Sol’s goal is to get in on you and then use his strong normals as well as his screen traversing and screen controlling special moves to force you into the corner, where he can put you in strike/throw situations with his command grab. Beating Sol is a matter of knowing how to properly RPS with his normals as well as stuffing his methods of approach. He's a well-rounded character who has a tool for nearly every situation, allowing him to counter almost any option you pick. There is no overarching weak point for you to exploit (such as Millia's weak defensive moves and frailty). Instead, counterplay against Sol requires you to learn the ins and outs of each of his moves rather than overwhelming him with a particular strategy. Against a player who is skilled enough to use all of Sol's options and cycle them well, you'll need to rely on proper spacing, tight meaty okizemeFrom Japanese "起き攻め". Attacking an opponent about to wake up after they were knocked down, usually with meaty attacks or mix-ups., and the occasional Instant Block to get your offense going. If your character can fight effectively at long or mid range, try to keep the fight at that distance.
Sol has several decent tools in the midrange that he can also use at round start. f.SGuardAllStartup10Recovery13Advantage+2 is an advancing normal that's plus 2 on block, and leads to a very strong reward on counter hit. It also has low recovery frames, so even if you jump, it's difficult to whiff punish it. f.S is Sol's most versatile button, get used to seeing it a lot. If you try to backdash to evade f.S, Sol can use 6SGuardAllStartup15Recovery20Advantage-9 to catch you with its longer reach. 6S is a bit slow, with 15 frames of start up. If you have a button that’s faster than 6S and has enough range to connect from round start distance, you can use it to beat 6S reliably. Additionally, both round start f.S and 6S both lose to 6P. If the Sol realizes that you’re using 6P round start a lot, they may opt for a microdash into 2DGuardLowStartup10Recovery18Advantage-4 instead. 2D has good speed and range, leads to strong Okizeme, and can low profile most projectiles and pokes. Alternatively, they may opt to move backwards slightly and whiff punish your 6P with 6S. While 6P is a strong round start option against Sol, it’s not necessarily an option you should always go for every single time.
Sol's 6HGuardAllStartup9Recovery43Advantage-27 is a fast command normal with 9 frames of startup. It’s long reaching, and can catch players off guard. It launches on counter hit and is faster than 6Ps, so Sols may opt for this at round start or as a post-wallbreak option. However, it’s -22 on block and cannot be special canceled, so keep that in mind. It might not be a bad idea to block once a round begins, or if you get caught in a wallbreak that doesn’t lead to a hard knockdown (any wallbreak that isn’t from an Overdrive or Wild Assault).
If the Sol is playing safe, they may opt to backdash or walk back and check if you whiff a button round start. This isn’t fool proof though, as characters with long range buttons like Ramlethal or Nagoriyuki can punish a backdash or initiate a block string against walking back. Sol could also jump and attempt an approach with an aerial or Air Bandit BringerGuardHighStartup22~29 RecoveryUntil Landing+18Advantage- to try and throw you off. Bandit Bringer is an attack where Sol floats through the air before doing a diving punch. It hits overhead, but is very reactable, and has a lot of pushback on block, making it unsafe to use.
Contesting Sol From Mid Range
Sol’s best range is up close. As such, he’ll mainly be trying to get in on you with his strong mid-range tools and special moves that allow him to approach from a variety of angles. If your character can, try and fight Sol from a distance. You need to keep out of his best range as much as possible. This is a lot easier for characters that play best from a distance, such as Axl or Testament.
From mid range and especially up close, Sol has strong tools to slug with. He’ll mainly be using his mid range tools to open you up and give him an advantage to get up close. In the mid range, Sol wants to use his farther reaching attacks, such as 6S and f.S, as well as his disjointed 2SGuardAllStartup10Recovery15Advantage-7 to control space and give him an opportunity to approach. 2S has 15 frames of recovery. Position yourself so that you’re out of range of it and Sol’s other pokes, and whiff punish or 6P them (note that you can’t 6P 2S because its hitbox is low to the ground).
