In this first ‘test’ episode of the new irregular series, we will discuss the game as it now plays after the most recent Hwang’s patch. Opinions graciously come from Boom, Party Wolf, Rufus, Shen Chan, and Skyll.

In this new, irregular series, we will look on the current state of the game with several high-profile players who will all answer three same questions regarding given topic.

Today, we will take a look at the state of the game since the release of latest patch v2.3 (Hwang’s release). Responses and opinions were kindly received from the following players:

Party Wolf
Shen Chan

And here are the questions:

Which game mechanic(s) / part(s) of the game dominates current meta?

Boom: I think any character that has a very strong SC mix is real strong right now. A lot of the ways to deal with SC is just good standard defense, but sometimes having good standard defense vs real good options require you to guess right 3/4 times, so it feels like there is a bit of a luck element involved at times.

Party Wolf: I think Soul Charges are the most hard-to-deal with thing in the game, but Season 2 introduced nerfs to it and made Resist Impact drain the opponent’s Soul Charge on success. I don’t feel like anything in particular is too polarizing, but Soul Charges are the most clutch thing that is in this game, and some have a very long duration like Astaroth or Groh.

I’m not sure how other competitors feel, but I feel like random stage select might be becoming more of a problem. It would be nice if they made it so that you can not re-roll the same stage twice, especially now that we have clones of the forest stage, Murakumo Shrine, Eurydice Shrine, and Edge Master’s home/sand stage. Stage selection is very important for how match ups play, and if they can not be controlled, it could be viewed as imbalanced.

Rufus: One remark, i don’t have a lot of experience in current meta and I don’t know it quite well. But from what i saw, i definitely can say that SC is still very strong. It is still very aggressive, it is still allows you to turn your brain off. I don’t believe in bad mechanics, I believe that they can be implemented bad or good. SC is a good example of poorly implemented mechanic.

Shen Chan: If I have to name one part of the game that’s always been dominating the meta whether current or not, it’s Soul Charge. The strength of Soul Charge varies a lot between characters and on one end, the comeback factor for some characters can be devastating and on the other hand, you can heave a sigh of relief that they didn’t save it for CE.

Skyll: Both step and step 2G kinda force people to use a non healthy number of horizontals every match. In that regard, I think we can say that those active defensive options dominate and shape the meta. The change on special throw break ( going from +8 to +6 while finishing at a longer range ) also makes offense harder to maintain.

Are there any obvious winners and/or losers in current state of the game?

Boom: I’m not sure about obvious losers, since I think most characters are in a very solid spot, but I’d say obvious winners are probably NM, Yoshi, and Tira because they somehow avoided significant nerfs and probably Xianghua, Groh, Hilde and Talim for their buffs.

Party Wolf: I think in the current state of the game, you have some characters that are a cut above the rest, but I think at the same time, it doesn’t really matter who you pick. I think you could be a character specialist for anybody and do pretty well (consistent top 8s, maybe some 1sts) if you are a strong player. Every character has something ridiculous. It is hard to pinpoint a top 5, but much easier to know which characters are frustrating.

There are things that I feel like I could suggest to the balance team, but at the same time, if there were to be more patches we would be on Season 3. Season 3 could bring system changes that are just as impactfull as Season 2.

Rufus: I play versus Nightmare every week and it’s very hard to play against him at this moment, so I think he is one of those few characters who were blessed with good buffs by the developers. Also you can see many Talim’s with good placings at the tournaments.

Shen Chan: I still think the meta is pretty unexplored in Season 2 unfortunately since we only really had EVO Japan 2020 to judge. At this stage of the game, just play someone you enjoy!

Skyll: There are 2 types of characters that profit from the current state of the game in my opinion :

  1. Those with very strong anti step, either mid or high with high damage like Hilde, Nightmare, Sieg, Cervantes or even Tira.
  2. Those with high damage whiff punish. If it’s a fast WR move, it’s even better. Nightmare, Cervantes, Hwang or Hilde.

And of course, some characters also become worse with those kind of changes:

  1. Those relying on vertical tracking in neutral or in setups like Mitsu, Setsuka or even Raph.

In last patch, vertical attacks behavior was significantly changed. What you think about this change?

Boom: I kind of like the change to the verticals. I know some verticals track when there are 6 frames between them (for example i14 BB’s tracking at +8) though i don’t know how characters with bad sidesteps feel about it. Overall verizontals still exist, but in my experience, most of them have been my fault 😀

Party Wolf: I like the change to vertical tracking overall, but I do have some set ups that don’t work anymore with Cassandra. For example, she could do 6(K) on block, then 214B for a step kill, which no longer works. They also nerfed the hitbox on her WR B, so she feels more linear than before. I definitely feel like it is hard to deal with, but at the same time, that’s nothing new for how Cassandra works. The bigger issue overall is the lack of hit frames on some moves that are horizontal like her AK being -2 on hit and AA being 0. It makes 2A mashers really annoying, which normally isn’t a problem when she is + because of clash set ups and the crouch grabs.

One thing I do not like about this patch however, is that some characters still have noticeably bad sidesteps. There are a large number of strings and moves in the game that Mitsurugi can not sidestep. This needs to be readdressed for Mitsurugi fans.

Rufus: I think they tried to fix infamous “verizontals” problem. Not sure that they had succeed (looks at twitter). But they gave huge advantage to characters with good movement or with good horizontal attacks.

Shen Chan: I think this should have been way since the game launched. In previous iterations, there were vertical moves which track to one side. Generally speaking, each character will have a weaker side that you will want to step against – be it in neutral or in stance counter play. This creates a more in-depth game play experience for people who want to take their game to the next level.

Skyll: Last patch aimed for more logical mechanics for the game. Horizontals SHOULD be the response to steps. The problem is that a lot of the characters in the roster were not ready for such a drastic change.
Even those gifted with very good anti steps struggle stopping people from moving right now.

The gameplay feels too “read based” with everyone just either stepping, back stepping, ducking or GIing each time they have minus frames. It’s now very difficult to take his turn without risking a massive amount of damage if the opponent takes the right decision, even at very high frame advantage.
This often leads to a game of movement from both sides where the first player to whiff will get launched, even for a small poke.

Even though I understand that the patch is aiming to the right direction, I’m also a bit scared that it was maybe the last one… If this is the case, I honestly liked the game more before this update. With his design flaws yes, but those were necessary due to the weakness of most horizontals in the game.

This has been the 1st episode of the STATE OF CALIBUR series.
Thanks for reading!