful motion for an enhanced 7% damage, dealing much higher knockback that can KO from 130% as the foe is launched weakly upwards in the same arc. The attack comes out a touch faster than just doing another jab on its own too. This is mostly useful as a mix-up to catch foes that are trying to spot dodge or shield the jab. This goes over the threshold of the Trial by Stone so that it will cause the stone to collapse, which is very problematic for foes trying to shield the move and are in range of the Stone at the same time. This has the same low end lag as the normal jab. Fittingly enough the combination of the two hits is somewhat similar to Ganondorf’s nair in terms of hitbox placement as the lower, second jab will hit many ducking foes and cover the blind spots of the first, though they only ever “combo” into a shield.

The two jab hits can be continuously performed at the cost of using up another Crystal Bat usage each time, up to a maximum of 4 times beyond the second hit. This will raise the damage by 1% each hit, going to 8%, 9%, 10% and finally 11%, which will end on the second hit’s stronger knockback being able to KO from 100%. Each time skekUng will scream out his anger channelling more of his own power into the move, or perhaps angry not to have hit those disgusting little enemy peons! This is practically less viable than landing a Warlock Punch, if not for the rest of skekUng's set. This is the perfect way to catch foes haphazardly spot dodging or trying to roll around skekUng, or just shield when anything else is hitting their shield from skekUng's set. A foe can easily challenge this violently repeating jab but only if they can give it their full focus.

The move as fast as it is, performed 6 times is not fast, but is enough to bring down a Trial by Stone at the ledge all in one go and if it’s already weakened won’t require an entire Crystal Bat worth of hits. At the same time, it can be a very fun game of Chicken if the foe does want to sit in shield for too long or try and drop shield to attack skekUng as he simply says “no” and slaps them across the face. Ganondorf would be proud of such a disrespectful and read-based tactic.

DASH ATTACK: STAMPEDE

skekUng makes use of his massive feet hidden under his robe by stomping over and over again on the floor as he looks downward at a disgusting sight, perhaps at a character like Pikachu, these stomps deals 6 hits of 1% damage and a final hit to launch foes behind skekUng for 7% damage and decent low angled knockback to KO from 120%. This can be reversed to in front of skekUng if the foe is not sufficiently pulled in enough to be swept under his feet, instead launching them out for 7% in front for the same power, which isn’t too hard to land as it only means landing the move after whiffing the first 2-3 hits, depending on the foe’s percent, the higher percent the more they will be dragged in towards skekUng. There is a hitbox in front of skekUng too as he runs forward dealing 5% and hitting the foe downwards either for a ground bounce at high percents, or at low percents forcing them into the vortex that are his fat feet.

skekUng runs forward about as far as Luigi’s dash attack only scaled up for the skeksis’ impressive size, so covers a good deal of the stage, as he travels slightly faster than his dash speed. The end lag of the move is quite bad and the start lag is poor, but the long duration is more than enough to hit into other attacks like his Garthim or delay for the Crystal Bat to finish its work. Rushing over the bugs from dsmash will add 0.5% damage to each hit and marginally stronger knockback for the last hit, can't make wine without crushing a few bugs!

The GM of this move is a simple one; skekUng’s crystal power can be activated at the start of the move to make his entire body glow in a purple hue for the duration of the move. He gains super armour up to 15% damage and if he reaches a foe, retains the 5% hitbox but also gains a grab hitbox on his feet as he stomps on them like Meta Knight’s dthrow, but as a giant character! This deals 6 hits of 2% damage and a final 5% kick away from skekUng that will KO from 105% at a low horizontal angle. This can only be activated at the start so is a hard commitment, if the foe dodges or counters with a stronger move, this will waste both skekUng and the energy put into the attack. What makes this scary is out of the Shroud where the foe can’t see which version skekUng went for, so they have to always be wary of his dash option out of the cloud of bats. As it can only be initiated at the start, skekUng can aim to attack the foe with his Garthim or the Shroud itself through another GM just as he comes out of it to try and force them into a combo with either version. skekUng does have a weak spot somewhat like K. Rool on his head where he can be hit ignoring the armour, but is much harder to hit as a smaller character, only existing in the GM version of the move however. When the foe is crushed against the bugs from dsmash, their face is visibly seen with a disgusted expression and take another 0.5% a hit like the regular attack.

All this hard work for skekUng, and the Garthim are doing nothing! When the foe has been fully scanned, skekUng gets that classic sheen effect on his HUD telling the player they can press the special input to summon the Garthim a good distance behind skekUng doing its own version of the move! It appears far enough behind or skekUng that it will only hit the foe after they've been launched by skekUng already and disappear as in the normal move, and this can obviously only be used when no Garthim is out on stage already. The Garthim performs its own devastating version of the dash attack by standing up straight and trampling its giant legs down on any unsuspecting foes, dealing 6 hits of 2% to them before launching them out of the front or back of the Garthim at a low angle for good knockback, though at such an inconvenient angle it will never KO, only able to from around 185%. The main appeal of this is of course the foe is put in much worse disadvantage as skekUng already will have finished up the move, though not by much, as the skekUng's attack finishes much faster than skekUng.

The main way to abuse this is by having the Garthim rage into a Trial by Stone to further delay the attack, giving a tick of extra hit lag for each addition leg stomp. Another more cruel way to take advantage of the situation is that skekUng can blow up his Garthim as it's going through the motions, this will launch out the foe early (using the same mechanics as the regular move), a good reason to do this in of itself, but can also set up the foe to be forced to shield or back off towards skekUng for a predictable getaway option. This comes at the cost of the Garthim's life, but when the foe is already in the process of being hit anyway, it is if nothing else a guarantee. One negative is that you can still summon a Garthim behind skekUng when the foe is launched forwards when hit early, serving no purpose other than the potential to bthrow the foe into an exploding Garthim or something of that nature.



FORWARD TILT: SCEPTRE OF A RAD POWER

skekUng takes out his Emperor’s sceptre and bashes it in a downward swipe, somewhat similar visually to Isabelle’s ineffectual jab, dealing a meagre 3% damage and low knockback at a Sakurai angle at the beginning, 5% and stronger forward/down diagonal knockback at a low angle and finally the most powerful 7% hitbox when hitting foes as the sceptre hits near the ground for a ground bounce or spike to off stage foes like Falcon and Samus’ utilts. These three hitboxes give the move three distinct uses, as both a weak combo starter or get away move due to the move’s fast 3 frame start up, then a decent way to put foes in the air next to skekUng at low percents or punish a failed tech chase at low percents, finally the 7% hitbox is a fantastic read much like the aforementioned moves at ledge, also a fantastic 2-frame.

The rad part of the move is the special effect that skekUng, or likely skekTek, constructed on the sceptre. When the sceptre hits any character or one of skekUng’s constructions ranging from the foe, to the Garthim, to the Shroud/Crystal Bats, to even the Trial by Stone, it will leave behind a bright green glowing and pulsating little sac of goo. This will be placed much like a Crash Bomber wherever skekUng hit with his sceptre, though only one can exist at a time, limiting how much it can be utilized.

The green sac will on a foe, wall (it won’t be left on the ground) or the stone attach itself and after 5 seconds, merely explode, dealing 5% and weak knockback, an unimpressive result, but it can’t work much with an inanimate object. The sac will at least blow up if attacks with any attack, so the foe can be deterred from attacking the stone or prolonging a fight next to a wall on certain stages. Foes will avoid the explosion by hitting it off themselves, harmlessly causing it to fall to the ground like a Pikmin. Even touching it as another character will cause it to explode, the explosion of green goo ranging about the same as a Bob-Omb explosion, so if nothing else, it has size going for it.

On a Garthim the green sac will grow every passing second it is seen on that Garthim. It not only grows, after 5 seconds growing to the size of a Purple Pikmin on whatever part of the Garthim it hit, the green sac will slowly drain away the life force of the Garthim itself. The Garthim’s attacks slow down considerably, after each second becoming 10% slower until after 5 full seconds, attacking at only half speed. The slowed down attacks lose 10% each time (mathematically, not Smash %) in both power and knockback, though this can not be a bad thing to make the Garthim into a better combo enabler for skekUng! This Garthim will continue to look ravaged and aged by the infected sac until put out of its misery by foes. If they are exploded by skekUng now, the resulting explosion will be green-coloured showing how much their innards were corrupted, extending the range and power of the explosion by 1.2x at max, or at least 1.05x at its minimum strength. To get to that point requires decent management of the Garthim to have it attack a couple times and at least not get KO’d by the foe and hitting the sac at all before the end will make it explode as it does when connected to a wall, ending the skek-citing interaction.

The point of all this is build up is after 5 seconds the completed sac will sink into the Garthim and is seen to travel through their body slowly, halting the Garthim in place wherever it is in the middle of its attack, writhing in more pain than ever holding its claws to its head. As the green sac travels to its assumed brain the Garthim will become lifeless and merely stand in place on stage with a creepy green glow emanating from its eyes.

The Garthim regains HP if it had less than 30HP, this can be depleted by skekUng too unlike the normal Garthim. Once it’s dealt that, it will bulge at the seams before exploding in a massive green gutty explosion 0.9x as big as Kamikaze for 20% damage, going through shields, though fittingly able to damage skekUng too. This will KO vertically from 100%. The Garthim in this lifeless state will be like a Sandbag, easy to push horizontally but falling like a rock, the delayed explosion as it bulges takes 2 seconds to go off so this makes it a good punching bag to hit towards foe or for skekUng to simply play hot potato with the foe.

While it’s not destroyed yet the Garthim can be commanded with the side B, as this no longer makes it explode. Instead it will act as a makeshift “pocket” for whatever skekUng has in close range. Pressing side B will have skekUng raise his sword the same way, and the zombie Garthim will lift its glowing green eyes into the air and perform 5 slow claw swipes in place each doing a powerful 8% damage and semi spike knockback to KO from 160%. Each clawing attack takes around 35 frames to complete, with the entire motion taking almost 3 seconds to finish, turning the zombie Garthim into a stationary trap contrary to how pro-active the normal Garthim acts.

When the sac is put on the Crystal Bat it will behave like the zombie Garthim, simply standing in place lifeless in midair. Justifiably angry at him perhaps, the Crystal Bat after a few seconds will start to mindlessly head in skekUng’s direction! It turns on friendly fire on the Emperor himself, how dare it! And for good measure skekUng can use his neutral B to cause the Crystal Bat to explode wherever it is on stage for a strong 15% damage that KOs from 115% vertically, as it’s aerial, this can be much lower however and like the zombie Garthim this can’t be shielded and can hit skekUng. If the Crystal Bat hits any character it will have a stronger wing attack as it flutters by that deals constant 3% damage and mild flinching to any foe it passes at 1.1x Falcon’s dash speed. If it does finally reach skekUng it will attempt to leech onto his head to his dismay, sucking 2% HP a second as he has to hit it off like a Pikmin causing it to rebound and be launched away 2 battlefield platform widths before it tries again. The zombie bat has a solid 20HP and can overheal to 30HP this way, so skekUng’s pain – or a foe if they get in the way of his ravenous grab – can help delay the inevitable explosion that also happens if the zombie bat’s HP is depleted fully.

Important to note on the Bat: it can only be hit either when it's first summoned or if there are platforms on the stage, as it will usually be hovering well above the foe. This is still a big mix up option for if the foe is high enough percent or playing in a way where sandwiching yourself between you and the bat helps, pressuring them further to stop giving you the space to summon the bat in the first place. As this can backfire without much thought it's still best to not use most of the time and save later on in the match especially when skekUng has GMs available to pressure the foe at the same time and use his armour to avoid potentially friendly fire.

The GM for this move is a simple but great one, as skekUng hits the foe he can press A again to imbue the power of the crystal into the foe’s green sac. This causes the sac to have 15HP and instead of how it normally acts, can now build up in the same way it does on a Garthim, only at double the speed, building up over 2.5 seconds ignoring things like hitlag or the foe being grabbed/stunned in any way. If the sac is a success, it will fall off the foe dealing 11% damage and flinching, revealing the sac all along to be some kind of gross caterpillar monster around the size of a Klaptrap. The dead eyes are recognizable from the zombie Garthim’s eyes. It will travel across the stage at the pace of Ganondorf’s walk away from the foe. It can be destroyed by dealing it 30% damage, causing it to limp over in place, no explosion this time! skekUng now has two options – the caterpillar sac monster will attach itself to a Garthim if it touches once, immediately skipping to the phase where it becomes a zombie Garthim, so he can use side B next to it to make that happen.


On the other hand, that caterpillar looks delicious. If skekUng presses A next to it he’ll lift it up and consume the caterpillar feasting upon it like a juicy watermelon, healing himself 4% once every 30 frames, healing 12% over 1.5 seconds. This may not sound that great but that’s more than Hero’s Heal, and doesn’t require any RNG to acquire. This isn’t too viable to go for in of itself but presents a great distraction to foes who really won’t want to see skekUng go for the most elaborate snack break in history.

UP TILT: DAGGER

skekUng takes out a new weapon, a ceremonial dagger rich in jewels despite its short handle, and performs a quick crescent motion cut overhead, visually similar to Marth’s utilt, dealing 6% damage with moderate knockback. This is a 4 frame attack and has low end lag, though is marginally longer duration than jab, it’s another core part of skekUng’s important anti-air game. The dagger will hit at a radial angle so is a multipurpose tool to space foes away from skekUng, doubling up as both anti-air and at times GTFO as it has decent range, though fails to hit low foes on either side, a thorn in his side as always!

The dagger has an interesting sweetspot likely due to its apparent jewels, these must be shards of the dark crystal itself! At a close range to skekUng, the closest part of the hitbox that may usually be a whiff on other similar moves, will instead deal a stronger 7% damage and stun the foes momentarily as they are shocked by a purple spark of energy. The foe can then be easily combo’d into a utilt again for 6% hit as they cannot be combo’d by the 7% hit a second time in a row, a meaty 13% just off a utilt, though this will never KO it can delay for skekUng’s various minions to have a nice advantage. While the attack retains the same hitboxes throughout the sweep of the air, it can be slowed down considerably by hitlag depending on the timing of when the dagger hits the stone. This can be a help or hindrance, but is most important for the GM of the move.

At any point during the sweep of the dagger skekUng can press A again to pause the dagger where it stands, glowing with dark crystal energy that surges into a blast of energy, dealing 9% damage and high damage pointing in the direction the dagger was facing at the time. This blasts is a small disjointed hitbox around twice as big as the dagger but will give intangibility on skekUng's hand, similarly to usmash, making it a useful way to trade with foes. Somewhat like the jab, skekUng can press A again to use up further uses of his Crystal Core to continuously pause his dagger in the air without the blast but re-activating the dagger's attack on shields and delaying the attack. Any use after the first will count as more than one use for his free single use when a bat is already scanning the foe.

Normally skekUng would only be able to pause the dagger twice during the attack, dealing a nice 6% or 7% twice on shield, before the dagger attack ends, netting a nice 12% or 14%, because the utilt is too fast to stop faster than that. When in front of a Trial by Stone so long as the dagger is pushing against the stone again after being stopped by the GM, skekUng can then re-activate his GM up to an excellent 4 further times after the first, dealing up to 30% or 35% along with the 9% hitbox potentially. In this perfect scenario, this and the foe being forced to sit in shield for so long is a recipe for at minimum a shield poke, if not outright shield break, especially damaging the stone at the same time. This isn't such a great move to directly attack the stone as jab as this is much more telegraphed and the coverage means foes will likely only be hit a few times at best, but makes it a comparably great anti-air and pressurizing move to play hot potato in the same way.

DOWN TILT: BEETLE BOUNCE

skekUng kicks out a Pokéball sized beetle carcass from underneath his robe, the kick itself is a close range hit for 5% damage single flinching hit while the beetle deals 4% damage and light radial knockback as it rolls across the ground. This can be reflected, but in the initial kicking animation is treated as a disjoint. skekUng is limited to only one beetle at a time, when one is already out he will only perform the ineffectual kick. The move has average speed for a dtilt and a long duration and end lag. The beetle can't 2-frame, but is a good off-stage gimp as it can travel as far as MegaMan's down tilt slide before the beetle rolls over on its back and dissipates. Against solid objects the beetle will bounce back, and this can refresh it to roll back the same distance it travelled forward creating a passive one-two punch to foes or their shield. This works even on the usually background-oriented Trial by Stone giving a nice bit of pressure to foes with their back turned to the stone. This can be a good tool as well if a foe spot dodges and is then hit as the stone bounces back the beetle to hit them on the rebound.

For the GM skekUng can press the button at the very start of the move twice, this will make skekUng reel back his body further in the start lag, making the move come out a little slower, this delay can prove to be a positive on its own. Giving the beetle an extra bit of a kick with a rageful strike, the beetle is launched at 1.4x its previous speed and deals 12% damage able to KO radially from 130%. The kick itself now deals 14% damage and high upward knockback able to KO from 115% but still only hits from a super close range, comparable to MegaMan's utilt. When he kicks rather than go across the ground, the beetle is launched at a slight upward angle and will continue through the air as a disjointed hitbox that can't be reflected and if it had infinite range would eventually go past the diagonal top blast zone if launched from the right side of FD. It doesn't go quite that far, but does go as far as Falco's laser. The beetle has the same physics as when it rolls except it will reflect off and the walls or Trial by Stone can go into the air and will reflect up to 2 additional times. This is more than anything else a great mindgame to hit foes trying to jump over the dtilt or for example, shield then instinctively jump over the rolling beetle.

The beetle can be hit back by attacks and will damage skekUng if it hits him, having the same physics as the Wii Fit Trainer ball. This also refreshes the move's distance able to travel before it dissipates up to 2 more times. One fun way to get around this is to utilize dtilt again to approach and kick it right back! The GM dtilt provides a great mix up for this too if the foe sees that coming, as this will then go over the low hitting attack the foe might have used and the slower delayed version of the move means their timing will be off if they tried to challenge it like a Gordo. A Garthim can also keep attacking a beetle with its claws making it almost impossible to hit it back without it being hit back at the foe instead.

On top of the normal GM, whether the GM was used or not skekUng can hold the input to imbue the shell with a dark magic aura as he's kicking the beetle. This serves no purpose at first, seemingly just an aesthetic, but becomes more clear when the shell is hit in front of a Garthim! Instead of just attacking the Garthim will rear back its claw and actively aim for it with a crunching back swipe, hitting it forward at a high diagonal angle for 13% and high upwards knockback KOing from 125%! This largely is an anti-air though will hit foes right in front of the Garthim too, adding another pause like the original GM to the shell so that foes can be caught out yet again if the shell's been imbued with energy at the feet of a Garthim. At the same time if not doing this will net the foe being hit as the Garthim reaching them as normal so they have to pay attention. When a foe has been fully scanned by a Crystal Bat, the Garthim will no longer launch the shell at a high angle, but instead directly at the foe! This not only makes the projectile even harder to dodge but adds a unique buff to the Garthim in this circumstance and changes the knockback to be radial - especially dangerous if the foe is at the ledge. This is another fun mindgame for skekUng if the foe forgets they're scanned and assumes they can duck under the shell, only to be launched for pretty considerable knockback.

grabGame

GRAB & PUMMEL: POWER GRAB

skekUng claws out a meek looking-hand, but the range on the move is no joke! skekUng has very good grab range due to his tall build and has a wide-reaching grab, with average lag for a standing grab. His dash grab is not as good but still comparable to Bowser’s, while his pivot grab is excellent, as you’d expect out of any super heavy worth his weight. skekUng’s pivot and dash grabs are tricky ones when he can use the dsmash’s puddles of bug goo to slide across the ground as well as his up special's GM upgrade, either extending the range of his grab itself or the range that skekUng slides across the ground as he grabs hold of his hapless foe!

There is no time for such lowly things as directly grabbing the foe, so skekUng has his own minions, the worthless Podlings perform this in his stead! skekUng will snarl summoning two Podlings on either side of the foe the second that the foe is grabbed, relinquishing his grab but instead grabbing the closest Podling slave's back! Both of the Podlings look petrified, although markedly less so when their essence has been drained so much already, but the one that has skekUng breathing down their neck looks more alive than they probably have been in a long time! When the foe escapes or if not stated otherwise, the Podlings will dissipate and have no effect on the match and are treated like other grab elements such as Incineroar’s wrestling ring rope or Steve’s pen, not interactable for foes.

That’s not to say skekUng can’t have some use out of them! The Crystal Bats are not picky eaters and will happily feast on the Podling if they’re in range, healing themselves as much as they do on bugs for 2% every second and can stack with dining on the foe if they have been strengthened by a GM to get double the leeched health! This alone can be a worthwhile venture to get potentially both sources to get an easy 30% health for the shroud. While the Podlings won’t be moved by the foe’s attacks, Garthim cancelling the grab will dissipate the Podlings in a confused stupor, leaving the foe a little further away than a normal grab, which plays well into his own set, giving enough room that summoning a Garthim is much more viable unless the foe makes a mad dash to stop the skeksis.

For the pummel skekUng will subvert expectations and not attack the foe, but instead with a wicked stare on his face crush the Podlings’ shoulder with his hand, which in turns then has the other Podling react by bashing the foe over the head with their hand! This is a weak pummel dealing 1.3% but in a quick motion. The shoulder crunch is not what’s spammable here, but the Podling slave’s bash, so you could argue you “play as” the Podling for the pummel. This is surprisingly relevant as if the foe grab escapes while being pummelled, the Podlings closer to skekUng will dissipate first as he suffers in agony, causing the foe to fall closer to skekUng as they're pushed away. This can be good or bad for skekUng as the frame neutral position is all the same.

FORWARD THROW: GARTHIM SHELL

The podlings throw the foe into a quickly appearing round shell of a dead Garthim, on its side to have a circular outline, the foe is smashed into the gooey half facing the screen. skekUng triumphantly roars out as he Sparta kicks the shell and foe away for 4% damage, rolling it like a barrel across the stage! The foe can mash out using the same mashing they had left over from the original grab, harmlessly released with the shell dissipating when they do. As they roll, the foe passively takes 1% damage three times a second. If the shell hits a solid object or the ledge, it explodes dealing the foe 5% damage and moderately strong forwards, low angle knockback to KO from 235%. The foe will be hit backwards when hitting a wall, rebounding off it without the chance to tech. The shell deals 8% damage and high forward/up angled diagonal knockback to KO from 105% to outside foes. The Trial by Stone as it is in the background is not treated like a solid object or wall, but can be broken . The hitlag from the Trial by Stone "slowing down" the shell can be important as the Garthim shell rolls at just above skekUng's own dash speed and he does have some end lag after kicking the shell too, so this allows him to catch up with the foe and the shell!

The foe can take damage and be attacked while stuck in the shell, having the same mechanics as an opponent who is frozen by a Freezie item or Kacrackle Slash. They won't take any knockback but take damage and if they are released out of the shell, can be caught by moves like normal, this requires some tight timing if nothing else is utilized to help skekUng catch up to the foe. Once caught up to the foe, one of the best ways to help guarantee a hit is the dsmash goop from the bugs to slide up to the foe in the shell and use usmash or utilt out of dash to catch the foe as they're released. The multihit of the usmash will make it easy to hit the foe while they're released from the shell in time.

The fthrow's GM can be activated as skekUng kicks the shell, imbuing his foot with the power of the crystal! This kick sends the shell with much more force dealing the foe 7% damage and sending the shell at 1.3x the speed of skekUng's dash speed. The podlings fall over in reaction to the powerful kick as another visual flair on the attack. The difference from this is that the shell is much harder to catch for skekUng, but also has a much different result when it hits a wall/object or the ledge. Against a wall, the shell will instead travel over it using Hothead-like physics. A small object on the ground will bounce it slightly into the air, while it will travel a short way up a wall before falling back down.

The shell will explode as normal if it does come to a stop unless the foe mashes out, which usually happens if it does hit a wall, in this case the more chaotic way the shell rolls will hit the Trial by Stone on the side causing it to go into the air in this way. The shell will go up and come down around half a second later, exploding and launching the foe into the air for 5% damage able to KO from a slightly stronger 200%. More importantly, this can lead into a great juggle or combo for skekUng. The shell when it goes off the ledge will carry the foe for up to 1.3 battlefield platforms distance before it automatically explodes. This will however launch the foe upwards, so even Little Mac won't be gimped by this throw. The real strength is that skekUng can abuse this healthy advantage state to spike foes off-stage or set up a ledge guard.

The mix up potential of the two fthrows is a great boon to skekUng's grab game. Next to a ledge they can be weakly thrown forward and not be in very much disadvantage, or be launched for a longer duration allowing skekUng more of an advantage state, but no opportunity to KO the foe whatsoever. Not at ledge it's a choice between making space or going for follow-ups, the bridging of the gap means skekUng is never far away from whatever he has created on stage.

BACK THROW: SACRIFICE WILLING

skekUng sidesteps past the podlings and raises his ceremonial sword over his head with both hands as his shout bellows out, swinging the sword after pivoting around in the background - another ferocious powerful swing for 16% damage and high knockback as powerful as Incineroar's bthrow. This swing can hit outside foes and his Trial by Stone too, as skekUng sidesteps he is briefly intangible like a roll, he can abuse this if he's a true expert tactician. The range for the sword strike is compact compared to the fsmash as he swings it a little more haphazardly into the foreground too, but still has around the same range as Marth's fsmash.

This is an absurdly powerful bthrow especially on skekUng and his many ways to deal damage, there is a big catch. skekUng can let it rip and if he does, the podlings are equally victims to the sword strike, being launched and immediately dissipating if the foe is hit. The podlings being KO'd like this will mean that when skekUng tries to use them in his down special, it will take another full 60 frames to summon fresh podling slaves! Unacceptable laziness! skekUng can delay the sword strike by holding the B button as he goes to perform the bthrow, indicated by a sheen on skekUng's HUD. As the sword is held over head, the podlings will slowly shuffle out of the way, taking 30 frames for the furthest podling to get out of the way and 50 frames for both! If he KOs just the nearest podling slave, this will increase the lag of the down special by only 40 frames, still a painful downgrade. The foe can escape by mashing all of this time like a Cargo Throw and skekUng will suffer more end lag than them when they are grab released, with the podlings shuffling away the foe will be released a little further away than usual behind skekUng. At worst, this can be useful to push the foe into a Garthim or Shroud behind skekUng so even if they do escape they take considerable damage. As he does delay the move skekUng's swing becomes more refined and damaging as an upside, increasing the damage to 17% or 18% and marginally improving the already great knockback of the move.

Holding the button as skekUng starts the move will cause skekUng to slowly charge up the crystal energy into his sword, taking 10 frames per use of the Crystal Core before the sword is maxed out and comes crashing down where the foe stood for 2% extra damage per use of the sword, up to 36% damage, but that would take a massive 100 frames, KOing at a ridiculous 10%. At least by then those useless podlings would be fully out of the way! As the sword charges up in power as does skekUng's super armour, going up in 5% increments before reaching a peak of 50% super armour. skekUng will no longer cancel the move when the foe escapes but instead bring the sword down whenever the crystal core runs out of energy. This means that skekUng has to keep an eye on his crystal core to see how much of it is left, but if it misses, he wastes all of the energy that went into the attack too. If skekUng plays very dumb, at a low percent he can even whiff a full 5 uses of the crystal core to go for the 36% hitbox, then the foe waits until the last second to grab him, ruining his plans completely! skekUng can go early and strike his sword down without using up the crystal completely, but this requires using up another 2 uses of the crystal immediately and if they aren't in reserve, he can't go through with it, a costly course correction! If skekUng can grab the foe at the right percent, he can KO them ridiculously early, but it's all with a large amount of risk attached.

The power of the charged bthrow is so great that it will hit the Trial by Stone off its base, launching it through the air surrounded in purple energy! It still isn't sent too far, travelling from 1.3x Kirby-width at the minimum to 1.5x Bowser's width in the direction of the sword strike, before collapsing back down as normal. This is still if the stone is struck enough to break it off the base in the first place. The power of the crystal extends the hitbox of the sword when it comes to striking the stone, around 1.4x the range it has against foes, due to the crystal energy's magical powers. This can be a further reward for skekUng having good positioning around the stone and can be a great consolation prize if the foe does escape in time but is still in range of the stone.

UP THROW: A HOMERUN

skekUng points up causing a withered looking but extra large gaudy Crystal Bat to grab the foe and fly high up into the air, but it’s so aged and likely mutated from skekTek’s experiments it withers away as the foe is launched just above skekUng, dealing the foe 10% damage and decent knockback, but mostly good as a juggle at low percents or for its high base knockback on a platform, particularly the top platform of a tri plat stage. This will only KO from around 190% and lower on platforms. skekUng can go for a 50/50 at near enough 0% with his uair as one of his best early game combos, or he can simply wait for the foe to fall for a juggle. The usmash comes especially in handy here to wall off the foe effectively so they have to land to one side of it, even if not hit this boxes them in where skekUng can better utilize his stage control.

skekUng can hold the input to keep channelling his crystal energy into the bat, 1 use at a time, though is locked into just the one use with the free 1-use of the core from a pre-existing Crystal Bat. This channels the energy directly into the Crystal Bat that seems to flow into it from its own core, revitalizing it slightly with each use! Each one will give the bat the strength to go marginally further, like the uthrow is being balance patch buffed each time, and deal 1% more as well! Ultimately the Crystal Bat will fly up 2 further skekUng heights above skekUng, over double where it normally ends up. This can be used to KO the foe directly, but if the Crystal Bat flies over the blast zone, it will not KO the foe even if the foe is carried above the blast zone. They are only KO’d if they’re launched over it, which is now around 140% at 10 uses or 160% at 5 uses, respectively from the stage and on platforms, so easily on a platform the strongest KO throw.

The uthrow can be altered a little by doing the same enhancement but when skekUng has no crystal core to use, instead channelling in any nearby Shroud to do the busy work! Every individual use of the Shroud he summons forth will change the direction of the bigger uthrow bat, pushing it away from the centre of the shroud at that time! This will push the angle just 15 degrees each time but when that can happen up to 10 times, a 150 degree change makes a huge difference! That basically means the foe is launched diagonally down and to the left or right of skekUng to potentially totally change the move’s trajectory. This also increases the damage by 2% each time, and the knockback goes that much higher too, making it overall stronger but from a more horizontal angle.

skekUng can make use of combining his Shroud and uthrow to go for more specific combos like hitting the foe at a low percent closer to the edge for a ledge guard or higher into the air for an easier juggle. The foe can be launched at the ground for a usmash or even a fsmash attempt, though skekUng only gets much of an advantage to do a risky move like that around 7 uses and up. The foe can also simply be KO’d much earlier by this vertically but it requires some heavy set up of the Shroud. That these sort of crazy early combos and keep away at high percent is possible makes it much scarier being around the Shroud when skekUng is inside of the blasted bats.

DOWN THROW: IMPALE

skekUng grabs the foe out of the hands of those worthless podling slaves and slams them into the ground, dealing 2% damage, then takes out the ceremonial dagger from his utilt and stabs it violent into the foe for another 10% damage, launching them off the ground for high knockback! This will never KO due to being a ground bounce (obviously can’t be tech’d) but launching the foe at an angle that they would hit a Crystal Bat right in front of them, though they obviously can’t literally hit the Crystal Bat. This does force skekUng on the aggressive somewhat if they do go after the bat though at certain percents.

When he stabs the foe skekUng imbues them with the power of the crystal, so that 5 seconds later a glowing purple aura at the centre of the foe’s hurtbox will glow violently, then explodes 3 seconds later! This must be shielded, rolled or dodged to avoid it, otherwise it is unavoidable sans other invincibility a character might have. The explosion deals 5% damage and lightly knocks the foe into the air. Nonetheless on top of the other pressure tools at skekUng’s disposal this creates a nigh impossible barrage for the foe to dodge! This and the following effect cannot be stacked, the first will cancel out any manipulation of the second, and in fact gets rid of the explosion later entirely.

skekUng like in the uthrow can hold the move to channel the crystal energy, this time into the dagger – but also into the foe if he waits to hold A but a little longer! If he charges energy into the dagger as he stabs the foe it explodes on contact, dealing an extra 1% to the foe for every use of the Crystal Core. This would normally mean with higher knockback the foe is KO’d earlier than uthrow, however due to the sheer power of the attack, foes are shot right through drop through platforms! The foe is sent at such a steep angle that until they were grabbed right at the edge of a platform, this also won’t spike them off stage, still hitting the stage below them first. This is even more true if skekUng manages to hit the foe into the Trial by Stone to extend their hitlag, so he can then get even more disgusting levels of advantage to punish the foe! Though this will only occur once as they’re hit into the stone, it’s more than enough to make a difference.

Nonetheless when skekUng does hit the foe through a platform like this, he can then follow up much easier in the air at certain percents. The foe will not go through lower platforms on a tri plat, so can be easily hit back into skekUng for easy air-to-airs and force 50/50s, depending on the match up and percent. If the foe is launched at a high percent it can be preferable if they aren’t high enough for uthrow to KO without a lot of investment to go for dthrow. This will leave up much higher in the air without KOing them and if skekUng is elevated at all, will make it easier for him to follow up, but it is again very match up and percent dependent.

When skekUng channels the crystal core into the foe instead by waiting a little longer, the dagger will cause a bigger glow of energy to appear inside of the foe for their skeksis time bomb! The explosion not only gets 2% stronger for each use of the crystal core will make the explosion linger longer, eating away at the foe’s options. The blast will KO at ridiculous 100% at full 10 uses, and 150% at 5, so scales madly quick and if the foe is in the air when it goes off, eventually even their air dodge will barely be enough if timed perfectly! This will almost certainly be punished by skekUng too, say by him using a fsmash right in their miserable face. Even shielding this hugely powerful attack again is a risk unless the foe manages to perfect shield it (which considering it’s timed the same for each use, is learnable), as skekUng can go for another grab! However considering the expense of the higher uses here, the fact it is so punishing only makes sense. One thing that makes this harder for the foe to judge is just how fast skekUng can channel his uses, if his player isn’t keeping up, it’s possible that even he won’t know if it’s not the full ten, so the foe has to guess at exactly how long the explosion lingers for what defensive option may even be enough to dodge it… while not letting themselves fall into disadvantage too! As it can backfire, not the surest way to win, but an impressively strong option anyway!

aeriaLs

NEUTRAL AERIAL: DARK SPARK

skekUng faces at a diagonal towards the screen and in a fast animation throws back his arms in an angry, near dismissive motion, as if throwing off a heavy robe, his back spikes flare out to deal a powerful 11% sweetspot that hits foes behind skekUng at a low downward angle that KOs from 140%, while the rest of his body surging with purple crystal energy deals 1 hit of 3% and then repeated hits of 2% for up to 9% damage and weak radial knockback at the end. The spikes would not come out too far if not for the fact skekUng leans back into the move so that they extend a good deal out from his body, dodging any moves hitting his big upper body. The rest of the move then works as a nice high profile against other mid-air foes, similarly to Mewtwo's Body Spark nair. This comes out fast and has decently low end lag in the air but poor landing lag as skekUng has to awkwardly gather his bearings.

The move is a sex kick that lasts for a little on the low end for a sex kick. The sweetspot gets stronger over time as the edge of skekUng's back spikes gain a "sheen" effect dealing 13% damage and stronger knockback to KO from 130% almost at a flat angle backwards. This is another great bait tactic to catch out foes to dodge in on skekUng to avoid another attack, or simply throwing out skekUng's big body as a meat shield when his back is turned. On the other hand the hits of the "sourspot" more resemble Body Spark play out as normal. This effectively means that if he whiffs the cross-up with his back spikes, he can still safely get out of trouble on shield or just hit away foes, not being trapped with the stronger hitbox. This is a better tactic as well when he can be pulled across the stage by his bats in the air ensuring the cross up when timed to push him past foes and land at a safe distance.

In the middle of the move a GM can be performed when a foe is within a short range of half a BF platform. skekUng will throw his hands forward at the foe with no hitbox, using the foe as a conduit to channel powerful magic! This pulls in skekUng in the middle of his nair towards that foe, ensuring he is pulled past them for a cross-up while retaining the same hitboxes of the attack (albeit with his arms extending the range a bit). This can be timed at any point during the nair and the vacuum-like properties will ensure he always ends up on the opposite side of the foe unless they moved/attacked skekUng. This can be a useful mindgame either to cross-up the foe twice used late in the move, or to completely change directions to mindgame a foe trying to punish skekUng.

skekUng can even use this GM when he's already hitting the foe to ensure they get hit either by the full damage of the sourspots, or combo out of the sourspots into the sweetspot and max damage of the sweetspot. skekUng can hit the foe with the sourspot of his body, then pull himself past them so they're hit by his back spikes with the full power of his back spikes. The issue with this is it's highly percent/match up dependant, due to each foe's different size/weight combination, so skekUng must instinctively know the right timing for the chance to combo all the hitboxes. Naturally just the vacuum by itself can be good to recover if the foe is going for a risky gimp and its mere existence can make foes go for an early gimp guessing it will come out. This gives skekUng an edge recovering with a Crystal Bat.

FORWARD AERIAL: USURPER SWIPE

skekUng uses his right claw to swipe in an uppercut from just below and in front of his hurtbox all the way to the middle, dealing 11-13% damage, gaining in power the later the move lands! The start lag of this move is pretty fast too coming out on frame 9, 2 frames faster than the infamous Bowser forward air but at slightly less power and has far lower duration, though comparable end lag. The knockback ranges from a weaker launching angle mostly upward for the early 11%, setting up for an air-to-air juggle or stuffing short hop approaches, a moderately strong spacer when dealing 12% that's almost a pure diagonal upwards to KO from 140%, while the 13% hit is a strong more horizontal hit and can KO foes from a decent 120%. his motion strongly resembles Robin's fair in terms of animation and while not quite on that level, it's impressively close given he is only using his bare claws. In comparison to a move like Bowser's forward aerial it lacks the range on that move but makes up for it by covering grounded foes trying to approach skekUng in the air, boasting great coverage below his hurtbox in midair and lingers long enough with a wide hitting quarter-circle shaped hitbox that foes will find it hard to avoid without falling into a potential 50/50. skekUng positions himself to be hitting below and in front so that he can dodge low hitting attacks, making it a great move to counter-hit those annoying combo starters like Bayonetta's side special!

The fact the move has different, more powerful hits can be abused through the Trial by Stone as skekUng can space the attack to hit the stone either to delay the earlier hits, or so that the later, stronger hit is the one delayed by hitting the stone and catches foes trying to approach through the stone. On the other hand, foes who are too hasty trying to attack skekUng assuming he'll go for the later hit can be countered by jumping through the stone entirely to attack with the frame 9 hitbox. The attack lacks great coverage above but it still has very good range all skekUng's body in front, so they have to try and full hop over him to punish it correctly. The fact that foes have to full hop in of itself can be a good way to condition foes to instead hit them with an nair or uair instead. If skekUng has a Crystal Bat available to attack the foe from above with their explosion, he can instead instill a sense of fear forcing them to approach carefully with short hops or more grounded approaches, where the fair is much stronger! The fair then becomes a far scarier tool and a reason for the foe to be wary of letting the Crystal Bat complete its scan.

skekUng has another hitbox upon landing during the move, similar to Falco's fair, where skekUng reaches out his claw for one final, quick slash for 5% damage and low Sakurai angle knockback! skekUng grimaces forward as he delivers the clawing attack, angered by the fact he's had to resort to such a tactic - the claw reaches just a bit further than Falco's move because of skekUng's large body covering more space. This comes out frame 1 mirroring the Falco move and can be autocancelled frames 1-4 just like the air preferring bird and has a little higher end lag besides. This further adds to the move's potential to mix up the foe in the context of the Trial by Stone as skekUng can also mix up his vertical spacing to purposefully land late and hit foes with the final, landing hit, perhaps out of a short hop to combo it all at once. skekUng is no stranger to dealing shield damage so even not in the context of his stone, this final 5% hit can potentially be enough to poke or bring the foe so close as to finish them off with a Garthim. The amount of shield stun from this and the fair proper hitting can surprise foes or at minimum condition them to respect skekUng approach from a short hop/low altitude, which he very much likes to encourage them to go for more committal full hop strategies instead. This all sounds very appealing but is only possible by landing the move grounded in the first place which is a nice mix up, but makes skekUng far more predictable to punish so is best used to put fear into foes from skekUng's SH, especially when foes are around his stone, at low shield health or with bats at the ready!

For the General Move activated in the first few frames, skekUng's animation looks the same except in the middle of his palm he is clenching an orb of dark energy, disappearing at the end of the attack if it doesn't hit anyone. If he does hit someone, the orb will explode on contact, damaging the foe for an additional 4% damage on top of the normal damage and KOing a good 10% lower than the norm. As the orb explodes on a foe it activates a secondary effect, creating a dark purple shadow that appears opposite to the side the foe was launched. This means for the first hit, it will appear almost directly above the foe, for the second hit diagonally behind them from where skekUng hit them and the last hit appears almost directly behind them. This will follow the foe, like a shadow, wherever they go. 100 frames or around 1.5 seconds later, the shadow will rush towards the foe dealing them 3 hits of 1% damage and hitting them in the opposite direction with weak knokcback, usually back towards skekUng! The same applies for the landing hit of the fair too, except hitting them back towards where skekUng originally hit them. This will lead to many more natural follow up attacks.

More than simply follow ups or combos, this can act as an active deterrent for foes trying to attack the Crystal Bats or Garthim from these angles and makes it open season for skekUng to set one up knowing the foe can't afford to leave themselves open to being hit by the delayed magical attack. This is complicated by the fact that the shadow attack can be shielded or dodged despite the multiple hits, but takes about as much skill to do so as a Crash Bomber. skekUng can also stack multiple shadows at once if the foe is foolish enough to be hit by the move multiple times within 100 frames! This makes it even scarier to be in front of skekUng at a low angle, and opens up potential crazy combos if skekUng can hit the foe from the opposite side or juggle them with moves like his up tilt. On top of everything else, this can also hit shields and while it won't ever break shields, it can be positioned in such a way (mostly the second hit) to be a great shield poke, which further makes it difficult to shield and not rely on the more punishable dodge or roll options.

UP AERIAL: SPIKE CARAPACE

skekUng looks to his back and hunches forward, raising his back and spikes as high as he can for 12% damage to KO from 150%, this has 12% super armour on skekUng's body everywhere except his head, not quite Bowser's invulnerability on his usmash but very impressive on an aerial that will often trade when skekUng is such a large target. The move has average start and end lag with shorter landing lag, so is a great way to hit foes above skekUng as he lands, as he often will do out of a fast fall or when defending his Crystal Bats. The move is great when jump at a foe who is attacking a Crystal Bat, rising his back as he passes foes then landing behind or in front of them, though it's a pretty bad air-to-ground move. The move also has some big and obvious blind spots at skekUng's front as his head is not a hitbox and does not get the super armour. This attack has a comparable hitbox to if Bowser's usmash was an aerial in shape, though not nearly as good range.

skekUng transcends to Koopadom when he has 5 uses of his Crystal Core available, pressing A as skekUng’s hitboxes come out will cause them to be covered in a purple aura and skekUng’s animation is more exaggerated. This both stretches the back spikes out to be as tall a hitbox as Bowser’s usmash, despite not having the same little jump Bowser performs, and gives the moves full invincibility and makes the move deal 18% damage to KO from 90%. There is a downside to this however, skekUng has much longer end lag as skekUng has to rebalance his stance in midair, plus the ludicrously costly crystal usage. skekUng can go for this General Move when he doesn’t have 4 uses of the crystal left, instead this will delay the attack for 30 frames as skekUng falls in midair as normal, then performs the normal uair with 2% extra damage for each single use of the crystal added on and KOing marginally earlier. This only happens when skekUng initially has less than 4 to use, but can be useful in its own right as both a bait and to wait for his Crystal Core to return to him from a bat or from the Shroud.

BACK AERIAL: SKEKSIS FANG

skekUng takes out the ceremonial dagger from his utilt and glaring to his back, uses it to stab at anyone in the way! The stab comes in 3 hits, progressively getting stronger the later each come out but having a similar frame data to Ridley's forward aerial, so plenty fast. This even gets comparable range to the Space Pirate's tail, and similarly sized hitboxes, though marginally wider due to skekUng's size. The first hit deals 4%, the second 5% and and the final another 6%, though come out at different angles, and each has their own sweetspot at the tip of the blade that deals 2% more damage and considerably more knockback, otherwise usually just doing decent knockback at its stabbing angle forwards. At 15% landing all hits, and they all do combo together at low-mid percents, this does a significant chunk of damage to foes though it's a needed boon for skekUng when he's such a vulnerable hulking hurtbox from behind and adds a threatening option for foes getting too trigger happy against the Garthim Master. skekUng can autocancel the attack from frame 1-2 and besides that from frame 45 onward, a couple frames worse than Ridley's comparative move, while the hits come out on frames 11/14/20 respectively. The frame data single frame slower than Ridley's FAir on all but the final hit which has 4 frames slower start up; overall it's almost just as good as the skeksis-resembling villain!

Comparisons can be drawn for frame data between this and Ridley's FAir but in reality the hits not only come out at slightly different angles, but have very different uses due to the way they're delivered. The first hit is delivered at a downwards diagonal but more acute angle, from a much higher position on skekUng's body compared to Ridley's tail lower on his back, making it far better for checking full hops/jumps. As this sends the foe at a low downward angle, this can potentially send foes off stage from surprisingly far onto the stage from the ledge the sweetspot will start to KO from a not completely irrelevant 165% from on stage, and at a very nice 100% off stage. This is a powerful hitbox but only powerful in the context of the sweetspot as it will launch the foe out of the combo, or when the move is autocancelled out of the first hit by landing first. Like the forward aerial the back aerial benefits a lot from hitting the stone, here instead delaying the stabbing hits rather than the move proper to hit the foe with the preferred strike.

The second hit is a middle stab, most comparable to the first hit of Ridley's FAir, this is a little higher angled than a semi spike so is best used as a spacer or as the safest part of the move. As skekUng will be usually falling while performing the move the higher-angled hit can do wonders for shield pressure, hitting from above then later when he's more on level with foes as a surprising one-two punch. While the regular hitbox only deals middling knockback at the not semi spike angle, the sweetspot does hit the foe at a semi spike making it a powerful KO move when it can be landed, again best used as a delay tactic out of the stone or a hard read. This has rather similar knockback to the first hit only marginally stronger.

The final hit is an upward strike as you may have guessed, though pointedly more diagonal than the first hit is downwards hitting at a near 45 degree angle up. The only reason this will combo properly is a generously large hitbox as skekUng puts more of his arm into the stab and is why this hit takes a bit longer to come out, but will still reliably combo out of the second hit. The angle will send foes high like the first hit and KOs at a very nice 95% off stage. The potential for this to gimp recovering foes is worsened by the fact skekUng has to physically be there, with his giant punishable hurtbox stabbing away with a pretty finely shaped hitbox of his own, but it is doable, especially when he's not used up all of his bats for his recovery. The last hit is high enough of a hitbox skekUng can even throw it out as a read against foes trying to jump over him as a mix up and is a good defensive tool, though only for reads or punishes, throwing it out as a mindless lingering hitbox is impractical due to the lag and hitbox placement. The sweetspot will KO from 70% though this requires specific percents, very good spacing or a hard read/punish to land.

The back aerial is an important part of skekUng's melee both to read approaches, throwing out to cover full hops or to land against foes aided by his stone or approaching Garthim, and a great way to test the foe's responses. It does have obvious weaknesses though as simply throwing it out in the foe's face will generally always be punished at close range and at awkward far or high percents it will stop combo'ing consistently, limiting its usefulness.

The GM for the move is a simple one, usable before any of the 3 individual hits. skekUng snarls putting more force into the now glowing purple dagger, instead of powering up the strike he instead performs 3 strikes at that same angle each coming out only a frame apart and each greatly extending the hit lag and shield stun or any foes they hit! Each hit does 0.8x the damage of the normal hit, resulting in overall 2.4x the damage of that hit to the foe if they all landed, with an extra 2% damage to shields apiece so 6% damage. This does not affect the end lag of the move but effectively pushes it back 2 frames, while not having any practical impact on the move's speed besides that. What this does is greatly improve the move's ability to linger in place with that one hit to catch foes out expecting to weave between hits or punish skekUng. The magic extends the hitbox's range too so that it will now definitely combo all the hits in the move at any percent besides in fringe cases and the sweetspot becomes 1.3x as large, making it much easier to throw out and hit with them! While it may be most appealing to to do with this last hit of the move, this is also the one where it's harder to hit the sweetspot, so skekUng has to choose whether he wants a more reliable or more powerful enhanced ending hit. I suppose that's why he's The General!

DOWN AERIAL: POWER GRAB

skekUng lifts his back arm into the air above his head, leaning his body as far back as he can, shouting out as he delivers a mighty punch down at any unsuspecting foes! This laggy spike deals 16% damage and high downwards knockback as strong as Terry's down aerial. The fact it is straight down and not at a horizontal like Terry's makes it slightly worse, but the hurtbox-shifting makes up for that considering how difficult skekUng may find it to land the move. The fist of skekUng is massive, but doesn't compare to the sword and other weapons. This is made up for a little by skekUng being able to halt his falling in midair a moment after hitting foes or anything solid with the attack, somewhat similar to Greninja's dair. This is helpful for skekUng who is prone to being juggled and weak to anti-airs, especially on shields.

The move has average end lag for an aerial spike while landing lag is surprisingly fast, only if he lands after performing the attack. skekUng will punch the ground or any other object from above in the air, causing a shockwave reaching each side the same range as DK's Hand Slap down special, this causes 4% damage and low upwards/slightly forwards or backwards knockback on either side. This can be a nice way to make use of the move as a cross-up to hit the foe into an attacking Crystal Bat or Shroud nearby, if he can't land the attack itself.

On a construct that's potentially elevated in the air like the Trial by Stone the shockwave will instead come out of the base of whatever was hit, for the stone this means both on the ground in front of the stone and on either side, the shockwave will rattle out and hit any foes stood on the ground. The remote-range shockwave can be a great way to conduct oppressive stage control with any foes hanging around the stone even if the stone's own HP is not low enough to be knocked down. The fact this is a possibility means that skekUng merely looming above the stone puts a little pressure on the foe to not cede the aerial control to the usually ground-focused skekUng.

The move has a strong 3-use General Move that has skekUng's hand glow with bright purple energy, skekUng's frame data is the same however the move animation is different from the start. skekUng's hand is open when he raises it and instead of punching down, he instead grabs in a wide sweeping motion below! A foe is then held up over skekUng's head before being slammed downwards and grinds them into the ground as skekUng channels his anger into drilling the stage using the foe's head. The slam and grinding against the stage deals 3 hits of 2% damage and a final powerful 12% hit launching foes up and away at Power Geyser's angle, KOing from the same percents as Flying Slam! This is naturally much stronger on platforms, but also on the Trial by Stone which can be landed on too. The hits will deal damage to the stone and potentially even breaking it, hitting the foe as it falls too as a guarantee, a massive payoff for massive reads! The grab and fall takes the foe all the way to the blast zone off-stage like Ganondorf! skekUng does lose his stock first. This has a great range for a grab horizontally, utilized well on a grab that uniquely in Smash can grab below you in the air, so that he can sweep foes off their feet shielding a little farther away on either side of him on stage.

The difference in the two dairs is subtle but important. The expensive GM version has great horizontal range and can be a shocking turnaround KO move when it lands, giving skekUng a viable KO throw option if he can turn the tables on foes going for the typical anti-heavy anti-air playstyle. The default version has its own strengths when skekUng can directly trade with foes going for those same jungles, but more than that can be a great way to remotely attack the foe using the Trial by Stone, punishing those trying to cut it down for themselves and turning it into a weapon. One can even bait into another as a foe shields the default, but is grabbed by the GM version especially if they are hit in shield by a Garthim or Crystal Bat so they can't drop shield in the brief moments where skekUng locks in his chosen dair.

finalSmash



FINAL SMASH: BANISH HIM!

skekUng points forward and summons forth a mob of Garthim – 3 in a row, all the same size as in his moveset rushing forward an FD width, invincible, and knocking any foes they hit into a cutscene! The opponent appears in the Castle of the Crystal’s throne room, surrounded by the skeksis! That is, any skeksis not in the match, and not Chamberlain! After a moment of the foe being pushed around by the skeksis they begin to swarm on top of them, grabbing any loose items, and showing pieces of clothing to be ripped off and torn asunder! The greedy skeksis claim any possessions they can find for themselves! The ripping and tearing of the victim(s) deals 51% damage and will KO around 54% percent when the foe is launched, after being returned to the stage, take that skekSil! skekUng looks positively delighted if it was his rival skekSil who was hit by this attack, oh the good memories it brings back…

skekTras

UP TAUNT: PROUD EMPEROR

skekUng looks around with his claws on his hips, nodding at his accomplishments, taken from the scene posted at the end of this moveset.

DOWN TAUNT: ADMIRING POWER


skekUng takes out and admires his Emperor's Sceptre seen in Dark Crystal in the infamous scene, tilting his head back and forth to get a look at it before stashing it away. At least he does use this weapon in battle!

SIDE TAUNT: GLARE

skekUng stops in place and glares openly at whatever's in front of him, becoming notably angered and grunting at whatever he sees. There is a special interaction where if he performs this taunt in front of skekSil as he performs his mmmmmMMMMMmmmmm, he'll comment on it at the end of his side taunt saying one of "I hate your whimper!", "quiet!" or merely an angrier grunt than usual.

ENTRANCE: GENERAL OF THE GARTHIM ARMY

skekUng can't be seen initially as a crowd of Garthim charge onto the screen from the background and a dark mist covers that portion of the stage. The mist clears and as the Garthim approach they bow down revealing skekUng amidst them, who looks on angrily at his foes and points behind his back, causing the Garthim to disperse into the wind.

VICTORY POSE 1: SKEKSIS WIN

A close-up of skekUng's snarling face is seen before zooming out as he laughs triumphantly, markedly similar to the old Ganondorf victory pose, but is surrounded on all sides by all of his Dark Crystal skeksis allies! All except for skekSil, who is not present even if he is not in the match and any skeksis who dared to oppose him who have received sets since the posting of this moveset. They all encircle skekUng and in their diminished aged forms can only manage an enthused nod and look on in anguish while skekUng is the lone one to actively celebrate. Curiously this means skekMal will never appear alongside skekUng, they do never cross paths in the series.

VICTORY POSE 2: STONE DESTROYED

skekUng, sword in both hands, holds it back behind him then brings it over his head revealing a Trial by Stone to his front that is smashed to pieces in a casual manner! As the rocks fall about, skekUng squints his eyes around in paranoia as if looking for any potential usurpers to his throne.

VICTORY POSE 3: HUNGRY HUNGRY GENERAL

Many disgusting bugs and creepy little creatures are seen crawling around skekUng's feet, as the camera scrolls up his body showing a cascade of other gross worm-like creatures falling down skekUng's robe. Finally the camera finds skekUng stuffing his mouth with bugs as it then zooms out to show the full picture, looping the eating so long as the player stays on the screen, skekUng does have an Emperor's appetite!

VICTORY THEME

skekUng shares the same orchestrated snippet from the Dark Crystal theme as skekMal and that worm skekSil.

LOSS POSE

skekUng leans his head to one side and slowly claps, showing a visibly huge amount of contempt for the winner.

Gah! A satisfying hunt indeed Chamberlain! Lets see if your politicking matches up to my might – it won’t!

 
Last edited:

Smash Daddy

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IL BLUD


Il Blud is a Monster card from Yu-Gi-Oh! He's a zombie that has the dark attribute, and besides that, little is known about him other than what is shown in the card. It is an interesting card however, showing a huge lumbering giant in a prison uniform that has a ball and chain connected to his leg, his proportions are spindly and his head is completely obscured, only his bright red eyes and flowing hair are visible. Oh, and he has a giant zipper in the middle of his body where a creepy face is poking out! It's up to interpretation if Il Blud himself is the prisoner or some type of prison guard himself for spooky criminals trapped inside of his body. In French, his name is Hell's Gatekeeper, alluding to the latter. The name is a possible reference to the game Illbleed. A reason why the bulky Il Blud has a lower defence than you'd expect is because zombies in YGO are generally weak defensively to indicate they're already dead.


Size: K. Rool-wide, Bowser-tall
Weight: 130 weight units (super heavyweight)
Walk Speed: 0.735 (2nd slowest, same as Jigglypuff)
Run Speed: 1.34 (4th slowest, same as Ganondorf)
Fall Speed: 1.31 (67th, floaty and same as Ness)
Air Speed: 1.322 (3rd, above Mewtwo)
Inital Dash: 2.288 (4th, equal to Charizard)

Il Blud is a unique mix of both a super heavyweight big body and a floaty that is not present in Smash. A combo of K. Rool and Bowser in terms of size, he also carries the Smoke Ball-sized ball behind him at all times that's trailing on a chain roughly as long as Samus' tether grab. The ball is not a hurtbox and while it is solid, it's walked over casually by foes and doesn't get in the way of moves like Raptor Boost, just elevating them slightly. He's horribly slow, but does have a good fast fall, so isn't completely abominable. His dash speed is awful but his initial dash is one of the best as he lumbers forward using his girth to build momentum, similar in animation to K. Rool's dash attack only without a hitbox, though will then fall back on his very poor dash speed where Il Blud has trouble pulling along the ball and chain on his back leg.

Where Il Blud excels is in the air, spreading out his arms and legs like a kite while creepily swaying back-and-forth in the air. He has one of the best in the game using his ghostly powers to move around without a care for the physical rules, and his very low fall speed means he has no issues making it back to the stage from high in the air. Il Blud's jumps are excellent too. The first jump has Il Blud bounce himself off of nothing into the air for almost as far as Falco's jump. Il Blud's second jump has the monster lean back and catapult up, as good as an average second jump. The combination of the jumps, great air speed and low fall speed mean Il Blud will be juggling around in the air, as the harasser or victim, throughout any given match. KO %s are on a midweight at the middle of FD if not stated otherwise.

The face on Il Blud's chest does not emote often, but will look at the foe during various animations and will be shown to be in pain when Il Blud is hit with powerful attacks. At all times a shadow is cloaking Il Blud's face just as it does in the card.

SPECIALS

NEUTRAL SPECIAL: HELL'S GATEKEEPER


Il Blud turns to face the screen, ominously picks up the zipper on his chest, pulls it up to close it and hide the face. Il Blud will then open the zipper after a brief moment of lag, only 11 frames, letting out one of two minions at random. When summoned, the not-too-bright minions will stand in place and look around in a confused manner, not sure what happened.