6S is Sol’s main poking tool at mid range. It's highly rewarding on counter hit, has a large horizontal range, and the hitbox is disjointed during the active frames of the move. However, the hitbox actually becomes a hurtbox during the recovery frames. This, in combination with its significant 20 frames of recovery, make it more punishable than you might expect. On block, it's often special canceled due to being -9 on block. There are two main ways of contesting it. The first is using moves with longer range than 6S to contest Sol from beyond its effective range. The other is by counter poking 6S with moves that have enough speed and range to contest it. Clever use of large space control tools that fulfill either of these criteria can force Sol to play more patiently and methodically, giving you more breathing room and more opportunities to intercept his approach. Examples of such moves include May's f.SGuardAllStartup12Recovery19Advantage-8, Ramlethal's f.SGuardAllStartup11Recovery21Advantage-10 [-13], Nagoriyuki's 5HGuardAllStartup20Recovery27Advantage-14, Axl's 2HGuardLowStartup11Recovery26Advantage-18 [-8] and Potemkin's 6HGuardAllStartup23Recovery29Advantage-15. If you’ve been struggling against this move, learning about its various cancel options can help you understand which option to go for and when.
Sol can also try to control mid range space with Gun FlameGuardAllStartup18RecoveryTotal 54Advantage-10. This is Sol’s projectile special move where he releases a pillar of flame that slowly crawls along the ground. This is Sol's only projectile. It isn't all that threatening as a zoning tool due to being slow. At worst, it'll force you to be more patient. Its long start-up, short horizontal reach and advancing hurtbox allows it to be stuffed by pokes. When blocked from max range or as a meaty, it leaves Sol plus on block and allows him to get in. Its hitbox also hits fairly high, allowing it to snuff you out if you recklessly use Instant Air Dash.
Sol will most commonly cancel into Gun Flame from a blocked 6S. If you block 6S at tip range, Gun Flame will connect late, making it plus on block. It's a good idea to backdash or jump to avoid blocking Gun Flame entirely. Sol is in Counter Hit state for Gun Flame's entire duration. You can jump in and punish it from certain angles. There are also some character specific methods to punish Gunflame from 6S. If you have full screen projectiles, definitely use them. Leo can use his Cross Projectile. Nagoriyuki can use his Clone. If you block this move at close range, it’s also your turn here, as it’s -10 on block. If you predict Gun Flame, you can IAD after blocking 6S for an aerial Counter Hit punish. Keep in mind that Sol can mix up Gun Flame with Bandit Bringer, which can catch backdashes and is plus on air block. Most Sols will end their blockstrings with Gun Flame as it's safe on block. Remember that Sol is negative on block if the first flame column hits on its first active frame, so make sure to press your advantage. You can try to jump over Gun Flame, but you'd have to do so preemptively, or else Sol can punish you with his highly rewarding anti-airs. Try to not jump toward Sol without a plan.
If you end up blocking the projectile meaty or at range, Sol's frame advantage is quite significant. There's no option to escape easily, Sol will go for a mix-up and you just have to hold it. Block against strikes, jump or mash against throws, backdash against short-ranged moves, or reversalTo perform an attack as soon as possible after getting knocked down or leaving hitstun/blockstun. Overdrives if you want to gamble. Avoid blocking it if you can. If you're often forced to block it from a meaty set-up, you are simply losing neutral too often, and have to adapt to your opponent. If you often end up blocking it at tip range during footsies, then you aren't moving around it properly. Retreating with backdash or air backdash is a fine option if you have space behind you. You can also try jumping toward Sol and block in the air to stay safe should Sol go for an anti-air.
Sol's Bandit RevolverGuardAllStartup12Recovery9+6 LandingAdvantage-7 is a flying knee kick which can be followed up with a spin kick by pressing K a second time. The first hit moves Sol forward a decent amount and can lead to powerful counter hit combos. This is a tool that Sol can use to play an extensive RPS game. The first hit of Bandit Revolver is -7, making it punishable on block. Despite this, because of the potential of Sol using the second hit, challenging the first hit can be risky. If the second hit connects, it can be used to counter hit you and initiate a combo. However, the second hit is -11, and unless Sol has Tension to roman cancel and make it safe, he’s very punishable here. As a result Sol will be more likely to go for Bandit Revolver when he does have meter, as he can roman cancel it to put you in a potential high-low mix up by mashing j.PGuardHighStartup5Recovery8Advantage- after the cancel, or just landing immediately and knocking you down with 2KGuardLowStartup5Recovery11Advantage-2 > 2DGuardLowStartup10Recovery18Advantage-4.
