Ciel is a jack-of-all trades character with access to zoning, a meterless DP, a solid set of normals, and plenty of movement options. She has no glaring weaknesses but her strengths are often less straightforward than other characters. Strong fundamentals and a good understanding of her plethora of tools is crucial.
- Keys are strong neutral tools that you can use to zone your opponent which easily convert into a knockdown with 236C for ground keys and j.236C for air keys. j.4BC is the MS version of her keys that covers a wide space quickly and you are able to safely jump cancel it.
- She has really good movement options that you can use to retreat (236A) and also change up your landing timing (j.236A). This is good for repositioning yourself or to confuse your opponent.
- Her buttons are about average but you can usually get by with with poking with 5B or 5C and jumping in with j.B/C. j.B is notable for having a generous "cross-up" hitbox that can clip opponents trying to dash under you.
- 236C is a strong full invincible and fullscreen punish tool for whiffed attacks or specials.
- Ciel doesn't have really fast overheads to use, so most of your offense is just standard strike/throw/frame traps. If you're feeling cheeky you can try to sneak in her unlockable dive (j.236B) which is high risk but rewarding if you have moon drive.
- New to this patch is her 214BxA rekka ender lets her jump cancel. This effectively lets you jump cancel at any point in your string to continue pressure. If you're at mid range and you throw these keys you can jump cancel as well to get in your opponent as long as they block the first key.
- You can also use key rekkas the same way you would pressure with any rekka character. Use rekka 1 and frame trap into rekka 2 or just press 5B to restart your pressure. This requires a lot of conditioning against your opponent to work but since the 214BxA is jump cancellable it's pretty good.
Sample corner rebeat pressure: 2A 2A 2A 2C 5A rebeat > ...
- Immediate 5B (7f startup, so your opponent has 8f to try something).
- Dash up throw/5A/IAD j.C (if your opponent respects you)
- Walk/jump back and throw key (checks for immediate mashes)
- Just block and see if they try to reversal
Brief guide to 214BxA pressure
From 214BxA, particularly in the corner (but similar options can be adapted for midscreen), the following are Ciel's main options:
- Jump forward j.BA(A)
- Double (triple) overhead. Pressure reset
- Causes most reversals as well as many 3Cs to whiff
- The sitation varies depending on how early your j.B is as well as how late the opponent stands up
- Earlier j.B will hit jumps or lead to a triple overhead j.BAA against early standblock
- Extremely late standblock will cause early j.B to whiff and only allow a single overhead
- The opponent can run under you
- After jump forward, can create a high/low mixup with empty land 2A, while using e.g. late j.214a to beat fuzzy mash
- TK j.214A
- Catches jump startup as well as most mash options
- Can be dashed under or low profiled
- Vulnerable to reversals
- Situation varies depending on opponent's standblock timing
- If the opponent stands early, tk j.214a is minus but safe, however this opens them up to j.BAA triple overhead
- If the opponent stands late or not at all (e.g. to avoid double/triple overheads), tk j.214a is plus
- No cancel 2A/5A/Throw
- Pressure reset/throw. 2A is low, 5A catches jumps
- Loses to reversals and fast abare, but is difficult to mash on reaction while also dealing with the jump cancel options
- Beats 3C and other slow abare. Tends to beat dashunder attempts
The following are more niche options that may be helpful to present against more specific counterplay
- Jump back j.C/delay j.214A
- Counterplay to rununder attempts
- Pressure reset
- Vulnerable to reversals
- j.C hits high, while j.214A is better against 3C
- No cancel block
- Low risk ender. Hard reversal / shield bait.
- Can be punishable by throw, but is essentially unfeasible to do on reaction under real match conditions, and will be punished hard by jump j.B.
Note that all of the above options are necessary only against opponents who know to crouch block 214BxA - if the move is stand blocked, you can instead simply do a true blockstring with j.BCAA.
In Moon Drive, 214BxA IAD j.X becomes available. From a long distance (in neutral), this is either a true frametrap or completely gapless, so it's a free opportunity to get in and start your pressure. Situational but extremely strong.
To j.236B, or Not To j.236B
j.236B is an incredibly fun tool to attempt to utilize in pressure, but in order to use it more effectively it is important to recognize its many, many glaring weaknesses.
- This move has SO many problems.
- It is a 28 frame minimum command grab. Any height when performing it will only increase this further.
- It has a small hitbox. It is not uncommon for attacks with even very small amounts of forward momentum to cause j.236B to whiff entirely, to say nothing of aiming it properly to begin with.
