Sol is a bit more nuanced than first impression would suggest. He fits the archetype of the standard frametrap and command throw mixup while on offense, but despite having a plethora of close range tools, he does not necessarily excel at rushdown in +R. However, this does not mean that he cannot be played aggressively. Rather, Sol's gameplan can be summarized into a mix of three major approaches:
1. Patient. Sol has some of the strongest defensive options in the game:
- His DP has excellent range, damage, conversion, leads to knockdown, and is fast.
- His P and K normals are fast and good for hitting out of pressure.
- Backdash, while average on paper, is a bit invul around the feet and airborne, allowing him to go over some lower pokes.
- Sol's ability to whiff punish and counter poke is very strong due to the speed and/or hitboxes of moves like f.S and 6P.
- His airborne hurtbox is very frustrating to deal with, his low profile moves go around things unexpectedly, and several other factors can make pressuring Sol an absolute pain.
Forcing the opponent to make a mistake in attempting to deal with one of these options while abusing another while scoring huge damage off of a single button can make Sol players with strong defense a nightmare.
Keep in mind though that properly using this playstyle requires a good deal of knowledge and recognition to be able to adequately poke holes in opponent's offense. IB, jump out, backdashing, and proper FD usage become vital, lest you get completely mixed while trying to find an escape route under pressure.
2. Aggressive. On the flip side, the speed of Sol's buttons can let him get in on and overwhelm those not familiar with his strengths:
- 5K outspeeds nearly every other button in the game and is an excellent anti-jump-out tool
- 2S lets him stay plus on block
- BR catches jump outs and lets Sol get back in for more pressure
- Wild Throw breaks open turtle-ing opponents
- VV and frame traps blow up button presses
- GF FRC resets pressure
- 6P/2H/2D/6H all have extended cancel windows into their recovery frames, allowing for meaty and late-string frame traps
Every one of these options can lead to big damage on hit. Not requiring meter for conversions means that you can spend it to make riskier plays safe, or burn it for even higher damage. Sol's throw/frametrap game is extremely rewarding, and the threat of losing half to 3/4ths of one's lifebar will put the fear in them.
Where this play falls short however is Sol's extremely limited blockstrings. He generally needs to go for the mixup asap, as pressure will fall apart without extended meter use. Once Sol scores the hit, he needs to capitalize on the damage, and always be wary of the burst. Getting bursted out puts Sol right back outside his best ranges, and baiting it will score a free reset for 200+ damage as well.
3. Nutty. Perhaps more than any other character, Sol benefits from occasionally to completely going bonkers (See: Kusoru). The very tools that make Sol strong defensively can throw off the opponent if used in unorthodox manners. "Random" Grand Vipers and Volcanic Vipers will throw off many players who are conditioned to the "usual" style of play seen at mid/high level, and mixed in with Wild Throws, Riot Stomps, and other buttons with seemingly no rhyme or reason, you can get around players who cannot deal with these moves appropriately.
Note, however, that this works because the risks are generally considered too heavy to be worth using, and overdoing it will get you severely punished. The reason this still sometimes works at higher level play is because the Sol player thoroughly understands the game and the opponent. The randomness is calculated, and doing so without this grasp of the game will generally not get you far.
The nature of Guilty Gear and fighting games in general will require that you mix your approaches to the game against skilled opponents. Overly relying on one of these will put holes in your gameplan if you can find the proper balance of all three of these, whatever that is for you as a player. Despite lacking in some areas, if you are willing to overcome the walls of nuance, and some character specific knowledge requirements, Sol can take you far.
Tips and Tricks
As mentioned, Sidewinder is the biggest part of Sol's combos and gameplan, with nearly every big combo revolving around it. Damage is affected by Clean Hits: the more you have in the combo already, the more damage each individual Sidewinder deals. Because you need to strike at a certain point of a character's hitbox in order to Clean Hit, Sol players have to practice hitting at different heights. In general, lightweights need to be hit in the head, certain heavy characters need to be hit in the gut, and most other characters need to be hit in the chest. Lightweights include May, Baiken, Jam, Bridget, and Kliff; heavyweights include Johnny and Robo-Ky.
