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EXD GUIDE

WHAT IS AN EXDEATH?

  • Want to play EXD? At high level, I'd say about 8 members of the Dissidia012 cast give Exdeath a very hard time.
  • EXD's character archetype (Entropic Adversary) is to have the opponent engage him to win. This boils down to punishing the opponent to win. He has Maelstrom as a move to punish those who do not engage. However, only 3 characters in this game cannot handle it without Aerith’s Planet Protector: Yuna, Kuja, and Shantotto. EXD is unique in that players have to change their play style in order to play and fight him.
  • EXD is the ultimate cardcounter. With his ability to build assist quickly, it becomes a part of his character. He is the fastest assist builder in the game. EXD is always looking at his opponent and what the opponent is doing to either block or punish. His assist, which is selected specifically for the matchup, should always be looking to punish the opponent’s moves.
  • Beware of characters who chase. It is a primary way to build EX. EXD is not good to punish empty chases.
  • In especially calculated matchups, being in good reach of zones where cores spawn is a good idea.
  • Any unblockable moves have a HIGH chance to be exploited against EXD at times down the line. It helps to remember these attacks even outside of EXD, because they are something to be reckoned with. But with EXD, these attacks matter very much, and you need to know them.
  • Many characters cannot block Mael + Planet Protector reliably, but you should know which characters are capable of easily doing so.


List of "Special" or unblockable BRV:

  • Terra: Graviga
  • Laguna: Sticky Bomb (explosion)
  • Emperor: Thunder Crest
  • Golbez: Rising Wave (Far)
  • Exdeath: Black Hole
  • Ultimecia: Charged Knight's Arrow (idle)
  • Kuja: Remote Flare


List of "Special" or unblockable HP:

  • Terra: Flood, Ultima
  • Zidane: Shift Break (water only)
  • Garland: Earthquake (rocks only)
  • Emperor: Starfall, Dreary Cell
  • Exdeath: Grand Cross (normal/counter)
  • Kefka: Hyperdrive

___________

  • EXD has very little pressure game outside of Aerith's Holy, Maelstrom, Planet Protector+Maelstrom, and Black Hole pressure.
  • Black Hole is can be assist punished if the opponent has good reaction time.
  • Reverse Polarity is especially useful when near a wall or roof.
  • Sword Dance is easily dodged and easily punished with fast pokes. Yuna can punish this.
  • Vaccum Wave offers little to no levity, but is useful against Ultimecia a bit, it can be used to bait Jecht’s toes.
  • Hurricane is easily blocked, but is useful against Ultimecia and Laguna and even Jecht in heated matchups

After one of Exdeath's guard attacks, you can:

CIRCLE NEUTRAL - Hurricane

CIRCLE Towards Opponent + - Sword Dance (Can be used twice, 4 in EX Mode.

CIRCLE Away from Opponent + - Vacuum Wave (Can be used twice, 4 in EX Mode.

SQUARE NEUTRAL - Almagest

SQUARE Away from Opponent + - Grand Cross

TECHNICAL NOTES

PRECISION DODGE

Dodging at the right time gives you invincibility frames till the end of the dodge animation, you can tell you did it when your character is glowing a gold color.

Note how Jecht can dodge into an attack like Sudden Cruelty and use Jecht Block to block it. Exdeath can do this with Turn Guard. However, there is 1 frame where Omniblock is starting up, and generally, Omniblock cannot do this. A steady hand can save your life.

 

PRECISION BLOCK

Exdeath gains high priority normal blocks with this ability while blodging. A precision block is activated within 1 frame of it starting. Every blodge done for every character is a constitutes a precision block. This may be helpful to some in certain matchups. Using an HP blodge to score a reflect off of an attack like Heel Crush or WWF can be risky if the opponent has near-death status and you blodge with HPs or BRVs.

PLAYPLAN

As Exdeath, you want to be scary, calculated and collected. This means being patient. This means being varied. You are a cardcounter. You can time your engagements around the appearances of excores. You can realize sometimes, "it sure has been a long time since a core appeared..." and move to position yourself optimally to reach the core, wherever it may be.

As a character that wins by blocking, you want to get into their head. Play many different people. Chess masters have seen their battles play out many times before them.

Reaction time comes into play as well. So build up your muscle memory and reactions by playing.

Matchups that rely solely on EXD's blocking to win are matchups that involve what I call EXD Grit Matchups.
 

TECHNIKS

Spoiler

 

ATTACK CANCELING allows EXD to build 2 full bars of assist in around 5 seconds. [?] You build assist faster when you start different moves. Alternate between 2 different attacks to accomplish this.

CANCEL-BLODGING with Exdeath allows you to move to the back right, back left, back up, in-place, and forward above of the opponent. It also allows you to build assist while running away. You can use the analog stick to steer your dodge to dodge in place. That can be difficult.

I can have grand cross binded to back square because I don't want myself moving towards the opponent with Almagest while blodging. Almagest bonded to forward is more optimal because it will help the opponent get caught in my blodge if they dash or poke incorrectly.

You can punish them if they are caught in the blodge with Delta Attack, but that varies. Your reaction time and calculating speed must be on point because you will have to assess if Delta Attack will reach them. Otherwise, the other option is to use an assist. Zidane's Free Energy is a suitable punish for this as well, as they won't be able to EXR because one can not EXR after being blocked. The only detriment to getting hits in this way is if they have an assist to assist out.

 

In the EXD vs Firion MU, I have almagest bonded to neutral and omni air dash+. This counters Firion’s straightarrow spam.

AERITH-SEAL EVIL + LOCK OFF DELTA ATTACK

Near a roof, you can HP wallrush upwards if there is no wall for you to Almagest or Delta Attack towards. Have Delta Attack bonded to neutral square. Face Exdeath towards the opponent and make sure that you drop low enough for you to lock-off Delta Attack beneath them. This forces them upwards toward the roof.

NOTE: there is a glitch with Seal Evil: whenever you use seal evil on a character already trapped in it without hitting them soon enough, they will gain a very high falling speed. You can exploit this in this technique. If you know when they are going to fall to he floor, exploit this and they will fall towards your already active Delta Attack.

