The ONLY thing Aganos loses that’s useful in close range is his LP finger-flick. Despite losing it though, he still has his LK headbutt and MK shoulder-bash, both of which are generally better than his fingerflick anyways (the former because it’s faster and the latter because it moves him forward and is an effective crossup).
Besides, if Aganos has his peacekeeper out, you shouldn’t even be able to get close to him to begin with if the Aganos player knows what he’s doing. I’ve kept players of all skill levels out simply using his d.HP and s.HP with it almost exlusively. As big as the hurtbox is on that thing, you’re not going to miss at any range but point-blank (where you should’n’t be using it anyways) and even on a block, you have some fantastic mix-up options and potential combo setups.
As for it being common to use instinct when you’re knocked down or under pressure, that doesn’t apply to Aganos, because if that’s what you’re doing, then you’re doing it wrong. I’ve always found it best to activate it mid-combo, post-combo-breaker (my personal favorite option), or when they’re knocked down (preferrably far away). It’s amazed me how many times I’ve been hit by a brutal combo, only to get a good read, combo-break, and then activate instinct to slam them with a recapture into full-combo punish before they ever even hit the ground from the combo-breaker. It’s amazed me how many times, I’ve heard a “WTF!?” kind of response through my TV - brings a smile to my face every time.
Well, he loses all his punch normals, which include all his non-special move anti-airs (shadow natural disaster is pretty much all he has left, which doesn’t work from numerous ranges and requires meter). This is kind of a big deal for a character with a weakness to throws, since jumping is a common way to bait throws.
Fair, but I think it’s rare you’ll actually be able to activate when you’re not under pressure most of the time. And even so, the opponent can stand at a comfortable range, ready to attack Aganos if he tries to chunk, and then try to avoid some random Peacemaker mixups that cost Aganos his club when he swings and don’t do that much damage on hit anyway. The only real time Aganos gets benefit activating on defense is when he instinct-cancels a combo breaker and then uses Peacemaker to send the opponent full screen (as you say). But when this is your best use of instinct on defense, you have a pretty serious problem.
This is probably the absolute most common way to activate instinct in the game, especially since 85% of the characters in this game can take appropriate action when they see the screen freeze. So the only reason it “doesn’t apply to Aganos” is because his options are much more limited if the opponent tries to meaty. I think Aganos would LOVE for this to apply to him! Every other character in the game gets two free “outs” on defense per match, but Aganos gets 0 in addition to his already pretty weak (chunkless) defense. That’s a fairly substantial disadvantage.
And yet he gains a near full-screen anti-air that’s pretty effective - his peacekeeper’s s.HP which is ALL he needs. And yet, he also gets his arial recapture with j.P that can potentially lead into a full-combo punish as well.
There are very specific times that you can chunk with Aganos, as I’m sure that you’re well aware. It’s not a matter of distance, however, but rather a matter of knowing if the opponent has suffered sufficient hit-stun/hard-knockdown to allow for it (or you can get the chunks with the chunk-ender of course). Distance isn’t necessarily a factor (and shouldn’t be considered as 1) because certain characters can still close the gap pretty darn fast (the biggest example probably being Riptor). So, in other words, if you’re chuking based on distance, you’re (mostly) doing it wrong.
I also never said that you should throw the peacekeeper after activating instinct - I certainly never do (although it’s an option, to be sure). I’d rather keep them guessing at long-to-medium range with the mixups. It’s NEVER failed me. I will often hit them out of the air with the s.HP, but I know that it’s breakable, so I can then also use it as bait for a counter-breaker. I admit that you’re right about the damage, but it’s still a lot of damage for single-hit normals and even better, it’s flat damage - there’s no potential damage at all - once it hits, their health is gone for good. Furthermore, because they’re single hits, they’re absolutely unbreakable. I assure you, it puts the fear into even the best of opponents, especially if there’s a wall behind them. If all 3 normal attacks (NOT the chain combo, but individual separate attacks) actually hit, you’re looking at ~1/3 of their health bar completely gone. It’s also worth noting that in practice, I’ve learned that ALL of his standing peacekeeper attacks ALSO hit at point-blank range - the only thing that doesn’t is his recapture, which would be unwise to use at close range anyways.
