__________________________________________________________________________ CCCCC AAA SSSSS SSSSS AAA NN NN DDDD RRRRR AAA CCCCCC AAA SSSSSS SSSSSS AAA NNN NN DDDDD RRRRRR AAA CCC AA AA SS SS AA AA NNNN NN DD DD RR RR AA AA CC AA AA SSSSS SSSSS AA AA NN NN NN DD DD RR RR AA AA CC AAAAAAA SSSSS SSSSS AAAAAAA NN NN NN DD DD RRRRR AAAAAAA CCC AAAAAAA SS SS AAAAAAA NN NNNN DD DD RRRR AAAAAAA CCCCCC AAA AAA SSSSSS SSSSSS AAA AAA NN NNN DDDDD RR RR AAA AAA CCCCC AA AA SSSSS SSSSS AA AA NN NN DDDD RR RR AA AA __________________________________________________________________________ Cassandra Guide: From Beginner to Intermediate Player Version: 1.60 Date: 11th of September, 2008 Game: Soul Calibur 4 (Playstation 3 and Xbox 360), version 1.03 By: Robert August de Meijer Email: Robert@videogames.nl COPYRIGHT 2008 Robert August de Meijer -This document is protected under copyright law, and is the sole property of Robert August de Meijer -Soul Calibur, Cassandra and all other character, item, and move names created by Namco-Bandai Games within this guide belong to Namco-Bandai Games. ---[[[Introduction]]]--- This guide is for those wanting to play Cassandra at a competitive level and would like a fundamental introduction. I have listed her most important moves and described how to use them and why to use them. I have also provided basic strategies and tactics. This guide is not meant for those who already are top-class players looking for glitches, perfect frame data and combos (although that all might be added later when properly tested). Ultimately, I do not believe a guide can make a player an expert because the knowledge needed to beat the best cannot be written down, it is a philosophy and intuition that can only be attained by playing lots of games against many different opponents. But I am sure this guide will help many who are still taking the first steps towards Cassandra glory. This guide is also not for how to beat the computer and/or story modes. There is no point for writing strategies against computer controlled opponents; they work randomly and can read your every attack. The only thing that works is being patient. This is also not a guide for weapons, items and everything else you can customize. If you prefer Special Versus to Standard Versus, fine. The strategies described here will get you far in Special Versus, but you'll also need to receive items and money (see other FAQs) in order to boost your stats. How you combine your stats with these strategies is up to you. But I must warn you, Standard Versus is currently more embraced by the competitive scene. So learn default Cassandra if you want to take her to a tournament. ---[[[Contents:]]]--- 1. Legend 2. Hit Properties 3. Game Plan 4. Moves to use at close 5. Moves to use at mid rang 6. Moves to use at long distance 7. Moves to use while crouching 8. Moves to use against grounded opponent 9. 4BB:A versus 236B in combos 10. Playing against Cassandra 11. Becoming an Expert 12. Additional Notes 13. Secret recipe ---[[[1. Legend]]]--- 6 = Towards opponent 4 = Away from opponent 2 = Down 8 = Up 7 = Away + Up 9 = Towards + Up 1 = Away + Down 3 = Towards + Down (If you do not know why I name the directions with numbers, imagine your directional imput were layed upon a number pad, like on your keyboard) 236 = Input Down, Towards+Down, Towards quickly after another, done by smoothly gliding your thumb over the pad, or swishing your stick in a quarter circle motion. This will make Cassandra do her "Bullstep", launching her forward. During her bullstep she has access to different moves. 214 = Input Down, Away + Down, Away, quickly and smoothly. This will make Cassandra do a "twirl" backwards. During her twirl she has access to different moves. A = Horizontal attack, i.e. Square on a Playstation 3 pad, X on an Xbox 360 pad B = Vertical attack, i.e. Triangle on PS3, Y on X360. K = Kick, i.e. Circle on PS3, B on X360. G = Guard, i.e. X on PS3, A on X360. WS = While Standing up. During the couple of frames a character uses to go from a crouching position to a standing position, certain moves can be done. CH = Counter Hit. If you hit an opponent while they are doing a move, the game physics usually make the opponent lag longer than on a normal hit. Sometimes a counter hit will add a knock down or stun effect. : = Means that a move needs precise input. Often the moment the previous attack hits. This is called "Just Frame".  = Hold down button. For instance, 236[B] requires you to hold the B button down so that the move stuns instead of knocking down. Frame Advantage: When you hit an opponent, you often will put your opponent in a lag before they can do anything, giving you an advantage in speed. Since every second of gameplay can be divided in 60 visual frames, Soul Calibur players count the amount of frames they are ahead or behind. Currently, frame data on the moves is not certain, but I do make a distinction between: "Frame Advantage": When you hit your opponent, they'll still be reeling and you will often be quicker ready for the next move. "Frame Disadvantage": When your opponent blocks your attack, you will often still be doing the move while they are free to retaliate. This gives them an advantage. "Unsafe": sometimes, When a move is blocked, you have such great frame disadvantage that your opponent can hit you before you recover. ---[[[2. Hit Properties]]]--- Soul Calibur 4 has its own rules of physics that characters must adhere to (well, most of the time at least). It is necessary to understand these in order to have mental control of what you want to do. Here are some important rules: -Vertical moves (often done by pressing B) can be sidestepped. -Horizontal moves (often done by pressing A) will hit those that sidestep. So, if your opponent is walking around alot, use horizontal attacks. If your opponent is doing alot of vertical attacks, use sidestep. -High moves can be blocked high and be ducked. -This means they're not good when you expect your opponent to block. -Mid moves can be blocked high but cannot be ducked. -Low moves cannot be blocked high, but can be blocked while ducking. So Mid moves and Low moves complement each other well, forcing a 50% chance of hitting your opponent if they block. -Vertical moves often hit Mid. -Horizontal moves often hit High. In order to keep moves balanced, most moves that can be sidestepped cannot be ducked. And most moves that can be ducked cannot be sidestepped. There are exceptions, but these moves are often slow, lack range or are unsafe. -Low moves are usually slower and/or weaker than Mid moves. Usually, blocking high is safer, because Mid moves are more devastating. So when it doubt, block high. -Grabs cannot be blocked high, but can be ducked. So this makes grabs like Low attacks. (note: some characters, like Cassandra, have low grabs, which will throw ducking opponents. These are like Mid attacks) -Blocking an attack gives you frame advantage most of the time. -Hitting your opponent gives you frame advantage most of the time. -Fast moves beat slower moves (for all those scrubs complaining they can't do anything) -Blocking does not cost any time (for all those scrubs complaining they can't even block) -Guard Impacts need precise timing, but give massive frame advantage (I think about 15 frames) or knock down. During a fight, you'll have to take note what kind of attacks an opponent likes to make. This should give you an idea how often you should block high or low, how often you need to use horizontal moves to keep them from sidestepping, how likely they are to duck your grab, etc. A rule of thumb is to attack when you have frame advantage (because you'll be faster than your opponent) and use the appropiate attack to counter their defense (this is usually doing a Mid or Low attack against their blocking.) When you have frame disadvantage, chances are your opponent will attack you. So use the right defense (block, sidestep, duck, Guard Impact, fast attack). ---[[[3. Game Plan]]]--- Cassandra is one of the most aggressive characters in Soul Calibur. She is in your face. Although Cassandra has been toned down a bit this version, she's still able to bulldog her way to victory. She is also able to stop the momentum and have her opponent make mistakes anticipating her next move. Cassandra is excellent at countering counter-attacks. In a nutshell, Cassandra is constantly making the opponent play by her rules, always staying one step ahead of them. When she cannot be on top of your opponent, Cassandra is also capable of playing a defensive game. Her 2+B+K counters high attacks and her B+K B counters vertical attacks, meaning Cassandra often has an offensive answer to their counter attack. If those don't work, Cassandra can often block and hit back with 236B. ---[[[4. Moves To Use Up Close]]]--- This is not a complete move list, instead the moves I prefer to do the most from close by. The higher on this list, the better. When I say a move is "punishable" or "not safe", I mean the move sets you at such a frame disadvantage that a Sophitia player will be able to automatically hit you with her AA attack (which is 12 frames) or WS B (which is 15 frames). Some fighters, such as Taki, have faster moves than Sophitia. Some fighters, such as Astaroth, only have slower moves. So the safeteness of a move depends on who you fight. But Sophitia's AA attack and WS B are some of the fastest moves in the game and I believe these attacks are a good representative of what most characters