Nappa's modus operandi is to get the opponent into the corner so that he can abuse his great pressure game. To achieve this, Nappa relies heavily on his J.S and Assists, as his neutral kit is relatively weak.
In neutral, Nappa's main tool to create openings is with his Jumping Ki Blast. If it hits, Nappa can perform the universal Vanish option to begin pressure.
If Nappa refused to use Vanish, his next best tools following a Ki Blast hit are 5H with an Assist to cover it if blocked, and 236M, which is an overhead that travels a far distance and causes SKD. He can also instead opt for a regular block string if he does not need the distance that is provided from the aforementioned attacks.
During pressure, Nappa should make good use of his nice mix-up game. Nappa has access to 3 lows and his command overhead that's capable of sending enemies into an SKD.
Following a successful opening in Neutral, if during the follow-up pressure the opponent is hit, Nappa will want to land a 5H > Dragon Rush as soon as possible, followed by the usual aerial combo. This ensures that the opponent gets pushed even farther towards the corner.
When Nappa has the opponent against the wall, he is now in control of the fight and can lay on his pressure through the use of Saibamen. If done correctly, Nappa can completely cover forms of corner escapes that otherwise would require either an assist or a read.
For example, assume Nappa lands a combo and hits the opponent with a 2H in the air. When the dive lands, he can then plant a L-Saibamen and call an Assist. Following the plant, Nappa can jump up and time his j.5H hit to throw the opponent towards the ground. If timed properly, if the opponent attempts to use a Jump recovery off the ground in an effort to IAD out of the corner, they will immediately be struck by the L-Saibamen's jump. This frees up Nappa to cover other options of escape with his own toolkit and Assists.
More advanced Nappas will focus on setting up Restands once the corner is achieved, as they are extremely difficult to get out of and usually result in a two-touch death for the opponent.
On defense, Nappa's tools are somewhat lacking, though not the worst. He has two notable ways to fend off the heat:
His primary tool for escaping pressure is 214S; his signature DP. Nappa's DP is quite unique compared to others; it does not provide invincibility or Super Armor. Instead, it grants Guard Point. This DP has a number of unique advantages and disadvantages. Notably; it can absorb an infinite amount of physical hits unlike that of Super Armor. Plus, it is safe on block. However, Nappa's DP does lose to projectiles as a consiquence. And since it is not invincible, he can also be grabbed out of it. It is also not frame-1, so care must be taken when trying to use it to escape pressure.
Saibamen can also be useful defense tools if placed prior to Nappa getting hit, especially if the Saibamen grows behind the opponent when they're in the middle of pressuring you. Saibamen only disappear if they themselves get it; not if Nappa is hit. So they can force opponents to drop their offense and give up their turn to Nappa. So whenever Nappa is not in the offensive, finding opportunities to plant Saibamen in neutral can be handy. Remember than Saibamen can also be given a delayed growth by holding the input during the animation, meaning they will stay in the ground longer. This is most useful during these situations in which Nappa does not fully have control of the fight yet.
In Summary: Create openings with Ki Blast and Assists. Pressure that opening to further push the enemy into the corner. When the opponent is in the corner, use your Assists to begin setting up Saibamen to cover recoveries, go for Restands, and further strengthen your corner pressure. Work in Nappa's high-low tools whenever possible. When the fight is not in your control, find time to delay-plant Saibamen to force opponents to drop their offense if they get a hit in when the little bugger finally grows.
Where Nappa is most comfortable. Assists are crucial for saibaman planting and can give him a lot more mileage then he usually gets. Definitely an amazing choice to consider.
Nappa makes a decent mid because of how powerfull his assists are, but your main goal with Nappa mid is to use a Smash to tag him in after getting a hit with a point character. Nappa's neutral is sus at best, so having a character that is better than him helps get Nappa rolling.
No. You bring dishonour to the good name of Nappa by doing this.
Weirdly enough, 17 and 18 are decent picks, since they can cover a H Saibaman plant very nicely. Any assist with blockstun that is more than 36 frames allows for a Saiba plant during a blockstring. Any assist that launches horizontally or keeps the opponent in the same place for a while (like Base Goku A, SSJ Vegeta A, Bardock B, or a beam assist) can set up his corner restand, which is absolutely vital for his gameplan. Base Goku also makes a great partner because 236[L+M] sets up Base Goku's Super Spirit Bomb. Beams are also good for Nappa as they supplement his neutral and give him at least the hope of starting a blockstring.
- 4LL > 5LL > 2M > 5M > 5H
This is your bread and butter blockstring. From here, you have two options depending on what assists you have:
Any assist with blockstun totaling to more than 36 frames will allow a gapless Saiba plant into 5L. In order to cover the plant itself, you need 31 frames of blockstun. If you have less than 36 frames of blockstun available, that's when you use 214S.
Just for clairity, here is the universal restand setup:
|... > j.2H > 214M > Assist > 5L > 5M > 5S(2) > SD > j.H > Saibaman Spit hits > ...||Setup|
|airdash j.LL > 214L > Saiba Grab > ...||High safejump|
|land 5LL > 214L > Saiba Grab > ...||Low mixup|
The restand itself occurs when the Saibaman spit hits after j.H. Both setups will beat mashing, 2H, and Vanish. The airdash high route doubles as a safejump, which makes it much safer to go for. The land 5L route is much easier as the airdash can be hard to time. It's also really hard to Spark or Reflect out of it due to how it looks visually. The setup is easy to spot if you're looking for it but even then the opponent still has to deal with it.
After the restand hits, these are the combos to do afterwards:
|... > Saiba Grab > 5M > jc.MLL > jc.LLS2H > SD > j.LLS2H > 236M||No plant|
|... > Saiba Grab > 5M > 5H > delay 236S > Saiba Claw > sjc.MH > Saiba Slide > j.2H > SD > j.MLL > jc.LLS2H > 236M||Single plant|
|... > Saiba Grab > 5M > 5H > slight delay 5S > 214M + Saiba Claw > j.LH > Saiba Slide > j.2H > SD > j.LM > jc.MS2H > 214S > Saiba Spit > Saiba Slide > [DR] > 236S||Double plant|
All these combos can go into super, but the double plant option will almost always kill if you choose to route into super. These combos are part of what makes Nappa so threatening, as the Restand 50/50 almost always results in losing a character. This is especially the case if they try to mash. Double plant route is by far the most difficult of the three, but killing a character is always worth the lab time.
Tips and Tricks
- Delaying 5H from 5S can give you more corner carry.
- 5H rejumps also give you more corner carry than normal, so it is highly advisable to learn them.
- j.L from a restand is also a safejump, but you will still have to block Sparking and deal with Reflect.
- You cannot do anything besides a frame 1 reversal to get out of the restand. Don't try, you will get smoked.
- Nappa's DP is not frame 1. Proper use of a strong offense with meaty pressure can get Nappa out of the picture quite fast if he's not willing to spend Sparking or 3 bars.
- Nappa's weakpoint is the neutral. If he lands a hit on you first, he has pretty good odds of getting you into a corner and then mixing you to death. Luckily, his poor neutral game means you have the advantage of getting your hit first. Be aggressive, abuse your range, go for oki when you see it, and you should be okay.
- If Nappa DOES hit you and put you in the corner, your options are extremely limited. Reflect is decent, as it's frame 1 and removes high / low mixes, but it does not guarentee that you will escape the restand pressure, especially due to the threat of grabs. You best bet is a frame-1 DP, sparking, or level 3.
- Also? Avoid trying to up-tech Nappa's corner combos. If you get restood with a Saiba explosion, it will hit you. Your best option is to just hold crouch block or try to time Reflects.