The Kick Man and Chopman the Desperate Outlaw

Both of these criminals have seen better days and have ended up in Il Blud's horrifying prison, unleashed to fight other evil-doers in Smash perhaps. While who is summoned is random, Il Blud will always summon the other one the next time, so is guaranteed to have one of each if the move is used twice. Both are roughly the size of Roy, Kick Man has 10HP while Chopman has 12HP. However, when unleashed in this way, there's something not quite right... they're both an oddly bright colour of blue, and they have the same colour chain connecting all the way back to Il Blud. This chain is merely an aesthetic however and fades away transparently in the middle for most of its length. All of this strange business is because for the time being at least, both Kick man and Chopman are still ghosts, stuck in the "graveyard" to use a YGO term, and thus have no real tangible effect on foes but can't be KO'd either. The only effect they have is they are a slight impasse to walk through for anyone not Il Blud, like walking against Zelda's Phantom, not too noticeable though this can definitely be a nuisance. Do the opponents even see them? The only way that they can be KO'd is if Il Blud is hit a minimum of 1.5 full Magic Bursts away from either of his imprisoned criminal scum friends, then they will scream in place and dissipate as their chains yank them back towards Il Blud who passively re-absorbs them into the ghost jail. When both are out Il Blud unzips immediately so that he can grab foes, but we'll get to that later.

While the two hardened criminals can't do any damage or knockback to the foe directly, they can still be a huge nuisance. That is because when Il Blud holds the neutral special, his spindly hand becomes covered in ghostly green magical skulls as he tugs on the ghostly coil that links him and his captives. This causes both Kick Man and Chopman to start being pulled in towards Il Blud. This isn't too appealing and the ghosts do resist the pull by tug-o-warring against Il Blud. As they're pulled they will passively push foes in that direction too, again like a Phantom, and this is far more powerful than their mere existence for opponents as it will mess up their positioning likely pulling them in to be hit by Il Blud easily, all they can do is try and hit Il Blud away to break the chain or shield/dodge the suckered in ghosts.

On the ground this is a simple mechanism, the ghosts are simply pulled in at Ganondorf's dash speed. When Il Blud is in the air the ghost will be pulled along the ground to match his position and slowly pulled upward, and when both are in the air will be reeled in. Il Blud can hold neutral special again to stop tugging in the ghosts, though this will permanently change where they are on stage, so keep that in mind. It can be good to passively change up where the ghosts are in this way too.

When the ghosts do reach Il Blud they're sucked back inside, unlike other "eating" moves this has very little lag, but is funny to watch Kick Man and Chopman struggle against their inevitable incarceration. Il Blud can keep doing this over and over. Every time a ghost is re-absorbed into the zipper Il Blud's mouth licks its lips and he gains a ghostly aura of skulls around his body denoting he has Tough Guy style armour, armouring through any attacks that deal 3% or less for 5 seconds, this can be refreshed by consuming Kick Man and Chopman at once.

The foe can be absorbed into Il Blud too, the same grab range as Dedede's inhale though without any wind box to pull in foes. This may be a necessary evil though, as the effect of being pulled into Il Blud is much stronger. Il Blud immediately zips up if a foe is caught and turns to face the camera, holding onto his chest as the foe is seen struggling around inside of Il Blud's body. Il Blud can turn around or even jump around like a Cargo Throw before the foe bursts out of the zipped up dimension, the foe is shot out at the strength of K. Rool's blunderbuss shot dealing 12% damage and can KO from 120% at ledge. When shot out of Il Blud the foe is turned the same shade of blue as his ghosts showing they've gone over to the other side, an effect that lasts for another 7 seconds. At the end of the 7 seconds, the foe will start to flash back-and-forth between normal and ghost until settling back into their alive form. When in ghost form the foe takes 1.1x damage and knockback showing how weak they are, just like zombie types! This special functions like Inhale to suck up and shoot back projectiles too as Il Blud's reflector. This has the same multiplier as Dedede's Inhale.

When they're ghosts, Kick Man and Chopman can finally get involved! They can attack other ghosts after all. Kick Man chases foes down who come in close range and uses a move similar to Mii Brawler's Onslaught, 3 fast kicks dealing 2% each and low knockback at a semi spike, this is over quickly but Kick Man takes a few seconds to get his bearings afterwards! The 3 hits are a nice lingering hitbox to pressure foes around anyway. When foes are not in a close range where they may fall into his multiple kicks, Kick Man will instead hunker down in place before performing a rushing kick forward highly reminiscent of the grounded Falcon Kick! Kick Man is no Falcon, but he speeds across even faster at 1.1x the Falcon Kick's speed and travels that much further, dealing 14% at the tip of his foot, glowing as it does in his art, and able to KO from an impressive 125%! This does however not only have a long start up but Kick Man almost falls over after performing the attack, losing his balance, taking just over 2 seconds to recover from the end lag!

Chop Man performs a less competent version of Lucario's fsmash taking 2.3 seconds to perform a forwards chop that deals 15% damage to KO forward/up diagonally from 120%! The range is pretty good too. That isn't bad, despite just how slow it is, at least Chop Man isn't so bad with the end lag only having a short amount. When the foe is not in close range but still in front of him up to the end of his shackle length, Chop Man instead focuses his hands to his sides, letting out a shrill battle cry before performing sumo chops as he travels across the stage! He travels at the speed of Ganondorf's dash speed and has surprisingly good range with his chops being bigger than his hands with all that glowing magic, and is hard to punish with close range attacks. The glowing chops shown in his art keep flying as he marches across the stage performing roughly one chop every 40 frames for 4% damage and light forward knockback at a flat but not quite semi spike angle, combo'ing into itself at low percents! Chop Man will continue to do this 10 times for 400 frames, or roughly 6-7 seconds. Chop Man will keep attacking if at the ledge which can be a blessing and a curse, as he can be attacked with a ledge attack, though can be an amazing ledge trap for Il Blud! These aren't hyper competent minions, but when they can gang up on the foe along with Il Blud, who summons them pretty fast too and when they can't be directly attacked it's more than enough to pressure on foes.

While Il Blud can attack ghost foes, only his direct attacks will hit them using melee moves. Any projectiles or other, alive minions he summons can't hit them. However, when they flash back-and-forth for 1.5 seconds at the end of the effect, they can be hit by both alive and dead attacks! Once they do fully turn back though the foe will leave Kick Man and/or Chopman scratching their heads again and wondering what they're doing here. The foe can attack the two criminals when they're dead too so it's not all bad, and they have the weight of Mario and Luigi (Kick and Chop respectively) at 50%.

SIDE SPECIAL: STRETCHY ARMS

Il Blud rears back his arm to his right side and then leans forward throwing his hand out in a straight angle, and it goes, and goes, and goes! The spindly arm will travel at Sonic's dash speed forward until it grabs something going up to the same length as Min Min's fsmash. Once it does grab a foe, Il Blud grapples them tight in an enlarged hand that grips them tight then uses them to pull himself in, performing a powerful super fast body slam that deals 5-15% damage and KOs from 150-100%! The body slam gets stronger as Il Blud will build up momentum as he travels towards the foe eventually hitting them in a mighty and once-grabbed, unavoidable slam! This tricky manoeuvre is what lets Il Blud get around the stage much faster than you'd expect considering his poor dash speed. The hand is a relatively small hitbox and laggy to come out however, but it is disjointed and can be angled 45 degrees up or down, angling the angle of the slam too! While the hand is disjointed, the arm is not, so presents an interesting opportunity for opponents to counter Il Blud at his most vulnerable.

Il Blud can smash the input to instead pull in whatever he grabbed towards him instead! The difference in animation is purely visual as Il Blud's chest face winks at the camera and he leans back slightly more, so foes have to keep watch. Instead of being slammed into, they're reeled all the way back to Ill Blud who bounces them off his huge stomach and happy demon face! This deals 7-16% damage and KOs at 140-90%, at a slightly more vertical angle than the largely flat default version, making it a tad stronger. Like the normal version this becomes stronger the further away the foe was grabbed. If the foe hits anyone on the way they'll deal them 7-14% damage and upwards knockback that will weakly juggle at minimum, or do some moderate damage to KO from above 200% when they're at maximum speed.

Il Blud can grab Kick Man and Chop Man and largely utilizes them to hit foes on the rebound as they're dragged back in. Il Blud will however not attack the prisoners and instead just leaves them in place next to them or uses them to drag himself towards their position. He'll go right through them so he can use them as a way to body slam anyone in the middle of the two.

Il Blud can grab solid walls and other objects and use the side special as a tether, because his recovery wasn't ridiculous enough. This gives him a one-time use wall cling off stage per air trip on the side of the stage, though it's mostly useful to escape from low-recovery perils by grabbing higher on the main stage platform and this can't be used to grab the ledge itself. On the stage regular he can propel himself towards them from above or grab walls to use the body slam, but obviously can't pull them into him if they're connected to the ground. As an side, Il Blud can drag in items or minions of other characters so long as they don't flinch his hand. All mine!

Il Blud can smash the input below to his left or right to grab the stage and holding the input, will charge up power in his arms over time. The charge takes anywhere from 0.3 to 1.5 seconds, Il Blud's arms start to vibrate with power and his big body prepares itself before leaping Il Blud forwards like elastic, slingshotting him in a high arc at terrifying speeds! There's even a fun springy sound as he's launched. Il Blud regains control almost immediately and this gives him super armour against attacks dealing 3-10% depending on the charge, until he slows down near the end of the arc. This can stack with armour from eating his minions back up for 8-18% super armour, which is a ridiculous amount of bulk. The arc varies from taking Il Blud a Ganondorf height and BF platform width, to three Ganondorf heights and three BF platform widths at its strongest. When he's put in the air by this move he can continue the momentum, which makes him travel at just above his air speed, or change direction completely while losing the super armour. Il Blud can angle the leap too so he is put 1.5x higher into the air, so a terrifying 4.5 Ganondorfs high, while having the same effect on the height, so only going 1.5 BF platforms at the highest amount.

All in all, this move is one of Il Blud's primary ways to get moving that helps him get out of the rut he's put in by his mediocre movement stats and he can abuse both the stage and his minions to do it too. These are all punishable if the foe just waits and punishes them correctly however, so Il Blud can't mindlessly ram into the foe, or will just end up being shielded/grabbed.

UP SPECIAL: ZIPPER PORTAL

Open your fly! Il Blud grabs a newly summoned zipper in midair, drawing a slim portal that's roughly Bowser-height but very slender, and what's within it looks quite spooky being full of stars amid a dark void. This has low lag for what it is, but as a recovery is effectively useless because you need two of these to have any effect. Il Blud can make two portals at a time and they have no effect when only one is active, making a new portal will delete the oldest one.

When two portals are active, they will work by connecting the left side of one portal to the right side of the other, and vice versa. Anyone who touches the left side of a portal will be launched out of the right of the other portal, this goes for everything ranging from foes to minions, constructs, projectiles, anything that can travel into the portal. One downside for foes however is they will take poison damage 1% a second for 5 seconds after using the portal because they aren't Il Blud, so the void rejects them! Even things that drop on top of the portal will be launched from the side that was facing "forward" when it was zipped open by Il Blud.

Il Blud is no stranger to the portal of course and can place a portal in the middle of the stage to then make one off stage and recover that way. However when a portal becomes active (when there's two) it becomes attackable, glowing brightly and the starry ominous insides almost bursting out of the portal itself to make it all inviting for foes to attack. The portal only has 15HP so it can be easily destroyed if the foe gets to it, if nothing else though, it can be a good bait to stop a foe trying to gimp the vulnerable Il Blud off stage. Once destroyed, the other portal will go inactive again and this can be potentially difficult for Il Blud to work around. Il Blud is connected to his portals like he is to his minions so has an omnipresent connection, but the same doesn't go for foes. Any portal that would teleport a foe over 2 Ganondorf heights or three BF platform widths will simply not work, not able to sustain the magic needed! Good for foes, though Mac will probably still be gimped anyway...

The portal carries over all momentum from whatever was hit into it, be it the foe taking knockback or Il Blud, or projectiles, or a character moving through it. This allows Il Blud to abuse his side special both to reach through the portal and grabs foes from all kinds of fun angles using the straight and diagonal grabs, or throw himself through! This even further extenuates his movement options for some very fun combos of portals around the stage. For this reason placing the portals in places the foe can't reach as easily may actually be the best option and foregoing using the portals as a recovery entirely as Il Blud hardly needs one with his jumps/air speed/fall speed! Important note: the portals do not transfer non-disjointed melee attacks or even disjointed attacks, only projectiles and characters whether they're in the middle of a move or not. Il Blud himself is however an exception to this rule with his own attacks when described in his own set.

DOWN SPECIAL: HOMING GHOUL

Il Blud hunkers down into a ball and starts to spin in place, becoming a blur of blue and white. This has similar mechanics to Sonic's down special, and in fact is similar as well to his Homing Attack in the air. On the ground Il Blud will spin in place until the attack is released and then speeds off along the ground dealing 5-10% damage depending on how much he charged it, and his speed can get just as fast as the Blue Blur too, though considering he is much larger, it is in effect less distance travelled. As he is bigger, his hurtbox is bigger too and his knockback is a lot greater than Sonic's side special on the ground able to KO at its maximum speed from 105%, while the weaker version KOs at a much weaker 155%, hitting the foe at an upward angle with a slight horizontal leaning forward.

As he spins in place, any of his prisoners being dragged in will be pulled much faster, up to 3x as fast as the down special continues. Il Blud's own hurtbox during this time is also a hitbox that deals 5-10% damage and weak-moderate radial knockback against any foes who foolishly try to get in too close! The attack does however have the same weakness as Sonic's attack where it's only an inwards hitbox technically, having a slight blindspot around Il Blud's outline, so has to reach the foe to hit them. However also like Sonic, the move can be cancelled during the charge at any time, only locking in Il Blud once he releases the charge.

Il Blud can change direction in the middle of his charge across the stage and this is good, as otherwise he'd easily get out of range so that his prisoners and portals are destroyed! The giant blue-and-white blur can turn around on a dime and at max speed, will be able to turn multiple times to try and catch rolling or spot dodging foes on the return trip, and though Il Blud can't turn around once in midair. This makes it a great way for Il Blud to SD if not being careful enough. Once the roll is done Il Blud will roll out of the ball with some good momentum that he can use into his regular moveset.

An obvious application of this momentum-based rolling move is to roll in and out of the portals Il Blud can create, say right above the stage on the other side, either as an escape option, a gimping attempt or merely to approach the foe. He can even use the same down special to turn around and come right back! This is why the foe has to keep the portals in mind and try to keep destroying or using them for their own purposes, though they have the obvious downsides of using one. Besides portals, just using the down special out of the side B slingshot can pass large swaths of the air and stage at once, so Il Blud is never left behind!

SMASHES

FORWARD SMASH: MEZUKI


Il Blud harshly grabs at the sides of his zipper face and faces directly forwards for a change, as he seems to be containing a powerful presence inside his chest! After a short start up and charging this culminates in the summoning of his fellow powerful zombie, Mezuki, who brings down a massive axe that deals 14-21% damage to KO from 80%! Mezuki takes a bit longer than Ganondorf to bring down the axe as he has to be summoned first, but it is more than worth it for the high power of the attack. Mezuki is roughly the size of standing Ridley in his up taunt, so is a massive character, fortunately only sticking around for one attack. Overall the combination of Mezuki's lag and Il Blud's makes this a very laggy attack, but has surprisingly decent end lag. This is a devastating attack as its range is very comparable to Ganondorf's Doriyah, only having a slightly blind spot directly next to Mezuki in the air and a little above Il Blud's own head. Mezuki can't be destroyed and so is basically invulnerable for when he is around, more like Pac-Man's Ghosts than a typical summon.

Living up to his reputation as a guardian of the underworld alongside his partner Gozuki, Mezuki's axe is not just for attacking foes, but can judge the criminal scum Il Blud has gathered as well! Unlike other attacks by Il Blud - Mezuki isn't him after all - the axe will cut right through the hapless Kick Man and Chopman, who look on in horror! This isn't all bad however, because if the other minion was around on stage at the same time, they've been judged as worthy! Whoever was not killed will be revived as fully alive to attack foes normally, though they can now be attacked themselves too, while the other 'Man suffers a painful banishment.

Il Blud can send Mezuki through a portal by summoning him next to one. Mezuki moves inches forward during his attack and will pop out on the other side to perform the attack, potentially appearing in the air off stage or popping out from the side of the stage, though won't teleport if there's not enough room on the other side. This can be potentially amazing if Il Blud can put a portal off stage at the right place and still maintain stage control. Mezuki can't move after being summoned but can be summoned by Il Blud out of his down special to catch foes by surprise, as Mezuki does move slightly during the attack this has even better range than normal.

Mezuki's strike works on the ghostly criminals, and is no different on ghostly foes, which is part of what makes it so frightening. When striking a foe successfully who is a ghost this will treat them the same way as a criminal, so will revive the first of Kick Man or Chopman to have been summoned to add insult to injury. This can be especially screwy if it hits an opponent in the middle of going from ghost to alive as it will both hit them as a ghost but count towards reviving one of the minions. This is particularly bad as it means you don't even need to sacrifice one of the minions and have one of each alignment at one time.



Il Blud can angle his fsmash like any other smash, but due to the nature of the attack, he opts instead to summon a whole new minion when angling his fsmash down! This shares the same start and end lag as the regular fsmash. After charge Gozuki appears right next to Il Blud, slamming his hammer in a faster looking version of Dedede's fsmash for an equally impressive 20-28% damage to KO from 60%! The hammer is roughly 1.3x as big as Dedede's too, an insanely big weapon challenging the top size of weapons in Smash, that's quite a feat. The foe is launched at a near semi spike angle making it rather horrifying off-stage utilized alongside a portal. The same as Mezuki, Gozuki is for all intents and purposes invulnerable so once he's out is guaranteed to get out his attack. The foe also will be hit by Gozuki whether dead or alive, and the shenanigans using portals and momentum are the same too! Just as their guardian partnership together in the cards would make you assume, the pair really do have much in common.

Gozuki's effect is the opposite of Mezuki and only works on the living, it is a lot more direct than Mezuki however, as when he crushes an someone, there is a special effect that adds a little hitlag to emphasize it to the match participants. The character be it foe or minion will be flattened before quickly unflattening... dead and well! If killed by the attack a minion won't die but will instead be made into an undead (what a sentence). This may not seem that great, but has the opposite effect of Mezuki's too - for making a character dead, you make another one alive! So hitting the foe will still make one of Kick Man or Chopman come back to life, and they don't need to be made into a ghost to do it either! The mix of both of the two guardians of the underworld mean that Il Blud will never find it too hard to get a mix of both the living and undead to help in his fight.

DOWN SMASH: PAIN PAINTER


Il Blud grabs his portal like in his fsmash but instead grabs it from the opposite sides and aims his stomach more downwards, plopping out a Pain Painter after a short start up! The Pain Painter, around Wario's size but a little taller, wastes no time in sweeping across the ground with his brush from in front of Il Blud, dealing 14-19% damage and able to KO from 110% uncharged, dealing damage at an almost flat angle forward or back depending on when the foe was hit. This is easily Il Blud's fastest smash and has great coverage too, hitting as far behind Il Blud as Robin's dsmash and sweeping as far forward as Marth's dtilt! The Pain Painter can't be interrupted just like Mezuki and Gozuki though Il Blud largely "covers" him during the attack so it's not as relevant as the others. The end lag is average but the duration is on the longer side as Pain Painter has to paint up those bare floors on Final Destination after all.

The Pain Painter isn't just carrying around that brush for the hell of it, he's really painting the stage, and the foe! Where the Painter brushes with his brush for 5 seconds will be coloured an ominous bright, ghostly blue that glows for all in the match to see. After 5 seconds elapse, it merely fades away in a creepy fashion. The same happens for any foe who is hit by the attack, giving it a bit more utility to make up for its lack of power like the fsmash. The paint will essentially turn that patch of the ground or the foe into a temporary undead, expediting the process! This leaves the foe open to immediately be attacked by Kick Man and Chopman as they're launched out of the attack making it especially dangerous for foes if caught between Il Blud and one of his prisoners, from the front or back! At the same time, the foe has to be wary of being stood on top of ground painted in this way to be turned into a quasi undead! They can be hit by the two ghastly ghosts, but also become just as victim to all the negatives of being an undead too! This patch covers almost an entire BF platform width and one can exist at a time. This can be abused by Il Blud as the old patch will harmlessly fade away when making a new one, so he can save his prisoners' (undead) skin for a change if the foe looks to be about to send them packing back to the afterlife!

On top of the normal effect the paint will leave a physical mark on the foe where it landed, usually on the bottom of their hurtbox or shield, but can hit foes recovering on the top of their model or other places, or potentially when Il Blud uses the move on a platform. The paint lasts for a much longer 12 seconds on foes before fading away and will increase the damage/knockback of Kick Man and Chopman's attack by 1.2x if they hit that part of the foe! On shields, this lets the two ghoulish ruffians deal an even better 1.4x damage when they hit that part of the shield! This can be particularly powerful when the foe tries to land versus them and ends up being hit on the lower side of their hitboxes, but also can be applied to their shield, letting the two run amok to get pokes or even a coveted shield break! They may win an early release at this rate. This mark is a small bit of paint that looks and works mechanically the same as Inkling's paint and while it is hard to cover the foe in it entirely like the Inklings, it can happen!

UP SMASH: PLAGUESPREADER ZOMBIE



Il Blud turns to face slightly towards/away from the screen and summons the Plaguespreader Zombie immediately! This is a change from the other two smashes, Il Blud instead spends the charge time grabbing the Plaguespreader by the back of the head as if he grabbed him with his side special. The Plaguespreader Zombie is a big monster too, around the size of Donkey Kong if he was standing upright. After charging up, the Plaguespreader Zombie moans out loudly and raises both arms triumphantly, a hitbox that deals 5-7% damage and moderate knockback, but he real attack is a mist of poison that spreads out around the Plaguespreader Zombie. The pink mist of poison spreads out like a Magic Burst but much faster, taking only 50 frames to expand out to 1/3rd-2/3rds the maximum range of Magic Burst. As with the other summons, the Plaguespreader then dissipates after performing the attack.

The mist will deal 5-10 hits of 1% damage and a final hit of 10% damage that will KO from 140% upwards. This means charge largely only improves the range of the move and adds on some token hits to keep the foe longer in stun, but will also give Il Blud a healthy dose of advantage, enough at max charge to outright hit the foe with an aerial or his side special if they're already in range. Il Blud at the same time will turn his body into a conduit for the poison and glows purple, now dealing 10-15% damage and high knockback to KO upwards from 125% uncharged briefly when the mist first goes out, largely relevant for foes rushing into Il Blud from behind.

The poison mist will only hit living foes but lingers on stage in the same area it was sent out to deal constant 1% damage once a second and poison whoever is in the area for another 5 seconds, the poison mist lasting for 5 seconds too, though this can be refreshed. The refreshing is the most important part of all, as any character poisoned by the mist will spread the poison to another character by spreading poison around their entire body in a mist like the Hot Curry item, though no effect on their set beyond that. The mist will only go through portals if Il Blud's own body does, and does not count as a projectile. The mist hits anyone who touches the character, including from melee attack or grabs. Il Blud himself will be poisoned by the up smash but takes a reduced 0.5% damage a second, for the first 5 seconds. If he passes on the plague to the foe and then gets it given back, he will then start taking 1% a second after the first 5 seconds. This also means that technically it costs 2.5% damage to use the usmash, though the foe is almost guaranteed to be hit by the poison if he managed to charge it all the way up, so it's well worth it then.

The minions can be poisoned too and as they're zombies, they will keep spreading it to each other, and not take any damage either! What's damage to a zombie anyway? If they do join the living they will start passing it on to other living things such as Il Blud or the foe, but they will themselves begin to take damage and slowly die from the contagious poison, so this may be a good time to bring out Gozuki to send them back to the land of the dead. It may not be so bad for Il Blud to catch the plague either, as he is such a heavyweight that racking up damage alongside the foe can have its own strategy to get both of them high then go for one of his weaker KO options, though given he has such powerful moves, he doesn't necessarily need the help. There are other reasons this is not a bad idea too, such as avoiding combos or set-ups foes can do on such a large, heavy character, especially when Il Blud is at low percents. Managed perfectly Il Blud can aim to keep a revolving door of prisoners to bring to poison each other and procedurally bring to life to both attack, then passively poison the foe, and there's not much they can do if they don't pressure Il Blud out of range of his minions to destroy them outright.

GRAB GAME

GRAB & PUMMEL: RESTRAIN

Il Blud's grab is a snatch with both arms, similar to Incineroar's grab and has even better grab range than that move because of Il Blud's reach! His pivot and dash grab is similarly excellent, and due to his initial dash it can be a viable strategy to rush in to grab unsuspecting foes. Il Blud holds the foe by the neck at an unseemly distance as if he's suspecting them of doing something criminal, the face on his chest squinting its eyes at the foe as they're held. For the pummel Il Blud will punch the foe in the body with his other hand, dealing 1.3% damage a hit in an average speed pummel. The grab will work on any foes, ghost or alive as it's a melee move. The grab will fail however if Il Blud or the foe is launched into a portal, either by Il Blud's momentum going forward pushing a foe through, or him being nudged back by something on stage. In either case the grab is cancelled and the foe is put in a grab release state, but Il Blud is given 5 frames of advantage for his troubles.

FORWARD THROW: HANGMAN'S CURSE

Il Blud quickly pulls his hand grabbing the foe back to him and devours the foe with his zipper mouth, as the foe struggles around inside him just like the neutral special, taking 3 hits of 1% damage before being spat out again for 7% damage towards the ground. This will bounce the foe off the ground in a bounce that can't be tech'd and sets up for a dash attack at 0%, just like K. Rool's fthrow! In front of a portal, this will send the foe downwards on the other side at a diagonal, so can be a great gimp if the other portal is off stage, or simply send them down towards Il Blud from above for a juggle, depending greatly on the portal positions.

The foe isn't let off so easily though, hence the name! They aren't turned into a ghost but above their head is a counter that reads in ominous giant text the number 3. This will start to slowly fade away over the next 8 seconds. The timer doesn't tick down over time though, instead it ticks down every time the foe passes through a portal, the number will tick down again. The other way to make the timer go down is if the foe is fthrow'd again reducing it by 2. Every time the numbers goes down, the 8 second timer is reset.

When that number reaches 0, a zipper will appear next to the foe summoning a cartoonish Grim Reaper like a toon version of the Spirit Reaper. This strongly resembles the Reaper of the Cards, though in a more Toon style, so you could say it's a Toon Reaper! The reaper almost immediately performs a big sweeping cut with its scythe hitting in a massive horizontal crescent for 13% damage to KO with a semi spike at 125%. This can be an effective gimp move too, with the Grim Reaper appearing in front of the foe and hitting them back, so if the foe is hit away from the stage this can hit them even further as they face towards where they were hit from. The Grim Reaper can't be attacked and is roughly the size of Squirtle, but carries a scythe much larger than itself! In other situations such as the foe just fighting normally, this can get them hit into Il Blud or stop them running away! Even shielding or spot dodging is an awkward defence here for obvious reasons when Il Blud can attack at the same time. This adds an incentive for Il Blud to hit the foe through his portals even if they don't achieve much beyond ticking down the timer, or go for his fthrow.

When the timer ticks down to -1, the effect it slightly different. The Grim Reaper will appear but with a ghostly scythe instead of his usual one, coloured blue to indicate the change. This will hit living foes normally, but on top of that if they are undead, will deal an even higher 17% damage and KO from a 100%, making it far stronger. This little change gives Il Blud excellent pressure just turning the foe into a ghost so he can land his fthrow and gives this and neutral special fun synergy, as well as just playing with the numbers when the foe gets to 1 or 2, as Il Blud could immediately go for the normal Grim Reaper out of an fthrow or stall for 1, at which point either is possible so the foe has to keep an eye out even more for the neutral special grab.

UP THROW: SOUL YO-YO

Il Blud grabs the foe tightly pulling them into his chest and using his zipper, crushes them into a small ball, using his magic ghost powers to help. Il Blud crushes the foe into the ground as if they are Ness' yo-yo during his charge animation for his usmash/dsmash, dealing 5% in constant 1% hits, then extends his arm into the air above! The foe is launched after the yo-yo arm travels up as far as the top platform on BF, dealing them 7% damage and able to KO from 200%! Il Blud seems to have some fun whipping up his yo-yo arm at a slight angle just like a real yo-yo, angled a little forward on top of the vertical. The foe is dealt low base and scaling knockback to stop this being abused too much on the top platforms of various stages, though if the ceiling is obscenely low, then this is a fairly abusable reward for landing the grab on top of one of these platforms. The reward is justified as Il Blud landing on a platform or successfully defending one as a giant floaty heavy, is not easy! On a top platform this can KO as low as 140%, which is amazing for a throw.

The foe can be teleported through a portal using the uthrow, as hit from below the portal will be counted as sending the foe "forwards." The foe will be pushed out on the other side and can then be rammed into the side of the stage for another 5 hits of 1% damage on top of the 7% they take already from the throw, bounced off the side at the opposite angle. This final hit against the stage can't be tech'd. This is a helpful move for Il Blud as he will often place portals off stage like that for recovery purposes and they tend to be the ones the foe doesn't destroy as they're out of range, this gives Il Blud a great way to go for a gimp, off of the unlikeliest of throws too!

BACK THROW: ROLL-POLLY-GHOULLY

Il Blud grabs the foe against two-handed as in the grab itself and then bear hugs them, jumps on his back and rolls backward, dealing 4 rapid hits of 1% damage before launching them after rolling 1.5x as far as Ken, but over the same duration, his roll is that impressive! The foe is dealt a final 6% damage as Il Blud rolls over and crushes them, launching the foe at a low angle to KO from a fairly weak 200%. This can be used into portals, the result depends on who enters the portal first: Il Blud entering first will have him and the foe teleport where Il Blud will immediately throw the foe for 6% at the same angle, useful as a KO off-stage and leaves Il Blud primed to gimp or recover from anywhere on stage. If the foe rolled into the portal first then Il Blud performs a different ending where he kicks them through the portal for 7% damage! This is no normal kick, as you may have expected, but an extendo-kick! The foe is kicked 0.85x as far as Min Min's grab range and can be kicked into the side of the stage. The stage will hit them the opposite angle, so diagonally down and back, for a potential gimp but this can be tech'd and is easy to see coming most of the time. The key difference in the two is simple spacing for Il Blud so can make it tricky for the foe to know what way to DI and may force them to waste an air dodge preparing for the stage spike/tech that never comes, making it easier to then go aggressive in the air against the opponent.

DOWN THROW: AN APPEALING APPARITION

Il Blud once again devours the foe with his zipper mouth, but unlike the other times, seems to hunch over and almost eat the foe in a visceral way as if he's stuffing food down his throat, that's unsettling! This only deals 2 hits of 1% however and is a fast animation. After a moment, Il Blud launches the foe upwards for 2% damage, connected by an ethereal blue chain the same as his minions, that will cause the foe to bounce back once the chain becomes taut after travelling the distance to the top BF platform from the main stage dealing another 3% damage, hitting back into Il Blud and an opaque sphere that appears after they were spat out that makes a Bumper-like sound as the foe is launched up again for 5% damage with low knockback, setting up for a juggle, but leaving the mysterious sphere in place just above the ground. Overall this deals a decent 12% damage and is the best general combo starter and Il Blud does love being in the air with his great stats too.

That sphere is an important little construct for Il Blud, inspired by how Il Blud is a Gemini type. After it hits the foe away it takes on a visage of them, sprouting little arms and legs and a ghostly tail, basically like the ghost in DragonBall, which is pretty fitting with the world of YGO. It will be very emotive whenever it's struck by attacks, exaggerating its pain and being a lot more childish than most character it imitates. The ghost is not completely solid, but has much stronger "pull" than Kick Man and Chopman, strongly pulling foes that it has pulled past unless they actively walk or run against it. The ghost lingers on stage for another 4-6 seconds depending on the foe's percent, lasting longer for high percent foes. Only one ghost can exist at a time and the ghost can't be grabbed. This ghost has no attacks but will act as a sort of voodoo-doll for the foe, though it will not directly transfer damage and knockback to the foe, and in fact it only takes a small amount of knockback like a sandbag as it sits in place in the air where it was summoned. What it does pass on is status effects! If it is poisoned, the foe will also be poisoned and take the same amount of damage. The ghost (obviously) is undead and can be hit by Mezuki and Gozuki. This will count and revive a minion on stage, without even having to hit the foe themselves! If there is no minion, the foe is instead treated as one, this can be abused to easily turn the foe ghost or alive without needing to even touch them with the two guardians. The ghost will tick down the foe's fthrow counter by 1 each time it passes through a portal but takes knockback so little, this is usually only doable once or twice, nonetheless a useful tactic.

The ghost has an important effect when attacked, and can be attacked by the foe themselves too. The ghost will seize up and after a brief moment, fire out a projectile in the opposite direction to that which it was struck. The projectile will be 1.2x as strong as the attack used and resembles most strongly the MegaMan fsmash Charge Buster, the size of the projectile likewise ranges from its weakest form dealing 7% damage and can become as powerful as 40% damage depending on the attack used, growing 1.2x as big as the max charge Charge Buster. As the projectile is fired in the opposite direction, this means when it is dividing up the foe and Il Blud it can be abused to strike the foe on the other side. At the same time too, Il Blud can abuse his portals if the ghost is not in a particularly good spot to hit the foe regardless of position and hide behind the ghost as he uses it to attack its twin.

The projectile will not damage Il Blud if he hits the ghost, but can damage him if the foe hits the ghost - however in this case, Il Blud can use his neutral special to reflect the projectile back! This can lead to a fun little war of waiting for the foe to try and hit the ghost, reflect the ghost's projectile back at the ghost who then produces an even stronger projectile back in the foe's direction! The projectile only spawns for attacks that deal 5% damage or above, otherwise just passively damaging the ghost and it can't be destroyed.

While the ghost can't be destroyed, there's a couple of guys who want to have a little talk with the guy... Kick Man and Chopman! They may most of the time have no effect on the living foe but the little ghostly apparition of the foe is another story... when it gets in range the ghost looks terrified and his eyes pop out like Diddy/DK when they see K. Rool, as the criminals attack the ghost instead! This is most important for Chopman as his attack will regenerate a projectile out of the ghost, however Kick Man can be relevant too if he is turned to the living mid-attack and the foe is in range, or vice versa for the foe.

STANDARDS

JAB: GHOST BOX

Il Blud throws out a quick right hook in his fastest move coming out frame 2, but dealing only 3% damage and very light knockback 45 degrees upward with flinching attached, this hooks low enough to hit all the Ultimate cast as Il Blud makes sure to stretch it around from beneath. Il Blud then hooks his other fist around from above and repeats the same punch, for another 2% damage and the same knockback, only slightly weaker. Il Blud can continuously jab then to keep punching the foe for 1% a pop at the same rate as Bowser Jr's jab until performing a final uppercut jab finisher for 4% damage to KO the foe from 150%. This is a perfect move to use out of Il Blud's various mobility options as it's super fast, slightly disjointed and can catch foes trying to counter Il Blud's rush in, despite how easy it may seem to get the better of the lumbering giant.

Originally for a jab Il Blud can angle it, almost like Sheik's old controllable Melee whip chain. This lets Il Blud do some proper shadow boxing and direct hooks or uppercut from up to 30 degrees further up or down, launching the foe instead at that angle at the end with the jab finisher. This can help to keep foes in the combo and not DI out, though can also backfire if they DI well enough to let them escape earlier, so Il Blud and the foe have to be aware to both get a little more damage or escape sooner. Fittingly on the punching bag-like dthrow ghost, this will cause the ghost to shudder in place from every hit and launch uniquely little "blasts" of disjointed energy from the opposite side. These blasts are only about a Kirby-width in distance and will deal the foe half their damage in their own damage, with only flinching knockback, though about as hard to DI away from as the regular jab. These disjoints can be shot through portals though only travel just over twice their width in distance.

The shadow boxing with the foe's shadow is more useful than it may sound as while it's hard to knock away, it can still be moved... even by Il Blud's own criminal prisoners, Kick Man and Chopman! When the ghost is moved around then Il Blud can approach it and trap the foe with his jab, even if they jump over it he can counter by aiming his own jab up to send the disjointed blasts out to hit the foe in the air. When Il Blud reels in his criminal escapees the foe now has to worry about both being physically pulled both by them and the ghost as well as the potential for the ghost to be used to hit them indirectly with Il Blud's jab too.

DASH ATTACK: PRISON ESCAPE

Il Blud ducks down and slides across the ground, dealing 12% damage and knocking foes at the Sakurai angle to KO from 130%. This isn't near the strength of Dedede's comparable dash attack for its animation, but comes out much faster and has better end lag, as well as technically travelling further too. Il Blud can use the attack to dodge some high hitting attacks or aerials and with the use of his down special, can travel ludicrously fast, or simply out of his initial dash catch up and punish foes at any given moment.

The big body of Il Blud isn't all that's a hitbox here, for once his ball-and-chain comes into play too! As Il Blud travels along his ball will knock foes forward too, making it much harder for them to spot dodge. The ball deals 6-10% damage (stronger when Il Blud is faster) and will do moderate-strong knockback to KO at the same strength as K. Rool's regular kannonball, which KOs at around 180%. This helps more in this case just because of how fast Il Blud can travel to go too fast and give the foe an easy time of it to dodge even with sloppy timing, if not for the ball. Like the jab, this is particularly relevant in the case of the ghost as the ball will bump up against it and cause the projectile to fire on the other side creating a bump ride for the foe to dodge all of the hitboxes.

FORWARD TILT: YING-YANG BALL

Il Blud leans back his head and fires a shadowy dark magic fireball out of his zipper mouth chest - it's hard to see but zooming in shows it is fired out of the demon mouth! This has moderate start and end lag. The fireball travels as far as Wolf's blaster at the same speed, the projectile itself is a white skull covered in light purple flames the same colour as the demon's head, this deals 5% damage and very low knockback. The projectile deals considerable hitstun to make it safely advantage on hit but does stale quickly over time until it's barely frame neutral for Il Blud so he can't just spam the move. The move is as spammable as Wolf's current blaster but travels 1.2x faster. In practice it being faster makes it easier for foes to just jump over it and punish Il Blud while improving it as a mid-range option. The range of the projectile is a little lower than Wolf's as far as its size, being a round sphere, but not much smaller. It can be angle to go around 25 degrees up or down instead by angling the ftilt to hit crouching or airborne foes.

The fireball will react to hitting any undead foes or minions it hits by causing an equally sized-projectile to spawn from their opposite side after passing through their body, shown by them being shocked and caught in a bit of hitlag. The ghost from dthrow counts as an undead too. On the other side the skull will more resemble a demon face with skin and be covered in the blue flames closer to the colour of Il Blud's clothes. This deals a lower 4% damage but has the same properties all the same. The demon skull will have the same effect, but only if it then hits an alive foe or character, turning back into the skull projectile and refreshing itself yet again for 3% damage. This can happen up to another 3 times until the fireball becomes so weak it evaporates into nothing but would require intense set up! This is one of the best ways to utilize Il Blud's minions just to spam projectile across the stage and as the projectile can be angled, he can even use portals in trickier places where the foe can't destroy them as easily.

The ftilt has a follow-up similar to a typical fsmash, where instead of just firing a projectile the zipper mouth takes a bite forward for 8% damage and acute upwards knockback to KO from 105%! This bite has comparable range to, and works quite similarly to Corrin's neutral special. This will combo on shield from the fireball into the bite to deal a nice chunky 13% to it. The Il Blud bite is not nearly as strong as Corrin's, but unlike Corrin's, it can be angled the same way as the regular ftilt to gnash at the foe's heels or as an anti-air, the perfect remedy to foes trying to jump over the initial projectile!

The move doesn't quite end there either. If the bite makes contact with a minion or ghost, it will take out a "bite," this deals the minions 5% damage but will not KO them if it puts them below 0HP, though it can damage them as ghosts. After taking this quick bite the mouth will fire out a smaller "morsel" projectile that is a smaller, bullet-sized version of the regular ftilt projectile to deal 7% and higher flat semi spike knockback able to KO from 115%. This is coloured blue or pink depending on whether the minion was alive/dead, or is the dead one for a ghost. This comes out extremely fast and while it doesn't have the same mechanics to refresh itself is a disjoint that goes past anything on stage, and can travel as far as Falco's laser, at the speed of Fox's laser! This won't be angled, but can be angled if the original bite was, so this can become a complex defensive mechanic, made even better by Il Blud's minutia of mobility options. Spit some skulls out, make a snack of a minion and shoot a bullet skull at the foe, all in one move!

UP TILT: BRAWLING STRETCH

Il Blud kicks his right leg straight up, dealing 11% damage and high upwards knockback! The kick will KO from 107% on the ground but as an anti-air can KO as low as 90% due to hitting the foe at the top of the leg effectively lowering the distance between the blast zone and hitbox. No rewards for guessing what this can be compared to - unlike Snake's Brawl up tilt though, Il Blud's kick has the right animation for its ludicrous vertical range, as he stretches his leg almost to the height of the BF top platform to reach aerial foes! This has similar frame data to the Snake Ultimate utilt, only being marginally laggier to end, and the same horizontal range, but even better vertical range.

After he kicks up his leg the ball-and-chain comes into play as it is connected to his right leg, after all, it's kicked up after the leg is so that it's in front of the leg, dealing 7% damage and upwards knockback. The metal ball is a bit tougher than the leg, so has slightly stronger knockback, but at a more horizontal angle so that it KOs around the same. However, because the ball hits the foe even higher than the leg can, reaching the top platform of BF in fact, this will KO around 85% lower if hit from the peak height.

The leg and the ball can also both go through portals, and are perfect moves to attack foes from just in front of said portal, or attack the dthrow ghost. In the former case, the ball will track even higher than the leg does so can even stretch back around to hit foes from various other angles, or combo into itself! The range is that good and can fulfil Brawl Snake’s dream of being so long range it hits twice. The ghost is so heavy that it can be hit twice can produce two hitboxes that can travel up, or down using a portal, to bully foes trying to jump over it and the attack itself or dodging around the ghost. The slight delay of the ball can help in this respect both to catch foes dodging around the attack or too far forward, or because of the ghost’s projectiles then also having a delay.

DOWN TILT: REEL EM IN

Il Blud takes his ball-and-chain with his right hand and tosses it forward while still holding the chain, dealing 10% damage for the ball and high knockback at a diagonal to KO from 115%, the chain is its own hitbox dealing 5% damage with low upwards knockback while having a 20% chance to trip foes, The double whammy of hitboxes makes it hard for the foe to dodge without using one of their shield options or shield itself and the end lag of the move makes it hard to punish. This makes it more attractive for the foe to approach from the air instead as the chain does get about as far as Simon’s ftilt on the ground, but is about that tall, so is purely a ground-based or ledge move. The ball is big enough it can be an effect ledge guard, but won’t dip below the ledge so can’t effectively hit foes recovering low.

The range of the attack makes it perfect for attacking foes behind the ghost, as it will curl beneath the ghost and usually not hit it at all due to it being airborne. The angle makes a good fit for portals, but the move does have an interesting trait when left to its own devices. Il Blud has decently fast start lag and low end lag on the move, simply able to walk away after it’s over with the ball-and-chain being walked over and returning to the position was before to his back. If Il Blud just does nothing, the chain will instead use physics to fall down off stage, into a portal if it’s off-stage/not on the ground (which is common), and donk anyone the ball hits! This deals 5% damage and moderate knockback, the same again as K. Rool’s default blunderbuss, not insignificant!

An even more fun trait of the move is that like in his jab, Il Blud can by keeping hold of the control stick jangle around the ball-and-chain like Sheik’s Melee chain! This will not only move around the chain, which keeps doing 5% damage and a chance to trip each time, but will move around the ball too retaining its powerful hitbox for how disjointed it its. This not only moves the two hitboxes around on the ground but jangling it around will pop it off the ground ever so slightly enough to hit the ghost and produce hitboxes above it from the ball alone, though the chain can’t get high enough. This whole effect is even stronger if Il Blud manages to get the chain through an effective portal to jangle the chain right where the foe is recovering or where it’s really painful for them to have to dodge around it, then just walk away when it’s no longer useful! The move still has good end lag, so nothing is lost.

Kick Man and Chopman can’t be damaged by the move but as the ball is physical, this can be used to pull them around forcibly to keep them out of harm’s way or to push them where they can be more useful. It’s not as direct as side special to direct them in this way, but can nudge them enough to say, let Chopman get off his powerful Chop at the right distance. It’s also possibly if the ball is thrown at the right distance to push them forwards too, which is more useful to push Kick Man and his lingering kicking hits into the foe’s face! Or pull him away during his down time. This only works when they’re alive however, and this can be good for a split dead/alive Kick Man/Chopman to ignore one but not the other, depending on the situation.

AERIALS

NEUTRAL AERIAL: SPEEDY SPECTRE

Il Blud uses his stretchy limbs to grab onto his own body, in such a way that he starts to spin forward in midair while hunched ever so slightly forward, turning his entire body into a hitbox. At first he spins slower dealing 6% damage before going faster at 8% damage, all the while dealing radial knockback to KO from 155%, and 145$ with the stronger hitbox. This has decent start lag and low end lag, making it reliable aerial considering its great coverage.

As Il Blud spins the ball-and-chain will use physics to follow around the portly poltergeist as he spins. As he spins clockwise, this will spin the ball around that direction too, it will get faster as he spins too. The ball is also a sex kick in this way, dealing 10% damage and then 12% damage later on, always rotating around Il Blud as he spins and KOing at 150% and 140% respectively for the sourspot and sweetspot. This can be when timed one of Il Blud’s best KO moves period because of how reliable it is to land the spinning ball. Landing with the ball hitbox especially can really help to make the move safe against the foe shield grabbing or casually punishing the move, if it’s timed right for the ball to come down on them correctly.

The move is not affected by momentum at all in the air, which is a good thing in of itself for various logistical reasons. When the rotating Il Blud lands before the hitboxes are done with, Il Blud will be propelled forward across the ground as its own attack. The cartwheel continues along the ground going from a Bowser width to up to 1.5 BF platforms in width, depending on the speed Il Blud was going. This massive range also is reflected in the damage Il Blud deals going from just 6% and low radial knockback, to 16% and knockback that can KO from 125%. This is a lot higher than the normal aerial due to all the set up required. As it gets more powerful it also gets faster and gives 4-10% super armour that stacks with any other form of super armour Il Blud had from his side special slingshot or consuming his minions in his neutral special. It’s sort of the ultimate culmination of Il Blud’s unlikely speedster playstyle, tying together his momentum and aerial focus!

The speed of the landing hitbox not only ties in his current aerial momentum, but can be helped by his slingshot’s momentum, being pulled in by his side special to minions or the stage, and becomes far stronger when the side B is aimed at the stage. In essence In Blud can angle down his side B at the stage potentially using portals to do so, and as he is aimed downwards towards the stage the neutral aerial will weight his momentum far higher than normal letting him skip to the higher damage %s that let the move get truly crazy without even needing the other momentum boosts! This is mostly a mix up tactic however as it doesn’t give the armour or range of the slingshot or the ease of using side B to reel in Il Blud himself, but nonetheless can be a useful option to catch out foes expecting a grab attempt, only to see Il Blud himself ruin their day.

FORWARD AERIAL: METEOR SLAM

Il Blud spreads back his arms and legs and pokes out his chest, the demon face inside his zipper the most prominent it is in his whole set as the head starts to physically poke out every so slightly. The chest and face are sweetspots that deal between 10-17% damage and will either do moderate GTFO knockback or KO at 100% at the strongest, this depending again on the current speed of Il Blud. This is pickier than the neutral aerial though, as unlike in that move, this only gets stronger if the momentum is going forward in the direction the forward aerial faces, otherwise giving Il Blud the weakest from of the fair. Il Blud still gets plenty out of the attack even in that case however as the rest of his huge hurtbox becomes a hitbox dealing 5% and low radial knockback, while his ball-and-chain deals 11% on the ball to KO from 105%, 6% on the chain with low upwards knockback. This is great for when Il Blud crosses up the foe going backwards or forwards, his range of hitboxes makes it very hard to dodge everything he as going offensively.

The forward aerial gains strength from going fast, but also gives its own small speed boost to Il Blud for its duration, equivalent to a 1.2x air speed buff. The move does weaken when it’s not going forward, but one advantage of doing it going backwards is that it will slow down Il Blud in midair slightly as it pushes him forwards. This can bring Il Blud to a complete stop, helping to catch out foes trying to dodge through his large hitbox. That he can put on the brakes so to speak at any moment means that playing around with his portals and momentum is a little less risky. The forward aerial has no limit on how many times it can speed up or slow down Il Blud’s speed either, though it doesn’t stack but will either speed up or down his momentum each time when it’s active. As this is only when it’s active, it’s not possible to do such shenanigans as a fair into a nair to boost its powerful, but it is possible to whiff a nair, then do a fair to catch foe who was only just out of reach.

Naturally a move this powerful is a great way to get a huge reward out of hitting the dthrow ghost and cause a massive projectile to come out of the bottom of its other side. This can be a nice consolation prize for missing the foe around the same area as the ghost, which can then launch a projectile either at the foe forcing them also into the air, or into a nearby portal if Il Blud is lucky. The move also goes far enough it’s possible to hit both the foe’s ghost and the foe in the same attack, depending on the order and various other things this can combo a whole bunch of times. The foe can be hit past the ghost, who is then hit, and then creates a 50/50 situation or puts pressure on the foe! The combo is made far more feasible because of how fast Il Blud can travel and the little boost given by the fair.

UP AERIAL: BY HOOK OR BY CROOK

Il Blud performs a surprisingly acrobatic flip to kick his leg over his head in a crescent flip kick, the kick itself dealing 7% damage and moderate upwards knockback at a slight angle to KO from 110%. This is obviously much stronger nearer the top blast zone, though the leg is not stretched out very much considering Il Blud’s other uses of his limbs, though still quite good with overall coverage almost similar to Bowser’s nair, though Il Blud’s other limbs are not a hitbox. As the flip kick occurs the move will hit foes a little forward rather than up. The move technically comes out very fast but has a long duration, but also low end lag.

The ball-and-chain will be hit up into the air as well, performing a slightly delayed version of the flip kick’s hitbox. The ball does 10% damage and radial knockback to KO from 185%. That’s powerful in the context of hitting foes above Il Blud too at a pretty amazing range even further away than his already decently-sized flip kick leg. At minimum, this can be used to hit foes near the top blast zone as a surprise final hit to put them just over. Il Blud can easily chase foes really high in the air too using his sling shot to chase them and armour to hedge his bets in case the foe does fast fall or manage to get in past his kick first. Foes that are put up high by his uthrow or a portal will have to contend with the uair’s potential jankiness to KO them early if they aren’t careful and the overall aerial is another example of how well Il Blud can force 50/50 situations with his ridiculous hitboxes when played well.

When the ball overlaps a portal in the uair, it can go through by itself as normal, however Il Blud can perform a special technique if he holds the button as the ball goes through the portal. The ball will nonsensically be caught on the other side so it can’t pass and Il Blud will dangle off the other side of the portal. Depending on how much aerial momentum he had, this will make Il Blud spin around the portal in a circular pattern, doing anything from a quarter-circle spin dealing 7% damage over his entire body, to 2 full spins at the maximum possible speed while dealing 15% and radial knockback to KO from 120%. As he spins his entire fat body stretches out to be as straight as possible, extenuating his hitbox to reach his full height. Depending on how fast he spins his body can become almost a constant hitbox. If he lets himself slow down he will eventually come to a stop after 55 frames where he then lets go and continue in the air as normal.

At any point, Il Blud can press jump to continue his momentum in the direction his body was facing to continue his aerial attack on a foe. This only works on an active portal, but is an important way to redirect Il Blud, though it doesn’t technically speed him up, only maintaining what speed he already had, it’s still an important way for Il Blud to move around the stage and doubles as a great attack too. He also can’t use the uair on another portal in the same air trip. Redirecting his momentum means he can make use of his momentum to change tact and go forwards to make the most of his fair, or go towards the ground to try to land a nair or land its landing hitbox, or simply position himself to grab the foe, anything is possible! He doesn’t however get any new armour off of this move, so relying on the other outlets for his defence, the foe can easily call his bluff.

One easy way to make use of the actual attack of hanging off the portal is just to do this when the foe is going to be forced through it on the other side. The foe may have to, to avoid getting poisoned by Plaguespreader Zombie’s remnant poison, or is simply trapped into using one due to their positions when they recovered. A particularly speed Il Blud can force the foe into being hit by his spinning uair just because of how long it lingers for up to 55 frames making it near impossible even for a pretty stall-heavy or fast character to get past Il Blud’s hitbox.

BACK AERIAL: GHOSTLY SPIN

Il Blud performs a spinning kick using his ball-and-chain leg, the foot at the end is exaggerated more than in any other move to give it some more oomph, dealing 8% damage and high knockback at a sharp angle, KOing from 120%. Il Blud’s bair is his fastest aerial coming out at frame 7 and has low end lag and duration. This has good reach too as one again Il Blud does stretch out the leg itself, though like uair’s base move, this is not to a ridiculous degree and is more of a standard melee move. Despite using the ball-and-chain leg, it does not actually become a hitbox in this move. As he spins Il Blud will turn around to face in the other direction like some other back aerials in the game, this is significantly important because of Il Blud’s important air game so that he can turn himself easily in midair. Turning around immediately opens up fair even when going backwards, can make a big difference in how nair works as it can now go across the ground in the opposite direction and impacts how uair may end up as it will maintain Il Blud’s spacing, so all in all an important aerial for its effect on other aerials.

The move may not utilize the ball-and-chain but as Il Blud turns around during the attack, it does leave it positioned a little differently if he does go for his other aerials. From this position the ball will have different positioning on the nair spin and fair/uair as a passive hitbox too. When Il Blud has built up momentum for example from his down special, the power of the move is buffed to deal 1.1-1.5x the normal damage, ranging from 9-12% damage and lowering the KO percent from 120% to as low as 95%! This can be used as an insanely good cross up on foes who try to get behind he big body Il Blud after they slip past his down special jump. This is quite generous with how early Il Blud has to use it out of his down special and jump or other moves, not being hard to land he most powerful hitbox before it scales to be weaker.

DOWN AERIAL: SPITBALL

Il Blud faces down as his zipper opens more and the mouth of the demon face spits out a projectile, similarly to how it does in ftilt only this time shooting from its lips more directly, this lips themselves weak hitbox dealing 3% damage and low radial knockback. The shadowy dark magic fireball that comes out is this time a much faster flaming chunk of metal that is roughly the same size as Mega Man’s down aerial, Hard Knuckle, in this case dealing 10% and flinching knockback for around 20 frames that quickly stales. This will refresh the foe’s recovery too, but the reason this is better than it seems it that it’s very spammable, coming out frame 7 and there’s no limit to how many times Il Blud can fire this chunk of metal in one air trip. This allows Il Blud to cover the entire stage in these projectiles from one slingshot leap, and using portals, can flood even more of the stage! The bit of metal does get destroyed on contact with foes, the stage or anything else solid however and has a max range of two Ganondorf heights before it will dissipate on its own.

When Il Blud’s lips hitbox comes into contact with the ground, it will boost him up by a set 1.2 Ganondorf heights, obviously a massive height to be boosted by! As he’s boosted up he’ll still shoot out the projectile too. This can be used as a quasi-counter if foes try rushing in on Il Blud then he short hops his dair to leap over them, catching them with his lips as they walk into them, or if they’re really late, hit by the projectile itself as it rains down. It’s also a good way to keep Il Blud in the air if he ran out of other options, especially considering he lacks a traditional up special, the boost off the ground can help to make up for that to then save the second jump as his “recovery” in the same sense as typical up special. Unlike the projectiles however, the lip lift can only be performed once per air trip.

Il Blud can "angle" the move left or right during start up to instead shoot the projectiles 45 degrees left or right, dealing the same damage and knockback but instead hitting the foe up! This may not sound too useful but from certain angles can combo into itself when a foe is hit by a later fireball into an earlier one. At the same time, this will boost Il Blud's aerial momentum forwards like a miniature jump and this is even stronger when he was already travelling in that direction! Il Blud gains a hitbox on his "front" side he is travelling towards that deals 5-10% damage with super armour that can withstand 7-12% damage from incoming attacks, him gaining a fiery aura as he's propelled by his fireballs! This can be an interesting aerial mix up to check both foes trying to duck under or counter them trying to attack from the front while making a speed getaway or chase.

It’s easy to imagine Il Blud’s glorious horizontal travel across the stage using the move but a very powerful way of using the move is to spam it as Il Blud either descends or ascends vertically. As a way of bullying foes recovering or trying to catch up to Ill Blud it can be a really savage wag to pepper them almost like blaster spam as they give chase. Conversely, approaching the foe and catching them off guard with the dair to then go into a fair, nair or bair ca be a good choice. When going very fast the dair can hit a foe just before Il Blud hits them with his melee moves for a more direct combo. The lip lift can be really important too either as an escape option or to relaunch Il Blud into the air where he can follow foes making their own escape, or just trying to get away from the various things Il Blud may have going on down there.

FINAL SMASH

PRISON BREAK!



Il Blud opens his zipper as much as he can letting out a giant flashing bright red skull covered in flames, the size of Bowser, which travels for the length of Final Destination and hits foes for 30% damage. When it lands an foes it catches will be launched into a cutscene where Il Blud and the foe(s) are caught in the middle of a dark void, Il Blud’s demon face winks at the player, who then is mobbed by unidentifiable demons who rush in at them from all sides. The void becomes covered in creepy smiles and eyes over time as the foe takes constant damage, so many demons and YGO monsters in fact the entire screen becomes blacked out! When play returns the foe is launched for 25% and this can KO from as low as 60%.
 
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ZLBProductions

Smash Rookie
Joined
Oct 13, 2019
Messages
8
Switch FC
SW 4436-6404-5319
So uh, it's been a while since I've actually posted a set, huh? Things have been complicated, as we all know, and well, motivation's been low.


So let's fix that, shall we?

He could be familiar to you!

HERE HE COMES-


...Oh dear. It seems he's not fully ready to go yet... But you can always have a peak as he's worked on!
(Basically, yeah, this is super WIP - Dodongo'd, as they say. It'll be finished...soon enough!)
 
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ForwardArrow

Smash Journeyman
Joined
Aug 17, 2011
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Sekuna

Sekuna is a character from the same universe as Metireon, living in a galaxy on the verge of tearing apart from the actions of incompetent governors, ambitious and greedy mad scientists, and rabid cultists. Unlike Metireon, she was nowhere near the cataclysmic events that resulted in the fall of the galactic government while it was happening, living off on a somewhat peaceful world governed by the Magic Royalty, an organization that governs the use and development of magical abilities. On Sekuna's homeworld of Thetos, magic was primarily used for sport and entertainment rather than war or development, with Sekuna training in magic martial arts, a tradition that had passed through her family for six generations. Integrating magical abilities with their martial arts skills, Sekuna's family as well as most martial artists on Thetos impressed crowds with their flashy fighting, honorable conduct, and a strong relationship with their fans.

Perhaps the only disruption to their idyllic lifestyle was the old man Melchior, a martial artist with an infamous reputation. He and his students were practitioners of the "Crippling Arts", a fighting style designed around pushing the users magical energy through their hands into precise points in the opponents body, their techniques tearing apart their opponent's defenses and nullifying their offenses without providing the kind of visual splendor of other magic martial artists. They were very unpopular with fans, especially with their open disdain for Sekuna's very popular family and dojo. While it was a feud that was a frequent source of stress for Sekuna, especially as many of her losses in the junior leagues were to Melchior's students, it was ultimately not a particularly brutal one at the end of the day, as despite their apparently dangerous style Melchior and his students never went so far as to outright cripple their opponents. It was all trash talk and ultimately harmless but underhanded tricks, but for most of Sekuna's childhood and into her teenage years, they felt like the greatest enemy she could have on her idyllic little homeworld.

