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Do you think the Summoner archetype exists?


Thrill Kill
I hope this thread is in the right section!

I wanted to discuss this "Summoners" thing because I've seen in other places that (mostly) new players after playing certain games ask around about which archetype do certain specific characters belong to. Then someone mentions the "Summoner archetype" and is followed by people mentioning Puppet characters, projectiles, traps, etc. making the whole thing very confusing!

There are two specific characters who I've seen being regarded as Summoners: Jack-O Valentine (Guilty Gear Xrd Revelator) and Gargos (Killer Instinct).

Why? Because they can spawn entities that act on their own.

I think that's the main difference between them and all the other things that get mentioned. For example:

-Puppet characters: You control two characters, or at least one character and their "puppet". The puppet will never act on its own. For example: Zato (Guilty Gear) or Ms Fortune (Skullgirls)

-Summoner Quan Chi (MKX), yes, he was mentioned as a summoner! But he isn't. He summons an entity that doesn't act on its own. You have to make an input so this entity does something. Like the Head Drones of Robo Fortune (Skullgirls)

Both Jack-O and Gargos have some similarities. They both have command grabs; both have good mobility and they need to control the space. Gargos has better long range options to attack. The entities they summon work differently. In Jack-O's case they are meant to overwhelm the opponent and pressure their defences. In Gargos' case they seem to act more as a distraction to force the opponent to make mistakes. Both are able to give orders to their minions (by input) to change their behaviour, but you never get to control them directly.

One misconception I've read many times about Jack-O is that she is a "braindead" or "spammy" character like if you pick her you automatically win. And that's not the case! I mean, if you go up against a Jack-O and don't care about the minions and little houses, well yeah, sooner or later she will throw you into her army and you'll be done. But this is like letting Kotal Kahn stack up totems and then complaining about getting destroyed.

Another character I've seen mentioned as Summoner is Arakune from BlazBlue, but I wouldn't know since I barely played BlazBlue. From what I read it seems like he can't use his entities (insects) until the opponent is under the "Cursed" state, which also changes the way Arakune plays making him faster and stronger. And I guess the bugs act like projectiles? I'm not sure. This character seems very complicated lol

A character named Karin Son from Voltage Fighter Gowcaizer was also mentioned. I never played this game so I had to look around. It seems that she can summon a cloud that moves through the stage on its own and you can jump on it to gain more mobility; and she is also able to summon a mini-version of herself but I'm not sure if this entity acts on its own or not:

So what do you think? Do they have enough to make up a "Summoner archetype" or are they a very specific type of Zoner?
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Up rock incoming, ETA 5 minutes
I think people buy into the archetypes too much, it's like genres. Useful for categorization but not well defined. But "You know it when you see it", and the summoning aspect of Gargos was dope, so why not


Thrill Kill
I think people buy into the archetypes too much, it's like genres. Useful for categorization but not well defined. But "You know it when you see it", and the summoning aspect of Gargos was dope, so why not
I agree!

But I noticed that sometimes new players ask about archetypes, perhaps because they feel attached to a specific type or character or because they can't figure out how to make a character work; and sometimes there's no easy answer lol


Thrill Kill
What about Carl Clover? Or does he require too much input?

I'll end up reinstalling BlazBlue to test some of the characters :laughing:

According to what I've read, Carl Clover is a puppet character. You have control over the puppet.

  • Very dependent on Nirvana, especially for neutral and offense
  • Has some of the highest execution requirements in the game
Drive: Automaton

Carl's Drive revolves around controlling Nirvana.
  • Hold the D button to activate Nirvana, release D to deactivate.
  • While active, she can move forward by holding any forward/backward direction (including diagonals).
  • Nirvana will attack by releasing the D button while either holding a direction or after completing the inputs for one of her special moves.
  • Note that the directional inputs required for moves is based on Carl's current facing, not necessarily Nirvana's. For example: If Carl is facing right and Nirvana is facing left, pressing D, inputting 623 and releasing D will give you Con Brio, not Volante.
Nirvana has her own life bar. It goes down when Nirvana is active, uses an attack, or gets hit by the opponent. If Nirvana's life bar reaches zero, she will be disabled and slowly recover health, and is unusable until her health is full (plus a small recovery animation).

