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Some of Axl's okizeme, unlike most other characters, can be done from mid-range thanks to two of his best oki tools being 3P and 2H. Both normals can cancel into 6H for an overhead, 2D for a low, Thunder Shadow Chain for a crossup, and his Spindle Spinner command grab to catch them off guard, among other moves. This means that despite his zoner nature, Axl has a variety of tools to pressure the opponent at close range, so don't be afraid to try and go for okizeme after a knockdown. However, there is also no harm in keeping your distance to stay in Axl's optimal range, provided you don't trigger a Negative Penalty.
While Sickle Flash/Rensengeki -> 8/9 and j.H > j.D > Axl Bomber do slightly more damage as easy combo finishers, they allow the opponent to tech, so you should aim to end combos with regular Rensen (or Rensen -> 2/3 in corner) and TK Bombers to score a knockdown and follow it with proper pressure on wake-up. While Axl's okizeme isn't particularly oppressive, being able to put the pressure on matters a lot in the long run, especially in matchups where you are in disadvantage at neutral, but also in average matchups since tight pressure builds your own tension, raises your opponent's RISC gauge, and most importantly forces the opponent to make decisions at disadvantageous situation instead of letting them do whatever they want in neutral.
You have to always remember the opposing character's wake-up timings (both face-up (Rensen, TK Bomber) and face-down (2D)) and reversal options to stay safe. Usually you can do a safejump even from long ranges with IAD j.S to avoid invulnerable reversals, but some knockdowns won't give you enough time against certain reversals (eg. Rensen knockdown against 5F Volcanic Viper) so pay attention. On characters without good meterless reversal options (eg. May, Millia, Zato, Venom) meaty ground normals like 2K, 3P, and 6H are great, though you must still avoid getting too close for a reversal throw or being too predictable since correct Blitz deflects any meaty attack, a backstep will whiff your normals (which gives an easy opportunity for counterattack if you aren't prepared with some sort of OS), IB makes big holes for abare in your strings, and all characters have fully invulnerable Burst Overdrives.
- Finishing with a Rensen-down pulls the opponent towards you a little so a Raiei will cross-up in corner and your usual diagonal jump-in might whiff, so pay attention.
- The timing of knockdown after Rensen can also vary depending on which height the opponent is picked up (eg. plain Rensen knockdown vs. 2D > Rensen-down knockdown) and whether all hits connect or not (in worst case, later hits of Rensen-down are OTG and let the opponent recover, which is usually caused by being too far and/or a character's thin hurtbox slipping through), so look for the moment of knockdown (when opponent bounces off the ground) and adjust the safejump accordingly by jumping earlier, later, or not at all depending on the remaining time.
- j.P - Can lead into a second overhead depending on timing. Also a good tick throw.
- j.K - Basic jump normal with lots of active frames. Not as damaging as j.H, but has more cancel options (including j.P, j.D and jump cancel).
- j.S - Can whiff against low-profile moves if timed/spaced incorrectly. Meaty second hit leads into Raiei cross-ups in corner and point blank pressure, but can be Blitzed on reaction. Example of a basic midscreen safejump from Rensen.
- j.H - Another basic jump normal with lots of active frames. Bigger damage and reaches lower than j.K, but cancelable only into j.D (which isn't really a negative on actual safejumps).
- j.D - The riskiest aerial option due to j.D's landing recovery but leads to big damage even on regular hit by launching the opponent in air and wallsticking in corner.
Meaty ground moves
- 2K - Goes into tick throw, frametraps and low-profiles some reversal moves like Ky's Vapor Thrust and Jam's Kenroukaku. Can be done extra meaty for a better frame advantage (up to +3).
- c.S - If you can get close enough without getting thrown, c.S has loads of different gatling options to confuse your opponent. Can be done extra meaty for better frame advantage (up to +6).
- 3P - A better damaging low option with good gatling options, +2 on block. Makes most DPs whiff when spaced and timed correctly. Beware of clashing (ie. doing the meaty too late), low Blitz, and first frame airborne moves like Sol's Riot Stamp.
- 6H - Aside from being an overhead with huge counterhit launch, hitting it meaty on block gives you a big frame advantage (up to +9). Opponent can easily Blitz, IB or backdash on reaction the more meaty it is.
