Valerie MYM20 Backup

Feb 10th, 2018
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  1. Intro
  3. “Valerie Rose is a creative painter, with the bursts of energy and feelings of despair that come with manic depression. She also has heterochromia, meaning she has one green eye and one blue eye – which might be why she sees things differently.”
  5. “You might feel down sometimes when things don’t line up, like when you die because you only have five hitpoints. But when a plan comes together with Valerie, it feels like a work of art.” [...]
  7. Valerie is from Fantasy Strike – the same game as DeGrey. In Fantasy Strike, the name of the game is simplifying the traditional fighter and boiling concepts down to their essence. Valerie takes huge advantage of the game’s block damage mechanic – in which Special attacks deal chip damage that adds up if you deal enough in quick succession – thanks to her fast, multi-hit Specials. She specializes in harassing opponents with her deadly rushdown and forcing them to block correctly or die.
  9. In Smash, Valerie’s versatile blockstring game gives her a unique gameplan of manipulating the opponent’s shield according to the situation at hand. Since she has lots of moves that impact the opponent’s shield in different ways, you can get creative with your blockstrings.
  13. Stats
  15. Height: Lucina
  17. Weight, Wall Jump: Zero Suit Samus
  19. Ground Movement, Air Movement: Shulk
  21. Jump Height, Falling: Rosalina
  23. Fastfall Multiplier: 2.0x (Normal: 1.6x; Link: 1.9x; Ryu: 1.4x)
  25. Valerie is a glass cannon, just like in Fantasy Strike. Her mobility is average, but notably, her jumps are tall and her fall is floaty. Valerie’s fastfall is strikingly fast, giving her landing mixups a lot like Link’s. But Valerie’s are even more extreme, due to her unstable personality.
  29. Forward Tilt, Neutral B: Three Colors
  33. In Fantasy Strike, Valerie’s grounded B-button move is her Three Colors series, a three-hit chain. In Smash, the series is split up into Forward Tilt, which is a two-hit combo, and Neutral B, which is a single strike with variable properties.
  35. Forward Tilt’s first hit is the downward-arcing Cyan strike, which deals very weak Sakurai Angle knockback and 4.5% of damage. The second hit is Magenta, which deals 5% and pops the opponent up and slightly forward, allowing her to combo or juggle depending on percent. Forward Tilt has decent range, but noticeable startup lag. Both on hit and on block, Cyan into Magenta is a true combo (or a true blockstring). One quirk is that Magenta can hit slightly behind Valerie, sending the opponent forward (towards Valerie).
  39. For Valerie, the opponent’s shield is a canvas. All of her paintbrush moves, including her Special Moves and most regular attacks, apply paint to a foe’s shield if they hit it. Even a perfect shield does not prevent Valerie from painting the shield. The first stack of shield paint looks like splotches of paint, while the second stack (which is the maximum) makes the shield completely opaque. When the opponent is not shielding, shield paint appears as either one or two small colored dots above the foe’s head, much like Ranno’s poison indicator from Rivals of Aether.
  41. After three consecutive seconds of the foe not having their shield up, one stack of shield paint goes away. The foe can also remove a stack of shield paint by hitting Valerie with either a melee or projectile attack.
  43. If a Special Move strikes a shield while the foe has two stacks of shield paint, it will cause a semi-shield break (or “paint-break”). Each of the four Special Moves has a different paint-break effect, so Valerie wants to apply each in different situations. When the foe’s shield is paint-broken, all shield paint applied to the shield disappears. As a visual indicator, paint-breaking an opponent’s shield creates a big explosion of paint, and the word “BREAK!” appears briefly above the paint-broken opponent.
  45. Only Special Moves can paint-break shields, just like how block damage is (usually) exclusive to Specials in Fantasy Strike. If you connect with a standard brush move while the foe’s shield is already painted twice, however, many moves offer bonus effects. And on top of that, brush moves across the board deal tons of shield pushback and shield hitstun when used on a fully-painted shield! By the way, the shield damage of Valerie’s moves is typically rather low, so she rarely breaks a shield. The emphasis is instead on painting the shield and threatening with a paint-break.
  47. In this way, Valerie enjoys blockstrings and pressuring a foe’s shield, much like how she uses a lot of block damage in Fantasy Strike with her versatile Specials. Valerie’s normal blockstrings are almost always escapable by using a roll, jump, or other out of shield option. Here, the advantage comes from punishing the opponent’s escape, as well as getting some paint on the foe’s shield.
  49. Once the opponent’s shield has been painted, Valerie’s blockstrings become more guaranteed and scary due to the added shield hitstun as well as the risk of paint-break. The foe will want to avoid shielding if possible – which is Valerie’s chance to use some of her riskier attacks that are normally unsafe on shield. Rather than juggles, combos, or edgeguarding, the focus of Valerie’s advantage state is getting the opponent trapped in a painted shield, and then going from there.