Other than her Distortion Drives and Astral Heat, Nirvana's moves act independently of Carl, meaning Carl is free to move while Nirvana is attacking. However, if Carl blocks or gets hit, most of Nirvana's moves will stop and she will deactivate, and she can't be activated until Carl recovers from the blockstun or hitstun. "

Source: http://www.dustloop.com/wiki/index.php/BBCF/Carl_Clover
Yuna from Final Fantasy Dissidia should definitely fit the bill, since all her attacks are summons...but they are just attacks and have no direct controls.

To some extent I think Nappa from Fighter Z should count. Don't the saibamen he can spawn have some level of autonomy? I'm only passingly familiar with that game.

It's a possible fighting game concept that could be really cool. Better served in 3D fighters with more room for more characters and to dodge and all that imo

Now that I think about it, Magic the Gathering Battlegrounds is basically a summoner vs summoner fighting game.


Thrill Kill
To some extent I think Nappa from Fighter Z should count. Don't the saibamen he can spawn have some level of autonomy? I'm only passingly familiar with that game.
Everyone is rushdown in FighterZ hahaha

Yeah, I just checked Nappa and you're right. He can summon different types of Saibamen dependen on the input, but once summoned they move and attack on their own. You cannot have more than one of them at a time though.


Up rock incoming, ETA 5 minutes
IIRC Nappa's Saibamen are essentially a couple different versions of setup attacks. I guess you get into the grain of semantics here but they don't stick around for a while. Gargos is the only one here that I've played who also obviously fits the bill, his minions stick around, attack the opponent and they can even be hit by the opponent. That's the gold standard IMO

There's also Poison Ivy's trait, but that was just a part of her gameplan


Thrill Kill
IIRC Nappa's Saibamen are essentially a couple different versions of setup attacks. I guess you get into the grain of semantics here but they don't stick around for a while. Gargos is the only one here that I've played who also obviously fits the bill, his minions stick around, attack the opponent and they can even be hit by the opponent. That's the gold standard IMO
You're right, and I agree. It's mainly about controlling space and reducing options for the opponent to maneuver. That's what Gargos and Jack-O do.


Thrill Kill
Regarding Arakune: Last night I reinstalled BlazBlue: Continuum Shift Extend and played this character for a while. He's not a Summoner at all. After putting the opponent in the "Curse" state, you can shower them with insects using every button but these entities act like projectiles, disappearing on touch or bouncing out of the screen. They don't stick around and don't do much on their own (some of them chomp the air if they cannot reach the opponent, as if it was an animation that plays regardless of where the entity lands)

This is another "Summoner Quan Chi" misconception. Just like Marinjuana said, Arakune doesn't fit the gold standard.
I find this topic fascinating. Do any of the mentioned summons act on their own through random behaviour or is it always predictable?


Thrill Kill
I find this topic fascinating. Do any of the mentioned summons act on their own through random behaviour or is it always predictable?
Sorry for not answering earlier. I went to Rev2 to check some things.

I'm only going to talk about the entities summoned by Gargos and Jack-O because I think the general concensus in this thread is that, so far, those are the only two characters who fit into the "Summoner" type of Zoner. I couldn't test Karin Son yet.

To answer your question: The entities act on their own and can be predictable, BUT you can influence or change their behaviour (making them less predictable). You will never get direct control over them (like a Puppet), you can only change what they do but they will still act on their own.

Gargos is able to summon two different entities, known as Minions. Izzik is the trident wielding one, and Dretch is the chubby one.
By inputting 214+KK you summon Izzik.
By inputting 214+KK and holding P or K you summon Dretch.

They move on their own and attack the opponent when they're near them. Izzik dies after two hits, and Dretch after three hits.
214+K is the command to give different orders to them.

214+LK activates their Cover Mode. The Minions will stay around Gargos and attack the opponent if they get too close.
214+MK activates their Creep Mode, which is their default mode. They roam around and harass the opponent.