Lastly, Sol can transition from mid range to close range by using FafnirGuardAll (Guard Crush)Startup24Recovery16Advantage+11, a forward-lunging Guard Crush. It leaves Sol at a massive +11 frame advantage on block, and is also very rewarding on Counter Hit. However, Fafnir is vulnerable during its 24 frame start-up. Characters with strong space controlling normals, such as Ramlethal, Leo, or Nagoriyuki can intercept the move quite easily. Its range can be significantly extended by dashing and kara canceling. Its massive frame advantage and powerful Counter Hit combos make it a move to be feared. However, the move is by no means infallible. The most important thing to keep in mind is the move’s hefty, 24 frame start-up animation. If Sol extends its range, it becomes even slower. Because the move has no defensive properties, Sol is wide open when using it. Note that Fafnir does not hit below the knees, so any 6P out long enough to progress from upper body invincibility to above knees invincibility should beat it convincingly, even once it has become active. Long-ranged attacks that are well rewarding on Counter Hit are also a good option for punishing Sol from a distance.
That being said, you are going to be forced to block Fafnir from time to time. Keep in mind that Sol can use the move off of set-ups that make it safer, such as during okizemeFrom Japanese "起き攻め". Attacking an opponent about to wake up after they were knocked down, usually with meaty attacks or mix-ups.. In these scenarios, the risk-reward ratio is skewed to be more favorable for Sol. If you do end up forced to block Fafnir, then whatever you do, don’t mash! Its +11 frame advantage is far too large for any regular button to be a good choice. Using a counter throw is a decent option if you predict Sol to follow Fafnir up with a dash into an attack up close, but this is heavily punishable if he meaties you, jumps or backs away. It’s also possible to challenge Sol with an invincible reversal, though this has its own obvious risks and can get predictable in the long run. Be careful.
Keeping Sol from Closing Space
Sol lacks meaningful options that reach full screen. From farther away, he’ll be trying to find a way to close enough space to transition to his mid or close range tools. He mainly has to rely on basic movement options such as dash blocking, and mixing up his grounded and aerial approaches in order to get in. As mentioned before, characters like Axl and Testament can really take advantage of this, and zone him out based on whether he approaches from the ground or air. Be on the look out for Sol’s air dash, it’ll likely be followed with a j.HGuardHighStartup11Recovery0Advantage+7 (IAD). Punish this with a 6P. Likewise, be careful trying to air dash in on Sol. His 5KGuardAllStartup3Recovery25Advantage-16 has a 3 frame startup and is an easy way for him to anti-air.
Sol has several special moves that advance him forward a fair bit.
Night Raid VortexGuardAllStartup15~31 Recovery32 Advantage-17 is a Low Profile attack that slides forward across the ground. The range can be extended to reach full screen by holding the S button. It’s useful for slipping under many pokes and projectiles. In neutral, Sol can randomly throw this move out at any time, which can make it quite stress-inducing. It has some limitations though. Notably, Night Raid Vortex cannot be special canceled into, which means you don’t have to fear this move during blockstrings. In addition, it has several weaknesses that you need to be aware of in order to deal with it.
- If the Sol player keeps using Night Raid Vortex to get close and punish your pokes, try to bait him by whiffing fast buttons that recover quickly, such as 5P. There's a good chance that the Sol player isn't reacting to specific attacks or openings, but rather, is simply responding to the fact that you did something. If he falls for the bait, simply block the attack and punish it. At -17 on block, you can punish him with essentially any or normal for a full combo. The stronger your punish is, the more you'll discourage Sol from using Night Raid Vortex again, so make sure to practice your optimal punish. Keep in mind that Sol can use Roman Cancel to make Night Raid Vortex safe on block. However, forcing Sol to burn 50% Tension is a win in and of itself.
- As evasive as Night Raid Vortex may be, Sol still has a hurtbox, which means that its evasive properties are limited. In addition, the hitbox doesn’t come out until a frame after the evasive properties disappear. The combination of these two limitations means that attacks with low hitboxes can consistently interrupt the move if you predict it. Low hitbox attacks that have good speed, range or a combination of both are especially good at this. Examples of such moves include Ky's 2SGuardLowStartup11Recovery20Advantage-8, Nagoriyuki's 2SGuardLowStartup12Recovery21Advantage-11, Axl's 2HGuardLowStartup11Recovery26Advantage-18 [-8] and Giovanna's 2DGuardLowStartup17Recovery12Advantage-8.
