Basic Flow Chart and Game Plan
To grossly over-simplify, Venom's neutral game plan has two layers. The first layer relies on occupying the ground 'lane' and then punishing people who take to the air (jump, airdash) or to the floor (low profile moves) to evade his ground buttons. This is done with tools like f.S, 2S, and Stinger Aim, alongside slightly more niche footsies buttons like 6P (will whiff on most crouching characters) and 2D (excellent low profile, but murder on whiff). Sequences like P ball set into 5P are also essential for controlling the ground lane.
The second layer of Venom's game plan involves ball sets. Balls allow for a huge range of types of pressure; there's passive pressure (ball sets punish passivity), disjointed pressure (putting a ball in a place you can't be), and frame advantage (blocking a ball grants Venom a huge amount of advantage), plus other factors like the threat of a ball being a teleport point. As such, Venom benefits hugely from getting a ball out, and is effectively a much scarier and stronger character with one ball set. Balls on screen also give Venom trading potential; he can take more risks when covered by a ball that would hit or counterhit an attacker. You can therefore use ball set to "win" neutral, for example by unexpectedly doing ball set when they are expecting you IAD-ing in.
Ways to Achieve Advantage
A few example advantages that Venom would like on "winning" neutral:
- Knockdown. The best neutral reward you can get. Enables you to setup oki and snowball from there. Some knockdowns are better since they allow you to set more balls for oki such as DBC-ing an airborne opponent.
- Pushing them to the corner, either by getting them to block something with large push back or by using movement and fakes to make them give ground.
- Venom's blockstrings naturally cover a lot of horizontal space, and if the defender fails to deal with his pressure resets like S Carcass Raid, they will quickly find themselves cornered
- Cornering the opponent limits escape opportunities, and lets Venom be much more selective about his range of play
- safely getting a ball out. This means post ball set, you are +, slightly -, or too far away for them to respond well.
- Placing a ball on screen massively enhances Venom's space control. Players will react to ball sets in a myriad of different ways, but there are two core reactions:
- Approach: If someone is approaching you after a ball set, this is your chance to try and snipe their advance, punishing them and potentially even converting into your own offense
- Defend: If someone is not reacting to ball sets offensively, you can try to begin zoning, or set up a ball formation that allows a safe approach, which will lead to safety and frame advantage when you arrive at your opponent
- Ball usage is covered in its own section below.
- Placing a ball on screen massively enhances Venom's space control. Players will react to ball sets in a myriad of different ways, but there are two core reactions:
- Get a blockstring started. Venom can do long blockstrings with many mixup points even midscreen. Successfully blocking them still means getting pushed to the corner.
Core Neutral Flow
Venom's core neutral tools are designed to dictate the ground game, forcing the opponent to approach from the air, approach with a low profile, or interrupt some form of pressure. The tools for each of these 'phases' will be discussed below.
- f.S: Great range but does not convert well. f.S by itself is minus on hit, f.S>ball set even more so. Choose f.S follow up carefully based on the MU. It also has a hurtbox roughly under Venom's outstretched hand that can be hit by many 2Ds, among other things. Always keep in mind that f.S->nothing is not a bad option.
- 2D to low profile their poke: matchup dependent, risky if whiff, risky if blocked unless you can cancel into stinger aim. 2D>ball set sometimes work on block if you vary between cancelling 2D(1) or 2D(2)
- 2S: A faster, shorter f.S, roughly same reward. if close can 2S>2D, if closer can 2S>5H>DBC.
- Use 6P as another f.S: 6P can sometimes be used to go through their pokes. Matchup dependent. can 6P summon or 6P f.S summon for variation. Almost always miss on crouching opponents.
- IAD j.KSH: For example when you read a grounded action like f.S, eddie's drill, ky fireball etc. even if they block you are at an advantage since you can start your blockstring game. From shorter distances you can also IAD H mad struggle.
- FB stinger aim: Pins newer players down enough for you to summon/rush in, forces a jump out of better players for you to AA. Gets way better with even just 1 extra ball out.
- FB carcass: Covers a lot of space. experiment with which ball summon sequence allows for infinite bouncing balls for you. I find hSet>pSet works best to start with.
- stinger aim (frc): like FB Stinger aim but much safer.
- FD brake: universal, excellent tool for figuring out their habits.
