The Enyclopedia Cassandra Alexandra Version 1.0 Created: 4:55 PM 9/26/2003 By Allyourbase Contact: Email - email@example.com AIM - allyourbase1882 Soul Calibur forum handle - "Omnislash" *********** Legal Stuff *********** Cassandra, Sophitia, and other characters mentioned in this FAQ are the property of Namco. Soul Calibur and Soul Calibur 2 are the expressed copyright of Namco. This FAQ is the expressed intellectual property of Allyourbase (AKA Emmanuel Lopez) and any infringement on copyright laws is bad. Readers may save or print out this FAQ as long as it is done only for private use. If you would like to post this FAQ on your site, please email me and let me know what you intend to do. Any attempt to post this FAQ without giving me credit is obviously against the law. As of this writing, this FAQ appears on: - GameFAQs.com - FAQs.IGN.com - Soul Calibur II Forums If I find this FAQ, or any other FAQs I have written on a site without my permission, please take it down. I have, and will, prosecute perpetrators to the full extent of the law. To make sure the text is properly formatted check below 1234567890 abcdefghij If the above text lines up, you're free to go! ***************** Table of Contents ***************** I. Introduction II. Version History III. Why Cassandra? IV. Cassandra Isn't Sophitia V. The Moves VII. Combos You Can't Live Without a. Natural Combos b. CH Combos c. Juggles d. Stun Combos e. Misc. Combos VIII. Additional Resources IX. Closing Remarks X. Prop and Thank-you's ************ Introduction ************ You might know me from my first Soul Calibur II FAQ about Nightmare. This is my second foray into Soul Calibur II writing and I couldn't have found a more fitting subject than the lovely Cassandra Alexandra. In case you're curious, I've been playing Soul Calibur II for over a year, well before the game came out for console. I started out playing as Nightmare, but after a while, I decided I needed a character who could complement the powerful knight. I tried out several characters before I found comfort playing as the sword-and-shield toting hottie Cassandra. I've been playing SC2 for all of a year and change and I'm pleased with the results. I hope this guide provides a solid foundation to high-level play or at least familiarizes the reader with Cassandra. Now, let's get on to the strategy. *************** Version History *************** 8:34 AM 3/1/04 - I am pleased to announce that version 1.0 is complete! 8:52 PM 2/18/04 - I've been at this thing for almost six months. Aren't I done yet? Eh, just about! 8:33 AM 2/11/04 - The going's slow. Still hacking at it though. 3:02 PM 1/29/04 - School's in session. Say goodbye to all my free time. 7:34 PM 1/25/04 - Super Bowl Sunday's next week. For now, I'll soak in the week and get back into the groove for the new semester. This spring's gonna be a blast. 12:31 AM 1/9/04 - Shouldn't I be sleeping? I only have one more week before I go back to school. Believe me, I can hardly contain my excitement. 6:06 PM 1/12/04 - Version 1 is nearing completion. I still have to write in some loose ends and it'll be finished. 2:36 PM 1/1/04 - Happy new year! The initial draft of this guide is nearing completion. 5:49 PM 12/21/03 - It's so great to be on vacation. I so deserve a break. 7:40 PM 12/12/03 - The end! One more final and I'm home free! 1:43 PM 12/10/03 - Completed combo section. If only the rest of this project was this easy. 3:45 PM 12/8/03 - Classes are nearing the end. With finals coming up, there's no excuse for me not to get anything done. 9:07 AM 12/1/03 - Holy shit! It's December! All right, it's time to "get professional." 8:37 PM 11/28/03 - The hectic flurry of Turkey Day activities has come and gone. It's back to business as usual, business meaning this encyclopedia. Thankfully, I haven't done anything I'll regret, no matter how drunk I was the other day. 9:55 AM 11/26/03 - Registered for classes? Check. Ready the long weekend? Definitely. Happy early Thanksgiving! 11:14 AM 11/22/03 - Yes! A long weekend with nothing to do! Maybe I'll cover a lot ground today. Note to self: Don't forget to register for classes on Monday. 5:28 PM 11/15/03 - The rate of work actually getting done is actually picking up. I may actually get this thing done sooner than I expect, barring some catastrophe. 9:54 PM 11/8/03 - I actually got a sizeable amount of work done. Yay me. I think I will celebrate by playing SC2! 4:08 PM 11/5/03 - There's been a little slowdown in updates. Forgive me, but chasing after hot girls, playing SC2 and actually bothering to get schoolwork done takes its toll on you. 4:28 PM 10/24/03 - Between slaying the denizens of the night in Castlevania, playing SC2, and studying for midterms, expect the strat writing to go by a little more slowly. Don't worry. Nothing a few all-nighters couldn't cure! 3:35 PM 10/14/03 - Happy birthday to me! I'm turning 21! Once my hangover wears off tomorrow, I'll get back to work. 2:16 PM 10/10/2003 - Working some more on the strategy. I'm just glad midterms are done... for now. 7:43 PM 9/28/2003 - The groundwork has begun for Version 1.0. I must now begin the difficult task of researching and presentation of Cassandra strategies. Expect a lot of time to go into this one. 5:07 PM 9/26/2003 - Work commences on Version 1.0. ************** Why Cassandra? ************** ==== Pros ==== Cassandra is a fairly straightforward character relying on simple frame traps and forcing mixups to triumph. Cassandra, unlike Xianghua or Maxi, doesn't rely heavily on deception but rather brute force. She can create mixups without having to resort to fancy cancels or stance shifts to fake people out of their shorts. Instead, her strength lies in the fact she can attack in short, controlled flurries of offensive activity and terminate strings to start another. This "safe" attacking style makes it difficult to punish her. While she lacks stances, Cassandra has her trusty Crouch Dash (CD for short). This wonderful maneuver allows her to chase down opponents without having to commit to an attack. This move also Tech Crouches, which allows Cassandra to slip under high attacks unharmed. She can also sidestep out of CD, allowing her to nimbly dodge vertical attacks. With time and sufficient practice, a veteran Cassandra player can force all kinds of wacky mixups besides the standard issue CD-based attacks, which dramatically increases the range from which she can unleash strikes. Her throw game is excellent, providing solid damage all around masked under a fairly deceptive grabbing animation. The 66B+G throw (lovingly dubbed the "Uh-oh throw") has an 11-frame break window, making it difficult to escape. It also provides solid damage with devastating followups. For the most part, her throws place fallen opponents in ideal positions to begin nasty wakeup games. The fact Cassandra can go for throws out of CD only makes her the more dangerous. Cassandra is also adept at punishing people for reckless attacking. 