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Capcom vs SNK 2/A-Groove

From SuperCombo Wiki
Cvs2 A-Groove Label.png
CVS2 AGrooveBar.png



A-Groove is one of the six grooves in Capcom vs. SNK 2. It features a custom combo system that, with a full meter and after activation, allows the player to unleash a flurry of normal and special moves capped off with a Level 1 super finisher. With the right characters, it is a groove that can provide the absolute largest damage potential for the meter, despite being relatively harmless without any meter. A-Groove is inspired by the Street Fighter Alpha series, specifically V-ism in Alpha 3.

A-Groove is a clear top-tier, A+ grade groove in CvS2, rivaled only by K-Groove and its massive meter damage bonuses.

Groove Data

A-Groove Data
Main Feature After meter activation, Custom Combos allow for all normal and special moves to cancel into each other, ending with a Level 1 super
Groove System Custom Combo System
Groove Subsystems
  • Dash
  • Roll
  • Counter Attack
  • Safe Fall
Meter Length 144 Units (72 Units × 2 Sections)
Activation Time 72 Time Units (~7.2 seconds)
Guard Bar Length 48 Units Standard
Meter Bonuses None

See Groove Subsystems for complete technical data on specific subsystems.

Meter System

The meter in A-Groove is a single bar divided into two equal sections. Upon filling the first section (half the meter), a Level 1 super and meter-equivalent system functions become available. (There is no obvious indication of this, other than a subtle white pulse of that half of the meter.) Any partial use of the meter will only deduct the exact amount needed for the action performed. This means that if you have 70% of the meter filled, and you do a Counter Attack, you will be left with 20% meter.

When completely filled, the meter will show "FULL" and a Custom Combo becomes available upon activation. (Unlike in Street Fighter Alpha, there are no partial-meter Customs in CvS2.) The player can activate the meter and enter the Custom Combo state by pressing Hp.png + Hk.png while in neutral.

Activation must take place while the player is in a neutral state. It cannot be cancelled into from any move, or cancelled out of by any move. Activation can take place in the air, but only during a jump where no attack or other action has already taken place.

Upon activation, there is a significant amount of invincibility applied to the initial frames of the Custom Combo state. There is also some input invalidation during this phase to prevent the opponent from easily escaping the activation. The startup process for a Custom Combo activation is as follows:

  • Activate by pressing Hp.png + Hk.png; invincibility begins immediately.
  • 5 frames later, the flash effect/ping sound effect for Custom activation happens.
  • At the first frame after the flash, opponent inputs are invalidated for 1 frame; the player can begin their Custom Combo at this point.
  • 14 frames after the flash (19 frames after activation), activation invincibility ends.

After activation, the meter bar turns into a timer that lasts approximately 7.2 seconds. During this time, the player can start, continue, or restart a custom combo until the meter completely drains.

The player can use a Level 1 super at any point during the Custom Combo state. Doing this will cost all your remaining meter. Combo scaling notwithstanding, the damage output of the super is the same regardless of how much meter remains in the "timer," so it is to the player's advantage to use the super as late into a custom combo as possible for maximum damage potential.

You cannot block when activated for a Custom Combo. If hit by the opponent while activated, you will lose half of any meter still in your meter bar at the moment of being hit. That is, if you still had 40% meter remaining, you will be left with 20% meter after getting hit out of activation state.

Meter is shared by the team and persists between characters and rounds. Any meter remaining after a round, win or lose, will carry over to the next round. If the round ends with the winning character (or either character in a Time Over situation) in the Custom Combo activation state, the meter will continue to drain post-KO until the player returns to neutral, after which point the meter will completely empty for the next round.

Unique Groove Abilities

Custom Combos

Custom Combos are a special meter ability in A-Groove that, once activated, allow the player to unleash a flurry of normal and special attacks while the custom is still active. This combo can be ended with a Level 1 super, provided it is done while there is still any amount of time remaining in the custom combo timer.

When the meter is full, the player can activate the custom combo state by pressing Hp.png + Hk.png. Activation has invincibility properties; see Meter System above for full details. After the activation flash/ping occurs, the player may immediately begin attacking to form a custom combo.

During a custom combo, all normal and special attacks gain the ability to be cancelled into themselves and other normal and special attacks, on hit and on block. This includes moves that could not normally be cancelled out of or into. To cancel a move into another move, simply attack as normal (press the button for the next normal attack or do the regular special move input) just as the previous attack connects with the opponent. If an attack whiffs during a custom combo, it cannot be cancelled out of and is subject to normal recovery times and potential whiff punishes.

