Put on Hold

Greetings, Injustice fans!

I type these words with a heavy heart. Due to several complications, I am placing Injust Adventures on hold until I am able to post in a more consistent and well-executed fashion.

In a way, I feel that this is for the best.

I have not been able to dedicate the time lately that I would like to either playing Injustice or writing this blog, and I do not wish to continue posting rushed and unfocused entries.

I cannot give an estimate at this time for when Injust Adventures will return.

Thank you to all of you who have joined me on my journey.

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Interlude: A Selection Process

Welcome back, Injustice fans!

Today I’m listing the handful of characters I’m looking at to replace Aquaman. I’ve included a few things I like about each character that drew me to them. Here’s the list:

  1. Sinestro
    • Final Shackles. It can work as a vortex and a reset.
    • Strong ranged game, with an underrated close game.
  2. Zod
    • Trait is ridiculous.
    • Lots of specials.
  3. Lex Luthor
    • Crazy set ups.
    • Armor trait is cool.
  4. Nightwing
    • Great pressure game.
    • Fast movement, good zoning.
  5. Martian Manhunter
    • Tons of projectile options.
    • Trait gives him silly footsies.
  6. Batgirl
    • Fast, effective vortex.
    • Smoke Bomb. Bola reset.
  7. Lobo
    • Command grab, rushdown.
    • Incredible damage.
  8. The Flash
    • Fast movement, fast overheads.
    • Can punish so many things.

I know those are just some opinions, but I’m on vacation right now. I will develop a more through breakdown of my character candidates upon my return to Wisconsin.

Thanks for reading!

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This isn’t giving up, this is letting go.

Welcome back, Injustice fans!

This week I’m giving up on Aquaman. I’ve made a lot of negative comments about Aquaman’s playstyle over the last few months. Yet I kept playing him.

Well, the insanity is over.

I think Frank said it best:
“If you don’t like Aquaman, don’t play Aquaman.”

I’m sure he told me something like that before, but this time it hit home.

Since I’m choosing a new character, I’ve decided to follow Umbreon’s advice. In a way, I have been for some time, if not perfectly.

I’ve been taking notes. I’ve been studying other players. I haven’t gotten to attend tournaments, nor have I been able to find a local FGC community. But I’ve been doing my best to improve.

But before I can truly begin on that path, I must select my character. I’ll be watching tournament footage to find a play style I think looks fun.

Join me next week as I highlight a few candidates for my new character!

Thanks for reading!

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A Study in Aquamarine Part 3

Welcome back, Injustice fans!

Happy 2014 to you all. I hope you had a great New Year’s Eve!

This is my last week analyzing Aquaman players in pools matches from NEC14. Like last week, I’m going to go through this quickly (there are a lot of matches) by listing timestamps for you to skip to and describing why those moments drew my interest. Let’s get to it.

Note: Every time I say “he”, I am referring to the Aquaman player in the video.

JamesMK (MMH) vs Ice Angel (Aquaman)

0:26 – he whiffs an F2 and activates Aquaman’s trait to avoid punishment.
1:12 – he uses B12 to whiff punish his opponent’s landing lag.
1:43 – his D1 gets blocked (-3) but he hits MMH out of his jump with F1 and is able to convert that into a combo. I think he got lucky here that his opponent jumped away instead of quickly counter-attacking, as MMH has a few options that could have punished the blocked D1.
1:58 – he reads MMH’s Sky Teleport and punishes it with MB B3. I wonder if that was on reaction…
2:49 – he combos D2 into B12. I didn’t know that was possible due to D2’s long cool down.

CTRL Unknown (Scorpion) vs Atlas (Aquaman)

:29 – he uses From the Deep from way too close and gets punished for it.
2:43 – he traits too late to block after MB Spear hits him.  I’m guessing he was trying to mash it out while his trait was finishing recharging, which caused him to activate his trait while he was being combo-ed. This wasted his trait, forcing another 12 second wait for it to recharge.
2:58 – he does a sweep (D3) from over half-screen, which gets him punished, as it should.
3:04 – he (again) traits too late when reacting to getting hit by Scorpion’s MB Spear.