Bandit Bringer also moves Sol forward a decent amount and leads to an RPS situation on block. It can be used as a risky approach option and can be initiated either from the ground or the air. Sol can dash forward and use Bandit Bringer to get over your mid/long range pokes. If used in the air, the K button can be held down to delay the timing of the attack. If you try to challenge it with anti-airs, delaying the attack can throw off your timing. On block, Sols can mash the S versionGuardAllStartup9Recovery18+10 LandingAdvantage-28 of Volcanic Viper to counter hit you for trying to punish Bandit Bringer from farther distances. Volcanic Viper is an invincible reversal move that can be used to escape pressure. More info on how to deal with it in the Offense section.
An option rarely used by Sol, but still something to keep in the back of your mind, is his Overdrive Heavy Mob CemeteryGuardGround ThrowStartup13+7Recovery49Advantage-. In this Overdrive, he transforms with Dragon Install and does a dashing command grab that does a lot of damage. It’s pretty easy to jump over this on reaction, but be sure to do an airdash backwards so that you can actually punish it. Don’t just jump over it. If you have a move that will put you airborne, you can punish it this way as well, but it’s both range and character specific. Sol himself can punish this with a well-timed Bandit Revolver, but it’s likely safer and easier to just jump and air dash backwards. You can also drift RC upwards if Sol tries to use this to whiff punish you as well. Note that Sol is completely vulnerable before the super freeze, so they cannot use it as a reversalTo perform an attack as soon as possible after getting knocked down or leaving hitstun/blockstun. on wake-up. If you need more help, refer to novriltataki's anti-Heavy Mob Cemetery guide.
Sol has some of the fastest normals in the game he can mash during pressure. His fastest normal is his 3 frame 5K. If he whiffs this, it has 25 frames of recovery, so be sure to punish it if you bait this out. He also has a 4 frame 2PGuardAllStartup5Recovery8Advantage-2 with only 8 frames of recovery.
Then, there's his previously mentioned meterless invincible reversal Volcanic Viper, as well as his invincible reversal Overdrive Tyrant RaveGuardAllStartup7+2Recovery41Advantage-44. Both the and versions of Volcanic Viper have strike invulnerability. Many players who aren't good at dealing with pressure or mix-ups will rely on it like a crutch. The version starts up faster at 9 frames, the version is slower at 13 frames. Volcanic Viper can be rather difficult to deal with when you're attempting offense, but it does have several exploitable weaknesses. Tyrant Rave is another reversal option Sol has, and while it may cover some of Volcanic Viper's weaknesses, Tyrant Rave is rarely used as a reversal and is instead mainly used to break the wall. If he does use it as a reversal, the first hit has poor range and the entire attack is unsafe on block or whiff. You could bait both options by moving in and then backing away to block the reversal. Backing away will also allow you to whiff punish a throw and stay safe against a jump. However, this option will allow your opponent to initiate a blockstring if they button mash. Be wary if Sol has Tension to spare, as Volcanic Viper can be Roman Canceled on block for safety, and Tyrant Rave can be Roman Canceled on block or on whiff. Volcanic Viper is susceptible to throws during the start-up. Standard throws have a start-up speed of 2 frames, which means they will beat anything but a normal 5 frames or faster, should Sol go for it. Throwing against an opponent's wake-up requires precise timing though, so practice it in Training Mode (If you keep getting Counter Hit by Volcanic Viper, you're most likely throwing too early). Keep in mind that Tyrant Rave has both strike and throw invulnerability. Check if Sol has 50% Tension before deciding on whether to throw him or not.
A great option is using long ranged setplay moves to pressure Sol's wake-up without putting yourself in range of a reversal. Characters with projectiles that have long active durations are especially good at this.
- Millia's Tandem TopGuardAllStartup73RecoveryTotal 51Advantage+36 has a long active duration. Once you throw it out off of a 2DGuardLowStartup12Recovery19Advantage-8 and think Sol will perform the reversal, you still get to perform a crossup or same side mixup with no risk, as even if Sol performs the read on which side you will be on, the disk will still be active after you block the move, and catch Sol as he is landing.
- Ky's Charged Stun EdgeGuardAllStartup39RecoveryTotal 62Advantage+22 [+25] is another powerful setplay projectile, just make sure you set it up properly by being out of range when using it as a meatyHitting an opponent to cover the moment as they lose invincibility. The most common one is performing an attack early on okizeme to gain frame advantage and bait reversals.. It also has the benefit of inflicting Shock State Hitting an opponent in Shock State with most of his specials removes the Shock State (or reapplies it) in exchange for bonus effects varying from more damage, more blockstun, and better hit effects, allowing for more damaging combos or stronger okizeme..
