This is a surprisingly big update. Even with the surveys and the thumbnail leak, it’s surprising to see three characters just suddenly becoming a thing like this, outside of a new season announcement and all. Kilgore looks cool, and it’s great to see yet more ongoing support to the game.
I may’ve missed it, but do the new characters cost money? If so, how much? (I well-and-truly got my money’s worth from season 3, I’ll be the last person to riot if I have to pay for a new wave of content.)
An aside: I never did comment on the combo breaker change, so I guess I’ll say some things now that it’s in place and my thoughts are less useful, because whatever.
- It buffs heavy (and medium) auto doubles, that much is clear. Usually combos get to something like level 2 on manuals alone, the PD from which is negligible enough to where keeping half of it around isn’t going to be very noticeable. An auto double probably puts you on level 3 or 4 track, where the PD remaining from a combo breaker could actually matter. That’s not to mention that reaction break attempts are far and away the best break attempts to go for, so this in a way helps to directly compensate an option for breakers that are most likely to happen when that option is used.
- Whether this lengthens combos in any substantial way is really hard to say, because combo game is complex. I suspect it mostly doesn’t, but it’ll make smart players more likely to run heavy auto doubles in mid-to-high-KV situations where they might otherwise be tempted to end early because they haven’t seen a lockout and don’t want to hand their opponent a mostly free late break chance.
- I think the change will almost certainly further minimize the relevance of counter breakers. I saw some back-and-forth on this in the discussion thread, with some people thinking that the de-emphasis on counter breakers in the moment is compensated for by the increased length of combos, but I don’t think it’ll play out that way. Whilst I think counter breakers are fine and I like some of the things this change does for other aspects of the game, I would’ve liked to see a change that reinvigorated the mechanic rather than one that de-emphasized it.
- I don’t like the message behind the change. People want their notably potent KI neutral to count for more…in a game where breakers play a key role in making such a potent neutral possible? Eh. I take some solace in the sense that the change doesn’t really do that in much of a meaningful way, because it doesn’t help a neutral-focused one-chance playstyle one bit. It’s an average damage buff for people who are willing to fully explore the combo system to find it, and then also work the post-breaker neutral to milk it. Still, though, I don’t think a pattern of lessening KI’s most iconic mechanic shows confidence in the overall experiment, even if I’ve generally ended up liking these breaker changes in practice.
Overall I think I’m for these changes after a lot of reflection. I’ll have to play with them in place before I know for sure of course, and there are downsides that I think could be better, but mostly it’ll be exciting to see more auto doubles in competitive play.
Anyway, onward to specific bullet-points.
NEW FEATURE! You can now choose Survival vs AI or Shadows without owning a Shadow. This is a great way to earn SP!
wrt the Jago changes:
Shadow Endokuken damage reduced by ~25% [This change will lower Jago’s unbreakable damage a bit, and lower the total life swing in Jago’s favor when using Instinct Endokuken Juggles.]
Shadow endokuken is where I would’ve liked IG to focus in the first place when bringing down Jago’s damage. The reason the unbreakable was good was because the PD off the shadow endokuken usually put on a level or two before the shadow DP cashout. I still want to see the enders revisited, though.
This might be the death knell for the two-meter unbreakable, which is a shame because I always enjoyed working towards it and I think it could be an interesting part of Jago’s gameplan if meter gain were reworked to make it something you need to work towards more actively, but it’s hard to be upset about it now when it’s already out of my system to some extent.
Shadow Endokuken is now -6 on block at point blank range (was -4) [Shadow Endokuken is no longer safe on block at very close ranges.]
I fully endorse this change.
The 2nd fireball thrown automatically during Instinct mode has had its meter gain reduced by 50% [Jago’s meter gain was still just a bit high. This change should hopefully be in the final step in bringing his meter gain to where we want it.]
I still think meter gain should go down further. Jago doesn’t need a notable amount of passive meter gain, and this is one area where the character could be toned down without fundamentally changing his gameplay. Hell, with punishable shadow endokuken Jago is now going to have more meter to spread around the neutral game, although granted this change in particular will probably meet its more immediate goal of affecting how much he can sink into lifegain in instinct.
Overall though I don’t see much in here to get bothered about as a Jago main, but I also don’t see anything that’ll really satisfy anyone who has a seething hatred of top-tier Jago. (Regardless of how much they celebrate punishable shadow endokuken now.)
- Instinct mode reworked[/quote]
The rework seems cool. It’s an opportunity for Fulgore to run some really technical, albeit potentially really scary stuff. Pips enable a lot of setplay, but they also enable a lot of “27 steps ahead” thinking that I think will give strong players a higher skill ceiling in which to play, which could make tournaments more interesting.
I’ve never really been a fan of Fulgore’s reworked meter mechanic. Fulgore always seemed like a character who was built around his original mechanic: he gets to be a Jago-style shoto wind kick frame-trapper, and a zoner, and has these strong setplay options off a knockdown, that all seem intended to be balanced by the trade-off between running the those gameplans at any given moment and taking a break to build pips; and he has ways of creating space and the like that seem designed to facilitate finding pockets in which to sneak a charge in. Since season 2 it seems like IG has been slowly dismantling the tools which once supported that original mechanic. I know there are a few good reasons why the change was made, but it’s still always seemed to me like Fulgore’s moveset is geared towards a mechanic that no longer exists.
I guess it didn’t help that I never got a feel for the new meter mechanic, and maybe part of that is because of what the notes describe: Fulgore just has a bad meter situation until instinct and then has plenty of meter. I’m not sure if that’s wholly true, but I don’t think I’ve seen a lot of discussion about counterbalancing Fulgore’s offensive options with meter-building concerns. Maybe now that instinct doesn’t change the meter gain situation we’ll see more Fulgores running strategies that are obviously about the reactor gauge, and, importantly, people will talk more about how it factors into a match.
I don’t think this change will make me come fully around on the season 2 meter mechanic, but it might help.