Players familiar with Zato from later games may be expecting a puppet character. However, that is not the case in Missing Link. Here, Zato and his shadow cannot move independently as he can later in the series. Instead, he functions as a zoning character, with a variety of strong pokes and projectiles to both wall the opponent out and harass them from far away. He also boasts solid buttons all around, many of which having the speed and range to turn nearly any stray poke into a Charge Cancel infinite.
Zato outspaces the opponent with large normals, varied projectiles, and anti-zoning tools, looking to convert his pokes into a long-ranged infinite.
- Break the Law: Break the Law is obscenely strong in Missing Link with only 6 vulnerable frames on startup, 4 vulnerable frames during recovery, and great speed. Combined with guard cancels it's very hard to deal with and lets Zato gain space from the opponent without much risk.
- Good Zoning Options: With Aerial Invite Hell, Climb Darkness, Break the Law, and huge normals like j.S and 5H, Zato is a powerful zoner.
- Strong Anti-Zoning: Invite Hell is good at catching opponents trying to zone and Drunkard Shade is an incredibly effective projectile reflector.
- Honest Footsies?: Zato has a variety of relatively safe long-range normals for poking, including 5K, f.S, 2S, and j.S. Combined with his fast and long-ranged 5H, this lets him turn stray hits into Charge Cancel infinites from remarkably far away.
- Long Vulnerability on Invite Hell: Invite Hell lasts for a very long duration and Zato is open to a full ground punish the entire time. This is partially helped by Aerial Invite Hell, but comes at the cost of nerfed hitboxes.
- Incredibly Weak Reversal: Zato's 623P, Rise and Fall, is fully invincible on startup. However, it's fully punishable by an infinite on block and hit, making it useless outside of kills.
- Weak Super: Dark Sentinel, despite looking cool, is a very underwhelming super, lacking any use outside of specific situations. Most of the time Zato will be spending meter on FD.
- Small Instant Kill: Zato's instant kill, while fairly fast, has barely any range and can be crouched by most of the cast.
- A quantification of how a character's health bar is reduced when they are hit.
- The act of defending against incoming attacks. Guarding either negates the damage from an attack entirely or reduces it to minor chip damage.
- Guarded against while crouching
- Guarded against in either the crouching or standing state, but not while airborne
- Guarded against in the standing state
- Guarded against while crouching, standing, or while airborne
- Cannot be guarded against, but only applies to grounded opponents
- Cannot be guarded against
- The time before an attack is active including the first active frame. For example, an attack with 10F startup means the attack will do nothing for 9 frames, then hit the opponent on the 10th frame.
- The active frames of an attack refers to the amount of time an attack can hit the opponent.
- The recovery of an attack refers to the amount of time an attacker must wait before they may perform another action, even blocking.
- A measure of frame advantage when the opponent blocks an attack. Positive values indicate that the attacker can act first. Negative values indicate that the defender can act first.
- A measure of frame advantage when the opponent is hit by an attack. Positive values indicate that the attacker can act first. Negative values indicate that the defender can act first.
- Short for InvulnerabilityA state where a character cannot be hit. A common component of reversal moves.
5H is Zato's fastest normal, and has enough hitstun to structure into a CC infinite. Enables Zato to begin charge cancel infinites from the maximum range of his ground pokes, giving his footsies deadly reward. That being said, it comes with some notable issues:
- The Hitbox to Hurtbox ratio is very poor.
- Whiffs on most crouching opponents. Characters' hurtboxes extending upwards when hit generally remedies this in combos, but not always. You can't use 5H to structure into infinites on crouching Millia, Baldhead, or Zato, and whether you can use it on Baiken is range-dependent(you can't be too close or too far).
- Lengthy recovery and poor frame advantage uncanceled make this risky to throw out on its own.
Zato's classic overhead, except it's painfully slow in this game. You're more likely to be hit out of it than to ever land it. Bizarrely, it can be special canceled or Charge Canceled at any point in the move's duration. Although he lacks low-hitting specials, the charge cancel lets him go low with 2P or even go for a throw, although this is not much better than mashing than raw 6K. Some characters, notably Baldhead, can crouch under 6K.For some baffling reason, the command list gets the input for this move wrong. It says "Press forwards when holding K" but that doesn't even work. Instead of doing [K]6, like the command list implies, you just do a normal 6K input.
It's a grab, and has the usual properties of one. Zato's throw is decently plus on hit, even if they tech. If they do tech they are left very high in the air for you to catch their landing.
