Anti-Nightmare discussion

SoNG-Of-SiLeNCe

Red Lotus
There is actual Nightmare play and there is Scrubmare play much like with any other character. I started this thread to deal with both, as Nightmare is undoubtedly one of the most powerful characters in the game, so a lot of online mashers go to him when they feel outplayed.

My goal here is not only to gather counter-information against this character for newbies like myself, but to show Nightmare newbies what NOT to do, covering Nightmare's weaknesses, the holes in his defense, what his safe options are, and which options are punishable on block, steppable or otherwise interruptable by any character, or in character-specific situations.

Discuss!
 

Engared

[10] Knight
Nightmare is actually very weak once you know how to kill him. Tech crouch, anti step move and if that counter hits into CE= dead Nightmare. Run forward, run forward, run forward, don't let him space you.
 

Ramon

Perfect Purple Pyrrha
Well i can write a novel against him but it's only because he loses to every greek in the game! He is so unsafe you literally have to just guess when a grab is coming and the greek will do the rest. Thats what i did against Keev at MLG.
 

Engared

[10] Knight
Well i can write a novel against him but it's only because he loses to every greek in the game! He is so unsafe you literally have to just guess when a grab is coming and the greek will do the rest. Thats what i did against Keev at MLG.
Yep and since the backstep nerf, he can't space them properly so has to play in unsafe range constantly. Now that the throws have been nerfed too, he absolutely cannot go forward against any of the greeks and many more characters as well.

Added to possibly the worst CE in the game and he's very mid to low tier in this game. Completely undeserving of an anti-thread.

That said, the greeks have a huge advantage over most of the cast now save for Tira.
 

Slade

[14] Master
Yep and since the backstep nerf, he can't space them properly so has to play in unsafe range constantly.
What's stopping Nightmare from backdashing? Verticals that kill backstep like Pat's 66B? What's stopping you from sidestepping that? Do shit like agA on block into backdash and see how they respond. If they start attacking at - frames, CH them with 3K/66K/6K/4K/agA. Even if they have some sort of mystical counter to all forms of attack and movement, there's Just Guard to deal with that.
Now that the throws have been nerfed too, he absolutely cannot go forward against any of the greeks and many more characters as well.
Why not? Throws and pokes serve as annoyance tactics to get the opponent to whiff, which is where Nightmare gets his damage. agA/66B/1K give him plenty of opportunities to work with near-neutral frames where he can get his reverse mixups.
Added to possibly the worst CE in the game and he's very mid to low tier in this game. Completely undeserving of an anti-thread.
You're accentuating the negative to ascertain this preconceived notion that Nightmare is a bad character while completely ignoring his strengths. If I wanted to make a facile argument stating that Nightmare is top tier, I'd deliberately focus on his wall damage, whiff punish damage, ringouts, movement, and guard damage while ignoring everything else. If this character is as shitty as you say he is, he wouldn't be the third highest placing character.
 

Ramon

Perfect Purple Pyrrha
The character is NOT lower tier! He loses the Greek matchup but it's not un-winnable. Nor does he have the worst CE, not by a longshot. A CE that forces your opponent to go, "let me pause my attacks more now" because of fear is actually one of the best CE in the game. In high level play it's extremely amazing! He has amazing pokes and one of, if not the best backsteps in the game. Keev, Thermidor & Omega succeeding should be a voucher for how great NM is in this game.
 

Engared

[10] Knight
The character is NOT lower tier! He loses the Greek matchup but it's not un-winnable. Nor does he have the worst CE, not by a longshot. A CE that forces your opponent to go, "let me pause my attacks more now" because of fear is actually one of the best CE in the game. In high level play it's extremely amazing! He has amazing pokes and one of, if not the best backsteps in the game. Keev, Thermidor & Omega succeeding should be a voucher for how great NM is in this game.
I guess we see things very differently here in Asia. All the nightmare players here in Singapore are mostly in agreement with what i'm saying (I've formed this opinion talking to them here and of course, playing the players here). Seeing him get shut down over and over is just painful. Like having a root canal painful...

About the CE, from the tournament videos I have seen (and personal experience ofc), that CE has lost more tournaments than it has won and unlike Pyrrha's or most of the greeks, it can't really be used at every opportunity. And if you miss, you are fucked. I think only Aeon's, Sieg's and Raph's are worse that his.

I would completely agree with what you are saying before the patch but I just can't post- patch. What I have seen and heard over here and online just doesn't allow me to. I apologize.

@ Slade, many of his great results were from one player and pre-patched (is there anyway to break those stats down further?).

Post-patch, post Evo is a completely new game. Those stats are very misleading. Based on that list, Cervantes is a much worse character than Nightmare, Tira is a much worse character than Nightmare? Viola is a worse character than Nightmare? You can't obviously be saying that right?

Also, when was the last time Nightmare won a major? (EDIT: Big Edit, I just saw Thermidor winning Final Round. Congratz to him, nice work, however, I will still make my point) I see a lot of Thermidor getting 4th and 5th (besides the one win) but no other Nightmare featuring in the top 5 on the first page of the results. The next best result I see is DIME at Final Round at the 13th spot.

