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    Advanced System FAQ by JOttoson

    Version: 1.2 | Updated: 07/29/01 | Printable Version | Search Guide | Bookmark Guide

    Beginner's Soul Calibur FUAQ* v1.2 or the Advanced Soul Calibur System FAQ
    (*That's frequently unasked questions)
    By Joe Ottoson
    This FAQ is freely reproduceable to all interested parties. SC's old and
    crusty, so I'm not going to lose sleep if someone wants to post it on their
    site etc. The goal here is to get this out to the maximum number of people
    so the quality of competition improves wherever SC's played. A HTML version
    will be appearing on my site,
    Anyway, on with the guide!
    One of the biggest factors separating high level players of any fighting
    game from the rest of the pack isn't dedication, practice or superior
    response time. Ability comes from understanding the game at its most basic
    level and pushing its limits. Once you understand the limits of a game, you
    can understand not only your character of choice, but the actions of your
    opponent as well.
    This guide is intended to generate that level of understanding in more Soul
    Calibur players. (Sammo's making a Soul Calibur movie, so I'm anticipating a
    massive surge of interest in the game. Provided of course that I finish it
    before SC2 comes out.) It should also be helpful on some level in any
    fighting game you play however, as the basic concepts are fairly universal.
    First up on my tour is the Soul Calibur game system. Now before your eyes
    glaze over at the prospect of reading another explanation of the guard
    impacts and the throw breaks, keep reading. There's some new stuff in here
    that you may not have heard of before or overlooked, and it's very useful to
    your game.
    Move key: Throughout the guide, the following conventions will be used
    123 will correspond to the various directional movements, so 3 will
    translate to the down forward position of a joystick.
    G,B,A,K are the same as the buttons of the arcade version.
    ~ indicates a rolling switch between one button and another. Cervantes' B~2,
    Maxi's K~B etc show off how this is used.
    1fs means one frame shift also denoted by a "i" in front of a move like
    Cervy's iGeoDaRay. This is when you hit one button, then cancel it into
    another attack within one frame of the execution of the initial attack. It
    sounds complicated, but the principle's not any different than successfully
    pulling off a move like Cervantes' B~2.
    8WR equals eight way run 8WR9_3B means that you can execute the move from
    either the 3 or 9 position like Taki's assassin strike.
    Technical Dealies: Soul Calibur runs at 60 frames per second. The move
    timings are broken down by this same timing rate, so a move like Seung Mina'
    s 3B move will come out in 15 frames for example.
    Basic Attacks: You have A, B, and K.
    A is the horizontal family of attacks. A attacks always hit high as a rule,
    and most variations on the A family are also treated as the basic attack
    base. (Ducking A's for example tend to be quick strikes that do little
    damage but are useful for interrupting the opponent's high strikes with no
    risk to yourself.) Use these as interrupts, continuing a stalled attack, and
    for disrupting eight way run maneuvers.
    B attacks are the vertical attack class. The basic B attack will hit ducking
    opponents as well as standing ones. They tend to be marginally slower than
    the standard A attack, but they still move very quickly, varying by only a
    few frames. B attacks are the primary launching attack class that'll start a
    juggle.3B is almost always a low to mid "uppercut" strike for every
    character, so keep that in mind for starting up juggles and wake up games.
    K attacks are the kick attack class. These run the gamut from horizontal
    attacks to vertical attacks. The standing K will usually be a quick high
    strike, These vary widely between each character, but 3K generally lets you
    fire off a fast standing mid attack. 3K attacks are quick, they hit mid, and
    recover nicely though their range tends towards the shorter range. Kicks are
    the base wildcard attacks before you get into the button combination presses
    (which I won't get into since they follow no apparent logic) that also offer
    little distinction between vertical or horizontal.
    Note the similarities within each attack class well. They'll help you pick
    up the basics of a character faster, and knowing the basic properties of the
    three helps you a lot in understanding how they link together. One you've
    grasped that, you'll be much harder to stop, and you'll have a better
    variety to your attacks.
    Linking strategies. You've probably figured out the usual combos and attack
    strings for your character already. (They're in the game's move list after
    all.) But how are you supposed to keep going? This is where linking
    strategies come into play. If you do your utilitarian AAB, you generally
    will stop cold and have to start up a whole new combo, or stick out a single
    attack, or worse, you'll block. The most basic way to extend your attack is
    to do a quick AA or 2A, something quick and simple that's easy to do. That's
    still relatively staccato feeling isn't it? The next step is to take
    advantage of Soul Calibur's buffer system. You can start putting an attack
    in while the animation of the last move is still finishing, this even works
    with moves normally only available from the 8WR state. So for example, you
    can do BBB,8WR9_3A with Cervantes just by tapping 99A or 33A while he's
    still hacking downwards with that final B. Your opponent staggered by the B
    tries to retaliate thinking there's an opening, and Cervy auto GI's and then
    hacks the opponent down. You can even RO with that one. This buffering
    strategy is very forgiving to the point that you can even buffer in Ivy's
    complex Summon Suffering throw while disguising it as a combo. Very useful
    in that case as Ivy's SS is the most damaging move in the game.
