Understanding Zero and his weaknesses
Understanding Zero and his weaknesses
Alright, so since ultimate has come out all I’ve heard about zero is a lot of whining about how good he is. While I admit he’s a top tier character, he’s still possible to deal with pretty reasonably if you understand how he works. There are two major points to understand about zero imo:
1) He is on a timer. It’s like fighting somebody with a haggar assist. When that buster is charged to level 3, do NOT mess with him. When he releases it, you’re free to do what you want. While I’m sure you all go “yeah, duh, that’s obvious” I don’t see it implemented in anybody’s play. If you’re fighting zero correctly, then without even seeing what zero is doing I should be able to tell if he has a buster just by watching YOU play. Any matchup with zero should be very back and forth between going in and waiting, and everybody needs to *consciously* look for that while fighting him. Every buster he shoots you should try to figure out how to get in, and otherwise you should play patiently while he has it.
I’ve heard responses like “he can use an assist to keep himself safe while he charges buster” among other things. Here’s the thing with zero:
2) While he has a lot of options, each time he makes a move he loses an option. If he’s using an assist to keep himself safe while charging buster, he’s not nearly as scary offensively since his only offensive capability will be solo zero. If he’s using the assists to make his mixups really good, then he’ll be that much more vulnerable when he finally lets go of his buster.
Another example is zero trying to catch somebody. Honestly? Zero is a pretty slow character, which is something most people don’t seem to realize. His ground and air dash in terms of mobility, so he has to rely on lightnings and teleports to actually move around quickly. How does this tie into “losing an option”… well, zero is pretty terrible at catching people unless he uses his teleports or lightnings, but if he uses them to catch you, his offensive game (which revolves around teleports and lightnings…) becomes weaker because he can no longer use an option offensively if he used it to catch up to you.
Everybody acts like there’s so much you have to worry about when you fight zero, all the time. While there IS a lot to keep in mind, it isn’t at all times. Let’s say he has 5 (arbitrary number) strong options from a given position. If he uses 3 to catch you (for example, an M lightning, buster cancel, some sort of teleport) he’ll only have 2 left once he reaches you. It’s not like Zero has 5 options to get in with, and once he’s in he retains all 5.
Those are the two biggest things people need to understand and abuse when fighting zero. There are lots of other things to keep in mind though:
Please learn his mixups. Zero’s mixups are *far* from scary compared to some of the rest of the cast because they are *possible to react to*. Blocking zero mixups is all about KNOWING the mixup, as opposed to having good reaction time (as in, blocking magneto mixups). Of course, incoming characters are a different story because in marvel a character incoming means you have hell to deal with and mixups for days. I understand that’s difficult. In the neutral game though if he gets you in block stun there’s no reason to get him by a teleport+assist, an H teleport crossing up, or “ambiguous crossups” with lightning+buster cancels. As for the last mixup (which is what I hear the most complaints about) it’s important to realize that ZERO is not the hitbox on the mixup, and that the lightning is DLAYED when it follows him. This means that you can wait until the last second to switch blocks if it’s a crossup, instead of switching as soon as you see the lightning animation. It isn’t a fast crossup because of the delayed hitbox, unlike an akuma+beserker slash mixup (Where akuma hits you as soon as wolvy crosses up if they’re good).
Buster—>L lightning is NOT safe and can be mashed out of. Most people object and say “oh, the zero player can just teleport down safely”. Well, they’re right but I’d say to that… who cares if he teleports down safely? Buster—>L teleport down isn’t a mixup, it’s not scary, and all he succeeding in doing is wasting his BEST TOOL. Now correct me if I’m wrong, but last I checked somebody wasting their best tool without even threatening you is a good thing.
Grab him out of his air H. It really isn’t as hard as it sounds, it just takes practice. His j.H is 3 hits with gaps in between each hit. It’s not even as risky as it sounds either as long as you’re holding back to throw, rather than forward. If you wait until you’re *definitely* close enough to him, it becomes sort of an option select: if you try to grab after hit A and do it too late, you’ll end up blocking hit B. If you try to grab too early, you’ll just end up blocking hit A. Learn the sweetspot timing so that you *never get hit* while trying to grab zero’s air H. Alternatively, you could learn to antiair this move. There are plenty of strong anti airs in this game that punish it, and your character (if the character is good) probably has a decent one. In the case that your character does NOT have a good way to beat zero’s sword:
You don’t have to punish him directly. People complain about a lot of things in marvel being so safe. Once again, you *do not* have to punish something directly, try thinking a bit less constrained. This doesn’t just go for zero and it is one of the most important things to understand in umvc3 which very few people do. What do I mean by this? Well, let’s say a wolverine is dive kicking, a zero is falling with a j.H, or a magneto is SJ tridashing with huge normals like j.H and j.S. Rather than trying to directly punish the move, you can set up an indirect punish by using the predictable trajectory to go for a mixup.
For example, if a wolverine is dive kicking and I’m dante, I’ll back dash out of the way and then stinger+assist to go for my own mixup. Did I punish the dive kick? No, he blocked it. Did I get a free mixup and pressure out of him dive kicking? Yes sir. When I’m wesker and I’m fighting a zero and he’s falling with H, what do I do? I don’t try to challenge it. Instead, I get out of the way and H teleport while calling my disruptor assist. Zero will have time to block, but I’ll put him in a mixup situation that he *has* to deal with (followed by a 50/50 command grab mixup if he blocks the teleport mixup). A lot of stuff is “safe’ in this game, but not *really*. Maybe you can’t actually directly hit your opponent for doing something, but more often than not you can get a very strong setup out of those safe things that people like to use so much.
Another thing to keep in mind is that the M teleport + Jam session mixup is punishable. If you push block zero’s normals when he’s setting it up (or just push block him in general) you have time to jump/back dash (depending on your character) out of the way of jam session, and then punish zero for his teleport. With dante I push block—> box jump backwards H.
Alright, I think that hits most of the important stuff on fighting Zero. There’s more to consider, but I realize this post is already kind of on the long side. Hopefully keeping this stuff in mind will help everybody learn to handle Zero a lot better ^_^
shoutouts to Sami for some important info.