P4U2R/Shadow Labrys/Strategy

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Shadow Labrys


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General Strategy

The Rundown

Shadow Labrys is one of two puppet characters in P4AU, the other being Ken Amada. She specializes in creating very strong and oppressive situations for her opponent to deal with on block with her Persona, Asterius. It's very important to get used to controlling both her and the Persona as if they were two separate characters who operate in tandem. Shabrys has the lowest life in the game at 8000 health, so you will have to be very careful with the decisions you make as it takes less hits to lose with her compared to the rest of the cast.

On the flipside, Shabrys has access to rather high damage off of basically anything she does. Once you get used to controlling Shabrys, she begins outputting 3k damage or more consistently from even her weakest hits. Shabrys has access to many scary okizeme setups and rewarding mixup options, allowing her to confidently steamroll the opponent to death. With decent defense thanks to her Furious Action and great neutral thanks to Asterius, Shabrys can be a very oppressive force in the hands of a skilled player.

Both Shabrys and Asterius can be given commands at the same time, so you want to input moves with Asterius alongside her pokes in hopes of getting a hit which you can convert into a knockdown. After you get your knockdown, you can then transition into the frightening okizeme that Shabrys is known for which includes safejumps, high/low mixups and even unblockables.

Shadow Labrys's main strengths are her strong neutral game, excellent okizeme arsenal, high damage combos, and her signature Awakening Super Titanomachia. Her main weaknesses are her low health, her need to manage Asterius while navigating neutral, and extreme reliance on keeping him alive to maintain threat in a match.

How does Shadow Labrys compare to other "puppet" characters?

Shadow Labrys has a number of unique facets compared to other puppet characters like Eddie or Carl Clover. If you're coming from either of those two games and you play a puppet character (what is wrong with you) then it's worth noting these differences, as they heavily inform Shabrys's playstyle.

Similarities:

  • Shabrys and Asterius are controlled at the same time. You can get Shabrys and Asterius to perform moves even while the other is in their recovery frames- many of their combos rely on Asterius picking up where Shabrys left off, and vice versa.
  • Shabrys and Asterius rely on a limited resource for him to be operational. In this case, Persona cards.
  • Shabrys and Asterius rely heavily on mixups and strong okizeme over lengthy pressure scenarios, though they are more than capable of doing so if need be.

Differences:

  • Asterius is on the field at all times while he has Persona cards remaining. There is no way to desummon him like Shadow or Nirvana. To help with this, Asterius can block with his D buttons.
  • Asterius automatically moves himself, prioritizing staying as close to Shadow Labrys as much as he can. If Shadow Labrys moves too far from him, he will dive into the bottom of the stage and resurface next to her. Otherwise, he swims through the ground to stay close at all times. This removes the complexity involved in creating traditional puppet "sandwich" situations, as well as making it somewhat difficult for them to be initiated in the first place.
  • Asterius has as passive autoguard. If an attack deals 400 or less base damage (think most 5As), Asterius will ignore it completely. His 214C increases this value to 600.

As a result, Shabrys plays a somewhat unique puppet game. The lack of direct control you have over Asterius can take some getting used to for experienced puppet players, but thankfully Asterius has a good number of tracking moves and his underground warp is very fast, making managing him not too difficult.

Neutral

With the combination of her axe normals with huge hitboxes and Asterius having a lot of range on it's moves (and its constant presence on the field acting as a possible barrier), Shabrys is able to set the pace of the match very easily. One of her biggest strengths is being able control space from anywhere on screen while also being able to follow up into her offence on hit or block. However, ill-timed Asterius calls leave him very open to being punished and losing Persona cards. This can lead you to being Persona broken, which is especially bad for Shabrys as she is extremely vulnerable without her Persona. Awareness is the key to playing her well with being able to manage Asterius being the highest priority.

Long Range

Hammer Uppercut (2C)

A very useful tracking move. It's really good at checking the opponent anywhere onscreen and it's really easy to convert it into offence since it has a lot of untech time on hit and a lot of frame advantage on block. How well the opponent deals with this move will dictate the difficulty of your neutral. Constant disrespect or failure to address it will result in having an easy time since 2C can lead to huge damage especially on Fatal Counter. If they are more aware of 2C however you will need to be a bit more careful with your placements as whiffing it puts Asterius in huge recovery, which may lead to him getting punished and you losing a Persona card.

