Back To Basics
Vixen For People In A Hurry
The purpose of this guide is to give new players a simplified, streamlined way to learn this character that doesn’t take up too much time and allows the player to play them in a viable, competitive way. This is apart of a series and will include Blue Beetle and potentially other characters as knowledge and experience allow.
Vixen is a rushdown, highly mobile grappler with fast normals and high damage from her openers. She gets the brunt of her big damage from trait while it is active and/or opening the opponent up with command grabs.
Unlike most grapplers, she has really great counter zoning options with her blood lunge, Predator pounce and great jump normals. She is also much faster than your traditional grappler.
In my opinion, the main way to play this character and set up a great deal of her tick throws and command grab game revolves around abusing her lows. This includes Forward 2,3 + Sweep(Down 3) + Back 1,1, Down 3 to set up her overhead command grab (Savage Ambush).
She has a plethora of mix up options to keep your opponent guessing, which will be discussed below. She rewards creativity, good reads and players that like to constantly be doing something and can think extremely light on their feet.
Although she lacks range on the ground, her air predator pounce and blood lunge are great options to catch opponents back dashing out of blockstrings with gaps or punishing people trying to evade her plus frames. While she is simple to pick up, her depth and creativity is near endless.
DISCLAIMERS: I do not claim this to be the only way to play the character. The combo list is not intended to cover every single in game combo or scenario, but rather the most likely combo opportunities and scenarios that beginners and intermediate to advanced players will run into. This guide is mostly intended to help new player pick her up quickly without having to over analyze everything
+Great mobility with her back dash, blood lunge, forward dash, and Predator Pounce.
+Excellent comeback factor with trait and command grab damage.
+Great counter zoning options.
+Simple Pokes like down 1 and down 3 allow for great low profiling and escape options.
+Great at shredding armor with her Forward 3 & 1,1,2 & Back 1,1 & Forward 2,3 among other options.
+One of the best backdashes in the game.
+Excellent mix up options with a plethora of tick throws and stagger options.
-Weak neutral game.
-No full screen presence.
-Weak wake up game.
Down 1- 7 frames of start up and minus 3 on block. This poke can go under some mids since it lowers her hit box and is her fastest mid check she has in her arsenal. Down 1 looks a lot like her low hitting down 3 which makes it a great option to set up overhead command grab scenarios if you’ve conditioned the opponent correctly. Can combo into Primal Rage on hit.
Down 3- 8 frames of start up and minus 8 on block, this sweep is great for low profiling and is her fastest ranged check for opponents. While it is minus 8 and some can punish her for it, good spacing can help prevent that. It is also plus 24 allowing her to set up potential oki pressure after.
Forward 3- One of the best forward 3’s in the game, not only is it plus 10 on block, but it is double hitting which means that against most character whether you do it early or late, your armor will crush theirs. This helps make up for her weaker neutral because it makes armoring much less attractive for opponents. Sweep and Deadly hook can reach post blocked forward 3 making for potentially scary, high damaging follow ups.
Back 3- 28 frames and minus 1 on block, despite not being as good as forward 3, it has many uses. It lowers her hit box significantly giving the ability to low profile some attacks and launch for very solid damage. In the corner, it also has cross up potential.
Back 1- A 12 frame low starter and leads to one of her best tick throws as a result of being a low and tied to a gapless string. Every time she does back 1 on block, it’s a huge guess. She can do back 1,1, down 3 , Deadly Hook, Savage Ambush, MB Blood lunge command grab or lunge cancel escape.
2- A 9 frame mid that is only -2 on block and great for stagger scenarios with solid range. It is tied to a safe on block advancing string and can lead to tick throw scenarios on block. It is a good stagger and checking normal for her.
Down 2- 9 frame start up and unsafe on block like most down 2’s (-14) this down 2 is deceptively good because she is lower to the ground, but she kicks incredibly high and leads to a decent 200 ish damage on Superman. It can also be used for tick throws.
