Posted by: Davidreamcatcha | February 2, 2014

Moveset Graveyard – Groundhog Day Edition

I started working on this set about 2 years ago, the auto-dodge concept was borrowed from a 5 minute move at the time (and later used in Deathborn). I lost drive to work on the set after Groundhog Day passed without it being complete – realizing that there was relatively no point in making the set other than it being posted on that day, not really wanting to make a set just for the novelty. This was also pretty bad past the specials (with the exception of the side special), as Phil’s just a pretty generic guy. I contemplated picking it back up a few days ago, but decided against it for the same reason of novelty. To put this into perspective, the last alteration to this set was around a month before Captain Hook was released.

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Phil Connors
Phil Connors is the main character of the classic movie, Groundhog Day. Connors is a jaded weatherman, going through life with a cynical attitude. He’s once again assigned to cover the Groundhog Day festivities in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania – something he absolutely loathes. Of course, when he finds himself reliving the same day over and over again, this is a very obvious hell for him. He learns to accept it, however, when he realizes that it reverts his injuries and he retains memories each time the day restarts. This leads to him using his foreknowledge to do selfish things like memorizing the movement of a bank truck in order to rob it and seducing women.
Phil goes just a little crazy as he relives the same day over and over, reliving the same day for at least 10,000 years. After learning that he cannot save one old homeless man no matter how many times he relives the day, Phil begins to use the time to improve himself – learning new talents before culminating all his experiences and intricate knowledge of the day into a “best day ever” for the residents of the small village. This is what finally breaks him out of the time loop, now able to go on living his life.
If you want an idea of how Phil handles each day, here’s a collection of his scenes with one character, Ned Ryerson, spread across multiple days or a more intimate scene which features him explaining his ability to Rita, his love interest.
Statistics
Traction 8
Jump Height 7
Aerial Movement 7
Size 5
Fall Speed 4
Ground Speed 4
Weight 2
Phil has entirely average stats for a human – were you expecting anything different? The guy is a 100% normal human, do you expect him to move at lightning speed and pack Ganon-level punches? No, he’s a pudgy weatherman. However could he turn this fight to his favor…?
Specials
Up Special | Groundhog Day
The entire match, suddenly and without warning, skips backwards. 5 seconds, to be exact. This move can be input at any time, even if Phil is in a situation where he is unable to input attacks (i.e. being launched or grabbed), it is also immune to any sort of “move disabling/stealing” attacks.
Now, to be specific, the match is -exactly- as it was 5 seconds before, without question. Percentages will be reverted, destroyed traps will reappear, items that were held will no longer be held, the stage will be restored, everything will be exactly as it was then. Everything will rendered in a sepia tone as the match plays out like a replay for the next 5 seconds, copying out everybody’s exact movements and knockback patterns, before the normal colors reappear and everyone gains control of their characters again.
Oh, there is another thing there…Phil is -very- aware of this time loop, and well it has been changed from a day to 5 seconds, he’s still incredibly able to take advantage of it. Should the Phil player who initiated the time loop press any button, Phil will break from the loop, able to be controlled normally (he is normally colored, not sepia-toned, to represent this). The foe will still be in replay, only able to be taken control of once the time loop is done or a significant break happens (they get hit, or come into an obstacle that wasn’t present in the original, etc). With multiple foes, one foe can be broken out of the time loop while others are still in it and so on.
This -is- Phil’s most powerful tool, and the one that keeps him from being an extremely underpowered character, the only difficulty here is that this is one of Phil’s only real forms of recovery and it has a cooldown of 13 seconds after you use it initially. This means the Phil player will want to limit it’s usage when they’re at higher percentages.
Neutral Special | Watch and Learn
Phil puts his hand just above his eyes, as though he were keeping the sun from getting in them. He looks intently ahead for about the duration of Marth’s counters before stopping. If a foe uses an attack in Phil’s line of sight (anywhere within 3 platforms in front of Phil), or have end lag in front of him, Phil will end the move immediately. He can use this in midair, keeping himself at his regular fall speed as he does so.
Having a knack for details, Phil intensely familiarizes himself with whatever attacks are performed in front of him during this period. This means that Phil will automatically step into the dodging plane whenever a foe attempts to attack him with this, the dodge has no lag and no negative penalties. If in the middle of an attack, he will continue it from the background if need be. He can learn up to 3 attacks from each foe, and learning a new attack from each erases the first-learned one. Phil keeps his memories of attacks learned, even when the match rewinds itself – meaning he can dodge an attack that just hit him if he learns it during the foe’s end lag, before striking back. The only way to get rid of these learned attacks is to KO Phil.
Down Special | Pennsylvania Polka
Phil braces himself for a small period of time, his character model glowing brightly for a small period of time after this. This will be stopped once your press the down special again. Now, until you stop it with the input, Phil will memorize every single movement and attack he makes until that point. He keeps his memory of movements/attacks even when rewinding time.
