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Guide - Ethereal TakeAChance's All In One Ethereal Guide - Updated with Yomi Saltface's Summer Jam Matches! 9/2/2015

TakeAChance

TYM White Knight
A Guide To Ethereal Mileena
By TakeAChance

Instead of creating a thread everytime I find some new information with Ethereal Mileena in the lab, I thought I would just create this very easy to navigate comprehensive guide. As some of you are aware, I am now a 100% Ethereal Mileena main. I have tons of fun playing as her, and even tho she still has flaws, she is by far her own variation and she is sexy as hell.

First and foremost, Why Ethereal?
Well, Ethereal has a very unique style compared to both Ravenous and Piercing. Where Ravenous focuses on block pressure and a pseudo overhead and Ravenous focuses on straight up Damage, Ethereal tones down both of those by giving her a better defensive game. Utilizing fades and vanishes Mileena has access to tools that simply do not exist in Ravenous, and you may be surprised by their utility.

If we were to see a somewhat holy trinity of "strengths" Mileenas would look like this:

Damage - Piercing
Mixup - Ravenous
Defense - Ethereal

Alright, so she is a defensive character. What is my mindset while playing her, I can't win a game by running away and throwing sais!

No, no you can't, HOWEVER, Ethereal Mileena is a character based around meter. While you can't win a match utilizing her fades (you can using Vanishes) you certainly can build precious meter off of certain strings.

Ethereal Mileena's game plan is sort of a hit and run. She needs meter to be scary, and luckily she IS given tools to build that meter.

Meter Building Data

Mileena needs 8 blocked sai to build a bar of meter.
Mileena needs 17 regular fades to build a bar of meter.

Both of these options are more or less safe from full screen, but be careful against characters like raiden who can superman you even at those distances. (fades)

While raw special data is important in this case, what makes ethereal Mileena very strong is her ability to even build meter up close using her strings. What's important tho, is knowing what strings to use and when to use them.

A JIP F12B4~fade backwards nets Mileena almost 50% of a total bar of meter. That is just an absolutely massive chunk of meter on block. Don't worry, NRS didn't lose their minds, the fade backwards is completely punishable by a throw or even a run up string, however the opponent must read the fade away as she is left at -6 after that string on it's own.

So, a general strategy of mine, has been to do a jump in F12b4~fade backwards to build a bar and test if my opponent is knowledgeable in the matchup. If they are, I start doing mixups such as F12b4~ex fade towards which will blow up any reversal attempt and allow you your own punish.

So while, Mileena gets a great meter build off this string, it isn't perfect. It is punishable, but an opponent doing it on reaction when mixed in with her SAFE fade aways, means the opponent isn't always going to be ready to buffer in a throw or special. Here is a breakdown of Mileenas fade away safety off of block strings. (WIP) These are in general terms. There may be a character or two that is an exception to this rule and I will add them in as the guide is updated.

(please note any inaccuracies will be fixed)

ON BLOCK

B22~fade away - unsafe (3 pips of meter) (need to recheck this to confirm)
F24~fade away - safe (3 pips of meter)
123~fade away -safe (4 pips of meter) (+2 without the fade away)
F3~fade away ~safe (2 pips of meter)
F34~fade away ~safe (3 pips of meter)
F14~fade away ~safe (4 pips of meter)
21~fade away ~ NOT SAFE (3 pips of meter)
F12B4~fade away ~ NOT SAFE (6 pips of meter)

What this means is that you can play safely with Mileena, and aggitate your opponents while you build meter. This is important, because as you will see in the next section she needs it.

Ex Fade and You
Ex fade (or vanish. Forgive me if I use both terms) is pretty much THE defining feature of Ethereal Mileena. Ex Fade provides Mileena the ability to string together otherwise unstringable moves to increase combo damage, or allows her to chip at her opponents to either build more meter, do a throw mixup, or utilize her mixup game.

Let me give you an idea of what I am talking about.