    Throw ticks. This concept started with Street Fighter 2. A player would jump
    in with a jab or short attack, the opponent would block, and while the
    opponent's still in block stun, the player would land, and throw the
    helpless blocking sucker. Soul Calibur's ticking game isn't as guaranteed as
    the SF2 variant, but it's still useful. Throwing can be done at about any
    time except while you're jumping. (Even if you're in a ducking state, a
    throw kicks in automatically and stands you up for the throw instantly.) So
    Xianghua can do a 3A,G+A. If the 3A hits successfully, Xiang can connect
    with the throw with no problems. There are tons of variations on this
    method, so play around. Some are downright devious.
    One Frame Shift. I touched on this earlier, but there are more applications
    for this. You can cancel a lot of attacks with a strategic press of the G
    button before the attack moves into its hit frameage. This works better for
    some characters than others, but you can use this for feints to get your
    opponent to react to an attack they think is coming. In the case of Astaroth
    this can ve a very useful technique since his slower swings allows the
    opponent to perceive commitment, you cancel the attack, then immediately
    switch over to a throw. It looks something like this: A~G~A catches the
    hapless blocker in a throw in that event.
    Recovering crouch cancel. Some attacks will put you into a crouch state
    which means that you're limited to either more crouching moves, or while
    standing moves until you wait and let your character fully rise. You do this
    by tapping back, forward, or up just as the attack that places you into the
    crouch state concludes. If you do it right, your character will do the
    attack, then do a quick step in the direction indicated. Once you get that
    down, you can cancel that last movement with any attack or move input so
    that the recovered crouch happens instantly so you'll be able to do two 2A+B
    's with Xianghua in a row with no perceptible hesitation between the two.
    Note: You only need to RCC attacks from the 123 range. All others will
    cancel the crouch state automatically as will 8WR.
    Spirit charge unblockable. When you cancel the soul charge (A+B+K) you get a
    golden glow around your character. During this period, certain normal moves
    take unblockable properties. A Maxi 8WR7_1B for example will let Maxi come
    in with an unblockable rib xylophone maneuver. You can still GI these
    attacks, but there is a fair chaos potential introduced by these moves. Like
    any good fighting game, SC's just as much a psychological game as it is a
    text of reflexes and general knowledge.
    Instant full crouch state (iFC)
    This is explained better on www.guardimpact.com, but the basic concept is
    that you can cancel a standing attack with guard hit down while in the
    process of canceling, and your character will be instantly in a crouch
    state. Main advantage is the fake out value that the standing cancel allows.
    Done smoothly enough though, it's pretty hard to detect and adds versatility
    to your game that the alternative doesn't quite allow as crouching tends ot
    take a bit longer and it's easier for your opponent to read.
    There's active guard and neutral guard. Neutral guard is essentially
    worthless, so ignore it, and hold G to active guard when you absolutely have
    to block. Your other defensive options before a hit are to try for a guard
    impact, or to intercept the incoming attack with one of your own that's
    faster or that allows you to evade the attack and strike at the same time.
    Xianghua's 4A is an interesting example of this last idea. It is technically
    considered a crouch by the game's engine, so she'll slip under high attacks
    and strike an exposed opponent at the same time even though she looks like
    she never ducked by the move's animation.
    Parrying and repels are explained in the manual, in the Mission mode, in the
    Prima Strategy guide (sigh) and the Soul Calibur web site among others.
    People seem to disregard these two options frequently, and there are a few
    good reasons to do so depending on the approach you're using. The advantage
    to the guard impact options is that it throws your opponent off balance,
    disrupts their offense, and allows you to play around with some extra mind
    game options that you don't usually have. The drawback is that it's still a
    reactionary, and passive way to handle an incoming attack. What makes these
    work is when you start getting your opponent's rhythm down and you can GI in
    anticipation rather than trying to wait for your opponent to stick one out.
    (Trying to GI in reaction is a bad idea. GI'ing off educated guesses is good
    in comparison.)
    Once you've been hit however, your defensive options are not gone. This is
    the part of the SC system that makes a massive difference in your game, and
    should be given closer attention. If your opponent hits you, and pops you up
    for a float, air control can save you from ring outs, extended juggles, and
    those pesky air throws like Cervantes's B~2. Just hold the directional
    control in the direction you'd rather fall, and you'll start to fall more in
    that direction. Simple, but extremely effective. When you're stunned
    (holding your gut and slowly falling forward, etc.) hold G, and press any
    direction. This will allow you to recover and depending on the nature of the
    stun, you'll either be able to move normally, or you will tech roll out of
    harm's way ideally. You cannot recover from an earthquake stun so either
    prevent moves that induce the stun from getting off, or jump.