If you have no idea whether you've landed a Clean Hit or not, when you do land a clean hit, there's a longer pause on hit, a big flash, and a notice on the side of the screen, in the same place where you get Counter Hit notices. If you've never practiced landing Sidewinders before, Axl, Eddie, and Testament are three very easy characters to Sidewinder, as they have large hitboxes. On the flip side, Dizzy, Ky, and Faust have some awkward hitboxes that can make it easy to screw up, and so may require character specific setups. If you practice against a lightweight, a heavyweight, one easy character, one hard character, and Pot specifically, you should be able to get a grasp of how to Sidewinder Loop the entire cast.
Sidewinder becomes harder to Clean Hit the more clean hits are already in the combo. The target's Clean Hit area shrinks the more Clean Hits you've landed already, to the point where it becomes nearly impossible to continue. This is why SW combos tend to only go for 2-3 reps.
Clean Hit Diagrams can be found here: Clean Hit Diagrams
Check the Combos section for more information on how to actually loop Sidewinder.
This video gives an explanation of Sidewinder and shows some useful tactics for loops:
Grand Viper's Clean Hit allows Sol to start a Sidewinder Loop from nearly anywhere, as long as he's close enough to combo into it or can land it by going under something. In order to get a Clean Hit with Grand Viper, wiggle the joystick/dpad directions back and forth while pressing 2 buttons at the same time, and you'll usually have to stop mashing right before the uppercut in order to Clean Hit. The 7th hit will float the opponent so that the uppercut can land clean. If you're playing on a Pad, you'll have better luck if you hit diagonals (1 & 9 or 3 & 7) because the game will read it as two directions instead. Based on how many moves preceded GV in your combo, your mashing timing will have to alter slightly. Practice up and GV will become one of the most reliable tools in your arsenal. This video provides an in-depth tutorial on the attack:
Some specifics of how clean hit mashing works:
- For all 8 hits, I'm fairly certain you have to get 120 "points" of mashing
- if the left or right position goes active on any given frame, you get 6 points (that is to say, if you press left on frame 1 and hold it on frame 2, you get 6 points on frame 1 and 0 points on frame 2)
- If any of the P, K, S, or H buttons go active on a frame, you get 6 points (note that this is regardless of how many buttons you hit; pressing P+K still gets you 6 points)
- If either of the above are done during hitstop, you get 1 point instead of 6 points
So an "optimal" GV mash is 10 frames (direction + button is 12 points per frame), with unique inputs on every frame
Because Sol lacks any truly reliable overheads, a lot of ways you'll open up the opponent is through scaring them into blocking and then using Wild Throw. Even normal throw in the corner is another option because you can combo out of it, and it starts faster and doesn't lose to other options (besides command throws).
Your best normals for going into Wild Throw are 5P, 2P, 2K, c.S, 2S and all your jump in normals aside from j.D (which can still work if used sparingly). 5P and c.S are both even on block, so you can go into Wild Throw very quickly. 2K is one of your best bets, because even though it's -1, the opponent leaves their throw invulnerability out of blockstun quickly so that you can go into Wild Throw almost immediately. (In Guilty Gear, characters get a few extra frames of throw invincibility after blockstun ends, to prevent BS throw setups).
You can also do it out of blocked jump-ins because your air normals have no landing recovery, with the exception of j.D. If you have meter, you can also opt to RC things like 5H, 2H, Gun-Flame (Feint), and then dash in and WT instead. Even dashing in from far away and doing WT can work occasionally if the opponent is scared into expecting you to attack.
Once they start trying to poke or jump out of your tick throw setups, you'll want to switch to frame traps to try and catch them hitting buttons.
Sol's main frame traps start with 5P/2P/2K and go into 6P. The gap between these moves is very small, so opponents who try and mash out are likely to get counter hit by 6P, which leads to very high damage regardless of where you are on screen. You'll generally want to delay your 6P at first, so that opponents can see a pause and think that it's safe to react. Over time, they'll start to see the pattern, and begin mashing faster if they expect a throw. Using this frame trap in conjunction with WT setups can make up a big part of Sol's game.