Flames of Hades (236C/D)

Can be used as a free "get in" neutral tool if the opponent is providing enough respect or playing very passively in neutral. Can also be used to force risky jump in from your opponent which you can then punish with your 2B. It does take a while to start up so you'll need to be careful with just mindlessly just running in with it against a more active opponent.

Buffalo Hammer (214C/D)

Asterius will increase his autoguard durability from 400 damage to 600 damage throughout the entirety of this moves duration, it can be really good against people that like to play very aggressively against the Persona since it also can Fatal Counter into huge damage. This move can get especially abusable when combined with the SB Buffalo Hammer Glitch.

Chain Knuckle (236A/B)

This move can be used to harrass opponents without giving up your position but be careful with spamming this as it has a lot of recovery and can be low profiled.

Mid Range

5B

Shabrys 5B is a really strong poke. It having Body attribute means it cannot be low profiled, giving it an advantage compared to other 5Bs which usually have Chest attribute. However her 5B is really slow to start up so it's susceptible to being counterpoked by faster normals.

j.B, and j.2B

Both of these normals will be the main way you navigate the air with Shabrys. The huge hitbox on jB makes it a fantastic air-to-ground normal, as it's very difficult for most characters to anti air. j.2B on the other hand is a good air-to-air normal with its disjointed hitbox and its wall bounce on hit, allowing for easy follow-ups.

Sweep (2A+B)

It'd good to keep in mind that Shabrys has a good far reaching sweep used to deal with certain far reaching pokes, e.g. Mitsuru 5A, Narukami 5B and Sho 5A. It's not super negative on block, but you'll want to be careful with it's placement regardless as it has a significant amount of recovery.

Anti Airs

2B

This will be your primary anti air. It hits all around Shabrys and is also jump cancellable on hit and on block.

Terra's Eruption (8C)

This move is less of a reactionary anti air and more of a pre-emptive denial of air space. You'll want to input it with one of Shabrys' buttons to control a lot of airspace and some ground space without having to commit to a jump to perform this move. It has a lot of hitstun and is very advantageous on block, giving you some good opportunity to start offence with this move.

Public Execution ([2]8C)/D)

As an anti air, you're probably going to use this move the least. Its really slow to start up on top of needing charge time for it to be used. It's still there as an option to use however and it does high unburstable damage on raw hit.

Pressure

The general idea when pressuring with Shabrys is to use her normals to keep them blocking long enough for one of Asterius' attacks to hit, so you can then go for a high/low mixup or a crossup. Asterius' best moves for this are 5C and 236C/D. Once you know they’ll sit there blocking you can mix in throws and Massive Slaughters.

Her most important tools for pressure are:

  • 5A: Main Pressure starter. Gatlings to a plethora of normals and specials and jump cancellable on block.
  • 5AA: -3 on block
  • 2A: One of Shabrys' two low hitting normals. Does not cancel into itself, but is -3 and does cancel into 5B and 2B. This will be the main low you use for pressure and mix-ups.
  • Knuckle Train (5C): This will be the main move that you will use to extend pressure. Extremely advantageous on block and can be cancelled into Asterius' specials.
  • Flames of Hades (236C/D): If your opponent respects your turn enough, you can input this and go for airdash high/land low mix-ups in the corner.
  • Massive Slaughter([4]6C/D): You can setup this move if your opponent is really passive on defence. After cancelling Asterius 5C into bite, do 5A to check the opponent, if they jump you can try a frametrap after 5A to catch their jump start-up.

You can layer these moves and structure your blockstrings in many different ways.

Okizeme

Shadow Labrys has strong okizeme options. Her ability to suck her opponents into looping 50/50 setups with good damage makes her very scary in the corner. Your objective should be to corner carry your opponents into the corner as fast as possible, before fishing for one of these setups.

Massive Slaughter SetupCan be setup off of: 5C Corner Hit, j.214AB
Easy

Also referred to as "The Bite Setup" or "Biteloop".

When inputting one of the enders above, hold back to have enough charge to perform Massive Slaughter. After you knock the opponent down, you'll want to time the command grab to come as you do a rising forward j.A.

When done correctly, the opponent cannot jump or else they will be hit by j.A due to the air unblockable frames of jump start-up, nor can they stand still and take the grab. This setup can be beaten by a few methods such as delaying tech on wakeup for those familiar with the matchup after they see SB guillotine. If you notice this, try changing which version and the timing of the command grab to throw them off, or read their options.

If the Bite lands, then you can get a small combo off of it with j.BB > jc > j.214B. If the j.A lands, you can do the same.