    When you're down, you have a few options. You can hit G to quick rise, or
    you can hold off and roll on the ground to avoid some of the more heavy
    handed attacks aimed at your prone person.
    Approaches to the Game
    There are many approaches to playing a game like Soul Calibur. I'll address
    the other approaches I've encountered and their downfalls in the next
    section, but for now I'll try to focus on the method that has helped me rack
    up the wins consistently.
    The first thing I learned when I started to take the game seriously was the
    effectiveness of a solid, persistent attack strategy. This works especially
    well with my main character, Maxi since he has a wealth of high, mid, and
    low attack options from his various stances. Aggression's a good idea for
    every character in the game however. The reason for this is that when you're
    attacking, the opponent is inclined to block and wait for an opening. (This
    is SF2, VF and Tekken conditioning at work.) If you keep linking in moves,
    this will disrupt the opponent's natural rhythm, and make them afraid of
    attacking at all. You have officially made that particular opponent your
    b**** in that case.
    The important aspect of this persistent attack strategy is to have a set
    plan of attack before you enter into a match. This involves knowing the
    speeds of your attacks, their hit ranges, and when to use what, but that
    develops naturally with time as you play with any given character for a fair
    amount of time. Go into practice mode for about an hour, set the CPU to Very
    Hard, Level 8, and face off against opponents until you get a feel for these
    if you haven't developed this yet.(Ultra Hard will limit your creativity and
    isn't as representative of human competition as the lower setting is, so use
    that the lower setting I recommend here.) Know the combos, and know when you
    want to use what move. If you develop an effective rhythm and get
    comfortable with a few pattern sets, it's easier to avoid panicking and
    making a fatal mistake if your opponent takes your life bar down to next to
    While on the topic of rhythm, you should be aware that people will be trying
    to pick up on your rhythm as well. You should vary your rhythm so that they
    don't get used to a certain tempo and adjust to your flow. Look for things
    that are against your opponent's instincts like doing the exact same thing
    twice in a row. People naturally expect you to try something else if the
    first series doesn't work, or if it connects, but does little damage and
    shows little followup risk so a second, or even a third dose can confuse
    them as they start trying to over think what your next move will be. Then
    when you do change the move or pattern, it disrupts their own rhythm that
    much more. For example, in the second tournament I participated in, I faced
    another Maxi player. He wasn't bad, and was able to read a lot of the moves
    I was trying against him. For the first few fights, I was semiconsciously
    performing an alternating BAK, BAKK set on him. The last round, I switched
    to three consecutive BAK attacks with Maxi. After every BA, he'd try to
    interrupt me me anticipating the delay the fury kicks require, and he ate
    that K each time. He was KO'ed because of one move done three times in a
    row. Funny to me, not so entertaining to the loser.
    After a time playing the game some more and hitting more competition, I
    realized that the continuous attack strategy is good, but it's really just a
    variation of the real game you're trying to play. The key to winning in Soul
    Calibur is not in just attacking, (doing that just for the sake of attacking
    breaks down once the opponent realizes that there's no way to win if they
    just stand there blocking) it's in guiding your opponent and restricting
    their options. Attacking limits their options to a point, but it's only a
    part of the strategy if you're attacking properly.
    Hit staggers, evasions, throw ticks, and moves that force a crouch state
    onto your opponent are all part of the arsenal you should be bringing to
    bear. The forced crouch state is especially useful because it sharply
    restricts the attacking options of the opponent. They can generally only
    attack low or mid while crouching or while standing, so a 1_3G will set them
    staggering even further off balance. What's more, it leaves them wide open
    against mids. More free stun hits, juggle launchers etc are all part of the
    mayhem that FCS brings with it. After a few of those, they'll be so
    frustrated or rattled that you can even get away with something like Maxi's
    unblockable move. Really amazing for me given that Maxi's sole UB sucks
    rocks for range, tracking and speed. Evasions have been loosely covered
    above, but watch for moves that sidestep slightly, tech crouch (like
    Xianghua's 4A or Astaroth's 66K) and use them in situations that you expect
    a certain attack by your opponent. For example, if Cervantes is prone to try
    a B~2 when his back is to the ring's edge a Maxi player will have little
    trouble landing a 4B->LIB. That makes Maxi sidestep the thrust by Cervy and
    crack him over the noggin with the B for good measure. Watching for your
    opponent's patterns will help you know when to evade what, and you can help
    that along by training your opponent to react in certain ways as well.