can retaliate with. BB - i15 (this means the moves impacts in 15 frames) -8 on block (this means you're at -8 frames if this moves get blocked) +2 on hit (this means you're at +2 frames if this move hits) It hits mid, it's fast, it gives frame advantage on hit, it's safe on block. Even does okay damage. The only thing it lacks is tracking, as it is easy to sidestep. This move is her Bread and Butter. If you don't know what move to do, do this. AA - i13, -4 block, +5 hit This is BB's best friend. It hits opponents that sidestep, negating BBs only fault. This move though, hits High, so can be ducked. But that's where BB comes in, since it hits mid. AA is slightly faster and your safest bet to punish an opponent if you block their move. It gives nice frame advantage on hit. 2A - i14, -6 block, +4 hit, +8 counter hit Cassandra's best defensive poke. Use it when your expect your opponent to hit back. Hits sidestepper, it's very fast and gives great frame advantage on hit (but bad disadvantage if it's blocked). After it hits, you can use her ducking and while standing up options (see part 6). Doesn't go under high attacks, although it might look like it. 66B+G - i16 Cassandra's best grab. She lacks effective low attacks, so this is what you'll pull out when they block high too much. You need to get close, so learn to do it in combination with 236 (do 236 and then quickly press 66). You can't do the throw out of running either, so you'll have to quickly press 66 then, too. If you can't pull that off, normal grabs will suffice, but will do less damage. After landing 66B+G, do 4BB:A for about 64 damage or, or do 44B+K against male characters for about 61 damage if you find that easier to do. Doing 236B only does about 50 damage, less than other grabs. B+K B - i29, -18 block / B+K [B], +4 block This does a little sidestep possibly countering opponent's verticle attack. You can follow up with a (back turned) B+K for more damage. The second hit is not safe, but you have two options if your opponent is on to you: either simply do not do the second move or hold down the second attack and do a charged version to counter their counter attack or get frame advantage if they block. 2B+K - i17, -11 block, +0 normal hit This goes under high attacks and on counter hit, gives a stun. Follow up with 2B+G or 2A+G. Or 4BB:A if you're afraid your opponent will cancel the grab. Remember: many players use high attacks as defensive pokes to get breathing room. Use this to keep the attack going. By the way, it's safe on block! BK - i15, +2 block This is an interesting move: It gives frame advantage on block! The bad thing is that it only combos on counter hit and the kick can be ducked. Now, the second hit isn't likely to be ducked since the move looks like BB, but the problem is that if the opponent is blocking low, you'll only hit with the first attack. You'll still do damage, but you'll be at frame dissadvantage. So the move is kinda okay against those that block high, since it gives frame advantage. And it's kinda okay against those that block low, since it'll do some damage but leave you at frame disadvantage. I mostly like to use this move to mix things up and hit them with BB after they think they have frame advantage for blocking this move. 33B / 99B, -2 block After sidestepping the opponent, this move will do great damage when it punishes their attack. Follow up with A+B, then 236B. I like to yell "Overhead!" when it lands, I hope it catches on. 2BB:K - i16, -25 block It ducks and counters high attacks. But it is a less safe defensive poke, than 2A as the second attack is punishable. The reward on counter hit is high though, since then all three hits will connect. Excellent against beginners because they won't see the second hit coming. I still prefer 2B+K, though. 33KK / 99KK - i18, -8 on block First hit is low and on counter hit the second attack also connects. Because of Cassandra's lack of good low moves, this is worth noting. Obviously not safe when blocked low, but you can switch the second attack for A+K for a delayed mid and horizontal attack that is safe. Less damage on counter hit, more safe. K - i13, -8 block, +2 hit Less range and less damaging and tracks less well than AA. But it's slightly more safe if your opponent ducks. It doesn't have excellent frames, but it's so fast that your opponent will spend some extra time reacting to it. Use it as a defensive poke if you want to stay standing (unlike 2A). 