Ben Birdland has seen a lot in his time, including the worst of the Grand War. But nothing was worse than what he saw as a beat cop in New Meridian. When he ran afoul of his crooked unit he was given a violent early retirement, and his broken body was left to spend the rest of its days in an iron lung.
That would have been the end of Ben’s story if it hadn't drawn the ears of the Anti-Skullgirl Labs. With little left to lose, he agreed to be rebuilt with their experimental procedures. Melded with the machinery that allows him to breathe and a powerful an array of pneumatic weaponry, he was reborn as “Big Band.”
Now a senior member of Lab 8, he’s become a father figure of sort to the younger ASG soldiers. A firm believer in their cause, he has stayed with the project through its controversies and still sees his place on the front lines against the Skullgirl.
Big Band is a big character that is best played defensively to use his large normals and his variety of high risk, high reward tools to punish the opponent. His big hurtbox and lack of mobility makes him vulnerable to crossups, instant overheads, and stray hits, emphasizing his defensive play.
Various specials cover different angles around Big Band, granting him space control, at the risk of leaving himself vulnerable if they whiff or are blocked.
Has very good assists to benefit the entire cast and any team, whatever their need is.
Super Sonic Jazz, his grounded level 1 super, is one of the most feared reversals in the game
Parrying allows him to deflect predictable pressure, gain meter, and punish his opponent afterwards. But over-zealousness will quickly put him in a bad position.
His Sound Stun, a character unique form of Stagger, gives him different combos, conversions, and setups than other characters.
Brass Knuckles (6P) - A rush punch that has armor and gives Big Band some mobility while hitting what's in front of him.
Take the 'A' Train (6K) - A command grab (L) or an anti-air hit grab (M and H) that has armor and gives Big Band some mobility.
Beat Extend (623P) - Big Band's meterless reversal that is invulnerable, can hit behind him, and is easy to convert from.
Cymbal Clash (j214K) - A disjointed special that allows Big Band to space his opponents while in the air.
Many of Big Band's attacks cause a unique Sound Stun on hit. This hit effect has a distinctive musical note hit spark and has additional hit stop for the opponent or a knockdown depending on the attack. Attacks that end in a Sound Stun all lead to damaging combos for Big Band. Because Big Band can use only one Sound Stun per combo, the property acts as a character exclusive version of stagger. Additional Sound Stun attacks in the same combo have their diminished, normal properties.
L Beat Extend: A fast invulnerable DP assist with good range and easy conversion ability. The L and M versions have 2 extra frames of vulnerability during their startup. If the assist hits both characters, the assist will "drop" 12 frames before the point. The blockstun for each version is also decreased; 5f for L, 7f for M and H.
H Brass Knuckles: An armored assist that has a lot of vertical coverage that deals a lot of damage on counterhit. Unlike the normal version of this move, the assist version does not cause a sliding knockdown on hit and has less blockstun.
Noteworthy Custom Assists
M / H Take the A Train (6K): Anti-air grab (unblockable while rising) and setup assist. On hit, the lengthy animation allows time for the point character to build resources. The H version travels further and has more time to build resources
Giant Step (214K): While all versions of this attack must be blocked high, the HK version stands out as the best for an assist; when not in range for the direct hit, the earthquake effect forces the opponent to jump and can allow the point character to approach or convert.
Taunt (START button on custom assist select): Big Band taunts, powering up his next level 1 super (either Super Sonic Jazz or Tympany Drive).
Big Band pulls out a trumpet, which will act as any other single hit normal if chained into a stronger (HP or HK) attack. If chained into itself or a weaker attack (LP or LK), chaining with any additional button presses will play additional notes as long as Big Band holds the trumpet. Up to the first 6 notes can actually hit, with more hits becoming active with more levels of meter in stock. Additional hits will all contribute to undizzy as individual MP normals. Holding ← or → during Free Form will cause the next button input to put away the trumpet in favor of the button's actual attack, assuming that button can chain out of a s.MP. Mashing buttons and accidentally going Free Form will leave Big Band defenseless, while careful use can lead to his level 5 super.
A 2 part trombone kick. Big Band can jump cancel after the second hit to use this as a standard launcher. Jump canceling after the first hit leaves the opponent at a lower height. Additionally, it is possible to jump cancel after the first hit and perform an air throw for a mix-up, and it works on every character (timing is somewhat strict).
