This is more about tournament play or any setting where you know what your stage and opponent is going to be, rather than on random stages.
Anyway, I've been thinking about assists lately and how it seems a lot of people stick witht he same tried and true formulas and rarely change. This mostly applies to people that still aren't at a top level calier and are learning some of the finer details of the game, as well as anyone below that tier. For example, I see that despite Yuna being a ranged priority assist and thus being vastly more versatile than the majority of other assists in the game when faced with 2 assist bars, most Sephiroth players still use Kuja. For the record, Yuna enables you to land Heaven's Light and Hell's Gate off the first half of Sudden Cruelty, so she even gives options that Kuja does not despite the length of her attack being so short.
But this isn't simply about Yuna. We all probably know by now how good Yuna is. What I've been thinking of is the more niche uses of assists that are stage dependent. For example, let's take Laguna. He's got a ranged priority assist for both ground and air as his BRV moves. Both of them are fast enough to be utilized pretty easily by many characters. Machine Gun holds the opponent in place for a while, and Shotgun wall rushes. However, Laguna lacks versatility and possesses a short wall rush distance with Shotgun and a bit more startup than is convenient to combo without a wall rush. Machine Gun also needs ground to combo and leaves Laguna pretty vulnerable if the opponent assist changes. So both of them are a bit awkward to use, hence why Laguna is not used frequently at all.
But what about a stage that Laguna can combo on effectively? Like, say, Phantom Train or Pandaemonium? What about other assists? Maybe Terra, who has a pretty decent ranged air assist in the form of Blizzara but has weak wall rushing ability, for example? Both of these characters hit harder than Yuna and have some decent applications for their ground assists if they're paired with the right character. On a stage, or against an opponent where they're likely to be useful, why not use them? In retrospect, I wonder to myself why I don't use Terra on Phantom Train (just an example, she can do fine on other stages too). She hits at base 35 as opposed to base 22 with Yuna, and she's got Graviga for characters like Warrior of Light or Squall to take advantage of for powerful combos. She can wall rush consistently and outperform Yuna on Phantom Train, but I never thought to use her because I'm always picking my assist based on only my character, my build, and my opponent. The only real time I've ever taken the stage into account in the past is with Firion, replacing Tidus with Kuja on stages where I can't combo with him effectively. But why not experiment a little if the stage makes it a good idea? All those assists that rely on wall rushes that would be perfect for a stage where they always wall rush in, yet nobody explores them when the time to play on those stages comes. Because they don't think to explore their options. It took a phenomenal amount of time for people to realize Yuna was a good assist. To be perfectly honest, I had my suspicions that ranged assists might actually be useful competitively, since they can get around 2 bars, but that was way back before anyone thought to explore them and I figured that my idea must be wrong because nobody else thought so. And then, bam, someone did go out and prove Yuna was a good assist after all, and suddenly a huge number of players started using her and figuring out her applications.
Now, do I think anything like this will ever happen again? Not to such a degree, certainly, nor do I think urging people to experiment will accomplish such a revolution in the PvP field again. But I do hope that someone out there finds that maybe a certain underused assist is actually the most optimal one to go for given a stage to shine on. This isn't limited to BRV moves, by the way, HP moves can be useful too, but they're the most niche of all assist attacks and should only be marginally important when selecting your assist. Generally, you'll never use Kuja's Flare Star or Force Symphony more than once a match, if at all, but being able to use it at all, and for it to actually be useful, is what I'm trying to get people to think about. There are still a lot of unexplored applications for assists. I bet you guys didn't think about using Warrior of Light or Exdeath much due to their limited combo ability, but both of them have HP moves that have block frames on startup. This can be really nice for sneaking in an HP hit, maybe finish a match if you can time it so that your opponent accidentally hits the assist and gets blocked. Oh, did you whiff your block? Is your opponent going to punish you for it and deal lots of damage, maybe force you to assist change when they start up their assist combo? Just call your assist and watch them block the attack for you! The real difficulty, of course is figuring out when these assists will actually be useful, let alone being able to use them in a situation like that, but let's face it, this kind of situation would be really annoying to deal with, right? You can predict a Tidus using Full Slide and block him with your assist if you time it right! That Firion player bait your block? He's going to Rope Knife your assist's guard instead of you! This gives an extra safety net that no other assists are capable of doing, and if players can figure out how to make them work practically with their other moves, whether it be finding the right combination of characters and moves, or the right stage, or the opponent, or whatnot, experimenting with assists can provide an extra edge that the lazier players among us wouldn't be able to do themselves, helps develop and explore the game, and can potentially change the meta, even a little.
Well, that's just what's been on my mind, at least. Wanted to get that out there, maybe it'll help someone.
Last edited by LonelyGaruga; 10-03-2012 at 04:00 AM.
Tournament signature by Galadin.Spoiler:
This is an interesting thought. Before I got serious about the game I did try out random assists to see if they would work but i didn't think about the stages exactly. For example I tried terra assist in a big stage such as order's sanctuary and just gave up after trying so hard to see if she would work for the characters I use. I think I'll try it again since I know more about the characters, moves, stages, and just the whole meta in general. I think the problem is no one wants to try anything out that seems too impractical to them. For instance Terra is good on damage and range but can easily be locked after an assist escape where as Yuna is a lot more difficult to lock. I'll try different assists out though and see how well they work competitively, but like I said before basically if a assist works so well for people then the classic mind set would be why change it (if it's a serious match). Sorta like that "if it ain't broke, don't fix it" line.
