- 1 Moves List
- 2 Strategies
- 2.1 Normals You Should Be Using
- 2.2 Special Move Breakdown
- 2.3 Which Super Art?
- 2.4 Combos
- 2.5 Miscellaneous
- 2.6 Strategy Part 1 - Turtling Game
- 2.7 Strategy Part 2 - Offensive Game
- 3 Match-ups
|Leg Lift Throw||LP + LK||* Kara-Throw with F+Mk|
|Handstand Kick (Overhead)||F + MP|
|Handstand Whip (Overhead)||F + MK|
|Round Arch||B + HK|
|Sliding (Sweep)||DF + HK|
- In air, LP -> MK
- In air, MP -> HP
- HP -> HK
- MK -> D + HP
|Spin Scythe||Qcb+K (can Qcb+K a second time for extra attacks)||(EX)|
|I||Spinning Beat||Qcfx2+K||3 stocks|
|II||Brave Dance||Qcfx2+K||2 stocks|
Normals You Should Be Using
I think Elena has a lot of really useless normals. That seems to be more common in this game than in other games; I'm not really sure why. But, in any case, here are the normals I use...some, more often than others:
1. S.Lk - Cos sometimes, it's just nice to have a standing normal that cancels into stuff. In any case, I don't use this very much.
2. C.Lk - This move is kinda funny. It can go under fireballs at point blank (not all that useful), and it can combo into EX Spin Scythe or SA2. In fact, it's her only low cancelable normal. It's really a shame that this one is really hard to hit confirm, but in any case, it's probably good to know about it.
3. S.Mp - One of my other less-frequently-used normals, this one is nice when your opponent jumps in from too close to use Back Roundhouse effectively, and I don't have enough time to dash under my opponent.
4. C.Mp - This one is nice. It's got almost as long of range as C. Mk (on characters with straighter stances, there really is no difference, and on characters with less-straighter stances like Chun-Li, the difference is negligable), it's actually pretty nice anti-air, and it's her only viable hit-confirmable move. The only problems are that it's a mid, and its start-up time is a little slow in comparison to similar moves (Ken C.Mk, Chun C.Mk). Still, this one's very important.
5. F+Mp Overhead - It's an overhead. It's a little slower, or maybe as fast as her UOH, but the range on it is quite long, and it doesn't move her forward at all. I use this one less than her F+Mk Overhead, but this one has its uses, mainly in countering slow crouching attacks.
6. S.Mk - I used to not like this move too much; however, the range, speed, and priority of the attack made it quite an excellent move for stuffing attacks. It also can be used in a target combo (S.Mk + C.Hp), which is quite a valuable tool for SA3 users.
7. F+Mk Overhead - Oh man...I love this move. It's got about the same range as the F+Mp Overhead (surprisingly; I thought this move had much better range), and it comes out waaay faster. The only trouble with this move is that it recovers a bit slower, and it moves Elena forward, which can put her in trouble sometimes...If this move gets parried, you're in a lot of trouble. Just learn when it's safe to follow up and when it isn't, and you'll be fine.
8. S.Hk - One of Elena's important normals for her defense. This one sends Elena forward, and can go over some low attacks. This beats quite a lot of stuff on ground AND air, but is VERY slow to recover, and the range isn't quite as long as it looks. Use this if you're sure your opponent is gonna attack, so you can counter it. Otherwise, use it in close proximity. If you whiff this, it's GONNA hurt. Another thing...While this can be used as anti-air, you don't wanna use it as anti-air on closer jump-ins. Stick to S.Mp for that kinda stuff!
9. B+Hk - The other important defense normal. B+Hk moves Elena slightly backwards, giving her throw invulnerability. Is also goes over a lot of low attacks. As if that wasn't enough, it has crazy priority (better than normal S. Hk!), and does crazy large amounts of stun. Just like S.Hk, you don't wanna use this on close jump-ins, so watch out. Be sure to use her Hks along with S.Mp and C.Mp for a surprisingly solid defensive game.
10. C.Hk - A quick sweep that's pretty effective at far ranges, and even goes under fireballs on occassion. Going under fireballs isn't very practical, but it can be useful to remember. This move comes out pretty fast, and is surpsingly safe on block, considering you didn't do it too close to the opponent.
11. OC.Hk - A sliding kick that knocks down and has decent range. While the range is better than her C. Hk sweep, it's not really a lot safer, and you can't abuse it quite as much as some people's slide kicks (Dhalsim or Guy, anyone?). The range isn't quite as long as it looks (her foot doesn't actually hit the opponent), and it can whiff pretty easily. If it does whiff, btw, you're screwed - this move has horrible recovery time. Be sure to use this only when you've got a clear shot.
12. J.Lp - This move crosses up, but that's not the point...the main point is that you can use this in a target combo (J.Lp + J.Mk). If you're going for a jump in that clearly isn't going to cross up, this is the way to go, since you can stagger the timing for mind-games.
13. J.Mp - Nice move. This makes a great air-to-air move because of its speed and priority, but also because you can use it in a target combo (J.Mp + J.Hp). Overall, this makes it the best option for if you plan on meeting your opponent in the air.
14. J.Mk - This move is a nice cross-up. I used to not really like crossups too much, but sometimes, they can be effective. I still don't reccomend going for it incredibly often, but if you're going to, this is the move you should be throwing out.
15. J.Hp - If you're certain that your jump-in won't be parried, this is the way to go. It is the best jump-in to use for going into a combo, hands down - it's much easier to link into a combo after landing it than any of her other jump-ins, and jump-in combos beginning with J.Hp do the most damage. Use this one!
Special Move Breakdown
Elena has great special moves...but none of them are particularly safe unless you use the EX versions...that's just my opinion, though. The normal versions can be nice when used in combos, but that's about the extent to which I use them. In any case...
1. Spin Scythe - Sigh...this move would be really nice in any game without parrying...but I guess there's no point in wondering what that would be like. Pretty much any person you play against will not fall for any of the built in tricks of Spin Scythe (additional hits, Hk Spin Scythe ticks), and none of the normal versions will combo in from any move you do. Thusly, you have to resort to EX. EX Spin Scythe, though, is very nice; it's the staple of all her B&B combos. More on that later, I suppose...