3AK - i16, -19 block The first hit has hardly any range, but it hits mid and horizontal. The second hit gives a nice counter hit stun. Although the kick gives bad frames on block, it knocks the opponent back enough to be safe most of the time. This move is great against beginners who don't see the second hit coming. Follow stun with 4BB:A. 3K - i17, -19 block A high risk, high reward close range move. Bad recovery on block (punishable!), but will stun. Follow up with 4BB:A or 2B+G. Or if your opponent is bad at shaking out of stuns, follow up with 3AK, then 4BB:A. 2K - i15, -15 block, -5 hit, +1 counter hit Seems less spammable now, so only use it when opponent has very little life over. Fast low attack, but bad frames both on hit and block (not sure how many, though). I like to yell "Low Kick!" when it lands. 6AAA - i14, -9 block The third hit can be delayed, hoping to mess up your opponent's timing. But can be ducked and punished, so don't use it too often. Most of the time, AA is simply better because it is safer, tracks better and more damaging. Gives a nice stun if the third hit is a counter hit. Follow up with 4BB:A. ---[[[5. Moves To Use From Mid Range]]]--- Cassandra's greatest strength at mid range is that the opponent will think she'll try to get into close range. This will have them make mistakes which you can properly punish. Her game plan at mid range is not to keep pressure, but to psyche the opponent out and then get closer. 236B - i15, -19 block / 236[B], i16, -16 block This is Cassanra's signature move because it is fast and damaging. The ultimate punish move. There are two versions: you can tap B and get the "Deathfist", which is slightly faster and knocks the opponent back. If you hold B, you get the "Falcon Punch", the move will stun which can be followed up by a low grab or 4BB:A for more damage. Use The tap version when you want to ring out or need a faster punisher. Use the hold B version when you're sure it'll land for the extra damage. Both versions are unsafe on block, so don't spam... although the risk/reward will often be in your favor if you do against aggressive opponents. 6B - i16, -8 block, +4 hit Surprisingly fast and safe on block, but hits high. One of your best moves against slow characters with long range (like Siegfried). One problem with this move is that it does not bring your closer to your opponent. After you hit with this move, you're still forced to use mid range moves. 1K - i21, -15 block, +1 hit When outside of grab range, this is Cassandra's best low move. On counter hit it stuns (follow up with 4BB:A), but don't expect to see that often. Because Cassandra loses momentum even when it hits an opponent, I don't like it very much, but her lack of low moves make this move worth considering. On normal hit it puts the opponent in a crouching position, possibly messing up their counter attack options. 236A,B - i17, -16 block Another move that punishes high attacks. The nice thing is that it tracks sidesteppers. But it is not safe on block. What you can do though, is cancel the second attack, hoping the opponent is blocking waiting for the second to come and then land safetly. The next time, use the second attack and counter their counter attack! 66A - i18, -10 block, +7 hit A safe way to track sidesteppers, pretty fast, hits mid, but lacks range. One of your best moves to get close by from mid range. 4AB - i21, -4 block It hits mid, so not likely to hit opponent and too slow to get a counter. But the thing about this move is that you want it blocked: it does alot of soul gauge damage! Use it when you see your opponent's gauge blinking and get ready to smack all four buttons! dovizzo tells me that there's a guard impact against high horizontal attacks between the two hits, but there is room for a 13 frame kick in between them (but I've personally never had anybody snuff the second attack). 8A+B - i26, -8 block, +6 hit It'll jump over low moves and get Cassandra close. You can add a kick to it for an extra low attack, which is actually safe. Or don't do it at follow up with a mid attack. 3B - i19, -16 block A safe launcher at enough distance. And pretty fast. Follow up with 4BB:A. ---[[[6. Moves to Use at Long Distance]]]--- Cassandra doesn't like being here. She has some moves to put the opponent on the defensive, but don't count too long on it. Be patient and wait for the opponent to get close by letting them attack and weave your way through them. 66A+B:4 - i20, -15 block Hits mid, fairly fast, damaging and most of all, has amazing range. The biggest problem is it does not track sidestepping, so try to time it when you expect your opponent to attack. But don't expect to beat other opponent's long range arsenal. Knock your opponent down and get dirty from close by. Crouching, 1B - i24, -14 block, +3 hit Ugh, this used to be easier to do. Practise doing the move from a standing position without accidently doing a guard impact. It has amazing reach, it's safe on block even hits low! It's a bit slow and doesn't track, though. 