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 learn Answer and write on strategy for the character 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 often write about a variety of games. In order to give you a head start on Answer in REV 2, this article will translate his ideas, strategy, and mindset on Answer. This write-up is based on his 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.
Next, if you want to do some further, more detailed reading, I suggest you use this Answer breakdown by Pssycch and Pen Ninja. It is a constantly evolving source of English info for the character that includes information from the Answer hashtag. 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).
With that out of the way, let’s take a look at Koichi’s thoughts on Answer going into early REV 2.
Answer’s Primary Attacks
Far S: An easy to use button in the mid-range, especially at round start. Although it isn’t particularly fast, this poke has long reach, and can continue into 5HS, Intelli Ninpou attacks.
5HS: In addition to being capable of catching people out of jumps, or in the air, this normal has awesome reach, is jump cancelable, and is a key normal in Answer’s mid-range game.
Resshou (46+P): Answer’s Rekka. Doesn’t lead into knockdown, but even on hit and safe on block (-1), you will use this often.
Intelli Ninpou: Ringi no Sho (Scrolls) (214 P,K,S, or HS): One command will give you 2 scroll placements, depending on the button used. While there are several options from scroll cling, Musasabi (scroll cling D) is a noteworthy option because of the directional control, and the ability to cancel its animation into other follow-ups! This allows for strong mix-up and mobility options! Please refer to Min’s Scroll map to get a better idea of what button command places scrolls in what position.
— GGR | min (@d2ftaxi) January 20, 2017
Intelli Ninpou: Keihi Otoshi (623+K): Answer’s Izuna drop command grab retains dash momentum, which affects how far the opponent is carried when the attack connects. Also usable in the air, and (red) roman cancel-able upon landing for combo extensions.
Answer’s main pokes will be far S, 5HS, and canceling attacks into Resshou or Business Ninpou: Makibishi, his business card throw (236 + S /HS). He can anti-air with 5k and 6p. Command grab is also a valuable attack to mix in to your offense. Furthermore, Answer’s sweep is fast, hits far, and will be useful in hit confirms into super. Business card throwing has a long recovery, so using YRC on the recovery will be the most practical application of this move. For Answer’s aerial normals, jump K can work well as an air-to-air alongside jump HS, but in general these are harder to use compared to jump S. Jump S hits 3 times, and is a useful normal for jump in’s and attacking grounded opponents.
In the mid-range, using the far S > 5HS gatling will be your go-to poke string. From the 5HS, you can cancel into Resshou, Business Ninpou: Makibishi (Business card throw, 236 S/H), or IAD. Since Resshou is a little advantageous on hit, after your hit you can backdash and 5HS to reset the spacing, or dash in for a surprise command grab.
*Note, on hit, 5HS can be used to confirm into Super Jump IAD loops on several cast members. The loop is [5HS > Super Jump > IAD > j.P > j.S > j.HS]. This loop works on crouching Potemkin, and standing Johnny, Bedman, Kum, Axl, Zato. It also works on Sol, Ky, Chipp, Slayer, I-no, Venom, Sin, Ramlethal, Dizzy, and Answer from certain ranges.
When separated by a safe distance from the opponent, take advantage of the opportunity to set up scrolls. Koichi recommends using the P or HS versions to allow for more movement across the screen. He recommends using forward jump into the HS version, and clinging to the scroll. Although the scroll summon animation recovery is long, the follow-up options you have during the scroll cling will allow you to mount an offense. Using the P and HS versions of scrolls, clinging, and then using the D follow-up dash is a strong offensive tool.
When you have meter, using YRC with Business Ninpou: Makibishi is a good option because the YRC point is very early in the attack. The YRC window is so wide that you can do it, safely cancel the throw animation, and the card will still appear on the ground in position given the respective button (S or H). Using this in blockstrings is particularly strong for catching an opponent off guard. Makibishi+HS > YRC > Gatling xx Business Ninpou: Hakenshanin (421 + S/HS) > Dash Attack/Command Grab/Throw/Another block string.
- Using Answer’s mobility, find the spacing to connect far S -> 5HSxxResshou
- When separated from the opponent at a safe range, take the opportunity to set up P or HS scrolls!
- Using Musasabi (D follow-up) from scroll cling to fly around the screen, or towards your opponent for a rushing attack.