Take my example in the situation above. F12b4~vanish toward is an amazing meterbuild tool, however it leaves Mileena vulnerable to punish. If however, the opponent starts trying to punish it, EX Fade SAFELY allows you to punish their punish attempt netting you a full combo punish. This creates a mind game that can deter your opponents from pressing buttons.

To best utilize the EX Fade we need to know what frames Mileena has while doing it. Luckily I took the time to lab most of these out and give you a great reference chart for her most popular strings.

EX Fades Block Advantage
*Please note these were all self tested. There could be a variance of 1 frame.

123~Ex Fade = +7 on block
21~Ex Fade = +4 on block
B22~Ex Fade = +4 on block
F24~Ex Fade = +7 on block
F12B4~Ex Fade = - on block. Do not use this and expect to continue pressure unless the opponent presses buttons.

Ex Fades Hit Advantage and follow up Normals

If we manage to hit any combo into an ex fade, we are left with MANY advantage frames to work with, but some strings net us more hit advantage than others. Here is a breakdown of common strings into ex fade on hit and what followup strings we can do to continue the combo. Anytime we can utilize F12B4 as a follow up, we are generating the highest potential damage.

123~Ex Fade = Any 14f or less normal will connect and continue the combo (123, 21, 4, B22)
21~Ex Fade = Any 19f or less normal will connect and continue the combo (123, 21, 4, F4, B22, F12B4)
B22~Ex Fade = Any 16f or less normal will connect and continue the combo (123, 21, B22, F12B4)
F12B4~Ex Fade = Any 9f or less normal will connect and continue the combo (21, roll, Uppercut)
F24 ~Ex Fade = Any 19f or less normal will connect and continue the combo (123, 21, 4, F4, B22, F12B4)
B12~Ex Fade = Any 19f or less normal will connect and continue the combo (123, 21, 4, F4, B22, F12B4)

These are your go to combo starters and your options after an ex fade if they hit.

The Neutral
Mileena's neutral contains a lot of full to 3 quarter screen sai meter building. Her go to normals in open space are B22 due to it's range and your ability to fade backwards off of it. When she has meter or is feeling out an opponents blocking patterns/strategy, 21U4 is great to scout, however is fully interuptable by armor.

F24 is nice to throw out as well, however B22 seems to have better range.

Her D4 and D3 are nice to throw out for low profiles and are very good at avoiding some jumpins as she is a low hitbox character.

Against opponents who like to walk backwards a running F4 can be very hard to react to due to it's deceptive range, but be careful to not (EDIT: LOL MOPPED BY THE FILTER!) on block.

F34 while slow as balls, provides TONS of cancel advantage on block when utilized with EX Fade. It creates an unarmorable F12 afterwards as well potentially allowing you to build back half the bar you just utilized, or simply go for a throw mixup.

Mileena's air to airs are terrible so be wary when going to war there. It's much easier to try and land a sai, but she sadly cannot convert off of it unless buffered from an air normal first. Such is life for Mileena.

Combo Damage and Optimum Combos
Due to having this in a seperate thread, I am simply going to link the relevant information and video here:

http://testyourmight.com/threads/pushing-ethereal-further-optimal-combos-and-meter-build-by-takeachance.54725/


Optimimum Corner Combos
Coming soon!

Knockdown and OKI
Ethereal's Oki game does not differ that much from Mileenas other variations. Utilizing the 21U4 splat at the end of combos allows her to utilize a quick forward dash into F12. This allows her to stuff most armorable wakeups and forces opponents to either backdash, or block the hits. If the opponent blocks the hits, she potentially builds half a bar of meter for free.

She can also utilize her F4 and Ex Overhead roll when opponents start expecting her wakeup, or simply start going for throws.

What to do when you're knocked down.
Mileena has the distinction of being the only variation that has an absolutely safe option on wakeup. Instead of having to commit to her armored ex roll, Mileena can commit to her ex fade in place, backwards, or forwards. Ex fade on wakeup is invincible and cannot be beaten by any normal or armour providing her the opportunity to either mount her own offence from an opponent that got to button happy, or run away and play in the neutral.