Aganos still has options if he were to try to activate instinct while under pressure - his 5-frame s.LK normal, naturally, is a good choice - you poke them back into a more comfortable range (even if they block) for other attacks, like his s.MK or simply start a combo after the initial hit.
I will admit, however, he’s not really good at doing things upon being knocked down (such as activating instinct), but the trick with Aganos is to not get knocked down in the 1st place - after all, he’s a pretty “grounded” character. You can think of him as Humpty Dumpty (who, ironically sits upon a wall ;P) but you have to remember, even the most fragile of eggs still has a shell (in other words, that’s 1 area where his chunk armor really helps).
In other words, Aganos, like every other character, still has all 3 options available to him (at worst, he has 2/3 options available to him if he has no chunks).
Yes but none of these things help his defense, which is what we’re talking about. He loses his defensive normals (anti-airs) and gains mid-range mixup tools. If he’s on defense, activating instinct doesn’t help.
This isn’t a defensive choice most of the time. You can’t interrupt pressure with it on the instinct freeze, for instance, and every character has a 5 frame normal (there’s nothing special about Aganos’s that gives him extra defensive options not available to others in the cast).
Well… yes, this is ideal (for every character). Simply never getting hit is a pretty good way to play! In practice, though, it’s not that easy, especially in KI where getting hit is the norm and successfully blocking is the exception.
i dont agree that Aganos is that hard to play, he is hard to play sure but nowhere the hardest in the game, its harder to play cinder, sadira, spinal, kan ra, maya at a high level, sure they might be easier in the beginning but they are much harder to get REALLY good at compared to Aganos.
Aganos is under-rated and I agree with how you describe all his resources and strategies. I think that there are a lot of ways and change-ups you can do with each character to throw off your opponent. I feel like every time I face someone, there are about ~3 ways they can play against you and with that they can alternate mid match if the adapt to who they are facing. I feel like sometimes people just say things too fast without letting a new character sit for a while and then judge. All characters in this game are good and there is really no filler unlike other fighting games.
I don’t think Aganos is the hardest to play as, that would go to Cinder. I maxed him at 50 and I still struggle because you have to be super accurate with Cinder for long juggles, he doesn’t deal lots of damage and a lot of times you will face people who won’t put themselves in bad situations which gives Cinder players a harder time to open them up for fancy combos or especially those long fancy juggle combos. His fire flash in the air also sometimes goes directions that you don’t intend it to go while trying to maintain the air combo…You can’t imagine how many hours I put into Cinder. Also I maxed out all characters except for Sabrewulf, Sadira, Omen and Riptor but they are almost maxed out so I know what I’m saying, I play as everyone.
Hm. I’m guessing you’re listing those characters more in terms of execution, in which case, yes, Sadira probably requires more manual dexterity to play well than Aganos, who tends to use simple, short combos and get a goodly chunk of his damage off unbreakable two-hitters and wall setups.
But in terms of the level of control and decision-making required to play well, then I’d have to say Aganos is by far the harder character to use, and probably the hardest to use across the cast. Most of the characters you listed there have a certain element of do-whatever-the-hell-you-feel-like to them, something Aganos is never at liberty to do. The penalty for him making a mistake in neutral is just much more punishing, as he has no reliable way to take back momentum once it’s been stolen from him. Cinder has a fantastic backdash and an invincible wakeup, Spinal and Maya have the same reversal option with meter (and Spinal has a strike-invincible wakeup, which is good if not OS’d), Sadira’s got a half-decent escape tool with meter and a solid backdash, and Kan has a pretty good one-time use reversal and a serviceable backdash. And even if they ■■■■■ all that up, they each get two freeze-frames per game and the options that come with their instincts. Aganos doesn’t get much defensively from instinct except for the freeze, and if that’s not enough to reset the situation to neutral he’s pretty much SOL.
Aganos is really, really good. He just demands a level of perfection in the neutral that is pretty uncommon in this game. Once you’re down with him, it’s really, really hard to get back up again.