Monday, November 30, 2009

BB: Continuum Shift 1st Impressions

All the speculations of BBCS boils down to this week. All the rumors, impressions, thoughts are one by one confirmed or dispelled. This week was a hectic week for the BB crowd. I've seen lots of new faces, heard lots of comments, and changed lots of my own views which were purely based on speculation and rumors.

As a disclaimer, I'm not going to post mechanic changes here; it can be found all over the net. I'm just going to give my impressions based on what I've seen this week.

The fundamental mindset of playing Blazblue changed with the new Guard Primer gauge and the revamped Burst mechanic. People will no longer mash Burst at the last minute. Burst is now used quite tactically. I think the general mindset of using it now is if you are under pressure and you think that bursting will give you a better shot at winning, or to break momentum. Almost like the way defensive burst is used in GGAC.

Due to the overall damage decrease, and the fact that bursting no longer remove your ability to barrier and increase your damage taken, matches take a significantly longer time. Time outs can happen quite often, especially when people are turtling around, a tactic mostly used at Calamity Trigger just because of everyone's potential damage output in that game.

Guard Primer changes the game alot. It gives people the option to do block strings and pressure based on a move. Most high risk moves take away a guard primer, but some characters get rather safe moves that do the same, and those moves usually give frame advantage (Ragna's 214D), allowing them to continue the pressure. Now when people rushdown and get their block strings blocked, at least they feel that they have done something to 'damage' the guard primer, which also takes quite long to recover.

On to characters, I think it's still quite early to create tier lists, and sometimes I don't agree with what most people in blazblue boards say; I just write what I think.

Ragna - Ragna is currently dominating the arcades here. Alot of people don't know how to deal with 214D spam. That and because Ragna hasn't really changed that much from CT, only more damage options, so old Ragna players just pick him up easily, learn a couple of new combos, and kill everyone. I think he'll probably end up as

Jin - Jin's playstyle changed quite a lot. He's no longer as quick as he was before. Longer air 236D landing recovery kinda removes his ability to pressure with it. 5D inability to special cancel (except Drive attacks) makes it hard to combo on a hit, espacially combining the fact that breaking ice is quite fast now and players don't have to mash it out. jB is slower now, but the purpose is still the same imo; still a decent jump in move. Also, as of now, his combos can only hit around 2.8k damage without meter. Even 623C counter hit can't really combo much anymore.

At least he has good corner pressure now as well as great projectiles. Jin still seems very flexible and solid imo. He's playstyle probably involves quite a bit of zoning now with jC and fishing for openings and CHs as opposed to CT where jB solves everything for any rushdown situation.

Also, most of his combo now involves the C mash move, so for those who never used it in a combo in CT, time to really get used to it in CS.

Litchi - Litchi is probably on her way to A-tier. Corner combo still ends with complete knockdown, easy 4.5k damage meterless combo off a random and relatively safe hit (2C xx 41236D). Not only that, she has pretty good block strings now, which are also relatively safe.

Arakune - Arakune is quite okay without fever. During fever mode though, it's quite a havoc. Most people usually end up just blocking until the fever mode is all gone. There's a huge damage combo already discovered during fever mode, so I expect him to raise up to at least middle-top tier.

Noel - I don't know why people keeps screaming over the nerfs as if it broke Noel (eheheh). Sure she's nerfed, but no where near 'unplayable'...she's just a harder character to use now. 5D is effectively a fuujin now. Much like fuujin, it can be stopped but at least she gets a move with invul frame. I managed to get out of alot of shit by just mashing it, just need to know when to use it now.

I still think noel is okay. The current 3.5k meterless combo is very very good, just that it's hard to get it in. I think there's already a corner 4.4k combo discovered too. There are just too many things waiting to be discovered for her, so I don't think Noel players should cry just yet. The game is still young after all.

Taokaka - She lost most of her easy damage, although taunt combo is still back. I heard it can go up to 6k damage, but that's very unlikely here. To cover up for all her small nerfs, at least she has projectile options now. Maybe there's a new way of playing Taokaka but there's no way of knowing now since every player out there plays Taokaka the old way which is fairing rather decently. But her lost of CH 5C > 6C really hurt her.

Lambda-13 - I wouldn't say she's nerfed to oblivion. She's still playable, and still solid in her own way, just not as broken as before. Right now, it seems most of her damage comes from a nice Pulsar hit, and 6A as anti air. 2C is still an anti air but it's way slower than before. The current strategy right now is just to do projectile (which eats a guard primer) and zone away with act pulsar. Right now people are having some trouble punishing that move even on block, but I heard you have predict it and force it to whiff by backdashing.

Carl - Carl's game play doesn't change that much from CT. Although clap loop is gone, sandwich loop is still very strong so people still try their best not to go between him and the doll. Otherwise, I haven't seen enough Carl to really comment on it

Bang - Bang is truely a hero now as most boards have stated. People are still not used to punishing his Drive moves, which are no longer JCable on block. However, the Drive is 2 times faster now so it punishes alot of stuff. Poison damage is actually rather significant, though not the same tier as Testament's in GGAC. Also, he has a new close range/anti air drive that is unpunishable.

Basically you can play him exactly the way as you did in CS, while being mindful a few move changes. You can play him the same way, and somehow feel alot stronger with all your improved moves.

Hazama - Hazama seems to suffer alot of problems with damage output. Combos that net him 3k damage have very strict timing. Overall, he's a very versatile zoning character with the ability to fake his projectiles and follow them at his will. Maybe we'll see some cool setups off him in the future but right now, it's hard for him to mixup without using his projectile.

Tsubaki - Tsubaki also seems to suffer from damage output. She has problems with her own gauge too. If she rushes down, she doesn't have many chance to charge it. Combos that involve just 1 or 2 meter don't really deal eye-poping damage either. It'd be quite interesting to see how she will turn out.

Tager - Tager is quite strong now, but not overpowered imo. He seems to have an easier time doing 360/720 grabs off blockstrings now though...don't even need to IB as much as before. I don't have much to comment on him; he's playstyle is the same, you still look out for the same things against him. The only difference is that he is more dangerous now with his increased speed and also his new moves.

Rachel - Haven't seen a decent Rachel yet.

Hakumen - I only fought Zio's Hakumen. Like Bang and Tager, he just got stronger and has more tools. It's rather hard to get used to his new zoning tool: jC, which knocks you far away. Also, projectile spamming is stopped with his new barrier thingy ability, giving him a chance against characters that pokes you with projectile moves.

Overall, it's been good games over the week. All the trying out of new combos for my Jin and Noel has ended quite fruitfully. I probably only have problems figuring out which combos are character specific.

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