Brad - Strategy - VF5FS
Brad is a powerful character who excels in many areas. However, his many options, stances, and hit-confirm requirements make him best suited for advanced players. Some of Brad's most striking features come from his superior mobility. He has an assortment of good long range and anti-evade moves that allow him to control the pace of a match. Also, his "crush" game is better than most due to his ability to launch opponents while avoiding highs, lows, and sometimes mids. Generally speaking, Brad is very offense oriented. He can easily pressure his opponents with his poking and stance options, the latter being especially strong as they're often in the form of relatively safe launchers. It is not only when Brad is moving that he is dangerous, though. He has arguably the best punishment in the game, offering high-damage options in most situations. This makes it possible to be defensive and wait for the opponent to make a mistake. Brad can also deal more damage than much of the cast; One wrong guess by the opponent can result in over half his life gone. The most notable issues to using Brad are that his throws are weak damage-wise and that he lacks many moves to overcome attacks with evasive properties. Despite these shortcomings, however, Brad is a strong character who is viable for use at the highest levels of play.
In a nitaku situation (+6 and higher) Brad should generally use throws or . This is the most efficient way to pressure your opponents. Throws cannot be crouched and will track your opponent's evades, while will defeat an abare attempt (including due to its special high property) and will even track towards Brad's stomach. Other moves can beat an abare attempt for good damage, but is favored for its safety and tracking.
However, there may be situations in which a less safe launcher may be used for more damage. Using (entered as or ) is a good option against Lightweights and Taka for significantly higher damage on a counter hit. The downside is that Brad is left at nitaku on guard.
If Brad has nitaku advantage and both opponents are left crouching, it becomes more difficult to get damage. The above moves won't reach the opponent if he back dashes, including throws. Throws should still be used in case the opponent stands or evades, but in order to attack a back dashing opponent you'll need to use moves with more range. Every character has to beat a back dash for very high damage, but Brad's is linear and he's at a disadvantage when it's evaded. It's probably only worth using this move if you're sure that your opponent will back dash. Otherwise, is a good option because the second hit can be hit-confirmed and delayed to beat attacks after an opponent evades the first part of the string.
Brad has two attacks with the ability to side-turn opponents, which are or and (Ducking) or . The directions to enter aren't dependent upon stance or whether you're on the 1P or 2P side. Rather, they're options for turning your opponents in different directions. The directions in which to turn your opponents depends upon ring position and also the location of walls. An additional consideration concerns tracking; These moves are semi-circular towards the direction you enter. On the other hand, if the previous hit lands the side-turning element will naturally combo making tracking a moot point. Once you've created the side turned position Brad is left at +9, which in FS terms guarantees .
The side turned-position can also be made from his (Neck Clinch) . Using will end with the opponent still side-turned and at -5, though this setup can be escaped. While can be guarded, they are forced to guard it from the side-turned position. If thrown towards a wall - though not touching the wall - Brad can use or to either (Slipping) or (Slipping) . The first attack will cause a wall stagger which guarantees the second. While this setup is strong, it can be difficult to get the opponent at the required distance and judgment in terms of whether or not it will work requires experience.
If the side-turning move lands on a counter hit, Brad has 12 frames of advantage (+12). This guarantees , as it is a natural combo on a side-turned opponent. If the opponent is side-turned against a wall, the universal option is to create a wall stagger with . Brad has as a more damaging option. Whichever move you use, is then guaranteed for a wall splat. Refer to the combo list for combos that can be used in this situation.
Following a Defensive Move (DM), Brad may be at his opponent's side. The best option in this situation is relative to the frames you gain. Read the "Positions" section in the Wiki under "DM Advantage" for a means by which to calculate your advantage following a successful evade. If you don't know which move to use then is the best option if the opponent is standing; is best if the opponent is crouching.
