GGACR/Axl Low/Matchups

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Axl Low


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Heavy versus Light matchups
Axl has a large array of situationally-useful tools, and so the subset of tools and their uses can vary a lot between matchups. Digital Watches finds it useful to draw a distinction between matchups in which Axl is primarily trying to play "light" by using his buttons to mitigate risk while baiting responses (With emphasis on tools like 2K, 3P, or jK), and "heavy" by using his buttons to stuff approaches more directly (With an emphasis on tools like 2H, 5H, and rensengeki). Obviously these are not hard and fast rules, but hopefully the distinction being made is informative.

Matchup numbers represent the character whose page this is compared against the character in the leftmost column of the table.

A.B.A Heavy There are really three gameplans to speak of here. One is transformation prevention. By running throw-safe offense relentlessly, Axl can make it very difficult for ABA to transform, and with a strategy to bait FB slide, you can keep her in normal mode forever, or at least punish bloodpack with a knockdown. Once ABA is transformed, you want to either stop her approach with disjoints and counters (Think fS, 2H, 2S, autoguard) or just weather her attacks and look for an opportunity to snipe her at low life, which Axl can do quite well by autoguarding, throwing, or forcing a benten trade
Anji Mito Heavy Run approach-stopping until Anji forces your hand with unusual approach vectors. 2H can stuff a fuujin if timed to hit him with most of the active frames, and in general Axl is quite good at stuffing the startup, as well as responding to the various followups. Hops can force you to use unusual anti-airs and option-selects, and are probably the thing you most need to look out for. Butterfly is basically a guessing game. You can try to autoguard to contest the initial hit, and if Anji isn't ready for it he'll get tagged trying to run in. However, once he's good at interrupting the autoguard, he can interrupt it after it's eaten the hit, so a good gameplan is to IB it and then try to contest or escape if you don't want to block
Axl Low Light Very rock-paper-scissors. Axl's tools have a lot of hard counters to his other tools, and few of them work on reaction or cover all that many meaningful options, so you're going to be playing a lot of guessing games
Baiken Light Since Axl relies on high blockstun rather than fast recovery to keep an opponent locked down, he's unusually vulnerable to guard counters. You can still try to play strike-stagger-throw games, or bait out her GCs and counter/autoguard them. You can also run a decent neutral game against her, but it's very heavy on guesses. You want to use 2H ideally and Rashousen situationally to contest suzuran, rensen against tatami coverage, and be ready to backdash, counter, or anti-air ourens. Unfortunately Baiken is very capable of punishing Axl's anti-air chains, so your normal approach to anti-air will have to be adjusted to involve more baiting of attacks
Bridget Light Bridget gets to control a lot of space in this matchup by putting roger between you and her, and is generally going to win attrition if she runs away you continuously try to attack her. You want to be patient and wait until you know you can get a good hit, because unlike many characters, Bridget often is very happy air teching against Axl due to high air mobility
Chipp Zanuff Light Approach this neutral by moving around as erratically as possible, and avoiding overcommitting. Chipp can punish a lot of things by teleporting behind you, and it can be somewhat difficult to anti-air him because of his positioning and fast, disjointed falling normals. You'd ideally like to score knockdown, as his reversals are relatively easy for Axl to bait
Dizzy Heavy Dizzy is extremely dangerous because her mixup is so strong she can end the round with a single knockdown while covering herself with fish. Like most characters, Axl needs to avoid her tick throw setups with jump FD when she's backed up by a summon. Ideally you want to shut her down as early as possible and keep her pinned. If you give her too much ground she can summon pretty freely, so have a gameplan to stay around the tip of rensen range or closer. Keeping in range will force her into the air, where her mobility can force you to commit to catching her, giving her openings to punish into a deadly knockdown. Her j2S and jH hit deep so they can require you to antiair a bit earlier than other characters, but they are not disjoint.
Eddie Light 5K and 2K are a godsend for interrupting mid-string summons, and rensen can punish a far summon pretty effectively, but you really need to watch out for drills in this matchup, as Eddie knocking you down gets him a summon you can't as easily contest. You need to figure out how to get out of blockstrings if you're going to have a chance, and the tools to look at are backdash, autoguard, benten, and throw. Luckily, if you can knock Eddie down, you can run relatively strong okizeme on him and make it hard for him to come back. His throw range is pretty large, so make sure your offense is extra safe to throws in places where you might think you're far enough away not to worry about it
Faust Light Faust and Axl work awkwardly around each other, as both typically want to operate in midrange but both have good answers to each other there. It's important to try to punish Faust for attempting to throw items, even though this is rather difficult. You can maintain offense against him, but bear in mind that his dead angle is a bit harder for Axl to bait out than usual, and he has some reversals you'll have to work around. Although I call this a light touch matchup, 6H is an extremely important tool, as a low, far anti-air as well as on okizeme and in strings, as it will beat both the super and FB chop. Avoid being in the air unless you're sure his jH and bomb bag won't reach you