A 2 part attack with a single hit on the first button press. The second part rings the triangle for 5 additional hits. This button is very useful for breaking armor, as well as for performing meaty setups that cover reversal options that have a few vulnerable frames at the start, have armor, or both.
Big Band extends two trombone slides to hit the opponent. Good horizontal poke. If you confirm the second hit at max range, you can follow up with c.HP, then cancel into H Train, E-Break, then s.LP. The timing on characters with smaller hitboxes (like Filia, for instance) will be tighter.
A slow blast from a massive tuba. On hit, the Sound Stun causes an extended hit stop on the opponent. Hitting without a Sound Stun gives the opponent invulnerability and allows an immediate Ground Recovery, similar to a sweep. Like s.HK, it has some low-crush potential. It also has slight disjoint, making it a good poke at far ranges and its big hitbox allows for some anti-air potential. On block, it is possible to make yourself -5 if you immediately H Train into E-Break, which is safer than L Brass on block, being -6.
Big Band extends a tiny clarinet to hit his opponent as his main low attack. The fact that it is +7 on hit makes it easy to set up low/throw mixups mid-combo. It has a pretty large vertical hitbox for a low, so it works conveniently in optimized combos.
Big Band drops to the ground, attacking above and around himself with air blasts. The low profile hurt boxes and large hit box make the attack a useful anti-air and make the tall Big Band less susceptible to instant overheads. Oh hit, the blasts draw defending characters closer to Big Band instead of pushing them away. After a fully shook beat extend, this move can be used to drop the enemy on the opposite side.
A basic sweep with surprising vertical range and slightly disjointed, making it effective for stopping air dashes and other low height air attacks. This is Big Band's hardest hitting normal move. On block, it is possible to immediately cancel into L 'A' Train and have it confirm (the opponent conveniently exits blockstun at around the same time L Train becomes active).
A single blast from Big Band's lowest side valve. j.MP and j.HP attack using the other valves and combine for a basic 3 hit air chain, which Big Band has a hard time doing with his jumping kicks. It is common to use a "plink throw" after j.LP. This can be done by inputting j.LP, then "rolling" your hand over the LP and LK inputs (do not touch them at the same time; you must input them separately in a very quick succession).
Big Band can whiff cancel this move into j.MP then j.HP or just into j.HP.
A 2 part attack with a low-angled clarinet, first hitting directly below Big Band and then spinning for additional hits after a second button press. The second attack's spinning hits cause a float effect and force Big Band to stay airbourne.
He can't use this float if he's already used a double jump, but he can use the float to extend a super jump to a full screen's distance for a desperately needed movement option.
Each use of j.MK follow up in a combo will cause Big Band to fall increasingly faster.
The first hit can be used at the start of a jump for a quick overhead.
This can be converted into a combo with Tympany Drive when close enough to the corner, or with j.HK and teching forward when far enough from the corner.
Cymbal Clash can be used to combo after an instant overhead j.MK against Big Band, or against any other standing character (such as during a fuzzy setup)
j.HP can be used to combo against a crouching Big Band and some standing characters, but the timing is very tight.
Big Band attacks with a clumsy drop kick, forcing himself to land on his back and use a Ground Recovery. When used air to air, the high wall bounce will leave the opponent flying across the screen while Big Band slowly gets himself together. The Ground Recovery is no different than any other, so careful placement will let Big Band use its invulnerable frames to get across the screen.
The first frame data graph shows the move with a ground recovery. The second shows without.
* On hit, j.HK can't cancel to a special move, but it can still cancel to Tympany Drive.
** 16 frames of recovery, then the opportunity to ground tech. There are 3 additional frames of vulnerable recovery if no ground tech is performed, and some additional invulnerable recovery.
The throw with the longest range in the game by far. Big Band extends a bell, shakes the opponent around, and leaves them standing. The generous frame advantage after the throw gives Big Band time to convert into a combo.
Use c.MK to convert into a combo in the corner.
When out of the corner, the opponent will be too far away to reach with most normals for a combo, so you have to close the distance first.
A good conversion is H 'A' Train, E-Break, c.LK/c.MK. c.MK is a 6 frame link with the earliest possible E-Break (+18).
