An assist is when one of the supporting characters on a team comes on screen to assist the point character by doing one designated attack, then leaves. Assists are inputted by pressing two diagonal buttons simultaneously. Pressing LP+MK, LK+MP, or LK+HP calls an assist from the second-in-line character on a team. MP+HK, MK+HP, or LP+HK calls the third-in-line character. Assists are not available when there are no other characters left on the team. Either assist command can be used if there is only one other teammate alive.
- Assists cannot be called during hit stun, during block stun, during a super jump, while preforming a special move, while preforming a super move, or while preforming a throw.
- Assist characters can be hit by the opponent point or assist, but cannot be thrown by a point character.
- Assist attacks that would normally cause a red bounce (knockdown or sliding knockdown) will instead cause a slightly modified version of the knockdown, indicated by a distinct green impact effect as the defending character touches the ground. Assist knockdown allows a ground tech in 9f after the green hit effect. Assist slides allow recovery as soon as the slide stun begins.
- Normally, as soon as an assist character leaves the screen the assist become available again. This is shown by the red and green lights on the assist indicator in the HUD. However if it is hit, it will go through 120f of lockout.
- All damage dealt to assist characters gets a 35% increase, but is dealt entire in red / recoverable health.
Assist attacks are referred to by the in-game tutorial as ensemble attacks.
Timeline of Assist Vulnerability
- 4f of startup before assist comes on screen
- 21f of invulnerability as the assist character enters the screen
- 3f of vulnerable start up
- Finally, the assist attack executes as fast as it would if preformed by a point character. Any invulnerability in the assist attack still protects the character, but will not cover the minimum previously mentioned 3f of assist start up. Some moves (such as Double's L Hornet Bomber and Big Band's Beat Extend)
- After the attack is over, the assist character preforms a brief, vulnerable taunt before exiting the screen.
- If the assist character gets hit at any point it will leave the screen immediately after recovering, skipping the usual taunt before exiting the screen. Assists won't preform their attack if the point character gets hit while the assist is on the way in.
Assists in Combos
- An assist can only be called once during a combo.
- Starting a combo off of an assist's attack gives the combo 66% damage scaling. If an assist counter hits and starts a combo, it causes only 90% damage scaling.
More mechanics that affect assists in combos
- Outside of assists being only usable once per combo, there are mechanics in place that can still consume your assist usage in a combo.
- Anything from a character hitting while it is not the point character will use up the assist usage that combo if one has not been used yet.
- Examples: DHCs that leave projectiles on the screen (argus to SSJ, Sniper Shot unscaling, Puddle to other DHC) will use up the assist call for that combo.
- Similarly, setups for tag combos that have something from the tagging-out character hit while the tagged in character is on the screen will use up the assist call. Examples include double's Puddle, Peacock bombs, Fortune headless setups, and others. Related, if the tag transition happens while the opponent is in hitstop of a projectile that was from the old point character, it will use up that combo's assist call even though it "technically" it still hit while the old point was on screen. This mostly affects Fukua but can also affect peacock, fortune, beo, and parasoul.
In Skullgirls, any grounded normal move, special move, or throw can be chosen as an assist. Below is a rough breakdown of the different kind of benefits assists can provide. While not all assists will fit perfectly into each of these categories, many of the best assists have at least one of these traits.
- Lockdown - Multi-hit moves that keep the opponent in blockstun, allowing your point character to perform more mixups and extend pressure. Example: Cerebella's Cerecopter, Eliza's H Osiris Spiral, Double's H Hornet Bomber.
- Invulnerable DP - Call the assist and block. When timed correctly, if the opponent is dashing in or jumping in they will get hit by the assist as you're blocking their attack. Good usage of DP assists makes the opponent think twice about doing an aggressive move, forcing them to implement a counter strategy to get an opening. Don't forget that all assists have 3 vulnerable frames when they touch the ground, even if the point version of the move is invulnerable from the 1st frame. Some important factors that differentiate DP assists include size of hitbox, how easy it is to convert into a combo, and frames of invulnerability (which differ from the point version of the move in some cases). Example: Filia's H Updo, Big Band's L Beat Extend, Beowulf's H Hurting Hurl, Parasoul's Napalm Pillar. Note: moves that are only strike invulnerable as the point version can basically be considered fully invulnerable as an assist, since assists can't be thrown by the opponent's point character.
- Armored - Armored assists are extremely hard to challenge since you either have to hit them multiple times or with a sweep to interrupt them. Example: Big Band's H Brass Knuckles, Cerebella's H Lock n' Load, Eliza's Butcher's Blade.
- Setup - Any assist that lets a character build some kind of resource, allow unique conversions not otherwise possible, or enables some kind of setplay for the point character. If the assist has a lengthy animation, the point character has enough time to build a resource such as a taunt. Other times the resource building move itself can be called as an assist during combos, so the resource is available once the character is on point. Examples: Cerebella's Excellebella, Valentine's Vial Hazard, Painwheel's H Pinion Dash, Big Band's H Take the A-Train.
- Low - Low hitting moves still hit low as an assist, enabling hard to block mixups for the point character as long as they're in range for the assist to connect. Jumping + calling a low assist can be very scary, since either the jump in or the assist can be timed to hit first. Example: Squigly's c.HP, Beowulf's L Hurting Hurl
- Projectile / Neutral - Any assist whose function is mostly to benefit your character's neutral options and coverage that they might not otherwise have. Example: Peacock's George's Day Out, Robo-Fortune's H Theonite Beam, Big Band's H Brass Knuckles.
