I have been really enjoying my complete lack of FGC responsibilities in the last two months- just chilling and taking it easy. Assembling furniture in my home and getting fat on ice cream and chips. Catching up on my reading; finishing off my Joseph Conrad…and the Fifty Shades of Grey trilogy.
And of course, doing a ton of training room time in Marvel.
I haven’t sat down to do any writing at all, so I guess that means you probably won’t be seeing any BAM recaps or anything like that from me. I also feel that too much time has passed for a recap to be relevant…but the problem is that after a Melbourne-run major I always need some time to recharge my batteries. Maybe the words will come back to me after I get back into the thick of things, writing-wise.
It’s been really good to sit down and have time to figure out and remedy the obvious deficiencies in my Marvel execution.
Particularly since I’ve put my Spencer on point now in order to combat some of the tougher matchups when I have Doom on point, such as Zero, I’ve quickly realised that a lot of my hit-confirms or specific situational combos are really not optimal.
With Doom I can confidently say I can get a touch of death combo off almost any touch. Be it a low L, an air grab, a butter gun hit confirm, I was comfortable enough with my Doom after playing him on point all those months to turn them all into a corner DHC into Spencer, into triple up grapple and death.
With Spencer on point, a lot of crappy combos I was doing weren’t going to cut it. I had a specific list of situations I wanted to optimise:
- Overhead into armour piercer in the corner
- Wire grapple into combo from corner to corner
- Air grab combos from corner to corner
- Figure out why the specific reasons why certain combos fimble on certain character (Nemesis, Zero etc) and remedy them
- Optimise my corner combo (1.1 million one bar)
- Optimise my corner to corner combo (900k one bar). I know, I know. I’m greedy.
With my corner combo, I saw Baxter doing this at Buttonsmash and I immediately smacked myself on the head. Why didn’t I think of this before? So obvious.
Basically he was doing Bionic bomber, sMH (call ammy assist) S, up grapple, (assist hits), up grapple again.
This simple addition kicked my corner combo from 1.1 million to 1.2 million for one bar, and more importantly, it actually made the combo less character-specific.
For example, for some characters you can’t do MHS up grapple after Bomber. For Wolverine you have to do MH up grapple. And with Zero you have to do L grapple instead (no 80k.) But this Ammy assist extender makes MHS up grapple work on those characters! So I get more damage, and guaranteed up grapple on everybody. (With the possible exception of R.Raccoon.) I get to memorise less specific character combo stuff. Win win.
So that was the easiest one to cross off the list.
(Also, disclaimer: I didn’t invent any of these combos, a lot of the combos come from Duck Strong and Adelheid’s videos and I just fit my assists into them.)
The combo in this video is the basis of my corner combo.
With assists it is:
cLcMHS, sjM downforward zip sjH, land up grapple, Bionic Bomber, MH (call Ammy assist) S up grapple, (assist hits), up grapple, dash back sj Tiger Knee M grapple, S forward zip down forward zip, land up grapple, call hidden missiles, up grapple, up grapple, super. Just a tick under 1.2 mill.
And I had the time to sit down and figure out various strange character-specific drops in my combos. For example, I figured why my hidden missiles knocks Nemesis out of the second up grapple. Basically because he is too big, if I jump over his corpse to get closer to him before the initial up grapple like I always do, the second one doesn’t work. If I just stand there after my combo and just call Doom assist it works as per normal. Really weird but at least it’s an easy solution. I really have to catch myself from jumping over Nemesis’ body in matches though- muscle memory! And I figured out how to patch up some combos such as doing MH L grapple on Zero after Bionic Bomber, and Bionic Bomber into MHS up grapple on Sentinel instead of LMHS up grapple after command grab in the corner. (Sentinel falls too fast.) And on Dorm after command grab midscreen instead of doing cMH uf zip into zip loops I do sLM up zip instead. He falls weird. Little things like that, but it’s good to have the time to sit down and work them out!
Now, for my midscreen corner to corner zip loop combo, with Doom missiles I was hitting 900k for one bar. I was thinking of an easy way to fit Ammy assist in there but to no avail.
For example after triple zip loops if they end up in the corner I can do (call Ammy assist) Bionic bomber, dash up up grapple. But from the opposite corner, after triple zip loops I have to do dash dash tiger knee M grapple to put them in the corner. And after that the hit stun decay is too high and they simply flip out of Bionic bomber.
