For more information on Noel's offense, check this Offense Guide here.
TL;DR (For Beginners)
- Important Moves
- 5A:jab, staggers & allows for whiff pressure tactics
- 2B: 7 frame low / 0 on block, great for pressure and catching fuzzy jumps. Allows for whiff pressure tactics
- 5B:decent poke, can convert to drives on confirms with 6A > 5D.
- 6C:situational anti-air, good meaty tool. 2nd strongest punish starter at 8 frames
- 2C:frame advantage +1, hits low twice, best pressure reset & catches fuzzy jump attempts
- 4D / d.4D:body and projectile invuln, situational reversal & DP or distortion super / poke baiting tool
- 6D / d.6D: body and projectile invuln, situational anti zoning tool
- d.6B ("DLC" version in particular): fast in-drive attack overhead, main mix up tool
- 236A / 236B: positional projectile tool, can use 236A version to reset pressure from a distance
- 236C: secondary short combo ender, risky situational anti air (no invuln) & poke gesture tool
- j.214C: air combo ender, Good keep out tool & clash kills most projectile moves
Noel is an offensive rushdown character with good natural mobility and an unorthodox toolset that allows for creative construction of pressure & mix-ups. Noel's Drives give access to additional attack chains that can extend offense to pressure or open up the opponent via d.6B & d.6D for a high low mixup (albeit a risky one). Her drive can also be manipulated using "DLC" ( Drive Landing Cancellation) which allows Noel to skip a drive starter and access her most potent mix up from an air normal into a potential fast 50 / 50 with d.6B and 2B. Noel has multiple tools: Chamber Shot (236C), which can be used as a poke gesture and in some instances a big hitbox that can potentially anti-air from a distance. Revolver Blast (j.214C) which is typically TK'ed to produce an attack that keeps opponents out, can clash kill most projectiles and offers high punishing oki in the corner to control wake up options. Noel’s Optic barrels (236A / 236B) can patronize opponents into making a neutral mistake by enticing them to rush in a certain way. This lets you preemptively attack them during their approach. It is also occasionally used to extend pressure with 236A via pushback from block or barrier guard after a longer pressure string as it can be dash cancelled to close the distance.
Noel’s Neutral and demeanor is usually passive aggressive or somewhat defensive. As far as spacing and pokes, she primarily uses 5B. At 9 frames it’s a decent ranged poke in most cases even next to her 5C. 5C is not only one of Noel’s longest pokes (beaten by her slow 3C) but is also her strongest punish tool especially in the corner. It is important to note however that some of her normals are somewhat often low profiled like her 2A, 5B and 5C. Her 6A is one of the weaker anti airs in the game but it gets by. Be very careful on its placement as it tends to fail when the opponent is directly above Noel. In general, Noel does not have an answer for everything and it is heavily implied to flex full control and expertise of her mobility and proper use of system mechanics such as instant blocking, instant barrier blocking, and OD to supplement defensive escapes. Noel’s direct defensive options are 4D and Fenrir super. Noel primarily benefits off the opponent’s mistakes in neutral or eagerness to disrespect her offense / pressure / oki. This being said, neutral positioning and awareness of when & where her options are applicable in her matchup are keys to her success.
It is important to condition opponents to help facilitate other forms of offense such as microdash kara throws or setups for DLC mix ups using instant air dashes in the corner and rapid cancels. Noel's normals are also very good at catching some DP input attempts or fuzzy jump attempts. Conditioning also opens up creative use of whiff pressure to prolong offense while baiting bad mashing that can be punished with clever use of frame traps. With 4D you can also occasionally bait most reversals, but be careful as it can backfire if it becomes predictable. Noel's pokes have a shorter range than most traditional neutral based characters but she has decent ways to throw up deceptively big hitboxes such as 236C, j.214C, j.C, and 6C (among other tools) that are useful preemptive attacks to catch approaches.
Most of Noel's blockstrings are rather short. It's generally built off of 5A and 2A staggers. This keeps Noel from overextending and getting her offense blown up. With meter, Noel can opt for longer strings to keep herself safer. The following strings are examples taken from the Offense Doc linked above:
- 5A > 2B, 5A > 2A > 5B > 2Bw > 5B / 662A~
A basic string into a pressure reset. 2B whiff is a solid option to reduce frame disadvantage
- 5A > 2A > 5A > 665A / 2B (delayed)
Another pressure reset idea. You can use delay 2B to frame trap your opponent.
- Instant airdash into j.C can force the opponent to block a high/low mixup between Drive Landing Canceled d.6B and 2B. Note though that the opponent can still roll or mash out of this due to the long delay when setting it up.
- 5D > d.6A is the weakest option in terms of control but the most rewarding in terms of offensive power. If the opponent does not tech immediately, 5D will hit them (although there are some characters on which 5D will whiff). If they tech immediately, 6A will meaty and you can go for a 50/50 between a high d.6B or a crossup low d.6D. This WILL lose to reversals.
Choosing an Oki Route
Noel can bait reversals by using 4D in addition to backdashing and blocking due to the large amount of body invuln in that move. Do note that this should only be used for hard reads since it locks you into drive if they wake up normally.
Noel's midscreen oki is pretty paltry since she has to commit to hard reads or just let the opponent tech away for free.