- It doesn't hard knockdown, and requires moon drive to combo.
- Despite all that, they still decided it deserved the longest recovery of any grab in the game.
To be completely honest, many or most players might be better off forgetting this attack is even an option so that they don't ever feel tempted to use it. For those of you (me) who cannot resist, I do have some advice.
- For the most important tip, it may benefit you to stop treating this like a mixup at all.
- 28 frames is slow. This attack will usually be slower than that. To add insult to injury, the animation is pretty obvious. While many people will get hit by this once or twice in spite of that, some won't, and nobody will keep getting hit by it forever.
- However, it IS airborne, and a command grab. Simply by virtue of this, it can beat a lot of things that don't happen to be your opponent doing nothing and waiting for you to make a mistake.
- Namely, this is going to bait out throws, most low pokes, shields, and a great deal of jabs. You know when all of those are most common for a defender to throw out? After a rebeat. Which is convenient since that's the only time you can jump to access this move to begin with.
- So, in a sense, this is a throw that baits throws and also beats mashing and shield. Its advantages become much clearer when viewed through the lens of an option to beat your opponent's active defense, rather than their passive defense.
- Learning to TK this attack will allow you to present it in many situations that it would be unreasonable for an opponent to anticipate it in.
- That's not to say this is the only way you could use it though. For example, you could present it following a safejump j.A. This has it act as a mixup in the vein we might have used it originally, but also doubles to attack any mashing or throwing they may be doing to avoid being tickthrown. It is important to maximize the number of things your opponent might want to be doing that will lose to this attack.
While I hope that made its strengths clear, none of them really make its weaknesses any less crippling.
- No matter what you do, how correct your reads, or how unprepared your opponent, this attack can and will find a way to not work.
- Perhaps you used this after a rebeat, reading an abare 2A or low poke. Let's say your opponent is Shiki. If you're right, and he presses 2C, there is always a nonzero chance this attack will completely whiff.
- Maybe exactly this happens, or maybe you press j.236B on okizeme, only for your opponent to wake up mashing rapid beat and advancing straight past where the hitbox would be. Perhaps they just fatal counter you outright.
- It doesn't matter, you will die. It is simply unrealistic to ever evade a punish if this attack whiffs, and the sheer length of its recovery means your opponent will tend to have the liberty to make it a punish that hurts.
- Some of this can be mitigated with more careful spacing at the cost of making your intentions more transparent, but in general there is no way to always be rewarded for implementing this move correctly, even if your judgement in the situation might have been correct.
So the secret most important thing when pressing j.236B is simply not to take your losses too harshly. Sometimes there is nothing you could have done. We will keep using it anyways. Because it's funny.
Ciel's most consistent combo ender knockdown.
- IAD > Immediate double jump > falling j.X (autotimed safejump)
- Delay microwalk forward > forward jump > 2a (Left/right - side depends on distance walked)
- Microdash > jump > whiff j.X > 2a 2ad (autotimed 5f-safe heat OS)
- Delay the setup to get a manual safejump j.X instead
- Delay the setup even more to get a double overhead instead - can cause reversals to whiff in the corner
- Can drift for a left/right midscreen as well, but it's fairly difficult
Variable frame advantage based on how high the opponent was when hit, so autotimed setups that work in all situations are impossible. More delays are required the higher up the 236C hits.
- jump > neutral doublejump > drift > 2a (Left/right)
- jump > delay neutral doublejump > j.X (manual safejump)
- jump forward > j.X (autotimed safejump)
- IAD > whiff j.X > 2a 2ad (autotimed 5f-safe heat OS)
Air throw (3C > j.B > j.C > AT)
- doublejump > delay airdash > crossover j.B (avoids reversals)
- doublejump > delay airdash > j.A whiff > j.X (manual safejump)
- doublejump > immediate airdash > immediate j.A whiff > 2a 2ad (autotimed 5f-safe heat OS)
- doublejump > falling j.214A
214C (214B~BB 214C)
- Moon Charge (2AB) > forward jump > j.X (autotimed safejump - requires the second key to whiff)
Refer to the okizeme section of this guide for more examples
- Ciel has access to several reversals with 22X and 236C. 22B/C are flash kicks that are good for beating most l/r mixups and for anti-airing. 236C is notable for being a fully invincible and full screen super. It is an excellent punish for whiff punishing fireballs or other moves from fullscreen.
- 1B~AD: Anti-air OS + throw tech using 2B.
- 3C~AD: Universal anti-air OS + throw tech.