A Beginner's Guide to Beating Bayonetta

CTQ - May 16, 2017

Bayonetta is widely regarded as either 1st or 2nd best in the game. Her devastating combos, threat of Witch Time, and powerful kill moves yield a quite threatening offense. She does have counterplay, so here you go.

 

Before punishing weaknesses, let’s talk about how to minimize her strengths. Starting off, her immense combos. To low-level players, this could mean being taken off the top at 20%. The most important thing here is SDI. This one mechanic will almost single-handedly nullify a low-level Bayo. Witch Twist has a 2x SDI multiplier, meaning that even if you are not great at SDI, you can probably still do it here. With perfect SDI, you can almost fall out of it. However, with good human SDI, you can still make it so her standard combos won’t work, causing either the end of the combo or making the Bayo change plans mid-combo, which low/mid level Bayos often struggle to do. (Quick side note while talking about SDI: Afterburner Kick also has a 2x SDI multiplier. Not to helpful, but if you are good at SDI against Witch Twist, give that a go and you could really kill a Bayo’s punish game.) Last thing about SDI: what direction to do it. The answer can vary depending on the situation, but the best answer is down and in the direction Bayo is facing. This can make you too low to hit with the inevitable Afterburner Kick. They can still follow it with a fair or a nair, but that most likely means the end of the combo. Important note: If you are near the top blastline, do not under any circumstances SDI up. Upwards SDI can work near the ground to get out of Witch Twist, but doing so by the top blastline can lead to a death at very low percents. While SDI is the most important thing, there are several more. First, don’t just spam airdodge. Bayos can punish that well. For example, Heel Slide makes you think they’re going for a combo, so an airdodge is thrown out. The Bayo reads this, and charges an f-smash. Even more deadly is if this happens by ledge. Instead of f-smash, they could go for a down smash, ending your stock at as low as 50%. These are both common setups, and a good examples of why spamming air dodge is punishable. Lastly, while she has very limited throw options, don’t just sit in shield. Not only does she have a kill throw or two, (fthrow kills from ~150% by ledge, dthrow kills anywhere from ~180%), she can follow up after throws. There’s two main throw follow-ups to watch out for. Firstly, dthrow to dtilt. This isn’t true, as you can shield on landing, but if you anticipate a combo with an airdodge or mistime the shield, dtilt is a common follow-up. This can, of course, lead to a standard Bayo combo. The other one to watch out for is up throw into either up-b or up air. There isn’t a guaranteed way to escape it, it’s a genuine 50-50. Either airdodge to escape, or jump away if they’re waiting. Standard 50-50 mindgames is all to this setup.

 

Next strength to counter: Witch Time. First things first, realize that it really isn’t as scary as it seems. Anyone who says, “only go for true follow-ups,” is likely exaggerating. While this is an exaggeration, it’s not too far away from truth. If you are predictable in going for non-true follow-ups, that can be Witch Timed. However, that leads into the key way to beat Witch Time: mix it up. Witch Time can only be used off of prediction, not reaction. (Specifically, assuming standard reaction time of 16 frames, any move coming out frame 20 or earlier is safe against Witch Time) If you have found yourself stuck by it, however, there’s not a whole lot you can do. Against a skilled Bayo, they will put you in hitstun with a quick tilt or Heel Slide to invalidate all of your options. Against a low-level Bayo, however, they may just go for a charged smash. While unlikely, if the moved they Witch Timed has low endlag, you can try mashing shield/airdodge to avoid it. Most likely though, your best play is just to DI whatever move is used.

 

Contrary to some belief, Bayo does have weaknesses, er, well… weakness. Bayo’s neutral is actually not that great. While her punish game is obviously amazing, so she probably only needs to win neutral 30-40% of the time, that’s, against a good player, all that she can muster. She doesn’t have great approach options. The most common one you’ll see, especially against low-level Bayos, is Heel Slide. While it can start combos if it hits, it is telegraphed and can easily be punished by a shield grab or other OoS option after the kick. Be aware that they could not do the kick and grab you. However, there is an easy way to tell whether or not they will kick. If she is shooting guns during the slide, that means that B is being held, and thus, the kick is coming. While this can be a bit difficult to see, with practice, you can react to it almost every time. One of the best ways to counter her lack of good approaches is projectiles. Characters like Toon Link and Mega Man hold even matchups against her simply because they can wall her out. Even if you have no projectiles of your own, waiting is often the best strategy. I might even go so far as to say that if you have the percent lead, there’s almost no reason to go in. Unsafe approach options from you can often be met with a Witch Twist OoS, leading to a combo. Wait for her to try something unsafe, and punish accordingly. Jumping around to avoid her, however, is not the best strategy. A small opening could get punished with the large hitbox of Afterburner Kick, leading to combos.

 

Well, that’s about it for how to beat Bayo. If you have any questions, feel free to ask. To keep up to date on when new blogs are coming out, as well as voting on what I should write next, you can follow me @CTQ_SSB. For now, I bid adieu, and may your SDI be ever strong.

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Comments

delete this
¿ - May 17, 2017
They'll do this in a second for Bayonetta, but not even think once about doin' it for Mario...

OK
♫Disappearance♪ - May 17, 2017

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