Lady in Red: A Day 1 Skarlet Kombo Video

I was thinking about making a menstruation related joke for the thread title but figured it would be in poor taste.

In an effort to be on the cutting edge of MK9 technology I decided to grind out some powerful Skarlet combos this morning. In all my previous videos I've been able to observe high-level footage and read forum threads for a base of knowledge that I could refine. In the case of Skarlet, however, I was basically running blind. Once I started messing around with her, I was immediately impressed with the variety of tools she has, most of all her Red Dash.

With a variety of quick strings that put the opponent into a stagger state, she can cancel into her Red Dash and immediately set the opponent up for a 50/50 either eating a low slide for an untechable knockdown or an overhead ground-bounce attack that sets up a damaging combo. Unfortunately there is no way for her to simply cancel out of it like Kabal's Nomad Dash but I suppose that's for the best, we don't want her to be too imba. She's already looking like a potential for top tier however, with beefy damage to back up her strong pressure game.

I'm going to have to mess around with her more, but I doubt I'll be able to squeeze much more damage out of her in a single combo. I'll probably start looking at her various options and figure out ways to maximize her damage in my standard set of situations. Enjoy and I'll probably be back with more Skarlet on Monday (I have to dedicated the rest of my free time this week to cleaning since my girlfriend's parents will be visiting us on Saturday).


You're saying it wrong!: A Raiden Kombo Video

It's "Rye-den" dammit! Does this bother anyone else?

Sorry I missed you guys yesterday, I was busy trying to beat inFAMOUS2 and playing Duels of the Planeswalkers 2012 while watching the GSL Super Tournament Finals o_O. After the MK9 top 8 at NorCal Regionals I found myself wondering if Justin Wong was really maximizing his damage as Raiden. I hadn't looked at Raiden since I made my last video of him a month ago before all the damage nerfs and balance tweaks. Here's what I found out:

His damage is basically unchanged. I was able to tweak a few of the combos from before to eke out another point or two of damage and came up with a snazzy X-Ray combo, but in the end Raiden is still Raiden. Straightforward combos, straightforward offense, boring to play and flashy to watch. I completely understand why top-level Raiden players seem to be going extinct.

Skarlet comes out today, because this game needs more ninjas... I'll take a look at her later this week and try to be on the cutting edge of MK9 technology. Now I need to try and beat inFAMOUS2 so I can get back to beating LA Noire so I can start trying to pick up AE seriously and polish my incredibly rusty MvC3 skills. So many games, so little time!


Something pithy linking Kabal and Smoke: Kabal and Smoke Kombos

I just ate half of a cold Domino's pizza and some bread/butter and onion loaf with BBQ sauce from Tony Roma's so my brain isn't at its best right now.

If your thumb isn't on the pulse that is the competitive MK9 scene, you may not know why I've gone ahead and revisited Smoke with a brand new kombo video in less than 2 weeks. Well, the folks at NRS (NetherRealm Studios) have been super eager to show their dedication to making MK9 a balanced tournament fighter. Unfortunately, this has involved a flurry of kneejerk nerfs and balance changes before a proper metagame has been allowed to evolve. One of those changes was a removal of a key feature in Smoke's offensive game, the OTG (off the ground) Smoke Cloud. Now, rather than have a mechanic unique to him, Smoke has become just another ninja. With the lengths they've gone to tout their easily tweaked system, I can't imagine it would have been difficult for them to simply adjust the way damage scaling works after an OTG Smoke Cloud. Instead they just took it out. It's not a huge deal, he still does pretty good damage, but the real problem is what this nerf represents. It seems like NRS is more concerned with homogenizing their cast rather than balancing them within the scope of their unique quirks.

Another victim of their wild swings with the nerf stick is Kabal. Previously Kabal could use his ability to stop his Nomad Dash to create a block stun loop. This wasn't an infinite, but the opponent was forced to take damage to escape from it. While it could hardly be called balanced, the constant pressure and forward momentum of the loop seemed fitting for Kabal's character. Making the second hit of the chain whiff on crouching characters would have made the loop easily escapable, but NRS decided they just wanted to remove it instead. Now Kabal is just an above average zoning character with a very straightforward play-style at melee range.