Flipkev (Zod) vs Insaynne (Aquaman)

1:14 – he hit confirms B1~Trident Rush, then does it again. It surprised me that he didn’t get punished, but according to TYM, Trident Rush is +1 on hit, so I guess this is a practical tactic.
1:40 – he uses sweep as a hard knockdown to set up a cross up attempt. This is a tactic that I have used myself, but due to Aquaman’s mediocre mix up game, it is a gamble.

Outworld (Black Adam) vs Ice Angel (Aquaman)

:16 – His D1 gets blocked. This leaves him -3, but he F1s anyway and gets away with it.
1:47 – he starts the match with an F2. Unsafe, but he gets away with it. I do it too sometimes.
3:05 – he gets in off a whiff punish to take the 1st life bar.
3:20 – he catches Black Adam dashing in, allowing him to MB From the Deep and follow-up by dashing in and using B12 to get the full combo punish. Really shows off Aquaman’s range.

Ken123103 (Superman) vs D-Cent (Aquaman)

1:50 – he whiff punishes Superman’s jump in attack.
2:06 – he anti-airs Superman with B2 and gets a combo (which he drops) out of it.
2:10 – he block punishes Superman’s D2.
2:36 – he connects a B12 off of a B2. I didn’t know that worked. Also, he ends the combo with 3~From the Deep for extra damage and positioning.

Tom Brady vs Theo

This money match should probably be its own post since it is nine games , but whatever. Arguably the best Aquaman player playing one of the best Superman players.

:40 – he catches Superman’s dash with From the Deep. His next From the Deep must have been mistimed because Superman backdashes through it. He punishes a whiffed Heat Zap with From the Deep. His next From the Deep misses Superman’s Rising Grab, he must have mistimed it.
1:03 – his wake up Scoop gets blocked. Still, it is nice to see a high-level player use wake up Scoop. Yes, it is a gamble. But sometimes (okay, a lot with Aquaman) you have to take risks.
1:07 – he backdashes after B12 gets blocked. For some reason I love this. Seems very safe.
1:48 – he jumps late to dodge Superman’s eye lasers.
1:50 – he combos B2->Interactable->B3 into a full combo for huge damage. Wow.
2:00 – he tries using B2 as a meaty attack and gets blown up for it. Again, gambling.
2:35 – he uses From the Deep but Rising Grab goes through it. Must have mistimed it.
2:42 – he blocks Superman’s Low Scoop and punishes.
3:52 – he use D1 (blocked) and cancels(?) into the background interactable! I don’t know how that worked. Is the background bounce an overhead? Was Theo not blocking after the D1?
4:04 – he uses From the Deep but Rising Grab goes through it. Must have mistimed it.
6:05 – He ducks Heat Zap and punishes with From the Deep.
6:27 – he goes D1 (blocked), D1 (blocked), Trident Scoop. I have no other explanation for that working. Each D1 leaves him at -3 frames. Theo must have just gotten mindgamed here.
6:43 – this time, his From the Deep beats Rising Grab. See, it can work!
7:15 – he wakes up with Water Shield to counter Superman’s  Heat Vision. Interesting tactic.
8:10 – he catches Superman’s dash with From the Deep.
8:21 – his spacing baits out a wake up Rising Grab, which he punishes. This might have actually been a misplay on Theo’s part, simply misjudging how far his Rising Grab would reach.
9:31-9:45 – incredible patience, great blocking, and he finds an opening with an anti-air D2.
9:52 – he checks Superman with From the Deep, forcing Theo to wake up blocking.
10:29 – he whiffs From the Deep, but catches Superman’s dash in with D2. Intentional? Can’t say.
10:46 – he punishes Superman’s Heat Vision with From the Deep, like he said you can.
10:49 – From the Deep pays off again. I don’t know why Theo didn’t block this – maybe he wanted to backdash or jump or do an attack – but not blocking got him punished. However, at 13:10 and 13:12, he corrects this mistake.
16:21 – he combos B2 into the background interactable. I didn’t know you could do that.
18:31 – he combos D1 in the background interactable. Again, I didn’t know you could do that.
18:39 – he baits Rising Grab and punishes it with D2.