Brad has strong pressure on a side-turned opponent. Remember that if a throw is escaped which results in the side-turned position that 6 frames of advantage are accrued (+6). This is enough to allow Brad to force some strong mix-ups. For instance, a counter hit made with leads to (Slipping) for a combo. If is used, then it will guarantee (Ducking) on a counter hit. The former is safer if evaded while the latter has the potential for higher damage combos. If your opponents tend to evade when side-turned, try using a circular move such as or . Also, using one of Brad's stances will cause a delay that can catch opponents' failed evades and attacks immediately following their evades. If opponents use a standing guard while side turned, then (Ducking) is probably Brad's best option.
Brad's combos are affected by the relation between his opponents and the edge of the ring/wall. In many instances, combos ending with may also end with . Check the combo list to find out when this is possible. The benefit to ending with the latter is that it can push the opponent out of the ring or closer to the wall. Sometimes, it can be delayed to "ground" opponents, making the timing on their recovery more difficult.
There are situations in which entire combos may be modified depending upon the distance between the opponent and a wall. For instance, a (Slipping) combo can be modified to be:
(Slipping) -> -> -> (wall) -> ...
The best option from there depends upon the opponent. Using -> works on all characters except for Taka (Note: Requires verification on Heavyweights). If the opponent is a Lightweight character, then -> can be used for more damage.
There are a few strategies available to Brad for baiting whiffed rising attacks. The first is to be just outside the range of a rising attack and to use for whiff punishment. Much easier, and rewarding, is to provoke a rising attack and evade it with (Sway Back) into a combo. Both strategies require practice for the timing and distance.
It is also possible for Brad to whiff a move over a grounded opponent to trick the opponent into thinking that his rising attack is guaranteed. Another strategy is to guess which rising attack the opponent will try and counter with special attacks. Use for mid rising attacks and for low rising attacks. While it may be possible to react with these options, it is much more difficult than reacting with either a high or low guard.
Normally too slow an attack for pressure, (Slipping) is one of Brad's best tools in okizeme. It is mid and +5 on guard. Good opponents may try to either evade this kick or not recover. If they evade, (Slipping) can beat it since it's half-circular. Pay attention to which way your opponents try to evade during matches. Chances are good that if they consistently evade in the same direction that they'll continue to do so when they recover. Simply enter Slipping in the direction you'll think the opponent will evade and execute the attack. Also, if your opponent is next to the edge of a ring or near a wall, try using this kick to close their exit routes away from these areas.
On counter hit - including from getting hit during a DM - this kick gives Brad +12. To make the best use of (Slipping) it is important to properly hit scan. If a yellow flash occurs (indicating a major counter hit), enter . If on normal hit or guard, try using whatever tool you think works best in that situation. Generally speaking, is a good idea on both occasions. In fact, holding during the execution of (Slipping) is a good method to set up your next attack. If you get a counter hit, continue with (which will result in ). If on some other type of hit or on guard, enter (so that you'll get ).
If your opponent doesn't recover, you should be able to notice this prior to executing the attack. Simply wait for the Slipping animation to end and use for a light down attack.
Rising attacks from back rolls are -15 on guard. If you block a mid, use . When you block a low, is Brad's best option.
Following a spinning knockdown, Brad has some powerful options. If they don't recover, Brad can float his opponents with a simple . He also has some meaty setups that vary depending upon the move used to knock them down. From , Brad can simply OM -> which is an option select between a down attack and his side kick. The latter will give him +8 if the opponent exact recovers towards either side. A less consistent method to apply this move is to DM -> Dash -> . Timed correctly, Brad can get 8, 9, or even 11 frames of advantage.
Brad lacks good option select down attacks. He can use (nitaku if guarded on the first active frame) or he can be riskier and use . With the correct timing, Brad will perform a heavy down attack if the opponent doesn't recover from a fall but jump back to a safe distance if he does.
