Posted by: Leek | April 9, 2014

Memetaa TV Episode 6: Jojo: ASB – Attack Types and Stylish Moves

Another new week and another new tutorial. The objective this time will take us through some basics that most fighting games players will know. I’ll go over the common attack types briefly before transitioning into, Stylish Moves, the unique type of guard maneuver ASB has to offer. I’ll do my best to explain the mechanic in detail and tell you how you can both use and abuse it in various situations.

By the way from now on there’s a good chance I might slip into number notation for a lot of these articles. In case you overlooked it I gave a brief explanation in this article. So if you’re confused then go ahead and check that out if the numbers don’t make complete sense to you.

The Basic Attack Types and How to Defend Them
If you played a fighting game before there’s a high chance you’ll know various attack types exist. Just like any other game, defense is the best kind of offense. Just so we’re all on the same page let’s go over the various attack types that show up in ASB.

High Attacks – High attacks are the most common variant you’ll see and are the easiest to defend against. High attacks can be defended by all forms of guard meaning you can be holding back (4 on 1P side) or down-back (1 on 1P side). Chances are as long as you’re guarding you won’t have to worry too much about these and you can expect 80% of attacks that come from a standing opponent to be classified as highs. However, even if they’re easy to guard just remember getting hit by one means you’re going to eat a big combo unless your opponent is falling asleep at the wheel.

Low Attacks – Easily the second most common attack type you’ll see after high attacks. I had mentioned in an earlier tutorial that lows are fairly menacing in ASB so you should be well aware of how to guard against them. As you can imagine, lows can only be defended by crouch guarding aka holding down-back (1). Due to the ASB combo system, lows can easily be chained into standard combos without any trouble and opponents will most likely be fishing to hit you with these a lot. So stay on your toes and ready to guard your toes.

Overheads / Mid Attacks – Overheads are the last of the big three attack types you’ll have to standard guard against. All standard attacks performed while jumping (however not all special) will be classified as overhead and must be guarded by standing guard aka holding back (4) on your controller. Other than that, various characters will have command moves and/or specials that will be classified as overheads. There’s no real tell other than that most overheads characters perform on the ground will be slower and a lot easier to see than standard high and low attacks. So as long as you’re paying attention you should be able to eyeball them and switch to standing guard appropriately. Jumping attacks will be the most common overheads you will see and most if not all opponents abuse will lead into combos. For overhead moves performed on the ground many will require the opponent to spend gauge to get a decent combo so you don’t have to worry about them as much as jump attacks. Don’t use that as an excuse to not learn to guard them properly though.

Throws – Throws are the last attack type that are common to most fighting games and the roughest thing to get used to defending against as a starting player. Common throws are both performed and defended by pressing any two attack buttons (L, M, H) together. So feel free to press whatever two buttons feel most comfortable to you. Remember this isn’t like normal guard and you’ll have to time the press with your opponent’s throw. So if you feel uncomfortable with breaking throws this way remember you can also avoid them entirely if you either backstep or jump in time. However these come with various risks if you mistime them or don’t act properly after avoiding a throw. And in the case the opponent wasn’t going for a throw it leaves you vulnerable (whereas if you tried to throw break you may get the upper hand and throw your opponent instead). If you haven’t touched fighting games much, throws will be a nightmare to you from the get go as they take a good chunk of your health and certain characters can even combo after them. But as you get more experience you’ll get a better feeling of when and how to look for them.

Outside of normal throws are various command grabs (aka special moves) that various characters have access too. These cannot be broken and the only way to not get hit by them is to get out of the way. They are much more visible and telegraphed than normal grabs though so you’ll have more time to potentially see them coming and either jump/sidestep/backstep out of the way. It’s also important to remember that Iggy and both horseback characters while on their horse will avoid all grabs. Just remember that while they have this advantage that you’ll suffer from various other problems that don’t have to do with grabs.

Unblockables – While unblockable moves aren’t necessarily exclusive to ASB, some of the ways you can deal with them are fairly specific. As you can imagine unblockable moves cannot be guarded normally and attempting to do so will result in you taking damage. The best method to deal with unblockables is to simply avoid them entirely. Sidesteps will be one of the easiest ways to get yourself away as unblockables are all slow to come out and highly telegraphed. So as long as you know where the attack’s general range is you should have no problem avoiding it. In the case that you aren’t aware then the other option you have is to use Stylish Moves. What are those? Well we’re just about to talk about them.

