Just Use Your Skull (Skullgirls resources and tips)

So Skullgirls has been making a bit of a roar lately, what with the donation drive to becomethe eight game at EVO and the currently ongoing Indiegogo campaign that is working to bring in more DLC characters for the indie title (which you should totally support). General interest in the game seems to rising among both casual and hardcore fighting game players, though the game itself is not exactly the easiest thing to just pick up and play. There already exist tutorials and other resources for those interested in learning Skullgirls, so as I continue to patiently wait for the Xbox 360 patch (don’t give up hope, it will come one day), I would love to provide you guys with the information you need to learn the game while also providing a few tips and tricks of my own which are directed more towards veteran fighting game players.

First off, I would like to clear up a major misconception that a lot of people have garnered towards Skullgirls: that the game is simply a 30-second-long combo fest. The truth is that absurdly long combos that turn a match into a single-player experience exist in just about all popular fighting games, yet they are not exactly the most reliable things to do in a match. The same applies for Skullgirls. Skullgirls is a reset-heavy game, for while you will come across some touch-of-death combos, in reality the worst thing that you can do in this game is give your opponent tons of meter. The system is setup in a way in that as your combo goes on longer, the amount of meter that you gain scales down considerably, while the amount of meter that your opponent gains scales up quite a bit. Resets are high risk, high reward, for while you may give up guaranteed damage, a successful reset will result in more damage done to your opponent, more meter for you, and less meter for your opponent. So what can one do with this meter, exactly? Well, meter allows you to pull off crossover counters to get out of pressure, supers to do damage, snapbacks (namely double snapbacks akin to Marvel vs Capcom 2) to get rid of annoying assists, and it allows one to pull off those touch-of-death combos in the first place.

Even if you do find yourself in a 30-second long combo, which will not be all that often, then do not give up hope. It ain’t over ’till it’s over.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zpen_ampOSI&w=560&h=315]

Never Give Up

Never give up. (The combo mentioned can be found here: http://youtu.be/gME8IHbLSQo?t=2m28s)

Ms. Fortune is kind of… busted, so some rules do not apply to her. Regardless, notice how much meter that combo gave to the opponent. Also notice how that meter was used to perform a double snapback and to later on chip the opponent to death. Had both players been using teams, you really would have seen that meter put to good use.

With that out of the way, and with the mention of teams, it is probably best to go onto the resources and tips you need to learn Skullgirls. Without further ado:

– Your main resources for learning about the game will be both the Skullheart forums, the fan-made forum for Skullgirls, and the Skullgirls SRK wiki. The latter especially helps when it comes to learning about the game’s combo system and how teams work. The former for learning combos, finding tournaments and other events, finding other players, and for finding videos and streams.

– Speaking of videos and streams, you will definitely want to check out the Youtube channels of BrandX, Guitalex, Duckator, and Mike Z. Guitalex and Duckator are among the best Skullgirls players out there, with Duckator being the EVO 2012 champion. BrandX has a promising Skullgirls video series known as BrandX vs The World, and both he, Duckator, and Mike Z (one of the game’s creators) upload videos of Skullbats, the weekly Skullgirls online tournament on PSN.

– Start off by playing who you like. This may be based on aesthetics, play style, voice acting, whatever. Play a character that you will enjoy playing; don’t worry about the currently non-existent tier list for the game, for every character is viable in some way, shape, or form.

– If you like rushing down your opponent, play Ms. Fortune, Valentine, Filia, or Painwheel. If you like spacing and zoning, pick Peacock or Parasoul. If you like grapplers, pick Cerebella. If you like a character that does pretty much everything, pick Parasoul or Double. If you like characters with amazing assists, pick Cerebella, Double, or Parasoul. If you like nasty, naughty, raunchy, saucy resets, pick ANYONE.

– Skullgirls stands out among other fighting games in that the game allows you to make teams composed of 1, 2, or 3 characters. Teams are balanced in the sense that the more characters you have, the more options you have, and the less characters you have, the more health and damage you have. A solo character can easily kill a single character on a team of three, but that single character has to deal with two assists as well.

– I could write an entire essay on this, and while some people may not agree with me on this, do NOT play a team composed of one character. The main reason to play a solo character is that you deal more damage and have more health, though neither is not necessarily true. Playing on a team of two or three characters may potentially give you more damage output via DHCs and hard tag combos (as you can see in the video above) than a solo character can output. Teams also have more health, technically, because you have three characters as opposed to one. The main and best reason to play a team of multiple characters is that you have access to more options. Assists make landing hits on your opponent much easier so that you may deal damage in the first place, and crossover counters make getting out of pressure and tough situations much easier with proper assists in place. The only reason to really choose a single character over a team is if you cannot properly play another character, for then that character is just a free kill. I am not saying that if you play a solo character then you will never win. Heck, I play a solo Ms. Fortune myself, but the options that you gain from playing teams will take you a long way.

– Make good usage of your assists. Skullgirls allows you to make custom assists; nearly any move that a character may perform can be used as an assist, with exceptions being air moves and supers. The game lets you be creative with what assists you choose and how you use them, so be creative and go wild.

– Do not become over-reliant on your assists. If you rely on your assist to do everything for you, then your neutral game may suffer, and as soon as you lose your character to a double snapback (as seen in the video above) it will really show. Having trouble with a team composed of Peacock and Double? Hit the Peacock with the snapback, kill the Double, and watch that Peacock player who does not know how to play without an assist slowly crumble before you. A lot of players make this misstep; don’t be one of those players.

– Work on resets along with your combos. Again, Skullgirls is a reset-heavy game. Resets will get you far, and resets in this game are absolutely filthy. Just watch. [youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eDrl6SMsV1w&w=560&h=315]

– This goes for any fighting game, but practice practice practice. If you have a hard time taking on a certain character, then find someone on the Skullheart forums or in the IRC chat who is pretty much a god with that character. Alternatively, learn to play that character yourself so that you may learn their weaknesses. Also, watch videos. The Skullheart forums have plenty of links to videos and streams containing tutorials or high level matches. You may learn quite a bit.

– This video basically shows everything that I talked about above. Watch it, for it shows some of the highest level of play I’ve seen in this game so far. [youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S5W2BQicenM&w=560&h=315]

Any additional information you need can again be found on either the Skullheart forums or on the Skullgirls SRK wiki, so be sure to check those out and support this amazing title!

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