Spinals Curses

First let me preface this post by declaring that I’m not a spinal main, I’m simply an observer. I also don’t feel as if I’ve seen any spinal mains playing him to his full S3 potential, there seem to be a lot of S2 habits lingering about. All of that said I find his skull curse redesign to be somewhat lackluster. The problems I see with it, is it’s more of a “win harder” design. In S2 spinal had some of the best comeback mechanics in the game with the way curses work now you either wreck your opponent by just never allowing them to gain meter or your curses are largely ineffective.

The dynamic I feel falls off for a couple reasons. Stacking curses is a really cool concept, but in practice all it takes is the opponent opening you up in combo to pretty much remove them all every time. So as far as I can see putting more than one curse on an opponent is wasted effort even at optimal S3 play where you’re ending a lifebar and stacking curses before the next. The second issue is they are pretty much useless against an opponent who has full instinct or full meter, at that point they literally do nothing. Shadow curse I suppose could be argued is still good if and only if your opponent wiffs a shadow move or shadow counter. Outside of that those meters will probably be used in a way in which the curse is removed anyways.

I think there is a solution that could help to boost his curse game up a little. Add a surge mechanic to the character where you can spend a part of your meter just like shago and enhance his curses to drain meter/instinct. This would make it so it’s worth cursing your opponent when they are full on instinct or meter and it would also enhance his comeback factor by allowing him to gain some meter for himself.

That’s just some initial thoughts based on what I’ve seen so far. Most of my observation has been watching Bass play.

What happens when the opponent meter/instinct is drained?

I think it would be better if the curses just stayed on the opponent even if Spinal got hit.

It forces the opponent to REALLY take the momentum back if they want to get control of the game again, and since spinal has always been a very momentum based character, it would add to his gameplay positively by forcing his opponent also think about momentum constantly. And by extension, make sure that no use of meter is wasted.

I have never played Spinal, but from experience playing against him, i think that would make the matches much more fun.

Then how would you get rid of the curses?

You dont. You would have to finish out your combo, use an ender that puts Spinal far away from you, and then control the “middle space” to start gaining meter back.

If your combo gets broken, you use the wrong ender, or you let spinal rush in on you after the ender, then you did NOT effectively take the momentum back.

This would cause characters to think HARD about their combo chioces.
“Do i go for a damage ender, and risk him having time to get up? Or do i go for a Hard knock down ender, and buy myself time to run away?”
“Do i do a short combo, and try to run before he hits me, or do i perform a long combo and try to get the curses to end DURING the long combo?”
“Do i try to attack and get a 2nd combo, and risk it failing? Or do I back up, zone a little, and build meter to help me later?”

This would make playing against him much more fun and thoughtful.

Also, when you think about a “Curse” you think of something that is HARD to remove. The fact that you can hit 1 lucky special move with some characters and remove them is not very fun.I never really have to THINK about the curses as part of a strategy. The only “strategy” with a curse is to start a combo. If the curses were removed by TIME, then you would have to plan ahead for the next few seconds.

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I think that’s too much in spinals favor. If spinal ONLY has to grab you ONCE. Then he puts a curse on you. Then you open him up. For that entire combo you have no meter to use. Also, even when they opened you up you don’t lose anything? Part of the skull curses use is to regulate the resources of the opponent. Making it VERY DIFFICULT to do is not fun, it’s tedious and makes that character work WAY LESS for MUCH MORE BENEFIT. I’d either have to do short combos, which could indicate combo breaks or counter break, which is not always the best risk.

Spinal had SO MANY WAYS to make skulls. Making them more difficult to get rid of cuts off the match from being lopsided from the jump. I can’t see how this will make the character BETTER AND FAIR.

Personally, i think spinal is OP even WITHOUT curses.

Imagine if his skulls did NO curse, and 0% damage.


He can do whatever he wants to you in the corner, and i dont feel there is any way of escaping except to break a combo, or make a guess.

But my point is, his Curses dont FELL like “curses”, and i think they need to be a bigger part of his play style.

I would like it if his normals and specials got some nerfs, and his curses got some buffs. In season 2, the difference between a good spinal and a bad spinal, is that GOOD spinals used the curses to keep you trapped until the end of the game. In Season 3, since the curses dont matter as much, the GOOD spinals are the ones who know how to use Spinals CRAZY special moves to GET you trapped. Then, it doesnt matter if you escape, because they can just easily put you back in the trap again.

Season 3: Its hard to keep them trapped, so KEEP TRAPPING THEM

In season 3, “part one” of Spinal’s Offence is WAY more important that “part two”, and that seems wrong.

You know what i mean?


I concur. He definitely needs to try harder. I’d say one thing that helped was stealing the resources. He had extra stadows. Plus if he stayed on you if got crazy.

As a general note, I think Spinal is actually pretty balanced and fair in his current form. He can’t just touch you once in the corner and then you’re screwed and never get the tools you need to touch him ever again, but he also has the capability to delay your comeback potential if you can’t do something about being caught in his vortex.