I-No Heavy Primarily you need to be thinking about I-No's approach vectors. Far hoverdash will lose to 5P, close hoverdash you're looking for benten, 6P, or 5K. 2K, 2H, and 3P are great ways to stop STBT. In neutral, you can run, rensen, or 2K under HCL, and it's often nice to bait with running 2K such that if she FRCs, you can still likely anti-air (at least with autoguard). Many strong I-Nos will try to leverage note to gain control of the space in front of her, which I prefer to try to move forward and dodge or block in the air if they're far, and force trades with either autoguard or S benten
Jam Kuradoberi Light Jam is very dangerous to attack, as she has lots of ways to blow up holes in your offense, the most significant of which are parry and carded ryujin. However, Jam can be stopped pre-emptively in a lot of her approaches, and often has to choose between mixing Axl up and avoiding the risk of anti-airs. You really don't want to throw out committal things from full screen in general, but in this matchup it will bite you extra hard. Remember that 2K can be very easily spaced to go under Jam's DP, though you may have to block after it recovers sometimes if you're early
Justice Heavy Axl has a lot of good ways to stop Justice from setting up, or even respond to nukes once they're on the screen. Aside from the universal ones, nukes often will fail to stop at least one of the hits of rensen from going through, will not stop rashousen, can be poked over with 5P or under with 2H, and you can even intentionally throw out a long hurtbox to take an initial nuke hit fairly often. You generally don't want to scrap with Justice up close, as her enormous throw range and relatively disjointed close buttons can be a real serious problem. However, around fS tip range is a good place to contest her, and you can anti-air her more effectively than most characters.
Johnny Heavy You need to be thinking about coins, though autoguard is a great way to block them and potentially trip up Johnny's approach. Avoid heavy reliance on low pokes, as this is one of the ways Johnny can score a punish, but 5P is unusually good as an approach-stopper here because of how tall Johnny is and how many of his approach vectors can be tagged by it (KJ transport, his normal airdash, and his normal standing animation will all eat it)
Kliff Undersn Light Kliff's got the best big disjointed buttons in the game. You need to tag him when he's trying to move, or be contesting him with rensen and rashousen (Which is unusually good in this matchup, since you can space it to go through taunt and hit nape saddle as it comes down with the same timing). You need to get comfortable trying to snipe things like nape saddle, and waiting for him to hang himself with something punishable (Like whiffing skull crusher, or hitting with a non-FRC'd egg). Do far safejumps often on oki, as sway/chop will lose to them. Kliff has zero moves with throw-invuln, so it's often a good idea to try to throw him
Ky Kiske Light 2K is a key tool in this matchup, as it will go under 5H, fS, stun edges (if timed well), Vapor Thrust, and jS at any height. In neutral, you're trying to get in on Ky, either by running/ducking through his stuff, or contesting something with a rensen or autoguard. Up close, you want to play tight stagger, keeping in mind that he is much stronger at this if you're within his jab range. Baiting Ky into whiffing things is crucial
May Light May gets to move around a lot here, but is vulnerable to some approach-stopping and prediction if you're careful. Her j2H can be dodged by a late 2K, and her dolphins can often be tagged by pre-emptive anti-airs. You need to have a gameplan for what you do when you have to jump out of her command grab. Her fast, low-invuln, throw-invuln 5K can really mess with you for going for too many lows or throws, but trades with S benten and loses clean to autoguard
Millia Rage Light You're going to be playing a ton of neutral here, and Millia has a pretty strong general-purpose button in jK to hit you with. Anti-airs are weaker than usual in general because of pin, fast-fall, and multiple airdashes that she can cancel into for punishes and mixup. 2K can dodge a disc to surprise her, and autoguard will beat most overhead + disc setups, though she can of course vary the timing if she suspects you'll do this. Aiming to control screen position to keep her away from a pin can be quite valuable, as it makes anti-airing her a lot less risky. Confirming from counterhits is crucial, especially 5H, jK, and jH
Order-Sol Heavy If you can force HOS into midrange (Around tip of 3P range), it can be very hard for him to fight. Don't let him get away with action charges without burning meter to FRC, you can usually punish them, sometimes even if you got hit (e.g. LV1 storm viper into uncanceled action charge is a knockdown punish from anywhere) HOS also struggles with approach vectors, as his low jump height means it's easier to predict his course and anti-air him.
