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11-05-2008   #1 (permalink)
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Default Miseri's Sieg Combo Mechanics Guide

- a work in progress -

Introduction

This guide is to fully describe all known practical uses of Sieg's attacks in the context of [mostly] aerial combos and the basics of how to use them effectively. There will also be some matters of non-aerial attacks in the interest of completion and practicality since knockdowns and undecayed attacks are interesting from a PvP standpoint.

There's a bit at the end with basic build templates too, for the really clueless.

As always, comments/suggestions/corrections will be appreciated; however, opinions will most likely not make it into the guide itself.

Notation

Throughout this guide I will be using some shorthand notation to keep things concise--these things are all defined here.

d = dash
hd = halfdash
sp = space
numbers = numpad directions, always assume you begin facing right [6 direction]
[numbers] = number of hits from a skill to use before ending

Melee

rising A
Spinning red slash that results from pressing A while lying on the ground. If someone's behind you and you hit them with this, you can cancel into a backwards dA and combo off it; if they're in front, you can cancel directly into a skill. While I've never actually seen it done, TS cancel dA should be able to catch targets on the side.

dA [sp]
A quick slash while dashing forward. This is Sieg's fastest melee hit and adds a decent amount of airtime. If you can possibly continue a combo with melee, this is what you use. It can be canceled into a sidestep with sp for windmill, or into a skill for a more common continuation.

dAS
The standard launcher for PvP due to its speed, but knocks the target a decent distance away and doesn't give any remarkable airtime. The second hit kills airtime, so if it is used in the middle of a combo, it's usually to bring the target to an appropriate height for Finishing Blow or Sky Slashing.

dS
A shoulder hit that cancels fairly easily into melee. This is the "newbie's halfdash;" worse in regards to airtime but it's an easy and viable way to slip some melee into the middle of a combo, usually after Kicking S. However, it's a dead end as far as advanced combos go, so if you're interested in things like learning pseudoinfinites and extremely long staller combos, don't get into the habit of using this.

AAAAA
Your basic attack string, consisting of 4 slashes with no particular special properties followed by a 5th slash that hits for 250% normal damage, knocks the target a moderate distance away and is canceled only by down attack. Generally not used in combos, but if you have the right height and positioning you can end with this and then down attack.

AAAAS [sp sp sp]
4 slashes followed by 2 stabs that hit for 150% normal damage, with three optional stabs for normal damage. Generally not used in combos, but it is possible to combo before and after this string.

AAAS
3 slashes, followed by a downward slash that hits twice but has relatively short range. This is one of your staple melee strings due to the fact that the last two hits do an excellent job of maintaining height and are easily canceled into a dA, hd, or shift. However, the short range of the final two hits means sometimes you need to use...

- AAAA
Although the 4th slash is usually too slow for you to hd or shift from this string, the extra reach compared to the downward slash on AAAS makes this the attack of choice when your target is at the edge of your range. In most situations you will continue from this by using dA [skill], except for when you do not want to push the target higher or if you are in danger of dashing underneath the target and missing your next attack.

AAA S
If you delay too long before pressing S, you will get the launching slash that is the 3rd hit of AAS instead of the downward slash of AAAS. This is another one of those things that, while you can work with it, there is little reason to use.

- AA [sp sp sp]
Two slashes, three optional stabs. Included for completion--aside from being unique, I'm not aware of any particularly good reasons to use this.

AASS sp [sp sp sp]
2 slashes, 2 launching slashes followed by a quick stabbing attack and three optional stabs. The 2nd launching slash does 250% normal damage. The first 5 hits of this string (AASS sp) gives the most airtime you will get off any melee starter except S; it's sufficient to land Destruction Fist or IMS 2+. By adding the first optional stab, this string makes a good way to transition from field to wall combos when the next string doesn't quite have sufficient range.

- AAS
2 slashes and a launching slash. Cancels very easily into standing A, so this is the starter of choice if you wish to start off with some melee hits instead of going straight to skills. However, it's slow enough to be interrupted by a variety of things in PvP even if the first two hits land.