88B+K / 22B+K - i28, -12 block Another linear move from far range, but this one goes a long distance, jumps over attacks and is safe on block. 1A - i26, -17 block It ducks and tracks side steppers and when it hits, it downs the opponent so you can get close. Problem is that it is slow and unsafe on block, so good players are much more likely to duck it and punish. So know your opponent! If it's a scrub, feel free to spam this low attack until they learn to block low, and then unleash Cassandra's mighty Mid reportoire. I still like it at long (safer) distances because it can duck the opponent's long range high attacks. If you hit with the move from close by, you can combo with 236B. 44B+K - i25, -12 block This move is barely safe on block and kinda slow. The thing is, it has more range than it looks like and it gets you close to the opponent. Also seems to track a very little. I still prefer 22B+K most of the time though. ---[[[7. Moves To Do While Crouching]]]--- Cassandra likes to do 2A and will leave her in a crouching stance. Take note if the 2A hits or not, because on block you have disadvantage and you're best blocking. But if it hits, consider one of these moves. WSA - i19, -11 block, +6 hit Hits horizontal, cannot be interrupted if 2A counter hits and most of all, it's mid. 1B (while crouching) - i16, -14 block, +3 hit And this one hits low. Even gives frame advantage on hit. It's safe on block, quite rare for a low move. Puts Cassandra back to standing. 66B+G - i16 You can still quickly grab your opponent after landing 2A if you're close enough. 3B (while crouching) - i18, -16 block, -4 hit Want to hit mid but stay in crouch stance? This move is your fastest option, you'll stay low, passing under high attacks, and you'll have a funny parry effect against those that attack mid. Problem is that it's not safe and even gives frame disadvantage on hit. WSK - i22, +1 block, +8 hit It's rather slow, but what's grand is that it gives a (very slight) frame advantage on block, putting Cassandra in a standing position and ready to mix it up! WSB - i26, -8 block Feeling lucky, punk? It's slow, but launches very high, and let's you land a crazy juggle. If you haven't spent much time in practise mode yet, you can just do 236AB for good damage. ---[[[8. Moves To Do Against Grounded Opponents]]]--- Okizeme allows all kinds of options for Cassandra. Abuse it! Here are my favorite things to do. 66B+G - i16 While they're getting up, this is the best time to get close by and punish them for blocking high. 2B+G - i16 (might be less) If they're not blocking high, they might be blocking low. This'll put them on the ground again to consider another option. 66B - i22, -2 block Hits mid, safe and stuns on hit, leading you to combo with a 44BB:A (If you're having trouble with the Just Frame, you can substitute with 236B.). I love this move because it gives less disadvantage than one might think! Follow up with AA and snuff any mindgames your opponent throws at you if they block it. 1A - i26, -17 block Although unsafe on block, it tracks them if they roll around and puts them on the ground again. [8B+K] - erm, i100? If they don't react fast enough, you'll slam through their block or they'll get stunned by the impact. PWNT! If they sidestep the move and get stunned by the impact, you can often catch them wit back turned: 2K. You can also do the normal version of the move to hit those that react by trying to quickly attack. 8A+B, K - i26, -11 block (might be -14, still safe enough) Another move that works much better against beginners. Tracks well and will knock them over again. 236K - +0 block Because this move is horrible slow but looks like it will attack fast, you can use this move to bait very defensive players into Guard Impacting too fast. Also works well after doing your own Guard Impact. Equal frames on block means you can probably hit them with a fast move afterwards. ---[[[9. 4BB:A versus 236B in combos]]]--- 4BB:A seems to be especially made to end combos, usually after launching your opponent or stunning them. Like 66B+G, 2B+K, 3AK, 236[B], 3B and 66B. 4BB:A is a great follow up to these moves... if you can pull it off. Now, 4BB:A is pretty easy for a Just Frame attack. You can practically mash the move. If that doesn't work, you can put A+K, A+G and A+B to shoulder buttons and smoothly press multiple buttons to increase your chance of getting the time right. But if you're not getting the Just Frame right more than 95% of the time right, you can still simply do 236B. It's much, much easier and you'll usually do only about 2 to 14 points of damage less in the combo. And your opponent will be knocked to the ground, ready for okizeme. So if you can't pull off 4BB:A off all the time, don't worry, 236B