L Giant Step, c.LK is a less optimal conversion that consumes Sound Stun, but is easy to execute.
Big Band reaches out in an attempt to draw in and trap the opponent in his tambourine. On hit, the "shake" (mash , , ... OR ←,→,←,→...) inputs give additional, rapid hits that are best used after a combo has reached maximum damage scaling. The Sound Stun causes extra hit stop for the opponent, giving Big Band enough time to recover and start a combo before the defending player falls to the ground.
The L version is invulnerable one frame later than the other two versions and deals the least damage, but is the fastest and has the tallest initial hitbox, making it better as an anti-air.
The M version is slightly slower, invulnerable on the first frame, and trades vertical range for slightly more horizontal range, as well as hitting both in front and behind.
The H version is the slowest but is the only throw-invulnerable version and does the most damage. Its hitboxes are similar to the M version.
L and M versions have 2 additional frames of vulnerability.
If it hits two characters, the assist will be released 12f before the point.
Instead of a simple punch, Big Band attempts to grab the opponent with this rushing attack, either directly in front of him or an upwards angle.
A true command grab that moves forward very slightly and grabs directly in front of Big Band. Much slower than his normal throw, but has better range, is untechable, and can be performed as a cancel out of normals.
Moves forward and grabs above Big Band at an upwards angle. Big Band's forward momentum will track to grab even very close opponents.
Moves the furthest and grabs at the same angle as the MK version. Has no tracking, which effectively creates a deadzone. If the opponent is too close, Big Band will travel underneath them and whiff.
In the corner, the LK version can be converted into a combo with an OTG normal like c.MP. The MK and HK versions move Big Band too far back for this to be possible, so the only conversion option is to super cancel.
The MK and HK versions are unblockable by a rising airborne opponent, but blockable on the way down.
Often performed in neutral off of a read that Big Band's opponent is going to jump.
s.HK, HK 'A' Train is a very common combo ender that allows for okizeme if OTG has not been spent, or a super cancel for more damage.
Ending a block string with either an LK grab, an MK grab, or a Brass Knuckles can force the defending player to guess against Big Band as he winds up one of 3 visually similar attacks.
During Brass Knuckles: OR During Take the 'A' Train:
Any input during a Brass Knuckles or any input during a Take the 'A' Train will cause Big Band to stop his charge with a brief recovery animation. This can be used to fake out the defending player or move an armored Big Band around without committing to the attack.
Hold the respective P or K button while inputting Brass or A-Train to get the fastest possible E-Break.
Big Band loses the armor from either Brass Knuckles' or Take the 'A' Train during the entire animation of this move.
Commonly abbreviated as "E-Break", or "ebrake".
The first frame data graph shows the move done from the earliest possible frame of Brass. The second is A-Train. They were executed via holding a button for E-Break, then executing the move.
Big Band stomps the ground and attacks with an oversized kick drum pedal that hits overhead.
Although the HK version and its "earthquake" consume Sound Stun, the attack has the same properties without it.
Pulls the opponent closer to Big Band on hit.
Pulls the opponent even closer to Big Band and gives him slightly more time to link his normals.
Knocks the opponent down and closer towards Big Band if the kick pedal hits, otherwise creates a fullscreen unblockable '"earthquake" effect that causes an identical knockdown.
The earthquake deals no damage and cannot hit an opponent during a jump, pre-jump frames, hit stun, or block stun. It's a projectile that only hits if you're "standing". Even things that look standing but are truly considered airborne or not standing will be ignored. There's also a special exception where Bella can't reflect it.
Has the ability to destroy Robo-Fortune's mines anywhere on the screen, even when she is in the air.
The earthquake can be armored through like a normal hit (eg. with Bella's Tumbling Run)
Does not generate an earthquake if the drum pedal hits an enemy assist, Ms. Fortune head, or Lonesome Lenny.
If the opponent is hit fullscreen by the earthquake, Big Band can convert with H Brass Knuckles into super.
Big Band extends long, thin arms to clap cymbals together. This attack's start up shifts his jump momentum so he floats slightly up and backwards. The large, disjointed hit box allows Big Band to space his opponent in the while in the air.
On hit, the Sound Stun gives a full knockdown and relatively easy follow up combo to Take the 'A' Train once Big Band lands. Without Sound Stun, the opponent becomes invulnerable for the knockdown and can use an immediate Ground Recovery.
