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Understanding your post-puppet master options (Corner)

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Original Liu Kang cop.
Anyone who plays against Zatanna should know how much bs she has in the corner, the worst of all being the button-randomizing that happens after you're reset by a non-mb puppet master. Since a lot of people don't play against Zatanna, and the ones that I play are still struggling with it, I thought I'd post a thread to help people understand the options they have.

Defensive options

Your controls revert back after you block a move, which means they will revert back in the middle of a block string, however your attack buttons will not always be randomized. You must learn to block the first hit of a string reversed and quickly block the second hit normally, much like Doomsday's Earth Shake. I suggest you default on blocking low (which will be achieved by holding up) and reacting to any strings you see by quickly holding down once the first hit has been blocked. By default blocking low, you avoid standing 1, will block b1 and d1~kicks, and will avoid instant jump-1. Of course she can still cross-up jump or b2, but these are both reactable, albeit tricky with reversed controls. Instant dive-kick is not reactable, but she has to spend a bar of meter to combo and it scales heavily, so it is her least attractive option. B2 will be blocked by holding forward, and then down as this will block b21 (overhead/low).

In summary, block low (reversed) then block low (reverted).

PUSHBLOCK (This is your best option!): This doesn't require much explaining- Your push block button is never scrambled, so use it to avoid any of the aforementioned bollocks, as long as you block the first hit properly; once you pushblock her away your controls will be reverted back to normal.

Offensive options

If you're feeling particularly lucky/ballsey, you can roll the dice and try to hit Zatanna out of her next move. For those who are unaware, puppet master is -1 on hit for Zatanna; if you manage to d1 her you'll beat all her offensive options (apart from mb f3 but that's stupid to do), and you can confirm on hit for a throw. But of course, you only have a 25% chance of getting a d1. Next is d2, which will beat all of her offensive options except for d1, dive kick, or standing 2 (<-- unless your d2 is faster than 10 frames).

In summary, d1 is or d2 is what you hope for here, and you have a 50% chance of getting either of the two.

Alternatively you can try to neutral jump and hit her with an air attack on the way down, but this obviously is quite risky.

It is important to know that your throw button, interactable button and mb button are never scrambled, so if you're in a corner that has a meter-burnable interactable, you can use that to cover you.

  • Zatanna's counters
Unfortunately, Zatanna can easily counter your offensive options by simply sitting there and waiting for you to try something, and punishing accordingly. Your counter to this is to block and quickly react to seeing her blocking by throwing her.

So congratulations, you now hopefully understand this aspect of Zatanna's corner game. Now all you have to do is not get bodied all the other nonsense she can do in the corner.

tl;dr READ THE DAMN GUIDE. The ball is ALWAYS in Zatanna's court after this reset, but if you understand your options it gives you a much better chance of not losing your life bar. If anyone else has any suggestions I'll add them to the OP.


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Awe keep the goods under taps! It's so much fun to abuse the puppet master :). Btw, I feel like we should get a Zatanna corner tricks guide going. I really wanna see what else I can incorporate and there's some realllllyyy dirty stuff that I've found recently ;)
she needs a parry, unblockable MB fire ball that absorbs projectiles and gets bigger across the screen, auto tracking rings, (saves us having to control them), mid trait projectile tracks you like rings, full screen dive kick, safe teleport, trance hits low, trance reverses supers and grabs and also reverses controls for 10 seconds, mb kicks includes an overhead.... anything else?