236B is perhaps the best punisher/interrupt in the game. It will out-prioritize just about any attack due to its amazing speed and if an opponent does a move with severe recovery lag, they're sure to eat a shield to the face. This leads into Cassandra's greatest strength: crazy Ring Out ability. While some people complain about the "cheapness" of Ring Out, the truth is, if it's in the game, it's legal. The threat of RO only empowers Cassandra's offense further and opponents will become more hesitant about attacking by the ring's edge. Only Talim, Yoshimitsu and Nightmare rival her ability to forcefully eject people from the ring. Her game is punctuated by excellence in lots of areas. She has something for every situation; spacing, poking, power hits, juggling. There are few characters as versatile as Cassandra. ==== Cons ==== Anybody playing as Cassandra must deal with several key problems. The most notable liability is Cassandra's linearity. She has awesome vertical attacks, but her horizontal game leaves much to be desired. Her horizontals either do piddly damage or have poor coverage arcs, making it difficult for Cassandra to discourage opponents from sidestepping. Against characters like Cervantes, Ivy or Nightmare, who all have great practical sidesteps, this turns into a major disadvantage. An evasive character like Xianghua or Talim can also pose severe problems. Another notable problem is predictability. Some characters are unpredictable by virtue of having large movelists filled with stances, cancels and the like. Cassandra doesn't have that luxury and instead must rely on creating breaks within strings to force mixups. With a smaller movelist than most other fighters, the threat of becoming too easy to read becomes very real. Furthermore, Cassandra's attacking style can be too straightforward at times. Very few of her attacks have deceptive animations, so if an opponent believes Cassandra'll be going low, they're most likely right. A savvy opponent who understands Cassandra can pose severe problems for her. Many of her nastiest tricks revolve around hitstun frame traps. In order for these frame traps to work, Cassandra must be able to land an attack. Cassandra can't set up a frame trap if nothing out connects and unfortunately, Cassandra doesn't have much in the way of frame traps revolving around blocked moves. Smart turtling can cause headaches for Cassandra. Spacing is somewhat of an issue. Due to the game's weight system, long range fighters like Nightmare or Kilik have no trouble pushing a petite Cassandrang woman like Cassandra around the arena. Consequently, closing in and remaining in the opponent's face becomes a constant hurdle to overcome. Cassandra also lacks a solid FC/WS attack. Although she can Crouch Dash from an FC position, that's about her only option. Compared to Yoshimitsu (with FC 3K, WS B and WS K) and Nightmare (FC grab and WS [B]), Cassandra's FC/WS attacks are lacking. Finally, while Cassandra has many tools, she doesn't possess any one tool or move she can abuse. While Astaroth has his Poseidon Tide, Yoshimitsu has his 1A series (and derivative mixups) and Xianghua has her 22_88B, Cassandra lacks such a move. In order to succeed, the Cassandra player, must be cognizant of all her tools, how they work, and most importantly, how to put all of it together. While time and practice can minimize the effect these weaknesses have on a given match, it would be foolish to ignore their presence and impact altogether. ************************ Cassandra Isn't Sophitia ************************ Cassandra borrows heavily from her sister's moveset while adding a couple of bells and whistles of her own. Although she is in fact Sophitia's younger (and cuter) sister, the differences between them are enough to treat both of them as separate characters with a different approach to the game. The most noted difference lies in their CD-based attacks. Cassandra is blessed with the RO might of 236B, while Sophie's counterpart dishes out awesome damage with 236B:4. In addition, Sophitia's CD is much more mobile, allowing her to CD twice - and going under some mid attacks in the process - while still having the option to sidestep. Cassandra does not have this ability, although she can sidestep from CD as well. Cassandra's 236B has more uses, whether to punish or to interrupt. Sophie's is more suited to punishing attacks with poor recovery. Cassandra has a stronger RO game than her older sister. She can force RO much more quickly and from a greater range. Sophitia's RO game is decent, but she doesn't have quick-RO'ing moves like Cass does. Although stages have been increased in size, making RO somewhat harder to achieve, Cassandra has more moves that RO and more quickly. When it comes to juggling, Sophitia is the superior character. She has a plethora of juggle launchers at her disposal and can put a heavy hurting on airborne opponents, whether they Air Control or not. Of course, this imparts Sophitia's juggling with a little more risk. Consequently, the rewards are far, far more sweeter. Cassandra, on the other hand, prefers simplicity and reliability. Launcher -> 236B is simple, painless and devastating. Sophitia outshines her sister in the wakeup department. She's much more adept at pressuring grounded opponents and has answers for just about any situation, be it the opponent stays put, rolls to the sides, etc. And she also has more moves will score knockdowns, which sets up her wakeup nicely. Finally, Sophitia is a lot more flexible in her options. Unlike Cassandra, Sophitia is a lot more flexible in terms of pitbulling or turtling. Sophitia can patiently wait out an opponent's offensive and still force big damage when the opposition fouls up. Cassandra must always be on the attack and force openings where she can go for the heavy damage. Quicker characters like Taki or Talim force Cassandra to play more cautiously than she's comfortable with. Each sister has subtle fundamental differences that merit going over. It would be completely erroneous and stupid to dismiss one girl as a clone of the other. The truth is, each sister has a different playing style all her own. ********* The Moves ********* Warning! First off, this is not a FAQ for beginners. The emphasis in this guide is providing and compiling advanced strategy. If you are unfamiliar with the vernacular this game uses, I urge you to take a visit to Guardimpact.com and Soulcalibur.com. You can find complete movelists, a glossary of terms and frame data among other resources