Adelheid had a video where he managed to get an up grapple with Ammy assist very late in the combo and he even explained it to me:
“I get this question so much, I think I’ll make a video just going over this specifically. For now, though:
I hold down, then hit Amaterasu assist as I start the TK motion. I delay the button press slightly, though, so that I’m in the air for a very brief period before I actually do the attack; too low, and Ammy doesn’t hit them right and they break out. If you time it right, you can do it later in the combo than otherwise. It’s kind of weird and I don’t fully understand why it works the way it does.”
But I played around with it and deemed it too inconsistent to be match-practical. I need something brain dead reliable that works in tourney.
And I’ve also been aware of this ender to the GX loop for some time now:
Specifically the MHS forward zip forward zip down forward zip cH up grapple ender that pushes them into the corner even further than vanilla triple zip loops.
I avoided this combo because after this ender, you have to end with the zig zag Fiddlestix up grapple ender instead of the dash back sj Tiger Knee M grapple ender. And I dislike it because I sometimes stuff up the zig zag ender and put them to the other side out of the corner or get the spacing off and land slightly too far from the body in the corner, and in both situations I can’t call hidden missiles to OTG anymore.
Whereas with the dash back M grapple ender, I get perfect positioning for the hidden missiles OTG every single time. That reliability of the ender is why I stayed with my old combo and never really practiced the new ender.
However, I eventually had the free time to play around with it. And what I realised it while I can’t do dash back M grapple after it anymore, I can do Bionic Bomber with Ammy assist and get my up grapple in!
But then I’m stuck with the zig zag ender after that you might say. And get stuck with the same slight chance of stuffing it up and missing my additional two more up grapples with hidden missiles.
Thankfully I learnt to do one more useful thing: delaying the up grapple after Ammy assist.
Back at Button Smash, I saw Baxter doing this. Snatching the character with up grapple and delaying the L button press to bring him down, sort of letting the grapple cable hang off the body for a good two seconds before he pulled him down. I asked him why he did that, and he replied that it was to let his Doom assist recharge.
At the time I remember thinking, huh, what’s the point. Can’t you just do dash back up tk M grapple S f zip df zip up grapple and that gives Doom time to recharge anyway? At least that’s what I always did, and it was 100% reliable so I filed up grapple delay away under “good to know, but not really useful” in my brain.
But during BAM Loki had sent me this combo by Duck Strong:
I’m sure you’ve seen every Spencer on stream including Combofiend land an overhead in the corner and do some shitty >600k combo like LMHqcfL Bionic Arm after the overhead. I had been doing that too, and was really not satisfied with it.
I want to touch of death my opponents off every touch.
With my team, to do anything less would be a huge waste.
So I was screwing around with LMH (call doom assist) S, magic series, the missiles OTG and I up grapple into super, but I was not satisfied. When I saw that Duck Strong combo, my eyes lit up. This was exactly what I’ve been looking for. I just was so busy during BAM that I only had time afterwards to sit down and learn it. And I did.
So after the combo I would do my usual hidden missiles up grapple x2 ender. And that would give me 900k. But I still wasn’t satisfied. After all, the combo put the opponent into the corner. I should definitely be able to get one million off one bar right?
I realised I could put Bionic Bomber with ammy assist into up grapple after the combo. But then I couldn’t call hidden missiles- Doom had no time to recharge.
And then I remembered Baxter delaying his up grapple’s L button press at Button Smash.
With the delayed up grapple, I could easily call Doom, and the combo hit over one million. Yes, finally. Satisfaction. (AKA Death To Wesker.)
So back to the corner to corner combo. Once I learnt how to do that specific ender with the overhead turnaround combo, I quickly realised I could combine it with the MHS forward zip forward zip down forward zip cH up grapple ender and that gives me 1.05 million damage or Death to Wesker corner to corner for one bar!
Yes. Mission completed.
The other thing it is useful for is when Spencer is solo, or when hidden missiles has been used already, I can do a solo two bar combo. And even two bars with Ammy assist in between gets me one million too. So I practiced this quite a bit, but I discovered quite a few inconsistencies or found it hard to hit on some surprising characters. (I think Magneto was one of them.) So I still have a lot of practice and tinkering to do with this combo.
Now for the other two things that have bugged me for the entire time that I’ve played Spencer: how to get a touch of death combo off a wire grapple and off an air grab.
For air grabs, I discovered from I believe an Adelheid video that you can do Bionic Bomber after air grab.
So after an air grab in the corner, I can go straight into Bionic Bomber and my full double assist TOD corner combo. Sweet.
