Spinal Needs Upgrades

#1Deadmeat20Posted 4/4/2014 6:45:15 PM
Let's face it, Spinal is bottom-tier in this game. His strengths (draining, teleporting, mix-ups) are pretty weak and his weaknesses (slow normals, telegraphed teleports, highly punishable) are overwhelming. If his strengths were enough to overcome his weaknesses, then Spinal would be useful. Spinal's big draw is supposed to be resource management and destruction. He is supposed to be able to destroy an enemy's meter resources while building up his own. But in practice, Spinal can barely dent an enemy's resources while his own resources don't build up much faster than anyone else.

I know how to improve Spinal without utterly breaking him. Here are my ideas on what SHOULD be changed.

1. Searing Skulls should drain much faster. I think that the upgraded skulls should drain about 1.7x as fast as they do now. That way, 3 upgraded skulls would be approximately equal to 5 current skulls. Also, Shadow Searing Skulls would drain 1.5x as fast, so that 2 shadow skulls equals the current 3 shadow skulls.

2. Searing Skulls should do less damage. I think that a good upgrade must be balanced with a proper downgrade. Spinal is a technical character anyways, he isn't meant to do immense damage. I don't know how much less damage the skulls should do, that would require testing.

3. Shadow and Instinct curses should negate meter gain. If Spinal curses an enemy with an Instinct Curse, then proceeds to combo an enemy, the enemy will most likely have gained more Instinct meter than when before the Shadow Skull landed. Why should the enemy still gain Instinct meter when I just cursed him? The same goes for Shadow curses. This would mean Spinal could actually do real damage against an enemy's meter, even if it just means denying them potential meter.

4. Curses should stack less. I think that 3 Shadow curses and 2 Instinct curses would work. Because they drain much faster now, they don't need to stack as much as they did before. Again, a good upgrade means a good downgrade.

5. Shield Bash needs a great deal of love. It has a short range, it's slow as heck, and it doesn't even crush lows. You can't use the Heavy Shield Bash without burning a skull, which means you only use the Low or Medium versions. Shadow Shield bash isn't even projectile invincible!

I think that Shield Bash needs to crush lows and the Shadow Shield Bash should be projectile invincible too. This is the only thing I would change. It doesn't really need a long range and Spinal's slow speed prevents him from being overpowered. This upgrade doesn't need a downgrade to match it, the move is really underpowered as it is.

6. Shadow Skeleport needs to be much faster. I'm not saying that the Shadow Skeleport should be like Sabrewolf's Shadow Eclipse, which has zero frames of activation. But I have had so many times where I wake-up with Shadow Skeleport, watch an enemy wiff above my head with an attack, just to see him block the Shadow Skeleport anyways. The move is almost completely useless! This change wouldn't make it any less punishable on block.

7. Skeleport should be Down, Down + Kick. Whenever someone jumps over my head, the QCB movement becomes QCF and my intended Skeleport becomes a Shield Bash instead. With this upgrade, Spinal will never have another accidental Skeleport again. Even just against Sadira, this would make Spinal's (un)life so much easier. This may throw some big name Spinal mainers off their game for a bit, but the improvement will be huge. Don't change Skeleport any other way, I think it's balanced as it is.

What do you think of my changes? Are they too extreme? Do you somehow think that Spinal is just as good as Jago or Sabrewolf? Explain your thoughts below.
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GT: Bloodredtyrant
I brainstorm with my multiple personalities.
#2GJGVSC_MysticJPosted 4/4/2014 7:44:29 PM
Not to call you inexperienced or anything, but Spinal is actually a hellish monster ready to be unleashed when used correctly. Khoalski or PRETTY E have basically got them down, and those guys are dominant with Spinal. They scare the living crap out of me whenever I play them, especially when they have Instinct. The thing that makes Spinal seem low-tier is that he's insanely difficult to learn compared to the others. He actually has:

- Excellent frame traps & block strings
- A crazy good mix-up game
- The ability to drain your meter in any combo
- The ability to punish whenever he desires

Not to sound obvious or anything. It just seems to be worth mentioning. Not a lot of people see how great he is in reality, even against other characters who are suppose to completely thrash him like Sabrewulf.