to assist you in your studies. Now, to the strat. ====== Throws ====== G+A Escape: A This throw provides a way to break down even the toughest turtle. Even when they manage to stall Cassandra's offensive, a well-placed throw can still put a hurtin' on them. This throw leaves the opponent at Cassandra's feet in the head down and feet away position. Overall, it's a solid throw and the fact you can do it out of Crouch Dash only makes it stronger. G+B Escape: B Cassandra's other regular throw leaves the opponent in the head up feet away position. This one breaks with B. The beauty of this throw is Cassandra can then force the opponent to have to guess which throw you're planning to execute. Even though an opponent can still guess right, no one can guess right all the time. 66B+G Escape: B The first question that comes to mind is, "Why would this throw be better than Cassandra's regular G+B?" Sure, it does less damage, but it has much more going for it. First, 66B+G has an 11-frame escape window; Cassandra's regular throws have 13-frame escape windows. In addition, she gets a free 44B+K, which does more damage than G+B alone. Cassandra can perform this throw out of Crouch Dash, dramatically increasing its range. Properly mixed with G+A, the opponent opponent should have great difficulty escaping your grapples. I won't go into much detail about side/back throws. There's no need to. Just mix up your grab commands, so your side throw attempts don't get broken. The end. ======= Attacks ======= A One singular horizontal slash. Cassandra's A executes in 11 frames, making it fairly fast. Use this a lot to poke and jab at opponents. Since it's horizontal, it's critical in Cassandra's anti-step strategy. This is a key panic button move that can be thrown out to buy some time in setting up the next offensive. agA A standing A 1FS-ed into a sweeping horizontal slash. Cassandra takes a big sidestep to her left, which can possibly take her away from an incoming vertical attack. On CH, this causes a knockdown and a possible RO to the right. AA Two (count 'em,two) horizontal slashes that are a natural combo. AA is a medium-paced attack you can use to keep people in one place. I like AA over AK as a poking and lockdown tool because it's safer on block and can push out. This becomes critical when dealing with the likes of Taki or other short-ranged characters. It's not as fast as AK, so opponents can probably assess the situation and counter appropriately. It's best to catalog their response and work from there. AK A horizontal slash followed by a quick spin kick. AK is a natural combo and leaves you closer to your opponent since the attack kind of "sucks them in". It puts Cassandra in a worse situation on block than AA, so proper mixing of other A-based strings is a must. You can effective blitz people by nailing them with AK, leaving with little time to formulate an appropriate defensive response. A*BK and A*BB A slow-paced three hit string with built-in forward motion and a choice of a low or mid ender. It's a bad idea to complete the string all the time because both A*BK and A*BB are easily punishable if blocked. AB is a natural combo. A*B is not, but Cassandra can use the delay to try and get the second B to hit on CH. On second hit CH, the third hit, be it the B finish or K, is guaranteed. However, the true beauty of the A*B series is the ability to throw off the opponent's timing with its laggy execution and the ability to terminate the string and force mixups. Cassandra doesn't have to commit to either finisher, and something as simple as AB -> 1A or A*B-> throw may be sufficient to screw with someone's head. On the other hand, some people are quick to attempt to regain the offensive after a blocked AB. If so, you can respond with something that will either outprioritize them or take appropriate defensive action. ABK is excellent for locking down people by forcing them to wait out the entire string. The low ender also serves as a means to train people to duck, opening up Cassandra's devastating mid game. Don't hesitate to finish an AB series string occasionally; it'll send the message to the opponent to force the opponet to wait. If they get too antsy, there is definitely a high price to pay. 6AK Punch to the stomach followed by a kick to the groin. The range on this is real small, Cassandra must practically be mashed up against your opponent. It will cover step to Cassandra's right to some degree, but the arc is really small. On CH, the whole string is guaranteed. If the kick connects on CH, add a free 44B+K for additional damage. There's a small delay between the kick and most people are fooled into trying to poke their way out of trouble. The fear of eating CH K can force people to hesitate. 66A/33_99A Most people are put off by this move because it's vulnerable on block. However, it is the core of Cassandra's anti-step arsenal. For all it's worth, it has several key strengths. First, it Tech Crouches under highs. In addition, it covers step cleanly on both of Cassandra's sides, which few of her horizontals do. 66A can be used proactively to discourage opponents from moving around laterally. 3A*B A mid-hitting horizontal followed by an uppercut. 3AB, not 3A*B, combos on CH, making for a nasty 236B juggle. If it's blocked, Cassandra's in a bad way, so it's best to complete the string if, and only if, the red CH spark appears. Delaying the B uppercut will work to some extent, but an alert opponent can step the uppercut and Cassandra can get punished heavily. Still, used in moderation, Cassandra can get a lot of mileage out of 3AB. And besides, the idea of landing CH 3AB into 236B is too good to ignore. 2A Quick slash that hits special mid. Excellent at cutting down step at close range. It's fast, safe and covers a fairly good horizontal arc. It'll leave Cassandra crouching, allowing you to go into FC/WS or even roll the joystick from 3 to 6 and initiate a CD-based offensive. She can also perform RCC to get back into standing attacks, if the need arises. 2A is definitely a move you'll want to throw out from time to time, either to poke, discourage step or both. The only thing you need to watch out for is losing out to the break system. 1A Slow sweeping attack directed at the ankles. 1A also Tech Crouches, taking Cassandra safely under high attacks while scoring a knock down. The key to making this move work is spacing. Up close it can be very dangerous since it is slow. It can also be avoided by 8WR-ing to Cassandra's left. Well-spaced, it's be difficult to avoid and/or punish. 1A excels at wakeup and can be used to discourage opponents from rolling to the sides. If the opponent chooses to stand and guard Cassandra can take their feet out from under them and play the wakeup game all over again. 