In late March, Guilty Gear Xrd REV 2 was released into the wild of Japanese arcades. Since then, the Guilty Gear community has feverishly been labbing up the new characters for REV 2: Baiken and Answer. Legendary Guilty Gear veteran and I-no pioneer, Koichi, took the time to write on strategy for these characters, going into REV 2’s release. Koichi has recently transitioned into a strong leadership role in the Japanese FGC: from helping run events, to writing articles, to doing commentary for a variety of scenes. He is a member of the Goziline team, a website where he and his colleagues write about a variety of games. In order to give you a head start on Baiken in REV 2, this article will translate his ideas, strategy, and thoughts on aspects of her playstyle. This write-up is based on his original article published on Goziline, here.
Before we get to the strategy, if this is your first Arc System Works game, I highly suggest you familiarize yourself with some terms and the notation that these titles use, as they will come up frequently. Also, if you don’t understand already, take the time to learn how to read frame data, as it will be important for you moving forward. In short, don’t be like Fanatiq.
Please consider following Ruu and Kedako (who also streams on twitch.tv), two veteran GG players and community leaders from West Japan. These two are responsible for many valuable resources, such as the Answer and Baiken frame data (which you can access here, from Ruu’s blog). Thanks to Donyea, we even have an English translated version of the Baiken frame data, available here.
With that out of the way, let’s take a look at Koichi’s thoughts on Baiken going into early REV 2.
Baiken’s Primary Attacks
5K – A quick, horizontal kick that you can put out in a carefree manner in the midrange. This attack gatlings into sweep, and is hit confirm-able into Suzuran~Kuchinashi (63214K~P)
2S – A small strike using Baiken’s mace. Has decent reach and although the return is low, if canceled into Suzuran~Rokkonsogi, it will connect on counter-hit.
2HS – A low profile, low hitting, and crouching sword slash with long startup, but is cancelable. Can be connected into from S buttons. Use this to cancel into Suzuran~Rokkonsogi (63214K+HS) for a push to the corner.
Suzuran~Rokkonsogi (63214K + HS) – Forward moving slash that floats the opponent on counter-hit, allowing for further pursuit. Slightly disadvantageous on block, so use Suzuran or Azami to cover yourself after!
IAD Tatami Gaeshi (236+K) – Use air Tatami with IAD backdash to counter their pursuit. On hit, it floats the opponent, giving this attack high return. Inputting 2369N6+K will give you air tatami, but beware it is a little slow!
Try to use the above attacks during neutral, combined with anti-air 6P and 2HS strikes. When opponents are content to stay away, poke with her new projectile, Suzuran~Yashagatana. She shoots a small rocket along the screen at a low altitude. Although the startup is low and the attack level is suspected to be low, when combined with YRC, this likely presents a strong offensive option. Jump P is the default air to air button, and her Jump S is the preferred air to ground normal because of its reach and angle.
Day One Baiken Strats
First, we have to establish that in this game, Baiken is significantly weaker on defense. Guard Cancel? Nope. Reversal Tsurane? Too slow. Consider even her new walking animation; this is not the Baiken we once knew.
Thus, if you want to win, we have to find new ways to attack. We can make our horizontal push in neutral using Suzuran~Rokkonsogi and 2HS canceled into Rokkonsogi. Even on guard, it is difficult to punish, so in most cases you can use Azami stance afterwards. At first, you may be fine to rely on Rokkonsogi, but it is a good idea to mix your offensive front up with Kabari (41236+HS) and Suzuran~Yashagatana (63214+K～D). If the opponent is trying to escape through the air, using the S version of Kabari to grab them out of the sky is a good answer. Just as always, you can cancel into Kabari with your pokes. Using Suzuran and the Rokkonsogi or Kuchinashi follow-ups is the most practical approach. Try to use these in your offense!
- Make use of aerial Tatami Gaeshi, while checking aerial approaches from opponents with 6P.
- Poke with 2S and 2HS, and cancel into Rokkonsogi!
- From your pressure with Rokkonsogi, use Azami!
Koichi thinks Baiken will generally take knockdowns on the ground through Suzuran~Rokkonsogi and Suzuran~Kuchinashi.
Since Rokkonsogi leaves Baiken only slightly advantageous and close to the knocked down opponent, it is best to run a simple okizeme plan. Crush throw attempts with meaty 6K and neutral jump HS. Through these attacks, we can emphasize building guard bar while running okizeme. For more expensive okizeme using YRC, we can use meaty Tatami gaeshi > YRC > Mawarikomi (63214+K～K) for crossups, but Koichi recommends going for 5D > YRC (before the ball comes out) > and then going for throws or lows. Though simple, this kind of okizeme can also be strong.
Kuchinashi knockdown has more frame advantage, so you can run air Tatami gaeshi okizeme. For example, you can do Kuchinashi ender knockdown > whiff ascending Jump P > falling air Tatami Gaeshi (236+K) > YRC > airdash Jump S or land and sweep (the whiff ascending jump P helps for timing).
