FAQ: Half-dash and PvP
What is a Half-Dash?
A short dash that cancels a standard dash prematurely, allowing the player to execute a standard, standing attack string instead of a dash-attack string.
How do I Half-Dash?
The most common command for half dashing is [Forward] [Forward] [Back], forward being the direction you wish to dash towards (and end up facing) and back being the opposite direction of the direction you are dashing in. This command must be executed quickly and no directions can be held down after, otherwise it will not cause you to face forward. An alternative command that some may find more useful is [Forward] [Forward] [Any direction 90 degrees or more].
Why Half-Dash in combos?
It allows for the player to take advantage of longer juggles, allowing for more inescapable damage and longer air time. While the damage may be reduced for each successive hit, every bit of guaranteed damage helps in gaining the edge over your opponent. Longer juggles also allow for more time to recover mana and/or cooldowns. However, the weight of your cooldowns versus your opponent's cooldowns must be taken into account, as you would sometimes want to catch your opponent with a new combo before he recovers a certain cooldown (ie. Bitter Cold Breath).
Half-Dash is so hard to do, is it really necessary?
No, of course not. Advanced techniques aren't really "necessary" to learn for PvP, but it will definitely put you at a disadvantage if you do not learn them. If you are fighting someone who is of "equal" skill, in terms of reading opponents and playing mind games, then the person who takes advantage of more advanced techniques, such as the extra damage from long combos utilizing half-dashes, would likely come out to be the victor. Even though more advanced techniques aren't technically necessary, they are necessary in the fact of when you encounter someone who has learned both the fundamentals, and advanced, techniques of PvP. It is strongly recommended that you know the fundamentals of PvP first, as half-dash is more of an advanced technique.
Okay, so I should learn it...but how should I apply it?
Half-Dashing can be used in many ways. The most common way is to extend combos, as half-dashes provide for longer attack strings that are easily cancelable and longer by default.
However, half-dashes may be used in other ways as well, such as to initiate a combo. Rather than simply Dash AS-ing someone, you could replace that Dash AS with a half-dash, allowing you to do AAS (Sieg/Eir) or AA dash AS (Dainn) for the extra hits and mobility.
Dash AS causes a lot of recovery time if you miss, and the only way to really cancel it is by using a skill (except for Eir, who can cancel it using S). Utilizing Half-Dash AA instead of Dash AS eliminates that risk of long recovery times because the standard AA string is easily cancelable simply by dashing. This provides a safer alternative for attempting to catch you opponent. This, by no means, is a complete replacement for Dash AS because Dash AS has a quicker start-up/impact time than the standard AA strings, so Dash AS is better for catching your opponent if you need to hit them quickly and you know it will connect.
Half-dash can also be used as...well...a half of a dash! This means that you just about dash half the distance of a normal dash, but you use the same dashing animation as that of a normal dash. This can confuse some people into predicting you are going to dash to a certain spot but you will stop short and they may miss an attack, leaving them open for you to hit them. (tip provided by darkdestiny)
What are some example combos involving half-dash?
Sieg: AAS AAAA Kicking S halfdash AAAS halfdash AAAA Crosscut Sp halfdash ....
Eir: AAS AAAA halfdash AAAA halfdash AAAA....
Dainn: AA dash AS HandofEarth halfdash AA AAS... (not entirely sure about this one)