I think somebody's signature here in VFdc is a quote attributed to Myke Tyson, "everybody has a plan until they get hit". This is also true in VF: landing the blow just as the round starts is known to be very important in since you can continue to pressure and generally impose your pace upon the opponent. This is my take on how vanessa should start or "open" (a term borrowed from chess i supose) her rounds. Feel free to comment or write your own list OS openers: ----------- OS agressive openers are pretty basic, featuring common tools such as jab, low punch, elbow, fast launcher (f+p+k) & far reching mid (f,f+k). OS evasive openers (b,df+p+k & b,b+k+g) enable vane to open rounds deceitfully, baiting agressive opponents and causing their attacks to whiff. Having a comprehensive round opening arsenal can intimidate or frustrate some opponents - something OS can also exploit with its argessive throw openers (df,df+p+g & DM p+k). + - Combining Russian Hook's high crush properties with a backdash, this sequence beats all short range moves, all highs & agressive dash > throw sequences. Additionally, it can often beat an opponent's evade > launcher sequence by provoking a failed evade & can sometimes cause a mirror backdash > launcher sequence to whiff. It basically just loses to far reaching mids. Since somehow nobody seems to block at the begining of a round, use and abuse this throw-counterable move while you still can, since its properties have been drastically altered in VF5R. - Good ol' cockpunch stuffs every attack & recovers fast enough to block an opponent who went for the evade > launcher sequence. Roughly speaking it only loses to jumping/anti-low attacks & backdash > launcher sequence. If you're content with doing chip damage and setting the pace instead of trying to score big damage from the get go, this is your move. + - Pile Bunker is fast enough to interrupt (almost) every mid atack and demoralize your opponent with an early float. This will definetly take care of any "anti-low" or "far-reaching mid" ideas your opponent might have. It loses to many options though, such as high jabs, all lows, evade > launcher & backdash > launcher so judge wisely. - Contrary to f+p+k, you can't go wrong with using vane's 11f jab, except when faced with 10f jabbers that is! The string is fast, safe & hard to punish with evade > launcher or backdash > launcher due to forward momentum & a highly delayable 3rd hit. Being vulnerable to low attacks and anti-highs is a fair trde-off. - The above OS round openers share a common flaw: they are easily countered by patient opponents using spacing to their advantage and waiting for vane to whiff. This is where the Landing Knee comes in: while it will lose to fast attacks, this far reaching, floor scraping mid guarantees there will be no backdashing shenanigans happening on your watch. + - Combo potential alone justifies using a sluggish more like Back Charge Kick as a round opener. Losing half their lifebar just because they whiffed an attack is something that will definetly demoralize your opponent. - Well, OS has an elbow, there's no harm in using it. It can lose to lots of stuff, but on the other hand it probably won't be anything that takes half your lifebar away so, yeah, it can be useful to gauge an opponent's habits. + - Something picked up from jeffry players, this exploits the fact that OS has a df,df input throw. Crouchdash > throw beats highs, evade > launcher & might clash with slower mids. It's far from the safest of options but, if you have good reflexes, you can train to hit the guard button instead of throw in time to block in case your opponents opens with an mid attack. DM + - Sure, pulling a Brisal is hella unsafe but, the way i see it, if my opponent is groaning and trying to escape takedown moments after the round starts, i've already won. Same as b,df+p+k, use and abuse while you can because this rule-breaking catch throw is going away in VF5R. DS openers: ----------- DS openers are clunky, as expected from DS afterall. Lacking both an elbow & a fast launcher, DS has to make up for it by using unconventional techniques. While sabaki can compensate for that deficiency, competent opponents will alternate between all of their possible openers, meaning that betting on the wrong sabaki can get vane killed. Leaving second-guessing for the heat of the battle, opening rounds with faster moves seems like a much safer bet. - Same reasoning as with OS, cockpunch is a low risk-low reward round opener, nothing more, nothing less. - DS doesn't have the luxury of OS p,k or OS f+p+k so you'll just have to make up for it by trying to set up those damaging DS throws with vanilla jab. (fuzzy) - Bone Crush Middle is not particularly fast, but it will definetly counter any anti-high or anti-low punch ideas your opponent might have formed after seeing you open with the first two moves. While it will lose to punches, low punches & elbows, it does enough damage to stuff slower attacks (including mid launchers) and has just enough reach to nail retreating opponents. Add some fuzzy guarding from time to time to throw your opponent's timing off and you've got yourself a decent round opener. WR - Crush Jaw is a tough move to pull off but, if executed impeccably, somewhat makes up for vanessa's lack of 14f mid & fast launcher. While it will neither crouch stagger nor combo, it will at least beat everything except punch, low punch & trade with elbows. If your timing is off it might lose to more attacks but might also beat high attacks & evade > launcher sequences due to the built-in crouchdash. Just make sure that (contrary to the way you input OS df,df+p+g) you pause between df,df and p otherwise you'll end up with df,DF+p (which kinda sucks). WR - Another weird input, this is the DS version of the "backdash > launcher" sequence. It only floats at CH but on CH vane will be in closed stance so the pppk float will work (except against a Jacky player who switched footing). Being +1 on hit doesn't hurt either. For the record, backdash > df+k+g can make the hit-throw whiff and f+k+g is on the slow side - we'll have to wait for VF5R to toy with better backdash > launcher sequences from DS. evade > + - This is the DS version of the "evade > launcher" sequence. While it happens to be high, the df+k+g alternative requires good input skills and (even if you manage to nail the hit-throw each time) lacks in the damage department. There's also the "hold guard, press punch" evasive attacks but the Boomerang Hook is much safer. + - If you can pretty much guess that your opponent will be taking evasive measures when the round starts, this is the move you're looking for. It completely shuts down backdashes, evades & sabaki. Just make sure your yomi is sharp because, being 21f exe, Shadow Slicer can be foiled by any agressive round openening strategy, including getting floated by the dreaded 17 frame knee. - Not the best possible opener but, hey, if you're planning to win by attrition you'll have to start grinding right away. - This is as "zen" as a round opener gets, and it's suprisingly effective: when left idle, DS vanessa will automatically inashi punches. This is neither an attack (so no counterhits) nor a defensive measure (so no 0f throws). Meanwhile you can always hit a button if you see your opponent doing something funny. Hence, by forfeiting immediate damage, you can study what your opponent is doing and counter accordingly, making Hand Hold a good round opener when you first encounter an opponent.