She does still have the ex roll for a harder read into damage. Alot of the time you will find yourself feeling out an opponent with delayed wakeups just to see what their tendancies are.

Also, I have seen tons of opponents respect Mileenas wakeups. While gimmicky, keep in mind a throw is considered a wakeup and can catch people off guard giving you good screen positioning as well.
The Vortex/Reset

***Available only to Ethereal Mileena.

Mileena has a true Vortex/reset depending on which option she chooses.

Check the video.


Here is an example of the guaranteed damage output:

123~ex fade 123~telekick =23 %

F4 (low) and Ex Roll(oh) are completely Guaranteed and inescapable. No backdashing, no armour...nothing.

So if we connect a F4 we can:

1) Full combo = F4~roll JF4~telekick~sai B22~sai teleport backwards = 31% + 23% = 54% total 1 bar.

2) Vortex/safety confirm = F4~Ex Fade into reset or damage string.

If we connect the OH roll

we can go into NJP 214 = 22% +23% = 45% damage total into Oki setup.

Ex Fade For Defense and Block String Blowups by @ZeroEffect


New ideas for applications of EX Fade/Vanish. If you've followed my posts and those of others you'll see this strategy has been discussed briefly. But I haven't seen a video demonstrating it, so I decided to make one. Following in @@TakeAChance's footsteps to try and bring out the potential of this variation. Yes, we know regular Fade could use a startup buff, but EX Fade is an S-Tier Tool.

3 important things to note about this move:
- EX Fade is invincible on startup.
This means Mileena takes no damage at all from attacks as opposed to armor which still absorbs full damage.

- EX Fade cannot be "armor broken" by multi-hit attacks.
This makes it better than armor in almost every way.

- EX Fade recovers almost immediately when Mileena reappears.
This basically allows you to turn BLOCK punishes into potential WHIFF punishes

So with that said, check it out.



Tournament Matches


Yomi Saltface vs Cossner

Yomi Saltface vs Tom Brady

Yomi Saltface vs REO

Yomi vs MIT (I'm not proud at all on this match)


**** Work in progress, more to come.

@Mr. Mileena
@1man3letters
@theGabStandard
@YOMI RM SaltFace
@ZeroEffect
@Pig Of The Hut
@MajinBerserker
@ExpiredTrapLord
@Yoaks
@Baconlord
 
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I think Ethereal is basically no variation Mileena lol.

At its current state, it's a gimmicky, fun variation to play. You lose all tools/strings in piercing and ravenous, and gain a terrible regular fade.
Her Ex fade is good, kinda gimmicky still, but you are using a bar of meter when she relies heavily on Meter for breaker or ex roll.

Without ex roll, she becomes easy to block and eliminates the threat of mixing in an overhead.
It sounds good on paper, but I think Ethereal is easily one of the worst variations in the game.

There's really no incentive to playing this variation with a game that has a block button.
 

TakeAChance

TYM White Knight
I think Ethereal is basically no variation Mileena lol.

At its current state, it's a gimmicky, fun variation to play. You lose all tools/strings in piercing and ravenous, and gain a terrible regular fade.
Her Ex fade is good, kinda gimmicky still, but you are using a bar of meter when she relies heavily on Meter for breaker or ex roll.

Without ex roll, she becomes easy to block and eliminates the threat of mixing in an overhead.
It sounds good on paper, but I think Ethereal is easily one of the worst variations in the game.

There's really no incentive to playing this variation with a game that has a block button.
You know I have much love, here are my very general counterpoints.

1) She doesn't lose any strings/tools. She gets a better run away (still punishable by some chars), but she is left in better position than piercing or ravenous. Sure she loses B12, but B22 is a very useable substitute now. Fade away often leaves you in a better position than any of the pounces on block. I agree with fade in the neutral on it's own. It sucks, but used after strings makes it very useable.

2) Ex Fade can be gimmicky, but it creates very easy throw situations. Some characters have no options other than armor to beat some of her follow up strings, certain strings create situations where characters do not even have that option. Look at it like Kung Lao. She has a "I don't know when to push buttons" situation, albeit much more limited I agree. I like ex fade on wakeup more than ex roll, and personally feel like I hardly ever want to break with Mileena.