- Sideswitches on hit
- Sends the opponent flying very far horizontally as well as vertically
Fear of the Dark
|FATAL||All||6||6||10||N/A||N/A||Above Knees 1~11, 15~40|
Drunkard Shade is pretty cool. First of all, the move is invulnerable above the knees and has a tall hitbox that extends up from the ground.
The K version will immediately reflect any projectile which contacts it.
The P version will instead absorb the last projectile to contact it. After a couple seconds, that projectile will then automatically fire out of Zato's face, even if he is in hitstun.
Drunkard Shade does not work on the following projectiles:
- Justice's Imperial Ray or Gamma Ray
|Climb Darkness Followup||15||Overhead||2||17||2||N/A||N/A||none|
Climb Darkness sends Zato's shadow forwards to the edge of the screen, then calls it back to him. During this time, Zato's only valid actions are the followups to Climb Darkness.
The followups to climb darkness are all the same, but are input with distinct buttons. They are done by pressing H, S, and P in that order. You can use the 3 followup hits at any time that the shadow is away from Zato so long as the order is respected.
Once the first followup is used, the shadow will begin its return to Zato regardless of whether or not it reached the edge of the screen.
- Air Unblockable
- The earliest valid followup input is on the 10th frame of the animation, right after the shadow becomes visible on the animation.
- There must be at least 1 frame without an input between the end of one Climb Darkness Followup and the start input of the next.
- After the shadow returns to Zato, the recovery of the move is 3 frames.
|Invite Hell Level 2||All||17||15||-15||-27||none|
|Invite Hell Level 3||All||17||15||-1||-41||none|
Invite Hell locks Zato in place and produces a drill a set distance away. The S button places the drill near Zato, and the H version places the drill far away.
The drill hits once when coming out of the ground, once when erect, and once more when retracting into the ground. It has enough vertical range to reach the apex of Potemkin's jump arch, which means that some characters will be forced to superjump or double jump to get around it. Invite Hell is a bit awkward as a zoning tool since Zato is immobile for the entire duration, so it is matchup dependent how you use it.
At Level 2, the drill gains massive hitboxes on its sides which make it considerably harder to contest, avoid, and deal with in general. The hitbox also goes under the bottom of the stage, for some reason.At Level 3, the move spawns three drills and occupies virtually the entire floor, making it borderline uncontestable.
Aerial Invite Hell
|Aerial Invite Hell||9x2,1||All||1||9,59,18||Until Landing+29||+16||-38||none|
|Aerial Invite Hell Level 2||9x2,1||All||1||9,59,18||Until Landing+29||+16||-38||none|
|Aerial Invite Hell Level 3||9x2,1||All||1||9,59,18||Until Landing+29||+16||-50||none|
Aerial Invite hell is similar to the ground version, but with some interesting tweaks. It spawns a drill on the ground a short distance in front of Zato's position when the move is first input. The S button places the drill near Zato, and the H version places the drill far away.
Zato's momentum is preserved which can let you move away from or towards your drill by using backwards or forwards jumps. Because this move is in recovery until landing + 29 frames you want to use it as soon as possible before hitting the ground. this will give you the most actionable time before the drill disappears.
Level 2 is identical to level 1 in all known ways.Level 3 Aerial Invite Hell spawns 3 level 1 drills, which makes it cover considerably less space than the ground version.
Rise and Fall
|9,12||All,Overhead||6||7(25)28||29||-60||-58||Full 1~12, 34~37|
Invincible on startup DP with a decent hitbox and damage. It has a huge amount of recovery, making it very unsafe on block.Initially looks like a useful reversal and combo ender, especially considering Zato's status as a zoner, but it has a major flaw. It's fully punishable ON HIT. By teching the second hit of the move, the opponent lands next to Zato fully recovered while he's still going through the move's long recovery. This leaves it fully open to a punish with anything you want, be it an IK or an infinite. This unfortunately renders the move mostly useless.
Break the Law
|N/A||N/A||30||N/A||15||N/A||N/A||Strike 5~30; Full Until Exiting BTL; Strike 1~11 of Recovery|
Zato schlorps into the ground making him completely invulnerable. While underground Zato's only valid actions are to move left and right at incredible speeds. Coming out of the ground has a brief animation before Zato becomes actionable.
- Startup represents the time it takes to enter the ground from first input. Recovery represents time that it takes to come out of the ground.
- Zato has 4 frames of vulnerability on either side of the animation. 4 Frames at the start when he goes into the ground, and 4 frames at the end after he comes out of the ground.
- Pressing S will cause Zato to come out of the ground early.
- Pressing P will fake coming out by playing the first 11 frames of the animation.
|63||All||39||Until Reaches Enemy/Wall||75||-65||-65||none|