2. Scratch Wheel - I think I have a rather unpopular opinion of this move, as a lot of people like the normal versions. I think that none of the normal versions are particularly safe outside of a combo; Short and Forward Scratch Wheels won't even hit jumping opponents right next to you if they're on their way up. Wtf? I have no idea which of Elena's limbs actually hit. Roundhouse Scratch Wheel is move effective in this way, but it still has its problems. Even if Forward Scratch Wheel has some invincible frames on startup, I think there's much better, safer options overall for anti-air. I use the EX Scratch Wheel as a Reversal attack sometimes (it's her safest option, which isn't saying much, unfortunately), and I use the Short and Roundhouse Scratch Wheel in her various combos.
Actually, I found one very random use for Short Scratch Wheel: It makes a good Psychic DP attack when you use it in her wakeup game. What I mean is, for example, say you use F. Mk overhead and it gets blocked. Elena and her opponent recover at about the same time. Your opponent will naturally want to try and attack you, so you can just go for the Short Scratch Wheel and knock em down again. Of course, wakeup game is all about reading your opponents and training them, but should the occassion arise, this is an option at your disposal. ...Oh yeah, and if they block the Scratch Wheel, you're still in range for a Kara Throw. >:D
3. Rhino Horn - I don't think I need to say much about this...The Short and Forward versions are safe when blocked, but are also slow, predictable, and the Short version doesn't travel very far. Let's not even get into the fact that NO Rhino Horn hits crouching opponents. It's my opinion that outside of combos, you shouldn't even be using Rhino Horn to hit grounded opponents, anyways. Outside of combos, I use EX Rhino Horn in a similar fashion to Alex's EX Slash Elbow; that is, I use it Psychic DP style to punish people that jump backwards (or even forwards sometimes, but much less frequently). Other than that, I just use the EX version in some of her combos.
4. Mallet Smash - I used to like this move a lot, until I found out how great her command Overheads were. You can link the normal versions of this move into Scratch Wheels on crouching opponents, but if that's the only time you ever used Mallet Smash, that might get a little predictable. You can do the same thing using EX Mallet Smash on standing opponents, though I don't think that's very practical, either. I use Mallet Smash only in certain combos, and to psyche people out by using it to cross-up, but that's not something you should be doing very often. Suffice to say, I don't use this move very much.
5. Lynx Tail - ...So, after playing Elena for a very long time, I did find one, very random use for this move: EX Lynx Tail is a good surprise move to throw out if you want to chip your opponent to death. Even then, I hardly do it. That's the only viable use I've ever found for Lynx Tail where there wasn't already a better option.
Quick note: For those who think that Lk Lynx Tail is faster than her foot sweep - it isn't. I believe the startup is the exact same, and the cooldown is like, almost twice as long.
Which Super Art?
Boy...this is pretty hotly debated. First, let's start with something everyone can probably agree on:
SA1 (Spinning Beat) is not very good. The damage is low, the extra meter you get for using SA1 compared to SA2 (Brave Dance) is negligable, and worst of all, if you connect the first hits of SA1 from a far distance, the next hits will whiff, even if your opponent is standing - imagine how catastrophic this move can be when trying to hit a crouching opponent? So, as I said, SA1 is not very good.
Yeah? We can all agree on that, right? Cool. The BIG debate usually comes with which SA is better between SA2 (Brave Dance) and SA3 (Healing). Personally, I am an SA3 fan, and I think I'm the only Elena player I know that primarily uses Healing. Now, trying to use empirical evidence, here's why I think SA3 is better than SA2:
1. You can deal damage comparable to SA2 by using EX combos.
- SA2 alone does 56 damage; C. Mp XX SA2 (the B&B using SA2) does 65 damage (FYI, all my damage data in this spiel is based on Ryu). Now, let's take a look at some combos you can do without Brave Dance...
- C. Mp XX EX Spin Scythe, Lk Scratch Wheel does 54 damage. Not bad for a combo you can do 3 times (technically 4 times, cos the C. Mps and Scratch Wheels will give you enough to do an extra one) with SA3, huh? You can do this combo anywhere on the screen, and, if you were able to land it that many times, it will do near 100% damage to most of the cast (It WILL do 100% damage to characters with lower vitality, like...I dunno...Yun and Chun-Li? Yang and Akuma? :D). It's really not hard to build enough meter to do this combo, and you can use it without worrying about ruining any chance you might get to use Healing.
- If you're in the corner, you can even do this: C. Mp XX EX Spin Scythe, Mk Spin Scythe, EX Rhino Horn, Hk Scratch Wheel. 75 Damage. That's MORE than you can do with a normal SA2 link.
- If you're not in the corner, here's a combo you can do with 2 EX moves from anywhere: C. Mp XX EX Spin Scythe, EX Rhino Horn (this crosses up midscreen), Hk Scratch Wheel. This is for 64 damage, and the Scratch Wheel will build you up to about half bar again, meaning you already have almost enough to do it a second time.
- Also, in the instance of adding a jump-in attack to the mix, the SA2 combos don't gain a substantial amount of damage increase (neither do the EX ones), making the amount of damage pretty proportional no matter what you decide to do.
Now, admittedly, in all these cases, the damage is negligable, but why would you use a whole bar for to do the kind of damage you can do with just part of it? AND, you have the option to gain back life on TOP of all that!
2. There are almost NO links which combo into only SA2 and not EX Spin Scythe; the only exception is that EX Spin Scythe might whiff certain crouching characters at max range. In most cases though, it's not only possible, but it's EASIER to use EX Spin Scythe.
3. There are almost no EX combos that Elena can do with SA2 that she can't do in SA3. The only one I can think of is EX Mallet Smash X 4 on jumping opponents (SA3 Elena can only get 3 of them...aww. :P). If someone can explain to me why this combo is even PRACTICAL, and why that fourth Mallet Smash is key to her game, you let me know. I don't even think that this is a practical combo.