  53. Neutral B is the Yellow part of Three Colors, a lunging stroke which carries Valerie forward a platform’s distance and does not combo off of Cyan or Magenta under any circumstances, including regular and painted blockstrings. Yellow deals 11% of damage and a high-angle semi-spike with moderate power, creating space if Valerie lands a direct hit.
  55. In the air, you can hold up or down after inputting Yellow to angle the dash slightly up or down. Similarly, both the grounded and aerial Yellow can travel shorter or further with left and right inputs. You can use Yellow exactly once in the air, refreshing when you land, grab a ledge, or receive flinching or knockback. When recovering with Yellow, note that its ending lag in the air is kind of punishable.
  57. On paint-break, Neutral B deals the same 11%, but pops the opponent straight up with weight-independent set knockback and extra hitstun. If Valerie connects with this paint-break, she can follow up with nearly any attack, including a Smash Attack! So sometimes it is better, from the foe’s perspective, to just drop shield and eat the move’s regular knockback. Better to take the hit than to risk the paint-break.
  59. One strategy that might not give the foe any choice, though, is using Cyan and then Magenta on a painted shield. If the shield is fully painted by the time you go to use Magenta (i.e. if it has at least one coat before Cyan), the Magenta hit will deal the extra shield hitstun and shield pushback that all brush moves have on a fully painted shield (as mentioned before). From here, you can continue your blockstring.
  61. You can use Magenta on a painted shield at very close range and then use Yellow, which is a true painted block combo. And the paint-break from Yellow means you get a big reward! Note that Magenta is the only hit which can block-combo into Yellow, and that block-combos into Specials are rare for Valerie. Also note that, since the Magenta hit must be close-range, this will not work if you combo off of a painted-shield Cyan, due to the pushback added to Cyan by the fully-painted shield. If you hit Cyan while the opponent only has one coat of shield paint, however, it will work. The Cyan hit still has its low shield pushback, while the Magenta hit uses the paint applied by Cyan to block-combo into Yellow.
  63. Yellow is a premiere tool in Valerie’s shield pressure game. Its long range makes it handy as a way to paint-break a foe’s shield from a distance, right out of neutral. If a foe’s shield has not been painted enough to paint-break, Neutral B is still valuable as a mixup. If you hold forward, it will often cross up a foe’s shield, avoiding shield grabs and other similar punishes. If you hold backward, Valerie barely advances at all, which can be a useful fakeout.
  67. Side B: Rainbow Stroke
  73. Valerie leaps forward, gripping her brush with both hands, and paints a long arcing stroke with rainbow colors. It travels as far as Mac’s grounded Jolt Haymaker, retaining this distance even in midair. Rainbow Stroke drags the opponent along for a lengthy multi-hit, dealing 12% total if you catch them right at the start. Rainbow Stroke’s final hit launches foes with moderate Sakurai Angle knockback. At low percents, it sets the foe up for shield pressure if they try to block, or for Valerie to punish an escape option should they try to get away.
  75. Side B is an awesome recovery move, and covers tons of aerial space. Most opponents, however, can crouch underneath the middlemost bit of the move, where the arc is highest, and punish Valerie during endlag. So you might want to space it either up close or at maximum range. Also note that Rainbow Stroke causes helpless when used in midair unless Valerie hits an opponent successfully. You can still snap to the ledge in the middle of the move.
  77. On paint-break, Rainbow Stroke drags the opponent along like normal if applicable, but the final hit now launches the paint-broken opponent with the power of Mario’s strong-hit forward smash! It is certainly a powerful KO threat, and serves as a long-range way to paint-break an opponent, even more ranged than Yellow.
  79. Rainbow Stroke is invaluable for Valerie’s mobility and combo game, as well as her ranged pressure. It carries her a long distance, of course, and with a huge hitbox to boot. If you have just launched an opponent upward, it might be just the tool you need to cover their landing options as they try to drift to either side. The aerial version, if you connect with it, also leads to powerful follow-ups, since it launches the foe at a very weak semi-spike angle! And even if you do trigger helpless, Valerie’s landing lag out of helpless is not too long. So the opponent can definitely punish, but not to the point where they can charge up a powerful attack.
  83. Up B: Rainbow Disc
  87. Valerie spins around and creates a hoop of rainbow paint around her, which spins in a rapid vortex. She’s then free to move slowly in any direction for 1.5 seconds, after which she enters special fall. If you grab the ledge, the move ends early. Rainbow Disc drags the opponent along with multi-hits kind of like the Luigi Cyclone, dealing 10% total if you catch the foe at the start. The final hit launches opponents straight upward, no matter where they are relative to Valerie. You can jump-cancel the move on hit (or on shield-hit) if you have conserved your midair jump, triggering the final upward-launching hitbox early for a combo.
