VOOT MSBS 5.2 Apharmd Battler FAQ Version 0.95
==============================================
  By Peter Cheong Choon Wah AKA Rolander <rolander@starhub.net.sg>

  Updates done:
Version 0.8   Released on 13th September 1998
Version 0.81  Minor corrections and updating of some information.
              I now feel sonic rings are quite useful.
              Released on 21st September 1998
Version 0.9   Released to prevent what I know from being lost :)
              Interium Release with revamped move analysis and
              incomplete Specific VR Versus Mode tactics.
              Released on 3rd February 2001
              (Hopefully not the last release)
Version 0.95  Almost forgotten release
              Filled in General and Versus tactics
              Last release by author (for all the good it does ...)
              Released on 24th September 2002
Version 1?    Don't look at me!!!  Go ask the elites to write!!!
              (I've long given up on bugging them ... another
              reason why I'm writing this in the first case)

Apharmd Battler Introduction
============================

  For those who are familiar with Virtual On Operation Moongate
(VOOM), VOOT's predecessor, VOOM Apharmd was well known for his
forward speed, armour/stability and his tongfer, the ultimate in close
combat weaponry (matched only by VOOM Raiden's Laser).  VOOM Apharmd,
however, suffered from horrible ranged weaponry.

  VOOT Apharmd Battler (thereafter referred to as Aph B), as the
obvious descendent of VOOM Apharmd carries on the legacy of being the
King of Close Combat.  Below is a brief summary of his capabilities:

* Armour - Aph B has pretty good armour, but lags behind Temjin,
  Raiden
  and Dordary.
* Virtual Armour - Aph B has good virtual armour, and can occasionally
  reflect more than the average peashot under optimal conditions.
* Stability - Aph B is very stable for a medium sized VR.
* Ground Speed - Aph B is pretty fast on foot, and his forward-dash is
  awesome!
* Air Speed - In contrast to his speed on the ground, Aph B is lacking
  in aerial agility, but that is not altogether a bad thing actually.
* Ranged Weapons - Damagewise, Aph B has probably the poorest arsenal,
  with the exception of his soccerbombs. Damagewise ...
* Close Combat - Aph B's tongfer is one of the most feared CC attacks
  in the entire game.  Some other VRs do have CC attacks that approach
  the tongfer's damage potential, but Aph B's tongfer is much more
  useful offensively.

  This FAQ is dedicated to Choon Eng AKA Natas.  He was a close combat
fanatic and strived to win using close combat moves as much as
possible.  He led the initial exploration of Aph B's abilities in the
early days of Singapore VOOT and is well remembered by its 1st
generation VOOT players.

Abbreviations used
==================

Aph B/Aph S - Apharmd Battler/Apharmd Striker
CC          - Close Combat 
LW/RW/CW    - Left Weapon/Right Weapon/Centre Weapon
LT/RT/BT    - Left Turbo/Right Turbo/Both Turbos
SLD         - Super Low-attitute Dash
V. Armour   - Virtual Armour
VOOM        - Virtual On Operation Moongate
VOOT        - Virtual On Oratorio Tangram 
VR          - Virtuaroid

Ranged Weaponry
===============

  Like his predecessor, Aph B has horrible straightforward distance
weapons.  However, he does have several viable options at ranged
confrontations.  With proper knowledge and patience, a good pilot can
still chip away at his opponent's energy bar while keeping Aph B
ahead, without any reliance on close combat.  The latter should not be
too difficult given Aph B's armour, speed, and defensive weaponry
(Grenade Discharger).

Right Weapon - Submachinegun

  Aph B's RW suffers from one critical flaw: Submachinegun shells are
very easily deflected by virtual armour.  This problem effectively
prevents Aph B from doing well in a gun battle, especially against the
heavier VRs.  However, proper utilisation of dash-machineguns is still
a fair means of inflicting damage.

[Normal Standing/Walking]
  Aph B fires off a steady stream of shells on holding down the RW
trigger, similar to Fei-Yen Knight's and Cypher's RW.  The ammo gauge
tends to redline easily with sustained weapon fire, but fortunately
the recharge rate is fairly fast.  Unlike other continuous-fire
weapons, submachineguns have quick reload times (i.e. there need only
be a very brief delay in-between consecutive bursts) hence Aph B can
elect to fire short bursts of shells in quick succession.

  Standing submachineguns have average speed, but poor homing, damage
and V. Armour penetration; they are totally useless against
Dordarys/Raidens with 100% V. Armour.  Generally better to use the
crouching variation below.

[Normal Crouching]
  Aph B fires a stream of shells from a crouching positon until 
ammunition is depleted or the RW trigger is released.  Crouch
submachineguns have some minor but significant improvements in speed
and V. Armour, making it somewhat more useful and threatening.

  Normally, crouch attacks force a VR to remain stationary for the
duration, but for crouch non-turbo attacks, a player can elect for a
moving crouch version, whereby the VR slides while firing.  Aph B
slides at slightly greater speed during a moving crouch submachinegun
attack than his walking speed, another bonus.

  Another aspect of this variation is the ability to negate some enemy
fire, mostly normal non-crouching peashots from certain VRs

[Normal Jumping]
  Upon reaching the apex of his jump, Aph B hovers in midair and empty
his submachineguns at his target.  Little better than the normal
standing version, plus a hanging Aph B is an easy target for any
weapon with significant homing.

  Not all jumping attacks are bad; there are several jumping attacks
for several VRs whereby it is quite effective despite the obvious
vulnerability.  However, in this case, it is a definite no-no.

[Dash (All Directions Except Forward and Forward Diagonal)]
  Aph B fires off a single stream of submachinegun shells.  Mostly
ineffective in terms of damage, accuracy, and penetration.  Except at
very close range, definitely an ineffective move.

[Dash Crouching (all directions except Forward and Forward Diagonal)]
  Aph B does a tumble on the ground before letting off a single stream
of shells.  Like the normal crouch variation, the dashing crouch shots
have better speed and penetration making them significantly better
that the normal dashing attack, though still a poor move.

[Forward and Forward Diagonal Dash]
  Aph B fires off a long stream of submachinegun shells, often
draining most of the RW ammo gauge.  Though only slightly better at V.
Armour penetration, the shots are more powerful, and especially at
short range, hitting with most of the shots can do significant damage.
This is Aph B's most damaging dash attack save for his dashing close
combat moves and his special.

  An unique point to note here:  Aph B's general ground dashing speed
is good, but his forward dash (and only forward, not forward diagonal)
has exceptional speed.  Though forward diagonal dashing have their
places, only in a true ground forward dash is Aph B really fast.

[Forward and Forward Diagonal Dash Crouching]
  Like the other dashing crouching submachinegun attacks, Aph B
executes a tumble before firing.  In this case, instead of firing
a long stream of shots, he fires a concentrated short burst of shots
as he comes out of his tumble.  The lesser number of shots also means
that the ammo guage is not as severely depleted.

  This variation sacrifices some damage for improved speed and V.
Armour penetration, and it is up to the player to decide which
variation to use given the circumstances.  If a close-range pass is
guaranteed and the attack likely to hit, the normal variation will be
preferred for maximum potential damage.  However, at longer ranges,
against a fast moving VR, and/or when faced with a heavily V.Armoured
target, the crouching variation may score a hit while the normal
variation will miss or be deflected.

[Air Dash (General Comments)]
  Aph B's air dash speeds are all below average, even his forward dash
aerial.  Generally, this factor alone makes an air dash attack
significantly more risky.  Furthermore, Aph B's lack of maneuverabiliy
in the air also makes him quite vulnerable to counterattack as he
lands after an air dash attack.

  Damagewise, air dash submachineguns are roughly equivalent to the
respective ground dashes, again with the forward and forward-diagonal
dash submachineguns having greater offensive power.  However, the
shots fired in an air dash are fairly slow, so they are only effective
at very short ranges, which leaves Aph B very vulnerable to any
counterattack immediately afterwards.

[Right Turbo Standing]
  Aph B stands his ground, fires from his shoulders and unleashes a
double stream of submachinegun shells until the ammo gauge redlines.
Aph B is stuck in that position for the whole duration of this attack,
which cannot be cancelled by the pilot.  Hence care must be exercised
to either ensure that Aph B would not be taking unnecessary damage, or
the damage trade-off will be in Aph B's favour.

  This turbo submachinegun attack has two notable properties.  One is
that it is not deflectable by V. Armour AFAIK.  Another is that the
shells, when exploding, has some capacity in blocking lasers (yes,
LASERS) and can also break through Angelan's Ice Shield.  Despite the
above mentioned attributes, the risks far outweigh the benefits here,
and use of this attack is not recommended.

[Right Turbo Crouching]
  Aph B crouches and releases a single stream of exploding
submachinegun shells similar to the standing variation.  The crouching
variation boast a small improvement in accuracy at the expense of
damage, making this a somewhat usable attack under specific
conditions, namely to chip away the last bits of energy off an almost
dead VR at short range.  Otherwise the risks involved in remaining
stationary are too great to compensate.

[Right Turbo Jumping]
  At the apex of his jump, Aph B empties his RW ammunition gauge to
release a double stream of exploding submachinegun shells.

  As stated previously, Aph B's jumping attacks are risky due to his
lack of maneuverability in the air, and this variation is no 
exception.  The shots fired are too slow to hit anything except a
slow-moving VR.

[Left Turbo Standing]
  Aph B fires from his hips and unleashes a double stream of fast
submachinegun shells.  Unlike the RT variation, Aph B will stop firing
the moment the trigger is released.  This variation is also
cancellable by either dashing or jumping.  Ammo drain is as fast as
the RT variant, but this time the pilot can elect not to fire off all
his ammo.

  LT weapons are nominally stun-effect weapons, and Aph B's LT
submachineguns are no exceptions.  Damage is insignificant, but the
stun effect is real.  Depending on the target VR's stability and
condition (its movement and how many hits have been sustains
recently), getting hit with a burst of LT submachinegun shots can
either stagger or interrupt the target's actions or actually knock it
down outright.  LT submachinegun shots have high V. Armour penetration
(but the author has seen an opposing Dordary deflect them once while
crouching).

  Most of the stun effect is concentrated within the first few shots,
hence short bursts are highly recommendeded to maxiumise efficency.

  The LT shots also have the ability to negate weapon fire like the
normal crouching variation, except that the former are far more
capable and have been known to negate Temjin's CW Sword Beams and
prematurely detonating Fei-Yen Kn's CW Heart Beams.

[Left Turbo Crouching]
  Crouching, Aph B fires a single stream of fast submachinegun shells
which have similar properties to the standing variation.

  Crouching LT submachinegun shots does even less damage than the
standing variation, but the stun effect is even more pronounced; all
but the most stable VRs will be knocked flat on their back if they
suffer a hit from the first bullet of this stream.

  Like the standing variation, the crouching LT shots also have the
ability to negate many forms of incoming projectile attacks.

[Left Turbo Jumping]
  At the apex of the jump, Aph B empties his gauge to release a stream
of fast submachinegun shots similar to the standing LT variation.

  The jumping LT shots are significantly weaker in both stunning
ability and accuracy.  This coupled with the other disadvantages in a
jumping submachinegun attack, makes this variation little better than
the others.

Left Weapon - Grenade Discharger

  Aph B's grenade discharger either gives a series of napalm-like
explosions or a medium-sized bomb blast, depending on method of 
attack.  Most explosive weapons in VOOT are not very damaging on the
whole, but several variants of the grenade discharger can be damaging,
VERY damaging...

[Normal Standing/Walking]
  Aph B drops a napalm canister in front of him to give a row of
explosions.  Low damage (to the order of a few %), but the chain of
explosions cannot be blocked by obstacles and hence is useful for
flushing out opponents hiding behind obstacles.  Explosions also serve
to block most weapon fire except for other explosive attacks.
However, Aph B's standing LW is not exceptionally good at blocking all
projectile attacks; there are several attacks that can blow through
the napalm explosions, most notably Raiden's RTCW and Specineff's
RTCW.

Aph B can also elect to chuck a canister in the general direction of
an opponent and execute a forward dash along the chain of explosions.
This tactic can be used to close in on an opponent in relative safety,
using the napalm explosions to shield Aph B from most incoming attacks
as he dashes in time with them.

[Normal Crouching]
  Aph B crouches as he lobs the napalm canister slightly forward.  The
lob means that the crouching napalm is slightly slower to come out;
also it does slightly lesser damage.

  The advantage gained from using the crouch variation is that the
resultant chain of explosions are much more effective in blocking out
incoming fire; for instance, Specineff's RTCW will go through the
standing napalm, but not the crouching napalm (though Raiden's RTCW is
rumoured to be able to penetrate through ALL enemy explosions.)

[Normal Jumping]
  Aph B drops a napalm canister on the ground at the apex of his jump.

  An obviously senseless move, as the chain of explosions occur along
the ground while Aph B hangs in midair, receiving no protection.

[Forward Dash and Diagonal Forward Dash]
  While dashing, Aph throws a canister at the opponent.  The canister
explodes on contact or proximity to give a medium-sized spherical
bomb blast, dealing decent damage.

  Aph B has good throwing accuracy using this attack under most
conditions; also, the range of the throw from where Aph B releases the
canister is quite considerable.  Both factors serve to override the
comparitively low damage to give an overall good area-effect attack
for Aph B.  The immediate bomb blast tends to blot out lesser enemy
fire, but like his standing napalm, some of the more powerful attacks
will still go through.

[Forward Dash and Diagonal Forward Dash Crouching]
  Aph B crouches and lobs the canister to give a similar spherical
bomb blast, doing slightly less damage.

  From comments made by other veteran players, the crouching
variation is supposedly even more accurate.  However, I have not
found it to be significantly better and IMHO the standard forward
dash LW is good enough for me.  YMMV (Your Milege May Vary).

[Side Dash and Diagonal Back Dash]
  Aph B dashes and releases a canister to give a row of napalm
explosions.  This can be used to blow off a few % of energy from an
opponent behind cover at medium range.  The attack is not very good on
the whole though, and it is definitely not worth much as a defensive
measure.

[Side Dash and Diagonal Back Dash Crouching]
  - no detailed experiments, but judging from the ineffectiveness of
the standard side dash napalm chain, the crouching variation is
unlikely to be significant -

[Back Dash]
  Aph B backs off and chucks a canister to give a bomb blast similar
to forward/forward diagonal dash.  Given the problems of back dashing,
this move is definitely not advisible.

[Back Dash Crouching]
  - no detailed experiments; the author sees little need to explore
this when the normal back dash LW is already problematic -

[Air Dash]
  As with the air dash submachineguns, air dash grenades are similar
to their respective ground variants - the forward variations give a
spherical bomb blast, the side dash variations give a napalm chain,
etc.

  Forward and forward diagonal air dash bomb blasts are effective at
short ranges; though Aph B's air dash bombs have much shorter throw
range compared to the ground dash variation, a well timed forward air
dash LW can often place Aph B above the target in a position to dump
the canister on the enemy VR's head.  The air dash bomb also does
slightly greater damage compared to the ground dash bomb

  Side air dash napalm chain can be surprising more effective that the
ground dash variation.  Aph B's reduced air dash speed actually works
to his advantage in this case, as he does not move out of the
obscuring effects of the napalm explosions as quickly.  Also, while
the ground side dash LW have Aph B dropping the canister in the
process, the air dash variation has him flinging out the canister
toward the enemy for a considerable distance.  That, plus the
deceptive blast radius of the napalm explosion (the actual damaging
radius is larger than what the screen effect appears to show), makes
the side air dash napalm a 'surprise' move, useful for shocking a
complacent enemy who thinks a side air dash is not threatening until
it is vectored into a forward air dash.

  There appears to be little point in exploring the back air dash LW's
potential.  As with the air dash submachineguns, care must be taken
when landing, especially with the forward air dash LW as Aph B will be
dangerously close to the enemy.

[Right Turbo Standing]
  Here's where explosive damage becomes significant.  With full ammo,
Aph B creates a bomb the size of an appropriate VR soccerball, and
with a lock on, kicks it up and toward the opponent in a loping
trajectory.  The blast radius is considerable and does very good
damage as well as being a guaranteed knockdown

  The flight path of the 'soccerbomb' enables it to sail over most 
obstacles along the way, unless Aph B punts the bomb into the obstacle
itself.  Therefore, the soccerbomb is very effective at flushing out
opponents hiding behind obstacles, as well as hitting jumping/landing
VRs.  At close range however, owning to the means of delivery, the
soccerbomb will often sail harmlessly over the heads of the intended
target, leaving Aph B very vulnerable if he is not behind an obstacle.