- Focus on setting up Makibishi strings, or going for command grabs to catch opponents off guard after Resshou!
When Answer sets up scroll and the stick goes to neutral when he is near them, he clings to the scroll in a strange pose. To understand this character’s potential, you must first understand the options and follow-ups he has from this position.
- By moving the stick to neutral near a scroll, Answer will cling to the scroll. If you don’t want to cling, simply keep the stick out of neutral.
- While clinging, using Musasabi (D follow-up) you can fly to other scrolls.
- During Musasabi (D follow-up) you can cancel into other followups (this allows for awesome options on offense and oki).
Scroll Cling followups (this will detail follow-ups done while clinging to scrolls):
P- Intelli Ninpou: Utsusemi – A scroll cling version of uuzemi, his 1f counter used to counter enemy attacks.
K- Intelli Ninpou: Amakudari – A straight down divekick that hits mid.
S- Intelli Ninpou: Shikkyaku – A teleport slide hitting low (think like Yosuke from P4U). Launches on CH, but is unsafe on block.
HS- Intelli Ninpou: Katatataki – A high-hitting, small leaping swipe with a large hitbox that can hit as a crossup. Long untechable time, but can be difficult to use as a combo starter due to its long recovery.
D- Intelli Ninpou: Musasabi – Similar to Bang’s Furinkazan, Musasabi is a command 8 way dash that is cancelable into other follow-ups.
22- Cancel Cling – Answer slowly falls from the scroll without doing anything.
Answer’s hurtbox is tall, and he doesn’t have any invincible reversals outside of Burst super. This can make it tough on defense, but that is where Utsusemi comes in. Utsusemi (22+P) is (estimated to be) a 1 frame counter that activates against mids/highs, and is airborne (thus, beating throws and lows). If nothing connects with it, he will fall and be open to counter-attack during recovery. Note that since it is active so quickly, it cannot be YRC’d. If the counter connects with an opponent’s normal, Answer will teleport and Amakudari the opponent. If it connects with a projectile, Answer will teleport Amakudari in place of where the counter was performed. The Amakudari can be used with YRC, giving Answer an opportunity to escape.
Using Business Ninpou: Kumogakure (22+S/HS) to teleport to the card is also a strong escape option. Koichi estimates the invincibility frames on the disappearance is fast (he guesses around 3 frames) and it is similar to Chipp’s teleports in that you can YRC the recovery frames when he reappears. This makes it a safe option when you need to take evasive action!
Answer scores knockdowns off of sweep, his shadowclone shuriken super (236236K) and Intelli Ninpou: Katatataki (HS follow-up after Scroll cling). After finishing a combo or connecting these attacks, you have a chance to run oki. The preferred scroll setup for mid-screen okizeme is the K scroll set (214+K). Using this set with Answer’s 6HS, a flip kick Answer can use to go airborne, gives him the ability to quickly cling to scrolls from the ground. This attack not only allows for scroll clings, but because he is considered airborne, it also beats throw attempts! Musasabi will allow you to beat mashing, and if you can read a blitz or an opponent willing to patiently guard, simply Musasabi into the ground and go for a command grab! Amakudari can also be used this way if you anticipate your opponent will commit to blocking. Simply whiff the Amakudari into the ground, and snatch them up with command grab! You can also use Musasabi to go back and forth between scrolls to beat mashing opponents.
Many players initially thought, “Isn’t this kind of okizeme weak to Blitz Shield?” However, reversal Blitz Shield can be countered by activating the K set of scrolls, then throwing the HS version of Makibishi and activating YRC. Though this option costs meter, it leaves Answer with very strong okizeme options, and outside the range of Blitz.
Note: Since this article was published, the Answer army has discovered a trick that may open up even greater combo and mix-up potential, especially using K scrolls. Since Utsusemi goes airborne from frame 1, we can use special cancelable normals to cancel into Utsusemi, and using that, cling to the scroll. This allows for faster access to cling state (and thus, cling commands) compared to jumping (3f) or using 6HS. As Desire shows us in this example, this allows for new possibilities off of 5HS on crouchers.
— DESIRE (@al8969al) April 4, 2017
1.【2K→far S→5HS】xx Resshou (26+P) or HS Makibishi (236+HS)
The Answer bread n butter combo. If you want to continue offense, use Resshou. If you want to return to neutral, use Makibishi.
