The Chinese sword is both light and flexible, so it is no wonder that this style is rich in quick combination attacks that use both sword and body as a weapon. Even the most seasoned of warriors can find themselves unable to keep pace with the blizzard of varied techniques unleashed by a master in its use. The graceful, almost dance-like moves are perfect for flowing around an opponent's attacks and chipping away their health.
This style's strike-and—evade techniques can be used to confound an opponent, and sudden transitions into the Silent Xia Sheng stance allow a savvy fighter to quickly change their angle of attack. An opponent who lunges carelessly when they think they found an opening will find themselves on the receiving end of a lethal counterattack.
Style Lesson: Beginner
This style excels at close-range combat. At the start of a fight, use moves like Playful Rhythm (33_66_99BB) and Woan Shyong Swing (33_66_99K) to attack while getting into a more favorable position. If the opponent tries to maneuver with an 8-way run, Fragrant Dream (33_66_99ABA) will help you stop them and set up a follow-up attack.
Close Combat Basics
Close combat is all about rapidly mixing up high, middle, and low attacks to thwart the opponent's defenses. Wear down the foe with combos that can switch between middle and low attacks later on, like Still Water (6BB) and Rippling Chant (6BA), or Advancing Rhythm (4BA) and Pointing Thrust (4BB).
High Damage Feint Attacks
It is difficult to defeat opponents by slowly chipping away at their health. Feint with low horizontal attacks like Angry Shui Shian (3AK) or Wind Watcher Sweep (1A), and when the opponent ducks, hit them with Lian Hua Upper (3B) to start a deadly air combo.
Style Lesson: Adept
Juggling into Bea Her Hua
After launching your opponent with a Lian Hua Upper (3B) or Playful Slice (22_88B), you can juggle them with Swallow's Blade ~ Bea Her Hua (6K[A]) to return to Bea Her Hua. The low attack Feint Wheel Kick (during Bea Her Hua K) is effective against a downed foe. If they defend with a crouching guard, hit them with Jade Break (during Bea Her Hua B), which can pull them into a reversal edge.
This style has a wide variety of crouching techniques. Mei Guei Hua (while crouching 3B) is effective after ducking a high attack. If the opponent is defending in a standing guard, you can break it with the low attack Mei Hua Divide (while crouching 3AB).
Breaking a Guard with Silent Xia Sheng
The Silent Xia Sheng stance has a number of options for getting through an opponent's guard. For example, you can feint with Sweet Harmony (4AA) into Sweet Harmony ~ Silent Xia Sheng (4[A]), making them wary of a follow-up, which can let either Waterfall (during Silent Xia Sheng B) or Wind Chime (during Silent Xia Sheng A+G) be effective. If an opponent sidesteps Waterfall, try for a counter hit with Splitting Mist (during Silent Xia Sheng A).
Style Lesson: Master
Counter Your Foe's Attacks
If you are expecting a retaliatory strike after one of your attacks is blocked, this style has unique options beyond just reversal edges. You can dodge and strike back simultaneously with Hwu Dye (1B+K) against a high or vertical attack, or Vengeful Lian Hua (11_44_77B) against a short-range attack.
In addition, Muu Jiann Retreat (4A+B), Fluttering Lan Se Ren (2A+B), and Twin Mei Hua (6A+B) have guard impact properties during the opening motion, so use them to deflect an incoming attack and score a lethal hit, which will restore your guard stamina.
Bait and Retaliate Against a Reversal Edge
Close-range combos like Emperor's Lament (BBB) into Lapis Chime (BBK), or Rippling Chant (6BA) into Still Water (6BB) are difficult to defend against, and many opponents will attempt a reversal edge. If you sense a reversal edge coming, switch stances with Emperor's Lament ~ Silent Xia Sheng (BB[B]) or Still Water ~ Playful Xia Sheng (6B2) and use Great Wall (during Silent Xia Sheng or Playful Xia Sheng A+B). This will avoid the reversal edge and deliver a lethal hit.
A blindingly fast critical edge with relatively short reach. It can be used in air combos or as a counter after blocking an attack.
This is a guaranteed hit after an opponent attempts to block the break attack Waterfall (during Silent Xia Sheng [B]). Remember this while on the offensive in Silent Xia Sheng. Use the speed of this attack to your advantage, especially when the opponent moves in to attack.
Even Greater Close Combat Power
Wind Blossom Song's (during soul charge AABB) follow-up does increased damage on a counter hit. Qing Quake Step (during soul charge AABK) is another follow-up that is strong against a reversal edge, letting you maintain pressure.
Easier Guard Crushes
You can use Radiant Ring (during soul charge 33_66_99A+BB) to quickly eat through the opponent's guard stamina and keep up your assault.
The technique Shining Swallow (during soul charge 6KBB) also becomes available. Using it after a launcher like Lian Hua Upper (3B) will cause you to slam your opponent back to the ground where you can keep attacking. After a high launcher like Mei Guei Hua (while crouching 3B), you can also hit them with Scintillating Waterfall (during soul charge 33_66_99B+KB).
A soul attack that unleashes a middle thrusting attack as it puts you into a soul charged state. You can use 236A+B+KA to turn the second attack into a horizontal attack, or cancel the second attack and shift to either Silent Xia Sheng or Playful Xia Sheng.
Unlike the soul charge performed with 4A+B+K, this attack allows you to power up your moves and still stay close to the opponent to keep the pressure on them.
Following Up with A
Palace Rhythm (after reversal edge hits AA) and Jewel Song (after reversal edge hits AB) are middle and low break attacks. If the opponent uses a guard impact for the second attack, use AaG to face away from them and keep up your attack.
Following Up with B
A middle attack with high damage that can be used to crush an opponent's guard.
Following Up with K
A kick that dodges B attacks. If you have a full soul gauge on a hit, it can be chained with a critical edge. Pressing KB+K will switch to Hou Lee, which will let you quickly move right up to your opponent while attacking.
If They Reversal Edge
If the opponent charges Reversal Edge, get into SXS/PXS as fast as you can and do A+B. Generally speaking, you achieve this by:
A[A] SXS A+B!
6B2 PXS A+B!
[B+K] SXS A+B!
This is a lethal hit that causes crumple. At this point, you can do a variety of exciting combos that deal so much damage you'll think you were playing a different character. Some examples include:
... 6[B+K] 9KK2 BB (117 damage)
... 6[B+K] 9KK2 K > A+B+K (123 damage, uses 1 meter)
Note that if you plan to go for the second option, you gain HALF A BAR from the initial combo on the A[A] route (with the Lethal Hit granting you 25% meter off the bat). The [B+K] route gives you slightly less, and the 6B2 route gives you less than that. Lab your own situations!