  (There is an exception in my memory.  During the latter half of the
year 2000, I had the opportunity to play against Johnson Or of LonVOC
who dropped by for a couple of days.  In one Aph B vs Aph B match, I
had executed a standing soccerbomb against Johnson at about 200 meters
range, which was obviously too close.  However, to our shock and maybe
Johnson's horror :) for some inexplicable reason, the soccerbomb had
a very steep loping trajectory which brought it right down on
Johnson's Aph B's head ... Kabooom)

[Right Turbo Crouching]
  With full ammo, Aph B crouches and throws the soccerbomb with a
shallow trajectory close to the ground.  Damage is much lesser than
the standing variant, but is still considerable, as well as being a
guaranteed
knockdown.

  Crouch punt bomb is a powerful option at close ranges below 200
meters, where the opponent has only a split second to react to the
bomb's launch.  An enemy in Aph B's frontal arc who is not already
dashing away when the soccerbomb is thrown is unlikely to escape the
blast.

  Another useful point about the crouch soccerbomb is that if the move
is executed behind a low or medium-height obstacle, the soccerbomb
will just skip over the top of the obstacle and get someone behind it
... ah, another 'surprise' move.

[Right Turbo Jumping]
  With full ammo, Aph B produces the soccerbomb at the apex of his
jump and executes a bicycle kick to send the bomb at the opponent in a
flash.  A well placed bomb can often arrive on top of the head of a
standing VR on the ground...

  Though a difficult weapon to hit, the jumping soccerbomb is the most
devastating of all the 3 variants of punt bomb, able to rip off up to
60% of a VR's energy bar!  Introduced by Natas to the Singapore VOOT
scene, it is a powerful okizeme tool when the jump is timed so that
the bomb comes down immediately right after the opponent gets up and
his invulnerability is lost.  By holding down a turbo button while
jumping up, Aph B can be rotated in the air to face the appropriate
direction to kick the soccerbomb.  This comes in useful if the target
dashes out of sight to the right or left at the initial stages of the
jump.

  The weakness of this move, besides Aph B being a relatively slow
target in the air, is that the soccerbomb will miss if the opponent is
roughly right below Aph B; the soccerbomb cannot be kicked straight
down.

[Left Turbo Standing]
  While standing, Aph B ejects a pair of small canisters from his
shoulder launchers.  The canisters travel together, bouncing along low
to the ground until they approach the enemy or impact against an
obstacle, giving a column-like explosion that reaches up quite high
visually but has a narrow horizontal radius.

  The 'bouncing bombs', like most other LT weapons, does low damage
but have stunning potential.  Offensively, this move is relatively
weak due to the poor homing and low speed of the bombs.  The stun
effect is not great; the lighter VRs may be knocked down if they
attempt some major actions, while the more stable VRs will only be
staggered on the rare chance that they get hit with this move.

  'Bouncing bombs' are not totally useless however.  Firstly, the
bombs can bounce over low obstacles when initially released.  They
also use considerably less of the LW ammo gauge compared to the other
LW moves.  Hence, they can be used for 'scare' effects to keep an
opponent preoccupied.

  Another niche use for this move is against knocked down VRs at short
range, as a form of okizeme.  Chances of actually hurting the target
are extremely low due to the short invulnerability enjoyed by all
rising VRs (unless they forfeit it through some major actions), but
the objective is to blind the opponent briefly when he arises, as the
column explosion lasts for several seconds.

[Left Turbo Crouching]
  Aph B crouches and ejects a pair of small canisters from his
shoulder launchers.  This variation of 'bouncing bombs' have much
greater speed and homing but limited range; they either explode on
contact/proximity or they leap up and out to explode about 300 meters
in front of Aph B to give a medium spherical bomb blast.

  The crouch 'bouncing bombs' does nearly non-existent damage, but
have excellent knockdown effects.  A target caught in the blast is
almost guaranteed to be knocked to the ground; only the most stable
VRs like Dordary and Aph B himself might still stand after an
indirect hit.

  Use of this move is similar to the stun submachinegun variations: to
interrupt the opponent's actions and possibly knock him down, causing
him to lose initiative.

[Left Turbo Jumping]

  At the apex of his jump, Aph B ejects a pair of 'bouncing bombs'
from his shoulders in mid-air which bounce towards the target in a
fashion similar to the standing variation, but with much greater peak
heights achieved in the bounces.  They explode at proximity to give a
spherical bomb blast.  Like most other jumping moves, Aph B is very
vulnerable in the air.  However, this move does warrent some
consideration.

  For starters, this variation of 'bouncing bombs' have average speed
but good homing.  It does small but significant damage (slightly less
than that of a normal LW) on a hit and like the crouch variation, has
good knockdown prospects.

  The high bouncing trajectory of this variation has good and bad
aspects:  They can hit targets in the air that are not too high, but
are liable to bounce right over a ground target without exploding.

  Provided that the vulnerabilities of the jump can be circumvented,
the jumping 'bouncing bombs' can be a fairly effective 'irritate' move
at long range, since their homing abilities can not be totally
discounted.

Centre Weapon - Tongfer

  Aph B's tongfer is meant, first and foremost, to be 'the' CC weapon
of VOOT.  The sonic rings generated by using Tongfer at ranged combat
are actually quite decent as ranged weapons despite their poor damage.
They have good speed and homing and are unaffected by V. Armour unlike
RW submachinegun shots.  They also have some ability to negate enemy
weapon fire and are not easily negated by enemy attacks discounting
explosives.

  Aph B also has the tornado variations of the sonic rings, which have
their own distinctive properties and seperate uses.

[Normal Standing/Walking]
  Aph B swings his tongfer blades one after the other to create two
sonic rings.  Their properties are mentioned above.

  Sonic rings are quite decent weapons in their own right.  I
generally find them best as a form of probing attack while moving.
LTRW stun submachinegun shots are also good at this, but they require
that Aph B be momentarily still to be fired; normal sonic rings can be
released while moving, and they offer greater damage potential.

  A pair of sonic rings drain about half of the CW ammo gauge, so some
care must be taken to avoid draining the ammo gauge totally to avoid
the loss of this useful move at inappropriate times.  The fairly fast
rate of recharge for the CW ammo gauge does not fully alleviate this
problem.

  However there is a way to circumvent this via the Infinite Sonic
Rings move, which allows Aph B to fire any number of sonic rings from
a full ammo gauge!  Though I know of this move, I am not fully
conversant with it and dare not attempt to explain it.  I must say
that firstly, it is actually a fairly powerful move at medium-long
range, and secondly, it is more of a bug (similar to 5.2 Cypher's
Infinite Daggers trick).

[Normal Crouching]
  Aph B crouches and swings his tongfer to create a stun tornado,
depleting about half of the ammo gauge.  The stun tornado does not
actually stuns the VR, rather it briefly immobilises the target in a
sort of energy field, leaving it vulnerable to further attacks.  Its
reach is high enough to catch the odd VR slightly above ground level.
There is also some damage done on impact.

  The immobilising effect is very powerful as Aph B can tag on a lot
of follow-up attacks; net damage can be extremely high especially if
Aph B can tag on some of his damaging CC moves (More details under
Close Combat section)

  However, such opportunities are not easy to come by.  Though the
stun tornado's speed is quite fast, it dissipates after covering a
short range and has minimal homing.  Catching an alert target with a
stun tornado is next to impossible; Aph B's best bet is to attempt
this move on a landing target at short range.  The 'freeze' effect
also has a very short duration, to the order of a few seconds, and a
knowledgable opponent can shorten this further by 'struggling'
(shaking the sticks rapidly).

[Normal Jumping]
  Aph B swings his tongfer blades forward to create a pair of vertical
sonic rings at the apex of his jump.  The vertical sonic rings are
released simultaneously and move together.

  This move has little redeeming factor to make it stand out among all
the other useless jumping attacks.

[Dash (All Directions except Forward and Forward Diagonal)]
  While dashing, Aph B twirls a tongfer blade and releases a sonic
ring.  The sonic ring has only average speed and poor homing; its
ability to negate some enemy fire is only marginally useful.

  As an offensive move, the chances of hitting with this move are
quite low except at point-blank range.  The damage done by sonic rings
is generally weak and in most cases the opponent can simply counter
with a more damaging attack before Aph B recovers from his dash.
Little better than side-dash submachineguns.

[Forward and Forward Diagonal Dash]
  Aph B faces the opponent and raises both his tongfer blades over his
head before releasing a sonic ring.

  This variation's sonic ring is significantly faster than normal and
has decent homing, enough to make it useful.  It is by far Aph B's
best long range dashing attack.  As with other sonic rings, V. Armour
is not a factor.  This sonic ring attack also does slightly better
damage.  It still retains its shot-negating ability, and sometimes in
a long range exchange it is not uncommon for this attack to cut
through a chain of enemy fire before striking the firer.

  Proper vectoring and timing will give a better than even chance of
scoring with this move even at long range and against some of the
faster VRs.

[Dash Crouching (All Directions)]
  While dashing, Aph B crouches to produce a stun tornado.

  The dashing stun tornado is significantly weaker than the normal
crouching variation.  Unlike the latter, the former's ability to
immobilise the target is very unreliable, maybe one in three or four
attempts.  It also has minimal homing and range.

  This move is not outright useless.  At very short ranges, this move
is preferable to a dashing sonic ring as it does more damage.

  In the rare case when this move successfully freezes a target, often
Aph B stop too far away for much follow-up attacks before the opponent
struggles free.  If Aph B wishes to attack, the best bet is to go for
a crouch soccerbomb which may be fast enough to reach the target, or
if LW ammo is insufficent, crouch RT submachineguns.

[Air Dash (All Directions)]
  While air dashing, Aph B releases a vertical sonic ring like the
jumping variation.

  Again, Aph B is slow and vulnerable in an air dash, so this move is
pretty risky.  Even the forward and forward diagonal air dashes are
not much better.  Most of the time, throwing a LW in an air dash is a
much better prospect.

[Air Forward Dash with Full Tongfer Ammo : Special Move]
  With full tongfer ammo, Aph B will fly forward and when both
triggers are depressed, flips into a flying kick.  If the forward dash
is aimed properly in the direction of a standing enemy VR, Aph B will
end up kicking the VR in the head region for a load of damage, about
equal to a clean CC tongfer!

  The Shadowless Kick is a spectacular and damaging move, but however
it has absolute no homing ability; Aph B simply executes the kick in
the direction of the forward dash.  As such, it is a very difficult
move to hit with, as the forward dash must be aligned directly onto
the opponent

  The Shadowless Kick is considered a close combat move, and can be
defended against with a guard by an alert opponent, though the kick's
great speed does not make it easy.

  The range of the kick is variable and dependent on the height at
which Aph B executes the kick.  An SLD-into-kick will often cause Aph
B to fly about one-third to half of the stage width, while a very high
air dash prior to the kick will have Aph B descending downwards at a
very steep flying angle, stopping as he reaches groung height after
travelling a short horizontal distance.

[Right Turbo Standing]
  With full tongfer ammo, Aph B swings his tongfer blades to create a
stun tornado.  This stun tornado variation is much more powerful when
compared to the normal crouch variation.  It has similar speed, but
has medium range and significant homing ability.  The immobilising
effect is more pronouced and tends to last longer.  It also does
slightly greater damage upon impact.

  This stun tornado has similar applications to the normal crouching
variation, except that the greater reach and homing ability makes it
viable at medium range, especially against unwary opponents in slower
VRs.

  The RT variation has a disadvantage compared to the normal crouching
variation: being a RT moves means that Aph B is temporay immobile when
executing this move, making him very vulnerable especially if it
misses.

[Right Turbo Crouching]
  Aph B crouches to produces a stun tornado similar to the standing
variation.

  I have not explored this move fully, but the crouching variation is
significantly slower to come out (between activation and the release
of the stun tornado, the crouching variation takes much longer than
the standing variation).  There appears to be litte difference between
the effects of the stun tornadoes released in either variation, so I
feel that there is little need to use this move, especially since the
momentary delay can mean the difference between hitting and missing.

[Right Turbo Jumping]
  Similar to the normal jumping move, Aph B releases a pair of
vertical sonic rings at the jump's apex, draining most of the full
ammo gauge required.

 There is a significant difference in this move: They may not have any
freezing or stunning effect but they can actually do significant
damage about two to three times that of a normal sonic ring.  This is
the only redeeming factor in an otherwise risky move.

[Left Turbo Standing]
  From standing, Aph B flicks his tongfer blades forward quickly to
release a single sonic ring.

  Like other LT weapons, this sonic ring variation does minimal damage
but has good stunning potential.  It flies out fast, but have totally
no homing ability, limiting it to very short effective range.  It also
does not have notable shot-negating properties.  Its ability to
stagger a VR is quite good however for a single projectile.

[Left Turbo Crouching]
  Aph B crouches to produce a homing tornado.  Unlike the stun
tornadoes mentioned previous, the homing tornado has totally different
properties.  Firstly, the homing tornado is slow, but has good homing
and persists for several seconds, chasing the target down relentlessly
similar to Specineff's normal LW and RTLW attacks.  Secondly, instead
of freezing an enemy on contact, it stuns the target, staggering or
occasionally knocking it down.  Thirdly, it does significant damage on
a hit, both to energy and to the V. Armour of the target.

  Interestingly, homing tornadoes are one of the few weapon attacks in
VOOT that does not require the firing VR to have a target lock on his
opponent prior to being released.  Without a target lock, apparently
the homing tornadoes will still turn around to converge on the enemy.

  Singly, homing tornadoes are not particular hard to evade.  However,
homing tornadoes require about a quarter of the CW ammo gauge; it is
not hard to release several homing tornadoes in quick succession
(sometimes referred to as 'tornado flood') which, if released so that
they approach the target from different angles, can be maddening to
avoid especially if they converge on the target in quick succession.

[Left Turbo Jumping]
  Aph B releases a horizontal sonic ring at the apex of the jump.  The
sonic ring properties are similar to the standing variation: fast,
stuns but does low damage and no homing.  Definitely to be avoided.

Special Move:

[Double Jump, CW at Apex]
  This activates Aph B's Hyper Mode, whereby he is surround by a white
glow that persists for several seconds.  For the duration, Aph B's
movement speed is enhanced.  There are rumours that some V. Armour is
restored and damage potential is increased, but I have no solid
confirmation of this.

  Using Hyper Mode is problematic for Aph B for a couple of reason.
First, Hyper Mode can only be done once per the entire game, or per
versus match.  Also, the activation requires a double jump to
activate, which means once Hyper Mode is initiated, Aph B still has to
get down onto the ground before putting his speed boost to use.
Finally, Aph B is already pretty mobile already, and I find the speed
boost to be difficult to get used to within the very short time frame.

  There are only two obvious uses for Hyper Mode.  One is to get a
temporay speed boost and use this to try catching some chicken
opponent running away in a fast VR.  The other use is to use the
double jump and descend portion of Hyper Mode to win the round via
time out when Aph B is leading in the dying seconds of the game.  It
is fairly difficult to hit a airborne target, especially at short
range where it is likely to be hovering over your head.  Also, getting
nailed when landing is not a problem as Hyper Mode also enhanced Aph
B's non-dashing aerial movement to the point that he has significant
control over his descent.

Close Combat Moves
==================

  Aph B's greatest strength in CC is his ability to do horrendous
damage to any VR to run foul of his attacks, especially his CW
Tongfer.  His fast ground speed and ability to adsorb minor hits
without being stopped also grant him good prospects of reducing the
range close enough for his CC arsenal to come into play.

  Close Combat Activation Range for Weapons/Triggers:

Right Weapon/Trigger        Below  55.0 meters
Left Weapon/Trigger         Below  75.0 meters
Centre Weapon/Trigger       Below 135.0 meters

Note that Aph B's CC CW activation range is a whopping 135 meters.
This is far greater than any other VR's and it means that Aph B can
initiate CC from a relative greater range compared to other VRs.  In
the heat of battle, they may not realise that Aph B may have closed in
to CC range until Aph B actually slides forward with tongfer blades
glowing.  The greater activation range also allows Aph B to have
greater leeway in Quickstepping (discussed later).