Jump 3- Although listed as – 3 this very powerful jump normal is plus on block even more so the lower it hits and guarantees a down 1 against even the fastest reversals. It is great to use after a blood lunge as it is her longest ranged safe combo starter and she can get over 400 damage off of it for one bar of meter.
Jump 1- while negative on block, it can be used to tick into command grabs off of and is the best for keeping suitable gravity on anti-air conversions as well as for air to airs and some block string pressure.
Back 1,1, down 3- Her 12 frame low starter that is safe at Back 1,1 (-6) and at Back 1,1, down 3 (7 with pushback) this string does decent damage on hit and leaves the opponent right next to you allowing you to mix them up on knock down. Great for conditioning low blocks especially since the first and last hit of the string contains a low. It also can be bounce cancelled at back 1,1 for high damaging combos as discussed below.
1,1,2- Starts at 7 frames making it an ideal punisher especially if she doesn’t have meter at the moment. The second hit of the string is plus on block and can be used for low damage mix ups involving sweep and throws or even command grabs after conditioning. The last hit is an overhead and special cancelable.
1,2, Grab- A low damage unblockable grab is tied to this string and works beautifully in concert with 1,1,2 especially since both strings look similarly, especially in the heat of an intense match. You can also use the similarities in appearance to use the Deadly Hook command grab opener since 1,1,2 conditions overhead blocks if you’re willing to take the risk for a high damage option.
2,2,3- 9 frame mid string with advancing reach and great for stagger pressure into pokes, command grabs and throw scenarios. The last hit of the string is-6 with some pushback making it a fast, safe option to check opponents and condition them to block.
Forward 2,3, grab- Forward by itself is actually two hits (a mid and a low) that are both neutral on block allowing for potential stagger pressure and grabs. The whole string is -4 and on hit is plus 36 guaranteeing a free jump in into string, forward 3 and essentially any other option she chooses.
3,3,2- A mid, low, overhead, overhead string that starts up in 14 frames and is +1 on block on the last hit. This string is ideal for setting up MB blood lunge command grabs, lunge cancels and it benefits from this as a result of its slow, methodical delay. On block while plus 1 she can make the opponent guess with down 1 into tick throw, but it will often be backdashed by those that know the match up. This can be counter with cancelling into leap jump 1 to punish them however.
Back 2, grab, Down,down/back back- An underused string that is great for escaping corners and other scenarios you don't wish to be in. Even if the opponent back dashes to avoid the unblockable grab, you are safe AND you escape the corner to boot making this a very useful and underappreciated chain. Back 2, grab by itself is neutral on hit so even if you mess up your input, you are left at zero.
Blood Lunge- This move defines Cheetah, it is her life blood and it makes up for her weaker neutral in so many ways. It starts up in 1 frame, low profiles most mid projectiles. She can do it close or far and in concert with her walk speed, back dash, jump 1, jump 3, Predator pounce and lunge cancels into forward dash she makes her ranged game stronger. She doesn’t have a full screen presence, but this attack allows her to build meter well at a distance. She can cancel strings into blood lunge to pressure and retreat at will safely. What makes it even more potent up close is that MB blood lunge leads to an unblockable air command grab that does very good damage without trait and a combo’s worth of damage with it. MB blood lunge is very punishable on whiff so be careful.
Deadly Hook- This is her high command grab that leads to over 400 damage or far more with trait active. This grab catches opponents that are stand blocking and starts up at a fast 14 frames with great reach, which can be great as part of her post blocked forward 3 meta game.
Savage Ambush- Leads to identical damage as Deadly Hook, but punishes opponents for blocking low against her. Savage ambush is also 14 frames of start up meaning that in concert with her 12 frame back 1, she has an unreactable overhead/low guessing game which I consider to be a core part of her play style. It is full combo punishable on whiff so be sure to not over abuse it and is best used after proper conditioning into huge damage. Impressive range makes this grab especially potent in concert with her other mix up options
Primal Rage- An 8 frame reversal that leads to modest damage on hit and insane amount with trait activated. She is plus 40 on hit so even though this sends opponents away, it gives her some frames to play with to approach them. MB is less advantageous at plus six but leaves the opponent very close to her. Her best wake up, but is also very unsafe on block, whiff and can be stuffed easily by those that know the wake up/oki timing.