will also work. (the biggest significant difference is after 66B+G. If you're having a hard time doing the just frame, you can simply do Cassandra's normal B+G throw, which is excellent because it has the opponent rise right next to her, giving good options.) ---[[[10. Playing Against Cassandra]]]--- Her weaknesses are sidesteps, especially at further ranges. So try to keep her at a distance and have her make the first mistake. Make sure you know what attacks are safe to counter her, because her Deathfist is fast and covers alot of range. Turtling is pretty effective since you mostly only block high. Her standard moves do not do lot of Soul Damage and her low attacks are nothing to write home about. Show her you can block and hit back so she loses momentum. Staying on the offensive can counter her bullrush. She likes to use 2A once at frame disadvantage, so counter that with jumping attacks or Guard Impacts or simply blocking it. Keep knocking her out of grab range, where your options will likely be better than hers. ---[[[11. Becoming an Expert]]]--- This guide was written for beginners, hoping to help them know what to do and why. I'm not an expert, but truth be told, there aren't many experts at Soul Calibur 4 yet. Many things are still being worked out. But I know what it takes to be an expert. First, you gotta know your frames. An expert player has to know how safe or advantageous each move is on block, hit and counter hit. With time the frame data will eventually come completely clear, but you'll still need to play often to get used to using all that information during a match. Second, you'll need to play alot of opponents. You gotta know what each character can do and simply reading FAQs on each character won't be enough. Play as much as you can and then play some more. Third, experts need to read their opponent. Play lots of different people to get an idea how people think with certain characters. Soul Calibur 4 is actually "Super Rocks-Paper-Scissors Championship Edition: Hyper Fighting: The New Challangers Turbo". The core element is simply knowing what your opponent will do. Practise that. Fourth and final: You'll have to practise the timing on combos and Just frame moves. Good luck getting those crazy 236:[B] combos off! ---[[[12. Additional Notes]]]--- This guide was written with the help of the guys at www.caliburforum.com. They don't know me, but I have much gratitude to those in the Cassandra Forum. Special thanks goes to: docvizzo, etherrain, Heartnana, LG[Infinate], Coke, Omnislash (I think the term "Falcon Punch is his), Mick and actually everybody that has posted there. Extra thanks goes to Sacharja, Spidey and Ground_zero who posted frame data which I used here. It might not be 100% precise, but it's close enough to work with. Thanks also goes to Eresir, Anthony, Joost, Michael, Mike and all the other guys in DR GAMES foolish enough to challeng me at Soul Calibur (you guys are getting better!). I also have to thank Hamlin Ortiz and to J. Diaz for guidelines how to make a FAQ. I must lay emphasis on this: I'm not an expert at Soul Calibur 4. I actually hardly have time to play it. I also almost only play against scrubs (which you've probably figured out by the moves I choose. 1A FTW). And I expect people from Caliburforum to critisize this guide. I'm open for it. And from anybody else. But Cassandra didn't have a FAQ, so on a blue Monday I thought to do her justice and write something about her. ---[[[13. Secret Recipe]]]--- Finally, a bonus for those who made it this far, here's a little secret strategy that has played nasty tricks with my opponent's mind. It's: AA (hit), BK (block), BB (hit), 3AK (block and hit), 4BB:A, 66B+G, 4BB:A. Let me explain: First, counter something with AA, either a slow incoming move or a move that's not safe. After hitting them, they'll probably block high and get ready to hit back after that. Thing is, you do BK, which gives frame advantage on hit. So after they block that and try to hit you, you snuff their attack with BB. Now your opponent should be pretty aggrivated; they really want to hit you now and getting impatient, waiting for a hole. They'll block after the BB hits, because they're at disadvantage. You do 3AK. They'll block the first hit and try to hit back because they're just itching to hit you. But they'll forget the kick and get stunned! Now you combo them with the nasty 4BB:A. Now they're pissed off and going to either go completly aggressive (attacking while getting up) or completely turtle (block high or parry). They simply won't think of blocking low. So you grab them while they stand up with 66B+G into 4BB:A. Of course, this is all very hypothetical, but this how I've seen the cookie crumble often for opponents.