By pressing the down special again, Phil will recreate that same chain of movement and attacks (i.e. if Phil runs forward, jumps in the air and uses his up aerial, forward aerial and then his neutral aerial before deactivating, Phil will run forward, jump in the air and use his up aerial, forward aerial and then his neutral aerial without any input from you upon a second press). This allows him to activate combos or juggles with little effort if used right. The foe can end Phil’s recreation by attacking him or Phil can end it by canceling it into a new input (pressing down aerial before he uses said neutral aerial, for example), giving the player control of Phil again. Phil will need to memorize new movements after a usage of this.
While the foe is unlikely to allow Phil to move and jump in place to build a combo, he can safely build one during a time loop.
One of the more potent uses of this is that if he was hit by an attack during this, he will remember and be able to activate that same knockback – acting as though he were hit without taking any damage. You recreating your knockback is more situational, but it can be used effectively as an approach tool or recovery if used carefully, as it incures no damage on yourself.
While more difficult to use while you’re at higher damage, you can always inflict this knockback on yourself when you’re knocked off the stage in case your time loop is recharging. If you’re at a higher percentage, the main way you want to use this is facing yourself towards the blast zone so you’ll be launched underneath or towards the edge, where you can use your regained jumps to get back up. Or just not aim for the edge an hope that you actually fly over the stage. …Or just get hit by an attack that deals upwards knockback.
Side Special | Pickup Truck
A red pickup truck – used in a rather infamous scene where Phil kidnaps a groundhog and kill them both by driving it off a cliff – suddenly appears alongside Phil. The truck is fairly accurate to how you might expect it to be sized with the middle segment being the size of Bowser – the other parts are scaled to match. Phil wastes absolutely no time with getting inside it and slowly driving forward. This car of course is momentum-based, dealing roughly 5% to 16% damage depending on how fast it’s going at the time. Turning around doesn’t magically deplete it’s momentum like Pussycat Puss, as it must grind to a halt first – and it can very easily fly off the stage and turn into a falling hitbox if you’re not careful about it. Pressing A will cause Phil to open the door and jump out of it as it slows and eventually stops – not just stopping when you jump out. You can still safely trigger a time loop inside. Activating your down special here will have no effect – but the moment you jump out of the car, it will trigger automatically.
The truck is solid, being able to be stood upon while Phil drives it. Phils has no attack-based defense against this unless they’re on the front of the car, but if characters are on the top or the hood, they’ll be flung off if it turns (with the speed depending on how fast Phil was going). Dealing 20% damage to it causes it to be destroyed, creating wheel throwing items similar to Wario’s bike. Another truck can’t be summoned for 8 seconds, and Phil can’t summon one if one is already onstage. Using the side special on/in front of/behind the car will cause Phil to open the door and get in it once again.
This can be used by an alternative recovery by Phil if his time loop isn’t working and his recovery isn’t charging, though given that it’ll never be faster than Wario’s bike. Alternatively, this is an excellent gimping device for Phil – allowing him to send a flying CAR at his foes.
Specials
Jab | Microphone
Phil quickly jabs forward with his microphone. This is a very weak attack, dealing only 1% damage, but it’s extremely fast to come out – definitely faster than most of the Brawl cast. This works very well as something to interrupt attacks while they’re starting, punishing them early – especially if Phil interrupts an attack from a time loop. This gives the foe a little bit of hitstun, allowing Phil to spam this attack a little or follow it up with something.
Up Tilt | Uppercut
Phil will perform an uppercut, having relatively low range – though if you’re in an auto-dodge from one of the foe’s attacks, this doesn’t matter. This sends the foe straight up, dealing little knockback but low hitstun and about 9% damage. One of Phil’s best combo starting moves, but it can effectively combo into itself at low percents.
Down Tilt | Scoop
Phil kicks the ground in front of himself with it before heaving his leg in the air. This acts as two hits, dealing 2% and 4% respectively. The second hit will scoop foes up. When up against tripped or proned foes, Phil is able to use this to scoop them back on to the ground while against ground foes, he can scoop them up in the air – where he can use a preplanned down special combo against them.
Smashes
Forward Smash | Punching Ned
Unlike Phil’s other moves, if Phil uses a time loop in the middle of charging a smash, he will still be charging that same smash when he reappears. As an easter egg, Phil will cry the opponent’s name in surprise during the starting lag.
Aerials
Neutral Aerial | Fury of a Weatherman
Phil leans back, as he kicks 4 times front of himself with each dealing 4% damage. This is an excellent bread-and-butter attacking move for Phil, able to be used as a juggling move if you learn to dodge your foe’s best aerial attacks. If not, you can very easily use this as an approaching tool or even a retreating one.

Forward Aerial | Stop the Presses

Phil kicks downwards at an angle, dealing 6% and downwards knockback if he lands this. He will launch himself diagonally backwards with this attack, giving him a way to get back to the stage. This acts a great end to midair juggles. If you hit the stage or a falling car with this, you will also activate this effect.

Down Aerial | Drop Dead
Phil extends all his arms outwards, looking ready to fall to his death, and will exit out of this state on a second press of A, returning to his normal aerial state. He loses no control over his aerial movement here, and is able to grab foes by moving into them with this – causing him to grab on to them as their two fall speeds are combined. The one with the heavier weight will have more control over the pair’s movement. Phil can press A again to let go of them. Use this as a last ditch resort – it’s a suicide KO that will usually end in Phil’s favor due to his ability to release the foe, allowing them to technically be KOed first.
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