4. More diversity. You can now mount an offense, OR turtle, depending on what the situation calls for.
My overall verdict
All in all, the biggest reason I've ever heard for people using SA2 over SA3 dealt with being able to dish out damage, and that you have to play Elena completely differently with SA3. I don't buy this. The damage of her combos do the same damage as her various SA2 links, and sometimes more, which means you can still mount a great offensive and deal the same damage. SA3 adds an extra dynamic to Elena's game - the ability to safely implement other, less predictable tactics safely (turtling game and wakeup game, most specifically). Everyone knows what an SA2 Elena is trying to do - C.Mp. That move is not even dangerous in most cases (it can be blocked and parried high AND low! Talk about working hard for a match!) and is easy to see coming. Now that you can do other things with Elena, it's that much less predictable to use it.
On the other hand...there are some characters who are certainly difficult to hit with Ex Spin Scythe combos, due to their height (in particular, Chun-Li). From here, it becomes a judgement call based on how want to go about the match.
Here are some combos I use with Elena:
- C. Mp XX EX Spin Scythe, Lk Scratch Wheel (6 hits, 54 damage)
Note: This is what I'd consider Elena's B&B combo. She can do this anywhere, and it's the best combo in ratio of meter used to damage dealt. You have to be quicker on the Scratch Wheel in midscreen, but it's not too difficult overall.
- C. Mp XX EX Spin Scythe, J.Mp -> J.Hp (3 hits, 47 damage)
Note: This is the other B&B for Elena, it does a bit less damage, but the trick is that it will reset the opponent, so if you think you can fool them with something as they land, go for this, cos it'll result in more damage in the long run. Learn to be smart with these two!
- C. Mp XX EX Spin Scythe, EX Rhino Horn (crosses up midscreen), Hk Scratch Wheel (10 hits, 64 damage)
Note: This one is a bit better if you have meter to spare, I suppose. You'll still have about half your bar left after this combo.
- C. Mp XX EX Spin Scythe, EX Rhino Horn (crosses up midscreen), EX Scratch Wheel (11 hits, 69 damage)
Note: I listed this one more for completion's sake than anything. A lot of people use this combo thinking it's her best one, and technically, it does the most damage...but you're using the entire bar to get that damage...you're technically using 1/3 of your bar for 5 damage. That's ridiculous.
- (On a jumping opponent) EX Mallet Smash x3, Lk Scratch Wheel (5-6 hits, 70-ish damage)
Note: This combo is stupidly hard to land. Hitting someone with an EX Mallet Smash out of the air is difficult for me, and landing three is quite a feat. If there are any really good ways to land this, it's almost certainly going to stun your opponent...except for that your meter is gone, so you can't follow it up. This is quite possibly the only combo that's better with SA2, since you can do the Mallet Smash four times, or you can do the same combo and have a little more EX. In any case, I can't figure out what to do with this combo, so I leave it in your guys's hands.
- EX Mallet Smash, Hk Scratch Wheel (5 Hits, 44 damage)
Note: I suppose it's pretty nice for an overhead, but it's really, really hard to land. I don't bother.
- C. Mp XX EX Spin Scythe, Mk Spin Scythe, Lk Scratch Wheel (8 hits, 67 damage)
Note: The timing on this one is pretty tight, but if you've played 3S for a while (and particularly Elena), you can probably pull this off with good accuracy. This is a really nice combo, and it's too bad you can only use it in the corner.
- C. Mp XX EX Spin Scythe, Mk Spin Scythe, EX Rhino Horn, Hk Scratch Wheel (12 hits, 75 damage)
Note: Nice! I used to doubt the power of this combo until I realized it wasn't all too impossible (I just went for EX Rhino Horns WAAAAAAAAAAY too early :P). This is a nice one for only two EX moves, and the moves in between will give you enough meter to be able to do another two EX moves. Definitely the combo you wanna learn for the corner. DO IT.
- C. Mp XX EX Spin Scythe, Mk Spin Scythe, EX Rhino Horn, EX Scratch Wheel (13 hits, 79 damage)
Note: I really added this for completion's sake. It's not really worth the four extra damage to drain your entire bar.
- C. Mp XX EX Spin Scythe, Lk Scratch Wheel, Mk Scratch Wheel (7 hits, 60 damage)
Note: This is a nice combo when you just have the meter for one EX move and don't want to take the risk of missing the Mk Spin Scythe Juggle after the EX Spin Scythe.
- Hp Mallet Smash, Hk Scratch Wheel (5 Hits, 51 damage)
Note: This would be SUCH a great combo if you could do it with Lp, or even Mp Mallet Smash. Hp Mallet Smash is just too fucking slow to make this practical, and you can't cancel the ending animations of the other two. That's really too bad...this is a NICE combo. :/
This is just for one or two things that I don't feel fit anywhere else...
1. Kara Throw
Elena has a very, very nice Kara Throw. Most Elena players already know, but it's using her T+Forward Overhead. I personally find it's much easier to land this throw if you're not already walking toward your opponent, but it's probably good to learn how to do it with accuracy from a standing or walking position. I generally find the best times to go for a throw is after a dash-in or on an opponent's wakeup, which are both situations where you can bring the Pad (or Stick) back to neutral before attempting it. Whichever way is easier for you; the important thing is that you should really learn how to use the Kara Throw if you're playing as Elena.
2. Frickin' Stance
When I used to play Elena exclusively, I thought I just really, REALLY sucked at parrying. But, as I began to branch out into playing other people, I realized I only kinda sucked at parrying, and that Elena's fighting stance actually moves her around.
Anyone ever been in this situation? Some lame-o throws a Shinkuu Hadouken, or any other random fireball at you. You think you've got the timing down, so you go for the parry, and you COMPLETELY mess that shit up? Elena probably stepped forward or backwards as the fireball was coming at you, messing your timing up.
I think parrying is an important thing to learn as Elena (or anyone for that matter), so it's important to know the logistics of how her stance works:
- Elena's default position in her stance has her back leg (the one farther away from the camera) forward.
