Impressions of Some USF4 Characters from Final Round 17, Part 2
This past weekend, James Chen and I were given the opportunity to play with the new Ultra Street Fighter 4 character, Decapre, in order to be able to commentate the match that Combofiend played with her at the end of Final Round. In my last post I covered our experiments with Blanka, Dan, Dhalsim, Dictator/MBison, Elena, Guile, Hakan, Hugo, T.Hawk, Zangief: http://www.ultrachentv.com/2014/03/18/impressions-of-characters-pt1. But in this post, I’ll just stick to Decapre in detail.
First, realize that she’s still very much in development and I have no idea how she’s gonna turn out. We only found out about her a few hours before SF4 top 8 started, only got a couple hours to screw around, and didn’t get any info on top of what we could find. As a result, this info is mostly just representative of this particular build at Final Round 17, although I’ll also refer to the videos and Japanese stream info that have been released since they seem to be more recent builds. I’ll start with her normal attacks, then go through her specials, then go through her ultras, and then finally talk about my overall impressions.
Normal attacks: Her ground buttons are basically Cammy for everything except fierces, and Vega for fierces. Her Cammy buttons, so all standing and crouching jabs, shorts, strongs, forwards, and roundhouses, are pretty much exactly the same. Her far standing fierce is an uncancelable horizontal stab, sorta like a middle ground between Cammy’s far fierce and Vega’s far fierce in both animation and range. Her close st fierce is like Vega’s, a two hit swipe where the first is cancelable, and her crouching fierce is an uncancelable diagonal stab like Vega’s, although again with less range.
The only exception is her toward+mk overhead, which is a kind of somersaulty kick where she extends her leg really far and her foot hits the opponent crouching. It’s pretty fast and seemed to have something like 1/3-1/2 screen range. It moves her forward, but not like Ibuki toward+mk or anything, she kinda retracts her foot afterward. In the build I played she had a stand fierce – stand roundhouse target chain, but that Japanese stream said that she’s lost that and gained close st strong – roundhouse instead, which launches the opponent and is jump cancelable as well.
For her focus attack, she winds up and lunges forward, hitting toward the ground. This looked pretty good to me. During the wind up she doesn’t step back like Dictator or anything, but she doesn’t move forward either. Nobody’s gonna be able to duck this focus. It has good horizontal range and speed too, although I wouldn’t say it’s the best in either category.
Her air buttons are mostly Cammy but again with the exception of fierce. Her Cammy buttons seemed exactly like Cammy’s air buttons. Her neutral jump fierce was a lot like Bison’s jump toward/back fierce, with that two fisted downward angled punch. The hitbox on this is really good below and in front of her. Her diagonal jump fierce was more like Vega’s diagonal jump fierce, with that single stab downward. I didn’t test its hitbox. She also has an air throw like Cammy too, except that Japanese stream said that you can combo her ground mp-hk chain into jump air throw. It still throws Gouken out of demon flip counter, so I guess it’s a hit in some cases and a grab in others. By the way, all of her ground and air fierce buttons have that Bison purple glow on them.
Special moves: Let’s start with the command dash, which is done with a sonic boom charge back, toward+punch motion and is called scramble. The jab version moves her horizontally along the ground, strong moves her into the air at a 45 degree angle, and fierce moves her up at a 70. She also has 3 different ex versions done with different combinations of jab, strong, and fierce, so you can pick ground, 45, and 70 degree angles. She has different options out of the ground and air versions.
Options in ground scramble: go back to start, stop, go forward, and slide. The option to go back to the start is done with jab and only available for some period of frames after the start of scramble, you can’t do it at the end or anything. It moves her back really quickly, although she seems to have some recovery after. The stop is done with strong and kinda between Guy’s stop and Fuerte’s in terms of recovery. We tried but were unsuccessful in doing any close mp/hp xx lp scramble, stop, normal attack again combos. If you press fierce, Decapre goes forward and can go through opponents. It’s not invincible though, she still got hit by everything we tried, including projectiles. I guess her collision box is removed but hurtbox is still there? Slide is done by pressing kick after scramble starts and seems really really unsafe, like at least as bad as Guy’s run slide.
