Take a Stance! How to Use–and Fight Against–Ling Xiaoyu’s Tricky Tekken 7: Fated Retribution Stances

By on March 1, 2017 at 1:00 pm
Ling

Take a Stance! is an article series designed to help you analytically approach the wide world of stances in Tekken.

Most of the cast in Tekken has a stance of some kind. If you are new to 3D fighting games, you should know that this isn’t really that uncommon in the genre as a whole. Stances allow for a wide variety of play and creativity from different characters, and make up a large bulk of both your pressure and your combos. Often times, understanding stances is understanding the character, or at least a very large part of it. And there may not be a character that this is more true of than the Wushu practitioner, Ling Xiaoyu.

Xiaoyu cannot be played competently without stance use. She lacks the range and damage of other characters, but makes up for it with a dizzying supply of options and evasion. Each of her three stances (Hypnotist, Rain Dance, and Art of Phoenix) have their own different options, openers, and goals. Knowing when and why Ling would go into each of these stances will help you play as–and counter–this slippery fighter. The fact that these stances are all so varied and powerful also means that no two Lings will ever be quite the same; you may very well find your own preference over the others as you develop your personal style.

Let’s start with what might be the most straight forward stance Ling has, Hypnotist.

Note: for those unfamiliar, here’s how to read Tekken notation.

Hypnotist

You are least likely to use or encounter Hypnotist when fighting as/against Ling. That doesn’t mean the moves from it are bad! Far from it. In fact, Hypnotist is a flashy way to break up your rhythm and keep your opponent on their toes.

Unlike her other stances, there’s really only one way to go into Hypnotist: B+1+2. Once Hypnotist begins, Ling takes up to three steps while sidewalking. You can input Hypnotist moves during this time, and after the first step is completed, you can also input normal moves from your movelist. This means that you can cancel Hypnotist into your other stances! HYP 1+2, in fact, cancels back into an opposite direction walking Hypnotist, and just mashing B+1+2 will repeatedly cancel back into the same HYP startup.

As far as the Hypnotist moves themselves… there’s only a few you really should be concerned about.

Input Hit Level Impact Frame Block Stun Hit Stun Counterhit Stun
HYP 1+2 (HYP)
HYP 1+4 (Special), Parry 18~19 (27~) +5
HYP 2 (After on step) m(HYP) 42 +1 KND KND
HYP 2 (After two step) m(HYP) 72 +5 KND KND
HYP 2 (After three step) m(HYP) 102 +24 KND KND
HYP 4 h 34(64,94) -4 +1 CS
HYP 3+4 h (TJ) 45~46 (75,105) -1~0 KND KND
HYP 2+3 (After on step) !(HYP) 81 KND KND KND
HYP 2+3 (After two step) !, m(HYP) 111 KND KND KND
HYP 2+3 (After three step) !, m(HYP) 141 KND KND KND

In my opinion, aside from using Hypnotist as a way to fake out an opponent before canceling into a normal move/RD/AOP Transition, Hypnotist’s most valuable asset is HYP 2. This move is one of your faster attacks in stance, has huge plus frames on block, knocks down, and tends to stick in your opponent’s head if they get hit by it. (3-step HYP 2 does nearly 20% damage!) Both HYP 2 and HYP 2+3 get more powerful the more steps you take in Hypnotist. HYP 2+3 has the disadvantage of being an easy-to-see unblockable, but can also be canceled with a b,b input into your Rain Dance stance. The only other real noteworthy move here is HYP 3+4, which is close to even on block. If your opponent doesn’t know this, they are more likely to fall prey to jab pressure afterwards.

In general, though, your other hypnotist moves aren’t terribly great. HYP 4’s CH state is okay but you won’t find yourself landing it often. HYP 1+4, your parry, guarantees nothing and comes so late into the animation as to skew the risk/reward.