Sol can also choose to go into other moves with bigger gaps or other moves, such as doing 5P/2P/2K into 2S, 5H, VV(best if RC'd), Fafnir, or even Tyrant Rave ver.Beta if you feel like taking a big risk. Although Sol can be very free flowing, you may get into a habit of doing similar blockstrings. Mix it up, screw around, mess with the opponent's head.
Wild Throw/Frame Trap Options, Summarized
Some tick throw options for quick reference:
...> 5P>2S (Gatling, beats 3F)
...> 5P>6P (Gatling, beats 3F)
...> 2P, c.S (Beats 4F)
...> 2P, 5K (Beats everything)
...> 2P>2S (Gatling, beats 3F)
...> 5K(2)>6P (Delayed gatling, beats everything)
...> c.S, 5K (Beats 4F, one frame link!)
...> c.S>6P (Delayed gatling, beats everything)
...> c.S>2D (Delayed gatling, beats 4F, low profiles)
...> c.S>5H (Delayed gatling, beats 3F)
...> 2S, c.S (Beats 3F)
...> 2S, 5K (1F link for true blockstring, otherwise should beat everything)
...> 2S, 2D (Beats 4F, low profiles)
...> 2S>2K (Beats 5F, not sure why you'd want to use this other than slight low profile)
Negative Edge Gun-Flame FRC
A neat trick you can pull off is to do Gun-Flame up close, then FRC and negative edge in a Wild Throw (Gun-Flame, then 623 P+K+S), which will throw the opponent before the Gun-Flame goes active. If the throw misses or they jump, the flame will cover your recovery.
Sol has a few ways of doing fuzzy guard setups, some of which are character specific, others which are universal but range in difficulty based on character height.
The first is j.H. Since this move has absolutely no recovery frames, It is actually possible to airdash after the last active frames for a fuzzy guard 50/50 on most standing characters. You have to perform j.H so that the move connects (blocked) near the end of its active time, and then buffer in the airdash following it. Done properly, you'll airdash relatively close to the ground and be able to connect with j.S (> j.H/j.D) and land into whatever you want. The shorter the character, the harder this is to do.
The second involves Bandit Revolver and Bandit Bringer. Both moves can be Roman Cancelled and airdashed afterwards, but under certain conditions. You can generally only airdash after RC'ing a blocked Bandit Revolver (2nd hit) if the opponent was standing, but many players instinctively block BR high because Sol goes airborne, and it's also easier for them to punish if blocked that way. Bandit Bringer, MUST be blocked high, but because of this you can make opponents attempt to punish the landing or Slashback the hit, and RC'ing BB will allow you to go for another overhead, or land into a low. You can also airdash after a blocked BB, if you jump installed it first.
Third, Anji, Eddie, Justice, and Potemkin all have large enough hitboxes (while blocking) that some character specific fuzzy guards works on them. For Anji and Eddie, Sol can dash in and do a late j.S/j.D, and then immediately double jump into j.D. This will connect and give you ample time to go into Sidewinder. On Pot, in the corner, you can do the same setup, but instead go into double jump j.S > j.H, then land into whatever. In +R, using FB SW, you can actually use these fuzzy guards from non-dash jumps midscreen as well.
This video demonstrates this fuzzy guard and some example combos:
Force Break Sidewinder can work in very clutch situations, such as after an airdash jumping normal such as j.S or j.D. This is the least likely to work, but hey, you never know. Sidewinder is pretty safe, so it can be worth a shot.
Lastly, Sol, Order Sol, Testament, Johnny, Slayer, Dizzy, and Venom can all be hit by a deep j.D with run momentum in the corner into immediate double jump slight delay j.S > j.H.
Occasionally you'll dizzy an opponent for long enough to land an IK. This applies to most characters in the game in nearly every instance, with a few exceptions. Sol is one of them. When in their dizzy animations, Sol, Ky, Chipp, Axl, Dizzy, Jam, and Order-Sol all crouch down. Napalm Death misses against crouching opponents. So if you get a dizzy on any of those seven characters, save your tension and your dignity and do something else. Anything. Please.
