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Melty Blood/MBTL/Akiha Tohno/Strategy

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Overview

Akiha is a setplay focused character with the potential to completely lock the opponent down from a single confirm. Her signature tool for this is her 236X series, Brilliant Wheel, stationary rings that limit the opponent's options. Because her tools enable her devastating pressure and oki game, her main drawback is that she lacks a strong presence in neutral.

In general, Akiha rewards patient play in neutral as she searches for her opponent's exploitable weaknesses.

Disclaimer


This guide reflects the state of the game as of the 1.2.4 version. With the release of 1.3.0, some of the information in this guide may change.

Neutral

Akiha has two main ways to engage with neutral: midrange zoning and a more rushdown style. Both have advantages and disadvantages, and are more appropriate in some matchups than others. In general, Akiha's neutral is up to your preferences as a player. Keep in mind that switching between these two styles will leave your opponent on edge and unsure of your next move.

General

Akiha's neutral centers on whiff punishment with her strongest jump-in normal, j.B. The hitbox hits deep below Akiha on both sides, making it well suited for this purpose. If your opponent commits to a grounded approach, you can evade by jumping back and punish with a forward airdash j.B. This easily confirms into her BnB and lets you run her oki.

This is the most straightforward approach to Akiha's neutral, and always applicable. To enable it, you will need solid anti-airs (623A, 3C, j.A) to make aerial approaches risky. Combine this with the tools below to round out your neutral gameplan.

Midrange Zoning

Akiha can utilize her specials such as Brilliant Wheel (236X), Painting the Moon (623X), and Crushing Beasts (22X) to zone from midrange and enforce space control, punishing the opponent on their approach. If the matchup allows for it, this is the safest approach to neutral, allowing you to be patient and scout out your opponent's responses to your space control.

Brilliant Wheel


Brilliant Wheel is a staple move to control space: 236A completely locks off ground approaches, while 236B creates a major hazard for aerial approaches. While these are active, if your opponent attempts to navigate around them, their movements will be extremely predictable and allow you to easily react to their approach. You will need to be wary of being too predictable with rings, as opponents can simply jump into them and shield for a free RPS situation. Additionally, the aerial versions come with significant landing recovery, making them very punishable to throw out carelessly.
If a Brilliant Wheel ring is already active on the stage, performing a different Brilliant Wheel input will end the active frames of the current ring and place a new one. This can be an effective tactic to bait out jump shielders and catch their landing recovery.
On hit, you can convert with j.[C] delay j.B 5C 5[B] and route into BnB as appropriate. If the hit was grounded, you can instead choose to confirm with 5C and continue with the BnB from there.

Painting the Moon


Painting the Moon is a strong anti-air option that covers a large diagonal space directly above Akiha. This special is air unblockable, which means the opponent must commit to shield in the air to secure themselves against this option; if an opponent finds themselves blocking Brilliant Wheel in the air, they cannot shield and are extremely vulnerable to Painting the Moon. It's important to note that this special does not cover any space on the ground except directly in front of Akiha, and even there crouching will low profile the attack.
On hit, any version of Painting the Moon can be cancelled into EX Brilliant Phantasm (214C) or IAD EX Brilliant Wheel (j.236C) to convert into a combo; if you have it available, activating Moon Drive as a confirm can make this link easier and slightly more damaging.

Crushing Beasts


Crushing Beasts is your grounded space control option, reaching nearly halfscreen distances and hitting low as a bonus. 22A comes out frame 11, which isn't much longer than 2C's 9 frames and recovers much faster, though you still don't want to whiff it. 22B has a larger hitbox and slightly faster recovery in exchange for a more reactable 18 frame startup.
On hit or block, you can cancel Crushing Beasts into EX Brilliant Wheel to either confirm a combo or extend pressure.

Rushdown

Akiha's specials are excellent space control tools, but they're outclassed by the larger zoning tools possessed by some characters. If you find that your zoning gameplan is being outclassed by your opponent, you can switch from using a special-oriented gameplan to using (and abusing) Akiha's strongest normals to close gaps fast and keep the pressure on opponents trying to keep you out.

