SoulCalibur V is the latest release in the popular fighting series. It came out in early 2012. The game can be bit difficult for newcomers since it is a 3D fighting game. This means that along with moving forward and backward, you can move side to side, strafing your opponent, which allows for a lot of new strategies and things to consider. For instance, vertical attacks can now be dodged by strafing. This strafing is called the 8 way run.
So you want to play SoulCalibur V. However, you don’t know how. All you know how to do is mash buttons, which never ends up working out well against anyone who has even a basic knowledge of a character. The following is going to teach you how to effectively play the biggest, strongest, and slowest character in the game, Astaroth.
(Note: The control schemes are going to assume that you are playing on the Xbox 360. If you are playing on something else you will need to simply adjust the “X”, “Y”, “B”, or “A” button to match the controller you’re using.)
(Note: To denote directional stick movement, I’m going to use arrows, except for diagonal inputs, which I will use a slash for. /=down and back, =down and forward. Two arrows will mean to tap it twice or hold it (as in, running attacks). ← is away from the opponent, and → is towards the opponent.)
Being big and slow, Astaroth doesn’t move all that fast and doesn’t hit all that fast. However, when he does, you should expect to take a good chunk out of the enemy’s health bar. The first thing you’re going to need to learn to do with Astaroth is guard. He is too slow and doesn’t have enough mix ups to attack all the time, which means you will need to defend a lot and wait for an opening. Just hold “A”, break out of grabs if you can. The next step is to try to keep the enemy at a distance or extremely close to you. Astaroth’s mid-range game is terrible. He has several high damage attacks at long ranges that are usually safe, even on guard. At close range he has several fast moves that can get the opponent into much higher damage moves, along with the most grabs in the game. If you don’t like using grabs, do not use Astaroth. Grabs are an integral part of his style, and a necessity.
↑↑ or ↓↓Y is Astaroth’s bread and butter move. It is safe on block and causes massive damage. However, you have to know when to use it. A decent opponent will be able to either block it or worse, strafe it. This move leaves Astaroth completely open to counterattacks if he misses, so be very sparing. Only use this move when you know you’ll hit the opponent. You can use it as a counterattack. If you strafe an opponent’s vertical attack, hit them with this move, or better yet, use the brave edge version (add RT on the end) and then hit them with ↓↑ Y+X. This combo should cause at around half their health, if not more.
The second move you need to learn is ←←X. This move is safe as long as you hit the opponent. It has a lot of range and swings across a wide arc, making it a great counter to strafing. You can also hold the X button to turn it into a guard break attack. This will help to whittle down the enemy guard, and, if you hit the enemy with the charged version they will be stunned momentarily. This sets you up for a combo. If you’re far away from the opponent or at mid range, use →Y, which will continue the stun and knock them to the ground, then follow up with ↑↑ or ↓↓ Y. This will not only get good damage on the enemy, but also put them far away from you, where Astaroth is at his strongest. If you hit the enemy with the charged version and you’re very close to the opponent, use /Y,Y. When this move hits on a counter hit (which the stun causes) Astaroth will do some decent damage, lift the opponent onto his axe and carry them a few steps across the stage. (It’s possible to ring-out the enemy this way. It’s also possible to ring yourself out, so don’t do this when you’re close to the edge.) When Astaroth drops them, they will fall in a crouch, allowing you to follow up with either ↓A+X or ↓Y+X. Both are good grabs. ↓Y+X does more damage, but ↓A+X can do more with brave edge. Also, it can ring out the opponent. If Astaroth drops them right at the edge and they think they’re safe, use ↓A+X to finish the job and ring them out. Because of all this, you’re going to want to use ←←X a lot.
↓/←X is another important move. It takes a moment to start up, but it blocks strafing, and if it connects then Astaroth will hurl the enemy through the air, getting them into long range and causing massive damage. If the opponent blocks, keep pressing X and Astaroth will keep spinning, which will make the move safe on block. This is a good move to pressure the opponent as well as whittle down their guard. It’s also a mid attack, so the opponent can’t duck it. It has really big payoffs with little risk. Also, using it can make you duck high attacks.
At close range you’re going to want to use moves like →B or \X. These moves are quick and, if executed on a counter hit, can stun the opponent, leading into /X,X or ↑↑ or↓↓Y. Another possible move is /A+X, which will grab the opponent and put them on their feet. This is a very good lead into either of Astaroth’s command throws.
Astaroth’s command throws have a difficult button press, but if you can do it they are extremely powerful. The first is →\↓/← A+X. This move does a large amount of damage and drops the enemy at your feet. Good follow up moves to this are: ←X+Y which, when charged is a hard to dodge unblockable move that does good damage, ↓/←X. If the enemy is taking time to get up or rolling, use /X,X. The other throw has the same button press except instead of A+X, it’s Y+X. This grab throws the enemy into the air. The best move to use immediately following the throw is ↑↑ or ↓↓Y. If you use the brave edge version it will pop the opponent into the air, allowing for a follow up attack with either A+X (This can ring out the opponent or knock them into walls) or →→Y.
Another move to use in extrememly close range is →X,X. This move, if it connects will do a bit of damage and drag the enemy behind Astaroth and into a crouch, which will allow him to use ↓A+X or ↓Y+X. Another move that does pretty much the same thing is \X+Y. It is extremely fast and if you get the enemy on a counter hit, they will be stunned in a crouched position, allowing for either of the two aforementioned grabs. Another move is ←X, which has more range than the other two. It’s pretty fast and if you get the opponent on a counter attack it will swing them behind Astaroth into a crouch, once again allowing for use of those two grabs. \B,X is a good move to give yourself some space with the opponent. It’s fast, pretty safe on block, blocks strafing, and does a good bit of damage. Also, you can hold the attack buttons to slow down the attack, allowing you to catch your opponent off guard sometimes.
Lastly, Astaroth’s critical edge is a grab, which means that it can go through guards, but it’s short range and can be ducked. It is sets up the exact same follow up attacks as his command throw →\↓/←Y+X.
Well those are the basic moves you should use. There are more good moves of course. Using ↓B and then \B can keep the opponent guessing on whether to block low or high. Practice and experiment to find your own play style and favorite moves. Try to play against your enemy. Watch what they do and attempt to filter your move set based on what you think would work and what wouldn’t. Always guard and always try to break grabs. Remember never to give up during a fight. Astaroth is really good at ringing opponents out, so it’s not over until you’ve hit the dirt. Above all, have fun. If you don’t enjoy using Astaroth, don’t use him. Try to use someone that fits your play style. Not only will you have more fun but you’ll play better too. Good luck.
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