Meaty Flames of HadesCan be setup off of: Sweep, 5C(Corner Hit), Furious Action(Counter Hit), 214AB, Airturn Guilotine, Throw
Easy

After inputting one of the enders above, perform 236D, then wait for them to get hit or block. If they get hit, go for a combo. If they block, they are now stuck in blockstun for a bit, meaning you can take the opportunity to go for an airdash high/land low mixup.

The high route for the corner is neutral jump > IAD j.A > j.B > Laser hits > 5A > 5AA, continue combo. The low route for the corner is neutral jump > empty jump 2A > 5B > Laser hits > 2B > continue combo. Shadow Labrys can also safejump with j.2B to be DP-safe, allowing her to punish reversal attempts.

This setup is loopable in the corner with 5C. The high damage and strong 50/50 setups make this incredibly important to know when playing Shabrys.


Crossup 2CCan be setup off of: Sweep, 5C(Corner Hit), Furious Action(Counter Hit), j.214AB, Throw
Very Easy

After getting one of the enders above, time your 2C to hit meaty, then cross-up by forward jumping, air dashing or rolling. At midscreen, jumping or rolling will perform the crossup. In the corner, airdashing performs the crossup. You can fake a crossup by halting your momentum.

This can also be performed with a majority of Asterius' moves (e.g 5C, 236C), albeit with a slightly different timing compared to 2C.


OMC Fuzzy Overhead/Low50 meter for 2.5k damage and a mixup that will blow their minds.
Medium

A tricky double overhead/low setup that uses OMC in conjunction with j.214A. Can be set up off of a variety of okizeme options, like 5C (Corner Hit) or 236D.

On opponent wakeup, jump forward and j.214A. From here, you have two options.

  • High: While holding 2, OMC and then j.214A one more time. If you did it correctly, the opponent will be hit by the second j.214A and be launched into the air by the 2C, which was pressed during the OMC.
  • Low: After the j.214A, OMC and drop into 2A. If you press OMC during the j.214A, Shabrys will cancel her landing animation and prime Asterius with a 5C input, which will combo.

While not shown in the video for the sake of brevity, this setup can combo into 5C (Corner Hit) and set up 236D, allowing Shabrys to enter into her 50/50 game. The high damage potential and mental stack make this a useful mixup to throw out, but it can be fuzzied. The rarity of it due to the 50 meter cost will make it unlikely to miss however.


Tips and Tricks

Free SB Buffalo Hammer

If Shabrys inputs SB Buffalo Hammer (214C/D) during the hit/blockstop after 5C, 2C, or 8C connect on hit or block, Asterius will always perform the move, even if Shabrys doesn't have enough SP to fund it. Yes, this means she can perform it at 0 meter. Additionally, if she has more than 0 but less than 25, then the move will take whatever she has in the gauge.

Video example of Free SB Buffalo Hammer, by BananaKen

Titanomachia Persistence Glitch

If the opponent bursts immediately after Asterius's Massive Slaughter ([4]6C/D) while he is still in its recovery animation (the grab has to connect), Asterius will not be affected by Shabrys getting hit by the burst. As a result, he will still continue executing the rest of the attacks that Shabrys input during the Titanomachia super freeze, including the automatic "Hellflames" finisher. Fails to see practical use if the opponent is aware of the glitch (well, now they are for sure), but it's still pretty funny that they still did not fix this bug and others.

Video example of Titanomachia Persistence, by BananaKen

FAQ

Why do people refer to her as Shabrys?

The FAQ goes into more detail on this topic but the community refers to the individual Shadow Labrys character as "Shabrys" to differentiate her from the Shadow variant of Labrys that uses Ariadne instead of Asterius.

How do I do all of this on pad?

Playing Shabrys can be difficult to execute, due to necessity of pressing weird button combinations (e.g. 5B+C) or needing to hold buttons for combos and to make Asterius guard. While it is perfectly possible to Shabrys with the default pad layout, some people find it easier to map C and/or D to shoulder buttons (e.g. C on R1 and D on L1). Alternatively, certain macros on the shoulder buttons can get the job as well. For example, the throw macro can be used for 5[C] inputs in combos, since Shabrys can’t throw while attacking. If you're on Steam, you can also make a custom input setup for Shabrys that binds the shoulder buttons to B+C for similar effect.

Fighting Shadow Labrys

Anti-Shabrys Tech Document (to be transcribed here later)


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