Stages, Spacing, Mina, and YOU

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[11] Champion
I'm going to go out on a limb here and assert that Mina is affected by stage selection more than any other character, even more than Hilde and Nightmare, and in different ways.

There are two main reasons for this: space and walls.

The subject of walls is simpler, so I'll go through that first. Simply, Mina has one of the worst wall games in Soul Calibur 4. They give her nothing most of the time and can even interfere with her standard combos. On the other hand, Mina has an underrated ring out game. It's far from the best, but it's perfectly serviceable and most importantly IT EXISTS. Another important part of her ring out game is that it plays directly into her critical finish game. With their backs to the edge Mina's opponents are forced to block even in situations where they might not. That her ring out moves overlap well with her soul gauge damaging moves makes this interplay obvious enough.

Space is a different, though somewhat related. matter. And by space I don't mean spacing. I mean actual stage real estate.

Mina needs a lot of physical space to play optimally. Specifically, she needs space to her back and her sides so that she can create distance and keep her opponent at optimal range. An ideal position for Mina is having her opponent just outside of tip range with their backs to the edge of the ring and lots of space to back up in. When Mina starts to run low on retreat space her tools become less effective. It's a simple matter to take a step back to maintain tip range, and for this very reason Mina has a good back step, but it's a lot harder to force your opponent out when they don't want to go. Moves like 4a, 1bx, b4b -- all prominent spacing tools -- become exponentially less useful as the space to Mina's back shrinks. That her step moves are less than stellar makes trying to solve the problem laterally more problematic than you'd think, and not very worthwhile on a circular stage anyway.

Wide open stages give her the best options to move around in, small enclosed stages the worst. In most match-ups you don't want a completely open stage, because there are situations where you'd like to have a wall, or at least a pillar, in play.

I have more to say on this, but I have to cook a turkey. Any thoughts or discussion is welcome.
 

krazySyko

[09] Warrior
The wall combos themselves aren't so bad and most of them set up for oki, but setting up a wall hit is plain retarded due to needing tip distance on 3B and 11B. I'll definitely agree that stages can affect her alot (though I wouldn't say as much as Hilde), and with her back to the wall the only thing you can do is desperately attempt a 1A+B -> Pogo combo or try to use some kind of move like A+B or 4A+K to get a little breathing room.