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JoJo's Bizarre Adventure: Heritage for the Future/Shadow Dio/Matchups
Matchups mostly taken from this: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1s1RGmT9_HEjNsER3Y2OMSgv1xySt5TplySdNQnbC2ag/edit If it's still up there are gifs for each of the character entries visualizing some of the punishes.
Alessi is a campy character that utilizes his stand’s long normals to stuff out your attempts at approaching. He has solid normals in both modes (although his s.off normals are stubby), good crossups, a powerful guard cancel, short hurtbox with fast wakeup, 2f prejump and respectable damage off his combos that turns you into your child form, Wang.
For Shadow Dio, this matchup will be a contest to get in without sacrificing all your health by eating stand on pokes. All of Alessi’s stand on normals appear from within his shadow on the ground and have large hurtboxes that are active before the hitboxes, meaning you can stuff them out with normals or 5s. While Alessi thrives on controlling the ground, his air game is weak enough that he’ll need precise positioning to anti-air you, or enter an air-to-air situation where your jump in will have the upper hand. An active aerial attack will stuff out the preemptive hurtboxes of both his s.5b and s.2b.
For positioning, you ideally want to either be far away from Alessi where he can’t surprise you with s.on pokes, or choking him with pressure up close until he eventually cracks. Forcing him into the corner can give you a huge advantage as he won’t have any room to maneuver for anti-airs. Mix up hop j.A with empty hops and hop j.S. While s.on he can option select your jump in by pressing 4+ABC to either pushblock your jump in, tech your grab or jab your empty hop. Because Shadow Dio’s j.S stalls his air momentum instantly, it can be difficult for Alessi to determine whether you’re landing or not. j.S stuffs out his 4ABC tech attempt and empty hop grab opens him up if he respects you too much. If he decides to air-to-air your jump in, your j.A will be better positioned because Alessi won’t have any good aerials pointing up. If jumps and blocks j.A, you’ll land before him for a free tech chase.
If you have life lead and lose your pressure then you can feel free to back off and harass him from a distance. 5s is easy to throw out and stops him from approaching with s.on normals. Laser won’t hit Alessi unless he’s dashing/running or pulls out gun. C-Knives can’t be punished fullscreen as his Custom Combo won’t give him enough iframes to phase through your knives unless they’re right next to him; and at that point you’ll have already recovered before his s.5c hits you. At midscreen you can stuff him out by the 632C followup as well. Alessi’s biggest threat at longer distances is his gun as it’s crazy chip damage can steal away life lead from you. Book is a hard read option and rolls can be baited out.
While stand off, Alessi’s normals become stubby yet good counterpokes that leads into his combos. His j.C is a fantastic air-to-air that will contest your j.B, making air-to-air against Alessi difficult. His j.A is a great tool for crossing you up and can act as a tick grab or combo starter if you get hit by it. Although it can be risky to challenge him his jump ins air-to-air, your anti airs work well against him. 5b, backdash d.5b, 2b etc are all good options.
Fake crossup can be effective against Alessi as his wide hurtbox makes him easier to hit, he won’t be able to jab out of it, his anti-airs are lacking and his roll is slow enough for you to land, recover from 5s and grab him. Be careful of whiffing j.S as it’s easy for him to catch your landing.
Alessi’s 2c is fast and safe on block which is very effective at keeping you out, however one of the more annoying aspects of it is that he can cancel it into his gun (41236A/B/C) to cause a lot of chip damage after you wake up. At closer distances, gun is punishable on both hit and block with d.2c or 5c. Guard cancelling his gun towards the last few shots will let you leave blockstun earlier thanks to iframes, but mistiming it can be risky.
Alessi doesn’t have any scary reversals except his custom combo. During his custom combo, he can mix you up with an overhead (s.6b). This move only comes out at longer distances, and because his lows require him to be close to combo off them, you simply need to block high while he’s further away then block low once he gets closer. Pushblocking his CC is not recommended as you’ll push him back into his s.6b overhead range. Alternatively, you can option select by rolling through his raw custom combo or stuff it out with 236aa.
His combos doesn’t deal a lot of damage by themselves, but most of them turns you into child mode. During child mode, your goal will be to waste his time as much as possible by jumping around and poking at him with your j.C. Getting a jump off is in no way guaranteed and against competent Alessi players, you’ll most likely just have to eat the damage but there is no reason to not hold up during child mode in cases where Alessi whiffs his axe.
Alessi’s 236aa is a mediocre reversal that has a tendency to make Shadow Dio fall out of it thanks to hurtbox shenanigans. It is easy to punish if he whiffs it and forces him to turn his stand on, giving you an almost guaranteed stand crash if he screws up. You can pushblock early and punish with d.2c, you could hit him with 5s as he runs up to you, or hop over it and punish his recovery. His 214aa works as an early anti air that is air unblockable and turns you into child mode upon hit, so avoid doing bad and obvious jump ins.
With a quick wakeup speed and 2f prejump, you will lose your oki options that rely on you jumping over your opponent as he can simply jump out of it or reversal you. Due to how difficult it is to approach Alessi, it is vital that your okizeme succeeds as you won’t always be given another chance to close out the round. Never jump over him after a knockdown unless you knocked him down with 2S.
Avdol is arguably one of the more manageable S tier matchups for Shadow Dio as most Avdol players rely on his strong buttons to control space in neutral rather than extremely oppressive mixups or an impenetrable defense.
Whenever you play against Avdol, it is vital that you focus on spacing yourself properly to combat his powerful buttons and attempts at stuffing you out. One of his more notorious buttons s.j.C is a powerful air-to-air while also being used for jump ins. A well timed backdash 5b can help anti air him while also creating more space between you. Even if his buttons are powerful, most Avdol players try and fail to abuse his priority, allowing you to space them out and whiff punish without too much trouble.
A well placed j.B can beat out Avdol’s air-to-air, backdash 5s can help stuff out his sweep and backdash 5b helps you anti air him. As such, situations where you’re actively running away from Avdol and poking at him with well placed buttons are ideal.
Avdol is one of the active stand characters that actively uses his remote mode. While he’s in remote, Magician’s Red gets a significant boost to his walk speed which makes spacing yourself difficult. You cannot grab his stand, but he can grab you which can make teching grabs harder as you cannot preemptively grab him back. The only way to force him to turn off remote mode is to either hit Avdol himself with a stand attack (5s and it’s variants) or by grabbing him. Both methods are very inconsistent for Shadow Dio as it relies on you getting close enough to perform a grab/5s, where 5s may accidentally hit the stand (due to The World’s hitbox appearing behind you) and any attempts at grabbing can be negated by Avdol cancelling his remote mode into tandem. As such, whenever you find yourself in a position where Avdol goes remote, you must avoid getting sandwiched at any cost. Strong blockpressure is very effective against remote since you’ll chip away at his stand gauge, and fishing for standcrashes is the only guaranteed way to break his remote.
Approaching Avdol is where the matchup goes awry since you can no longer evade his buttons. His 623a/s.623a is an amazing anti air that will stuff out obvious jump ins and shred you through tech chases. It is air unblockable when it hits deep, so even block jumping in is not an option if he’s prepared for you. Grounded approaches can be troublesome as well due to his normals and effective reversal supers (especially the ludicrous amount of iframes he gets from 623aa). Your ranged tools and book can be effective if used cleverly in this matchup, as long as you consider Avdol’s stand on mobility.
Avdol’s projectiles like his Crossfire Hurricane (236a/b/c) and Napalm Bomb (236aa) can be booked and leads to a lot of damage if Avdol finds himself grounded. Competent Avdol’s will often jump, rewarding you only with a tech chase or they’ll save their 236aa for when they knock you down. Avdol also has access to Flame Sensor (214A/B/C) where he’ll send out a flaming cross towards you that’ll explode when he releases the button or after a short time. This move is a threat because he’ll get multiple opportunities to set it up safely (such as after anti airing you) that can lead to free tech chases or pressure in neutral.
Black Polnareff (Bpol for short) relies on a strong sense of neutral and rushdown with the few good normals he has available. Despite the character being lacking, this matchup can be very oppressive for Shadow Dio due to how hard he can punish you and his loop dealing more damage than yours. Your advantage in this matchup is your mobility and strong okizeme mixups.
The most oppressive tool in Bpol’s kit is his 214aa super. This is such a ridiculous reversal that deals a ton of damage, is air unblockable and will reverse through any attempts at approaching him. Playing effectively in this matchup requires you to constantly watch out and play around this super as it’ll annihilate your life lead very easily. Because it is air unblockable, jumping in this matchup is extremely risky as he can catch you as you fall down (however doing j.S may alleviate it a little since it’ll stall your momentum mid air and hopefully the super goes under you.) A meterless Bpol is an annoying racoon on your porch. A Bpol with meter is a deranged man with a loaded gun. It is absolutely vital that you keep track of his meter and avoid doing risky stuff if he has 214aa ready.
