Rook is a stone golem who fights at close range by grappling his opponents. He created the Fantasy Strike tournament that the events of the story take place in.
"Rook was not always made of stone, though the circumstances of his transformation are little-known. What is known is that his stone form seems to have slowed his aging and provide incredible armor. Rook has always loved nature and felt close to it and now he is a force of nature. Towering, mighty, and dangerous, yet gentle and warm. (...) DeGrey suggested he (Rook) create an event that would bring together people from all over the many lands. To frame it as a competition, but to actually use it as a way of getting powerful warriors together so they’d talk about the injustices going in their respective lands. Rook created the Fantasy Strike tournament to this end" (source).
||Super Meter charge time
Rook is the big grappler archetype and the character with the most health in the game. Very slow to move but if he gets a knockdown while close he can win the round off of that. This polarizing dynamic can cause rounds with Rook to appear lopsided. Sometimes Rook gets in and demolishes the opponent like it was nothing, and other times the opponent effortlessly denies all of Rook's approaches without giving him a chance to hit. A good Rook player will maintain a steady mindset through all this in order to come out on top.
- Slow walk speed
- Short jump distance
- Tall hurtbox
- Large throw range
- Grounded normal attacks cause chip damage
- Normal throw and yomi counter deal 2 damage
++, + (3 damage)
++, (2 damage, knockdown)
+ > (2 damage, knockdown)
Meaty +, + (3 damage)
Meaty + counter hit +, + > (3 damage, knockdown)
Counter hit +, + (3 damage)
Counter hit ++, + > (3 damage, knockdown)
Ground bounce + corner +, (2 damage, knockdown)
Rook's goal is to get close to the opponent and knock them down. This is because Rook has the best close-range options in the game. This is so true that characters who normally play up-close, such as Valerie, no longer want to play close to Rook, and instead change play styles to keep Rook away. There are a variety of tools at Rook's disposal to help him get in. His biggest gap closer is to knockdown with earthquake then immediately landslide.
Once Rook gains a knockdown, he has a 66% chance to win the next exchange when there is no reversal involved. The mixup involves three meaty options:
- Sweep beats jump and yomi
- Throw beats block and jump
- Windmill Crusher beats block and yomi
All of these options cause knockdown and let Rook repeat the mixup until the opponent guesses correctly. This vortex is Rook's most dangerous tool. Rook's whole gameplan often depends upon landing that one good knockdown which can snowball into winning the entire round.
Note: After knocking down with windmill crusher, a microstep forward is required for throw and sweep to reach again. If the sweep is too hard to time, kick is easier and will work as a meaty 2 damage with no knockdown.
||Due to Rook's tall hurtbox, Arg's upward stretchy punch can hit grounded Rook from unusually far away. The lean back from thunderclap allows it to safely counter upward punch abuse.
If Arg gets rushing river or giant fish going, Rook has essentially lost his turn and has to play defense until the giant/goldfish is gone. Rook has to earthquake at random sometimes to discourage too much river, or earthquake immediately after blocking stretch punch if Arg likes to cancel into river. If Arg is knocked down but the river is still coming, it's better for Rook to jump over the river than to landslide.
Arg’s most troublesome tactic is blue flying fish followed immediately by upward punch. There is a spacing close enough where Rook can react to the blue fish and jump forward into earthquake. Done right, the earthquake starts soon enough to beat or trade with Arg’s upward punch. From further away Rook cannot safely jump over the blue fish without getting hit. That is unless Rook uses Head Crush to hit Arg’s extended hurtbox. Without super at this distance though, Rook has to block or thunderclap the blue fish.
||Degray is putting himself in a 50/50 situation every time he uses counterpoint step from close up. Rook can block to punish justice kicks or tyrant crusher, or Rook can windmill to beat empty step and daggerfall. From long-range however Degray can space tyrant crusher to be safe on block against Rook.
Once Degray has air super, it’s better for Rook to not jump unless he has air super as well.
Degray may try to use ghost like he’s a zoner. Ghost has less recovery than other projectiles, making it more dangerous to jump over. Blocking ghost is okay though, as ghost can’t be resummoned for a while letting Rook safely approach again.
||If Geiger gets a delayed time spiral or air super out then Rook needs to play defense until it’s gone, as there is no good way for Rook to get past these if Geiger knows what to do. Rook needs to earthquake or kick at random to discourage too much delayed spiral.