After a d.236D, you can immediately instant airdash with j.C while holding 1 (down back) to make this turn into a safe jump. There is little to prevent the opponent from simply rolling away but if they choose not to, you can begin to reset pressure or bait a reversal. As an added bonus, if they block j.C on wakeup, you can immediately enforce a 50/50 between Drive Landing Canceled d.6B and 2B. Alternatively, you can run at the opponent after Bloom Trigger and try to predict where they will tech.
After a d.5A > d.6B > 236A, d.5B > 236A, or j.214C > j.2C ender at certain heights, you can run at the opponent while doing a sliding 2B to cross under an opponent if they choose to immediately tech in place. The combo routes that enable this can be somewhat specific due to the positioning. Crossing under will also be harder on characters like Tager or Susanoo. Here is one such example of this in action. Technically speaking, all 236A midscreen enders can be crossed under with 2B with all characters.
Noel's corner control is surprisingly good.
After a j.214C > j.2C ender in the corner, you can check all delayed techs with a 5C > 236C option select. If the opponent neutral techs, the 5C will whiff and therefore will not cancel into Chamber Shot. You can then choose to meaty with 2A or bait a reversal. If the opponent does a delayed tech of any kind, the 5C will hit them and will automatically cancel into Chamber Shot which can then be linked into 5B for a nice punish combo.
At a high enough elevation, certain Bloom Trigger enders will allow for a safe jump. A common way to achieve this is with the following ender: 6C(2) > sj.2C > dl j.D > d.4D > d.2D > d.5B > d.4D > d.236D.
Note that while the popular JP ender of d.214D > 22BBBBB does space you so that the opponent cannot roll out immediately, this is not actually optimal in terms of how much lockdown it offers you after your combo. What it does offer is some rewarding mixup opportunities on a thoroughly conditioned opponent.
Tips and Tricks
- Against characters and players that like to push heavy buttons on round start (Hakumen, Nine, Kokonoe etc.), players can opt for a high risk opening with 6D or 2D, abusing the body/low invuln in order to get a full combo into the corner.
- 6D can also be used to punish players that predictably include projectiles or slow Body property moves in the middle (Terumi 5D) or end (Ragna's Deadspike) of their blockstrings. It can also be used to beat out characters running in with a mid poke.
- 2D is also technically throw invuln since the game treats Noel as airborne during the middle of the animation.
- "Drive Landing Cancellation" is a technique where timing a D press in conjunction with another drive move input as you land from a jump will let you use any drive move without committing to the long animation of 5D, 6D, 4D, or 2D. Obvious applications of this are to use d.6B for a jump in mixup, d.5B as a long range poke, and Spring Raid (d.623D) as a fully invincible uppercut. Here is an older video of the concept being demonstrated in Calamity Trigger.
- In 2.0, j.B got a hitbox behind Noel so you can do close jumps in the middle of pressure and catch people off guard with this.
- On round start, there are a number of options she can take:
|Stuffing Pokes||High Risk Invuln||Generic Solutions|
|2C||6D (Beats most mid pokes)||Jump/Dash Forward Barrier/j.C|
|TK j.214C||2D (Beats most low pokes)||Backwards airdash/back dash|
Drive mixup suffers vs barrier since d.6B whiffs after just a few barriered moves. Generally speaking, there is nothing a Noel can do about DP's during drive unless she is willing to commit to d.4D which loses to a mashed out low. As a general rule, blocking high in drive should be the default due to the fact that d.6B hits at a wicked fast 16f (18f?) while d.6D is 24f. Characters with DP's can invuln fairly consistently through drive chains since Noel's only real solution to DP mash is a preemptive d.4D, a read that risks letting the opponent jump out. Barrier can also cause a d.6B to whiff if the Noel player is not compensating for the pushback.
- Characters with a 6f normal can beat out 6B > 5D. Yes, it's that bad. Take note of hitbox/hurtbox placement though since Jin's 5A will hit but Ragna's 5A will not. You will have to be absolutely sure of the timing though or you're eating a Fatal combo for 5k. Larger reward may be possible with instant block.
- When playing a competent Noel, be prepared to anti-air during her pressure. Noel's best mixup comes from a jump in so being able to shut that down will limit her up front threat.
- Be very careful about when you use Overdrive during her drive pressure. d.4D will beat out all EA's, most mid punish starters, and most reversals.
- Optic Barrel pressure resets of any kind are fake and leave Noel at slight frame disadvantage even when dash canceled.
- Bursting during Noel's combos is fairly reliable since she lacks a proper way to bait bursts during drive chains.
A badly spaced 6D can be jumped over or swept quite easily. 6D is not invuln before going active so it can be mashed or even thrown.
After being knocked down at full screen (ie. After one of Noel's Distortion Drives), block for a split second first since Optic Barrel is often thrown after as a check.
Always meaty Noel with a low if possible to avoid getting hit by 4D on wakeup.
Do not autopilot into body or foot property moves with noticeable startup or recovery during pressure. A smart Noel will take notice and blow through with 2D or 6D.
A common mistake when punishing Noel's supers is running in at the wrong time. Fenrir has a very long recovery animation after all the bullets are fired so it's fine to wait until the bullets stop. It's also possible to go for an early punish with a move that will low profile the later bullets. Thor has the missile follow up that tends to catch people a lot. You can wait until she's in recovery to do a full screen punish or you can run in immediately after the bullets stop. Running in late often leads to a failed punish or even getting hit by the missile.
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