  89. Strangely, shielding any hit of Up B will grant immunity from the rest of the move. If a foe does this, their punish is much easier to land. Of course, that’ll apply a stack of shield paint, or even paint-break the shield! When Rainbow Disc paint-breaks the foe’s shield, by the by, it carries them through the remainder of the move, but then sends them directly downward in the untechable spin animation. This is a powerful spike that can seal the foe’s fate if dragged offstage. And on the ground, it is guaranteed to send opponents into prone! From here, you can either jab lock the foe with Down Tilt (more on that later!), or you can punish the foe with another move (either post-tech or as they are lying on the ground).
  91. Rainbow Disc is an amazing out of shield option… under the right circumstances. It actually has a couple of invincibility frames at the very start, so a jump-canceled Up B out-of-shield is a quick get-off-me move kinda like Bowser’s Whirling Fortress. It is usually more punishable than Bowser’s cornerstone defensive tool, due to the shield properties it shares with Link’s Spin Attack. However, if the foe’s shield is painted, it suddenly becomes incredibly safe, due to the risk of paint-break! In fact, it becomes stronger as a general mobility tool as well, covering lots of space. Note, however, that foes can safely strike Valerie with disjointed moves, or with attacks which hit from directly above or below. Try using it as a more aggressive rushdown approach, so the foe has no time to plan such a precise attack.
  95. Down B (Air): Cross Stroke
  99. Valerie’s Down B actually changes based on whether she is grounded or airborne. In the air, Down B is Cross Stroke, a diagonal dive at a 45* angle with minimal startup and endlag. You can easily input the move behind Valerie by holding into one of the bottom corners on the control stick and pressing B, augmenting Cross Stroke’s mobility applications.
  101. Strangely, Cross Stroke has absolutely no initial hitbox. Instead, a rainbow trail appears behind Valerie as soon as she lands, covering the entire path of the dive with an attack. The trail deals 9% of damage, and sends foes behind Valerie at a moderate Sakurai angle. At low percents, the Sakurai angle sends foes only weakly backward across the ground, meaning Valerie can use Down B’s relatively low landing lag to combo into Cyan and then into Magenta. At high percents, it serves primarily to create space, now launching the foe through the air. Try using Cross Stroke as a reversal near the ledge – it effectively “swaps” your position with the opponent’s.
  103. In terms of Valerie’s shield game, Cross Stroke is an essential crossup. Valerie pretty much always ends up on the other side of a shielding opponent. Not only, after all, does she travel far horizontally from the dive itself, but the hitbox also pushes the shielding foe in the opposite direction to augment this effect! Opponents cannot shield grab Valerie after she hits the shield with Cross Stroke, so they must instead use moves such as back airs, which Valerie can shield and punish. Or the foe might try to escape with a jump, roll, etc, which is equally punishable. If the foe simply waits in shield, Valerie gets to paint a masterpiece for free.
  105. On paint-break, Cross Stroke launches the foe upward instead a fair distance, while still dealing 9%. In addition, an “aura” of paint energy begins to gather around the opponent, and one second later, they take 3% and another hit of upward knockback! (Unless they are dodging, shielding, etc.) This is awesome for setups and traps after launching the opponent, and allows Valerie to punish the foe’s landing with ease. Alternatively, you could use it to augment the KO power of a vertical finisher!
  107. One other quirk is that Valerie can cancel Cross Stroke’s dive into Neutral B, Side B, or Up B after traveling about 1.5 platforms diagonally. However, Side B and Up B still cause helpless, unless you utilize the canceling properties on-hit as described in those moves. And unlike normal, even Neutral B now causes special fall on whiff!
  111. Down B (Ground): Dash Stroke
  113. Down B is different here than on the ground, but the concept is kind of similar. Dash Stroke has Valerie put the head of her brush to the ground and run forward, accelerating from a sorta slow speed to a fast sprint over the course of its 3-platform duration. You only need to tap Down B once, and Valerie does the entire dash automatically; you can also hold forward or back to adjust the speed and distance.
  115. From the Dash Stroke, you can cancel into Jab or any of the three Tilts. You will probably slide forward a bit in the process, so in exchange for letting you use any move out of such a fast mobility option, you need to be more considerate when using them on shield. After all, the last thing you want is to slide too far and enter the blocking opponent’s grab range! Painting the opponent’s shield helps a lot with this, thanks to the added shield hitstun and shield pushback when hitting a double-coated shield.
  117. Valerie also paints a trail across the ground during Dash Stroke. After Valerie cancels the run or after it gets canceled by some external means, the trail detonates in a small burst. Any foe standing on the paint takes 4% and mild knockback toward Valerie at a Sakurai angle, kinda similar to Cross Stroke’s knockback but toward Valerie instead of away.
