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Question - Lackey What "is" Lackey?

Kamikaze_Highlander

PSN: Windude008
So like many of you (i believe) the appeal for the game has died a bit as once again we have been left out of any meaningful buffs in the last patch (R/V not getting 2 hits on EX bf3 blows my mind, its exactly the type of special many other characters now have two hits on). Last night trying to fall asleep my mind went through a few of the characters I've dabbled with over the years, and it got me thinking not of where Lackey places on tier lists, but what the actual fuck this character is! What role does he play in the meta? And why do so many other characters do what he does better, with a better set of supporting tools to compliment them.

Looking at other characters (not all the ones I've played but these ones come to mind with their respective playstyle)...

Quan Chi(zoning) - All variations have strong zoning tools, Sorcerer being the overall weakest at this but rune's versatility more than make up this is.

Liu Kang (Rushdown) - Liu Kang is an offensive power house, even in his base character design. All three variations have incredibly strong pressure tools, and while there are methods to escape, it requires a good read from your opponent. Dragons fire has some of the strongest zoning in the game, and Flame Fist means even correctly blocking won't save you from chip-death. Dualist may live a bit more on gimmicks, but when that steam roller gets moving its hard to stop.

Kenshi (Counterzone) - Maybe not the best example but Kenshi has some good options to beat zoners. Possessed and Balanced both have auras that track targets, balanced's being a pseudo-50/50, Possessed also Possesses (ah ha) a teleport that can lead into jailing pressure. Kenjutsu has a strong neutral tool with push, and his grab reaches fullscreen and can lead to a full combo.

Kotal Kahn (Neutral) - with great pokes and amazing strings Kotal has always dominated neutral game, god like ji1 and multiple aa options means getting in or keeping out the Kahn is always a challenge.

Cyber Sub-Zero (Set play) - Other characters/variations like Konjurer or Hunter predator also fit in this section. These characters look for one opening then begin an endless loop of HTB or traps that keep you constantly on the defense.

I realize there are more playstyles or better examples of the ones listed, but I feel like thats a good reference for my point. So what about us. Looking at our variations

Vicious (Counterzoning++) - With the standard OH/Low throws, njp, the addition of Boss Toss gives Vicious some strong zoning tools, with the loss of OH plus frames this has been been neutered to a degree. Vicious still can control space very well, and for some good damage. Vicious also has one extra tick throw option, but stabby stab grab is overall the weakest grab of the three variations so while technically he has the most tick throw options, he is also the weakest grappler of the three.

Ruthless(Counterzoning/damage monster/weak rushdown) - still maintaining OH/Low throws, that njp, PnG armour, and 4,2+4 still makes Ruthless a strong contender in the neutral, and shutting down zoning attempts. I say Ruthless has 'weak' rushdown because only a few normals give the kind of advantage you need for rc pressure to be guaranteed, and since we lose a chunk of our moveset the cost of a PnG rc is large. We all know about the ridonkadonk damblage.

Lackey (?????) - With zero ranged options Lackey can neither zone nor counter zone effectively outside of 1/4 screen away. He has no frame traps or run cancels and so cannot (imo, maybe I don't understand the concept of rushdown) qualify for rushdown. With only two tick throw options he is an incredibly weak grappler, where unlike Ruthless, there is no guaranteed followup a la PnG, which protects F/T from aggressive players who like to wake up. This does not even account for the fact that his grab sends the opponent fullscreen where he is at his weakest.

I'm at a loss to describe his style. I had forgotten another major gameplay style and after adding it in Set Play is the closest I can think to what Lackey has to do now. And that set play is entirely revolved around charge and the oki options after, but the moment you want to cash out damage, all of that advantage you were clinging to is gone. Now you can get the opponent to the corner quite easily through the Torrvex making the command grab much more useful, but enforcing that oki successfully can be very difficult against skilled players. I know the term 'counter-rushdown' was associated with this character, and to some extent this is still true, d1 is still a great tool despite being very minus, and the free armour on charge has gotten me out of more than a few oki situations/gaps. But with rushdown now being an overall weaker gameplay style, with stamina changes and such, does this not in turn weaken Lackey?

Discuss...

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Sunny_D

Green Arrows personal Shooty guy
Hes a in your face grappler with one of the fastest pokes in the game and unlimited armor on ex bf3 to get in on zoners. Thats what this variations is for, great pokes, better get in tools, and 50/50s plus tic throws.
 

Asodimazze

A-Lister
Lackey is....1000% useless and pointless. He is designed to suck and not excel in any area of the game.

He is a grappler with 2 weak tick throws, with 0 mobility, whose command grab sends the opponent fullscreen (lol).

No plus frames, no 50/50, no safe meterless special upclose, no projectile, no approach.
 

omooba

fear the moobs
lackey basically used to meter manage like a stingy mofo to make you scared of getting launched for damn near half your life. this gave a reason for your opponent to respect your slow as 50/50's with that gone i don't know what he is but to call him rushdown is laughable
 

Kamikaze_Highlander

PSN: Windude008
Hes a in your face grappler with one of the fastest pokes in the game and unlimited armor on ex bf3 to get in on zoners. Thats what this variations is for, great pokes, better get in tools, and 50/50s plus tic throws.
He's not an 'in your face grappler' because as soon as you land that grab midscreen you are no longer in their face, even right in the corner there is a lot of pushback that leaves Torr outside of any normal range. Yes d1 is one of the fastest pokes in the game but at -6 on block and I believe single digit hit advantage its not nearly as good as you would think. MB Charge isn't unlimited but it is difficult to break, and like I said, both versions are punishable on block and certain death on whiff. I agree that charge is supposed to be F/T's best 'get in tool' but it just doesn't work like that, if anything MB low toss is their best get in tool as it brings the opponent in from any range for a full combo.