MULTI-AIR DASH MIXUPS.

You can exploit opponents dashes sometimes with multi air dash. The hitbox for Omniblock is bigger than EXD, it is the full surface of the yellow sphere.

AERITH-PLANET PROTECTOR + MAELSTROM

You can call Planet Protector while calling Maelstrom on the ground. After a few seconds, the threshold for a successful Maelstrom is reached. If it did not hit the opponent, the opponent probably canceled the move out with one of their moves. If you did not call a level 2 assist, you can call a level 1 and gain bravery.

The three characters that need Planet Protector to block Maelstrom: KUJA, YUNA, and SHANTOTTO.

Refer to:

The cast of 012 attempts to block Maelstrom.

HAVING PEOPLE READ YOUR GUARDS WITH ASSISTS

Players will probably try to exploit your guards with assist if they know that you are going to guard. For probably the most basic example, say that WoL is across the map from you and he uses Radiant Sword. If you decide to block it, they may use an assist to shake your visibility of the frame where you successfully omni guard. It is important in the split second where the opponent uses the assist to weigh which moves come first. Block that and hold for a few seconds to block the incoming other move. Omniblock stays active after you successfuly block for quite a long time. This is visible with Onion Knight’s Comet. Block one projectile of comet and you will block a lot more, but Comet’s lifespan outweighs the active frames of Omniblock’s post-block blocking.

OMNI AIR DASH MATCHUPS

Sometimes you will need to use Omni-Air Dash. It greatly increases survivability against Firion and allows for interesting gameplay against Jecht.

REVERSE POLARITY STAGGERING

You can stagger your opponent with Reverse Polarity in certain situations. After the stagger, recognize the "ding" sound effect and act accordingly. Delta Attack is the logical followup, but beware of using this against Zidane. 

 

 

ASSIST GAME

Spoiler

 

Kuja :

  • Can combo off of Black Hole
  • Assist Chase into Delta Attack, Almagest, or Grand Cross
  • If opponent is hit into wall, careful positioning with almagest can ensure another HP wallrush instead of risking Delta Attack for a wallrush. Use BRV recovery stuff to ensure that your base BRV is recovered by the time your almagest hits.

Zidane:

  • Free Energy Punishes
  • CAN PUNISH : Straightarrow, Free Energy, Diamond Dust
  • Can Free Energy Black Hole victim before the final hit and
  • Can combo off of Black Hole
  • If you stagger an opponent with RP, you can use Zidane's BRV attack and QUICKLY start almagest to ensure an HP
  • If you stagger an opponent with RP, you can use Zidane's Free Energy to get an HP in without using Delta Attack. This is important because characters like Zidane can punish Delta Attack after assisting out during this exchange. However, EXD can protect his assist if you use this tech. For this to work, this constitutes the opponent having no assist to assist out of.
  • Often, during your calculations, you will have to blodge towards Zidane while he uses his BRV to use Grand Cross before he hits a wall. Grand Cross's four orbs will appear around the opponent while this is happening if done correctly. Be conscious of Grand Cross’s range.
  • Hard Tech: You can redirect Zidanes BRV attack towards a wall by Using Reverse Polarity correctly during his attack.

Jecht :

  • If opponent messes up badly and you mael them, you can get a loop going because Jecht assist will buy you more time for a 2nd Maelstrom reset. Combine with SBS for near infinite.
  • This usually never happens. Keep dreaming.
  • Useful against Ultimecia, can punish her dodges. You can use Almagest to nullify her Knight’s Lance (fast version) if she tries to cover her dodge.

Yuna :

  • Useful for maps with low ceilings. Can Delta if wallrushed to ceiling. Sometimes glitches and misses.

Gilgamesh :

  • Same appliance as Yuna except he does not glitch, but he does not have the same useful property as Yuna. Also a bit faster.

 

Aeris/Aerith :

 

  • Holy time bomb for EMP matchup
  • Can Grand Cross into Seal Evil
  • Can Counter Grand Cross into Seal Evil
  • Can Seal Evil after Black Hole
  • Can Cure for pressure if opponent refuses to engage
  • Can Wallrush, then use Cure Evil before
  • Can Seal Evil before Vaccum Waves for an Aerith Chase, gaining all exforce if successful.
  • Can Seal Evil before Delta Attack or Sword Dance to ensure another attack of choice afterwards a wallrush
  • Can get a 3 hp combo with high enough brv recovery using wallrushes

 

IMPORTANT FRAME DATA for Aerith

Cure: gives 60% of raw Brv, i.e. always = 400 for a Lv 100 character

Seal Evil: last for 3 sec (180F)

Planet Protector: last for 5 sec (300F

Holy: spell casting time = 8 sec (480F), the HP hit lands at 524F. Aerith has Block Mid priority (ie. need guard stagger/crush attacks to stop her).

A bit of explanation, between 480F to 524F, the opponent is still free to do anything. They could even attack Aerith to cause an Assist Lock to you, but they will still get hit by Holy at 524F.

 

Think of this as Starfall, the meteor(Holy) appears at 480F, and needs 44F to "reach" its target.

Footnotes: General Knowledge Thread.

 

TIDUS

  • Can use Delta Attack after Hop Step. Good for Punishing, as it is quick.

 

 

MATCHUPS

Spoiler

 

I.

EXD VS WARRIOR OF LIGHT

The only move Warrior of Light can block holy and mael with is Shield of Light. Otherwise, EXD Grit MU. Get a grip of Omniblocking Shining Wave.

 

EXD VS GARLAND

Garland’s most viable attack is Twist Drill. To counter this, just use an assist LVL 2 to get out of any BRV that Garland will chase after. Because Garland’s most valuable asset is his EX building and his unpunishable empty chases, it is important not allow him to go into chase. Other than that, Turn Guard is useful here. Cyclone can be tricky to Omni. Earthquake’s rocks are unblockable.

 

II.

EXD VS FIRION

Straightarrow is punishable by Free Energy. Blocking Straightarrow is another game within itself. I once received advice to Omni when the arrow is about 1/3 of its way towards you at max distance. Omni Air Dash+ will help you get around Straightarrow, but you will want to have 2 bars of assist ready against Firion at all times.