1A can go a long way to reground opponents, discourage step or both. 4A Cassandra performs a slow turning high slash. It causes spin stun on hit and also automatically parries high and horizontal mid attacks. 4A shifts into a reversal if an attack is successfully auto-GI'ed; add an additional JF 4 input to do more damage. For all it's worth, this attack is too dangerous to throw out for such little reward. It's slow and hits high, so it can quickly be ducked or interrupted. Ignore this. 44A_[A] Turning high slash. From midrange, it covers step nicely and is safe on block. At this point, Cassandra has a choice of two canned followups, or she can simply break off the string and start on an entirely new offensive. It all depends on how the opponent chooses to react and cataloging their responses. The charged version give Cassandra + frames on block, which can be sufficient to setting up a strong CH move - 236B, b6, 44K, 3AB, to name a few. It's much slower, so it will take a lot of training to get opponents to mindlessly eat a charged 44A when they can easily duck it. If 44[A] does land, either followup is guaranteed, although it's better to launch and go into a juggle for more damage. A charged 44[A] is slow enough to draw a whiffed GI, and so should be figured accordingly to discourage opponents from re-GI'ing on reflex. 44AA_B A slow turning slash followed by either a 1A followup or a 66A+B. If the first hit scores on CH, the B followup is guaranteed. 44A in itself is fairly safe, and you can fish for CH to your heart's delight or use the whole string to force a mixup. 44A covers a sizeable arc and figures heavily into Cassandra's step containment at midrange. It's also pretty cool to toss on wakeup or from afar. Whiff the first hit and bait opponents into walking or waking up into the followup for a sweet knockdown. With a complete (level 3) Soul Charge, the second hit of 44AB is unblockable! 44[A]A_B Same as 44AA_B, except the first hit is delayed. 44[A] gives solid blockstun, although it's difficult to get someone to block an attack they can easily duck on reaction. This is a poor choice as a step killer due to its speed. It has a nice place post-GI or on wakeup, because it's slow enough to eliciting a response (whiffing a GI, or standing up to face a mixup). B Simple vertical swipe. Another excellent component to Cassandra's poking arsenal. At i13, it's quick and will break A's. Anytime an A is anticipated, Cassandra can counter with B-based poking. With well-placed B-based poking Cassandra can discourage her opponent from poking with A's and thereby allowing her lateral movement. BB, and B*B_[B] Vertical slash followed up a by a shield smack. There are three different variations, each executing at different speeds. BB is a natural combo and is safe if blocked. B*B and B*[B] provided wicked changeups if your opponent begins to wise up to the overall tempo of offensive flurries. The second hit of B*[B] tracks to some extent and will cover step to Cassandra's left. Keep in mind the fully-charged version Tech Crouches. A fully-charged B*[B] will RO nicely to Cassandra's left. Take advantage of the break system to insert B-based poking to complement Cassandra's A-based poking while discouraging the opposition from over-relying on their own A-based poking. B*6B_[B] Vertical swipe and shield smash to the midsection. Delaying the second hit causes a Guard Crush, but only on the console version. The second hit will cause a Crumple Fall Stun, which can be followed up with a 44B+K for additional damage. The charged version of B*6[B] becomes much useful when the opponent is backed up against the ring's edge, effectively slowing their reaction time and limiting their defensive options. Nice to throw in when the opposition is caught napping. b6 Quick punch to the gut with Cassandra's shield. On CH, it causes Crumple Fall Stun, making 44B+K guaranteed. b6 Tech Crouches, taking Cassandra safely over highs. It's also safe if blocked, at least when compared to a blocked 236B. Consider using this when . It goes without saying b6 isn't a tried-and-true substitute for 236B. Each has its individual time and place; b6 lets you feel out an opponent without much risk. b2BBBK Series of low foot pokes followed by the 4K Ass of Doom (AoD for short). One of the few crap attacks Cassandra really has. It's slow and linear and very much defensible on reaction. The only conceivable use is to deliver the coup de grace when an opponent refuses to relinquish that last bit of his/her health bar. Otherwise, don't rely heavily on this move. BK Words fail to express how good this move truly is. If an opponent has to block the first hit, they must block the second. The second hit is steppable, although it's difficult to do so. Throwing this out is pretty much a win-win situation. If it hits, you get an assload of frame advantage. But even if BK is blocked, the opponent is forced into a crouched state with a neutral frame setting, effectively limiting their options should they opt for a counterattack. Use this when you feel the match is getting out of hand and you want to reset the tempo and pace. A common trap would be BK (blocked) -> 236B, since very few FC/WS attacks can beat out 236B - Taki's and Cervantes' WS K can. Most people know a blocked BK sets up 236B, so it would behoove you to diversify your followups either by launching into a quick poke, a low, a throw, or something fancy. It's all limited by your creativity. If you can do so, BK becomes an extremely devastating tool you can use over and over. 6B Straight linear poke to the face. The range is pretty surprising; it's surprising how far Cassandra has to be before you start whiffing 6B's. Even though it's linear, 6B is fast, safe and carries the advantage of break. It's an awesome long-range poke, and gives phenomenal advantage on hit (+7 baby!), making it an excellent frame trap starter. 6B doesn't track, so prepare for the possibility of losing out to step, even though such an event is rare. 66BB Aah... yes, the "Wagon Rush". This move is what got Cassandra the moniker "the Wagon Boss." Doesn't it look like she's going to run someone over? Yeah. 66BB is a natural combo and carries the additional benefit of pushing people away for quite a distance. Still, the recovery is bad since Cassandra is airborne, but with the pushout, only a few characters can punish her. Unfortunately, the string is extremely suspectible to step, so it's much safer to opt out of completing the string. The first hit is excellent for closing in on opponents, due to the initial 66 input combined with the large step Cassandra takes while executing the attack. This large range, makes this a viable tool for closing the gap against longe-range opponents. bAA*A/66bAA*A Series of shield slaps to the face. The first two hits are a natural combo, but the third, which causes Crumple Fall Stun, can be delayed. Although the first two hits don't do anymore damage than a single A, it offers the advantage of some forward movement and solid hit stun. From there Cassandra can force all sorts of crazy mixups and isn't that what Cassandra's all about? Or throw in the last hit at differing intervals and launch into a combo from the stun. 3A+B offers the best damage overall. 