So Dead or Alive 5 is FINALLY out. I had some time with the game, (both casually and in competition) and I have to say that Team Ninja delivered a great product this time around. They tweaked the Hold System, added an actual Sidestep System, Made the Wall Game real good, Frame Advantage, etc. It's a good fighting game, I LIKE IT!
This is gonna be about my early Helena impressions though. Pre-Release of DOA5, people seemed to have went into mass hysteria about Helena being bad now. I will say that, though Helena got weaker, she is still capable of doing work.
Let me start off with the main nerfs. She no longer holds the power that was the BKO Throw Force Wake Up. (Helena's Vortex for you FGC people) This was, hands down, her most devastating mix up she had. (MOST DEVASTATING MIX UP IN THE GAME!) After you hit them with her throw from BKO stance, you can force them up off the ground and it put them in some pretty messed up situations. She had an uncounterable setup after it, mix them up with BKO sweep, throw loop, etc. It was almost a wrap once you were caught in the mix up... But it is gone now....
Another setback is that her BKO Duck doesn't duck under all Mid Attacks anymore. She can now get hit with mids that either hit the ground, (ex: Hayabusa's 3f+k) or mids that come up from the ground. (ex: Hayabusa's 3p+k) I'm gonna be very unbiased here, she kinda deserved this nerf. It actually makes sense. BKO Duck is still useful for getting out of certain situations, but you CANNOT rely on this as much as you use to be able to in DOA4. Also, P+K isn't the ultimate High and Mid crush, panic move anymore. High attacks still get crushed. Certain mid attacks can still be crushed, but so far it doesn't seem like many can. Just like BKO Duck, you can't rely on P+K as much anymore, but doesn't mean that you should take it completely out of your arsenal. P+K is still useful if you think your opponent is gonna throw you.
Last main nerf is that she is really unsafe now, and I mean REALLY unsafe! One of her stable moves in DOA4 was 66P and was safe on block. NOW IN DOA5, it is -9 on block. (along with any string that ends with that open palm) Now that she is really unsafe on a lot of her attacks, she seems more risky to use now.
All Doom and Gloom right? Well lets get to her good stuff.
Even though her pp2kp was removed from the game, she can now end her juggles with 236pkp. Since DOA4, this was one of her more powerful juggle enders and you had to have a high enough Stun Threshold, launch, to be able to use this ender. Now this is just her regular BnB juggle ender off any launch height and on any weight class.
88_22K is def a real nice addition and should be in every Helena player's arsenal of moves. It's actually her BKO Sweep made into a SS kick attack. Sidestep + Sweep that ducks + Stuns on hit = Probably one of the best SS attacks in the game.
I like what they did with her KKK and 3KKK strings. It's pretty much the same speed as it was before, but now when the opponent is hit with them, they don't fall to the ground anymore. You can use these strings to extend the stun. I feel Helena's stun game is pretty weak. So with her kicks, it helps her stun game a little more.
Though she is pretty unsafe, she does have a couple of safe moves that come to mind:
F+K is +7 on block
236p+k (Handslaps) is +0 on block
Any string ending with Handslaps is -4 on block
1K(P) is +9 on block
The BKO Throw Force Wake Up may be gone, but she now has a wider variety of combos that she can do from BKO Throw:
1.) BKO Throw, 4ppk, 9K = 60 dmg
2.) BKO Throw, 4ppk, 8pp2p = 67 dmg
3.) BKO Throw, P, 66kp(p) = 60 dmg
What is special about BKO Throw combo number three is that, in DOA4, you can only use that one against the wall. Now you can do it out in the open space and near a wall. You get an extra 10 dmg if this slams against the wall or object.
2kk buff is one of my favorite buffs in the game. 2kk kinda sucked in DOA4 and you couldn't get much off of the launcher on a stunned opponent. In DOA5 however, up close, you can get 236pkp as a juggle.
Yes, Helena is quite nerfed and isn't the powerhouse that she used to be. This doesn't mean that she can't win. You have to work a lot harder with this character now and really know Helena and your match ups to win. Helena's evasiveness isn't what it used to be, but she can still be pretty evasive. Helena doesn't play the new DOA5 system too well. I feel her stun game is pretty weak due to the fact that her best attacks during the stun threshold are Mid Punches. If you choose to toy around with a stunned opponent, you have to get REAL creative. In my opinion, I think your best bet with Helena is to Stun -> Launch right away. It is good that a lot of her best moves from DOA4 still work exactly the same on Hit. (2f+k, BKO Sweep, 33P, BKO 6k, etc.) You have to be able to read your opponent better now, take more risks, use wacky setups, etc. Helena is the type of character now where you truly have to be a master of the character. Character loyalty will payoff in the long run.
My next Kill Blog entry will be a breakdown of her best attacks. Until next time, and please, DON'T DROP THIS CHARACTER YET!