Falco Fridays #3

25th September 2015

Welcome to the third edition of Falco Fridays! Last week was a game from PPMD against Mango and this week I wanted to look at a game featuring a French player called Baxon. I’ve heard of this player for a while now and seen the odd tidbit of footage online but his playstyle caught my eye at Dreamhack London 2015 and I’d like to see more. Playing friendlies recently with Eikelman I was told that I ‘had to play’ Baxon for his Falco ditto excellance and so in my intrigue it made sense for this week to feature him. This game comes from HFLAN and Baxon will be facing Zhu in not a tournament game but a money match.

Early on Baxon combos a neutral-air into a forward-smash and it looks really painful. Zhu was at 31% before the neutral-air connected so my thinking is that at these lower percentages neutral-air is more reliable to set this up, but at a slightly higher percentage the forward-air forward-smash would become better.

Forward-smash always looks brutal
Forward-smash always looks brutal

My stage! Mine!
My stage! Mine!
 Run off down-airs are great. This kind of play is something we often see Sheik players do except they use their neutral-air, and our version with the down-air is much more potent. A potential danger going for this is being clipped by a side-B though it has quite a few startup frames as well as an audio cue so with good reactions we can avoid that. Do note that Zhu could have avoided the spike completely by shine stalling for a moment and sweetspotting to the ledge with his double-jump. This would have denied the kill but Baxon would still be in control of the stage making this worth going for.
So very unsafe. I guess he figured that he was at high percent and a stock up and that if the back-air hit it could have set up a kill, so it was worth it here to take a gamble in Baxon’s mind. It could also have been that he was anxious to close out the first game and got a little flustered. Either way I think there were better, more traditional options. Zhu here punished with a neutral-air but he could have done a nasty down-air trade, an easy shield grab, a forward tilt… anything really, this punish was difficult to miss. Fortunately Baxon doesn’t attempt this in later games of the set.

Desperation
Desperation

You're supposed to be dead
You’re supposed to be dead
 Landing a forward-smash in this matchup is almost always stock-winning and I commend Baxon’s flavourful use of the move. There are also rare times where it only gets you 17% damage. On a small stage like Yoshi’s or FoD the shine forward-smash would have set up for a kill but on a long stage like Final Destination or Dreamland it pays to watch your positioning. Here a down-air could have extended the combo to remain in control or even simply a a running shine. Zhu was smart to DI left here.
Let’s turn our eyes to Zhu for a moment as he teaches us a brief lesson on standard crisp Falco play. He uses the platforms as Falco should and insists on stage control at all times. Zhu takes the centre of the stage as Baxon’s body hits the top platform, knowing that his full-hop will cover anything. All the ingredients here are very simple but the result is a full stock lead!

This is how we do it~
This is how we do it~

"You know what I'm ending this combo with"
“You know what I’m ending this combo with”
 Baxon is quickly turning this week’s Falco Fridays into a forward-smash special. I love this combo, this is what I wanted to see on Final Destination earlier. Great positional awareness to opt for an up-tilt over a shine before the forward-smash here.

And so Baxon takes this set 3-2 over Zhu, winning his money match. This is the first Falco ditto I’ve covered so far on Falco Fridays and it was a good watch. Both players showed some great play whilst also having distinctly different styles. Zhu seemed to be more methodical and constructed than Baxon, using the platforms really well and relying on the tried and tested edge guard options. Baxon on the other hand played with a freelance creativity and threw out whatever seemed to feel right for him at the time, attempting a lot more psychological reads than Zhu and showcasing his forward-smash flair. There’s a lot for us to learn from these players and also for them to learn from each other. Baxon could look at Zhu’s edgeguarding and perhaps Zhu could throw out one of these zainy forward-smash setups every other game to keep his opponents on their feet. Too bad Potara earrings aren’t tournament-legal.

 As always if you have any suggestions for next week’s Falco Fridays then post them below!

D'aww
D’aww

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