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CvS Advanced Strategies

By Maj

Even for a game as strategically simplistic and limited in options as CvS, it's very difficult to explain what comprises top level play. Most attempts at this wind up dealing in over generalized terms and concepts that require a top level player to interpret correctly. In some instances it may be possible to describe a player's entire game plan, but you can never explain to someone how to adjust that game plan correctly in the case of an unforeseen problem or how to create a new game plan for another character or another purpose. Quite frequently, the best that can be done is to explain the tools and tricks employed in high-level play and leave it to the player to figure out how to use them correctly. This article is simply that - a collection of advanced techniques necessary in higher levels of play.

Option Select Throws

Simultaneously pressing LP and HP in CvS normally defaults to the LP attack. Analogously, pushing LK and HK at the same time defaults to the LK attack. However, if you hold forward or back and press LP + HP or LK + HK, your character is within throw range, and your opponent is not in block stun or hit stun, your character will attempt a throw instead of jabbing. This comes in really handy for characters with good foot speed and good mid-hitting jabs like Chun Li, Nakoruru, and Iori because you can pressure with tick/throw mix-ups and never get a whiffed standing HP or HK as a result of pushing the button a few frames too early or having your opponent jump out. This technique also makes it easier to maximize your character's throw range by minimizing the penalty for misjudging this distance - either your character is close enough and attempts to throw or is too far and performs a fast, relatively safe light attack instead of a slow hard attack. The game engine automatically selects the correct option for you.

Crossup Defense Techniques

One of the few effective offensive options in CvS is the crossup. Building a reliable defense against it is extremely important for avoiding damaging combos and preventing your opponent from gaining momentum. The easiest and most obvious solution is to simply escape by using the roll, thereby safely resetting the situation. This must be done before your character switches sides or else your character will roll towards your descending opponent and probably get thrown.

However, because all rolls in CvS suffer from a brief vulnerability during startup, they cannot be used to escape a meaty crossup following a knockdown. The best response to this scenario is the Delayed Get-Up. Four cases arise following a knockdown as a result of this option. Either your opponent crosses up your character normally, your Delayed Get-Up avoids your opponent's crossup, your opponent delays his jump and crosses up your character even though you used the Delayed Get-Up, or your opponent delays his jump but you get up normally and roll out of the crossup. Thus, you are able to avoid being crossed up half of the time without penalty - you can never wind up in a worse situation using the Delayed Get-Up than the one you were already in.

Although quite problematic, the remaining two situations do not leave you completely defenseless. At this point you have two remaining options. You can either try to block the crossup or if your character has a reliable anti-air special you can attempt to execute it as a wake-up Reversal. Blocking crossups is tricky, inconsistent, and very dangerous. Using anti-air specials against crossups, while the ideal solution, is an imperfect one due to the difficulty and inconsistency in executing a special move as your character is turning around. Oftentimes your character will perform the special in the wrong direction and miss your opponent entirely. The trick is to perform the joystick command for the special slightly before your opponent crosses you up but delay the button press until your character has stood up. This method takes care of both problems by making it easier to execute the special and allowing you the flexibility to wait until your character is facing the right direction before initiating the attack. As a last resort this technique works very well and can get you out of some scary situations.

Meter Building Strategies

Due to the lack of offensive throw and overhead mix-ups in CvS, you often only get one or two opportunities do real damage to an opponent. Having meter is crucial to making these few opportunities count. It takes forty-eight whiffed hard attacks, sixteen connected hard attacks, slightly over five blocked hard attacks, or twelve whiffed specials to build one lvl of Capcom Groove meter. Therefore, the most effective method for building meter in Capcom Groove is through long blocked strings of normals ending in safe special moves. Many characters can gain a whole lvl of meter from one blocked chain following a crossup - yet another reason to have reliable ways of escaping them. It's also very convenient to have a fast special that can be used to safely build meter from a distance.

Some characters become far more threatening when their lifebar starts flashing in SNK Groove. Obviously you want to extend their life as much as possible while you can get free lvl1 supers. It's sometimes wise to selectively take hits in order to get your character into that zone. Certainly it makes more sense to get hit by a fireball if that's all it takes to give you free supers than to risk getting hit by a combo that may very well kill your character flat out. For characters with traps based on repeated lvl3 supers, it's also a good idea to charge your meter to almost full ahead of time so that when your lifebar does start flashing, you waste no time and no energy in starting the trap.

As a minor note, you can build meter in Capcom Groove even after you've defeated your opponent by whiffing hard attacks. You don't get very much meter for this, but every little bit counts. SNK Groove allows you to charge after your opponent has died, but you get very little meter this way due to the long startup period preceding meter gain.