  Close Combat Moves:

1) Standing
2) Guard-CC
3) Crouching
4) Right Turbo Standing
5) Quick Step
6) Jumping
7) Dashing

  Left Turbo weapon attacks can be used in CC, even if the respective
normal weapon is activated for CC.  Though they are mainly
non-damaging weapons, they can still be effective in dictating the
flow of the CC engagement.

  When an opponent is knocked down, it is possible to inflict a little
extra damage on the prone VR.  In CC ranges, each VR has one special
ground attack to cause much more extra damage.

1: Standing

  Basically, standing attacks are initiated by simply squeezing the
corresponding trigger/s when the weapon is activated for CC.  The
latter is shown by the respective ammo gauge turning yellow in colour.

  Standing attacks are the very basics in CC offensive.  They are also
cancelled easily prior to hit detection by either a jump or a dash.

[Right Weapon : Right Forearm Bash]
  Rushing forward, Aph B raises his right arm and smashes it into the
opponent's face.

  One of Aph B's faster CC attacks, the forearm bash's weak points are
in its relatively low damage potential compared to the rest of Aph B's
CC arsenal and its small contact area, making it quite liable to miss
should the enemy even move slightly to the side.  With the exception
of light VRs, knockdown potential is non-existant

  If RW is pressed another two times, Aph B would attempt to follow up
the bash with a backhand, then an end straight punch.  Hitting with
all three attacks can do a lot of damage, but the series of attacks
come out slow and a decent player can recover in time to defend
against the rest of the combination, or even interrupt Aph B inbetween
attacks.  Using the combination is a definite no-no against any player
competent in CC.

[Left Weapon : Left Tongfer Slash]
  Activating both tongfer blades, Aph B slides forward and flicks his
left tongfer upward and diagonally to the right, creating a rough 135
degree clockwise slash from his left.

  Though slightly slower than the forearm bash, the tongfer slash is
still decently fast and does much greater damage.  Its contact area is
quite good, allowing it to hit targets even if they are standing
slightly off to one side.  Knockdown chances are slightly better but
are not guaranteed against all but the lightest of targets.

  If LW is pressed another two times,Aph B  will attempt to follow up
with a right tongfer slash and an ending spinning left heel kick. Like
the RW CC combination described above, the series of attack can do
good total damage but comes out too slow to guarantee that against any
good CC opponent.

[Centre Weapon : Tongfer]
  With both tongfer blades activated, Aph B slides forward, leading
with his right arm/tongfer.  On reaching the opponent (or sometimes
bypassing him), Aph B swings his tongfer blades around with his left
tongfer first, then the right.

  For starters, a major correction from my last FAQ version:  Some
other VRs have CC moves that can do damage on par with Aph B's
tongfer, but those moves' uses are significantly more difficult to hit
with than normal.

  Aph B's tongfer has only average speed, but even a glancing hit will
do damage ranging from 35+% energy on Dordray/Raiden to 80+% energy on
the weaknest VR Specineff.  As Aph B swings his tongfer blades around,
the contact area is quite decent.  Should an intended target attempt
to dash away at the last moment, chances are still good that it will
get nicked in the back for full damage.

  The greatest advantage of Aph B's tongfer is the long activation
range and sliding distance.  The tongfer is a tad too slow to be used
as a mainstray in toe-to-toe encounters.  Nontheless, Aph B should
attempt tongfer in all but near point-blank ranges, on the off chance
that the opponent gets caught unaware or unable to defend.  It is not
that risky as the long slide and average speed also translates into
slightly longer time to cancel out of the tongfer in event of a likely
miss.

  As Aph B swings twice when executing CC CW tongfer, there might be a
remote possibility that a opponent can guard against the first swing
and counterattack fast enough to interrupt the second.  However,
though I have encountered a couple of opponents who attempted the
above against my Aph B, none has been successful so far.

[Tongfer in conjunction with Stun Tornado]
  As mentioned in the ranged weapons section, when Aph B successfully
freezes his opponent at very close range using a stun tornado,
sometimes Aph B can march up close enough to activate his CC tongfer,
and attempt tongfer on the hapless VR.  This is a powerful
combination, as a frozen VR cannot guard against the tongfer.
However, it is possible that the opponent may struggle out of the
freeze in time to execute a defensive move.  Hence Aph B must still be
ready to cancel his tongfer attempt.  This is not as likely with the
RT variation, which tends to freeze for a longer duration.

  Occasionally, a VR may be frozen above the ground, high enough to
prevent the tongfer from hitting.  In this case, the quickest response
is to use a CC RT tongfer to give the uppercut, which is capable of
hitting the VR suspended in mid-air.  The uppercut will be discussed
in greater detail in the respective section later.

[Double Tongfer Hit with Stun Tornado]
  Occasionally, when Aph B attacks a target frozen with a stun
tornado, the enemy does not get knocked down after the attack.  Should
Aph B use his tongfer on the frozen VR, there is the potential for
double hits as the tongfer swings twice.

  When Aph B hits with the first swing of his tongfer blades, the
target may either get knocked down, knocked out of the freeze effect
or very rarely remain frozen.  In the latter two cases, chances are
very good (but not guaranteed) that Aph B's second swing will hit as
well for full damage.

  Such a combination is rare, but if it does occur, the stun tornado
into double tongfer will inflict enough damage to kill off any light
VR and most medium VRs from 100% energy!  The heavy VRs Dordary and
Raiden will be severely crippled with the loss of some 80% of their
energy bar.  I have both witnessed and played games in which one
player was leading decisively, even remaining totally untouched right
up to the moment that a lucky short range stun tornado hit leads to
double CC tongfer, often killing the victim in the bargain.

  This deadly combination is not fullproof.  For starters, even if the
target does not get knocked down, the second swing may not register a
a hit whether the target remains stunned or not.  And if the target
gets knocked out of the stun by the first swing, a quick opponent who
remains calm can recover in time to guard against the second swing.
Aph B players are warned of this possibility however rare it can be,
and must be ready to defend themselves as the situation demands.

2: Guard-CC

  Guard-CC attacks are actually a variation of the standing CC moves.
The player must initiate a guard command at CC activation range, then
release his guard and attack immediately after by hitting either or
both triggers.  Whether the guard actually stops an incoming CC attack
does not affect the guard-CC unless the VR gets knocked down.

  Guard-CC CW is ignored in this discussion as it does not gain any
significant advantages over the standing CC CW.

  Basically guard-CC RW/LW has the following differences over standing
CC LW/RW:

1)  The RW/LW used need not be activated for CC to be used; the only
    requirement is that the VR itself has achieved double-lock
    (reaches CC activation range for ANY of its three weapons).
    Though the VR may not be able to use standing CC RW/LW under these
    circumstances, guard-RW/LW will still work (This is a major
    advantage to certain VRs especially Temjin and Cypher).

2)  The forward slide toward the target is greatly reduced in length.
    Most VRs' guard-RW/LW are useful only at very short ranges (but
    NOT all).

3)  Guard-RW/LW has much greater ability to track targets, even those
    off to the side; chances of hitting are much greater.

4)  Guard-RW/LW generally do slightly lesser damage, are faster, and
    have greater knockdown potential compared to the corresponding
    standing CC.

[Right Weapon: Guard-Armbash]

  Similar to the standing version, the guard-RW is probably Aph B's
fastest CC attack.  Best used as an immediate counter after guarding
against an opponent's CC attack.  Guard-armbash will easily knock down
light VRs but will only stagger the more steady ones.

[Left Weapon: Guard-Slash]
  The guard-LW has Aph B flicking the left tongfer blade at a
shallower angle, creating what looks more like a 180 degree slash from
the left.  The increased speed, decent contact area and good tracking
along with the reduced forward slide makes this move the staple CC
attack for Aph B at short range.  Chances of catching sidesteppers are
very good provided the opponent is fairly close enough, given the
mediocre reach of the tongfer blade.

  Guard-slash will almost certainly knockdown any VR on a hit.

3: Crouching

  Standing and guard-CC moves have a problem in that they can be
defended against by guarding. Most of the expected damage is lost, and
the defending VR remains upright on his feet, ready to immediately
counter with a guard-CC attack of his own.

  Crouching CC moves are one way to avoid this outcome.  As the attack
is aimed below the target VR's guard, at the legs, crouching CC moves
cannot be guarded against.  Irregardless of damage done, hitting with
a crouching CC attack is mostly a guaranteed knockdown.  The bad
aspects of using crouching CC moves are that they are significantly
slower and are much more difficult to cancel out of using a dash
before hit detection occurs (cancelling with a jump is unknown of for
crouching CC attacks).

  Crouching CC attacks are best used when the player anticipates that
the opponent is likely to guard instead of dodging or interrupting an
incoming CC attack.  It is not unheard of to feint a standing CC
attack to induce a wary opponent to guard, only to cancel into a
crouching CC move to catch the enemy by surprise.

[Right Weapon : Foot Sweep]

  Aph B crouches and sweeps the opponent's feet off, using his right
foot in a short frontal arc.  A fast move, with fairly decent damage.
The contact area is not large but not too small, as Aph B sweeps from
the right.

[Left Weapon : Crouch Tongfer Flick]
  Sliding in low, Aph B extends both tongfer blades, then flicks the
left blade inwards and low.

  There is a major problem with hitting this move.  Should the target
be more or less directly in front of Aph B, this move somehow fails to
hit.  This leaves Aph B very vulnerable.

  Conversely, if the opponent attempts to dodge to the side, chances
of hitting are actually quite good provided the short range
requirement is satisfied!  I even had a versus match that had my
opponent dying to this move in a most freaky manner:  I accidentally
executed a crouch CC LW which slides way past the other Aph B, leaving
me very vulnerable as I was frozen in place.  My opponent was in fact
already bearing down on my back as I missed.  However, he reached my
back just as I executed the crouch tongfer flick.  The flick actuallys
starts from the back, so it ended up that he was about to pound me
into the ground when the flick caught his legs, killing him first!

  Other that this 'unnatural' hit detection problem, the crouching CC
LW would have been a good move due to its decent speed and good
damage.

[Centre Weapon : Crouch Tongfer]
  Sliding in low, Aph B brandishes his tongfer blades low and set to
work slashing away at the opponent's legs.

  Crouch tongfer shared some similarities with tongfer: Long
activation range/slide, Aph B swings his blades individually to create
two slashes, and good contact area to the side enables this move to
catch sidesteppers quite well.

  Crouch tongfer is quite slow to come out and actually does less
damage comparing to the standing CC CW.  Considering that this move
cannot be blocked, the tradeoff is quite acceptable.  The side contact
area may be at least comparable to standing tongfer, as I had quite a
few opponents who were somewhere off to either side of the crouch
tongfer attempt but still got sliced.

  Crouch tongfer can also achieve double hit on an VR frozen by a stun
tornado.  In such a event, the net damage is less than the standing
variation, but an opponent knocked out of the freeze by the first
swing cannot defend against the second swing as it is a crouching CC
move.

4: Right Turbo Standing

  In CC, all VRs have their right turbo weapons change into special CC
attacks.  Mostly the attacks are more for eye candy than anything
else, though occasionally, the odd right turbo CC move can be useful.

  Right turbo CC moves can be guarded against with the guard command
like standing CC moves.  However, perhaps as a concession, a hit with
a RT CC move is a guaranteed knockdown; guarding only cuts down on the
damage inflicted.  Right turbo CC moves can only be cancelled before
they actually hit, but not after.  Hence if it looks as if the
intended turbo CC move is about to miss, immediately cancel it.

[Right Weapon : Spinning Heel Kick]
  Aph B spins around to smash his right heel into his opponent's face.
Definately Aph B's fastest RT CC move with good damage.  The kick is
nearly as fast as Aph B's forearm bash, so it is not a bad choice to
use this move sparingly.

[Left Weapon : Flip Kick]
  Rushing up to the opponent, Aph B executes a flip kick.  Damage
potential is almost up to tongfer level, but the move is quite slow
and hence is better avoided.

[Centre Weapon : Uppercut]
  Rushing up, Aph B activates both tongfer blades and executes an
uppercut with his right fist, with the right tongfer blade slashing
upwards through the opponent.

  A fair slow CC move, but the uppercut's damage potential is actually
slightly more than a standing tongfer!  The uppercut's real usage
comes from catching a VR frozen in mid-air too high for standing
tongfer to hit.  The upward slashing of the right tongfer blade has
quite a high reach for a CC move, and is also quite capable of nailing
jumping VRs in the initial stage of their jump.

5) Quick Step

  Quick step CC attacks is VOOT's equivalent to VOOM's circular
slices.  However, probably for the sake of balance, these attacks are
much slower than circular slices and are not cancellable.
Fortunately, the animation has also been made much more realistic;
you can actually see the VR combining the counterattack with the
sidestep/circling very smoothly.

  Due to his design symmetry, Aph B executes quick step attacks in
both clockwise and anti-clockwise directions identically.  On
activation of a quick step attack, Aph B will start to circle to his
left/right and activate the respective left/right tongfer blade.
Approaching the actual attack, he will bring the respective
arm/tongfer blade to his waist, then sweep it outwards left/right to
hit the target VR while completing his quick step/circling.

  As mentioned, Aph B's tongfer's one flaw is in its length.  This is
very evident in a quick step attack (and also in dash tongfer swipe).
Under normal circumstances, Aph B can only hope to hit with a quick
step attack when it is initiated at very close range, unless the
opponent kindly narrows the distance during the circling.

  Quick step attacks always knock down on a successful hit, which is
expected given that they are not cancellable.  If initiated on a
opponent already guarding, the quick step would negate the guard
command unless the defending VR releases his guard then inputs the
command again before the quick step attack hits.  Aph B's quick step
tongfer is pretty damaging, though sadly only on par with his standing
tongfer slash.

  Quick step attacks should rarely be used as a straightforward
attack, but are more effective in anticipation of an opponent's own CC
attack.  The quick step would then send Aph B to one side of the
attacker, whose attack would most often make contact with nothing
before Aph B cuts him down from the side.  However, alert attackers
with quick responses may notice the initial quick stepping and either
cancel their attack in an evasive move or guard against the quick step
attack.

  

6) Jumping or Small Hop

  Jumping CC attacks probably evolve as a countermove to crouching CC
attack, in which case the initial jump will take the defending VR over
the crouching CC move of the attacker, only to bring the defender down
on top of the would-be attacker to crush him with another CC move.
Like quick step CC attacks, jumping CC moves are slow in execution,
can not be cancelled and are a guaranteed knockdown on a hit.  Jumping
CC attacks will also negate an initial guard attempt, unless the
opponent releases and inputs the guard commands after the VR starts
his descent down on top of his head.  Naturally, since the attack
comes from above, evasive action by jumping is mostly useless.  Jump
CC attacks are also able to hit landing VRs quite effectively.

  Some VRs apparently have more than one jumping CC move.  AFAIK,
however, Aph B has only one such attack.  On initiating a jumping CC
attack using either or both triggers, Aph B will leap up and does a
mid-air forward flip to bring the heel of his right foot down on the
enemy VR's head.

  IMHO, Aph B's jumping CC attack, which I would name the heel smash,
is a pretty pathetic move.  Compared with some other VRs', the contact
area of the heel is very small.  Aph B would most likely have to
initiate the heel smash at point blank range, and the opponent must
remain nearly right below Aph B for any chance at a hit. Just one step
back on theenemy's part and the heel smash would meet with nothing but
the ground and leave Aph B very vulnerable as he gets up.  The only
good thing about the heel smash is it being about as damaging as a
tongfer slash, but it's a very risky move.

  To date, I have only hit once with the heel smash in a serious
versus game.  I literally had to bait my Specineff sparring partner by
pretending to be confused at CC range and inviting him to take a swing
with the scythe of his.  Specineff charged in to take a swing, then
Aph B leapt up in the nick of time to hop over the failed swing and
smashed his heel into Specineff's head, ending the match.  A very
risky attempt (but it worked!) that I will not be repeating again in a
hurry.

7: Dashing (My Favourite!)

  Dashing CC attacks is a great enhancement in VOOT and adds a lot of
spice to the game if put into play.  Sega probably got wind of this
suggestion from several Japanese players; Chris Tan of VOOM Singapore
fame also mentioned in his VOOM Apharmd FAQ that it would be nice to
do a moving slash.