2.【2K→close S(3)→6K】xx P Scrolls (214+P)→ Neutral Jump【K→HS】xx Cling ～9 Musasabi (Move the lever to neutral, then 9+D)～Katatataki (HS)
Another bread n butter from 2K. One scroll will remain when you are finished, so you can still run oki afterwards.To counter things like DP and crouchers, use【Close S→2HS→6K】to force standing.
3. 5K or 【6P→5HS】[Jump Cancel] Jump【K→5S(3)】[Jump Cancel] Jump【K→HS】xx Air Shuriken Super ( Air 632146+S)
A go-to anti-air combo for when you don’t feel like ad-libbing. Offers damage and knockdown. If you don’t have meter, on the second jump, use【K→S→D】xx P Scrolls (214+P) to continue your attack.【6P→6K】→ Jump HS xx Air Shuriken Super ( Air 632146+S) is also an important anti-air combo.
4. Command Grab（623+K）[(Upon landing) RRC] P Scrolls(214+P)→Dash 2HS[jc] Back Jump HS xx Cling ～N Musasabi (5D)～9 Musasabi (9D)～Katatataki (HS)
A command grab combo that leads into corner oki. If you RRC the instant you land, you can do P Scrolls. The point is using P Scrolls and ending around the corner. Command Grab（623+K）RRC P Scrolls (214+P)→K Scrolls (214+K)→【6P→5HS】Jump Cancel Back Jump HS.
5. HS Scrolls (214+HS)→(Top scroll) Cling～N Musasabi (5D)～N Musasabi (5D)→【6P→6K】xx P Scroll (214+P)→ Jump【K→HS】xx Cling ～9 Musasabi (9D)～Katatataki (HS)
Meter-less freestyle combo. For the 6P→6K portion and what follows, you can go into this off of anti-air hits or counter hit Shikkyaku (Scroll cling S follow-up).
6. Sweep xx Shadow Clone Super (236236+K）
A strong hit confirm combo you can use to kill. Use K Scrolls (214+K) after to set up oki.
7.【far S→5HS】xx Resshou (26+P) or HS Makibishi (236+HS) [RRC] Dash【cl. S(2)→2HS→6K】xx P Scroll (214+P)→ Forward Jump【K→HS】xx N Musasabi (5D)～Amakudari (K) Whiff→ Dash Forward Jump [K→HS】xx N Musasabi (5D)～Katatataki (HS)
A high utility combo route. Note this does not work on lightweights. For heavyweights (Johnny, Pot) you can add 5HS[Jump Cancel] in the 2nd loop. Remember that after you use the HS Makibishi (236+HS)[RRC], you can also do HS Kumogakure (Teleport) (22+HS)→【Close S(2)→6K].
8.【far S→5HS】xx HS Makibishi (236+HS) [RRC] Dash→5D～5HS→5HS→HS Scrolls (214+HS)→Close S→5HS xx Utsusemi (22+P)～Cling～N Musasabi (5D)～Amakudari(K) Whiff→5HS[High Jump Cancel] Jump D xx Cling～9 Musasabi (9D)～Katatataki(HS)
Corner Carry dust combo you can try to execute at round start. When you start the combo off of corner Dust, use 5HSx3 xx HS Scrolls (214+HS)→6HS xx ～Cling～N Musasabi (5D)～Amakudari (K) Whiff→5HS [High Jump Cancel] Jump D xx Cling～9 Musasabi (9D)～Katatataki (HS) for a damage boost!
The above is simply basic winning strategies for the outset of Answer play in REV 2. Koichi thinks you can make people angry by using far S > 5HS well. Just like getting hit by Fafnir after a string from Sol, getting tagged by Answer’s mid-screen string is rather unpleasant. As long as you can convert into knockdowns from your bread ‘n’ butter (through Roman Cancel or otherwise), he is a pretty cool, fun character from day one. Thus, try to practice the combos without getting discouraged or shying away from them. He says one trick that might help you execute some of his combos is to hold diagonals while you are using the air attacks (note how some of the combos above require diagonal inputs) since returning to neutral makes you cling to scrolls.
This concludes Koichi’s article on day one Answer prep. 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 Answer players like Koichi, Min, and Hossa. Watch footage of them and try to see how they apply the concepts discussed in this article!