And midscreen at the very least I don’t use up my wall bounce by OTGing with Bionic Bomber, so I can position myself afterwards into the corner with an OTG M or H grapple and get my assist up grapples in, so that’s great too.
But the wire grapple combos have been a real bitch.
I’ve practiced so many variants. For example, Kevin (Burnout’s) variant is really simple. He just does wavedash x2 or x3 up to the body after L grapple, OTG H grapple, df zip, land cLMHS, sjMMH f zip f zip f zip S, Bionic Bomber, super.
Which works fine and is actually really reliable, but I want a TOD.
So I practiced this combo from Adelheid for ages: After wire grapple, short dash jump up, jM grapple, df zip, jH, land jMH df zip S up grapple.
And once again Adelheid chipped in with some great tips in reply to my direct message on Youtube:
“It’s pretty tight, yeah… Best thing I can say is that there’s sort of a rhythm to the motion you have to do. What I do, is I dash forward about as much as in the video, neutral jump up, and sweep the stick 540 degrees from up to back to down to forward, then hit M. You actually don’t want to ascend to the full height, that won’t work, just do it on the way up without TKing it. Other than that, just make sure you do the down-forward zip and the j.H as soon as possible!
Also note that the combo is slightly character specific; It doesn’t work on Rocket Raccoon, Arthur, Viewtiful Joe, or Amaterasu, and feels very inconsistent on Tron; against Sentinel, Hulk, and Tron, you also need to instead do down-forward zip j.M or j.S (M only against Sentinel), land qcf+H, but this is thankfully probably easier to do anyway (except on Tron.)
I hope that helps!”
And his advice really helped. I practiced it, and I optimised it by adding (call Ammy) dash up Bionic Bomber up grapple, hidden missiles up grapple x2, which turned it into a TOD.
But after practicing it for two, three weeks and not getting it anywhere consistent, I saw this combo by Duck Strong. (Second combo in.)
A lot of that stuff in that video is gold, but specifically the after wire grapple, jump forward M grapple, df zip, M, land, jLMS f zip f zip df zip up grapple really caught my attention. Because it put the opponent in the corner and from screwing around with Adelheid’s combo I found that I could get M to connect after the DF zip much more frequently- it’s just that I couldn’t figure out how to combo afterwards. But Duck Strong did. That combination of normals is quite weird too- by muscle memory I was doing LMH f zip, and that screws up the height for the combo. LMS f zip makes it just right.
But that’s great! Just by adding my double assist triple up grapple extender makes the combo do in excess of 900k for one bar, and TODs with two bars. And I haven’t even added the second zip loop that Duck Strong does in his video yet. But I’m really happy with having a consistent followup to my zips.
That means the next time I catch you Fish with an Umegrapple to snatch your Zero from the sky, I’m going to kill your freaking character. (Yes I hate Zero. I always imagine snatching Fish’s Zero from the sky when I imagine doing wire grapple combos in my head.)
So the break has been fun and productive. Working on tech (should I really call it tech? Or just Things I Should Already Have Thought Of) and making my team scarier. Hopefully becoming a legitimate Spencer player. (My Spencer on point still feels way way weaker than my Doom.)
I just need to play more, and get comfortable with Spence on point, apply all my new shit, and also work on better incoming mixups. And I have been doing that by playing a lot at Shadowlogic. Maybe I’m just a slow learner.
I’ve also taken the time to work on my Doom.
Previously with Doom on point, I never had to worry about damage. Just triple Clock loops to put them into the corner, DHC to Spencer, Fiddlestix zig zag up grapple, call missiles, up grapple x 2, Thor is dead. I didn’t have to learn TACs or Maziodyne combos. (Well I did learn the corner one.)
But now that Doom is second, quite often when he comes into play, most probably my Spencer is dead. So I can’t rely on the Spencer DHC to kick up my damage, I have to learn better combos.
So that’s another thing I have been doing, practicing the corner sjL fHx4 loops, and finally getting them consistent.
For midscreen combos there are actually more damaging and easier versions (specifically the second combo in Duck Strong’s video below) but I chose to stick with the ShadyK combo:
cLMHS, (sj L fH addf, land cMHS)x2 (sjMMfHS addf, tri jump OTG H)x2, whatever ender.
The reason why I specifically chose this one is so that I can work on my sjL fH, which previously always felt really weird to my hands which by default always go into the Clock loops by muscle memory. So it was really hard to get them down, but I’m getting quite consistent with them now. And they do quite a bit more damage than my old (albeit extremely reliable) combos.
So it has been a productive few months.
But now my Ryu’s gone to shit!