Virtual-On Oratorio Tangram/Strategy

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Basic strategy of Virtual-On

  • Pressure your opponent with neutral, low commitment attacks and by closing distance.
  • Dodge their attack and punish their attack or landing recovery with a powerful dash attack. Punish them heavily if they miss a dash attack.
  • Perform a risky offensive with dash attacks when needed.
  • In the ranged neutral game try to trap the enemy with attack combinations.
  • Stop the opponents projectile in its tracks using defensive Erase-type projectiles.
  • Read the enemies movements and hit them with special aimed attacks.
  • In close range challenge the opponent to a duel: test their mobility and speed.

Movement vectors

Concepts on general movement relative to opponent. (horizontal plane)

Left-Right movement (horizontal)

Passive, evasive. Common use

  • You are evading the opponents attack at a 90 degree angle. Least likely to get hit.
  • Ability to reposition on the field and move while maintaining high evasion

Forwards movement at the opponent

Direct assault. Used to perform an attack. Used to approach when opponent does not act.

  • No evasive property. (unless there is a significant height difference)
  • Close distance quickly.
  • Used to perform a direct frontal dash attack.
  • Used to close distance when opponent cannot act.
  • Used to close distance when the opponent decides not to act (read, prediction).
  • Positions you behind a Left-Right moving opponent who does not act, beneficial attack vector

Diagonal forwards movement:

Assault. Approach the opponent. Common use. Has multiple great qualities:

  • Cannot be hit by most neutral attacks (depending on range).
  • Close distance on the target.
  • If the opponent is moving left-right and you match that side you will intercept their trajectory: direct assault a horizontally dashing opponent
  • If you do not match opponents left-right side, you will be moving obliguely behind them, a beneficial attack vector.
  • You can push the opponent towards wanted left/right side and force a decision.
  • If the opponent is trying to counter your vector at range and move behind you, at most they will put you into a horizontal vector and back to a ‘neutral’ situation.

Backwards movement, away from the opponent

Retreat. Gain distance on opponent. Most VR lack tools to move in this direction at a decent speed.

  • As most attacks are homing or aimable it is very easy to get hit unless at long range.
  • Raiden and Dordray have good access to this movement direction at advanced level.

Diagonal back movement

Retreat while maintaining high evasion. Most VR lack tools to move in this direction at any decent speed, utilization is character specific.

  • Specineff and Angelan have high access to this movement direction. Unsurprisingly, they are strong at backpedaling and defensive play.

Air movement vectors

Concepts on air movement. (vertical movement)

Air movement and air dash add a third dimension, majorly complicating things. Air movement options are highly evasive, but will land in similar vectors and in terms of stages, players still try to control the horizontal plane. Projectile attacks usually have far stronger homing on the horizontal plane than moving up and down vertically, but there are exceptions.

Jump Cancels and Air dashes are the bulk of air movement.

  • Rapid, neutral attacks are inaccessible in the air. Only air dash attacks and slow jump attacks.
  • Air movement can be used for repositioning. Constant air movement can be used for passive play.
  • All of these air actions may also be used for utility purposes or repositioning on the horizontal plane instead of vertical evasion. eg. air dashes can be performed very quickly and low to the ground.


Rapid spike of vertical movement. Carries over horizontal movement from before jumping. Generally evades all attacks. Jumps can move around horizontally. This can be combined with Jump attacks.

Jump Cancel

Return to the ground, perhaps after evading or baiting an enemy attack.

Air dash

Dash in the air, on a horizontal plane determined by jump height. Watari Dash / Vertical Turn can be performed to continue moving on this plane before ending the dash with either a dash cancel or attack.

Air dash cancel

Like Ground dash, Air dashes can be followed with a dash attack. But the movement can be cancelled into a fall and this is your means of moving on this horizontal plane in the air without committing to a punishable attack.

Viewing from the side, a simple air dash cancel forms an ‘n’ / reverse ‘U’ pattern. This is a strong evasive pattern, like forming a sine wave. If your virtuaroid has decent air dash speed, forward/forward diagonal air dash cancels allow you to approach the enemy with a much more evasive property than when grounded. You can close distance on the opponent while avoiding most grounded attacks.

Fall control

Dash in the air, on a horizontal plane determined by jump height. Watari Dash / Vertical Turn can be performed to continue moving on this plane before ending the dash with either a dash cancel or attack. Players can move around horizontally, speed up and slow down their fall. When not falling from an air dash attack rotation can also be controller. Often simple fast falls are used. Floaty movement might be used combined with advanced techniques to increase horizontal movement speed.

