Sunday, December 6, 2009

Character balance: Arakune

This right here encompasses what you can expect from Arakune in Calamity Trigger. As part of the top three, he was typically 3rd or 2nd in the hypothetical S tiers, somewhere near Nu but definitely below Rachel. When you play Calamity Trigger, fighting against Arakune is a massive pain in the butt. His drive, or special ability, gives certain attacks a unique property that curses your opponent. Once cursed, Arakune can summon underworld insects (lovingly nicknamed bees) by pressing any of his four buttons. Arakune is known to have combos that do 6,000 damage without even needing meter to do supers (as a point of reference, Tager, who has the most health, has 13,000 points of health). His new form in Continuum Shift gives him a much more interesting dimension of strategy besides curse and spam bees.

First of all, the biggest change to Arakune is the curse ability of his drive. In CT, his curse attacks curse his targets instantly, some of them doing so even when blocked. Now in CS, he has a specific meter. Every drive attack fills this bar a certain amount on hit or block. Once filled, Arakune enters frenzy mode where he can now summon his new CS style bees. Here is a match between Arakune and Bang in CT. Both are Japanese players, Dora being one of the most prominent Bang players.

In CT, bursting puts you in danger mode. Why does Dora burst so early? Because once cursed, it pretty much spells the end for Bang. Dora typically plays in a high risk/high return play style.

This raises interesting changes that strangely satisfy both Arakune players and his opponents. Curse is no longer instant; it must be built up over time. Opponents are satisfied knowing that making one mistake isn't the end for them. On the other hand, once Arakune enters frenzy mode, he can't be knocked out of it. Normally in CT, if the opponent didn't want to switch to defense and wait out his curse, hitting Arakune will make the curse dissappear. Now in CS, frenzy remains for a full 15 seconds, whether or not Arakune is interrupted. Here's Bang VS Arakune again, now in CS. Take note that Bang is much more flexible in his attacks and pressure.

Arakune still wins in the end, but it's important to note that the match is no longer pretty much served to Arakune on a silver platter. He actually has to work for it. While Arakune is more vulnerable without having instant curse, he's actually much stronger with frenzy on then his curse was in CT.

The tiers look much closer to each other then they do in CT. Rather then a huge gap in between the top three and the rest of the cast, characters are more likely to win all around, with the exception of Rachel and Noel having trouble due to their nerfs.

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