After ten seconds of being summoned, a small purple cloud will appear over the head of the Minions. This indicates that they're ready to use their Special attack.
By inputting 214+HK Gargos orders them to use their Special attack.
Izzik's Special attack is a multi-hitting barrage with the trident.
Dretch's Special attack is a delayed strike that hits overhead.

Gargos can also pick up his Minions and throw them to the opponent lmao after landing a hit and getting up, the Minions start harassing the opponent again.

Jack-O cannot summon entities directly like Gargos, she has to place little houses first where the entities spawn. The houses are called Ghosts, and the entities are Servants.

The input to set a Ghost is 22+P/K/S (Punch/Kick/Slash)
Each button summons a different type of Ghost which spawns different types of Servants.

P spawns Knights. They float mid-screen towards the opponent and attack with a sword.
K spawns Lancers. They walk towards the opponent and attack with a lance.
S spawns Magicians. They float a bit higher than Knights and they shoot a projectile if the opponent attemps to jump near them.

If the Ghosts aren't destroyed, they level up. They can get up to level 3, increasing damage, speed and spawn frequency with each level.

Jack-O can pick up Ghosts and throw them around (and hit the opponent). She cannot pick up Servants.

While Gargos can only summon two Minions at the same time and they're intended to harass the opponent and help Gargos to control the space, Jack-O's Servants are intended to overwhelm the opponent and make every move around the screen risky.

Jack-O can influence the behaviour of the Servants by entering a stance called Organ Deployment:

In this stance you cannot move. You can cancel by inputting 22+D but you have some interesting options:

By inputting P you recover the Ghosts without losing their level. They disappear and you can summon them again later, with their current level.
By inputting K you make the Servants enter a rage mode where they become more aggresive, faster and deal more damage.
By inputting S you start a 3 second countdown on every Ghost and Servant deployed. When the countdown reaches zero they explode dealing a lot of damage. The explosion can damage Jack-O too.
By inputting HS you deploy a sphere that protects Jack-O from projectiles and also prevents damage from the Organ Deployment+S explosion.


Both Jack-O and Gargos are very fun to play in my opinion, but you have to keep a lot of things in mind lol

If you're up against them, you know that the behaviour of their entities is somewhat predictable. You know what they're going to do. They can still surprise you by directly interveining (throwing Minions/Ghosts, setting up stuff, etc.) but you must be ready.

Jack-O and Gargos are more vulnerable when they cannot control the space and pacing of the match. I find it funny when people complain about them, because the way to defeat them is to force them to play on your terms.
If you let Gargos summon his Minions you know you'll be dealing with a lot of pressure.
If you don't destroy Jack-O's Ghosts quickly you'll be facing an army.

They're unique and interesting characters. I love talking about them lol
All this info about Gargos is interesting. I liked KI but never got far enough in it to explore his fighting style. I might have to pick up my boy Saberwulf again. He is pretty much all you could want in a summoner type character with different ai modes and commands but no direct controls.


★ Two-Hands ★ Retired ★
So if I understand correctly Zod from IGAU & Z.W.E.I. from SCV would fit?


Thrill Kill
Not really, Zod's phantom is like Nappa's Saibamen. It's essentialy a setup attack.

Z.W.E.I. from SCV would fit?
Let me check

The demon/ghost thing is a setup attack.

These entities don't act on their own, they're predetermined by your input. They also don't stick around roaming the screen.

Another example of who isn't a Summoner is Parasoul (Skullgirls), she is able to 'summon' soldiers but they never stick around and do not act on their own.

Egret Call
Hold 4+6+LK

Acts like a Roman Cancel. Most players use it to extend combos.

Egret Dive
Hold 4+6+MK

A soldier jumps in front of Parasoul to absorb damage. He has his own hitboxes.

But that's all he does. If the soldier isn't hit, he salutes and leaves.

Egret Charge
Hold 4+6+HK

A motorized soldier crosses the screen, and if he gets into contact with the opponent, grabs them and makes them bounce against the left side of the screen.

This soldier also has hitboxes because he can be destroyed by physical attacks.

However, you can only have one soldier at a time and they do not perform actions on their own. It's not like you summon a soldier and he roams the screen, and grabs the opponent if they're close or acts as a shield if you're attacked. They only perform a specific command and leave.


