A Certain Magical Virtual-On mechanics

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A Certain Magical Virtual-On mechanics

Postby Porcupine » 08 Jan 2018, 17:03

Here's my interpretation of the mechanics based on the playable demo. May this serve either as a historical archive of mistakes after they fix the actual release, or a foreshadowing of insanity and imbalance to come.

This is an entirely new game and is the most different in terms of mechanics. Overall it is closest to VOOT, sharing much of its pacing and quickness of moves. The actual speed of movement is like VOOM, the fastest in the series. It is essential to stay away from the edges of the arena now, as rubbing on them takes away that component of your speed and makes you slow. This doesn't happen with obstacles. Dash speeds also drop as the distance to a currently locked enemy decreases from 200 to 100 meters.


Acceleration and deceleration are quick. There is no rowing, all direction changes are instantaneous yet maintain full speed, like watari dashes. Pressing the lock button while walking will rotate the enemy into view extremely quickly and keep your VR walking in a circle around them while held down. Walking speed is slower by an amount that varies with the VR while holding lock. In smart mode you are forced to walk at the slower speed, except for smart Raiden who gets to walk fast.

With the underlying twinstick controls gone, if you walk while manually turning in veteran mode, you do not walk any slower. The rotation speed is good, though slower than stationary turning. Most walking attacks move quickly in this game, but for those few that move slowly, holding the lock button will let you walk faster. Walking attacks can have a delay after shooting before they can cancel into a dash, similar to Force, plus a few have glitchy timing requirements.

You can now fire turbo attacks immediately while walking. However you cannot fire stationary normal attacks until you fully stop moving. This is the reverse of VOOT. Normally this is not an issue unless your VR has a stationary normal attack that comes out quicker than the walking version. Fei-Yen has a useful glitch. Although both her walking and stationary CW come out slowly in this game, if she tries to do a stationary CW without fully stopping, it comes out quicker.


There is no startup to dashes but you need to wait an extra frame after dashing to fire, otherwise you will get a turbo attack. Dash attacks have super fast rotation, even better than in VOOT. Frame data has been redone, and diagonal dash attacks no longer share data with their forward or backward counterparts. There is no freeze at the end of dash attacks anymore, but all VRs except Angelan slow to a stop after firing. Some attacks slow down gradually like in Force, while others slow abruptly at the end which is closer to VOOT. This is independent of how quickly the attack recovers.

Manual dash rotation still exists but is very slow and worthless. Watari dashing has been limited to one direction change per dash, and the input is different (hold the desired new direction and press turbo again). Only forward, forward-diagonal, and side directions can be used in watari dashing, and 90 degrees is the maximum bend allowed. If using smart mode, be warned that although the camera keeps the enemy in view at all times, the watari dash direction works relative to the original direction.

There is a glitch way to do a better watari dash. Just cancel your dash into close combat by tapping the CC button (you must let go of the button to do close combat, pressing it does nothing) then cancel into another dash immediately afterward. This can be done seamlessly in one frame and is very powerful, especially in smart mode. The glitch watari dash moves according to the direction the camera is facing, and reorients your VR as long as you have lock-on.

Dash cancels are now the same as letting an empty dash expire, slowing to a stop. The direction of movement can no longer be controlled, it copies the dash. The lock button works during the dash cancel animation, so they can function like alternative jump cancels that move a bit, plus you can still jump in an emergency. The button placement makes it difficult to tap lock but it still works late. Or you can just press down and transition to cancel your dash. Raiden has the shortest and best dash cancel.

Turbo Attacks

You can fire turbo attacks while dashing, and if you do they automatically lock-on similar to a dash attack, except that your VR is stationary and the rotation ends upon either firing or acquiring the target. You can also fire turbo attacks while air dashing and in this case the turbo attack can be moved around freely. Super low air dash turbo attacks will be a fundamental trick.

Although there is only one turbo button, they are not all RT attacks like in Force. The developers chose their favorite VOOT attacks, so some are RT and some are LT, or hybrid. The LT attacks allow themselves to be canceled into a dash soon or immediately afterward. Some of these allow canceling into a walk at the same time, but most have a slightly longer delay before they can walk (it's still a cancel, compared to standing there and shooting again). This behavior is similar to crLT attacks in VOOT.

The ability to cancel turbo attacks into a walk is useful, due to the change in dash cancels. Once you start dashing, there is oddly no longer any good way to go back to walking. One of the best ways is to cancel your dash into a LT attack, then walk. The alternatives are to jump cancel (which is now slower) or dash cancel (which now stops but can auto-lock).


You can do plain jump attacks at a range of heights, making them better. Unfortunately they took out most turbo rotation, so prediction lasering in the air is poor now. If you need to jump attack from even lower, you can do an air dash turbo attack. In that case they auto-lock and are not useable for prediction. Super low air dashes are easy to perform because you are no longer required to let go of the jump button before you air dash.

You now press jump twice to jump cancel. Due to physical limitation this makes it a bit slower, but the landing freeze is typically longer now anyway. There is only one uncancelable, global landing freeze no matter how you land, whose length varies by the VR. Cypher, Bal-Rloon, and Apharmd B have short freezes. Angelan has zero landing freeze.

If you cancel an empty air dash with turbo there is a midair pause, so this maneuver is no longer one of the better options. If you press jump to fast drop the pause sort of goes away, but a better way to cancel an air dash is to press lock to switch from the air dash to the ground transition dash. Air dash attacks are still good but now slow down while recovering, with a few coming to a complete stop. They can be replaced with air dash turbo attacks for some purposes.

Transition Dashes

This is the major new maneuver. You can only go into a transition dash from a regular dash. There is a small delay before you can transition but it takes about that long to reach the lock button anyway. The transition itself has a lengthy startup that varies by the VR. It is typically longer from the air than the ground, but can be shortest from very low altitude. The startup moves at full speed but you cannot do anything for its duration so it's a slight vulnerability.