I know NRS means well but rolling out tweak after tweak after tweak makes it feel as if they aren't taking the time to consider their options. They are slowly draining all of the flavor out of their game while simultaneously frustrating their player base. Rather than tweak the damage scaling of Smoke's combos, they made it so that every Smoke player out there has to relearn a completely different set of combo timings and setups because NRS wanted them to do 6-8% less damage. Now every Kabal player who went to the trouble of learning that extremely execution heavy loop and its related mix-ups are forced to sit there and be below average at close-range.

If you want people to take your game seriously you can't change the rules every week. Hopefully NRS slows their roll before everyone simply moves on to AE and Skullgirls.


Stuffed with Midi-chlorians: An Ermac Kombo Video

This one is for @Beaudacious

I just realized 1/3 of my paragraphs start with "so" which is somewhat disappointing. Personal failures aside, Ermac was pretty fun to mess around with. His ability to attack large sections of the screen at the drop of a hat made for some interesting and varied combos. For a zoning character, his damage output surprised me and I can see why many people would want to cry "imba!" I'm not worried though, since he's pretty sluggish at close-range and strictly average at long-range.

Tomorrow marks the release of SSFIV:AE and I'm super excited to dust off my TE stick and start getting owned again. Maybe I'll start teaching myself how to use my fightpad properly. I could try to show other players that tiers don't matter by losing repeatedly with Yang or continue to prove that I have no business playing a character that requires as much finesse as Seth. Plus inFamous 2 should be in my hands tomorrow afternoon. Either way, probably no more MK this week.

I'm going to go back to eating cold chicken nuggets and watching press conferences. I feel like a horrible human being right now...


Where there's Smoke, there's Hell Fire: Smoke and Scorpion Kombos

The store is back up! I redeemed my Online Pass but since the game hasn't received a real patch recently, I'm assuming netcode is still laggy as shit? Maybe I'll try some more ranked matches later. 
So I'm getting a little tired of LA Noire. I think it's mostly my fault, since I can't help but do the street crimes every time they pop up and they are always in East LA while I'm driving around West Hollywood. Maybe I'll just start making my partner drive me everywhere instead, since I just went ahead and bought that Rockstar Pass thingy and all the current DLC
In MK9 news, I just was watching some of the matches from the PDP National tournament in... Las Vegas I think? I was inspired by @MarkMan23's valiant efforts with Smoke and decided to give him a spin. His combos are all really hard hitting but pretty strict with the timings and complicated with the inputs. Thank god I was able to edit out all the dropped combos. 
Of course the damage discrepancy between his different potential combo openers means most players are going to expect the big FKxxD+FPxxBP and make you work for it. None of Smoke's other specials seemed all that great other than his teleport as a possible wake-up move. Unfortunately he also has no real way to combo into X-Ray for any significant damage. Still, the speed and tracking qualities of his Smoke Cloud should be enough to force most other characters to be cautious. 

Then there's my old go-to, Scorpion. Since NRS recently did a stealth tweak to the way damage is scaled in combos, all of my previous combo videos have become obsolete. Of course I could always just change the % for each combo in the description, but I figured I might as well try to broaden the depth each of these videos goes into. Since I have the most practical experience with Scorpion he was the obvious choice. I looked at a few other common game situations you might find yourself in, and made new combos specific to them. You've already seen most of what's on display here, but there are a few new goodies tucked away as well (+ timestamps!) 
Now I'm running late for work so I'd better stop typing. I should have all of Monday to myself however so expect more Kontent then. Oh and if you guys ever see me on PSN (catbond) send me a game invite. I promise you I'm not nearly as good as I pretend to be in these videos :D