Options in regular air scrambles: go back to start, drop down, stomp, divekick, and wait and do normal attacks. Like in ground scramble, go back to start is done with jab, only available near the start of air scramble, and works pretty much the same way. The drown down is done with strong and is like the stop option in the ground scramble except the stop seems to happen faster. She stops immediately, drops super fast to the ground, and recovers really fast after falling too. Stomp is done with fierce, comes out really quickly, and breaks focus. We tested regular stomp at -7 (punishable by Viper fierce thunder knuckle but nothing slower). We didn’t test stomp against any antiairs but I’d be surprised if it lost to normal attacks at least. We also didn’t test to see if we could make it ambiguous as a meaty attack, wish we’d done that. Divekick is done with kick and seemed like it didn’t do a lot of blockstun or hitstun or had quite a bit of recovery or something, like it was pretty unsafe if you placed it too high. Seemed pretty much like Cammy’s AE2012 divekick otherwise, though. If you don’t do any followups out of air scramble until the apex of her movement, you lose access to all her scramble followups and instead gain access to all of her diagonal jump attacks. All stomps, including ex, allowed for juggling into the flash kick move afterward.
Options in ex air scrambles: all the same as regular ones, but with slightly different properties for some. The startup on ex scramble has invincibility for all versions. You can do ex divekick out of ex air scramble, but the ex divekick costs an extra bar (so two bars in total). It’s just like AE2012 Cammy’s ex divekick, fast and hugely plus on block and hit. Ex stomp seems to be pretty safe and also to have invincibility!
Flash kick move: I don’t remember the real name. It’s done like a flash kick with punch, charge down then press up + punch. This comes out pretty quickly but is definitely safe jumpable. Ex is invincible. The regular versions move Decapre back on block quite a bit, so although they’re definitely minus on block, actually punishing may be difficult for some characters if she spaces them well, like with Cody’s criminal upper. It’s focus cancelable and all versions cause a soft knockdown.
Air cannon drill: This is sonic boom with kick, so charge back, toward + kick. The charge time is long enough that you don’t have enough time during a neutral/toward jump to get charge for air drill, it pretty much has to be done jumping backward. You can do it pretty quickly after you leave the ground in a jump, although I didn’t test whether there’s no height restriction. I’d like to test whether you have enough time for it after doing an air scramble and waiting until the apex, but I didn’t. I doubt it, though. The short version goes the shortest distance, mk in the middle, and roundhouse the longest of the regular versions. All the regular versions seemed very unsafe on block, but they pop the opponent up for juggles into the flash kick on hit. The ex version seemed less unsafe, maybe like Cammy’s drill in that it can be timed to be safe if placed properly. I don’t know if it has any hit or projectile invincibility, we didn’t test. All versions cause a soft knockdown.
The Japanese stream says she’s losing ground cannon drill so I guess I won’t bother covering it.
Barrage move: The multi hitting punching while moving forward move. I don’t know what the real name for this is either, so I’ll stick with barrage. It’s done like Honda’s hand slaps, so mash on punches until it comes out. Jab does the fewest hits, medium does more, fierce and ex do the most. All versions are fast enough on startup and movement to combo from max range jabs, shorts, cr mk, and far standing mp. All versions cause a soft knockdown on hit but give Decapre enough time to set up pressure afterward. They’re all super unsafe on block but also focus cancelable, so you might be able to make them safe with that. There’s no invincibility on any version. Combofiend doesn’t seem too enthralled with this move but I feel like it’s really good! Imagine a character with Cammy’s walk speed walking around in footsies buffering Cammy’s light attacks or cr mk or far st mp into Honda hands. I think that sounds really good! Just gotta make sure you do this at ranges where you’re sure the opponent won’t block those moves instead.
Super: Her super looks like a psycho crusher. It’s pretty quick on startup but of course very punishable on block. It only did a single hit if used in a juggle. It doesn’t have any projectile invincibility but it does have some hit invincibility.