Firion will like to corecamp near the ground, as he is a ground-based character already.

 

EXD VS EMPEROR

Sword Dance is usable here, but beware because Emperors can use Yuna assists with deadly force. Yuna can punish Sword Dance. Note that EMP has Thundercrest, Dreary Cell, and Starfall—all are unblockable. You can Almagest towards static Flares and Omniblock them. The same can be done for Blue Flares.

 

Holy is effective against emp. Using Sword Dance to prevent Emperor from hitting Aerith with an HP during Holy is not only fun, but effective if one is good at controlling the feint.

 

III.

EXD VS CLOUD OF DARKNESS

Exd grit MU. COD can block Mael and Holy with Particle Beam. Her feint move can punish Reverse Polarity so be careful. Aura Ball will be exploited against you, but you can bait out the opponent while this is happening with Grand Cross. Most of the time, however, it will be used to keep you away.

 

EXD VS ONION KNIGHT

EXD pretty much counters everything he has. But what remains is the issue of his fast dash and the ability to get cores.

 

IV.

 

EXD VS CECIL

One can bring Sword Dance here. Get a grip of Omniblocking Dark Flame. You can assist of Paladin Force and Omni at the right time.

 

EXD VS GOLBEZ

I bring Turn Guard here. Be Wary of Golbez on the ground, as he has an unblockable BRV he will exploit against you.

 

EXD VS LAGUNA

One can use Hurricane while pressuring here due to Laguna's lackluster BRV game. Beware, as Hurricane is still risky against a good player. Look out for Split Laser, it has hard Omniblock timing.

Good Lagunas will often have this loadout:

Pummel, Shotgun, and Sticky Bomb in the air

Pummel, Ricochet Shot, and Electroshield on the ground.

Any other loadout for Laguna’s game is easily blocked.

 

EXD VS EXD

___https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IPQI5ptY6gY

Refer to:

 

EXD VS BARTZ

EXD Grit MU. He has Dark Flame. Goblin Punch is unblockable.

 

EXD VS GABRANTH

Counterpick to Exdeath. Gabranth has to be engaged and harassed to be killed before he can build EX.

In theory, Gabranth can just run away and recover all lost HP. With the Genji set, Gabranth can get 9999 BRV just by being in Exmode long enough. In this theory battle, one EXD's viable tactic is to use concentration while in large stages. The matchup is incredibly botched against Exdeath. Lai Strike is not a bad choice either.

You can pressure with Black Hole and Kuja assist in order to win.

You can bring Protect Guard to this matchup to block Gabranth’s priority mid moves. Gabranth’s Air HPs are very assist punishable.

 

EXD VS VAAN

Vaan has Windburst, which is tricky to Omni. All of his other Braveries are blocked fairly easy. However, beware of being directly above him, as Torrent can catch you. 

 

EXD VS KUJA

 

Kuja has remote flare, an unblockable move. However, this is punishable with Kuja assist.

Hurricane is usable here, but it requires massive mastery of the move in it's appliance to do so.

It can be hard for EXD to block Kuja’s moves, but the EXD needs to be incredibly patient. Flare Star is incredibly tricky to Omni.

 

EXD VS YUNA

One of the three matchups where Mael is unblockable.

Diamond Dust, while hard to block, is punishable by Free Energy and Omniblockable if read correctly.

 

EXD VS SHANTOTTO

One of the three matchups where Mael is unblockable. Know all of Shantotto’s HP variants.

 

EXD VS ZIDANE

Free Energy is punishable by Free Energy. Risky for Zidane because he can get hit with his own reflected Free Energy. Can sometimes result in a massive damage exchange towards Zidane.

During his Swift Attack, EXD can assist out and catch Zidane in his brv by quickly dashing a little towards him and use Delta Attack. This is due to Zidane's animation lock during this attack. However, remember that Zidane can assist out and punish Delta Attack with a downward BRV.

 

EXD VS TIDUS

You can assist out of Jecht Shot and Energy Rain to Omniblock Tidus. Energy Rain’s BRV’s are

Ombiblockable and it must be precise. Assist out the instant you are hit and Omni the earliest you can.

 

EXD VS JECHT

Holy and Mael are not necessarily reliable in this matchup. Holy can be dealt with 1 Jecht Block, while Mael must be dealt with 2.

Jecht is susceptible to Black Hole. You can catch Jecht by correctly positioning oneself where the second kick of a fully charged Jecht BRV in the air. This is a viable tactic that requires Jecht to be caught slipping—or in this case, charging. It can be brought about sometimes by cancel-blodging towards Jecht and teasing him to charge. Vaccum wave is acceptable if you are good with footsies.

 

EXD VS KAIN

Hard MU for EXD. Kain can block Holy and Maelstrom with Jump and Dragon's Fang and can Jump THROUGH Black Hole. [Lmao, this should not be realistically possible, as Kain bends space and time to do so...] It comes down to EXD's grits.

EXD Grit Matchup

Since Kain will have to engage you, you can use Aerith's cure to pressure him to engage.

 

EXD VS KEFKA

It is hard to Omniblock Firaga sometimes because of it’s janky hitbox. Know that there are 3 phases for Firaga. It can be handled with Shell Guard however.

Kekfa has the unblockable move Hyperdrive. You can deal with it by reverse polarity-ing right above Kefka and using Black Hole. However, this changes if Kefka is in Exmode and it will hit you while you are above him, so run away. He is incredibly dangerous while in this mode. It constitutes double hyperdrives and double trines. Double and quadruple firagas can be dealt with Omni respectively.

Having Shell Guard is useful in this MU and Black Hole is imperative, so I have Shell on the Ground and Black Hole in the air.

You can punish Trine and Firaga with Free Energy in the air.

 

EXD VS TERRA

Formidable MU, some consider it a counterpick towards EXD. Terra has mixups with Thundertrap and Meltdown.

Terra can block MAEL AND HOLY with tornado

Terra has flood and Graviga, both unblockable moves. You can punish flood with Free Energy.

 

EXD VS CLOUD

EXD Grit Matchup, but when Cloud gets a full EX bar, everything changes. You'll be looking to Omniblock instead of Turn Guard and Clouds will exploit that.