Like last week, I’m not seeing much in terms of offense created from pressure. Most of it seems to come from whiff punishes and catching jump ins and dash ins with From the Deep.

This seems unreliable at best.

There are some bright spots, like Brady’s use of the background bounce interactables. Also, I learned that you can connect B12 off of both B2 and D2. Good to know. But overall, Aquaman continues to feel like a rather turtle-y character. I’m not loving his style.

I’m not really sure where to go from here. It’s a brand new year. Do I continue the Aquaman experiment? Or do I give it up and search for a new character for EVO 2014?

Join me next week to find out.
Thanks for reading!

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A Study in Aquamarine Part 2

Welcome back, Injustice fans!

This week I am looking at more footage of Aquaman players in pools matches from NEC14.

The main things I noticed in this match were:
Aquaman got punished for whiffing From the Deep a lot. (3:42, etc.).
I saw Trident Rush used to end many block strings “safely”. Not sure if this is because Black Adam can’t punish Trident Rush, or if the Black Adam player did not know how to punish it.
The main lead-in to Aquaman’s combos was off of air-to-air J2s.

Style points:
Apparently you can do use a background bounce interactable after a MB From the Deep, setting up a B3 and generating some extra damage in your combo. Cool stuff.

This match didn’t show me much. Basic pickups:
Main damage came off air-to-air J2s and D2 anti-airs.
Trident Rush is punishable (we know this).

This matchup seems entirely about keeping Bane off his Venom. Aquaman’s pokes get blown up by Bane’s armor. The only damage I saw Riyo get in this match was off whiff punishes, D2 anti-airs, and a wake up Scoop. Just a tough loss all around.

This matchup looks rough. Other than conversions from anti-air D2, J2, and wake up Scoop, I saw no offense from the Aquaman players. I guess he did catch Hawkgirl with From the Deep when she was backdashing, but overall this was a one-sided match.

I’m trying to not get too down about Aquaman after watching these matches, especially those last two. After all, the Bane and Hawkgirl players both made Top 8 of NEC14, so they are good players. But it troubles me to see Aquaman struggling to dictate the flow of a match.

This match reinforced my feeling that 80+% of Aquaman’ damage comes off whiff punishes.

Seriously. Almost every bit of damage Aquaman does in this match is off of a whiff punish or some sort of error in the Batman player’s attacking, such as improper spacing or gambling by doing a wake up attack and losing. 1:22, 1:54, 3:06,3:16, 3:19, 3:52, 4:35, 4:57.

The point I’m trying to make here is that Aquaman is not leading into combos through his own offense – he is relying on his opponents to make mistakes. That is not a winning strategy. Hopefully more research will reveal Aquaman players who dictate match tempo more effectively.

Join me next week for my last post analyzing NEC14 Aquaman pools matches.
Thanks for reading!

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A Study in Aquamarine

Welcome back, Injustice fans!

This week I’m looking at some matches from NEC14, a championship series in the Northeast. This post will deal with EMPR Theo’s matches from the Top 8. Next week I will look into other Aquaman players’ pool matches from this tournament.

Unfortunately Theo got eliminated in the first round of the top 8, so there was not much footage to look at. However, I did notice a few things:

Theo tended to From the Deep from about where I would expect an Aquaman player should – about 3/4 of the screen, sometimes a bit closer. That means what I’m doing isn’t terribly off.

He jabbed his way out of a handful of tricky situations or pressure strings that I didn’t know you could D1 out of. Good to know, but also could be bad because I already have a habit of D1ing more than I should.

He caught his opponent with B12 often during their landing lag frames. 4:42.
This seems huge. Again, it comes back to finding that proper spacing. Works for punishing whiffed attacks as well. 6:28,

Cross up jump in to grab to grab. 4:45. The second grab got teched but it was a cute mix-up.

Canceling B123 into Trident Rush. 6:24. Normally I’m not a fan of canceling into Trident Rush because it is -11 on block, but doing the full B123 string and adding the four hits of Trident Rush on top of it keeps the opponent in block stun for a long time. Interesting tactic.

