VOOT MSBS 5.2 Apharmd Battler FAQ Version 0.95 ============================================== By Peter Cheong Choon Wah AKA Rolander <firstname.lastname@example.org> 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!