Besides 214aa, Bpol has some other tools that makes him appear oppressive. One of his dashing normals d.2b can close the distance between you quickly and combined with his how far he moves when performing his rekka, it can be surprisingly difficult to gauge his effective distance. While dashing around it’s important that you don’t accidentally overextend and get caught by an unexpected d.2b as he can combo off it into his loop for massive damage.
His d.2b/2b has a ton of active frames and is very good for catching your landing so be very careful of needlessly pressing j.S as one unfortunate landing can easily let him loop you.
His 5a works well as a late anti air, giving him the opportunity to consistently jab you out of your fake crossup and tech chase you.
His j.B is an excellent air-to-air and aerial attack that is very difficult to contest and anti air, while also letting him confirm a successful aerial approach into loop.
His 623A/B/C makes Silver Chariot spin his swords and is a good although dedicated anti air that deals a lot of damage.
While his roll speed isn’t extravagant, it covers a surprising amount of ground and combined with his dashing normals/214aa negates any of your attempts at using your projectiles to zone him out. He can roll through both knives and laser on reaction and punish your recovery even if he’s almost at full screen. Bpol also has no projectiles to speak of himself so your book won’t be used a lot in this matchup.
So to summarize: you have to be very cautious when you approach a Bpol with meter, your ranged options are rarely worth the risk, fighting him air-to-air is difficult due to his j.B, jumping in general can be punished by 214aa, spacing yourself in neutral can be difficult because he can clip your dashes/buttons with his dashing normals or 214aa and his loop rewards him with more damage and meter than you. This is why the matchup can feel very oppressive, yet how come it’s still relatively even?
That is because Bpol is just as gimped in this matchup as you are. All of the options we’ve covered so far only really works if you’re actively approaching or constantly makes mistakes. Bpol himself really struggles to approach and therefore relies more on a patient block & punish playstyle to be truly effective and he thrives on punishing your mistakes. The answer is patience. Do not recklessly approach if he has meter, instead try lapping around the stage and force him to chase you and do your best to bait out his 214aa without committing to any buttons. His j.B is really good but not unbeatable. The majority of Bpol’s moves is pretty useless in neutral as his stuff is punishable (like rekka, 623a/b/c, and even 214aa). Bpol also has no proper answer to your okizeme either as he has moderate wakeup speed and a moderate amount of prejump frames, meaning he’ll have to respect whatever you’re doing as long as you don’t miss the meaty window and fall victim to his wakeup 214aa. A neat trick against 214aa mashing Bpol players is to jump over him to fake your fake crossup then jump over him again, baiting out 214aa in the wrong direction and rewarding you with a free punish.
Bpol’s rekka is punishable, but not consistently due to a couple of factors. The rekka consists of three parts and we’ll use 236b as an example since it’s the same as 236c except a bit tighter to punish (and usually what Bpol players tend to use). Rekka is 236b (1st rekka) xx 236b (2nd rekka) xx 236s (3rd rekka). The 1st rekka is punishable on block by pushblocking it earlier and hitting him with a well timed d.2c while he’s still recovering. The 2nd rekka however isn’t as easily punishable on pushblock except by something that doesn’t reward you too much (like a d.2a.). You can pushblock his first rekka and stuff him out before the 2nd rekka reaches you with 5a or 2a, however you won’t be able to loop off them due to range. Another option is to pushblock the first rekka, hop over the second rekka and punish with j.C. Third option is to pushblock the first rekka, then whiff punish the second rekka if he’s far away. Bpol’s third rekka (236s) is very punishable on block.
Keep in mind that rekka punishes depend heavily on what your opponent decides to do after the rekka. If you hop over his first rekka and he doesn’t dedicate the second rekka, he can block your hop in and punish you. However if you try to punish the first rekka with d.2c and he does commit to a second rekka, you’ll get stuffed out.
Although 214aa will put the fear of god in you, it is actually punishable on block if you’re close. Pushblock early and hit him with d.2c 5s. Otherwise you can also guard cancel it but the timing vary depending on distance and screwing it up will annihilate you, meaning it’s a high risk/low reward option but at least it looks cool. Stalling yourself in the air with j.S and jumping over his 214aa lets you land right next to Bpol while he’s posing for a juicy punish.
Be mindful of doing fake crossup on okizeme against Bpol. All characters can punish it, but Bpol’s 214aa is one of the more drastic punishes you can eat and if you see your opponent consistently punish it, you could try baiting it out to keep him guessing.
Chaka is a neutral heavy character with amazing mobility and solid pokes that will make spacing yourself difficult. Luckily for us, Chaka’s damage through combos isn’t very high against passive stand users (as he cannot perform standcrash reset shenanigans) which allows some room for mistake in this matchup. However, don’t underestimate how much damage he can rack up through his pokes with his strong footsies. Chaka can combo off his guard cancel, so be careful with obvious blockpressure.
His mobility comes from his lightning quick hyperhop while he’s stand off. This let’s him close the gap between you in a flash and allows him to pressure you heavily with quick overheads that leads into moderate damage. Chaka’s j.C while stand off is one of the best air-to-air attacks in the game as it does high damage, covers a long, horizontal distance from Chaka and can combo into itself. These two factors makes Chaka an air-to-air beast that you need to respect. Shadow Dio’s j.B is an air-to-air tool that requires good positioning as the hitbox is located on his foot, making it an ideal vertical air-to-air. However, due to Chaka’s quick jump and j.C’s horizontal hitbox, you’ll often find yourself losing air-to-air against it since you won’t have time to gain the vertical advantage you need to contest it. Therefore it’s better to respect his air-to-air game and focus on anti airing his hop ins. Obvious jumps and aerial approaches during stand on let’s you contest him effectively with j.B.
Chaka has a rekka special where he can slash his sword three times, with the last slash having different properties depending on if he pressed A, B or C. He can only use it in stand on and is punishable if used in neutral. Third A rekka hits low, B is a slow, jumping overhead, and C is a launcher. The A and B versions won’t combo off the second rekka hit and acts therefore as a reset, especially the B version which hits overhead and let’s him start another combo. Cheeky players may try and reset you by using the B rekka during their custom combo, but it is very reactable so watch out for it. All three rekka hits are punishable on block. Competent players will rarely commit rekka on block, so take the opportunity and punish the first hit whenever you can.
Do note that Chaka can cancel any of his rekka hits into his anubis counter (214A/B/C) to bait out your punish and counter one of your moves. This stops you from mashing 5c through rekka as you can’t afford to let him counter one of your primary pokes/confirm tools. Despite making his rekka safe, the counter itself is very unsafe and punishable so adapt accordingly if your opponent abuses it and either grab or stuff out his recovery after a whiffed counter.
Chaka’s 236aa and s.236aa are both punishable on block and brings him close to you, making it easy to block and 5c into loop. 236aa is air unblockable but has a low vertical hitbox so if your opponent tries to catch your landing and whiffs, you can easily punish it. Chaka can also do 236/s.236 on oki to cross you up with good timing, since the hitbox lingers for a bit and essentially gives him a wonky 50/50. Otherwise, Chaka’s oki consists of ambiguous crossovers with his weird jump arc and it can be difficult to quickly pinpoint exactly where you should block. Keep your eyes peeled and block correctly as he doesn’t have any other good oki options than an ambiguous meaty.
Devo is a puppet character with good screen control, powerful normals, high damaging combos, strong pressure game and strong okizeme. However, he is fully reliant on his doll’s positioning to get anything done and as such, you need to pay attention to where his puppet is at all times and avoid getting sandwiched between Devo and his puppet.
While in neutral, Devo can turn his stand on at any moment and surprise you with his stand on normals. If you’re positioned near the doll, he can activate it and quickly grab or pressure you with his d.5a, 5a, and s.j.B which is a very quick overhead that he can combo off. Because of this, you need to either avoid sitting on top of his doll or try and bait out his stand activation with safe pokes.
His doll works like a remote stand, meaning you can’t grab it and Devo takes increased damage if you attack him. The only way to force him to turn his stand off is to either grab him or hit him with a stand attack (5s, j.S, 41236s and other variants), which leaves you few options to contest Devo himself as the doll can continue to pummel away at you. Getting sandwiched between Devo and his puppet is deadly, meaning that if he turns his stand on you should focus your attention on his doll. Heavy blockpressure is recommended as he has limited reversal options while stand on and enough pressure will force a stand crash.