While Akiha is capable with a more rushdown-oriented strategy, this approach is inherently riskier and matchups where she's forced to be more aggressive in order to keep from being outzoned are heavily unfavorable for her. For most matchups however, Akiha's rushdown options are best kept as ways to keep overloading your opponent's mental stack and present them with even more potential options to keep track of.

j.[C]


The other standout Akiha air button, j.[C] comes with a great hitbox in front of and below Akiha, clash frames, and a bounce to give you time to confirm your combo. j.B excels in closer-range engagements, but Akiha's short airdash and the somewhat narrow nature of j.B make it less of a threat if you're not already closer than round start distance. If you're finding yourself at halfscreen or further, throwing out a superjump into j.[C] can give you a safer approach than you would otherwise think. The clash frames can help deal with attempts to zone or anti-air you, and can easily catch an extended hurtbox.

dj. j.B


If the angle of superjump is favorable, or if you're close enough to begin with, using Akiha's double jump to mix up your aerial options and bait your opponent's run-unders gives you a chance to leverage drift mechanics and j.B's ambiguous crossup nature. j.B. is strongest when you are directly above an opponent, so double jumping when you're over them, then holding 4 or 6 to drift left/right lets you setup an ambiguous crossup situation that's difficult to block or anti-air.

5C


5C is one of Akiha's best grounded normals in neutral: it's just as fast as 5B but advances further, has a high-hitting hitbox to catch someone trying to jump out, and on block retains all of Akiha's rebeat options to immediately launch into a pressure string. If you've conditioned your opponent into expecting an aerial approach, simply running up and pressing 5C can give you a frightening starter and make them far more wary of your options on approach.

Pressure

Alongside universal Melty Blood pressure options like staggers and rebeats, Akiha has a number of ways she can open someone up once she's got them blocking.

Your general blockstrings should ideally leave 5A open for rebeat purposes, and 5B is massively outclassed by 5[B] as a frametrap and combo confirm tool, so it's not advised to use 5B. That said, you can confirm a combo from 2C with 214A and link into 5C 5[B], so if you inadvertently route into it (or do so intentionally to throw an exceptionally aware opponent off guard) you can still confirm a combo if you land a hit.

Your go-to safe pressure ender should be 22A -- this leaves you minus at a comfortable distance where you are better prepared to react to your opponent's next moves. 22A also hits low as a bonus so you can catch people standing.

As always, with the strength of shield options mid-pressure in Type Lumina, be aware of your opponents shielding habits and look to counter them.

Frametraps

The most useful natural frametraps available to Akiha are 5[B] and 22B, which can frametrap off any normal. 5[B] in particular offers clash frames, making it especially useful if you suspect your opponent might try to use low shield to escape. 22B doubles as a frametrap low and pressure ender, especially when you mix it with 22A. 22B gives you better frame advantage than 22A does, but still leaves you at a distance where you can't really exploit the slight difference in advantage.

214A/B can also frametrap, especially when you have discouraged your opponent from using low shield options with throws. This is a risky option however, as you are left minus or even at point blank. 214A hits mid but comes out much faster and travels a shorter distance; 214B hits overhead, but travels much further and can easily whiff if your spacing is off.

Pressure Resets

Akiha has access to metered gapless pressure resets through 236C, which doubles as a confirm for a successful 22B frametrap. While your opponent is blocking the wheel, you can superjump and go for a left/right j.B mixup and continue with grounded pressure if they successfully block it. It is very important to be mindful of your meter when going for a 236C reset: Akiha is resource-hungry at all times, and exchanges meter for strong mix and pressure opportunities.

Rebeat Options

Akiha has a lot of lows and no standing overheads, so to open up your opponent through high/low mix requires a bit of conditioning. Using 5A rebeats at good spacing where it whiffs (often achieved through staggered cancels) will allow you to IAD j.C a crouching opponent relatively quickly and put that on their mental stack. 5A rebeat throw is also a strong option to encourage mashing and discourage shield use.