 

EXD VS SQUALL

He can block both Holy and Maelstrom with ease.

Beat Fang can sometimes go behind Turn Guard but never Omniblock. [That can happen with Jecht Block too.] Squall has the ability to punish your Aerith assist with Aerial Circle. Aerial Circle is risky to block because if you Omniblock it underneath it or above it at the wrong time you can get hit. There is a cycle to where the Hp is active in a circle around squall.

 

EXD VS ULTIMECIA

Counterpick to Exdeath.

Hard MU. Kuja can punish her timed arrow attack during the intervals where she cannot dodge due to animation lock. This is one of the few instances where an assist punish on Ultimecia is guaranteed. Jecht can punish her dodges, though this has to be extremely precise, as she can lock Jecht with Knight’s Lance.

You can use Hurricane for vertical pressure when under her. It can also work against charged arrows. Also useful for punishing dodges if she dodges into it.

You will have to Omni the charged arrows, though be careful, because those are unblockable when dormant and an Almagest can get you caught in them. You can dash through dormant arrows.

When they are coming towards you, block them. You can Almagest towards a Charged Knight's Lance and Omni, like you would a Red Emperor Flare, though a good Ultimecia will rarely set this up for you.

 

I recommend the usage of Hurricane or Vacuum Wave depending on the stage. Reverse Polarity will have a hard time dealing with Time Crush on its own. You can also Omni reflected Vacuum Waves from a charged Knight’s Lance, but a good Ulti will not be setting that up for you.

 

It is important to take precautions against Ultimecia if she has full EX bar. Lai EX Strike helps.

 

EXD VS LIGHTNING

This is a fun and heated MU.
Be careful with EXD’s positioning when trying to read Thunders.

If hit with Thunderfall, you can assist out and block the last HP part of the attack. Use lots of Almagest and switch up your approaches with dashing through the opponent to confuse the opponent with approaches at different levels.

 

EXD VS PRISHE

Can easily nullify Mael and Holy with One Inch Punch and Nullifying Dropkick.

You’re gonna have a really bad time. She can switch between Combo and One Inch Punch all the time leaving you wondering. There is a high chance that the player playing Prishe will be reading the Exdeath. Your best bet will be being overly cautious and drawing out the battle if in a tournament setting. One can try using EXD’s BRV’s here with a damage build to bring down her BRV.

 

EXD VS TIFA

A lot of Tifa’s moves are defeated by Black Hole. However, her fast dash speed will be a problem and she will have no problem getting cores.


 

 

 

Edited by sellos
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      Commando as a paradigm is also rarely touched, and is touched for the purpose of comboing or getting extra damage through it's +1 attack while in commando, great for finishing off those combos with a slightly bigger bang. Another use for commando is breaks, when you block an opponent you can swap to commando and deliver them your almighty smite straight into the ground where the dirt belongs. Bonus points because you can get a combo off of it for even more smitey justice! or a thundefall. that works to I guess. All in all Commando's main use is that crispy damage, and those spicy combos. 
      Overall Lightning as a lot of tools to keep her safe and punish the fools that would call her foe. If you like a character that's easy to pick up and go, but hard to master all her subtle nuances, Lightning's for you!
      as far as meter gain goes, Lightning excells. She builds assist incredibly fast, and has some of the best EX generation in the game, meaning that she's very capable of putting static pressure on her foes and forcing them to stay docile, for fear of the crispy EXR. Her EXR game is fairly weak in reality, but the best combo seems to be double smite into thunderfall, which can combo into assist. but works best at low ground. that being said her EX burst is incredible, doing a lot of damage and being fairly easy to pull off, you can break a lot of players at around 600 brave running the damage oriented build.
      Her HP game is fairly weak. Your best chance of getting HP hits are assists. Barring that, blocks into crushing blow are your second best option, and finally, inconsistent ravager combos into thunderfall, or catching a person blocking watera with thunderfall make for good options.
      Lets just talk about Thunderfall real fast. Thunderfall is a tool that you'll see divided amongst great lightnings and bad lightnings. Great lightnings seldom use the attack but when they do it's going to punish you hard. It punishes so many things, but is in turn easy to punish. A great lightning will punish your Lord of Arms with it, Your air flares with it (on prediction, never reaction), your thunderfalls with it! Yes, thunderfall punishes itself! GLORIOUS. Thunderfall is a great punish move, but using it in neutral comes with very significant risk, as many characters can punish it in turn with their own HPs if you miss. It's also assist punishable, so there's that. still an invaluable tool in select matchups, and firion/emperor's worst nightmare.
      A good way to think of Thunderfall is a High priority blizzara with the added benefit of punishing ground dodges. This move is powerful, but use it wisely, or it will be your downfall.
       
      II. Lightning's slower than it looks
      Fastest
      0 D.Chaos/F.Chaos (EX mode)
      1.5 Tidus (EX mode)
      2 Prishe (EX mode)
      2.5 D.Chaos/F.Chaos > Onion Knight 
      4 Tifa = Zidane = Tidus (Normal) = Gabranth (EX mode)
      5 Cecil (Paladin) = Squall = Jecht = Prishe (Normal)
      6 WoL = Bartz = Shantotto = Vaan = Lightning
      7 Golbez > Cloud = Yuna > Kuja
      8 Emperor > Firion = Kain
      9 CoD > Cecil (Dark Knight) = Sephiroth = Laguna
      10.5 Garland = Gilgamesh > Terra
      11.5 Kefka
      12 Gabranth
      13.5 Ultimecia
      ?? Exdeath
      Slowest   This is a WALKING SPEED chart. She pairs up similarly, but with minor differences in other aspects of speed. Note that lightning's dash speed is the fastest outside of EX mode due to her exclusive. Good to deal with really fast characters. Thanks Wheelz for the information.
      According to the speed charts, Lightning is actually somewhere in the middle of the pack. Slower than a lot of popular characters, but not so much slower that she can't keep up the pace with them when she really needs to. This is fine for us because when it comes right down to it we don't care if we're in their face or not. We have tools for everything.
       