Eventually, however, the galactic government collapsed, the Magic Royalty was burned to the ground, as a new force came to overtake the galaxy, the violent death cult known as Corvid's Claw. Consisting of powerful, ruthless mages who rejected the very existence of humanity, each planet they came to ended up with bodies piled upon bodies as society was brought to ruin. Not long after the collapse of the capital world, they came to Thetos, and the peaceful mage society, utterly unprepared to face serious and murderous enemies like Corvid's Claw, was utterly destroyed. Sekuna saw her whole world come crashing down, family and friends mercilessly slaughtered until she was one of the very few people who had scattered into the wilderness, doing anything they could to survive and hold out against the overwhelmingly powerful and dangerous death cult.

Struggling to survive on her own, she eventually found someone who could guide her along and keep her alive, but it was truly the last person she wanted to deal with. Melchior had also survived the collapse of Thetos' society, but with the loss of most of his students, his home, and his school, he too had lost everything he had to Corvid's Claw. He took Sekuna under his wing and attempted to teach her the "Crippling Arts", but the girl completely refused, wanting nothing to do with her "dishonorable enemy" even though against strong, magic using opponents, it was far better than her own techniques at fighting them. But as time went on, with no one else to train her and no company, Sekuna eventually found herself deciding she would let herself learn a little of Melchior's technique.

Perhaps what surprised Sekuna most was how naturally her water-oriented magic worked with Melchior's style. While it lacked the kind of punch of earth or wind based martial arts techniques, or the slipperiness and subversiveness of lightning powers, the combination of "Crippling Arts" and her water manipulation abilities let her mess with the water inside an opponent's body, giving her a remarkable ability to tear through an enemy's defenses the moment she would lay her hands on them. While Melchior pushed hard for her to explore this more, seeing her potential, Sekuna's reluctance continued to hold her back. Proving an uphill battle to train or even talk to, especially with how distraught she was over the loss of everyone she cared about, it seemed unlikely she would ever reach a point she could properly defend herself from Corvid's Claw.

As a last bid to get through to her, Melchior sat down with her one evening and told her the truth about the relationship between his dojo and her's. Long ago, when Melchior was still a young boy, the school of "Crippling Arts" was referred to as the "Deconstructive Arts" and actually quite respected. This was changed however when his school's greatest fighter was exposed as a cheater, who used the assistance of a shady allied mage to trip up his opponents and amplifying his own strength with performance enhancing drugs. Melchior's dojo not only took a major hit from this, but Sekuna's great-grandmother pounced on the opportunity, pointing out they would've taken four of the last ten annual championships had it not been for their the cheating of their opponent, as during those tournaments a member of their school had met this cheater in the finals. Her work began a downwards reputation spiral for Melchior's dojo, even though only a select few individuals were responsible and even when they were removed, the school was still viewed as one of cowards and cheaters. As their reputation declined, Melchior tried to help the school rebuild it, only to fail, even when it turned out one of the students of Sekuna's great-grandmother cheated on a scale nearly on the level of the man from Melchior's school. They were able to mostly keep it from the public however, and while they did stop the student from cheating and in the end greatly lowered his standings, Melchior's decision to call this out only ended in his own school's reptuation tanking worse and worse, until they were looked at with scorn by the fans and Sekuna's family. So he returned their bitterness in kind, with nothing left to do anymore but serve as the underfunded heel of their tournaments, even as they continued to make impressive performances in spite of their circumstances.

While it was not enough to totally remove her disdain for the man, as he had admittedly made several of his own mistakes in interacting with Sekuna's dojo and their fans that he had no good answers to, it got her to open up to learning his techniques more, and so the two trained. For a few more weeks, before they were found by a powerful assassin from Corvid's Claw. While they desperately tried to get away, it quickly became apparent that it was either going to be one of them who got out alive, or neither. So Melchior took the fall, letting Sekuna escape deep into the wilderness with what teachings he could pass on. In the following days, thinking on it, Sekuna realized just how much Melchior truly had given to try to be her teacher, her surrogate father, and her friend, despite her repeated rejections of him(probably not helped by Melchior's admittedly less than stellar social skills). Heartbroken and alone, the most she could really do was practice the techniques he gave her to perfection, and give everything she had to the people of Theton's survival. Partially that of the other survivors, as she worked to one day be able to fight back against the menace of Corvid's Claw, but also to keep herself alive to preserve Melchior's memory and the value of his sacrifice.

As a person, Sekuna is an upright, serious girl who is constantly working to better herself, not really one to be easily distracted from this task. This makes her rather unapproachable, but one will find that if she is forced into a normal conversation she's a bit timid and not the most comfortable with people. Her sense of humor is rather bitter and self-deprecating, and that on top of everything else makes it difficult for her to make friends, even if at her core she can be a very kind person. On the side of her martial arts studies, she has a strong fascination with architecture, and had made plans to once she inherited the family fortune create a new dojo with the help of multiple famous architects she looked up to. Of course, in the wake of the apocalypse, that had fallen through completely, but despite seeing the destruction of both her livelihood and the very architecture she loved so much, Sekuna always continued to cling onto the dream of one day being safe enough to participate in the construction of something truly beautiful.

Stats and Appearence
Sekuna's somewhat short straight dark hair, green eyes, and medium height don't give her the most standout of appearances. Surprisingly for someone living in apocalyptic circumstances, she has managed to keep her old uniform together and surprisingly tidy, the long sleeved grey robes covering her up heavily. The one thing that clearly has seen some age is the blue stripes on the robe, which have faded to a faint blue-grey. On her hip she keeps a canister of water, which she pulls water from to help her fight from time to time.

From a stats perspective, Sekuna leans pretty hard into the "fast lightweight" side of the spectrum. At 76 weight, she's a touch lighter than Fox or Mewtwo, putting her in the bottom 5 weights in the game. That said, at 2.25 her dash speed is in the top 10 in the game, and she actually backs it up with an air speed of 1.32, amazingly the third best in the entire game. Her character model is almost identical in size to Sheik, technically being a little taller but not by an meaningful amount. While her fall speed of 1.6 is middling, she actually has a uniquely powerful fast fall, outright doubling her fall speed to 3.2, nearly on par with a fast falling Fox and letting her get back to the ground quickly in a pinch. That said, her jumps are a bit below average and when her recovery move can at best be described as "okay", she's basically made of glass defensively.

Basics

Forward Tilt
Okay so before you ask, yes, its necessary I start this set on moves that aren't the Specials, as they won't make sense without context. For Sekuna's forward tilt, she does a swift gut punch forward, lacking in range but coming out on Frame 4. This can be angled up or down, but regardless of direction it deals only 5% and horizontal knockback that will basically never KO, angled slightly up or down based on the angling of the attack. There's a couple perks to this move though despite its short range, the first of which being that Sekuna has absurdly low ending lag on it. This move has an FAF of 18, faster than Pichu's FTilt and a tiny bit slower than his Jab, which is for what its worth really good and makes this move pretty safe to throw out as long as you do get in close enough to use it.

There's also an additional perk here, as this move brings the "Crippling Arts" into play, as she manipulates the water in the foe's body while connecting with this punch, as indicated by a faint blue glow on the opponent's body where the punch connected and a small swirl of water on hit. This makes the opponent take a bit more damage from Sekuna's attacks, dealing an additional 1% on hit, or an additional 3% on hit if they specifically hit the "Aqua Point", as we'll call this debuff. As a fast combo character who can string together a lot of hits, +1% per hit can actually add up pretty nicely, and +3% on hit is actually pretty stellar, but given the precision involved in specifically hitting the Aqua Point, it can be a little tricky to pull off.

The Aqua Point effect lasts 5 seconds, after which it goes away, but it is refreshed by subsequent uses of FTilt. In fact, if the subsequent FTilts hit a different point on the opponent's body, it will create an Aqua Point there, allowing Sekuna to cover the opponent in a couple of the things by hitting with one angle of FTilt and then another. This move can easily chain into itself 2 times until fairly high percents and at low percents sometimes you can hit the foe with all three angles in sequence, which will cover most of whatever side of their hurtbox you manage to hit. This can make Sekuna's combos a fair bit more devastating, but you do have to be pretty close to land this with a very frail character... which is a recurring problem Sekuna will run into. That said, if a debuff from this move is not good enough for you, there's more we can get out of said debuff once we get to the specials. We need to establish what other debuffs Sekuna has alongside this one first, however.

Forward Smash
Water surrounds Sekuna's hand, slipping out from the canister at her side if you look closely, as she straightens her fingers out and then jams her hand forward into the opponent's stomach with a watery pulse on hit. This deals 12%-17% and diagonal knockback at a low angle that KOs at 135%-90%, having a bit more range than something like FTilt as she steps forward during the move and the water extends off the hitbox, so it provides her a little more safety. Still has to get in reasonably close to use it though, Sekuna's range is absolutely not her strong suit. This move comes out on Frame 13, which actually makes it one of Sekuna's slowest moves, and it has a fair bit of end lag so its quite punishable on a whiff or shield. It does do bonus shield damage, at least, about 1.8x as much as the damage would indicate, which can occasionally help score a shield break.

This move is honestly a bit lackluster on the surface of it, KOing way later than you'd want a punishable close range smash attack to do. But it is improved by the fact that it hits Aqua Points extremely well against opponents standing on level ground with you, due to hitting at the same height as the Forward Tilt and also being angleable. The down angled strike actually deals almost entirely horizontal knockback, which can be pretty powerful against characters with poor horizontal recoveries, and the up angled version, while having even less range unless the foe is approaching from above, KOs about 10% sooner. Hitting an Aqua Point also improves this move's KO abilities, and Frame 13 is a perfectly reasonable amount of start lag for a KO move, so its not all bad.

Especially when you factor in that this delivers the second of Sekuna's status effects, as the attack causes a Guard Break on the opponent, the strike messing with the opponent's body enough that they're much less able to defend them. This is indicated by a broken shield icon over their status icon, and the fact that their shield now looks unstable as its a bit misshapen and cracked, is the cue that this effect has taken place. For 10 seconds now, the opponent takes 1.8x shield damage and a bit of additional shield stun, meaning that shielding becomes a lot riskier once this hit has connected. This stacks with the 1.8x shield damage this attack already has, so after the foe has been hit by Guard Break this becomes a remarkably good shield breaking tool. In addition to that, every percent an attack deals that's over 10% is multiplied by 1.5x. So for example, if this attack were to connect again afterwards with no stale move decay involved, the damage would be 12% + (12% - 10%) * 1.5, which would make it deal 13% instead. Not too impressive on the face of it, especially considering this is one of Sekuna's stronger moves, but keep in mind that Aqua Points will help, and you're getting the shield debuff as well for your efforts.

Down Tilt
Sekuna kicks out her foot from her low position crouched to the floor, in a swift motion is comparable to a somewhat slower Ness Down Tilt with more range. It deals 6% and pops the opponent up just enough it won't combo into itself twice except at 0%. There's a small burst of water on impact, and on the opponent's status icon a single droplet will appear, lasting for 5 seconds in total. This on its own doesn't mean a whole lot, but on its own merits, this move is fine. The range is decent for Sekuna, its quite fast, and it sets up aerial combos pretty well. One downside is it hits really low, so if the foe is toward the end of its range it won't hit a low positioned Aqua Point on their body, but this also makes it very good for shield poking and it will still hit an Aqua Point if you're close enough to the foe. This will combo out of FTilt until medium percents, by the way.

If you can get 3 water droplets on the foe, they will merge on the foe's icon into a blue diamond, and the foe will be tinted a dull blue as their body will appear visibly soaked. This indicates the foe is soaked enough for the water on the foe's body to amplify her strikes to them, multiplying all damage the foe takes from Sekuna by 1.25x. This is applied after Aqua Point debuffs and before Guard Break debuffs, and will be referred to as an Aqua Break, which lasts 10 seconds. This is an actually pretty powerful debuff, especially because the order in which debuff effects are applied is optimized to get extra damage out of Aqua Point and Guard Break if they are also applied to the foe. For example, a Forward Smash on a foe that gets full mileage out of all 3 debuffs will deal 23.2% (12% base + 3% from Aqua Point + 3.75% from Aqua Break + 4.375% from Guard Break), and KO at closer to 70% rather than its lackluster base KO power. Of course, stacking 3 debuffs on the opponent isn't necessarily easy, especially since this one is actually pretty tricky to land since you have to chain 3 moves together, and Sekuna's Aqua Break moves don't come in one clean combo of three hits you can pull off reliably. She does have tools to make it easier, and given how fast Sekuna is sometimes just smart play and good movement can get you the triad of hits regardless.

Forward Aerial
Manifesting a much larger amount of water than in the previous two moves, Sekuna kicks out both legs as the water surrounds her body, dealing 2 initial hits of 2% before a third launching hit of 6% and mostly horizontal knockback that KOs at 200%. Coming out on Frame 8, this move isn't particularly fast by Sekuna standards, but it does pack a bit of additional punch, and the 3 hit nature of it is really good if you connect on an Aqua Point. This will boost the attack's total damage to a rock solid 19%, and let it KO decently well if you're past the ledge at a high percent. Interestingly, some of the large amount of water summoned by this move will actually stick to the opponent afterward, as a blob of water forms on their body. This move won't really combo into much due to Sekuna's low range and the somewhat higher end knockback this move has, but it can chain into itself twice at 0% if you're particularly close to the opponent.

The water blob on this move is key to the last debuff in your set, as there's a small, watery looking circle that will appear on the opponent's icon when you hit with this on top of the water blob on the opponent. It will grow bigger with each move that adds to the water blob, after 3 attacks growing to apply an Aqua Detonate effect on the opponent as the water blob shines with a blue glow, as does the now larger one on the opponent's icon. This water blob will last 8 seconds before drying up, or at least shrinks back down one size there was another stack applied intermittently. Any subsequent hit on the opponent with an Aqua Detonate on them will cause the water blob to, well, detonate, increasing that attack's damage by a whopping 10%. This is applied at the same point in the damage equation Aqua Detonate is applied and the debuff sticks around for 10 seconds, so once you've applied it its pretty easy to use. This big of a damage amplification turns a huge chunk of Sekuna's set into KO moves outright, including extremely fast moves, although on its own it won't make the best KO move out of a weak attack like DTilt. If you start combining it with Aqua Point, Aqua Break, and especially Guard Break, however, you can basically make a KO move out of any attack in your set with this, which is really scary when most characters KO options are limited to slower, more predictable moves. While stacking all 4 debuffs is definently a challenge, the rewards give you what you paid in for sure. For example the Forward Smash now deals a whopping 12% + 10%(Aqua Detonate) + 3%(Aqua Point) + 6.25%(Aqua Break) + 10.63%(Guard Break) = 41.88%, which is an absolutely enormous amount of damage and shows how powerful the synergy between Aqua Detonate and Guard Break in particular is.

One thing to note with Fair, however, is that it goes to show Aqua Detonate moves are a bit harder to land and more punishable than Aqua Break moves, making this the hardest debuff to activate in your set, and you only get to use it once before it goes away. That said, Fair itself makes very good use of said debuff, as off stage it can get some surprisingly early kills with just Aqua Detonate alone, although given this move will probably be staled when you do it might not necessarily be quite that simple.

Specials

Neutral Special - Full Aqua Detonate
Shouting this attack's name, perhaps in a display of showmanship from her days of sparring for entertainment, Sekuna faces the camera and sweeps her arms outward. If the opponent has no debuffs on them, Sekuna will end up just kind of looking mildly embarassed as she goes back to her normal posture, realizing this didn't actually do anything to the opponent. If she did have debuffs on them however, this move will expend all of them at once to cause an explosion of water to appear over the foe's body, with effects varying on what debuffs were on the opponent and how many of them there were. This has 20 frames of starting lag and low ending lag, and it will hit foes no matter how far away they are from Sekuna as long as they have one of her debuffs applied to them. Even with that much starting lag, the infinite range of this move makes it formidable, and this will even decrease by 4 frames for each debuff on the foe past the first. It can even hit multiple foes at once if they all have one of your watery debuffs active. This move has a 5 second cooldown between uses, with Sekuna just sighing with exhaustion if the move is on cooldown and not really doing anything.

With just an Aqua Point, a small blast of water will fly off the opponent's body, dealing them 5% and a somewhat long flinch. Given this move's infinite range, this can be used as a combo extender after hitting the foe with a launching finishing hit, or it can possibly help Sekuna close the gap on the opponent if she hit them with an Aqua Point but then got launched away. One particularly useful application for this move is using it as an intermittent combo piece to string together the 3 attacks necessary to activate Aqua Break or Aqua Detonate, given Aqua Point is a much weaker status effect than either of those and worth sacrificing to get them up and running. Its not really something that will turn the tide of battle all on its own, however.

With just a Guard Break, the blast of water flying off the opponent's body will be prolonged for a few more frames, putting them in an additional 10 frames of freeze frame, and also the damage is increased by 6%(or it will deal just 6% if it was only a Guard Break). Note that Guard Break + Aqua Point will make this noticeably longer of a flinch than just an Aqua Point, which opens up possibilities to land basically any move in Sekuna's set off this pretty easily if you're in somewhat close with the foe, and allowing for considerably better combo extension than the regular version. It also makes this move a pain to shield, as it will lock the opponent in several extra frames of shield stun that give Sekuna a sizeable frame advantage, and if the foe's shield is whittled down from Guard Break's effects already this can give her a chance to finish it off. This makes shielding this maneuver a fair bit less practical, and as such makes it a lot easier to use to set up an approach for Sekuna. As an aside, both Guard Break and Aqua Point can easily allow Sekuna to reland the initial status effect after using it up, but between this move's cooldown and the fact that just looping this move for some slight combo extension isn't going to help Sekuna with her KO or range problem, this is not her strongest play pattern even if it works as a conservative one for your status effects.

Aqua Break will cause the explosion to be increased in scope and also aimed in the opposite direction from Sekuna. This means opponents with the Aqua Break status effect will be launched towards Sekuna, after a few freeze frames. This deals an additional 8% and the base knockback to Sekuna is pretty weak, but if you stack Aqua Point or Guard Break it will usually be strong enough to launch the foe all the way to Sekuna from quite far away, which is probably the strongest combo extension tool we've shown thus far and can easily lead into kill confirms with Forward Smash or Up Smash. If you have both the Aqua Point and Guard Break on the foe, this explosion will deal 19% and the knockback toward Sekuna can potentially blow right past her and kill the foe around 120%, making it a better KO move than her Forward Smash while the knockback is still ridiculously useful at lower percentages as well. The Guard Break freeze frames will even kick in before the knockback, letting you potentially smack the foe with a charged smash attack. There's also the situational ability to use this to spike an opponent off stage if they've been juggled above you, which is a fairly powerful trick that makes Sekuna Uair juggles a lot scarier when the opponent has an Aqua Break applied. This is all quite powerful as the knockback is useful at basically any percentage, but keep in mind you have to trade in a status effect you're not going to get back easily and is quite powerful in order to get it.

Aqua Detonate has arguably the nastiest effect of them all, as it converts the purpose of the water blob on the opponent's body. Rather buffing up the blast itself, it will cause the water blob to repeat said blast 4 seconds later, copying all the effects of the initial blast. While copying just an Aqua Point isn't really that powerful, it does provide a second combo extender later on and an interruption to the opponent's attacks, whereas with Guard Break and especially Aqua Break will allow Sekuna to setup a very nasty second hitbox for the opponent to worry about even after they deal with the first, infinite range one. The combos you can get off this are absurd, but keep in mind you are trading in your biggest source of KO potential for it, so you better make it count. Still, the prospect of juggling and pressuring the opponent off stage after they get pulled to you with a first hit, only to get spiked by a second one to their death, is a really really powerful technique not to be underestimated.

Up Special - Aqua Propulsion
This move is a bit different depending on if you're in the air or on the ground when you use it. In the air, this is a move that functions a bit similar to ROB'S recovery, as Sekuna sprays water from her satchel to propel herself through the air at a speed that starts out a bit slower than her regular air speed, but accelerates up to being a bit faster over the course of half a second. Similarly to ROB's recovery, Sekuna can cancel out of this move at any time to go into an aerial, but there's a key disadvantage this has compared to said move. Rather than giving her full upwards mobility, this move only allows Sekuna to move at a 30 degree upwards angle at maximum, comparable to Donkey Kong's recovery in that it has great horizontal reach but poor vertical reach. There's also just enough lag canceling out of this that Sekuna's not nearly as hard to gimp as you might think, which given her already poor weight is a pretty unfortunate fate for the poor martial artist.

All that said, this is, if nothing else, a pretty big boon to her aerial combat abilities. Sekuna's aerials are plenty fast and being able to hove for 2.5 seconds that you can space out for aerial combos is pretty formidable. There is a problem, however, in that this move does take a bit of time to recharge, you need to touch down on the ground for 5 seconds in total to recover your Up Special use, each second you spend on the ground giving you half that much recovery time. This means if you get edge-guarded after an initial recovery, you may not be able to make the return trip. Suffice to say, this just emphasizes how much of a glass cannon Sekuna is despite having some pretty good distance at the end of the day.

On the ground, this move changes, rather than a continuous stream of water to propel Sekuna she simply sprays a large portion of it behind her to launch herself forwrard with extremely little lag, using up half her total supply of Up Special water in the process. If the foe is behind Sekuna during this move, they get shoved away with a moderately water hitbox at close range, comparable to a nerfed version of Mario's FLUDD, but you'll occasionally cheese a recovery with this especially with how low the lag is. The real purpose of this, however, is Sekuna can launch herself near instantaneously up to 1.2 battlefield platforms in any direction up and to the sides of her, depending on where you tilted the control stick after the initial input and how hard you did so.

There's two things that stand out about this move. The first is how absurdly short the end lag is, so you can go into your next move almost instantly out of this. The second is that compared to many other burst mobility options, there's a lot of finesse to controlling this one, its very responsive to the specifics of how your control stick is positioned in terms of angle and distance. This means that if you've gotten good at using this move, you can instantly jet to a very precise position to follow up on your previous attack, possibly lining up with Aqua Points on the opponent's body, which is actually a pretty incredible boon. It also works as a different, but no less potent combo aid than the aerial version, letting Sekuna instantly rush in after an opponent she knocked away and continue combos on them. This can actually make FSmash pretty easy to follow up on(even if you won't get true combos due to the end lag) at mid percents, or let you convert some true combos off Fair close to the ground at medium percents. At extremely specific ones depending on the opponent with exceptionally good spacing, you might even be able to string three Fairs together with proper Up Special use and get an Aqua Detonate off that alone!

Of course, every time you rush in with this move, you're temporarily nerfing your recovery, which is not necessarily a great recovery in the first place with its lack of hitbox and vertical reach. Using this as a combo extender twice in a row is definently begging for the opponent to kill you if they can regain an advantage, and using it as an approaching tool is even riskier, although due to its unpredictability and low lag its still a fairly handy one for Sekuna despite the risk.

Side Special - Aqua Leech
Bracing herself briefly as thin tendrils of water form on her hands, Sekuna reaches forward in a move with some actual decent range for once, the water tendrils snaking off serving as part of the grab hitbox. This is unfortunately held back by a bit of uncharacteristic lag for a Sekuna move, taking 14 frames to come out and having a good bit of end lag if you whiff. Once the opponent is grabbed, Sekuna will hold onto them with typical grab escape difficulty, with the water tendrils wrapping around the opponent's body to keep them secure.

Now, this move isn't really too exciting if you don't have any debuffs on the opponent. Pressing A or B will simply have her fling the opponent forward with the water tendrils for 9% and diagonal upwards knockback that KOs at 175%. It admittedly has a purpose as a longer range KO move once the foe has a debuff or two on them, or something that at low percents you can chase the opponent with Up Special to follow up on, as the throw has rather low end lag. The directional inputs, however, only become functional once you have a debuff on the opponent, with forward responding to Aqua Points, backwards responding to Guard Break, upwards responding to Aqua Break, and downwards responding to Aqua Detonate. Pressing the direction will have azure light flow out of the tendrils as Sekuna extracts the opponent's energy from their body at the cost of the debuff, using the weaknesses she created in the opponent to pull out their magical power for her own use. A pretty powerful trick when most of the opponent's you'd fight are stronger than you directly, letting Sekuna fight them on a more even ground with their own strength. In smash, this translates to one of four buffs depending on which debuff you extracted from the opponent. Once the debuff has been extracted, they will be released from Sekuna's grip, staggered slightly to be put at a 5 frame disadvantage and taking 8%, but leaving them just out of Sekuna's melee reach so she doesn't get true combos off this. Still, its easy to take the lead from there, especially with the buffs you just acquired.

Aqua Point's buff if a bit of an odd one, in that it creates a glow similar to the one of the Aqua Point effect around Sekuna's fists and feet. This actually decreases her knockback by 0.8x while keeping her damage the same, which on paper sounds like a pretty disappointing effect. That said, keep in mind that Sekuna is one of the fastest characters in the game, and her set is loaded with combo moves which now connect at higher percents or create combos that weren't previously possible. Chaining Fairs, for example, is easier now, DTilt combos into itself a bit longer, its easier to get three FTilts on the foe in a single go, and plenty more options later in the set as well. It is a bit of a flawed choice of buff to pick, however, becuase it gimps Sekuna's already poor KO power, but it can also be useful for improving her combo potential when the damage increases of her debuffs can actually hurt it a bit too. It also only lasts 5 seconds, so once that wears off you can start going for KOs again, in the meantime functioning as more of a combo fiend than you usually would. If the opponent has multiple Aqua Points on them, they're sadly all used up to activate this buff, so keep that in mind.

Guard Break's buff causes a sword icon to appear over Sekuna's stock, to contrast with the broken shield of Guard Break. This one is a flat multiplier to Sekuna's damage output of 1.25x, equal to the Aqua Break debuff but now applying to things such as other opponents and constructs as well. This might, admittedly, be a pretty situational boon, but given it stacks with Aqua Break the results can potentially result in some horrifying damage modifiers. The thing about Guard Break is that its actually pretty situational as debuffs go, only mattering if Sekuna's usually low damage is already buffed up or if the opponent specifically decides to shield. While it requires you to go for another punishable move to do so, this gives Sekuna the rare opportunity to convert Guard Break into a second, stacking Aqua Break effect, trading in the situational power for consistency. And of course, you can always reapply Guard Break afterwards, which is a bit of a challenge but with 2 1.25x damage multipliers on the foe and potentially even more like Aqua Point or Aqua Detonate, the Guard Break bonus will suddenly be very, very potent. This lasts 10 seconds in total.

Aqua Break's buff causes the azure energy to linger on Sekuna's body and actually glow from her hitboxes for the next 10 seconds. This means that on hit, the same azure energy will flow out of the opponent, healing Sekuna for 0.25x the damage she dishes out. This is a pretty useful effect on its own, but the big reward comes if you manage to deal 30% while this effect is active, causing the azure light to flare up more intensely and start healing 0.5x the damage she deals. I've mentioned all set that Sekuna has some awful durability problems, and for a character who kind of ramps up as she goes along, the fact that she dies so easily can really mess with the momentum based playstyle she has. This lets you convert that same momentum into survivability, and combined with all the other buffs and debuffs can result in some absolutely comical damage swings over the course of a match. Aside from the azure aura on Sekuna's body, this effect is indicated by a diamond on her stock icon, which glows if the more powerful variant of this buff is active.

Finally, Aqua Detonate's buff absorbs the water blob Sekuna inflicted on the opponent into her satchel, causing it to expand in size. This serves as additional fuel for her Up Special for the next 10 seconds, instantly refilling the Up Special to max capacity and then doubling up on said capacity, giving her a full 5 seconds of flight with the move. 5 seconds immensely improves the utility of this move for both recovering and comboing, giving her some actual formidable vertical recovery and giving her access to some pretty scary laddering and gimping potential. On top of that, having four charges of the grounded version, rather than two, allows for some absolutely absurd combos, or the ability to go for some significantly less absurd combos at lower risk. Aqua Detonate is kind of hard to specifically get with Side Special, for sure, but the sky's the limit on Sekuna's combo potential while its active, before she goes back down to her normal limit on Up Special capacity.

There's a couple more things to consider with this move that give it further potential. If you land a Side Special while you have one of Sekuna's buffs active, pressing the corresponding direction will have Sekuna transfer the azure energy back into the opponent's body for the same hitbox as before, but removing Sekuna's buff and giving the opponent back the debuff. This also resets the timer and said buff, and keeps whatever combination of Aqua Points you had before activating this to reapply to the opponent afterwards. While it can be kind of hard to store Aqua Points due to their short duration and the short duration of their corresponding buff, the timer on the debuff is reset to full on the transfer back, effectively allowing you to use this move to store Guard Break or Aqua Break for an important time in the stock. While Aqua Detonate might be a bit more predictable for Sekuna to want to store while its on the opponent's body, reserving it for the right moment to KO the foe is still quite useful. You could possibly even suddenly apply it to a foe early into their next stock along with another debuff to go for an early kill, if you applied it when a foe was near death and you didn't need it in the first place. And of course, when you do pull it off storing up Aqua Point patterns on the foe's body that are particularly optimal to reuse later is a helpful effect.

The final point of interest is that if you have all 4 buffs on Sekuna and all 4 debuffs on the opponent, landing this move will instead have Sekuna summon up a massive aura of water around her body, as she tosses the opponent into the air in front of her before roundhouse kicking the opponent as a massive snake head made of water forms around her. This is similar to Falcon and Warlock Punch in animation, only the opponent cannot escape the hit and it deals 50% with knockback that KOs at 5%, basically serving as an instant KO as there is no way an opponent with 4 debuffs on while you have four buffs has not taken a good amount of damage in the first place. Getting the full combo of buffs and debuffs is really not something Sekuna will pull off in regular matches much at all, to the point this is bordering on an easter egg, but its a flashy and cool instant kill when you do land it.

As a lore note, snakes were a favorite animal of Melchior's and frequently associated with the Crippling Arts dojo. When Sekuna scores a KO with this, crouching or taunting in the moment will have her briefly pay her respects to Melchior, clasping her hands together and kneeling. She'll either say "I should've respected you more, Melchior" or "May you rest in peace, master" at random, sounding rather mournful especially in the case of the former.

Down Special - Echo Strike
Sekuna raises her arms up in a defensive posture as a watery aura briefly flashes around her body, indicating she's ready to counter the opponent. This has the exact same counter window as Marth's counter, but a touch less end lag. While Marth's counter is pretty lackluster move in a lot of ways, for a character who likes to brawl at particularly close ranges, Sekuna appreciates having something defensive to mess up the opponent's counterassault at close range, and if the opponent does land a hit, Sekuna will kick out at the foe for 7% as the opponent is briefly ensnared in a water binding that slides along her foot, stunning them in place for 30 frames. Sekuna briefly flashes with azure energy afterwards, which will buff up her next attack!

The buffs here are actually improvements on Sekuna's debuffs on the first hit she lands after using this counter, each debuff being improved in a specific way. The Aqua Point on the opponent's body will glow more vibrantly than usual, and add 6% to each hit to the Aqua Point rather than 3%. This makes it a pretty devastating target to hit with, say, Fair, and extended combos with multiple hits to that point can rack up some fairly intense damage on the opponent, especially with any other multipliers in play. Guard Break now multiplies damage above 10% by 1.8x and shield damage by 2.2x, with a noticeably more intense looking cracked shield icon on the opponent. While situational due to how Sekuna's big hits are obtained, this makes them hurt even worse than usual when she does pull them off and makes any Aqua Detonates pulled off in this time period absolutely devastating, while also leaving the foe with a brittle and easily destroyed shield.

As for Aqua Break and Aqua Detonate, this means subsequent hits on the opponent that would apply one of these stacks will instead apply two. This means a foe with one stack of Aqua Break or Detonate applied will instantly get the effect applied, and ones with zero will be left one stack away from completion, possible to finish on a subsequent combo hit. If the foe already had two stacks of Aqua Break or Aqua Detonate, however, you get a better version of the respective debuff by finishing it with this move. The Aqua Break one will buff all Sekuna's damage by 1.45x, and Aqua Detonate will add 16% to the next move. These buffs are, for the record, absurdly powerful, but the opponent probably deserves it if they let you specifically land a counter on them when they're at 2 stacks of Aqua Break/Detonate.

For the record, if you take these increased power debuffs with Side Special, when you give them back to the opponent they'll still have the power boost. Keeping around a stronger version of Aqua Break like this is straight up horrifying, and the buffed up Guard Break or a well placed buffed Aqua Detonate are also very powerful. Compared to Marth's counter, the nice thing about Sekuna's is that you can basically always get a good reward out of it, either getting a regular Aqua Break/Detonate or a buffed up version of Guard Break/Aqua Point on the opponent. Because of the fact that you get to choose what move you follow up with, you might even get to do an extended combo off the first debuff applying hit. This is a very powerful reversal option that the opponent has to respect especially if they're at 2 stacks of Aqua Break or Aqua Detonate, and while it is a bit situational its mere existence can seriously take advantage of a foe trying to exploit Sekuna's frailty. If you blow both uses of your grounded Up Special, for example, the foe will be very much encouraged to use that small window of time to get aggressive, which would be the perfect time to retaliate with this move. If they figure out you're going for that, of course, then you get to use your Up Special with quite a bit less fear of the opponent heavily retaliating, which is also a perfectly acceptable result.

Standards

Jab
Sekuna first jabs out her first quickly, in the first hit of a three hit jab which deals only 1% and a flinch. This does come out on Frame 2, at least, so its incredibly quick. The second hit has Sekuna bring her knee up into the opponent, dealing them another 2% and knocking them forward a tiny bit. The final hit has Sekuna push her hands together and shoot a small pulse of water in front of her, dealing 4% and mostly horizontal knockback that won't KO until about 400%, but also has a decent enough base knockback to give Sekuna a decent amount of space. Canceling out of the first 2 hits is possible but just leaves Sekuna in frame neutral with the foe, so its not particularly worthwhile. That said, the second hit's tiny knockback actually improves a little if you have an Aqua Point low on the opponent's body, to the point it gives some small frame advantage and you could potentially go into an FTilt or DTilt, although they'll be out of range of a second 1-2 Jab combo.

The third hit applies a stack of Aqua Detonate to the opponent, which is very nice off a move that comes out on Frame 2, but there's not much room to capitalize on it given this move spaces the opponent away. That is, unless you use your grounded Up Special to immediately zoom in and combo off the knockback of the third hit, which actually works until pretty decent percentages. The key problem with this strategy, however, is you kind of need a runway to make it work, as Sekuna and the foe will traverse quite a bit of stage if you try to repeat this motion. If Sekuna wants to pull it off, she'll need her back to a ledge, and usually that would happen either in a disadvantage state or if you forced the opponent's approach. The latter is something Sekuna is absolutely abysmal at and this move's terrible range and requiring use on the ground makes it not exactly the best tool to escape disadvantage. That said, if you do have a proper runway and are willing to sacrifice using your Up Special for a moment, this can instantly set up an Aqua Detonate. And then if the foe's at a decent percentage, the next hit is going to hurt.

Oh, as a little bonus, the first 2 hits of this attack do not trigger Aqua Detonate. This is so it can be spent buffing up a more valuable attack, but it does give you something to use if you're trying to conserve it, alongside Side Special and Grab. Also if you have the Aqua Detonate buff active on Sekuna, you can not only set up another Aqua Detonate on the opponent with this, you could potentially convert off it into a massively buffed up follow up with a third Up Special use, yet another reason why the Aqua Detonate Side Special buff is very scary.

Up Tilt
Gathering a bit of water around her hand, Sekuna sweeps it overhead in a quick motion covering an arc above her. This deals 7% and comes out quite fast, although not as fast as FTilt, and deals very little upwards knockback while afflicting the foe with a stack of Aqua Break. This move cannot chain out of DTilt unless you specifically have the Aqua Point buff active to reduce your knockback, so sadly comboing DTilt into UTilt to setup instant Aqua Break combos is not really on the table unless you manage to snag a somewhat tricky to acquire buff. That said, this will go into your Up Smash as a true combo and while not a guarunteed confirm into Fair does follow into it remarkably well. Weirdly, a second up tilt hit in succession will cause it to suddenly deal some decent knockback that won't KO until 330% due to poor scaling, making it rather hard to combo or kill off a second hit of this move. That said, it is a pretty simple way to get 2 hits of Aqua Break stacked up, and if you jet after the opponent with Up Special they may struggle to react in time to the third hit.

Up Tilt has a curious property with Sekuna's buffs as the watery impact of this effect results in water briefly constricting the foe's body the first time you hit with this in succession. This means that rather than more damagae increasing the knockback, it causes that constriction to clamp down harder and trap the opponent in longer hitstun, allowing for true combos into Fair if you hit an Aqua Break afflicted opponent. If you want something slightly fancier, however, you'll need to have this attack dealing at least 11%, which requires a couple things to line up properly. The easiest way to get there is an Aqua Point plus Aqua Break or the Guard Break buff, but lining this attack up to specifically hit an Aqua Point is a bit of a pain. That is, however, what Up Special's specific spacing is for. If you pull that off, you can actually land Up Smash's follow up hit as a true combo out of this move, which is genuinely scary and gives Sekuna a great reward for lining up her Aqua Points properly. Amusingly, the Aqua Break debuff and Guard Break buff will just barely fall short of the necessary damage for this to true combo into the Up Smash second hit, although given the foe has a literal 1 frame window to react properly you can probably just go for it anyway at that point if they don't have the reaction time of a god. Getting an Aqua Point on the opponent instead of the other debuffs is a lot less hassle than this, but landing the hit properly is more difficult due to the precise positioning required.

Of course, if you really want to get big mileage out of this move, use it with an Aqua Detonate. In that case, you can go for a partially charged smash attack or a lot of advantageous positioning/combo setups become possible, and they only extend further the more debuffs the foe has on top of that, or if Sekuna has the Guard Break buff. This move's unique payout gives Sekuna an alternate payoff to all her stacking damage boosts beyond just "big number", so its a pretty scary tool in her arsenal once the debuffs start lining up.

Dash Attack
Letting herself slide forward with her momentum, Sekuna rapidly kicks out 4 times in front of her. If you look closely, she's able to keep her grounding by using water to support her other foot in place as she kicks out, though this is still a pretty impressive feat of balance regardless. The first 3 hits deal 1% and the last hit deals 5% and diagonally upward knockback that KOs at 230%, although the base knockback is pretty high so it kills noticeably earlier at ledges and is not particularly good for combos. This comes out quite fast and also has fairly low end lag, although the duration is just long enough that it can be rather punishable if you whiff it outright. As far as Aqua Points go, this move will hit high and low Aqua Points against a grounded foe, but will not hit middle aqua points, going slightly above and below them, so you'll need a bit of finesse to get a full potential 12% bonus damage, but just 2 or 3 bumps this move to a fairly meaty 14%-17% total for how fast it is. No Aqua Break or Aqua Detonate stacks are applied by this move, you'll have to get those elsewhere.

Sekuna travels a decent amount during this move by default, as it converts the momentum of her fairly fast dash speed into distance travelled over this move. The thing is though, if Sekuna is going faster than that, the distance Sekuna travels increases and she will drag the opponent through all the hits. This is mostly relevant because Up Special provides some absurdly fast burst mobility and you can instant dash attack right out of it, which will cause Sekuna to slide forward a full 1.25 battlefield platforms of distance. Combine that with how the Up Special already lets her dart in, this gives Sekuna some absolutely absurd burst mobility coupled with a decent attack out of it, letting her catch people out from 2/3rds of the distance across the stage. Sekuna might not have the safest approaching options, but the sheer speed of this move will at least let you get in close so fast it may not matter. Adding in a Full Aqua Detonate makes this an incredibly easy approach to make, though you probably won't cash a lot of reward off that due to this move's high final knockback.

As for how to convert off this move, the high knockback of the final, upwards kick makes it a bit hard to use on its own merits. That said, you can either sacrifice your debuffs with Full Aqua Detonate or utilize an additional charge of Up Special until mid percents to convert off this into an aerial, or even a Forward/Down Smash if Aqua Break was one of the debuffs on the opponent. Still, you do have to give up resources to make the most of Sekuna's best approach option, but if it helps, this can also be used to convert to a kill at a ledge with a couple debuffs on the foe. Just knock them far away with Down Smash and then get right back in their face with this, and you can send them hurtling to the blast zone, especially if Down Smash applied the final Aqua Detonate stack to set this move up.

Smashes

Up Smash
Surrounding her legs in water, Sekuna does a handstand while kicking upward, coming out at a disturbingly fast frame 5 for a smash. The hitbox is unfortunately held back by being rather narrow, and it only deals 10%-14% and vertical knockback that KOs at 160%-120%, so sadly a great KO move this is not. Still, it does apply a stack of Aqua Detonate, and even without debuffs, landing this hit is pretty worthwhile if solely to get the foe high in the air. Sekuna's Up Special lets her pursue an aerial opponent for juggles quite nicely, so while the high launch will probably not combo into much of anything, it can at least set up Sekuna to have a pretty big advantage state over her aerial adversary.

Of course, this is not factoring in debuffs, as this is a move that benefits greatly from them. The thin, narrow nature of the hitbox means it can actually hit Aqua Points even if it doesn't aim for them super easily, and other power modifiers like Aqua Break and especially Aqua Detonate can also push this move from being too late to be an effective KO move to actually a pretty good one, and Guard Break will stack nicely with any other buffs because of the base damage here already reaching 10%. When it comes out on Frame 5, that's at least something the opponent is going to need to respect if they have any debuff other than a guard break. Especially because this attack has a follow up, so timing a dodge to avoid this is actually not all that great a way to handle it! If you don't commit to the follow up, the end lag on this move is fairly punishable, for what its worth, which is fairly relevant if you whiff with it due to the narrow hitbox.

If the initial hit does not connect, Sekuna can choose to follow it up like Link's Forward Smash, causing her to do a flip off her hands and flipkick out above her. This has a lot more horizontal reach than the base version, which is why Up Tilt can follow up into this if it deals enough damage, with this hit also still applying Aqua Detonate and dealing a very formidable 15%-21% and knockback that KOs at 95%-55%. Considering how much lower that KO percentage can drop with combinations of debuffs, this move is actually really scary out of Up Tilt or if the foe spotdodges the first Up Smash hit. A debuffed opponent above Sekuna is one that is very easy for her to kill between these options. As an aside, low percent opponents can be comboed from the first hit of Up Smash to the second hit if you have a knockback decrease applied to yourself with the Aqua Point buff. That might not be a viable KO strategy, but its at least a free 25% and a pretty good advantage state for you to work with for your aerials. On the whole, this move has a ton of contextual power, but it is held back some by a lack of follow ups and the fact that its base damage is kind of underwhelming. But hey, worst comes to worst its a fast move that helps set up Aqua Detonate, so its not exactly terrible even at its least effective.

Down Smash
Sekuna sweeps out her arms to both sides of her as she lets out a battle cry, sizeable spouts of water spraying out from both hands. in a rare move for Sekuna, this has actual good range to both sides of her, outclassing most melee-range characters in the game in reach and having comparable range to something like a Lucario smash. This deals 13%-18% and low-angle horizontal knockback that starts out quite good, but scales poorly to only kill at 225%-180%, so this isn't really all that good a KO move, but it does come out on only Frame 11, as opposed to Lucario's equivalent which comes out on Frame 16. Its fairly punishable on a whiff though, so while the range is nice this isn't a move you should throw around blindly. As you might expect for a move that produces this much water, it causes a stack of Aqua Detonate to be applied to the foe.

As for how Sekuna can make use of this move, it can serve as a useful emergency option against an opponent who outranges you normally, or as a mix up with Side Special between her two longer ranged moves. The high base knockback means its not good for combos, and Sekuna does not really enjoy long distance combat on paper. That said, grounded Up Special does let you follow up off this and even combo off it at low percents, potentially going into Fair for 2 stacks of Aqua Detonate, for example. And while its KO potential might leave something to be desired, the fact that a lot of it is base knockback makes this move a fair bit more formidable at the ledge, especially because its reach allows it to 2 frame opponents.

Because the knockback to damage ratio is so poor, this move doesn't benefit as much from debuffs as Up Smash or Forward Smash. The hitbox being as big as it is also means its hard to specifically hit the Aqua Point weakspots with it. That said, the base damage is enough you'll get some mileage out of Guard Break, and Aqua Break/the Guard Break buff can also push its damage numbers up to be legitamately fiercesome. Also if you edgeguarded a foe with this move to apply a third stack of Aqua Detonate at a not particularly high percent, then if you can repeat that on their next recovery attempt you might just kill them even if their percent is not all that high. Relatedly, this move's edgeguarding potential combined with Fair means frustrating their attempts to return to the stage can result in an Aqua Detonate getting applied to them just because they have nowhere else to go while trying to recover. While not capable of fully abusing Sekuna's power buffs, Down Smash is a useful tool for applying and abusing Aqua Detonate if nothing else, and at lower percents combines quite well with Up Special.

Aerials

Neutral Aerial
In a move similar to Captain Falcon's forward aerial, Sekuna knees out in front of her, although this is a fair bit faster than the equivalent Captain Falcon move by virtue of coming out on Frame 8. It does have a bit less reach, however, than a move that already does not have good range, and for the most part only deals 2% and a flinch. You can actually combo off this, landing into Forward Tilt/Up Tilt or into Fair, meaning this serves as a decent combo starter despite its low damage output. If you land the sweetspot, because this move takes that from Captain Falcon's Fair as well, it will instead deal a much more formidable 16% and knockback that KOs at 150%. Essentially a faster and weaker version of the infamous knee, Sekuna's Nair is pretty difficult to hit with due to the small size of its hitbox, and while the sourspot has combo potential unlike Falcon's version, the sweetspot is much less potent.

Of course, what Sekuna has and Captain Falcon doesn't is way better tools to set up a sweetspot like this. Neutral Special can give Sekuna easy room to line this attack up, and its a solid choice of attack to use out of Down Special if you already have the debuffs you want on the opponent. The knee is a small enough hitbox to target Aqua Points, and more importantly, Up Special makes sweetspotting this move much easier. Still hard, you have to line up the opponent's movement pretty well to land the sweetspot accurately, but having such a swift and powerful way to space oneself into this move makes it considerably easier than Captain Falcon's equivalent once the player has gotten used to Sekuna's Up Special. Hell, the aerial version is also helpful, Captain Falcon is not spoiled with a hover like that to help him stay in the air to keep going for Fair sweetspots.

Oh, and while that 150% KO mark might not seem too great, keep in mind a few things. This attack's 16% base damage takes advantage of Guard Break the best of any move in your set, and if another debuff is applied on top of that you can start getting some early kills off this if you line up your USpecial properly. It sadly does not contribute anything to your debuffs, but if you make smart use of this move, it can serve as one of Sekuna's strongest KO tools.

Back Aerial
Sekuna rapidly kicks out her leg behind her three times at a high, low, and medium angle, dealing 2 hits of 2% followed by a third hit of 3%. The final hit deals low knockback that combos back into itself at low percents and can easily convert into her ground game if she uses it out of a short hop. This is one of Sekuna's fastest moves, although it is a bit more punishable on a whiff than some due to having a slightly longer duration, coming out on only frame 3. This move is also great encouragement to put a bunch of Aqua Points on the opponent's body, as it can easily hit 2 or 3 of them with the varied kick angles and add 6%-9% to this attack's damage, which considering how fast it is and the fact that it can still chain into itself sometimes even at that point, especially with help from Up Special or Neutral Special, you can use this to rack some pretty brutal damage on the foe with a decent set of Aqua Points.

Back Aerial is unfortunately another move which applies no Aqua Break or Aqua Detonate stacks, which is the main bad thing about it. The range isn't even really that bad by Sekuna's standards, as her legs have quite a bit more reach than her arms. If you want to spam something on the foe out of Up Special's hover, this is probably the best move to use for that. One nice thing about it too, is that if you grounded Up Special behind an opponent, you can then use this move to set up your Jab loop across the stage. Of course, being down half your Up Special fuel means you can't do a chain of three Jabs for an instant Aqua Detonate like this unless you've already gotten and stored one away with Side Special to get more uses out of it, but if you use this to reverse a foe over the ledge and put them in an edgeguard situation, your Down Smash will help you complete that pretty easily regardless.

Up Aerial
Forming her fingers into a knife hand, Sekuna chops with her hand above her, quite a bit of water surrounding her arm and particularly around the end of her hand for this move. Coming out on Frame 9, this attack is not absurdly fast by the standards of this set, but it is definently a formidable juggling tool, dealing 8% and upwards knockback that KOs at 265%. There's a sweetspot at the end of the hand, which is a bit tricky to hit with, that deals 11% and upwards knockback that KOs at 200%. The ending lag on this move is fairly short, and while its not the best at comboing into things directly, this move can keep pushing the opponent back up into the air. In combination with your Up Special and its strong horizontal movement capabilities, this makes Sekuna an excellent juggler, at least until she runs out of Up Special fuel.

What's kind of unique about this move is you can actually choose which kind of status effect it inflicts! Kind of: specifically, the sweetspot causes a stack of Aqua Detonate to be inflicted on the foe, while the sourspot instead afflicts the foe with a stack of Aqua Break. This is arguably the most reliable way to pull off said moves, especially at lower percents, as its pretty easy to chain together Uair hits out of Up Special, and Up Smash gives a solid option to launch and start these chains, even giving you a stack of Aqua Detonate to start out with. But this is never really a true combo, if the foe reads your movement and makes some proper dodges, they can get around this or even punish your juggle attempt, so there's reason to try for other paths to getting your debuffs active. That said, the damage this deals is also among the higher damage values in Sekuna's moveset, so aside from just debuffs its a good way to rack up damage. As an aside, its harder to get in 3 hits of Aqua Detonate off this because of the sweetspot being kind of specific to land and also creating a bigger gap between Sekuna and the foe to continue the juggle, but the option is still there, and if you get a really, really good juggle going or one where the opponent already had a stack or two of both effects on them, you might even be able to use this to set up both an Aqua Break and an Aqua Detonate at the same time! Now that's powerful.

Down Aerial
In another move with a similar animation to one of Captain Falcon's aerials, Sekuna brings her knees up to her chest before kicking out below her, a slight azure glow coming out right as the kick starts. Compared to Captain Falcon and Ganondorf's equivalent moves, this comes out quite a bit faster at Frame 9, and if you hit right at the start of this move this deals 13% and a pretty strong spike that will kill off stage at early percents! Of course, this is only on the sweetspot right next to Sekuna's body, otherwise this move deals 8% and diagonal mostly upward knockback that won't kill until very high percents, and the move has a bit too much end lag to capitalize on this particularly easily.

Obviously a spike that comes out this much faster than Falcon's Dair is quite nice, but the sheer precision required to land it and not get an extremely mediocre backup hit is kind of difficult, as Sekuna has to basically be right on top of the opponent. Fortunately, what Sekuna has that Falcon and Ganondorf, two characters with similar Dairs, do not is her Up Special. The hovering aerial variant is good for getting her to exactly the right position to pull off the sweetspot, and the instant mobility version from the ground can let her fly off stage and gimp opponents trying to recover. Of course, given how small the hitbox is and the fact that you have a moving target, pulling this off consistently is still a challenge, but it eases the pain of this otherwise precise hitbox. Using it over the ground can result in some rather high damage combos as the foe is bounced back up into the air too, potentially piling on tons of damage if you can repeat it once or twice and then go into a Bair or Uair string, especially with debuffs on the foe.

While the sourspot on this move is far from optimal, Sekuna still gets a lot out of Uair juggles. This move is far from a true combo into them, but especially if you have a decent amount of Up Special fuel left it will convert fairly well into it at mid percents, low percents leaving the foe a bit too close to Sekuna for this to be safe and high percents giving them room to weave around her.

Grab Game

Grab
Sekuna reaches forward with one arm to yank the opponent in, not using any watery tendrils to extend her reach this time. This is not a very good grab, on the whole, coming out at a fairly expected speed but having below average range, even out of a dash or pivot where she leans into the grab a bit more, the reach on this move is still nothing to write home about. The good news is, however, is that Sekuna has some pretty solid throws that don't require conditions to line up to get decent mileage out of, and if you do have your debuffs lined up, all the better really!

Pummel
Sekuna slams her knee into the opponent, dealing 1.5% in an average speed pummel that isn't much to write home about. The knee hits below the middle Aqua Point against a grounded foe and right above a low Aqua Point against a grounded foe, so you need to land one against an aerial opponent to line up the pummel to hit the Aqua Point. That said, it still gets the +3% bonus, so pummeling an opponent with an appropriately positioned Aqua Point will pile on a lot of damage. The pummel, like the first 2 hits of Jab, has the unique property of not triggering Aqua Detonate, so you won't waste it on this move.

Back Throw
Sekuna flips into the air, grabbing onto the opponent's legs and pinning them out to the side before propelling herself back toward the ground with the opponent's head and neck exposed to the ground. At the peak of her flip, she actually rockets down with a burst of water to make the impact extra fast, and extra painful, the sound of an audible crack occuring as she hits the ground. This deals a formidable 14% and diagonal knockback that will KO from the ledge at 115%. That is a very solid kill move for any character, but for Sekuna this is one of the reasons why her slightly questionable grab is absolutely worth landing, its one of her better KO moves when she does.

Now getting the foe to come to you with your back to the ledge is a bit tricky, Sekuna is more about going on the offensive than camping at a ledge, but she has ways to make it happen. Neutral Special with an Aqua break active can bring them to you to grab and send over the edge, for one. But if you want to get mileage out of debuffs on the foe, sometimes you can do that just by punishing a foe who overextended on a risky edgeguard trying to stop Sekuna's awkward recovery. It may not be the best, sure, but if you do outplay the foe in that situation, you can easily end with the foe in your grab and go for this move, which can kill much lower than the 115% mentioned if you have Guard Break, up angled Aqua Point(which will trigger its full buff if the opponent is hit with this move), or Aqua Break on the foe... or god forbid an Aqua Detonate.

Seriously, though, this move is another reason to fear Aqua Detonate, because with that Sekuna can kill with this move at like 90%. From center stage. You don't need to be at the ledge for the grab to be a huge threat all of a sudden. And it gets even worse if she stacked more debuffs. A heavily debuffed opponent should will want to stay the hell away from your grab, lest you bust this out and kill them at percents no throw should be killing an opponent.

Forward Throw
Crouching to the ground, Sekuna holds the foe close to her for a moment as water bubbles up beneath her, before the two of them are blasted forward by a sudden geyser formed out of groundwater! This deals the foe 10%, applies a stack of Aqua Detonate, and only releases the foe at the end of the geyser as they stumble backwards at a 5 frame disadvantage from Sekuna, just a little out of reach of her shorter range melee moves like FTilt. The geyser, meanwhile, forms up around Sekuna, enhancing the damage dealt by her next attack by 4%. This sends both parties forward a Battlefield Platform in distance, although it can be angled up to angle the attack up 35 degrees, or down to have the Geyser only launch Sekuna and the foe half as far. If this move ends in the air, be it from going off a ledge or from travelling at an upwards angle, the foe's "stumbling" animation will be slightly different as they fumble in the air for a moment.

Despite leaving the foe relatively close, this doesn't really combo into Sekuna's attacks directly, as the foe is left a bit too far out of range to combo into her close range attacks and the frame advantage is not quite enough to combo into her stronger ones. That said, the frame advantage is enough that you have a decent variety of mixups you can pull on the foe, between Down Smash/Side Special for options that don't require Sekuna to dash in on a huge variety of options that the opponent barely has time to react to with FTilt/DTilt/FSmash/Fair/Nair/USpecial into Bair. Your read is rewarded with the bonus damage from this move, which can absolutely stack up well with the various damage multipliers in your set, and combined with the movement of the foe closer to a blast zone, this is actually sometimes a better KO move than Back Throw.

There's a couple other context-specific benefits to this move. With a full Up Special and taking the opponent off stage, this is a pretty respectable gimping setup, setting Sekuna up with a frame advantage and increasing the impact of her first hit. If you have doubled Up Special usage by absorbing an Aqua Detonate, this is particularly formidable. Also, as this applies a stack of Aqua Detonate, if you pull this off on a foe with 2 stacks of it, your next hit gets +14% instead of +4%, which is pretty scary. Relatedly, an Aqua Detonate on the foe will double how far Sekuna and the foe travel during this move, which means any successful read into Fair afterwards near a ledge will probably spell death as Fair with boosted power AND going that far can kill at some impressively early percentages. Let alone if you somehow land Nair...

Down Throw
Groundwater rising up from the ground again, this time Sekuna simply shoves the foe face-first into it with her foot to drench them for a bit, dealing an initial hit of 3% followed by 2 hits of 1%. She then stomps on the foe to pop them into the air, dealing another 3%, with the foe looking visibly soaked during and after this animation. This provides better frame advantage than Forward Throw and keeps the foe closer to you, but without the damage buff or moving the foe across the stage closer to the blast zone. The one sad thing is it won't quite combo into Sekuna's smashes, but quite a large portion of her kit, including the potentially highly potent Up Tilt, is fair game.

The soak has a bit of a unique property as far as how it affects Sekuna's debuffs, extending their duration by 4 seconds after use. This can be pretty handy, as it can keep good Aqua Point setups around a bit longer and just generally makes it a bit easier to stack debuffs on the foe when their current ones won't run out as fast. Since extending Aqua Detonate's timer doesn't help all that much as you'll use it up on the first hit anyway, this adds 3% to Aqua Detonate's damage too, and this CAN stack, although only up to Aqua Detonate adding a total of 25%. Which, frankly, is a hilarious amount of damage for it to add, but landing Sekuna's awkward grab that many times is a pipe dream at best, but it still helps in making Aqua Detonate even more potent than it otherwise would be.

If you want to get particularly greedy with buff management, Down Throw's debuff duration extension also applies to any buffs you take from the foe that have had their duration extended by this move. This means the Aqua Point buff now lasts 9 seconds and the others last 14, and this will continue if you give them back to foe afterwards. This makes the whole process of looping buffs/debuffs a bit easier, but it is admittedly a somewhat predictable gameplan and ends the moment you decide to use them on a Full Aqua Detonate, so keep in mind this isn't a strategy Sekuna will always want to go for. That said, getting even more mileage out of Down Throw is definently nice, particularly if you luck out and manage to stack it a couple times.

Up Throw
Pulling back one arm, Sekuna uppercuts the opponent with a dim azure glow on her fist. This deals 6% and weak launching upwards knockback that will set the foe up decently well to follow up with Up Smash at low-mid percents, though it sends them a bit too far for Up Tilt. At higher percentages, you can instead go for Uair juggles, which is always potent and an okay consolation prize if you have no viable kill plan out of your grab at those percentages. This will hit an unangled Aqua Point against a grounded foe, which is the easiest one to land on them, adding a little extra damage.