However, Napalm Death does have its uses in some cases. Against ABA, the only character notable for being notoriously vulnerable to IKs, you can IK her pretty easily out of her Moroha mode with Wild Throw or Bandit Revolver. When her Moroha meter empties, ABA goes into a completely vulnerable recovery animation, giving you ample time to run up and murder her. Wild Throw is the best option for this, because it gives you more than enough time to prepare, and it prevents ABA from bursting out.
Against Chipp, simply blocking either of his overdrives gives you a free IK setup. If he does Banki Messai (42 hit combo), use Faultless Defense to push him out, backdash, IK mode, and end the game. Be careful if Chipp has full tension when he does this, though. If a single hit of Banki Messai is blocked, Chipp can RC the move at any time whatsoever. If Chipp does Zansai Rouga instead, block the first five hits while grounded, then go into IK mode. The sixth hit will whiff because Sol takes a step back when he goes into his IK preparation stance. If Chipp doesn't RC or FRC any time before he does the dive, you're in the clear.
Although it may not appear as obvious as with characters like Jam, Slayer, or Anji, Sol has an incredible threatening wakeup game that can mean blocking is pretty optional in many situations. The main three options sol has are Volcanic ViperGuardMidStartup7Recovery21+10 after landingAdvantage-28, Grand ViperGuardLow×7, MidStartup17Recovery37Advantage-21, and Riot StampGuardHigh/AirStartup9 after reaching wallRecovery3 after landingAdvantage-4~. Each of these options can be incredibly threatening as a reversal and often most characters can cover maybe two of the options at a time, but rarely all three.
Volcanic Viper This is the main reversal option people will gravitate towards, and it's pretty simple. It's a DP Dragon Punch A move that has invulnerability during its startup, long recovery, and a rising motion. with a monstrously large hitbox, a lot of invulnerability frames and gives you a KNOCKDOWN if you land it (usually). However, despite being so strong that also means it is going to be the option people cover the most. In general the threat of Volcanic Viper accentuates the strength of the other two options because again, most characters cannot cover all three options in all situations.
Grand Viper This is the cheap one. Grand Viper leads to by far the most reward out of the three options discussed here if you have your combos down, while still beating several common options. Grand Viper has frame 1 extreme Low Profile When a character's hurtbox is entirely beneath an opponent's attack. This can be caused by crouching, certain moves, and being short. and can just go under an opponents Meaty Hitting 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.. Some notable moves this can beat are Charged Stun EdgeGuardAllStartup43RecoveryTotal 68Advantage+18 and BazookaGuardAllStartup24RecoveryTotal 57Advantage+38. However, grand viper is also possibly the easiest of these three options to stuff, as it loses to any low hitting meaty, and those may just be a characters regular meaty.
Riot Stamp Riot Stamp is often called a joke move, but that couldn't be further from the truth. Riot Stamp can be a very threatening reversal option that can function as an unexpected unreactable overhead, as well as forcing characters to adjust their oki to catch it. However, since the startup of the move is relative to your screen position Riot Stamp is fairly poor as a reversal midscreen, but gets much stronger in the corner. Riot Stamp is airborne frame 1, which means not only does it Low Crush A move that avoids low attacks. The move might pull your hurtbox up a bit so it avoids attacks that are low to the ground. In games with attack attributes such as Blazblue this is done with Foot attribute invulnerability., but if you do get hit you are also airborne. For characters that rely on you being grounded for their combos Riot Stamp can let you purposefully get hit but take much less damage than you otherwise would. This works very well against Zappa, Dizzy and Eddie.
Sol is not a character who has the easiest time getting in, chasing opponents, maintaining pressure, or with the most threatening mixup. His jump height is substantially below average, his run is decent but his midrange is mediocre, and his overheads are slow and very easy to see.