Custom Combos can be started in the air, or against opponents that wind up in the air as a result of a (non-custom) attack. Custom combo activation resets the opponent's juggle potential, allowing them to be juggled during a custom combo. However, any air-to-air attacks that occur during a custom are subject to regular "hitstun" properties, meaning it is possible for the opponent to flip out from an air-based custom combo attack, then land and block safely, if the player's air attack does not cause sufficient stun for the next combo hit to continue the juggle state.

During the activation state, the player will be unable to block any opponent attacks. Getting hit out of a custom combo will end activation and incur a 50% loss of any remaining meter left in the meter timer.

During the activation state, the player character will have a transparent shadow effect, similar to that of a Level 1 super. This effect persists for as long as there is time remaining in the meter timer, and even if the character is not actively attacking.

The player will exit the custom combo state when:

  • The timer runs out
  • The player performs a Level 1 super
  • The player is hit

Custom Combo Damage Formula

For many characters, an optimized custom combo can do at least the equivalent damage of a Level 3 super. Aside from K-Groove, this is the biggest amount of damage you can get from the shortest amount of meter. This is in spite of custom combo damage being scaled much more severely than normal combos in CvS2.

The simple explanation of this scaling is that for optimal combo damage, begin a custom with a lot of high-damaging moves; then starting with the 10th hit, switch to rapid lights and/or fast multi-hit special moves to get in as many hits as possible before ending the custom with a Level 1 super. The exact formulas for custom combo scaling (as a Ratio 2 character) are as follows:

  • For any one of the first nine hits of a Custom Combo:
    • AttackDamage × (10 - ComboCount) × 0.072
  • All further hits starting with the 10th hit of the custom is a flat 100 points of damage.
    • All custom combo hits do a minimum of 100 damage, even those in the first nine hits that compute to below 100.
  • For the Level 1 super finisher for a Custom Combo, add on separately:
    • SuperAttackDamage × (10 - SuperComboCount) × 0.08
    • Any Level 1 super doing more than 9 hits will have any further hits do 100 damage.

Blocked special moves performed during a custom combo do standard amounts of chip (health) damage and guard crush meter damage, which does not scale. This allows some characters with multi-hit ground-based special moves to do a significant amount of custom combo damage to an opponent, even on block!

Groove Strategy

A-Groove is a top-tier groove in CvS2, and for good reason. With full meter, the strengths of A-Groove give the player almost full control of the game. Unlike in K-Groove, where this power is passive, in A-Groove it is active and available to the player at the push of a button. Many characters in CvS2 have excellent damage potential in it, but there are a handful of characters (see Character Considerations below) that excel in A-Groove due to their moveset and how well it gels with the properties of custom combos.

We will note here that optimized custom combos have been just about fully discovered for every game situation. David "GunterJPN" Dial has created a compendium of custom combo examples, complete with video, for every character in the game. This information will eventually be rolled into the Wiki's character pages, but for now it can be viewed on his Google Drive page.

Strengths

A-Groove has many strengths. These individual strengths also play off each other in a way to make each of them even more powerful than they appear on the surface.

Incredible Damage Potential - The vast majority of the cast has an optimized custom combo that can easily match or exceed (and in a few cases, GREATLY exceed) the damage you would get off of a standard Level 3 super. And this doesn't even take into account that the meter in A-Groove is one of the shortest in the game! Although C-Groove is ultimately more meter-efficient due to the ability to use Level 1s and Level 2s when the opportunity presents itself, if an A-Groove player can land a damaging custom combo often, total damage output will tilt to A-Groove's favor.

Many Setup and Conversion Opportunities - Individual characters will be better or worse at some of these situations, but overall there are many, many ways to turn any activation into a decent-to-devastating amount of custom combo damage:

  • On the ground;
  • After a juggle;
  • As an anti-air;
  • During a crossup;
  • After a command (or regular!) throw;
  • Chip damage and guard crush damage on blocking opponent, with setup opportunities after;
  • Resetting the custom (after block or hit) with overheads or throws;
  • And more!

Knowing when to activate and what do to convert the situation into maximum damage is what separates the great A-Groove players from the good ones.

Invincibility on Activation - On-demand invincible activation is an extremely powerful tool, and not just for the obvious reasons. In fact, it's the key to what makes A-Groove so threatening. Even if the opponent guesses "correctly" in a neutral situation, tech throw situation, air interaction, etc. ... A-Groove still wins once a custom combo activates, that "correct" decision whiffs, and lots of health goes bye-bye.