Brad has many ways to create wall staggers that will depend upon positioning. is his main move to induce wall staggers, and if it hits then any derivative stance option is guaranteed except for (Slipping) . This is useful because Brad can hit scan while he's entering into a stance. The best option depends upon the opponent's state. If the move hits, then (Slipping) or (Slipping) is best depending upon the character's weight. Refer to the combo list for more details. Ducking options don't allow for combos as powerful if the opponent guards , but (Ducking) can be used against while (Ducking) can be used for either an evade or standing guard. If the attack does cause a wall stagger, then (Ducking) is guaranteed and will cause a wall splat.
can be used in the same way as except that it won't guarantee anything other than (Slipping) . This is best used if (Sway Back) breaks the opponent's guard against the wall as it is guaranteed in that situation.
will also stagger an opponent against the wall, though nothing is guaranteed. Many opponents may fail to break from the stagger, however, allowing to hit. If gives a counter hit a wall splat will result instead. Refer to the combos for (Ducking) in the combo list for combos that can be made in this situation. (Sway Back) may be use similarly except on counter hit, while will lead to a guaranteed .
There are some attacks that give better wall staggers with specific positioning. The following chart details attacks that can be used when you and your opponent are parallel to the wall. In the second column, the direction in which Brad needs to be facing is given. Either his back or his front needs to be facing the wall for these attacks to work as outlined. The third and fourth columns show what is guaranteed when different stagger recovery speeds are used by the opponent. The "Normal" and "Fastest" designations are taken from the Dojo Mode in Virtua Fighter 5: Final Showdown. Since the best guaranteed options cap at 17 frames of execution, the chart doesn't display any slower attacks.
BackWall SplatWall Splat
BackWall SplatWall Splat
(Sway Back) (guard or hit)BackWall SplatWall Splat
(Slipping) (guard or hit)BackWall SplatWall Splat
(back turned)BackWall SplatWall Splat
Since the direction of the Slipping attacks will vary depending upon which way the stance is entered, it's important to know which direction should be used. Simply enter the stance away from the wall and the attacks should produce the desired effects.
In addition to these attacks, Brad has a very unique property to his from this position. Unlike his low attacks, it is the way the opponent is facing that is the dependent factor here. If the opponent's front is facing towards the wall, then will cause a wall stagger. is guaranteed with the right timing in this instance while requires specific distancing. Using either or are the most consistent options and have the potential to lead to the highest damage combos.
Lastly, don't forget about Brad's spinning knockdown attacks. , , and counter hit will knock the opponent down towards his back. These will give different types of wall splats depending upon distance. The height at which the opponent lands on the wall is affected by distance as well, requiring confirmation before proper combos can be made.
Brad has an impressive assortment of moves with ring out potential. Here are some of the most significant:
- As is a staple move in Brad's command list, it is one of the most common ways to knock the opponent out of the ring. Try to hit scan this move; on a crouching or counter hit with combo knocking the opponent backwards. This will even cause a ring out over half walls at the correct distance. Always enter in case it knocks them into the wall instead. Either you'll get a wall combo or it will whiff once the opponent falls out of the ring.
- This is a safe poke that will knock the opponent back a fair distance when it hits. It also pushes them back on guard. Brad can also continue into a stance for more pressure, making this move a nice threat when the opponent is trying move away from the edge of the ring.
- A high attack that can knock the opponent back far on hit and gives a small advantage (+2) on guard. This move should be used as a mix-up to get opponents to crouch, allowing for his mid moves to land more often. It is possible to ring out over low walls with it too; simply enter when it hits to carry opponents out of the ring.
- Similar to , this two-hit series will knock the opponent down if the second hit lands. The additional range of this string, however, allows Brad to play it safe by keeping himself further away. Also, opponents cannot crouch the second hit due to it being mid.
- While it's a good mid ring out tool, it can be risky to use. It's -7 on guard, meaning that opponents can use nitaku on him. The linearity of this move also means that it can be sidestepped in either direction. However, its command makes it ideal to use following a back dash. Simply enter the attack as and it will execute after potentially evading an opponent's move.
In order to get the most out of using Brad, you'll need to familiarize yourself with his stances. Each one has its own set of characteristics, so make sure you're using the correct stance for the right situation.
Ducking () advances Brad forward while placing him into a crouching position. He is vulnerable to low throws because of this, but it also means that he's invulnerable to high attacks. Ducking is the only one of Brad's stances that contains a (catch) throw, so if opponents are evading a lot when you enter a stance then Ducking is a good option. If it lands, Brad will enter into a special situation, technically a stance (for lack of a better term), called Neck Clinch. This stance will be covered later.