There are different directions of transition dash, which I studied against the tutorial dummy. They are influenced by the direction of the prior regular dash as well as the direction you press when hitting the lock button. The startup moves in a different direction than the following movement, although they have the same speed. After the startup you can shift the direction around slightly by holding forward, back, or diagonal (which gives less angle but is easier).

  • back-diagonal dash, back-diagonal/side/neutral transition: sideways startup, sideways movement, bendable +/-15 degrees
  • back-diagonal dash, forward-diagonal transition: sideways startup, 15 degrees inward movement, bendable +/-15 degrees
  • side dash, back-diagonal transition: sideways startup, sideways movement, bendable +/-15 degrees
  • side dash, side/neutral transition: sideways startup, 15 degrees inward movement, bendable +/-15 degrees
  • side dash, forward-diagonal transition: forward-diagonal startup, 70 degrees inward movement, bendable +/-10 degrees
  • forward-diagonal dash, back-diagonal transition: sideways startup, 15 degrees inward movement, bendable +/-15 degrees
  • forward-diagonal dash, side/neutral transition: sideways startup, forward-diagonal movement, bendable +/-15 degrees
  • forward-diagonal dash, forward-diagonal transition: forward-diagonal startup, 80 degrees inward movement
  • forward dash, back-diagonal/side transition: sideways startup, forward-diagonal movement, bendable +/-15 degrees
  • forward dash, neutral transition: sideways startup, 70 degrees inward movement, bendable +/-10 degrees
  • forward dash, forward-diagonal transition: forward-diagonal startup, 80 degrees inward movement
Transition dashes automatically lock-on and circle the enemy for their entire duration, but only the the startup can rotate quickly. Rotation during the main movement has a limit, so if both VRs circle each other in opposite directions at close distance they get off-angle, spiral outward, and risk being shot. Transition dashes have less speed than regular dashes on some VR. There is a tiny lag when jumping from a transition dash which can be removed by pressing turbo and jump simultaneously.

You can attack during a transition dash, and unlike regular dash attacks, they do not make your VR move slower. They tend to be weak and there is only one version regardless of direction. The recovery can be skipped by quickly dashing afterwards within a certain window. RW attacks keep the current direction but remove any bend. Rotation remains limited so these are not as effective as regular dash attacks at close distance. Most LW and CW attacks return to the startup direction and rotate quickly. There are a couple that are powerful up close.

It's important to understand what happens when a transition is started while the enemy is out of view. You spin in a tiny circle until you gain lock-on, then move in a big circle around the enemy after that. The initial twirl can be considered to be like a freeze. Your VR also has a mind of its own: it normally circles in the same direction as your dash, but when the enemy is behind you (more than 90 degrees to the side) it reverses direction. When this occurs your VR also rotates the wrong way if the prior dash points away from the side the enemy is on (or you dash forward and input a transition opposite the enemy). This makes the twirl last longer.

The side of the enemy is thus potentially the worst spot to transition (it becomes fine if you watari dash correctly first). If you aren't confident of the enemy location or think they are directly behind you, then a jump cancel, dash cancel, or LT attack is a safer way to reorient. Other ways to prevent the transition reversal problem include smart mode, air dashing before transitioning, or the dash cancel transition (press down and lock, followed promptly by a side input).


Prediction is still useful but lasers are also effective when fired directly at the enemy. Beams tend to be short but are invisibly wide and travel extremely fast. Both VR and attack hitboxes can be huge in this game. In veteran mode some lasers can be aimed with the left stick during the startup animation. Angelan LTRW starts and aims quickly. The others can be delayed by holding the trigger but aim slower than regular turning.

Manual turning is a steady speed in all circumstances. There is a noticeable input delay to begin any type of manual turning which can be buried inside any prior action such as a dash cancel. Though smart mode can't be used for prediction, it instead allows stationary attacks to self-rotate and face the enemy throughout their startup, which improves lasers fired directly.


Timeout winners are determined according to who has scored the most points instead of remaining health. 30 points are awarded for most knockdowns, 50 points for CC knockdowns, and 70 points for a wreck (called fatal down earlier). Certain conditions, such as being knocked down from the air, allow a followup hit for 20 more points. Jump CC and certain selected attacks make a wreck. The italicized ones require a previously worn down gauge, otherwise they only score a regular knockdown.

Temjin: RTRW, surfboard, super punch
Raiden: CW, hand laser
Fei-Yen: RTCW
Grys-Vok: RTRW, special nuke
Apharmd S: RTRW, baseball bat
Apharmd C: RTRW, jump kick, katana slash
Apharmd B: melee kick, jump kick, giant sword
Specineff: jump BTCW
Dordray: air CD rush, giant mode
Angelan: melee
Cypher: jump RTRW, SLC
Bal-Bados: jump RTCW, magical feathers
Bal-Rloon: jump RTCW, magical feathers

Knockdown strength of moves is generally the same as VOOT. The knockdown gauge was in every VO game, just never displayed before. There is a newly introduced 5 to 10 second delay depending on the strength of hits taken before recovery begins. The gauge refills about three times slower than VOOT, taking 30 seconds, and also stops while attacking.

If the points leader runs away for too long a hit clock violation will be imposed, draining 1 point per second until a hit is landed on the opponent. It can now be advantageous to run away when you are losing. It takes 15 seconds to instigate the 1st penalty, 10 seconds for the 2nd, and 5 seconds after that, so it's good to start violating the leader early.