  Aph B has only two major variants of dashing CC attacks, his dashing
centre weapon attack and his dashing left/right weapons attacks, which
mirror each other in execution and damage.  Dashing CC attacks is very
useful to Aph B, who has most of the necessary VR attributes to pull
off such an attack.  His very fast forward dash enables him to close
in the distance easily, and his armour and stability will help him 
sustain minor hits along the way without being interrupted.  As will
most of his CC moves, Aph B does great damage with a single dashing CC
attack. The only thing lacking is that Aph B's tongfer blades are not
very long and hence Aph B must be able to dash quite close to his
opponent for a chance at a dashing tongfer swipe.

  As with most other CC moves, dashing CC attacks can be guarded
against.  Skilled veteran players who see an onrushing Aph B bearing
down on them can often guess the intention to employ dash CC and put
up a guard in time to defend.  However, guarding can only be done if
the target is stationary on the ground, though actually hitting a
ground dashing VR is generally very difficult.

[Dashing Centre Weapon]
  Charging forward, Aph B activates and raises both tongfer blades
above his head, then brings them forward and down in an attempt to
smash them onto the opponent.

  Frankly speaking, the overhead smash (my name for this move) may do
good damage, but is nigh difficult to hit even against the AI (most
other dashing CC centre weapon attacks are hard to use too).  Most
dashing CC CW attacks require the attacker to practically dash
directly at the intended target, which is itself a tall order.
Furthermore, Aph B's dashing CC CW has a extremely long activation
time for Aph B to raise his tongfer blades before smashing them down;
the attacker must time the attack very well to have a chance of
hitting the target as it gets in range.

[Dashing Left/Right Weapon]
  Racing forward, Aph B activates the respective left/right tongfer
blade, then brings forward his arm to swipe the tongfer blade in a
wide horizontal arc at around his chest level.

  The dashing tongfer swipe/slash (as I would call it) is much easier
to hit compared with the overhead smash.  Basically get Aph B to dash
past the enemy VR slightly to one side while activating the tongfer
blade on the side facing the VR just before reaching the opponent.
Though tongfer blades are not very long compared to
Temjin's/Cypher's/Fei-Yen's swords and Specineff's scythe, they are
fairly adequate for the job.  A rough guide is that the player should
be able to see about one side of the enemy VR on his screen when Aph B
dashes past him.  A dashing tongfer swipe executed a bit early can hit
a target right in front of Aph B, as the tongfer blade is brought
forward to point to the front, and can still do damage until it is
actually deactivated (the glowing blade fades away).

  Dashing tongfer swipes do damage roughly equivalent to a standing
tongfer slash.  To my knowledge, dashing tongfer swipes are the only
dash attack that Aph B has that is guaranteed to knock down the
opponent on a successful hit.  All other dashing attacks will at best
knock down the light VRs about one-third of the time.  The knock down
effect is especially significant to Aph B, since a knocked down
opponent will not be able to launch an immediate counterattack as Aph
B recovers from his attack.

[Employing Dash Turning with Dash CC]

  In VOOT, inputting a rotate command during a dash will cause the VR
to turn slightly to the respective side while dash.  This affects both
facing and dash trajectory to some extent, but generally is not
signifncant enough to be of much use.

  However, if a turning command is inputted together with a dash CC
attack command, the rotation effect becomes much more pronounced and
can seriously affect the contact area of the dash CC relative to the
attacking VR.  For instances, if Aph B does a right dash CC while
rotating right, he will swipe to the rear of his dash; if he does the
right dash CC with a left rotation, he will swipe more to his frontal
arc.  Similar, if Aph B uses his overhead smash with rotation, he will
execute the smash off to the respective side instead of to the front.

  The rotation effect is not always useful, but can be used to
maximise hit opportunities for a dash CC attack provided the player
spends time to become familiar with this move.

[Using Left Turbo Weapon Attacks In Close Combat]
  As ranged weapons, left turbo attacks can not be blocked, and hence
useful as a form of unguardable offensive compared with normal
standing CC attacks.  Their advantages over right turbo CC and crouch
CC attacks are speed and greater flexibility to be cancelled.

  Most of Aph B's left turbo attacks are stun or knockdown weapons
with minimal damage.  Crouch bouncing bombs are outright knockdown
attacks, while stun submachineguns and stun sonic ring tends to
momentarily stun most VRs first, unless they interrupt enemy attacks,
which increase the knockdown probability.  If an opponent is
momentarily stunned, it may be possible to follow-up with a CC attack
for more damage and/or knockdown.

  Homing tornadoes are unique for Aph B in being the one left turbo
attack able to inflict significant damage on the enemy VR.  Though
they are relative slow, at CC ranges, there is still enough speed to
surprise most opponents.  Their stun effects tends to be more useful
defensive at such short range, as they often stop many opponents from
bearing down on Aph B, giving him a little more time to evade.

[Ground Attack]
  When any VR is knocked down onto the stage floor, either by taking
excessive damage or by certain attacks, the VR can still be slightly
damaged once more while lying on the ground.  At all but CC range,
most opposing players will attempt to shoot the prone VR.  However,
ranged weapons will inflict much less damage than normal on a downed
VR.

  At CC ranges, each VR has a specific ground attack usable on a prone
VR, which does a flat 14% damage on the stricken target.  Most VRs
have the ground attack configured as the normal right weapon, although
some VRs (Apharmd Striker, Bal series, Dordary and Fei-Yen Knight)
have it configured as the left weapon.  When a VR is knocked down
within CC activation range of the respective weapon configured for the
ground attack, it is possible to utilise the latter.  The ground
attack is shown to be activated when the ammo gauge of the weapon,
which should be shown in yellow due to CC activation, darkens to light
green.  Squeezing the trigger while the ammo gauge is green will cause
the VR to perform the ground attack.

  Ground attacks have a flaw in that once activated, they can not be
cancelled by any means.  Hence it is possible for the attacking VR to
start a ground attack, only for the prone VR to get up before the
damage can be inflicted.  The recovered VR is then able to crush the
attacking VR who must complete his ground attack attempt before
putting up any form of defence.  As such it can be risky to perform a
ground attack, especially since it takes time for the ground attack to
be activated and available.  Due to this problem, some veteran players
have come up with compromises, by using non-dedicated makeshift ground
attacks that are immediately available once the enemy VR is knocked
down.  Damage is much less than the specialised ground attack, but the
damage is much more easily accomplished and less hazardous upon
failing to hit.

  The right weapon activates Aph B's normal down attack.  The move
consists of Aph B energising and raising his right tongfer blade,
before smashing it down on the prone VR.  This ground attack is risky
due to its relatively slow activation time compared to some others
(Fei-Yen Knight, Raiden, Temjin and Specineff simply stick their CC
weapons straight down at the prone VR).  Fortunately, Aph B's standing
tongfer serves as a surprisingly effective makeshift ground attack in
terms of damage potential and availability.  By using tongfer at CC
ranges, Aph B will slide beside the prone VR and slash away at the top
with the tongfer blades.  Damage is better than most other makeshift
attacks, probably due to the heavy damage potential of the normal CC
tongfer.  Also, the long CC activation range of the tongfer always Aph
B to use it much more freely.  Even if the opponent is knocked down by
non-CC means at a range slightly greater than 135 meters, Aph B is
often able to close in the distance and use CC tongfer for more damage
than what any of his ranged weapons can inflict on the prone VR.

  Besides CC tongfer, other CC attacks that can easily strike a fallen
opponent include the crouching CC tongfer and the RTCW uppercut.  All
three makeshift attacks does nearly equal damage on a grounded VR,
though some Aph B players prefer the uppercut for 'style', since it
looks so ...

  In addition, a well-timed and executed dashing CC CW overhead smash
can hit a grounded VR for similar damage.  The difficulty of actually
timing the overhead smash to strike the target just as Aph B runs
right into it makes this primarily a show-off stunt, though pretty
impressive.  This move is more reserved for medium range knockdowns
due to the sheer speed of Aph B's forward dash.

  As a guideline, if the opponent suffered a powerful blow that
accounts for him being knocked down, a ground attack attempt is
acceptable if it becomes available within a second of the VR hitting
the ground.  Otherwise, it is more prudent to just tongfer over the
VR's stricken body.


Putting it all together
=======================

Firstly, general guidelines:

[Moving Around]
  Movement is very important in VOOT, as it is the first line of
defence against attack.  Some VRs, especially Specineff and Cypher, 
rely almost exclusively on their exceptional agility for defence.
Other uses of movement are to get in desired positions and to control
the range between the VRs.

  Aph B has good ground movement speed, but lacks in aerial agility.
In general, Aph B should spend most of his time on the ground when it
comes to evading enemy fire.  Dashing, sliding crouch and walking all
have their roles.  The advantage of walking or using a sliding crouch
to dodge enemy shots is that Aph B can return fire simultaneously,
such as releasing sonic rings while walking sidewards or doing a
sliding crouch submachinegun attack.  Dashes are essential for evading
atttacks with high speed and homing abilities, but counterattacking in
a dash is not advised as all VRs suffer dash freeze to some extent,
leaving them temporaily immobile and vulnerable at the end of the dash
attack.

  Jumping is often used in place of dashing to dodge some fast homing
attacks.  The initial upward acceleration in a jump is often enough to
throw off most shots, and using a jump to dodge a short range dash
attack is very effective as it is very difficult to shoot upwards at
such ranges.  Often, jumps must be cancelled, and it is this point
that they reveal a weakness.  Try to be somewhat unpredictable in how
quickly you cancel a jump if you suspect your opponent might be
waiting to catch you as you land.

  Aph B's air dash speed is below average, but this does not means
that Aph B should not air dash.  An air dash-cancel can be used as a
means to throw off opponents waiting to catch Aph B after a jump.
More importantly, air dashes figure prominantly in Aph B's short range
strategy.  Forward dash attacks are generally the most powerful, but
Aph B has problems using them at short range.  His forward dash is
very fast and is very useful for closing range on a fleeing target.
However, using a forward dash at short range is likely to get Aph B to
dash further away from the target, and that is often a bad thing
considering that he is generally most effective up close.  In this
case, the reduced speed of air dashes solves the problem of dashing
too far away.  Also, Aph B's air dash LW attacks are incredibly
effective in terms of accuracy up close.  At near point blank range,
it is almost impossible to avoid a air dash LW from Aph B.

[Optimum Range]
  Aph B's weapons are mostly optimised for short range battles, and
his CC damage potential is the highest.  Thus said, the obvious
conclusion is that Aph B has the edge in close quarters.  This is NOT
a hard-and-fast rule.

  It is true that Aph B performs best up close, but that must be
balanced against how the opposing VRs' performances varies as well.
For those that are weak up close, like Grysvok, Aph B should
definitely strive to close in.  However, there are other VRs that Aph
B should stay far away to hold an edge.  For instance, Fei-Yen Kn's
one fast stun attack LTLW has a maximum range of around 250 meters;
keeping the range beyond that will effectively neutralise one of her
most effective attacks.

  Hence, in general, Aph B must learn to adjust the optimum range
based on how he and his different opponents stack up.  This estimate
is only as a guide for exchanging weapon fire.  If there is an opening
for Aph B to suddenly rush in for a low-risk high-reward attack, by
all means go for it.

[Firing Weapons]
  Basically, weapon fire are meant to do damage.  However, in VOOT,
there are several tactical reasons for firing certain weapons, even if
they fail to hit the opponent:

1) Force the opponent's actions:
- one major priority of sensible VOOT players is to defend against
  incoming attacks; after all the first to die loses, and if the match
  has a time limit, the one with less remaining energy loses.  There, 
  whenever an attack that has even a poor chance of hitting is fired
  where the opponent can see it coming, the latter will almost certain
  do something about it.  Either by dodging the shot with appropriate
  movement or by neutralising it, using obstacles or maybe one or more
  of their own weapon systems.  The primary advantage gained is that,
  generally, the opponent is forced to respond to your attack instead
  of doing whatever he prefers immediately.

  Aph B's best projectile shots for worrying opponents are his LTLW
  and standing CW.  Both are fast and homing enough to be a hassle to
  avoid even by the most nimble VRs.  Incidentally, they also have
  high priority (discussed below) and are not easily neutralised.

2) Neutralise opponent's attacks
- All weapon attacks possess a certain form of 'priority' over other
  attacks.  When two weapon attacks from opposing VRs intersect, often
  the one with higher priority will neutralise the other at no cost to
  itself.  Sometimes, both weapons will destroy each other, or
  occasionally, both weapons will not affect each other.

  Explosive attacks tend to have the highest priorities; nothing can
  stop them (though explosive devices can be prematurely detonated)
  and besides other explosive attacks, very few attacks can pass
  through explosions (Raiden's RTCW Screw Laser is rumoured to be
  unstoppable by explosions).

  Aph B is fortunate to have several good priority weapon attacks.
  His standing LW napalm should be able to stop most basic enemy
  fire; use crouching LW against very high priority non-explosive
  attacks (like Specineff's CW Shockwaves).  His standing CW sonic
  rings have very high priority for a projectile attack, and so does
  his LTRW stun submachinegun shots.  Learn to use them effective for
  neutralising enemy weapon fire.

[Obstacles and Elevation]
  Stage selection factors heavily in determining the playing strategy
and the odds of winning.  Aph B generally fairs better in a cluttered
stage against all but Specineff, whose powerful CW goes through
obstacles with ease. Playing on a stage littered with many medium or
large obstacles tends to reduce the effectiveness of direct-fire long
range attacks, which is generally beneficial to Aph B.

  The basic idea on how to use obstacles is to hide behind them to
avoid attacks which cannot pierce through obstacles.  Note that some
attacks are not affected by obstacles (explosives, Specineff's CW
Shockwaves and LW Plasma Balls, Angelan's LW Ice Pillars, Dordary's LW
Drill, etc.) and other weapons can curve around or over obstacles.
Weapons fired from the air also tends to go over obstacles.  Attacks
with large blast radius can do indirect damage to a VR if the blast
reaches the target if the attack does not score a direct hit.

  Most obstacles are stationary, with the exception of some cargo
boxes moving on conveyer belts on Storage Depot (VRs standing on the
boxes or belts also move with them), and the small levitating spheres
in the center of Unholy Cathedral which rises up and sinks into the
ground at various times.  Generally, care must taken when breaking
cover, especially against Raiden players who often fires their Lasers
to either side of the obstacle in hopes of scoring a lucky hit.

  Remember that besides walking/dashing around obstacles, you can also
jump or air dash over them.  Having some randomness to your actions
can mess up your opponent's attempts to predict them.

  Staying on top of an obstacle for extended periods is generally
detriemental.  However, if an airborne VR worries about getting jumped
on by a waiting opponent as he lands, often landing on a obstacle can
really foul up the enemy's attempt to attack the landing VR in most
cases.  Also staying on top of a very high obstacle at short range
(the table/altar in Sanctuary) can be fustrating to most opponents on
the ground, especially if they do not have effective moves to flush
you down.

  Elevation refers to sloping or uneven ground, and to some extent,
can affect some weapon fire.  A slight rise in the ground between two
VRs can disrupt direct weapon fire across it.  Uneven ground can also
disrupt many ramming attacks or modify the chances to hit with it.
For instance, a Temjin attempting a Surfboard Ram will 'surf' at a
height pre-determined by the elevation of the ground he was flying
over at the initiation of the ram.  If his intended target manages to
get to an even lower elevation when Temjin reaches him, chances are
good that the latter will miss totally by being too high to connect.
If Temjin 'surfs' into a sufficently high enough elevation or
obstacle, the ram may end prematurely.

Start of Round Tactics:

  From the start of the round, battle is immediately joined, and both
sides will either attempt to beat the other to the punch first or get
out of the way before settling down to

  Specineff and Angelan have the fastest opening attacks with their
crouching CW and LTRW respective.  Dordary is also dangerous as he can
start off with an almost immediate Drill Rush which is invulnerable
once initiated.  Raiden is stable enough to resist stunning long
enough to fire off lasers.  Against these VRs, Aph B generally must go
on the defensive immediately with evasive tactics, as his fastest
attack LTRW stun submachineguns is not enough to stop them.  Basically
he must side dash against Specineff and Angelan, while jump against
Dordary or Raiden (as their opening attacks may be off to the side).

  Aph B fairs evenly in the opening against Temjin and Fei-Yen Kn as
their fastest attacks LTRW and LTLW comes out at roughly the same
speed as Aph B's LTRW.  At the opening of an Aph B vs. Temjin/Fei-Yen
match, both sides would have to debate whether to fire first or side
dash.  Fei-Yen is slightly stronger here as he LTLW does significant
damage if it hits.

