Friday, February 18, 2011

Match Analyzer #1 (Drdogg vs Arnell Long)

verb [an-l-ahyz]
1. to examine carefully and in detail so as to identify causes, key factors, possible results.

For this entry, I will be analyzing a match video from the JaX Money Invitational at the DOA in Dallas 2 tournament. For my first Match Analysis, we have Drdogg vs Arnell Long. I will mainly be concentrating on Drdogg's Helena. Drdogg is a well known Helena player from back in the day. One of the forefathers of Helena technology that you see today. So in this best 2 out of 3 tournament set, I will explain what went right and what went wrong using a format where I point out certain times of matches and make a note.

@ 0:11
Here is a basic setup with Helena. He used a safe move like ppp, baiting his opponent to go on the offense, and then throws out p+k to crush his throw for a juggle to take off a pretty nice chunk of health.

@ 0:35 - 0:48
Drdogg went for the ppp string again, but this time got countered in the middle of it. the string is a high-mid-mid. The second and third mid punches gets countered more often then you think. Getting countered in general is a momentum killer. I think it would have been better to use pkk in that situation. After that, Arnell did a good low throw punish to continue the momentum shift and win the round. All that could have been avoided with pkk instead, but we're not here to play Theory Fighter and throw out "What if's" like that. What's done is done.

@ 0:51 - 1:07
Drdogg really bounced back from that last round with perfect play! Starts the round with pk, scores a CH, and goes straight into BKO throw to 1kk. Now, this level heavily favors Helena due to the electric floor danger zone. Going for the untechable on a danger zone floor does more damage than actually doing the juggle, which the juggle would normally do more damage on a non danger zone level (not to mention the great mix up you get after getting the better damage from the BKO throw to 1kk on the DZ floor.) Though most of the time, Helena players will go for the mix up regardless if there is a DZ floor or not, it was still the right thing to do. Drdogg did yet another safe move to p+k and juggle, punished Kasumi's 6kp and winds up winning the round with a Perfect. This round is a good example of not letting previous missteps get to your head and adapting.

@ 1:09
Helena's pkkk is unsafe on block, yet it wasn't punished. A blunder from Arnell.

@ 1:24 - 1:33
Drdogg uses p+k to crush the last mid punch in Kasumi's pp6pp and stuns the opponent. From here, it's just stun mix ups, to a launcher, to a juggle. At this point, Drdogg doesn't need to take any risks at all, so he uses 6p+k because it is safe on block and will kill the opponent if it hits. The move connected and Drdogg wins the first match. The lesson here is if you have a huge health lead, don't take stupid risks. Play it smart and safe.

@ 1:48 - 2:10
Start of the second match, and so many things went wrong... Started out good with Helena's pkk, but went right into BKO 4pk and the mid kick getting countered. BKO 4pkp is a string you want to avoid most of the time because you will rarely get away with using this. So easy to counter. Here is the next mistake, and a big one! After Arnell counter the mid kick, Helena hits the ceiling and could have got a juggle from hitting the ceiling, but Arnell doesn't take the juggle... he could have taken the juggle AND knocked him down the stairs for big damage. This misstep leaves Drdogg able to tech back up and start his assault of more baiting into p+k CH juggle setups and ultimately causing Arnell to lose the round.

@ 2:20 - 2:43
Helena's p+k,p string is unsafe, yet it isn't getting punished. Drdogg seems to be the only one punishing anything this entire match. Towards the end of the round, Arnell has a spec of health left and Drdogg still has half a life bar. Arnell begins his offense, gets a stun, launch, juggle to even up the game. Arnell then connects 4p+k with Kasumi and wins the round. Though he won the round, 4p+k was a really risky move to throw out. I think he should have been more careful at the end, but his risky move did however pay off.

@ 3:01 - 3:07
At the end of the round, Drdogg uses the BKO throw untechable mix up and goes right into another BKO throw to 1kk to win the round. We didn't see too much of the BKO throw in this match, and I will explain why later.

@ 3:10 - 3:34
It's Match Point and this round pretty much went into Drdogg's favor. At this point, Arnell is scared and mentally given up and just starts throwing moves out for no reason. The finishing touch, Kasumi's pp6pp string gets interrupted by Helena's pkk and the good doctor wins the match.