AS sp [sp sp sp]
A slash, launching slash, and quick stab and three optional stabs. The launching slash does 250% normal damage. The first three hits result in a fair amount of height (mostly from the 2nd hit) but cannot be canceled by dashing, which can make it somewhat dangerous to use as an initial launcher. The distance the target is pushed away makes AS sp [sp] difficult to continue after unless you have the benefit of a wall to prevent the target from being pushed away. The first stab also hits things directly above you. The range and height make AS sp [sp] the ideal melee string for stalling at a wall. AS sp [skill] is a viable but uncommon mid-combo use for this string that usually results in gaining a decent bit of airtime.

- [sp sp sp]
By now, you've surely noticed many of Sieg's melee strings can be ended with these three stabs. The first stab is fully dash-cancelable, but pushes the target away without moving too far. It also has a short animation, allowing you to easily transition to melee without any movement if you have appropriate airtime and distance to work with. For combos, it's usually best to stick with just the first stab and cancel it into whatever followup you need.

The second and third stabs are not dash-cancelable, but they are skill-cancelable and so do not necessarily end your combo. Still, in most cases, it's better to use sp dA if you wish to continue.

AS sp S
Also included purely in the interests of completion. The final hit of this string cannot be canceled by anything and will basically end your combo while leaving you completely vulnerable.

S
A slow launching slash that moves you forward. While slow, it has a unique range that makes it suited to one particular situation. Occasionally, you may become stuck inside an opponent where neither of you can hit with normal attacks--S will launch them directly in front of you and give you plenty of height to play with.

other info about Sieg melee
You can turn to any direction before the S hit in any of the strings by pressing whatever direction you want while attacking. Most common usage of this is AAA [turn] S, so the downward slash pushes the target in a different direction. The main uses of this trick are to shift away from a wall, to reposition for a shift to correct bad alignment, or to attack into a wall to prevent knocking your target farther away.

Skills

Cross Cut (CC)
Can be canceled after one or two slashes by [sp sp sp]. Doesn't give a lot of airtime to work with, but it's enough to stall if you need it. Standard uses are dAS CC[2] sp dA [skill] for 0-decay PvP combo or dA CC[1] sp shift/hd for continuing combos. CC[1] sp dA [skill] is also used if you need extra airtime to land something. If you use the CC[2] starter, be aware that the 2nd slash will miss if you aren't aligned properly.

Destruction Fist (DFist)
Slow and powerful. For PvM max damage, it can be used at any time after Kicking (S dA) or anything that gives you the same airtime. For PvP, it can be used after Sky Slashing or during Whirlwind Wave to get a 0-decay hit. Low decay combos that don't require other skills with long cooldowns include AASS sp DFist and dAS Kicking DFist. Note that this is Sieg's only "hard knockdown," a hit which knocks the target away and forces them to the ground regardless of the height it was landed at.

Blow
...um yeah, you're not going to be doing combos with this. Follow it with a power skill if you have time, start a combo if not.

Finishing Blow (FB)
Can be escaped if not properly timed to hit just as the target lands, knocks them away in the direction you're facing when the skill is used. You can continue after with a TS cancel dA or Wind Kick.

Counter
You can do dA Counter dA if you need two dA's in a row for some reason and you don't know how to windmill.

Sky Slashing (SS)
Can be escaped if not properly timed to hit just as the target lands. Higher ranks of this skill give you more airtime to work with after the 2nd hit, but rank 1 is sufficient for DFist or IMS 2+ along with anything slower [read: pretty much anything that isn't CMS or FF]. Rank 9 is sufficient for SS CMS dA or SS FF dA.

Iron Hammer (IH)
1 physical slash, 5 lightning hits. If used on the ground, regardless of whether you launch with the slash or lightning, you'll get one air lightning hit afterwards, and another lightning launcher if the target does not use rising A invincibility. Two inescapable hits on an airborne target is only possible if the slash hits them high enough for an air lightning. The only way to force more of the lightning hits without help is to bounce the target between Whirlwind Wave and the lightning.

At maximum range, only one lightning will hit, giving you an extremely large amount of airtime to work with. Used in this way, it can be a high damage launcher, but it's only practical to use after Blow since the range for this is very small.