- Rensen - Close to zero risk (excluding long-range invuln supers) but aside pushback and small chip damage, the returns on block are close to zero too (especially with the big frame disadvantage).
- Rensen YRC - Good option if you want to pay 25% meter (and suffer from tension gain slowdown for several seconds) for a 100% safe pressure starter (or a combo starter if the opponent tried something stupid).
- Raiei - Meaty Raiei must be blocked in correct direction (or Blitzed, which makes any crossup attempts pointless), but the start-up is still easy to react to and there isn't much return unless it somehow counter hits.
- Rashousen - Technically isn't a meaty because of wake-up throw invuln frames, but it's active enough to catch people who react extremely slowly.
- Rashousen YRC - You can pick up opponents who jumped with 6K, but if they know to hold FD during it (where you can go for an airthrow as the hardest read), you're much better off using the meter for Rensen YRC.
- Safejump - Timing the jump so that the opponent wakes up few frames before you land, making your meaty jump normal either hit a blocking opponent, or whiff on an invulnerable reversal's startup, respectively allowing you to either continue pressure with a ground blockstring, or land and recover instantly before the reversal becomes active and block it by holding back while inputting your ground string (the hitstop from jump normal or the lack of it on whiff makes the timing different). Loses to reversal high Blitz, so remember to mix up with an empty jump low, a late airdash, or (as the hardest Blitz read) a delayed counterhit for a big launch (eg. land 6P/6H/3P, late airdash j.D). Example
- Empty jump low - Beats the fuzzy high guard / throw option select outside throw range when timed correctly because Axl's 2K low-profiles most throw OS normals. Blocked easily by regular fuzzy high/low guard, loses to invuln reversals. 2D can also be used for better damage (ie. no 70% proration of 2K), but the low-profile is much weaker, the startup is slightly slower, and on block your cancel options are limited to special moves.
- Late airdash - j.P, j.H, or j.K into j.D launches the opponent for damaging combos by beating the fuzzy high/low guard, but loses to invuln reversals and throw OSes. j.H has the best active frames to catch even Pot's backdash, but it's the slowest option. j.P is hard to connect on some crouching hurtboxes and whiffs on most backdashes, but it's the fastest option.
- Late airbackdash into j.S is a valid option; when timed correctly, it links into 2D or Kairagi for decent damage. Generally slightly less risky than late forward airdashes, but some characters throw OSes hit it really hard (eg. Raven and Elph 5H)
- Whiffed normal - Whiffed j.S, j.K, or j.H can be used for making the opponent expect a regular safejump, but it looks suspicious (especially after the first time) when the normal starts very early in the air.
- j.2S - The only true instant overhead when it comes to having an actually short startup. Does very little damage by itself, and is hard to combo with RRC unless you're prepared with efficient setups.
- Backdash YRC - YRC'ing a backdash gives you enough airtime for a j.K overhead, but the backdash momentum puts you at a range where the combo on hit does unimpressive damage and on block your pressure will be weak.
- TK Bomber YRC - When Axl Bomber is YRC'd with earliest possible timing (ie. plinking with 623H~S~K etc) it completely halts your air momentum, so when done at low altitude any jump normal can be used as an overhead.
- j.D is the most obvious choice since it gives you big damage in both midscreen and corner, but is the riskiest option on block because of landing recovery.
- The height after the YRC depends on your raw TK Bomber execution speed; doing it too slow puts you at height where j.D doesn't hit crouchers.
- The overheads are also possible from TK Bomber RRC (eg. during blockstrings), but the execution timing is very different and obviously costs double the tension.
- Answer [★]
- Axl Low [★]
- Baiken [★]
- Bedman [★]
- Chipp Zanuff [★]
- Dizzy [★]
- Elphelt Valentine [★]
- Faust [★]
- I-No [★]
- Jack-O' [★]
- Jam Kuradoberi [★]
- Johnny [★]
- Kum Haehyun [★]
- Ky Kiske [★]
- Leo Whitefang [★]
- May [★]
- Millia Rage [★]
- Potemkin [★]
- Ramlethal Valentine [★]
- Raven [★]
- Sin Kiske [★]
- Slayer [★]
- Sol Badguy [★]
- Venom [★]
- Zato-1 [★]
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