Chris Matthews
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2018/01/23
How To Play Peacock (in Skullgirls 2nd Encore+)

How to Play Peacock is a video series on learning Peacock in Skullgirls 2nd Encore+. It's based around teaching people the character from scratch by starting with a basic gameplan and slowly expanding on it, instead of just listing all her moves in button order. You can see the completed episodes in this youtube playlist:
https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLF3ZhfpbUOX0YUOIu4kxWy0ANucEwKe1P

Producing tutorial videos takes a long time and I don't want people to get stuck waiting for me to finish recording them, so here's the entire series in text form. If I manage to complete more videos, I'll add links to them here.

Remember: only move onto the next lesson once you're completely comfortable using all of the previous lesson's concepts in real matches. Otherwise, you're wasting your time.

Also note that the Skullgirls Wiki is an amazing resource for information about characters and game mechanics, so I highly recommend checking it out if you need to know any more details about how something works. I use the Peacock page all the time.


Lesson 1: Intro, sHP, M Item Drop (video here)

Standard fighting game character guides are bad. Listing every move in order is not how you learn a character. So HERE'S how you learn Peacock, from the ground up. You learn a lesson, go play matches until you're comfortable doing everything you learned against real opponents, then come back and do the next lesson. Doing it in order is important. Oh, in case you didn't know, Peacock is a powerful projectile zoner character who also has strong pressure and mixups, but has a very hard time escaping from pressure and mixups herself.

One last thing before I start the first lesson for real: they mostly teach one or two moves at a time, in order of importance, to help you build up a gameplan once piece at a time. The rough order they ended up in was:

  1. How to stop them getting close
  2. What to do if they get close
  3. What to do if you successfully stop them from getting close
  4. What to do if you want to get close

Note that in the Peacock mirror, your opponent's main objective usually isn't to get close to you. So when practising the concepts in these early lessons, you should play against other characters.

Lesson 1: sHP, M item, backdash. sHP is a horizontal projectile that goes fullscreen, and M item is a vertical projectile that stops them from getting close and can work as an anti-air.

You use M item by holding it, then releasing it when they get close. Basic gameplan: back off, shoot sHP projectiles, start charging an item when it's safe to do so, backdash when the opponent is starting to get close, block when you don't have time to backdash or sHP. Release the item on your opponent if they try to hit you.

It's dangerous for your opponent to attack you when you have an M item charging, so you should watch out for how your opponent acts when they have an item charging on top of them. If they're not scared of the item and they keep playing aggressive, just keep dropping items on them and enjoy the free hits. If they start running away and waiting for the item to drop, try to chase them down. This is what stops you from getting backed into the corner. If you land a level 2-3 item or a point-blank sHP, shoot them with argus. This is the *only* time you should be using argus for now. Don't just randomly do it in neutral or anything.

Advanced tips:


Lesson 2: H Teleport (video here)

Problem: I still get backed into the corner! (Other problem: you can't get out of pressure so you die when you get hit, but it's best to take things one step at a time so we're ignoring this for a while. Just try and block/pushblock as much as possible and try to make space to drop an M item. If you're learning offline with a training partner, you can even agree to pause and restart the game each time they land a combo on you)

Lesson 2: H teleport. This teleports you past your opponent to escape the corner. It's punishable if you just randomly do it, because you always appear right next to your opponent. Ways to make it safe:

Advanced tips:


Lesson 3: L George (video here)

Problems: sHP into teleport leaves you in a dangerous situation, and you don't have any anti air moves other than M item (which has a cooldown).

Lesson 3: L George. It stays on screen for ages and protects you. Like Peacock's other projectiles, it doesn't go away when you get hit.

Uses:

Don't just throw it out for no reason, because you can only have one on screen at once. It also counts towards your global limit of two Georges at once, which will matter when you start using M and H George.

Advanced tips:


Lesson 4: jHP (video here)

Problem: Opponents can jump over everything except M item, which has a long cooldown and needs to be reloaded/charged after each use, and L George, which only covers certain angles and doesn't let you have two on screen at once.

Lesson 4: jHP. It's a big disjointed air to air move that moves you backwards, can be cancelled into air backdash, deals good damage by itself, and combos into M item release (into argus). It's a good spacing tool, especially with an item held and an L George on the floor. It has slow startup so you have to predict their jump; if you try to do it on reaction or if they expect it, it will usually lose to faster air moves. You can jump forward up or back when you do jHP, depending on where you think they will be.

Your Peacock has a pretty good shell of defensive zoning tools at this point!

Advanced tips:


Lesson 5: Defensive moves. cLK, jLP, airthrow, M bang

Problem: you still have no up-close defensive moves other than anti air L george and lots of blocking, and all your moves have slow startup.