Sekuna's fist glows more brightly the more buffs she's taken from the foe, the faint azure glow of the basic move gradually increasing to glowing like a star and producing a satisfying explosive crackle if she has all 4 buffs stacked up. This increases the damage by 5% per buff Sekuna's acquired, so 11% at 1 buff, 16% at 2 buffs, 21% at 3, and a whopping 26%(!) at 4 buffs. The kill percent also gets drastically better(at 2 buffs killing at 100%, even if one of them is the Aqua Point buff which in a rare exception does NOT decrease this move's knockback), and this still stacks with any of Sekuna's other damage multipliers, such as both variants of Guard Break, Aqua Break, and Aqua Detonate, to make this move potentially hilariously powerful.

Stealing the foe's debuffs to get buffs for Sekuna is a bit of a tricky process, so getting this move buffed up to formidable levels of power is not easy. You have to land multiple specific moves in a not particularly big time frame to make it work, and while the base rewards are certainly potent, this is another reason for the foe to fear a Sekuna who has 2 or more buffs. In particular, this adds a lot of fear factor to the Aqua Detonate buff, which lets Sekuna get in close for her grab more easily than normal with additional Up Special charge, making the very difficult to acquire buff even more potent as it also quietly gives Sekuna an exceptional kill option out of grab. This rounds out Sekuna's set of contextually very powerful kill throws, giving her quite a few potential setups to just kill an opponent with a grab at surprisingly low percentages, making her fearsome when she can land her difficult to use grab.

Kat wanted me to keep the dodongo moves, so here they are(or at least the ones with an actual joke in them).

Down Aerial
I think there was a time when Down Aerial was considered one of the "highlight" inputs of a set where you could do something more flashy than usual on it. But I swear especilaly in recent times Dair has been one of the hardest inputs to work with and its frustrating because I feel like I have high expectations on this input and I'm letting the community down if I don't put out something good here. But like... sometimes, you just gotta like. Kick down on Dair because what else are you supposed to do. That's what Sekuna does here. She kick. It deals 8% and a spike or something.

Forward Throw
Sekuna waters a cherry blossom tree that somehow appeared below the opponent, which will sprout into the air and launch the foe into the sky. If the opponent was Senator Armstrong, he will be extremely offended by this. This is Smady's once per contest reminder to make Senator Armstrong.

Down Throw
Sekuna knocks the opponent into prone, and then puts on her sunglasses from the Dash Attack again. If the opponent had sunglasses, Sekuna takes them and wears them herself, which makes this move deal 1.4x as much damage to demoralize the opponent. No I'm not giving the actual amount of damage this move does you figure it out yourself.

Dash Attack
Taking out a surfboard and sunglasses, Sekuna creates a wave of water under her and surfs on it in totally gnarly fashion. Deals 12% and kills at 150%.
 
Last edited:

FrozenRoy

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"I'll control the world with fear. It takes too much to do it like my old man. A little fear will control the minds of the common people. There's no reason to waste money on them."

Rufus Shinra

Rufus Shinra is one of the major antagonists from Final Fantasy 7, one of the most popular and best JRPGs of all time. Heir to the villainous Shinra Electric Power Company, Rufus schemes to overthrow his father and take control of the company, expand its wealth and influence and in doing so acquire untold power. While his father is said to rule over Midgar and its people with wealth, pouring billions into weapons and soldiers alongside bribing and buying out any threats to his entirely unchecked power, Rufus seeks to rule the world through fear such as preying on the populace's worry over the terrorist group AVALANCHE and the appearance of Sephiroth who killed his father. Not that Rufus remotely cares for his father's death, as the old coot was merely in the way of his ascension to begin with and much of the plot shows Rufus was planning to kill him anyway in order to seize power. Rufus can even be considered the "main villain" of the Midgar portion of Final Fantasy 7, particularly in Final Fantasy 7: Remake where he serves as essentially the climax boss of the first part.

When it comes to Rufus' role in the story, he is actually rather enigmatic in his goals and intentions. He isn't mentioned nor appears until late into the Midgar section, after the death of President Shinra, the party speaking of the rumors about him as they ascend the Shinra Building: His being mysteriously stationed overseas, wondering if he could be better or worse than the vile President, and that nobody has ever seen him bleed or cry. Judging from other comments, Rufus may have in fact been in the area because of his plans to kill his father, making Sephiroth's murder of him a bout of serendipity. The buildup to his original fight leads on him giving a speech about how he will rule the world, controlling it with a little fear compared to his father's monetary manipulation, yet he also seems to seek Cloud to get on his side and be disappointed that they "can't be friends".

Rufus remains a persistant antagonist throughout the game, mixing between the serious and the more comedic (such as crapping all over Heidegger basically any time he says anything). His personality remains cold and pragmatic throughout, polite and well-spoken yet not letting his emotions get in the way or, say, a desire for vengeance. Throughout the game Rufus mixes in being both an antagonist as the ruthless head of Shinra and an ally who seeks to stop the rampage of the WEAPONs, destroy Meteor when Sephiroth summons it and take down Sephiroth. He is shown to be surprisingly hands-on, personally leading the efforts to stop the Sapphire and Diamond WEAPONs and being heavily involved in the plans to shoot down Meteor along with the plan to blow open the Northern Crater and send in the entire army to kill Sephiroth. He's also perfectly willing to have Barret and Tifa publically executed, shoot down our heroes and continue Shinra's corporate dystopia.

Ultimately, Rufus meets his end when trying to shoot down the Diamond WEAPON attacking Midgar, successfully taking it out along with Sephiroth's shield around himself...or DOES he? Later works such as Advent Children show him to have survived the attack: This definitely appears to be a retcon, but it SHOULD be noted in the original game they mention they can't get into the destroyed headquarters and actually find Rufus' body thus leaving it ambiguous if he has truly died. His appearance in Advent Children keeps his cold personality with a hint of playfulness to it, playing everyone for fools as they search for Jenova's remains and seeking to move events to be beneficial to both him and the planet (which basically does work out). The ambiguity around his character is further deepened as well as he publically funds reconstruction efforts after the events of Final Fantasy VII and to heal the planet, yet at the same time it is quite suggested that he is doing this out of a pragmatic desire to stay on top and because with mako energy shown to destroy the planet...well, there isn't much point to all that control and power if the planet's dead. Though if one wishes to consider Dirge of Cerberus canon it is also highly implied Rufus is privately funding planet reconstruction efforts, clouding the issue even more.

The Final Fantasy VII Remake isn't over yet so the full extent to which Rufus will play a role and how is unknown, but in what we have seen Rufus seems to continue having a personality akin to his original incarnation along with a tinge of his Advent Children characterization: Cold, unfeeling, but with a touch of playfulness added to him. He no longer has the speech about ruling through fear, but his responses to Cloud still show both his cold personality and seemingly a bit of a desire to get close to Cloud. The dialogue could be said to sound a bit like a date, even. Interestingly, he is also the only person outside of the main characters able to see the Whispers: What this means for the future is unknown. His boss fight is significantly expanded upon and tougher, as well.

In the original Final Fantasy 7, Rufus' single boss fight is a complete joke (arguably this is thematic to show Rufus is in over his head) and can be beaten in about two minutes if you know what you're doing and even intentionally dragging it out will only add a little longer. His only real attack is hitting Cloud with a shotgun that deals pathetic damage, and 1/3rd of the time under specific circumstances (Rufus having high enough health and Cloud dealing less than 200 damage) he will not attack at all to instead give of an arrogant "Heh heh heh..." laugh. He is accompanied by his guard dog Dark Nation, who casts Barrier spells on Rufus to protect him along with Bolt to deal damage. Dark Nation, however, can be taken out with a single Cross Slash Limit Break and isn't difficult at all to take out otherwise while Rufus has the LOWEST HP of any major boss enemy in FF7.


This changes completely in Final Fantasy 7 Remake, where Rufus is given a full and actually quite badass battle. No longer wielding a simple shotgun, Rufus now wields a custom-made Shinra shotgun with the ability to split into two hand cannon-like blasters. He also utilizes Shinra coins for unique trick shots, causing them to become lasers when reacting with Rufus' double barrel shots, although he is also able to use them to create a smokescreen and with his beast's Thunder ability even shoot out lightning. He'll pump you full of bullets with his dual wielded guns, and can actually be rather aggressive with a sliding and close range shotgun blast. One downside he has to contend with is the fact he must reload after 6 shots (12 when using his weapon as seperate guns. I guess they both have their own clip?), during which time Cloud is free to attack him although the window is short.


Dark Nation is renamed to the rather cooler Darkstar (or at the least more name-like) and is a much more integral part of the fight. Controlled by Rufus, Darkstar serves as the melee counterpart to his ranged battle, aggressively chasing Cloud or protecting its master while Rufus covers the beast's back with suppressing fire. It even has magic, most noticeably Thunder just like Dark Nation's Bolt, and even has the ability to heal Rufus! One of its scarier attacks is its command grab Subdue, ripping Cloud by the throat so Rufus can come in for a point-blank shotgun blast. It can also attack with its weird back-tail and Rufus can call it back when he needs to defend himself. Darkstar in particular guards Rufus during his reload times, eliminating that as a downside.

When Darkstar is knocked out of the fight, Rufus adds some new tricks on top of it all as he takes on Cloud 1-on-1, most noticeably using the recoil of his bifurcated guns to blast him around the stage and give him shocking mobility. He also has a command grab slash counter which is excellent at styming Cloud's aggression. He does, however, have a Certain Weakness that can lead to the this phase being much easier than it seems.

Overall, Rufus is a MUCH tougher foe in FF7R...and he's taking that newfound power to Smash Ultimate to stake Shinra's claims to its great fortune!

Statistics

While Rufus may be a dangerous combatant, durabiliy is not his strong suit as exemplified in both versions of Final Fantasy 7. His 88 weight ties him with Young Link at a rather low position, while his roughly Cloud size (he's not quite as wide due to his more slender build/stance) makes him a reasonably large target. His walk speed is slow, menacing steps like his first phase's slow walk and do him no favor as he ties with Ike's walk speed. His dash speed is above average (tied with Rosalina) but is not all that particularly fast either.

Aerially, Rufus is a floaty character (Samus/Dark Samus fall speed) with somewhat above average but not all that impressive air speed (Fox, 32nd). Both his first and second jumps are above average but don't come all that close to "great" jumps either. He has a brief wall cling ability, meant to reference how he grabs onto the helicopter to escape at the end of his fights, but doesn't have a crawl or anything like that.

Something worth noting is that Rufus' reload mechanic from FF7R returns in Smash Ultimate. After firing 6 bullets, Rufus is forced into an additional reload animation during the ending lag of the move which lasts 5 frames on top of the move's normal ending lag. If Rufus isn't careful with his bullet count, he could end up losing precious combos or become open to a smacking in neutral due to careless usage of his guns. When Rufus is dual-wielding his guns, it requires two shots to drain one bullet just like his Guns Akimbo fires 12 shots despite the normal 6 reload number. Rufus cannot reload manually, so keep that in mind. Rufus' bullets appear as a small gauge of, well, six bullets (which actually have "Shinra Inc" stamped on them! Man knows his branding) on his HUD which allows him and his foe to keep track of his current bullet count.

We'll get to the exact mechanics in Neutral Special, but know that Rufus fights alongside Darkstar who is prominent enough to deserve his own stats section. Darkstar is a rather large quadrupedal character of about 1.3x Ivysaur's size in a more front-heavy and dog shape. He is noticeably heavier than his master, at 104 weight he ties with Yoshi, but his durability is not what it seems as Darkstar additionally has stamina-esque HP. To be specific, Darkstar can take 70 HP before fading away. If Darkstar dies from HP, his body will become a red wireframe before fading out of existence, the same way Dark Nation (and FF enemies in general) faded to death in the original Final Fantasy 7 game.

Darkstar is also faster than Rufus, although not by much. His dash speed is equal to Pichu (5 spots higher than Rosalina and about 0.100 more raw speed) while his walk speed is equal to Duck Hunt at 25th. While Rufus is floaty, Darkstar by comparison is a fast faller with Ridley level fall speed and can take advantage of faster air speed that ties with Cloud, Bowser and Duck Hunt Dog. Both of Darkstar's jumps are rather good, although they still are not top tier. Darkstar has no wall jump, crawl, or so on.

Managing the more range-y yet slower Rufus with the faster, more aggressive Darkstar is a key part of Rufus' overall game, get used to those differences in statistics!


Specials

"Like it? 'Course you do."

Neutral Special - Darkstar


Neutral Special is the most potent tool in Rufus' arsenal and so it is absolutely vital to master it. When Rufus spawns, Darkstar spawns alongside him, serving as a Nana-esque companion to him. Darkstar follows him wherever he goes, recovers as he does, and can be attacked as a fully seperate entity. One key difference is that Darkstar will NOT attack when Rufus does, which can make this minion seem rather useless at first glance. That is what Neutral Special is for. With one press of Neutral Special, control of your character will switch from Rufus to Darkstar! It should be noted that while not free, this process is quite fast to go through and so you need to predict it to truly punish it. Rufus can use Neutral Special during any attack's animation or lag, although he cannot use it while in hitstun, stun or other negative conditions such as helpless. It also should be noted you need to keep stuff like input lag or simply being able to move your fingers in mind, which all make it not quite as free as you might think.

While Rufus is controlling Darkstar directly, he will not move nor attack while you control Darkstar per normal, like a traditional puppet character in a traditional fighter. Press B again and control switches from Darkstar back to Rufus, also with minimal lag and also able to be done during any of Darkstar's attacks and so on. Rufus and Darkstar also have some combination attacks that allow Darkstar to switch control back to Rufus for the attack or after, which can "cut out" that minimal lag.

When Dark Star is seperate from Rufus, he will not move unlike when he is "connected" to him with Nana-esque AI. The exception to this is if Darkstar is knocked off stage, in which case Darkstar will recover to the best of his abilities. You can still take control of Darkstar while its AI is recovering, if you want to recover better with it. Rufus has a "Shield Special" but much like the Inklings this is just a quick connector to their mechanic. Shield + B causes Rufus to whistle for Darkstar, who will perform a Super Dedede Jump level jump to return to Rufus' side, dashing to Rufus as fast as possible if the jump is not enough. This process does take a moment, but allows Rufus to set Darkstar back to the Nana AI, which if Darkstar is caught out of position can be a life-saver. Rufus does not drop his shield during this time and can move before Darkstar returns to him, but there are a few frames of lag before Rufus can perform any actions. Darkstar can use Shield Special as well, which will cause the same effect while switching control back to Rufus.

For the most part, Darkstar is a complete character with an entirely seperate moveset from Rufus. Using the two to compliment each other is paramount. Darkstar does lack a few things normal characters do. The most obvious is that Darkstar does not have a grab, only Rufus does, which can create some big problems with Darkstar against shields although he does have some tools to alleviate this. Similarly, Darkstar cannot be controlled during Rufus' grab, growling at the ready but not responding to direct commands for a Nana-esque effect (even if Darkstar is "desynced" from Rufus). Darkstar cannot be controlled when Rufus is grabbed as well, breaking the "link" between Rufus and Darkstar during that time (and forcing control back to Rufus if he is grabbed while you control Darkstar). And naturally since Neutral Special is used to switch between Rufus and Darkstar, he has no unique Neutral Special.

While it may be tempting to send out Darkstar to just fight the foe, it should be noted that Darkstar and Rufus both have some large holes in their moveset when fighting solo that can be exploited, and Rufus loses a large amount of options if he does not have Darkstar around. Darkstar's HP also means it can die shockingly easy if Rufus just rushes in with it, leaving Rufus at a large disadvantage. Darkstar respawns when Rufus respawns, but if Darkstar dies then that's it until Rufus respawns. Also, Rufus dying will cause Darkstar to die like if its HP was depleted and respawn alongside Rufus. Rather than controlling one or the other all the time, it is best to strategically switch between the two for combos, to cover move weaknesses, and even to mindgame the opponent against the dizzying array of options. In some ways you can consider them "one moveset with two hurtboxes", although the best comparison remains a puppet fighter in traditional fighters.


Side Special - Bright Lights / Subdue


Rufus takes out a pair of Shinra Inc currency, with the words "Shinra, Inc. A New Era. Ever Forward. Reign Supreme." stamped on it, along with the Shinra coat of arms on one side and Darkstar on the other. With a confident smirk, Rufus then tosses the coins upwards. How far the coins go depends on if Rufus tilted or smashed the input. A tilt sends them up about 1.3 Ganondorfs, while a smashed version is roughly 2.6 Ganondorfs. The coins will go through drop-down platforms both on the way up and down, so you don't need to worry about stages like Battlefield or Smashville or whatnot messing with your play. They will stop at solid ceilings but continue to move up against them for the normal amount of air time. Actually taking out the coins does have a moment of starting lag as Rufus reaches into his slick white coat, but the ending lag is extremely small. Rufus can move a few frames before the coins reach their maximum height, which means Rufus has slightly less ending lag if he tosses the coins with the tilted version. It takes roughly 1.3 seconds for the coins to come down from the tilted version and 2.6 seconds for the smashed version, with the coins hanging in the air briefly before falling being part of the cause for the times.

Used alone, Rufus' coins have no hitbox and do nothing. Rufus can change that in a few ways. The easiest is to use Side Special at any point after you gain control of Rufus but before the coins hit the ground (after which they disappear). Doing so will cause Rufus to seperate his gun in an incredibly quick movement and fire a quick shot from each one at the coins. These bullets deal 3% damage and incredibly negligible hitstun and knockback in the direction they travel. These bullets pierce anything they hit and so body blocking them from hitting the coins is not feasible. When the bullets impact the coins, they will burst forward as a pair of lasers (although gameplay-wise it is one hitbox) of roughly 1.4x R.O.B. laser size in the direction the bullets were traveling at fairly high speeds. They have pretty impressive range given their power, striking 2.5 Battlefield Platforms of distance while dealing 15% damage and killing at 110%. The knockback is largely slanted in the direction of the beam, so the higher it is aimed the more upwards the knockback is. Because Rufus can move and adjust his position from the moment the coins reach the zenith of their height, the amount of ways Rufus can fire off these bright lights is really only limited by how fast Rufus can get into proper position. Do note that the Side Special here does have a decent amount of ending lag, so you'll need to be prepared to not be punished.

In addition to Side Special, Rufus can use his other bullet attacks to strike the coins and create laser blasts. The range, speed and size of the laser hitbox stays the same no matter what hitbox strikes it (although if he hits it from a single shotgun blast, it will visually only be a single beam as he hits both coins with one shot: The coins share a "hurtbox" so to speal) but the damage is equal to 1.2x the damage of the attack used to strike the coins. Rufus has a lot of surprise kill power if he plays his cards right, but the fact he needs to use his coins does add more predictability to his gameplan, and since the shots are not as variable as the aimed Side Special shots they have more obvious patterns. This means mixing in Side Special's highly variable lasers with the more rigid patterns of his other attacks is key.

While the coins disappear upon hitting solid ground, they will continue to fall if they'd fall their normal distance without hitting the ground, which Rufus can absolutely do by using this near the ledge or edge of a platform (the coins are tossed slightly in front of him, albeit not far, about 0.2 Battlefield Platforms) or by using them in midair in general. This can allow Rufus to do something he normally cannot, which is fire the Side Special shots downwards for a downwards beam without jumping above them. This is an incredibly powerful ledgeguarding tool not only for the ability to potentially spike foes into oblivion or stage spike them by getting behind them, but because simply throwing coins out during the time the foe is recovering puts a lot of pressure on them to deal with coin options and so leaves the foe open to Rufus' other aerial options or being chased down by Darkstar.

As an example of how Rufus' coins can be used, consider this usage. Let's say Rufus throws up his coins when the opponent is about to start an aerial or shorthopped approach, with Rufus' low ending lag allowing him to defend against the foe. The jumping in opponent has to consider that Rufus can use his Side Special to blast them out of the air (particularly on fullhop approaches with smashed variants) or even move back to avoid an attack while using his falling coins to blast the foe. Because of this, the foe is incentivized to either pull back (a win for Rufus who is a ranged character with a controllable minion), or mix Rufus up on either dodging it OR attacking Rufus to hit him out of a Side Special. Not only can both of these be punished if predicted properly, but Rufus can also add Darkstar for additional pressure, either chasing the opponent down during Bright Lights' starting lag or threatening to get very high damage in if Darkstar is set behind the opponent which means Rufus can get very high damage with his non-Side Special defensive tools. If the foe double jumps, Rufus can also use his Up Smash (which as a spoiler produces a strong coin hitbox) to cover it or even do so as another coverage of jump-ins.

One thing foes can use is the fact that if Rufus has coins out, he can't throw out more coins. Since coins can stay out quite a while (5.2 seconds if smashed and they get to travel all the way downwards in the air), this can deprive Rufus of a strong tool if he uses it carelessly or simply gets outsmarted. And as a two-part attack it is also more predictable than various other options Rufus has.


Similarly, Darkstar's Side Special is a rather critical part of his playstyle. Darkstar leaps forward, moving forward a short distance (0.5 Battlefield Platforms) and looking to grip the neck (if possible) of any foe in his path as a command grab. If he does, he will bite down on the foe's neck for 5%, before throwing them straight upwards roughly one Ganondorf of set knockback. This attack is very fast to come out, on par with some of the faster grabs in the game, and so essentially serves as Darkstar's "grab" due to not having an actual grab input. The ending lag is a bit slower than you'd like, but you could switch to Rufus before it gets to that point to try and cover him with a ranged attack. If Darkstar grabs a midair opponent, it will pause in air briefly as it tosses the opponent upwards for the same damage and knockback.

Speaking of Rufus, he actually is the key to this attack's TRUE potential, performing a follow-up attack if he is not in the middle of an other action that gives him lag or puts him in hitstun, a grab state or so on. This includes if Rufus is under your control. By default, the follow-up attack involves Rufus shooting a shotgun blast at the opponent which travels up to 3 Battlefield Platforms, with different damage and knockback depending on if Rufus hits with the first 1/3rd, 2/3rd or third of the attack. Rufus will not use the follow-up attack if the foe is more than three Battlefield Platforms away from him. The bullet is fast enough to true combo from the grab's hitbox barring some particularly weird circumstance, and the ending lag of the attack is moderate.

The first third of the attack is the moderate power hitbox, dealing 10% damage and popping foes away with enough knockback to kill at 165%. This primarily serves as a spacing tool for Rufus to allow him to plink at the opponent with his ranged attacks or get breathing room against aggressive foes along with potentially getting time for things like repositioning Darkstar. Given the opponent had to be reasonably close to land this hitbox, it makes sense it is so defensive. It's a pretty chill 15% when you add in the command grab's damage.

The middle hitbox is the sweetspot and the one you want to hit the most, killing at 120% and dealing 15% damage. This makes Side Special a very potent move given the speed, representing large amounts of damage and kill potential given it is a ranged command grab. Opponents will likely be wary of Darkstar when he is in this "sweetspot" window of between 1 and 2 Battlefield Platforms from Rufus. This is particularly true when you consider Rufus could potentially hit the foe into Darkstar, switch to Darkstar, use Side Special and have Rufus use this follow-up! Just make sure the attack has low enough ending lag that Rufus actually is free to use the follow-up attack. While it isn't the strongest killing move, being attached to a command grab gives it a lot of additional power for that reason, and the Side Special dash could be used to catch out some rolls although it is a bit short and hard to time for that.

The final third is a sourspot that only adds weak damage to the mix, 5% damage and weak knockback. For the most part you never want to land this hitbox specifically, being the weakest reward due to the amount of distance you're getting and the shotgun's power waning by then, you want to space Darkstar closer to Rufus optimally. However at low percents this CAN lead into an aerial combo with Darkstar (primarily on fastfallers), which gives Rufus a bit more utility from it. Something to note: All three hitboxes deal knockback in the direction the bullet traveled. In the vast majority of cases this will send the opponent at an up and diagonal angle. However if, say, Darkstar is below Rufus he can toss the opponent on an even level or even below Rufus and lead to pure horizontal knockback, semi-spikes or spikes. All of these can be deadly with the sweetspot especially, but require Rufus to both precisely position himself horizontally and vertically which is challenging.

Rufus has an alternate set of follow-ups he can perform by pressing B + a direction, with B + no direction instead causing Rufus and Darkstar to swap control as per normal Neutral Special. When Rufus performs this alternative follow-up, he will dash forward to Darkstar and leap into the air at higher speeds than normal, performing a different attack depending on the direction pressed. While Rufus is fast, he obviously can't cover absolutely any distance, so don't expect to just travel across Temple at light speeds. The maximum range on this attack is roughly 2.2 Battlefield Platforms, slightly more the straighter the path is (less need to move), and slightly less if you press B later into the move. If the foe escapes hitstun before Rufus can perform his follow-up, he will stop in place and suffer brief lag.

B + Forward is based on his normal Subdue follow-up in FF7R, putting his shotgun against the foe's face and blasting them with it for 9% damage, chiding them with a taunt of "Pathetic". The knockback is at a horizontal and down angle that serves as a semi-spike, albeit more horizontal than downwards, and so is an excellent tool if Rufus wants to get the opponent offstage. The move's high base knockback makes it appealing for that purpose at any percent, but it has low knockback growth and so does not kill until 150%. Opponents who hit the ground will be forced to tech, most commonly this will occur on stages with platforms such as Battlefield, and can lead into a Darkstar tech chase if you switch control back to him.

B + Up is Rufus' "killing option" from Subdue, although it still only kills at 130%, with Rufus jumping under the foe and blasting them right in the gut for 8% damage. This is an inferior killing option to the normal follow-up sweetspot but not to the normal close hit, giving Rufus a finisher option at close range as well. Since Darkstar can potentially be in the air when using Subdue, Rufus can also get earlier kills if he happens to grab an opponent high in the air and is close enough vertically to get this, which can make it a killing tool that can easily snag KOs at sub-100% in those situations. You need to be close enough both vertically and horizontally to make it there in time, though.

B + Down has Rufus stepping on the foe's back and pumping a shotgun blast right into their back while calling their performance "shameful", spiking them downwards for 12% damage. This spike is not super strong but will bounce opponents off the stage in its most used situation (Darkstar grabbing a foe on the stage), which sets Rufus up for an aerial combo afterwards. If the opponent is off-stage this can be a killing spike but the knockback is not the best for that, B + Forward is usually preferred if the foe is facing the blast zone.

Finally, B + Back has Rufus seperating his shotgun into the bifurcated guns and perform a large array of shots that send opponents flying at high speeds about 1.2 battlefield Platforms of set knockback up and behind Rufus. The main draw of this attack is HUGE damage, as Rufus shoots off 6 bullets that deal 4% each which gives him a ludicrous 24% damage off of this! On top of the 5% on the base throw, this can absolutely melt opponent's damage percents. This comes with a few downsides. First off, the way it spaces the foe along with the shots having extremely low hitstun means Rufus gets no follow-ups nor does he get any kill potential. It's a pure damage throw. The second is that since it fires six shots from his double-guns, it uses up three bullets of his gun. If Rufus has less than three bullets, the attack will end early as Rufus enters his reload animation with an annoyed "tch" noise. This makes the throw more situational for Rufus since even one missed bullet shot shaves off 8% damage and even if he has all three it might force him to reload a lot faster than he would like.

Overall, Subdue is an incredibly valuable tool and one of the biggest reasons Darkstar is so powerful, as it opens up Rufus' combo, killing and gimping game all in one move, alongside being a command grab that makes opponents second guess shielding his attacks. For example if Rufus is attacking with Darkstar behind him (be it Nana-ing behind him or just placed beforehand), he can threaten to take control of Darkstar while attacking and throw out a Side Special to catch a shielding foe or potentially a mis-timed dodge. In return strategies like this tend to leave both Rufus and Dark Star open: If the opponent jumped for example, they could land with an aerial and hit both Rufus and Darkstar which then could even lead into comboing them both at the same time! Or even just, say, an option like Down Smash that seperates both of them while damaging them and can lead to opponents either taking Darkstar out pretty quickly or getting lots of damage on the low-weight Rufus.


Up Special - Dance With Me / Corkscrew


Rufus points his gun behind him, firing off a single shot with explosive power that propels him forward! This isn't limited to just going forward, of course, you can choose any angle to fling yourself in that direction with a shot from the opposite direction. So press up and Rufus will fire downwards and propel himself upwards. Rufus travels roughly 1.1x the distance of a single half of Pikachu's Quick Attack while moving at very high speeds, making it an effective movement option in addition to a recovery. Rufus can use this twice in the air and unlike Pikachu's Quick Attack he does not need to do so right in a row. So you can Up Special, attack, then Up Special later, giving Rufus some impressive off stage options. When using this move on the ground, the only limit Rufus has to the amount of times he can dash around is the number of bullets he has. This includes if he blasts himself to platforms, which can give him some impressive mobility on stages like Battlefield. Note that if he blasts from the ground, he still gets two aerial uses. The starting lag on the Up Special is on the long end, but the ending lag is rather short. Rufus does NOT enter helpless at the end of the move which allows him to use it very aggressively, but he cannot use it more than twice in the air, and if he refreshes it by getting hit he actually only gets one usage back.

Now for the actual hitbox of the move, of which there are two. The first is a bullet fired from the gun, which only deals 3% damage without any hitstun or knockback and travels 1.5 Battlefield Platforms. This is never the main point of the hitbox, but it can allow Rufus to chip some damage at the foe if he is using Up Special to escape or whatnot. The main hitbox is the explosive blast when the bullet is first fired, which is at melee range with the gun, dealing 9% damage and hitting opponents in the direction Rufus is traveling! The knockback is pretty good for Rufus to combo the opponent after at many percents, although past 80% or so opponents will often be able to escape with proper DI. at which point Rufus can attempt to be aggressive but gets nothing guaranteed off it. At very specific damage ranges depending on the character, Rufus can actually combine an Up Special into an Up Special and possibly still combo after which is a strong if risky starter. Depending on the character the range begins from around 30%-60% and lasts for 25%-45%. Bigger bodies get caught in it for longer, fastfallers are combo'd for longer if the move has upwards knockback in direction (the most common kind) while floaties are combo'd for longer with downwards knockback, as floaties can DI up on upwards knockback to escape faster and fastfallers can DI down on downwards knockback to escape faster.

If the explosive blast hits one of Rufus' coins, it will create a beam with the power of the explosive blast and not the bullets, which is reasonably powerful. Importantly since the beam inherits the KNOCKBACK of Rufus' blasts, it means the beams will deal knockback TOWARDS Rufus! This can allow Rufus to turn the coins into a combo starter, although it is slightly awkward since Rufus will be blasted away from the coins, so it can require a second Up Special back in. Alternately, this actually makes a good combo starter on HIGHER PERCENTAGE enemies because being launched further alleviates the need to rush back in with movement, giving him a bit of a unique option for when foes are damaged. The increased damage/knockback from the coin's abilities adds to this factor.

While this move has impressive mobility, do note that each shot is going to take a bullet from your stock, which can be pretty problematic. In particular a reload usually means you won't get a combo off of this attack even if you hit with it, and you can't go into more Up Specials or whatnot without the forced reload which can be actively very harmful to recovering. If you only have one bullet in stock, this becomes very predictable and gimpable as a recovery. In addition, using it as a mobility tool means getting close to a reload for what will usually be no direct damage gain, so it is a question of utility vs power.


Darkstar's Up Special is more direct, being his Corkscrew attack from FF7R that has him rushing forward while doing, well, a corkscrew spin! Like many attacks of this nature, Darkstar can choose what direction he wants to go with the control stick, being omnidirectional like Fire Fox. He has to pick fast though thanks to the fast starting lag. This attack deals multiple hits of 1% damage that equal 8% damage, with the last hit placing the opponent right in front of Darkstar. There's enough frame advantage for Darkstar to start a combo off of this move, primarily using his faster attacks since he doesn't get THAT much advantage. Darkstar can often mix up Up Special with Side Special as two movement attacks for him to get in with, each with their own pros and cons, Side Special has stronger options but is more punishable as Up Special has pretty low lag overall for example. Darksar does not enter helpless when using this move in the air, but with the usual requirements to get an Up Special back.

While Up Special is a very useful move in terms of offense, it is rather lacking as a recovery. With poor distance and linearity issues similar to Fire Fox. This makes Darkstart particularly susceptible to gimping, so Rufus will want to provide good cover fire to Darkstar if he ever gets off stage, as it otherwise could spell an early defeat for a vital part of his gameplan.

In addition to starting combos for Darkstar directly, Up Special is a strong too for combining with Rufus' attacks. Darkstar can, for example, drag opponents into the path of Rufus' coins for him to fire a powerful lined up shot, Rufus can simply take advantage of the fact the opponent is stuck in a multi-hit to get free damage on the opponent. Likely the strongest option available to Rufus is his Forward Smash, a move which can keep opponents pinned down for quite a whle and lead to Up Special -> Rufus Forward Smash -> another Darkstar attack, although Forward Smash is too laggy to usually then lead into another Rufus attack. This is also risky because Rufus' Forward Smash is a large commitment and he has to start the Forward Smash very quickly (basically immediately switching from Darkstar to Rufus and firing it off) in order for it to not be escapable.


Down Special - Commanding Counter / Thunder / Thunderclap


Rufus' Down Special has both a command grab and counter variant, depending on if Rufus taps or holds the B button during this move. Tapping gets you the command grab, while holding gets you the counter. While they have different ways to be activated, the attack is actually the same no matter what he does: Rufus grabs the opponent and spins them around, aiming his shotgun square at their back executioner-style and plugging them with a single shot. This gunshot deals 8% damage and knockback that spaces the opponent a rather ideal distance away from Rufus (generally about 1.2 Battlefield Platforms away, depending on percent). This attack keeps people grounded if used on the ground, but in the air it sends opponents at a slightly downwards (but mostly horizontal) angle. If this counter hits a projectile, he will use his gun to nullify the projectile but produces no hitbox which generally makes it rather punishable.

The lag and properties of this attack depend on the type of activation. The command grab comes out quite fast, frame 4 (two frames faster than Bowser's Flying Slam) and so is very useful for Rufus' offensive pressure. The ending lag on whiff is rather poor as Rufus sells the grabbing arm fairly hard, so while it is pretty fast you don't want to overuse it. The ending lag is short if it lands, but Rufus doesn't get a combo or anything off it solo. The counter starts on Frame 5 (one frame shorter than Marth/Lucina's counter) and has very low ending lag even if whiffed, making it shockingly safe for a counter. Considering the low reward for landing it compared to other counters it is only fair. The ending lag if it hits the foe is the same as the normal version, which means it is short.

Rufus greatly appreciates Darkstar for this attack, although not for any specific interaction. Rather it allows him to use these moves with a lot less worry. While Rufus' counter is much less punishable than other characters counters it still is susceptible to grabs and punishments, Darkstar allows Rufus to potentially avoid that by covering him in the meantime. Similarly, the grab's high ending lag can be aggressively covered by Darkstar in order to avoid punishment on a misprediction. More importantly than either of those is the fact that while this move has low reward normally, Darkstar can turn it into great reward! Rufus might not have the speed to combo off of the attack, but switching control to Darkstar can allow it to combo off of the attack instead. And since Rufus has low ending lag on his attack, this can then lead to Rufus following up yet again after Darkstar attacks! I will note that for this reason, Rufus' Down Special triggers the one second regrab timer unlike most command grabs, just in case there is any overly complex infinite shenanigans involved. The counter variant does not have this restriction since you can't really infinite with a counter.

This is another one of the major reasons Rufus wants to keep Darkstar around, as his Down Special becomes much more rewarding if he has it around, while if he is solo it is more of a utility tool to throw out thanks to high speed.


Darkstar's Down Special also has a variation depending on if the B button is tapped or held, but it is different from Rufus in that regard and so a bit more involved. We'll begin with the tapped version, which has Darkstar's body crackling with electricity, before letting loose a howl that brings down a Bolt of lightning in front of it! The bolt strikes down half a Battlefield Platform in front of Darkstar with about 1.3 Ganondorfs worth of height. If a solid ceiling in front of Darkstar would stop lightning from being able to go that high, it goes as high as the ceiling allows. The bolt of lightning deals 10% damage and a spike (that also sends the opponent slightly forwards) to aerial opponents, while grounded opponents are instead knocked into prone as the lightning crackls around their body.

This move is rather powerful, allowing Darkstar to set up deadly ledge guarding and trapping situations, and the prone is particularly useful as Rufus can allow some wonderfully whack tech chases that can be incredibly difficult to overcome, especially if Darkstar is able to cover a tech option as well. This is easier said than done as Thunder has both high starting AND ending lag, so Darkstar usually won't have enough time to actually cover part of the tech chase. Rufus could also instead cover for Darkstar's lag to get the attack off more easily, or even attempt to combo the opponent into the lightning which can lead into some strong damage.

By holding down B, Darkstar will instead shoot the lightning down onto Rufus' position with a mighty howl! Rufus holds up his shotgun during this time, allowing the lightning to flow through it and shoot out a blast of lightning forward! This blast of lightning deals 13% damage and knockback that will kill at 140%, with extremely high range that covers the entire main platform of Battlefield at high speeds! This is a pretty powerful attack, but it should be noted it DOES require Rufus to both not be performing an action AND Darkstar to go through an attack with rather long starting lag before it fires off. The attack, by the way, deals high shieldstun and has a 1.4x shield damage modifier on top of that, so it isn't casual to shield like a lot of projectiles. The lightning bolt Darkstar calls over Rufus' position has the same properties as the one Darkstar summons normally, and it should be noted the spike AND the prone will actually true combo into the shot (which is chunky enough to hit prone foes) as the bolt's "forward" knockback is whatever direction Rufus is facing to fire. This allows a pretty high damage 1-2 punch against enemies above Rufus.

Darkstar can summon the lightning like this at anywhere within a bit over half a Battlefield's width close to Rufus (the vertical distance, however, is anywhere!), a long range which can put the opponent in a real bind depending on the situation. For example if Darkstar starts this attack with the enemy about 0.5 Battlefield Platforms in front of him and Rufus, say, 1 Battlefield Platform behind the foe, the opponent needs to both be worried about Darkstar firing off the lightning normally, Darkstar firing it on Rufus, or instead having you switch control from Darkstar to Rufus and taking advantage of the spacing. Note that if Rufus is performing an action such as attacking, shielding or being in hitstun then he cannot catch the lightning that Darkstar shoots, and Darkstar will cancel the attack and enter the ending lag of the attack without producing a lightning bolt. This means just hitting Rufus or forcing him to defend himself can actually be a strong option against this kind of technique, although this is dangerous since if Rufus avoids the aggression without committing the foe will almost certainly get hit by the blow.

Another good place to do this is near the ledge. Have Darkstar use Down Special then have Rufus jump off while facing the stage (or reverse the order). If properly spaced, the opponent needs to be wary of Darkstar either covering the ledge with lightning (which will likely spike the foe to death) OR Rufus getting lightning and shooting it (which will likely cause a stage spike). While the opponent has ample time to prepare given the lag this can still put opponents in quite a bind, particularly if Rufus throws in a move like Down Aerial. And if Rufus is able to set up both his coins AND Darkstar's lightning in this way then it can be nigh-impossible to come back, although if you're getting off THAT much setup it is kind of deserved.


Smashes

Forward Smash - Guns Akimbo / Whirlwhip


Rufus seperates his shotgun into two, letting off a "heh heh heh" laugh as he starts to fire them rapidly in front of himself. This move is unique in that the amount of shots fired depends on the number of bullets Rufus had left, always draining the clip down to 0. If he has six bullets left, then twelve shots will be fired (since when seperated the bullets count twice as aforementioned, like in the game's Guns Akimbo). If you only have one bullet left, then you'll only fire off a pathetic two shots. Each bullet deals 2.4%-3.3% damage and lightly flinches the opponent, with knockback dependent on where the opponent is in the attack. In the first half of its range it will lightly push opponents towards the edge of the range (or rather the midpoint), while at the midpoint the knockback changes to essentially keep the opponent locked in place. The range itself is fairly large, with the bullets traveling 2/3rds of Battlefield give or take. If you hit with one part of the attack then you will almost certainly hit with the rest barring an outside force (for example, Darkstar) interfering with it. If you hit with the very first bullet, your maximum damage output is a pretty gross 28.8%-39.6% damage! This is Rufus' strongest solo option in damage by a wide margin, although it should be noted it is very situational. This requires a full bullet count, meaning Rufus can't set it up with his other bullet-based attacks, and every bullet he is missing results in 4.8%-6.6% damage missing from the attack so it goes down quickly in effectiveness.

The starting lag on this attack is pretty mediocre, but the ending lag is noticeably bad as Rufus spins his guns, combines them back into a shotgun and then also has to go through his reload animation (as it always depletes his bullets). While this move spaces the foe far enough away to be safe on hit, it does mean that Rufus is RIDICULOUSLY wide open if he misses without something to help him out, punishable with pretty much anything the foe's heart desires. Darkstar, naturally, is a key way he can defend himself if he goes for this and is one of the better reasons to keep Darkstar close by rather than more mid or far ranges. In addition to Darkstar protecting him, this attack is EXCELLENT for pinning opponents down for Darkstar to then eviscerate, holding them in place for Darkstar to get a pretty easy and potentially even powerful strike. This move can also hold opponents down in shield, which given the high damage can lead to a potential shield break with Darkstar or even solo if Rufus does some prior damage.

By moving the control stick, Rufus can change the stream of bullets position, with him able to end up firing straight up or down for the last shots if he moves the entire time. He can also move during charge time by moving the control stick while holding down A, although he cannot cause it to shoot behind him so it maxes out at straight above or below. The knockback of the bullets will keep an opponent in the direction Rufus is causing it to move, allowing him to drag opponents where he wants and giving him a strong repositioning tool. Rufus cannot change positions while controlling Darkstar obviously, so he has to choose between this kind of coverage or using Darkstar for more offensive purposes. He can also use this as a way to help cover himself, like angling it upwards to catch out people jumping over him. Near ledges or the edge of platforms he can angle downwards in order to catch people at diagonal downwards angles.


The bullets from Guns Akimbo are too weak to create lasers when hitting Rufus' coins, but instead will cause another of Rufus' coin interactions from his fight, Up in Smoke. Upon the bullets impacting with the coins, they will explode into a fine smoke, covering an area about 2/3rds of a Smart Bomb blast radius. The field of smoke lasts for 5 seconds and features proximity-based stealth, with the exact stealth based on the nearest OPPONENT'S proximity to the smoke. It only takes one opponent for this to work, even in FFAs or teams. Are they relaying information with each other? We'll just have to show them what REAL teamwork is like! Allies won't affect the stealth, so getting close with Darkstar won't reveal Rufus, not will a teammate reveal a teammate. Now that's some good company loyalty.

If no opponent is within a Battlefield Platform of the smoke, then anyone within the smoke is completely invisible, with even their name tag obscured. Since the invisibility is limited to a small area there's no worry of losing track of yourself, but it also means the opponent is pretty aware of your general location. Rather than hiding where you are, this is much more about masking what you are doing inside. This is particularly useful for Rufus, who has a variety of long range options that he can disguise and poke at the foe with. Importantly, he can also disguise his exact control of Darkstar. For example, taking control of Darkstar and just idling for a brief moment: The foe won't be able to just look to see Rufus is also idling and need to consider if Rufus is messing with them or if Rufus is not controling Darkstar and about to strike (or use that chance to hit Darkstar). Rufus can also do things like make it ambiguous if he is able to receive a Thunder to make Thunderclap or instead taking the chance to attack. Using Up Special out of invisibility can also be very potent since it masks Rufus suddenly flying out with his best mobility for close ranged combat.

Within a Battlefield Platform, the inside of the cloud can be seen to a greater degree even if it is still murky and shadowed. Anyone inside can have their movement seen, but the starting lag of their attacks is still partially masked. To be specific, the first half of a move's starting lag is not shown, but the second half is, which means moves with longer startup will be more ambiguous. This does give Rufus some degree of mindgame potential (along with his opponents who might use it), but it isn't as potent as the further version. It should be noted it is sometimes better for Up Special however, since the opponent being closer makes it easier to rush in.

Getting Up in Smoke is one of the few reasons Rufus might use Forward Smash with low bullets, as otherwise the attack is often not worth it (the other reason would be to try and pin the foe down a bit longer than other moves for Darkstar), allowing him to create his smoke fields with less duration to worry about. With higher bullets it is best to create it close to Rufus, as creating it far away with the duration + ending lag can make it easier for the foe to take priority on using it, while creating it nearby gives Rufus instant ambiguity on if he is turning his bullet stream or moving control to Darkstar.


Darkstar's Forward Smash, Whirlwhip, is a significantly simpler strike. Darkstar leaps up slightly, flipping its body around and slamming in front of it with its bizarre back-tail! This attack has two hitboxes, the first being the very start of the slam when the tail is coming down, which is a very brief "sweetspot" that deals 15%-21% damage and spikes the opponent with Captain Falcon Up Tilt level power. This can be compared to said Up Tilt in various aspects such as being a flashy ledgeguarding option. This is normally not a particularly viable strategy however, especially as the leap forward limits this attack solely to opponents recovering high. The rest of the slam deals 16%-22.4% damage and standard diagonal knockback that kills at 105%-75% as a reasonably strong finisher. This attack can two frame near the end of the hitbox, but only for about two frames itself and so it is a rather precise option when opponents are recovering.

Aside from that, this move's primary uses come from the power on Darkstar and the fact the back tail gives it good range that can, for example, cover a large amount of a platform. This makes it a good combo ender tool in Rufus/Darkstar combinations, or allows Rufus some good leeway in setting up for Darkstar to finish someone off. It also allows Darkstar to cover Rufus' lag from further distances, if Darkstar is in his normal Nana-esque position behind Rufus then this covers a LOT of space to defend Rufus during an attack's lag. This move has some notable downsides though, chief among them being the fact the move has high ending lag. Even at max range it is actually unsafe on shield and it can leave the Shinra duo very helpless if he covers one of Rufus' easier to punish attacks with this and fails which can lead to his gameplan falling apart. The starting lag is roughly on par with Mario's Forward Smash, so solid but not ultra fast. While Whirlwhip is one of Darkstar's better finishers it also is still not THAT great of a finisher compared to a great many in Ultimate's cast. If the opponent is frequently shielding this strike because it is so punishable, try mixing in Darkstar Side Specials in order to grab them through it and make them respect your presidential authority!


Up Smash - Think Fast / Hazardous Climate / Thunder Rush


Rufus reaches into his coat, taking out four coins and flicking them into the air with a dismissive toss. These coins can be distingushed from the ones he throws on Side Special by the fact that their Shinra insigna/dog insigna are an explosive red color. These coins are thrown with enough force (plus there's more of them and they have a rather...bombastic element to them) that they deal 4%-5.6% damage and light knockback that essentially always true combos into the follow-up hit if Rufus so desires. They do, however, only have a hitbox at the start of the move, once they start to spread out and get past the initial throw they lose their hitbox. It is fairly quick to toss the coins up, after which Rufus has three options. First off, he can simply not use any follow-up, in which case this move has pretty short ending lag which Rufus can use. These coins are not able to be used as lasers like Side Special and will fall to the ground harmlessly. This allows Rufus to move quickly, but the only hitbox he produced was a short lived one directly above his head. If you go with this option, it is usually because you were mindgaming the foe with one of the follow-up options. The range of the coins is same as the base Side Special at 1.3 Ganondorfs, but does not have a way to scale higher up.

Pressing A gives Rufus a Link-style follow-up as he snaps his shotgun upwards, firing a bright red bullet straight up! The bullet actually deals the same damage as the coins until it impacts the coins, setting off their explosive elements in a huge chain reaction above him! This is a fairly wide hitbox with some decent height to it and the strongest kill move Rufus has, blowing foes up off the top of the blast zone at 80%-50% while dealing 24%-33.6% damage! This is a flashy early kill, but it is not easy to hit for a multitude of reasons. First off, the leading coin hit only exists briefly directly above Rufus, otherwise essentially being lag that makes the hit come out unfortunately slowly due to it needing to travel up before shooting. The other one is that since the coins explode a decent distance above Rufus there is actually a blindspot directly above him, which characters can slip through and means this move tends to rely a bit on prediction in order to hit with and is best against opponents noticeably high in the air. As an anti-air it is somewhat awkward.

Finally, something to note is that it is a follow-up attack, so you need to perform the follow-up before switching to Darkstar for comboing, whereas if it was a single strike you wouldn't need to, as one last little detriment. Although, you can in theory switch to Darkstar, perform an input REALLY FAST, then switch back to Rufus and have enough time to use the follow-up! This requires intense finger skills, though, and you won't have time to reposition so you had best hope Darkstar was exactly where you wanted him.

If the explosion of the red-faced coins hits your Side Special coins, it will cause laser fire just like a bullet. This is Rufus' strongest option in his set, dealing 28.8%-39.6% damage like his Forward Smash's full clip but with SIGNIFICANTLY higher knockback that will be killing at 55%-30%. Being an upwards hitting attack it also is likely to strike opponents high in the air, ensuring an even earlier kill. The downside to this incredible power is how telegraphed it is. You need to throw Side Special coins, use your Up Smash's follow-up hit which is fairly easy to see coming, the blindspot directly above Rufus limits the timing of when you can hit it with the coin and since the hit is directly above Rufus (on a grounded move so less movement shenanigans) this limits the angles the coin's laser can go as well. At the same time this attack's sheer power is quite a threat, which Rufus can use by simply stepping under his coins with the foe above him. He could even use Up Smash to toss coins, fake the opponent out into dodging and then use an aerial to catch them! Don't underestimate the perks of projecting power and leaving opponents in a state of fear.

This isn't the only option Rufus has out of Up Smash, though! Similar to Darkstar's Down Special, Rufus can perform a different follow-up as long as Darkstar is not in the middle of something by inputting Down Special (inputting Neutral Special switches control like normal) during his follow-up window. This will cause Darkstar's body to crackle with electricity, before it calls upon it to drop on the coins and explode them into a cloud of electricity! Unfortunately I don't have a GIF of this attack. This has a pretty long start-up time and fairly long ending lag for Darkstar which leaves it vulnerable, but Rufus himself only takes the normal lag of throwing the coins up without his follow-up. This gives Rufus another way to mix opponents up on what he is going to do when he tosses the explosive coins upwards, which is very valuable given how each option has exploitable weaknesses. Be careful about how open this leaves Darkstar, as the punishment he can get from carelessly using this is severe, although Rufus can at least cover for him.

The lightning bolt itself along with the expanding electrical cloud, which crackls menacingly as it spreads from the exploding coins, deals 8% damage and up-and-away knockback that largely is a spacing tool with no real kill or combo potential. The cloud calms down slightly after that and lingers as an aerial trap for 5 seconds with the same size as Up Smash's coin explosion, dealing 5% damage and light hitstun to any foe who comes into contact with it. Opponents who take damage from the cloud become immune to it for 2 seconds, which means Rufus can at most get two hits from the trap, although the implications of making a Cross Tag Sandwich with a trap to play with are intense.

More importantly is that the strength of the cloud, or rather the cloud's hitstun, can be modified by hitting opponents into it! When an opponent is hit into the cloud, the electricity will crackle more violently at their entry. This brings their momentum to 0, but adds hitstun based on the amount of knockback they would take. With sufficient knockback opponents can take quite a large amount of hitstun and that hitting the opponent CLOSER to the cloud will deal more hitstun (as they lose less momentum that way). At high percents, he can use spacers to get fairly strong hitstun that lead into kill confirms, particularly when combined with Darkstar to allow open options. A good example would be Rufus' B + Forward Subdue which can lead into solid Darkstar follow-ups.

One last thing of note: This move is really not a good out of shield option in a lot of cases due to the direct blindspot, while his Up Special is pretty situational as it won't really be an out of shield option unless the explosion hits the foe while also being laggy to start up. This leaves Rufus rather strained for out of shield options without Darkstar around, usually a quick aerial like NAir.

Darkstar's Up Smash is, by comparison, a much simpler move. Darkstar leaps straight up, rushing in a spinning motion as electricity crackles all around it! Darkstar is a singular hitbox during this travel, dealing 15%-21% damage to anyone struck while killing at 130%-100% as well. While not a particularly powerful finisher this smash attack comes out quite quick, making it useful for a variety of purposes that include being Darkstar's main combo ender. Compared to Forward Smash, this is more consistent and can end solo Darkstar combos while Forward Smash is more rewarding but usually limited exclusively to Rufus/Darkstar combos as an ender. This is Darkstar's primary tool for catching out landings, with good vertical range and a fairly long hitbox duration, although be aware of swordies with disjoints as they can stuff this move fairly easy. It should also be noted this move has pretty high ending lag, making it unsafe without backup. Baiting it as an out of shield option is very rewarding for the opponent.

While Rufus is lacking in out of shield options, Darkstar's Up Special and Up Smash are both very solid out of shield options, with Up Smash being the stronger but riskier option. This is one of the benefits Rufus gets from keeping Darkstar close, as compared to keeping it at different ranges for combos. Note that this can be exploited as well, as Rufus relying on Darkstar for defensive play makes it easier to get them both in a hitbox (close enough you can hit both at once) and can bait out riskier defensive options.

Since this move's hitbox is largely vertical, it can be good for hitting an opponent into one of your electrical clouds, which can lead to further punishment. This is fairly situational, though. A less situational use is to cover landing coins with this or to place Darkstar to shark below people who are in front of your coins, putting them in a precarious position of avoiding Rufus' coin options, Darkstar's hard hitting Up Smash and less commital options.


Down Smash - Follow-up / Barrier


Spinning with a confident grin, Rufus points his shotgun at a downward-diagonal angle and fires, creating an explosive blast of energy in front of him in a manner very reminisicnet of Mewtwo's Down Smash. This is a fairly strong attack overall, dealing 17%-23.8% damage and killing at 102%-72% as one of Rufus' main solo kill moves. This is only for the initial hitbox: The attack has a rather long-lingering hitbox (6 frames total, 2 with the initial hitbox and 4 with this one), but the late hitbox only deals 13%-18.2% and won't kill until 135%-110%. This attack comes out on Frame 18 with a FAF of 44, so while it isn't a blazing fast attack it also isn't horribly slow. You still want to be careful if you throw out this attack in neutral, as you will get punished if you carelessly whiff. Particularly with jumping over it and getting aerials. This move does not use any bullets.

Overall, Rufus' Down Smash is primarily a call-out tool. With its large amount of active frames and the timing of the attack, it excels at catching out sidesteps and rolls from overzealous opponents. While this is particularly potent with Darkstar it also helps give Rufus some more aggressive options when he is forced solo as well. This move is an excellent way to catch two-frames at the ledge, with the long amount of active frames along with the angle making it a potent and rather low commitment option. It is also one of Rufus' stronger solo KO moves, so keep that in mind with it too.

Rufus can potentially combo into this attack with Darkstar in play as a kill confirm, but it is rather situational due to the low hitting hitbox. You need to either end the combo with an attack that will put foes ground-bound in the right position, or have Rufus on a platform or end on a platform so that your Darkstar combo ends with opponents in the air and Rufus having enough time to get off Down Smash. Both of these are situational but given the strong damage and knockback are worth it to go for.

Overall, Down Smash is one of Rufus' most direct options without much of anything in the way of interactions but plentiful uses elsewhere.


Darkstar's Down Smash is very different, featuring Darkstar howling as a dark grey diamond appears around it and spins rapidly before shattering outwards. This is a multi-hit attack, dealing a bunch of tiny hits that deal 4% damage while finishing with a shattering hit that deals 12%-16.8% damage. Knockback power is mediocre at best, 150%-130% kill range, but it does have pretty good all-around range that both hits above Darkstar and even below it that allows for two-framing but chunky horizontal range that can suck in opponents from pretty far away! While this makes it one of the better moves Darkstar has for repelling foes, the starting lag is a bit large and the ending lag is punishable enough that this isn't really a good "get off me" tool.

However much like Corrin's Forward Smash, the spinning portion of this move is actually going on DURING the attack's charge, which is why I only listed the base damage earlier! If you charge this fully and keep the opponent in the entire time, the multihits will equal 12% total (charging does not increase damage per hit of this part), for a total damage range of 24%-28.8%! That's some hefty damage, although opponents will essentially always be able to DI out before then, and the KO percent is unchanged. Charging like this allows Darkstar to catch out even more with a lingering hitbox given how long it can be held out and the shape of the hitbox allows it to be used in some odd ways. For example, the bottom of the diamond poking out from a Battlefield Platform can hit tall enough opponents running under them. It can also guard the ledge and two frame, which can absolutely crush some recoveries like Chrom.

But wait, there's more! While charging, Darkstar will actually reflect projectiles of any strength, including Rufus' projectiles! This offers Darkstar some additional protection, although given it is a punishable smash attack this is a COMMITMENT of a reflector, but a big thing is the option to reflect Rufus' own stuff. The reflection is not straight ahead, but instead at a 45 degree angle from where the attack hits, with the angle depending on where the attack hits on the diamond. If it hits the upper side, it angles up, and if it hits the lower half it angles down. The projectile will also travel backwards from where it hits if it primarily hits it from the side, while if it primarily hits from above/below it will redirect it 45 degrees but keep the same horizontal direction.

Darkstar is lower to the ground than Rufus, so if they are both ground level then Rufus will usually angle the shots he reflects up. Let's say he uses Side Special, for example, and aims it at the upper half of Darkstar's diamond. The shot will richochet off of it upwards 45 degrees, and be sent back the direction Rufus shot it. But if Rufus jumped in the air and fired it downwards at Darkstar at the same spot, then it would keep going forward but be angled 45 degrees upwards. With how variable some of Rufus' projectiles can be, this can give him a LOT of options to strike opponents if Darkstar preps this. For example, Rufus can toss up his Side Special coins and threaten to bounce them up and forward, up and back or even aim them down below (especially if Darkstar is on a platform) to send them flying down. This can be particularly potent with his Forward Smash, as the ability to angle it during the move's long duration allows Rufus to hit different parts of the diamond at different parts of the attack to cover 3 or more angles with one move combination! It requires locking both Rufus and Darkstar into attacks with a long duration where they can be punished, but it's fine as long as you don't miss, right?

As a note, Darkstar will hold the charge on this move as long as possible if you switch from him to Rufus before it comes out. This means opponents will fall out of the attack if Rufus doesn't intervene, but it also means Rufus has the maximum time possible to utilize the reflection properties of Darkstar's Down Smash. Another thing worth noting is that reflection isn't the ONLY value of the charge time, as Rufus can use the charging hitbox as a trap the opponent has to deal with or to combo the opponent off of. In particular, a Forward Smash that pins the opponent against the charging hitbox has INSANE damage potential that requires careful DI due to the reflecting. If you switch BACK to Darkstar while Darkstar is charging, Darkstar will release the charge instantly. This gives you an option to get out the hitbox ASAP if need be.


Standards

Jab - Shotgun Whip / Darkslice

Rufus takes his shotgun and does a somewhat diagonal pistol whipping animation with it, a very quick to start attack that deals weak damage (4%) and simply pushes opponents back lightly. It won't start launching until unreasonably high percents, so it is pretty purely for spacing or combining with Darkstar. The ending lag is very brief so punishing this move purely on whiff is difficult. Punishing it on shield is easier due to basically non-existant shieldpush and pathetic shieldstun, but the ending lag is small enough it still needs to be a fast punish. The range on this is a bit disjointed but not that long, think about the range of a small sword, and it is mostly going to be used as a quick option to check what the opponent is doing with very low commitment. If the opponent keeps trying to get aggressive when you whiff this, that's a good time to mix in that Down Special counter of yours and make them respect the low ending lag!