Potemkin Heavy This is one of the few matchups where you really want to be zoning most of the time. When you're outside of forward mega fist's range, Potemkin has to commit very hard to his approaches, and can't get that much reward unless you really screw up. Midrange, you're basically playing a guessing game between hammerfall (2H or rensen), megafist (6H, autoguard, counter, 6P), and jump block (2S, 6K, etc). It's winnable, and Axl gets more immediate reward for winning it, but Axl has a very difficult time locking Potemkin down after a knockdown due to having little in the way of strings that can't be pot-bustered, and Potemkin getting Axl in the blender is often game-over. You have to guess really hard to get out, because of your lack of jab, lack of invulnerable reversal, and slow jump. If you are forced to try to get out of Pot oki, H-Benten is crucial in this matchup, as it will stop a pot buster with long throw-invuln, a low meaty/slidehead because of its own lower-invuln, and can hit twice to disrupt hammerfall. You need to think really carefully about meter-attrition in this matchup, as Potemkin's FRCs can make his approaches a lot harder to deal with, and you will often need yours (or sometimes a super) to hold him off, so don't waste meter on blockstrings unless you're really confident you can crack the opponent
Robo-Ky Mixed You're trying to dodge and punish a lot in this matchup. Run under missiles and 2K if you need to to slide under them. Try to stay around a range where fS/3P disjoint does work, and keep him scared of autoguard. You need to have your punishes on point for things like dash attack, and be heavily employing baits like far 3P/2H and safejumps to deal with his very strong DP. Once he's at high heat, you need to treat this as a light touch matchup, as many of his tools that were previously just stray hits will now get him serious damage
Slayer Heavy Stopping slayer's approach and wakeup options both have to do with keeping a lot of active frames on him, so 2H and 5H are key neutral tools in this matchup. You can often tag far mappa with autoguard, and S benten is very useful on wakeup, as it can force profitable trades with many options, crucially 5K and 6K. If you commit to a low poke, try to make sure you're not close enough that his (unusually short) airdash can get you, but not far enough that he can dodge it with dandy step. Remember he's got a bigger throw range than you, so going for throws requires control of the tempo or for the opponent to mess up their spacing. Still, it's important to throw sometimes to keep him honest about crossing over you
Sol Badguy Light Overcommitting will be your downfall here, as aside from VV being... VV, you also have to deal with a lot of evasive options that are good at making Axl whiff, primarily grand viper, bandit bringer, and riot stomp. Try to avoid committal low options like 2H and 2D, or even all that much neutral rensen. 2K and autoguard are great ways to contest approaches late, and spacing 3P at around its tip is very difficult for Sol to deal with
Testament Heavy Testament wants to control the field, and you need to not let them. Raeisageki (both versions, but especially S) is a great way to move surprisingly and also clear trees, and you should always be looking for opportunities to poke webs when Testament can't punish you for it. You can run under FB summon, and you can rensen through forward beast. Backward beast, especially on oki, becomes a bit of a guessing game: Will you autoguard it? Block it and try to throw? Jump out and try to air approach with jS? Warrant is pretty baitable for Axl: if you're throwing rensen or raei in situations you're not sure about, it can tag you, but warrant against 6H can always be blocked, and often you can cancel into movement or counters to get away from it or beat it. Also, Testament relies on a lot of pseudo-invuln in Grave Digger and 2H to get through walls, so make sure to keep active frames in their face, as moves like 5H, 6H, 2H (vs 2H), and 5P (vs digger) can be very effective in stuffing these tools
Venom Light Venom gains a lot of control and safety by getting balls out, both creating neutral and mixups you can't readily contest, so you want to prevent ball sets as best you can, and in general keep Venom from getting back up once you've knocked him down. Be ready to bait his DAA and his low-profile sweep, as these are his only quasi-reversal options. Rensen is a good callout for stinger aim and carcass raid if spaced well
Zappa Mixed You can run a summon-shutdown gameplan pretty effectively, as Axl can tag Zappa for whiffing raw summon nearly anywhere and can often land a stray hit to get rid of a ghost. Once ghosts are out, you need to take different approaches to each one, like anyone. You can pretty effectively jump or run past sword using the character-agnostic approaches of waiting for an opportunity to jump (which allows you to recur IB to get jump options back or airdash past a transparent low swipe) or run (If the sword goes high enough for you to duck it). Axl also has the unique options of getting past the sword's tether range or punish attempts to move it with rashousen, and countering the sword normals with tenhouseki. The ghosts are a lot like Ky, in that you're mostly trying to approach through projectiles with tools like FD brake, rensen or run-2K (Can go under the straight forward toss), and just generally trying to put Zappa in a position where he can't rebuff your anti-air. Dog you can treat kind of like Eddie: Try to push Zappa out and either tag the dog or zappa with an autoguard, a K normal, or occasionally a rensen to hit both. Raou is pretty easy to force to approach, and his approaches are relatively transparent and vulnerable to rensen/anti-air. Some smart Zappas don't bother with raou against Axl and will unsummon if they accidentally get it, but if your health gets really low and you're losing meter attrition it can be a little more dangerous


Axl Low
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