Multiple Hit Attacks

The two frame invulnerability after any projectile hit was removed, thus it is now easier to suffer multiple hits from Cypher daggers, four-way missiles, and the like. Staggers still exist as precursors to being knocked down and their invulnerability to projectiles was reduced to being only at the end. You can be staggered out of a dash (VOOT was the only game in the series where you couldn't) and even in the air. This makes multiple shot dash RW more dangerous.

Perfectly point-blank the first shot of Fei-Yen's forward dash RW knocks down, but it's better from general close range where the first shot will stagger, then the second hit combos and knocks down anyway. That still only amounts to 10% health damage, which is typical in this game. Yet this knockdown power assures her just as many points as Temjin (and the shots similarly appear far out from her body despite her short arms).

All three Apharmds have arguably the best forward dash RW due to the changes in stagger mechanics. They have less knockdown power than Fei-Yen but it works to their advantage. Typically their second shot staggers, then all four to five shots will hit and knock down, doing roughly 30% health damage. This is more than Temjin who does 20% with his forward dash RW (he can do more with both hits from farther out).

Forward-diagonal dash RW on Fei-Yen, Apharmd, and others have almost the same damage and knockdown power as forward dash because the combo mechanic self adjusts when enough shots are fired. Temjin and Grys-Vok are exceptions, their forward dash RW knock down immediately while their forward-diagonal dash RW don't even stagger (the damage is still comparable).

Close Combat

Melee mechanics are similar to VOOT however attacks are quicker and slide forward faster. Because of the larger hitboxes many CC attacks are nearly undodgeable, even for example Fei-Yen's small vertical slash. Jump CC is dodgeable. Melee damage has been lowered. Single hit CC typically does 20% damage and can only cancel into a dash before hit frames. VRs with 2-hit CC strings typically do 10% damage with the first hit and a bit more with the second. First hits can cancel into a dash anytime except during hit frames. Most second hits can only cancel into a dash before hit frames.

The CC strings create a stagger with no invulnerability that lasts longer than the normal one. They seem to be true combos as long as the followup isn't delayed. They can be hit confirmed with fast reactions. Otherwise, various input tricks exist to mimic such performance. Another option is to repeat the first hit by canceling it into a dash, then tapping CC again.

Activation distances are as follows: Apharmd B 130, hyper/normal Fei-Yen 120/105, Temjin 100, Apharmd C/S 100, Specineff 90, Bal-Rloon 85, Grys-Vok 80, Dordray 80, Angelan 80, Bal-Bados 70, Cypher 70, Raiden 40. Without double lock-on, a VR can still perform melee but the attack will not slide forward, with the exception of Raiden who always charges forward in the same manner. Raiden can hit from slightly outside the listed range but will do lower damage (he normally triple hits).

Special Moves

Melee+RW actives Fei-Yen hyper mode and Grys-Vok giant nuke. The remaining specials are performed by doing a forward air dash, holding turbo, and pressing CW. All weapon gauges must be full. If you just use the shoulder buttons without having turbo pressed you will get turbo CW instead. The restyled input allows these specials to also be activated for a brief period after the air dash ends or is fast dropped. Damage is high, consistent with previous games.

Temjin surfboard homes poorly and can be dodged by walking. When started it additionally reorients to face the enemy once, similar to a jump. It's better to attack off-angle so the reorientation acts as a short period of perfect homing. Lock-on isn't required, allowing him to fly overhead and quickly attack from behind. Dashing no longer goes under the surfboard but you can run behind it during startup. In smart mode the surfboard homes rapidly after missing the enemy, though this rarely has any practical effect.

Cypher SLC can also be done from a ground dash. During startup it flies at full speed, and reorients and homes as long as the enemy isn't behind the camera. Performing it immediately from a low air dash guarantees reorientation. Afterwards you fly manually. You need to keep holding turbo to move fast. Don't hold forward as this will ram the ground. Airplane mode has been integrated so mash triggers for free attacks. The SLC and daggers are nearly undodgeable from close range, but if you miss just fly upward, turn sideways, then cancel with jump when it's safe.

Apharmd jump kick has a stationary startup then flies straight. It reorients to face the enemy when started. Lock-on isn't required so it's pretty useful as a punisher or direct attack but prediction can no longer be used. It uses no ammo. Striker's jump punch has no reorientation. The low air dash trick can reorient it but the punch does not work well at low altitude. Neither can it be used for prediction since watari dashing does not work in the air. It's worthless.

Super Moves

The super gauge is filled through the progression of time but also increases by a fixed amount every time you land a hit or get knocked down. Activating a super move refills your knockdown and weapon gauges. The following powerup lasts 13 seconds with Specineff and 17 seconds with everyone else. Points scored are doubled in this state, making it an important comeback mechanic. Speed, damage, knockdown power, and knockdown resistance are also increased.

The moves themselves do varying things. All are good. After you figure out how to defend against them, it's generally still possible to use the move in a certain way to guarantee it will hit. For example Temjin's punch flies across the stage almost instantly and must be jumped, requiring good timing. Temjin should use it from point-blank distance to ensure it hits. Due to the difficulty setting you only take a third of the damage from super moves compared to the AI.


Guarding is now performed by holding down together with the melee button. It's no longer exclusively for blocking CC, lowering all health and knockdown damage taken to 50% of normal. Guarding can only activate when you have a double lock-on (it can be maintained after losing it). This can be used to your advantage via fuzzy guarding. Just hold guard while dashing and your VR will only stop and guard if the enemy gets within CC distance.

In veteran mode, be cautioned that you don't automatically get a double lock-on whenever an enemy is within CC distance. This mechanic has returned to VOOM, you need to get a regular lock-on first by having the opponent pass through your center of view. The regular lock-on is then upgraded to double lock-on when the enemy gets within CC distance (they do not need to pass through your center of view a second time).