Darkstar's Jab is a 1-2 combination attack, a pair of quick downwards-slashing vertical slashes, the first of which deals 2% damage and the second of which deals 4% damage. This is a pretty low damage jab, with the knockback being at a low angle. In fact Rufus and Darkstar can bounce the opponent between them with their jabs and some very quick fingers, at low percents this can be done twice (IE Rufus -> Darkstar -> Rufus -> Darkstar jab chaim), later on only once (IE Rufus -> Darkstar -> Rufus). This requires Rufus and Darkstar to be properly spaced, but it is a way to add in some easy if low damage that leads into another launching move. Darkstar's Jab has surprisingly long ending lag for a jab, which makes it more punishable and means that Rufus might want to do a little covering for the dog. The starting lag is very fast, so Darkstar can use this for some Rufus combos where slower moves wouldn't work, or just to throw it out as a fast check. There really isn't much more to this move.

Forward Tilt - Shotgun / Bite


Rufus points his shotgun forward and fires forward a bullet, a 1.5 Battlefield Platform range projectile that bursts into a 9% damage hitbox upon striking an opponent or whatnot. This makes a nice impact animation that looks a lot like the original Shotgun animation from Rufus' FF7 battle. The knockback itself has low knockback growth but high base knockback: It'll be good for your more campy needs and can be very cheeky when it comes to edgeguarding, which can be particularly useful as Rufus can aim the attack up or down slightly. This allows Rufus to cover various low and high recoveries, and in general is one of Rufus' midrange projectile options. This move uses one bullet.

Unfortunatly for Rufus, this move has some pretty long ending lag for a projectile attack like this. Opponents can jump over this attack (fullhops will, for the most part, get over an up angled shot) and smack Rufus in the face pretty casually, and the starting lag is longer than you'd normally like for this attack too. This somewhat hinders its use in neutral, although it is still a pretty good tool there. This move is a LOT more useful if Rufus has Darkstar either attached to him or close by, as it makes this move significantly harder to properly punish for its lag and means Rufus gets to fire it off almost free of worry! This is one of the big benefits of keeping Darkstar as more of a bodyguard, as it allows you to throw out zoning moves like this much more freely while Rufus alone has more gaps.

The aimability of this attack offers a few good options for Rufus. For example, extending the range and power of this attack is easier than normal with Rufus' coins thanks to being able to hit them at multiple angles, and this can be used to mindgame a foe some. If you've got coins in the air opponents will be more likely to want to recover low to avoid obvious plays to cover high recoveries. So Rufus can then angle this low and snipe someone recovering down there if the angle permits.

Darkstar's attack, on the other hand, is a pretty fast but very short ranged bite with its powerful jaws! This is pretty strong as far as tilts go, dealing 12% damage, and by killing at 155% it even has some kill power baked in there. As a flavor note, this attack has the same electrical hit effect you'd see from Pikachu or the like. While fast to start up, the ending lag is pretty bad to go along with the short range. That makes this move very punishable on shield and a pretty awful neutral tool. You'll primarily be using this as a combo ender, finishing with high damage and knockback to setup edgeguard situations or the like.

While primarily a combo ender move, this CAN be a low-percent combo EXTENDER if Rufus is spaced away from Darkstar! It does enough hitstun to work well there and leads to high damage combos if you get it done. Do remember the short range of this attack when using it in combos, you'll need to use something like Darkstar's Dash Attack (or, very situationally, Darkstar's F-Smash when you got a lot of frame advantage but the foe launched far away).


Down Tilt - Corporate Cleaning / Thunderclaw

With his shotgun separated, Rufus swipes out across the ground with a single one of them from his crouching position. The gun deals 6% damage and knocks opponents upwards on hit. This CAN be used to combo, but the knockback is higher than you'd like for a combo Down Tilt like this and so opponents stop getting combo'd at inconveniently early percents solo (30% or so). Rufus can press A a second time to swipe downwards with his other gun, which has the same hitbox as the first but with a small twist! If Rufus HOLDS the A button for the attack, then he pull the trigger and shoot out a grohnd-level shot! This shot deals 3% damage and trips grounded foes, if it somehow hits an aerial foe it simply lightly pushes them up and forwards. The starting lag on this is pretty average, with a touch longer than average ending lag.

This is important because this attack doesn't really hit low enough to reasonably shield poke and it is unsafe on shield, but the extra bullet hits very low to the ground, so it will shield poke. To give an idea, the second hit won't shield poke after the first hit without some prior shield damage. This is important given how this move is unsafe on shield! While this is a benefit, it also increases the ending lag of this move some as the gun kicks back, and if the one bullet used requires a reload that'll add the standard 5 frames on the end too. Not only does this increase the amount of vulnerability to trying to poke out the foe like this, but it also removes the combo potential from the hit. So, Rufus will want to switch between single swings that can start combos but are more vulnerable to stuff like shields and olls, and double-swings that can catch spot dodges or with the shot poke out shields.

Something to note is that while Rufus doesn't get a solo combo after starting percents or with added lag, he can at least try to aggress the opponent, so it is still a positive situation. Be pretty aware of characters with fast aerial options (or even risky ones, like Ganondorf YOLO DAiring and obliterating you if you try to jump up!)!

Darkstar's attack is an inward, electrical slash from a low crouching position that has two hitboxes to it. The close range hitbox deals 5% damage and knocks opponents up and away, the knockback angle really isn't all that good for comboing and it doesn't deal a lot of damage so there's not really much of a reason to hit with this sourspot. The sweetspot is where it is at, dealing 8% damage and reeling opponents closer to Darkstar with some enhanced hitstun! While most of Darkstar's combo moves are a bit awkward for solo combos, that is noooo problem here as Darkstar gets off basically anything not super slow off of this! Down Tilt -> Forward Tilt is a quick and easy combo, but you can go for some aerials, a big one if Rufus is free is the Darkstar Side Special which absolutely can combo off of this! The world is your oyster when it comes to comboing out of a sweetspot Down Tilt.

This move's starting lag is longer than you'd like, Darkstar does a big of an exaggerated claw raise before swiping, but it isn't horrible or anything. The ending lag is fairly short which makes the comboing even easier, but this move is easily punishable on shield as it has very low shieldstun even on the sweetspot. The sweetspot will even reel in opponents who are shielding, making their punish even more casual! And since this is a low hitting attack, it is easy to jump over. At the same time the attack hits too high to reasonably shieldpoke! For as amazing a tool as this is when it hits, it is a risk to throw out with the spacing required.

Rufus can help out Darkstar in a lot of was here, pinning the opponent down with projectiles to keep them at a good range or combo into it for example, if Forward Smash can't lead into a Darkstar kill he can instead go for this to turn that into a flatout combo for even more damage for example! You also could switch from Darkstar to Rufus in order to have Rufus cover Darkstar, but it is impossible to really switch back to Darkstar for a combo if you hit the sweetspot unless you just hit B right after swapping to Rufus (which would be pointless). Rufus can combo off of it, but he probably won't get as much off of it unless he is very close and the damage potential is a lot lower than if Darkstar combo'd the foe with Rufus ready to EXTEND it!


Up Tilt - X-Strike / Dark Rejection

Separting his guns in two, Rufus swings both of them in a criss-crossing way above him that gives it the appearance of a squished X briefly. This attack has three hitboxes, we'll start with the most useless: A very small, brief hitbox to the ground level side of Rufus at the end of the swing deals 3% damage and lightly pushes opponents away. This is unsafe on hit until about 60% and is never something you WANT to hit with, but it'll make the punish on Rufus a bit less bad than if he flatout whifed and you at least get in that scratch damage. The bulk of the hitbox is above Rufus', with pretty good vertical and horizontal range from the swing, that deals 6% damage and knocks opponents almost straight up. It is too high for combos, but the opponent is going to have to deal with landing against Rufus again and he has a solid game for doing so. This move itself is very good for catching out people landing with its range!

The middle is a sweetspot that deals highly enhanced damage, striking for a huge 12%! The knockback is strong but not as impressive, it'll only kill at 160%, and basically does everything the normal Up Tilt does but Better. The opponent being higher in the air (and with more hitstun from the damage boost) opens up Rufus' options a lot, the damage is a lot higher and it has that at least mediocre kill power! The sweetspot is naturally harder to hit than the main hitbox but it isn't all THAT small. Up Smash is a pretty solid move to mix with this, an opponent air dodging an Up Smash will probably fall into an Up Tilt if you go for it instead of the second Up Smash hit for example.

Darkstar's Up Tilt has a pretty important niche in the Rufus/Darkstar interactions! Rearing upwards, Darkstar slashes forwards from a standing position, basically covering the entire area above itself as it slashes in a nearly purely horizontal line before getting back on all fours. This deal 7% damage and semi-spike angle knockback! It's pretty much straight horizontal with a very light downwards angle, the knockback is pretty solid too! Albeit with low growth. All things considered this is a serious move for rejecting shorthopping opponents and telling them "no, get back into neutral!", it has great horizontal coverage above Darkstar.

One big thing about this move is combining it with Rufus' Forward Tilt: The best way to deal with Rufus' Forward Tilt is to jump over it and land with an aerial or grab, exactly the kind of stuff this move is an expert at repelling! And if you hit the opponent with this, they'll be thrown right into a spot for Rufus to fire off more Forward Tilts or other long ranged moves, set up his Side Special for example, giving Rufus a strong neutral reset. This is also pretty good when it comes to edgeguarding, this can catch someone doing ledge jump and the like while the angle is just brutal near the ledges.

This attack is laggy on both ends, so you shouldn't just mindlessly be using this for coverage! Take the Forward Tilt scenario, for example. If you're just always throwing this out, since the lag means you need to toss it out early, the opponent can double jump over it. And if they do, both Rufus and Darkstar will be in lag most likely and the range means they'll be stacked close so they can then both be hit by a landed aerial. The end result is Rufus AND Darkstar taking damage, possibly being combo'd or separated so that they can be easily taken apart. Use this attack tactically for the best effects!


Dash Attack - Shotgun Slide / MBarrier


Sliding forward, Rufus takes out his shotgun and fires a close range blast that sends him sliding back! This move slides Rufus about 0.5 Battlefield Platforms forward before the attack and 0.75 Battlefield Platforms back after, so he ends up about 1/4th of a Battlefield Platform behind where he started. A close ranged blast, this is one of Rufus' power attacks that deals a strong 15% damage and will kill at a pretty solid 108%! The attack's actually a bit faster than average to start up but it is far from "fast", y'know? It is safe on shield but that is almost entirely due to the distance, shieldstun and shieldpush. That is to say the attack has pretty heavy ending lag, so on a pure whiff the move is VERY punishable!

The biggest use of this move is as a punishing tool, like many Dash Attacks, for if opponents are far away and whiff or land with poor attacks. But it also is one of Rufus' better "aggressive" options as it is safe on shield despite the heavy lag and is one of his strongest kill moves (even if other characters might find it rather mediocre)! When Rufus wants to get aggressive, this mix of power, reasonably fast starting lag and shield safety. It's something Rufus will keep in mind more when he's solo, mixing and pinning the opponent down with projectiles or having them conditioned to expect those options leading into a Dash Attack, Tomahawk Grab, or even fakeouts involving Up Special! With Darkstar out, you'll be using this to cap off combos with Darkstar as a finisher or get to go more aggressive than normal even!


For Darkstar's Dash Attack, the mutant doggo rushes forward as a head-charging tackle with its head surrounded by a red-and-purple cone akin to the MBarrier attack from Final Fantasy 7. This attack has mediocre starting lag and isn't heavy on the end lag, fitting snugly in the average range overall, while bowling over opponents for 9% damage and fairly standard launching knockback. There's no big reward here, but the attack does have a benefit: The barrier in front of Darkstar serving a defensive purpose!

Similar to Palutena, this move has trample priority on the front! This will allow Darkstar to trample all over attacks which deal 12% or less damage, allowing Darkstar to rush in against aggressive foes. Along with Up Tilt this is one of Darkstar's main tools when playing more of a "bodyguard", allowing Darkstar to get in from longer distances and stop up enemy attacks. If Darkstar wants to play a bit more bait and punish this is also a great option, but do note it is pretty dang unsafe on shield! This attack also lacks the reflection properties of the normal barrier Down Smash, so not as many shenanigans to be had here.


Aerials

Neutral Aerial - Bullet Time / Thunderstruck

Spinning around like he's straight out of the matrix, Rufus holds his guns out to both sides of him which gives this attack some nice, extended horizontal range. Rufus' spinning is a single strike hitbox that last for quite a long time, dealing 8% damage and radial knockback of moderate strength. This move comes out really fast, so Rufus can use it as a combo breaker from less tight combos, and the ending lag actually isn't all that bad either. However, the long duration makes this attack pretty punishable if you can avoid it, and it actually isn't good at things like shorthop play due to some surprisingly long landing lag. While crossing up a shielding opponent can make it safer a lot of characters can still punish Rufus out of shield as long as they see it coming.

The long duration can allow Rufus to perform some frame traps with Darkstar, something the attack is too slow thanks to the duration to do normally, giving it another use when you've got help. Rufus' Up Special is a weird one to use as an out of shield option, although situationally it is very valuable, and Rufus' Up Smash is often not very useful out of shield. As Rufus' fastest aerial that leaves Neutral Aerial as the quick out of shield option for him aside from grabbing. Pretty low reward as Rufus doesn't get combos off it, it isn't even really good knockback for Darkstar to follow-up on, but the range allows it to hit cross-ups effectively.

By holding down the A button, Rufus will fire off his guns as he spins, with the spin able to be extended for as long as Rufus has bullets! As the mechanics said, the seperated guns take one bullet each time they both fire. Both fire at the same time and at a horizontal angle from Rufus, travelling one Battlefield Platform. These bullets deal more damage than the actual spin, 10% damage, and send at a largely horizontal and slightly upwards angle. This makes them pretty solid for sniping down foes when it comes to recovering, horizontal angles like that are good, and Rufus in general can be a machine at covering space if he's willing to spend a bunch of bullets on this! Note that Rufus has longer ending and landing lag after firing bullets, in particular landing lag, and that landing an aerial when you reach 0 bullets doesn't affect the +5 frames of reload lag.

Darkstar's Neutral Aerial is pretty electric, with a multitude of different hitboxes, so we'll have to go through this one at a time. The animation has Darkstar curling up, electricity surging around its body, and spinning. It spins once, then sticks out its front claws as the spin gets to the bottom. The claws become electrified as the the spin gets them behind Darkstar, then Darkstar himself begins a powerful downward slash that begins when his claws are above him from the spin and ends with them coming down in front of him. The animation itself is fairly fast, the first hitbox comes out Frame 9 below Darkstar and ends on Frame 15, but it just takes a lot of words to explain. The ending lag is a touch long, but nothing horrible.

This attack has four hitboxes, depending on where you hit with it. The first hitbox below Darkstar lightly pops opponents up for a mere 6% damage, occuring before Darkstar's become electrified. Depending on the opponent's percent, this can cause the opponent to be combo'd into this attack's third hitbox: Floatier characters get combo'd earlier while fastfallers get combo'd later. For floaty characters, comboing can begin as early as 40% and end as late as 80%. For fastfallers, the latest the attack begins to combo is 80% (on high fastfall, small bodies) and it stops comboing around 120%. Outside of this, the light pop-up can set opponents up for Rufus to get something off of this, for example Rufus' own Neutral Aerial. Rufus' Forward Smash isn't true off of this, but it can put a lot of pressure on the foe and deal tons of damage if they don't react right. Downside? If this doesn't combo into that third hit or Rufus isn't around, this hit will usually be unsafe on hit since you'll whiff for the duration and take ending lag.

Primarily, the first hitbox is going to be for trying to snag at people on the ground when dropping through a platform or shorthopping. While we haven't gotten to it yet, Darkstar's Down Aerial is a stall than fall, so non-committal downward attacks aren't as easy for it. While the down hit of Neutral Aerial is certainly flawed, it does give Darkstar some level of coverage option.

The second hit is when the now-electrified claws are slashing up behind Darkstar, which deals 10% damage and snatches up opponents with pretty much purely vertical knockback that will kill at 180%. Rufus isn't the world's best juggler, but with options like Up Smash this can work out to earlier kill percents if you go with the very niche situation of Darkstar being very high in the air when Rufus launches the foe. More commonly, this is either going to be used to bat opponents up a platform's distance to Rufus, to set opponents up on the right vertical plane for a clutch Side Special coin shot, and sometimes for risky stage spikes on opponents recovering low such as if they want to avoid Rufus' Forward Smash.

The third hit is one of the two money hitboxes to hit, though! The slash's direction means this attack's knockback is highly horizontal. Not quite PURELY horizontal, but the vertical aspect is small. The 12% damage attack won't kill until 140%, but shallow angles are great for trying to edgeguard opponents with largely horizontal recoveries. This attack is perfect for tossing opponent's into the path of Rufus' coins, this time with a horizontal slant rather than vertical one, and sets up for Rufus' Forward Smash as well. At lower percents, this hitbox of Neutral Aerial will combo into Rufus' Up Smash, which is a very high damage 1-2 punch that forces opponents into landing situations, with Darkstar able to shark the landing opponent with something like his Up Aerial. If you want a reliable option, Forward Tilt will pretty much always be able to combo off this for a clean little 9% damage.

Since it hits above Darkstar on a coverage Neutral Aerial, you could also use this with Side Special coins as a prediction, scooping up opponents trying to jump over falling coins for Rufus to shoot down or calling out opponents trying to back off by hitting them with this and sending them flying into the coins, a hard callout being to switch to Rufus as you use the move and fire at the coins: You'll either get a NAir -> coin combo, or both Darkstar and Rufus will be in lag with an opponent who is likely free to punish either as they see fit.

The last hitbox on the attack, the claw strike in front of Darkstar where the electricity on the claws surges at its strongest before fading out, coming out on Frame 15 and being the hardest part of the attack to hit given it also only comes out right in front of Darkstar (the slash before that is the third hitbox) and it doesn't combo from any of the previous hits. Landing it rewards not only a 14% hitbox, but enough kill power to end foes at around 112%! This is the most direct of the Darkstar Neutral Aerial options, a hard read kill move that isn't as powerful as other hard reads in exchange for Rufus being able to set enemies up for Darkstar. Not much to say about this one: It's the most direct of all the Nair options and rather self-explanatory.


Forward Aerial - Explosive Shot / Quickstab

Balancing his shotgun on one arm with impeccable aim, Rufus fires off an explosive blast and spray of short ranged bullets in front of him! Close-range, the blast is a small sweetspot that serves as one of Rufus' strongest combo finishers (particular in the air, making it easier to utilize than Dash Attack) as it deal 14.5% damage and kills at 115%. The knockback is a bit lower vertically than you might expect but not even close to a "low" angle, still worth noting. The spray is a much more standard hitbox that deals 9% damage and spacing knockback. It won't kill until 220% and the knockback makes it very unlikely Darkstar can get a follow-up attack, but it is great at getting opponents out of your grill!

The start-up lag is actually on the longer side, the aiming adds a slight "hitch" to it, and the ending lag is real bad. So you're going to either use this move in combo strings where it can be a finisher OR as an aerial hard read on stuff like air dodges. This can be a particularly good hard read if you hit Up Special's explosion hitbox as it is not reactable, so if opponents don't predict it you get a free hit AND can potentially delay to catch air dodges (at the cost of dropping a true combo option via other attacks). This can allow it to rarely be used as the punish part of a frame trap, but those usually require Darkstar which makes timing them very tricky. Using this in neutral is just asking to eat tons of damage! This move also takes TWO bullets, so it is a bit of a resource hog: If Rufus only has one bullet, it only creates the explosion hitbox without the spray, so that's a valuable range extension lost that opponents can play around. The bullet spray's range is more akin to a disjointed hitbox and, in fact, it is treated as a disjointed hitbox akin to Bayonetta's Bullet Arts. So you can't reflect it back! A little added value when it comes to stopping up opponents.

Darkstar's Forward Aerial is all about coverage rathe than power, a direct opposite to Rufus' explosive combo finisher. Pulling its tail back, Darkstar thrusts it forward for a swift stab at a downward-horizontal angle, before quickly pulling it back and stabbing at an upward-horizontal angle! Think of it more like a gentle slope down/up + forward, rather than a diagonal. The first hit comes out decently fast, Frame 8, while the second hit comes out at Frame 14. While this is reasonably fast both hitboxes suffer from the same issue as moves like Sephiroth's Up Tilt and Forward Aerial: Thin, thin hitboxes. This leads to the attack's great horizontal range being symied by blindspots: Foes above Darkstar within range can jump up to avoid the hit, or air dodge down to avoid the second, and many characters can actually split the middle with good spacing and timing to avoid both hits without a dodging move at all! Big bodies need to be spaced further away to weave through it in this way. Ending lag is on the longer end.

The bottom and top stabs have different hitboxes, with both having a sweetspot at the sharp tip of Darkstar's tail. The bulk of the bottom stab only deals 5% damage, but the light upwards knockback true combos into the second hit of Forward Aerial! This usually combos sourspot to sourspot, but near the edge of the hitbox an opponent DIing away can DI into the sweetspot. The lower-hit sweetspot deals 8% damage, against grounded opponents it is a light semi-spike that keeps opponents grounded for Rufus to go after, aerial opponents are knocked back with moderate knockback that won't kill until 225% or so. While it's weak, the low hit and long horizontal range can make it a reasonable move for an enemy recovering low.

In general, one great use of this attack is for shorthopping. Darkstar has auto-cancel frames on Frame 9-13 and the aiming of the first hit of Forward Aerial is great at hitting most opponents from a shorthop. Opponents who are short could avoid this, especially if they have a low crouch, so this can be a bit matchup dependent, and Darkstar HAS to shorthop fastfall rather commitally in order to get the auto-cancel. This means Darkstar can't realistically threaten a mixup of which hit will go off, which kinda sucks because jumping over the low hitbox is perfectly viable. If Rufus and Darkstar are close, then Rufus might want to throw out his own Forward Aerial with Darkstar's either before or after: The explosive spray is good at stopping people who jump into the pair in their tracks, and if the opponent backs off then you're closer to cornering them.

The sourspot outside of the tip of the tail on the second, top hit of the attack deals 5% damage and pushing opponents away. This doesn't KO until uselessly late and it doesn't combo in most situations either, putting it firmly in the space of being a bit more of a spacer that has some niche application on platforms since if you shorthop under a platform and hit someone, you could end up hitting them onto it. You don't get a prone situation of it though, as the attack isn't strong enough to cause tumble until very high percents. It's not really a move you get massive advantage from, and much more about coverage in neutral.

The tip deals 13% damage and has solid knockback to it! It still won't kill until 160%, but this is on a move that has pretty good coverage and speed on a duo character, so it is only fair that it's "solid knockback" is a bit lower than most characters. The heightened damage is pretty good on shields, which it is very safe against. This gives this move it's little spin of being a move for, essentially, sharking shields under platforms! A shorthop puts Darkstar in a good position to stab his tail through lower platforms, which means Darkstar ends up covering lower platforms AND the ground while having bad coverage versus shorthops. This is also the stronger, but harder hitbox to land against recovering foes, necessitating Darkstar goes deep or tries to turn around against someone going low, or for the opponent to recover high in a predictable manner.

Timed with Rufus' coins, you can have Rufus' coins out, and move Darkstar so that a Forward Aerial will hit both above and below the coins current location, which is a pretty solid walling technique if Rufus is free to be able to shoot the coins and therefor stymie approaches. This is much easier with the smashed, higher variant of the move. This is also a bit predictable, and there are plenty of ways around it, a big one simply being to patiently wait out Darkstar's attack and THEN rush in so Rufus has to either try to hit the coins or rush in to prevent big damage on his companion.

If an opponent constantly goes mid against this attack normally, Rufus can go for risky punishes such as Forward Smash (which can be aimed to hit the opponent if they are at shrothop level), Up Smash (if the opponent is above Rufus avoiding a Darkstar FAir), Forward Aerial (as mentioned, risky) and for a spicy option a Down Special can make opponents guess if Rufus is going to go for a grab as they weave through or a counter predicting the foe to hit Darkstar out of it, something easy to do because of the thin hitbox. Since the attack's not nearly as easy to hit as the range suggests, playing around with how to get the most of when the opponent dodges is critical!


Down Aerial - Gravity Rush / Hunter's Fang

Rufus swipes the bifurcated gun in his hands below him, sending it to both sides with them briefly crossing as an X under him as he does so. This attack has a sourspot and a sweetspot, although both have their own uses. Most of the gun is a sourspot that deals 7% damage and knockback that depend on if the foe is in the air or grounded. Air opponents are knocked into the air and the direction the gun was traveling, a bit too high for Rufus to combo but plenty enough for Rufus to get under them. Ideally, you're close enough to fastfall to the ground and begin to trap the opponent's landing! Down Aerial sourspot -> Fastfall -> Trap with Up Tilt for example is very viable.

For grounded opponents they just get pushed a bit to the side. The low landing lag of this attack does allow Rufus to combo out of it as long as he fastfalls, at minimum Jab should always combo out of it! But you can also get the Down Special grab variant almost all the time, other options include your Down Tilt, and sometimes even your grab! This makes it Rufus' primary combo attack and at least somewhat safe if he crosses it up, although it really isn't THAT good at cross-ups (very low shield push for example). The attack's starting lag is mediocre, but the ending lag ain't bad as mentioned.

The sweetspot is exactly what you'd expect, a spiking hitbox on the middle of the X when it forms. This spike deals 12% damage and is moderate strength, it might not kill at the earliest of percents but certainly works as a flashy finisher hitbox when it comes down to it, and is one of Rufus' few ways to end stocks early (just look at how many KO moves kill at 100%+!), though the spike hitbox is pretty small and brief. You could potentially get Darkstar to combo into this, but it IS rather tricky to line that all up a lot of the time. Having a spike option at all helps open up Rufus to edgeguarding options as well.

Darkstar's Down Aerial serves a VERY different function, but one with a multifaceted use to the set! The starting lag is kind of long, as Darkstar (tail and all) curls into a fierce ball, before it plummets down and forwards as a stall-than-fall! This is a series of multihits, about 0.8% damage per hit (the exact maximum depends on how far Darkstar falls, but 10%-14% is probably a good idea for a moderate stall than fall that hits early) as it dives diagonally. Landing deals an actuall pretty weak hitbox of 3% damage, but Darkstar has low landing lag and so can combo a fast attack out of this: A combo stall than fall! The high starting lag makes this tricky to land and easy to interrupt, but that's some real damage payoff: Especially if Rufus can play off it as well!

On that note, one of the multi-use aspects of this is that Rufus can set Darkstar to do this, then switch back control to Rufus. This essentially allows Rufus to utilize Darkstar as a moving, aerial trap! If Rufus wants to get aggressive, such as with Dash Attack, he can have Darkstar set to come flying down at the opponent while moving in. Even if the opponent avoids both, he could potentially swap to Darkstar control with the low landing lag to salvage something! This is a pretty obvious strategy to see coming, Darkstar needs to be high enough in the air to go meaningful distances AND has high starting lag, but it nonetheless adds an entire different avenue for Rufus to attack from.

Darkstar could also use this for drag-down suicides, a valuable technique since RUfus won't lose a stock! This is VERY risky given the high starting lag, the opponent could react and then you have sacrificed a big chunk of your set for nothing, but the reward can be very high. One of the big ways to do it is a hard read off of the Darkstar FAir! It doesn't even come CLOSE to comboing, but an opponent who is mashing air dodge to get out of FAir chains will get snagged by the Down Aerial if you used it quickly. If the opponent is escaping FAir chains off stage, this can end up just flatout killing them! Of course if they don't take the air dodge, they can air dodge on reaction to this and leave Darkstar plummeting to its death fo no gain. There's also the fact this will kill Darkstar. While this is obviously preferrable to losing a Rufus stock, Darkstar is most valuable at low percents where combos are king. So not having Darkstar on the fresh stock is the worst time to lack him! So it is best to kill the foe with Darkstar around. But a stock's a stock, yeah?


Up Aerial - Bullet Blitz / Biting Blitz

Guns seperated, Rufus shoots out a a sequence of bullets above him which ends in a large, vertical pillar-esque blast! This one is a real bullet hog, taking a total of 4 bullets, but the result is well worth the payoff! The first three bullets deal 3% damage while the final hit deals 5% damage and some solid knockback, it'll kill at around 120% vs. Mario at the top Battlefield Platform. The damage here is quite large, 14% total, and the long duration of the attack is excellent at catching out opponents in a ton of situations! The starting and ending lag are both on the somewhat long side, so don't expect to just throw this out AND it has a really long duration that makes it real punishable! The attack's actual range is about the same as Mii Gunner's Up Aerial, so you can use that as a bit of a mental blueprint for usage.

When Rufus shoots up a coin with this attack, it will hang in place as it takes the first 3 bullets and only trigger on the fourth, being suspended in place. This allows Rufus to "delay" triggering a coin while still launching the attack, making for some fascinating frame traps with foes above him! If Rufus lands the attack, and the landing lag isn't bad if he lands in the middle of it, the coin won't trigger at all if it was before the final hit and resume its falling. Rufus can therefor mindgame the foe on if the coin will be triggered at all by varying his jump heights / timing, furthering his point game at trapping aerial landing opponents. The damage of the coin laser from this attack is pretty low, but the range DOES allow Rufus to hit VERY high up with it!

As I mentioned, this attack takes four bullets. For every bullet Rufus lacks, one of the 3% attacks is removed and the blast moved to earlier in the hitbox. This lowers the overall damage potential, but Rufus CAN use it to mindgame the attack's exact length...but given it makes it shorter this is a very limited use.

Darkstar's Up Aerial is much more standard, with Darkstar leaning its head back before reaching its mouth up and performing a C H O M P on the foe. This is fairly fast and deals solid damage, 10% with knockback that kills at around 185%, but the range is pretty small. Darkstar can usually combo this off of a Forward Aerial, and trying to shark people on platforms with it is pretty effective as well. The lag is pretty average on all sides with slightly fast start-up, so there isn't much to worry about there.

Back Aerial - Deadly Dance / Heartpierce

Pointing his gun behind himself without even turning around, Rufus lets out a shot that sprays out about three bullets behind him (although it only takes up one actual bullet from his gun!) that deals low damage (5%) and combo ready INWARDS knockback! That also means Rufus doesn't turn around, I should note. This allows Rufus to "scoop" opponents behind him to get them close, leading into something like Neutral Aerial, Jab, Up Tilt (if you land but the foe is in the air) or even Down Tilt (if they end up on the ground)! You can also 50/50 with Forward Aerial, although this is pretty risky since the opponent using anything fast will just wreck you. The bullet spray is actually fairly close range but it still has some good disjoint. The starting lag on this is pretty quick, the ending lag is quick but not AS quick. Plenty of room to combo! Very much unsafe on shield.

Rufus doesn't have a Down Smash that hits both sides, but his Up Special IS effective as an out of shield option for foes behind him. You could also use Back Aerial out of shield though, useful if you do not want to move from your current positioning. In general this move has general uses akin to an Up Special but without movement and less safe on shield, along with less potent combo options. In return you don't have the movement, it is faster and also won't mess with your recovery or the like. At niche percents, it's very dependant on fall speed, Rufus can potentially Back Aerial -> Up Special and then if the foe is at the right spot do another Back Aerial -> Up Special, otherwise the chain ends there with a different combo ender. This allows Rufus to ladder foes into the air or do some other bizarre positioning shenanigans while getting in good combo damage! It looks swag, too, which is plenty of reason to use it.

For Darkstar's Back Aerial, the creature brings its tail in before thrusting it out behind itself! A laggy attack to begin with, this is a flashy kill move with a strong tipper that deals 16% damage and kills at around 90%: A rare move in Rufus' set which ends stocks incredibly early! The rest of the attack is a Knee-esque sourspot that only deals 6% damage and lightly pushes foes away, it is unsafe at very low percents but can potentially get jabbed by Darkstar when landing past that. The sweetspot is pretty small too, so it isn't easy to accomplish! Rufus' Forward Smash can keep opponents pinned down relatively to help make this easier, but it can still be awkward to position yourself properly when it hits behind depending on where Darkstar was when Guns Akimbo as goin' on. The ending lag on this is also bad when it isn't landed, where it rises to "mediocre", so this is a very read dependant, flashy option!

It's also worth noting that Rufus loses this early kill option if Darkstar is KO'd, so opponents can take advantage of that to help survive longer as they get higher: It can be worth it to target an injured Darkstar to remove it when you're getting up there in percent to avoid stuff like this or kill confirms!


Grab Game

Grab: I Own You

Rufus' grab is as simple as they get, reaching forward with one of his hands in a swift grab. It is rather low range grab but with high speed, which can lead Rufus to use it pretty aggressivel if Darkstar is getting aggressive with the foe. Remember that Darkstar does NOT have a grab, so you'll have to just make due with this!

Darkstar cannot be controlled while Rufus has someone grabbed and will only move if it is recovering (although it WILL walk to avoid walk-offs on moving stages!), so its position is essentially locked when Rufus grabs the foe. If Darkstar is not seperated from Rufus, then this opens up a variety of buffs to his grab game depending on the throw! Others might be more useful if desync'd. Rufus' Shield Special can make it a bit easier to get these powered up throws down in situations where Rufus has enough time for it, but make sure to wait for Darkstar to make it all the way back before you throw if you want those buffs!

Pummel: Knee

Rufus knees the opponent in the gut for 0.5% damage, in an animation actually pretty close to Cloud's! It is a fast pummel, but a bit slower than you'd expect. If Darkstar is with Rufus, he will claw at the foe for an additional 1.5% damage with the exact same frame data! This makes the pummel a VERY good damage tool, so make sure to get them in while you can!

Down Throw: Dismissal

Rufus dismissvely smacks the opponent in the ground, causing them to bounce forward for 4% damage. This deals set knockback in front of Rufus that spaces the foe about one Battlefield Platform in front of him, resetting neutral with Rufus at a slight frame advantage and ready to take advantage of his great range. This deals absolutely pathetic damage, but it puts Rufus in a near-ideal neutral situation and so can be worth it for that alone. It also has set knockback that means Rufus can perform extremely consistant setups with Darkstar, although the hitstun ain't great on this throw but it still leads to simple and true combos.

If Darkstar is with Rufus, this throw is MASSIVELY buffed! Darkstar will crouch down and prepare as Rufus starts the throw, crackling with electricity, and the throw takes a bit longer to execute as Rufus lets out a haughty "Hmph." before he tosses the foe away as per normal. Once he does, Darkstar leaps at the foe with incredible speed, impacting them with big electric hitsparks! It is all very Wolf Flash-esque, dealing huge damage (16%) and extremely potent knockback that kill at 110% near the ledge and 140% center stage!

The set knockback makes this true and is a great example of a reason to keep Darkstar close, dealing tremendous damage and opening up a great and consistent kill option for Rufus. This leads to a bit more of a defensive playstyle, this is great out of shieldgrabs for example, but you'll be sacrificing some great combo options and spacial control if you ONLY keep Darkstar close. Instead, make sure to fluidly switch between styles to maximize the amount you can get out of desyncs while being in time to use your powerful combined options like this!


Forward Throw: Crushing Competition

Rufus hooks his leg around the foe and uses it to topple them over, grabbing them close as they start to fall and sticking his shotgun against them before blasting them away with it! This deals 1% damage followed by 6% damage and knockback that causes a tech situation for the opponent until around 60%. Rufus can take great joy in that kind of tech situation! Proper Darkstar placement allows Rufus to section off various tech directions and he has plenty of coverage. Forward Smash's long duration allows him to cover options for a long time for example and he can even angle it down to hit downed opponents, something like Forward Tilt is pretty free to throw out, Up Special is a curious movement option to go for in these situations that can lead to closer range stuff...you get the idea.

In addition to Rufus himself, Darkstar has plenty of options against foes forced into these situations, the biggest ones being Side Special (especially since Rufus will likely be out of lag AND close enough for strong follow-ups!) and Dash Attack which can easily trample over getup attacks if they miss the tech. All in all it is a pretty valuable throw, even if the base damage is still low.

This throw changes COMPLETELY if Darkstar is with Rufus! Rufus still does the leg hook animation, but he fails to shoot the foe: Instead, Darstar is instructed to tackle the foe, gripping them (by the throat if animation possible) and dragging them across the stage Ridley style! Darkstar moves fast during this attack but not NEARLY as fast as Ridley, but aside from that it works very similar to Ridley, dragging the opponent away until either manually stopping (by jumping or hitting shield), reaching a ledge/walk-off/etc, or the opponent mashing out. Mashing difficulty is decided with the same formula as Ridley's Side Special but is only 2/3rds as strong, making it easier to escape. Darkstar also only deals half damage, so a range of about 6%-15% is to be expected.

The key thing about this is that Rufus is free to move EXTREMELY quickly, allowing him to perform all kinds of funky follow-up options. The scariest is that with the right positioning, largely needing to be far enough away that Rufus has time to catch up to the foe + the opponent at high enough percent or a bad enough masher they don't escape, Rufus can jump at the foe when they are launched and use a down aerial as a true combo! This is a confirm into the spike hitbox and usually means a kill, but it is hard to pull off (and essentially impossible at early and mid percents), a very flashy way to assert dominance on the foe. and even leaving that aside there's a lot of options for Rufus here. Forward Smash can potentially be combo'd into and cover a lot, Forward Aerial's another situational combo option, Up Special around the foe to keep up with Dark Star and then launch them! Get creative with your tools as the foe is at Darkstar's mercy and you can make some pretty sweet stuff.


Back Throw: Too Slow

Rufus spins the opponent behind him in a single smooth motion, aiming his shotgun to them with their back turned to him and pulling the trigger to shoot them for 8% damage and send them flying! This is the closest thing Rufus has to a "kill throw" without Darkstar around, but it won't kill until like 220%. You're gonna be using this to start up edgeguarding situations, grabbing foes trying to mess with your return in front of you and sending them flying offstage. If you want more space than Down Throw allows, then Back Throw is a pretty great way to get it as well (and more actual damage!).

With Darkstar, this turns into a strong combo throw at early percents! Darkstar will run towards where the opponent is being thrown during the throw's animation, ending below the foe's expected position (assuming that is on stage) as they are thrown. This basically allows Darkstar a free fast hit on the foe as a true combo, at least until mid percents. Darkstar can even boune the foe back to Rufus, which can lead to some combo chains! Though except at VERY early percents they'll likely be knocked around too much to do much. It's still your highest damage option out of your grab game through the mid percents, though. I've already thoroughly gone over the combo options, so I'll spare you another rundown.

Past that, the opponent will be launched too high for Darkstar to combo off of! You CAN use this as a throw to juggle opponents, but your Up Throw is usually better for that! Basically once the foe gets to higher percents you should always use another throw, but until then? Great option!


Up Throw: Promise Sent

Rufus grabs the foe and tosses them straight up with one hand, aiming his shotgun upwards and firing off a shot! The toss deals 3% damage while the shot deals 7% damage for a total of 10%, the upwards throw has decent upwards knockback while the shot only barely makes the foe go higher. This throw is purely for setting up juggling situations or catching landings, both of which Rufus loves! Get the opponent in the air with your high damage throw and make their life painful with your coins, all three of the Up Smash/Aerial/Tilt trio, Neutral Aerial, you get the idea! With Rufus' range and controllable minion plus hitbox styles this is one of the better advantage states to be in, even if it isn't a true combo or anything. This is probably Rufus' "default" throw in a lot of situations as it has good damage and puts Rufus in a good position.

Perhaps fittingly the Darkstar buff that Rufus gets for this throw is one of the weaker ones, although it has the benefit of actually working if Darkstar is away from Rufus assuming the range is right! When Rufus strikes the opponent with the bullet, Darkstar will leap at the foe if it is within 2/3rds of a Smart Bomb explosion radius: This leap deals 10% damage and knockback in the direction Darkstar travels. If Rufus is with Darkstar then it will almost certainly trigger, but a properly spaced Darkstar AWAY from Rufus can trigger it as well!

This actually can lead to some very funky scenarios if Darkstar is positioned right. For example if Darkstar somehow ends up ABOVE the foe, it will spike them back down to Rufus! This then leads Rufus into hitting the opponent again, tons of damage. As a note, Darkstar hitting the foe as part of this throw will reset the regrab timer juuuust to make sure there's no shenanigans at play. A very niche but strong option would be to use this with Darkstar diagonally close to the stage and the foe near the ledge, which can lead Darkstar to launch the opponent diagonally offstage! The knockback on Darkstar's leap isn't very large so this is hardly a sure-kill combo, but it is obviously potent if setup. The possibiliies are very large as Darkstar is basically a trap waiting to go off when this is used, get creative with the positioning and there's a whole world to explore!


Final Smash: Sister Ray


Rufus turns his back to the opponent dismissively, pointing his shotgun behind them and firing a shot without even bothering to look at them! Hitting with this fairly range-y shot will trigger a cutscene for anyone in its range, able to hit multiple people at once. The cinematic itself is based on one of the big moments of Final Fantasy VII that essentially ends Shinra's meaningful participation in the story, the Sister Ray firing on Diamond WEAPON. Naturally, it is largely abbreviated from the game, but it still takes on the same structure.



It begins with a heavily abbreviated form of the cannon's "charging" animation as the Mako Reactors of Midgar light up one by one, at a much accelerated pace and without the dramatic camera angles, followed by the mako energy flowing into the Sister Ray cannon itself. For the Final Smash, the energy begins flowing in as soon as the reactor turns on to keep the length of the cutscene down. The "energy charging" part of front of the cannon also happens as this occurs. Once the last Mako Reactor turns on (its energy quickly drained into the cannon), we get a close-up of Rufus flipping his hair inside of his office in the Shinra Building in Midgar via dramatic zoom (the same posing as right after the cannon was fired in Final Fantasy VII) as a signal to fire the blast.



The Sister Ray cannon's mechanics lock into place quickly after Rufus gives the order, before the cannon fires off huge laser blast! The cannon has visible recoil that gives it a weighty look and feel. The laser itself deals 40.7% damage and on impact doesn't cause an explosion, but more like a visible disintigration before it cuts back to the battlefield. Akin to K. Rool and Ridley's Final Smashes, this is an instant kill at a specific percent (100%), although Rufus gets to hit multiple opponents at once in theory.

"I see. I guess this means we won't become friends."

Extras

Alt Colors and Costumes

Rufus has three colorations for his main outfit. The default white, a black-and-purple look that has the coloration of Darkstar and a light purple and gold look that gives him a bit of a Cloud-ish appearance in colors. Darkstar's colors change for every outfit as well: The 2nd outfit has a white-and-gold Darkstar, a reversal of Rufus/Darkstar's normal colors, and the final one has a black-and-silver theme that kind of gives it a Sephiroth-esque appearance.


Rufus' 4th to 6th outfits are based on his original Final Fantasy 7 appearance, which admittedly is pretty close to his FF7R appearance anyway, but less busy. Rufus no longer has the long tassels/belts on the bottom of the outfit, he now has a single breast pocket, two side pockets and a single pants pocket instead of two, no black belt over the middle and haire slicked back more than to the side. The second alternate color of this outfit is green and red, essentially identical to the same colors as Heidegger from the original Final Fantasy 7, the third is an outfit that is almost entirely crimson red with a brighter red in place of the dark grey collar, this time referencing Scarlet from Final Fantasy 7.


Additionally, Darkstar's appearance changes in this outfit! The design is redefined into the more artifical and sleeker look of Dark Nation rather than Darkstar, although the body size is the same as are all of the things it uses to attack. But it has a much less "biological" look along with a more clearly segmented tail and segmented lower legs. Default Dark Nation is all black with a light brown underbelly, while second outfit Dark Nation is brown with a yellow underbelly in a way that gives it a look akin to Palmer, while the last Dark Nation alt color is predominately the same blue-ish color as Hojo's necktie with a black underbelly.


You may have noticed Rufus only has six colors right now, that's because unlike a lot of characters, he has a third alternate costume! This one is based on his Advent Children look, with an open jacket that more visibly has a black undershirt and no dark coloring over his collar or his pockets. His hair is also slightly unkempt compared to all other outfits.


Not visible in the previous image was the fact that Rufus also wears a bandage over his one eye just like in the movie, along with bandaging/bracing over his neck. It's certainly the most standout outfit due to that! The one alternate color reverses the color scheme almost entirely, giving Rufus an entirely black jacket and so on with a stark white undershirt, although his bandages remain white.


There is no Darkstar in Advent Children, but there IS another version of Dark Nation in Crisis Core which is similarly a Final fantasy 7 spinoff, so Advent Children Rufus uses this design for his Darkstar. The default design is as above, while the alternate is a charcoacl black with a burnt orange/red tail and discolored arm part, with it matching the color of Reno's hair while the body is meant to reference Rude's suit.

Entrance Animations

Each of Rufus' costumes has a different entrance animation, with the default Rufus' animation being a combination of his slow walk out of the helicopter to begin hs FF7R battle and his dramatic shotgun prep at the start of his third phase, both of which have been in GIFs earlier. Original FF7 Rufus has Rufus hopping off the ladder of his helicopter to enter the battle, with Dark Nation appearing from nowhere by his side.



Advent Children Rufus' entrance is a reference to one of the most memorable parts of the movie, when Rufus throws off his cloak to reveal he isn't nearly as injured as everyone thinks and he's been hiding the main plot trinket of the movie all along. Here, Rufus gets up from a wheelchair while covered in a cloak, throwing off the cloak as he does so. Darkstar appears as the cloak disappears along with the wheelchair, as if he had been hiding Darkstar under it all along like Jenova's head!

Victory Animation 1 (Up)


Rufus begins to say "Tonight marks a new beginning..." as a Shinra helicopter appears behind him, which he grabs as the splash screen of his name and announcement of "RUFUS!" happens, before flying away and finishing his sentence "...for Shinra!". The shot ends on his smug smile at the end of FF7R.


If Rufus is wearing his FF7 Original outfit instead, he'll let out a little "Heh..." as the helicopter appears instead, followed with "That's all for today...", the same lines he used when escaping by helicopter in the original Final Fantasy 7.

Victory Animation 2 (Down)


Rufus partially doubles over in laughter, before throwing his head back with one hand on his forehead in a fuller, dark laugh. The splash occurs before he throws his head back, and only the latter half of the laugh loops. This is a direct reference to his original Final Fantasy 7 fight, where he had a good chance to do this any given turn rather than attack.

Victory Animation 3 (Left/Right)

Rufus flicks his hair to the side, basically the same animation he does frequently in the original FF7, leading into the name call and splash screen. Rufus then transitions into a fierce stare at the screen, the same as when he was about to be killed by Diamond Weapon in the original game.

Loss Animation

Rufus claps his hands respectfully at the opponent's well earned victory, taking the loss surprisingly well. He's not someone to cry over a loss, after all.

Classic Mode: Climbing the Corporate Ladder

Battle 1: Brown/Green Wario and Blue Male Robin (Representing Palmer and Hojo)
Battle 2: Green Dedede and Red Bayonetta (Representing Heidegger and Scarlet)
Battle 3: Giant Squirtle and Giant R.O.B. (Represents Sapphire WEAPON and Diamond WEAPON, which Shinra killed in the OG game)
Battle 4: Mii Gunner, Mii Brawler and Mii Swordfighter (Barret, Tifa and Aerith costumes)
Battle 5: Cloud
Battle 6: Sephiroth (Permanant One Winged Angel, takes 0.7x damage from all attacks, deals 1.3x damage with all attacks)
 
Last edited:

FrozenRoy

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"Very well. If you want to fight me, I'll be your opponent."

Shou Toramaru


A character from Touhou, specifically first appearing in Undefined Fantastic Object, Shou is a Tiger Youkai. However, tigers are not native to Japan and did not exist on the island when she was created. Instead, when knowledge of tigers came to Japan, the thoughts of people and scholars on what tigers might be like caused Shou to come into existance via collective imagination, as youkai are created on belief. However, because Shou was created from false beliefs about tigers, it is likely she would simply vanish once real Tigers came to Japan, if not just more accurate information, or at least her "self" would be gone. When the then-wandering monk Byakuren Hijiri scouted her as a choice to become a disciple of Bishamonten due to her semi-unique youkai status and most specifically to gain the trust of the Youkai on the mountains. However, Shou hid her youkai nature from humans during her discipleship, and her "servant" Nazrin was also sent to watch her from Bishamonten due to distrust.

Despite this, Shou provided beyond worthy as a disciple and Nazrin's finding of her as not being shady caused her to become a well known and trustworthy disciple, and even considered one of Bishamonten's avatars. This more solid identity as Bishamonten would keep her from fading away if her initial youkai creation changed, essentially tethering herself to a new identity. However during Shou's duties as Bishamonten's avatar, Byakuren Hijiri would be captured and charged for aiding youkai and trying to protect them in her quest for human/youkai equality and imprisoned in Makai (essentially hell). Shou did not act as if she had tried to do something she would be outed as a youkai and because of fear, despite the fact that as Bishamonten's avatar she could possibly have changed the fate of things, and this regret and feelings of cowardice would motivate her to set this right and free Byakuren in the present time, putting all of her power into setting Byakuren free from Makai. She now serves as one of Byakuren's highest buddhist priests and essentially is the second in command...which is hilarious given Nazrin is technically supposed to be keeping careful eye on her and as an avatar of Bishamonten, Byakuren technically worships Shou (indirectly).

As an avatar of Bishamonten, Shou embodies aspects of the god, but she primarily embodies the god's treasure aspects compared to his War God aspects. Shou's abiliy is the ability to gather treasure, which she can use to gather gems, gold, lottery tickets, valuables in general. By gathering gems, she can combine their radiance with Bishamonten's Pagoda (or, as literally called sometimes, "Laser Pagoda") to fire extremely deadly lasers that reduce enemies to ash. Although she is considered to be of low threat level due to friendliness, the Pagoda (which is said to account for 80% of Shou's power, albeit from an unreliable source) basically means being around her when she is angered and you're not a super is instant, fiery death if she wishes it. Because of her treasure gathering ability and ZUN's love of JoJo, she is sometimes referenced with Shigechi from that series due to his stand "Harvest". Her spear is said to be mostly decorative and used as a walking stick, however it is quite likely that Shou has some proficiency in it due to her connection with Bishamonten and the fact she largely does not use it because...well...this is Gensokyo, almost everything is resolved with projectiles in the main games!

She is friendly, loyal and trustworthy, but one way she breaks her buddhist teachings is by drinking, and it is said she can't really hold her liquor well. Since she lost the Pagoda at the start of UFO and had to have Nazrin retrieve it, fanon likes to portray her as rather clumsy, or at least often losing things. Because of her status as a god's avatar, some consider her more upon the place of a minor deity herself than a youkai, which means she is rather odd hierarchy-wise in Gensokyo. Fittingly, she's a bit of a That One Boss in UFO: Her curvy lasers can be difficult to judge the direction of and dodge and her Spell Cards are rather precise. Seeing as how she acquises to the player's ideals when losing, she appears to have a slight Might Makes Right feeling to her...or she's just trying to get the player to still unseal Byakuren. Hard to say.


Catistics


Like with many Touhou characters, Shou's exact appearance in terms of height etc is pretty subjective, however she generally seems slightly taller than the average character, giving her slightly above average size, lets say comparable to Link. Her weight is quite average, above Sonic but below Luigi and Mario. Her ground speed is only a touch above average, think around Pit's, with about average traction.

Aerially, Shou falls a bit slower than the average character with slightly better aerial control and fairly average air speed, making them a slightly floaty character. Both of her jumps are above average, but not exactly special or anything. With no other special abilities, this gives Shou a fairly standard base slanted slightly towards a touch of speed and a touch of floatiness, a definition middleweight kind of character stats-wise.


Specials

"I didn't want to do this, but I have no choice.

The light of this jewelled pagoda of Bishamonten will cleanse the evil from your heart!"


Neutral Special: Jeweled Pagoda "Radiant Treasure" / Jeweled Pagoda "Radiant Treasure Gun"

Shou raises the Jeweled Pagoda of Bishamonten to the sky and it begins to radiate light as she calls upon her power, treasured gems beginning to collect around the Pagoda and coalescing around it. This is a storable charge move like Samus' Charge Shot or Lucario's Aura Sphere, with the gathering gems being a passive hitbox that deals 1.5% damage per hit and hits every 3-5 frames (a 1 frame faster rate than Aura Sphere), but as it is situated above Shou it won't really hit people under her much, making it a bit more difficult to damage rack. The hitbox itself is situated above an in front of Shou a similar distance to him from Shadow Ball, with the size being roughly the same. By the end of the hitbox, it is about 1.1x Shadow Ball's size. Shou cannot release the charge early for damage, hitting B again instead will simply cause Shou to stop charging, and it can be stopped via normal methods. It takes a moment to start charging, as Shou must raise the Pagoda and then begin the actual charging, but it is pretty fast to stop charging. This means the move is actually incredibly safe once you begin charging. This move takes as long as Samus' Charge Shot to charge, which is equal to 125 frames in Smash Ultimate.

The Pagoda provides Shou power and the gems increase the Pagoda's power or, in other words, Shou's attacks gain bonus powers by charging up the Pagoda. When attackers deal damage to Shou, they also will knock away some of the Pagoda's gems, weakening the amount of charge that the Pagoda has. Half of the damage dealt to Shou removes an equal number of frames, so if Shou is dealt 12% damage, 6 frames worth of charge are removed. Of course, Shou can charge it back up, but it does mean shou needs to be careful not to just take free hits. Shou does not lose the entire charge when hit, but loses twice as many frames (AKA equal to the amount of damage taken) from the attack that knocks her out of charge if hit out of it.

As Shou charges, the Pagoda and Shou herself will sparkle with a radiant glow, which becomes particularly strong when Shou reaches full charge. When Shou's Pagoda reaches full charge, the Pagoda becomes immune to being damaged for 5 seconds (Shou does not share this benefit, so don't worry) and Shou can, of course, no longer charge the move up...

Instead, Shou gains access to a new projectile, the Radiant Treasure Gun! Holding the Jeweled Pagoda in front of her, Shou causes it to fire a great blast of light forward, taking all of the jewels on the Pagoda with it. This blast is large, think like a Charge Shot, and just as fast, making it absurdly deadly at medium range when it actually deals more damage (28%), in addition to killing about 15% earlier than Samus at 90%. The range isn't as good, though, it goes two and a half Battlefield Platforms, so Shou can't quite try and use it as too long of a tool. The move deals damage either by exploding on hit with a foe or solid stage or when it reaches the end of its range, which also causes the gems to fly out and scatter, dealing multiple low damage hits to opponents within a small radius that can total up to 11%, but will almost always be DI'd out of before that happens.

More importantly is that after exploding, the gems will fall to the ground, forming a pile of gemstones on the stage that is decently sized, about a Bowser's height with a somewhat chunkier width than a crouching Bowser. These gems do not deal damage and can be walked on as any other terrain, acting as a small hill on the stage basically. This gemstone pile has 50 HP and does not fade with time and Shou cannot damage it with MOST moves, although Shou can interact with it, as the gemstones on the stage will refract Shou's laser/light based abilities, redirecting them or giving them a special benefit. Staying on the gemstone pile is therefor rather dangerous for a foe. Shou may have any number of gem piles out, however the fact she has to keep charging this move to use it and fire them off when it takes a while to charge and whatnot makes this frankly rather infeasible long term, although depending on the situation it is possible. Do note that Shou does not keep her charge after firing the projectile, so you'll need to recharge after sending it off!

Shou cannot charge up the Pagoda while the Radiant Treasure Gun's projectile is in the air. Rather, using her Neutral Special during this time allows her to control the Gemball while it is in the air. Holding it down and moving the control stick allows Shou gradual, curving control, kind of like a Snake Side Special or how a homing missile from Samus appears to control the Rocket Launcher or what have you, while you can hold and then smash and let go to cause it to more suddenly shift. The control is somewhat less fine than Snake's Nikita though, so it isn't as strong when edgeguarding. Directing the Gemball will make it go slower and lose power, with the smashed version instantly loses 6.5% damage and KOing at 115%, while the longer control version instead causes it to gradually go down to 15% damage and KOing at 150% with time. smashing it twice loses 6.5% more damage and thus brings it to the same low as the lowest gradual control, which is the minimum damage that Radiant Treasure Gun can do (barring staling and whatnot, of course). While Shou controls the Gemball, it will not have its distance timer go down, so Shou can in theory control a Gemball forever if she wishes, although this leaves her very vulnerable as she is helpless while controlling it. It resumes the distance timer when let go.

The Gemball will be reflected off Gems. If it does, its power will be restored to full, it will quickly speed up to normal speed and how far the Gemball can go will be refreshed. A downside to this is that until Shou chooses to redirect it again, it is no longer considered to be owned by Shou and can harm her, making it potentially pretty hazardous. While travelling, the Gemball itself will count as a gem pile for the purposes of interacting with Shou's moves, with some special changes to accomadate. With proper setups, Shou can potentially keep a Gemball around for a great while as a threatening tool or just to hit the foe. If Shou wants. she can also just send the ball careening into the ground to make a Gemball in a more managable/preferrable area. Entering and exiting the control stance is pretty low lag, but exiting it is the laggier of the two.


Side Special: Tiger Sign "Tiger Claw"

Shou takes her spear and swings it with the tip starting down and flicking up, dealing a light 3% damage to anyone hit by it with very light knockback. The spearhead and Jeweled Pagoda will both glow in faint light as she performs this sweep and will shoot out a thin, crescent wave of yellow light with black stripes forward. This attack deals 9% damage at any level of pagoda charge, small knockback and all-in-all standard hitstun at a base. Increased pagoda charge increases the hitstun of the "tiger claw" projectile by 0.25x with each level of charge. So 1.25x at 25%, 1.5x at 50%, 1.75x at 75% and 2x at 100%. This turns the move from a moderate combo extender at base to an awesome one at high pagoda charges, allowing plenty of combo path options for Shou depending on where they are! The more charged up they are, the brighter the projectile glows. The projectile moves quite fast and because of that it cannot hit foes multiple times barring extreme circumstances, but it can set Shou up for follow-ups. The starting lag is just a touch longer than average, while the ending lag is average. However, Shou can cancel a good amount of the ending lag (about half?) into either a dash or a jump, allowing her to effectively use it to approach. The projectile is very thin and thus easy to spot-dodge or roll around, but it is slightly taller than Shou herself.

This is not a simple projectile, though, as it will actually reflect other projectiles along the way! This allows Shou to rather effectively approach characters who rely on straight-ahead projectile camping, although counter-camping with this is difficult because of the starting lag and the speed of it meaning it will disappear when spammy characters are throwing out more projectiles. In addition, any projectile that would out-prioritize its damage will break it, causing the Tiger Claw to shatter and the projectile to continue unimpeded (for example, a fully charged Samus Charge Shot). How far this move goes depends on the Pagoda charge: 1 Battlefield Platform at 0%, 1.25 BFPs at 25%, 1.50 BFPs at 50%, 1.75 BFPs at 75% and 2 BFPs at 100%.