      III. My blade will fix this - Tools of the trade

      Commando Tools
      Ground
      Blitz
      Blitzs is a melee mid priority move that has lightning dashing forward in an AoE around her, and firing a shot back at the opponent when she passes through. Blitz hits two times and wall rushes for decent damage, and can be used to catch an opponent off guard at the start or whenever you drop to the ground. I highly recommend equipping blitz for it's utility, though it wont be used very often.
      Launch
      Launch is a three hit Slashing attack that is melee low and wall rushes. It's generally hard to land due to it having about the same range as smite, and similarly slow startup time, but when it does land it's better to combo into it's HP link, Flourish of steel than actually finish out the attack. Keep launch equipped for those times when you want to be crispy, but don't expect it to land very often.
      Ruinga
      a fairly easy to block Ranged low attack that creates a small explosion that's ranged mid. It's easy to block before it explodes, but should it explode and hit your opponent, it launches them into the air. Not very useful, but decide for yourself if you want it or not.
       
      Air
      Smite
      Smite is your all purpose damage tool. And by all purpose i mean it only serves a single purpose. Lightning swings her sword twice, and on hit will "smite" the enemy back to the ground. use it on block or in combo's to do brave damage and wall rush, strong contender for EXR combos. Don't throw it out often in neutral unless you're looking to punish something.
      Blaze rush
      Lightning fires three shots from her gun before tackling the opponent head on. Not a very useful skill but can be mixed in to neutral for some extra damage, good at catching dodges when you're in commando. Keep it equipped, but don't expect it to be your BnB
      Ruin
      A weaker version of Ruinga but you can launch three of them now. Initiates chase, so that's cool I guess.
       
      Ravager tools
      Ground
      Fire
      Launches three fire balls, that start slow but pick up speed rapidly. Decent for pressure when inside thundaga, but generally easy to block.
      Aerora
      Aerora is cool. It launches a single fast moving projectile that deals multiple hits and knocks enemies into the air. Can combo into assist for bonus points, but not much else here. Fairly useful attack to catch landing lag and punish dodges.
      Thundaga
      All purpose electrical shield. Protects you from most melee and ranged attacks baring any HPs, but even if they connect, the chance of them getting broken by a bolt is high. Thundaga is great to sit inside and throw out your ranged HP, or fire, or aerora. It's really hard for some characters to pressure a lightning in her shield of insanity.
      Army of One (ground version)
      Don't bother with this multi hitting melee mid ability. The air version is used more, and having the ground version over fire or aerora is silly, you're not on the ground to be aggressive. Turtle more.
      Air
      Watera
      Good ol' bob. Bob is my long time friend. Bob is your long time friend. Bob is a bad friend. If you've ever liked being chased by a slow moving man down a subway train station out of fear that when he reaches you he's just going to explode and launch you into the ever loving arms of Sir manthong the ball fondler, You've probably met bob before. Bob is a slow moving melee mid projectile that persists through damage (meaning if you hit light it doesnt go away). Bob is a cornerstone in lights gameplay, You block it she can punish, you dodge it she can punish, you get hit by it she can combo. Bob is great pressure because other than reflecting it with melee highs she has a tool for dealing with it.
      Also there can be two bobs. Bob's twin brother came to town because you reflected bob. Now Bobs twin brother is here, and I've got bob back on track, so have fun dealing with the dynamic duo of terror!
      Use bob as you see fit. Use him for pressure, use him for combos (but mostly pressure), use him and his twin brother for shenanigans (but mostly pressure.) bob is a consistent pressure tool that can be used offensively, or defensively to keep characters from getting to you, block low ranged projectiles, and be generally a nuisance to your foe. Bob can combo into thunderfall, and at certain ranges thunder as well. Bob also can combo into blizzara if you predict the hit. Bob is truly a cornerstone in our gameplay. Just be careful what you say to bob. Bobs a spiteful bastard and he likes to attack his mean friends.
      Bob can also save you, or your enemy, so be mindful of his positioning. If you're being hit by an assist and bob is right by you, it might be worth letting bob come to the party. He's indiscriminate about who he blows up on, and his original target doesn't have to be the end result. Even an enemy bob can save you, as he can knock YOU out of combos too! sometimes he'll interrupt you though, so be careful. Bob's never been good at waiting his turn.
      thunder
      Our bread and butter, Thunder. Lightning almost instantly fires a thunderbolt out in front of her, and if it hits she can soot two more and lead into chase. Perfect for assist combos. Perfect for building assist. Huge ammounts of EX generation. Super safe, reliable, and unpunishable on block. Nearly perfect. Use it to hit enemies. Use it to hit air. Use it to not hit enemies. Use it to make enemies wish lightning was balanced. 
      Thunder is an impressive ability that can be used for a multitude of different things. It hits enemies above you with the tip, and has really good cooldown, allowing you to dodge almost immediately after using it, or even use another. There's some advanced tech we'll discuss further down the guide that pertains to this ability as well.
      Blizzara
      Blizzara is a great tool to use. Assist punishable, but strong. Blizzara pulls enemies close, and if they're caught in it's AoE they take two hits of damage and are flung back. The second hit always comes out regardless of if the first hits, and can still hit the opponent in this case.
      Use Blizzara to interrupt abilities such as Genesis rock (be below him) or to dodge punish in the air. It can't reliably combo into much, and only assist combos on a wall or ceiling, but it's a great pressure tool. 
      We'll talk about some advanced tech pertaining to timing and placement of blizzara and the effects on what you can do with it further down in the guide.
       