  119. That delayed hit is awesome for shield pressure! It applies a coat of shield paint, for one thing. And if you Dash Stroke past a shielding foe and then use a turnaround Cyan and / or Magenta from behind, the delayed hit from Dash Stroke adds even more to that shield pressure! It will layer on that shield paint while trapping the foe in a near-inescapable vortex. Same goes for some other moves, like some of your Aerial Attacks.
  121. Dash Stroke actually has the same paint-break effect as Cross Stroke, since they both share the Down B input. It’s as handy as ever!
  125. Jab
  129. Valerie plainly swipes with her brush, covering the space in front of her with a hitbox. Jab deals 7% of damage while sending the opponent diagonally up and away. At low percents, it pops the opponent just barely above the ground, to the point where they cannot airdodge without suffering its landing lag right away. At high percents, Jab instead serves as a launcher to create space or set up a juggling situation. After launching a foe far away with Jab, use Dash Stroke to dash in and then cancel into an attack to cover the opponent’s landing.
  131. This move is also very valuable in the context of Valerie’s blockstring game. Its quick lag, good range, and ability to paint a shield mean that you can slot Jab into the middle of many different blockstring setups. Valerie can also use Jab in place of Magenta following a Cyan by simply letting go of forward before the second A press.
  133. On a fully-painted shield, Jab uniquely deals no shield pushback. Instead, the opponent is locked in place while still feeling the full, paint-augmented shield hitstun from the strike. Valerie is free to get up into the opponent’s face after landing a paint-shielded Jab. So you might try using it to, for example, link into a shorthop Cross Stroke which would otherwise be out of range due to shield pushback.
  137. Down Tilt
  141. Valerie swipes low to the ground with her brush, dealing 6% of damage and launching the opponent diagonally to create space. Valerie cannot combo off of this hit due to its strong knockback, so it is purely for spacing. There is another hitbox on Valerie’s arm, which deals 12% and pops the opponent straight up for combos and frame traps. Down Tilt normally has extremely long range, but to land this sweetspot, Valerie must instead get in the opponent’s face. Also, the close hit does not count as a brush move, meaning it does not paint shields nor does it gain additional shield hitstun and pushback on a fully-painted shield.
  143. Down Tilt allows Valerie to extend some blockstrings even if the foe has been pushed far away by the previous move, thanks to its supreme reach. Just like Jab, as well as Up Tilt, you can use it immediately after Cyan. Pretty handy just in case the foe slides too far for Magenta to connect.
  145. Unrelatedly, Down Tilt’s ranged hitbox can jab lock opponents who miss a tech, up to very high percents.
  147. On a painted shield, Down Tilt’s ranged hit drags the foe inward instead of pushing them away. It has just enough shield hitstun that if the opponent tries to do almost anything out of shield, Valerie can immediately Down Tilt again to interrupt the out of shield option, while this time landing the arm sweetspot for a combo. However, if the foe keeps shielding, the arm sweetspot will be unsafe on shield due to not being a brush attack. Instead, you should punish a held shield with a Special Move in order to paint-break.
  151. Up Tilt
  155. Valerie advances forward with a step kick, hitting once for 4% near the ground and then hitting again for 9% more at the tip of Valerie’s foot. The first hit combos into the second, but if the opponent blocks, the second hit is too high to hit. As a result, even though Up Tilt’s ending lag is not egregious after the second hit, the move is very unsafe on shield or on whiff against a grounded opponent. Valerie even moves forward, potentially into an opponent’s grab range.
  157. In exchange, Up Tilt has supremely favorable knockback. At low percents, it launches the foe mildly at a diagonal angle to start combos. At mid percents, it launches the foe a little further to where Valerie can easily punish landings. You can also use it to force a tech on platforms, which you can then punish by reaching the platform with another Up Tilt. The second hit is also a kill move, with strength that is not overwhelming but demands respect nonetheless.
  159. Up Tilt is Valerie’s best way to punish an opponent whom you have trained not to shield, thanks to its power and massive reach. Opponents who simply stand in front of you have the initial hit to worry about. Jumping out of shield puts the foe in the perfect place to get hit by the ranged second hit. Since Valerie has invincibility on her leg as she kicks upward, Up Tilt is also an amazing anti-air move in general for trapping landings. In fact, the initial hit has a little bit of disjointed range too, meaning that Valerie can stuff many hasty approaches. If the opponent tries to hit Valerie and get rid of a coat of shield paint, Up Tilt is a solid answer.