Lesson 5: defensive moves. cLK, jLP, airthrow, M bang: these are your main anti airs and your main ways out of pressure. This is a big lesson.

cLK is one of your fastest ground normals and your main grounded anti air, and it combos into cMP sHK on hit. Stop after cMP when hit confirming, or go into L George and block. After sHK hits, just go into argus for now. It stuffs instant airdash attempts, pokes out of gaps in pressure and beats most jump ins, but can't deal with heavily disjointed moves like val jHP and despite its fast recovery, it can still be baited out by opponents who slightly delay their landing.

jLP is your fastest air normal, so jump forward with it to preemptively hit your opponent before they do their jump in attack. Combo out of it with jLP jLK jHP airdash jLP jMP (this is hard if you're new to Peacock!), or just end after jHP if you don't want to deal with Peacock airdash cancels yet.

Airthrow is even faster than jLP and it can catch opponents who jump at you and airblock, but you can't buffer the throw input during jump startup so it takes a bit of practice. Combo airthrow into jMK argus, or jLK into the beginner combo.

M bang is your only hit-invincible move, but don't treat it like a standard invincible anti-air. Its slow startup and short hitbox makes it hard to time correctly against jump-ins, and your opponents can make it whiff during corner pressure by jumping towards you or throwing you out of its long startup. The main uses of M bang are to beat out horizontal approaches and to use it very occasionally while being pressured, just so your opponent knows you're willing to use it and has to avoid using their bang-unsafe setups. On hit, link it into argus agony. There is plenty of time to hit confirm this during M bang's recovery, so don't just cancel it into argus and hope that it works! If your opponent is near the corner, M bang will cause a wallbounce and you can continue the combo with OTG cLP or cHK.

Note that M item drop can also be used as an up-close defensive move, but remember that releasing the button during blockstun means the item won't fall until long after you exit blockstun. If you want to drop M item defensively after blocking something, make sure you wait until a gap in your opponent's pressure before letting go of MP.

Note: This is a very long lesson. When practicing these concepts, feel free to concentrate on learning one new move at a time and treating this as four separate lessons. Also note that Skullgirls has very strong universal defensive mechanics in the form of pushblock, pushblock guard cancel (PBGC), chicken blocking/land cancelling and absolute guard. None of these are Peacock-specific so I won't explain them in this guide, but being able to use these mechanics well is one of the main factors that separates expert and intermediate players. Sydoh's defense guide, Dekillsage's land cancelling/chicken blocking video and Liam's land cancel example video are great resources.

Advanced tips:


Lesson 6: M and H George

Problem: you barely deal any damage to patient opponents, and you don't have anything that hits fullscreen except for sHP.

Lesson 6: M and H George. Here's where your chip damage comes from! If your opponent backs off and starts blocking, fill the screen with bombs to start dealing serious chip damage and make them come to you. You can cancel a bomb into another one to quickly fill the screen, but you can only have two bombs onscreen at once so after doing H>M George, you have to wait until they disappear before throwing more bombs..

sHP>H George>M George is the fastest way to throw a bunch of projectiles fullscreen, but it still takes a while so only do this when you're at a safe distance. If you're slightly closer, you can throw a single bomb then block and wait (e.g. if you're scared of Filia forward jump into downward airball).

Single bombs also work when L George is preventing you from putting two more bombs out, and H>L or M>L George is good if you want to transition from zoning to approaching with L George backing you up.

It might take a while to get consistent at throwing bombs without accidentally missing an input but it's very much worth doing so; no one wants to zone perfectly for 30 seconds then lose because they accidentally whiffed sMK or sHK from fullscreen when they meant to throw a bomb.

Remember you can throw bombs while holding an item, and release it to protect yourself if your opponent tries to attack you. If you're playing on a team with a zoning assist, you can call the assist during sHP startup to throw even more stuff out.

H George doesn't really have many other uses, aside from being yet another way to set up H teleport. M George, on the other hand, is an extremely useful combo breaker in lots of situations; call it when you're about to get hit, then the bomb will hit them, interrupt their combo, and let you start a combo of your own. Scottish Peacock player Infy used to call M George "the smart person bomb" for that reason, so whenever you get hit, think "would M George have saved me here?". The answer is often yes.

Note that it's going to be a while until we get to Peacock's mixups, so if you ever manage to force your opponent into the corner, sit just outside their effective range and try to lock them down with projectiles. It's similar to doing it from fullscreen except they have much less room to maneuver, they can't avoid your M item, and they have less time to see your projectiles coming. This is one of Peacock's strongest positions, so make the most of it if you manage to get there!


Lesson 7: H Item Drop

Problem: they can easily jump out of your fullscreen projectile lockdown, especially because you have to wait for both Georges to disappear before throwing more of them.

Lesson 7: H item drop. This gives you fullscreen frame traps and helps lock people down from a full screen away.

Basic fullscreen pattern: H George>M George, sHP>H item, repeat. You can also sHP>H George, and you can skip the M George if there's already an L George onscreen. They can still escape from this if you're being predictable, so the best way to mix things up is to hold the H item drop and release it right as you think they're about to jump out. This deals decent damage by itself on hit, and puts them right back in the zoning...zone. Try to keep them there as long as possible; this is where a lot of your damage comes from!