3) She still has Ex Roll. But she also has 21~Ex Fade F4 on block. It's interuptable, but 21~Ex Fade B22 isn't unless you have a 6f low poke or want to commit to armor. She can play quasi mind games.

I had your concerns as well, and she is in no way shape or top tier. Far from it actually...but that doesn't mean that we shouldn't explore her. But from my experience, she is definitely playable. She still retains all of her main mixups. She doesn't have to EX Fade all over the place. Hell, you can save that for just her knockdowns and get combo potential.
 

TheGabStandard

The anticipation is killing me
Premium Supporter
This is a beautiful guide so major props to you @TakeAChance I'm looking forward to going back to Ethereal and I'm sure this guide will definitely help. I also feel every Mileena player should learn this variation as it is probably the best variation to deal with pressure characters
 

WATCHD0G

Noob
Great work man..it's refreshing to see people "take a chance" on things others have written off.
I love this variation so much cus it reminds of one of my favorite anime characters. looking forward to more of what you find.
 
Reactions: GQJ

Baconlord

Proud follower of the church of Cetrion
@TakeAChance how come you left out f14 ex fade when talking about block advantage. I believe its like +16 and you can combo off it with b2 roll after ex fade ( you can do b22 roll too but I prefer b2 roll because b22 doesn't work against small hitbox characters)
 

TakeAChance

TYM White Knight
@TakeAChance how come you left out f14 ex fade when talking about block advantage. I believe its like +16 and you can combo off it with b2 roll after ex fade ( you can do b22 roll too but I prefer b2 roll because b22 doesn't work against small hitbox characters)
I left it out because I'm at work and the shot from my notebook I had saved on my phone did not have those strings on it so I couldn't remember the exact frame advantage. They will be added when I get home and get my notebook.
 

MajinBerserker

My power equals yours!
Really like the write up. I just took a look at your Ethereal combo/meter thread, and video, too. Props to your work on this.
Regardless of whether a player wants to use this variation, these threads are a go-to for Ethereal essentials. Good stuff dude.
 
First, great write-up @TakeAChance.
There's really no incentive to playing this variation with a game that has a block button.
I disagree with this last part for one reason. Chance missed the biggest asset to EX Fade in the guide. The ability to blow up opponents' block pressure/frame traps. It's actually better than armor since so many characters like Liu Kang, Jax, Cassie, etc have multi-hitting attacks. He mentioned safe wakeup, but as @theGabStandard hinted at, I believe this variation is the one to deal with pressure chars.

It is unfortunate the regular fade is so slow on startup so that it's tough to use practically in the neutral, (which has been stated many times), but EX Fade I would definitely not view as a gimmick.
 
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Also I am REALLY hoping NRS makes a change for Fade inputs. They should be
- d,d+2 (Fade in place)
- d,f+2 (Fade Towards)
- d,b+2 (Fade Away)

Trying to whiff punish with F23 after walking back, trying to run cancel/walk up and B22 in combos, etc. There are too many ACCIDENTAL Fades causing this stuff to drop.
 
First, great write-up @TakeAChance.

I disagree with this last part for one reason. Chance missed the biggest asset to EX Fade in the guide. The ability to blow up opponents' block pressure/frame traps. It's actually better than armor since so many characters like Liu Kang, Jax, Cassie, etc have multi-hitting attacks. He mentioned safe wakeup, but as @theGabStandard hinted at, I believe this variation is the one to deal with pressure chars.

It is unfortunate the regular fade is so slow on startup so that it's tough to use practically in the neutral, (which has been stated many times), but EX Fade I would definitely not view as a gimmick.
I agree. This variation has the potential to be useful, but at the current state, 1 tool that requires meter, and may not always work isn't enough.
So judging currently, this is one variation I don't plan on using (unless buffed).

I'll point out what I feel she needs in this variation.