      Army of One
      We swap Blizzara out for Army of One in matchups that favor it more. Melee mid priority which means it reflects stuff like your own watera, and staggers brave attacks, This move is great. It dodge punishes, it block punishes, it punishes poorly placed braves, and even on stagger it continues the full chain of attacks. Can be combo'ed into aerith, and at the ceiling (and with the adamant chains set) can be dodge canceled to combo into thunder. Very useful tool but easy to punish as well.
      We'll talk about the magic link glitch and what it means for Army of One later on in the guide.
      Medic
      I'm going to do something a bit different with this paradigm, as it's very different in terms of use than the others are, I will only be discussing Cura.
      Cura is the only medic ability you'll ever equip. It's just a better version of cure, time it properly get brave. useful when you've knocked opponents away, or when you're low and want to avoid that break. Not much to this paradigm or this ability. Just use it wisely.
      HP attacks
      Ground
      Razor Gale
      The big purple circle that doesn't even look natural. Razor gale is a single hit HP attack, where lightning throws out a large projectile with decent tracking. Good to toss out for pressure when in your thundaga.
      Lightning strike
      Great attack to hit dash ins with. Lightning lets out a field of lightning which does brave damage and then another set for the HP. When you're on the ground this can be a good choice if they're being to aggressive.
      flourish of steel
      HP link from launch. use it every time you land launch, which isn't often.
      Air
      Crushing blow
      Another one hit HP attack, Assist punishable but very reliable to catch dodges, and combos into aerith if you know you're going to hit. Works for double aerith HP combos. Use this on block for free damage, and combo into aerith or Kuja. 
      ThunderFall
      I love this move a little TO much. Don't spam this easily assist punishable beast, but keep it in the wings for punishing long HPs, catching dodges, and catching people who block your watera. Silly fools, they think Bob would betray me? (he would). It also combos off of watera, and blizzara, but we'll talk about that a little bit later.
      III. Enjoy the view! - Lightning gear and what it means to you
      Lightning doesn't have a lot of Viable options for her sets. She either runs EX heavy with damage, EX heavy with depletion, or core heavy. Side by side is not included in any of my sets.
      1. The EX depletion set
       
       
       
      You run this set to get as much EX and deplete as much as you can. The general plan for this set is high booster level with dismay shock and battle hammer, your usual EX gear including glutton and tenacious attacker, heavens cloud and the lufienian set of your choice dependent on Matchup. Use this set when you don't want them to get EX, or when you need to keep their assist down. They'll have to switch out on every HP hit or suffer the consequences!
       
      2. The EX Damage set
      This is my preferred set of choice. You run the usual EX gear with your lufenian set, and weasel in some damage accessories to make up for your lack of damage. Take lufienan gear that ups your attack as much as you can, and throw in the rings to make this set a force to be reckoned with. You can skip tenacious attacker and glutton, as the preferred assist for this set is aerith, meaning you'll be initiating plenty of chase.
      3. The core build set
      Strengthen that core! No really, increase core spawn rates and what you get from them. Abuse campers by out camping.
      IIII. You can't do it alone! - assist guide for the assistance impaired
      Lightning works well with most assists due to the way her braves work, and her HPs work, but for simplicity we will only be talking about two, and those two will be Kuja, and Aerith. Jecht is a viable alternative for depleting EX as rapidly as possible, and combos in much the same way as Kuja does, but with ground rushes. As such we will not be discussing Jecht, as I find him to be inferior to Kuja in almost every way but damage and depletion.
      Kuja
      We'll talk about the combo king first. Kuja has a lot more damage potential than Aerith (obvious) and combo potential than aerith (also obvious) but lacks safety. Kuja combos usually include the first two hits of smite, into thunderfall.
      If you manage to land a ground rush (via thunderfall or smite) ground assists include the entire Smite combo into thunderfall for added damage. Kuja depletes EX and does damage which is really his only boon over aerith, as aerith can combo off anything he can and more.
      You can however, use the force symphony assist from Thunder to bypass two bars of assist, which will lead into a chase. 
      The worst part about running Kuja is how hard he is to protect. Lightning doesn't really have a tool that can protect him in the same way that squall or cloud does, he can be very hard to protect and that makes him a hard choice. Kuja is your alternative to Aerith in sets where you want to deal EX depletion, but you should only pick him when neccessary.
      Aerith
      I would call aerith the queen of mean if she wasn't so damn nice. Aerith's difficult to lock, easy to use, a magic based assist (meaning two bar assist change wont lock her), and allows for EX absorbtion through chase combos. What this means for lightning is that she can combo off of all of her air normals except for blizzara (blaze rush and smite wall rush only, watera difficult), into one of the safest assists in the game, and on many of those combos, gather up all that crispy EX force. No tenacious or glutton needed!
      Aerith is a very strong assist for lightning because she compliments her oppressive playstyle by saying "you'll never lock me, I'll lock you first"
      Lightning also has a double aerith combo in crushing blow > crushing blow. This means that a full combo might look like, Smite > aerith assist > crushing blow > aerith assist > thunderfall. I don't have to tell you how amazing that is. We've all fought zidaerith, being his mini me is no easy feat.
      Aerith' overall compliments lightning's playstyle by allowing her to get crispy EX force without effort, and keeping her on the offensive without risking an assist lock. She compliments her defense just fine as well.
      The downside to Aerith is that her ground assist is generally useless. Just a heal, it does nothing to benefit you that you can't do yourself, and means you can't combo into assists from the ground. Rip Aerora.
      her level two assists are great tools as well, though situational. Planet protector can be used to save you from a big hit if you know it's coming, and holy can be a pain for some characters to deal with while they still need to deal with you. Generally I don't use them but they have a use.
       