Regarding your comments on your changes:

1) & 2) I personally think this is way too overpowered. With the right mix-up game and combos, he can land that many of each skull on his opponents. That drain power would be absolutely devastating if that was the case, because it can leave the opponent helpless at an instant for a very long period of time. If we were to go with your idea, then I suppose a damage nerf could balance out the other strength properly but the meter draining to me is still way too much.

3) & 4) Like I said prior, a good Spinal player will land each of the right number of skulls if they wanted to. This makes meter drain way too easy, so having less skulls would just equally benefit them along with the enhanced meter drain. Completely negating the meter gain is a bit much as well, if you ask me. And with Fulgore coming along, that'd be WAY too much since Spinal is basically confirmed to beat almost everything Fulgore has. As far as we know, of course.

5) I don't think Shield Bash is overpowered. It's normal use is to be followed up after a teleport, which can be very quick and good, very fast. I like to compare it Glacius' Cold Shoulder, since they both have almost the same properties. Glacius' just reaches further while his can negative projectiles at the cost of a skull.

6) I do sorta agree with this and find it pretty useless at most times. Thumbs up, if anything.

7) The point of mix-up games are to mix-up. Changing this property should really change all the other wake-up commands as well, if you'd ask me.

I really don't want to make it sound like you've got bad ideas for changes. I wholeheartedly respect them. But I think you should watch more Spinal matches, if anything. He's only very, very good if the player is. Not to say that doesn't apply to the other characters. His learning curve is just a lot higher. Here's a good video, if you'd like an example. Check it out:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X-ts-xBoO5s

All in all, not too extreme of changes but I don't think they're necessary either.
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#3Vampyre_GhostPosted 4/4/2014 8:42:50 PM
I think MysticJ covered it pretty well.

An average Spinal player will often lose to an average player using anyone else, however a GOOD Spinal player can hang with and often dominate the best in the world. Your changes, while good at a lower level of play, would make Spinal OP at the highest levels.

This is really the whole point of Spinal. High skill/execution, high reward.
#4Deadmeat20(Topic Creator)Posted 4/4/2014 11:00:05 PM
Just because two people are really, really good at Spinal doesn't mean he doesn't need to be improved for lower levels. I'm only a level 12 and I don't own a fight-stick. While watching that video was educational, I can't really pull off the crazy curse juggles demonstrated.

I still think that Spinal could be improved without utterly breaking him. At mid-high leveled game-play, where everyone knows their stuff pretty well, Spinal suffers because his "stuff" isn't as good as everyone else. While there may be a select few that are capable of drawing out Spinal's full potential, Iron Galaxy should improve him with some calculated measures.

My #3 suggestion may be a step too far. But I sincerely hate it when I land an Instinct Curse and then combo the enemy, just to watch the enemy's Instinct bar refill even as it drains. I feel like it doesn't even make a difference. I would have to hit the enemy with three Instinct curses in order to actually affect the out-come of the game. It would make the Shadow Searing Skull worthwhile to use, even if they reduced the damage like my #2 suggestion.
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GT: Bloodredtyrant
I brainstorm with my multiple personalities.
#5mcnichojPosted 4/4/2014 11:42:23 PM
Deadmeat20 posted...
Just because two people are really, really good at Spinal doesn't mean he doesn't need to be improved for lower levels.
Then you're missing the whole point.
Making him better for garbage players would make him too good for the top level players.

Think Metaknight in Smash or Kat in PS All Stars.
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#6djfakmanPosted 4/5/2014 1:12:15 AM
I feel that KI is very balanced so far. Now I admit I also lack skill with Spinal... yet. That's the fun of the game, to learn what works, what doesn't practice making perfect. There are other chars that are easier to use for people who wanna play casually. If everything was easy in life, you'd never feel accomplished.
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GT: Djfakman
#7Vampyre_GhostPosted 4/5/2014 4:10:04 AM
Deadmeat20 posted...
Just because two people are really, really good at Spinal doesn't mean he doesn't need to be improved for lower levels.