Dash attack vectors and punishes

Dash attack properties

Dash attack animations like most attacks have three parts: startup (duration before attack), active (attack comes out), and recovery (part after attack). The end point of recovery is where the VR stops in place.

The unique thing here is the player is moving the whole time. Upon inputting the attack they are locked into a set animation that moves in given direction. This locked vector is susceptible to being counterattacked by the opponent intercepting it or firing at it from behind. This is why the players and projectiles movement vectors play such a large role in Virtual-On.

Generally speaking, in a neutral situation the first player to perform a dash attack is at a disadvantage as his movement vector gets locked. But some attacks are very high performance and more difficult to punish.

Keep in mind the dash attack type does not need to match your movement direction. If your opponent is to your right during your forwards dash and you attack, you will be moving to their right. Front dash attacks tend to have higher knockdown value so dashing into the opponent with a horizontal attack may be dangerous and leave you open to counterattack even if it connects.

Good dash attack vectors

If the attack does good damage, knocks down and you know it will hit a powerful frontal attack towards the opponent is ideal. If you do not know it can hit this is a dangerous move, you get locked moving towards the opponent with no control. If you are close they can even melee you.

A dash attack moving away from the opponent is usually bad if the opponent is free to move. You can be hit with a large variety of attacks. However if it does work successfully you will gain distance on the opponent and escape if wanted. Often a forwards dash attack does this if performed after your dash crossed behind the opponent.

Horizontal dash attacks are a middle ground, the opponent may have a larger variety of homing attacks that can be angled to hit you. Depending on range the enemy might be able to reposition themselves behind you.

Punishing dash attacks

The VR performing a dash attack keeps moving for a long time, is he still safe?

As a general rule dash attacks can be thought of as unsafe and punishable. Unless:

  • the attack was timed so you were not free to act at the moment of weakness
  • the attack was placed to recover behind a piece of cover or other defensive ability

Even in these cases, if the attack did not hit you the opponent gave you their ‘turn’ and you gain an advantage: being free to move around or perform your own attack while the opponent recovers.

Dash attacks end at a predetermined point

If the dash attack WAS unsafe: Not only do they get frozen into a single movement vector and lose control, but they will stop in place at a predetermined point. As you gain experience in the game you will know the exact point where their movement will end upon seeing them start their attack. On seeing them start a dash attack you have the remainder of their whole animation to perform your counterattack.

If they used a dash attack poorly (both unlikely to hit and unsafe) and you have good enough execution, you can essentially hit them with any attack you want: Move to the position their movement will stop and perform a powerful attack. Try to match their line of movement so you cannot miss. Manually aim a powerful attack to where their dash will stop.

Usable attack strength and time windows depend on properties of the punishable dash attack. But usually anything can be punished with a light attack. Small bits of damage make a big difference. This applies more and more as the players level increases. Experienced players will not use dash attacks haphazardly. But it still happens a lot in scramble situations or desperate offense.

Punishing enemies locked vector by matching vectors

Once they initiated their attack: try to hit them from behind their locked movement direction, matching the line of their movement based on how much homing your counterattack has.

Partially overlap their previous line of movement and attack from behind with your dash attack. Or depending on range and attack power, move behind them and hit them with a neutral attack.

If you are close enough, perform a melee attack instead of neutral attack. If it can be fully performed during the opponents dash recovery you have a guaranteed hit into massive damage. This is a major benefit of having long melee engage range.

Predicting the opponents dash attack

If you predicted the opponents dash attack you are more able to exploit the ending point of the dash. Even if they made a decent general use of the attack, if you read what they will do you have a counter play.

  • Pre-emptively cover possible attack vectors with a defensive attack.
  • Aim an attack to cover their possible movement vector.
  • Reposition so their attack will be immediately in a bad vector
  • Predict the end position of the incoming attack and move there pre-emptively.

Those movement related concepts are very low commitment, you are just moving to cover potential cases. But if they did what you expected.. in a good case you can melee them easily. If the opponent is doing a ground dash attack an easy way to reposition and counter is to air dash cancel ending at your point of counterattack.

Air-dash attack vectors, jump attack vectors and their punishes

Air dash attacks can be thought of as a modification of ground dash attacks. They take place on a horizontal plane in the air that was decided by the players jump height.