      Yuna
      Someone actually brought up a good point about this assist. Yuna is a great punish assist vs matchups like firion, and is worth taking over Aerith in these matchups. She's basically an inferior Aerith in most MUs, but has the ability to punish, which makes her more useful in matchups where assist punish can come in handy. Combo with thunderfall by dashing in while she does her attack.
      Thanks to VII for the info.
      IV. Cocoon - Stage break down
      Due to the current competitive scene I will ONLY be covering stages that are allowed in competitive play.
      WoD
      Rating: 3.5/5
      Most Flat stages without much in them are going to be rated 4/5. Lightning prefers these medium sized stages where she can setup her game and put pressure on at the same time. WoD is a bit larger, but serves similar purpose. She might struggle more against campy characters due to the stage size, So this is only a 3.5/5 for the time being, but she definitely doesn't suffer to hard.
      Top Floor
      Rating: 5/5
      This is my preferred stage to take lightning,to, It's just big enough for her to set up but small enough that it makes campy characters easier to chase down. Lightning likes these mid sized stages because they offer her the ability to do as she pleases in the MU's she can, while giving her room to be campy vs campers, and offensive vs others.
      Sky Fortress Bahamut
      Rating: 4/5
      I personally love this map, I think it's awesome, but the rails make it a bit more of a pain for lightning to catch certain campy characters, and the banish traps can mess up smite if you happen to land it. Usually not a big deal, still an awesome stage for her, Worth going to if they ban top floor,
      Order's Sanctuary
      Rating: 3.5/5
      Pretty average wide stage. Its not bad for lightning but not particularly amazing either. Games might go in others favor, due to stage size and the ability to run, so it's 3.5/5
      Old Chaos Shrine
      Rating: 3/5
      I don't like this stage for lightning at all, It's super campy until you destroy the ceiling, and even then it can be campy. Getting to EX cores is just a chore and the map is made in such a way that at some point the gigantic hole in the center keeps your thunderfalls and smites from ground rushing, which wouldn't be such a problem, but it's also a wide stage. Your best option in this stage is to run with aerith assist and just do the Crushing blow combos unless you get close to a wall. Be prepared to be camped out on this stage.
      Lunar Subterrain
      rating: 4/5
      Fairly decent stage, but the ridges hurt Kuja assist. The stage is low ceiling so thunderfall almost always rushes, it's long but short so you may get camped a little, but it's still a reasonable stage to go to, and can be quite fun too.
      Kefka's Tower
      rating: 2.5/5
      Don't get me wrong this stage isn't all that bad. I just rate it lower because a lot of campy characters, and even aggressive characters, make this stage their *****. Lightning has the tools she needs to use this stage to her benefit, but others have way better tools. don't CP this stage, they'll just pick someone who can abuse the small area.
      Planet's Core
      rating: 3/5
      This stage is weird. You can land most stuff as a wall rush, but otherwise it has banish traps at the bottom. Not a lot of room to ground camp so it can be a viable counter to some characters who cant put up with it, but I reserve it as a counter stage mostly.
      Crystal World
      Rating: 3.5/5
      another big stage with minimal ground, but this one is more suited to lightnings talents with a way better chance of wall rushing and ground rushing. Counter ground based characters here.
      Edge of Madness
      rating: 4/5
      this stage is a special snowflake. It's super small, but it doesn't give huge benefits to campy characters, in fact it's tall enough that I can still avoid most stuff just fine. This stage is a 1/5 in select MUs but I'll leave it at 4/5 for the time being.
       
      V.Who are you watching? - Advanced tech
      In this section we'll be covering some advanced combos and tech that you an use to take your lightning to the next level. 
      This tech will include stuff as simple as movement tech, to as difficult as comboing off of blizzara and anything inbetween. 
       