Moving away from the doll and chasing down Devo can be difficult as his s.off normals aren’t bad. His 5c is a good anti air that pulls you down to the ground. His j.C is an excellent air-to-air that requires good positioning for your j.B to beat it. If you feel pressured by the classic j.Cvo, pushblock his j.C or hop back and air-to-air it with your j.B while you exploit his openings as he mashes out doll moves. Devo approaching you is advantageous to you since his blockpressure without doll is very limited and you won’t have to chase him while watching your back for the occasional doll special.
Devo’s 214aa is one of the best reversals in the game. It gives him a bunch of iframes, causes his doll to launch towards you and let’s him act almost instantly after the superflash, letting him iframe through your pressure while starting off a combo as the doll damages you and positions itself for his oki. Although it is powerful, it’s strength varies depending on how far away the doll is. Ideally, you want to be as far away from the doll as possible while you’re pressuring Devo to not only help combat his 214aa reversal, but also negating his powerful doll pressure. A good rule of thumb in neutral is to either focus on dealing with the doll or chasing down Devo himself if he’s in a bad position.
Depending on the doll’s position, bad use of Devo’s special moves will leave him and the doll vulnerable for a short moment. Take this opportunity to reverse with a super or approach freely as he can’t block while his doll is performing a special. These situations are best suited for when Devo is positioned in front of the doll so you won’t have to worry about being sandwiched or not being able to hit the doll with a 236aa.
Devo’s oki consists of him using 214a to make the doll hit you high, while he himself does 2a to hit you low, creating an almost unblockable mixup. However it is not truly unblockable because most of the time, if 2a hits at the same time as 214a you’ll instantly be able to act instead of being in hitstun. This means you can fuzzy guard his oki by blocking his 2a for the first few frames, then switching over to block his 214a followup.
A disadvantaged matchup, though not as heavily as against the S tiers, DIO is a threatening character with superior mobility and a better toolbox to help him in neutral. Although some of his moves may seem familiar, their properties are often vastly different and as such, you need to consider them separate moves from your own. A good example is DIO’s 5c which launches (used for knockdowns at the end of his combos) unlike Shadow Dio’s 5c.
Stand off, he gains the ability to teleport and play a strong footsies game by poking with d.5c 236s. DIO’s dash is very similar to Shadow Dio’s dash, only with the added ability of teleports and more powerful options in general such as stand on mobility makes him come out slightly on top in this matchup. Luckily, DIO’s grab is severely punishable and as such, not only is DIO’s pressure fake, you can pretend that your roll is good in this matchup. Good DIO players tend to meaty rolls, so be careful with pressing buttons after rolling through his pressure.
DIO’s grab is punishable by teching down after getting launched, then cancelling it into 5s or 236aa to punish him. Punishing with 236aa is arguably more lenient but 5s lets you loop and costs no meter.
With a punishable grab, DIO has essentially no mixups to speak of. Therefore he relies on a strong sense of neutral to punish your approaches or cracking through your guard with fake pressure. Some of DIO’s blockpressure strings can be very easy to guard cancel (for example 2a 2a 2a 214a), however pushblocking is the most reliable way to get him off you as even a failed pushblock won’t get you grabbed. In most cases DIO won’t be able to open you up due to his lack of mixups, however he can be very threatening once he starts baiting your buttons out in neutral.
DIO’s teleport is an excellent special move that let’s him teleport to the left, the middle or the right side of the screen. It has iframes immediately upon activation and lasts all the way through until he can take action. This means that if DIO starts his teleport, you won’t be able to catch it’s startup nor meaty his recovery (as there is none). Unless you’re certain that the DIO player will mash buttons after a teleport, either go for a grab or stay defensive as whiffed buttons is his key to opening you up. Grabbing a teleporting DIO can scare him off because if he tries to tech and accidentally grabs you instead, you’ll be rewarded with a free punish.
Going stand on gives DIO access one of the best reversal in the game through his s.on knives (s.236aa). These knives gives him a bunch of invulnerability frames, has a quick startup, does a lot of damage and can even combo into itself multiple times. Pressuring a defensive stand on DIO will require you to play around his knives and leave your blockstrings short as overextending will punish you heavily. DIO has an exceptionally tall stand on hurtbox, giving you plenty of room to pressure him and potentially cause a standcrash. If he has no meter then his defensive options are very limited as he’ll be afraid of trying to tech grabs. His guard cancel isn’t very good and baiting it out through staggered pressure can reward you heavily if he ends up doing s.623a. DIO will usually not run around in neutral while stand on, but if he does you have to play around his s.on normals while also being cautious about his s.236aa as he might be preparing to barrage you with knives. If you find yourself getting caught in his air 236a, blocking will force you to take unnecessary chip damage. In this case stop blocking and tech out as soon as possible.
Some basic tactics against bad DIO players involve punishing erratic use of his Blazing Fists (236a/b/c) with your 236aa. Road Roller hits high and is very punishable as DIO is vulnerable while he falls down, letting you run up and either tech chase him, hit him with a charged laser, set up 214aa or timestop if you wish (just remember he can timestop too). DIO’s teleport (623a/b/c) shares the same motion with a very punishable stand on attack (s.623a/b/c) where DIO sends out his stand slowly to punch you. If he uses it accidentally, just run up and hit him with a loop starter. Raw tandems can be punished with 3c. DIO’s laser requires no charge and is always unblockable, but you can low profile it and punish if close or book it at longer distances.
DIO also has a meterless 50/50 okizeme plan that leads into moderate damage. He’ll set up Blazing Fists with 236c then either hit you with a low (2a) or a high (hyperhop j.A) letting him bash away at you while his 236c finishes. He can end it with a sweep leading to another 50/50, so ideally avoid getting knocked down and keep your guessing game on point. If you guess correctly and block his 236c, you may be able to guard cancel it or punish him with a reversal super.
Hol Horse is a zoning oriented character with the highest defense value in the game and relies on frametraps and knockdowns to win rounds. Although you have multiple tools to get around his attempts at zoning you out, one knockdown from him will often straight out kill you as he can either perform a touch of death combo using slowbullet on oki, or loop you with glass and 2c which hits high and low at the same time, leading into another knockdown. Because of this, the matchup can be very polarizing.
Hol Horse will mostly rely on his glass shower and bullets to wall you out and create mixups and frametraps that will force you to commit a mistake and eat a knockdown. His normal bullet is rarely a problem for Shadow Dio as you can book it for a free loop, or simply block it. Glass shower is harder to deal with as it hits high and activates proximity guard which forces you into a blocking animation even if the glass isn’t actively hitting you, limiting your mobility somewhat whenever you try to approach. With glass shower he can hit you with an overhead and a low at the same time, so it is vital that you avoid getting into situations where you allow him to set up a well placed glass shower while he’s close enough to hit you with his 2c slide. At longer distances he can use glass shower and his 236AC to create an unblockable setup, however it is easily mitigated by avoiding the glass all together, jumping, rolling or booking.
Glass shower can also be used by Hol Horse while he’s airborne (usually called for Air Glass). This version allows him to avoid grounded approaches while walling you out with glass, however after performing it mid air, he will be completely vulnerable when he falls down to the ground again, giving you an excellent opportunity to avoid the glass and punish him before he lands. At closer distances you can cross under him and hit him with 5a/5c as he lands, or cross under and tech chase him with a j.B. Longer distances however can be more problematic but booking obvious glass shower attempts or using laser to catch him as he falls from a distance can be effective. It can be difficult to chase down a Hol Horse player that mashes out glass shower, however if you play patiently you’ll notice his pattern and you can weave through it. If you get caught blocking air glass up close, you can guard cancel it.
Another option to close in against Hol Horse is to roll. Hol Horse’s grab is punishable by teching down and hitting him with a j.B, meaning he can’t throw you for free and although the punish doesn’t reward you heavily, you can set up a tick grab with j.B d.2a grab. Rolling works well against his projectiles but be careful of him meatying your roll with glass shower + 236AC.
His two primary ways of causing a knockdown is his 2c slide and 5c yakuza kick. You can punish his 2c on block with 2a or by pushblocking and hitting him with 5c into loop, while his 5c can be punished on block with either 5c or 2a (depending on distance and is generally tighter). Punishing Hol’s 5c with your own 5c on block requires you to not pushblock and hit the 3f window and does not lead to loop midscreen. Usually he’ll catch you pressing buttons with his 5c or 2c meaning that it is vital to recognize his frametraps and act accordingly. His 2c is good at catching your landing if you whiff j.S and his 5c can catch your prejump frames if you try to up+back his blockpressure. Hol can do a dashing version of 2c which is slower but also cancelable.