Another benefit to this stance is that he has a strong "low crush" move from it. (Ducking) will evade low attacks from the moment in executes while also launching opponents. One interesting use of this move is when opponents are conditioned to having their high attacks in strings crouched and punished. In response, they might try to use to discourage this. The entry into Ducking will avoid the high attack while entering will avoid the , resulting in a launch no matter which option the opponent uses!
Sway Back () is probably the most unique out of his stances. It is the only one that cannot be entered as a derivative of his many attacks that allow for a stance transition. This doesn't make it any less useful, however. It can be scary to chase down Brad after guarding some of his attacks because Sway Back shifts his body position backwards and allows him to quickly counter. A perfect example of this is when the opponent guards . Though this leaves Brad at -6, it is possible to make him completely safe by back dashing and then following with Sway Back. This forces opponents to either be more passive or to be risky and dash forward before attacking. Of course, using other options (such as ECD) is also a good idea.
Basically, Sway Back is a good option after any move giving both disadvantage and "push back" on guard. If opponents try chasing you with an attack, the fastest option out of this stance is (guard or hit) . This is a natural combo on any hit, so whether they are caught while attacking or recovering from an attack doesn't matter. Making this even better is the fact that this string can be hit checked. Try confirming the first two attacks. If they're guarded, mixing it up with either or a throw is a good basic strategy.
Combined with an attack, it is possible to use Sway Back as a type of "mid crush." This notably applies to beating mid rising attacks. With the right distance and timing, it is possible to evade this attack and then launch the opponent with (Sway Back) . Try experimenting with different setups to cause your opponents attacks to whiff and then punish. The hit box of this stance is fortunately pretty consistent.
While the attacks from Ducking are strong and should be used often, they are greatly enhanced by the attacks possible from Slipping ( or ). When this stance is entered off an attack, the followup attacks from this stance usually execute 1 frame sooner than its Ducking counterparts (more information in the chart further down). This means that you'll want to use Slipping more often if you think that your opponent will try to interrupt Brad's stance entries with a fast move. To be exact, you'll want to use (Slipping) as it's his fast option and will launch the opponent on any hit.
Something that sets this stance apart from the others is that there are two ways in which it can be entered (aside from cold entry and as an extension of an attack). Brad's other aforementioned stances move him forwards and backwards respectively, while Slipping moves him towards his sides. However, its evasive property in that regard is very limited; Don't expect to use this stance in the same way a DM or OM would be used. It cannot be used to get to an opponent's sides or to evade any half-circular attacks. It's main evasive property is that it will avoid contact with any high attacks, so it can be used to punish these in the same way Ducking can.
Regardless of how practical it is, Slipping does shift Brad off-axis slightly to either side. Make sure that when using either or to start a wall combo that you slip in such a way as to align yourself well for it; Depending upon which way you enter the stance, a wall combo can be possible or impossible.
Brad doesn't change foot position when Slipping in either direction except when an attack is entered. This makes it important to check his feet relative to his opponent's when making combos. For (Slipping) , always move in the direction of the opponent's front. (Slipping) is a bit more tricky. The same rule applies on characters heavier than Lion but the opposite holds true for most of the Lightweights. When perusing the combo list, keep in mind that using this launcher after slipping towards the opponent's back will end with Brad in the Open Foot Position while slipping towards the opponent's front will end with him in the Closed Foot Position.
An important note regarding both Ducking and Slipping is that Brad isn't considered attacking until the attack from either stance executes. This means that it can bypass the unique property of special high attacks to catch attacks starting from low positions. Since there's essentially no difference between a high and a special high while in these stances, it gives Brad a unique defensive/offensive hybrid that not every character has. Unfortunately, however, his stances will not allow him to avoid throws at -5 and below.
While Ducking has higher damage options than Slipping, in terms of general whiff punishment against high attacks the best stance to use is relative to the situation. If you need the fastest attack possible to punish on time then enter Slipping for its extension. If you think the attack will recover more slowly, then enter Ducking and follow with either or .