/ immediately before Big Band gets hit
Big Band uses a high hat cymbal to parry incoming attacks, allowing him to riposte with an attack afterwards.
On the ground, a high (→) Noise Cancel input will parry any incoming high or mid attack and low (↓) will parry low attacks.
In the air, high (→) parries any attack.
Throws and hitgrabs can never get parried.
Big Band can never parry both directions at the same time, but assist attacks can be parried either direction.
Upon a successful Noise Cancel, Big Band takes 75% of the incoming attack's block damage as recoverable damage, and cannot die from damage taken during parry.
The parried attack's hit stop and stun get replaced with a standardized 27f parry stop animation (29f for supers).
The parry stop can cancel to another Noise Cancel immediately or cancel to an attack or block after 12f (14f for supers).
Parrying a sequence of combo hits increases the active window for Noise Cancels by 2f and allows both high and low inputs to parry any incoming attack.
Big Band gains 41.667% of parried move as meter and 1% flat for parrying multihitting moves and projectiles(with some exceptions).
Parrying projectiles will move Big Band forward while carrying over forward momentum. This effect is lessened if the projectile was created from a super.
The recovery of a successful parry is dash cancelable (after the hitstop)
Tapping and holding the direction input gives a 13f window to Noise Cancel an incoming attack, while tapping the direction and returning to neutral increases the window to 17f.
Any Noise Cancel input triggers a 30f cooldown for that parry input.
Alternating high and low inputs will cancel the active window for the first input as the second input becomes active. Any other inputs simply close the window for a Noise Cancel.
"Inputting a ↓ parry during the cooldown from an → parry, or a → parry during the cooldown of a ↓ parry, resets the cooldown of the opposite parry. In other words, → parry -> ↓ parry = both recover at the same time, instead of → recovering earlier. Fixes →,↓,→,↓,→,↓… against projectiles. "
" Time before joystick must be released or parry is invalid 7f→12f. "
"Pressing other directions during a successful parry animation will not invalidate any existing parry inputs. "
TODO: information about the training mode parry display
With 2 frames of armored and throw invulnerable pre-flash startup, and enough hitstop to cover the rest of the invulnerable startup, this is one of the most feared reversals in the game. After the startup, this move is still covered with one hit of armor as Big Band charges forward. Use this move to get out of almost any mixup situation and to end combos.
The final hit sends the opponent backwards, so a conversion is only possible with more meter (H Giant Step, Super Sonic Jazz/Strike Up The Band) or a specific assist like Painwheel's H Pinion Dash.
After charging up a taunt, Big Band's Super Sonic Jazz charge has more hits of armor and adds the TUBA TUBA! attack after the 4th hit. Not only do these punches deal additional damage, they sends the opponent into a knockdown directly in front of Big Band for an easier DHC.
No 4th hit on block.
Immediately transitions to TUBA TUBA if Super Sonic Jazz whiffs.
Holding a button will not consume the taunt, and will perform just Super-Sonic Jazz instead.
Big Band beats a set of timpani drums, hitting below and around himself as he hovers. Holding a direction during the attack will control Big Band's hover, which lets him follow the opponent through the air and connect with all 16 hits. The opponent lands from the final hit's knockdown before Big Band lands, so he can continue a combo after the Tympany Drive if he's in range to OTG with an air normal on the way down.
If any hit from this attacks is blocked, Big Band cannot block or perform any action on the way down.
The first active frame is vulnerable. This will cause proper meaties to trade, often in Big Band's favor
When powered up with a taunt, the 16th hit of Tympany Drive becomes a hit grab. The additional Death Toll resembles Big Band's regular air throw and deals damage free from any damage scaling effects. * With Sound Stun, Big Band lands first and can continue the combo on the falling opponent.
Without Sound Stun, the opponent becomes invulnerable for the knockdown and can use an immediate Ground Recovery.
Holding a button at the end will not consume the taunt.
After hitting s.MP, Big Band can play the first notes of the Skullgirls title theme. This just so happens to be the command for a level 5 super, triggering an extended super freeze while Big Band's meter gauge drains from 5 full levels to 0. With the opponent fully frozen, Big Band can play additional trumpet notes with impunity. The notes do no additional damage.