The move that glues Hol Horse’s frametraps together is his 214A/B/C where Hanged Man appears from the floor and attacks you. If you get hit, you’ll eat a long hitstun and most likely a knockdown, however if you block it then you can pushblock to get out of blockstun almost immediately. You should always pushblock or guard cancel this move so he can’t bully you any further. Mashing buttons or trying to jump after pushblocking is a mistake as he’ll most likely follow it up with a knockdown. Stay patient and keep your block up until he gives up the pressure, rolls or presses 5c/2c.
Hol Horse has the fastest roll in the game. Whenever you pressure a Hol player, it is very important that you’re careful with 5s as he can easily get out of your pressure and severely punishing you by rolling through your 5s. If Hol rolls through your 5s, you won’t be able to grab him because your stand hasn’t recovered, you won’t be able to jump because he can catch you with 5c thanks to his fast roll, and you can’t block since 5s is still recovering. This leaves your only option to either meaty his roll, or roll yourself and punish his grab/block his attempted meaty. Hol thrives on impatience and mistakes so be careful doing risky pressure as one mistake will kill you.
Be careful when doing obvious jump ins as he can anti air you with his slow bullet super. If he starts throwing out slow bullets in neutral, your best option is so book it and punish or dodge it by hopping around or ducking them. Booking his slow bullets can be tricky since your inputs may get eaten during the slow mo. Although you can roll through his slow bullet, it’ll put you at a disadvantaged position since you won’t be able to dodge his slow bullets up close. Because of this, rolls should be a last resort against slow bullet.
Hol & Boingo
Hol Horse & Boingo (Hoingo for short) is arguably a worse version of normal Hol Horse with some nerfed normals, losing the ability to use hanged man, no more slow bullets and instead has two new supers. This matchup gives you a much larger room for error compared to Hol Horse as Hoingo won’t ToD you off a single knockdown. His gameplan mostly consists of zoning you out with his faster S bullet and stuffing you out with some okay-ish normals like 5b, 4b, 4c, or even j.C and one very good 2b (brick) that’s surprisingly effective at stuffing you out.
A lot of stuff you need to do against Hol Horse is applicable here too. Weave through his projectiles, punish air glass, buffer guard cancel on wakeup if he tries to loop you with glass and 2c, book obvious projectiles, use your ranged tools to harass him etc. The difference in this matchup is that you won’t have to respect Hoingo nearly as much since his frametraps are lacking and he has no easy way to kill you with a knockdown. Instead of slow bullet, Hoingo has access to Pipe Maze (setups pipes on the screen that fires unblockable bullets from one of the directions after around 5 seconds.) and Absolute Premonition (360 command grab super).
Pipe Maze is an odd super. When he first goes into the animation of firing his bullets down the pipe, he’ll have an active hitbox that is air unblockable and has a bunch of active frames. However, around halfway through his pipe animation, his active frames will disappear and he’ll be completely open for whatever punish you wish to inflict upon him, but be careful since once the animation is finished he’ll get some iframes with the superflash. Hoingo can use this as a mediocre reversal, but even if he gets the super off, it’ll take ~5 seconds before the bullets fly out of the pipe. To dispel his pipes you just need to hit him so utilize this short period to perform heavy pressure as getting trapped within his 236aa bullets + pipe bullets can lead to a lot of damage.
His second super(truck) is a special command grab with respectable damage that can grab people in hitstun and blockstun. Due to it being a command grab, it has very short range and doesn’t catch prejump frames meaning you can avoid it by holding up during the superflash. Hoingo players like to force you to block with his S bullets or glass shower and command grab you while you’re in blockstun. He can also hitconfirm into it with d.5a. Whenever Hoingo decides he wants to do truck on oki, you can counter it by holding up as he’ll be forced to meaty you first, and you must be blocking for the super to connect. Eating the hit makes the super whiff for some reason so you’ll waste his meter and after whiffing a truck, Hoingo becomes vulnerable during the long recovery animation.
Hoingo’s S bullets are fast and his patterns can be pretty impressive at times. You shouldn’t really respect them all too much as he has no guaranteed S bullet setups and your laser/book can be very effective if he mashes out S bullet at longer distances. A common, yet fake ‘setup’ is 2b 5s since brick is so fast. This is punishable by 2a up close, d.2a at longer distances or simply hopping in with an aerial after eating the brick (results may vary depending on his S bullet pattern).
At fullscreen it turns into a rock-paper-scissors where you have the advantage. Book stops him from using projectiles but he can manipulate his S bullet patterns to avoid/delay your book and punish you with a normal bullet or a super. However, if his S bullets aren’t hitting you, you can laser him for free damage, but his 236c/236A+C crouches under laser. But then again, if he does a bad 236c/236A+C you can book it. This game of RPS is more rewarding for you but the initiative lies with Hoingo and more often than not you’d be better off approaching him anyways since he’s so much weaker than you. Watch out for him doing j.236AA over your laser though.
A very weird matchup where you can’t approach if Iggy decides to turtle, but one mistake from Iggy may cost him the game. Iggy primarily relies on keeping you out in neutral with sandballs while fishing for the occasional knockdown where he can perform multiple okizeme options that rivals yours.
While in the air, Iggy can hold up to glide around and press buttons to throw sandballs which makes approaching almost impossible as it’ll beat out both grounded and aerial attempts. Gliding does not make him vulnerable when falling nor does it stop him from attacking after it. This gives him the ability to perform instant overheads which makes his pressure and okizeme scary. Iggy can also airdash (but he cannot use both glider and airdash in one jump) which gives him some more aerial mobility while also opening up opportunities for quick overheads.
Iggy’s grab leads to a long knockdown which opens up a myriad of okizeme options for him.
His 2b slides him forward and acts as a low hitting meaty with a bunch of active frames and lets him confirm it into a tandem or super. Simply block low on wakeup.
His 6b is a quick overhead where a sand version of Shadow Dio appears and hits you. Must be blocked high.
Iggy’s 63214 sets up two sand dogs that acts as a command grab if you get hit. Becauses you have 5 frames of command grab invulnerability on wakeup, Iggy will either do j.C or 2b to put you into blockstun while the invulnerability wears off, trapping you within his command grab. This only works if you block it, as a normal hit will knock you out of it. If you see him setting it up, hold up (8) and take the hit. Alternatively you can block the meaty and punish with 5a crc 5c before the command grab hits you according to Karnazz.
After knocking you down, he can hop and perform an instant overhead with his s.j.C that works either as a tick grab, or let’s him confirm into a combo. Even if you block high, watch out for a grab followup as it will lead into another knockdown.
Iggy also has an unblockable oki option against Shadow Dio. By inputting 5c close to you, he can summon pillars of sand that will put you in blockstun as Iggy does a tandem that hits low, while hitting you with an overhead j.C that sets you up in the tandem without being able to do anything. The only way out of this is to buffer guard cancel on wakeup and guard cancelling his initial 5c.
This covers most of his options but be aware that he can mix them up and do basic oki stuff as well such as empty hop grab, different tick grab setups etc.
Iggy is a charge character with two different charges move and both involve sending his stand out either horizontally or vertically. The horizontal version covers a lot of ground but is very punishable even on hit, meaning if Iggy throws it out in neutral then you can punish it with 5c on both block and hit. The vertical version is harder to punish and is mostly used as an anti air if Iggy’s grounded and isn’t in a position where he can keep you out with sandballs.
If Iggy throws out 236aa in neutral, he can mix it up by either hitting you low or high while you’re in blockstun. Depending on the distance between you when he first uses it, you can 236aa and punish the sand wave if he’s far away or guard cancel his pressure while 236aa hits you. Note that his j.C will heavily scale the super, however he can still overhead you with 6b instead.
Even if Iggy is difficult for you to approach, he himself also has difficulties approaching you. His horizontal charge move can be punished on hit, his glider is too slow to effectively approach with and his teleport can easily be grabbed. His walk speed during stand off however is very fast, letting him low profile some of your moves (like 5a, 5b, laser) while also closing the distance quickly into a grab. Iggy players have a tendency to grab a lot as it allows him to set up powerful okizeme, so poking his approach out with 5s/2a, reverse his grab attempts with 236aa or teching when he closes in on you is heavily recommended.
The matchup will consist of heavy pokes from both players as they’ll try to knock each other down. You won’t have any reasonable answers to him walling you out with sandballs, but the occasional laser or knives can force him to stop gliding and block, giving you a small opportunity to approach before he goes airborne again.
