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A big draw of Skullgirls for many players is exploring all the different possible team combinations and finding teams that fit how you want to play. Skullgirls teams are relatively flexible because of custom assists and multiple supers that players can DHC into. This guide aims to lay out the basics of team building concepts, but it will not cover character specifics. For more character specific team building advice and additional team building concepts, check out the Skullgirls Team Building Guide.
Elements of team building
In Skullgirls, you can pick a team size of 1, 2, or 3 characters regardless of the opponent's team size. Playing more characters gives you more utility, but decreases each individual character's health and damage output. Choosing your ratio may be the most important part of picking a team since it affects the rest of the team building process.
Traits of teams
- Have access to team mechanics. Trios get an extra assist and alpha counter option, and can DHC two times in one sequence.
- Life is split into multiple health bars. These act as built in points where combos must stop and force an incoming situation to happen. This means that a character can get hit with a powerful starter, but the most damage that can be done is only as much as their total health. So you could have three characters whose total health might be around one combos worth of damage, but the opponent would still need three hits to kill the team.
- Getting double snapped as a trio means you lose 1/3 your team instead of 1/2 like a duo.
- Slightly more net health, but it's negligible.
- Heal red health through tagging/DHCing.
Traits of solos
- Their damage buff allows them to rack up more damage from stray hits, and do more damage for less meter. They can kill individual characters of duos/trios very quickly.
- No access to team mechanics.
- Their health bar isn't split up like teams, but it is very difficult to kill a solo in one sequence because of undizzy.
- Never have to deal with incoming mixups.
- Heal red health through snapbacks.
Assists play a crucial role in how every part of the game is played out. They are used to gain control in neutral, extend pressure, build combos, enable resets, and more. Some characters can benefit from one type of assist more than others. Sometimes your own personal playstyle will lead you to prefer one type of assist over others. Choose wisely and consider what you think benefits how you want to play the most.
Many of each character's best assists can benefit any character, but the assists you choose will affect how you play. The character sections will explain if a character greatly benefits from a certain assist type and their specific reasons why.
Also consider how the assists you choose can be used as alpha counters, or if you can super cancel your alpha counter quickly as an effective guard cancel.
DHCs serve many utilities and functions. DHCs at the end of a combo are useful for tacking on damage to finish off a character. If you DHC before undizzy is filled, the next character may be able to do one more chain. DHCing early in a combo is useful to mitigate damage scaling from scaled starters. DHCs are also useful for switching characters out safely and decreasing the risk of certain reversals.
Check here for a comparison of DHC damage across all supers.
Meter building and spending
You start the round with 1 bar of meter, and as you play the game you will build more meter. Spending meter wisely is important to gaining advantages throughout the match. Consider how your characters can build meter for usage later, and how your characters can spend the meter to make a comeback in the event your point dies quickly.
- Point position characters typically are characters who either need or strongly prefer assists to back them up. Choose a point character on your team as a character that you think benefits the most from having assists. Also consider characters that make for a good 'battery', characters that can naturally build lots of meter such as Peacock or Ms. Fortune.
- Mid position characters typically have either good DHCs from the point, good supers to use on incoming in case the point character dies, or more simply just benefits more from having an assist than the anchor character would.
- Anchor characters are typically characters that you, as a player, should either feel more comfortable playing as a solo character, or if you feel that their assist is strong enough to benefit both the point and mid characters.
It is important to consider what happens when your team is in a different order than the one you start with. Your team will end up changing order, whether it's your own choice (DHCs, tagging, alpha counters) or not (snapbacks).
An easy to overlook point, tagging is the only way to switch characters without meter. Being able to combo into your other character's tags is a good strategy that lets your point character recover red health, and can sometimes be optimal for damage.
In Skullgirls, any grounded non-super move can be chosen as an assist (this includes normal moves, special moves, throws, taunts, and even dashes/backdashes). Below is a rough breakdown of the different kind of benefits assists can provide. While not all assists will fit perfectly into each of these categories, many of the best assists have at least one of these traits.
- Multi-hit moves that keep the opponent in blockstun for longer than other assists, allowing your point character enough time to readjust positioning, extend pressure, and do more mixups.
- Examples: Cerecopter, Osiris Spiral, Butcher's Blade, Hornet Bomber, Cremation, Drag and Bite, Hairball, Platonic Drillationship,
Invulnerable DP assists
- Call the assist and block. When timed correctly, if the opponent is dashing in or jumping in they will get hit by the assist as you're blocking their attack. Good usage of DP assists makes the opponent think twice about doing an aggressive move, forcing them to implement a counter strategy to get an opening. Don't forget that all assists have 3 vulnerable frames when they touch the ground, even if the point version of the move is invulnerable from the 1st frame. Some important factors that differentiate DP assists include size of hitbox, how easy it is to convert into a combo, and frames of invulnerability (which differ from the point version of the move in some cases).
- Examples: Updo, Beat Extend, Hurting Hurl, Napalm Pillar.
- Note: moves that are normally strike invulnerable can be considered fully invulnerable as an assist, since assists can't be thrown.
- Armored assists are extremely hard to challenge since you either have to hit them multiple times or with a sweep to interrupt them, hitgrabs are ineffective against assists.
- Examples: Brass Knuckles, Lock n' Load, Butcher's Blade, Collimating Saw.
Projectile / Neutral assists
- Any assist whose function is mostly to benefit your character's neutral options and coverage that they might not otherwise have.
- Examples: George's Day Out, Theonite Beam, Brass Knuckles, Napalm Shot, Hurting Hurl.
- Any assist that lets a character build some kind of resource, allow unique conversions not otherwise possible, or enables some kind of setplay for the point character. If the assist has a lengthy animation, the point character has enough time to build a resource such as a taunt. Other times the resource building move itself can be called as an assist during combos, so the resource is available once the character is on point.
- Examples: Excellebella, Vial Hazard, H Pinion Dash, Take the A-Train, Beowulf's Taunt.
- Low hitting moves still hit low as an assist, enabling hard to block mixups for the point character as long as they're in range for the assist to connect. Jumping + calling a low assist can be very scary, since either the jump in or the assist can be timed to hit first.
- Examples: Cremation, L Hurting Hurl, Cilia Slide
- Throws can be assists too! These kind of assists are typically used for fast mixups/pressure to catch opponents off guard on the ground. Some throws have a special utility than others, such as different ranges or causing crumple/sliding knockdown, making each throw assist unique in their own way. However, regular throw assists are still techable by the opponent, making them tricky but not unbeatable. Use these assists cautiously and wisely.
- Examples: Peacock's throw, Valentine's throw, Wulf Shoot, Mortuary Drop, Diamond Drop.
- Peacock's throw assist has the unique property of allowing a second assist to still be called during a combo when this assist was the combo starter, allowing for potentially more damaging follow-up combos.
- Some assists enable a character to convert a hit into a combo where it would normally be impossible, or cost meter.
- Examples: Cilia Slide, H Pinion Dash, Level 3 Item Drop, Savage Bypass.
- No, it's not to troll. Don't call it like a normal assist, instead use it as an alpha counter. You can choose to block, move, or attack based on the situation after you alpha counter.