This move not only reflects enemy projectiles, but it will also reflect Shou's, which can allow her to bounce back Projectiles she has passed or whatnot back at foes who try to approach her, but is also quite noticable as the other key way to keep Shou's Gemballs on the screen, and can fit quite well with Shou's more delayed or constant projectiles. If the Tiger Claw hits Shou's gems, it will refract: The projectile continues forward, but a duplicate of it will be sent back the way the Tiger Claw came with full distance, creating a two-pronged attack! This can be particularly potent with her Gemballs, as those are both projectiles and refract the projectiles: The second Tiger Claw will refract in FRONT of the Gemball while the Gemball is reflected! This can allow some tricks not just with reflection, but a second hitbox that can lead to a double shield hit (Tiger Claw hits, causes enough shieldstun the Gemball hits) or what have you. To prevent too much silly abuse, refracted Tiger Claws cannot bounce Gemballs if they refracted off the Gemball (but can off of gem piles) to prevent infinite ping pong. The second Tiger Claw functions exactly the same as the first. Tiger Claws cannot reflect each other.

In the air, the Tiger Claw will be angled diagonally down and in front of Shou (45 degree angle, if I recall angles correctly), which can allow Shou to redirect projectiles to strike those down below or as a downwards approach.


Down Special: Heaven Sign "Scorched Earth Mandala"

Shou places the Pagoda on the ground, still holding onto the handle, and pours its power into the ground, which takes the appearance of a glowing yellow mandala on the ground, before picking the Pagoda up. This deals no damage, but the Mandala is a trap which is active when stepped on after 0.5 seconds of arming. The trap is multi-stage, firing off a total of 5 projectiles before expiring, and its duration before being triggered depends on Pagoda charge: 4 seconds base, plus 1 second for every 20% of charge the Pagoda has (Max: 9 seconds). The Mandala will react if Shou or any foe steps on it, but if Shou steps on it then it will simply target the nearest enemy, allowing Shou the ability to trigger it a bit on demand. This does come at somewhat of a cost, however: While the projectiles will not explicitly TARGET Shou, the fact she triggered the trap means they can HARM her! Scary, scary~ If Shou triggers the trap, then the projectile gains a gold-and-black striped outline to indi-cat that. For the most part, the mandala will not fire off more projectiles until the projectile it has out either hits a foe or expires, but there IS a way around that. If Shou or the foe steps on the mandala again, then it will automatically fire the next projectile after one second. This can lead to Shou trying to box an opponent in to keep using them to trigger the mandala trap and putting tons of pressure on the foe. Alternately, Shou could keep stepping on it for a steady rhythm of projectiles, but now she has to risk possibility being boxed in and hurt by her own projectiles! It's a bit of risky-reward, basically.

There's plenty of benefit to being able to trigger a 5-part projectile trap at will, but given Shou's reflection abilities she can end up wishing she'd have left that pagoda forgotten! Starting lag on this is somewhat long, ending lag average. Shou can place her Mandala traps in the air with a slightly different animation (holding the Pagoda in front of her): The Mandala in midair is a round trap about 3/4ths the size of Jigglypuff and otherwise acts the same. Firing times listed on the projectiles below are the minimum between projectiles even if they hit the foe, to prevent every projectile from just being vomited out immediately.

The first projectile the mandala trap will shoot out is a simple, straight and yellow laser which is about 1.5x the length of Fox's blaster laser and is aimed directly at the foe's location when fired (it does not track the foe after). It only deals 8% damage and almost non-existant knockback, but it is pretty fast and has good hitstun, generally serving as a bit of a setup projectile, albeit an unreliable one. It is fired half a second after a character steps on and triggers the Mandala trap. This straight laser actually has infinite range, only stopping when going off the blast zone or hitting the stage: Even when it hits a character, it will pierce through and keep going! It will reflect itself off of your gems and Side Special if it hits them as well, making this potentially a long lasting and scary projectile. However, foes can control where it fires since it auto-aims at them and thus unless the foe messes up, Shou forces them into a bad position or she takes matters into her own hands with Side Special it will probably not be very clean.

The second projectile is a curvy laser that goes from yellow to purple and back again as it travels and is fired 1 second after the straight laser. This laser follows the foe with somewhat lazy pathing similiar to Samus' Homing Missiles and is actually pretty slow, dealing 6% damage and weak knockback to foes it hits. The laser will constantly curve up and down, in an almost snake-like way, and while the exact way it does so is predictable (Up -> Down -> Up -> Down -> Repeat) it can still be quite a pain to dodge, whipping back and forth and homing in on the foe which combined with the curving makes it unpredictably predictable (IE if you pay attention, you can see what's coming, but it is hard to do so!). If these curvy lasers enter Shou's gems, they will travel alongside the edge of them as their normal hitbox, before many very tiny curvy lasers are fired out of the gems! These are very tiny compared to the base laser, which is 1.25x Fox Blaster laser size, deal 3% and almost no hitstun or knockback and only go half the distance, but they still home in and six of them are fired out (always from various parts of the top of the Gems), making them a pain to dodge.

How far this curvy laser will travel depends on your Pagoda charge: 1 Battlefield Platform at 0%, 1.25 BFPs at 25%, 1.5 BFPs at 50%, 1.75 BFPs at 75% and 2 Battlefield Platforms at full. Combined with the curving and homing, this can be a long term annoyance. If it is reflected by Side Special, duration is refreshed and it will re-lock-on to the nearest enemy, allowing Shou to potentially switch who the curvy laser targets in multiplayer smashes.

The third projectile is fired one second after the last and is yellow at one tip that slowly dips into red along the length of the laser, being around the width of Fox's laser, and it will fire towards the nearest foe in a similiar manner to the first, pure yellow laser, but then very lazily follows the foe with tracking like a Samus Homing Missile. When the laser gets close to the opponent, like 1/4th of a Battlefield Platform close, it wiill very suddenly and quickly jump backwards, trying to fake the opponent out, before rushing straight forward at the foe's current location right after this stutterstep! This laser deals 8% damage and knockback only slightly stronger than the first laser, making it more of a small damage racking tool. The laser will last until it has travelled for 1.5 Battlefield Platforms before its fake out, afterwards it will only last about half a second, and disappears upon hitting a foe, the stage or what have you. The unique coloration of this projectile means the fake out can always be read, but it can still cause plenty of reaction dodges, and the fact that dodging right before it strikes usually means getting hit means that Shou can get up close or have another projectile fly at the foe to force them into a catch-22 of getting hit by one or the other: Your previous Mandala laser can be very useful for this.

When this projectile comes into contact with your gempiles, it will clank off and gain half a Battlefield Platform worth of extra travel time while the coloration of which side of the laser is which reverses. The laser then continues its normal firing pattern. However, when the laser pulls back after this, it will instead head right towards whatever gem pile it hit! This different motion is once again predictable due to the reversed colors, but can produce some very difficult to avoid patterns nonetheless, most noticably if the foe gets the gempile on one side of them and this laser on the other. When the laser gets to the gempile, it dissipates. If it is using a Gemball as a gempile, it will go into its fake out and launch when the Gemball explodes, allowing a bit more degree of command. This move goes right through Shou's Side Special and is unaffected by it. This move gains no benefit from Pagoda charge.

One second after the third projectile is fired, the fourth projectile will be fired, which is a pure purple beam, although one side of it is lighter and the other is darker. The projectile is fired straight up one Ganondorf from the Mandala and is 1.25 the size of a Fox laser to begin with. Every half second, the laser will move half of a Battlefield Platform towards the nearest character (this includes Shou) and either expand or contract. At the start, it will contract, down to 1/3rd of a Fox laser, and then expand back to the original size of 1.25x Fox laser. The smaller the laser is, the more concentrated the power is and thus the stronger it is: At maximum length, it deals only 4% damage and almost no hitstun or knockback, but at its very smallest point it deals 16% damage that KOs at 140%! That might not sound too insane, but in the context of being a long lasting, travelling projectile on a trap it is quite strong! Usually, though, you'll land somewhere in the middle, around 10% that Kos at 210%. Opponents worried about the latter damage may just wish to get hit by the laser early on, as the damage is pitiful and the hitstun so small Shou cannot take much advantage of it. It takes roughly 5 contractions/expansions to get from longest/shortest to the opposite.

The laser lasts for 3 seconds, but goes on for longer with Pagoda charge: 4.5 seconds at 25%, 6 seconds at 50%, 7.5 seconds at 75% and 9 seconds with a full charge! It will also dissipate upon hitting a foe, stage or what have you. It will not hit Shou, naturally. How fast the laser travels depends on its size: At the longest, it is pretty slow, making it a very good way to hit spot dodgers and even sometimes those who roll or air dodge due to duration and length, but gives people very ample time to move out of the way, while the laser at its shortest goes very fast but due to the very small hitbox and length is extremely easy to dodge. Hitting a gempile will cause the power and speed of this move to be reversed as it refracts in an odd manner: It now gets more powerful and faster when longer, but less powerful and slower when smaller, and in addition gets darker when smaller instead of lighter, making it easy to tell if a gempile has reversed it this way! Obviously potentially having such a large and strong hitbox is good, but it will likely take quite a while to get it there, requires a Pagoda gempile or the fully charged projectile to work with and the small version becomes much more useless. Hitting a gempile again reverses the effect back to normal. Hitting a Side Special simply causes it to bounce off in the opposite duration for that movement.

The final and fifth projectile is pure red, the size of Fox's laser and fired one second after the previous projectile. It travels as fast as Fox's laser as well and is fired at the foe's current location, going 3 Battlefield Platforms at max before poofing unless it gets close to a foe. Once it gets within about 1/4th of a Battlefield Plarform of a foe, it will begin to circle them, not disappearing if it hits the stage during this time. After circling them four times, the laser then fires itself at the foe at blistering speeds, dealing 10% damage and below average knockback and hitstun! The laser follows the foe while circling them at a speed slightly slower than their dash speed: Or, in other words, reckless dashing or speedy Fox Illusion-esque moves can cause you to just run into the laser and set off the hitbox early! Since it rotates the foe though, of course, it leaves ample room for foes to try and go past it then, although the laser will keep trying to follow them until it finishes its rotation. It rotates very slowly, I feel I should note, and disappears after half of a Battlefield Platform after it fires itself at the foe.

If this hits a gempile, then it will circle it like the foe, and then fire itself at the gempile at the fourth rotation, disappearing afterwards. This serves as protection for your gempiles, but the slow speed, predictability and weak damage make it not all that strong of a trap and thus it is not a HUGE deterrent, especially since getting inside the gempile makes one pretty safe from it. It is most interesting when attached to one of your Radiant Treasure Gun gemballs, as circling one of them can be extremely deadly when the Gemball is following it up as such a deadly hitbox and while it is fairly situational, it is one of Shou's strongest KO setups! In particular, it can at the least force double sidesteps for the Smash cast (although superlarge characters like Thaddius, Garithos and Vorinclex may be too chunky) or a sidestep and then roll or force messier jump timings. If the gemball reaches its path end or what have you, the laser disapoofs. Side Special hitting this will simply reflect the direction before it begins rotating, but afterwards will instead reverse the direction it rotates! This not only makes it take a bit longer (it has to make up for the distance it'd already rotated for a "full" rotation), it can change up direction/firing method and thus force a bit of an adaption in how foes deal with it. This move is unaffected by Pagoda charge.

Shou may only have one Mandala trap out at once, with making new ones replacing the old one in a poof, however once the trap is activated it no longer counts as your one trap, so Shou can place another one out while one is firing. Although most of the projectiles in this are not the strongest, they all have rather unique quirks, and getting them in one trap is a great boon: They also tend to force action or dodges and thus give pressure advantage to Shou, or allow him to take advantage of the slowly worming purple laser as a projectile-trap-ish thing or what have you. Be careful of foes rushing you when they trigger this, as none of the traps really offer Shou a lot of instant protection.


Up Special: Tiger Sign "Hungry Tiger"

Shou gathers power into herself in a similiar starting lag/animation and likewise blasts off in a chosen direction (up by default) while turning into a travelling beam of pure light visually, going 1.33x the distance of Fire Fox (Shou turning into light is based on her version of this Spellcard in Double Spoiler, where her body seems to turn into a mass of pure light bullets that are then fired off) at a rather fast speed, dealing 8% damage and light knockback to anyone she hits, although the hitbox is actually pretty small (basically just Shou's body) and therefor not the easiest to hit with. The knockback is in the direction Shou travels, with Shou not entering helpless if she strikes a foe although unlike Ganondorf's Up Special this doesn't refresh the Up Special so the light knockback isn't TOO abusable. Nonetheless, this allows Up Special to serve as a combo starter in the air! The fairly long starting lag does mean it is hard to hit raw, so it might be better to use it as a combo EXTENDER, but the ending lag is fairly average and it has pretty low landing lag if you land DURING the attack: Shou can drag opponents down to the ground with the move's knockback bringing them down as well, a great way for Shou's air game to transition into her ground game!

Each level of charge on the Jeweled Pagoda gives Shou an additional benefit for this move as she glows more grossly incandescantly, the gems of her pagoda surrounding her to create this effect. The gems are sturdy and for every 25% of charge, they provide her with 4% super armor, meaning it gives 16% super armor if you have 100% Pagoda charge, which for a recovery with such a long start-up is notable for making it extremely difficult to knock Shou out of her recovery, although it is quite easy at lower percentages. The percentage the super armor works against scales with 1v1 bonus. Each Pagoda charge also increases the damage and hitbox range of this move: Every 25% adds 2% damage to this move, meaning it deals 16% at 100% charge, with the hitbox range increasing from "basically Shou's body" at 0% to "reaches out decently far" at 100%. Knockback strength is compensated at each level of charge to stay the same even with the additional damage, essentially turning this into a higher damage combo move as charge is gained.

At 50%+ Pagoda charge, Shou popping back into existence at the end of the Up Special's range becomes a blinding explosion of light! This has 1.25x the range of the normal hitbox, increasing with Pagoda charge modifying the move's normal range, and is a strong hitbox that deals a beautiful 19% damage to send foes careening past the blast zone at 100%. Since it requires Shou reaching the end of her range, it will NOT trigger if you use the low landing lag of this attack, leading to the more normal landing lag of hitting the ground after the hitbox ends. Shou gains control of themselves at the same time as if they did not have the sweetspot IE the ending lag is unchanged. This can lead to a mixup for the foe to consider, as close to the ground Shou can force enemies to guess if she will go to strike the ground so she can get to a grab to catch a shielding foe or what have you, or rush to the foe to potentially hit them at sweetspot range for huge damage and kill power!

The hitbox can otherwise be hard to hit due to Shou's constant body hitbox, because it can end up hitting opponents past the sweetspot and cause it to miss. This is most likely to happen in the middle of the hitbox. Hitting at the very start will lightly leave opponents in range to be hit by the sweetspot because Shou gets more time to catch up to them, while at the end the sweetspot will likely come out before the opponent is launched far enough away, with this being harder to do at higher damage percents where enemies are launched more. Hitting it outside of that will require not hitting the rushing hitbox, often requiring callouts on air dodges or foes not paying proper attention in neutral (or thinking you're going to something else). While grabbing the ledge will cause this attack to not come out, Shou can delay her ledge grab the same way as any other character can in Smash Ultimate, allowing the sweetspot to come out. This is very risky if the foe goes for two framing as it essentially extends the two frame window and the rushing hitbox is easy to hit through, but if an opponent is waiting near ledge you can peek-a-boo them for a biiiig punish! Same if they were going for a quick ledge trump potentially. You could even potentially Up Special directly down on a foe awaiting you with an Up Smash that deals less damage than the Up Special's super armor, armor through it and end right above them to punish with the sweetspot!

A final additional hitbox is added at 100%, which causes a small range ring of light to blast out around Shou when she first uses Up Special. This is 1.25x the range as the rushing hitbox and only exists briefly, dealing 8% damage and briefly stunning the foe! This is, essentially, a lead-in hit that true combos into the rush as long as you rushed in the direction of the foe. It comes out about halfway through the starting lag into the rush, essentially giving Shou a much faster Up Special at close ranges. It can also allow Shou to zip around with Up Special as a movement option more easily, such as retreating away from the foe and hitting them with this if they were approaching. Situationally, you can combo the early hit into the rush into the ending sweetspot! This has a very specific, highly character variable damage range that usually begins at about 30% higher than the attack would normally KO (later on heavies, earlier on lightweights) and will work for about 20% before either being DI-able or launching the foe too far. While this is very specific and kinda risky to pull off, it also is a kill confirm in most situations.

If Shou hits one of her Side Special Tiger Claws, then she will by default continue through them, but can also smash any direction to decide to rebound off of it and head in that direction, adding half of a Battlefield Platform of distance to her maximum distance in doing so. Shou can only go off of any one Tiger Claw once and can only deflect herself off of up to 4 Tiger Claws per any aerial trip. The first time Shou bounces off of a Tiger Claw per Up Special trip will also cause the additional early hitbox of Up Special to trigger if Shou has 100% charge, but won't trigger any times past that to prevent crazy damage racking.

Entering Gempiles is what is particularly interesting, as much like the Side Specials "deflecting" Shou if she chooses, Shou will actually enter her Gempiles like a projectile with this move! Shou can stay inside of them for up to half a second, but flies out of the Gempiles with almost no lag by simply choosing a direction: If half a second passes without direction, she is by default shot out upwards. This essentially allows Shou to use to use the Gempiles to fire off a second, very fast Up Special, with a bit of a twist: She'll take some of the gems with her when flying out!

This deals 10 HP of damage to her gempiles, but essentially acts as 25% worth of Pagoda charge...even past the cap! Yes, Shou can go past the usual cap for this move, up to twice normal: Meaning another 8% damage (24% total now) and quite a wide range on the attack's hitbox! Shou will not deal her ending sweetspot if she enters a gempile instead of finishing the move, but WILL perform it when exiting a gempile if the move ends while normal. The early hit does not emanate from Shou as a ring, but instead has the hitbox cover the entire gem pile, which can be a great way to deal with foes trying to hold the high ground on them. While impressive and you can chain into gempiles for chain boosts, it is extremely predictable (moreso than any Warlock Punch or Ganondorf Up Tilt: You have to go through 4 Gem Piles for this if you had a 100% Pagoda charge!) and will wreck your gempile HP. Shou should also beware of Gempiles dying with this move: If the Gempile Shou is in is destroyed while she is in it, she is knocked out of this move and takes extremely large hitstun! Please note that this does not apply if the Up Special itself destroys the gempile, as Shou will burst out of the gempile normally in that instance. She must have had that one planned!

Remember that your Gemballs count as Gempiles: They do so here as well, so Shou can actually hitch a ride on her own projectile to go flying while getting a Gempile bonus, and since it has no HP, you don't even have to worry about the damage...although this requires firing off a projectile requiring 100% Pagoda Charge, meaning it is almost impossible to get a lot of Pagoda charge for this variation of it: In theory, one could set up a ton of gempiles and then teleport to and fro them, but the sheer amount of effort required for this would mean you may as well just kill the foe already. Most often, this is instead just used to get in some follow-up to your Gemball's forced dodges, to hitch a ride to a specific Gempile for another angle of strike with it or to dodge attacks. If the Gemball explodes while Shou is in it, the same thing as when a Gempile dies occurs.


Smashes


Forward Smash: Vaisrvana's Radiance

The tip of Shou's spear glows radiantly as she pulls it back, before thrusting it forward as a stabbing hitbox! This hitbox is pretty standard in terms of damage for a smash, with a tipper sweetspot as well. The bulk of the spear's thrust deals 13%-18.2% damage (actually pretty low...) and mediocre knockback that doesn't really kill until 140%-110%. But if you hit with that tipper, the damage is boosted up to 17%-23.8% with pretty solid knockback that kills at 95%-69%! The tipper ain't the largest hitbox ever but it isn't THAT hard to land, so that's a pretty nice reward! This move has pretty much perfectly average lag to it, not being particularly fast or slow on either end of the attack.

The charge of Shou's pagoda will affect this attack in a most curious way, as it causes a "copy" of the spear to be projected from the spear as it stabs forward! The exact amount of the spear copied is equal to the percentage of Pagoda charge, so a 1% charge creates the shrimpiest little spear bit you can imagine, while a 100% charge creates a full-on copy of the spear that gives Shou range beyond Corrin's Forward Smash! This spear copy has the same hitbox properties as the normal spear, with the spear's projection starting at the top and so having the tipper both appear first and have a very variable positioning depending on the pagoda's charge!

This range can be taken advantage of in a few ways, but one notable one is by mixing it up with Up Special. Opponents who try to stay out of range of a Forward Smash tend to be in range of being run into with Up Special's sweetspot, which can be particularly dangerous if Shou has enough super armor level to armor through enemies neutral options. An opponent preparing to stop, say, aerial approaches with a jump up aerial will get armored through and then punished with a powerful sweetspot! They can play back and shield it, the Up Special's sweetspot being unsafe on shield, but this allows Shou to begin charging her Neutral Special, lay down a Down Special mandala and so on, or if Shou already has projectile options out it can cut off the number of ways they have to deal with this neutral situation anyway. She could also go for a jump-in if the opponent is too scared to anti-air her, and if they are constantly shielding to stop it a tomahawk grab. A common way to escape this situation would be to roll away, which Shou can potentially counter with a Forward Tilt, by firing off a fully charged Neutral Special or by running in and using a spaced Up Special to pop in the foe's face as their roll ends!

But wait, that's not all! The spear "copy" can be refracted by your gems, just like projectiles! This causes one copy of the spear to pop out the direct other end of the gems, while the other copy appears at the midway part of the two. So if a gempile was right in front of Shou on the groundand it got poked by the spear copy, one would appear on the other side of the gem pile and the other straight up. Shou can angle this attack like a lot of Forward Smashes and that will affect how the spear refracts: Up causes the third spear to appear closer to Shou and pointed in, down causes it to be pointed further from show and more outwards. Shou can stab her gemballs with this, too. The spears will only pop out of it while it is overlapping the spear hitbox, but needless to say even briefly attacking this attack to a moving hitbox can make all kinds of dumb situations. And overall it is an amazing stage control tool, even if the hitbox is pretty lacking outside of the sweetspot for damage, range can more than make up for it!


Up Smash: Treasure Sign "Dazzling Gold"

Shou holds the Pagoda above her head as it glows magnificently, releasing a barrage of golden curvy lasers above her! This is a long lasting multi-hit hitbox that deals a bunch of hits in sub-1% chunks that measure up to 12%-16.8% total before the last hit of 6%-8.4% sends opponents upwards with fine-but-unspectacular knockback. The lasers do not just go above Shou but instead also curve downwards, kind of spherical looking that way, which ends up giving Shou complete coverage around her! This move does have some rather harsh ending lag, which makes it punishable if you miss it and rely on it too much for that coverage, but the starting lag is pretty average. Pretty solid anti-air, really! The lasers don't go particularly high above Shou, as they curve down from the Pagoda almost instantly, but the fact they are curving and in turn making a circular motion means it is easier to avoid it from above on the sides. This is important because while the lasers can poke through low platforms (such as lower Battlefiel Platforms) right above her, the edges are safe.

When it comes to Shou's gempiles, they will actually absorb the lasers and "store" them inside! This deals 10 HP damage to the gempile, but it means that one and a half seconds later the attack repeats itself! With the fairly high damage of the move this is a potent trap to have out, the kind of thing Shou can force the opponent into to limit their options and get more out of her attacks. One of the scary things, though, is that this repeats itself! Yep, it'll keep going until the gempile's HP is depleted, taking 1.5 seconds after the move's finish each time. This is a potent trap that Shou can throw out there for more stage control, but she should be pretty careful with it as this essentially ensures the destruction of the gempile due to the constant HP drain. On the other hand, boy, that's a frequent and powerful trap! It's quite worth it. When coming out of a gem pile, this attack's range is about the same when used by Shou, so a foe can DI or land near the sides of a Battlefiel Platform to avoid this if Shou sets an Up Smash trap under a low platform. This also makes the opponent's movement predictable if they want to land on it, which could be the perfect time to redirect a Neutral Special towards that spot, or Up Special in the right spot to threaten landing a potent sweetspot if they try to land on a covered platform and avoid the Up Smash!

This smash attack counts as a projectile akin to Olimar's, which means reflectors can be an issue. But with Shou's Side Special she can play around with it, firing the Side Special off inside to "desync" a bunch of the lasers and send them flying! All of them will be very weak since they'll get scattered so much, but the large amount of brief hitboxes might be worth it for the pandemonium they cause. This won't stop the Up Smash from cycling into the gempile repeatedly, so you can also use this technique over and over near a gempile, although of course just trying to focus on that leaves you pretty helpless against the foe. So don't hone in too much on that as much as how to use the times you throw it out to benefit your overall gameplan!


Down Smash: Goddess of War and Treasure

Gripping the handle of her spear firmly, Shou performs a single strong spin around her (think kinda like a Link Spin Attack) that has her spear's tip glowing and dragging against the ground. The spear's tip creates a golden "wave" projectile to each side of Shou in the process, adding an additional hitbox to the melee strike she throws out! The melee strike itself deals 14%-19.6% damage and unlike the Forward Smash lacks a powerful tipper, killing at 130%-90% across the entire spear. However the tip of the spear being so low to the ground DOES allow it to shield poke opponents surprisingly easy! Most shield poke attacks aren't this strong, so that's pretty valuable. The starting lag on this attack is fairly fast, but the ending lag is heavily punishable if shielded (and not poked) or whiffed. This makes baiting out this "get off me" style attack an enticing prospect for Shou's opponents! The fast starting lag also allows this to be a combo ender attack from some attacks, with Up Special rush being a noticeable one if Shou lands it and drags the foe along, dealing high damage while giving Shou space to work with for more campy uses.

The wave projectiles are rather weak overall, dealing 6% damage regardless of the smash attack's charge and popping opponents upwards, but getting two projectiles for free is a pretty sweet deal. They also have a very unique property in the set's context, as they "lock" on to the dazzling glow of Shou's projectiles! Normally these projectiles only last long enough to travel 1 Battlefield Platform at mediocre speeds, but when they travel under any of Shou's projectiles they will "lock" onto them! This has a few effects.

First off, the wave projectiles now travel at the same speed as the projectile it is locked onto, moving slower or faster at will. They will even stay in place if the projectile is stationary! Secondly, the wave's projectile life is now tied into that of the projectile it is locked onto, with it lasting for as long as the projectile it is locked onto does. When considering your Side Special and gempiles, this can be rather long lasting! In fact with your Radiant Treasure Gun, you can keep a wave going on for quite a while by controlling your gemball to keep it out! Only one wave can be locked onto any one projectile at a time, future waves will keep going if they pass under a projectile that has a wave locked onto it already.

When locked onto an Up Smash looping under a gempile, which can be done if the pile of gems is on a platform or what have you, it will stay stationary under that pile untilt he Up Smash has exhauste its lifespan, even during the 1.5 seconds of waiting to fire! This basically turns standing onto that area into a "no" zone for opponents, making it powerful area denial. Also, the upwards knockback of this attack is fairly effective given most of the time it will be following BELOW a projectile! You don't always get big use out of this, sometimes it attaches itself to a small projectile that vanishes quickly, but there's a lot of fun uses you can get out of it, for example with the Mandala projectiles that fakeout opponents or circle them this can be a VERY annoying trap!


Standards



Jab: Incandescent Radiance

Shou takes Bishamonten's Pagoda and raises it in front of her quickly, causing a burst of bright light to radiate out of it briefly before returning it to her side. A quick attack for getting opponents off of her, this attack deals 5% damage and some pretty good knockback, particularly strong in base knockback, that assures Shou has space to herself. This means it isn't all that good for damage or to work into her aggressive game, but is perfect if she wants to just get opponents off of her in order to charge a Neutral Special, change up an existing Neutral Special's direction via controlling it or set down a Down Special mandala trap. Her spear also just naturally gives her good range to keep opponents out and outrange them, so. The starting lag on this attack is fast, but the ending lag is on the high end. This makes this attack particularly unsafe on shield as it is lacking in shield stun.

While the power of this attack does not increase with pagoda charge, it does get increased range! By default, the range is pretty similar to most jabs albeit with acircular hitbox. At a full pagoda charge, this has some quite solid range around Shou that entirely covers her hurtbox and radiates outwards about 1/3rd of a Battlefield Platform, enabling Shou to use this get of me attack at much safer ranges! The edges of the range are actually very slightly safe on shield in most matchups, opponents with particularly long range and fast out of shield options might punish it or specific OoS movement options, although the opponent can always just approach after shielding to get into unsafe range so you can't spam this. This doesn't use up Shou's NSpec charge in any way, so it is basically a passive buff to this attack.


Forward Tilt: Curvy Lasers

Holding the pagoda in front of her, golden energy charges within it before shooting out one of Shou's signature lasers! This laser is thin but has pretty good length along with a great amount of range as they travel FOUR Battlefield Platforms! The projectile itself is not very powerful, dealing 6% damage and weak knockback, but range has a strength all its own. The starting lag on this is a bit on the laggy side but not THAT bad, with moderate ending lag that leads Shou to certainly be punishable at close ranges! This is for all intents and purposes Shou's bread and butter projectile: Neutral Special obviously can't be thrown out, the Mandala is timed and the Side Special is more about influencing other projectiles or extending melee plays than just throwing out projectiles. When you want a projectile for the foe to deal with or are in advantage state and want to get one out, this is what you use!

This move has a lot more to it than meets the eye, though. First off is tha the attack is "angleable" in a manner much different than most Forward Tilts and that might require some real dexterity to utilize. After inputting Forward Tilt, you should try to tilt the control stick in ANY direction, think of it like Fire Fox. After one Battlefield Platform, the laser will begin to curve itself until that's the forwar direction for it! For example, let's say you pointed the control stick straight up. The laser will do its best to curve straight up, that movement would take about a "Battlefield Platform"'s worth of time, then continue going straight up! If you tilt it back and down, you can send it diagonally back and down, or you can tilt it backwards and only very slightly down in order to make it go back the way it came and juuust under where it started! Properly done, this can allow you to do stuff like shoot a projectile past a ledge, then twist it so that it curves back to the ledge or just under it to hit people! How long the laser takes to curve depends on how far it has to curve. Only sending it, say, very slightly above purely straight takes no time at all, while any direction that requires it to go straight up, up-back, straight down, down-back or purely back requires a Battlefield Platform's worth of curving. It is, of course, still a hitbox while curving. This makes it a supremely versatile hitbox!

On top of that, though, Shou can press A again quickly in order to fire out another laser! This expends 10% of Shou's Neutral Special charge, but allows her to fire out another laser quickly instead of going through the full ending lag each time, allowing Shou to spam them much more effectively. On top of that Shou only needing to press A makes it MUCH easier to curve lasers if desired, and you can in fact curve every laser in a different direction! If Shou is willing to expand a complete Neutral Special charge, she can end up with a full eleven projectiles all zipping and zooming in different directions! This, of course, wouldl leave her horribly vulnerable in attack duration and requires expending the full resource of something that creates an important interactable, deals 28% damage and KOs at 90%. So it's far from free to perform this! But creating your own bullet hell is not only fun, but effective: This move is particularly excellent at restricting the foe's options and forcing some level of scratch damage or combos if used this way.

What about the laser's interactions with the rest of her set? Well, reflecting off a Side Special is fairly normal usually, while if it is curved it will reflect and the curve will be changed to the new direction. Let's say you have a laser curving straight up and it hits a Side Special while curved diagonally. It will be reflected diagonally back and down, naturally, but it will also now try to curve to a pure downwards angle! You can create some pretty mind-bending bullet hell scenarios if you abuse this, but it's of course a lot of setup too.

For the Gemballs and Gem Piles, the laser will slip inside of them until every part of it is inside, then instantly shoot out the direction it was meant to be curved for with increased speed and power! So, if you shot it straight forward into a Gempile in front of Shou while it was meant to curve upwards, it will instantly shoot upwards once the hitbox is fully absorbed by the pile. The projectile is launched at 2x speed and now deals 10% damage, although it won't kill until 250% so don't expect to be a sniper here. Main stage gem piles are somewhat limited since firing down will just cause it to fizzle into the stage, but there's still plenty of tricks to use. For example, shooting a curvy laser while within one Battlefield Platform will cause it to be absorbed before it curved at all, so opponents won't know what direction it is going to shoot out of! Gem piles on drop-through platforms can shoot the laser through the bottom of them, so you could curve a laser downwards while on a platform with it to hit people below, perhaps even curving a laser forward and slightly up by expending 10% NSpec in order to also cover a shorthop (though the opponent could shield this, so you'd need to be prepared to take advantage of that somehow, such as grab). And a gemball can be going in ANY direction, so you can curve however you please from it, the movement of it can also allow Shou to shoot it a bit further away from when it was absorbed. You can also, say, shoot a gem pile or gemball full of 10 lasers curving in a bunch of different directions for maximum anarchy...but do realize that requires not only timing and not being attacked, but two NSpec full charges (one for the gems, one for the lasers) for a total of 250 frames of doing absolutely nothing to the foe. It's not a casual or easy strategy!


Down Tilt: Double Sweep

Much like Hero's Forward Tilt or Link's Forward Smash, Shou's Down Tilt is an optional 2-hit attack. The first hit is a quick leg sweep that has Shou crouching down athletically as she does so, making her hurtbox lower and allowing her to low profile some particularly high hitting attacks. The sweep itself deals 5% damage and knockback that pops opponents upwards, a pretty good combo starter that leads into most of Shou's aerials save for Forward Aerial. Up Aerial can be tricky to combo before mid percents, while Down Aerial stops comboing around mid percents. This makes it a pretty solid combo starter with Shou. If she wants, around mid percents this will launch opponents enough they can get set into tech situations on lower platforms like Battlefield's if she waits a moment, so she can instead greed for a stronger tech chase punish such as sweetspot Forward Aerial or her Smash Attacks if she has enough time to get on the platform. This attack is fast to come out, but it is unsafe on shield and the hitbox is just high enough that it has a tendency to clip shields instead of shield poking. But it doesn't hit high enough to hit a shorthop or aerial foe, so that's another way to beat it, although the attack is obviously far too fast to jump on reaction.

When you're hitting the shield rather than the foe, that's when you want to use the second hit, which has Shou sweepin with her spear this time! The tipper is a sweetspot and the rest is a sourspot. The sourspot deals 5% damage and pushes opponents forward, not even launching until high percents. It's enough for the attack to be safe but Shou doesn't really get any tangible advantage off this. Both hits of this attack are very low to the ground and so will shieldpoke opponents hit by the first hit, but a properly spaced Down Tilt will have shieldpush to true combo into the sweetspot and is ideal. Of course, avoiding punishment and getting 5% off is still best if it comes down to it. The sweetspot deals 9% damage and some pretty solid launching knockback. Up until 40% or so on most characters it forces them to tech or be put on the ground, and at particularly high percents (175%) it can be a very late stage kill move. If Shou has a gem pile in front of them, the range they'll hit the pile and have to tech rather than go over it is instead around 80%. Shou has a good number of projectiles and range-y attacks to abuse a foe in a tech situation, and at worst it dealt good damage + gave Shou room to charge Neutral Special, lay a Down Special or what have you.

The downside of this is that if you use the 2nd hit, you won't have any time to take advantage of a foe hit by the first strike. The combo window and tech chase window isn't long enough to still get it off if you use a whiffing 2nd hit and the 2nd hit will always miss if you hit with the first. So, this move is a bit of a read on if the opponent will shield, spot-dodge (which this also catches), potentially roll (if they're very close to Shou and roll backwards, the tipper can catch them) or if they'll get hit or jump. Note that both halves of this attack lose to jump, so be aware of the opponent going for that if you toss this out a bunch.


Up Tilt: Elegant Warfare

Shou takes her staff and spins it above her with an elegant twirl, looking akin to a grounded Palutena Neutral Aerial, a multi-hit attack that deals two hits of 2% damage followed by a weak launching hit of 4% damage. Much like Palutena's Neutral Aerial, it is a GREAT combo starter! Not as good as Palutena's due to not being an aerial with movement and autocancel ability, although it still has low ending lag, it'll launch into essentially any aerial, can combo into itself multiple times at low percents (although it caps at 3 for the most part, some characters can only be hit twice, extreme fastfallers can sometimes be hit 4 times with bad DI). The starting lag is a touch high, which makes it trickier to land than Down Tilt, while the low ending lag doesn't make it unpunishable due to the somewhat high duration. This is your go-to move for continuing a combo out of Up Special as long as Shou lands in front of the foe, with the hitstun being enough to true combo out of it if Shou does not need to turn around.

At the same time, the high duration and multi-hit nature of the attack makes it excellent for catching air dodges and can out-range opponents without disjointed hitboxes. The fact Shou is twirling it above her gives it good vertical range and it hits to both sides of Shou as well, but it lacks a low hitbox and so can be low-profiled by various attacks. It is also unsafe on shield, which means utilizing this and Down Tilt is a bit of a mix. Up Tilt will stuff people who seek to jump over Down Tilt and stuff it but always loses to shield, Down Tilt can beat shield and has greater speed but gets stuffed by jumps. Up Tilt also can't catch rolls unless the opponent flatout rolls into your body, although it will catch a spot dodge. Learning how to best vary it up between Up Tilt, Down Tilt and some of Shou's other options are pretty key to playing her!


Dash Attack: Leap of Faith

Shou quickly drops to the ground and slides, not unlike Mario's Dash Attack, an attack quick to start that starts off by dealing 8% damage with mediocre upwards knockback, but quickly degrades to 5.5% damage and a light "pop" of knockback after the very start. The knockback on the early hit is honestly not that useful, but the late hit allows Shou to begin a combo if it hits from at least the midpoint of the slide. The later into the slide you hit, the meatier of a combo you can get since you are closer to the ending lag completing. Since this attack lingers for a pretty good time, it is very useful to 2-frame opponents at the ledge and can pop up people who ledge stall effectively. The ending lag on this is fairly low in addition to the low starting lag, so Shou can slide around the stage pretty freely should she choose.

By hitting A at any point during the slide, including at the very start, then Shou will take her spear and thrust it into the ground! She then uses this to lift herself up, transitioning from a slide into a pole vault and flying kick forward! The spear being thrust into the ground is a weak hitbox that deals 3% damage and set knockback that will essentially true combo into the kick barring exceptional circumstances. The kick is a decently powerful kill move at the very start of its life that deals 13% damage and kills at around 145% or so, but it degrades quickly to 10% damage that kills at 180%-ish. This attack does not linger nearly as long as the slide, leaving Shou to take her ending lag fairly soon. The ending lag itself is pretty average, which allows Shou to use the high forward momentum from the pole vault for her aerials!

This effect is even more pronounced when considering angles. Used on flat ground, Shou will always just go forward. However Shou's gempiles allow the use of the fabled slopes! By utilizing a slope with her slide, Shou can fling herself at a variety of angles. This is true for natural slopes in the game too, of course. Generally speaking, the higher Shou is on a slope the more vertical she will go. At the very top of her pile, the spear will stick straight into the side and so Shou will fling herself straight upward for example. Go earlier on the slope for a more horizontal leap. This allows Shou to gain increased momentum in any direction, even down if she uses it going DOWN a slope and so angles herself that way! You can do somthing funky by going down a slope and dash attacking off a ledge for a tricky ledge guard as opponents need to consider you not using the pole vault and going for the 2-frame.

If Shou presses B during the slide, then Shou will begin the pole vault as normal but being glowing brightly as she does so. When she would actually vault off of the spear, her body turns into light and she rushes away! Shou can choose any direction to rush in just like her Up Special, but it is weaker and not powered up by her pagoda's charge level, always dealing 8% damage with kinda mediocre damage. It can combo at low percents, but past that it is instead a mixup. Shou retains the momentum she would have from the pole vault while dashing, INCLUDING the direction! Momentum is capped at 1.5x Shou's air speed, to ensure there's no way that Shou can just infinitely build momentum with Up Special tricery. This means that Shou can, for example, decide to dash backwards while she pole vaulted forward which would send her flying forward. Or she could pole vault straight forward and go straight up, allowing her to dash forward from a higher angle. Combine this with Shou's ability to alter her pole vault's direction based on where she uses a gem pile and you can do stuff like rush at a downwards-diagonal angle that would be good for direct approaching while using the light-dash to go any direction for it. This does mean no true combo kick if you used it when poking the opponent with the spear, but with the mobility options on display there's plenty of little tricks to be had for a smart player here!


Aerials


Neutral Aerial: Tiger Thrust

Shou brings her spear close to her, giving this move somewhat long starting lag, before thrusting it outward with a fierce strike! By default this strike goes straight forward, but Shou can actually angle this in any direction during the starting lag! This does offer a bit of issue with Shou, it's almost impossible to retreating NAir without instead doing backwards NAir, but it does allow this range move to function as a long range tool in any direction! This attack deals a uniform 10% damage across the entire spear, with mediocre knockback that won't kill until around 170%. This makes the move much more for coverage and range when it comes to attacking rather than being an especially powerful attack in and of itself. Shou appreciates this a lot because of all the projectiles she can have flying around, so she can adjust the exact way to space foes out with this instead of having to work through very specific ones, and in theory could even mindgame a foe expecting an "obvious" NAir angle with a different one! The ending lag is a bit long too, so Shou should be careful when it comes to throwing this out, though.

That's not all there is to this move, though! If the spear impacts solid ground when it is thrust out, such as a floor or wall, then Shou will impact it with the spear and hold it there. Think a lot like Sephiroth's Forward Aerial, except you can impact at many angles! This affects how Shou can jump from the impact, with Shou always jumping "forward" from her spot. So if you stabbed yourself directly up/down for example, then it will be directly the way Shou was facing, allowing her to jump forward. Angle the spear stab at a diagonal and you'll be able to fling yourself at angles, which given this is angle-able in any direction akin to Fire Fox allows lots of options!

More of this can be done by combining it with Shou's Up Special, which can also be used from the impalement: Shou will fling themselves from whatever it is that has been impaled when doing this, allowing Shou to transfer the momentum of the impalement to the direction of the Up Special, the Up Special itself functioning exactly as described in that move. Shou being able to transfer the impalement's momentum can allow Shou to, for example, land on the ground for the short landing lag of Up Special and continue moving the direction the Neutral Aerial would have sent her, potentially allowing her to slide across the ground while still attacking, or pop back into the air right after! One way this can be used is to dodge an aerial and then strike back quickly or you could use it to drag opponents across the stage with a move like Up Tilt or use a move like Forward Smash while retreating and so on. Just like Dash Attack, momentum is capped at 1.5x Shou's air speed.

Shou can impact her Radiant Treasure Gun projectile with this attack as if it was solid, which allows her to "ride" it along and either cancel out in place (simply riding the momentum) or jump at whatever angle you choose. This can give Shou some pretty unique and tricky approach options, especially if she changes the direction of the shot before impact. Shou could use it to throw out Neutral Aerial, impact an incoming gemball and proceed to retreat out of any punishment for example. Shou can also impact her gem piles on the stage with this attack, which allows her to move in a bit of different angles as well. Shou only suffer normal landing lag if she flings herself to the ground with this technique, so you can stab a foe, hit a gem pile and potentially drop down to then follow-up on it or just chase them down.

Shou being able to Up Special out of this attack allows some level of mindgames if she impacts her spear close to any of her gem constructs, as she can threaten to Up Special directly into it (which will still store the Neutral Aerial's momentum!) in order to briefly hide inside and dodge a foe trying to just attack her sitting there, then burst out for a frightenining counter attack! This could even be used to get that last bit of charge for some super armor or to activate one of the 50%/100% attacks thanks to the gem piles' being treated as 25% charge, leading to heftier punishes than just Up Specialing from the normal impalement. This option is of course not only slower than just Up Specialing out of Neutral Aerial (or flinging yoursel normally), but vulnerable to the foe instead attacking your gem construct to destroy it, making it a riskier option. And of course a Neutral Special gemball can allow Shou to stick inside briefly and travel alongside it longer, so combined with hitching a ride on it with the impalement you can make an ambiguous method of movement for the opponent to deal with defensively!


Back Aerial: Bishamonten's Rejection

Gripping her spear firmly, Shou takes it and sweeps it behind her! This is more of a horizontal sweep than a vertical one, but she does still somewhat sweep it down-to-up: It isn't much vertical range, but it can still wall people out. This attack doesn't have any sweetspots, instead dealing a clean 12% damage across its entire body while killing at 155%. It's slightly slow on both ends, but nothing unmanagable and the move has low landing lag (although it doesn't autocancel). While not as range as Forward Aerial, it nonetheless is a very range-y aerial that is all about spacing opponents out rather than fancily interacting with every bit of her set.

This, therefor, is Shou's primary aerial in neutral, and learning how to Reverse Aerial Rush to throw it out in neutral situations or some combos is in turn very helpful to Shou's game. It's also pretty important since Shou's Forward Tilt is bad at melee range, Down Tilt and Up Tilt lack horizontal range and Forward Aerial isn't exactly good in neutral. You can also use this as additional coverage when edgeguarding foes or just to make their life that extra bit painful if they want to fit into tight windows and dodge projectiles. A very definitive "glue" move, if you will.


Forward Aerial: Diamond Impact

Shou leans her spear back, the tip glinting like a diamond shining in the light, before she thrusts it forward powerfully! She actually leans into the thrust as she does so and so gets a bit of a range boost from this attack. It definitely isn't AS range-y as Sephiroth's Forward Aerial, but it's pretty close! As the glint may have clued you into, this move has a sourspot and a sweetspot. The sourspot makes up most of the attack but it is pretty pathetic, dealing 6% damage and weak knockback. The hitstun isn't enough to realistically combo, so at best it is a mediocre spacer. It's actually unsafe on hit if you hit the foe and land on the ground at very low percents (sub-20%), although in the air you can drift to avoid punishment. The tip, by comparison, is a very powerful sweetspot of the attack that deals 15% damage and kills at 105%: Very powerful for a forward aerial!

The downside to this move comes in the form of lag, as it has quite hefty starting lag for an aerial (18 frames) and pretty long ending lag as well, nor does it autocancel. Unlike Sephiroth, this is not really a good neutral tool even if you CAN use it as such in a pinch: a spaced tipper is safe on shield, but it can only be done when timed with a fullhop, is a small sweetspot AND you don't get much advantage off of it. It is much more valiuable for Shou to use Back Aerial in neutral. Instead think of this as your hard read aerial and finisher option. If the opponent looks like they have only limited options to dodge around your projectiles, you can go for a read on this for example! Or if the opponent's got a tech situation on a platform. You can also mix it up with Neutral Aerial, which while on the slower end is still fast enough to get foes all mixed up, especially since FAir is barely reactable whil NAir isn't. The range also makes it fairly nice for edgeguarding, especially since while it is reactable it is only barely so.

An aerial Side Special can put the opponent in enough hitstun to true combo into this attack with the right spacing. The higher the Side Special charge, the further below or away from the foe you can be and still get in range, with the base Side Special basically requiring Shou to be positioned excellently before the Side Special even hits to really kill confirm off it. Shou can rarely true combo a Forward Aerial out of an Up Special's rush (but not the sweetspot obviously), the exact position will depend on character but a hit late into the attack true combos around 50% to 60%, the mid part of the attack around 80% to 90% and an early part around 100% to 120%: This gives Shou another narrow window she can kill confirm off of an Up Special to keep aware of aside from the Up Special second sweetspot, but while it true combos normally, it will NOT true combo a lot of the time if the opponent DIs away. Depending on the percent, this can end up instead comboing them into the Up Special sweetspot, which is actually BETTER for Shou (this is usually around the mid part of the percents listed earlier). An up DI also may require a jump to catch some enemies, especially floaty or small bodied ones, making it more of a 50/50 with them. It's also pretty risky to use since Up Special itself only has average ending lag and this move will definitely get stuffed if you don't go for it ASAP, a tight window that means you usually have to commit to going for the Forward Aerial before you've hit the confirming Up Special which ends up getting you punished if you didn't hit it!


Down Aerial: Spray and Pray

Shou turns to face the screen and holds Bishamonten's Pagoda in front of her, which glows with a vibrant, radiant light! After those moments of starting lag, brilliant little shots of light spray under Shou in a wide area! They start close to Shou and spread out as they go down. At the very end of their 1.2x Ganondorf height hitbox, they are wide enough to cover an entire Battlefield Platform. This is a rapid multi-hit attack akin to, say, Yoshi's Down Aerial, dealing two rapid hits of 4% damaged followed by a 4% damage launching hit that knocks opponent's UPWARDS. This attack usually has too much ending lag to combo off of it, but the knockback isn't too strong and there may be niche situations you get something out of it, for example launching an opponent onto a platform above you or if an aerial Side Special is above Shou. The total of 12% damage is fairly nice, at least. This attack is considered a disjoint rather than a projectile, so Shou's Side Special won't reflect it, but then again neither will foe's reflectors.

Let's talk about both the great and terrible part of this attack: The range. On one hand, it has excellent range below Shou both vertically and horizontally, making it wonderful for landing with (the landing lag doesn't cancel but if you space yourself right is safe vs. shield) and a great way to strike at grounded enemies in general. This can be combined with, say, movement from your Neutral Aerial impalement, Dash Attack or Up Special options to fly around the stage at enough speeds to really litter the area with a bunch of multi-hits, although spreading it so thin will assure all the hits don't land on a oe. On the flipside, it has ZERO coverage that is NOT below Shou, a long duration and lag. If an opponent gets to the sides or above Shou, then they can hit her with basically any aerial they could dream of, even super laggy ones like Ganondorf's Forward Aerial, King K. Rool's Back Aerial, you get the idea. It's punishment city when this attack gets whiffed.

On the other hand, this move's damage potential is HIGH. First off, this move gets +1% damage on each hit for every 25% of NSpec charge that Shou has on her. So, with a max charge, she gets 8% + 8% + 8% damage for a total of 24% damage! This is very good, but actually below the damage potential of Yoshi's Down Aerial. In addition, however, this attack WILL bounce off of Shou's gem piles and Gemball as an interaction. Not only can this really clutter up an area briefly, but it will allow the attack to hit a foe twice! The base version will pretty much always have both halves connect, again ending up dealing 24% damage. But if you get it buffed AND get the gem bounce, which would require multiple NSpec charges, you can potentially hit it and bounce off of it for a big, fat 48% damage!

This is, of course, troublesome to setup. The foe must be over gems, you have to have charged NSpec multiple times by that point and you have to hit them with a somewhat laggy attack. The last hit of the bounc at 8% can also tend to be unreliable, since the normal last hit can send opponents flying too fast for the bounced attack to catch up to them. You're still getting 40% off of it, of course. That's some pretty big reward for jumping through those hoops, so it's great for you when you get it off!


Up Aerial: Magnificent Radiance

A somewhat bizarre move, Shou begins by thrusting her spear straight up as a glinting and thin hitbox: Think Sephiroth's Up Tilt, but a bit thinner. The tipper of this hitbox deals 13% damage and kills at around 130%, but if you catch opponents high on the screen it can be earlier of course, it'll kill a bit closer to 108% on the top Battlefield Platform for example. The rest of the hitbox deals a meager 6.5% damage and pretty weak upwards knockback, this attack cannot combo off of it but this can lead to a juggle for the next part of this attack but we'll get to that. This is primarily a somewhat risky aerial finisher when you go for this hitbox. It isn't slow, like Forward Aerial, but the hitbox is THIN and therefor it is difficult to hit with especially with the sweetspot needing to be positioned as well.

But that's not the only hitbox on this attack! Four frames after the thrust, the light explodes outwards around the spear as a sparkling and multihit hitbox. This attack has pretty great range, dealing four hits of 1% damage followed by an upwards launching hit of 4% damage. Visually, it looks similar to Palutena's Up Aerial. The multihit nature of this attack makes it excellent for catching air dodges and trapping landings, although the fact Shou needs to use the thin stabbing hitbox first can make it more awkward for it than other characters' Up Aerials, as it essentially "adds" four frames of starting lag any time you aren't going for the thin hitbox. It also doesn't KO nearly as early as Palutena's Up Aerial, failing to kill until 190% (160% on the top Battlefield Platform). This makes it more of a coverage move and tool for pure juggles than a fancy kill option, although if you hit them into a Gemball or used it off of a projectile high towards the top of the stage you could get something going there.

This move is particularly effective with your Neutral Aerial or Dash Attack's momentum, as the suction on the multihit is strong and you can feasily "drag" opponents quite far with the multihit. You could use normal aerial drift to achieve this, but it is possible to drag foes much further with the other options. Be aware of where the coverage is lacking: With the mediocre lag and long duration, you could be in for a world of hurt if an opponent gets beside or under you when you go for this!


Grab Game


Grab: Tiger's Paw

Shou's grab animation is quite standard, reaching her hand back and swiping it forward to grip anyone caught in front of her. It ends up vaguely resembling a cat batting it's paws, fittingly enough! While it has a bit of a long wind-up, it has pretty good range as Shou steps into the swipe slightly. This makes it better to use when opponents are pinned down by projectiles to cover for the lag, rather than grabbing foes pre-emptively for projectiles or whatnot. In theory, Shou could use the mobility provided by Neutral Aerial's wall-jump or Dash Attack to get a bit more range on this if they landed on a platform very quickly, but the situations this would be useful are pretty niche.

Pummel: Youkai Nature

Being a follower of Byakuren, Shou isn't the type of youkai to go around snacking on people, but that doesn't mean she's unaware of how to! For her pummel, Shou bites on the foe slightly, a pretty fast pummel dealing 1.2% damage. Use it to pile on damage quickly before a throw, in comparison to slower pummels. The fairly fast rate makes it pretty damaging overall!

Forward Throw: Buddhist Power "Most Valuable Vajra" / Buddha's Light "Vajra of Perfect Buddhism"


With the palm strike of a fierce tiger, Shou pushes the opponent away from her with great force as her spear begins to glow in a brilliant green light. As soon as the opponent is thrown away, Shou performs a swinging animation as if she was "throwing" something off her spear, causing the green light to be sent flying forward as a spinning ray of light! It looks like it does in the image above, a fairly thin yet long object. That is to say, it is shaped like a vajra. If you're having trouble imagining it, think of it kind of like a Flipper item in appearance. It spins as it flies, so whether it hits more horizontally or vertically depends on when it is. The palm thrust itself deals only 5% damage and slightly less than mediocre knockback. The knockback is almost all base, with almost zero growth. It is a pure spacer and will not cause tumble until HIGH percents, making it nigh-impossible to cause tech chase situations with this.

The vajra-laser moves forward at a decent clip, but the knockback will always be too far to combo into this part of the attack. Instead, Shou essentially uses this as a neutral reset tool with the big advantage of a projectile that is heading right for the foe's face, forcing them to react! If they don't, they will take 10% damage and knockback TOWARDS the direction the vajra was moving. An opponent who just tanks the hit will be combo'd into attacks such as Neutral Aerial, Up Aerial and sometimes even a Forward Aerial sweetspot! So opponents won't want to get hit by this, of course. But because this throw has very low ending lag, Shou can move very quickly after throwing it, that means she is open to the possibility of punishing a defensive foe. Shielding is arguably the most reliable option for the foe, the regrab timer might still be active depending on circumstance, but there are ways around that, even as simple as delaying the grab. Of course, you could also simply use this time to get some charge on your Pagoda or the like, as the foe has a projectile to deal with. The Vajra is a piercing projectile, so it doesn't disappear when it hits an opponent or their shield.

The vajra travels 1.5 Battlefield Platforms straight forward, but at the end of its path will stop and boomerang back to Shou! Or, rather, it will boomerang to Shou's current position as of when it ended its lifetime. It won't change its direction past that, so it is locked in once it reaches the end of its lifetime. If Shou is right next to the vajra, it will travel a pitiful distance, but if she is very far away she can get great height. And since the vajra's knockback is the direction it came from, this can lead to all kinds of different scenarios. Being under the vajra, say if the throw was initiall used on a platform or next to a ledge, can allow it to shoot downward and spike. Or you can get above an opponent so this knocks them upwards, excellent for laddering the opponent upwards and the like. Experiment with positioning yourself to get the most out of the return effect!

If the vajra-laser hits a Tiger's Claw, then it will reflect the full 1.5 Battlefield Platforms of distance and then return to where the Tiger's Claw was when it was reflected! This allows Shou to basically boomerang the vajra three times, losing the more variable return range in return (since it always returns to the point it was REFLECTED) for the extra bounce and allowing Shou to use it as a supremely useful stage control tool. It won't bounce off any future Tiger's Claws or other ways Shou may have to reflect them either, to prevent silly scenarios of Shou bouncing boomerangs infinitely. The Tiger's Claw can either be a boon or a downside for Shou depending on positioning. If the Tiger's Claw ends up in front of the foe, then it will bounce it back at Shou before reaching the foe and you won't get many benefits from the throw. But if the Tiger's Claw is BEHIND the foe, you'll not only get this to hit the foe, but then it'll bounce back when hitting the Tiger's Claw (if it is close enough, this can cause a double hit on the foe's shield, giving Shou incredible frame advantage!) AND it'll boomerang back for more pressure! This is difficult to set up but highly rewarding: Opponents will almost certainly need to jump to avoid this, making them extremely predictable for an aerial assault!


If Shou uses this throw with pagoda that's at least 3/4th charged, it gets a buff! Instead of just one vajra, the attack becomes two connected at the middle, starting off with an X-like shape as she throws it forward. The damage is also slightly increased to 13%, but the knockback values have been lowered so it has the same knockback as the un-buffed version, so it still makes the opponent into combo food! The new shape of the vajra helps out with the attack's coverage: rather than only having high vertical or horizontal coverage based on what direction it is flipped, now it always has coverage!

Another aspect of this move that changes up the coverage is the odd way it "tracks" the foe. The GIF above will help understand this, but the "center" of the vajra essentially shifts to try and point towards the nearest foe. So if the opponent is constantly in front of the foe, it'll try to orient itself so the "middle" is forward, ending up with perhaps more of a cross-like shape, or an L-shape if the opponent is particularly up/down, and bending into other shapes as appropriate with a foe moving or if it starts to track a different foe in 2v2s or FFAs. This can give the attack somewhat ambiguous and hard to pin down hitboxes, which given the opponent is put into a position where they have to defend quickly is very good!


Down Throw: Claw Crush

Shou pretty much just lets go off the foe in front of her, tossing them up ever-so-lightly so they get "suspended" in front of her briefly, before slamming her hand down on them in a claw swiping-esque motion! This has a pretty similar effect to Down Throws such as Incineroar's and Ridley's, bouncing foes off the ground for 6% damage and combo-ready knockback. At 20%-40% this leads into a tipper Forward Aerial on most characters, which is Shou's most damaging single attack option, and while it won't be a kill confirm ever it CAN be good for forcing opponents off stage if you wanna go for shenanigans there early. Shou doesn't really have a strong spike or whatnot though, so it isn't as valuable as some other characters. Shou's Down Aerial can't combo off of this, but all of her other aerials can, so think about the situation you want and go for it, such as spacing with Back Aerial or beginning a juggle with Up Aerial.