About Stylish Moves
Stylish Moves are ASB’s “just defense” styled mechanic and the surefire way to get out of any attacks that aren’t throws. If you happen to guard an attack just as it’s about to hit you it will result in you gaining several moments of invincibility as you perform an automatic sidestep towards the screen. In game you’ll notice time will stop for a brief moment as your character strikes a pose and slides towards the foreground. After this motion completes, you’re given a short moment where you are invincible and can deliver a counterattack against your opponent or attempt to get away. Remember that Stylish Moves can be used to punish about any attack as long as you’re in range but an opponent can always perform a cancel to make themselves safe. So be careful as an opponent can actually fish for Stylish Moves and turn them against you if you get too reckless or abusive with them.

Stylish Moves are also not free to use and will expend a portion of your guard meter to perform. As long as you’re guarding correctly a Stylish Move will cost your 30% of your guard meter (meaning you get 3 per bar before you have to wait for it to recover). However, there is a penalty in the case that you aren’t guarding correctly. Say your opponent throws out a low attack and you mistakenly choose to guard standing. If you got the just guard timing your Stylish Move will still come out but you’ll be penalized 40% of your guard gauge (opposed to the usual 30%) for guarding the wrong way. So be careful and don’t let the fact that Stylish Moves will defend you against any non-throw get to your head. You do still have to learn to guard moves correctly and the high guard gauge cost of Stylish Moves will work against you if you rely too heavily on them. Stylish Moves are, regardless, one of the strongest tools in ASB and learning when and where to use them can greatly elevate your game.

As a bit of a final point, players using Gyro and Johnny should be aware that you lose access to Stylish Moves whenever you are on horseback. Just the same, Iggy players will be without Stylish Moves when their Stand if Off. And all characters under the effect of Koichi’s Echoes ACT3 will also be unable to use Stylish Moves until it wears off. Outside of these exceptions all characters have regular access to Stylish Moves as long as you meet the Guard Gauge requirements.

“Koki Guard”
Before I get into it too much, let’s do a bit of history lesson on what this strange term actually is. Back in the early days of ASB (and still now) online was terrible and about every player suffered from tremendous amounts of laggy matches. During this time jumping attacks that crossed up and a lot of other ambiguous moves were nearly impossible to deal with. It wasn’t long before an exploit of the Stylish Move system was found where you could wag your stick (or pad) inbetween the down-back and down-forward (1 and 3) positions. This not only allowed you to Stylish Move anything but allowed you to even get out of jump-ins that would normally cross you up. In a lot of streams the motion produced a distinct sound from arcade stick users and the “koki” portion of koki guard is actually just an onomatopoeia referring back to this. Due to lag it was generally impossible for players to work around it and was generally received negatively by a large portion of players. And while even in the original build the tactic was far from flawless, it was generally hard to give players a counter tactic when connections were as bad as they were.

Koki Guard itself has been generally taken down a notch as Stylish Moves have been adjusted and generally players have just learned what needs to be done to work around it. Due to this it’s generally worked it’s way into the game mechanics (like several other system exploits) and can be used in a few situations here and there. So what situations might you want to use koki guard for?

The only real common use for koki guard nowadays is to combat ambiguous setups. A lot of Stand Users have some pretty strange attacks that can lead to some really odd situations (especially on wakeup). If you notice your opponent is trying something on wakeup and you’re not sure which way you’ll need to block when you get up, koki guard is a general solution to help you out of the situation. Just remember if the setup is ultimately to disguise a grab/command grab that koki guard won’t do you any favors. But if you notice a opponent is looking to fish for an ambiguous cross up or time an unblockable to hit you as you rise, koki guard can make getting out a bit easier.

Again, just remember it’s not a flawless tactic and has its penalties. If you are using it to combat overheads then you’re constantly forcing yourself to spend 40% guard gauge to escape. And all the while you’re leaving yourself stuck in a defensive state where your opponent can prepare to fish for you to Stylish Move or simply throw you when you’re not aware.

Conclusion
Good defense will always be part of the best offense in fighting games and it’s always important to learn how to guard any attack properly to keep yourself afloat. While there’s not too much that experienced players will find new in ASB, learning how to properly use Stylish Moves to your advantage is a key part to the game. Knowing when to use them is essential and simply understanding them is a step towards combating against them.

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