  163. Dash Attack
  167. Putting the whole momentum of the dash into an attack, Valerie swings her brush upward in an aura of crimson paint. Dash Attack covers an impressive vertical area while launching opponents behind Valerie at an upward diagonal angle, along with dealing 10%. At low percents, the foe is close enough for a potential follow-up – but more powerfully, you can punish the foe if they try to airdodge. At high percents, the angle allows Valerie to chase the foe as they try to land.
  169. Dash Attack’s weakness is its ending lag, meaning that normally, it does not helpfully contribute to Valerie’s blockstrings. In fact, Dash Attack is actually unsafe on shield even if spaced very well. However, on a painted shield, Dash Attack comes in handy for beginning a painted blockstring out of a dash, due to added shield hitstun. It also deals a lot of pushback on a painted shield, meaning that you should connect it at close range so that the foe is still within Down Tilt’s reach.
  171. Even if the Dash Attack hits near the tip of its reach, Valerie can still use the shield hitstun to cover her while she gains a positional advantage, or prepare to punish an out of shield option. Use an Up Tilt to cover jumps, a Special Move to punish a held shield with a paint-break, or a second Dash Attack if the opponent tries to grab or use another out of shield move. Due to the high shield pushback, practically every out of shield option in the game will fail to reach Valerie, even tether grabs.
  175. Grab
  177. Valerie’s grab is rather average. She reaches out with her free hand with the same general frame data as Marth and most other weapon users, and with serviceable range. Her dash grab reaches quite far, but leaves her open on whiff. Valerie pummels the opponent using rapid kicks, dealing 1% apiece.
  179. In the context of Valerie’s blockstring game, however, her grab becomes deadly. Most of the time, grabbing an opponent is impossible if the foe is in shield hitstun. For this reason, you must wait after hitting a foe’s shield before you can grab them. Valerie, however, is allowed to land her grab even in the middle of the opponent’s shield hitstun! It takes great skill to block-combo into a grab normally, even with this unique attribute. But on a painted shield, many attacks deal enough extra shield hitstun for this to work! Jab is particularly notable, since it keeps the opponent in place instead of pushing back the shield.
  181. In this way, Grab is one of the three main methods by which Valerie capitalizes on a painted blockstring. The other two are paint-breaking via her Special Moves, and simply dealing enough regular shield damage to shrink the shield. A small enough shield opens the opponent up to a shield poke, which means that Valerie’s attack hits the opponent’s body but not their shield, and as a result completely ignores the shield.
  185. Back Throw
  189. Just like her grab in Fantasy Strike, Valerie lifts the opponent up and over with a stroke of rainbow paint. Back Throw deals 8% and causes a techable prone state, dropping the foe right behind Valerie. She can then tech chase in a pretty standard fashion. Notable moves include Cyan, Jab, and Rainbow Disc for punishing techs in place; Up Tilt and Rainbow Disc for punishing techs toward Valerie; and Yellow, Rainbow Disc, and Dash Attack for punishing techs away. If the opponent tries to shield in anticipation of one of these moves, you can get a blockstring going by timing the move properly.
  191. If Valerie has her back to the edge of the stage or a platform, she can send the opponent over the edge instead of forcing a tech. The opponent tumbles downward just like when sent over the edge of a platform by a weak move like a jab, which cannot be teched or interrupted until the opponent falls for a bit. Back Throw, then, is excellent at the edge of the stage for forcing a low recovery. On a platform, you can instead jab lock with Down Tilt!
  193. On that note, Down Tilt’s locking properties are less useful on the grounded version of the move, since the foe is both too close and directly behind Valerie. However, you can land the locking ranged hit if you perfect-pivot away from the foe and use Down Tilt – but this input is nearly frame perfect.
  197. Forward Throw
  201. Valerie paints a red “X” through the opponent, which is pretty fitting since Forward Throw is a KO throw that can seal an opponent’s fate! It deals 11% and kills marginally earlier than Pit’s forward throw, a solid high-percent finisher when combined with the ability to combo into grab on a painted shield. Try pushing the opponent toward the ledge with shield pushback, especially if you buff it by fully painting the shield.
  203. Onstage and from medium to high percents, Forward Throw instead forces a tech with its semi-spike knockback. Yellow, Rainbow Stroke, Dash Attack, and Dash Stroke come in handy when punishing these tech options from a distance. At very low damage levels, Forward Throw does not cause tumble, so the opponent can land on their feet without teching. If they try shielding… well, you know what to do.
  207. Up Throw
  209. Valerie tosses the opponent straight upward with both hands, dealing 4% and very small upward knockback with a fixed distance. Afterward, she thrusts her brush up powerfully for 7% more and extremely good combo knockback, with practically no ending lag on the throw to boot. After connecting with the upward thrust, Valerie can often land an aerial, Special Move, or the like, to either start a juggle or transition to grounded pressure.