I personally believe the majority of Nightmare's supposed strengths are very misleading honestly. It comes from a lack of knowledge about dealing with the character. When your opponent knows how to deal with Nightmare and gameplans accordingly, Nightmare's weaknesses become very apparent.

I have explained in previous posts what I think are his strengths. He has strengths but IMHO does not have the necessary tools to utilize those strengths effectively anymore. For example, for a whiff punish character, his whiff punish damage in ideal operating range is extremely weak ironically. Let's all laugh at the marvelous 3B tip damage and oki lol. 44B is more ideal but is slower and not as reliable, you also need to anticipate the whiff and generally cannot do this on reaction unlike 3B. That range however is his safe operating range and when spacing/footsies, Nightmare should try to operate within that medium/long range.

Sadly, in order to unlock his maximum damage 3B damage (which is currently his bread and butter) however, you have to operate at very unsafe ranges. This is generally the short/medium range. But in this range, Nightmare has very little priority and to bait someone into a whiff at this range is much, much more difficult. And the back-step nerf makes him extremely vulnerable and these can be punished for A LOT of damage.

People will say, "High risk/high reward". I understand but the reward does not even up with the risk anymore IMO.

The greeks and the shorter ranged characters should never really backstep against Nightmare unless trying to bait him out. This really applies to all the characters who need to space but hurts Nightmare much more so because of his unsafety. It is far too easy to run forward in this game and he is a moving backwards character in a moving/rushing forwards game.

For a throw based character, he has extremely shitty throws. The damage just does not add up to the risk involved. With the old calculations 50 and 55 as opposed to the 40 and 45, the risk reward was much more balanced.

I could go on really but I wrote an essay on this topic about 5 months ago, if you want me to repeat it, please tell me.

Its not all bad though. I have some ideas for developing a new play-style for Nightmare which involves only operating at extremely long range. Nightmare is actually very safe at tip range and it reduces his weakness to JG. Involves an extremely defensive style of play and a lot of NSS at range. A lot of the long range poking is done by NSS B/ NSS A, pity NSS A~ NSS bA is difficult to do in this game. Whiff punishing done by NSS A+B, GS B, 66B+K, 22/88B, 66A, 44B and 33B BE.

I've been asking people to test NSS B poking for me but all I've heard from this forums is crickets. I guess I'm still looking for my "safemare" play style...

Back on topic, this is OmegaDR playing Pat against a Nightmare who seems to be decent. This is what happens when someone knows his Anti-Nightmare. Notice the playstyle he uses btw, for example, the lack of step at NM ideal operating range etc:


Here's one between 2 of Korea's best, Dongsss doesn't play well in this game but the playstyle I am talking about in my first post is on full display here (use of tech crouch and stepping forward):


One of Singapore's Shen Chan going against Zer0kage. Zero has improved ALOT since this match (can't seem to find any of the more recent matches) but the lack of priority Nightmare has is very evident in this one. I call this disrespecting Nightmare and I am VERY familiar with this playstyle. For reference, Zer0 is top 3-4 in Singapore at the moment.:


Ironically, look at the difference in playstyles and the evolution of the game from just a few months before (the transition phase from 1.01 to 1.02). Notice the amount of respect he used to give Nightmare. I experienced this change first hand and it has colored my views of Nightmare's abilities. You don't disrespect a character which you fear:


Keev vs Kura. Kura shuts down Keev very efficiently in this last match (Start at 7:42). He out-plays him and by playing safe and using Anti-Nightmare knowledge, allows Keev to kill himself.


If someone could link a match of Ramon going up against Keev from the latest MLG would be nice. Those matches show how vulnerable Nightmare is if he whiffs.
 

Ramon

Perfect Purple Pyrrha
you have amazing points i must admit. But i just cant seem to shake off so many successful NM players in this game. Yes he has some of the worst matchups but still gotta go with what he can do with the right hands. Also the match with me Vs. Keev unfortunately was not recorded.
 

Engared

[10] Knight
you have amazing points i must admit. But i just cant seem to shake off so many successful NM players in this game. Yes he has some of the worst matchups but still gotta go with what he can do with the right hands. Also the match with me Vs. Keev unfortunately was not recorded.
I thought it was...I remember watching it. Hmmmm. Was a great match but a painful one from Nightmare's perspective.

I would like to say instead that Nightmare, the character has been carried by the players honestly. He was very strong in 1.01 (but balanced I might add) but I personally believe that presently at the very top of the game, he is actually quite mid to lower mid tier. I think he has about 8-10 shockingly horrible match-ups presently (7-3) and the only characters he has advantage or parity with are his friends in the mid and lower tiers.

I'm not a doom-monger btw. I was one of the first (if not the first) to say that Nightmare was gonna be very strong in this game back in Beta. I was also one of the few to say Nightmare was super underrated back in SC4 and actually was quite strong.

And once in a blue moon, High risk/high reward pays off.

We will see at Evo this year I guess.