Although this kind of okizeme beats many defensive options, it is weak to blitz shield. Thus, you should actively try to read for blitz attempts and mix in backdashes after the tatami. Even if you don’t have meter for YRC, you can always go for Youzansen (9623+S) for an overhead strike after tatami. Thus, even with no gauge, this kind of oki is powerful.
Azami is done by pressing S+HS at the same time, and will put Baiken in Azami stance. You can hold either button to keep her in the stance. Standing Azami can counters mids and highs, but crouching Azami can counter lows as well as mids. Thus, on the ground, let’s primarily use crouching Azami. While you absorb hits in Azami stance, you can guard against chip damage, as well as use any of her Azami follow-ups. The return she gets on counter-hit Kuchinashi, the P follow-up, is terrific. This will be the primary follow-up we use. To make best use of this, we can mash P when she goes into stance. Rokkonsogi, the HS follow-up, is slightly disadvantageous on block,
It is also possible to deal with opponents’ projectiles using this stance. We can score knockdowns using Kuchinashi (P follow-up) at close range interceptions, and Rokkonsogi (HS follow-up) at long range. Since stance has 1 frame start-up, we can use it on reversal against projectile based setplay (Like Ky or Sol, for example).
Air Azami is also an option that you can use to tag opponents if you read an anti-air or in air-to-air situations. You can use air Azami as you rise, and again when you fall. This is a strong defensive option. During guard recovery, she can also use Azami, but using it in this situation changes the parry window, shortening it by 2-3 frames. Since this makes sequences like Millia mashing 5K repeatedly become difficult to parry, it doesn’t appear to be something worth trying a lot in this kind of situation.
1)【2K→Close S→Sweep】xx Suzuran～Kuchinashi (63214K～P)
There aren’t too many combos you can do from from tatami after sweep, so take the knockdown you get from Kuchinashi and focus on oki!
2)【5K→5HS】xx Suzuran～Rokkonsogi (63214K～HS)
HS series buttons and 2S (if you are close) can be canceled into Rokkonsogi. Make sure to do the follow-up command input with appropriate speed depending on how far or near you are to the opponent!
3) 6P［Jump Cancel］Jump【S→P→K】［Jump Cancel］Jump【S→P→K】xx Youzansen
Baiken’s classic anti-air combo. You can also use JS→JD but he feels the situation after is less desirable than sticking to the SPK series.
4) (Corner) Throw→ Sweep［Super Jump Cancel］Super Jump【S→D】→ Airdash→ Jump【S→D】→ Land 5HS xx Suzuran～Kuchinashi (63214K～P)
You have lots of options for throw combos in the corner, but this one is consistent in ending in knockdown and deals strong damage. For lightweights, omit the last 5HS and go straight into Kuchinashi.
5) 2HS xx Suzuran～Rokkonsogi (63214K～HS) ［RRC］Dash 5HS xx Suzuran～Kuchinashi (63214K～P)→5P→Jump【P→S→P→K】→Jump Cancel Jump【S→D】→Jump D
Use this combo for strong return off of mid-screen 2HS. Note that dash inertia carries over into the Kuchinashi. Once you are close, you can freestyle into this combo.
6) (Corner) Sweep xx Tatami Gaeshi (236＋K) or (ascending) Youzansen [RRC]→ 6HS xx Suzuran～Kuchinashi (63214K～P)→5K[Jump Cancel] Super Jump【S→D】→Airdash Jump【S→D】→5HS xx Suzuran～Kuchinashi (63214K～P)
The “Falling Demon” combo. Though difficult to get the knockdown, this combo can erase half an opponent’s HP from low or overhead options you can use from your tatami oki. If you think the 5K won’t connect, you can substitute it for 5P -> j.P
7) 5HS(hitting with the tip of the blade) [RRC] Airdash→Jump【S→P→P→K】→S Kabari～Tetsuzansen (41236+S～S)→Jump【S→D】
For tall opponents, use this high return, 50% meter combo when you connect with 5HS. It has strong corner carry, but the S Kabari is difficult to connect with, so he doesn’t recommend using it.
This was simply a quick look at Baiken core strategies. By carrying to the wall after taking your knockdown from Kuchinashi, while employing meaty air tatami oki into lows/highs/throws, we can see she has explosive power. It is more difficult for her to convert to knockdown mid-screen, so it seems it will be important for her to focus on corner carry. Given her new changes, attributes, and attacks, Baiken has a fresh feeling to her that players old and new should enjoy.
This concludes Koichi’s article on day one Baiken prep. Although it comes with losing sometimes, exploring new characters in fighting games is a fun, exciting experience. Arc System Works titles usually makes their characters highly nuanced, so there is a lot to explore! Work together with folks in the community to discover new techniques and strategies for your character! Enjoy the process of learning!
While we wait for Rev2’s console release, try watching some live footage from Mikado, and look out for Baiken players like Sharon, Kakkou, and Umecha. Watch footage of them and try to see how they apply the concepts discussed in this article!