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An assist is when one of the supporting characters on a team comes on screen to assist the point character by doing one designated attack, then leaves. Assists are inputted by pressing two diagonal buttons simultaneously. Pressing LP+MK, LK+MP, or LK+HP calls an assist from the second-in-line character on a team. MP+HK, MK+HP, or LP+HK calls the third-in-line character. Assists are not available when there are no other characters left on the team. Either assist command can be used if there is only one other teammate alive. Assists cannot be called during hit stun, during block stun, during a super jump, while preforming a special move, while preforming a super move, or while preforming a throw.
- Assist characters can be hit by the opponent point or assist, but cannot be thrown by a point character. Assists are vulnerable for 3f as they land on the ground, as well as during their attack (assuming the attack is not invulnerable) and their exit taunt animation. A more detailed breakdown is below.
- Normally, as soon as an assist character leaves the screen the assist become available again. This is shown by the red and green lights on the assist indicator in the HUD. However, if the assist is hit, the assist's team will go through 120f of lockout.
- Assist attacks that would normally cause a red bounce (knockdown or sliding knockdown) will instead cause a slightly modified version of the knockdown, indicated by a distinct green impact effect as the defending character touches the ground. Assist knockdown allows a ground tech in 9f after the green hit effect. Assist slides allow recovery as soon as the slide stun begins.
- Assists can be called once per combo. Using an assist's attack as a combo starter scales the combo to 66%, or 90% if it was a counter hit. More details here
- All damage dealt to assist characters gets a 35% increase, but is dealt entire in red / recoverable health.
- Performing special moves with an assist call will simultaneously perform the move and call an assist. This cannot be done as a reversal, however.
Assist attacks are referred to by the in-game tutorial as ensemble attacks.
Timeline of Assist Vulnerability
- 4f of startup before assist comes on screen
- ~20f of invulnerability as the assist character enters the screen
- 3f of vulnerable start up
- Finally, the assist attack executes as fast as it would if preformed by a point character. Any invulnerability in the assist attack still protects the character, but will not cover the minimum previously mentioned 3f of assist start up. Some moves (such as Double's L Hornet Bomber and Big Band's Beat Extend) have extra vulnerable frames that override the move's invulnerable frames.
- After the attack is over, the assist character preforms a brief, vulnerable taunt before exiting the screen.
- If the assist character gets hit at any point it will leave the screen immediately after recovering, skipping the usual taunt before exiting the screen. Assists won't preform their attack if the point character gets hit while the assist is on the way in. Instead, they will perform their vulnerable taunt then exit the screen.
In Skullgirls, any grounded normal move, special move, throw, or taunt can be chosen as an assist. For a rough breakdown of the different kind of benefits assists can provide, check out the team building page.
The point character can be switched to any other alive character on the team by performing a unique tag in attack. This is done by pressing two buttons of the same strength. MP+MK will tag in the 2nd character, and HP+HK will tag in the 3rd. Either can be used when only one character is available.
- Immediately after the input occurs, the point character becomes invincible as the chosen character performs their tag.
- Each character has a unique tag but none of them are safe and only a few will lead to a combo. Many teams can combo into tags, so be sure to find creative ways to tag to each of your characters on your team.
- Tags are considered like a special move in terms of canceling - you can cancel a normal into a tag, but not specials or supers.
- Unlike DHCs, tagging will swap the positions of the point and the tagged in character. For example: tagging in the 3rd character will move to point to the 3rd slot on the team.
- Each tag comes out differently, so it's important to recognize how they come out and punish them accordingly. (video tutorial)
All characters have access to a snapback, or snap, with ↓↘→ + either tag command. When hit by a snap, the defending character gets forced off the screen for a teammate to take their place. All snaps use one bar of meter, deal no damage. After the snap, the next character appears on screen in normal jump state after a 75f entrance delay similar to the entrance after a teammate's death. Using MP+MK or HP+HK tag commands for the snap will bring in the second or third-in-line character on the opposing team. Either snap command will work if there is only one other character on the opposing team.
- After the defending character leaves the screen, the defending team begins a lockout period of 300 frames
- The snap also will "reset" OTG for the combo, allowing another OTG hit on the defending player if it was already used before the snap hits.
- Snaps also break armor. This is particularly useful vs Eliza for fighting Sekhmet.
- Snapbacks done in a solo vs solo match, against the last remaining character on a team, or against Sekhmet cause a wall bounce instead of forcing the defending character off the side of the screen.
- When a team snaps a solo, it's a soft KD
Snapbacks are referred to by the in-game tutorial as outtakes.