I think people just like having the big three assists because that is what they are used to and no one wants to bother changing assists all the time whenever they are counter picked by a stage.
Lazy bastards, all of you :P
Remember: December 2011
I've gotten a few odd assists to work while fooling around, however they almost always require specific chase sequences ( think Chase to Aerith ) or "unfavorable" setup conditions : /
Off the top of my head...
Any of Kuja's chase Brvs can link to alot of Aerial Assist HPs ( Kefka's Havoc Wing or Exdeath's Delta Attack ) and Ultimecia's BRVs and HPs practically always requires early input + chase, but can work.
You can do a 3 HP hit combo with Jecht's Ground Brv to UJS and early input Hell's Judgement followed by Assist Chase that Assist Locks if they switch out before UJS's HP portion hits.
it looks nice, but isn't very practical ;-;
anything 2 bar related in a BRV to Assist link is vulnerable to an EXR however...
I only stick 100% with Kuja on two characters I use. The first is Kain, because Kuja makes it phenomenally easier for me to connect Kain's HP attacks. And the second is Garland, because I've found he's the only assist that lets me pull off a triple Bardiche plus a Flare for a massive wall rushing HP hit. But other than those two, I'll change it up where I can.
I've found Kain assist has a lot of combo potential with Cecil. And the air and ground assist attacks will synergize with whichever form Cecil is currently in. For example, many of Dark Knight Cecil's ground attacks wall rush horizontally, which will combo with Kain's aerial BRV attack, setting up Cecil for a Dark Cannon into whatever you like. On the flip side, many of Paladin Cecil's air attacks ground rush, combo-ing into Kain's ground BRV attack, leading to chase, and into an HP attack or whatever. The only drawback to Kain as an assist is that you pretty definitely need a good amount of ground to work with, so he isn't universally practical.
I have used both Cecil and Kain as assists in the past and as I have gotten some good, reliable results from them. I find Cecil (especially in Paladin mode) works particularly well with Squall, the reasons for this I am sure you all understand. Cecil will work wonderfully with Squall in enclosed stages (eg. Phantom Train) so one wouldn't have to worry too much with their timing in calling him out because either form has potential combos. The draw back with Cecil of course is that it is possible to Assist Change out of his attacks and lock him when he is in Paladin mode (more tricky when he is a Dark Knight...well at least I think it is :3).
Also, Cecil works with Sephiroth to a certain extent. I personally haven't tried it out but I have seen it be done before.
As for Kain, I used to use him with Lightning once upon a time. But, in the end I didn't see any advantage using him (with any character) over Kuja. However, he does give Lightning different options to Kuja.
I haven't done the same level of research that Garuga has done on these uses of assists. I just thought I would share what I did try out before I switched to Kujie-Coo.
I stick with Kuja on seph for the higher damage, combos, and ability to punish past close range or directly above me. Most people aren't going to be camping for two bars for the entirety of a match and if I do notice that I can change over to yuna although I haven't ran into many people where I have the thought running through my head "damn I'd be doing better if I had yuna assist." It's actually been the opposite on a few occasions. For the past few weeks I've been trying to perfect seph with aerith assist although this would seem like a gimmick at best since It's extremely difficult to time sudden cruelty to synch up with seal evil, he does get the benefit of a double-triple hp combo though. On a few other characters I use aerith over yuna. Actually, I don't think I use anyone who automatically makes me think that yuna is the top assist for them.
Last edited by Seraph Sephiroth; 10-03-2012 at 10:09 PM.
my love, moka.
Originally Posted by Dart
I've actually managed to find decent ( good ) sync with Kuja runing Emp assist:
( I don't own the video )
Last edited by Mericus; 10-16-2012 at 09:42 PM.
Wow, really impressive O.O
First time I've ever seen the Emperor's mines usefull oO
Thanks for that vid Mericus, awesome.
Awesome Team sig made by Galadin!
I generally try out all sorts of oddball Assists at times, especially if they make more 'sense' working together, like Cecil and Kain (in no way implying using either as an Assist for the other is or isn't useful)
Of course, over time, you slowly filter out which Assists can or couldn't work. For instance, Exdeath is good for keeping the opponent in place if you can delay the opponent long enough for him to grab them, but the con is that he has a very short duration for the @chase command. Zidane is great for connecting on opponents from below and can even be used directly after the opponent escapes with an assist, but his knockback range is awkward so he'd be limited to certain stages.
I'd really like to experiment more with HP assists, though many of them are indeed situational. For example, Ultimecia's HP assists combo well with Laguna while he's on the ground, Vaan can make interesting use of Cecil's HP assists via Crossbow or on smaller stages. Then there are the flashy combos like Zidane going Wall Rush -> Onion Knight Assist -> FDC -> Free Energy -> Dash -> SA/Tempest -> Meo Twister.