Frosty Faustings happened just over two weeks ago, and I had a really good time. My favorite parts were meeting up with real +R enthusiasts, people who harbor love for the older game despite the prevalence of its successor, Guilty Gear Xrd SIGN. Guilty Gear XX Accent Core Plus R holds up amazingly well, as though it were a favorite Street Fighter game of ages past.
Like a martial arts fighter who starts practicing again, I found my +R groove, I think. I believe it’s partially thanks to people who make the game enjoyable to play with, and partially because I started believing in myself more, believing that I can play Baiken. However cheesy that sounds, it makes an enormous difference in a fight. This came along mainly thanks to Amadeous, a dedicated Jam player. Not only he’s a lot of fun to play against, since we can crack jokes as we go, but he inadvertently helped me focus a bit more on the one-eyed, one-armed sword fighter. I usually shied from picking Baiken against Jam; in theory, it’s not a great matchup. Baiken’s low defense modifier gets her blown up easily, especially if Jam has meter and cards that enhance her kick specials. Furthermore, she has a special parry and a good throw which she can use effectively at close distances to bait and punish a Baiken who’s overzealous with her guard-canceling specials.
I decided to switch up from Anji and make more effort with Baiken, and I think it worked. “The wall of tatamis was hard to break,” Amadeous said something along these lines, referring to Baiken’s door mats, which flip up magically from the floor or air, as though they were in the ground all along. She can effectively spam them and bar front approaches, or surprise opponents by using them in the air, where they can fall on their heads. It’s risky to stick out normal and special attacks against tatamis, because they can’t be broken with non-projectile attacks. A counter-hit leads to an untechable blow back and wall bounce, opening up a big combo opportunity for me. Essentially, Baiken shuts down most of Jam’s approaches (though not all!) as long as a tatami mat is flipping up. Baiken’s also a short and very light character, which nets a small advantage here and there against Jam specifically.
I also often stick with Anji because his combos are simpler and not as execution-heavy as Baiken’s. She needs careful FRCs (a technique that cancels a move but has a very short, specific execution window), lots of air-dashing, and adjustment for character weights. Doing a tiger-knee Yozansen is also quite difficult — basically, doing an air special move as low to the ground as possible to launch for a combo that’s very hard to block at first. I don’t remember specifics now, but I pulled off some of these things in the matches, which is not only satisfying, but looks cool.
I felt more ready than ever to practice those hard ones at home. I’ve looked up a really cool combo video, which had at least a few practical parts, and started trying them out. I’ve felt inspired both to practice the challenging parts but also to incorporate new aspects. Like an old sensei convinced to give training another go, I started going at it just like in the “old days.”