There is a brief recovery after releasing guard which can be skipped by jumping or air dashing. While guarding, any lethal blow leaves you alive with zero health. This can be utilized indefinitely but the opponent can still score points. They may also be able to stagger and kill you. You are guaranteed to have at least a tiny amount of knockdown gauge after most single hits but if struck again while guarding you will be wrecked. Some supers are unblockable.

Health Values

The maximum damage that can be inflicted in a single frame was lowered to 400 health points. Raiden standing CW, Cypher SLC, and Temjin surfboard all inflict this amount. Temjin forward dash RW does 200 damage from close range. Apharmd B melee does 200 damage. He only needs the first hit of his traditional double strike to knock down. The second swing does 70 damage and the optional kick does 100 damage.

Health points and knockdown resistances are independent of matchup: Dordray 1300 (60), Raiden 1200 (100), Apharmd B 1050 (100), Apharmd C 1000 (90), Grys-Vok 1000 (90), Temjin 1000 (90), Apharmd S 950 (90), Bal-Bados 930 (80), Bal-Rloon 900 (75), Fei-Yen 800 (80), Angelan 720 (80), Specineff 720 (75), Cypher 640 (70). Due to the difficulty setting the player VR has 25% added health and doubled knockdown resistance. The damage cap is raised to 500 along with that.

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Re: A Certain Magical Virtual-On mechanics

Postby Porcupine » 08 Mar 2018, 17:00

Here's my very early guess at a tier list based on an unfinished single player demo.

Apharmd S

He is unbeatable, for he can crash the game anytime in just one second by simply doing a backward transition dash. I'll keep the input secret for now but it's easy and can be deduced by anyone who studies what I've written. Any character can do the forward or backward transition dash, but only Striker crashes the game.

Aside from that he's as strong as the other Apharmds. Up close, RTCW does 520 damage and RTRW does 400. They're great from a forward dash and can be canceled afterward. Transition CW is his crLTCW[L] delayed missile, made safer and better. Napalm is useful and dashing bombs recover quickly. He is the only character with a 3-hit CC combo, which makes hit confirming easier. If he needs points he can deliberately miss the first swing of his super for an easy chance at 140 points during super mode.


Standing CW appears almost instantly and can uniquely cancel into a dash either before or after hit frames. Fired directly it becomes undodgeable at around 100 meters and is hard to dodge even at farther distances. A baby can beat this game with smart Raiden. Laser cage is worthless. Transition dash turbo CW strangely fires the regular laser instead of the cage. Although it looks the same, this laser only does 160 damage instead of a capped 400 per beam (it can still do 320 if both hit).

Forward dash CW and transition dash CW do big damage due to the loss of invulnerable frames. If enough beams hit they can do 200 to 320 damage. Occasionally they fire three or four times instead of the normal two times, for unknown reasons. Misaka's hand laser does 200 damage and always hits unless the opponent jumped before it was fired. Some defensive supers can counter it. Raiden has excellent frame data for dash attacks, with a quick and strong dash RW. This makes him the new Grys-Vok of this game, combined with his own Raiden power.


He is probably no longer better at running away than others but has powerful abilities. The second hit of his CC string is quick and can be canceled even after hit frames (with minor glitchy side-effects). The SLC and airplane mode cannot be reliably dodged or jumped over at around 100 meters. His style of play can thus be similar to Raiden. It's hard to say who is stronger but at least a baby won't win with Cypher.

Transition LW is good and transition CW is the most powerful transition attack in the game up close. Even so he may not need them, as Cypher can instead perform an air dash attack then uniquely cancel into a transition dash afterward. That tactic is useful at both low and normal altitude. Be careful, Cypher does have a slow transition dash. Forward dash LW makes Cypher move fast.


The points system compensates for her low damage and forces the opponent to deal with hyper mode every round. Her CC is terrific. Transition LW is crLTLW but it's awful. CW hearts are finally as big as they look and often trigger their explosions. The CW gauge fills slowly in normal mode. RTCW is a legitimate laser. The limited tracking and homing help it when fired directly. It works better in smart mode because of the slow startup.

RTRW and walking RW may be used with prediction and are great at filling the super gauge. Kuroko's teleportation super is ideal for evasion and countering. If the opponent fills their gauge first, Fei should run away until hers is ready. The rain is functionally a huge overhead cloud that follows the opponent around. To dodge reliably the cloud must be outrun at top speed without hitting walls or backtracking. That limits their options so an active Fei can force some hits.


LTLW and LTCW are available to mimic old tactics but what keeps him solid are his forward dash RW and surfboard. Compared to before, the surfboard is not as good for offense and better as a defensive punisher. RTRW has very strong homing and is hard to dodge. It's better in veteran mode because the self-rotation of smart mode doesn't last for the entire startup. The jump version shoots straight and might be useful as a punisher or point-blank attack.

Apharmd B

All the Apharmds are quite similar. Despite the varying looks, their dash RW perform similarly. Battler's walking RW is a bit different, it has low tracking and is thus useful for prediction. His CC has some unique advantages. His super isn't that great for offense, it's more for evasion and countering.

Apharmd C

Similar to Temjin, except Apharmd's forward dash RW has less knockdown power and more damage. Jump kick is almost as good as the surfboard. RTLW and RTCW can be canceled immediately after firing and are good from a forward dash. Super is a close range slash followed by a large wave that also provides some neutralizing defense.


LTLW starts quicker and is more damaging than Cypher's daggers. Point-blank the whole spread can hit for 400 to 480 damage. LTRW and walking RW are strong. Super isn't that good. If you get frozen you must mash buttons to get out. Her RW gauge recharges faster in angel mode. Has the best aerial maneuverability and no landing freeze. Would have been a perfect runaway character except double lock-on now works at any height so she can eventually be chopped out of the air.