A curse that remained applied regardless of whether or not Spinal got hit actually could work, but practically speaking you’d need to reduce the curse time to make it fair. I don’t think you’d get the kind of meta change that you seem to be looking for though Flutter, just because if the curse is time locked anyway, there’s never any reason to not go in at Spinal as hard as you can once you get the opportunity. Whatever offense you can normally muster, you’d just continue with that sans meter. It’s pretty hard to run away from a character who can teleport, and in any case, what would you actually gain by doing so? The curse isn’t going away anyway, and once it ends you’d still have to go in on Spinal to actually get any additional meter.

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Yeah your right when I play spinal at a certain point their useless. But the only logically far way is if he gets 3 skulls on you he drains meter or be like omen and stop the use of meter

this is a thing in every season. not just season 3. in fact in this season its HARDER to take a curse off of you since if a curse stacks it takes more than one hit to take them all off. also although it doesnt do anything if a an opponent has full meter that is a good thing since it allows spinal to actually think when to curse the enemy. instead of curse, curse curse all the time with no regard to his other combo enders and strategy. if the enemy has meter then there should be no reason to curse them, go for your damage ender or more mix ups and etc.

I understand how the stacking curses work :wink:. My point was this isn’t street fighter where most of the match is neutral and counter hits. KI footsies are different it’s often the case that a hit is confirmed into combo as such even stacked curses don’t last long.

I echo your sentiment about having choices and making characters not as one dimensional it’s something I loathed about S2 Orchid. A surge mechanic would not change that, and the skull changes acting as parts of the combo has already changed the juggle ender being the most optimal ender as can be seen in Bass’s play where he’s using the damage ender a lot more frequently. Essentially a surged skull functions as an option to use when your opponent has full resources as of right now the optimal play in that situation is to not use any skulls at all but rather go for damage or a wall splat setup.

I don’t like the idea of not being able to remove curses while they are easy to remove right now they are also quite easy to apply, so making it so they can’t be removed would really skew things heavily in one direction.

i disagree. if they add the surge per your idea then spinals gameplan would indeed change to “do they have meter? if yes surge to deplete it, if they dont have meter dont surge and keep adding more curses to stop it from gaining meter” instead of “if they have meter do something other than pure curse spam because it would not be worth your meter to use it otherwise”

Sorry, that part just cracked me up. Reminds me of the MMORPG joke, “Why do we raid? To get better loot! Why do we need better loot? To raid!”

Anyway, I never really got a chance to play a good Spinal in S2, so I have no idea just how detrimental the draining curses were. Based upon tournament play, it did seem like a very, almost unnecessarily, powerful tool given how strong his mix-up and vortex game was. The current mock-up works to lock you down where you’re at. Honestly speaking, cursing someone to prevent further meter, especially in the case of Instinct, is a very strong tool even without drain.

Allowing it to persist past Spinal being hit could work, but they would seriously need to lower the duration on the curses. Perhaps make them comparable to Omen’s shadow lockdown duration?

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Bronze Spinal player here.

Please, let him SUCK again. Sucking is always more interesting than saying ‘NO’. You know what Im saying?

I know you guys need to balance competitive play, but the draining dynamic was before all FUN and UNIQUE.

I understand vortex, and being overpowered and so on… and I see that you have potential to “PREVENT” more instinct gain than you could by draining. But anyway draining was way cooler.

Redesign, nerf, adjust as much as you need, but please… keep him sucking.

Thank you.

While there was something definitely satisfying about Spinal stealing meter, I think his Season 3 changes were for the better. Granted, I do find that Spinal absorbing meter versus preventing it from being acquired was something central to his character “image.”

Nonetheless, I’ve finally hit my stride with S3 Spinal and I think he is a much more involved character than before. Previously, once I popped Instinct I could cheese my way out of many tight corners by spamming projectiles and waiting for an opening. Now his Instinct is less of a “free comeback” and more of a “Gear Change” or mental switch. Preventing players from getting any meter is clearly very frustrating when Spinal is also stocked with skulls - which leads to more openings and opportunities to catch players off guard. I love it. Plus, earning double skulls in Instinct leads to prioritizing Skull-earning combos towards the end of Instinct to stock up while you can quickly (also adding to the Counter Breaker mind game).

Stealing meter stole away a limited number of bar, and gave Spinal that much extra. Preventing meter, earning skulls faster and having skulls bounce is far more demoralizing and interesting to me.

I miss the skull moves that use to suck shadow and instinct bars =/

Spinal lost a little bit of his shine in the current patch…

Yeah even though I came in late in S2, I did love how he sucked away people’s meter and added it to his own lol

I like S3 Spinal too though. The new instinct is fun and I have made a few come backs in a tight spot because of it. Get somebody on the defense then have 2 or 3 skulls bouncing around all over the screen AND they have to worry about you, it is almost like Gargos with both minions out in way. It can be overwhelming sometimes.

Spinal <3

But he got curses that stay on until you hit him! And they bounce! And he can use Shadow Skull in a combo! AND THEY BOUNCE! :dizzy_face:

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They could bounce and SUCK and be used in a combo and SUCK.