  Against Aph S, Bal-series, Cypher and Grysvok, they do not have any
attacks fast enough to counter Aph B's LTRW (Cypher might try to fire
off his LTCW 4-way Missiles, which are not stopped by Aph B's LTRW,
but chances are he would get knocked down by LTRW and Aph B will still
evade the missiles, leaving him vulnerable to a ground attack and
giving Aph B a slight edge in energy at the start).  These VRs tend to
go on the defence immediately, leaving Aph B with greater latitude in
deciding his opening move.  Care must be taken not to be too
predictable even when he has the advantage, or the opponent would try
to guess his move and attempt some risky but potentially more
rewarding move (e.g. Aph B is generally free to forward dash against
Cypher in the opening, but if Cypher risks firing his RTRW Laser, he
would catch a forward dashing Aph B for decent damage).

  The following are analysis of Aph B's best options for his opening
move:

[Side Dash]
  The best defensive opening except against a Drill Rushing Dordary
or a Lasering Raiden.  Also, a side dash may be continued to extend
the range or watari-forwarded to do a forward dash attack later.

[Jump]
  Best choice against Dordary or Raiden, and also decent against most
other VRs except Specineff, as his crouching CW comes out too fast
to be evaded easily by a jump.  If the opponents stays at close range,
Aph B can also opt to continue with a air dash LW attack.  In the
Airport stage, a dash will be interrupted too early by falling off the
building that each VR starts on, so the jump/air-dash is the best
option.

  As with other jump maneuvers, care must be taken when landing.
Depending on circumstances, Aph B might opt to cancel early or do
a non-attacking air dash to land elsewhere, perferable behind or on
top of an obstacle to guard against a counterattack when he lands.

[LTRW Stun Submachineguns]
  LTRW is Aph B's fastest opening attack and has high enough priority
to neutralise a number of the opponent's response.  If the opponent
attempts an attack that does not comes out quick enough, or if he
attempts an opening forward dash, LTRW will almost certainly stun him
and spoil his intended action.

  Aph B can quickly cancel LTRW into a dash or jump almost immediately
after, so this is a good compromise between annoying the opponent and
defending at the start of the round, except against Angelan, Dordary,
Raiden and Specineff as noted previously.

[Crouching LTLW Bouncing Bombs]
  Crouching LTLW comes out nearly as fast, but not fast enough to
beat out Temjin's and Fei-Yen Kn's fastest opening attacks.  It is
better used against those VRs with inferior counterattacks, and may
be more effective than LTRW against VRs that might jump away at the
start, such as Cypher or Angelan (if you are betting that she will not
use her LTRW Laser as her opening move).

[Crouching RTLW Soccerbomb]
  Crouching RTLW is not fast enough to compete against the faster
opening moves.  Its best use is when you are willing to gamble that
your opponent will attempt a forward dash as a surprise opening move.
In this case, crouching Soccerbomb will halt the charge dead with
good damaged added to boot.  It can also be used with relative
impunity against Aph S, Bal-series or Grysvok since they are not fast
enough to interrupt it nor try a exchange of attacks at the start that
would be favourable to them.

[Forward Dash]
  Forward dash is reserved only as an occasional move when you are
confident that your opponent will go on the defensive immediately.
The occassional forward dash RW/LW might surprise your opponent enough
for some minor damage at the start, but again, do not be too
predictable.   An opening forward dash against Bal-series or Grysvok
is acceptable as they are generally hard put to stop Aph B without
resorting to some seriously risky moves.

[Special Options]
  LTCW Stun Sonic Ring can be used occasionally against Raidens who
like to start with standing CW Lasers.  The Stun Sonic Ring has enough
stun potential to have a good chance of interrupting Raiden's Laser
attempt, but nontheless cancel with a jump immediately afterward just
to be on the safe side.

  Standing RTLW Punt Soccerbomb can be used occasionally against those
players who demostrate a tendency to do an opening straight jump up,
namely less experienced Angelan (who try for a jumping RTCW Double
Ramming Dragon) or the more daring Temjins that attempt an opening
Surfboard Ram.  The Punt Soccerbomb will crash their party with good
damage to boot.

Standard Skirmish (Exchange of Fire at Medium-Long Range) Strategy:

  At range, Aph B's damage options are extremely limited, with his
only effective damaging weapons being his CW variations, the standing
Sonic Rings and crouching Homing Tornadoes.  The general emphasis is
to get close enough to start doing significant damage with his dash
RW/LW attacks.

  Aph B must play fairly defensive and do not be so caught up in
attempting to get close that he leaves himself open to counterattack.
Use his weapons as needed to neutralise incoming fire, and keep
worrying the opponent with LTRW, standing CW and crouching LTCW to
reduce his attempts to fire back.  Firing crouching RW in a sliding
crouch can be somewhat effective against VRs with weak V. Armour.
Remember that for extended range, his only accurate dash attack is his
forward dash CW.

  Make good use of obstacles as cover against enemy fire as Aph B
strives to close in.  While taking cover, Aph B can also attempt to
bounce his crouching RTLW and standing LTLW over the obstacle, though
the latter serves only as a distraction at best.  Remember that Aph B
can use his LW napalm as a moving 'shield' by dashing through the
napalm explosions; do use crouching napalm against higher priority
weapon attacks.  Take care when using this tactic against VRs with
their own explosive attacks, as these can not be neutralised by this
method.  Enemy Aph B/S and Grysvok can also ruin this move by chucking
their own napalm into yours.

  Dordary's 'Super V. Armour' effect when crouching is well known, but
is not isolated.  Aph B's V. Armour is no slouch (probably the best
after Dordary, Raiden and Temjin), and doing a crouch at critical
moments can deflect some attacks.  (In a fairly recent versus match
against a Fei-Yen Kn, I successfully deflected her non-Hyper air dash
CW heartbeams at around 300-400 meters range on 2 or 3 occasions, just
because Aph B chose to crouch at the right moment when the heartbeams
would have struck him.  My opponent was ... fustrated to say the least
and, needless to say, I won the matchup.)  Remember that some weapon
attacks are totally undeflectable; Aph B's own sonic rings are a prime
example.

  Knocking down the opponent using stun attacks is good in that it
buys Aph B a few seconds to close in without having to concentrate on
defence; do so whenever circumstances permit and when closing in is
favourable (Aph B may not want to close ranges against certain VRs,
read below under 'Notes against Specific VRs in Versus Mode').  Using
this tactic is absolutely essential against runaway opponents playing
in fast VRs, though trying to drop them with LTRW is a challenge in
itself already.

Short Range Strategy:
  As the range winds down to ~200 meters and below, Aph B's offensive
options become much more varied and attractive.  His forward dash LW
and air dash LW attacks are hard to avoid up close due to their fairly
large blast and Aph B's good bomb throwing accuracy.  V. Armour is
largely negated up close, allowing a well-timed forward dash RW to
do significant damage. For stun/knockdown attacks, LTRW is now backed
by crouching LTLW which is hard to avoid up close.

  The greatest reward for Aph B to play up close is the potential for
a lucky CC hit at the oddest of moments.  Aph B can initiate standing
CW CC from below 135 meters, which is far greater than his nearest
rivals Temjin and Aph S (both having CW CC activation range of below
100 meters).  A lucky hit would be devastating for any opponent, and
can be almost deadly for light VRs (CW CC tongfer does upward of 80%
damage on Specineff and Cypher).  A stun tornado executed at short
range at a surprising moment might just catch and hold a opponent long
enough to allow Aph B to attempt CC, and here lies the rare chance to
score a double CC tongfer hit (which would practically spell doom for
all except an almost untouched Temjin, Raiden or Dordary).

  At short range, Aph B is also able to attack with his dashing CC
moves under optimum condition, and occassionally even his Flying Kick.
These moves are hard to connect with (especially the Kick) but can do
major damage and a lucky hit from either of them can swing the round
in Aph B's favour greatly.

Short Range Tactics:

  At short range, the action tends to be extremely hectic as both
sides will be throwing out whatever useful attacks they have.

  A general Aph B tactic for standing off and exchanging fire is
simply to keep dodging and fire probing attacks as the situation
allows, while constantly watching the opponent.  Attacks used for
probing need to have good speed/homing ability and very short freeze
time to minimise Aph B's vulnerability when using them.  As such,
only LTRW, crouching LTLW, CW and sliding crouch RW qualify for use as
probing attack options.

  (Crouching) LW serves as a short-duration defensive move as well as
an enemy herding or area denial move.  The napalm explosions tend to
blot out most non-explosive enemy weapon fire, though the chain of
explosives advance rapidly and does not help to protect Aph B for more
than a couple of seconds unless he chooses to dash through the napalm.
Most decent players will avoid getting caught in the napalm explosions
for fear of taking any damage, and it is in this regard that LW serves
as an area denial move, as the opponent will likely keep clear of the
napalm chain, in effect briefly cutting him off from that area.

  As mentioned earlier, the napalm explosions can also serve as moving
shield for Aph B if he dashes through the napalm chain immediately
after tossing the canister.  Take note that even crouching LW cannot
block out all enemy attacks; enemy explosives can coexist with the
napalm, and Raiden's RTCW Screw Laser can easily pass through it.

  Conversely, versus another Aph B or other bomb-equipped VR, if you
suspect that your opponent intends to use his bomb as a shield to
cover his forward movement, you can attempt to disrupt the attempt
by throwing your own LW into the mix.  At least, you do some minor
damage if he tries to rush through as well as limiting his attack
potential while he remains affected by your napalm.

[Dashing CC]
  For Aph B, dashing CC attacks are important as no other dashing
attacks of his are guaranteed knockdowns on all VRs, neither do they
have as much damage potential (the exception is Aph B's flying kick,
which is a pseudo-CC attack).  A dashing tongfer swipe can do over 60%
damage if connected against Specineff or Cypher.

  Basically, in order to dash CC an opponent, both VRs must be on the
ground (obviously Aph B cannot dash CC an airborne target), and Aph B
must be able to get very close to his target due to the short reach of
his tongfer blades.  A rough guide for Aph B is that you should be
able to see at least half of your opponent on screen as you dash pass
him during your dash CC attempt.

  The easiest way to dash CC an opponent is basically to guess at
where he will be stationary and vulnerable (mostly after a dash attack
or when landing from a jump/air dash).  This works perfectly fine on
the average opponent, but a skilled pilot is far more unlikely to be
caught in such a vulnerable situation.  Better players know to limit
their exposure to getting attacked, and even if found in such
situations, they are unlikely to be defenceless.  Many either tend to
fire off selected weapons in such situations to ward off would-be
attackers or can quickly put up a guard in time to defend against
the dash CC attempt.

  More devious means are needed to set up better opponents for dash
CC attempts.  An often used tactic is to use stun-effect LT weapons at
short range to stagger a potential target, then rush in and attempt to
dash CC before the opponent recovers in time to put up a guard.
Obviously the main difficulty is to actually hit with the LT attack on
an evasive target in order to set him up.  The further away the
opponent is when stunned and the slower the player can get to him, the
more time there is for the victim to recover and attempt to foil the
attack.  Some CC combinations rely on using a LT attack to stun the
target within CC range then do a turning dash CC to strike from the
back as the attacker rushes past the defender.  However, Aph B is
surprisingly ill-equipped to attempt this maneuver as his forward dash
speed is exceedingly fast and will probably dash too far beyond before
most players can input the turning dash CC command.

  Failing the above, the other two means on connecting a dash CC move
against a good opponent are either to take him by surprise (easier
said than done, obviously) or attempt to dash CC him while the latter
is dashing.  The basic idea of a surprise attack is to prevent the
opponent from seeing the attack coming.  Obviously the simple
implemention of this will be to run off to either side of the opponent
at short range to break his visual lock on you, then attack.  Other
means of doing so rely on using either objects or explosions in the
arena to obscure your approach.  Though your opponent still retains
a target lock on you, the lack of direct visual imput tends to limit
his attempts to guess at your intent.  On using explosions for cover
in a dash CC attempt, Aph B can obviously create his own with his LW,
but more inventive and daring player piloting the more stable VRs are
not adverse to charge through their opponents' explosive attacks on
their way to surprise their shocked opponent, taking the minor damage
from running throught the blast in return for a chance at doing
much greater damage.

  Dashing CC a ground dashing opponent should be considered an fairly
difficult feat to accomplish, given the strick demands on tactical
thinking (hard to even set up an opportunity) and sheer reflexes
(literally split-second reflexes are required).  However, the greatest
advantage of this method is the great loss of options for the target.
There is no way for a dashing opponent to defend against a well-timed
dash CC attack once the attacker successfully initiates it with all
requirements satisfied, except perhaps to fire off his dash attack
and hope that it is enough to interrupt the attacker's dash or attempt
to do a crouch dash attack on the slim chance the target VR will
crouch low enough to duck under the dash CC.

Close Combat Tactics:
  This section would focus significantly on Aph B being the aggresser,
but there will still be considerable sections devoted to defending as
he does not completely dominate the CC arena and there are always
other tongfer-mad Aph B players out there (including yours truly).

  As mentioned previous, Aph B rules hand down in terms of CC damage
simply because of his standing CC CW attack tongfer.  There are few
other CC moves available to other VRs that can rival the tongfer's
damage potential, and none of them have tongfer's greatest advantage:
its extreme CC activation range at 135 meters.  Aph B can attempt to
slide in with tongfers flailing from a much greater range than players
piloting other VRs would expect, which is a major advantage to an
aggressive CC-crazed Aph B player.  Though the CC tongfer's speed is
only average, the extended activation range gives Aph B the option of
tongfer-rushing his opponent several times a round, and it just takes
one hit (or two against the tougher VRs) to turn the tables around.

  Aph B has a major advantage in initiating CC from 135-100 meters,
where no other VR will have been activated for CC and will have great
difficulty in blocking a tongfer rush if caught unprepared.  However,
he starts to lose out at shorter CC ranges.  Closer, Aph B's only
strength is his superior CC dmg potential, but the emphasis will be
more on CC attack speed and contact range.  This is where the other
CC-capable VRs, Temjin, Cypher, Fei-Yen Kn and Specineff are better in
than Aph B.  All of the above VRs have equal or superior attack speeds
and, especially for Temjin and Cypher, have much better contact areas
with their CC attacks than Aph B.  Once having reached the above VRs'
effective CC ranges, Aph B is at a disadvantage until he works his
way closer.

  To neutralise their superior CC attack contact areas, Aph B must
avoid exposing himself to attack until he can maneuver in further to
the point where his primary close-in CC attack, his guard-CC LW,
becomes viable.

  In short, Aph B basically holds an advantage in initiating CC from
beyond 100 meters range (where other VRs have yet to activate for CC)
but loses out to the other four VRs at mid-range skirmish due to their
superior reach.  The playing field is fairly even at near point-blank
range.

  Due to the relative slow speed of 5.2 CC and the inability to cancel
quickstep CC in event of a likely miss, CC in 5.2 VOOT is largely
focused on guard-CC attacks and quickstepping, as well as certain very
short range dash CC variations, since they are generally the least
risky of attacks.  Quickstep CC and Jumping CC are relatively risky
compared to their gains, and are rarely seen except for their
'surprise' factor.  Hence for the large part, CC Dueling is pretty
much a test of reflexes, guts and cunning, as both sides try to
maneuver around each other looking for an opening or trying to goad
the opponent into leaving himself open.

Notes against Specific VRs in Versus Mode
=========================================

  This section covers a little of what the author knows of the
preferred tactics and moves of standard and elite players of the other
VRs.  The primary differences between standard and elite players are
that the latter tend to have exceptional reaction time, intimate
knowledge of both their own and opponents' VRs, complex combination
moves and ability to switch between different playing strategies on
the fly.   The author himself can only be considered a 'veteran' at
best, having played with the local elites, but stands little chance of
winning a match should they go all-out.

  At the start of each section on a specific VR, there is a rough
gauge of how the VR measures up versus Aph B in different areas:

Ground: Overall Ground Speed
Air:    Overall Air Speed
Power:  Weapon Firepower
CC:     Close Combat Effectiveness
Armour: Damage Resistance

  The number of +/- signs show whether the VR referred to is at an
advantage or disadvantage relative to Aph B, and by how much.  A '~'
sign means a rough parity in the relevent field.