(Air) Predator Pounce- Although very unsafe on block, this attack is only 9 frames and can launch for full combo for a bar into very respectable damage. In concert with her lunge into jump 1 and jump 3 she can alter her jump arc and blow up anti-air attempts. When it is done instantly, it can catch back dashes and is a great option to use if you have conditioned the opponent to block low versus her up close since it us unreactable, especially if instant aired.
Combos: (All Combos performed on Superman) * denotes easier combo alternatives
1,1,2, Primal Rage= 198.97 (Meterless).
Down 2, jump 1,1,1,2, Deadly Hook= 212.55 (Meterless)
Down 2, jump 2, 1,1,2, Deadly Hook MB, 3, Deadly Hook= 272.66 (One Bar)
3,3,2, Primal Rage= 222.57 (Meterless) & 299.24 (with trait) & 392.42 with (trait +one bar).
1,1,2, Primal Rage MB=249.14 (One Bar) & (with trait)= 462.96.
*Savage Ambush/Deadly Hook MB, jump 2, 1,1,2, Deadly Hook= 300.97 (One Bar)
*(4/Trait Active), Savage Ambush/Deadly Hook, jump 1, 1,1,2, Primal Rage= 405.45 (Trait+ One Bar)
Predator Pounce MB, Jump 1, 1,1,2, Deadly Hook= 302.76 (One Bar) 400.37 (One Bar + Trait)
Savage Ambush/Deadly Hook MB, back 3, jump 3, 1,1,2, Deadly Hook= 395.94 (One Bar).
MB Back 3, Jump 3, 1,1,2, Deadly Hook= 417.92 (One Bar)
Jump 3, Savage Ambush/Deadly Hook MB, Back 3, Jump 1, 1,1,2, Deadly Hook= 423.50 (One Bar)
MB Forward 3, Jump 3, 1,1,2, Deadly Hook= 430.03 (One Bar)
Back 1,1, Forward 3 Bounce Cancel, Jump 3, 1,1,2, Deadly Hook 430.03 (Two Bars)
Savage Ambush/Deadly Hook MB, Back 3, Jump 3, 1,1,2, Primal Rage= 475.34 (One Bar +Trait).
1,1,2 MB Forward 3 Bounce, Cancel, Jump 3, 1,1,2, Deadly Hook= 481.09 (Two Bars).
(4/Trait Active) 1,1,2 MB Forward 3 Bounce Cancel, Jump 3, 1,1,2, Primal Rage= 656.06 (Trait + 2 Bars)
1,1,2, Background bounce, Jump 3, 1,1,2, Deadly Hook MB, Back 3, jump 1, predator pounce= 484.82 (One bar/bounce)
Forward 2,3, Background bounce, jump 3, 1,1,2, Deadly Hook MB, Back 3, jump 1, predator pounce= 456.11(One bar/bounce)
Back 1,1, Background bounce, jump 3, 1,1,2, Deadly Hook MB, Back 3, jump 1, predator pounce= 445.93(One bar/bounce)
Down 1, Background bounce, jump 3, 1,1,2, Deadly Hook MB, Back 3, jump 1, predator pounce= 434.66(One bar/bounce)
(4/Trait Active), 1,1,2, Background bounce, jump 3, 1,1,2, Deadly Hook MB, Jump 2, Predator pounce= 648.48 (Trait+One Bar+Bounce)
MB Forward 3, 3, Background bounce, jump 3, 1,1,2, Deadly Hook= 484.19 (One Bar+Bounce)
(4/Trait Active),Forward 2,3, Background bounce, jump 3, 1,1,2, Deadly Hook MB, Back 3, jump 1, Predator pounce= 578.77 (Trait+One Bar+Bounce)
1,1,2, Background Bounce, Jump 3, 1,1,2, Deadly Hook= 400.48 (Meterless)
Forward 2,3, Background Bounce, Jump 3, 1,1,2, Deadly Hook= 371.77 (Meterless)
Back 1,1, Background Bounce, Jump 3, 1,1,2, Deadly Hook=357.15 (Meterless)
(4/Trait Active), 1,1,2, Background bounce, Jump 3, 1,1,2, Primal Rage= 589.78 (Meterless+Trait)
Character Power: Claws of Death
Adds increased damage to all claw based attack whether they are performed on hit or block. This gives her even scarier comeback potential, even if the timer is low if she catches you with trait she can do half life with very short, fast burst combos. Low life scenarios are also very scary because she can chip you out easily since something as simple as 1,1,2 does over 5% chip with trait active.