  211. Under normal circumstances, the second hit of Up Throw is not a true combo. Like a 50-50, the opponent can always airdodge out but cannot jump or attack. The opponent might also DI to the left or right after the initial throw. Valerie’s job is to follow that DI and punish the opponent during the airdodge’s landing lag.
  213. Some opponents will have a habit of holding shield in scary situations, in which case you can use Up Throw to bait that out and punish with a signature blockstring. Other times, Valerie might be able to instill that habit through conditioning, such as by using moves like Up Tilt a lot to encourage blocking. But if the foe does not fall for it, Valerie sacrifices the true combo off of their landing lag.
  215. In this way, the opponent normally has the choice between taking the second hit of Up Throw and the potential combo afterward, or trying to challenge Valerie’s close-range pressure. Up Throw true combos into the second hit, however, if Valerie has enough rage, which causes even set knockback to grow. So when Valerie is in a pinch, she can use Up Throw as a reliable combo throw.
  219. Down Throw
  221. Valerie shoves the opponent onto the ground and then stabs them with her brush, dealing a hefty 11% while launching the opponent diagonally. At low percents, Down Throw can combo reliably into moves such as Up Tilt or a midair attack. At high percents, it sets up for Valerie to cover a landing with the aid of Dash Stroke, Dash Attack, and the like. One other powerful use for Down Throw is launching the opponent offstage, where they get the pleasure of dealing with edgeguarding tools such as Rainbow Disc.
  225. Forward Smash
  227. Valerie grabs the tip of her brush and pulls it down to the bottom of the handle, stretching it like rubber. She uses it as a bow and arrow, launching a paint projectile which flies straight through the air at a moderate pace. The projectile deals 9% as a base as well as moderate Sakurai Angle knockback, and has one Battlefield of range.
  229. Forward Smash is a great tool for negating enemy projectiles, since it can clash with a lot of different projectiles. And since the opponent might want to use projectiles to hit Valerie and remove shield paint, this comes quite in handy. Her brush also blocks attacks during some of the move’s startup frames, so it almost acts like a pseudo-counter.
  231. The ranged projectile slots nicely into Valerie’s playstyle, since it can start blockstrings from afar or extend ones that go even beyond Down Tilt’s reach. It also counts as a brush attack, so it applies shield paint as well as gaining stun and pushback if the shield is fully painted. Forward Smash also plays nicely into Valerie’s tech chase setups, due to its range.
  233. In terms of zoning, Valerie is limited to one projectile onscreen at a time. Subsequent uses of Forward Smashes just create a melee hitbox with the move’s normal power. One must not underestimate the potency of Forward Smash’s zoning, however, due to how it interacts with shields. Normally, shielding is pretty much the best way to deal with projectile zoning, especially perfect shielding. Against Valerie, however, each projectile shielded is a stack of paint applied! So the opponent might try to jump or dodge past the projectile, which Valerie can punish.
  235. When charged, Forward Smash’s projectile travels faster, but its distance is actually reduced. At full charge, it travels only half as far! In exchange, Forward Smash becomes a formidable KO move when charged. So in a tech chase, this further boosts how effectively Valerie can punish a tech in place.
  239. Up Smash
  243. Valerie unleashes her reversal Super from Fantasy Strike: Chromatic Orb. The massive orb appears in front of Valerie and a little bit above the ground, so some crouching characters like Kirby and Jigglypuff can avoid it. Up Smash covers a huge area, though! And it deals rapid hits adding up to 15%, while also launching the opponent a fair distance and KOing at very high percents.
  245. Up Smash is valuable as a reversal for use out of shield. It has super armor at the very start, but there is a bit of vulnerability after the charge period. (To clarify, this vulnerability is there whether or not the move is charged.) Up Smash is also easy to dodge by rolling behind Valerie, or even by simply spotdodging with good timing. And Up Smash’s long ending lag means that if Valerie throws the move out carelessly, she can easily be punished after the foe dodges.
  247. Shielding Up Smash will not really work, however. As a multi-hit brush move, Up Smash has the pretty ridiculous property of always fully painting a shield as long as the foe was caught at the beginning of the move. And not only that, but as a result, it also always deals the paint-boosted shieldstun and shield pushback! So if Valerie catches a shielding opponent with Up Smash, she can always start a powerful, paint-boosted blockstring, and start threatening a paint-break. In exchange, the move itself is unsafe on whiff. Still, this is a powerful trump card to have when under pressure, a reversal in the truest sense.
  251. Down Smash
  253. Valerie powerfully swings her brush horizontally, striking the ground with paint. Down Smash has lengthy startup, dealing 10% damage on the brush itself while launching the foe at a semi-spike angle to force a tech at low and mid percents. It deals a ton of shield hitstun and pushback, boosted further still if the shield is painted. And like Jab, Down Smash keeps the foe in place if their shield is painted. In exchange, its long startup lag makes it hard to land on shield in the first place.