Crescent Moon Sword (CMS)
S d CMS, Whirlwind Wave CMS dA, SS9 CMS dA.

Hurricane Sword (HS)
Escapable, blah, blah, you've heard this before. If you have enough room you can dA or DFist on one of the later bounces.

Thunder Sound (TS)
You can use it as a launcher and dA after it, or use it if you need an instant dash-cancel. Also, while not necessarily related to combos... the slow, just like all status effects, is unrelated to the damage. If you're using it for the slow, it doesn't matter if they're lying down, in the air, or invincible while it goes off.

Whirling Sword (WS)
Three hits, launches on last. Dash sideways, sidestep towards target and dA to continue. Actual hits continue to take place a fair bit after the 0.31s cast time, making this one of the safer skills to use after a down attack or Sky Slashing. Used mid-combo, can add a minor amount of airtime.

Flash Fate (FF)
Dash sideways, sidestep and dA to continue. Note that if the last shot brings the target right next to you, you don't necessarily have to dA in the same direction you used FF in; you can shift 45/90 degrees off an FF cancel. Usable during and after nado as well as in S d FF and SS9 FF.

Whirlwind Wave (nado)
The main purpose of this skill is to allow you to land slow power skills with little or no decay; by down attacking an enemy in the nado, they will immediately be launched back up with no decay. Other attacks such as Finishing Blow or Hurricane Sword that pick targets off the ground will also work. Rank 2 standard usage: dAS nado DFist, continue. Rank 4: they will drop on every bounce if they're at the tip of your sword reach before you use nado; other way to measure distance is that if you're horizontally lined up with each other, your health bars should be barely touching. If they're not falling to the ground for a reset and you want them to, whack them once or twice to change the timing and location of their fall ... still working on a good way to describe how to do this correctly.

If you want to use Rage Explosion on the first bounce, use nado 4 slightly closer and they will not touch the ground on the first bounce, giving you time to buff and prepare to down attack and DFist. Be careful not to do it too close though, or they won't fall down at all and you'll have mostly wasted it.

Kicking (TK)
This is your #1 stalling move, gives enough height to do just about anything normally used in a combo. Most of the height seems to come from the 2nd kick, with a bit coming from the final kick. The first kick is the only one that launches. Pressing S afterwards results in the 2-hit downward slash at the end of AAAS; pressing AA afterwards results in the 2 final slashes of AAAAA (but these 2 slashes will usually miss). You can change the direction of the S to alter distance/alignment or to shift off the wall. You can do a non-walled infinite with Kicking only, starting from dAS height (dAS Kicking S hd AAAS shift AAAS shift AAAA dA Kicking ... etc.)

If you land the first two kicks but miss the last one, don't panic; depending on how much height you have it's possible to turn the S slash and continue off it.

Wind Kick (WK)
First hit of the seven gives almost all of the height. Amongst physical attacks, this is one of very few that will not hit if the target is too high. Has the fastest cast time of all attacks. If used from too great a distance, even if the first hit lands, some of the other hits can miss.

Whirlpool Sword
Max 5 hits, can be canceled at any time with the [sp sp sp] string. If used too close to a target high in the air, you can go under, but if used at sufficient distance you can connect the entire attack at any height. A bit worse than Cross Cut for maintaining height after a dA.

Flying Dragon Sword (FDS)
Rank 1 will connect at nearly any height as long as sufficient distance is present, similar to Whirlpool Sword. Ranks 2+ require extremely low height (lower than dAS) in order to connect all 4 hits. Under ordinary circumstances, you cannot continue after landing all 4 hits of FDS; however, if you launch a target with only the final hit there is enough time to melee and start a normal combo.

Infinity Meteor Sword (IMS)
Rank 1 = requires lots of height to hit, kills airtime. S AAAA Kicking IMS is the standard way to use it, but the common advice is to not use IMS 1 at all.
Ranks 2+ connect off Kicking S dA from any starting point, as well as anything that gives similar height. You can continue after IMS by facing the target and using AA dA. Does not launch until the final two hits and is inescapable once it begins to hit, making it extremely powerful if used on the ground in PvP.