[Ajim]

Ground: ~/++
Air: +/++
Power: +/++
CC: +
Armour: -

  There are basically two types of players who uses Ajim to challenge
other non-Ajim players; those who think picking Ajim is a shortcut to
victory and those elites who really know how to maximise Ajim's
biggest strength:  his insane speed at Mobility Level 5.

  The following discussion is meant to plumment those newbies who pick
Ajim for lack of skill.  Against an elite player who knows how to play
Ajim, most anyone is dead once Ajim gains the lead (not hard to do)
and starts playing runaway chicken; you have better luck catching a
rowing Specineff.

  Against newbie Ajims, remember player Ajim's greatest weakness: he 
has nearly uncontrollable rotation ability.  Make the best use of the
by staying close and keep running off to the side to maximise his
turning problems.  Though any decent player knows how to jump cancel,
even the slightest rotation command will cause Ajim to spin.

  Learn to negate his standard RW and LW attacks using either sonic
rings or stun submachineguns.  A special note on Ajim's LW, which
consist of him throwing out big homing coloured spheres not unlike
Specineff's RTLW.  Besides good homing, they are far faster and does
major damage even on an indirect hit by the explosion.  Fortunately,
they can not pass through obstacles without prematurely detonating and
are very easily disrupted by most weapon fire.  Whenever Ajim throws
one out, attempt to prematurely detonate it with weapon fire or, if
luxury permits, stand slightly behind a large obstacle and let the
sphere impact on it.  Definitely do not dodge and 'forget' about it;
unless it explodes prematurely, it has a better than even chance on
catching up to you with disasterous consequences.

  WRT Ajim's CW, his greatest threat comes from his RTCW which throws
out rolling dark boards that reflects incoming fire and slowly homes
in on the target through explosions and obstacles.  There is no way to
destroy it apart from keeping away til it expires, which is not easy
at all.  When doing most dash CW, Ajim throws out varied numbers of
small coloured balls which attempt to home in quickly on the target.
On impacting they have different effects on the target, ranging from
mere damage to draining ammo guages to disabling weapons.
Fortunately, they are not hard to dodge given warning.  Note that of
the coloured balls, the dark blue/purple ball with a white centre
actually restores the target to 100% on impact, though attempting to
get hit by this ball alone among a bunch of others is quite a
challenge.

  The author has no experience with Ajim at CC range, mostly because
most Ajim players don't stick around to fight it out.  However, Ajim's
guard-cancel LW may be similar to Temjin's (further down) and is
likely to possess similar capabilities.

  Ajim's one Special Move is his Self Nuke, which requires full ammo
gauges for all weapons.  By sacrificing that and 50% of his current
energy, Ajim starts spinning around for a few seconds before giving
off a superlarge explosion bigger and more devastating than Grysvok's
Crouch + Start ICBM.  The blast radius exceeds 250 meters in range, so
the moment Ajim starts rotating there are only two options for those
intending to escape: either stop the move prematurely by hitting Ajim
with a good stun or knockdown effect weapon, or hightail it and hope
to make it out of the blast radius in time.  For players who
successfully retreat out of the Self Nuke's  blast, note that Ajim
takes a few seconds to reform after the move and is a totally
stationary and vulnerable target for the duration.

[Angelan]

Ground: -
Air: ++
Power: +
CC: --
Armour: -

  Angelan is most mobile when rowing in the air; her aerial rowing
speed is enough to allow her to challenge Cypher for the 'King of the
Air' title.  The standard Angelan strategy is to use her aerial
agility to evade attacks and keep her distance, perferably behind
obstacles where she could set up her attacks.

  Aph B has little chance of hitting Angelan while she is air-rowing,
he must concentrate on catching her as she lands, not an easy feat.
An alternative strategy is to hinder her attempts to jump away with
crouching LTLWs

  Angelan's ground movements are below par, but not her attacks.  Her
normal RW shots have fairly high priority over many other VRs' RWs,
including Aph B's submachineguns, though it is not too great a loss.
Sonic rings cannot stop Angelan's RW shots but neither are they
affected by them.  At short range, her crouching LW Ice Pillars are
fast enough to surprise lesser players, though their homing abilities
are not as good as standing Ice Pillars.  Her LTRW fires a fast laser
beam that does decent damage and, more importantly, has good chances
of knocking down any target or at least staggering the more stable
VRs; her LTLW throws out multiple ice crystals in a sweeping move from
her right, and are fast and dense enough to be difficult to dodge at
close range.  In defence, she can throw up a LTCW diamond-shaped Ice
Shield that blocks out almost all non-explosive attacks and lasts for
several seconds.

  If Angelan is granted a few seconds' peace on the ground, she can
attempt to launch either her (crouching) CW Ice Dragon Breath
(crouching CW is faster) or her trademark RTCW Double Ramming Dragon.
The Dragon Breath has the dragon head approach the target and breath
out a long stream of ice breath, which damages both energy and V.
Armour.  To avoid getting hit totally, the target must continue
dodging the shots for 2-3 seconds.  The latter creates two dragon
heads which will attempt to follow and ram the VR for major damage;
extreme damage if both dragon heads connect with the VR
simultaneously.  The ramming dragon heads will follow the VR for
several seconds if not disrupted by obstacles, so extended dodging is
needed.  If possible, try to neutralise the Double Ramming Dragon
early; chances of getting hit by a ramming dragon head from the side
or rear are very high.  Angelan may also choose to initiate a RTLW Big
Ice Pillar which, besides good damage, homes in persistantly like Aph
B's homing tornados and passes through most obstacles.  The Big Ice
Pillars also tend to survive encounters with enemy explosive attacks.
(gah!)

  When Angelan does an extended jump, she may either be aiming to get
away using her air rowing, or she may try to release an attack in the
air.  Staple aerial attacks include CW, RTCW, RTLW or RTRW.  Angelan's
RTRW has her releasing a quick screw-like dragon head that, if it
successfully hits, will literally freezes the target in a block of
ice, doing a little continous damage while the target remains frozen
and immobilising the VR to boot.  The latter effect can be an
especially bad proposition if there is already a previously-launched
RTLW or worse, a RTCW chasing after the now-helpless VR.  Angelan's
RTRW is rarely seen on the ground since it can be easily disrupted by
most incoming fire plus she is immobilised and must have direct
line-of-sigh for the attack to hit, but in the air such problems are
minimised.

  CC-wise, Angelan is very weak offensively as, besides doing poor
damage, her standing and RT CC attacks have horrible reach.  However,
when she uses her crouching CC LW and CW attacks, they generate ice
crystals on the floor which which damage and trip up enemies.  These
ice crystals last for a few seconds unless destroyed by explosives,
so watch your step if she lays a few ice patches down.  Her LTRW and
LTLW can be still used in CC and, at such short ranges, are very
dangerous.  Angelan can also erect LTCW Ice Shields in CC range, which
will knockdown any VR that collides into them.

  Angelan's one Special Move is Wing Mode, which requires the
sacrifice of half of her current energy bar in order to grow wings.
The wings last for 13 seconds, but grants Angelan incredible speed to
the point whereby any attempts to catch a winged Angelan is an
exercise in fustration.  Angelan's CC RTRW attack is also transformed
in that it now can drain energy from its target on a successful hit to
replenish Angelan's.  However, given the slow speed of that CC attack,
it is only a minor point to take note of at best.  Note that Angelan
can keep regrowing her wings over and over again provided that she
pays the price.  The process to grow her wings takes a good deal of
time and can be interrupted; however, there seems little point in
doing so as Angelan loses half her energy in the bargain, unless of
course time is ticking on the clock and Angelan has such a large lead
that she may use Wing Mode to win by time out.

[Apharmd Battler]

Ground: na
Air: na
Power: na
CC: na
Armour: na

  In any mirror match, VR abilties do not matter that much.  Instead,
the duel will be based literally on individual pilot reflexes, cunning
and usage of abilities.  Watch out for overdependence on any one field
and possible openings.

  Against an opposing Aph B that attempts to use Infinite Sonic Rings
trick against you, Aph B has it quite easy.  Sonic rings pass through
each other with no effect, and they do not hinder LTRW either.  Hence,
once the opposing Aph B starts throwing out rings, simply take a split
second to fire off a couple of rings or a few LTRW shots before
dashing away.  The rings will hit a Infinite Sonic Ring throwing Aph B
easily (as Aph B's movements are limited when doing so) while LTRW
has good chances of stunning or staggering him out of the sequence.
More likely a good Aph B will notice the counterfire and terminate the
sequence prematurely to dodge, which is the true intention of the
countermove.

[Apharmd Striker]

Ground: -
Air: +
Power: +
CC: -
Armour: ~

  Apharmd Striker, or Aph S, loses out to Aph B in CC ability and
ground agility.  In return, his long range firepower is enhanced and
his air dash speed is above average.

  On the surface, Aph B and Aph S seems to retain napalm as a common
LW.  However, the weapon performance differs considerably.  Aph S'
standard and dash LW attacks does slightly greater damage and are
better when used defensively in blocking out enemy attacks; Aph B
gains the edge in dash bomb throwing accuracy.  Soccerbomb wise, Aph B
wins hands downs by both damage and throwing accuracy.  There is
little difference in the performance of either's bouncing bombs.

  Aph S' CW and RW are more damaging, but the standing variations tend
to have relatively poor homing.  Expect crouching RW as Aph S'
standard probing attacks.

  Aph S' CW fires a two-part missile; each part attacks on its own and
has its own unique properties.  In general, the first missile is
faster while the second does more damage and better homing which only
kicks in at longer ranges (be warned).  Aph S can opt to half-fire his
CW to release either missile only.  His RTCW's second missile does
heavy explosive damage and is Aph S' most powerful attack, though it
is not fast enough to be a major threat on its own.  Aph S' CW attacks
tend to be easily disrupted by enemy weapon fire, hence experienced
Aph S players often toss out a napalm canister prior to using his CW
attacks, using the napalm explosions as a defensive measure for both
Aph S and his vulnerable CW missiles.  Of all his CW attacks, expect
to see the crouching CW as they are more accurate.

  Try to bank on Aph B's greater ground speed when fighting Aph S.  He
is also very unstable and tends to get knocked down easily; drop him
with LTLW to fustrate him.  Remember his non-Turbo LW does more damage
so trading LW attacks is a bad idea.  Make extensive use of Aph B's
higher priority attacks to neutralise Aph S' greater damaging power.

  CC-wise, Aph S' best weapon is his LW which uses his knife to slash.
The short knife means Aph S' melee reach is fairly poor, but
nontheless guard-cancel LW is fast and damaging enough to pose a
significant threat.  His fastest CC attack is his RTLW which has him
doing a quick series of stabs with his knife.

  Aph S' special move is a air ramming attack similar to Aph B's kick;
Aph S does a charge with right fist/launcher extended instead.  The
flying punch does good damage though significantly less than Aph B's
kick.  Of note is the rumour that Aph S' ram attack has some
invulnerablity in it, but it has not been confirmed.

  Aph S also shares Aph B's Hyper Mode, also activated in the same way
(Double Jump, CW at apex).  While the increase of speed gives Aph B
some minor control problems, Aph S might actually benefit from this
move as he is significantly slower on the ground.  Like Aph B, Aph S
can only execute this move once per entire game, or challenger.

[Bal-series]

Ground: -/+
Air: +
Power: ++
CC: -
Armour: -

  Bal's greatest threat comes from his Ejectable Remote Launcher (ERL)
attack combinations, which range from numerous types of mines to
lasers to beams.  Bal players who primarily uses his normal attacks
are shortchanging themselves and are not much of a threat if not
underestimated.

  Agains Bal players conversant with his ERL combination, the best
strategy is to prevent them from setting up by employing stun and
knockdown attacks on Bal; he can't set up combinations effectively if
half the time is spent getting up.  Actually this is a lot harder than
it sounds as Bal is far more maneuverable than first looks would
suggest.  Devious Bal players can increase Bal's ground speed by
rowing; this trick does not work for Bal-Baros, the underwater version
of Bal found in the Undersea Plant stage.

  Much of Bal's ERL combinations involve him ejecting one or more of
his ERLs.  While ejecting ERLs on the ground is fairly quick and quite
difficult to interrupt, some of his combinations, especially his
satillite lasers combos, require Bal to eject ERLs at the apex of a
jump.  Thus said, an obvious way to limit his offensive potential is
to limit Bal's jumps or at the very least attempt to make him pay
dearly for the jump.

  It is far beyond the scope of the faq (as well as the author's
knowledge) to go indepth on the various ERL combos Bal have.  One fair
useful point is to try to remember the rough positions where any
ejected ERLs linger, and avoid staying near those places as a whole
mass of ring projectiles or mines may spill out of one at any time.

  WRT Bal's normal attacks, his RW releases ring lasers and his LW
releases homing mines.  His CW launches his hand ERL to make a
'handbit' attack.  In comparision to his VOOM predecesser, Bal's
standard attacks are shadows of what they were; ring lasers have poor
priority, mines do not home in persistantly and even the 'handbit'
attack have poor accuracy on a moving target.  However, Bal has some
interesting crouching variations.  His crouching CW is the strongest,
using his leg ERL to fly over the target to project an energy field
downwards; the field's contact area is large enough to demand that the
target either dashes away in time or get hit and knocked down for
decent damage.  Crouching LW releases spiky mines that bounces around
and over obstacles as they dog the enemy.  Crouching RTCW has Bal
ejecting his ERL which assemble in a row behind Bal before firing four
sustained beam of lasers that bend at specific lengths, causing them
to criss-cross over a good portion of the entire stage.  Running into
or getting caught in a beam causes decent damage and freezes the VR
brief, but the real danger is that if the VR is unlucky enough to get
caught just where any of the beams bend, it will take 100% damage and
die instantly!

  Bal's side dash crouching CW deserves some mention to a short range
fighter like Aph B.  This move releases Bal's leg ERLs as he completes
his dash.  The leg ERLs then proceed to fire off mines and ring lasers
at that position for the next few seconds.  Any VR too close is likely
to be swarmed by the rings and mines, so avoid rushing up if Bal
performs this move.

  In CC range, Bal has little to his credit, with the exception of his
CC RTRW Rocket Punch.  This move has him firing off his right arm ERL
at his enemy.  The main threat is that the Rocket Punch does tongfer
level damage!  The move comes out too slow to be of threat by itself,
but there are some variations of the move.  One is to hit RTRW then
cancel with a crouch move, leaving the ERL spinning on Bal's right
arm.  Then, any physical attack or contact made against him will
automatically trigger the rocket punch and the would-be attacker ends
up taking massive damage.  Another variation is to cancel with a dash.
For the brief second that the ERL remains spinning on Bal, any
physical contact with the enemy would have similar results.  Aph B
players are warned of these clever if underhanded means of using the
Rocket Punch.  Bal also has dashing CC attacks which do tongfer-level
damage, namely the CW and RW versions.  Fortunately, these moves are
hard to use offensively.

  Bal's Special Moves are all ERL related; he must eject all four ERLs
individually via LTRW/LW and crouching LTRW/LW before using any of
them.  Once ejected, he activates the Black Hole with a standing RTCW,
the Pyramid Trap with crouching RTCW and Double Reflect Lasers with
jumping RTCW.  The common weakness of all these special moves is that
it takes time to eject the ERLs.

  Double Reflect Lasers is similar to VOOM Bal's satillite lasers, but
any Bal player conversant with his numerous ERL combos will know of
other reflect laser combos that are much quicker to set up.  Also,
Double Reflect Lasers leaves Bal 'dancing' at the apex of the jump for
a few seconds, totally defenseless.

  Pyramid Trap uses the ERLs to attempt to trap the opposing VR by
projecting a transparent energy pyramid around the VR, enclosing it
within.  Bal can then attack with his ejected ERLs which form the
points of the pyramid.  The trapped VR has little space to run, and
the pyramid prevents its from counterattacking by containing all
attacks within.  A good Bal player can also follow up with the Double
Reflect Lasers while his opponent is still trapped within.  The best
defence is to avoid getting enclosed by dashing out of the area before
the pyramid forms, though good Bal players can attempt to trap the
opponent again by quickly inputing the commands and calling on the
ERLs to form another pyramid while the first is still in existance.