  255. If Down Smash is charged even a tiny bit, it gains ending lag. In exchange, the brush now creates a “wave” of paint as it strikes the ground, dealing the same damage but weaker knockback. On block, it paints shields, or can benefit from extra hitstun and pushback if the shield is already painted. It covers tons of space, about 1 SBB’s worth of extra reach horizontally, and can catch a shorthop as well as some fullhops. Just keep in mind that the extra ending lag makes this move super punishable on whiff or when dodged.
  259. Forward Air
  263. Valerie performs a series of two upward-arcing swipes with her brush, one after the other. The first one covers below Valerie as well as in front, dealing 7% and upward-forward knockback. At high percents, the opponent can DI away to escape the move then and there. Otherwise, they will be sent into the second hit of Forward Air, which covers only in front (so more like the gif) with 9% and more powerful launching knockback. It can KO opponents offstage at decent percents, making it a handy edgeguard. And at low percents, it keeps the foe nice and close for Valerie to pressure with another Forward Air, or with any number of other moves.
  265. Like in Fantasy Strike, Valerie can choose to perform either one or two attacks. It acts like Link’s forward air, where Valerie will swing twice by default, or you can land before the second swing comes out. Just like Link, Valerie’s hyper-boosted fastfall allows her to choose which one she wants very easily, whether she buffers it out of a shorthop or delays it after a fulhop. Forward Air is quicker to start than Link’s version, and covers behind as well as in front. In exchange, its damage and knockback are reduced.
  267. On shield, Forward Air’s second hit is typically punishable if Valerie does not defensively space it at maximum range while drifting backward. The first hit is more viable, since the two-hit nature presents a mixup. If Valerie fastfalls to cancel the second swing, the foe is free to use a grab or other out of shield option. Valerie can catch this out by instead continuing with the second swing, which is quick enough to hit the foe during the startup of the grab / etc. But if the foe holds shield in fear of the second swing, they give up the opportunity to punish Valerie if she does fastfall.
  269. Of course, what makes Forward Air even deadlier on shield is shield paint. Forward Air applies shield paint, and finds great use in Valerie’s painted blockstrings! On a painted shield, the first hit of Forward Air true combos into the second hit, thanks to the boosted shield hitstun. Its reach in front of Valerie also comes in handy.
  273. Down Air
  275. Valerie performs a classic fighting game divekick: she kicks diagonally downward in a pose similar to Zero Suit’s down air. This stall-then-fall has a much slower descent, though, more in line with the traditional 2D fighter’s version of this move archetype. It deals 11% at the very beginning of the move, along with horizontal knockback which can set up for techs or gimp opponents offstage. After that, its lingering hit deals 7% and sends the foe straight upward, allowing Valerie to cover a landing or start a juggle.
  277. If Valerie performs a full grounded jump and uses Down Air at the peak, it autocancels with no landing lag, while also having a hitbox nearly all the way down. So if Valerie connects with the Down Air, she can capitalize on its upward knockback with a quick combo. If the opponent shields the Down Air, though, it will always have landing lag, making it very unsafe on block. As a result, Down Air joins Up Tilt as a move which Valerie can use to incentivize the opponent to shield. Since both it and Cross Stroke are diagonal stall-then-fall moves, and Down Air has a much steeper angle (that is, Valerie travels less distance horizontally), she gains a powerful mixup between a front-hitting Down Air and a cross-up with Cross Stroke. And the opponent must choose whether to shield or to dodge!
  279. Aside from the autocancel from a full jump, Down Air has other uses too. It completely resets Valerie’s momentum and sends her falling downward right away, so she can use it to cut her jumps short midway through. Try jumping from the ledge and then using Down Air, or using it after double jumping out of a combo or 50-50.
  281. Also, if you buffer a Down Air out of jumpsquat, the initial hitbox comes out for only one frame, and then Valerie lands and suffers landing lag. This instant Down Air can make for a handy, quick mixup and start a tech chase with its horizontal knockback. The instant landing and power of the sweetspot also make it safe on shield, slotting into Valerie’s blockstring game. However, instant Down Air is extremely short-ranged, so Valerie really needs to take a risk and enter the opponent’s grab range in order to land it. If the opponent is out of range, they can punish. You should use it mainly after you have already gained an advantage state, such as mid-blockstring or as a tech chase.
  285. Neutral Air
  287. Valerie faces the screen and extends her hands downward at a 45* angle, then raises them up over her head to form a circle shape. Her palms emit twin rainbow arcs, dealing multi-hits of 10% if you catch the foe at the very beginning / bottom of the move. Neutral Air has moderate lag on both ends, and boasts a long duration handy for outlasting intangibility frames on dodges and techs. The final hit pops the foe upward.