Anti airing well is pretty much mandatory to play Venom. Tools:
- 6P: Reward is not bad, knockdown on CH so you can at least get a regular ball out. Combo section covers better 6P conversions. not that great against approaches coming in from super jump space or straight up above you. takes a step forward before hitting, so even against IAD can sometimes overshoot and miss.
- (ascending)j.P: pretty good air to air, easily convert to kd for example j.PS jc j.SH. can either 9 j.P or 669j.P. Can be low commitment, for example, 669 j.P airdash back is a common movement pattern for many characters. Some characters has even better versions of this which will beat it though, for example Ky's j.K.
- Air Throw: Venom's best AA, and most often the only viable one in many situations. Conversions are covered in combo section. Unfortunately does not convert to knockdown when you land this high up.
- j.D: Venom's only airborne move that hits above him, and reasonably disjointed; workable for approaches from the double jump or superjump spaces. Cancel into S Mad struggle to land quickly (and even pick up off counterhits!).
When winning neutral by getting a ball out, usually have time to get 1 ball out only. Even 1 ball usage can lead to combinatorial explosion of choices, so this list is not exhaustive. Ball choice is quite important, and honestly depends on matchup. Common ball usages:
- slow moving forward to cover your dash in.
- fast moving forward to keep them pinned/hit them as they try to get in.
- fast angled up for preemptive AA
- vertical/close to vertical to hit them out of superjump height entry
- anchor point to teleport to.
- be in 2 places at the same time.
- improve your normals.
if a ball connects, usually that's enough advantage for you to summon another ball and start the process all over again. when hitting a just summoned ball with a normal, changing the timing of the ball hit affects the result since you can hit the ball while it's travelling from your hand to the final position. This is most notable with P, S, and D ball. Did I mention combinatorial explosion?
These lists are not exhaustive.
- 5P late: obvious, can cover you dashing in. cover "high ground" space.
- 5P it early to have it travel slightly high. cover IAD space.
- 5K: travel quite fast, frame advantage if they block it far-ish from you, allows you to setup more balls.
- f.S: Similar to 5K. Moreover, if both f.S and the ball connects you still get frame advantage, essentially "upgrading" your f.S
- 5H: snipe them from downtown.
- 6P: preemptive AA.
- 6K: cover superjump space.
- don't hit it at all: bait a reaction from them that you then counter. for example, if they try to IAD in expecting you to 5p/5k the ball, free anti air.
- preemptive AA: running j.P forward, airdash back j.H. if they IAD, continue j.P into kd. if not, airdash back j.H bounce the P ball in a pretty good angle.
- 8j.P: covers IAD space. can use it to cover u jumping in or prevent them from iad ing in.
- 6P: preemptive AA, angle is higher than P ball 6P
- 9j.K: classic oki setup. if they block it sets up your blockstring. you can (fb) mad struggle on the way down or land and do stuff.
- j.S: keep them pinned if they stay grounded, sets up your blockstring.
S ball:same as p ball with slightly different angles.
- 2S: same as f.S + p ball. If 2S connects, frame adv depends on S ball height when you hit it with 2S, from very + (higher) to about even (lowest).
D ball: same as S ball
- 2K: covers low ground, prevent low profile. good against stuff like GV or may 3k. 2k recovers fast so you can prepare to AA .
- teleport: avoid them rushing in, then use the H ball like a K ball.
- running ascending j.P, descending j.S. covers your jump and subsequent jump in. Do this while the H ball is still travelling to its final position.
P~D ball: same as P ball, but can be 2P'ed too.
K~D ball: roughly the same as K ball, a bit easier to j.p and j.k
- 2H: preemptive AA.
S~D ball: a bit hard to use
- late 6P: the 6p pokes standing opponents, the ball pokes crouching opponents.
H~D ball: mostly used for okizeme. can also be used as a teleport anchor.
You usually get to summon 2 balls when you kd with DBC>ball set or when you raw summon 2 balls at full screen. In both cases you are cancelling the recovery of the DBC/ball set with another ball set so this is something that may need practice. We will cover the former in the okizeme section. The latter is commonly used to cover 2 areas at the same time. Not an exhaustive list.
- late 5P to get a basic 2 way split.
- 5K to get the same 2 way split.
- microdash/walk 5P to have them travel parallel to each other forward. Very useful.