When a solo character faces any larger team (1v2 or 1v3), a successful snap will heal recoverable damage for the solo in addition to forcing the defending character off screen. Hitting a point character heals 2/3 of the current recoverable damage, hitting an assist heals 1/3 recoverable damage, and hitting both at the same time heals 2/3 of the current recoverable damage. Snapping a dead body will work as a normal dead body snap, but it will not recover any red health. When the solo gets hit by a snap by a team, it removes all recoverable damage and forces an invulnerable soft knockdown.
During blockstun, any character can perform an alpha counter with → + a tag command. An alpha counter uses 1 bar of meter, tags out the point character, brings in the chosen teammate, then preforms the assist attack of the new point character. Using MP+MK or HP+HK chooses the second or third-in-line teammate for the move. Blocking standing, crouching, and in the air all allow an alpha counter. Alpha counters are not available when there are no other characters left on the team. Either command can be used if there is only one other teammate alive.
- Alpha counters retain the properties of the move as if done on the point, and do not reflect any assist-only properties. For example, Headless Ms. Fortune H Fiber alpha counter will only be throw invincible (where the assist version is fully invincible), and Fukua H Platonic Drillationship alpha counter will be strike invincible (where the assist version does not have this invincibility).
- Moves with follow up or hold button properties still behave as normal on point as an alpha counter too. For example, alpha countering into a Peacock George bomb allows you cancel into a second George, and alpha countering into a Painwheel armored normal allows you to hold the button and use the armor.
- The alpha counter flash occurs immediately after the alpha counter is input. The game resumes 3f before the alpha countered move begins startup, during which the character is invulnerable.
Alpha counters are referred to by the in-game tutorial as stunt doubles.
Burst Alpha Counter
Alpha counters can also be done during bursts, and behave the same as one done from blockstun. This is a significant mechanic that changes how burst bait interactions are done.
A DHC refers to cancelling a super attack by performing any super command for the next-in-line character on the team, after which the next character comes on screen and performs the inputted super. DHC'ing is available starting immediately after the super flash and at any point during the attack animation. The chance to cancel ends when the background color shift effect from the super ends.
- The cost of DHCing is 1 bar of meter for level 1 supers. For any supers that cost more than 1 bar, the cost of DHCing is one less than the cost of the super. This means DHCing into a level 3 super only costs 2 additional bars, on top of the amount spent for the point character's super.
- Unlike tags, DHCs will cycle the position of each character on the team by moving the current point character to the back of the team, and each other character forward one spot. For example: on trios, the point will move to the 3rd slot, 2nd slot will be the new point, and the old 3rd slot will be in the 2nd slot.
- DHCs are the only way to reverse damage scaling. If scaled below 70%, the DHC resets damage to 70%.
- Only one DHC is allowed at a time for duos, and two at a time for trios. In other words, DHCs cannot be performed so many times that it will cycle back to the character that performed the initiating super.
- DHC's Ignore Super Hitstop. This makes using DHCs to counter supers work in more scenarios.
- During a combo, if projectiles from the previous character hit the opponent after a DHC occurs, that will count as using an assist and an assist cannot be called for the rest of the combo.
DHC stands for delayed hyper combo, a term from the Marvel vs. Capcom series.
DHCs are referred to by the in-game tutorial as blockbuster sequels.
Once a character on a team is KO'd, the next character in line enters from the side of the screen in the air. The incoming character can do any action as if they were in the air normally, such as block, double jump, air dash, or attack. This is a good opportunity for the attacker to do mixups or otherwise maintain their advantage.
- The incoming character will come out on the side of the screen opposite the way the attacker is facing. However, the dead body is still used to determine which way the attacker is facing. All the normal rules for crossing up apply, such as...
- Normal jumping over the dead body will not switch sides, but super jumping and performing an attack or double jumping will.
- Running past the dead body will not switch sides, but once the attacker exits the dash they will switch.
- Double jumping or air dashing immediately on incoming can be a good way to avoid a mixup, as long as the attacker doesn't hit the incoming character immediately.
Hitting an opponent's assist or snapping the opponent will cause a lockout period for them, which prevents calling assists, tagging, and using DHCs. Additionally, red life recovery is delayed until 120f after the lockout ends.
- If an assist character is hit, or absorbs a hit with armor, that character's team gets a 120 frame lockout.
- If a character is hit by a snapback, that character's team gets a 300 frame lockout.
Recoverable Health (Red Health)
Loading Screen Team Order Switching
Holding a tag command on the loading screen before a match will switch team order immediately before the fight. This will not work online. For a two character team, holding any assist command will switch the second character to start on point. For a three character team:
- Holding the Tag In command for the second-in-line character (MP+MK) will swap the first and second characters.
- Holding the Tag In command for the third-in-line character (HP+HK) will swap the first and third characters.
- Holding both Tag In commands at the same time (MP+MK+HP+HK) will swap the second and third characters.