- Eventually, she puts her back leg backwards, and which moves her backward from her original position. The back leg stays back for a very short time before putting it forward again.
- Getting up from a crouch, landing from a jump, and executing any grounded move puts her at a different part of her stance.
The reason all of this is important is because if you don't know, you won't have any control over her stance, and it'll cause you a lot of frustration when you try to parry things.
There are about five different ways she can end an animation:
- Back leg foward (T+Forward Overhead, S. Roundhouse, B+Roundhouse, Throw connects, Spin Scythe) - Back leg moving forward (UOH, Getting up from a crouch, landing from a jump, Throw whiffs, Scratch Wheel) - Back leg backwards (Dash, Backdash, T+Strong Overhead, Rhino Horn) - Back leg moving backwards (S. Short) - Back leg back, moving forward (S. Strong)
With them, I've listed all the grounded actions I think are important. But, as complicated as that might sound, there's only a few of those you should know:
- Know Elena's position after all her dashes, her crouch, her jump, or any standing move that you might whiff (Throw, S. Short). If you know exactly what Elena does after, say, a crouch, you can parry projectiles easier by simply crouching before the fireball comes, then standing up and parrying; you'll always know the timing with this tactic! Learn all these different positions for effective defensive parrying.
- After heavily offensive moves (S. Roundhouse, B+Roundhouse, Overheads). This way, for pesky reversal attempts, or any attempts at stuffing your moves with bad recovery (T+Forward Overhead, anyone?), you know easier how to parry in the middle of your offensive game and keep the pressure on.
Jeez, this was a little long. If anyone knows how I can truncate this section, lemme know. :P
EX Spin Scythe Troubles
EX Spin Scythe can miss crouching characters at far ranges, especially on crouching characters that are SHORT. I was teaching my friend the basics of the game, and he wants to start as Makoto...Well, something I noticed while sparring with him is that Makoto almost NEVER gets hit by it when crouching. There are troubles with it in far ranges for MOST characters, sure. But I'm talking about comfortable ranges.
So, I decided to experiment with that, and I looked for various weird properties when trying to combo C. Mp XX Ex Spin Scythe.
Here's a list of characters that are difficult to hit with the combo when crouching (i.e You should only attempt C.Mp XX Ex Spin Scythe at point blank):
Yun Yang Makoto Oro Ibuki Elena (damnit, lol)
Here's a list of characters with strange, specific problems:
Necro & Twelve - It's pretty simple...Necro and Twelve seem to be shorter than average characters when crouching, but taller than the people I just mentioned above. You can still hit them in the range I tested, but it seems like they're still hard to hit within comfortable ranges. Take caution.
Dudley - This is weird...It's not a problem of hitting him while crouching, but it's a standing problem. You know how when you hit someone with C. Mp XX Ex Spin Scythe from a little far away, Elena sort of 'catches up' to them? Well, sometimes at farther ranges, Elena DOESN'T catch up, so the last hit of the Ex Spin Scythe will miss. My hypothesis is that it has something to do with how fast you cancel it; basically, this means no hit confirming this combo on Dudley from farther ranges. It could, however, be because of the way Dudley's stance changes slightly at he fights.
Chun-Li - The most obnoxious problem of them all: Ex Spin Scythe just plain DOESN'T work on crouching Chun-Li. The last hit always whiffs, no matter what you do. How annoying!
Strategy Part 1 - Turtling Game
I'm not sure how much this applies to SA2 players, considering that SA2 appears to be all about rushdown...but, then again, I don't see how it applies much to SA3, either. You see, a lot of fellow SA3 players insist that the best way for Elena to win is to use her high priority normals to zone an opponent out. I personally don't agree with this. I personally think Elena doesn't even HAVE a turtle game. Here are my three big reasons why:
- Her two most potent moves that people use for turtling, HK and B+HK, are terribly unreliable on the ground versus some characters. For example, versus Chun-Li, you have to be practically right in their face for it to connect. And if god forbid, you actually WHIFF one of those moves versus Chun...well, good-bye. :P
- Elena just plain DOESN'T have a reliable anti-air at close up range, meaning she has to rely on parrying and dashing under her opponents a fair amount. How is that a tactic spefic to only Elena?
- It's not easy to score a knockdown when you're turtling, and if you can't score a knockdown, you'll have a hell of a time using SA3 (Rushing, on the other hand, gives you a crapload of knockdowns, cos damn near every option of her mixup game ends in a knockdown (the only one that doesn't requires you to follow up with options that DO, so technically it's ALL of them).
So, for that reason, I think Turtling is a very limited, unrewarding venture overall for Elena. But...sometimes, just as with any character, you have to be on the defense. So! Here's my suggestions:
1. Know your match:
This might seem like obvious advice, but on the offensive, you really don't have to think about it as much. When you're defending as Elena, you need to know on a character-to-character basis how far away you can land her roundhouses, and what to do when your opponent jumps in on you (Back Roundhouse? Standing Strong? Crouching Strong? Jumping Strong? Dash Under? Parry? Mallet Smash?). Always learn quickly what your best options are. You should know that Back Roundhouse ruins Yun's divekicks, and Standing Strong takes care of the rest. You should also know that it's tough to parry some of Yun's jump ins, and trying to dash under Yun is just ASKING to get Genei Jin'd. You should know that on the ground, Back Roundhouse pretty much solves all your problems when fighting characters like Twelve or Hugo, so as to supercede a lot of crap you don't need to deal with. Just know.
2. On the ground:
- Stick to Back Roundhouse and normal roundhouse on most characters. Against most characters, this can hit them from fairly long distances, and it can save you from getting thrown or hit by a low. Funnily enough, you're still counted as on the ground in some situations; getting hit by a Ken SA3 will ground you, so don't think you'll just simply be reset if you get hit!
- Get ready to punish with C. Strong XX Ex Spin Scythe/SA2 any time you can. Why? Because you need to get back on the offensive right away.
- Standing Forward Kick is good against shotos and Urien, because you can connect the S. Forward -> C. Fierce target combo from almost max range. S. Forward also beats Hurricane Kicks clean.