-A new Normal and/or String (hopefully a fast footsie advancing one
- She should throw one sai behind her, one sai in front of her. For example, if you do fade back, she throws one sai to the back (where you will go), and one to the front, so your opponent has to guess what input you put. I find it so annoying that you can't hold the fade because they can run up and grab or bait your re-fade. If you choose to stay in place, she still throws one back, one front, and you simply fade in place.

- A really neat incentive would be to also be able to teleport to her projectile sai (air also), of course being negative on block, and combo startable on hit (maybe with meter only)? Air sai conversions would be nice too.
 
I agree. This variation has the potential to be useful, but at the current state, 1 tool that requires meter, and may not always work isn't enough.
So judging currently, this is one variation I don't plan on using (unless buffed).

I'll point out what I feel she needs in this variation.

-A new Normal and/or String (hopefully a fast footsie advancing one
- She should throw one sai behind her, one sai in front of her. For example, if you do fade back, she throws one sai to the back (where you will go), and one to the front, so your opponent has to guess what input you put. I find it so annoying that you can't hold the fade because they can run up and grab or bait your re-fade. If you choose to stay in place, she still throws one back, one front, and you simply fade in place.

- A really neat incentive would be to also be able to teleport to her projectile sai (air also), of course being negative on block, and combo startable on hit (maybe with meter only)? Air sai conversions would be nice too.
I wouldn't be opposed to a new normal, lol. (A new normal could instantly make this variation jump from worst to best depending on it's properties).

I agree with the delay Fade issue. Problem is, even if she threw 2 sais, holding Fades is still really not a guess since Mileena doesn't leave her initial spot until you release it. So they'd still be able to grab you the same. NRS would have to make Mileena's invisible hurtbox move to that spot right away.

The last suggestion is something @Ninjaguy446 mentioned a while back. If this was simply a MB on Sai, I could see it working, but she's sooo meter dependent already that I dunno how often you could even use it.

I still feel this is the counterpicking variation. It's just less of a gimmick now than pre-patch.
 

TakeAChance

TYM White Knight
If any of you are doubting this variation, don't worry, I've saved the best for last. I am about to blow your minds.

Ethereal only too.

Waiting on the uploads.
 
Updated The OP With Mileena's True Reset/Vortex available only in Ethereal.

54% 1 bar combos midscreen.
This is pretty cool. What makes this Ethereal only though? Is it just because of the extra dmg from EX Fade into the 2nd 1,2,3 string?
I guess what I'm asking is, doesn't TK into 50/50 work in every variation? Or do the extra hits make it so the opponent is somehow locked in and can't escape?
 

TakeAChance

TYM White Knight
This is pretty cool. What makes this Ethereal only though? Is it just because of the extra dmg from EX Fade into the 2nd 1,2,3 string?
I guess what I'm asking is, doesn't TK into 50/50 work in every variation? Or do the extra hits make it so the opponent is somehow locked in and can't escape?
Ethereal allows you to make the damage worthwhile/easier to confirm.

It also allows you to loop back into the vortex with F4~ex fade.
 
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Saboteur-6

Filthy Casual
Updated The OP With Mileena's True Reset/Vortex available only in Ethereal.

54% 1 bar combos midscreen.
So the frames from the telekick ender leave you plus enough to either F4 or ExRoll? You pretty much have to have 2 bars for these to be respected though right, otherwise they'll just block low.
 

TakeAChance

TYM White Knight
So the frames from the telekick ender leave you plus enough to either F4 or ExRoll? You pretty much have to have 2 bars for these to be respected though right, otherwise they'll just block low.
Sort of. For the true inescapable 50/50, yes you need to have 2 bars. 1 for the initial combo, and another for the ex roll.

But the opponent will have to respect your options.

A simple Run up throw would net you 35% total.

A JIP (backdashable) F121B4 would give you pretty much 60% of your spent bar back.



etc.
 

I GOT HANDS

Official Infrared Scorp wid gapless Wi-Fi pressure
This vortex doesn't really seem much better than any 50/50 character ending a string in an EX-Grab.