If you’re fighting against HYP, you have to be mindful of HYP 2. HYP is mostly used as a pump fake to get you to freeze or press a button at the wrong time, but HYP 2 will always be at +frames and push you out at uncomfortable ranges if you just try to block. Backdashing in these situations after a blocked HYP 2 is likely the safest option. It’s also possible to sidewalk HYP 2 but you have to already be committed to the sidewalk usually to avoid it.

Just for a little bit of trivia, I typically see top players use Hypnosis to mess with the heads of opponents on wake up. I distinctly remember seeing Princess Ling during the Wizard World Tour mixing up HYP 2 and HYP fake into d/b+4 low when he knocked people down. Even Korean Pro Wekka has gone for HYP 2+3 shenanigans after knocking someone down, although more often than not he gets hit out of it by wake-up attacks.

Rain Dance

Rain Dance is arguably Ling’s primary stance. You automatically enter it anytime you go into a back turned state, and you can also enter it manually from any of her other stances with a B+3+4 input.

The real power of Rain Dance, however, comes from the fact that it can be entered from a very large part of your movelist.

Here’s a list of moves from your normal movelist that lead into Rain Dance:

Input Hit level Impact Frame Block Stun Hit Stun Counter Hit

Stun

Notes
1, d+2 h, m(RD) 10 RBT -3 +8 +10  2nd hit only on CH links into RD B+3
2, 1 h, m(RD) 10 RBT -4 +7 +7
d/f+1 m (TC)(RD) 14 RBT(cs6) -4 +7 +7
b+1 m(RD) 8~12( RBT) +1 +1
u+1+2, 2, 1, b (Cancel) mm, m, (RD) 16~17, 22~23 RBT -19 -8 -8
u/f+1+2, B m (TJ)(RD) 27~29b +2~+4 OC +7~+9 OC KND
f, F+2, 1, b (Cancel) m, (RD) 15 RBT(16~) -19 -8 -8
FC+d/f+2, D/F l (TC)(RD) 19 RBT RC -8 +3 +3
FC+d/f+2, 1, D/F l (TC), l (TC)(RD) 19 RBT RC -8 +3 +3
SS+3, b (Cancel) (RD) RBT, RC
AOP 2, 1, b (Cancel) m(RD) 13? RBT -14 -3 -3
AOP u or u/f+4, B m (TJ)(RD) 15~16 RBT -15~-14 -4~-3 -4~-3

Ling’s stance transitions tend to fall under one of two categories: safe but disadvantage on block, or very unsafe but part of a string. That’s why things like AOP 2,1,b might look really bad on paper, but because of what’s happening visually, it’s actually difficult for the opponent to make the decision to capitalize on its poor frame data.

Now that you’re in stance, what can you do with it? Here’s your list of options from Rain Dance:

Input Hit level Impact Frame Block Stun Hit Stun Counter Hit

Stun

Notes
RD d/b (Special)   Blocks Low.
RD u/f, f (Special) Blocks High
RD u/f, f, D/F (Special) RC Blocks Low
RD 1 mid 16 -5 +4 CS
RD 1, 4 mid, high (TJ) 16 -6~-5 KND KND Tail spin
RD 2 h(RD) 12 T 0 +6 +6
RD 2, 1 h, h 12 -1 +6 +10
RD 2, 1, 4 h, h, m 12 -18~-17 Launch (JG?) Launch (JG?)
RD 2, 2 h, m 12 RBT -6~-5 +4~+5 +4~+5
RD 2, 2, 1 h, m, mmm 12 RC -13~-9 (-18) -2~+2 OC -2~+2 OC
RD 2, 2, 1, D h, m, mmm, (AOP) 12 -12~-8 (-17) -1~+3 OC -1~+3 OC
RD 3 m (TJ) 18~19 RBT -19~-18 KND KND
RD 4 m 13~14 -18~-17 Launch (JG?) Launch (JG?)
RD 1+2 mm 16,22~23 -5~-4 +6~+7 +6~+7
RD 1+2, 1+2 mm, mm 16,22~23s -11~-10 0~+1 OC 0~+1 OC
RD 3+4 or u+3+4 (Special) 16,22~23
RD db+2 sM(TC) 11  -4  +7  +7
RD 1+4 Parry(RD) 1?~ +5
RD f+1+2 m(h or m punch parry) 23 -8 +3(CS) +5
RD f+3+4 (RD) RBT
RD f+3+4, 3+4 m(RD) 25 RBT -11 Launch (JG?) Launch (JG?)
RD d+3 l 16 -12 +7s +7?s
RD d+3, 4 l, h 16 -5 KND KND? Tail spin
in rage RD d+3, 3+4 l, m, (Special) 16 -4 SCD SCD Rage art, Tail spin
RD d+4 l 23s -24? 0?s KND
RD d/b or d or d/f+1+2 (RD) 23
RD d+1+4 Low parry(RD) 1~
RD d/b or d/f+4 l(!)(RD) 15 +2 +2 OC +2 OC
RD b+3 h 10 -8 KND KND
RD b+3+4 (RDS) RBT
RD u or u/f+1 l (TJ), (Special) 33 -8 +12s? +12s
RD f, F+3 m (TJ)(RDS) 16 RBT(17~) (js4) -5 +6 KND
RD f, F+3+4 m (TJ)(, !(Throw)) 46~49 (47~) +4~+6 KND(Throw) KND(Throw)
RD 1+3 or 2+4 h(Throw)(RDS) 12 KND
RD f, F+1+3 or f, F+2+4 (Special) (TJ), h(Throw)(RD) 12(~) (js2) Throw(KND)
d+1+2 or FC+1+2 RD d+1+2 (Special) (TC)(AOP) (cs1)

tl;dr: A lot. You can do a lot.

For whatever reason, Xiaoyu’s crouching jab (db+2) is 1 frame slower than the rest of the cast. This is rarely an issue, but it’s important to note if you intend frame-tight pressure with it from Rain Dance.

If Xiaoyu wants to beat i10 jabs, she must rely on either RD b+3, or a crouching move, depending on how much advantage/disadvantage she’s at. As you can see from her list of starters, this means she only has one stance transition that gives her real pressure: the slow and easily identifiable uf+1+2. All other pressure is “fake” pressure: it either preys on your opponent’s lack of knowledge of when she can and cannot go into Rain Dance, or it relies on fakes and cancels from other (usually unsafe) strings. We’re exclusively talking about on block, here. On hit, Ling has a much wider range of options, as her opponent’s backdash won’t be able to get them away from as many options.

Speaking of which, backdash is the real problem for RD options. Nearly all stance transition options lose to crouch jab or backdash. What can you do? Well, you have a few options. If you want to play it safe, simply pressing d/b in RD is a way to cancel into crouch that pivots Xiaoyu far away from the enemy. It’s a curious quirk that allows her to create a lot of space safely after RD.

But what if you want to pressure? FF+3 is a great, fast mid that jumps over lows and special mids, like your opponent’s crouch jab. It’s a very strong option, but if your opponent does a standing jab and you didn’t have enough frame advantage to interrupt, you’ll get floated for potentially a full juggle. Yikes! You could also mix this up with d+3, a low mixup that’s a lot more likely to hit a backdashing opponent, but is a little linear and still loses to mashed jabs if you started your pressure on block.

Thus, we have a weakness: jabs (both standing and crouching) and backdashing. What can you do actively to maintain pressure versus these options? Enter: the California Roll.