    Throw ticks can come from multiple set ups. A basic A, blocked or not can
    lead into a throw connection. Low attacks that interrupt an attack, but don'
    t knock down will usually set up a throw as well. If someone's blocking in
    anticipation of a combo's end, cancel the combo before the final hit and sub
    in a throw. Boom! They're down! Some of Maxi's throw setups are:
    A,A_B+G (Just have to have connected with the first A)
    22A,A_B+G (Quick step in and you could land one of Maxi's meatier throws
    since this is a spin stun)
    22A,236K, 2A, B+G (dependent on what your opponent does after the 2A. Risky
    but high damage.)
    BA5K, G+A_B (you'll probably have to step forward first to land the throw,
    but it's pretty consistent.)
    BA[K], B_A+G (The hitstun knocks your opponent back, so you'll have to step
    towards them again, but the throw's easy money from there. Just don't step
    in too far. You just have to be inside their weapon range.)
    LI K (Dicey, but nice for variety's sake.)
    The final part that everyone should focus on strongly is the concept of the
    wake up game. This is based on the expectations of what an opponent will try
    when rising from a prone state. If you press an opponent correctly while
    they're down, juggles, throw games and other approaches are very real
    problems that they'll have to contend with. My main goal is to hit the
    opponent just as they are rising to get a counter result with the 8WR8_2K
    sweep. This allows me to set up a float which allows me to better control
    where the opponent moves in the ring. Wake up moves include:
    A+B (Second hit in series hits downed.)
    4A+B (First hit can connect downed, second hit can send riser into orbit or
    stagger a blocker)
    44A (Not an ideal ground hit, but it'll connect. Staggers risers.)
    A_B+G (Good for snagging an opponent who likes to rise blocking)
    K~B, K (First will hit grounded depending on angle of the prone opponent.
    Second hit juggles against rising opponents.)
    236K_8WR8_2B+K (Opponents has to stand up into this, but it's nasty when
    timed right. Can be canceled to set up a throw.)
    8WR8_2KK (Essential juggle starter)
    8WR8_2B~AAB_G+A (8WR variant of the bane step. The first hit's high, second'
    s mid which will force blockers to stand which sets up the throw perfectly.
    If you're connecting however, just as viable to break out the final B)
    3A+K (It connects against downed and can RO someone in the process of
    3B+K (Quick safe hit that hits downed.)
    2B+K,A (Not usually that great of an option, but if the opportunity
    BAKK (First K can hit downed. Dependant on body size and angle.)
    3K (Quick, low risk, hits downed)
    4B+K (Maxi's UB. Not especially reccomended.)
    WLB (Hits downed, knocks down on CH, ends in RO)
    WLA (Hits downed, axis staggers on CH, ends in RC)
    WLK_A~K~4 (Juggles risers)
    G7_8_9B (Hits risers for a re-knockdown, staggers if blocked, and ends in
    8WR9_3K (On CH it knocks down and can ring out.)
    Terrain awareness is the final aspect I try to keep in mind while I'm
    fighting. A ring out or even just the threat of a ring out will change the
    face of the fight. If you're on the ring's edge with your back to the ring,
    your first threat will be straight hard hits that can knock you out of the
    ring if you don't block or dodge them. The second most likely threat is a
    throw attempt. Low attacks and juggle starters are the other options
    available to your opponent. Knowing this, you should order your responses
    If you have your opponent to the ring's edge, try to order your aims so that
    they don't mesh with the expectations of your opponent. Try something they
    won't expect, or wait for them to get nervous and try an attack before you
    try to wade in. Odds are they won't be too creative on the ring's edge, and
    they'll try to repeat their last unsuccessful action, or at the very least,
    something similar.
    Approaches I don't like so much.
    Turtling. People always complain about turtling, but let's face it, in many
    games it works. In Soul Calibur however, attacks deferred are attacks never
    launched. You're just setting yourself up for a throw or ring out if you try
    to turtle.
    Machi play. Machi loosely means "wait" in Japanese. These people wait for
    mistakes then punish them with powerful combos or moves. It's generally
    considered a cheesy fighting style (though it was effective in VF2 among
    other games). Machi play's generally too passive to gain you any advantage
    in SC however.
    Reactionary. This is kind of a poor Machi player. They wait for you to do
    something, but they try to react to it right then instead of waiting for the
    pattern to develop like a Machi player would. Since SC's a game of 1/60th's
    of seconds, that means they lose. You've also abandoned any chance of
    gaining initiative, and wouldn't know what to do with it even if you did.
    Singularity. This player knows a small set of moves and knows exactly when
    to apply them for maximum effect. The problem is that if another player
    adapts to their favored tiny move set, they have nothing left to try.
    Basically, being on the passive end of the spectrum's probably not going to
    win you many matches in SC. Always strive to hold the initiative.
    Guardimpact.com staffers and their loose affiliates like WCMaxi, Ai Uchi and
    the rest of the people who thought outside the box.
    If you have any additions/amendments for this document to discuss, you can
    contact me at jaottoson@fortlewis.edu or though my website,