This is just a personal little rant here, and if anyone wants to discuss with me (preferably politely) that’d be awesome.
Before Arbiter got nerf hammers, I thought he was one of the more overrated characters in the cast. He had a lot of really stupid stuff back then, like high damage one chances and gun loops and the like. But whenever I played him back then, I rarely used those tools. And I struggled. A lot.
Arbiter’s offense, from my perspective, seems quite linear. His mixup game is limited, having a good overhead selection, but also situational low and a command grab that is relatively easier to react to than most of the cast. His buttons in a small range (just outside of his light buttons) where many fast characters and rushdown characters liked to hang out was a pain, because the buttons he has at that range are slightly slower than a majority of the cast as well. When I fought Arbiter, once I learned how to just wait it out, his offense became something more like Cinder’s: not terrible, but not stellar either.
His defense was the main thing that frustrated me, though. His two reversals are arguably the worst reversals in the entire game (barring heavy reckoning from Gargos obviously); both costing resources, doing low/zero damage and being somewhat easy to bait. And they’ve only gotten worse since then, with overshield becoming more negative and his grenades being situationally worse/better. His anti-air options, while they seem good frame data and hitbox wise, are not very good once you take into account the size of Arbiter himself. I often find I’m too slow to punish jump ins and end up getting kicked in the face; sure that’s my fault, but I rarely have this much trouble anti-airing with any other character.
Now, I’m not saying Arbiter is unviable now. Were the nerfs needed? Yes. Did I like them? Yes. And as I play this character more I’m starting to understand how the developers wanted him to be played. He’s supposed to sit at midrange and poke at his opponent with his high range normals in order to stall time for his resources to build. And I like that playstyle and how it forces me to be patient.
But regardless, Arbiter feels so limited to me. It honestly feels like midrange poking is the only thing he’s really good at. His damage is bad unless you get higher ender levels (which he has trouble building usually), his vortex game is quite overrated in my opinion and his defense, like I said, is just terrible. And while his poking normals are good, all it takes is one whiff and the faster characters can get into a space that Arbiter struggles to fight in.
I’m never going to say a character is bad in this game, because I know there may be a lot that I’m missing. But I just feel like Arbiter struggles a bit too much in too many areas because of how limited he feels. I simply cannot see this character being any higher than low tier because of how hard he gets dunked by some characters.
These are just a few suggestions and ideas for how to make him a bit more varied and fun, and to help him deal with his harder matchups:
-Turn one of his enders into a low damage resource ender. His ender options are all very similar with nearly negligible reasons to use one over the other. I think it would be cool to see an ender that restores his shield.
-Increase the allowed time window between sword target combos. This could help Arbiter keep an opponent at bay as well as add to his ranged offense.
-Slightly increase the speed of cr.MK so he can more easily challenge buttons at that range while still not get much reward from it.
-Have Shadow Prophet’s Bane deal a bit of potential damage and recover faster on whiff. Could be just me, but I cannot find a practical use for this move with its current reward other than finishing a round.
-Allow Shadow Truth Seeker to recapture/stagger. This move is tough to land, both in juggles and in neutral, and I think the reward should match it. It could also make for some fun combos.
-Change the inputs of the carbine bash normals to back+HK instead of forward+HK. This current input adds an extra risk to trying to anti-air that I feel is unnecessary irritation.
-This is a fun, crazy idea that will probably never happen, but I think it would be fun to let Arbiter shoot his own grenade with a carbine bullet to explode it manually.
Maybe I’m just a crazy person and Arbiter is secretly top tier. But I figured I’d have fun making some suggestions for a character I really want to get good with. Thanks for reading