3B Straightforward launcher from which to initiate juggles. Anytime a 3B hits, tack on a 236B for the most damage. It's far from safe, and most opponents can punish Cassandra with a quick attack (Xianghua's 3B and Nightmare's 6A spring to mind) on block. 3B is one of the few attacks that can be used to harass grounded opponents, and it's imperative to use this to hurt opponents who lie in place to find an opening. 1B Simple crouching vertical slash that recovers crouching. It's a nice poke, but it doesn't have nearly as many options after like 2B. The hitting grounded part is nice though. 2B is a superior option for reasons discussed below. 2B Crouching shield slap. It's somewhat similar to 1B in terms of being a crouching vertical poke, except it doesn't hit grounded. 2B carries more options. If a horizontal is anticipated, like Ivy reaching for a 2A, this will break it and inflict CH damage. Nice to know. 2BB:K Shield slap, followed by a thrust to the stomach and finally punctuated by a flashy kickoff attack. This is what makes 2B far superior to 1B. The last hit is a JF, but the timing is easy enough to learn in less than ten minutes of practice. Practice the JF; it's damaging, flashy and will RO to Cassandra's right. On CH, the entire string is guaranteed, which is certainly worth the relentless practice. 2bB8BAA and 2bB8BAK Shield slap, capped off by some crazy flying dragon punch-esque mayhem. Even if the first hit scores, none of the followups are guaranteed. The BAK does more damage, but the BAA RO's quite nicely. It does more damage than CH 2BB:K, but it's difficult to land. When it's blocked Cassandra is extremely vulnerable; it's much better to leave this to games where the stakes are very low. 4B Another one of Cassandra's useless reverals. This one reverses verticals. Oh wait, this one does Tech Crouch. Whoop-de-freakin'-doo. Pretty useless all around. 44B Cassandra performs a turning uppercut which launches an opponent. Throw in a 236B juggle for some additional damage or to RO to the front. This is a solid mixup at midrange since its animation looks similar to 1A's. If the opponent begins to fear well-spaced 1A's this can serve as a friendly reminder to not duck. 44B Tech Crouches as well. At long range 44B can skirt under highs and deliver a devastating blow. 44bA Cassandra's regular unblockable. It hits twice, but the startup time is extremely horrible. The only thing saving this move from becoming utter crap is the cancel. Which is, of course, to cancel this crappy-ass move. K Her regular standing kick. It's as fast as her standing A and tracks well. Since it's a kick, it's not suspectible to break. Still, you have B-series to take care of breaking. Cassandra's K tracks a little bit up close, so it can handle step to some extent. 6K Knee to the gut. Causes lift stun on hit, giving significant frame advantage. If the opponent is mashed up by the ring's edge, they can simply fall out for an RO. It's a solid option to reach for when engaged in extreme close-quarters combat (we're talking Talim range here). The range isn't too hot, and a 3K is much better, simply because it kills step. 2K Crouching kick to the opponent's shins. Learn to love this move. Words fail to describe 2K's merits. It's fast, safe on block and gives enough hit advantage to go for an un-2A-able 236B. The damage is piddly but six unblocked 2K's adds up to a sizeable amount of lost health. 2K serves well as a panic move against aggressive opposition or to annoy and break down a stubborn turtle. On wakeup, 2K can use this to harass opponents without much risk. It will also discourage them from rolling to the sides, which can force different kinds of wakeup guessing games. 3K Mid-hitting turning kick. This - combined with A, AK, AA, 2A/FC A, 1A, 66A - is a key component of Cassandra's step containment. It has a solid horizontal arc and won't be suspect to break. It has a good arc, so it covers step well on both sides. The only drawback is its range; it's slightly shorter than a regular A. In concert with other step-killers, and it can do well to contain someone's lateral movement. 1K A toe stomp. 1K causes Toe Hopping Stun on CH, making 44B+K guaranteed. The animation is quite deceptive, as Cassandra remains standing while hitting low. It's a difficult low to read, but easily steppable when it is. Try not to abuse this too much. Stepped 1K = ouchies. This works particularly well against grounded opponents who prefer to stand and guard. Repeated 1K's should be sufficient to get them to duck, from which a nasty mid can make them pay. 4K AKA "The Ass of Doom" Any girl who uses her ASS as a weapon is something special. 4K is sooo much better on console because it forces knee-down stun. It can also RO to the front on CH if the opponent's is in BT state. Unfortunately, the Ass of Doom isn't without its flaws, the most important of which is its linearity. Get this stepped, and it'll hurt aplenty. It's certainly unsafe if blocked. Still, the sight of Cassandra thrusting her lovely backside in somebody's face is too good to pass up. Nice to mix in to throw people off guard. 66K Cassandra performs a rising sidekick which hits mid. When it connects a 236B is guaranteed juggle damage. 66K can be used against opponents who like to use WS attacks from off the ground, and it should figure nicely into wakeup strategies. It can RO with the appropriate juggle. Compared to Cassandra's other launcher, 3B, 66K is faster and recovers better at the expense of doing less damage. 44K/11_77K AKA "the cheerleader kick". Impersonating a cheerleader, Cassandra launches into a high front kick. It won't launch high enough on regular hit, but it will on CH. Following a CH hit, a 236B is guaranteed for solid juggle damage. The range is a little better than a 66K. It pushes out on block and has tremendous knockback on regular hit, which can useful to create some space against shorter-ranged opponents. It also RO's to the front on a regular hit. A CH followed by 236B adds considerable RO distance. A regular 44K hit will RO, but only when extremely close to the edge. 7K/kB/8WR kB A graceful backflip. One of Cassandra's fastest attacks. It can stuff opponents who try to WS off the ground, since there are very few attacks that can actually beat it. Due to its sheer speed, it works well post-GI; only a select few can GI an attack this quick on reaction. It will RO to the front, but only at close range. 