Okizeme

Once you've successfully navigated neutral and secured a hard knockdown, Akiha's strong oki options provide you with a powerful win condition and an opportunity to play the single-player game until you secure victory. Because of how essential these setups are to her gameplan, it's important that you practice and understand her setups and learn their strengths and weaknesses.

The oki setups listed below are not intended to be exhaustive or comprehensive; they represent a stable slice of techniques that are both easy to understand, and easy to implement. The Resources page contains comprehensive community documentation of Akiha tech should you want or need more advanced techniques than available here.

For general purposes, midscreen you should opt for meterless air throw enders, while in the corner you should prioritize EX enders.

Note


For information previously available in this section, please see this diff. This information will be merged to other pages at a later date.

Midscreen

Ground Throw

5B Framekill


From any ground throw, using whiffed 5B for a framekill sets up a lot of options for Akiha.
  • IAD: Hold 9 and press A+B for an instant airdash (IAD). You can safejump with j.B, whiff j.A for empty throw or empty low 2A, or double jump with falling j.[C] if your opponent is attempting to fuzzy mash the previous options.
  • 22B: Ranged low option. Extremely useful if you have the meter to cancel into 236C immediately on hit or block to guarantee a combo or continued pressure.

What about 236B?


On paper, 236B looks like a strong and straightforward post-throw oki option: you set the ring on top of the opponent, forcing them to choose between stand block/shield (loses to any low option, like 2C or 22B) or low block/shield (loses to IAD j.B or throw).
In practice, 236B ends up being a much weaker and more unstable version of 5B framekills: it's not unduly difficult to fuzzy shield the ring, covering a low block for meaty low options and shielding high to fish for shield RPS. It also takes 12 more frames to recover than 5B, which removes the safejump from IAD j.B, meaning any reversals have to be hard baited to let the ring catch them.
At lower levels, or generally when your opponent is unaware or unused to the fuzzy timing, 236B can be a viable post-throw oki setup, especially when you mix it with 5B to cloak your intentions and keep your opponent from getting too comfortable. You can also use it to get a sense of your opponent's habits if you're willing to risk shield RPS, or use it deliberately to bait out shield if your opponent is extremely predictable with their shield followups. That said, it is predominantly a knowledge and execution check, so avoid overreliance on this tool.

Air Throw

Air throw oki is a core component of your gameplan: as the standard meterless knockdown in Melty Blood, this is likely to be the first knockdown you secure each round. It is simple and strong, and even if your opponent successfully blocks you're in prime position to run your pressure game on them afterwards. This is the thing to practice the most when you're starting to learn Akiha, or if you want to play a frightening autocombo Akiha.

The most important thing to remember is to not use your second jump or airdash when going for an airthrow, and to use them instead to run your setup.

j.A (dl.)AT > 9A+B land 2A~D


Sometimes referred to as Nanase oki (after the player who shared the tech), j.A airdash oki is absurdly strong at stopping most common wakeup options: the crossup is ambiguous, the 2A will hit the opponent meaty if the airdash was timed correctly, and if they opted to ignore you and mash their reversal/heat, using D to trigger shield as a cancel to whiffed 2A blocks that. And then after they figure all that out, you can just skip the 2A and go straight to throw or command grab, especially if they get confident about shielding it correctly.
  • j.A AT: Instantly doing airthrow after j.A hits will cross up the opponent on their wakeup.
  • j.A dl.AT: A delay will prevent the crossup and will hit same-side on their wakeup. The delay is fairly tight but noticable.
Being able to vary the timing will make this mixup significantly more ambiguous. If you don't know which side you're landing on, how can your opponent know?
See this video for a visual demonstration of this tech.