Rushdown with command grab.
Care to elaborate? I really don't see how this variation could be called rushdown.
 

Kamikaze_Highlander

PSN: Windude008
Lackey is an OKI Monster. That's what we should call him because that's what he is. There. Problem solved.
I agree, thats why I'm leaning towards 'Set play', but like I said, it takes a very hard read to enforce that oki, characters like Cyber SZ and Hunter have plenty of options to cover your attempts at escaping their set ups, Lackey does not. If you corpse hop, your opponent can stay down, whiffing your 50/50, if you don't, you lose the input switching and risk getting blown up on wakeup. Cross up attempts can be stuffed by good aa options.

And no not really that doesn't solve the problem. His set play tool is charge and its garbage in the neutral. Lackey is a very strong character when looked at individually, but like @Asodimazze said, he is practically useless in the MKX meta and excels at almost nothing.
 

CrazyFingers

The Power of Lame Compels You
Moderator
I agree, thats why I'm leaning towards 'Set play', but like I said, it takes a very hard read to enforce that oki, characters like Cyber SZ and Hunter have plenty of options to cover your attempts at escaping their set ups, Lackey does not. If you corpse hop, your opponent can stay down, whiffing your 50/50, if you don't, you lose the input switching and risk getting blown up on wakeup. Cross up attempts can be stuffed by good aa options.

And no not really that doesn't solve the problem. His set play tool is charge and its garbage in the neutral. Lackey is a very strong character when looked at individually, but like @Asodimazze said, he is practically useless in the MKX meta and excels at almost nothing.
I feel like in a way toned down MKX, Lackey could be top tier but he just...like Slasher Jason can zone him. That's a problem that Slasher can consistently keep him out and win that way if the Slasher plays it right.
 

Kamikaze_Highlander

PSN: Windude008
I really do think she should've kept his armor.. as much as safe armor is scrubby, he really didn't have much else.
But in the patch prior Torryuken was made unsafe at -12, and there was also the issue of hopping over small/crouching opponents. I feel like Lackey should have been the exception to the disbanding of armoured launchers. This would give players a very very good reason to pick up the character in the new meta.
 

CrazyFingers

The Power of Lame Compels You
Moderator
I really do think she should've kept his armor.. as much as safe armor is scrubby, he really didn't have much else.
Keep the armor, make it punishable, that could've been good. NRS has to realize that some characters need that shit and you can't remove it entirely. Universal removal of tools is just...dumb.
 

Kamikaze_Highlander

PSN: Windude008
I feel like in a way toned down MKX, Lackey could be top tier but he just...like Slasher Jason can zone him. That's a problem that Slasher can consistently keep him out and win that way if the Slasher plays it right.
Yup, Lackey is an amazing character and honestly the one I love playing the most, but he doesn't 'Play MKX' well enough to be viable.

Slasher is actually one of the exceptions as machete toss has quite a bit of recovery, so punishing it off charge isn't that hard.
 

thlityoursloat

Scarlet peeing
But in the patch prior Torryuken was made unsafe at -12, and there was also the issue of hopping over small/crouching opponents. I feel like Lackey should have been the exception to the disbanding of armoured launchers. This would give players a very very good reason to pick up the character in the new meta.
I thought it was -6?
 

Wigy

There it is...
Yeah i was thinking the same thing the other day, when i dabbled with him, his db2 ex was really a huge part of his game.

Hes a grappy grappler, cyro is much better

His footsies outside d1 are meh

He cant get in on zoners easily or zone.

He has good oki and fuzzyable 50/50s with some good normals. Thats about it.

By the way, jc is now particularly special at anything. Hes got good footsies with f3 and d4. Thats about it. Lol
 

Kamikaze_Highlander

PSN: Windude008
Yeah i was thinking the same thing the other day, when i dabbled with him, his db2 ex was really a huge part of his game.

Hes a grappy grappler, cyro is much better

His footsies outside d1 are meh

He cant get in on zoners easily or zone.

He has good oki and fuzzyable 50/50s with some good normals. Thats about it.

By the way, jc is now particularly special at anything. Hes got good footsies with f3 and d4. Thats about it. Lol
Fucking Erron Black, Jax, and Sun God have been better grapplers for a while now. Cryo is now undoubtedly the strongest grappler in the game.

I was just trying to think of the best rushdown character example and I for some reason I didn't think if Liu Kang.
 

Kamikaze_Highlander

PSN: Windude008
By the way, jc is now particularly special at anything. Hes got good footsies with f3 and d4. Thats about it. Lol
I don't entirely agree. He still has jailing pressure and a combo ender that restands for more pressure. Also forceballs are far from the weakest of zoning tools.
 

Kamikaze_Highlander

PSN: Windude008
I believe the timeline was like this

-7 (or better) pre-XL, -12 post-MKXL

He lost the safe launcher in XL. I looked through all the patch notes and couldn't see it mentioned anywhere