The point character can be switched to any other alive character on the team by performing a unique tag in attack. This is done by pressing two buttons of the same strength. MP+MK will tag in the 2nd character, and HP+HK will tag in the 3rd. Either can be used when only one character is available. Immediately after the input occurs, the point character becomes invincible as the chosen character performs their tag. Each character has a unique tag but none of them are safe and only a few will lead to a combo. Many teams can combo into tags, so be sure to find creative ways to tag to each of your characters on your team.
All characters have access to a snapback, or snap, with ↓↘→ + either tag command. All snaps use one bar of meter, deal no damage, have 12f of start up before the super flash effect, then have 3f of invulnerability before they are active. When hit by a snap, the defending character gets forced off the screen for a teammate to take their place. After the defending character leaves the screen, the defending team begins a lockout period of 300 frames. After the snap, the next character appears on screen in normal jump state after a 75f entrance delay similar to the entrance after a teammate's death. Using MP+MK or HP+HK tag commands for the snap will bring in the second or third-in-line character on the opposing team. Either snap command will work if there is only one other character on the opposing team.
Snapbacks in solo character team vs solo character team (1v1) matches cause a wall bounce instead of forcing the defending character off the side of the screen. The snap also will "reset" OTG for the combo, allowing another OTG hit on the defending player if it was already used before the snap hits. In matches between 2 and 3 character teams, snapbacks will use these properties if there is only one character left alive for the defending team.
When a solo character team faces any larger team (1v2 or 1v3), a successful snap will heal recoverable damage for the solo in addition to forcing the defending character off screen. Hitting a point character heals 2/3 of the current recoverable damage, hitting an assist heals 1/3 recoverable damage, and hitting both at the same time heals all recoverable damage. When the solo gets hit by a snap, it removes all recoverable damage and forces an invulnerable soft knockdown.
Snapbacks are referred to by the in-game tutorial as outtakes.
During blockstun, any character can perform an alpha counter with → + a tag command. An alpha counter uses 1 bar of meter, tags out the point character, brings in the chosen teammate, then preforms the assist attack of the new point character. Using MP+MK or HP+HK chooses the second or third-in-line teammate for the move. Blocking standing, crouching, and in the air all allow an alpha counter. Alpha counters are not available when there are no other characters left on the team. Either command can be used if there is only one other teammate alive.
- Alpha counters retain the properties of the move as if done on the point, and do not reflect any assist-only properties. For example, Headless Ms. Fortune H Fiber alpha counter will only be throw invincible (where the assist version is fully invincible), and Fukua H Platonic Drillationship alpha counter will be strike invincible (where the assist version does not have this invincibility).
- Moves with follow up or hold button properties still behave as normal on point as an alpha counter too. For example, alpha countering into a Peacock George bomb allows you cancel into a second George, and alpha countering into a Painwheel armored normal allows you to hold the button and use the armor.
- The alpha counter flash occurs immediately after the alpha counter is input. The game resumes 3f before the alpha countered move begins start, during which the character is invulnerable.
Alpha counters are referred to by the in-game tutorial as stunt doubles.
Burst Alpha Counter
Alpha counters can also be done during bursts, and behave the same as one done from blockstun. This is a significant mechanic that changes how burst bait interactions are done.
A DHC refers to cancelling a super attack by performing any super command for the next-in-line character on the team, after which the next character comes on screen and performs the inputted super. DHC'ing is available starting immediately after the super flash and at any point during the attack animation. The chance to cancel ends when the background color shift effect from the super ends.
- The cost of DHCing is 1 bar of meter for level 1 supers. For any supers that cost more than 1 bar, the cost of DHCing is one less than the cost of the super. This means DHCing into a level 3 super only costs 2 additional bars, on top of the amount spent for the point character's super.
- DHCs are the only way to reverse Damage Scaling. If scaled below 70%, the DHC resets damage to 70%.
- Only one DHC is allowed at a time for duos, and two at a time for trios. In other words, DHCs cannot be performed so many times that it will cycle back to the character that performed the initiating super.
- During a combo, if projectiles from the previous character hit the opponent after a DHC occurs, that will count as using an assist and an assist cannot be called for the rest of the combo.
DHC stands for delayed hyper combo, a term from the Marvel vs. Capcom series.
DHCs are referred to by the in-game tutorial as blockbuster sequels.
Once a character on a team is KO'd, the next character in line enters from the side of the screen in the air. The incoming character can do any action as if they were in the air normally, such as block, double jump, air dash, or attack. This is a good opportunity for the attacker to do mixups or otherwise maintain their advantage.
- The incoming character will come out on the side of the screen opposite the way the attacker is facing. However, the dead body is still used to determine which way the attacker is facing. All the normal rules for crossing up apply, such as...
- Normal jumping over the dead body will not switch sides, but super jumping and performing an attack or double jumping will.
- Running past the dead body will not switch sides, but once the attacker exits the dash they will switch.
- Double jumping or air dashing immediately on incoming can be a good way to avoid a mixup, as long as the attacker doesn't hit the incoming character immediately.
Hitting an opponent's assist or snapping the opponent will cause a lockout period for them, which prevents calling assists, tagging, and using DHCs. Additionally, red life recovery is delayed until 120f after the lockout ends.
- If an assist character takes any damage, that character's team gets a 120 frame lockout.
- If a character is hit by a snapback, that character's team gets a 300 frame lockout.
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