These three advantages taken together shows just how scary it is to play a good A-Groover with full meter. They can be aggressive and punish an opponent's expected counter attacks. They can stay patient and defensive and wait for a perfect opportunity to launch into a surprise or punish custom. Certain A-Groove character vs. Other-Groove matchups virtually guarantee big damage and KOs even if the custom is blocked from the start. The opponent is required to always be on high alert; every decision and non-decision becomes high risk for them. Compare this to the A-Groove player, who in the worst-case scenario gets hit out of their custom—and gets to keep a chunk of meter to build up for another go—or in the best case scenario, kills you. The scenarios between those two extremes still heavily favor the A-Groove player.

Weaknesses

A-Groove has few weaknesses on the system level. The biggest one is near complete reliance on having full meter, the threat of activation, and the landing of a damaging custom combo to use the groove most effectively.

Without full meter, an A-Groove opponent is far less of a threat. But even with meter, going up against a competent opponent that is able to (largely) avoid falling for activation setups and traps or bait bad activations can make A-Groove feel useless at times.

A-Groove players that insist on having full meter for as much of a match as possible may also make themselves vulnerable. Knowing their uselessness without meter, some players may elect to disengage and run away while whiffing attacks—sometimes predictably—to build back up to full meter. With the right character counterpicks and some foresight, it may be possible to get in a few easy licks on them before they can reload their meter.

Character Considerations

A-Groove heavily relies on having good synergy with characters that work well in the groove, more than any other groove in CvS2.

A character that is otherwise excellent overall may not necessarily be a good fit for A-Groove. Not that A-Sagat wouldn't be effective—he's still Sagat. And it's true that 90% of the cast can produce Level 3-like damage off of their custom combos, even ones that are lower-tier.

However, there are specific characters in CvS2 that have a particular set of skills, which help them overachieve in A-Groove due to the many opportunities they have to land a custom combo, and often, the ridiculous amount of damage that come from them.

There are four categories to consider when building an A-Groove team that can best take advantage of the custom combo system. However, there are two notorious A-Groove characters in CvS2 that are proficient in several of these categories, literally putting them in a class of their own.

Made for A

  • Bison (Dictator)
  • Sakura

Sak and Dic are absolute monsters in A-Groove. As you will read below, they are masters in several aspects of A-Groove play. Their custom combos are so iconic in CvS2 that they have special names that describe the rapid repetition of special moves within them: Bison's Paint the Fence and Sakura's Shoshosho.

Lots of Conversion Options'

  • Blanka
  • Bison (again)
  • Yamazaki
  • Vega (Claw)

Rapid Fire Combos

  • Bison/Sakura (again)
  • Todo - Wave projectiles
  • Rolento - Spinning stick attacks
  • Akuma - Red fireballs
  • Vice - (Air) Scissor kicks

Reset Potential

  • Sakura (again) - Overhead
  • Iori - Command grab and overhead
  • Hibiki - Overhead and left/right mixups
  • Ken - Overhead

BLOCKING LOL

  • Sakura (again)
  • Blanka (honorable mention)
  • Iori
  • Kyo

A-Groove Character Tier List

In May 2021, David "GunterJPN" Dial threw together a tier list focusing on characters in A-Groove ("even though I don't believe in tiers"):

CvS2 AGroove TierList.jpg

Note that this tier list is not universally accepted, but it is definitely good enough of a list to give a general idea of how A-Groove helps or hurts particular characters in relation to each other.

Groove Comparisons and Matchups

The info in this section is for direct comparisons between grooves and generic groove vs groove matchups, which may apply differently to specific characters. For more detail on how a character plays in and plays against the different grooves, refer to their character info page.

Cvs2 C-Groove Label.png


Cvs2 A-Groove Label.png


Cvs2 P-Groove Label.png


Cvs2 S-Groove Label.png


Cvs2 N-Groove Label.png


Cvs2 K-Groove Label.png


CvS2 Wiki Navigation

General
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CvS2 Versions
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Grooves
Groove Overview
Groove Subsystems
C-Groove
A-Groove
P-Groove
S-Groove
N-Groove
K-Groove
Capcom Characters
Akuma (Gouki)
Balrog (Boxer)
Blanka
Cammy
Chun-Li
Dan
Dhalsim
Eagle
E.Honda
Guile
Ken
Kyosuke
Maki
M. Bison (Dictator)
Morrigan
Rolento
Ryu
Sagat
Sakura
Vega (Claw)
Yun
Zangief
SNK Characters
Athena
Benimaru
Chang
Geese
Haohmaru
Hibiki
Iori
Joe
Kim
King
Kyo
Mai
Nakoruru
Raiden
Rock
Rugal
Ryo
Terry
Todo
Vice
Yamazaki
Yuri
Boss Characters
Shin Akuma
Ultimate Rugal
Evil Ryu
Orochi Iori