  Black Hole has the ERLs create a dark orb similar to Specineff's
RTLW.  The Black Hole is stationary and has no offensive capabilitys,
but it lasts for several seconds and in the meantime, will suck all
enemy attacks towards itself, effectively nulifying the opposing VR's
weapons for the duration.  However, it can only be formed once per
round.  Also, when the Black Hole is created, it first appears in
front of Bal.  If the opposing VR has a powerful explosive attack and
launches it before Bal can move away, the attack will be sucked into
the Black Hole, but there is a good chance that blast might hit and
damage Bal.  Aph B can easily exploit this by launching his RTLW
Soccerbomb :)


[Cypher]

Ground: -
Air: ++
Power: ~
CC: +
Armour: --

  Cypher is almost untouchable in the air; Aph B must either nail him
when he lands, get in close enough to hit him with a bomb blast, or
drop him with stun submachineguns and chase CC him on the ground.  All
are difficult to accomplish especially if Cypher chooses to fight at
long range.

  Cypher has only average speed on the ground; most good Cypher
players learn to use his exceptional aerial agility and air dash speed
to avoid getting hit.  Expect lots of diagonal jumps and other aerial
moves from Cypher.  When the Cypher player senses that the coast is
relatively clear he may land and attempt to fire one of his
ground-based attacks; this is also when Cypher tends to be vulnerable.
  
  Cypher's attacks mostly do average damage but they are very
effective at range.  Expect to see his CW homing beam, his LTCW or
crouching CW 4-way missiles (which can be half-cancelled to give 2-way
missiles), his RTLW Laser and his LW daggers as standard attacks.

  Most good Cypher players learn to cancel their standing LW daggers
to fire 2-3 daggers off on Cypher's forward right arc, with the intent
of conserving ammunition.  Naturally, this move is useless against
opponents in or moving to Cypher's left.  Repeated cancelling of
standing LW will lead to practically infinite LW daggers being fired,
which is a scary tactic at long range.  His standing RTCW is another
extreme range move: Cypher fires a large exploding homing beam up that
arcs down at long range with good speed and homing.  At shorter
ranges, his crouching RTCW fires the same homing beam straight out and
is difficult to dodge by a surprised foe.

  Cypher's RTRW Laser has pretty good priority and can neutralise
quite a bit of projectile fire.  However, it has no effect on Aph B's
CW sonic rings and vice versa.  Against a Cypher who fires his RTRW
from the ground frequently, counter with plenty of walking sonic
rings.  The rings, if fired early enough, will go right through the
laser beam and hit the brief immobile Cypher.

  Cypher is not a pushover in CC.  Damagewise he may be weak, but his
preferred CC attacks are hard to avoid.  Cypher's guard-RW is very
fast and has very good reach to his front; his guard-LW is only
marginally slower but does much more damage and sweeps his energy
sword outward in a 180 degree frontal arc.  The excellent reach of
both attacks are due to his long energy sword, the longest CC weapon
after Temjin's Sword.  Most of his CC attacks also do significant V.
Armour damage.  Cypher is also the one VR able to execute an aerial
dash CC whereby he does a vertical slash to hit an opponent below him,
and expert Cyphers can often combo a guard-CC hit into a quick
follow-up aerial dash CC slash.  Expert Cyphers can even score the
occasional hit on a ground dashing opponent with a forward diagonal
aerial dash CC!

  Cypher has two special moves: She's Gained Control (SGC) Dive and
Plane Transformation.  Both require full ammo guages to accomplished.
The SGC Dive bears little resemblance to VOOM Viper II's She's Lost
Control Dive as the former lacks the invulnerability and homing
ability of the latter.  Instead, when in the SGC Dive, the player
still retains steering control for the whole duration of the dive,
which is about several seconds unless Cypher runs in an obstacle or
edge of the playing field, or the intended target manages to knock him
down with a weapon attack.  The SGD Dive does good energy and V.
Armour damage on a hit, and the steering ability allows Cypher to make
multiple attempts at running his opponent down.  Note that Cypher's
ammo guages are drained at the move's termination, whether intentional
or forced.

  A special Cypher trick in CC range is to wait for his opponent to
rush in for a CC attempt, then from standing position activate SGD
Dive via a very quick jump-forward dash-CW.  The sheer speed demands
to execute this move limits it as a elite-level stunt, but when the
SGC Dive activates, the glow surrounding Cypher will hit and damage
opponents rushing in from all directions, even from the back!

  Cypher's Plane Transformation causes Cypher to transform into his
plane mode and fly around under full control for 13 seconds or until
knocked down by flying into an edge of the arena or obstacle, by
flying too low and contacting the ground or by enemy weapon fire.
Unlike the SGC Dive, Cypher sacrifices no ammo in doing so.  While in
plane mode, he retains the ability to attack with weapons, with some
changes.  His RW vulcan shots must be rapidly fired by repeatedly
tapping or squeezing the trigger.  His LW turns into non-homing 4-way
missiles that are aimed at the target's location when they are fired.
His CW homing beam appears to retain most of its abilities.  No Turbo
moves can be used in plane mode; holding a Turbo button will cut plane
Cypher's constant forward speed to minimal, effectively making him
hover in the air.  At any time, Cypher can opt to changed into an
unsteerable SGC Dive by hitting BTCW.  The Plane Transformation is not
really dangerous offensively.  However, attempting to shoot down the
plane Cypher is difficult to say the least, and can be nigh impossible
when Cypher is flying over the head of the enemy.  Thus it is a
fustratingly effective defensive/chicken maneuver.




[Dordary]

Ground: -
Air: -
Power: +
CC: -
Armour: ++

  A good Dordary strategy takes advantage of his enhanced V. Armour
when crouching, and does a lot of dash crouching attacks to maximise
this edge.  Aph B, however, is not overly affected by this because he
can still fall back on his sonic rings and bombs to do undeflectable
damage.

  Besides his forward and forward diagonal dash (crouching) RW
fireball, which can do serious damage, Dordary's  side dash crouching
RW is often utilised.  This move fires of up to 5 exploding fireball
in a chain.  In addition to good damage, the fireball explosions have
significant stunning and knockdown effect, particularly if most of the
fireball chain hits.  The fireball explosions last for a second or two
and can stagger VRs who attempt to walk through even though there is
no direct hit scored.

  When Dordary is not dashing, he can probe effective using crouching
RW which fires of a single exploding fireball, and all his LT attacks.
Both the crouching LTRW claw and crouching LTLW drill have decent
speed and stunning potential, but be especially wary of his crouching
LTCW stun flaming ring, which is fast, does decent damage and has
excellent stun potential that not even Aph B or another Dordary can
shirk off.  Many good Dordary players end a ground dash attack with an
immediate crouching LTCW to give pause to the opponents who have
successfully evaded the dash attack.  Attacking such Dordarys with
forward dash attacks are obviously very difficult.

  My anti-Dordary strategy is to keep moving and chip away slowly with
sonic rings and bombs.  Charging a Dordray is likely to have Aph B
staggered or knocked down by his crouching LTCW with nothing to show
for it.  Using homing tornado is not a bad idea since Dordary is not
fast enough to have a easy time dodging them, plus they would weaken
his V. Armour and allow Aph B to starting doing serious damage with
dash submachineguns when the luxury allows.

  Do not discount Dordary's drill and CD rush; both are fast and does
good damage.  The drill rush makes Dordary invulnerable for the whole
duration and is more maneuverable at some slight expense in damage.
Both rushes can be blocked as CC attacks, like many other 'ram'
attacks; of course, you have to be quick on the controls.  Dordary
players well versed in the rushes can cause Drodray to trace a small
circular path in the area around a potential target during the rush,
making it very easy to mtumble into the rush.  The best defence
against this is to jump up out of the reach of the rush.

  When Dordary does a jump at long range, be especially wary as he may
use his jumping RTCW, which throws out a whole stream of damaging 
V. Hurricane rings.  A good player knows to hold down the RT and slew
Dordary around, throwing the rings out to cover an insane area.  Even
a single hit will do major damage as well as a guaranteed knockdown.
Trying to dodge them all is chancy, and they tend to pass through most
obstacles with ease.  Fortunately for Aph B, his standing LW napalm is
sufficent to block the rings; dash along with the napalm explosions to
ensure Aph B is protected for the entire duration.

  In CC, Dordary is slow but does heavy damage with each hit.  Be
careful and be ready to outwait him; remember that he can still call
on his LT attacks to stun or drop Aph B long enough to make tracks out
of CC range.  Tongfer sliding right in the face of a Dordary is bad,
as a quick Dordary can get up his V. Hurricane fast enough to freeze
Aph B right in front of him, a real bad proposition.  Like Aph B's
stun-tornado-tongfer combo, Dordary can hit twice on a frozen VR using
his standing CC CW attack; elite Dordarys have learned special CC
combos which do even more damage should they be performed on a frozen
victim.

  Dordary's Special Move is Giant Mode, in which he expands in size
until he dwarfs his opponent.  Apart from cosmetic differences and
some minor changes (his CC RW move changes to a Foot Stomp; quite
amusing to do), a Giant Dordary does not appear to be a significant
threat.  It takes a few second for Dordary to complete the move once
initiated, and is easily interrupted by weapon fire, just in case you
do not want to contend with a Godzilla Dordary.  In my personal
opinion, 'the bigger they are, the harder they fall'.  However, the
increased size may well makes a rush practically impossible to avoid,
so it might be prudent to interrupt the process.  Like Apharmds' Hyper
Mode, this move can only be attempted once per entire game, or per
challenger.

[Fei-Yen Knight]

Ground: ~
Air: +
Power: +/++
CC: +
Armour: -

  Fei-Yen is a fast and fairly powerful opponent for Aph B to face at
all ranges.  When her Hyper Mode is triggered, her projectile weapons
become even more potent and her movement speeds up, especially her air
dashes.

  When non-Hyper, Fei-Yen is a fairly mean customer to handle.  She
can keep up a barrage of walking RW handbeam at short range and mix in
LW swordbeams and LTLW stun swordbeams as needed.  When hiding behind
obstacles, she can fire over them with her standing CW Heartbeam which
has an initial arc, or her LTRW arcing handbeam which is not
deflectable to boot.  Fei-Yen's RTRW fires a large blob which has
delayed homing (kicks in after flying straight for a short distance)
but is fairly fast and does decent damage.  Her RTCW unleashes a
heart-like blast straight out without homing and is rarely seen
because of it, though it does good damage on a hit.  Fei-Yen's RTLW
Drawn Heart has decent homing and does V. Armour damage.  It also does
energy damage and has freezing potential, but they rarely work without
Hyper Mode.  At long range, her LTCW fires low damage stun heartbeams
that have good enough homing to be a threat.

  When fighting Fei-Yen, expect a fierce exchange of weapon fire with
a good dose of stun weapons thrown in.  Fei-Yen's non-dashing
swordbeams have range limits and dissipate beyond that; her normal
swordbeams at ~400 meters and her LTLWs at ~250.  Learn to stay out of
the latter's reach when you are not pressing the attack or buying time
to recharge your weapons.  Within 250 meters, Aph B must keep dashing
to avoid getting nailed by LTLWs.

  Not all of non-Hyper Fei-Yen's CW Heartbeams explode.  Only her
standing and dashing CW heartbeams give a large blast that does a
little splash damage and also helps to adsorb enemy weapon fire.  All
of Fei-Yen's aerial and crouching heartbeams do not explode until
Hyper Mode.  Fei-Yen's LTCW also give a little 'explosion', but
without Hyper Mode, the explosion has nothing more that visual
effects.  Another weakess of the heartbeams are that they can be
fairly easily disrupted or prematurely detonated by Aph B's sonic
rings and stun submachinegun shots.

  Fei-Yen is one of the fastest VR in CC, with above average melee
reach and good damage potential.  Her guard-cancel LW/RW slashes both
have better reach than Aph B's thanks to her shortsword.  Worse, at
point-blank range, she can combo her LTLW with her CC attacks, making
them practically unblockable.  A simple example:  Fei-Yen executes a
LTLW-into-CC CW on a blocking Aph B.  The LTLW hits first, doing minor
damage and staggering Aph B OUT OF THE BLOCK; the CC CW will come out
lightning fast and hits Aph B before the latter can try to recover.
The LTLW-CC CW is the most damaging, but difficult to execute due to
time requirements.  Still LTLW-RW/LW are easier to do even if they
offer less damage, and all three combos are guaranteed knockdowns.
Fei-Yen can also attempt to do a double-hit CC CW on a RTLW-frozen
target, doing very good cumulative damage though not on par with Aph
B's double-hit tongfer.

  Don't forget that Fei-Yen is one of the better VRs in dashing CC
attacks, due to her good speed and fairly long 'shortsword'.

  Hyper Mode is Fei-Yen Knight's only Special Move, and she cannot
trigger it herself.  It is automatically activated the moment Fei-Yen
has accumulated more than 50% damage to her energy; the visual cue is
Fei-Yen turning golden.  As mentioned, Hyper Mode boosts her dash
speed and projectile weapon damage.  It also enhances her weaponry in
other ways.  For instance, now all of Hyper Fei-Yen's CW attacks
except her RTCWs explode upon impact.  Hyper Fei-Yen's RTLW Drawn
Heart has enhanced homing and its damage and freeze effect now works
100% of the time.  A long range tactic called Hyper Bombardment relys
on her improved projectile attacks to 'bombard' her hapless opponent
with rapid successions of LTCW, mixing in RTRW, RTLW and CW (Hyper
Bombardment can be done without Hyper Mode, but is only truly powerful
with it).  The slightest lapse in the opponent's defence at any time
can result in a hit by any of the weapons, slowing him down with
potentially disasterous consequences.  Woe betide the poor VR who gets
frozen in the clear by Hyper Fei-Yen's RTLW; good Fei-Yen players can
quickly combo in more attacks onto the frozen victim to do massive
damage before the latter can struggle out of the freeze effect.

  If you are leading in energy and Fei-Yen is not yet in Hyper, rein
in your attacks and avoid trigger her Hyper Mode (get her as close to
50% as you dare and leave it at that) until you can land a seriously
damaging hit .  This is termed '50% dome' and is used to limit the
effective use of Fei-Yen's Hyper Mode.  A Fei-Yen player just above
50% is often willing to take a couple of minor hits just to activate
Hyper Mode; be warned.

[Grysvok]

Ground: -
Air: ~
Power: ++
CC: -
Armour: -

  Grysvok is not very well stacked against Aph B.  Though his
projectile attacks are powerful, Grysvok is not fast enough nor
properly equipped to prevent a decent Aph B player from closing ranges
rapidly where Aph B will run roughshod over the missile platfrom,
where most of the latter's weapons are relatively ineffective.

  Grysvok's LW napalm is by far the most damaging non-Turbo explosive
attack, so trading napalm damage is a definite no-no.  Napalm's threat
is greatest at short range where it comes out fast enough and has a
large contact area that makes it difficult to avoid.

  Among his CW attacks, those that bears watching are his crouching CW
and crouching LTCW.  The former launches four missiles at a time; each
are fast, damaging and homing enough to be a major threat.  Most
Grysvoks are easily able to fire multiple spreads of such missiles in
a single crouching move, which is obviously not good news for anyone.
(I once had to settle for a time-out win over a Grysvok buddy with my
Cypher, not because I was playing chicken, but there were so many
missiles in the air at times that even Cypher has his work cut out
avoiding them all.  I just couldn't close in for the kill!).  The
crouching LTCW is Grysvok's one powerful stun/knockdown and the 4
small missiles are even faster and more homing.  Of course, damage is
minimal.

  Aph B fares well against Grysvok's missile barrages due to his speed
and defensive LW napalm chain.

  Up close, Grysvok's RW is his primary attack for short range
defense. His dash RW attacks are not particular fast or homing, but
they can do major damage if allowed to connect.  Grysvok can attempt
to go offensive with his forward dash RW if given an opening to
exploit, or he can make tracks with a side dash RW that fires three
large shells which splits up into multiple small homing warheads.  At
longer range, Grysvok can use back dash RW that fires a couple of slow
homing ground missiles that can eventually creep up to the side or
back of an unwary target, not unlike Aph B's homing tornadoes.

  Grysvok is fair powerful damagewise in CC as befitting a large VR,
but he is not particular fast and has no major tricks to pull out.
Remain aware of his LT weaponry and avoid underestimating him.