Rush mechanics have been changed and are a slight downgrade. Hold turbo to turn faster. Losing the flamethrower neutered his prediction game. Phalanx is the old CW rings and some napalm with small damage. Transition CW is good and makes a terrible sound. Forward and side dash RW do large damage similar to Apharmd, but I think the low tier starts here.


The points system works against him. His one shot RW is weak in the current format. Walking RW makes Specineff move fast and has a long recovery to mimic crouch RW. Jump BTCW and close range transition dash CW could be his best moves. CC is good. RTRW is damaging and can uniquely be canceled into a jump after some delay, mimicking his old super jump. Dashes are short. Air dash is slow. Start the black hole super from close range for maximum effect.


Bal-Rloon is a simplified version of Bal-Bados. LTLW and LTRW set out the leg ERLs which fire automatically after some delay. That's convenient but predictable and requires the weapon gauge to be paid in advance. CW also uses the leg ERLs which basically means Bal-Rloon always has hands to defend herself. Super low jump RTCW is the only good move that uses hand ERLs (though the reason to use it is just to get the leg ERLs to fire more mines).

Bal-Rloon's movement specifications are not copied from Bal-Bados. Her transition startup from a super low air dash is very short. Use her super when you see the enemy charge towards you, or fire something at you. The feathers reflect each incoming shot back as a yellow laser (which can be dodged) and also hurt an enemy who runs into them (not fully reliable).


He's similar to before and can uniquely perform a complete arsenal of crouch attacks by pressing the melee button with triggers. Set ERLs are switched between mines and rings by pressing L3. Demon rings and mines were removed. Half reflect laser is performed with jump melee+RTRW. Damage on all his RW rings has been roughly halved in order to make people use the girl.

The pyramid and full reflect laser can use ERLs launched by any CW attack that's done firing. The pyramid doesn't seem finished. It has no weapon gauge requirement and is undodgeable. Shooting while up against the edge clips many shots out. Jump melee and some supers can glitch a VR out of the pyramid. Bal-Bados CC can't be canceled so he can't do the glitch watari dash.


He plays like before but lost napalm glitches and dash crRW. He should not expect to beat Fei-Yen when the frame data and damage on his dash attacks is the same as hers. LTCW is his best move, a 6-missile version of crLTCW. It executes quickly but isn't too tough to dodge and won't knock down unfairly. His other traditional moves are RTLW, jump LTCW, and jump RTCW. Walking RW is strong and can be machinegunned by holding the trigger and wiggling around.

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Re: A Certain Magical Virtual-On mechanics

Postby Porcupine » 12 Mar 2018, 18:00

Here are some mechanics and general ideas that were more appropriate to discuss later.


Since walking does not get slower with distance, at close distances walking in veteran mode tends to be about as fast as a transition dash, slightly slower than a plain dash, and faster than most dashing attacks. Walking is often the best way to dodge forward dash RW up close due to the instant direction changes. You can also shoot and manually rotate for free, so it's quite powerful.

This can be counterintuitive because VOOT was the opposite: walking slowed down under 100 meters and dashing did not (everything got slower within 200 meters). Note that a lock-on is required for dashes to slow down with distance in Index, so avoiding it is a way to dash faster. At far distances it is safer to dash, as many attacks now home better at long range.

Tap lock during a walking attack or just before a turbo attack as a replacement for dash attacks. The auto-lock responds instantly and for the most part continues until you target the enemy, so tapping lightly lets you cheat and walk fast while automatically rotating (you may need to tap twice due to the auto-lock bug).

Veteran Raiden has faster manual rotation than other VRs and his turning speed while walking is faster than the maximum turning speed of a transition dash. Smart Raiden has unlimited turning speed and his walking speed is uniquely not reduced, although it will still slow down if he presses lock (there is no reason to do so).


Once locked, in this game it is retained according to the camera's field of view instead of the VR. Because the camera is behind your VR this means that closer enemies remain locked over a wider angle. Furthermore the widescreen format is fully embraced so you always retain lock-on at larger angles now. This makes the tracking limit of attacks more relevant and improves techniques like Cypher dagger displacement.

Dash attack and walking auto-locks rotate the fastest, followed by transition startups and jumps. Pressing lock while fully stationary gives a slow auto-lock. This could be useful when performing a turbo attack that has a slow startup (they stop rotating once locked and potentially allow the enemy to move away before firing).

Auto-locking in this game rotates faster if the enemy is far out of view, and slows down slightly as the enemy comes into view (it will still be faster compared to when the enemy starts out in view). Dash canceling with turbo then tapping lock gives the maximum auto-lock speed. Dash canceling with down plus lock isn't as fast but is easier.

Lock Bug

This is a disastrous glitch that ruins veteran mode, and up until now it was easier to pretend it didn't exist. One time auto-locks only rotate to the position the enemy was at when initiated. The affected maneuvers are plain jumps, jump cancels, auto-locking dash cancels (either type), and dash turbo attacks. This means that an enemy who keeps constant horizontal movement will not be fully centered by these maneuvers, which can fail to provide lock-on.

Turbo attacks from an air dash keep their auto-lock even after firing, which lasts until the recovery animation is completed and the VR starts to descend. However the targeted spot is stuck at the location of the enemy at the time of the trigger press. Therefore you may notice that your VR rotates strangely if you move around while firing an air dash turbo attack. This rotation can be used for prediction at close distances but is undesirable most of the time.

Jump cancels and dash cancels can be repaired by briefly auto-locking for a second time afterwards. There is no way to repair turbo attacks except by using smart mode, or taking the time to turn manually before firing in veteran mode. Plain jump attacks cannot be repaired, not even by smart mode, so they usually require lock-on before jumping to work properly.


If you perform a very quick glitch watari with lock-on in veteran mode, the camera may not finish reorienting before the dash starts, and the direction can have some similarity to the normal watari dash. However in this game the camera will continue to reorient during the dash, so if you do a second glitch watari the direction will be fully updated.