Advanced tips:


Lesson 8: H Bang

Problem: they can still jump or dash out of your zoning when you're not holding H item. You know exactly when their Cerebella is about to do Tumbling Run, but none of your projectiles can hit her fast enough!

Lesson 8: H bang. It's your fastest way to hit a long range opponent other than releasing an item, and you can cancel into argus on hit. It has a lot of recovery so you will probably die if they jump over it, especially because the times when you most want to use it are the times when you don't have an item held. So only use it when you're very confident that it will hit! Your object is to use it just enough to make them scared of always dashing at you at the first opportunity, at which point you can go back to using your other, safer projectiles.


Lesson 9: jHK

Problem: When your item drop is on cooldown you don't have any midrange zoning tools or air coverage other than jHP.

Lesson 9: jHK. Use it for avery (the bird projectile). It moves up then falls down, gets in your opponent's way, and buys you time to summon an item, run away, or throw some bombs.

Ways to use it:

By this point, you basically have your entire fullscreen and midrange zoning toolset! Congratulations!


Lesson 10: Throw and airthrow. Mixups Part 1.

Problem: you have no mixups or pressure, so you're missing out on lots of potential damage.

Lesson 10: throw/airthrow (mixups part 1). If you push your opponent into the corner or force them to block your bombs up close, you can go for a mixup to try and convert into a combo.

You're already using airthrow defensively, but you can also use it to grab people who jump away from you when you run at them with an item held. Similarly, ground throw can grab people who freeze up and block on the ground. Peacock's ground throw has a surprisingly long range, so take advantage of it and force your opponents to worry about throws from a long distance.

If you land a ground throw and they're almost dead, cancel it into argus for the kill. You can also combo in the corner with H item > argus> release item, sLP, but it's fairly low damage so it's often best to just go for a setup after the sliding knockdown.
Midscreen setup after ground throw: charge M item or throw L george, run forward, jump over your opponent, optionally double jump back over them or whiff jHP to go back to the same side. Go into a combo on hit. You can also go for teleport mixups, but the different versions of teleport have different voice lines so your opponent can hear which side you'll be on.

Corner setup after ground throw: charge M item then throw M George. This gives you lots of protection to go for more mixups, but the corner mixups that give you the most damage are usually high/low and I'll explain those in another lesson soon.


Lesson 11: Basic Block Pressure

Problem: you have no way of keeping the pressure on your opponent up close, aside from running at them after they block your projectiles.

Lesson 11: Block pressure. sLP is plus on block (i.e. you finish recovering before they do), cMP is even, L George and cMK are slightly negative but safe. So if you run in for a combo and want a low-risk starter, try to hit confirm with sLPx2 or sLP cMP so you don't get punished. If they block something unsafe, chain into L George and be careful of them trying to poke out afterwards.

Pushblocking is strong in Skullgirls and most people can pushblock everything other than your fast light moves on reaction, so don't do anything more than a single sLP if you want to tap your opponent with something fast then go for a mixup on block. Against opponents who pushblock you away or are scared to poke out of your pressure, you can throw H>L George or M>L George to lock them down and run forward to continue your pressure, but don't get predictable or they'll hit you out of the gap before the L George.


Lesson 12: cMK and instant airdash jLK/jLP. Mixups part 2.

Problem: your mixups are predictable, especially in the corner. You don't have any high/low mixups, just lots of throws and the occasional item drop crossup.

Lesson 12: cMK and instant airdash jLK/jLP (mixups part 2). These moves form your main high/low mixup.

None of Peacock's light normals are lows, so her 14 frame cMK is her fastest low. It's pretty slow so you can't just throw it out unless you know your opponent is too scared to attack, but it's great at catching people who try to jump away from you or are expecting a throw. It's especially strong against people who always upback after blocking your sLP.

Level 3 items are overheads, so although Skullgirls' unblockable protection stops you from creating humanly unblockable setups, you can still do some really nasty 50/50s with cMK+ lv3 item where your opponent must guess which one will hit first.

To catch an opponent who blocks low without having a level 3 item available, your fastest overheads are instant airdash jLK or jLP. jLK is fairly fast, hits 3 times (so is great against armor), and combos into sLP. jLP is slightly faster than jLK and therefore harder to block on reaction, but it won't lead to a combo unless you do it close to the ground with upforward+MK, neutral, forward+LP. You can learn this later and stick with instant airdash jLK for now, unless you really like learning weird input tricks like that.

Advanced tips:

Now you have a full set of mixup tools! Just remember that it's incredibly hard for Peacock to escape from pressure once she gets hit, so don't go for mixups all the time and don't be afraid to back off and go back to zoning if you think they'll reversal out of your pressure.


By this point, you should be a pretty good Peacock player! I've summarised the rest of her moves below, but the Skullgirls Wiki also has lots of useful information on how to use them. If you want to learn harder combos at this point, I have a playlist of Peacock combos on youtube.


Other important moves

Situational moves


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