Posted by: Leek | April 21, 2014

Memetaa TV Episode 7: Jojo: ASB – Combos, Cancels, and Easy Beat

We’re nearing the end of the basics and at this point I’m pretty sure everyone is tired of hearing about such basic things. So it’s about time that you can finally start throwing out your first attacks in ASB. This tutorial will be a little longer than the last but it should introduce you to all the basics concepts you’ll need to know to effectively construct your own combos and pressure strings.

Basic Combo Construction
The ASB combo system is fairly simple and coming up with a decent combo shouldn’t be too difficult even for a beginning game fighting player as long as you understand the basic idea. ASB follows a simple layout and gives you three basic attack buttons based on strengths: Light (L), Medium (M), and Heavy (H). The game allows you to combo these in a strength based order using chain cancels. This means as long as you press them in a relatively speedy order that you won’t have to worry about any severe timing to get them to combo. However just doing a combo of LMH won’t get you much damage, so let’s go to a diagram to get a wider view.

So this will probably look a little confusing and it should. First of all let me say that this is not a combo flowchart and simply tells you the chain at which moves can be cancelled into one another. The basic idea is this. A connecting arrow means that the source attack can be cancelled into the next without any delay. But this isn’t the limit. As long as an arrow connect two attacks somewhere then one can be cancelled into the other. So let’s look at our standing light. It has an arrows that connect it to about everything outside of crouching light and aerial moves. This effectively means you can cancel standing light into about anything you want to. So if you really wanted to you could hit with your standing light and cancel right into a Great Heat Attack if you wanted. In a perfect scenario this means it should result in an effective combo but since not all attacks come out at the same speed there’s no guarantee. But this means you can feel free to skip strengths and experiment to get optimal damage and various pressure strings. It’s also a great way to make sure you don’t whiff an attack mid-combo and let your opponent slip out.

Be warned there are some character exceptions that bar certain attacks from being cancelled. For example, Wham is the only character who isn’t allowed to combo crouching light into standing light. And Joseph is unable to cancel anything from his 6+H command move. But this is the overall idea that the game proposes and will provide the basic material to construct combos with every character in the roster.

The other basic fundamental to remember about combos is the limit to which you can stretch them. There are two things you should worry about. The first is the cripple state and the second being the general infinite prevention system. Let’s talk about cripple state first.

Cripple state is a special state you can opponents in if you hit with certain moves. Attacks like Jonathon’s 6+M Zoom Punch and Caesar’s 623+S Hamon Upper will cause opponents to go into a special state if they properly connect. This won’t look like normal hitstun and basically looks like your opponent slowly falling towards the ground after the attack connects. For many characters this gives you a chance to extend your combos afterwards via repeating LMH or even using slower moves to fish for big damage. However, cripple state can only be used once per combo and if you happen to try it again it will cause a untechable knockdown on your opponent. This means you get a hard knockdown but it also means the end of your combo even if you didn’t intend to end it just yet. So be careful where you place your crippling moves and make sure you know what they are so you don’t accidentally use them more than once in a combo. Or you could find yourself swinging at a whole lot of nothing.

The other system that can put a stop to your combos is the aforementioned infinite prevention system. ASB contains a mechanic that will force a techable knockdown if you consistently hit with the same move in a combo. It’s a little confusing to explain but the basic idea is as follows.

You can hit with up to six of any light attack type and up to four of any other attack type (which includes command normals and command moves) while your opponent is the same state. The two states you should worry about are when your opponent is grounded and while they’re aerial. If you happen to go one over this count it will cause a techable knockdown that will end your combo no matter what. So let’s say you’re playing Dio and like to throw in a lot of extra crouching lights into your combos. If you are doing a long chain and happen to use a seventh crouching light before launching your opponent into the air you will force your combo to end. If you are playing Jonathon and are trying to do his zoom punch loop, hitting with the loop five times means the opponent will fall to the ground and you miss finishing with a big damage move. In general, hitting with the same move too many times causes large damage scaling anyway but try to find a good balance to ensure you maximize your combo damage and potential meter gain.