If Grys-Vok dashes sideways then cancels within a short time, a glitch removes his dash cancel animation entirely. Temjin, Cypher, Apharmds, and Bals can do the same by doing a transition dash, then a regular side, forward-diagonal, or forward dash, then holding a direction and canceling the dash within a very short time. Raiden and Fei-Yen can do the same by doing an air transition dash and canceling within a short time after startup. You still need to walk up to full speed after these dash stop glitches.

Transition Dashes

By low air dashing onto a platform you can remove the transition startup entirely. After performing a low air dash attack onto a platform any VR can cancel the recovery into a transition dash.

Raiden's transition startup uniquely has two stages, mostly to his advantage. It's among the longer ones but he can jump or shoot at an earlier point. If you buffer an attack into the first stage it won't shoot until the second stage is complete, so it's better to time it. A jump can be buffered without a problem and won't have the tiny lag if he jumps during the second stage.

Close Combat

Although transition startups are a vulnerable time, they are sometimes an effective way to dodge melee attacks. The rapid rotation allows them to evade in a tiny circle at zero distance around the attacking VR if properly timed.

It's possible to alter the trajectory of CC by holding a direction with the left stick. This is similar to VOOM but always keeps the forward sliding component and won't obviously circle the enemy. Holding either side usually helps. If you hold the same direction the enemy is moving in, CC tends to stay in front of them. If you hold the opposite direction, it may curve around and hit them in the back.

There are three variations of CC on a VR. Melee performed from walking is the fastest. Melee from a dash is the slowest, and melee from a transition is in between. Angelan does not have this feature. Raiden and Bals have these variants only with double lock-on, otherwise they use the fastest version.

Hit Confirm

A trick is to lightly tap dash at the exact moment you expect your CC to hit. If timed well you'll only dash away if your attack misses. This works because a CC hit will briefly freeze your attacking VR and inputs during this time are discarded. This is also possible in VOOT and Force but hit confirming isn't necessary in those games.

Another way to make hit confirming easier is to always input the followup then react to a missed hit by dashing, since you can dash during the startup of your second hit. Some VRs can also delay the followup slightly, but delaying too long may prevent your CC from being a true combo.

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Re: A Certain Magical Virtual-On mechanics

Postby Porcupine » 12 Mar 2018, 21:50

Now that the actual game is out here are changes in the release version that I've noticed.

  • The backward transition dash bug has been fixed, except on Raiden.
  • You can watari dash once in the air, the same as on the ground.
  • Walking speeds drop as the distance to a locked enemy decreases from 200 to 100 meters.
  • Jump melee damage was slightly reduced on heavy VRs, halved on others, and unchanged on Bal-Bados.
  • The three types of CC were replaced with the slowest version.
  • Aimable lasers now work in smart mode.
  • The super gauge no longer fills with time, increases more with knockdowns, and less when hitting the enemy.
  • Fei-Yen's super does about a third of its earlier health and knockdown damage.
  • Fei-Yen's love sickness disappears upon knockdown.
  • Fei-Yen's CW gauge in normal mode recharges faster, closer to hyper mode speed.
  • Raiden ground and air forward dash CW do much less health and knockdown damage.
  • Raiden ground and air forward-diagonal dash CW do less health damage.
  • Raiden backward-diagonal dash CW does much less damage. Air version remains very damaging.
  • Raiden transition CW does much less health and knockdown damage. Beam spread altered.
  • Striker transition CW does less health and knockdown damage with lower energy usage.
  • Striker RTRW and jump RTRW do much less health and knockdown damage.
  • Battler LW damages tweaked to be distinct from other Apharmds.
  • Battler RW does much less damage by varying amounts per attack. Diagonal dash RW was not adjusted.
  • Commander RTCW wrecks if it knocks down instead of RTRW.
  • Grys-Vok LTCW has less spread, improved homing, half damage, uses 1.5x ammo, and can be half-canceled.
  • Grys-Vok RTRW can cancel into a dash after firing. Likewise for LTCW but it can no longer walk cancel.
  • Grys-Vok jump RTRW wrecks instead of standing RTRW.
  • Grys-Vok melee range was reduced to 40 meters.
  • Bal-Rloon jump RTCW lasers do much less damage but still wreck. (800 --> 500)
  • Bal-Rloon air side dash RW does less knockdown damage. (90 --> 60)
  • Bal-Rloon transition RW does less health damage and much less knockdown damage. (60/90 --> 50/40)
  • Bal-Bados walking LW, crouching LW, and similar looking mines do less damage. (50 --> 40)
  • Bal-Bados forward-diagonal dash LW and similar mines do much more knockdown damage. (90 --> 200)
  • Bal-Bados transition LW does slightly more knockdown damage. (90 --> 100)
  • Bal-Bados forward dash CW and similar moves now have distance dependent damage.
  • Bal-Bados transition crRW does much less health and knockdown damage. (100/180 --> 40/80)
  • Bal-Bados melee can be dash canceled.
  • Pyramid can no longer be looped but can still be easily set up. Jumping no longer glitches out of the pyramid.
  • Dordray air CD rush does slightly less damage.
  • Dordray forward dash RW does less health damage and more knockdown damage.
  • Dordray air forward dash RW does more health and knockdown damage.
  • Cypher walking LW does more health damage and less knockdown damage.
  • Cypher standing LW adjusted to match, no longer double the damage of walking LW.
  • Cypher jump LW does less health and knockdown damage.
  • Cypher walking and dash CW do less damage. Forward air dash CW is unchanged.
  • Cypher transition CW does much less health and knockdown damage.
  • Angelan ground and air forward dash RW do more damage and fire less rapidly.
  • Angelan air forward-diagonal dash RW shoots an extra time and less rapidly.
  • Angelan can do the dash stop glitch.
  • Specineff transition CW health and knockdown damage were halved.
  • Specineff RTRW drain damage greatly reduced, overall damage lowered and independent of distance.
  • Specineff forward dash RW knocks down.
  • Black hole knocks down a trapped enemy with no damage if they aren't quickly shot.
Damage is generally unchanged from the demo but training mode damage values are 2.5 times my listed ones. This is due to a difference in health units. They both have nice numbers so I prefer my convention. Our knockdown units are the same.