All Drdogg was doing was playing off Arnell's mistakes. Arnell played too reckless and scared while Drdogg kept his cool. Arnell pretty much beat himself in this match. Too much bad offensive aggression from the Kasumi player. What he should have did was play a little more defense by spacing more. This would have slowed down the pace of the match and let Arnell collect himself and come up with a better plan of attack. Moves going unpunished didn't help him either. Drdogg made the right choice of not doing as many BKO throws as, in the book, he should have. Playing against someone so reckless would have made BKO throw too risky to throw. Drdogg probably could have done more BKO duck though.

Video courtesy of Drdogg

Saturday, February 12, 2011

My Top Ten Helena Moves to Victory

noun [vik-tuh-ree]
1.  a success or triumph over an enemy in battle or war.
You have to have the ammunition to use the weapon. You can have the perfect weapon, but what use is it to you with no clips? Don't be the one stuck on the battlefield awaiting your death like a scrub.

1.) BKO f+p - My favorite move with Helena. Known as The BKO Throw. 12 frame throw from BKO stance. The BnB combo after the throw is 4ppk,9k. If you want to go for a more Oki setup, you can use the two Untechable setups I mentioned in my last post. One thing about the BKO throw you should know is that you don't have to wait until you are fully in the stance to use it. You can press 2p+k to go into BKO, but instead of waiting until it gets in the stance, press f+p while Helena is going down to do the throw. It's like canceling out some activation frames so the throw can come out faster. Be warned though, if you are playing against a reckless opponent who is just hitting buttons, be careful using the throw because you will get popped and very unhappy. Lets face it, you can't use mind games on a mindless one. I will say this though, the 4p2p Uncounterable setup after the 1k(2),4k Untechable from BKO Throw is a great scrub buster and stuns on hit.

2.) pkk - Good interrupting string and good poke. The full string can actually go up to pkkk, but most of the time you are only going to want to use two kick follow ups after the punch. Blocked pkk is -10. pkkk is -11 on block. Both can be punished, but a lot of the times, people are skeptical to do anything after blocking pkk just for the fear of that last kick coming out. The second kick stuns on hit.

3.) 9k - Possibly her main launcher. Two mid kicks come out to launch you for the juggle. Though the second kick can actually be countered, it's very rare seeing that because it comes out too fast. It's also a Normal Hit (NH) launcher. That means that the opponent doesn't need to be in a stun or Counter Hit (CH) to launch them. Tactic I like to use with this move is to stun my opponent and go for a quick launch with 9k. People like to get their opponent into a deep stun first so when they decide to launch them, they get max height and max damage. But most people who have played me know I like to go for the quick and easy damage. Stable BnB from this launcher is pp2kp.

4.) 2f+k - Very good low attack that puts you in BKO stance. On hit, the move stuns. On block, it is low throw punishable. After you hit your opponent with this move, you can press UP on the pad and stand up. I like to loop this move by standing back up. So for example: 2f+k connects, opponent is stunned, you stand up, 2f+k again, and so on. It turns into quite the stun mix-up where you can also stay in BKO stance after using this move and BKO 6k to launch them for the juggle. It's not that fast of a move and it is blockable on reaction, but you will soon realize that you can hit people with 2f+k pretty often. Kind of a sneaky low attack.

5.) p+k - Every Helena player should be using this move. A mid punch that crushes High and most Mid attacks. This is one of the best moves in the game. Excellent panic attack. Launches on CH. Unsafe on block, but has a Punch followup at the end to catch opponents off guard at times. The move goes under mids, USE AND ABUSE IT!

6.) 33p - Good High Crush attack. Stuns on hit. After you hit them and stun them, you can sometimes get away with walking all the way around them to expose their back and get in some damage.

7.) 66p - It's actually quite sad that this is the only Safe Move on my list. I guess you can say that Helena doesn't rely on being safe too much, but relies on adapting to the opponent and taking risks so you can get some good mix-ups. But 66p is a safe mid attack and can also be used as a While Running attack. After blocked, you are left safe and is a good way to bait out p+k CH. On hit, it puts the opponent in a sit down stun.

8.) BKO 6p - A good fast mid poke. Stuns on CH and a good way to prolong stuns.

9.) 214 f+p - Her command throw that leaves the opponent back-turned and leaves Helena in BKO stance. Pretty good mix-ups come from this throw. BKO 4k, BKO 6pp, or BKO Throw are three of many good followups that can be used to punish your opponent.

10.) BKO 4k - One of the best sweeps in the game. (Coming second to Busa's safe sweep) Pretty fast and can remain in BKO stance by holding the down button after the command. Can be abusable at times seeing as it trip stuns the opponent into a mix-up of another sweep or something else. Can be low throw punished on block.