Once Geiger can’t rely on delayed spiral he’ll switch to using normal time spirals. Rook can jump over these on reaction in mid-range. However, Geiger can followup a normal time spiral with one of three immediate options to prevent Rook's jump. One option for Geiger is to jump forward kick. If Rook predicts this he can get pass with Head Crush, or by thunderclapping the spiral and then using C to catch Geiger’s landing.
Geiger’s second option is to wait for Rook’s jump over the spiral, then catch him out of the air with backhand or flash gear. Rook can predict this and space an Earthquake just right to beat the backhand and avoid flash gear. Flash gear can also be defeated by a well-timed head crush.
If Rook is a bit closer, Geiger’s third option as Rook jumps over a spiral is to neutral jump kick or drop gear. Rook can defeat this by guessing with a well-spaced neutral jump vines, or forward jump head crush.
||At mid-range Rook can react to the start of lightning cloud by jumping forward or backward. Jump backward into earthquake if you guess it will be a large cloud. Jump forward if you guess it will be a small cloud. After jumping forward over a small cloud Rook has to mixup between doing an empty jump to block Grave’s sword, or doing earthquake to avoid Grave’s knifehand.
During wind Rook needs to jump or block Grave’s lightning clouds. Absolutely do not let yourself get knocked down in the corner. If that happens Grave can initiate a checkmate situation through repeated large clouds.
||Rook’s tall hurtbox makes him vulnerable to Jaina’s air flame arrow even while standing on the ground. The way to duck under it is with landslide.
When an arc shot is coming down Rook’s best option is often to block until it’s gone. If Jaina commits to repeating arc shots, then Rook has to force his way in with Vine Spiral.
Ground flame arrow is actually the trickiest projectile for Rook to navigate. There’s a spacing far away from Jaina where if you jump forward over the arrow, Jaina can react with dragonheart and hit Rook guaranteed. The way to avoid this is to instead neutral jump over the arrow.
Once closer it becomes possible to react to ground arrow, empty jump forward over it, and land in time to block the dragonheart. The danger is that at this closer range Jaina can instead use her faster knee to anti-air. To beat this Rook has to earthquake overtop Jaina as she moves forward with the knee, or use Head Crush. Jaina could once again use dragonheart at this closer range to beat earthquake, so Rook should still empty jump forward sometimes so he may block.
||If Lum gets the right items going he can completely control the match. Because of this Rook has to play more aggressive than usual. Earthquake often to shutdown item toss, and use Vine Spiral when Lum might melon toss. Checkmate Buster will catch Lum’s Cartwheel, but be careful if it might cross up.
Pay close attention to what items are out. Sometimes the best move is to just wait.
||This matchup involves a lot of jumping from both sides. Human Midori can safely attack Rook with neutral jump floating axe kick or the flying kick special move. Rook can keep Midori out with liberal use of neutral jump Rock Punch, but without any forward momentum Midori is content to wait and build meter for dragon. This means Rook has to sometimes jump forward splash/earthquake as well.
Once Midori has dragon form it is Rook who has to go on the defense. Head crush is Rook’s best tool against dragon as it beats anything but block.
||The Rook mirror is odd because so many of Rook's moves are throw immune, which causes the second player to throw to win.
||Setsuki has trouble with Rook’s earthquake. Her cape and divekick often lose to Earthquake air-to-air, and her only reliable anti-air is her ground super. Her best answer then becomes to wait for Earthquake and jump-in after, but if the Earthquake doesn’t come she’s letting Rook get closer.
Setsuki’s other answer to Earthquake is Kunai, but Rook can react to kunai with his kick. Rook will still get hit by the kunai, but Setuki will land on Rook’s foot and take damage as well. Trades are to Rook’s advantage as he has most HP in the game while Setsuki has the least. She cannot win a battle of attrition. If the Kunai are too predictable Rook can instead use Vine Spiral.
||Val’s fA poke can single-handedly shut down Rook. It reaches far enough to safely beat all of Rook’s ground options, and if timed well it can anti-air any of Rook’s aerial options. An aerial approach is still Rook’s best chance, as he can mixup the timing of his descent with earthquake and splash to throw off Val’s fA.
It’s important to note Val’s normal jumping attack works differently based on her timing. If she attacks early she will defeat Rook air-to-air, but be vulnerable to windmill crusher. If she delays her jump attack she can beat windmill crusher, but she’s then vulnerable to Rook air-to-air.
Things become tricky once Val gains super. Rook wants to jump attack so that Val can’t safely jump in with air super, but if Rook jumps too predictably Val can easily use her ground super to anti-air Rook.