Claws, demons, and robot arms: A week without MK9

So I just got back from Mexico. Left there at 11:00 PM and got here at 5:00 AM... then came to work 5 hours later. 
I wanted to get some smaller videos up last week but between LA Noire, prenatal visits and getting my shit in order for my trip I simply did not have time. However, with amazing presence of mind, I decided I would do some quick ranked matches of MK9 and throw them up here for giggles. Little did I know how dire the netcode situation is. After losing an unplayable match to Noob then winning another unplayable match against Sub-Zero I decided it wasn't in the cards and went back to MvC3
It was weird coming back, trying to reteach my hands to cancel instead of buffer. It probably didn't help that I decided to suddenly teach myself how to use Akuma. I was fortunate to fall into a player match with a really strong player right away and he gave me a crash-course refresher on how hard it is not to get utterly killed. I've uploaded our first couple of matches which I am labeling a first-to-seven even if the other guy wasn't aware of it. Not uploaded are the next 30ish matches which I won ~5 of using my alternate teams.


Man, I love this game. Even when I'm getting bodied by a really well crafted Tron Bonne touch-of-death combo I'm still having fun. Even when I'm screwing up my setups and dropping shit left and right I'm still having fun. MK9 is a shocking well put together game and SSFIV:AE is going to be great, but neither of those games hit the pleasure center of my brain like Wolverine constantly shouting "UNACCEPTABLE." 
So now that I'm back, what next? I just finished homicide in LA Noire so there's still a ways to go in that. I did notice before I left, however, that the damage % of some combos seemed to have changed. I have no problem with patching but I think NRS is going a little too crazy with their balancing. Just because you can push out minor tweaks every day doesn't mean you should. You need to give players enough time to break their characters, then other players enough time to figure out how to unbreak them before you can even begin to form an idea of how to achieve better balance. 
I'm not looking forward to a world in which I have to redo a combo video every day because some attack got its damage reduced by 2% or something like that. Unfortunately I refuse to let my videos become irrelevant. I'll probably also start playing MvC3 regularly again since PSN is back up and I missed getting salty because, "I TOTALLY FUCKING BLOCKED THAT," and enjoying it. 
Stay free.

Excessive Force 101: A Stryker Kombo Video

I was going to use "Police Brutality Caught on Tape" as the title of this blog but it felt too... click-whorish.

So Stryker, another character with minor mixups as far as I understand MK9 mixups. Without frame data or online play there is no way for me to really know what pressure tricks he has but his dial-a-combo that hits low then mid should catch people unfamiliar with the matchup.
In most situation I'd imagine that playing Stryker as a zoner is going to net you the most success. A two-hit projectile that goes fullscreen instantly and can be delayed is AMAZING. His Roll Toss as a combo ender helps with this, as it chucks the opponent back to full screen. Unfortunately the timing to land it is extremely tight. Unless you are an execution monster you'll probably be better off ending his combos with an uppercut instead. The damage will only be 1 or 2% less and it is significantly easier to land.

So tomorrow I have to get my blood taken which means I probably won't have time before work to make another combo video. I did bulldoze my way through Portal 2 but next week I'll be glued to my TV playing LA Noire. Rather than take a look at new characters I may flesh out some of my previous videos with X-Ray, Enhanced and Punish combos. Have a great weekend everybody!

It rubs the lotion on its skin: A Reptile Kombo Video

So PSN is back up which is great for everyone who redeemed their MK9 online pass BEFORE it went down. Unfortunately I'm stuck sitting here twiddling my thumbs until the store comes back up as well.

Well, not exactly. I did go ahead and dive into Reptile and, well, yeah not much to say here. Another seemingly standard character that hits like a truck plus maybe some shenanigans with Force Balls. On the plus side, his combos are all pretty easy to do.
In other news, I finally cleared floor 300 of the Challenge Tower by giving in a picking Stryker instead of Scorpion. His BnBs are pretty strong and it's painfully easy to beat Shao Kahn with gun spam. I'll probably be looking at him for my next video. Unfortunately for you guys, since PSN is back up I have finally been able to link my account to Steam which means I can FINALLY play Portal 2 on my PC. So I'll be grinding away at that with a majority of my free time going forward. Then L.A. Noire will be here and well... I'll still try to do a few of these every week though and once the store is back up, I'll probably begin chronicling my journey through MK9 ranked matches.