You could, alternately, try to run under the foe and use an Up Tilt to start a combo. This actually works best closer to mid percents, because too early and the opponent might land and be able to respond where they wouldn't to an aerial like Neutral Aerial or RAR Back Aerial. For those situations, you could also potentially run up and Down Tilt for a somewhat meatier combo than the aerial. Dash Attack true combos the spear hit into the kick until around 20% and is a highly damaging option, Forward Tilt combos until 30% or so and if you have Neutral Special charge you can actually shotgun two Forward Tilts into a foe, more than that won't combo though.

A great combo throw at most percents, it isn't a combo throw that maintains that utilize until late percents like others, with Shou basically not having combos on this attack after 60% when dash up Up Tilt fails to connect any more. Shou could try and do some 50/50 air dodge reads after this, for example run up and try to do a Forward Aerial tipper, but this move uses a lot of its utility past that point so you'd probably rather use another move.


Up Throw: Treasured Warrior Stab

Shou quickly tosses the opponent upwards and then stabs them with the tip of her spear, a fast throw that is visually similar to Ridley's Up Throw, the throw into the spear dealing 2% damage and the stab itself dealing 8% damage and upwards knockback. This upwards knockback is pretty perfect for setting opponents up on high platforms, for example it causes a tech situation on the top platform of Battlefield all the time thanks to the knockback's very low growth, this is generally true for most high platforms you'll see in the game such as tri-plat stages. Before going into the full use, if you aren't able to take advantage of that then this throw is primarily a good way to open up a juggling situation with solid and consistent knockback, meaning it's a good time to prepare Up Aerial / Neutral Aerial mixups or catch landings with Up tilt!

If you do play on a stage that lets you play around with the platform-prone, then you're in business! First off, a proper read off of this can lead to a tipper Forward Aerial if you space it right, with the opponent rolling in/away/getting up requiring different timing and spacing. You can often hit the sourspot even if you don't get the right read, but that isn't much of a reward. Up Aerial is a unique option to go with this: You can go for the clean Up Aerial tipper as a read as well. This is harder than a Forward Aerial tipper read and kills later, BUT the second part of Up Aerial has a pretty generous multi-hit window to catch out most options if you want to opt for that instead. Much less risky, but less rewarding. Back Aerial is mostly about timing rather than spacing, as it can cover lots of options but won't linger to catch timing, while being high damage and more kill potential than Up Aerial's later hits but less than a Forward Aerial tipper.

And, of course, you can mix in projectiles to get true prone hell going on. Have a Gemball pointing towards the foe or swap it to do so, a Forward Tilt curving up, you get the idea. Gem piles can also be used to sometimes get tech situations on small platforms. They aren't tall enough to force them past pretty early percents, but Shou can go for Up Tilt reads or try to get onto a platform for Down Smash or Forward Smash reads even! So, it can be worthwhile.


Back Throw: Golden Harvest

Shou takes the glowing Pagoda and shoves it into the foe as she turns around, blasting them away for 7% damage and mediocre knockback that won't really kill. This does mean Shou has no real kill throws, I should note: She does have lots of ways to make getting that grab easier and plenty of options out of it, so it's more than fine. The knockback is solid enough for starting an edgeguard if you want to reverse situations you came back to ledge, but it is a little bit high for that, it's a good spot to get those Back Aerial coverages or Forward Aerial pokes though!

The real benefit to this move is on the foe, as gems from the pagoda will be left behind on them visibly, glinting and glowing periodically. These gems remain on the foe before falling off after 7 seconds, and will also be removed if triggered by various conditions. Those conditions are if Shou hits the tip of her spear attacks against the foe, even if the attack doesn't normally have a spear tipper, or if she hits with any energy-based projectile attack (IE not her Neutral Special). Shou's Up Special, much like with her normal gems, WILL count as an energy projectile for this! These are all options with some unique results, so let's go over all of them.

Hitting the opponent with the tip of a spear attack causes it to deal 1.1x damage + 0.1x for every 25% of pagoda charge, up to a maximum of 1.5x damage, which can lead to some super powerful hits: That's 25.2% base damage on Forward Smash, for example! Knockback ALWAYS goes up as if it was the 1.1x version, to prevent super early kill silliness. In addition to leading to some crunchy damaging attacks, it can expand kill ranges on your attacks and put more fear into opponents at moderately high percents, such as around 90% or so when a tipper Forward Aerial will kill when boosted. When you add in the potential to ledgeguard foes and bring that down even more, suddenly this is a very scary situation! Back Aerial also particularly enjoys buffs from this attack, helping improve its mediocre kill power to around 130%~ and getting that additional damage. Up Tilt is the worst move for this, as it is easy to waste the tipper on any part of it and get a pitiful boost, which does mean Up Tilt setups into stuff don't work much here.

For the projectile hits, they will cause two effects. First off if the projectile didn't already, it now pierces the foe on hit, allowing it to keep going and strike more even after hitting the foe. This CAN strike the same opponent twice, although there is a 30 frame grace period where they are immune to the hitbox of any projectile that went through them to prevent any meme scenarios where they get instantly double hit by the projectile still overlapping their hurtbox. The other part of the interaction is that the projectile's range is refreshed, which allows Shou to get more out of any projectile she hits the foe with, and lead to situations where a foe gets pressured by the same projectile that just hit them! You can also play around with, for example, the bending curvy lasers of Forward Tilt to get post-hit coverage of the foe. Side Specials will refract off of the foe as well, which can create some tight situations for the opponent to claw out of!

Finally, I mentioned Up Special, which will allow Shou to hide herself inside of the foe as they are launched by the attack! She can pop out of the foe at any time by pressing A or B (or w/e other buttons you bind Attack/Special to), which will cause Shou to pop out in front of the foe with a bit of lag as they opponent continues to fly away. Shou will automatically pop out of the foe if the opponent is within a close range of the blast zone, which means Shou will never accidentally suicide herself with this move. She will also pop out if the foe reaches close to the end of their knockback, to be specific if the foe's hitstun gets to the point she would have one frame of advantage when she popped out. Used properly, Shou can use this as a unique combo extender by popping out of the foe with the right hitstun and knockback timing to hit the foe with an attack (sadly for her, Forward Aerial sweetspot isn't the right range, but maybe with enough hitstun and the right drift after comin out...), or if the opponent gets hit by your other projectiles you can follow them for mobility, your Up Special is refreshed when you hit the foe like this so you can even use it as a recovery aide if they knock you away, or to go really deep for a kill after throwing them off! It's tricky to use, but mastering it will let you harvest some seriously good fortune!


Final Smash: "Complete Clarification"


Like many Final Smashes in the game, Shou's Final Smash is a triggering hit into a cinematic: In Shou's case, the triggering hit is a blinding flash in front of her via Bishamonten's Pagoda. If it hits, the blinding flash will take over the screen, before revealing Shou high above the foe with the pagoda held high, the background appearing like the fight with her in Makai from Undefined Fantastic Object's fight with her. Rays of light shoot down from behind her, one green and one yellow, and pierce the foe for a combined 20% damage. After piercing them, they then deform into balls of light akin to her Complete Clarification Spell Card, with the green ones bursting into red bullets and yellow into blue bullets. These circle the foe and buffet them rapidly for multihits that deal 20% more damage!

Finally, at the end, the bullets all collide togther around the foe for a kaleidoscopic 20% explosion, which will kill the foe if they had roughly 40.8% damage on them. Shou will let out a sigh of relief as the Final Smash cinematic ends, when gameplay resumes. Was she worried it wasn't going to be enough or something...?
 
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ForwardArrow

Smash Journeyman
Joined
Aug 17, 2011
Messages
456
Make Your Move 23 Moveset Submission Is Now Closed!

The reading and editting period will now begin, and last for 3 weeks, during which no new sets may be posted, but old sets can be revised if edits are warranted. After that will be a 2 week voting period. Last day delivered some big results, so I'd recommend getting to reading ASAP for all of you. Some of these sets are quite long.
 

NeonVoid

Smash Journeyman
Joined
Dec 31, 2019
Messages
212
Make Your Move 23 Moveset Submission Is Now Closed!

The reading and editting period will now begin, and last for 3 weeks, during which no new sets may be posted, but old sets can be revised if edits are warranted. After that will be a 2 week voting period. Last day delivered some big results, so I'd recommend getting to reading ASAP for all of you. Some of these sets are quite long.
Good job, and best of luck to everyone!
 

Katapultar

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Nov 24, 2008
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The Make Your Move Rooligan Society
You may have wanted Pratty as your 100th set, but Rufus is also a fitting Froy choice, given you had plans for a huge Final Fantasy movement and made a set for a very well-received gunner last contest. Other than Touhous, I think I'm associating you more with handsome, villainous men.

The promise of a full-fledged Froy tag team set was nothing short of enticing, and proved to be quite fun! Both Side Specials were particularly brilliant: Rufus' coin move reminded me of my Marion's Down Special bullet-tossing move in a way, as I said before, having a temporary construct you can fire a strong projectile from would certainly be worth more looks at in future sets. I particularly enjoyed the Rufus follow-ups on Darkstar's Side Special knocking foes away based on Rufus' position, a great use of the IC-based mechanic. Same goes for U-throw in that respect. D-air was another enjoyable move to make use of Darkstar's mortality as a high-risk killer, and Darkstar B-air further selling its kill potential and a reason opponents should get rid of it. Balancing counters frame-wise in how rewarding they are to land, Rufus' not so much, was also food for thought.

The later parts of the set - particularly the Standards - reminded me of Alex in being quite melee and having moves based on covering blindspots on other moves, if feeling a little contained at times compared to said neat B-air and D-air. The F-Smash doesn't quite play a huge role in the set for what you'd expect to be a central mechanic, but I guess it doesn't have to, with a few points covered in said move. Funny enough, despite reminding me of Alex, moves like F-tilt bring Quilby to mind and do blend your enjoyment of projectile-based characters.

Unless I missed something, Rufus' F-Smash and the U-Smash blast don't seem to have range listed for them? It's not a big deal, you're generally pretty good at covering finer details, but the F-Smash gun blast could be interpreted as having short or long range, presumably the latter given it can be used to position foes around by angling it.

I wouldn't quite say that Shinra was the next Hol Horse or even B. Pol in peak melee, elaborate gameplay focus or awe-inspiring concepts, but he was still quite a good set! Definitely a solid contender in MYM23. Well done on this one, Froy, and looking forward to reading your finished Touhou set!


Whew, this is definitely a long set from you! Designing a set with 4 usable Specials on each Special input is certainly ambitious, and tricky to balance - you basically have more options than other fighters, but if you nerf those individual options too much you get cases like Palutena and the Mii Fighters in SSB4 when custom moves existed.

There doesn’t seem to be any limit to how frequently Henry can switch between his Specials, or any noted lag like whether he has to commit to switching for a moment. One idea I had a while back when looking at this set: make it so once Henry switches into a move, he’s locked into it for some 10 seconds. This could create a fun dynamic where, while he can mix-and-match his Specials, it can make him more predictable, especially fun if say, each and every one of the Specials had some kind of glaring weakness, more so than other fighters’ regular Specials to compensate for Henry having so many Specials. Having notable weaknesses to exploit would also be pretty fitting for Henry! For instance, having an Up Special that’s really powerful offensively (out-of-shield, as a finisher), but is really bad as a recovery, that would be a written invitation for the foe to KO Henry asap before he can switch to a better recovery.

If Henry had a cooldown on Special switching, maybe he could still pick another Special to switch to on that cooldown input, not getting it right away but when his cooldown wears off. This way, Henry could combo one of his Specials into a move on that same input! And maybe hitting the foe could shave off 1 second off of his Special cooldown, giving him back his Special selection more frequently. Even if you didn’t edit this idea into the set, which I could understand as it might conflict with what you envisioned for the set, it’s something I would be very interested in seeing get done in general. I totally get wanting to show as much of Henry's source material as possible, which was all enjoyable to see.

Also, I don’t think the control scheme of inputting a direction with Shield + B to pick between Specials works (I assume that’s how it works control-wise?) - wouldn’t Henry just roll, jump or spot dodge out of shield instead? Instead, you could just have the player press B, then a direction or no direction for your chosen Special, then another direction for the Special you want.

Side Special 1 and 2 are actually quite cool moves, enough that they could be solid Specials on any set in their own right. The concept of a movement-based Special that can transition into a slow but strong beam that propels you back is particularly delicious. There is one thing that could enhance them further though: mechanical details like projectile/movement range and distance, missing on the NSpec 1 for instance, and not knowing how far say, the Mosquito Mode of Side Special 1 goes. The homing rockets are also fairly vague - I”m guessing they behave much like Jeff’s attack, which is pretty significant as a projectile when they can home in, which could be fairly powerful depending on their lag, how fast they go and how long they last. There’s also the fact that he has another strong Down Special trap in his magic pencil trap.

I also wonder whether there is a limit fow how far and long Henry can move in the plastic ball in Side Special 2 - and whether he just outright tanks any move that doesn’t destroy the ball? It might be more balanced to have attacks send him rolling back, a bit like hitting Squirtle during Side Special. Side Special 2 seems a bit powerful with the spikes in particular.


It's a shame no one has really read this set despite being posted early in the contest, because Cooking Mama is quite the gem! Like Ditto and Ty, a lot of work was clearly put in, and it paid off in my opinion.

I quite enjoyed Neutral Special: 3 seconds of tripping might seem insane on a trap, but the fact that you have to spend some 1.5 seconds to get that far and only have 2.5 seconds before a layer disappears makes it a pretty well-earned length of stun. That you have a few ways to use the pepper, like pushing it with Jab or pushing foes into it via F-throw also helped. I also enjoyed the particular clumsy animations, some neat characterisation! Up Special was interesting as a command grab that can be parried (I presume this was written before the patch that made Isabelle's fishing rod go through grabs, heh), and Down Special is naturally fun with its item production (I didn't mind the RNG). As mentioned in the chat, it would be cool if you could cook up the fruits and vegetables you grew to fill up your Side Special bowl when you're fighting an opponent without energy projectiles, as otherwise Side Special is a little niche in use despite still having a hitbox. There were some other neat, quirky moves like Dash Attack and D-tilt, clearly inspired by Villager.

I noticed that while the individual moves are elaborately detailed, how they're use and play off each other isn't quite as detailed. For instance, the pepper trap would naturally force foes to jump or roll around it - to which an anti-air move or say a D-Smash for catching rolls/cross-ups would help Mama play off of that. Not that she doesn't have the tools for doing so, I could imagine aerial NSpec being a good counter to jumps, just that mentioning that kind of thing would help to flesh out her playstyle and options. There are also Mama's food items: it would be particularly awesome to have some ways that these could play off her set or go into other options, like a food item that deals diagonal downwards knockback popping foes up for a combo if you threw it down at them, Z-dropped options and all that.

You also have stuff like mix-ups, say one attack has a weakness the foe tries to get around, only to get caught in a different attack that covers the weakness of said attack. F-tilt, as a grab hitbox, would naturally make the foe wary of shielding close to Mama (it seems to have less cooldown than your average grab; I presume it has low range), so they'd get around that with aerials and ranged attacks. Finally, B-air's grounded hitbox producing an Ouch effect that makes the foe take damage when they attack is neat. But it would a stronger move if it fitted in and had implications in the grand scheme of Mama's set. Making the foe take damage when they attack would naturally make them cautious about attacking recklessly: there isn't, however, any emphasis on Cooking Mama being vulnerable to attacks in particular, or combos, and her Down Special isn't a HP-based construct that would benefit from making a foe reluctant to attack. The Ouch effect also feels like something you'd put on say, a throw, where it can be more easily applied on-demand, whereas being on a landing B-air makes it pretty situational to apply in the first place.

Despite what I just said, I did quite enjoy Cooking Mama! She and Ditto have proven that your sets are darn excellent for early in your career, and they have some neat ideas and moves to boot. By bringing their moves together meaningfully, perhaps reading some stronger MYM sets to get an idea of how to have attacks play off each other (Rufus Shinra on this page is a pretty good example of this), you could enhance your movesets even further! With the detail care, fun extras and pleasant writing in your promising sets, you could pump out quite some amazing sets. And all the ones I've read so far are quite good as they are!
 
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UserShadow7989

Smash Apprentice
Joined
Aug 13, 2007
Messages
178
Comments! I'll be keeping them in this post to keep from spamming the thread. I had been hoping to comment more this contest, but... well, 2020 was a year, alright.


Primordial Darkness ForwardArrow ForwardArrow

I love seeing sets exploring certain archetypes and their corresponding balance dilemmas. Super heavyweights have had a rough time in Smash's history due to their myriad drawbacks cancelling out their few benefits and leaving them weak in several vital ways to show for it, not even really conveying the intended power in their feel or visuals. Ultimate did a great job in buffing out some big problems and adding some unique traits to its big brawny types to compensate and get the feel right, but there's still room to explore.

PD does nicely at building from there. The specials all neatly play around PD's problems while emphasizing its powerful nature, such as the elemental armor that changes the stage itself, storms of projectiles that corner foes, miasma that sucks the life out of its enemies with increasing power, and the ability to force its way out of any combo string with a powerful but risky combination counter-recovery move. You absolutely feel the raw power emanating from every input, but most importantly it contributes to addressing PD's poor ground speed and lack of all-purpose combo starters and safe neutral poking tools without simply passing over those trademarks of the archetype.

A passable air game with actually good mobility, effective recovery, and threatening moves break the mold some to help further even the advantage and give it a little personality to contrast the rest of that category, and some nice effects like Down Throw's adding on end lag to opposing attacks to make them easier to punish is a highlight for me as a fun effect that doesn't eliminate PD's weakness but enhances its strength and gives it more room to make use of it.

Circling back to the Standards, the melee game plays off of the specials and each other wonderfully, particularly the projectiles and super armor playing off of moves like Up Tilt and covering the weaknesses of moves like Down Tilt, respectively. The interplay between all of its standard inputs is also rather nice, giving it the ability to land devastating blows with proper reads, even if it's very dependent on that without any of its other options in play. I greatly enjoyed the smashes and just how utterly 'extra' they were, especially Down Smash, while still being practical despite having heavy flaws to balance them. The throws are also fun and functional, and though Back Throw felt a bit odd as working off of needing Primordial Darkness to switch to a specific elemental armor (depending on its current one) to get its pay off, but I do like that it adds something to encourage the player to keep changing their tactics up.

There's a couple minor details missing, I will note; Side Special and Forward Throw fail to mention what happens if you use them before having used an elemental barrier/Side Special, respectively. I assume it defaults to fire, same as Neutral Special and Down Smash. The base damage on the second jab (non-sweetspot) is not mentioned. There's a couple typos; Forward Smash mentions "It rapidly to immense size" in the first paragraph ("grows" I assume from the rest of the animation) and "and while the arm blazes across the stage at remarkable stage," (second paragraph, "speed" in place of the second "stage"?) but that's hardly an issue, it's easy to infer by reading normally.

I was admittedly grasping for something constructive to suggest, but PD is just a flat out solid set that tries balancing super heavyweight extremes in neat ways that add to the overwhelming feeling, and I feel trying to crowbar in anything more than what it does or shave off any touches would be a step in the wrong direction. Overall, it's another solid set to add to your resume. Excellent work, FA!


Il Blud Smash Daddy Smash Daddy

Speaking of fun heavyweights, we have a favorite YGO card of mine given form in a smash set! You went all out with interpreting this one off monster's bizarre body type and abilities, making for a very acrobatic fighter with some interesting gimmicks baked in. I don't quite feel like they all blend together seamlessly, but they work nicely where they overlap and don't crowd each other out or overtake the simpler tricks in his arsenal. Portals, momentum-empowered aerials, ghostly minions, a super armor buff, a projectile-creating punching bag, and status ailments all managed to find place in this frankenstein's monster.

There's some decent interplay, too; Forward Aerial working as a way to pump the brakes a bit when his acrobatic antics and teleportation shenanigans are getting hard to control, Neutral Aerial getting stronger with more speed (FAir too if going the right way), etc- it feels lik the set pulls itself together in the Aerials in particular, with Up Aerial being noted by others as an impressive input for good reason. That said, I feel when you replace Down Smash (moving Gouki to a variant FSmash input) it might be best to find a means to tie it all together a little more, if possible; the ingredients are all there for cool stuff, but they need a little more mixing before being put in the oven. As it is, the movement feels like it's the most well-emphasized.

Perhaps making mention of Chopman and Kickman getting dragged along/swung about would help tie things together? Make them work as added hitboxes when Il Blud is slingshotting itself around, the poor mooks being dragged along with expressions of comically exaggerated horror? They'd still need to be properly alive/dead to harm opponents of course, making for a decent balancing factor. The fast movement does also logically aid the poison mist; could it go through portals, too?


Mami Tomoe Slavic Slavic

Finally finished Mami! It's a REALLY good set, and I consider it one of the best in a very good contest! Building charge with Trio Finale to use elsewhere, and her Down Special counter gives her a very interesting reward for landing it beyond simple damage (a favorite twist of mine). The smashes are all flashy and good fun in their own way, building off of that Trio Finale charge, but it's when you get to Forward Tilt that we see some beautiful interplay here.

While having a lingering one-shot hitbox isn't new in MYM, Mami uses it incredibly well, playing into an interesting melee game and opening up the possibility of some fun off-the wall set ups. She doesn't go for any sort of Rube Goldberg set up like some sets in the genre do, but has a high ceiling for what you get out of it from properly placing them without getting silly or hogging the spotlight from the rest of her set. It feels like a better implementation of what I tried to do with Wriggle, to be honest (I might be a little jealous, heh).

While I can understand criticism of the animations, as one of the easiest ways I can recall a set's moves as I read through is by thinking back to 'oh yeah, the move that does 'x' flashy thing', I feel that Mami doesn't need much more than her acrobatics and gunslinging in practice; it would be incredibly satisfying to play as her and let loose, and a high-level Mami player would put on a gracefully destructive show. Her personality comes through nicely in both visuals and mechanics, not doing too well with stress as you mentioned and needing to focus on the moment.

I feel Mami's strongest point by far is how nicely her whole set meshes with itself, barring Up Special (which is still a very useful and interesting move as a recovery). Nothing feels redundant or misplaced or shoehorned in, which is something that can be an issue with making 22 inputs interesting, and she does a wonderful job of conveying the image of how she'd play. If I had to scrape for a weak point, I could maybe say that she doesn't have a big final twist or hook, but sometimes slipping those in can be more detriment than benefit.

If I were to venture a suggestion off the top of my head, Trio Finale could potentially be tied to her lingering rifles? One way to do it would be if the player taps B during the input, leaving that massive gun hovering there menacingly (possibly depriving her of it until it fires? Would also need to consider whether you'd allow her to fire it by tapping B or not) threatening to go off (with the usual lag increase but bigger boom trade off for its uses across the set).

The other would be to let the player do it by tapping B and Jab/Forward Aerial at the same time, causing the gun to suddenly be wrapped in ribbons and expand in size, then fire (obviously with a lot more lag to compensate for the ability to pull this kind of shenanigan without the same commitment as method 1 up there), with the possible twist of being able to continue tapping Jab/Forward Aerial at the normal rate after inputting that to have other rifles go off during the heavy wind-up.

It'd be one last touch tying the set together in a nice (heh) bow and combine the primary tricks of the set, but I again mention this is spitballing and not necessarily a good idea (or good execution) when the set already flows together nicely. Well done, Slavic!


Rufus Shinra FrozenRoy FrozenRoy

I think a lot of people have already commented on how cool Rufus' core is. Puppet fighters are a genre I've always been a fan of, and Rufus makes good use of its elements to create an interesting set; everything about Darkstar is cool, and while some of its own attacks are on the simpler side, they all mesh wonderfully with its master's skill set whether they're as bombastic as Bolt or a simple lash of its tail.

Rufus himself has plenty to call on besides his faithful companion, too- the coins are an amazingly simple tool to wrap your head around, but can be used in a number of complex ways. His potentially campy playstyle is kept in check by needing to reload periodically, giving even the most vulnerable opponents a chance to escape and creating a vital weakpoint in his gameplay that players need to keep in mind. I loved his Up Special in particular, just the thought of using his gun to jet around the stage via the recoil is an amazing mental image and something that'd be great fun to play with- I remember making a mental comparison to RWBY when I saw footage of his fight in the FF7 remake, so I guess it's only fitting our resident RWBY expert would make good use of it!

While the standards cover the practical and necessary bread and butter side of things, there's not a lot interesting in them or especially notable interplay with that core beyond combo options, spacers, etc. It still does a good job of presenting both Rufus and Darkstar with weaknesses that encourage their teamwork and make the loss/poor use of either's presence felt, and they and the duo's aerials provide several notable combo strings that show a strong idea of how this character would play.

That's not to say interesting tricks don't exist; Darkstar Dash Attack having trample priority makes for a fun hyper-aggressive option to force through an opponent's attacks (while Rufus nicely covers the shield weakness with his Dash Attack). Rufus NAir and Darkstar DAir providing longer lasting hitboxes each other can play off of is a very nice touch and a solid way to use the duo. The latter is even a nice risk and reward trade off, not just for weighing the chance of losing Darkstar for naught on a whiff but for how his absence can hurt Rufus early into the opponent's next stock after. Rufus UAir also has cool interactions with both his reload mechanics and Side Special coins.

With the standards covering the needed basics, the aerials and throws are free to provide some very fun toys. Despite Darkstar not having its own grab (Side Special notwithstanding), its interactions with Rufus' throws are both a solid buff that gives more reason to keep it close by over desynching and pinballing foes between it and its master and a nice bit of versatility; the set is very careful to ensure that keeping Darkstar nearby and letting it off its leash are not inherently better or worse than each other, but losing it entirely is a hefty blow to Rufus' combat abilities.

Overall, Rufus feels like another potential frontrunner in a contest full of VERY compelling picks for that SV+ vote slot. While he's not my absolute favorite so far, I'd say he's a very safe SV at minimum, and I could very easily improve my opinion given some time to think it over. If I had to make a suggestion, I would've liked a little more acknowledgement to when moves played off of the fog or thunder cloud, though I appreciate you leaving it to the reader to figure it out for themselves.


The Blight GolisoPower GolisoPower

I have to say, I'm impressed by the time you put into considering how many pallets should be available on each stage; The Blight has a nice grasp of easily missed essentials like attention to detail without dragging out explanations. I did have to stop once to check in regarding the information in Side Special and confirm how the Slam/Lethal Rush were triggered, but they were pretty common sense. There's even good notes of potential combo stings inside the set.

The palettes gimmick is built on with the Hex Totems and Rush, providing both a nice little wall to stop yourself on and combo foes against as needed with the Totems making them increasingly hard to be rid of (ensuring opponents need to keep on destroying the Totems and then the palettes to rob poor Grimy of his tricks. The standard inputs, aerials, and throws also show a nice grasp of the fundamentals of melee in how they work with each other. You did a good job of limiting his ranged options considering his ability to make the Palettes temporarily indestructible, and they do serve as nice speedbumps for foes if he needs time to use (or shirk the side effects of) his Neutral Special syerum.

That said, the playstyle itself feels a little thin. There's not much to the palettes once you get past the totems, rush, and a few potential combo extensions. There doesn't need to be, but I never got the sense of there being a particularly off the wall trick one can use them for or ways to play around them. That's not to say there isn't good usage of them in the set; I can imagine a scenario where Blight and his opponent are on opposite sides of a palette, where the opponent attempting to jump over or destroy the palette leads to a punish by FAir but trying to hold back or bait FAir can lead to Blight crashing into and then through the palette with his Side Special. But for a lot of Blight's set, these interesting bits like his Specials, Forward Smash/Forward Aerial's DoT, the Down Throw delayed hit, don't really feed into each other or his melee kit.

He has a lot of ways to force foes to multitask and can reward himself by making sure they flinch at a bad time with delayed effects, but there's not much listed in his set in the way of frame traps, 50/50s, combos that are just shy of linking up consistently/situational without a wall or bit of extra glue, etc. I feel like working in some small touches to his kit, tiny pay-offs that he gets off of making good use of these tricks (with the benefits of his Neutral Special giving him free and easy access to them at the cost of its dramatic drawback after it wears off) would do a lot to tie it all together.

I can tell he was a difficult set to make; you made use of all he had, and had to stretch a bit to make each move distinct in its animation, though he does manage to convey the appropriate amount of brutality with each move. You also went the extra mile and added in some nice extras (which I really do miss seeing these days), including unique animations for breaking the Hex Totems.

Bouncing back from that to mechanical talk: I do see why you went with grabbing and pummeling the Totems to break them, as a simulation of removing them in DBD. I can definitely appreciate toying with mechanics in service to flavor and homage, and it's a thing that can lead to some very interesting details. I'm leaning on the side of (and can understand why) the argument that it's a little out of place/odd, but I do feel it doesn't actively hurt the set. If I had to give one mechanical complaint, it's that the buff and debuff durations from NSpec are both pretty long given the pace of Smash, and it might be a good idea to decrease the number of seconds on each by 2-3.

One last suggestion: to tie Up Special in a bit more, it could be that the fog lingers a bit after The Blight reappears, enough that the first few frames of a move he starts to use are covered up; gives him another way to get a swing in, and feels fitting given how despite all the warnings survivors get in DBD, the killers have a surprising knack for sneaking up on them at bad times.

Overall, The Blight feels like some competently executed concepts in search for something to tie them together into a greater whole. Most of the general advice I can give beyond that is stuff FA covered in the bullet points of his own comment on Judgement, which in fact are things I'd recommend everyone keep in mind. I'm looking forward to more from you in the future!


Hotaru Futaba Katapultar Katapultar

I'd been meaning to read and comment Hotaru since the beginning of the contest, but things came up every time I sat down to read her. Better late than never, I hope! Her TOP Mechanic is very interesting and shows itself a few times over the course of the set to good result, and has fascinating implications with the rest of Hotaru's mechanics such as the auto-turn in 1v1 she borrows from Terry and Ryu. Her shield tricks are a fun little tweak the plays nicely with TOP, letting her take some risks to finagle her percentage where it needs to be.

The most striking part of her set isn't her special mechanics, but her highly well-defined melee game. It comes with the sort of care for the character that we saw in Terry, also demonstrating a deep grasp of Ultimate's engine. While not having a single core 'wow' factor in the normal MYM sense, these factors are taken to such an extreme that they'd certainly count on their own, and Hotaru's various small features help a great deal- in particular her Ten-shou Range adding in a sort of 'ultimate' move she can throw out and (under certain circumstance) use to end a stock with surprising ease.

The many small but appreciable rewards and tricks here are knit together nicely by cancel options and combo strings; one detail that jumped out at me was Hotaru's Back Aerial being very powerful and versatile as a reward for dealing with the auto-turn mechanic in 1v1. Solid as a combo tool, capable of dragging a foe in the air (and fast-falling allows the player to leave them where they want them), shields get worn down and give Hotaru a frame lead (including a longer lead if she lands the tail end of the move, with a handy list of moves both options combo into as a reward), and more. Forward Throw is a surprise but welcome oddity in how it introduces the KoF stage's walls as a factor in how it works, making it a tool that sounds like an absolute gas to use!

Checking to make sure I'm not confused, but the set's repeated mention of Grids as a unit of measurement refers to the Training Stage grid's numbered squares, where 1 Unit is close to Kirby's width/height and a Battlefield Platform is exactly 3.2 units, not the individual small squares that form a 5x5 arrangement for 1 of those Units, correct? I'm fairly certain that's the case, since Down Throw rightfully calls the range it resets her to 'incredible' at 9 Units, but some of the ranges on Hotaru's movement effects might be a bit long if so; Final Destination is 15 wide, Battlefield's main platform is 12, and the Belmonts' whip attacks are 4 for further context of that measurement. I feel this is all intended, and I can't say for certain whether or not they go too far or just far enough; I do ultimately think it doesn't break her balance any, and you make good note of the fact that her movement is sometimes inconvenient for her by design.

I regret not getting to Hotaru sooner; she's a bit under the radar compared to your other excellent offerings this contest, and one I feel people should take the time to acknowledge. I even enjoyed the extras and the scrapped move after finishing the set, acting as a nice palette cleanser after my struggling to keep a steady reading pace.



Cinderace NeonVoid NeonVoid
Welcome to MYM! Sorry that I'm, erm, several months late on this comment, but I see you've done quite a bit to refine Cinderace over the course of the contest; always a good habit to see, and the progress is very promising.

Starting off with the positive, Cinderace has a decent amount of info about its moves in a small package, covering all the necessities, bringing up recognizable counterparts in the official Ultimate roster for ease of understanding, and even going into the main applications for a few, all while keeping to a concise word count. As you've probably seen, a lot of us can get long in the tooth, so it's good to be able to hit a balance of clarity of detail and brevity. Newcomers usually end up short on information, by contrast.

I love the mechanic of rewarding continuous good play with intent of giving Cinderace an 11th hour power boost to one of its core specials, which themselves are also great; Pyro Ball is a fun projectile/interactive construct that Cinderace can manipulate while fighting to create a double threat of two hitboxes to deal with, pairing well with the various soccer-themed animations and generally fast inputs to manipulate it. The specials as a whole are good fun, and I feel the upgrades give them an interesting twist in the final stretch, expanding their usefulness without losing their main purposes.

Attention to personality and trying to translate the source material in the flavor is something that doesn't get enough attention sometimes, so it's good to see it's present here in spades, drawing on animations right from the game and using the Pokedex entries to inspire the mechanic and playstyle. The latter is nicely outlined in the analysis section, showing you have a clear idea of how you believe Cinderace could play in Ultimate and how cool it would be.

Onto the advice: lack of a stats section is the first issue that jumped out at me; smashwiki and kurogane hammer are good sources for finding where other characters fall, and giving us a loose idea of things like weight, move speed, etc are important to visualizing how a character plays. This is also the spot to speak of how big the character is, which usually allows you to segue into describing the character's idle stance- an easy way to convey personality and helps picturing animations. Ah, the stats are after the rest of the set. I recommend putting the mechanical bits of that section up top, followed by the mechanic and specials. Grab reach should be mentioned in the grab itself.

I'm seconding the recommendation of putting character-specific mechanics/gimmicks and specials first (after the stats, I mean). They tend to have a lot of the core elements to a character's playstyle and unique attributes in them that can inform the rest of the set, and usually can let you have a common thread to refer back to when describing how the individual moves fit in with each other. It makes it much easier to give moves a main use in the overall playstyle/explain them to the reader.

For example, Pyro Ball being manipulated with Cinderace's hitboxes means it's worth exploring how having it out can add new uses to its moves, like Up Tilt sending it up in an arc to come down as a delayed hitbox when Cinderace is free from lag to throw out another attack as a frame trap (with Down Tilt booting the ball into opponents who dodge back, Forward Aerial/Up Aerial catching those who jump up to go over, etc).

That leads me to the next step I recommend: most of the moves cover their individual applications well, but don't forget to talk about how moves play off of each other. A fast move and a slow move with similar coverage can lead to 50/50 applications, where dodging one will lead to getting smacked around by the other; two moves with different coverage countering different angles of approach, or a mid-range option and a short-range option as approaching tools are other examples. The set does bring up which moves are and aren't safe on shield, which can itself be an example of moves working in tandem. Covering which moves can combo into your key moves, or how you can bait your opponent to leaving themselves open to other attacks is another way to work off of this.

Speaking of, non-special moves can be a bit hard to make interesting compared to specials without overcrowding the set, so one good thing to do is consider how they affect moment to moment gameplay and feel. For example, going into the soccer/football theme is a good call with animations like Up Tilt, and could also be used as inspiration for the mechanics; combos that work with low-angle knockback moves, and a good (initial?) dash to keep 'dribbling' the foe down field- stringing together nicely at low percents while requiring good reads to keep foes from escaping after, a combo starter that can punish missteps, etc.

I could see Down Tilt being a good combo starter and good at shield poking (hitting bits of the opponent that stick out from behind their shield once it shrinks without touching the shield itself will knock them out of it), Up Tilt capable of juggling opponents who mess up their short hops, Side Tilt being good at booting Pyro Balls into opponents from a variety of angles (or enemies into your Pyro Ball as the case may be), Dash Attack and Down Aerial spiking it against the ground/off the stage into a recovering opponent, Side Special can unexpectedly slam into the ball to launch it forward at higher speed, a weaker poking move can get it moving slowly so it controls space for longer/Cinderace can rush ahead to give it a stronger or more precisely-aimed hit, to name a few ideas.

You don't have to list off every little interaction or combo option (in fact that's a bad habit I'm trying to kick), but it's good to note the big ones and allude to some cooler edge cases where you can. The analysis section shows a good grasp of Ultimate's fundamentals and a clear idea of how you want Cinderace to play, and it's a good idea to weave bits and pieces of advice about/instruction in the latter as you go along.

Going more specifically into the moves: Galarian Punt is really neat in concept and implementation, but it should be noted how long the opponent is left in ball form; I'd recommend something like slightly less than normal grab duration, which does have the side effect that it's less useful early, but would give Cinderace the set up to a finishing move at higher percents and prevent it from being too rough on opponents (uncontrollable states should generally be a bit brief, and this timer and the need to land the hit in the first place make it earned). One option is controllable helplessness if you want it to go longer so Cinderace can make more use of it, the opponents able to DI while in ball form so they're at least able to mitigate the helplessness/have some sense of control. It's a cool reward that makes Cinderace's kit (adept at moving Pyro Ball itself around) into a way to simultaneously style on the opponent and finish them off/score that goal.

As a side interaction, maybe Cinderace can Bounce off of a Pyro Ball? It'd make for a neat anti-air option with some set-up, dropping down out of the path of an attack and spiking the Pyro Ball off of the stage towards the opponent above, and even a clutch recovery (NSpec -> SSpec -> DSpec to bounce off of the ball and get more air time)? Just a thought, might be a bit much.

The grab and throws are a little lifeless compared to the rest of the set; they're a bit difficult to do compared to other moves, speaking from experience, but a good template are having a dedicated 'KO' throw that's good to use late in the stock, a throw that sets up combos, one that does a lot of damage but won't combo into anything, and then either a more situational but potent version of one of the others, or one can set up a different set of combos/resets to neutral. Generally it's a good dynamic to pair a harder to land/more punishable grab with stronger throws, or vice-versa, also taking into account if you have ways to bait out an opponent's shield/condition them to rely on it against a good portion of the rest of the set. There's a lot of ways to play with it, and having the opponent in a grab and stuck in the animation with Cinderace as they get thrown opens up some opportunities for fun fluff- playing around by bouncing them from knee to knee before booting them away for example. It's a chance to go nuts.

I feel like this set shows you have a lot of promise, and I'm really looking forward to both how you build on it and any sets you make next MYM. I hope this helped!


Ayesha Altugle Katapultar Katapultar

I think Ayesha manages to take the spot of my current favorite set this contest; she builds off of the ideas of a background construct ala Steve's crafting table, item crafting/resource gathering, setting inputs up, empowering Forward Smash with existing items/creating projectiles from those items, and more and mixes them together quite nicely. It's a really ambitious set, and while I wouldn't call it perfect (there's a ton of items that won't necessarily be as useful as the next/can't really get as much screen time by necessity, and she might be a bit too reliant on them to fight her best, though the former's a given with this character and the latter is a needed balance) it does a lot of very interesting things and plays them off of each other in cool ways that are really in line with what I love about MYM.

That's not to say there isn't more down to earth goodies in this set; the way her various attacks work both when personally used by Ayesha and when launched from her cauldron and how different applications can come from the same moves without the inputs themselves being mechanically overcomplicated is what pushes this set so high for me. Up Aerial is an easy example off the top of my head; Ayesha can drag foes along a bit, and her cauldron can either time it so it pulls foes one way and keeps them close or knocks them further away by varying if it is full or short hopped. Smashes are fully charged and held for the full duration before being released, which trades protection at the cauldron for a very scary kill option if Ayesha can get her opponent placed just right. Though it does admittedly have a much more hard interaction built-in, but it's a very cool one and feels like an important tool.

The cauldron in specific does the heavy lifting of the set; beyond being Ayesha's gateway for making items, it serves as a combo tool with the Down Special, a means of teleporting to a specific spot from anywhere in the stage with Shield Special (the assignment of that input helpfully preventing it from becoming an infinite recovery), a way to relocate items, an extra hitbox, bait for opposing attacks, and the glue that holds together all of Ayesha's mechanics and options. She is as expected badly hamstrung by its loss until she can get another up, but not so badly nerfed as to become unplayable. She simply has to juggle protecting and moving the cauldron around and fighting in exchange for these benefits. It's a fantastic centerpiece.


skekUng Smash Daddy Smash Daddy

Another SV-worthy set in a contest already full of them. skekUng's monstrously cruel and dominating personality permeates the set and playstyle, attempting to claim the whole stage via a few choice minions, long-reaching hitboxes, and a potent centerpiece construct in the form of the Trial by Stone.

TbS is unique in that despite how much of skekUng's playstyle feeds into it, it's not a crutch or a weak point that it's absolutely mandatory to babysit so much as a tool that all of his set can utilize, both for its own qualities and the effect it has on the rest of his set- using hit lag to drag out and delay hitboxes, adjusting the path of his wheel's General Move (more on that later), and just acting as a lingering threat that can backfire a bit if foes take the time and risk to try to manipulate it, but that's more to skekUng's advantage as he's much better at it than those inferior creatures. Each input has its own way to play off of it without ever feeling forced or unnatural.

The other hooks of the set include skekUng's shroud and, more prevalent, General Moves. By having his crystal bat scan the opponent (conveniently acting as bait to make them more predictable) he can gain a resource he can spend on his inputs to enhance or add to them in unique ways. It can be difficult to attach a move-by-move benefit to the entire set and not have it get tacked on or overcentralizing, but skekUng manages well. The individual uses run the gamut in terms of complexity, but all provide an interesting quirk in the way skekUng plays. Sometimes a small change is worth the effort for the larger effect it can have, and it is ultimately a necessity for a mechanic applied over 20 inputs to have simple changes for most to avoid making things convoluted. Being able to turn some of your moves into a super version of them (or have more options to make them more versatile) is a neat trick.

If I had to nitpick something, it'd be the bug slime effect doesn't get used a lot for the type of effect it is, but it does ultimately feel like it'd have taken too much space to slip in more quirks that play off it than already exist. It helps that it's more of a general 'buff' in how it's applied in a way, skekUng able to use the slippery physics to aid his attacks by starting the move out of reach of opponents and slide into range during the wind-up; therefore it doesn't need a whole lot that specifically plays into it (and ones that are particularly good, like using Up Smash out of a slime-boosted dash to be a sliding wall of doom, are brought up).

I feel that skekUng is a very strong set that uses some big playground elements in ways that feel intuitive and, for lack of a better word, subtle- to try and explain what I mean, all the various tricks don't feel like they warp the entirety of the set around how they work, more like they supplement and buff the set's normal options over the normals focusing on supporting the tricks? I'm admittedly drawing a blank on how to say it, but it's a key difference in modern playground sets compared to MYM of old where long and convoluted Wily E. Coyote traps and Rube Goldberg devices were the entirety of the set's objective and play with normals only existing to feed into them, and skekUng embodies how the former is often the better route. Not to mention, it's character appropriate just how hard it leans into this side of the spectrum- all in skekUng's domain serves him, NOT the other way around.
 
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FrozenRoy

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Rufus' Final Smash, intro and GIFs are now finished. I also addressed a few notes thanks to Rychu and Kat's commentary:

- Darkstar's 2nd variant Down Special now has an activation range of half of a Battlefield's width.

- Grab explicitly notes Shield Special can be helpful for the Darkstar shield boost.

- Forward Smash and Up Smash's range has been clarified.
 

FrozenRoy

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Edgy Joan of Arc (Jeanne d'Arc Alter Katapultar Katapultar )

The Primordial Darkness inspiration is definitely visible here, taking the "extreme power" aspect of that set in a different direction. Jalter has the worst combination of stats being extremely frail, fast falling into combos AND having a mutitude of laggy attacks. On top of that she has a mechanic that requires her to hit 100% damage taken, a difficult task for that setup! This is balanced out by some extremely powerful tools at her disposal, especially in her Specials: Jalter can flatout get 5 seconds of invincibility with the right setup, cause the entire stage to be set on fire twice over with even more setup off of it and summon some potent minions with follow-up. In some ways, funnily enough, it reminds me of the old DarkMega set except 200% better in both concept and execution.

I thought the balancing of these attacks was quite nice, being invincible for 5 seconds sounds very powerful but she requires an extremely limited to do so or afull five seconds of starting lag: The attack is a lot more about the attack canceling from the starting lag baiting the foe into approaching, reminds me of Lexaeus in a way. The flames and wyverns feel like the true standouts though, the wyvern have some "basic" yet very cool follow-up attacks and I really like the positioning aspects the attack employs. Putting them in the right place at the right time matters a good deal, they also help make her Avenget Meter more reasonable. The flames I think were really nice and in particular I really like that effect on the spikes that pop up after, I've seen that kinda thing in spots before and it's handled very well here imo. Combined with a pretty interesting attacking Up Special and this is a very strong set core!

Of course a strong base is only so much without fun moves to back it up, fortunately Jalter is in no short supply of those! Some great examples of attacks I like include Forward Tilt, a simple attack with a second strike that gives some unique properties to her game that include solid backwards knockback that makes her want to use it on the defensive when cornered, Dash Attack as a weird held cross-up tool, Forward Smash with its ridiculously over the top animation that has a lot of use in the set: Lunging punishment tool, situational healing on a lightweight character with non-insignificant self-damage options and of course fire. Down Smash's odd, lingering hitboxes of resentment are an addition to the set that holds open some new gameplay options for Jalter between rushdown or trying to get her slower stuff going. Forward Aerial was also a simple-yet-fun sex kick variant with a bit of a twist of wanting to finish in the air rather than land.

I also want to give a shoutout to this moveset's flavor. Not only do the evocative animations really transform Fate/Grand Order poster girl Jalter into this very stylistic Smash Ultimate character but I also feel like the set's writing style and wording gets across her rude, vindictive, rage-filled and irreverent personality very well! It gives it a feel that stands out in addition to the more recognizable, so it was quite the treat to read. Grab's a pretty good example of that.

If I had to point out some flaws, while I feel the set is ultimately well-balanced it is still notably more iffy than a set like Mami Tomoe to me, in particular that Up Aerial has some pretty spooky properties, wyverns can really put on some hurt with Jalter's high speed and potentially lead to some potent kill confirms, she situationally has huge range and killing power. While I think it turned out well, it's also a set I could see a little tuning being off throwing things out of whack more. For more substantial complaints, I do also wonder if wyverns being able to be collected for Avenger Meter + her high speed could lead to her being kinda campy in various situations, similarly the invincibility could create a few too many situations of just run-and-chase although the first case is a bit more worrying to me with how situational the invincibility already is. Maybe if Jalter had some kind of attachment to her meter that required interacting with the foe, IE a slight loss over time if she doesn't hit or get hit by the foe for 8 or 12 seconds? But then I worry that could interfere in other ways.

This set also has a fair few attacks that feel like they have "extras" tacked on that are a bit odd, this is most notable with Up Tilt's wyvern commands which I get the flavor of but I question how it fits. The Down Aerial vengeance mechanic also feels odd on simply a random aerial that doesn't necessarily seem more vengeful than the others, I suppose the flames are symbolic, and the Up Aerial's spike hitbox is a surprise. I actually rather like the UAir spike hitbox but I do wonder if it might cause a fair amount of frustrating surprise spike deaths. As a very minor nitpick I also wonder if the NAir is a bit TOO blazing fast despite the low range, like daaang that'squick.

Jalter definitely lived up to my expectations from when I put it on my Most Wanted Kat Sets list, and it looks like it has a real good chance of snagging a SV from me later. Great job, Kat: Hopefully a bunch of those other sets from yours will keep up what sounds like a really strong contest!
 

Katapultar

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Broly is a neat "comeback" set for you alongside Phoenix, and definitely a hype character choice! Heck, this set made me watch the DBS Broly movie: that turned out to be quite enjoyable, and I even spotted him using a few of the melee moves in his set like D-tilt and Side Special. Broly has a cool mechanic right off the bat in Sayain Rage - I get what you were going for, a way for Broly to emulate the high speed combat and combo-y nature of Dragon Ball and Fighterz while still having a way to balance out his heavyweight power if he misses. I also quite enjoyed the nods to Broly being an untrained fighter (or at least not as well-trained as other Dragon Ball fighters) and using that to justify his end lag, the set gave me that impression even before I watched the film!

Neutral Special I could see helping to cover Broly's approach - but it does feel very powerful: 0.2 seconds is like 12 frames, and Broly can act almost immediately after throwing it. A dashing speed isn't given in the set, but I feel the slow-moving nature of the projectile sort of benefits him, seems like he could easily fly past it and use it as cover for his offensive game. And not only does it deal a lot of damage on contact, it has traps opponents for multiple hits before they're sent flying, making it very easy to get in a Smash or a grab while they're being trapped or shielding it. It could definitely be nerfed to have some sizeable lag (I realised you're using frames now in Law instead of 0. seconds), maybe have it KO at 150% and just deal one hit to opponents. You could potentially make the energy ball start out fast but move slower later into its lifetime, lingering (maybe it could be a charge without store, lasting for longer the longer you charge it?), basically creating a small area of denial so foes have a harder time avoiding your deadlier attacks and baiting out your punishable end lag. I would say that Phoenix had much more interesting Specials than Broly - not to say his Specials were bad, would just need to go into more melee depth to make them most interesting, wasn't too sure or convinced how they added to his playstyle. I did like Up Special's use of the Sayian Rage mechanic, getting the high end lag if you miss or only hit with the ground chunks on impact - you could even give the chunks more range (something like 2.5-3 grids on either side, make them more powerful at 14-15% given you do have a ton of ending lag if you don't hit with the punch.

Sayian Rage is a cool mechanic, but it does feel a bit extreme end lag-wise. It would be easy enough for foes to bait out his physical attacks and punish his end lag, which would have huge consequences given his height and that he's not all that heavy. Especially his Up Special, which has like one second of end lag if it misses on landing, though Broly does have other recovery options. You could potentially dial down on a bit of the end lag so Broly isn't hugely vulnerable, even make little exceptions here and there - for instance, have Broly not suffer additional end lag from Jabs 1 or 2, only from the final hit, so he could potentially mix up opponents as to whether he's going for the final hit (would be particularly beneficial if Jab 3 was a strong hit, like it had trample priority, or it had some movement attached to it).

I'm also unsure whether Broly delivers on the promise of being a "combo fiend" with his Sayian Rage, as most of his moves that are affected by it are heavy-hitting attacks, bar his U-air which doubles as another recovery. F-air is also intriguing, basically a stronger K. Rool U-air (huge end lag included) that puts you into helpless, and helps to convey his reckless characterisation. It would be fun to play around with on a super heavyweight. Also, D-air is probably my favourite move in the set, a projectile attack that works from his float and flows into his combo game like N-air or U-air by knocking foes up towards you. Or even use it to approach opponents below you. As for his grab game, you could potentially get away with making it a bit stronger due to his punishable end lag, but then the numbers on it are pretty decent.

Overall, Broly is an intriguing set and great to have exist for the character and the franchise. This is a new way and smart way to handle "bestial" type characters that I never thought of, basically giving them high end lag but threatening start-up, potentially creating a playstyle where the foe is encouraged to bait and herd the heavyweight into using very tempting, but punishable attacks like they're some kind of monster tamer. The concept would be fun to revisit in the future, but in the meantime I'm quite looking forward to seeing what sets you have in store foe us next contest!

I must say, you're very positive and passionate about Cinderance as a character! Massive apologies for a comment coming in so late, we've all been busy doing setwork and reading. Also, thanks for wishing the lot of us look in our contest!

"Cinderace can turn Mario into a Mcdonald's toy" - pfft, I certainly got a chuckle when I read this. "Luckily, Bounce is much more useful and funny if you use it wrong." is also pretty funny.

The current detail and frame data is nice. Some additional detail could include how much knockback a move deals, what angles it launches on and approximately when it KOs (or if it does). Maybe even lag and whether the move is safe on block, if you wanted to make a point about it. Those Smashes certainly come out, especially F-Smash on frame 5 (the fastest F-Smashes come out on frame 10 iirc, Samus and Marth/Lucina's F-Smashes) which is generally F-tilt speed, but hey, learning frame data and getting the balance right with moves is a learning process in itself! I would suggest using this site for easy frame data reference: https://ultimateframedata.com/

Ah, Specials. Pyro Ball looks fun - but it's a little lacking in details! And there are a lot of details to convey for a Special, especially if you're not using a current Smash character's moves as reference - you might have an idea of how this move works in your head, but the trick here is to convey that to the readers. How big is the small pyro ball? How far and fast does it fly? What trajectory does it fly on? How long does it last? And how long does it take to charge a Pyro Ball to get a big one? How does moving it with your feet work? How far does it bounce along the stage? Speaking of distance, this image is a good reference for distance in Smash, you can use the grids (or units, as some people call them) with 10 by 10 smaller grids as reference for how far something flies, something I use in my own sets. Sorry to bother you with all those requests about detail, but they would absolutely help in visualizing this move! The detail issue could also be extended to the Cheering gimmick, which you'd generally want to put at the start of the set given you're talking about it on moves before introducing it. How much do said actions fill up the cheer meter? Does a combo simply count as 2 hits? (or more hits fill up the cheer meter quicker?) And how long does it last once it's active? You could use Joker and Cloud's meters for reference, the wikis give a specific time for how long they last.

Was certainly not expecting Cinderance to turn his opponent into a ball! It might be a controversial design choice, he's not exactly a psychic or ghost-type with notable magical powers, but funny enough it does remind me of Tomoka Minato from Dengeki Bunko Fighting Climax (anime fighter), a regular girl who plays basketball and randomly has the magical power of being able to turn her enemy into a basketball in one of her supers, despite not being able to do so in canon. I don't mind it too much here, but I do think being able to kick them around for 5 seconds is excessive - it should probably work as a basic throw and that's it, you launch the foe in a certain direction and they turn back to normal, ideally less knockback when kicking them downwards to prevent easy spikes.

Also, B-throw is pretty darn strong, especially with cheering active! For reference, Incineroar's B-throw kills at around 100% near the ledge, the strongest B-throw in Smash Ultimate - that's fine for Cinderance, although Cinderance doesn't strike me as being a grappler, though the KO power from cheering is pretty strong. It's okay though, getting a grasp on kill percents is another big learning process in MYM - heck, some veterans don't even use kill percents! It certainly does help to sell a move's power on paper, though.

But even without the huge amounts of detail we're used to in MYM (our sets tend to be between 10,000-20,000 words, sometimes longer!), the playstyle section and extras do show that you put a good deal of effort into Cinderance! Playstyle sections are good, just that one needs to sell the properties of their individual attacks and how they work together in the playstyle - which moves can combo, for instance? As usual, IzawSmash's "Art of Smash" videos show just how in-depth you can really get on individual moves and the mechanics of Smash. Of course, you don't have to do that as it can be quite the investment. In any case, I'd be curious whether you'd do any other sets beyond Cinderance. Thanks for sharing this set with us, NeonVoid!

Also, that Classic Mode is very deep. I do love including Classic Modes and seeing them, but I've never seen one get philosophical like this, which is neat. I would also enjoy a boss rush mode in Smash Ultimate DLC and to see new bosses, actually thinking that Grunty was going to be a boss as a part of Banjo and Kazooie's DLC. But who knows?
 
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Smash Daddy

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Apr 29, 2007
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Rufus
So Rufus, this is a set I already went into some depth on in the chat, and I have to say overall my thoughts are quite positive. The main mechanic of Darkstar is very well done and seamlessly implemented into the set, smoothly turning Darkstar into a way to extend or create combos, as well as do some flashy follow-ups/punishes. Rufus is very much a high skill bar character for the players who want a challenge, sort of a Rosalina if Luma was permanently killable but also far more powerful. Rufus just surviving for a long time opens up some powerful opportunities in of themselves what with dthrow and his low-end KO moves. The set is smart to be cautious about throwing around too many powerful KO percents outside of Darkstar's bair and dthrow (for a throw) though it has many ways to KO in general, of course the most oppressive one is the coins.

The lasers are a very oppressive tool when played right but requires a lot of spacial awareness and skill to pull off, otherwise it's not actually that viable, which is a fun recurring trend in the set. Many of the stronger strategies ranging from the various coin effects to Darkstar's combos and the rushdown Rufus employs is all high risk high reward, though importantly this is not the be all end all of the playstyle. The set make it clear that Rufus can easily go about pulling off these strategies, the risk lies far more in his own poor defensive options, less than stellar negative mechanic of ammo and his weight/Darkstar's vulnerability. It's fun to see a set cut loose in this way and not feel like it has to burden the character in tons of negatives stripping away the whole point of it in the first place.

The set has both a great writing style and attention to detail, giving Rufus a strong "anime" theming to his animations that definitely sets him apart from the original more cocky cartoonish Rufus. This is a welcome change to go along with his cuhrazy anime tactics using the coins, Darkstar, guns and other creative additions to FF7R, though I would've liked a strung together FF7 original Rufus, this is clearly the way you should do Rufus in 2020. It's hard to criticize the approach at all besides as I said, just making a different Rufus entirely, which I feel speaks for the strength of the approach. Gya haa haa haa!

The set is not without some parts that are more iffy however, like some of the moves for Darkstar nearing the end of the set. The nair for Darkstar where he just makes a barrier around himself feels oddly static, for a character who is always so acrobatic especially in his other visceral aerials. Darkstar's uair is also very simplistic and a bit weird, considering he's a quadruped that he would just look up and bite I'm not sure would look right in game, he'd need to at least lean back into the bite, though that's a bit nitpicky. The set started off just amazing in the specials but does struggle a bit later especially in the grab game to not just focus on the more obvious potential combos and set ups this sort of 2in1 mechanic allows. It is nice however to see a set that does focus on the necessary fundamentals as that is good game design, even if in a presentation such as this community it's not so clear why it's good.

Overall I really like this set, while it's not just 10/10 like Hol Horse, definitely up there around your top 5 or so best sets I'd say. That's an impressive feat given how many great sets you've made over the years. As a fan of FF7 I'm very happy it finally has such a great set to its name, now the game isn't just represented by ancient terrible Sephiroth movesets! It's really making me think about some old plans I had for the game back in the day. Even if it's not the FF7 original Rufus it still gave me some great nostalgia and it's still a Rufus, so believe me the hype was real seeing this posted, and it lives up to the hype. Great work Roy.


Hotaru
Hotaru was foretold to be a great set and I can see why after finishing the set. This set feels like Super Macho Man back in MYM7 as far as having a revelation on the use of shields, only in this case it's really true! I've never thought before about the ways this set makes use of shielding to change how it works to both strengthen the shield but add on another mechanic with the interpretation of chip damage, it's so simple and yet opens up so many windows for her playstyle. Moves like fsmash, the jab, nair's hitboxes all are new, fresh takes on how shields can be attacked. Why just make a glass cannon when you can re-define how a frail character works in the first place? It isn't to do, but you have a deft skill of adapting mechanics, makes it all seem very easy.