- Lastly, for an opponent attempting to zone you can bait slower moves like your Roundhouses, Towards+Strong Overhead is really useful, cos of its long range and good recovery time.
Elena has lots of anti-air options, but they're all very match specific and situation specific. Back Roundhouse works incredibly well on some characters, like Yun, Yang, or Twelve, but is absolutely a wreck against other characters like Urien, Alex, or Hugo (Hugo in the air; on the ground, Back Roundhouse pwns Hugo). So, what are your best options, and when?
- Back Roundhouse is absolutely excellent when your opponent jumps in from far. It's also a godsend versus Yun/Yang Divekicks, Necro Drills, and pretty much anything at steep downward angle. Any chance you have to use this, use it.
- Parry into Back Roundhouse is something you should also learn to do well. It can be a little difficult parrying with Elena sometimes cos of how her stance naturally moves foward and backward, but against opponents that love to jump in (Dudley opponents, anyone?), you're gonna wanna get this down.
- Strong Punch is your best friend against close jump-ins. Versus attacks with high hitboxes (Remy J. Fierce, Yun J. Fierce), Standing Strong will take it clean. Crouching Strong also has surprisingly good priority; I like to bait attacks by crouching just before I think my opponent will throw out their air attack, and then counter it with C. Strong.
- Dashing under your opponent is your next option. This is for use when Strong Punches are failing you for close jump-ins, and for cross-ups (Elena doesn't have any good anti-crossup options besides this, as far as I know). If you're close enough afterwards, try landing a Back Roundhouse, or sometimes go for the Kara-Throw as they land (do NOT try this too often!)
- Jumping Strong -> Jumping Fierce target combo can be effective if you wanna surprise your opponent. The trick is not to do it too often, because then your opponent will just start parrying them, which leaves you WIDE open.
- EX Mallet Smash can be good if you really wanna surprise your opponent, too (especially if they jump straight up within close vicinity for some reason). You can combo EX Mallet Smash into itself up to three times (I think SA1 and SA2 can do it up to four times), and then finish with an LK Scratch Wheel. This will do roughly 50% stun damage, too! I don't reccomend trying it too often, however...In fact, I wouldn't reccomend trying it at all if you use SA3, unless you're sure it'd KO your opponent; you just don't have the meter to waste on a full meter combo that does less damage than SA2.
- On wakeup, your best shot for a Reversal move is EX Scratch Wheel, but it doesn't even have startup invulnerability and won't knock down opponents that aren't very close to you, so be careful. You're likely better off just getting up blocking...
Aaaand that's about it. My verdict is this: If you're playing Elena, you better get on the offense...but you'll get put on the defensive sometimes, and that's when you should know this. Use this information to get back on the offensive as quickly as possible.
Strategy Part 2 - Offensive Game
In my opinion, this is what really makes Elena, Elena. Elena has one of the best wakeup mixups in the entire game. You can stand in one position and effectively go for a low knockdown, an incredibly fast overhead, a successful kara throw, or land your best combo. The absolute best part of this whole strategy is that if you learn to do it properly, you can execute all the moves from the same place, leaving them only to guess what you could possibly do! It's not without its flaws; however, this section should show you how best to go about playing wakeup games with your opponent, and what dangers to look for.
In Street Fighter 3, everyone's basic wakeup game has five options: Low attack (for those that wake up standing), Overhead (for those that get up crouching) throw (for when your opponent gets up without a move, or attempts to parry), Attack (for when your opponent wakes up with a non-reversal type move), and Block/Parry (for when your opponent makes a reversal attempt). Not everyone can execute their wakeup game from the exact same spot; in fact, Chun-Li and Elena are about the only two characters that would even play this type of wakeup game that have this advantage and can use all five options. Here, I'm going to go over all five of them for Elena.
First, The Basics:
- The optimal range is the max range at which you can land a C.Roundhouse, T+Foward Overhead, UOH, Kara-Throw, and a C. Strong XX EX Spin Scythe/SA2 Combo. You should not have to move forward at all; the key is to always be at the exact same distance, so that none of your options are telegraphed; but also, as far away as you can, so as to limit the amount of reversal options for your opponent.
- Make sure that you always are acting the same way when you get into position; for example, if you always crouch when you're going to go for a sweep, you'll become readable. The two basic things you can do are to constantly tap crouch, or go into all your moves from a crouching position (I don't reccomend standing at the position, since your position will change a lot when you're standing - remember, Elena's fighting stance moves her around!). Whatever you do, though, don't mix it up between rounds! I would reccomend choosing one or the other (I personally like tapping crouch rapidly, cos it's more confusing)
- Don't try and compensate if your opponent does a roll wakeup, because even that can be sort of telegraphed. I have a friend whom I play with that would always retaliate if he did a roll wakeup, because he saw that I would always try and dash to stay in position. Don't bother! Either attempt your next move from where you stand, or wait to see what he does and react accordingly!
- Remember, this wakeup game can also be played off of a reset (I.E after landing a J. Strong -> J. Fierce target combo), but be wary of your positioning, because you have less time to get set up off of a reset.
- Elena's only low option is very unsafe against opponents with moves that move forward at a quick speed (Shippu, Hoyoku-Sen, Corkscrew Blow, EX Chariot Tackle, etc.). At the max range, it can usually only be punished by a reversal, but this is sort of useless, since you have to change your position, which not only limits your options, but telegraphs what you're going to do. So, be wary.
- Elena's conventional wakeup game does not work on Hugo, do to the fear of a reversal 360. if you must try, I would reccomend getting to the max range of her C. Strong, eliminating the kara-throw option, and subbing the T+Forward overhead for the T+Strong Overhead. This way, you can still use most of her wakeup game without fear of getting 360'd.
Now, onto the nitty gritty...
1. Low Attack:
Elena's main option for a low attack should be her C. Roundhouse. Do NOT attempt to use her slide kick for this, because it's outrageously unsafe on block. C. Roundhouse is great, because it scores a knockdown, and the more times you knock an opponent down, the more chances you have to read what they do and react accordingly. You need to learn to size up your opponent's reactions quickly, and this is the best way.