Exact health points and new knockdown resistances: Dordray 1320 (120), Raiden 1200 (100), Apharmd B 1040 (100), Apharmd C 1000 (90), Grys-Vok 1000 (90), Temjin 1000 (90), Apharmd S 960 (90), Bal-Bados 920 (80), Bal-Rloon 900 (75), Fei-Yen 800 (50), Angelan 720 (40), Specineff 720 (50), Cypher 640 (40). Light VRs taking a flop alters some matchups.

At normal difficulty the CPU does 80% damage and a quarter of super damage like the demo, but knockdown damage is normal. At hard difficulty the CPU does full damage and halved super damage. At expert difficulty the CPU does full damage.
Last edited by Porcupine on 16 Apr 2018, 18:00, edited 8 times in total.

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Re: A Certain Magical Virtual-On mechanics

Postby Porcupine » 12 Mar 2018, 22:10

This game released with a day one patch. Here are the changes to version 1.01 that I've noticed.

  • Glitch watari only works in CC range. Blue Stalker was always this way since release.
  • Distance melee can only cancel after hit frames, but can also walk cancel. Blue Stalker updated to walk cancel.
  • CC has been slowed down on all VR except Cypher and Blue Stalker.
  • CC homing ability has been reduced.
  • CC cannot manually alter its trajectory as much.
  • Jump melee damage was fixed on Bal-Bados.
  • Laser aiming disabled in smart mode again. Charging retained.
  • Fei-Yen's super is easier to outrun.
  • Temjin RTRW no longer needs help to wreck.
  • Raiden standing CW has double the startup time and is easier to dodge. Transition variant unchanged.
  • Apharmd jump kick uses ammo.
  • Grys-Vok can no longer do his version of the dash stop glitch.
  • Bal-Bados jump RTCW lasers no longer need help to wreck. Damage unchanged.
  • Bal-Bados jump LTRW can be canceled into an air dash.
  • Pyramid can finally be dodged.
  • Dordray air CD rush can no longer hit an enemy that isn't in the air.
  • Dordray rushes comically point forward the whole time. They aren't bad this way if you get used to it.
  • Cypher transition LW does half damage with lower energy usage.
  • Cypher SLC no longer needs help to wreck.
  • Blue Stalker dashes last longer.
  • Angelan's freeze is mashable again. Both directions and buttons work now.
  • Specineff RTLW does much less knockdown damage. (90 --> 50)
  • Black hole disappears after the enemy falls down once. Gravitational pull increased.
The three variations of CC were removed in the release, except they only updated the distance melee animation for Grys-Vok. The patch slows down most CC further, but Raiden and Bals were only affected within CC distance. After hit frames, melee can generally be canceled earlier than before.
Last edited by Porcupine on 15 Apr 2018, 18:00, edited 6 times in total.

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Re: A Certain Magical Virtual-On mechanics

Postby fatmamba01 » 12 Mar 2018, 23:54

Is there any reason that people still write it as RT or LT? Isn't the turbo button just Square now?

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Re: A Certain Magical Virtual-On mechanics

Postby ChexGuy » 13 Mar 2018, 00:40

force of habit and/or just to have a frame of reference to the moves in Oratorio Tangram. most times in the discord we just say T.

just need to come up with shorthand for transition lol

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Re: A Certain Magical Virtual-On mechanics

Postby fatmamba01 » 13 Mar 2018, 02:58

ChexGuy wrote:force of habit and/or just to have a frame of reference to the moves in Oratorio Tangram. most times in the discord we just say T.

...there's a Discord? :o

ChexGuy wrote:just need to come up with shorthand for transition lol

Tr, perhaps? Or would it be too misleading with T for turbo?

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Re: A Certain Magical Virtual-On mechanics

Postby Porcupine » 04 Apr 2018, 18:00

Patch 1.02 had to be released to fix the Temjin DLC color bug, but also came with balance adjustments. Many of the actual changes I found were different than than the patch notes describe, partially due to translation error.

  • Plain jumps in smart mode appear to face the enemy throughout but actually don't, it's only cosmetic.
  • CC homing strength restored. Other prior changes retained.
  • Temjin RTRW maximum homing angle is slightly more limited.
  • Apharmd super mode offense and defense multipliers changed to typical values. (1.8/0.5 --> 1.2/1.0)
  • Apharmd slow time and associated damage multipliers after super mode removed. (0.5/1.5)
  • Commander RTCW does less knockdown damage. (500 --> 370)
  • Commander jump RTCW wrecks if it knocks down instead of RTCW.
  • Grys-Vok standing CW fixed to have the same properties as walking CW. (250/400 260/420 --> 150/400 75/150)
  • Grys-Vok jump RTLW has better homing.
  • Bal-Bados no longer needs his right arm to perform functional melee.
  • Dordray rushes restored to proper operation identical to release.
  • Angelan LTLW and jump LTLW do much less damage. (200 --> 100, 250 --> 180)
  • Cypher RTLW does slightly less health and knockdown damage. Air version unchanged. (400/300 --> 350/250)
  • Cypher SLC airplane mode doesn't last as long but is still plenty to escape with.
  • Cypher classic bug that allowed him to do a second empty air dash attack for a speed change was removed.
  • Blue Stalker similar bug that could also fire air side dash CW with insufficient gauge was removed.
  • Specineff black hole gravitational pull decreased.
  • Prima no longer staggers from CC, so no more easy perfects.