Jotaro is an unfavorable matchup for Shadow Dio due to him having extremely good normals that will beat out yours, high damaging combos that leads into a knockdown and a true 50/50 okizeme plan that will determine whether or not you’ll survive the round. As he is a close range brawler, you will mostly rely on your movement options to outplay him.
Be careful when dashing in and out in this matchup. Jotaro has some great dashing normals such as his d.2c, d.5c, d.5a and many others which are excellent options for him to chase you down and clip your dashes. If you decide to run away, be careful as he’ll most likely be able to catch up to you. Running away and baiting out his approach options lets you punish or contest reckless buttons. Due to Jotaro’s effective range being so short, it’ll be tempting to back off and use projectiles, however his Star Breaker and stand on mobility can negate any attempts at laser/knives.
While being pressured by Jotaro, it’s important to stay patient and punish him accordingly. If they try to do their BnB combo as a blockstring, you can block his 214b and punish his hyperhop with an anti air such as 5a, 5b, 2b, 44b, 7b etc. 214b is +18 on block and pushblocking puts you in 15 frames of pushblock, therefore unless you’re perfectly pushblocking 214b early, blocking it normally can be more consistent. Alternatively, Jotaro can do 5a 6b 214b d.5a 2a 2a 6b 214b which is a blockstring that is 100% safe. If you try to anti air after his initial 214b and he pressures you with d.5a instead of hyperhopping, you’ll get beaten out and die. Either pushblock him away or guard cancel it (but watch out since this blockstring is easy for Jotaro to stagger)
Jotaro’s stand on pressure is not as scary since you’ll low profile some of his s.on normals by holding down+back, giving you room to breathe and even whiff punish s.on normals like s.5a. Whenever he pressures you with Star Breaker, don’t panic and block it. He can hold it for an extended duration and cancel it into something else if he wishes to, therefore if he activates Star Breaker hold block and respect it. If you try to roll you’ll get grabbed, if you press buttons you’ll get hit, if you jump he can cancel and anti air you etc. His Star Breaker is a good pressure tool but you can punish his stand on version on block with 5c (pushblock early), 5a, 2a etc depending on the distance between you. While recovering from his stand off version, Jotaro can act but can’t block, therefore you could potentially approach unless he stuffs you out or escapes.
Some Jotaro players have a habit of overextending their s.on pressure using Star Finger. Star Finger is difficult to punish if you block it, so your best bet is to use the small gap between his pressure and Star Finger to reverse with a super or jump over it and punish him with an aerial after pushblocking his rekka. Don’t press the button too late as you may fall into Star Finger’s active hitbox. You can loop off the aerial depending on Jotaro’s timing because if he’s frame perfect you’ll need to do j.A 5a instead of j.A 2a due to you hitting the aerial early.
Approaching Jotaro is a difficult task. His crazy good s.on normals will stuff out any dashing normal you throw at him, his s.5a will anti air your fake crossup and jump in attempts, and his Star Breaker is an excellent reversal that he can cancel out of. Your best bet will be patience, safe blockstrings to play around his reversals, and stagger pressure to catch a roll attempt and punish his roll/whiffed s.5a (while pressing ABC s.on). While s.on, Jotaro has a tall hurtbox which lets you pressure him harder and force a standcrash, however his powerful normals can stuff you out if he’s not respecting you so be careful.
The true suffering begins when you get knocked down. Jotaro can run a true 50/50 game on oki that will lead into another combo and eventually, death. When you’re knocked down, Jotaro will start holding s.off Star Finger and on your wakeup, he’ll hit you with either 6b (low) or j.C (high), then release Star Finger and trap you in another combo. This is a pure 50/50 that you cannot fuzzy guard or reverse out of, so study your opponents habits and pray that you’ll escape it. Ideally you want to avoid getting knocked down at all. If Jotaro hits you with a high on his 50/50, you can punish it on block. Block his j.C normally then pushblock his Star Finger and catch his landing with 2a into loop. You cannot punish his low 50/50 so your only option is to pushblock him away or buffer guard cancel on wakeup.
Shadow Dio’s most difficult matchup. His long range normals makes it difficult to approach, his fast movement and air mobility makes him difficult to tech chase, his okizeme is brutal and his nets shuts down your gameplan completely.
Winning this matchup requires you to weave through his normals and a solid understanding of Shadow Dio’s tools in neutral. With his powerful okizeme game and long, high damaging combos, eating a knockdown will almost certainly spell death. Be careful with your dashes and don’t underestimate Kakyoin’s effective range. If you get knocked down, your best bet is to stay patient and block his 50/50 mixups while looking out for grabs.
Although Kakyoin is a solid character with tons of options, the most oppressive aspect of his character is his nets. By inputting 214 he can place down an invisible net that lasts as long as he holds down the button, or upon expiring by itself (after ~27 seconds).
Getting hit by his nets can be fatal, therefore you must avoid them all together or break them. The dilemma, however, is that Shadow Dio has almost no tools for breaking nets as it requires you to hit them with your stand, leaving only 5s and it’s variants (2s, 41236s, 4s etc.) as options to break nets. Breaking nets with your 5s leaves you open as you cannot block or safely escape, meaning that the Kakyoin player will be able to retaliate for free. The effort required to break nets is vastly higher than it is for Kakyoin to put them down, and as such breaking nets will rarely be worth it.
This means that you can’t approach Kakyoin if he’s sitting on his nets. At times when Kakyoin has the health advantage, your best bet is to stay patient and attempt to lure him out of his cozy cottage of webs. Using your mobility to bait him closer or slightly nudge him back may open up unexpected opportunities, although this tactic is imperfect as it relies on the Kakyoin player to get impatient. If he attempts to do 236a you can book it as a free way to get in (but do note that Kakyoin can release his nets while frozen from the book). Otherwise if he plays patiently and refuses to give you any mileage, safe approaches to bait him releasing nets like dash blocking or jump blocking in can work. Due to how oppressive the matchup is, you will rely on your loop damage and strong okizeme to finish off the round, as you may never get in again.
Even if the matchup is heavily against you, it’s not unwinnable. Kakyoin has a very slow wakeup speed, giving you a myriad of okizeme options. His collision box while knocked down is very tall meaning it can be difficult to jump over him normally. Practicing his wakeup timing and experimenting with the different hop/jump heights is vital to succeed in the matchup.
Some of his stand on normals are also punishable (like his d.6b as it cannot be cancelled.) and can even be reversed with 236aa, however punishing d.6b can be difficult due to it’s long range. Poking at him with knives is usually a bad idea, but an uncharged A laser may catch him putting down nets or attempts at throwing out stuff. Even if A laser doesn’t lead into anything, damaging him will remove all current nets and may present you with the opportunity of getting in. Lasers is also very effective against Kakyoin’s emerald splash as you’ll beat him out almost every time.
Khan is a very weak character with a couple of solid moves that acts as the foundation for his entire gameplan. He works best as a rushdown where he’ll pressure you with highs (j.C) and lows (2a) while mixing it up with the occasional grab and interesting mobility options through his fast backdash and j.S which lets him spin at different speeds in the air.
His pressure consists of mixing you up with j.C and 2a. Most of his combos utilizes his 2a into a horizontal charge move then an uppercut 623a/b/c. While his 2a isn’t punishable, his charge move is punishable on block, although he can cancel it into his 623a/b/c to make it safe and frametrap your punish. Unluckily for Khan, his 623a/b/c is also punishable on block so if he commits to either of these moves then he’ll be punished heavily. His 623a/b/c also have a tendency of whiffing, letting you punish it the same way as you would on block. Khan’s grab is also punishable in the corner by teching down and cancelling into 5s. To deal with his 2a and j.C pressure, just pushblock him away or guard cancel him.
Because your pressure game is far superior, Khan may lean towards a more defensive bait&punish gameplan in this matchup, focusing instead on walling you out with his j.C and exploiting gaps in your pressure. Khan’s guard cancel isn’t too bad either so you’ll have to respect him a little bit when approaching. Other than that Khan has very mediocre defensive options and you shouldn’t have any issues bullying him. The biggest threat Khan will pose is after a successful anubis counter that catches one of your primary tools like 5c or 5s, however you can punish his attempts at using the counter.
Khan has a very odd wakeup animation which can make it difficult to discern when he’s vulnerable on wakeup. Practice the timing to make the matchup even worse for your opponent.
A keepaway character that is arguably the worst character in the game. Her moves are very slow, her supers aren’t noteworthy, low damage combos and few defensive options leaves her helpless against you. However, she can still be threatening if she manages to set up her shenanigans due to Shadow Dio having limited ‘stand attacks’ to remove outlets and cable.