Lexcorp Proprietary Technologies
This is an interesting idea!

I'm having trouble thinking of other clear examples. But there are a lot of adjacent characters that don't quuuiiite make the cut.

Kotal's totems seem related but not on the money. They are static and cannot be defended against or harmed by the opponent directly. But you do have to summon them and they do change the gameplan once deployed.

Menat when she gets the orb out. But she needs to command it. Venom in GG when he sets up multiple pool balls, but they don't do anything until he hits them with a normal or projectile. Other GG examples might include Testement's traps (more traditional traps) and monster (more like a weird projectile), and Bridget's teddy bear (this one might actually count since the bear attacks on his own, but it's only one move out of Bridget's arsenal, not like their whole gameplan, so I wouldn't call them a "summon" character).

DBZ has the Gyinu squad guy who calls out his boys. I don't play that game, but I think those work more like weird projectiles (like Noob's clones). Not really a summon character, but definitely weird.

Would the Catboy in GranBlue count? I know he can call his buddies and a little tank thing that I think operates independently. But if that counts, would Faust be a "summon" character through his items kicking out the occasional mini-faust, stampede, and bomb?

Man, you make make a real big stretch and say Lex in IJ1 had shades of this with probe, laser/missiles, and mine. All have such delay on them that he's able to move while they are in effect. But honestly those seem more like traditional traps (even the probe).

I would love some better language for discussing characters that fit into these odd sub-categories.


Thrill Kill
Well, some of the characters you mentioned like Lex (IJ1), Venom (GG) and Testament (GG) are often considered (according to people on the internet) as Trappers. You could add Rocket Raccoon (UMVC3) and Rachel Alucard (BB). Basically these characters are able to deploy devices/objects/traps/etc to limit the opponent's mobility and control the space.
I guess we could include Kotal Kahn in this group? In the end his totems are very important and indeed affect the course of the fight.

This thing with "Trappers" could also deserve its own thread lol if you look around, some players think Trappers are an archetype. Others think they are a sub-type of Zoners.


Lexcorp Proprietary Technologies
I would lean on the side of trap characters being their own kind of thing. Similar to zoners in terms of space control, but zoners are totally content to let the long range moves (projectiles, long normals) rack up damage and keep the opponent out on their own. Obviously they also want to force opponents into costly mistakes (the classic try to jump the fireball and end up eating the much more damaging antiair combo), but are generally just as happy if the fire ball or long limb hits or they win on a timer scam. When I think of a really pure zoner like Sinestro or Kenshi, that's what stands out to me.

Traps also control the screen and opponents movement to force mistakes, but the trap itself isn't where the damage comes from. If you step on one of Lex's mines, it isn't the hit of the mine that hurts, but the follow up combo while you're stunned. Testament doesn't want to keep you out with his traps, he wants you to accidently step on one or set it up so he knocks you into one and he can put you in the blender for it.

They're also much more conducive to set play. A zoner scores a knockdown, they may run standard oki or use the opportunity to create space. A trap character (ideally) gets a combo that starts because of a trap and ends in setting up another trap that makes waking up both difficult and punishing. Again, thinking back to Lex and his many different mine baits.

These are my quick late night thoughts on it anyway.


Thrill Kill
Good points! I see the distinction you make and I can agree with it. Parasoul (Skullgirls) is like an hybrid character, but part of her gameplay fits with the trap functions you're describing.

She can set traps like those using two different inputs. These traps are called "tears", they explode after a while but can also be detonated manually. In online matches I've seen players using these traps in different ways: Some Parasoul players use them to force you to retreat until you're cornered, then they mix you up until you die lol and others use the traps at long range to force you to come closer. Parasoul has two standing overheads, so when you're near her you don't know what's coming.
So I think in a way this applies to your description of Lex and Testament.

If we were talking MK, do we have trap characters? I immediatly thought of Master of Storms Raiden, but compared to the characters mentioned in this thread his tools as a "trap character" seem limited.


Thrill Kill
Jack-O returned in Guilty Gear STRIVE but she's not a Summoner anymore :(

She's now more of a traditional zoner with set up attacks. Reminded me a bit of Venom.