  289. On shield, Neutral Air does not count as a brush move, meaning that it neither paints the shield nor benefits from a painted shield. However, its multi-hit nature makes it rather useful on shield, since Valerie can (thanks to her fastfall) choose to land instantly at any point during the move and suffer only the low landing lag. Valerie can end the move before the opponent can react, so if they want to punish, they risk dropping shield too early and just getting hit by the Neutral Air! And if the foe holds shield out of fear, Valerie can start a blockstring.
  293. Back Air
  295. Valerie turns around and grips the handle of her brush with both hands, charging energy into it for long startup lag. Then the head of the brush flares up powerfully with a burst of crimson paint, dealing 14% of damage and a supremely powerful semi-spike! In exchange for this raw power, Back Air has high landing lag and the infamous startup of Mario’s forward air. Use it to catch an airdodge either mid-combo or offstage.
  297. A laggy move like Back Air might seem pretty poor for Valerie’s blockstring game. Even if it deals tons of shield hitstun and pushback, that startup lag will almost always give the opponent time to drop shield and punish. Luckily, this move works almost exactly like Doomfist’s forward air, in that it has autocancel frames until the moment the move comes out. So Valerie can use her quick fastfall to land before the hitbox comes out, activate the autocancel frames, and land with no lag! Then she can go for a grab, or any other move.
  299. If the opponent tries to punish Back Air’s startup, Valerie can land quickly and then go for a grab or another attack. If the opponent is too scared and instead holds block, you can either land quickly and grab, land quickly and start a blockstring with Jab or Cyan, or just keep going with the Back Air and take advantage of its huge strength! And thanks to relatively low landing lag compared to its startup, Back Air allows Valerie to keep the pressure up after hitting a shield.
  303. Up Air
  305. Valerie swings her brush upward with both hands, similarly to Roy’s and Ike’s down air but instead directed straight upward. It has big range above Valerie and only mild lag. Up Air deals 10% at first, along with more powerful upward knockback which KOs at high percents near the top of the screen. The lingering hit deals 6% and lightly pops the opponent upward, which is usually better for combos.
  307. You can land with Up Air and hit most characters, except for very short or crouching fighters. This is a risky strategy, since the opponent can block or sometimes dodge the Up Air and then punish Valerie. On a painted shield, the extra shield hitstun and pushback mean that the opponent’s only option is a timed dodge, which Valerie can bait out and punish the ending lag of.
  309. And this goes without saying, but Up Air is an amazing juggling tool. Its quick frame data makes it awesome at frame trapping opponents who try to land by airdodging past. The only weakness is poor horizontal range, meaning Valerie needs to chase the opponent if they drift side to side.
  313. Playstyle
  315. Valerie is all about manipulating the opponent’s shield and locking her adversaries into their own defensive state. Her main objective throughout a match is to find ways to paint the shield, since it opens up a lot of options for her. You can choose to use safe, spaced pokes in neutral, or you can force the opponent to stay in shield by threatening a scary mixup if they ever dare to drop their guard. Valerie’s floatiness enables her to safely space aerials while retreating backward, and her fastfall gives her a quick return to solid ground to mix things up.
  317. Once the shield has been painted, Valerie has lots of freedom in how she gains an advantage. The blockstrings on a painted shield are kind of obvious by now, but it bears repeating. Many characters begin an advantage state by launching the opponent up into the air, or toward the edge of the stage. Valerie can certainly take advantage of these strategies, but her advantage state really starts whenever she correctly pokes the opponent’s shield.
  319. Just as vital is what happens when the opponent is too scared to block. Due to the risk of blockstrings and paint-break, a foe will often resort to other defensive moves, such as dodges, movement, or character-specific techniques. Compared to the safety of a shield, these options are risky, and Valerie has tools designed to punish each of them. Since the opponent is likely to not shield in neutral when Valerie has applied two coats of shield paint, moves which are normally unsafe on block suddenly become very viable to use.
  321. Valerie’s shield interactions are an exceedingly powerful trick. In exchange, she has a few glaring flaws. First and most prominent is how Valerie lacks safe and consistent options to finish off an opponent, when compared to some other characters. She has a kill throw, but aside from that, her ability to capitalize on throws is limited mostly to building damage and stage control. Valerie herself is also on the lightweight side, somewhat lacks good midair combo breakers, and has a recovery that is vulnerable to disjoints or attacks from above.
  323. For Valerie, the opponent’s shield is a canvas. Not only because she can cover it with paint, but also in that it is the medium through which the Valerie player can express personality and style. Valerie’s bipolar nature gives her the ability to quickly flip-flop between defense and offense, while her authority over shields means that the opponent must follow suit and respect what Valerie wants to do. Master every different stroke of the brush, know how to combine them, and turn your pressure game into a work of art.
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