Mariah gains levels by hitting you with her outlets. Depending on the direction she holds when she presses S, she’ll change the angle on the outlet as it spawns and it’ll stay there until she takes damage, you run into it or until it expires (after around 3 seconds). Leveling up (max to 8) gives her more power, range and speed on her special and super moves. The only way to actively remove her outlets is to hit it with 5s (and it’s variants) or by hitting it with your knives. Both are very inefficient as 5s leaves you vulnerable (and very often trades with the outlet) while knives can be inconsistent depending on the angle and requires more commitment. The easiest way to deal with outlets is to run/jump into them and block, wait for them to expire, poke away at her with your laser (to stop her from setting up stuff safely) or run into them and catch her slow startups. Ideally you want to avoid giving her free levels as it’ll dramatically increase her mixup potential against you, but if you’re able to close out the round by rushing in and catching her startup animation for wire/projectiles then it could be worth the risk. Grabbing Mariah removes one level (even if she techs it).
Mariah’s biggest threat to you is her cable special 623a/b/c. It has a long startup but she’ll throw a knife into the air and a power line will fall down and move towards you, it’s speed and duration determined by how many levels she has. This cable can only be broken with stand attacks, but cutting it with 5s is rarely an option as it might lose to the cable’s hitbox depending on your position, or she’ll be able to abuse your vulnerability to get some damage in. Because of this, your best option is to approach her and punish her long startup animation as you want to avoid being locked down in blockstun for too long. Pushblocking the cable does nothing (and is not recommended since she’ll be able to grab you) and guard cancel loses to it. Getting caught in blockstun with a long duration cable gives her plenty of time to perform some nasty high/low mixups into a knockdown where she can set up cable again on oki to trap you. Avoid giving her free levels and punish her cable startup with d.2c or laser (laser whiffs on her if she’s dashing). Book does NOT work against her cable, since it’ll chase you down while you’re frozen after reappearing behind Mariah.
Focus on maneuvering around her outlets while you stop her attempts at setting up the cable. Her normal projectiles (236a/b/c) have different projectile speeds depending on her level, but on all levels they’re very reactable and you can book them for free unless she has a cable set up. Her 236aa super can be booked on reaction as well due to the distinct animation of her tits expanding, making it telegraphed well before the superflash and allows you to consistently book it regardless of her levels. If you’re in a position where you can’t book, jump blocking can alleviate some of the chip damage even if the projectiles home in on you somewhat.
Midler is an annoying matchup for Shadow Dio as he cannot easily use his mobility to get in thanks to Midler’s car special and her powerful aerials that will make starting loop against her difficult.
Due to her having only a 2f prejump, Midler players love to jump around since her air-to-air game with j.C is amazing and her jump in with j.B is one of the best crossups in the game. Because of this, you’ll mostly rely on jumping late to catch her with your j.B or backdash away and avoid getting caught in her crossup. Blocking her j.B can be very ambiguous and it can lead into moderate damage or work as a tick grab setup. When Midler blocks an attack in the air while she’s stand on, she becomes invincible until she lands so keep this in mind when you attempt to tech chase her using j.B j.S. Also, when she lands and is stand on, she’ll have some iframes upon landing for some reason. Thanks Capcom.
When Midler isn’t jumping around, she’ll be outzoning you with some decent spacing tools such as her car special, harpoons or decent normals. Her car is air unblockable and you have no way of jumping over it unlike active stand users, meaning aerial approaches can be punished. Anticipating her spacing tools and booking them is an excellent way of approaching but requires a solid read. Due to Midler’s weird hurtbox, ideally you want to start your loop with 5s or d.2c after a book, since starting with either 2a or 5c will often cause the following 5s to whiff. Booking or even lasering obvious harpoons can give you an advantage, but if she anticipates your book she can catch you with her 623aa and chew you up for big damage. Her harpoon super (236aa) counts as a hitgrab and you cannot book it.
Her 214aa super summons multiple air unblockable cars that you won’t be able to tech out of. While you’re sitting in blockstun, she can approach and do some nasty high/low mixups as you can’t contest her while simultaneously blocking cars. If she throws out this super during neutral, you can easily book it on reaction and punish her. Getting hit by these cars can lead into a knockdown where she can oki you with another car super and keep mixing you up with her high/lows. Unless she’s actively hitting you while you’re blocking her car super, you can mash pushblock and roll out of it, or you can guard cancel it.
Midler has a moderately slow wakeup speed, giving you plenty of time to run your oki game on her. However, due to her 2f prejump she can completely avoid throws by holding up+back due to the 3 frames of grab invulnerability you get on wakeup. If she holds up+back and you meaty her perfectly, she’ll successfully block it if your meaty hits high, and meaty attacks that hit low will very often whiff due to her hurtbox morphing during prejump. It doesn’t give her immunity to meaty attacks but she can hold up+back to option select a lot of your stuff (well timed meaty, grabs, command grabs) so keep it in mind when performing oki against her.
Midler doesn’t have very high damaging combos as she’ll mostly rely on tech chasing, spacing and okizeme to threaten you. Be careful of where you tech after getting launched/anti aired as the damage from her j.C will rack up quickly. She has a lot of strong meaty attacks that makes it easy for her to catch your landing, so smart usage of j.S is important as you will very often be punished if you whiff it.
A worse version of Kakyoin yet still an annoying matchup. His gameplan is more focused on rushdown/neutral footsies, but when they’re against Shadow Dio, New Kakyoin players tend to take a more defensive approach and focus on okizeme. Like with regular Kakyoin, Shadow Dio struggles dealing with nets and requires you to weave through his long range normals.
Unlike regular Kakyoin, New Kakyoin cannot place nets while he’s stand off. Instead, he’ll do hierophant wrap which sends out his stand across the ground, trapping you if you get hit. If you get hit by his wrap, you can buffer 4 and 6 to get out as long as New Kakyoin doesn’t hit you. This move leaves him vulnerable since he can’t block, so avoid the wrap and punish him if he overextends. Wrap can be an effective frame trap, so watch out if he pressures you while stand off.
New Kakyoin deals less damage overall than regular Kakyoin, giving you more room for mistakes. His B and C nets launch which you can air tech out of after a few seconds. His combos are in general much shorter and some of his oki options doesn’t lead into a full combo but another knockdown. While stand on, New Kakyoin is more floaty and he cannot hyperhop/dash jump or superjump. His mobility overall in both stand off and stand on is arguably slower.
New Kakyoin has a new super that replaces his stand on emerald splash. If he does s.236aa, he’ll instead fill the entire screen with a net and barrage you from the background if you get hit. This move is a hitgrab, meaning you cannot book it. Be careful of overextending when you tech chase him, as he can perform it in the air as well and catch you with it. New Kakyoin also has the second lowest defense value in the game, making him easier to standcrash and kill him compared to normal Kakyoin.
Old Joseph (Oldseph for short) is an honest character that relies on openings in your gameplan to punish you into his custom combo and end it with his 360 command grab super. Because of his psuedo-grappler style design, Oldseph is ineffective at both zoning and rushdown, leaving him only the option of playing a strong footsies game to exploit your openings and converting them into as much damage as possible.
His tools in neutral is not very threatening for Shadow Dio as most of your normals will beat out his. However, he still does have some tricks up his sleeve that can make approaching considerably difficult if he has a good grasp of the game’s defensive mechanics. He has a good guard cancel so be careful when doing obvious blockstrings. His 236aa/s.236aa is a good anti air that catches a lot of dumb jump ins, but it is not air unblockable so baiting it out by block hopping in can force him to waste precious meter. Instead of dashing, Oldseph can run both directions and lets him do some tricky movement to bait out your attacks then punish you with his own, quick dashing moves like d.5b, d.2a, 3c (which sets up okizeme) etc. Some of these options are punishable on block (like d.5b) so patience when dealing with his spacing can reward you if you dash in and block his retaliation. Oldseph can roll while stand on, but it doesn’t make him invulnerable and instead shrinks his hurtbox, allowing you to hit him out of it with 2a.
Oldseph’s s.236A/B/C extends his Hermit Purple and acts as a hitgrab that can pull you in towards him, allowing him to convert a successful hit into a combo. This move will make spacing yourself difficult as it’ll be able to catch your reckless dashing. Although it looks like it hits low, you can block this normally and during the grab you can buffer 4 and 6 to escape if he gets greedy with zapping you before dragging you in. This move is punishable on block.
Oldseph also has a pretty quick overhead special (623a/b/c) that he can cancel into his s.236a/b/c. You can punish the overhead on block (but you’ll get caught if he cancels it) or pushblock it and hop/hyperhop over to punish him with an aerial.