7KB/kBB/8WR kBB Same as a regular backflip, but with an added downward shield smash. This attack is only available after a level 2 Soul Charge. There's not much else to say about it, but it can be useful once in a blue moon. Maybe. 8KK Advancing cartwheel into a 7K/kB backflip. Both hits will connect if the first hit is CH. Unfortunately, it's well-telegraphed and horribly linear, so it would be wise to refrain from throwing this out too often, if not at all. [G]7_8_9K Turning jump kick straight out of a kung fu flick. It hops lows (it's a jump move, people). The jumping abilities are decent, but A+B and B+K serve that purpose better. A+B This move is too good for words to say. Cassandra will leap into the air and come crashing down fiercely on the opponent. It's actually two hits and if A+B connects, throw in some guaranteed 3B or 44B+K madness for additional damage. 7K is nice, but only if it ends the round. A+B is Cassandra's strongest option from midrange; it tracks well to her right and forces crouch on block. It will also hop over low attacks, so if a low is coming, reach for this. At -8 to -10 on block, no one's going to punish this. When an opponent has you out of range, this is a solid option from midrange. It can also be used to lock down an opponent, since it forces crouch on block, thereby limiting their defensive options. Along the same note, forcing crouch limits an opponent's defensive options since they're already committed to a crouching position. 66A+B A solid, mid-hitting power shot with crazy TC properties and mad RO ability? Here it is! It might be a bit linear, but it's a fairly fast attack and break. The range is surprisingly good and can be used the with element of surprise to pop someone a good one. What's even better is 66A+B becomes unblockable after a level 3 Soul Charge. There are very few characters who can punish Cassandra after a blocked 66A+B at maximum range. Don't be too careless and overuse it. It's horribly linear to say the least. Always let the element of surprise carry this move. 3A+B/8WR (except 6) A+B It's a fast shield and sword combo that can Tech Crouch under highs. Since it can done from 8WR, Cassandra can passively walk around people and still be able to react if they throw out something to stop her. The only drawback is 3A+B isn't a real launcher. Thankfully, it covers step to the right to some extent. After a knockdown, onto wakeup games. 8A+B or 8[A+B] (optional G-cancel) Downward shield bash. There's an option to cancel, which is good, since this move is somewhat slow and linear. The attack can be charged by holding A+B. Additionally, a level 2 Soul Charge allows the Guard Crush without having to charge up the attack. There might be some Tech Crouch properties associated with this move, but that remains to be proven. B+K Leaping shield smash. This is your answer to 2A'ing garbage. It will hop over lows and step to Cassandra's right. It's a little similar to A+B, although they have different uses. Since B+K has earlier jump frames, it's often used more aggressively and reactively to hop lows. Hopping lows with A+B requires more anticipation and is more useful in locking down an opponent, thereby limiting their responses. From here, you can force some variance to keep people guessing. B+K is more useful in evading opponents and setting up rush variance. B+KB_[B] A B+K shield smash followed by an uppercut. The second hit can be delayed by holding B. B+KB is guaranteed on CH, and add 236B for some insane juggling. The charged version also guarantees a juggle, although a regular followup is not. Anytime, Cassandra can evade a vertical by stepping, she'll get CH; it's definitely something worth looking into. Try to screw with an opponent's defense by varying the timing of the delay or ommitting the second part altogether and drawing a whiffed GI. 44B+K/8WR (except 6) B+K Slow turning blow similar to the last hit of A*BB. It will cause a knockdown on hit, or a forced crouch on block. It's an awfully slow move, but it causes tremendous damage. Usually, this comes out to complete a combo or on wakeup when the opponent's tricked into ducking. Its laggy animation also makes it handy for drawing out whiffed GI attempts. After a level 3 Soul Charge, it becomes unblockable, which is nice for breaking down stubborn turtles. 66B+K This is a console-only move. Cassandra pushes her opponent forward with her shield. It doesn't really do all that much and it's tough to say what its strengths are. Definitely something that should be studied in the future. FC A Same as 2A, and with the same application. Useful in discouraging step or to poke an opponent. Cassandra remains crouching afterwards. FC B Same as 1B. If an opponent tries to counter by 2A'ing, this can be used to discourage them from doing so. FC K Ankle tap identical to 2K. It's low, so it can be used to annoy opponents and force them to duck. FC 3B Upward shield slap. It can auto-GI verticals, although the window for doing so is quite small, roughly 8 frames. FC 3BB (optional G-cancel) An upward shield slap followed by an 8WR 3_9B shield bash. The last hit can be cancelled. The string itself allows Cassandra to move forward, covering a lot of ground in the process. It's nice to occasionally throw out a string, cancel the last hit, and then move into another offensive. Going for a throw is usually a sound followup after an FC3BBg, although eventually it becomes necessary to mix it up to keep opponents guessing. WS A_[A] Slow turning slash. It covers step well to both sides and Cassandra remains in a Full Crouch state during the charged variation. The charged version creates a Fall Over Stun that allows a free 44B+K for additional damage. Since the delayed version remains in Full Crouch for a long time, it can bait opponents into whiffing attacks. It's slow enough to draw a whiffed GI, so it has some use there as well, or just to reset a match's tempo. Most opponents wouldn't even so much as sneeze in fear of eating the iWS [A] -> 44B+K combo. Nice. WS B Turning vertical slash. At -3 to -5 on block, it is an extremely safe attack to throw out against opponents who try to crowd Cassandra while she's crouching. It will also push out to an extent. Although it is slower and less damaging than WS K, it's a safer alternative. WS K Quick spring kick. It's actually two hits, although the second hit will sometimes whiff if the opponent is off axis. Out of all of Cassandra's WS attacks, this one is the fastest. It can effectively preempt an opponent's counterattack, especially if done off the ground. The drawback is the lag. If WS K is blocked, expect to eat some form of easy retaliation. =========== Crouch Dash =========== 236 or FC 3 Cassandra dashes forward while crouching. The Crouch Dash (CD) is the most versatile tool in Cassandra's arsenal because it provides many uses. It allows Cassandra to move forward and close in on opponents, while also allowing her to avoid high attacks. Since it's not an attack, Cassandra isn't committing herself to any action that may prove hazardous. An additional 6 input will cancel the animation, opening up more mixup options. Smart CD-ing is what seperates the scrubs from the tournament winners. 