- Anji's ShitsuGuardAllStartup29RecoveryTotal 52Advantage-6 is another projectile attack that functions similarly to the previous two.
- Sol can use Gun FlameGuardAllStartup18RecoveryTotal 54Advantage-10 to cover an opponent’s reversal. Space yourself so that Gun Flame hits at max range to make it plus on block.
If Sol manages to get in on you, be prepared to deal with a lot of RPS situations. At close range, Sol’s c.SGuardAllStartup7Recovery10Advantage+3 is an amazing button. It has a +3 frame advantage on block and leads to strong combos on normal hit and Counter Hit. f.S is similar to c.S. It has less flexible gatling routes, but works at longer ranges. It’s still a powerful pressure tool thanks to its speed, range, +2 frame advantage, and the fact that it advances Sol forward. It's a cornerstone of Sol's pressure game, as it allows him to initiate his strike/throw mix-ups.
Sol has highly damaging frame trap options from f.S, and it can be intimidating to challenge it with a button. You have to try to escape at some point, though. If you don't, Sol can condition you to keep blocking and then force a strike/throw mix up with grounded throws or Wild ThrowGuardGround ThrowStartup6Recovery41Advantage-. Wild Throw is a command grab, an untechable throw with more range and damage than his normal ground throw, but with the caveats that it starts slower, always side switches on hit with considerably weaker okizeme, and is slightly more unsafe on whiff. With Tension, Sol can RC and dash underneath you to switch sides and continue a combo that can lead to a wall splat. He may be more likely to go for this when he has the Tension to do so.
Against regular block, f.S has enough forward movement to always leave Sol in range for another one. This means that if you never try to escape, he can continue to loop f.S into f.S, which means he gets away with more strike/throw mix-ups than he should. Faultless Defense is a great option for pushing Sol away. In addition, f.S into f.S leaves an 8 frame gap to attack him through. Every character has at least two grounded normals that are frame 7 or faster, which will allow you to interrupt Sol. If you aren't sure what moves your character can use to escape, go into Training Mode with Sol as P1 and your character as P2. Set the Training Dummy to reversalTo perform an attack as soon as possible after getting knocked down or leaving hitstun/blockstun. with an attack after blocking, then attack them twice in a row with Sol's f.S. Experiment in Training Mode to find your strongest conversions from your fast buttons to improve the risk-reward ratio. If you need more help on how to lab the move, check out Sajam's video tutorial on the topic.
By challenging Sol's f.S, you will force him to occasionally continue the blockstring with 5H or 5K in order to frame trap you. If he succeeds in scoring a Counter Hit, you're going to be taking a lot of damage. On the plus side, these moves don't allow him to loop pressure as easily, giving you more opportunities to escape if you block. For an example, if you think Sol might frame trap you with 5H and you’re mid-screen, you can use Faultless Defense to push him away, then either continue blocking to react to his next move, backdash and punish whiffed attacks, or jump away to disengage entirely. You can also escape f.S into f.S by backdashing. However, the recovery of f.S is too short to punish Sol. Backdashing will, at best, reset to neutral, giving you an opportunity to punish his next move. Do note that backdash can be punished by Sol’s 6S, should he go for it. Mix up all your options to throw your opponent off.
Do note that no matter how unpredictable you are and no matter how optimized your conversions are, the risk-reward ratio is always in favor of Sol. Such is the nature of highly damaging plus on block moves. If you want to learn more, check out HiFight’s video tutorial.
When it comes to dealing with 6S > Gun Flame, the situation changes when 6S is blocked up close. Jumps will get clipped by Gun Flame, which means that you won't be able to IAD for a punish. In addition, backdashes will leave you at the range where Gun Flame becomes plus. In this situation, you should block Gun Flame as it becomes minus on block (-8 specifically) when close. Just be wary of Gun Flame (Feint)GuardStartupRecoveryTotal 25Advantage-, which fakes the animation of Gun Flame without actually committing to it, allowing Sol to recover quickly. Skilled Sol players will use it to catch you by surprise.
Sol Badguy Beginner Guide & How to Beat Him - Guilty Gear -STRIVE- by BrendanMushi (Time stamped at 11:20)