Oldseph’s command grab gives him some decent okizeme options against you. If he does d.2b then he can effectively mix you up because he can cancel it into his 360. On wakeup you can block his d.2b which let’s him cancel into his 360 and catch you blocking, or you can jump to try and get out of the command grab but eat a meaty into another knockdown or a full custom combo.
Otherwise the matchup shouldn’t be too much of an issue. He has no proper answers against your ranged tools on full screen, your j.B beats him in air-to-air, he can’t easily stuff out your approaches and he has the slowest wakeup speed in the game, giving you access to your full arsenal when it comes to okizeme. If you manage to stand crash him with d.2c, you can cancel it into a timestop. Punish bad use of his s.236a and don’t mindlessly chase after his run and the matchup will be in your favor.
Unlike some other characters, Shadow Dio isn’t affected by Petshop’s unusual hurtbox which gives you an advantage with your low-hitting approach options and 2a which lets you loop. Petshop has the lowest defense value in the game and combined with Shadow Dio’s high damage, the matchup can become very volatile and rounds ends quickly.
Petshop relies on his quick mobility, strong pressure and unblockable setups to dominate the screen and pressure you to death. His icicles hit high meaning he can set up unblockables for free, but due to Shadow Dio’s disjointed hurtboxes he can be surprisingly elusive and hard to hit. Booking Petshop’s projectiles and icicles can be very effective as it could potentially give you a free loop, but smarter Petshop players go airborne before mashing out projectiles, rewarding you only with a poke. Even so, book is an excellent tool as it stops Petshop from dishing out projectiles for free and every poke counts.
Staggering your pressure against Petshop is beneficial because it makes it harder for him to set up icicles. While in blockstun, Petshop can hold down one of his attack buttons and spawn an icicle shortly after, but if his opponent staggers his pressure then Petshop may accidentally whiff a normal and get punished for it. Do not attempt to do long pressure strings against Petshop because if he sets up an icicle while blocking, he’ll be able to severely punish your fake pressure. If you are unable to open him up, back away and avoid the icicle.
Petshop’s quick wakeup timing limits your okizeme options heavily. However if you were to knock him down close to you (for example a grab into wallbounce) you can simply dash through him and cross him up with a meaty. This can be difficult for him to react to and gives you a loop to close out the round. Be aware of wakeup demon as it’s his fastest wakeup option and can catch you off guard.
However, despite the tricks you have available in the matchup, your lack of defensive options goes hand-in-hand with Petshop’s absurd pressure game. Without any good reversals or quick rolls, getting caught in blockstun will spell certain death unless you can escape with a guard cancel, as Petshop will simply lock you down and spawn icicles above you to start off his ToD combo. Guard cancelling his pressure is very important as GC into 5c will not only deal a lot of damage, it’s the only reliable way to escape his blockpressure.
When Petshop is flying you won’t be able to loop him even if he cannot block in mid air. Doing j.B to swipe him down is a possible option but watch out for the myriad of tools he has available in the air to beat you out with (like supers, dashes, icicles etc). If you’re constantly jumping around, he’ll easily be able to use his teleport (3c) to disorient you and anti air you with a projectile. During his teleport he’s vulnerable before he’s come out of the ground all the way through until the attack ends. This means you can stuff it out with 5c or 2a if he’s close. You could grab him as well, but it’ll give him the opportunity to tech out of it, so a solid meaty to punish his teleport is more reliable. While teleporting, Petshop can change the distance of it by holding forward or backwards and occasionally side switching.
Polnareff is a powerful character with incredible stand on normals and devastating 50/50 mixups thanks to his Shooting Star (abbreviated SS). This matchup can be very difficult for Shadow Dio since your lack of defensive options leave you vulnerable to his SS mixups and his good normals makes approaching difficult.
Shooting Star requires Polnareff to charge. Charging means that he’ll have to hold either 1, 2 or 3 for a short duration, then either do 7, 8 or 9+A/B/C for the move to come out. To hold it there, he’ll have to hold down the initial button he pressed and once he let’s go, the mixups begin.
Shooting Star hits high and can act independently of Polnareff, meaning he can do near unblockable mixups by releasing SS and hitting you with a low which he can confirm into a high damaging combo. To block SS, you’ll have to read your opponent and determine whether his SS will hit you high first, or if his dashing low will. Although it looks like SS hits you from behind, it doesn’t matter which direction you hold block as long as you’re blocking high. It will also always hit high even if it looks like it hits low depending on the angle.
While Shooting Star is very oppressive, there are ways you can circumvent it. Jumping and getting hit in the air will get you out of the blender and avoid his follow up combo, however be careful as preemptively jumping against a patient Polnareff player can kill you, as he’ll simply wait for your landing and catch you. Ideally you want to practice switching from high to low and vice versa against his SS as it’ll give you more options to get away.
When Shooting Star is out, Polnareff cannot block. This gives you an opportunity to approach him, as successfully hitting him will dispel SS and reward you with much needed damage. Approaching is still dangerous however, as he can still stuff you out with his stand off normals and release SS before you catch him. Polnareff can roll while he’s holding SS, but only during the short window where Silver Chariot flies up to the corner, meaning you may end up in situations where he’ll send out SS, roll, then release it before you can meaty him. In cases like this, you need to be in a position where you can either grab him, or you need to prepare to deal with the incoming SS by either jumping or backing off and block his high/low mixup. Some Polnareff players have a bad habit of rolling around a lot during SS so anticipating this and putting yourself in situations where you can grab him is important. Polnareff’s Shooting Star is very tricky to deal with and every individual Pol player has their own habits and methods of mixing you up, so you need to adapt accordingly during the match. If Polnareff tries to do Shooting Star during a blockstring (like j.B 2a 2b 8[c]) then you can pushblock his 2b and punish him when he sends out Shooting Star. You may not be able to loop off the punish depending on your pushblock timing thanks to Polnareff’s slim hurtbox.
Shooting Star can be difficult to deal with, but the real nightmare starts when Polnareff turns his stand on. His stand on moveset is full of fantastic normals that will stuff out all your attempts at approaching him. If he has life lead and decides to turtle by jumping around and poking at you defensively, your best option is to either attempt to catch his landing, a well placed j.B to fight him in air-to-air or using your ranged tools to harass him. Aggressive jump ins can be punished by Polnareff’s 236aa so be careful of mindlessly pressing buttons against him and instead consider block jumping in. If he keeps double jumping during neutral, you can dash under him and catch him from the other side without him being able to contest your buttons.
Bad use of Polnareff’s 214 super can be guard cancelled if up close, or simply punished normally if he’s stand on since he cannot move while his rapier is flying around. Similarly to other matchups where you can’t approach for free, patience and spacing is key.
The fated mirror match. Shadow Dio has no problems running all of his offensive options against himself, especially considering how few defensive options he has. Therefore the matchup can be erratic at times.
Tech chasing is powerful in this matchup as your anti air will often beat out his aerials and the tech chaser has a huge air-to-air advantage due to how j.B’s hitbox is angled. He’ll be able to stop his momentum temporarily using j.S but it leaves him open upon landing and you can hopefully punish him with 236aa, force a roll or start looping.
All of your okizeme tools work in this matchup. 214aa is most effective after cancelling into it from 3c as your opponent will rise up in the spores. Depending on you and your opponents timing, Shadow Dio can reverse out 214aa oki with 236aa or 623aa. Command grabs can’t catch prejump frames, so if you see him doing 623a then just hold up on wakeup. His 50/50 is punishable on block. Block his 2a/j.A then pushblock the two first hits of World 21 and punish the gap before the third one hits with either a reversal like 236aa or a normal(depending on what your opponent does after the 50/50). Against Shadow Dio’s fake crossup, you can pushblock j.S and act instantly out of block, letting you tap him with 5a before he lands or catch his landing with 2a/buffered 236aa. Shadow Dio’s throw is scary but on wakeup you have 3 frames of grab invulnerability, so if you suspect a grab incoming and he’s standing close to you, doing 4c on wakeup may countergrab him. His d.2a can be punished in the same way by doing 4c before his grab comes out, or punish it with 2a/5c on block (don’t pushblock).
Neutral can be very messy as both players may jump around in a whirlpool trying to j.S each other. However at longer distances, a sort of rock paper scissors game starts where both players can either choose to do knives, laser or book.
Knives beats out laser since you’ll duck under it and knives will hit before he’s recovered from using laser.
Book beats knives as you can book them on reaction. Watch out though, since B pattern knives often whiffs on longer distances and works as a way to bait out book. Booking obvious jump ins during neutral is helpful as well.