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Re: A Certain Magical Virtual-On mechanics

Postby Porcupine » 24 Apr 2018, 18:00

Here are techniques and mechanics mostly applicable to all versions which I did not discover or hear about until later on.

Close Combat

VRs with 2-hit CC strings can recover from the first hit quicker by inputting the second hit as early as possible then immediately canceling it into a dash, jump, or guard. With excellent timing the recovery is almost instant and also enables the first hit to be repeated for a true combo. Most turbo and dash attacks are too slow to be a true combo even with this trick but can still be powerful followups that can only be guarded.

When Temjin, Fei-Yen, or Battler do this well their dash looks glitchy. Cypher and Blue Stalker have slightly slower melee (despite not being slowed down in the patch) so a repeated first hit does not combo even with the trick. Specineff and Apharmd C don't benefit much from the trick.

Note that projectile attacks that stagger cannot combo into CC in this game as some could in VOOT. This is because a projectile stagger provides invulnerability at the end which CC is no longer exempt from. A few projectiles can stagger and combo into other quick attacks that strike before the invulnerability activates, but this is usually limited to basic multiple shot attacks like forward dash RW. Electric stuns can combo as usual.

Crude ratings for left and right side coverage of basic melee attacks: Temjin A+/A+, Blue Stalker A+/A+, Cypher A+/A, Specineff B-/A, Commander B/B-, Battler B/B, Striker C/C, Fei-Yen C+/B, Dordray D/C, Bal-Bados B-/B-, Bal-Rloon C/C, Raiden C/C, Angelan C/C, Grys-Vok C/C. Hitbox is not the only factor, melee speed and homing contribute to dodging difficulty. A is usually undodgeable. C needs the opponent to move slowly or in a bad direction. B can hit randomly even when dodged well.

Narrow, long hitboxes like Fei-Yen's are best dodged with transition dashes. Short, sweeping hitboxes like Battler's are best dodged with side or back dashes. Forward dashes don't dodge melee like in previous games. The glitch where CC gets stuck in the sliding animation and never swings happens more rarely after the patch. Veteran mode can dodge any CC by dashing forward with the enemy out of view. This makes the dash move faster and outrun the melee slide.


Grys-Vok has a second way to do his unique version of the dash stop glitch. Just do a watari dash into the side direction, after that any dash cancel will stop instantly. This was removed in the patch along with his basic dash stop glitch, but Dordray has a similar one that still works. For his version, watari dash either from or into a side direction then cancel within a short time.

Another bug for all VR is the degenerated watari dash. It happens when you watari dash by pressing turbo then the direction, instead of the direction then turbo. The degenerated dash has several weird characteristics but most notably you cannot dash attack, any attempt to shoot becomes a turbo attack. I haven't found any use for this dash but it has a funny appearance with Dordray. It has a similar appearance with Angelan as long as she doesn't watari from or into a side direction.

Transition Dashes

The special transition dash (from a regular dash press down and lock, followed promptly by a side or diagonal-forward input) has an unusual property. It does not automatically lock-on and rotate throughout the startup. Instead, it only locks on before it starts (due to the dash cancel) and again at the end of the startup, after which it behaves like a normal transition dash.

During the startup of the special transition dash you can rotate manually using the right stick. If you manage to get the enemy out of view this becomes permanent and the main part of the transition dash will move straight. Any transition attack will become a prediction shot. The left stick shifts the direction of the dash as usual and interestingly adds a slight corresponding curve.

It's unknown if this technique has practical use against a moving enemy, because if they move together with you it will be harder to engage the glitch, and if they move opposite of you the prediction shot will be in the wrong direction. Raiden, Cypher, and Blue Stalker have the easiest time engaging this glitch due to fast rotation or a long transition startup.

Unlimited CW

With Angelan, fire a stationary RW and hold down the trigger. After the projectile appears, press a direction then the left trigger. With proper timing this will fire walking CW regardless of whether she has enough weapon gauge. However it's not free, the energy is deducted as usual and her gauge can go into the negative. If it goes negative it displays as zero energy and won't start filling until it charges back to positive. Raiden can also do this glitch to fire half-cancel CW anytime he has more than half energy.

Unlimited Turbo Attacks

Begin by holding lock while walking in any direction. Press turbo then quickly fire with a specific timing. Instead of performing a dash attack, an abnormal turbo attack can come out if your energy gauge is within a certain range (which varies unpredictably with each turbo attack). You must fire with the regular triggers, not the shoulder turbos. The timing window is tight but not frame perfect.

The mainly benefits multiple shot turbo attacks, which can fire with insufficient energy. Depending on the attack, less shots will fire out and the energy usage either adjusts correspondingly or becomes zero. The important attacks that benefit from this are Grys-Vok RTLW, Blue Stalker RTCW, and Dordray LTRW (it uses normal energy but lets him shoot multiple claws).

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Re: A Certain Magical Virtual-On mechanics

Postby Porcupine » 24 Apr 2018, 18:00

There have been many changes since the demo so it's time for an updated tier list. Although we can actually play the game now, I prefer to keep my ranking mostly based on paper theory. Except for a major mistake on Specineff's placement, I still consider my previous rankings to be exactly correct for the demo.

Overall the balance changes weakened every VR so those who were weakened in less significant ways move up. (Even when overpowered moves are fixed, it can have little effect on a VR that has other good ways to fight). The changes had the unfortunate effect of slightly improving game balance at the bottom end, creating a large pool of bad VRs, and maximizing imbalance at the top end. At present this game is uncompetitive.

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