Provocation (voke)
You can dA voke dA, but given the fact that it's more often used as a ranged flinch to provide an opportunity to start a combo, it's unwise to do so unless it's going to get you a kill. The exception is in team PvP, where you can take advantage of Provocation's large range to interrupt an opponent while maintaining your own combo.

Play Dead (PD)
Same as above ... you can dA PD dA but really, you ought to save it for defensive purposes unless that last hit is all that's standing between you and a kill. Of course, if you've got enough airtime or timing, you could theoretically dodge attacks while doing a combo, but that's pretty rare.

Skill Categories

Just a quick list to see what Sieg has available in terms of combo tools.

Stalling Skills (used primarily to build airtime/PvM damage multiplier, or delay for cooldown on another skill)
Kicking
Cross Cut
Whirlpool Sword

Intermediate Power Skills (high damage, can combo before and after)
Whirling Sword
Infinity Meteor Sword

- note: Stalling and Intermediate Power skills are somewhat interchangeable. Maxed, stalling skills can serve as power skills that still maintain your combo; left at a lower level, intermediate power skills can simply be used to extend combos without wasting so much MP on heavily decayed damage. The reason I classified the skills as they are is because Kicking, Cross Cut, and Whirlpool Sword burn more MP for less damage when maxed, are generally considered easier to combo with, and with the exception of Whirlpool have low cooldowns; and are therefore usually the ones left at rank 1 and to extend combos.

Finisher Skills (high damage, but usually ends combo)
Destruction Fist
Wind Kick
Flying Dragon Sword
Iron Hammer (PvP)

Launchers (can begin a combo, but not used in the middle)
Thunder Sound
Flash Fate (can be used mid-combo, but extremely rare)
Flying Dragon Sword (final hit only)

Decay Deletes (can pick targets off the ground, usually for PvP purposes)
Finishing Blow
Sky Slashing
Hurricane Sword
Whirlwind Wave

Combo Basics

PvM
The concept behind PvM combos is simple. Build up a multiplier, use power skills. An AAS or S starter make good choices since they allow you to easily get in some melee hits before using any skills. Some basic starters would include:

AAS AAAA dA
AAS AAAS dA
AAS AAAS shift AAAA dA
AAS AAS AAAA dA
S AAAA dA
S dS AAAA dA
S hd AAAS dA

From there, you might use a stalling skill if you want to build the multiplier higher or just want some extra melee hits, then move to power skills.

PvP
Due to damage decay, PvP combos are the opposite of PvM. After the launcher, you open with power skills as soon as possible, then switch to stalling skills in order to kill some time while you regen MP and wait for cooldowns. Also, because opponents can interrupt slower launchers or take advantage of your missed attacks, the standard PvP launcher is AA dAS. The AA provides hitstun to give you a concrete target without committing you to a longer attack, and then smoothly transitions to the dAS launcher. If done properly, not even instant skills will be able to interrupt it. This doesn't mean you can never use S, AS, or AAS-type launchers--but be aware of the potential for being countered, depending on your opponent's class and currently available skills.

Whirling Sword is one of your best choices to start with. If you have maxed Cross Cut or Kicking, they should be used as openers when Whirling Sword is on cooldown. dAS FDS, dAS Kicking DFist, and dAS Kicking IMS are some other simple openers that deal fairly good damage with the right build, although using FDS and DFist means your combo will be brought to a swift end.

With a bit of experience it should become obvious that Sieg's power skills are often forced to be used with at least some decay and/or end the combo, preventing you from stalling for MP and cooldowns. Because of that, it's wise to learn to use decay deleter skills. There are some common ways to use them, such as dAS CC[2] sp dA FB, but these things are better used for teaching the basics. The important part is the proper range and airtime to use the skills at, and that's what you should take away from learning the various cookie-cutter FB/SS combos.