236AB Jumping sword slash into downward shield spike. If the first hit connects, the second hit is guaranteed. Afterwards, the opponent is left at Cassandra's feet for some nasty wakeups. The first hit covers step fairly well and this can be used if an opponent looks to step a 236B. 236AB is a deceptive two hit string and most opponents block the first but fail to see the second part coming. Since she's airborne during the attack, Cassandra becomes vulnerable if the attack is blocked. 236B This is it. Hands down the best punisher/interrupt in the entire game. What more praise can be heaped upon a 14-frame vertical that also Tech Crouches and breaks? There are very few attacks that can beat it, and armed with a couple frames of advantage, it's nigh uninterruptable. Placing this move is critical to Cassandra's success. Additionally, it provides solid damage and has tremendous RO potential. These traits combine to make 236B a formidable weapon at Cassandra's disposal. The mere threat of it can force opponents to hesitate and cut offensives shorter than they would like. However, such a powerful attack does have its drawbacks. The most glaring deficiency is its linearity. A stepped 236B spells trouble, as Cassandra cannot recover quickly enough to defend herself. Furthermore, 236B has very poor guardstun, and can be punished. In order to get full mileage, it is imperative to be accurate in 236B placement. 236K Slow spinning kick that hits mid. It will RO to the left and is the only CD-based attack safe on block (roughly +1 or so). Don't be deceived by its slow animation; this move is deadly. It covers step fairly well and Tech Crouches. The main power behind 236K is to discourage opponents from GI-ing CD-based attacks on reaction. It's slow enough to draw out a whiff and is especially potent in a post-GI situation. 236 2_8 A CD followed by a sidestep in either direction. The step itself is sizeable and evades verticals handily. However, once Cassandra has committed to a CD sidestep, she can't cancel out of it as easily as a regular CD. It's much safer to perform a CD and then sidestep instead afterwards. 236 2_8AB 236AB done out of a CD sidestep. It has the same properties as the non-CD sidestep variant, although it has the added benefit of evading verticals. Again, Cassandra is vulnerable, as she is airborne for the duration of the attack. 236 2_8BAA CD sidestep into a spinning uppercut identical to 2bB8BAA. This can only be done out of CD sidestep. It will RO to the front. Unfortunately, this move is rather weak, since Cassandra remains airborne for a tremendous amount of time. The only time this move should be used is if Cassandra has certainly evaded a vertical attack with a well-placed CD sidestep. 236 2_8BAK Similar properties as 236 2_8BAA, except the last hit is a kick that slaps the opponent down. This variant dishes out more damage and leaves the opponent in front of Cassandra. Again, should only be used after evading an attack with a CD-sidestep. Nevertheless, there are better options than CD-sidestep. 236 2_8KK Identical to the regular 8KK, except it comes out of a CD-sidestep. Slow and linear, it would be for the best to leave this move out of the arsenal. ========= 8WR Moves ========= 11_77AK A turning mid horizontal followed by a low leg sweep. On CH, the string is guaranteed. The big bonus is that the attack is safe; the leg sweep can't be punished if blocked. The attack covers a tremendous amount of space and moves Cassandra forward a great deal. It's certainly a viable option from midrange. 11_77B Cassandra crouches and lunges at her opponent's feet. Slow vertical stab that's extremely linear, yet has surprising reach. It can't be punished on block and leaves Cassandra close the opponent on hit or block. It's strong in breaking down turtles from midrange and can also be used to sneak in the finishing blow in a tight match. Still, overuse can be discouraged with smart stepping; moderation is the key. 22_88B and 22_88[B] Shield bash. Holding B will make the attack become a Guard Crush. It also has some Tech Crouch frames, although those come late in the attack, making them ideal if the opponent has committed to a slow high attack. It will ring out to the front. It's slow enough to draw a whiffed GI and can also be used to break down opponents who 2G post-GI. Still, it's too slow to throw out at random, so extensive training is necessary to set this move up. 22_88A Shield slap. It will cause a stun on CH, making a 3B guaranteed for solid damage. Or the opponent can be stood back up with 2A to face mixups. Overall, a solid move, since it moves Cassandra forward and to the side a bit. An oppponent with a fast A can punish after blocking, so fishing for CH isn't as great as it would sound. 22AA (1P side) Two shield slaps. This time, Cassandra moves farther to the right and forward. Both hits are high. 22AA is a natural combo. It knocks down and can possibly RO to Cassandra's right. 22AA can be punished on block, although a savvy opponent would be smart enough to duck the second hit and punish accordingly. Regardless, keep in mind Cassandra does move forward and covers tremendous ground laterally as well. And it's also an NC that knocks down. Smart use goes a long way. 88AA (1P side) Visually similar to 22AA, but with significantly different properties. First, it hits high and then mid. Second, it only combos on CH. Finally, the opponent is left in BT after a successful 88AA, instead of being knocked down. As such, it's only prudent to say that each move should be used differently. Both moves, used in conjunction, can visually frustrate an opponent. Those looking to duck a 22AA may find themselves second-guessing their knowledge after eating the second hit of 88AA. Together, they can be used to get opponents to mindlessly stand around without much regard to other defensive options all the while containing step. 22_88KK Low kick into a 4K ass bump. Combos on CH. If the first hit connects or is blocked, the opponent cannot interrupt the second. Cassandra commits herself doing this move, so there is always the danger of getting stepped and punished. Opponents with fast AA's or BB's or similar moves can punish after blocking the second hit. It's always a good idea to slip the first kick in to catch opponents sleeping. Sneaking a low in every now and then doesn't hurt, and 22_88K isn't any different in serving such a purpose. 