Punishing the end of air dash attacks

You can think of air dash attacks like ground dash attacks on a higher plane. As an addition once the attack reaches the point of stopping there is a vertical cone expanding downwards that describes how the attacker can control their fall. The closer to the ground the air dash was performed, the less possible landing positions and times there are. Low air dash attacks have a more predictable recovery but also spend less time falling. The opponent will begin falling after their attack. A projectile firing from above is a better attack vector. This can be a projectile with higher vertical homing: at first it will move up, and as they fall convert to approaching from above. Your VR might have an attack especially good for this. Another common approach is to move into the air yourself once the enemy begins falling and attack from there, as all your attacks have a better attack vector.

Example: it is trivial for Apharmd B to punish landings with air dash LW grenades. You can visually confirm where the opponent is landing and throw an explosion at the landing point from an ideal attack vector.

Intercepting the fall from the air

To punish their fall directly from the ground, make use of the mechanic concerning movement speed: movement speed decreases the closer you are to the opponent. Once safe from the opponents attack move as quickly as possible to below the end point of their air dash attack. Now the horizontal movement the opponent can perform while falling becomes small and the number of possible landing points decreases.

Example: repeatedly input forward dash -> jump cancel -> forward dash until your VR stops. At that point you are directly below your target. Once you are at that point, switch to walking forward and mashing jump cancel.

Catching the final landing

Now read and react to their landing speed. If they land slowly you may have more time to prepare your counterattack. You also have more time to perform the aforementioned repeated jump cancel. Generally players will always end with a fast fall right before hitting the ground, as it prevents slower attacks from connecting with their landing. Prepare for that final acceleration of their landing and attack. The landing catch is usually done with a forward dash attack, forward dash crouching attack or a melee attack. a VR like raiden might react and shoot a CW laser where they are about to hit the ground. For melee attacks, you can mash the input as they approach the ground (you dont need ammo) and again repeatedly jump cancel. If the matching projectile is also decent that is a bonus. For certain ranged attacks with more homing, you might want to maintain some distance from the landing zone. This way the attack has time to home on the target instead of flying in a straight line.

Remember: the ability to perform these punishes increases the more the opponents action was predicted. But light punishes can be performed much more consistently. Decide whether or not to commit to a stable or high risk punish attempt.

Air-to-air interception

If you have an idea as to the height, Air to air intercept by moving to point blank range or an attack specific height above / below them. You can see their height once you gain it yourself and if above can see exactly how they are moving. Some characters have strong air-to-air moves

Catching air-dash cancels

Many of these concepts can be applied to dealing with opponents doing Air dash Cancels. The timing windows become tighter and you dont have the luxury of reacting to them starting an attack. But reads and landing catches can be done in a similar way.

Catching jump attacks

The same ideas as in the catching landings section apply. But the opponent has increased control over their landing and access to rotation. More attention has to be paid to horizontally aiming/vectoring the counterattack, most likely you will not have time to reposition into their their landing zone.

Neutral game (non-dash attack) vectors and punishes

Stationary neutral attacks, like crouching and Right Turbo attacks The easiest case to punish. The opponent is stuck at a single point. Perform a fast enough attack to interrupt the recovery.

Instead of punishing can also be interrupted by constant fire.

Maintaining a barrage prevents the opponent from having openings to attack. They may be pressed to perform more dash attacks because of their armor and high tracking performance.

Performing a sliding attack causes a similar locked vector to grounded dash attacks, but much shorter. Can punished by matching vectors and/or highly homing attacks.

Close range combat strategy

Common situations that lead into close range combat:

  • Attacker approached target via ground & air dash cancel movement
  • Attacker successfully performed a dash attack
  • Attacker punished a dash attack without knocking down the opponent
  • Attacker caught opponents landing area & did not land a guaranteed hit
  • Player is harassed during invincible wakeup (major advantage, so marked as attacker)

Defender makes the following choices:

  • Defender agrees to a close range duel
  • Defender escapes (almost always via jumping)
  • Defender performs a dash attack to anti-melee (ground or instant airdash)
  • Defender performs left turbo anti-melee attacks
  • Defender guards the initial melee attack / armors projectile attack and escapes

Guard is not an obvious choice for the defender: most attacks go around it making it more of a read and agreeing to dueling.

Duel situation

Both parties agreed to point blank / close range combat.

Big scramble situation. Knowing a variety of movement techniques is key. Quick projectile attacks should be intermixed with melee to have any kind of efficiency. Interrupt attacks can be used to stop the opponents attack and sometimes comboed into melee. Dash attacks are used as hard reads/predictions or to force an escape path.