Inputting via trumpet decreases the startup from 2 to 1 frame.
Choosing to not inputting qcf + + during the extended super freeze will put Big Band in a brief and invulnerable recovery.
The second frame data graph shows the move when the 236PP follow up is not performed, leaving Big Band +1
, , , ,
Successfully taunting will trigger a visual effect over Big Band similar to the Sound Stun hit effect, signaling his next Super-Sonic Jazz or Tympany Drive super will use the stored taunt. The upgraded versions of these supers have a follow up attack and additional damage.
Holding the respective button while inputting the super will not consume the charge.
A charged super cannot be done in the same combo Big Band gains a taunt boost.
Big Band doesn't get the boost if he is interrupted from his taunt before the visual effect.
Holding the input will continue to play Bagpipe Blues for no additional benefits.
If the bread and butter combos are too daunting, try to become comfortable doing each of these combos. Start with the first, then move to the next one. When you play matches, it's good enough to use the one you can perform the most consistently. Once you can do all of them, try learning the combos in the following sections!
c.LK > c.MK > c.HK
A basic ground chain ending in a sweep.
c.LK > c.MPx2 > c.HP xx H Take the 'A' Train
A basic ground chain ending in a special cancel. This combo will get you used to doing charge motions in combos. After you input c.HP, be sure to hold 1 (the down-back position) so you have a charge ready for A Train.
c.LK > c.MK > s.HP
j.MP > j.HP xx L Cymbal Clash
H Take the A-Train xx Super-Sonic Jazz
A basic ground chain ending in a super. SSJ sends them fullscreen, behind Big Band.
c.LK > c.MK > s.HP
j.MP > j.HP > j.HK
Tech forward, c.LK > s.MK
j.LK >j.MKx2 > j.HK xx Tympany Drive (Hold 9)
Bread and Butter Combos
While these combos may not be optimal, they contain the most common, effective combo routes and are a great place to start learning.
Patiently observe his opponent's habits and wait for his time to punish.
Condition his opponent so that they play into his hands.
Use his high risk, high reward tools to control space in neutral, punish his opponent, or convert off stray hits.
Big Band is a defensive playstyle character that excels at punishing his opponents habits, although not without risks in doing so. Boasting the biggest hurtbox in the game, slow mobility, and relatively slow moves emphasize his need of patient, defensive play.
His mobility isn't as great as other characters but using Emergency Break during Brass Knuckles or Take the 'A' Train, j.HK to use a ground recovery after landing, and the second part of j.MK (which uses his double jump), allows him to get around the screen at the cost of being vulnerable.
Big Band's neutral is a patient game of watching his opponent, using his specials to cover areas around him, and capitalizing on hard reads or an opponent's mistakes.
Beat Extend covers the immediate space in front of Big Band, with the M and H variants covering behind him as well.
Brass Knuckles covers the space in front of Big Band that the move suggests.
Whereas Take the A-Train covers the upwards angle above Big Band except the L variant which covers the space in front of Big Band.
Cymbal Clash covers the downward angle below of Big Band and changes his air momentum.
Giant Step covers a medium space in front of Big Band, with the H variant causing an unblockable earthquake.
He can also use his normals to space and cover areas around Big Band with less commitment than his specials.
s.LP is a fast jab that hits in front of Big Band that is useful against low air dashers and for confirming hits.
c.MK is a good button because it vacuums his opponent, shrinks Big Band's hurtbox, AND puts a hitbox entirely around him.
j.LP/MP/HP cover the area in front of Big Band, with each button strength affecting the height, LP being the lowest and HP being the highest.
j.LK covers an downward angle below Big Band and has three hits.
j.MK covers an angle directly below Big Band, has two parts to it, and can stop opponents from trying to run under him.
Keep these in mind as basic guidelines of Big Band's gameplay and his goals.
Color 26 Based on Jotaro Kujo from JoJo's Bizarre Adventure. (Unlocked by finishing 26 matches with Satchmo Death Blow)
Winpose 1: Hold
Winpose 2: Hold
After using s.MP, chaining with additional button presses will cause Big Band to play additional trumpet notes. Individual buttons play the distinct notes as shown. Holding ↑ or ↓ while playing will move the notes up or down an octave. Thanks to the Skullheart Forum for listing the original scale.