Laser usually beats book due to laser being unreactable.
These aren’t hard set rules (for example you can’t book knives if you’re airborne, or you could do a hard read and preemptively book his laser) but still important to keep in mind.
Shadow Dio’s 236aa is surprisingly useful in this matchup. If you can force your opponent into a position where they are still recovering from 5s/j.S and they’re within your range, 236aa can force them to either eat the super or roll. Since Shadow Dio has the slowest roll in the game, you can comfortably whiff 236aa, recover and grab his roll.
Because of his slow roll, staggering your pressure against another Shadow Dio can be devastating as he cannot comfortably pushblock to get you off him without risking accidental rolls. Against bad block pressure (such as basic 2a 5c 5s loop on block) you can actually punish him between 2a 5c with your own 2a without pushblocking, but it requires practice and is rarely applicable unless your opponent is severely overextending. Pushblocking his blockpressure and punishing his dash/hop in after 5s is also an option.
The ultimate advice in this matchup is to study your opponent and steal his tech. Shadow Dio mirrors are excellent for learning and understanding your opponent’s decisions will help you further develop your gameplan.
Rubber Soul is a character that thrives on your inability to approach and will tech chase you to oblivion. As a passive stand character, his S moves cover multiple ranges and are mostly safe if Rubber plays cautiously and protects his stand. His gameplan lets him seamlessly go from camping you out with solid medium-long ranged pokes to rushing you down with aggressive jump ins and oki.
His j.A is arguably one of the best jump ins in the game as it lasts almost the entire jump, combos into j.S and has amazing priority. As Shadow Dio, you have no way of contesting j.A both in air-to-air or by anti airing him normally. Because of this you need to stuff him out before he goes airborne with some of your dashing moves like d.5a or backdash away from him and catch him after he lands. If you get put into a position where you can do neither, you must block him and get him off you before he starts mixing you up with lows and throws. j.S hits overhead so if he does j.A j.S, you need to block both high.
Rubber’s 236aa is a great projectile super that deals a huge amount of chip damage. If you roll through it in hopes of avoiding chip, he’ll simply walk forward and grab you. If you jump and block it mid air, you’ll give him a free tech chase. Luckily at longer distances, you’ll be able to book his 236aa super on reaction if you’re quick enough, rewarding you heavily with loop damage and oki. If you consistently book his super and he anticipates it, he’ll try to jump backwards after 236aa which will occasionally clip you after you reappear with the book. This opens up a very heavy mindgame mixup where you’ll be safe from grabs/tech chases by booking his 236aa, but if he anticipates your book then you can roll/jump away safely. Be mindful of what the rubber does to counteract your book and adapt accordingly.
His j.S will cause a heavy knockdown where he can do some scary oki shenanigans on you with a high damaging throw that leads into another knockdown, 236aa oki which forces you to block it and generic low/high meaties that can be made semi-safe with his S moves. Rubber’s backbreaker super is a command grab that is often easy to escape. During the superflash, hold up and you’ll avoid it as command grabs can’t catch prejump frames.
With a fast wakeup speed and tall collision box, you lose your oki options that rely on jumping over him. However, a lot of mediocre Rubber players tend to press buttons on wakeup (due to it being so fast) so practice his wakeup timing so you’ll hit that perfect meaty every time to stuff his buttons/counter out.
Approaching Rubber can be very difficult. Your ranged tools will often lose to his 236aa if he has meter, your dash in/jump in attempts will be stuffed out by his S moves, his rushdown style can be difficult to escape as you have no good reversal options and you won’t be able to win against him in air-to-air. Attempting to bait out 236aa and booking it is a viable option. If he has no meter, using your projectiles can force him to roll which gives you room to approach and attempt to meaty the roll. Otherwise you need to approach carefully as the moves he’ll poke you with won’t be easily punishable.
A tough matchup where you’ll have to maneuver through his powerful normals while also having a solid defense to counteract his attempts at tech chasing you, quick overheads through his instant air dashes, and clipping your approaches with his ball. Ice has crazy damage that leads into an unblockable oki, meaning you’ll have very little room for error while playing against a competent Ice player.
His ball (236A/s.236A) can be punished on block, but getting hit by it while attempting to dash around or pressing 5s can lead to a lot of damage as he can do his 623aa super straight out of it. Whenever you’re in a position where you’ll have to approach Ice, keep his ball in mind and ideally bait it out. Once you block it he will be unable to act while descending down to the ground, giving you an opportunity to punish it with 5a 5a or the occasional 5c depending on how high up he flew. Competent Ice players will go downwards after the first hit to shorten their recovery and use 623aa as a reversal for your punish. 5a leads to little damage but is a semi-safe punish and allows you to tech chase afterwards.
Ice’s teleport 421A/B/C is a bad move that often catches a lot of newer player with surprise. He’s fully invincible as he bursts up from the ground, but similarly to his ball, he won’t be able to act as he descends downwards, giving you plenty of time to punish it. After his teleport, you can jump and catch him with j.C j.4s. His teleport will rarely be a threat but keep in mind he can catch you throwing knives or teleport during your timestop startup animation, leaving him invulnerable during stopped time.
Solid defense is important in this matchup. Although he has massive normals, the biggest threat will be his quick overheads he can do through his instant air dashes. This instant overhead can be difficult to spot and requires you to get a solid read on your opponent, so stay patient and try avoiding getting into sticky situations where you’re getting pressured by an Ice player.
Ice has a fast wakeup and tall collision box which leaves you little room to perform fake crossup and other mixups relying on you jumping over them. You can pull it off if the Ice player is scared and respects your oki, but it is not true and will be punished if read. He is also very heavy, meaning that if you throw him then you won’t get a wallbounce unless you’re up close to the wall and it can be difficult setting up proper oki while he’s far away. Be aware of your options and do your best to redeem whatever oki you can squeeze out without overextending and dying to dumb wakeup stuff. An example could be to meaty him with d.2c if he didn’t wallbounce.
Ice’s oki consists of meatying you with his 214A which hits high while simultaneously hitting you with a low, making his oki unblockable if performed correctly. Occasionally you’ll have good Ice players mess up and bad Ice players tend to mistime it, so doing your best to block high on wakeup then quickly switching to blocking low may save you from impending doom. Alternatively you could buffer your guard cancel on wakeup and GC his 214a. If Ice times his stuff correctly you’re out of luck. Shouldn’t have gotten knocked down.
While stand on, Ice can tech chase you to the moon and back. Attempts at jumping over him for fake crossups can be negated by his s.on normals. If your opponent consistently punishes your attempts at jumping over him, pick another approach option and tech safely. Ice’s roll is also very fast which lets him roll through your j.S and catch your defenseless landing. Grabbing his roll can be messy as you won’t be able to grab while your 5s is out and you may accidentally whiff 5c instead and die. Practice meatying rolls as it’ll be hugely beneficial if Ice decides to roll through your 5s pressure.
Young Joseph (Youngseph for short) uses his fast sprint during footsies to make himself unpredictable and catch your attempts at chasing him. His effective combos are very situational and requires him to set up projectiles with long windup time, meaning he won’t only struggle to beat you out in neutral, he won’t be rewarded heavily by it either.
The most threatening normal Youngseph has is his j.C. It’s an aerial kick with a solid hitbox that lasts all the way through his jump, making it a great air-to-air to combat your j.B and a great jump in option. Instead of contesting it with j.B, your best bet is to instead respect it and stuff him out before he goes airborne or backdash away and catch his landing. He can combo off this move with j.S.
Youngseph’s supers are far from impressive as well. His 236aa works as a good anti air to punish dumb jump ins, but since it’s not air unblockable you can just delay your button and block his attempts at hitting you with it. It’s also not terrible for tech chases you’re teching dumb and using your j.S recklessly.
His other super is his Aja beam which is unblockable and deals the highest amount of damage in the game (off a single move), however it has a very long startup and is severely punishable. The only way he can set it up against you is to score a knockdown with 2s since you can’t crouch under it. If Youngseph does it in neutral, you can dash in and punish, roll through it and punish his recovery or book it for style points.
Youngseph relies on his clacker boomerang to keep up his pressure. You can very easily book it on reaction so you’ll shut down any attempts he has to utilize his projectiles, gimping the poor guy even further in this matchup. This combined with his slow wakeup makes the character powerless against you and as such you’ll come out ahead in this matchup unless you’re mindlessly running into his hit&run moves and failing to punish his projectiles. His guard cancel sucks and he has no good reversals (outside of a mediocre 236aa) so pressuring him is essentially free.