Best Tick Throws & Why:
Back 1- Back 1,1 is her only gapless string that is tied to a tick throw option so it makes it even more potent than other tick throws because there is more guessing involved and not a catch all way to deal with the guess of full string, tick etc. Back 1 is also a low starter and since it hits low it is great for conditioning people so she can open them up with her overhead command grab. Those that catch onto this are susceptible to her high command grab (Deadly Hook) creating a simple, but effective guessing game.
Down 1- Her down 1 looks very identical to her sweep which must be blocked low, giving well conditioned opponents a very scary scenario if they don’t pick up on the difference immediately getting launched for over 400 damage. Down 1 is also safe on block unlike some other tick throws so you can do down 1 by itself and not put yourself in danger.
Burst Damage As A Style & Evolving The Meta:
A lot of people have said especially recently that NRS was wrong about this character's play style being based on burst damage, but I feel NRS is correct in the sense of it's one of her style of play, it isn't the only one which is a key distinction and why people see the variety and variance they see.
Cheetah's strings and normal attacks allow for many different strike versus grab mix ups especially Down 1 + Forward 2,3 + Back 1,1, Down 3 + 3,3,2 among other are great for setting up her meter burn blood lunge. Finishing the strings gets you oki, pressure or puts the opponent closer to the corner and them getting opened up by command grab nets you notable damage especially if trait is active, it's like getting a quick full combo which allows for excellent comeback potential.
So with trait active and a play style focused on quick little bursts of damage and from testing this in actual matches against those with experience versus her, I find it reliable and effective.
She does insane chip damage with trait so even if you don't open your opponent up your damage can add up very quickly.
You can also use the fact that Cheetah has gaps in her strings to do a close leap and punish people for back dashing into full combos thus setting up a deeper layer of intrigue and mind games when your opponent learns the match up well. You punish them for 200+ damage enough times they will second guess backdashing the last hit of 3,3,2 or back 1,1, down 3 and instead may half to hold your plus frames or potential command grab opener into big damage.
My favorite normal attacks into MB blood lunge are forward 2 and back 1 because the opponent has to block these attacks low thus making reacting harder because the opponent isn't already standing and these normal attacks are tied to a gapless string follow up.
Gear, Legendary Gear & The Best Pairings:
Relic Hunter's Sharpened Pike Tip
The Legendary gear for Cheetah/Vixen gives her an immensely powerful tool in the ability of her claw attacks to cause BLEEDING damage which is damage over time coupled with her already potent damage making her an even more imposing rushdown force up close. The other perk is she can cause bleeding damage on hit AND block.
Her second perk/skill acquired from this legendary gear that is never talked about is her 5% chance of escaping a combo and this perk is awesome because it requires no meter, no clash and can occur on either life bar.
The best skill pairings that I recommend for Cheetah/Vixen while utilizing her legendary gear is her Spotted Torpedo and her Creeping Predator gear abilities. Spotted torpedo gives her a semi-safe advancing special attack that does decent chip damage and has immense corner carry on hit and especially on meter burn.
If you are curious to see a variety of different play styles with Cheetah and the various kinds of effective approaches you can check out RevetLeafing, Noobe, Xian and many more can be found on twitch, YouTube and Stream me among other places.
I will also provide my Youtube Channel below, I usually upload sets with this character a couple times weekly, enjoy and good luck out there!
My YouTube Channel: https://www.youtube.com/Espio872
*Editor's Note: This guide is subject to updates as patches occur and new concepts come to light. *