Honorable Mention: 66kpp - I love this attack string. The string is a Low to Low to Mid. The kick part of the string is a low attack. Good way of getting in on the opponent because it covers a lot of distance. You can hold the Down button after the 66k and put yourself in BKO stance. If you do the second part of the string, a lot of the time it gets countered, so be careful. The last punch in the string is actually chargeable. This string is also Helena's most damaging juggle ender, Helena just has to get a high enough launcher to do this juggle ender. 

Monday, February 7, 2011

Enter Helena - The Perfect Weapon

noun [wep-uhn]
1.  any instrument or device for use in attack or defense in combat.

Tecmo has created what I think is the perfect fighting game character, and that character is Helena from DOA4. The proper pronunciation is actually "Elena," but I think most of us North American players are used to saying it with the "H." She is a French Opera Singer that uses the fighting style Pi Qua Quan.

In my opinion, I would have to say she is the best character in the game. Though it can be debated that Hyabusa and Gen Fu are better, Helena has too many powerful tools to be denied her top spot. Helena is one of the more difficult characters to play with due to her bigger move list and harder to maximize her full potential. One thing about Helena players is that you will never see two Helena players that play the same. Helena has a very versatile play style seeing as she has very strong offensive and defensive tools. She has 3 different fighting stances: Her default Forward Facing stance, Back Turned Stace (BT), and the always popular Bokuho Stance (BKO). I've seen quite a few games to where characters have multiple stances, but those stances would consist of useless technology. All of Helena's stances are VERY useful. 

The trick to maximizing her full potential is to use attacks and setups that leave her in either BKO or BT. This will open up even more moves from those stances to your disposal for more combos, setups, and devastating throw mix-ups. Helena's BKO Stance is by far one of the most powerful tools in the game. PERIOD. Two very dirty tactics come from BKO Stance. First, the BKO throw (BKO f+p). Not only do you have the option of a good juggle from this throw, you also have the option of doing Untechable setups that leads you to even more options. The best ways to perform these Untechables after the BKO throw is 1kk or 1k(2),4k
1kk leaves you standing after you tech the opponent up. From this move, you have an opportunity to do a really good Uncounterable attack by using 4p2p. From the 1kk Untechable after BKO throw, 4p2p cannot be countered or beaten out. I think you can counter the second punch in the string, but you rarely see it because you have to be strict with the timing. This is a great way to bait out a deep stun if they hit a button. Your opponents only option is to stand there and block. Even if they block 4p2p you are left at neutral on block.

The second Untechable setup I recommend is 1k(2),4k. This setup will leave you in BKO stance. From that point you can go into a variety of moves from BKO to keep them guessing. You can also just loop them and BKO throw again. Rinse, repeat. 

Now for that second dirty tactic from BKO stance.... BKO Duck! You perform this duck while in BKO stance by pressing Down repeatedly. What this does is duck under ALL high attacks and ALL mid attacks! I can't stress this enough how much you should be abusing the BKO duck. Such a good way to open up your opponent and scare them. You are only vulnerable to low attacks and low throws. USE THIS AT ALL COSTS! 

My top 10 Helena Moves:
1.) BKO Throw
2.) pkk
3.) 9k
4.) 2f+k
5.) p+k
6.) 33p
7.) 66p
8.) BKO 6p
9.) 214 f+p 
10.) BKO 4k

I will elaborate why I use these moves in my next blog.

So with that being said, your game plan with Helena is to scare your opponent with BKO throw, BKO duck, mix-ups, stuns, etc. BKO throw should be your main tool because that causes a great mix-up. Her mix-ups are low risk/high reward, so don't second guess yourself when using Helena. You just have to go with the flow. Keep reading future posts because I will def go deeper in the mind of a Helena player.

Sunday, February 6, 2011


verb [kil]
1.  To destroy.

A brief introduction of myself. My name is Jeremy Florence. I go by the handle "Black Mamba" aka. "Balack Omamba." I am the World Champion of DOA4 and top Helena player. I've been playing DOA for 5 years and have won numerous tournaments. I have decided to dedicate a blog to mainly DOA4 Helena, DOA in general, and possibly DOAD Helena when the game comes out. Some of the general topics I plan to cover are: Helena strategies, moves, combos, offense/defense, match videos, character match-ups, mindset, etc.

I will be posting a General Helena post and strategies in the posts to come. So stay tuned.