Using From the Deep and then jumping against Black Adam’s Lighting Strike. 7:19. This is a post-patch change that makes the Aquaman-Black Adam matchup easier for Aquaman. Being able to chip Black Adama and avoid retaliatory Lightning Strikes lets Aquaman zone more.

Using Water Shield against wake up attacks. 6:53. It didn’t work here because he dashed out and then dashed in, thus getting hit by Black Adam’s Lightning Cage. Still, cool to see it used.

Dash-canceling out of a meter-burned B3 into a full combo punish. 7:37. I knew this was a thing that could be done, but I haven’t seen it often. Cool technique. Probably a better option than just throwing out MB B3s like I tend to. Great against moves that are negative on hit.

Activating Aquaman’s trait after getting an unsafe move (Trident Rush) blocked. 7:49. I talked about this before, but again it is nice to see this tactic in action.

What really struck me from watching these games was that it made me feel like I’m not so much playing Aquaman incorrectly as much as I have a lot of input errors and need to work on my mental game. I’m curious to see what other Aquaman players’ matches look like.

Join me next week as I continue looking at footage from other Aquaman players.
Thanks for reading!

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Shifting Gears: Knockdown Advantages

Welcome back, Injustice fans!

This week we are shifting out of neutral and into a new gear, which I call “Oki”.

The word “oki”, short for “Okizeme“, refers to pressuring a knocked-down opponent. Essentially, it is the rock-paper-scissors of the wake up game.

Understanding Oki is important to winning. It’s about gaining an advantage and converting that advantage into a benefit (hopefully leaving you in the position to continuing pressing your advantage).

Some (vortex) characters emphasize Oki situations because they rely so heavily on getting repeat conversion opportunities on subsequent knockdowns. Green Arrow and Killer Frost as good examples.
This is in contrast to a character like Sinestro, who has a vortex he can use, but it doesn’t deal enough damage or give enough advantage to make it his primary strategy.

I concluded last week by revisiting some thoughts from Tom Brady’s videos on Aquaman and acknowledging that I had missed the forest for the trees. Having recognized Aquaman is a knockdown reliant character, I’m looking to develop my understanding of his offense.

Let’s say Aquaman gets a knockdown. What are his options?

A. Block. Safe, but loses initiative. Any frame advantage is lost. Can be the right choice against full invincible wake up attacks at close range, or against fast, far-reaching attacks that are safe wake up attacks like Killer Frost’s Black Ice or Green Arrow’s MB Stinger.
B. Do a meaty attack while the opponent stands up. Risks getting blown up by an opponent’s wake up attack.
C. Just Frame Trident – using From the Deep as a check against possible wake up attacks. The benefit here is that if the opponent anticipates FtD and respects it by blocking, Aquaman can pressure them. If they don’t respect Aquaman and choose to wake up with a wake up attack, backdash, or jump, a properly executed FtD will hit them out of it.

Basically it comes down to a guessing game between B and C.
Will my opponent use a wake up attack or will they respect the potential punish from an FtD and choose to wake up blocking?

The problem I have with this is that if they respect the FtD and wake up blocking, Aquaman lacks the tools to mount a consistent offense (against people who know how to block). Both of his 50/50s are NOT true mixups.

As far as I understand, the best offense Aquaman has is using F1 to set up the 3/B12 quasi-50/50. Other than that he will only likely get damage off of anti-airs on reaction, throws, and raw guesses.

There just aren’t many safe options. I’m not saying that I will never use unsafe moves. But I am trying to play as safe as possible.

Speaking of, here’s what I learned from practicing with Frank last night:

I need to practice more. I missed a lot of inputs, mashed out attacks when I did not mean to, and frame trapped myself by inputting attacks too early or late.

I need to stop using From the Deep unless it is off a hit confirm or following a knockdown. It is too vulnerable both on block and whiff to use any other time.

I need to stop relying on B3 for offense. It’s super punishable on whiff and D2 is a faster anti-air option.

I need to stop D1ing at close range. All it does is leave me -3 on block and get me counter-poked. A throw is a better option when at point-blank neutral position.

That’s all I for now. Join me next week as I analyze tournament footage of other Aquaman players.
Thanks for reading!

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