When your opponent has meter (Or in other words, access to a move that moves forward quickly), I would dare say eliminate this option; it can be easily punished at the distance you'll be using it from, and it can still be punished by reversals at max range. You still have four safe options.
When your opponent doesn't have meter, I would strongly reccomend using the Toward+Forward overhead. It's very fast, and very long range. Whether you land it or it gets blocked, you'll recover at about the same time as your opponent. From here, I would reccomend you do three things: Attempt a Kara-Throw (for those that just block afterwards or make parry attempts), Block/Parry (for those who make reversal attempts), LK Scratch Wheel (for those who try nonreversal moves), or EX Scratch Wheel (For those who attempt to jump away). The reasoning and philosophy for all of these different options is explained on numbers 3, 4, 5, and 6 of this list (though 3-5 should be used even when not followed by an overhead).
When your opponent has meter, Towards+Forward is very unsafe on block. Thankfully, unlike the Low option, you can substitute T+Forward for Elena's UOH. A meaty UOH can link into C. Strong, which means if you successfully land the UOH, you can get off an EX Spin Scythe/SA2 Combo. The only reason I don't reccomend doing it normally is because you're not in a position to keep the pressure on your opponent if it gets blocked, and, for SA3 users, you should also try to conserve your meter, in case you want to use Healing.
After using your highs and lows, your opponent will begin to start parrying. At first, it might seem like this thwarts your game, but that's where the Kara-Throw comes in. If you see your opponent is parrying your highs and lows a lot, start breaking out with the Kara-Throw! This will get him to start trying to guess when you're going to throw, too, making it safer again to try highs and lows.
4. Stuff Attack (C.Strong/LK Scratch Wheel):
So, if for some reason your opponent likes to try and wake up with random normal moves or throw attempts, you can use C. Strong XX EX Spin Scythe/SA2 to punish them for trying. This option is mostly incorporated for the sake of completion, since you probably won't be doing this very much against a good player; however, if the opportunity arises, you should know what to do...
Also, after a Towards+Forward Overhead, you might notice that it sets up its own guessing game afterwards for Kara-Throw, Stuff Attack, or Block/Parry. In this situation, don't use C.Strong, because it's too slow to stuff Light Attacks (it works just fine as a meaty, which is why you would use it on wakeup). Instead, use LK Scratch Wheel, because it generates a knockdown, and is very fast.
So now you're in big trouble because your Ken opponent keeps getting up with a Reversal Shoryuken or SA3. You can't beat those with highs, lows, OR throws (and certainly not with C. Strong)! Game over? Nope! Just block/parry and retaliate with C. Strong XX EX Spin Scythe/SA2. This is the more practical execution of the 'Stuff Attack' option, and combined with it, is how you effectively deal with anyone who likes to be aggressive when they get up.
this option is specifically for use with the T+Forward Overhead followup. After T+Forward, your opponent will have enough time to try and jump away. If you anticipate them trying to do that, use an EX Scratch Wheel; it's fast, and unlike LK Scratch Wheel, it makes decent anti-air.
With all these options, your opponent now has several things to worry about, and if you can read your opponent well enough, and keep the pressure on, you can deal a TON of damage with this tactic. I hope it works for y'all as well as it does for me! Good luck!
Advantage/Disadvantage: Arcadia states this matchup to be 7/3 in Elena's favor. I suppose I'd agree with that, although it could seem difficult at first...
SA2 or SA3?
I think that in this match, both SA2 and SA3 are very viable. It's easy to peg Alex with EX Spin Scythe combos; however, her good corner combos don't work on Alex, and there are not a ton of opportunities to use SA3. SA2 can be used to reverse some of Alex's attacks, and gives her a mean option for footsies, which can be very effective against Alex's shoddy ground game. As always, it's a matter of power versus options.
Alex wants to get up in Elena's face, score a knockdown, and try to land a bunch of EX moves, overheads, and Power Bombs right in your face. Since Alex has a really lame ground game, he'll try to accomplish this by jumping in, which works surprisingly well on Elena. He might also try to knock you down with Random Flash Chops, Slash Elbows, and Air Stampede Shenanigans.
Elena is going to want to do the same thing as Alex in this matchup - that is, score a knockdown and dish out the most damage possible with that opening. the only difference is that Elena will want to come in on the ground. I'll discuss how to accomplish getting a knockdown while trying to avoid it against Alex.
For the majority of this match, you should be fishing for resets (by taking Alex out of the air) or knockdowns - either with sweeps, Scratch Wheels, throws, EX Combos, SA2 - whatever you can peg him with. There is absolutely no reason to back off once you get the momentum going; if you land a knockdown, just go all balls on it!
Alex has a hell of a time dealing with Elena on the ground, but he can definitely pull a thing or two when he has some meter stored. When he does, you can except him to try and punish your fishing attempts with EX Flash Chops or EX Slash Elbows. At this point, you really need to become more reactionary - more careful in general about throwing out random knockdown moves.
Alex totally wins in the air versus a grounded Elena - J.Hp J.Mk beat almost everything Elena has, except for a well timed C.Mp - kinda odd for an anti-air, huh? Either way, C.Mp has the ability to win/lose cleanly OR trade (in his favor). Because Alex usually wins, it's not very reliable, and I wouldn't reccomend trying it with too much frequency. Learn to meet Alex in the air or dash under him! If you allow Alex to jump in on you all day, you'll be in for a world of hurt, because there's not much Elena can do against Alex's jump-ins.
- Since you can't turtle too well in this match, crash into Alex head on with superior footsies and mixups
- When Alex is on the ground, fish for knockdowns and EX Spin Scythe/SA2 combos all day, but watch out for EX attacks
- Don't let Alex jump-in! Meet him in the air or get out of the way!
Misc. Notes (courtesy of Shining Soul, paraphrased by me):
- At mid range, Alex's S.Mk can go over and cleanly stuff Elena's pokes; if the Alex whores S.Mk, block one, then use B+Hk to catch the next one.