"MBC

 MBC (Bob) vs. Wekka (Xiaoyu) demonstration of RD > California Roll vs. Backdash

California Roll is what allows Xiaoyu to always make an opponent think twice about mindlessly backdashing and jabbing. The built-in attack, though quite unsafe, is a source of giant damage. In the example above, MBC recognizes DF+1 as a Rain Dance stance transition, and attempts Backdash > df+2 to whiff punish any Rain Dance poke attempt. You can see how well that worked out for him! Had he backdashed and blocked he might have been safe, but the risk there is that this just allows Ling to roll in for free and do anything from Rain Dance. (California Roll does not have to commit to its attack.) He could have also stood still and buffered a crouch jab after blocking Ling’s d/1, but then he loses to Ling’s ff+3 and if he was even a few frames off, the roll can duck under crouch jabs. That is the true power of California Roll: the ability to chase down backdashes, duck under large parts of opponents movelists, and force the opponent right back into the Rain Dance mixup they were hoping to avoid for free.

And if they just freeze up and start blocking after all your transitions? Well. That’s what you want, isn’t it!

I would also be remiss if I didn’t mention that Ling’s new Rage Drive is from her RD stance. It’s a safe, unseeable, low-to-mid combo starter. As if your mixups aren’t scary enough, you have one-time access to something like that when you’re low on health. That alone validates Rain Dance use, at least sometimes.

Art of Phoenix

And here is where the fun begins. Or frustration, if you’re Ling’s opponent.

AOP is the centerpiece of Ling’s evasiveness. This stance ducks all highs, and many mids. If that wasn’t enough, when you go into AOP from neutral, Ling takes a small sidestep, which allows her to also avoid many linear moves. Because of this, anytime Ling is at a minor disadvantage, she can make a gutsy move by going into AOP and attempting to punish a whiffed button. Believe it or not, this is another way you can combat the crouching jabs that your opponents will occasionally do to stuff RD.

Here’s her ways to go into AOP from neutral:

Input Hit level Impact Frame Block Stun Hit Stun Counter Hit

Stun

Notes
f+3+4, d+1+2 (Special), (AOP) 24,32,34 (~)
D+1 mmm, (AOP) 17~18, 21~23, 28~32 RC -11~-7 0~+4 OC 0~+4 OC
u/b+3+4, d+1+2 m (TJ), (AOP) 22~23 -21~-20 Launch Launch
u or u/f+1 l (TJ)(AOP) 33 -8 +9s +9s
u/f+4, d+1+2 m (TJ), (AOP) 23~24 -9~-8 +2~+3 OC KND
f, F+1, D m, (AOP) 15 RBT(16~) -8 +3s +3s
FC+d/f+4 l (TC), (AOP) 18 -7 +4 +4
SS+3, d+1+2 l (TC), (AOP) 27(36~)

Much like Rain Dance, the reason AOP is so good may not be immediately apparent from her frame data. In fact, the situation is quite bad–she has no way on block to interrupt the fastest attacks that can hit her. This situation is remedied by the fact she simply ducks under a large part of many opponents movelists! If your opponent (or you, as her opponent) have not taken the time to see what hits Ling when she’s in AOP, you will likely get run over by this stance in short order. You must know what moves you have that will hit low enough to stop AOP. Xiaoyu also have the added difficulty of not being able to block instantly out of AOP, so for all iT’s strengths, there is an inherent risk to it.

Once she’s in stance and her opponent hasn’t stopped her properly, the sky’s the limit:

Input Hit Level Speed Block Stun Hit Stun Counter Hit Stun Notes
AOP 1 m 18 RC -5 +6 +6
AOP 1, 2 m, h 18 RBT -6 +5 +5
AOP 2 m 13? -11 0 0
AOP 2, 1 m, m 13? -12 KND KND
AOP 2, 1, b (Cancel) m(RD) 13? RBT -14 -3 -3
AOP 3 l (TC) 24~s -16~-9? +? KND
AOP 4 m 12 -4 +7 +7
AOP 4~3 l (TC) 22s(a) (23~) -26? KND KND
AOP 1+2 m 19 -1 KND CS
AOP 3+4 mmm (TJ) 24,32,34 RC -13 +6 +6
AOP 1+3 or 2+4 h(Throw) 42 Throw(KND)
AOP f+4 l (TC), (AOP) 18~19 -7~-6 +4~+5 +4~+5
AOP f+4, 4 l (TC), l (TC) 18~19 RC -6 +5 +5
AOP d+1 l (TC) 19 RC -12 -1 KND(Throw) +19
AOP d+1+2 m 26 -9 Launch(JG?) Launch(JG?)
AOP u/b or u or u/f+3 m (TJ) 15~16 -15~-14 Launch (JG?) Launch (JG?)
AOP u/b or u or u/f+3, 1 m (TJ), m (TJ), (AOP) 15~16 -4 +7 OC +7 OC
AOP u/b or u or u/f+3, 3 m (TJ), h (TJ) 15~16 -5 KND KND
AOP u/b or u or u/f+3, 4 m (TJ), m 15~16 -14~-13 -3~-2 +22~+23g? (KND)
AOP u or u/f+4 m (TJ) 15~16 RC -10~-9 +1~+2 +1~+2
AOP u or u/f+4 (Far) m (TJ) 23~25?s -2~0? +9~+11? +9~+11?
AOP u or u/f+4, B m (TJ)(RDS) 15~16 RBT -15~-14 -4~-3 -4~-3
AOP u or u/f+4, d+1+2 m (TJ), (AOP) 15~16 -12~-11 -1~0 -1~0
AOP u or u/f+4, 4 m (TJ), m (TJ) 15~16 RC -12 -1 -1
AOP u/b or u or u/f, n+3 m (TJ) 28~30 -22~-20 +6~+8OB +6~+8OB
AOP u/b or u or u/f, n+3, d+1+2 m (TJ), (Special) 28~30 -10~-8 +19~+21OB +19~+21OB
AOP u/b or u or u/f, n+4 m (TJ) 12(23) -8 KND KND
AOP u/b or u or u/f(When landing)4 m (TJ) 12(40) -10 +1 +1
AOP u/b or u or u/f(When landing)3 l (TC) 16 RC(46) -18 KND KND
AOP d/b or b or d/f or f (Special) 16(46)
AOP b, b or f, f (Special) 16(46)
AOP d (Special) 16(46)
AOP u/b or u or U/F (Special) (TJ) Air
AOP b+3+4 (Special) RBT
AOP f+3+4 (Special) (TJ) RC
AOP f+3+4, D (Special) (TJ), (Special) (TC)(AOP)
AOP Rage b+1+2 m KND KND Rage art

AOP is easier to interrupt then RD from a frame data perspective, but it’s also objectively a better stance option wise. AOP 4 is basically your WS 4. AOP D+1+2 is a safe, high-damage mid launcher. AOP 4~3 is a difficult, annoying low that leaves Ling grounded. Many string cancels into RD. AOP 1+2 is a counterhit combo starter. AOP U/F+3 tech jumps and has three different extensions that all either knock down or cause juggles. The trick to using AOP is not using the moves out of it–they are almost all good for one reason or another. (Don’t use AOP 3+4. It sucks. I honestly think that move is there to punish sloppy 4~3 inputs.) The real trick to AOP is reading your opponent in a way that lets you go into it safely.

Your win rate vs. Xiaoyu will directly correlate to knowing what options your character has to shut down AOP. And vice versa, your win rate as Xiaoyu will dramatically increase if you learn how to take control of AOP to exploit your opponent’s habits.

And that’s the basic gist of Xiaoyu’s stances! Nothing replaces playing as, or against, Ling, but hopefully seeing this on paper will help solidify some concepts about how these things work. Ling can run wild over anyone that doesn’t understand her stances, but once both players know how real and fake her transitions are, it becomes a very different battle. Mid-level Xiaoyu’s can crumple completely to you if you choose optimal options versus her. And high level Xiaoyu’s can tear you apart without any effort if you don’t.

Sources: INATEKKEN [for frame data]MBC (YouTube)TekkenZaibatsu

Hey, I'm just a 3D-head in a 2D-world. I like pretty much all FGC stuff, and I really like hearing about the way people think about games.