Puttsun/Flash Cancels
Puttsun Cancels (Flash Cancels in the Western Release) are another core mechanic to ASB and function as a tool you can use both from a protective and offensive standpoint. I made a short mention of cancels in the Basics Tutorial but this time I’ll address both sides so you can see the common ways you’ll be using them. Puttsun cancels will cancel the remaining frames of whatever attack you perform the maneuver after. This costs one stock of your Heart Heat Gauge but leaves you completely free to move or continue your attack after the cancel. Similar to Stylish Moves, you’ll notice time freezes for a short time as your character strikes a short pose. If you’ve ever played Guilty Gear or BlazBlue you’ll notice this resembles RCs and you can feel free to treat them exactly the same. Just remember that not every attack can be cancelled and other attacks can only be cancelled during certain frames. Again, this is something that varies by character that you’ll have to figure out on your own.

From an offensive standpoint, cancels are one of the easiest and sometimes the only way to get big damage from your combos. For characters who can’t combo into their Heart Heat Attacks, cancels often provide the best damage you can hope to get out of one gauge. Various characters have attacks that will cause a large amount of hitstun, send opponents into a cripple state, or launch an opponent into the air but have a large amount of recovery frames. However, if you use a cancel you can act instantly after these attacks hit and continue to combo your opponent freely. Cancels give you a lot of combo potential offensively but you’ll have to find out what moves are your best cancel options and work from there. If your character has little aerial juggle potential then there’s no reason to cancel moves that launch opponents, and so on.

From a defensive standpoint, cancels are a good way to cover up your mistakes. In many situations you may find that you threw out a move that whiffed or leaves you incredibly unsafe. Other times you’ll have an opponent Stylish Move something and be in a situation where you want to avoid getting punished by a big combo. During these times you can attempt to cancel these moves after your opponent avoids them in an attempt to keep yourself safe. If your opponent tries to punish your mistake there’s a big chance they’ll be caught off guard by your cancel and leave themselves open. So while cancels can save you from your own mistakes, they can also open up opportunities at the same time. Just be careful to watch your opponent’s gauge or they can pull the same maneuver on you.

Easy Beat
While it seems like an odd thing to throw at the end of this tutorial, I feel it’s important people know about the existence and general idea of Easy Beat. Easy Beat functions as the built in beginner mechanic for producing combos. It sounds pretty convenient but unfortunately it’s uses are pretty limited if you can do standard combos without any problem.

Easy Beat activates if a player connects (it can either hit or be guarded) with a standing L and continues to press the button bound to L. As long as the player continues to press L, a pre-programmed combo will be performed that usually ends with a Heart Heat Attack. If the player does not have the necessary gauge to perform the HHA then the combo will be stopped at the move that is performed right before the HHA in the chain. The basic flow of every Easy Beat combo will be L, M, H, (Command Normal), Command Special(s), HHA. These combos are very basic and some are not even the optimal damage that can be achieved for the cost of one gauge. However they are a great tool for beginners to see an example combo. You can also stop at any point during the chain or switch to do a normal combo. So if you find yourself too lazy to press LMH, you can opt to press LLL. Just make sure you don’t press it one too many or you’ll be stuck performing a move you most likely didn’t want. So be cautious about using it in this way.

The important points to remember are that Easy Beat cannot be activated until the initial standing L hits. So while some players may think Easy Beat is too convenient for beginners, just remember it’s your fault in the first place for getting hit. As long as you’re playing smart nobody should be able to get away with mashing their L button against you as Easy Beat just results in a waste of meter and potential punish if it’s guarded. The other important fact is that characters that end with an HHA often don’t use the best chains up until that point. So if the Easy Beat user doesn’t have the gauge to perform an HHA they’ll end with a move that has relatively high recovery and lose a huge advantage over the opponent.

Conclusion
Mounting a good offense in ASB isn’t too difficult and most common combos you can use have very low execution barriers. So don’t feel too threatened to play and start out with relatively simple combos to get by. If you have enough of a well rounded defensive and offensive game then you can easily get past an opponent who only knows how to do one really hard hitting combo. So just remember to get the basic idea of combos down and learn how to work puttsun/flash cancels into your game properly. Work on combos that you can consistently pull off that get you a good amount of damage for the gauge you spend. As you get more comfortable you can always learn to work higher execution combos into your game.

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