- If caught in Air Stampede shenanigans, you can counter them in some situations by jumping back with the J.Mp -> J.Hp target combo.
- Alex's Air Knee Smash can counter Elena's B+Hk if done early enough.
- Elena can punish blocked Slash Elbows with reversal SA2.
Advantage/Disadvantage: Arcadia states this match as being 7/3 In Chun-Li's favor. I'd be inclined to agree on that.
SA2 or SA3?
I would lean very heavily towards SA2 in this matchup. EX Spin Scythe Combos completely whiff Chun-Li when she's crouching, and even if Chun-Li is turtling, can limit your opportunities for using SA3 for anything more than a baiting tactic. On the other hand, if you can out-footsie an opposing Chun-Li, you'll have plenty of options for SA2. I would definitely choose SA2; it's probably the only match in the entire game where SA2 gives Elena more options than SA3.
Just like pretty much any match, Chun-Li is gonna stay on the ground pretty much all day and keep you out until she gets meter by using her amazing pokes. Once she gets meter, she's gonna fish for chances to use it: lots of C.Mks, kara-throws, punishing whiffed attacks, amongst other random ways. It's basically like fighting a mirror match, only your Mirror has WAY better pokes, and a very easy way to deal damage with her meter.
Elena only has one advantage in this matchup: Chun-Li is not a threat at ALL to Elena at close range until Chun-Li has meter. In my opinion, the only consistent way for Elena to fight this match effectively is to take advantage of this fact until Chun-Li gets meter. Get in with sweeps, well-played jump-in mixups, dash-into-throws, etc. then take your wakeup games as far as possible until Chun-Li can use her super.
When Chun-Li CAN use her super, there's two general strategies I would adhere to:
- If you HAVE the momentum (i.e, have scored a knockdown, are playing wakeup games, etc.): Just keep playing as if Chun-Li doesn't have meter, until you get lose the momentum via knockdown or are hit with a super. (NOTE: This tactic should be applied less frequently when you don't have a lead, and should be applied LESS frequently when you have low enough life to be killed off by Chun-Li's SA2.
- If you don't have the momentum (i.e, are being knocked down, are out of poking range, etc.): This is when it will come in handy to have SA2. If you get knocked down, and you think Chun-Li is gonna go for that Kara-Throw? C.Mp XX SA2. Are you outside of Chun-Li's poking range, and she whiffs a C.Mk? Counter with C.Mp XX SA2. How about S.Hp or B+Hp? Just counter with SA2 cold turkey.
This part of the match is far out of your favor, so this is about the only option you have besides sitting around and waiting to get hit by an SA2. Besides that, I like this tactic, because it encourages Chun-Li to try and hit you with SA2. As crazy as that sounds, you want her to try and use SA2 when she has meter; if you're playing this match right, you should (in theory) have a lead...but more importantly, you do NOT want to be in a situation where Chun-Li has two stocks of SA2; that is a essentially a free round for Chun-Li, even if it's the very beginning of the round! So, I would reccomend going about this part of the match in a way that prompts Chun-Li to try and use her super - At this point in the match, someone is going to get pegged by a Super; it might as well be Chun-Li.
- Get in Chun-Li's face when she doesn't have meter - you have the advantage at this point!
- If you have the momentum when Chun-Li has meter, keep it going until you get hit (perhaps not in dire situations) - the idea is to get the biggest lead possible!
- If you do not have the momentum when Chun-Li has meter, Do whatever you can to bait Chun-Li's SA2 while trying to land your own SA2 - Someone is going to come out of this situation with a big hurt! Don't let it be you!
Misc. Notes (courtesy of Shining Soul, paraphrased by me):
- Elena's UOH stuffs a lot of Chun-Li's wakeup options.
Advantage/Disadvantage: Arcadia marks this as 6/4 in Makoto's favor, but I'd say it's more like 5/5.
SA2 or SA3?
Neither one is much better than the other in this match; since you're trying to keep Makoto out all day, you're gonna have a lot of chances to stuff random dash-in attempts with C.Mp, so you'll have a lot of chances to use EX Spin Scythe/SA2 combos. Either one is fine - SA2 gives you easier damage potential, and SA3 gives you more options.
Makoto wants to do the same thing she always does: get in close and pull a bunch wake-up games, land some karakusa grabs, and hopefully a SA2 (or SA1 - there appears to be some debate about which is better vs. Elena). The only difference - a difference which kills inexperienced Makoto players in this match - is that she really can't do it effectively with her ground game. A good Makoto player is going to try and get in by hovering over you with cross-ups and Tsurugis, or even just empty jump-ins into throws.
Simply put, Elena wants to keep out Makoto until she has a good opportunity to score a knockdown, then play wakeup games until she loses the momentum. It's a simple ebb-and-flow. Here, I'll discuss keeping Makoto out (since wakeup games are not a matchup-specific part of the strategy).
On the ground, Elena has this one pretty easy - this is mostly what I think evens the match out so much, in my opinion. B+Hk and C.Mp will beat out a LOT of stuff that Makoto tries on the ground. In the air, Elena comes out pretty even, as well; but, that's under the assumption that Elena is in the air, too. Elena does not have a lot of effective anti-airs for handling Makoto. A good Makoto player will take advantage of this, so you can deal with this with three simple rules:
- Don't let Makoto land close enough to throw you. If Makoto lands near you, she'll try throwing you, or going into random pokes to psyche you out (which WILL work at point blank against Elena). Deal with this by making sure there's a big enough distance to where she can't do a lot of those things - in turn, you will still have the advantage.
- Don't allow Makoto to hover over you. This is specifically in regard to Makoto doing things like jumping straight up when she's close to you. Just dash back.
- Meet Makoto in the air. If you can meet her in the air sometimes, it's a good idea. Elena and Makoto break even in the air, but Makoto has to use specific normals to match Elena - ones that she probably won't be using when she's trying to close the gap. So, try and get the jump on Makoto sometimes.