Thus, when fighting against Sol, your first priority, in many cases, should be to get away from him. Characters with longer range buttons and projectiles can make Sol's life hell, as he can have an extremely difficult time getting in. Many mid-level and even top Sol players can become impatient not being able to do anything, and may take substantial risks to gain or maintain an advantage. Be on the lookout for excessive IAD, Grand Viper, and run-up 2D approaches fishing for a hit:
- Sol's air buttons are fairly weak in neutral (outside of j.P and j.H), so you can counterpoke or easily react to poor airdash approaches.
- GV and dash 2D can be easily avoided by escaping to the air, and can sometimes be counterpoked but exercise caution, you do not want Sol gaining any kind of CH.
- Dashing and re-dashing, especially in pressure, can be often poked out against if their spacing or pressure is not on point, but again take care not to get frame trapped.
- Super jumping as characters such as Dizzy, May, or Johnny puts Sol in a tough situation. While his grounded AA is very strong, his air-to-air is not the best. Hence, staying airborne and being cautious not to get VV'd on a jump-in or airthrown is paramount.
In terms of buttons, Sol's are very fast for what they are. The main issue he has lies within his f.S. Despite being 7f, it extends its hurtbox very quickly and can be easily counterpoked with a jab, and is also 1f active, making it easily avoided by backdashing, as well as extremely difficult for him to hitconfirm.
It also hardly leads to anything on hit without meter or from max range, so Sol is usually relegated to f.S > 2S/GF FRC/nothing in order to establish some offense and continue his pursuit. If you escape this, you can prevent him from gaining any kind of initiative.
What about when Sol gets on top of you? You're terrified of WT and you don't want to press any buttons out of fear of getting 2P > 6P'd or dash 5K'd. That fear is very understandable. Sol's block pressure is very limited without leaving gaps for a reason to bait you into pressing a button or doing something. From far away, he can't call out a jump very well, so generally your strategy for getting Sol off of you should go like this:
- FD Sol out if you expect a string. His already limited pressure gets shut down and you can jump out. Just don't get tagged by Bandit Revolver.
- Fuzzy/FD jump out if you expect a tick throw. WT is a commitment and Sol will generally need to dash in to score one if he's not doing it out of a point blank tick throw.
- A lot of his buttons can be backdashed as they have relatively few active frames, but he can also call this out with delayed dash 5K or Gunflame.
When you have Sol pinned down is when you should also be very wary. His defensive options are what make him prime.
- Keep an eye out for VV. If you're leaving a gap, make sure you're spaced properly away so that you don't get CH DP'd.
- Absolutely do not be overly committal, especially if the Sol can IB. Getting interrupted by a 5K is possibly one of the worst things that can happen to you.
- Sol players will, I guarantee you, use any opportunity to GV under something or Riot Stomp over something if you give them an inch. Don't leave predictable gaps which can be avoided this was (e.g. non FRC'd Stun Edge)
- Have your safejumps ready. VV is 5F at its fastest and 7F at its slowest.
Sol's tagged a hit, and now you're prepping to lose 60% of your health! Time to burst, right? Depends on where you are. Good Sol players have to bait the burst. There are lots of points where they'll be hunting for it.
- 5K(1) > c.S is a natural burst bait. c.S recovers quickly enough that Sol can block and easily score a full combo from the launch you just gave him.
- 2[P] > 2S/H also works the same way.
- Bursting GV is a mixed bag if he has meter. He must RC before the burst in order to call it out. GV cannot be RC'd if the current hit has not made contact, meaning a burst cannot be reacted to in this manner.
- However, he can GV under a burst, so be wary.
- NEVER burst at the following points:
- Before he has jumped up to reach you for another SW. It'll whiff.
- Between a jump normal > SW. It will whiff.
- When Sol does a spaced FB SW. It will absolutely whiff.
- Out of a WT > IAD normal. It might whiff, depending on the Sol's spacing and the matchup.
TL;DR: Push Sol out with FD and take to the skies when you can.
- Be cautious about counter poking due to his frame traps, as his pressure is not particularly long without meter.
- Make sure you space your own pressure and safejump to avoid getting reversal'd out.
- Don't burst poorly.