Game balance starts from the top down, not the bottom up. I understand where you are coming from, but it honestly just sounds like you really want to use Spinal, but aren't as good as you want to be with him. To me, that is kind of like a slap in the face since I main the character who is on the bottom of the majority of tier lists, usually below Spinal. I do reasonably well, and I am not calling for buffs.

I re-read some of your suggestions....

Shadow Shield Bash needs to be projectile invincible... LOL wut... Spinal can eat EVERY special, shadow move and instinct projectile in the game, Instantly Shadow Skeleport to punish projectiles, slide underneath Jago's endokuken, use your own searing skull to counter, use QCF motion WITHOUT skulls to block a projectile (to stop chip damage) AND just do a normal heavy Shield Bash with a skull to be projectile invincible. He has the MOST ways to deal with projectiles already and you want to make a second shadow move projectile invincible?

You also want to nerf Skull damage to basically double their effectiveness and think that is a good balance? It takes 22 skulls to deplete a health bar. Their damage is already negligible.

To add to the increased meter gains you want for Spinal, you also want the opponent to not gain meter while hit with a Shadow curse or instinct curse, of which you will be able to do almost twice as much since the faster drain... your opponent would NEVER gain meter. Since 2 skulls would fill your meter in about 3-4 seconds, you would basically need to hit 1 skull and fill a block of meter double shadow skull off a juggle, pop instinct, throw skulls like crazy and mix in a shadow skull every 2-3 seconds, and you would have infinite instinct, unless your opponent completely turtled, then you could just do one of Spinal's unblockable high low mix-ups he already has. Yeah.... sounds super balanced still.
#8rene48Posted 4/5/2014 4:28:42 AM
[This message was deleted at the request of the original poster]
#9chedibang1994Posted 4/5/2014 7:03:59 AM
I use the controller and spinal is the best to me hands down my win rate is 80% only because of him
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#10Deadmeat20(Topic Creator)Posted 4/5/2014 8:12:37 AM
Do you realize how useless it is for the Shield Bash to be projectile invincible? Not only do you burn a skull, but you pass up the opportunity to absorb and gain another skull. Out of >100 matches with Spinal, I have only ever used his heavy Shield Bash to by-pass a projectile one time. That one time, the short range of the Shield Bash made me whiff right in front of the opponent. Every other time I had the opportunity, I devoured the projectile. It's simply more economical to devour the projectile. I would rather that the heavy Shield Bash was made "throw" or "low" invincible rather than "projectile" invincible. That would be quite useful compared to projectile invincibility.

Spinal's big draw is that he can damage enemy resources. But it takes two or three shadow curses to actually make an impact on the enemy's meter. I'm not Khoalski, I don't have a fight stick. I can't juggle an enemy time after time with a series of skulls. Without that curse juggling, it's very difficult to stack enough curses to really impact an enemy's resources.

I've already admitted that my #3 suggestion was too much. If they increased the drain speed, then there wouldn't need to be meter denial.

But I stand by my idea that Spinal should be much better at his job, which is to destroy enemy resources. There are too many ways to regain meter after it has been lost. Battery enders, combo-breaking, having your attacks blocked, all of these build up meter really fast. If Spinal can't impact his enemy's resources in any significant way, then his big draw simply doesn't match up with everyone else.

Don't talk about Khoalski or any of those top-tier maniacs. They are already in a league above everyone else. I'm not saying things like "make Spinal's Skeleport throw invincible" or "Spinal's normals should be faster". I'm saying that increasing his strengths while maintaining his weaknesses is proper balance. The curses do not drain fast enough to make it as good as things like Thunder's sheer damage output or Sabrewolf's dash mix-ups or Sadira's unpredictable cross-ups. Right now Spinal isn't high-effort, high-reward. He's more like high-effort, mediocre reward. I don't want to have to become tournament league in order to play one character.
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GT: Bloodredtyrant
I brainstorm with my multiple personalities.