EX Enders

5CC 236C > 2A+B 236A


This setup uses a well-spaced 236A to drop a ring directly in front of your opponent, but not in such a manner that they are immediately hit by it on wakeup. This is a little deceptive due to how the hitboxes of Brilliant Wheel actually reside in the center of of the ring, rather than on the edges where you would expect them to be. This allows you to play a little more cautiously, letting the hitboxes in the center of the ring be a barrier while you run your mix.
Most importantly, being inside the ring neutralizes most shield followups from the opponent, making this very effective counterplay for an opponent who shields frequently on wakeup. See the video below for Corner EX Enders for a thorough explanation of how this setup interacts with shield followups.
This type of setup will work midscreen, but is significantly more powerful in the corner. The major difference is that backdashing or walking backwards is an effective way to neutralize the setup. You can call out both of these options on read: 214A will call out backdashers, and using a far-reaching low like 2C or 22A/B will stop attempts to walk away from the setup. Unless you are confident in your skills, however, it is often better to take air throw oki.

Advanced Alternative: 236C > 66 2A+B 236A


A more advanced alternative, the timing and spacing needed is difficult and will require practice. Instead of using the ring as a shield, this instead sets up a corner-like situation midscreen. Your usual goal with this will be punishing a wakeup shield attempt with either rising j.B, 2A, or a throw. Once they stop shielding and start blocking, you can superjump into neutral jump directly over them to set up ambiguous drift left/right mix.
If your timing is bad with this, you are directly next to your opponent and extremely vulnerable to mash or reversals, so be sure to practice this if you opt for it.

Corner

Many midscreen setups are useful in the corner as well. There are important differences, however, and these are discussed below. Ground throw oki remains the same midscreen as in the corner.

Air Throw

j.A j.B AT > dj. j.A (whiff) falling j.C


Corner-only safejump. Air dash oki is significantly less powerful in the corner, so this is your best option when you route into air throw enders.

EX Enders

214B jc j.[C] j.236C > land 7A+B whiff j.A 236A


Because of how corner combos alter spacing, you will need to do a somewhat more complicated framekill to get the spacing and timing for 236A setups. The followups
See this video for more information and a visual demonstration of this tech.

Defense

Defensively, Akiha generally must rely on the defensive system mechanics (2A abare, blocking, shielding, Moon Drive, and heat) as her only full-invuln reversals cost meter, and have narrow hitboxes and functionality. For abare, her fastest normals have very short reach and can make it difficult to check many pressure resets. This does not mean that Akiha does not have defensive options, however!

Your strongest defensive option will always be movement: an Akiha that is pinned down is an Akiha that isn't busy pinning the opponent down, so use movement options to evade approaches rather than try to block them out. Nevertheless, even good play will leave you in situations where blocking and playing defensively is required, so outside of system mechanics, here are some good options for Akiha on defense.

Abare

5C


While 2A is your best option for up-close abare, once the opponent outspaces the range of 2A, your absolute best button to call out pressure gaps is 5C. At 8f, it is as fast as both 5B and 2B and is an advancing move on top of this, allowing you to hit people outside of your usual range. 5C's higher hitbox is also exceptionally good at clipping IAD reset attempts. If you are making an abare attempt, you are already taking on a tremendous amount of risk; 5C offers the strongest conversion possibility without risking anything more dangerous than you would otherwise outside of 2A range.

Reversals

EX Painting the Moon


The closest thing Akiha has to a genuine, true reversal. Because it's an anti-air special, the grounded hitbox does not reach crouchers and only hits the airspace directly next to Akiha herself. It is, however, air unblockable, which makes it useful to call out any non-safejump aerial approach oki.

Arc Drive: Scarlet Mistress - Cage Hair


Akiha's Arc Drive is a fully-invuln command grab reversal with an extra strike component if the throw whiffs. It's expensive at 3 bars, but it has a fairly unique feature in that, as a command grab, it will beat 'reversal-safe' setups such as safejumps and 2A~D option selects.
Once you've hit at least 3 bars, this does open up the possibility of mindgames around wakeup. Since Akiha's Arc Drive beats reversal-safe options, your opponent might feel encouraged to bait out your Arc Drive with deceptive air movement, at which point 623C becomes a much stronger reversal option and leaves you with two additional bars to spend as you please once you've pinned your opponent down again.


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