"I got blisters on my fingers(thumbs)!" A Skarlet BnB Kombo Video

I'm bowing out of the midscreen meterless BnB combo race at 48%, mostly because I don't think anyone will be able to beat it before they nerf her damage.

Welcome to the most time consuming combo video I've created yet. The problem with a character that has infinity moves is that it takes FOREVER to explore all the possibilities. After hours to testing and tweaking and throwing my controller across the room I've finally gathered enough footage to create a basic BnB video for Skarlet. Rather than focus on damage, I started investigating her 50/50 mixup game.

Any time Skarlet initiates a combo against her opponent, she can easily do 33% and reset the opponent into a standing staggered state. While locked in that state, the only thing the other player can do is block which means you have the freedom to immediately initiate another combo off of a low or an overhead, a true 50/50. This leads to another reset to another 50/50 etc. If this game had no breakers, 3 wrong guesses would be a KO against any opponent. As it stands, players will need to be even more judicious about their meter usage when fighting against a top-level Skarlet player.

So I think I need to take a break from MK9 kombo vids. I started seriously getting angry at my thumbs and the game today and my babbby is scheduled to be born sometime this week anyways. In the interim I might post some footage of me losing horribly in AE/MvC/MK just to try and keep people interested. Thanks for watching!

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Frankly, my dear, I don't give a damn: Skarlet Kombo Video Day 2

Some guy sent me a video boasting about how he beat the damage of most of my combos. He was telling the truth, even if he was relying on the corner and Enhanced specials to get 1-2% more than my midscreen meterless combos. Still, it annoyed me so I went ahead and stayed up ALL NIGHT making testing out new shit to get this video together.

As awesome as it was doing multiple Red Dashes in a single combo, it seems that relying on straightforward cancels is the smarter way to go to maximize your damage as Skarlet. Of course everything I'm doing right now has next to 0 practical application. I'm guessing that top-level Skarlet play is going to rely on 50/50 mixups with poke string canceled into Red Dash canceled into either a mid hitting Down Slash or a low hitting Slide canceled into Up Slash leading to a beefy juggle combo leading to an FPxxFPxxBP string resetting the opponent into standing position for another Red Dash 50/50 mixup. She's so fucking imba, like Kabal on steroids... or estrogen... blood doping?

Anyways, girlfriend's parents will be in town tomorrow so no more videos. I need to go to sleep then wake up and clean the shit out of my house then go to work uggghhh. Monday though expect a lot more Skarlet footage because she is way too fun to stop tinkering with.

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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).

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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!

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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.

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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...

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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
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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.
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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!
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