Melee itself is not necessary to succeed in close combat, projectiles can edge out. Lots of reading the opponents movement vectors and checking who can execute better / push buttons faster. Guards and such are often reads or option selects rather than reactions.

Continued pursuit

Opponent escaped melee pressure Most commonly the defender chooses to escape. You must have in mind some ways to gain an advantage on their air escape. Often the person running does an air dash cancel or some character specific escape technique.

To continue pursuing a running away opponent, mix melee with forwards movement, chase type projectiles and fast neutral projectiles if these are available. Or throw out a movement check/pressure type attack during an opening to ‘reset’ and maintain pressure.

To maintain melee range keep cancelling melee into other actions instead of letting it whiff. That includes quicksteps, dashes, pretty much anything. . An easy way to mash melee into itself to constantly rush in is to input melee -> jump cancel -> melee -> jump cancel etc.

Deathmatch VS Timeout play, health leads

At highest level play around half of matches end in time out instead of an opponent dying.

The ability to pressure your opponent is character dependant. If you’re worried about this select your character carefully. Characters like Raiden and Bal-Bados are more likely to always destroy their opponent instead of going for a timeout.

However if you want to win you should always consider timeout as an option. The player who refuses to let rounds time out will be forcing themselves to take damage.

Explosive damage is still a thing in this game: even if a match timed out it may have been by a hairs breadth.

When a player has a health lead they often have the ability to choose which area the players engage in on the stage. This can be a walled in area that is awkward for the enemy to approach. For highly mobile VR like Cypher or Fei-Yen, they might bring the opponent to an open area with no cover.

Common beginner mistakes / traps

Only using dash attacks as your offense, ignoring neutral attacks

  • Learning to use neutral attacks comes with experience.
  • Predictable for your opponent.
  • Whiffs are punishable.

Most dash attacks are a high commitment tool and risky to be throwing out, especially if the opponent learned how to punish the recovery of attacks. Even more dangerous on a player versus player level, once the opponent learns your habits. There are still many skills to be learned involving dash attacks like proper spacing, vectoring and timing. Knowing which dash attacks are more powerful and which are safer. If you learned these that is a huge step in getting a hang of the game!

Heavy use of dash attacks and hard predictions of your opponent can get you far in the basics of the game, but will fare poorly against advanced players or defensive players. Your neutral game will be very weak against advanced players, and defensive players (or those used to your habits) can simply bait your attack until you lose.

Dash attacks are not synonymous with playing aggressively. There are other parts to it: rapid attack chains using neutral and melee attacks. Aimed attacks that punish the opponents predictable movement. Moving aggressively and closing distance is a threat in itself.

Not using Vertical Turn / Watari dash to switch dash directions

  • fixed with experience

This applies for both using for movement, and switching direction just before attacking. Your attack selection is limited by the way you are moving. This is usually related to the next example.

Heavy use of inefficient dash attacks (horizontal, backwards directions)

  • fixed with experience, knowledge of attacks

These are low power and still susceptible to counterattack. You will make poor trades in terms of damage combined with poor evasion and attack vectors.

Attacking out of every dash

  • predictable

a common mistake is to commit to a dash attack every time you dash. If your opponent catches up on this habit you are in a very bad position. The opponent prepares for you to make a mistake the moment you begin dashing.

You might delay the attack and Vertical Turn multiple times. But if the opponent is baiting your attack this is of little use. In fact, they may gain even more time to set up their punish for your incoming attack.

If you know your opponent is baiting your attack you must cancel (for ground dash usually jump). There are a massive amount of things you can do from this neutral state, including other movement options. You have better attacks to fight off passive opponents and since you now have access to them, the opponent cannot predict your action.

The opponent may also realize that by always attacking you lose access to using dashes for movement and find a way to further exploit this.

Attacking out of every air dash

  • predictable

A common mistake is to attack out of every Air dash. This is common even if the player doesn’t do this behavior for ground dashes. Upon realizing this habit, the opponent prepares to evade and punish an unsafe move the moment you begin dashing.

Not considering timeout an option: running into attacks of opponent who tries to timeout

Covered in previous section. If you really want to win then be patient when chasing the enemy. When you gain a health lead it becomes the opponents turn to attack.

Heavy use of guard

Guard is only effective against standing melee attacks, and can be beaten by most other actions. Many VRs have methods to break the guard and combo into melee, so it’s dangerous to guard in a predictable fashion.

Notation, Glossary
Advanced Advanced TechniquesMatchup charts & TiersVersions
Apharmd B
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