The set itself largely focuses on implementing a true fighting game playstyle into Smash, moreso perhaps than any existing set in Smash or MYM. All the explained cancel mechanics in most of the standards and the command inputs are expertly done. I've never seen so much discussion of the foe's advantage and disadvantage state going down to the nitty gritty of the specific frames, follow-ups, the nature of moves that make them safe or unsafe on shield, it's all very, very diligently explained. It's all detailed to the point you can just imagine playing her in the game or at least imagine it play out in your head. For execution, it's just about perfect honestly.

As far as the moves and concepts the set is not a slouch or anything. The set focuses on a few basic fundamentals; the projectile, the powerful side special, the big disjointed kick of down special and its effect on her neutral game. When you get out of the specials the set continues to deliver on melee gimmick after melee gimmick without ever really feeling like it's going too far and losing sight of the original character it's porting from her base game. An example of this I'd say is her back aerial that I had a feeling would be really good, it's nothing flashy, but you get so much out of that move! I can see for sure how Hugo inspired you to think about counter-balancing the strengths and weaknesses in this type of set. That in the end is the real heart of a fighting game set like this, it can be clinical but you have to find the core of the character. I think you did find it here focusing on the side special as a ridiculously punishing KO throw mechanic and a landing strip for her to be able to do it, so essentially can turn the tables when backed into a corner! That's one way to interpret a corner-based playstyle I'd say. The fact Hotaru is always fighting her own inherent weaknesses and scrapping for every little combo and going for the big pay off, also feels very fitting!

In closing this is a really good set that's hard to fault. I can see a few people not getting it because it is a very mechanically-driven no nonsense sort of set but as a fan of these sorts of sets it doesn't get much better. While much of this is a port, the little changes made to her set are some of the smartest additions such as her more ki-focused animations, a graceful and thoughtful playstyle not based around physical strength, very interesting! For sure this will inspire any future fighting game sets I make too. So great job Kat, definitely one of my favourites so far!


Tomoyo
Stop, Tomoyo time! This set tackles time stop in a way that I had considered an interesting approach when I've thought about the concept, but never followed through on, because I never found a character who could really do it justice. I believe US a long time ago once described a theoretical Dio Brando set using a similar concept where you input a combo during the time stop and it plays out as if it hit, because it is then unavoidable. Tomoyo is kind of like that, only you act it out normally without it being skipped ahead, the foe is incapacitated for a short time as you do whatever. The rules around how this works are important and I feel fairly balanced, though as always in a time stop set that doesn't skimp out on the time stop there's inherently a level of the foe not playing the game. Though here it's quite minimal, it does need to be said.

The set is shockingly melee-focused while having all the bells and whistles of a typical creative set. That's a good, but surprising turn on the concept. I continue to be pleasantly surprised how well you now understand not only Smash's mechanics but general fighting game terminology, concepts and game design in general. It's especially stark to see it in this high concept time stop set that contrary to many in even recent history, is laser focused on the melee implications of the time stop, right down to the advantage state, exact angling of moves to create combos and other intricate details that would never usually be considered next to say, projectiles or constructs being affected.

This is not all positive however, while it is overall a nice change of pace for the genre. The set can get a little repetitive at times focusing on mobility for Tomoyo darting around in short teleports or homing in on the foe to directly hit them out of attacks. Obviously she's much weaker in the time stop which is an interesting dichotomy, when the foe can't fight back her moves become more of a blunt instrument of destruction. However in normal play she can do ridiculous hit-and-run and bait tactics. In fact her entire grab game is built around some Auron/G-Man tricks that would be outright devilish on certain more defensive opponents who can't approach as easily. It never becomes broken or anything, but she would be a little terror.

The characterisation is as always with you a delight getting across the unique personality of a schoolgirl. I'd say the nair was easily the highlight of the set in this regard and makes me wonder if this kind of concept was ever done before? I also just like in general the crazed passion of many of the animations, feeling just as frenetic and energetic as Hotaru at its best. The utilt and uair may go a little far here with the invincibility and landing a flipkick upside down as an attack, but they were at least fun animations.

It's a good set for sure, though it has shortcomings putting it well bellow old Penny or Hotaru. Nonetheless, an interesting vote-worthy set that definitely got me thinking of my own ideas, so I'd say that's another big win, if this is your worst set that will be an incredible MYM! Thanks Kat, good job.


Mami
Mami was an excellent set and easily your best ever, Slavic. This was a really impressive classic set-and-forget playstyle where you place guns around the stage to use later, as well as charging up your Tiro Finale to use in various later moves like the smashes and ftilt, on top of that the set is by far your most technically complex. Not so much in terms of fighting game termimology or game design like Kat's recent sets, but a real dedication to detail and spelling out every part of the playstyle so that it's all crystal clear to the reader. The set is nothing short of meticulous in how it spells out the minutia of ways her guns are set up and how her combos and overall playstyle works into a seamless ribbon-like web. My favourite part is the Tiro Finale that is a fun "unworkable" move that you craft in such a way that when it comes up later it's not only a flash finisher but emphasises Mami's playstyle even more of overwhelming, bait-and-switch and being a tricky little character in general. Just having the thing on deck is an ever looming threat to foes that goes a long way in carving out her playstyle and characterisation.

Besides Tiro Finale, another move that stuck out to me as particularly great was ftilt, as a quasi-fifth special for her set up. This was a good idea considering how packed her specials are already what with the aforementioned Finale, her recovery, ribbon grab and counter that are all important elements for her combos and playstyle. I've not been Jonesing on the other Mami set up to this point, so I'll just say in this one move, the ftilt, you invalidated the other Mami set. It's simply a very well executed way where the move sets up in all kinds of fun multipurpose traps, utilizing her ribbons and Esca to get an awesome set up, in a very intuitive, easily understood way. I noticed throughout the set that most of the interactions if not all seem like natural things a player would experiment with, so despite how much there is to her playstyle, any player would find all of it out just playing around. After the first time a ribbon interacts with stuff like that, it doesn't take long to put 2 and 2 together.

As for the characterisation, it's subtle, but well done too. Mami always came across as the most tactical of the group from what I can gleam of the series over the years, mostly through MYM. So it only makes sense her set is super technical, mechanically driven and full of subterfuge. Fittingly too it is prone to backfiring as her set up can actively hurt her if the foe plays around it and Mami is caught off-guard which... is suffice to say what happens in the anime. This isn't a huge focus of the set mind you, but it is there. It feels quietly fitting too that the set is subtle about these kinds of things, though it's hard to place why, the series always seemed to be the subtle kind.

The set does have to struggle quite a bit at times to make all the similar animations distinctly different. She has to summon a gun to swing across the background or use as a weapon a lot throughout the set, and obviously firing it as well makes up a big portion of the set. Her melee attacks not shooting the guns is not as pronounced as a set like Rufus, Rufus also made more of a point of having animations have very memorable key frames and stand out from each other with more extreme "poses." For example his utilt and dair (if I recall) making use of him doing an "X" pose, which is striking. Mami could've done with some of this to better distinguish these moves that do need to look similar but avoid big issues of looking too similar, which is more of a game design than player/intuitive issue, as this is one of the big problems working with this character. Even if the moves remained the same just going through and making every move have a super distinctive animation would go a long way. It's not a big problem exactly, but I would say this is what puts Rufus above her, at least for the moment, as they're somewhat similar gunslingers in terms of their fundamentals.

Nonetheless, this set still easily sits in my SVs at the moment and it could hang on depending on what I think of later sets. I am not sure I have much to add as far as improvements as the set is going for a very solid consistent approach that is hard to fault. As I said in the previous paragraph you may want to make the animations a bit more distinctive, and emphasize the attack portions a bit more to make that stand out. I think reading Rufus would help in that regard, if you wish to return to this set after all this time. Sorry I was so late to this one! It was well worth the wait anyway, thank you Slavic!


Jalter
Well I’m almost halfway into your MYM23 sets Kat, and Jeanne D’Arc (Alter), who I will call Jalter as seems to be the name that’s sticking, is every bit as good as your other sets I’ve read thus far. I’d put it a decent bit above Tomoyo and probably a bit below Hotaru but it’s a very fun set besides only really few small issues.

First of all the playstyle of the set is a real delight. A super lightweight berserker who summons wyverns and can cover the entire stage in grabbing spikes, a super speedy, hyper aggressive, explosive character and a percent-based rage mechanic layered on top of existing Rage is just about the most fun playstyle. Usually this would be a projectile-heavy set too, but it’s very cool seeing such a hardcore melee focus while having a big creative flavour to the set. We don’t usually see a more Byleth-like focus on spears and some swords too, it’s satisfying to imagine all this strong weaponry in the same set and the animations do them all justice. There’s plenty to enjoy if you’re here for flash.

As in your other sets I’ve read the technicalities are impressively well-covered. It doesn’t go quite into the same level here, as this seems like a set made with a bit more of a fun mindset than the others. In spite of that it’s still very technically impressive in its writing style.

For one thing the way the wyverns work is bold and well done. I never imagined just summoning wyverns in this way could be so balanced but I think the combination of the high commitment, the extenuated hitstun and how much it can backire are the major reasons it works. They aren’t even as relevant as the spikes or self damage, especially considering how much Jalter loves self damage. There are some diabolical moves in there like fthrow, uair and fsmash that become outrageously powerful when her mechanic peaks. It’s well earned too.

The set has great characterisation, balance and ideas. Where the set failed a little bit for me is I’m not sure I like the status effect on the jab and to a letter extent her utilt buff on wyverns. I don’t mind commanding the wyverns in the aerials, but jab and utilt felt like a bit of overkill having to land standards to get off a specific status effect and an on-hit buff for the wyverns. I also felt like fthrow was very simple, bordering on simplistic.

Counter to those few moves I was iffy on though, I just loved dthrow, uair, usmash, fsmash and side special to name just a few examples. The set’s brimming with passion and characterisation just as all your good sets. So it’s another big win in my opinion, though I’m not sure exactly where I’d place these sets below Pennywise, but I’d say this isn’t far off Hotaru and Hotaru is excellent! So great job Kat, and I’m looking forward to reading even more.


Wriggle
I'm so happy we finally got Wriggle out, and it's unsurprisingly a very fun set! I've always been a sucker for bugs in sets and Wriggle is perhaps the best use of them thematically and mechanically as the core focus. Mostly I love the "dormant" mechanic that turns the bugs into on/off switches that can be activated later, this feels very fitting. Bugs after all like to burrow and spread all over the place so using them as a delayed lingering hitbox is a great idea. Focus Mode is another excellent part of the puzzle to affect the projectiles' pathing to trip up or further micromanage her lugubrious legion.

The smashes as has come to be expected of your sets are all very creative and fun, my favourite being the down smash and its use of mole crickets as satisfying stocky projectiles that launch out of the ground. This is one of the first cases of the fun idea to have these swooping vertical arcs as part of what is made active from dormant again. This comes up several other times in the uthrow and up aerial which is an especially nice use of gravity for a part two, turning the beetles into a delayed trap to rain down on foes. Up smash is a similarly fun take on a gravity-based bug projectile that has a fun secondary effect - like losing that one Mario Party minigame! This is tremendous design to turn an otherwise clunky input for projectile or traps into one through the use of the dormant/active split. I also am reminded of my own Kamoshida set as far as only using up aerial screen space as to not overwhelm the match/foe/engine too much with minions. Wriggle is a very workable set that would definitely not be unfun to play against due to all the careful balance.

The melee game deserves praise too. It's not a character who is a natural fit for melee necessarily and the set doesn't go too far utilizing her powers for tackiness. In fact it's a very reserved and interesting approach to the melee where Wriggle only uses her wings to balance herself much of the time or extenuate her movement with little bursts of mobility at the right time. It all compliments the bugs by creating frame traps and 50/50s that naturally take advantage of what projectiles are out on stage already. I was a big fan of your execution on her signature down aerial, I also really liked the little mobility tricks built into fair and the mix-up of bair in this aerial game. By the by the set has very strong writing and is a smooth ride from start to finish; a delightful read!

As far as what could be improved, I am honestly not sure what to suggest. I think maybe just being more specific on the exact type of bugs used, their appearance and so on, is one of the few areas left to expand upon. You cite their exact size well, but for example the Mole Crickets' shape is mostly left up to interpretation as it's said to be the size of a crate. The detail isn't too important of course, but it seems like it's a ripe opportunity to give some fun flavour text on all these creepy crawlies, perhaps even giving them some slight AI deviations as well to personalize them more! Just some minor additions to get a little more fun out of the bugs, without necessarily adding interactions or anything as I do like the subtle approach, could be a fun excuse to detail Wriggle's own bug bestiary.

All in all though it's a solid, fun set that is hard to criticize. I waited for this one for years and I can't say I'm disappointed! It's right up there with the best Touhou sets I think, and one of your best too, until I get to Louise and Hina anyway, I'm more excited than ever if this is not even one of your best! Good job US.


Amadeus Wolfgeist
I'm one of the few around anymore who appreciated your old klassic Luigi's Mansion Portrait Ghosts, it's a shame I took so long to get around to such a great set as Amadeus Wolfgeist, but it was worth the wait! This set loses none of the creativity of the old ghost sets like Jarvis and Mr. Luggs. At the same time there's obviously a huge chasm between those old sets and this one because of all the failsafe mechanics worked into the creative moves, despite the fun animations and attacks. The set is largely flawless on an "input placement" level despite just how wacky his attacks can become. When he's a portrait ghost, it only makes sense he would be such a zany creative character however, so it's the correct approach to go for that feel in the set and I appreciate that you took some risks both in the later moves and core mechanic to make the set stand apart from similar playstyles. I massively enjoyed this set's writing and creativity, just as much as I enjoyed Jarvis back in the day!

I will start off talking about the set with a bit of a negative and suggestion that I feel would help the set. The piano gimmick is a lot of fun and I love how it can be used as a makeshift shield/hiding place, all the mechanics surrounding that aspect is very well done. The part I think might need to be looked at again is how you get piano attacks and how you use the piano's inputs. When the Smash meta is already so fast and demanding, the 3-second window to build up the piano's 3-hit combo is probably too unforgiving, and if anything he should be able to build up multiple piano attack tokens. Otherwise, he loses massively in disadvantage from not being able to build piano attacks up and being denied his combos. It's also not like the piano is an instant win button. Even getting off one combo requires him winning neutral and while he does have a good combo game, it's not enough to sustain itself and the piano. I'd simply give him a token for landing any attack (with a big cooldown), then a combo could give him 2 or 3 HUD tokens, perhaps faovuring more hits in the combo to encourage combo play. On how the piano is used input-wise I feel like as it is, with how I read it, just giving priority to the piano on specials when available could make it a little aggravating for him to use his own specials in that input. If you do buff how many tokens he can get too it would become even more of an issue. I'd tweak it so that for example, he has to use A+B or shield special or something of that nature to do these inputs (or his normal specials, that'd also be good), it's a minor change for the set but would make him a lot more viable. These are effectively buffs and I think they're justified, though again not big changes at all to the set.

That's most of my criticism of the set right there honestly, as the set besides some balance quibbles is great. Especially the playstyle and characterisation of Wolfgeist being so erratic and chaotic in both animation and application. The piano speaks for itself, every way it works is really fun, especially hiding in it like Jarvis and his jar, the various super attacks it performs, its oppressive nature and many little plays you can make using the piano, it's an awesome overarching would-be minion. The projectile focus is done very well and having just read Wriggle, this set has a similar slow burn approach to build up. I really enjoyed the fsmash's emphasized strengths and weaknesses just in getting a couple of weaker projectiles out after the powerful beam to play into the rest of his stage control. The dsmash I always enjoy on any set as a fan of K. Rool of course, it's just a fun satisfying attack to have in any set. The animations in general are excellent and have a great impact to them, packing a whack like in ftilt, utilt, dsmash, where it's needed. On other moves like dash attack, fthrow and usmash he's more relient on his ghost-based tricky moves that give much needed depth to the playstyle beyond being a slap-happy spectre. It's important too of course because of his central combo gimmick, the combos and piano, melding together a punish-based playstyle that's mostly present in his aerials and standards with some potential massive punishes! All very visceral and fun to imagine.

The set rarely ever goes too far, but I do have a couple moves I thought were a little awkward. The fthrow teleport move strikes me as a little counter-intuitive for new players, I like to make it so throws always have a guaranteed decent effect even if it's not a guarantee. For example Fox's uthrow and bthrow only miss the majority of their damage at super high percents, and Mewtwo's hugely damaging fthrow mostly always hits except on Jigglypuff. The move should retain its potential for mindgames and player input, but not really allow the foe to trip up Wolfgeist unless they're so high in damage it's a real threat as well. The dair is a simpler issue, it doesn't really seem to hit below him that far. He even halts his downward momentum. If he twisted himself vertically to be upside down like Wario, it would work much better. Again a minor tweak.

So this comment had a few things to go over where I felt the set could be improved, compared to my usual positivity train, but that doesn't mean I like the set any less than the other sets I've read. In fact I'd say the set is very comparable to Mami as far as quality, and that set would be worthy of a SV, so it's certainly possible this could be the same (though I have a feeling even your other sets might also be contenders so competition is fierce). They're pretty minor gripes but they felt relevant to go over regardless, believe me, it was a very fun read! I would love to see even more Portrait Ghosts in the future and more of your fantastic writing style. Oh wait I have two more Kupa sets to read, ain't that fun!


Goliso Power Hour!
Doom Slayer is a good start, it has the right fundamental ideas with the weapon selection and the playstyle is already at least existing in the Glory Kill mechanic. For a first or early set, this is a decent moveset. I enjoyed the amount of physical strength being showcased by the Doom Slayer, though there's probably too little focus on this in weird areas. Generally speaking you want to save flashy weapons like a chainsaw for an input like a smash, just taking it out on an up tilt kind of kills its appeal in that way. It's also a bit strange though I assume makes sense to be taking out a flashlight for jab, and probably needed a bit more context to not seem a little silly in writing.

The set has some issues with the balance, as simply getting a foe to 100% and triggering an instant kill mechanic is very strong, especially when Doomslayer has no problem damage racking. The set reminds me a bit of the Conker set by Brostulip. That set also had an instant kill, ironically also using a chainsaw in that instant kill though I'm confused how the instant kill works here? Do you just grab the foe and they die somehow? I'm also confused about the grenades, whether they are randomly selected or you can also select from a wheel like the guns, as it seems unclear. Speaking of weapons, the ftilt and dtilt seem to be openly a little pointless even in the text of the moves, as the gun is brought out to awkwardly shoot, it's weird that this is on ftilt and... dtilt. Mega Man's ftilt and jab are the buster shots for good reason, as dtilt is pretty odd for a projectile move. The fact his ftilt is a bit clunky and has bad coverage even more makes his dtilt an important defensive option that should have a meatier hitbox.

Nonetheless, overall it's fine for what it is and at least got me interested in imagining a Doom Slayer set if he got into Smash. It's pretty unpolished and feels a bit confused at times about what exactly it wants to be as well, but has redeeming qualities too. Also while I could go into more general complaints in these sets like lack of detail or wanting some more complex inputs, I'll just say in general try to list the basics like start/end lag, KO percents (you do list knockback at 0% but KO percent is more important) and range, on every move.

Reimu I thought was in some ways better, others worse than Doom Slayer. To start with the positive, it felt like much of the worse tackier stuff in Doom Slayer like using the flashlight or other props on weird moves was not the case in Reimu. Reimu has a surprisingly strong focus on melee attacks, though it's not very good at describing them in much detail, you do at least get a strong sense of her playstyle beyond the obvious projectile focus. I was also surprised just how much melee focus there is in the set and so few projectiles. In a way it's nice, but it's also a bit odd. I guess it may make sense on Reimu but she comes across mos strongly like Palutena and Terry.

Therein lies the negative, the set is most comparable and often compares itself to sets like Palutena and the shotos/fighting game guests Ryu, Ken and Terry. The comparisons do work and are great for the reader's imagined visuals. You say yourself that many of these moves like usmash or dtilt do not work as they do on Palutena because Reimu's weapon is nowhere near as big and the FG guests also are a hard comparison when they have far more reach and make sense to pack a huge punch. It's just very jarring to imagine Reimu as such a glass cannon melee heavy hitter and it doesn't fit very well. When the set isn't so big on details, being compared to these other unfitting characters only muddles the set. I'm also confused how the down B works, does it home in, is it a grab? Nonetheless, it's about on par with Doom Slayer for me, nothing unsalvageable.

I was excited to read Snom, I guess it being your first Doc set helped and the fact it's an interesting character choice. I have to say the first special at least does live up to this as an intriguing take on Struggle Bug that actively desists players being too aggressive on Snom, though I will say this specials-only debuff is a little concerning for a few reasons. For one the logic of targetting a specific input section, this can either be crushing or irrelevant depending on the character, like a character such as Young Link vs. say Mac spamming smashes, it's just not a fair debuff to apply across the board.

The Attract status effect likewise seems a bit odd to me, I'm going ignore the logic of attract in of itself, but it's prety weird how it only affects attacks. I'm not saying it's underpowered, but it feels like it's trying to find a niché to cover as neutral special already basically covered a very absolute debuff, and there's not much more reason to do another especially when it has little to do with Snom as a Pokémon. I know Snom has a reputation as a "cute Pokémon" but directly interpreting this into the set is a little awkward.

To the set's credit after the specials it really tries to keep everything neat and tidy with its combo game the up /down special and melee that's fairly nicely focused on the small bits of lockdown of which Snom is capable. The set does a decent enough job with how hard this is on Snom. There is a lot of redundancy however because... it's Snom. There's only so much a worm like this can do to directly attack. So there's a lot of slams, curling up into a ball and throwing himself around on various moves. It's inevitable, but still it's an issue how much he would seem to be flailing around on every attack.

The grab may go too far just in general being an accidental attack. I actually kind of like the overall aesthetics of the grab game but I would've preferred there was nothing accidental about these throws. He could easily just attack and have a similar effect, because it's weird "accidentally" doing the same attack over and over.

Overall this is basically what I'd expect out of Snom. It's very basic, has a few neat ideas but it's held back by some odd decisions here and there. Attract and the accidental grab game may not have been the best ideas, but I appreciate why you did them that way. Still despite my critiques of the sets it's a respectable effort on a very challenging character.

I continue the Goliso Power Hour with Ahri, oh no the nightmares of playing LOL have returned! The XP system is something I'm not sure we've seen before on a League set, but there was a Viktor set that focused on upgrades that is somewhat similar. Ahri's mechanic is mostly a positive reinforcement of her existing playstyle through buffs, rather than elevating her set through any big changes, so it's largely just playing into itself into itself. I'd be unsure how she'd really change her current set much to help the mechanic be a bit more fun. Probably the best improvement would be on more original attacks like the smashes instead, perhaps? The way you implemented all her attacks only makes sense from an input standpoint on the specials, I'm unsure however if the XP system was particularly needed in its current form. Still, it's not like it's badly done for balance. I am not convinced her Vastayan Grace is that relevant either, but it does at least give some playstyle hooks to her specials, so I approve of it more than the XP system. It isn't mentioned too often if ever despite how important it sounds.

The Charm effect is still extremely strong at its minimum of 1.25 seconds. That's a long time in Smash terms for Ahri to do whatever she wants, as it's effectively stun and not exactly hard to land unless the foe has a reflector or absorber type move. I don't know how to really balance this move though other than nerfing it into the ground.

The combined move on jab, ftilt/side tilt/nair I feel is misguided. Even on Mega Man's buster jab, ftilt and nair, each of those is quite distinctive despite being the same attack. The ftilt moves forward Mega Man at the same time, and that's why it was made ftilt to resemble the Mega Man walk and shoot gameplay. The Mega Man nair/jab are very different hitboxes. The idea as well Ahri doesn't have to care about spacing and it homes is a bit unfun in concept, as it removes a lot of the fun skill-based player input inherent to projectiles. If it had some homing properties, that'd be better, and if each version was the move's twist on the projectile at minimum. It's a twist on the "auto-attack" if nothing else.

I will make a recommendation in terms of presentation that you should put the damage % in the move along with other details like KO percent, speed (start/end lag) and exact range. If you want to list these things after the move too, I get that, but we did largely evolve out of that in MYM a long time ago because it's just a bit cumbersome to read. I also think you should say at least the first time mentioning a future move say what it exactly does, as otherwise you can feel a little confused what the reference means until you get to that move.

Overall I think this set despite some big issues like the XP system feeling a bit barebones and the moves feeling a bit loosely-connected to the playstyle besides that, does make big strides from the likes of Doom Slayer, Reimu and Snom. The chosen attacks for each input definitely came a long way from Snom and the randomness of DSer and Reimu definitely seems a thing of the past, for the most part. While you have the right idea for these inputs, I do feel there's an important element missing that connects together the set on a playstyle level. In this case, finding a purpose for XP other than "it makes her stronger" would fix most of the problems, while it's not the most exciting set then, I can't deny it would then work pretty well.

Now onto Sub-Zero and yes, it's definitely been hard to keep track of the various Sub-Zero characters over the years, I think he was turned into a robot in the most recent MK storyline, who knows. Anyway this set continues the improvement laid out in Ahri and I do appreciate, if I didn't get around to saying it in Ahri, the focus on implementation in these newer sets of yours. Listing details like on shield frame advantage/disadvantage, bringing in fighting game terminology and awareness as to how the side B is harder to land due to its FG input is smart stuff. I will say while I appreciate the Kommand Inputs, they could honestly be even more interesting and creative. There's no reason he couldn't have a Fatality or super system worked in there somewhere, with or without a meter or other mechanic. Though you don't have to go so far, recent FG sets tend to have FG inputs like this on many moves past the specials, because they can and it's a lot more fun that way.

The down special is absurdly strong. 2.5 seconds of a Bury-like effect is a lifetime in Smash terms if the other player isn't just sandbagging you. The thing about Snooze is that it's tied to RNG, on command like this stun time of that nature would be very oppressive, especially against less skilled players who would hate playing against it. In the least, I'd make the stun last far shorter, maybe 1 second, or have it so it only has this powerful effect when it initially is created.

The Ice Ball being able to freeze Sub-Zero is a little strange. I felt that Ahri's Charm being reflected for its effect was a little odd, but Sub-Zero seems like he really shouldn't be able to freeze himself, I don't know, it's a nitpick but it seems wrong somehow? This is maybe because the effect, able to freeze for half a second, is very strong, kind of like the Charm on Ahri but not quite that bad. This would obviously spell doom for Sub-Zero in many situations and make him not use the projectile in many match ups.

A nitpick with fthrow, but "jumping off screen" needs to be stated to use a portal or something, considering how big some stages are, I assume he becomes invincible and jumps through a portal for this to make sense. The other option is he goes so fast he practically does teleport, it needs an explanation.

The concept of fsmash is pretty cool what with turning an axe into a hammer, though they could be distinguished a bit more. It'd make sense if the hammer was better on shields if anything, given how the hammers in Smash tend to be so good against them, it may follow logically hammers = bad time to shield. When the hammer is bad versus shields this becomes another super hard read where the foe made a huge error. I also feel like the up smash is a little boring and the dsmash had a lot more potential than what it does considering it's the one time the klone has an interaction. I assume the fair is the classic dive kick from MK, but doesn't state it, that's almost as iconic as the usmash uppercut!

Overall another improvement from the earlier sets. It's very simple, has some stumbles in there, but it's mostly fine. My more general complaints about presentation, wanting some more substance to moves and a little more complexity probably will apply to a lot of your stuff, so I don't want to repeat it and become a broken record. Nonetheless I do appreciate your sets this MYM and it's been a fun diversion from the long stuff.

Next on the docket is Excalibur, a character I've never heard before, so this should be fun. I will say immediately, 3 seconds of stun is a lot even if the projectile does no damage. This is enough to easily run up and use a smash attack, it's frankly broken in its current state. It's also a little confusing with how you present the damage that the later one does do damage, but the first doesn't, and someone not acquainted with your style may find it difficult to understand. The fact the 3 second stun one is what costs less meter and not the later one is kind of baffling to me, because it's incredibly strong, whereas the other one is just a good projectile.

On the down special, even if it's quick, you should list the lag for moves like this especially. The lag's exact speed is very important for a simple mechanical shifting set such as this one, without that information, it's just impossible to tell how it would work in game.

As I said on Ahri's auto-attack, Excalibur's fair/bair being cloned has the exact same issues. Honestly sharing those two inputs I can almost never imagine being a good idea, as even a seemingly cloned pair of aerials on Marth is in fact very distinctive as bair turns him around.

The Exalted Blade mechanic is not bad for a simpler melee mechanic. Again I would need to know the lag of down special to gauge how strong it is, but in concept it's a good idea. There's not exactly a ton of excitement between the two sets' melee moves, though they do function fairly well regardless. In the very least showing and not telling with these references to in game moves might help spruce up the engagement for the reader, just being told "this is a reference" doesn't do much, print screening them from the game or finding them on Google would go a long way and give you fodder to talk about or mak the more a tad more interesting on the whole.

I would honestly say this set is not as good as Ahri or Sub-Zero just for the lack of crucial details and somewhat bland attacks, largely being a general swordsman that has a bit of everything. It's hard to get a swordsman right in Smash as there's already so many archetypes covered, in this case Excalibur has a fun gimmick but I really can't tell exactly how it works missing such a vital detail as the lag on down special. Assuming it is very fast, it's still not exactly super interesting as his Exalted Blade set is largely just another batch of beefed up slashes. Not awful or anything, but just kind of exists, and I'd like a bit more to keep me interested.

Pyramid Head, now here's a great character, we did get a set (not sure if finished) by Rychu a while ago too, so I'm intrigued to see how this approach will compare.

One thing I will say straight up, the stats are very good, but you should have a write up as well even if a short one to go over in more detail exactly how he functions. Not everyone will visit Kurogane Hammer even if you did link it to see what these stats mean and even if they did, they may not get what you're going for with these numbers compared to other characters. I noticed it most with Pyramid Head as obviously I know he's meant to be very slow and he's a super heavyweight and here he has some of the slowest walk/initial dash/dash numbers I've ever seen. That's all correct, but that should be stated in actual text and not just left up to the reader to do their own research as it's very important information. It would also help to put some animations here and not at the end, because Pyramid Head's iconic walk and how you'd even do an initial dash/dash speed (you could argue he basically should not have one) is also very integral information for the reader going into a set for this character. I mean even his jumps and how he'd visually look going through the air, is another thing! There's just a lot here to unpack that looking at a bunch of numbers doesn't really convey at all to the reader, that you simply have to talk about.

The neutral special should state how hard it is to mash out of, I will assume grab difficulty. In the air having a cage come out of the top blast zone would be very unwieldy even on a regular stage, but anything wackier than that would be pretty terrible. I feel like the specials are as has become a tradition at this point, smartly chosen, if nothing else you definitely have that down. Though the down special feels a bit disappointing and hard to utilize for how integral it is to the set. I'm not sure if buffing its on hit effects was really the way to go, rather than making it easier to land. It's a bit obvious, but maybe if he could execute some nurse minions or something? Because as is it seems very easy to dodge around Pyramid Head and basically never get hit by down special unless you walk into his cage. It's also weird not having a KO percent but a knockback given for 0%, as that seems almost impossible to land at literal zero when foes will just be starting the match or have respawn invincibility.

I have to admit, seeing Pyramid Head casually flicking his sword around kind of irks me on the standards. I know he has to wield it a little bit, and he can slash it around without doing the big overhead slow attack but... it's a giant sword he drags across the floor. It's really not something you casually "slash sidewards" in a jab. In the least there should be some moves acknowledging this where he punches, elbows or uses the sword as more of a blunt object, otherwise down special also loses a lot of what makes it feel special. Fthrow I don't quite understand, I guess it launches after the stated animation? The fsmash is similarly really simplistic and hard to visualize, simply stating it to be "a lunging stab." The usmash is similarly confusing how it actually looks as it doesn't state the exact hitbox of the attack, so you have to guess as to how it works.

The nair is much worse than other knife attacks as far as "wielding a giant sword like it's a butter knife." Imagining him swinging it around him like that is ridiculous. The other aerials aren't quite as bad, but I feel like the set really missed the point of the character with some of these input choices, seeming like a step back. I get why though as Pyramid Head is a very difficult character to make into a set and I'm being a lot harsher on this set than your others. Still, I can't say I'm fond of this set for all the stated reasons, as a big SH2 fan it just doesn't get the character right at all in my opinion, even if it has some neat ideas like the cage, the dsmash and the up special is a good idea in concept anyway. It's not the right kind of lumbering heavyweight PH ought to be and instead feels way too gimmicky.

Onto Chosen Undead and... this is definitely more like it after I was not a big fan of PH. Not to say the set doesn't have the issues I've talked about at length already in your sets, but the strength of your style which I feel is clearly input placement (picking the right attacks for moves) and getting the overall approach right is at its best here. The stamina mechanic is far from perfect, it's kind of strange tying things like attacking, dashing or jumping to a negative mechanic and the strengths of it are equally extreme at times, though definitely not enough to save it from being underpowered.

That is, until I got to the crazy Riposte mechanic, so I'm not really sure. At a second of stun time and sounding like just a better perfect shield period, it's probably leaning more into the overpowered side with that, but it's just all quite wonky. You get punished for doing literally anything then you land a Parry and you just win, more or less, because of how insane Riposte is as a move. I'm also not sure you ever describe the Riposte animation...? It may have needed a more deft touch to explain it a bit better as it has such massive implications the set doesn't really touch on. Regardless it's a fun mechanic and is the best one yet in your sets as it ties together the rest of the set well.

The Estus Flask seems to incorrectly state it heals both 20% and 30% respectively in the end-move description and within the move's text. The side b and neutral are both really oddly written and a little confusing, I'm going to assume the neutral b is a reference to Dark Souls I don't get (what with that weird negative spelling) and it's going for an in-character presentation. I'd just like a simpler more straightforward description of what these various fire projectiles do. The side b is a very fun idea on this character, but considering how complex it is, doesn't go nearly far enough describing how these attacks work. That would've certainly elevated the set a good deal.

While overall you have your usual good input placement I don't really like down tilt making him jump up in the air as part of the animation, seems more of a dash attack. His fthrow KOs at 110%? That would even put Ness bthrow to shame assuming it's mid-stage, and you never state the range of other properties of the grab, so it's hard to tell if this is even hard to pull off. The uthrow likewise KOs at 120% which is extremely strong, so I guess he is OP then. I assume he KOs on the top platform of triplats at like 90%, which is patently ridiculous if his grab is average.

It's strange how at times you don't talk about obvious references like dair being based on Plunging Attack, even I know that and I'm not that into Souls. I welcome how creative the aerials get, it's a refreshing change of pace, but it is a bit nutty how for example the uair can only be used once at a time. At least remove the old one and make a new one each time, if it's laggy especally.

Anyway, this set is probably your best if it was to have a few things looked at, primarily the lack of detail on how grab works combined with those broken KO throw percents. Riposte needs to state its actual attack and down B healing 20% or 30%, is very important suffice to say and needs to be clarified. If he has a poor grab it might make sense especially with his crippling stamina, though his grab would have to be horrendous, the worst in the game to justify those KO throws. The stamina is by far your best gimmick yet and light years ahead of Ahri's XP, really. It is very wonky balance right now but I can't deny it makes Chosen Undead into an interesting fighter in theory. I'd be pretty hyped if the character in Smash was anything like this as I expect Sakurai would iron out all the kinks present here, as without the issues, it's a creative and fun moveset I'd love to play.

Now I restart the Power Hour with Dr. Demo. I'll be honest, this sort of YouTube humour is not my bag, it's just not funny or interesting to me. It's not like that matters for my opinion of the set plus you have a huge range of serious to jokey characters. Nonetheless, as the jokiest of them all, it's relevant as some of the design choices here are very random and probably in the spirit of the character or series where he originates. For starters the literal randomness of the side special is just plain bad. I've used RNG a little in my own sets and my secondary is Hero (I even help run a big Hero server) but this move goes way, way, way too far and as is a recurring trend in your sets, doesn't seem like it plays much into the playstyle anyway? What little there is of a playstyle in this particular set, as it's all quite bizarre moves/animations because of the strange character.

As FA mentioned in his Judgement comment, I don't really get sometimes what you say about combos of certain moves. I mentioned already in a previous comment that you will talk about later moves before they come up and not explain what they do. Even after reading fsmash and down aerial, I still don't understand how they combo into each other and the up special. You have to go into detail on how exactly these combos work, and the fact that the range, damage, speed and so on isn't given in the move's text doesn't make it any easier. The down special is also extremely vague on details like what the van is, how big it is, how fast it drives, the size of the Guard Demo, and so on. These are crucial details in understanding the set.

Like Chosen Undead though far more direct in this set the fthrow has very broken KO power killing at 115% at ledge. While not the strongest throw in the entire game, it is definitely a top tier throw for some reason when the grab is at worst average, though it's not exactly stated clearly (MM's grab is definitely not bad if it's based on that grab). I don't understand the bthrow animation (tosses them as if loading a giant cannon??), but 130% at the ledge is also pretty strong, though not on the level of the fthrow. If you're not factoring in Rage which I assume you're not, despite there being little focus on grabs Dr. Demo has an incredibly strong grab game. Needless to say uthrow at 120% is crazy good too, you may simply not know the exact strength throws tend to have, which is fine. Anything around the 100% mark is really good and anything below 100% is pretty much broken, something around or above 150% is a lot more reasonable for what I assume you wanted in this set.

Thing is that while I am nitpicking this set's balance a good bit, there's simply not much else to discuss. The animations are all references or jokes of some kind. You do at least try and tie them to the wacky playstyle, though it's a pretty bland playstyle telling us what combos work without it making a ton of sense. It'd be good to look at exactly what went wrong in this set, for example in the up aerial. If you read up aerial the relevant text of the attack is all one short sentence. What about the size of the egg, the exact animation (even if only flavour) the character has, what motivates the character to do this, having any fun whatsoever with the move considering it’s a joke character… and just listing the damage up front would be nice. There's so little to take away from this set other than the humour as it's basically a collection of jokes turned into moves and little that connects it all together.

Judgement is hard to sum up my thoughts on much better than what FA already said in his comment, I basically just have to echo what he said. What I haven't said in my own comments of your sets is that there are at times definitely some specials you've made, such as Dr. Demo's side special, that are really odd. The rock here I get is a big part of the game (I guess?) while the move does not explain why. It feels like at times like the utilt here for example, you're just throwing random move ideas into the wind and seeing what works. It's using the mechanic as an ammo bank when little else in the set does, if that's what you wanted just build the whole set around it. I also don't think the grab really works - what if she grabs a foe off stage when next to the ledge, where there's no ground?

I keep criticizing your presentation but another thing I want to mention, smashes should go much earlier than where you tend to put the moves. They're usually crucial to your sets too (which is good!) but are near the very end every time. Aerials at the end makes any sense, but personally I tend to put input sections in the order of relevance, obviously with specials always first, or have some reasoning for their order. Final smashes could go last too as they usually have nothing to do with the set's playstyle or generally, unless they do as in your Doom Slayer set though that's of course rare. It does make a difference as your sets can feel very disorganised and confusing sticking to the same rigid move order at the same time as referencing moves out of order. Speaking of presentation, I get using visual aids and stuff, but this set gets weird with what images it uses. I tend to not use images if it's not the character themselves, just link it rather than have it as an image as it's a little confusing unless it's connected to them or whatever, it's a minor gripe. Weird seeing what appears to be a 17th (?) century drawing in the grab game. It is definitely one of the weirder images I've seen in a recent set, not to harp on it too much, I get why you added it.

The set is still regardless far from your worst, it's definitely a bit chaotic compared to something like Chosen Undead. The main mechanic is cool, it's simply not used that strongly in the other moves. It's a bit of a cliff note in the end even compared to the rock. You don't need to constantly reference earlier moves and mechanics though it has to at least all play into a general game plan. I will say too as a positive the set once again has generally good input placement and some fun ideas for its melee, as is your usual strength making these sets. I quite like the Falcon inspiration in the aerials and more lightweight-themed attacks where they pop up like the bair. It's not a bad first set for this game at all! Getting the ball rolling like this just goes to show how dedicated you've been putting out so many sets, that you managed to snag the first Helltaker MYM set of all time. I've got to hand it to you it's hard to you your work ethic is nothing short of amazing.

Onto Mokou and... immediately I have to say this neutral special is far too vague, and sounds very broken/unfun to play against. The concept is alright, but it doesn't go nearly far enough in describing the range of the initial hitbox or how easy it is to land and the amount of time it lasts (10 seconds) is way too long, essentially locking the foe into a minigame for that long. If it just had the effect of letting you summon projectiles around the foe and didn't make her invulnerable, it might be okay.

The idea behind down special or SHC is not completely misguided, but the execution is definitely lacking. It reminds me a bit of how Chosen Undead’s very wonky Riposte and stamina worked, only localised on one move. I think you’re much better off making gimmicks like this a core part of the set as at least then you do tend to talk about them at length, as this is another vague but central mechanic. I guess she just respawns without losing a stock at all? But does she get respawn invincibility? Does the bad end lag occur after or during this lag? I imagine if it is only during those 15 seconds where she is KO’d it will work and it’s not so bad for overall balance, but does SDing count? Wouldn’t she just go SD off stage in that case? There are many issues that are simply not addressed because the move is not nearly detailed enough.

I will say as a side note, it is neat how you reference your other sets. I also like the characterisation here as direct and brute forced as it is, does get the message across loud and clear. If it wasn’t so blunt about it, then it would be much better though. I’m not sure about the healing mechanic either, but playing with turning it off and using it as a resource is a little interesting, I just wish it appeared more throughout the set and had some more depth. The presentation as in the way the set looks is good too. I do like your uthrow to reference the wrestling moves in the Touhou fighting games, the set does a surprising amount of good Touhou references and shows again how you’re good at choosing the right moves for every input.

This set is another one that has good ideas and poor execution. The set has perfect concepts for most of the moves, keeping the set interesting on a conceptual level but not going too tacky. Chosen Undead went the other route of being creative on every input, this is a lot more subdued despite how brute force it initially is in handling Mokou’s reincarnation. It’s simply not trying hard enough to connect it all to a solid game plan. It feels very disconnected and foggy how she’s meant to play. If she’s meant to play hyper aggressive glass cannon, it doesn’t come across that way. That may be because the stats are strictly clinical and there’s no strong sense of her weight class, speed or fundamental core. Imagine making a set for Jigglypuff and never referencing how she’s a super floaty lightweight, and therein lies the problem with many of your sets, because of the simple fact you don’t talk about basic statistics from the word go.

Overall I’d say Mokou is a middling set though it’s above average for you, as it does have some neat ideas in a few spots. The core mechanics definitely need looking at again and the flow/playstyle is very weak. However there’s good ideas splattered throughout the specials and I like the melee even if it’s not too thought out. I’d enjoy seeing you approach this sort of character again but thinking through how it works a bit more. It feels like I could vote this one if you made some improvements.

The Blight is another case like Judgement where I've been beaten to the punch by another commenter, in this case US, so I don't have a ton of new things to say. US's comment is as excellent as FA's Judgement comment and gives plenty of great tips. This set claims to have just the one mechanic, though I'd say the meter-like mechanic on side special does count, I am confused how exactly the gimmick works to be honest. It seems to just be some walls that you combo off that can be destroyed. I was never all that clear on how that works after reading it and the down special a few times. The set doesn't really work much into the core of specials either and again I find some of your stylistic flairs like not having a stat description or listing important details in the move text to make reading your sets a little difficult. I can basically understand what's going on but I'm not sure you're getting across what you intended because of the lack of detail and some weird decisions.

I don't like the fthrow being a damage-less version of DK's Cargo Throw. One of the good things about that throw is how it still is a bunch of simpler throws all rolled into one move, so is easy to expand upon. Carrying around the foe could easily play into the rest of his playstyle. This is the kind of throw you could easily get into a ton of detail on how exactly it works and not just reference the Cargo Throw saying "it's like that but with a twist," this could be a very interesting move when done right.

The dair and dsmash struck me as a bit weird for the character too. Writhing around in pain would come across comedic after you see it a million times in game and is more or less one of those accidental attack MYM tends to avoid when it can, while The Blight seems a bit too serious to be using his cane as a pogo stick. The characterisation of the set is a little off to me as he's apparently a serial killer but is constanty bonking people over the head "as if he's swatting flies", the utilt image definitely creates a more comedic atmosphere for the reader, and while I get there's an allusion some more occultish stuff in the set's main gimmick it's never really touched upon. It's a bit like Pyramid Head to me in feeling a little strange for the character.

When I can't really understand how the core mechanic works (it's walls I think?) and the moves don't reference each other that much besides, it's hard to take much away from this one. It's got some fun ideas in its animations and attacks, like the usmash is a fun animation visually and the idea of putting these walls on the stage and having a table of contents for each stage, is fun. The side special is the kind of move I'd usually like but it's hard to get behind it when I'm not sure if the set's playstyle is focused one way or another, I mostly just feel a bit confused, though there are some things to like about this set.


Goliso Power Hour Closing Thoughts
So to summarise on your sets, I did end up getting a good bit more negative as I got to the end of them, but I want to re-assure you that I think you have plenty of good qualities in your sets. It just is boring to go over the same kinds of points over and over in a marathon of reading and commenting as I have done. Even if I did approach the sets over an extended period of time however I would still end up repeating the same thing. I think this is due to how rigidly you make sets and it's juxtaposed by how creatively you present and imagine their basic concepts. You have a wide range of characters/interests to pull from and yet you make sets in an almost assembly line fashion, even seeing the smashes a little earlier in The Blight was a refreshing surprise. I did enjoy your sets at times, though I would recommend more reading of what other people post and try to change up your approach. Mainly, this includes changing up your presentation (talk about the stats/animations in the statistics section), talk more about move animations and characterisation in the moves, try to have a more connected playstyle with the specials as a core, list damage, lag and knockback in the moves themselves and try where possible to have some more meat to the moves besides combos and direct interactions. That's the short list of changes I would suggest overall to your sets.

On the positive side, you have a great knack for choosing the right potential moves/inputs, really I can tell you look at a lot of prospective movesets and know the right feel for any given character right away. You do have a good technical brain for stuff like frame data, even going so far to have shield advantage data when barely anyone does that, and clearly know how to make melee more interesting than a lot of newer writers in MYM. While I feel it's obvious your serious choices like Chosen Undead, Ahri, Sub-Zero and Mokou are your best, you have a great range from the very serious (PH, Blight) to the comedic (Snom) and that's commendable in of itself. You also seem to be open to edits and feedback even if it's not always positive, which cannot be praised enough! So despite how I've gotten more and more nitpick-y and critical in my commentary don't think I do not appreciate how much effort you put into your sets this MYM as I'm fascinated to see what you have in store and how you may take my advice to heart in the future. Consider me a fan going forward.

A rough ranking of your sets: Chosen Undead > Sub-Zero > Ahri > Mokou > Reimu >> Doom Slayer > Judgement > Snom > The Blight > Excalibur >>> Dr. Demo >>> Pyramid Head


Bleak
Bleak is just an all-around solid and fun set, an example of your strong style. It's a fun and easy read that sums up all off the concepts you'd expect in Bleak. It's fun how you were inspired by the old Kupa set, and this set takes all the fun ideas it had to make its own. The (apparently accidental) allusions to K. Rool in the neutral and side specials were fun, the rudimentary snow bank special is executed gracefully and made into a great interaction off of the dsmash. The set, besides some missteps, also avoids falling into the same pitfalls as other sets in the genre with super heavyweight sets. It's not as nuanced as some other sets in the genre (it's a very simple set) but it certainly gets the job done. Bleak has enough depth in his melee that gives him a technical edge, to overwhelm foes like a snow storm, there's something strangely fitting about how simple the set is for this character. The only thing I would've liked is some mention of his hilarious mocking laughter from the fight and more of that somehow, because it's one of the few things he does and it is really memorable, though I'm not sure how that'd be implemented.

I would say Bleak comes off as a little weak and has a few moves with some odd moments. The dsmash only hits in front of Bleak it sounds like though it's not very clear, my suggestion is I'd change this so it does either definitively flatten the snowball out cartoonishly as it lands on the ground to hit on both sides before it rolls across the floor, or perhaps just dusts up some snow on either side as a hitbox? As I don't think Bleak needs the "only hits on one side dsmash" weakness. The fair made me think about why fairs don't tend to hit from bottom-to-top, and the reason is because you're pretty much always using aerials as you fall, so unless a foe is falling faster to catch you an fair uppercut doesn't work very well. For example Dr. Mario's fair hits you up and doesn't spike like Mario's and has the same dunk animation. It's a nitpick but I think this should be the same, unless there's a reason for this, it would also be a nice allusion to DK/K. Rool's fair/bair respectively. Lastly the dash attack clap is a bit odd for the input, as dash attacks tend to be great coverage moves for a number of reasons, having a blindspot below him is uniquely bad for example hitting ledge get ups or attacks as dash attacks tend to be useful for, I think either change this so he doesn't have the blindspot or has another animation. It's a fun move don't get me wrong, but with these other moves, gives him a few too many blind spots/weaknesses he doesn't need. A clap is still a fun allusion to K. Rool's ftilt/DK's up smash, so maybe it could be kept in some capacity.

The core playstyle is very well done besides those move-specific complaints. I love the snowball fight dichotomy and how you balanced the weaker side special, the dsmash/snow bank and dsmash in general's always a move I love seeing in your sets. You're one of the people who still indulges in some good old fashioned playground playstyle, and here it's mixed with some very fun and subtle characterisation on Bleak. I wouldn't have minded if it went further with the character and gave him some more creative moves, as he is a fairly typical super heavy with a small twist. It was fun to read, it's solid and largely hard to criticize, so I'm happy! I'm excited to get to your heavy hitter sets soon, but for now Bleak was a definite success and I'd love to see you handle other DKC or platformer bosses such as this one in the future.
 
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ForwardArrow

Smash Journeyman
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Aug 17, 2011
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Judgement
I haven't really given one of your sets an in-depth look before this Goliso, only having read Mokou alongside Froy who I think summarized my opinions of it far better than I could on my own. I will say I think Judgement is a better set than Mokou, I was actually pretty interested in where the set was going when I read the mechanic and the chains. I kind of like the idea of looking for an ideal time to go for a willpower break where the final result is much stronger(1.5x damage and knockback is a massive multiplier and might be bigger than you're intending, that can frequently about halve a KO percent), and the chain mechanic using the KoF stadium walls as a basis to drain willpower and deal bonus damage is a big one. And I've actually done stuff with using higher knockback attacks to combo before, its a fun thing to play with even if its less practical in Smash Ultimate due to how high knockback speed is, so bouncing foes off the chains to get more mileage out of high knockback attacks in combos is definitely something I think is worth playing around with.

With that said, I'm not really sold on where the set goes from there. I think the spikes are a decent trap concept, but I'm not convinced anything about Judgement's set is specialized to take advantage of them, they more just incidentally help her out sometimes. In general, while this doesn't always need to be true, in MYM we generally prefer that if you put out some kind of setup option or critical attacking move in the specials, the rest of the set will be built specifically to try and maximize on it. While Judgement has her fair share of high knockback attacks to capitalize on the chains at least, I don't see anything like that for the rock or the spikes, which more or less provide incidental support for certain attacks by... going in the same direction as them? I don't even really see what the rock provides for a lot of these moves aside from a mixup or maybe situational follow up that also gets in the way, as its not like anything besides the kick seems to launch it so you don't have an additional hitbox the opponent has to worry about. A rock in general strikes me as a weird addition to Judgement, I can see the hell spikes as a part of her set but I'm not sure what she's doing summoning a random rock, it doesn't really fit with her whole punishment theme and is not a part of her boss fight.

I'd say in general the set has a problem with establishing how moves link together. It vaguely suggests that certain moves are synergistic, but its never really all that well defined why. Like, do they combo, because it frequently sounds like they don't, I don't think Up Tilt and Forward Tilt would have any reason to combo together but you suggest using the moves together in tandem... somehow? Where moves would work in tandem is for making 50/50's with each other by mixing up the opponent as to which option you're going for so they don't know what to react to, comboing off each other(the set DOES have some of this, at least), covering space the other doesn't cover, or possibly in the case of stuff like chains or a rock adding combos or layered hitboxes for the opponent to defend against that would not normally be an issue. These are the kinds of synergies that primarily carry a set, not "well this set has 2 attacks in the forward direction to use them in tandem to, uh..." and not really give a concrete answer to how.

Also this set presents a lot of situational rewards like the FTilt counter and the DTilt bonus damage to proned opponents, which on paper I'm not opposed to even if it doesn't feel like anything the set does flows into or out of these options. But beyond that, I feel like your approach to damage percentages is a bit confused. If you're fulfilling a specific condition to beef up an attack, you'd hope for more reward out of that than +2% to a move that deals 10%, which is a pretty minute damage difference in the grand scheme of things. Maybe it'd matter more if you gave KO percents, which seem to be assigned pretty much at random when they're given out or not. The sets more critical KO moves, the Smashes given they're willpower oriented, don't have KO percents, while random moves that kill at like 170% at the ledge do. In spite of this, you give the exact negative frame advantage on shield for every move, which is information even a lot of more detailed sets tend not to provide because while frame data isn't a bad thing to add to a set necessarily, its less important to know exact frame data than when a move will kill the opponent, generally speaking.

Regardless, to make a small list of suggestions:
  • Try to flow off core moves more, giving more defined reasons like layering hitboxes for the foe to dodge, creation of new combos, or general coverage advantages to how they're used.
  • If a move has a situational reward, it should be more tangibly a bonus than a couple percentage points.
  • Go into more detail on kill percents. Frame data is fine to have, but its less important, especially the amount of advantage on block
  • While this has already been mentioned, the FAF of an attack is not a cancel. A cancel is when you get out of FAF early by fulfilling a particular condition, such as landing the attack or triggering the landing lag of an aerial.
  • Maybe think a little more about if the flavor of certain core moves is fitting. I'd say the set generally felt characterized fine aside from the rock, but that was a bizarre inclusion.

For all my criticism, this is an acceptable starting point to work from, its clear you can come up with some decent concepts and at least have some idea of what people want out of an MYM set. I'd just recommend getting more specific on how your set's general "flow" works, and I suspect you'll be able to put out something I'm willing to vote soon enough.

Benrey
After being fairly impressed with Plague Knight and Giovanni Potage and... not so impressed with Heist Mark, I wasn't quite sure what to expect with Benrey. Well it ended up in the middle ground between Giovanni and Heist Mark, I'd say, as for what its worth Bonerey is a neat idea. These kinds of proxy hitbox generators are done a decent amount in MYM, with Hina being a particularly strong example of it this contest, but I kind of like that the focus here is on overlapping the hitboxes generated by both Benrey and Bonerey. It turns Jab into a better combo move if you can pull it off, and gives a massively powerful stun or KO move if you can charge up and land NSpecial like that... although honestly, NSpecial feels like a woefully impractical option for that when you need to charge it a full second without the ability to store it and then land the double hit to get much real mileage out of the move. I'd say as far as applications I did like and would like to see expanded on in the future, I feel like Benrey's strong throws combined with the ability to swap positions to and throw the foe with them via Bonerey could create some particular strategy to positioning Bonerey that could actually be rather fascinating, although I get the impression you'd mostly just end up putting him with his back to a ledge or up on a high platform with the set as it is right now if you wanted to do that kind of grab stuff. Still, with maybe some more unorthodox incentives, like a throw comparable to Ridley's Side Special in wanting a lot of runway to get full mileage out of, or some other stage control, this could be a pretty fun concept to focus a set around, especially combined with the aforementioned attempt to overlap multiple of the same hitbox.

The set doesn't really go all that far with this concept though, most of the rest of the set just describing combos into and out of its moves, including discussing combos with moves that haven't been brought up yet akin to what Smady talked about with GolisoPower's sets. This isn't a bad thing in small doses, I do it, and Froy does it, but when its done for a huge chunk of the set without even knowing what the latter moves do it can be a bit of a pain for reading comprehension. It might also be fun to get a bit more specific on combos, such as discussing what moves true combo(as in, its inescapable for one move to combo from one to another) versus 50/50's between multiple moves that the opponent can be punished for if they don't read what you're going to do next. The most interesting and potent combos the set has are off Bonerey, using Jab and Nair to knock the opponent back into Benrey's more potent moves, but I felt this overall wasn't played off in much detail. The most interesting ways this could be played off were maybe pulling off some very specific positioning for Up Tilt and Up Smash, which is a fun idea but the execution is a bit flawed at the moment. Up Tilt's hilariously small hurtbox(a human sized characters head shrinking out of existence and growing back seems really, really hard to land) makes it so that it wouldn't be practical for much of anything but this kind of combo, and Up Smash doesn't feel like Benrey has quite the kind of tools you'd want to actually set it up... and by comparison, I don't think landing the multiple overlapping projectiles hitbox is nearly as hard as you think it is. It sounds, if anything, easier than just landing Benrey's Up Tilt, you just have to hit it when the projectiles first come out above Benrey's head. Still, I'm at least open to the idea of using a proxy to generate copies of your hitboxes and combo into the specific ones, so if you ever come back and expand on that in the future, I'd be interested.

I am, admittedly, not fully familiar with HLVRAI, which is a series you're pretty passionate about from what you've told me about it. But I feel between this and Heist Mark, I think I can say that the way you choose to represent these kinds of gag characters feels rather flawed. Making every attack a reference to a weird/funny thing the character does in their source sounds like a viable way to translate these joke characters on paper, but in practice, I think it makes the set not really have as much flow to its visuals or gameplay as you'd want. It might be better to focus on a smaller set of powers, such as a having a higher number of moves that utilize Benrey's sweet voice powers and glitchy manifestations to give him a more consistent fighting style, while still weaving in the occasional more jokey animation for consistency. Or, possibly, you could do something like having Benrey stretch out his limbs to get more mileage out of his kitchen knife/passport? Either way, I think that's why this set comes up short compared to Giovanni Potage and Plague Knight, as those sets focus around a more consistent powerset rather than a set of more random gags and as such feels smoother and more consistent, and its easier to fit moves into the playstyle when you don't need to fit in all these random weapons and jokes. I think one thing that came across to be as a bit egregious in this regard was Side Special, which I can tell is a big part of the character... but in terms of the actual set, its just kinda there for the reference, and doesn't expand on Benrey's gameplay in any meaningful way other than being a KO command grab. And there are ways to flow into a KO command grab like that! Maybe a focus on getting the foe to shield more so you can go for said command grab to counter that would be fun. But as is, its an entire Special move in a set that's already too chaotic for its own good that exists to reference something and not really further the playstyle.

I've been pretty harsh on this set, I recognize that, but when I do get around to commenting Plague Knight(and I will soon), I want to make it clear that this more negative commentary is because I think you have a lot of potential as a setmaker, Nat. You might not do more complex and ambitious stuff yet, but you have a strong grasp of the basics and what makes moves feel fun and rewarding to play with on a gameplay level. As I mentioned, Bonerey's a fun concept and while it may not measure up to the stronger puppet fighter sets we have this contest, that doesn't mean it doesn't have its own appeal as a puppet fighter tool that you did at least scratch the surface of.