Whirlwind Wave gets its very own paragraph because it breaks all the rules. You can use anything during Whirlwind Wave, and as long as it is properly timed you can get 0- or low-decay hits and continue after any skill, including Destruction Fist, Flying Dragon Sword, and Iron Hammer. Just time your skills to hit as the target falls to the ground, and remember to down attack on any bounce you're not using another attack on. Note that to continue after a power skill, you need to hit your target into a nado so they get picked up again, or at least keep them in the air long enough for the nado to come to them.

The ubiquitous stalling question: how do you drag it out without running out of skills?

Most people who use Kicking S to build airtime for a staller fail not because of running out of airtime, but because they cannot maintain a proper distance. If you are misaligned with the target and planning to shift, shift toward the side that leaves you close to the target, not far. If you are aligned, either halfdash or turn the downward slash on Kicking S or AAAS to break the alignment before shifting.

If you use a max Kicking build, your objective with a staller should be to get to the wall as fast as possible. dA Whirlpool sp dA is a great way to cover a lot of ground. Don't forget that you can AASS sp sp to get to a wall if AS sp sp won't go far enough. Max Kicking does mean you still get to take advantage of Kicking's airtime for a bit, so as long as you play it properly you should be able to reach a wall from any starting point even on the bigger maps.

With all that in mind, effective PvP combos should be built like this:
1. launcher [Provoke dAS, AA dAS, AAS, usually]
2. high damage skill [max CC, max Kicking, max Whirlpool, max Whirling, or quick IMS 2+ combo]
3. stall for damage/cooldown/MP, depending on situation
4. decay delete [nado as first priority, then SS or FB if you don't have nado]
5. power skill [DFist, FF/IH if you can land them accurately]
6. repeat #3-#5 if you have another decay delete/power skill combo to use
6b. if you don't have a decay delete/power skill to end with, down attack or TS

Finally, if you're about to score a kill, don't let decay stop you. Even if you have to throw your Whirling and DFist in at max decay, if it gets you the last bit of damage you need for a kill, it's probably worth it.

Other Stuff

Halfdash and shift
Halfdash = 664 [also, 668 or 662]
It's exactly what it sounds like--half of a dash. Cancel by tapping a direction either sideways or backwards. Do not hold the last direction. Used to extend melee chains, e.g. dAS Kicking S 664 AAAS instead of dAS Kicking S dS AAAS.

Shift = 339 or 993 [don't forget, this is assuming you're facing right]
Similar to halfdash, but used to change direction at the same time. For shifting, hold the last direction in order to make sure you don't accidentally halfdash. An example would be dAS Kicking S 339 AAAA.

4-key shift (a.k.a. halfdash shift)
6643, 6641, 6649, 6647, etc.
Sieg's dash can only be canceled sideways or backwards, so you need to add a 4th key if you wish to shift at full speed at these odd angles. An example would be dAS Kicking 9 S 6649 AAAS.

Sidestep
dAS (left) or dA sp (right)
For left sidestep, you need to hit the S very quickly to avoid doing the dAS melee string. For right sidestep, you need to delay the sp slightly. Sidestep's speed is unaffected by slow (or haste) effects and can be instantly canceled into a dash. You can sidestep twice in a row by pressing the final key twice. Useful for continuing from Whirling or FF as well as certain odd shifts (e.g. Kicking, sidestep under and continue)

Windmill
dA sp dA sp dA sp... etc. [skill]
Simple in concept, it's just alternating dA and sidestep. You want to time it so that you begin the sidestep immediately as the dA hits, then dash out of the sidestep while you're still aligned for another hit. Can be done in a straight line, or you can use the sidestep movement to move around the target. Also referred to as "frontal" as short for "frontal windmill" when done in a straight line. Can be used to build airtime or to change alignment or direction.

- Windmill cancel
dA sp hd A...
Most windmill users end their windmill by either failing a hit or using a skill, but it is possible to halfdash or shift out of the sidestep animation to continue with normal attacks.

removed builds, made some mistakes and I'm too lazy to fix. There's enough discussion on builds elsewhere now anyway.

Update list:
09 Feb 09
- added SS9 usage, nado Rage tip
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Last edited by m1s3ri; 02-09-2009 at 08:15 PM.