When Makoto has meter, there's more of a risk involved in the ground game. Whether she's using SA1 or SA2, you're gonna want to be a lot less reactionary with B+Hk - stop using it on wakeup, stop using it after being reset, and stop using it after ticks. If Makoto is using SA2, you could try switching B+Hk in these situations with Elena's S.Mk -> C.Hp target combo - if you get baited, you have a much better chance of recovering and being able to block before you get hit.
- Keep Makoto out with B+Hk (and the occasional other normal), and play wakeup games on good occassions
- If Makoto jumps at you, don't be under her, and don't let her land close to you
- Be more cautious when Makoto has meter! It can be very easy to get baited into eating a ton of damage!
Advantage/Disadvantage: Arcadia says that Yun wins this one 7/3, but perhaps because I'm biased, I'm gonna say this one is more 6.5/3.5. The match is a little more even, perhaps even tilted in Elena's favor, until Yun gets Genei-Jin.
SA2 or SA3?
This could go either way. In this match, Elena will always be aggressive, and can easily punish Yun without much meter. In this case, SA2 is a great asset because you can deal a crapload of damage to Yun in the middle of your rushdown, or use it to counter Yun's SA3. On the other hand, when Yun begins to rush you down via SA3 or corner traps, it can be very easy to make opportunities for SA3, and gives Elena the option to play this match like an Attrition war. Personally, I prefer SA3, because I play this match with the mindset of "don't lose" rather than "win first." (as opposed to winning second, I know :P couldn't think of a better choice of words.)
Without meter, Yun is gonna try his best to trick Elena out with divekicks-into-target combos, etc. until he gets Genei-Jin - even better if he can get Elena cornered, because its very hard for Elena to deal with the divekicks in the corner. Once he gets Genei-Jin, he can do what he normally does.
Fighting Yun is a three part game: Before SA3 (or, Not in the corner), SA3, and Post-SA3 (or, In the corner).
1. Before Yun has SA3 - you're going to want to make Yun's life hell. The first step to doing this is to check out what Yun does...
- If Yun stays on the ground, take to the air on him, because he doesn't have a lot of great anti-airs that are going to stop you; you could also fish for a Slide Kick knockdown, but I don't like trying this on Yun very often, because most Yun players WON'T stay on the ground. You're gonna want to try and get a knockdown, and deal as much damage as you can from that.
- If Yun takes to the air, you're going to want to stay far back enough to use B+Hk to hit his divekicks. If you're too close (i.e if Yun hits you higher up), he'll beat B+Hk clean; however, if you're far enough back, you can beat his divekicks clean. If he does get really close, you can switch to using neutral J.Hp to hit him right out of the air.
Either way, the main idea is to create a large of a damage buffer as you can before Yun goes Genei-Jin on your ass.
2. SA3 - When Yun is about to get SA3, you need to try your damndest to keep him out - you want Yun to try and activate SA3 cold-turkey (rather than from a blocked combo). This might sound obvious enough, but Elena can keep Yun out surprisingly well in these circumstances. Remember - Elena can stop divekicks and shoulder tackles pretty easily with her B+Hk. Not much can beat the lunge punch, but you can punish a blocked Lunge Punch with a throw. Just run away as much as you can without jumping!
3. Post SA3 - Whether you took a lot of damage or not, you're probably in the corner. The only thing Elena wants to focus on here is getting OUT of the corner. Yun can control the space in front of him very well in the air, and there's not much Elena can do about it from point blank. Your best bet when you're in the corner is to either dash under Yun at some point, parry a divekick and throw him, or reversal EX Scratch Wheel him if he doesn't try and divekick you too much.
Elena vs. DiveKicks:
There's not much you CAN do from close up except parry...it can be risky, because Yun can use his divekicks to crossup, so you'll have to pay close attention.
From far back, there's one very clear answer: B+Hk. If you're far enough back to hit him with this move, it will never trade - you will always win this transaction. Learn the spacing.
Elena vs. Genei-Jin:
Ohhhh boy. So, if Yun activates SA3 cold turkey, there's a lot Elena can do:
- For starters, if you use SA2 with Elena, you can beat out pretty much anything Yun does after he activates Genei-Jin; hell, if you're close enough, you can hit him with SA2 before he even recovers from the activation frames! The only thing that will stop SA2 is a Lunch Punch, so far as I know. - You can stuff his attempts to close the gap via divekicks with B+Hk very easily - You can beat his Shoulder Tackle attempts with EX Scratch Wheel or B+Hk - You can easily punish blocked Lunge Punches with a throw - If Yun isn't doing any of these, you can just walk backwards until he tries one.
If he tries to activate off a combo, there's much less you can do, but here's a few things to try:
- If your opponent likes to activate off a target combo (Lp -> Lk -> Mp, or Lp -> Lk -> Mp XX Shoulder Tackle), you can learn to red parry the last hit. If your opponent uses any version of Shoulder Tackle except for the jab version, I believe it won't combo, so parrying that could be very easy. From there, you can easily reverse him right away with EX Scratch Wheel can get far away.
- If SA3 is activated, and you're being forced to block a bunch of stuff, pay close attention to the times when Yun walks towards you, because he's either going for a throw, or is feinting a throw attempt. If you think he's going for the throw, B+Hk his ass, then go back to turtling. If you think he's gonna feint, get up immediately and kara-throw him, then either run away by dashing back, or you try and use an EX Rhino Horn to cross over him if you fear getting cornered.
- Beat the crap out of Yun until he gets SA3
- Force him to do something dumb with SA3, or block like there's no tommorow
- When cornered, get OUT of the corner and repeat step one until Yun gets SA3 again.
- During Genei-Jin, the popular Crossup Throw XX Rising Kicks (sorry Yun players, I don't know the names of the moves!) does not work on Elena, so, when fighting inexperienced Yun players, it might very well be a GOOD tactic to get caught by the throw. - I believe Elena's EX Corner Combo, [EX Spin Scythe, Mk Spin Scythe, EX Rhino Horn, Hk Scratch Wheel] doesn't work on Yun. I'll check that out soon.