      1. Tech pertaining to thunder or various aplication
      Free fall thunders.
      Free fall thunder is a spacing technique which is done by pressing any direction of movement after using thunder. This will put lightning into a free fall state almost instantly after the cooldown on thunder, allowing her to drop down and hit a target, or avoid a punish. This is especially useful in the firion matchup to avoid straightarrow, and as a general spacing technique to get yourself where you want to be for your next attack. This technique's application can make the difference between a good lightning and a great lightning.
      This technique is important for a lot of reasons beyond positioning. It builds assist as the second fastest method of assist building in the game (to my knowledge) so learn to use it wisely! 
      Mixing up free fall thunder is important. Sometimes it's better not to free fall it. During many of my sets I've discovered that doubling up on thunder, while not getting my assist, might save me from a dash in, or blocking even. Free fall thunder is pressurable, but remember how many tools you have and use them to your advantage to win the game vs pressure!
      Thunder circe dodge
      Circle dodges aren't exactly advanced tech, but they seem to be ignored by a vast majority of the player base. Circle dodging includes rotating the analog stick very quickly while dodging, instead of holding a direction. There are two affects to this depending on how fast or far you rotate the stick. First, lightning will do a half circle dodge, where she moves forward in an arc. This technique is good for punishing wiffs on stuff such as shield of light, or delta attack, from behind, Or getting out of the range of an Air circle to punish it.
      The second application of circle dodges is a full circle dodge. This dodge will very quickly return you to the original place of the dodge, while still in I frames. This technique can mean the difference between punishing  a poke and not punishing a poke, and I suggest learning how to use it.
      Thunder blocks
      Thunder has an incredibly short cooldown. Like, its so short that you can almost never be punished for using it in neutral unless they're dashing at you and they manage to push you out of it and hit you with a poke. You can do anything out of thunder, even free fall, so why not block? Thunder blocking could mean you get a free HP when they try to match you in neutral! They can't match you in neutral. Nothing is as fast as lightning. We strike in an instant and then we're gone. Probably to build assist.
      Double Thunder
      Less advanced tech, more humorous shenanigan, Enemies who block your thunder beware a second thunder! Yes. Thunder is so safe on block you can punish the block with thunder. If they try to save their pitiful selves with a poke attack, well, to bad for them. even stops nightglow in it's tracks. (may not work against abilities like turbo hit, may not work on squall. doesn't work against magic absorb abilities such as Air Circle) Use caution when trying this. sometimes you can still be punished.
      2. Tech Pertaining to thunderfall
      Going Commando
      No really, we are. Always followup your assist chases with a commando enhanced thunderfall. It seems basic but that swap can be hard for a new player to remember. It does one extra point of damage on every hit, and we're all about that min max here.
      Crispy Punishes
      As I mentioned earlier, Thunderfall punishes all manner of attacks from emperor's flares (on prediction) to Firion's lord of arms (on reaction). Did you know Thunderfall also punishes dodges? it does. It does everything but keep lightning safe from the clutches of deadly assists. Learn what you can and cant punish with this beast. master it's range, and people will be scared to throw out their long attacks, For fear that you did indeed, bring the thunder.
      3. Tech pertaining to magic glitches
      Did you know you can magic glitch Army of One? 
      Try it. It's not generally useful, but if you hit with our dear friend bob while in the process of using army of one, you can get a very slight range increase at the cost of damage, against walls and ceiling. This tech can be useful for cinching out that aerith assist, but is generally less useful when using Kuja as you could just combo off watera on reaction. Try it some time, Learn the range, and it might benefit you.
      4. Tech pertaining to specific range combos
      ENJOY THE VIEW
      This is hard to pull off, but you can combo thunderfall off of both watera AND blizzara! Cool huh? Well it's not that easy. First, for watera, you have to use it right as they get hit meaning it's the ultimate prediction. Luckily if they dodge or block you can still catch them but it doesn't look nearly as cool. 
      It gets hard at blizzara. Blizzara is a strange combo tool, because usually it doesn't combo at all, and trying to practice these you might think "but Terraaaaaa, Blizzara can't combo at all!"
      THATS WHERE YOU'RE WRONG GET BACK IN THE DOJO.
      Blizzara will combo into thunderfall only if you've already dodged before it hits. That is to say the suction caught someone and you can use blizzara just as the last hit goes off. Otherwise it won't land. It's one of the most position based combos I've encountered because of the requirement for this delayed hit and the range of thunderfall.
      HI! HUH ! HYAH!
      Blizzara also combos into thunder for those spicy assist combos! They always look good, and everyone wonders how you did them! Well I'll tell you how!
      Blizzara is very much a range based ability. There's two ways to do this combo. Either use the original delayed version like with thunderfall, and simply do not dodge, but dash, and it will work, OR, you can use it at a closer range, where you are above the opponent, and you can do it even if you landed it immediately! Though much harder to do than the delayed version, it's well worth the risk in some cases, such as punishing attacks. Use cuation during this technique as it will put you in a precarious situation close to your foe. Judge the neutral before attempting to pull it off.
      This works better at the ceiling.
      Water you waiting for?
      An easier combo, but still range specific, is Watera into thunder! This is useful for that extra damage, or if you're using aerith assist, as getting an aerith assist off of bob can be hard. This combo allows you to maximize damage and still get that assist by dashing forward at the point of contact and catching them with a thunder. It looks flashy and it is! you just need to be close when bob does his explody thing, or it wont work.
      Why is this water frozen?!
      I couldn't think of a better name.
      Bob gonna hit? you in the right range? why not get EXTRA crispy... or the opposite, and freeze them in place! Time it right and bob will hit them right into a freeze trap of death and destruction! You lose your ability to assist combo but gain that mental edge. "Did he really just do that? Oh man this guy knows his stuff." The first minute of a fight isn't about winning, it's about sending a message. A message that you're going to win. It's about winning.
      Aerith Unchained
      I chose to include this under specific range because it IS a specific combo.
      If you have a two bars of Aerith assist, and you catch them in one, Try the double crushing blow combo. Not only does it make them hate you as much as we hate LXD on Tuesdays, It makes for some crispy extra damage. About 1200 of it to be precise. This combo can be hard to pull off but it's arguably easier than the zidaerith combo, so give it a shot. Maybe you can be a casual too!
      Magic glitched Lightning strike
      This is... a less ranged specific, more situational combo but it's very important to keep track of.
      Every once and a while, especially while using Aerith, and sometimes without, You'll come across times when your watera would interrupt flourish of steel. This usually means you cant get off your damage. This can happen when you block on the ground, or when you land an Aerith ground rush combo with Thunderfall or Smite.
      In these situations it can seem like your only option is Gale. Well Gale kind of isn't your most optimal choice in those situations, because if watera hits you'll miss.
      The solution is Magic glitch! So the trick is, as soon as watera's about to hit or hits, use lightning strike. Your watera will hit and Lightning strike will miss, but because of the link glitch, the second strike of the attack hits regardless within range.
      Particularly useful for lightning, because it helps her reliably land HPs.
      5. Tech pertaining to commando
      GET READY
      Flourish of steel. A move that would have been great on smite, but ends up subpar on launch because of the ground requirement. Honestly I hardly get to use this badass looking attack that assist combos against walls. I only end up using it to punish stuff like nightglow, or glare hand in the golbez matchup, and while there's still more use for it it's not often that amazing. Let me tell you though, Pair this with omni ground dash + and suddenly you've got a potent tool to punish anyone who tries to play their meager ground game. (firion need not apply. We have thunderfall for you)
      Use it on blocks, use it on punish, Use it randomly to spook them. But don't use it to much. You shouldn't see this all the time.
      PEW PEW PEW
      Blaze rush is unique in that it's niche is being a shittier army of one. If you're not in ravager and you want to do everything an army of one does but worse, use blaze rush! it doesn't reflect projectiles, and it doesn't chase, but it DOES punish dodges and blocks and it DOES wallrush, meaning you can assist combo with it. Good mixup tool on the wall if you want a spicy reset after your combo.
      I think I'm getting dizzy.
      Lightning seems to have a bunch of weird priorities. For example, she can dash at you on the ground and clash with most braves, and then shoot you in the back of the head. Real women don't need to fight you head on. They just need to Bull rush you until you cant see straight. Apparently. 
      Use this at the start of matches to scare opponents or clash. It's a good move to use out of thundaga. It's not exactly advanced tech, but using commando at all anymore is so foriegn that I thought I'd put this here.
      smite combos
      If you're good at timing stuff, smite combos into a lot of kuja's stuff. If you do it right you can combo the first hit into the air assist. You can even combo the whole thing into the ground assist. Switching to commando after calling assist should be mandatory at this point, just to combo, but also for that crispy +1 attack.
       
       
      VI. Points for trying.
      Thank you for taking the time to read this guide. If you're gonna give lightning a try, Good luck! she's very fun to play and definitely rewarding to learn and master. I wouldn't call myself a master yet, but I'm getting there. We can learn together! Maybe you can even teach me something!
      Shoutouts:
      RDF for teaching me a lot of the subtle tech during some lightning dittos. And also for being a badass. Thanks RDF.
      Muggshotter For discussing the guide with me, and talking about tech and move analysis. Also gave me a crispy chart for damage numbers and priority
      The Crispy Crew You know who you are. Stay frosty fellas.
      Wheelz Dude's a G. nuff said.
      LXD I say I hate playing you, and I do... but i do get a lot of thought out of it, and you're a G. thanks for putting up with my shit friend.
      TKG for reviewing and helping me add missing content and fix existing content.
      Ujbhn for the frame data chart
      All the people I played to learn this mountain of a character do you guys think lightning would be upset at me for referring to her as a mountain? probably.
       
       
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