33_99K Slow ankle tap. It's a very strong low to tick and annoy opponents. Cassandra doesn't crouch, which makes it difficult for opponents to read. Afterwards, Cassandra is left next to her opponent, allowing the oppurtunity to set up some string variance, go for a throw, or take appropriate defensive action (i.e. step, GI). 33_99KK A slow ankle tap into a high kick. Guaranteed on CH and will RO to the front. The second kicks tracks fairly well and provides safe blockstun and push. Unfortunately, an opponent can block the first hit, remain crouching, and punish after the second kick whiffs. 33_99K*K A 33_99K kick into an abbreviated version of 236K. Although the string is low/mid compared to 33_99KK's low/high, it doesn't function as a mixup, but rather to screw an opponent's sense of tempo. Something as simple as 33_99K into a quick poke can get opponents to wait out the string. When they think the string is over, the delayed K can still nail them. As a result, it can be used to force an opponent to wait just a little bit longer before they can actually resume. ***************************** Combos You Can't Live Without ***************************** In short, this is the combo thread, in which all the possible GUARANTEED juggles are. Keep in mind that juggling in SC2 is a whole different mechanic than in the Tekken series. You're not going to get insane 5-hit juggles here. By guaranteed, I mean combinations/juggles that are either extraordinarily difficult to tech out of or are guaranteed altogether. If there's a combo here, I've not listed, you're at liberty to email me your prospective combo. Keep in mind, you must have tested the combo on actual, live, human competition. And don't think you can pull any string out of your ass; I know people, and they'd be happy to double, or triple check, what I haven't checked out myself. ============== Natural Combos ============== AA AK AB BB 66BB bAA/66bAA 44[A]A 44[A]B 2bB8BAA (if second hit connects, rest of string is guaranteed) 2bB8BAK (if second hit connects, rest of string is guaranteed) 22AA 236AB 236 2_8AB 236 2_8BAA 236 2_8BAK WS K A+B 3A+B/8WR (except 6) A+B ========= CH Combos ========= ABK (second hit must be CH) ABB (second hit must be CH) b2B 6AK 2BB:K 3AB 44AB B+KB 33_99KK 22_88KK 11_77AK 88AA 8KK 236 2_8KK ======= Juggles ======= 3B -> 236B - best damage and RO ability -> AK 44B -> 236B - best damage and RO ability 3AB (second hit only) -> 236B - best damage and RO ability 66K -> 236B - best damage and RO ability -> AK B+K[B] (second hit only) -> 236B - best damage and RO ability CH 44K/11_77K -> 236B - best damage and RO ability CH 3AB -> 236B - best damage and RO ability CH B+KB -> 236B CH 6AK (second hit must be on CH) -> 44B+K - best damage -> 1K -> 66kB =========== Stun Combos =========== A+B -> 3B - best damage -> 7K - the flashiest followup bAA*A/66bAA*A (third hit only) -> 3K - stands opponent back up to face mixups -> 44B+K -> 3A+B - best damage CH 1K -> 44B+K - best damage -> 1K -> 2A - stand opponent back up to face mixups (opponent will be off axis) CH 22_88A -> 3B -> 2A - stands opponent back up to face mixups -> 7K - to show off CH b6 -> 44B+K - best damage -> 1K -> 3B -> 7K - to show off B*6B_[B] (second hit only) -> 44B+K - best damage -> 1K -> 3B -> 7K - to show off WS [A] -> 44B+K - best damage -> 1K -> 3B -> 7K 66B+G -> 44B+K - easiest guaranteed damage -> dash in, 3A+B - difficult to do, works easier against larger characters and does better damage than 44B+K -> 1K ============ Misc. Combos ============ 66B+G -> 9KK (must be in a corner to work) 236B -> 236B (opponent must hit wall first) 9A -> 236B (near wall only) 66A+B -> 3B (near wall only) 9A -> 236B (near wall only) *************** Closing Remarks *************** This guide was compiled in order to help players understand what makes Cassandra good and how to apply her moveset effectively. It's been nothing but a labor of love, and I hope the effort into making this guide clear and understandable has paid off. Cassandra has the tools to deal with any situation. It's up to the player to put it all together. It takes a long time to gain that kind of understanding; this guide was created to provide some beginning directions. ******************** Additional Resources ******************** ********************* Props and Thank-you's ********************* To all those who perished in the tragic events of 9/11/2001 - I hope this tragedy opens eyes and makes people cherish life. May you rest in peace. God bless you all. To those who continue to protect our safety overseas - We might not ever say it, but I will. Thank you for sacrificing your time and possibly even your lives to defend the rights that make this country great. I wish you all the best as well as success and a safe trip home. To all my family - They have always been people I could depend on when the going gets tough. Trust me, it has been tough. If it weren't for my family, I wouldn't be half the decent and law-abiding person I am today. Thank you, I love you all! To all my beloved friends - Thanks go out to Roxy, Brett, Ken, Cara, Alberto... aw dammit, there's so many of you to name! I'm so popular! [sniffs] I love you guys! Namco - Big props for making the a solid fighting. And I must salute you for making a character as interesting, and as versatile as Cassandra. Oh yeah, thumbs up for making Nightmare too. He's a badass. All the regulars on the Cassandra strat forum - Mick - Lucent97 - Classic 2D - ILL FATE - johnny blaze - Musourenka I thank you for the sound advice and insight. Thanks to your counsel, I'm far from being a n00b. Really, really far. Faithless - Thank you for all the Kristin Kreuk icons. I don't believe people would be nearly as interested in what I have to say if I didn't have them. :P All the people I play against - There are far too many of you to name. I thank you for fighting against me and giving me incentive to improve in the game. Good games, guys and thanks a million. Elvis Presley, Foo Fighters, U2, Ludacris, Coldplay, Garbage, Incubus, LL Cool J, and etc. - The soundtrack to my work. Those long sessions at 2 in the morning wouldn't be nearly as interesting if there wasn't good choice music playing from my laptop. My trusty laptop computer - So I can write on this guide or read up on the latest Cassandra strat at any time, any place. No strat writer should be without one. It also doubles as a jukebox, movie player and porn storage!