Ultras: Ultra 1 is psycho stream, the Dhalsim u1 yoga catastrophe move. There’s way more startup and recovery on this move than Sim’s u1 though. Sim’s u1 comes out instantly even if he does it while waking up into a meaty attack, but Decapre’s u1 on wakeup just gets stuffed and the ball doesn’t come out. The total throwing frames take too long for her to be able to do forward/back throw into u1 or sweep into u1. I even tried air cannon drill then juggle flash kick, which flings the opponent high into the air, then immediate u1, but if the opponent quick rises you’ll still get punished. I should have tried to fadc the flash kick then do u1, that might work better. Other than that, it seemed like you have to throw it from farther away. Once you do, though, it’s better than catastrophe. It has a bigger hitbox, moves farther, and has 9 hits instead of catastrophe’s 5! I had Decapre and Sim both do their u1s from a screen apart and watched in sadness as psycho stream completely ate up catastrophe as well as one ex yoga fire and then another ex yoga fire before finally disappearing lol. Obviously with all her tricks, this ultra is gonna lead to some real crazy crap.
Ultra 2 is called DCM and has three versions that go in the same angles as the three scramble angles. Back forward back forward does horizontal, Guile’s u1 motion does the 45 degree angle, and I never tried the 70 degree u2 because with wultra the inputs for u1 overlap with the 70 degree u2 and u1 always comes out. U2 is super fast, only 3 frames, although in the IGN video Combofiend said they’re still looking at that one, so I dunno how it’ll turn out. Right now it’s so fast that it links off of pretty much every button. Think of how many ways AE2012 Cammy could link into a 3 frame ultra, and there ya go. The u2 did way less damage when on wultra, so it could be that she’s in the category of characters whose ultras do less damage than most when in wultra.
Overall impression: She seems really really fun and tricky. I’m really interested in how all these things are going to come together! There’s plenty of precedent for tricky offensive charge characters in Street Fighter games, see most especially ST Boxer but also Alpha Juni, who Decapre is clearly modeled after.
She doesn’t have the same combo or damage options that Cammy has, but her midrange game and defense might be better. I say her midrange game might be better because she has the same walk speed and footsie normals that Cammy has, except her normals can be canceled into barrage instead of drill, she has a really strong neutral jumping attack in neutral jump fierce, and she can still attack pretty far forward even while jumping back with air cannon drill. She also seems better than Cammy in terms of reversals, since she a way safer dp type move and invincibility on ex scramble.
In terms of mixups, I like the scramble mixups because they seem designed to be used in a game that doesn’t have unblockables but does have two wakeup timings on all knockdowns. The problem is that they’re not all safe. Regular stomp was unsafe, at least at the ranges and heights we tested at, so while a correct bet on stomp can let Decapre get in, an incorrect bet can be a big mistake. You’ll still have to do stomp often enough to make the opponent worried about it; it’ll be the key to forcing the opponent to let you get away with scramble to drop down mixups, because without that the opponent can just focus or do their low profile move or whatever. Canceling close mp/hp into scramble can create some definite Blanka hop/dash type shenanigans with probably fairly Blanka-like results in that she’ll be able to cancel hit confirms into her mash move, except with a better post-knockdown situation than Blanka gets. Decapre’s frame traps seem good, at least with 3f startup u2. If you don’t have ultra ready, she can still frame trap into flash kick or barrage, which is nice. If you do have ultra and have some space, u1 psycho stream will definitely lead to some crazy mixups as well. She actually might even have better mixups than USF4 Cammy as well considering that Cammy’s unblockables will be gone, her divekick will be less safe, delayed wakeup will exist, and her frame traps will result in less damage and stun.
I said on stream that I think she’ll blow up Dhalsim, but the more I think about that the more I think I might have been wrong. She has Cammy jump roundhouse, but she can’t alter her jump arc while jumping forward or anything. Scrambles require her to have charge and the regular versions aren’t invincible either, so I dunno how easy it’ll be easy for her to get through Sim’s zoning options. She can do strong scramble into annoying options from far away, but eh, will it be worse than similar things I can usually deal with like Sakura ex otoshi or Akuma ex demon flip? We’ll see. And on the other end, I can see her having trouble with grapplers, since most of her options seem like they’d be spd punishable on block and her buttons don’t get her much farther in footsies against grapplers than Cammy’s do. Again though, we’ll see.
She might look like Cammy, but her gameplay won’t be. In fact, she should be a lot more interesting (to me, anyway). But like I said at the start, she’s still in development, only 85% complete according to Eventhubs’ rundown of Decapre news. Safety, punishability, speed, hitboxes, all that stuff could change before the game is released. I’m really looking forward to the final product!