I am so hungry right now.

90's slang phrase with the word "cool." Oh, and Sub-Zero Kombos

Every joke I could think of for the thread title seemed way too obvious so I tried to be meta. Or is it self-aware?

Anyways, I already did Ryu so I figured I'd do Ken as well. Or is Scorpion Ken and Sub-Zero Ryu? In any case, after staying up all night watching Tom Brady's amazing space control at PowerUp I wanted to figure out how to maximize damage as Sub-Zero. He may lack pressure options but Iceball pressure while hiding behind Ice Clones should be enough to open up most opponents for some punishment. If the enemy makes 4 mistakes, they're done.

So I've never been a fan of using popular characters in fighting games, especially not marquee characters. In SSFIV I've always leaned heavily on Rose and Dhalsim while in MvC3 my favorite team is Haggar/Deadpool/Anchor(currently Dormammu). The closer we get to PSN coming up, however, the more certain I'm becoming that Sub-Zero and Scorpion are going to be my go-tos. Depending on my mood I can go mixup crazy or troll with endless zoning. I'm getting really excited to hop into ranked mode. Maybe when the time comes, I'll start a new MK video series tracking my progress. Or something.

Anyways, I better get to bed since it's 4 AM again o_O and I need to wake up in the morning to call MadCatz and bitch at them about the Fightpad I just bought not working aergh! Well, if you have a moment please check out the Whiskey Media fighting game community channel on youtube, send us a message, leave us a comment, thumb up some of our videos and please please please subscribe. I'll be back Monday with some more Kontent for you guys to consume.

Look out Kerrigan! A Sonya Blade Kombo Video (+Scorpion update)

We have to stop meeting like this.

After promising myself I would slow my roll, I have proceeded to stay up until ~4 AM every night this week working on new combo videos. Actually right now it's 5:15AM and my girlfriend is probably going to be slightly irritated when I crawl my way back into bed. OHWELL!

So Sonya Blade, no combos off of a low or an overhead. WTF is with this chick? Because of her linearity I went ahead and dug a little deeper beyond going for max damage with various setups. She has two equally powerful combo enders, one which pushes the enemy very far forward and another that switches sides with the enemy. Since no damage is lost regardless of ender, you should always be finishing your combos with positioning in mind. She also has a very powerful jump-in that can be done by canceling a jumping punch immediately into her dive kick immediately into a ground chain. You have to press the buttons incredibly fast however and it's the first time I've found myself wishing I was on a stick instead of a pad so I could piano those inputs.

Also of note, since these X-Ray combos are all the rage it seems I went ahead and made one for Sonia. Then I looked at how much damage it did and it really didn't seem like it was worth 3 meters. Then I started testing with enhanced moves and found you can do exactly the same amount of damage with an X-Ray combo finisher as you can with 2 enhanced specials within a combo. So all none of you Sonia players out there should start saving your meter for enhanced moves and breakers. No matter how cool X-Ray looks just say no.
Also @Renahzor was kind enough to point out a glaring omission of a jumping punch after Nomad Dash in my Kabal video for a few extra % of damage. I don't really care about Kabal. But I DO, however, care about Scorpion. Thusly I have uploaded an updated Scorpion combo video that is almost exactly the same as the first, except better. Get over here!
So it's almost the weekend which, I guess strangely, is when I have the least amount of time for games. Since my girlfriend and I have disparate work schedules the weekends are the only times we really get to hang out so no sitting in front of my computer Saturday and Sunday. I'll try to grind out another one or two videos sometime either tomorrow night or Friday morning. Blah blah blah Whiskey Media fighting game community channel blah youtube blah blah subscribe blah. Links to other blog posts.

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