  Grysvok's Special Move enables him to fire one monsterous ICBM.  He
can do this only once per round.  His crouching RTCW and forward dash
crouching CW also fires a lesser sized ICBM; he can fire unlimited
number of these, though only one small ICBM can exist at one time
(Grysvok may have one big and small ICBM in the air simultaneously
though).  An ICBM flies way up into the sky before turning down and
start homing in on the target, eventually hitting the ground and
hopefully catching the target in its respectable blast radius.  The
big ICBM does far more damage, but it has a quirk in that it can
damage the firing Grysvok if the latter gets caught in its own big
ICBM's blast (bummer).  The small ICBM does less damage and is
'friendly' to the owner Grysvok.  In practice, both types of ICBMs
are of little threat to Aph B (or any fast mover) who constantly runs
all over the battlefield.  The only thing to note is to keep changing
your ground and avoid doubling back on your tracks.  If you are not
too busy, you can sometimes catch sight of the ICBM's shadow (a moving
black circle on the ground), indicating its relative position.

[Raiden]

Ground: -
Air: -
Power: ++
CC: -
Armour: ++

  Raiden is pretty much a fairly difficult VR to master as one must
learn to overcome his below average movement speed, especially his
ground walking speed.  However, for the good players who learn to
accomodate his weakness and maximise his damage potential, he is a
real difficult opponent.

  Raiden still retains his trademark CW Lasers which still does
massive damage on a hit, though no longer able to totally waste
crouching opponents from 100% energy.  The usage of the Lasers still
remains similar to VOOM, being used to 'intercept' dashing opponents
along predicted paths.  The Lasers come out slightly slower in VOOT;
there is a brief flash around Raiden's shoulders when his CW is
activated.  Unlike VOOM, the Lasers can now be cancelled prematurely
with a dash or jump, giving him the option to scare using the Lasers
as a threat.  Raiden's RTCW Screw Lasers are slower to come out, but
does even more damage and, more importantly are known to punch right
through all forms of explosives or other defensive weapons used by
their opponents.  His LTCW throwns out long lines of electricity in a
cylindrical 'cage' that lasts for several seconds; any opponent who
touches the laser cage in any manner will be frozen quite effectively
for several seconds at the tender mercies of Raiden.  Raiden also has
the option of half-cancelling all his CW variations to save ammunition
and good Raidens make extensive use of this, meaning you can bet on
seeing many single Laser beams and 'half' cages.

  When Raiden does a crouching normal CW Lasers, he can immediately
opt to cancel the freeze time by dashing AFTER firing the lasers.  A
interesting if not frequently seen use of this ability is when Raiden
fires the crouching Laser and goes on to dash forward through the
Laser beams, using the high priority beams as a shield against
non-explosive enemy attacks.

  VOOM Raiden's one weapon weakness is that he has little means of
flushing out a hiding opponent directly.  VOOT Raiden overcomes this
with his new LW Gravity Bombs.  Against VRs who move sidewards to
avoid the initial blast, the new bombs will initiate a chain of
powerful napalm off to the side towards the evasive opponent when
they detonate.  Seasoned Raiden players often toss gravity bombs off
to one side of a opponent, hidden or not, to trigger the side napalm.
The side napalm does good damage for a non Turbo explosive attack, as
well as having good knockdown potential.  Of interesting note is that
if Aph B hits Raiden with stun submachineguns just as he deploys a
gravity bomb, chances are good that the bomb may be prematurely
detonated if it gets hit by the shots (the bomb is thrown upwards
slightly before it drops to the ground), wasting Raiden's LW ammo.
The gravity bomb is also likely to detonate early if it contacts Aph
B's napalm.

  Against Raiden, Aph B must play aggresively to minimise the latter's
luxury in setting up elaborate traps with his laser cages and side
napalm.  Playing aggressively does not mean playing foolhardly, as Aph
B must avoid being an easy target for standing Lasers in any way.  Aph
B must know how the Lasers are used (most often fired along target's
projected movement) and avoid giving Raiden opportunites for doing
heavy damage by being unpredictable in movements.  Mix in a good
amount of jumps and air dashes to keep Raiden guessing.  When Aph B is
hiding behind an obstacle, be careful when you intend to break cover,
as Raiden is often ready to fire his Lasers off to one side of the
obstacle just in case he gets lucky.

  At long range, make the most of LTRW to fustrate Raiden's movements,
and when the luxury allows, generate some homing tornados to pester
him.  As Raiden is fairly slow, the effectiveness of these attacks
will be especially pronouced on him.  Try to drop him with stun
submacheineguns if you want to close in in relative peace.

  Medium range is probably best suited for Aph B, as it offers
sufficent range to dodge or counter Raiden's attacks while being close
enough for Aph B to threaten with more than just his stun weapons.
This is also the range where Raiden's gravity bomb-napalm is fairly
effective.  Be attentive to where Raiden throws out the gravity bomb
and take appropriate measures to avoid the anticipated napalm.  The
main difficulty is keeping an eye on both Raiden and the gravity bomb
simultaneously.  A jump or air dash that is high enough can avoid the
napalm altogether, but crackshot Raidens can still nail you in the air
with a standing CW Laser, or at least pester you with bazookas while
you're in the air.

  Fighting at short range against Raiden is not particularly
desirable, as it significantly increases the risks of a direct hit by
his RW and CW.  Raiden's crouching RW fires small but fair fast
bazooka shots that are surprisingly effective up close, both in damage
and in stunning opponents, even Aph B.  At short ranges, Raiden's
forward dash attacks are also very effective.  His forward dash CW is
weak damagewise, but fires twice and has high priority and good hit
prospects up close.  Raiden can also elect to chuck a LW and dash into
the bomb blast firing RW shots.  The gravity bomb blast is fairly
shallow but is high enough to shield Raiden from ground-based fire and
lasts several seconds, long enough to provide adequate protection and
damage enemies foolish enough to walk into it.

  Getting caught in Raiden's LTCW Laser Cage will freeze any VR
significantly.  Try to struggle out of the freeze quickly.  As
Raiden's CW ammo is used to create the cage, he is not likely to blast
you with his Lasers (thank goodness), but if you are caught in the
open, expect a RTRW large bazooka shot that can still take a chunk out
of your energy.

  Raiden has only average CC moves with good damage as expected from a
heavy VR.  His CC RW attacks have surprisingly decent contact area as
he swings his bazooka around in the attacks.  His guard-LW is probably
his fastest attack; interestingly, VOOM Raiden's fastest CC move was
also his LW.  When activated for CC, his CW attacks have Raiden
releasing electric discharges from his shoulders.  Be aware that his
CC CW activation range is extremely short (~35 meters or so), hence
care must still be taken when rushing in lest Raiden responds with
standing CW Lasers right into the face!  Another quirk:  When Raiden
is firing his standing CW Lasers, a VR who physically touches Raiden,
even from the side or rear, is liable to get 'hit' by the laser.
Therefore, when Raiden fires his Lasers at CC range but miss, avoid
meleeing him until the Lasers' duration has finished.  VRs with very
long CC weapons (notably Temjin's and Cypher's swords) can attack with
CC safely if only the melee weapon and no other part of the VR touches
a Laser-firing Raiden, but I do not recommend that Aph B even try as
his tongfers are considered pretty 'short'.
  
  Raiden's special move Armour Break (jump and hit Start button)
involves him blowing off all his V. Armour and 90% of his remaining
energy.  This leaves a very vulnerable and terribly damaged Raiden,
with enhanced speed in all areas, even in the air.   In this mode,
Raiden's speed far exceeds all other VRs with the possible exception
of Ajim at Movement 5 or a Winged Angelan.  Against an Armour Broken
Raiden, the trick is to stay calm and not be awed, as in a serious
match, Raiden is likely to try this last-ditch move only if he is far
behind in energy.  Use high accuracy or hit-probability weapons to
nibble at the last bits of his remaining energy.  Good Raidens would
tend to stay at long range when armour broken, knowing the dangers of
Aph B's LW.  Hence the best bet are his sonic rings and stun
submachineguns.



[Specineff]

Ground: +
Air: ~
Power: +
CC: ~
Armour: --

  Specineff is probably one of Aph B's worst opponents.  His ground
dash speed is very fast, in almost ALL directions, while only Aph B's
ground forward dash speed is truly fast.

  Most good Specineff players prefer to fight at long range to
maximise the advantages of his powerful CW 'shockwave' attacks.
Chasing such players down is a task in itself.  Should the Specineff
player be conversant with rowing and has no qualms about playing
machi, be ready to admit defeat unless you are very good.

  Chances of engaging runaway Specineffs in CC are extremely rare, so
Aph B must content himself with a running battle, using his more
homing ranged attacks and attempting to come out ahead in the
exchanges of weapon fire.  By no means an easy task, as Aph B must
juggle between attempts to close in while watching out for Specineff's
fast and accurate RW and CW attacks.

  Watch out for Specineff's crouching CW shockwaves at shorter ranges
as they come out extremely fast with good accuracy.  His moving crouch
RW shots are also fairly annoying due to decent speed and damage.  For
dash attacks, his foward and forward diagonal ground dash RW does
remarkable damage, and his ground dash crouching CW shockwaves are as
effective as the non-dashing crouching CW.  Though Specineff is fairly
slow in air dashes, his air dash RW and side air dash CW are still
quite effective.

  At longer ranges, be wary if Specineff pauses behind cover as he may
launch his RTCW homing shockwave, which has deadly homing ability and
can easily hit all but the most nimble of opponents.  In Aph B's
defence, only his crouch LW napalm can hope to block out this attack.
Use crouching LW more frequently when fighting Specineff as many other
variations of his CW shockwaves can pass through standing LW.
LW-wise, many Specineffs would try to find enough leeway to stop for
long enough to launch a RTLW 'purple ball' which does significantly
more damage and homes in nearly as persistently as his standard LW
plasma balls.  Specineff's jumping RTRW 'turbo dart' has uncanny
homing at medium range if he mananges to center his sights onto the
target; his crouching RTRW is surprisingly fast and is a guaranteed
knockdown.  An airborne target hit with the crouching RTRW also gains
the humiliation of having to soar uncontrollably upwards for a few
seconds while additional energy is drained away, before crashing back
down to the ground in a heap at Specineff's feet and tender mercies.

  A little noted weakness of Specineff is that he shows a slight
problem with dash rotation in ground dash attacks (most VRs in VOOT
have almost perfect dash rotation).  If the opponent dash to
Specineff's rear and he responds with a ground dash attack (especially
a forward or forward diagonal RW attack), there is a fair chance that
Specineff does not rotate quite enough to hit with his attack.

  Generally, fighting in arenas littered with obstacles that can
provide cover is advantageous to Aph B.  However, Specineff's standard
CW attacks are unaffected by obstacles; a crowded arena only serves to
help Specineff in hit-and-run tactics while hindering Aph B in trying
to catch the bugger with his already poor ranged arsenal.

  Though many Specineff players avoid CC with Aph B (since a lucky
tongfer by the latter practically spells doom for the former),
Specineff can hold his own in CC.  He does good damage with his
attacks, outreaches Aph B due to his longer scythe and is fast.  His
fastest CC move is his guard-LW which results in a left claw swipe,
though at only very short range.  His guard-RW slashes his scythe out
quickly at a slightly greater reach than Aph B's guard-LW.  Finally,
Specineff can execute one of his special moves, the multiple plasma
balls spread, in CC range with devastating effect if Aph B rushes
forward too eagerly.  The plamsa balls spread is not a major threat at
any other range.

  On the topic of special moves, Specineff also has his sliding tackle
(forward dash crouching CW with 100% CW ammo) and his Death Mode (hit
Start Button twice when lagging in energy).  The sliding tackle does
good damage and can be steered.  However, the duration is very short,
and more importantly, at the end of the tackle, ALL of Specineff's
ammo gauges are drained to 0%.  If Aph B successfully avoid the
sliding tackle, this gives him a few seconds to go all-out on a nearly
defenseless Specineff.  The Death Mode renders Specineff totally
invulnerable to all damage for 13 seconds, after which he
automatically dies and loses the round.  The Specineff player has that
much time to win by killing his opponent; if Death Mode is activated
when there is less than 13 seconds of the round to go, Specineff also
automatically loses if the opponent remains alive at the end of the
round.

  The important thing to note is that Specineff can still be knocked
down by attacks even though he can not be killed for the vital 13
seconds.  Hence, upon realising that a Specineff opponent has
activated Death Mode (quite easy as Specineff can not be damaged by
any means), Aph B's priority changes to simply surviving until the 13
seconds are up.  To that end, either flee and avoid getting killed or
shift tactics and concentrate on using knockdown attacks to force
Specineff to waste time getting up.  If Aph B is knocked down by a
Death Mode Specineff and has more than enough energy to survive any
ground attack on him while prone, get up slowly (as opposed to
struggling on the controls to get up quickly) in order to waste even
more time!  All these anti-Death Mode tactics sound real cheesy, but
there is nothing else sensible to do?!

[Temjin]

Ground: -
Air: +
Power: +
CC: +
Armour: +

  Temjin's primary bite comes from his famous Big Two (forward dash
RW).  Expect his Surboard Ram to come out when the player is desperate
or as a surprise move.

  Aph B actually has a significant advantage at long range battles.
Most variations of Temjin's CW Swordbeam has a maximum range of some
400 meters and his LTRW Stun Beam Rifle has a maximum range of around
250 meters.  In addition, Aph B's standing sonic rings and stun
submachineguns can easily neutralise almost all of Temjin's CW
swordbeams and normal RW shots.

  Closer, Temjin gains the advantage with the heavy damage potential
of his Big Two and his dash CC attacks, which has incredible reach due
to the sheer length of his energy sword.  Expect Temjin to probe with
moving crouching CW swordbeams and moving crouching RW beam rifles,
besides his stun attacks LTCW and LTRW.  Temjin's LW is geared toward
defense and is mostly ineffective as an offensive tool, though he can
throw a nasty stun-effect bomb with good accuracy using crouching
LTLW, which also serves well in damaging V. Armour.

  If Temjin seems to cut back on his offensive attacks, he may be
saving up his ammo for a surprise Surfboard Ram.  Good Temjin players
will avoid initiating a Ram in plain sight and at long range, as that
is easily defended against or even interrupted.  Instead, they tend to
get out of the opponent's field of vision at short range before
attacking with the Ram, which gives minimal warning to the intended
victim.  In the event of successfully defeating a Ram attempt,
remember that Temjin drains all of his ammo gauges with this move, and
try to whale on him while he recovers.

  In close combat, Temjin's fastest attack comes from his RW rifle
poke. Apart from point-blank range, however, the poke misses very
easily.  His mainstray CC attack is his guard-CC LW, which has Temjin
sweeping out his sword in a large frontal arc.  This attack has good
speed and insane reach (again due to his long sword), and is almost
impossible to ground dash away from.  Similarly, when Temjin executes
a quickstep CC, the large contact area as he sweeps his sword around
means that a safer evasive move is to jump instead of dash.

  Temjin has another special move 'Spinning Sword' which causes him to
extend his energy sword and spin toward his opponent.  The Spinning
Sword does good damage on a hit and is very difficult to avoid without
dashing or jumping away out of reach.  However, it is considered a CC
move and can be guarded against; just remember to keep guarding until
the spin stops.  The weakness of the Spinning Sword is that it needs a
significant amount of time for Temjin to ready himself before starting
the Spin.  However, a side effect of this special move is that it
enhances his V. Armour and his stability.  I have seen a Temjin
initiating the Spinning Sword deflect the opposing Temjin's standing
RW shot at 200 meters; I once hit the AI Temjin who was spinning
towards me with Specineff's RTRW which did damage but failed to stop
the spinning Temjin from slicing my VR into half ... :(  Hence to stop
the Spinning Sword, either use powerful LT stun attacks or guaranteed
knockdown attacks like Aph B's crouching RTLW.


Credits
=======

  Natas, for starting me off on Aph B seriously.  He was the first
diligent player in Singapore that plays Aph B well enough to impress
others.

  The SiVOC and VOPL players in Singapore for hours of fun at each
other's expenses.  Special mentions go to X Tem & Fei Yuki, Kyo, Jia
Kiang, Jeffrey, Kai Xiang ... shucks, those are the names I can
remember offhand.

  VO players on rec.games.video.arcade, for their feedback on VO and
VOOT in general, as well as putting up with my ego at times.

  Tan Hwee Ping (a 1st generation VOOMer) for starting me off on
VOOM.  Met her recently and found out she retired from VO gaming ...

  Sega, for making this great game!