- 5H to snipe from downtown. 1 ball can cancel out another projectile while the other smack them.
- 2H for sniping 2 different angles.
- 5K to get a fast 2 way split
- timed 2P to get a slow 2 way split
- early 5P to mess up the above and get 2 balls travelling together up high.
- timed 2P same as above followed by charged stinger aim to get a nifty 3 way split. start charging during sSet.
P,K~D formation: Top jp venoms abuse this a lot.
- 5P, pSet: slow 2 way split.
- 8j.P the K ball, falling j.S the P ball. a different split.
- microdash 5p, set: 3 way split
H,K formation: somewhat similar to K,S ball. relatively unexplored.
S,H~D formation: relatively unexplored.
- late 6P to get a nice 2 way split.
Like other things in the game, Venom's balls interact with player characters and each other using boxes. Normally hitboxes are used for this purpose—balls can even be hit using currently inactive ones. However there are some solely ball interaction.
While inert, balls are interacted with using their "collision" box (orange). While active, balls use their hitbox.
Attacks that spawn balls, like Stinger Aim, also use those boxes and can be utilized to hit balls outside of launched projectile's trajectory. Another quirk about those is that ball spawns before startup and can be hit by other active balls.
6H has two hitboxes exclusively for hitting balls. They will hit balls below or inside Venom and send them straight up.
Your main goal is to pressure. Venom's damage is subpar but he cranks the guard bar really quickly. Your best moves for that are c.S and 2H. c.S is one of the main foundations of Venom's offense, the 3 hits crank the guard bar, let you charge for Carcass or Stinger easily, and confirm easily. It's level 5, meaning it has tons of blockstun, and it's also jump cancellable on block. This lets you cancel this into a TK mad struggle (S or D), which is your primary high low.
Venom will generally use the following special moves after one sequence of normals on block:
S Carcass: All purpose frame advantage
HS Carcass: Great if they faultless defense, or if you have them cornered, when this is spaced, you'll have good frame advantage.
TK Mad struggle: high move, will give frame advantage when done low enough to the ground, or massive frame advantage if the D version is used.
Dubious Curve: -3, option to cancel into teleport to keep things tricky, FRC for plus frames, and gets a ball set up.
Stinger: S Version is plus frames. Like Dubious Curve, FRC to completely reset your pressure.
Teleport: Generally used if there's a ball out, or cancelling from Dubious. Reposition yourself and give yourself access to a ball.
Summon: If your opponent is stingy on FDing, you can try this, since FD will put them in more blockstun and further away, less likely they'll punish.
Stinger and Carcass feints: If your opponent is respectful, this can let you get in to reset your pressure.
These are all NOT foolproof though, practice and mix things up.
Venom's 2K is one of his main approach tools. It's range is ok for what it is: a 5 frame low. It's also Venom's primary tick throw tool. Generally, a dashing 2K will put you up close and you can go into c.S from there. Confirm a small combo, or get your pressure going!
I will now explain one of Venom's basic, but important okizeme setups, the K ball mixup. After scoring a knockdown with sweep, set a K ball (214K or 214K~D will be fine. 214K~D is a little easier to hit, but it only matters if there is another ball on the screen already).
As your opponent gets up, do a running jump and hit the ball with j.K. You can land either side of them, but you'll probably crossup if not in the corner. The ball will force them to block (or they'll get hit by it, even better, but this works regardless if they get hit or block). There are 3 simple options you can do here: Land, and do 2K. You go low with this. The least reward in terms of damage, but the safest option. Airdash backwards (so into the opponent) and j.S. The crossup hitbox on j.S will hit the opponent. Airdash backwards and j.P, which will whiff, then throw. Useful once you have an opponent who respects this oki setup.
If your opponent is in the corner, you'll stay on the same side, and you land and go low with 2K, or airdash towards them with a string such as j.S, j.HS, 236S, or any number of other options.
The best part about these options is that if your opponent gets hit, you can loop it, and if they block, you start your pressure. But again, they're not necessarily full proof against all defensive options, so experiment, practice, and mix it up!
Strike/throw mixups: Available after large frame adv. OS throw with 6S+H. Large frame adv can be obtained from making them block slow moving ball, S carcass, or stinger aim FRC. 2K is the most obvious tick throw normal, but 2P is probably better. 2P5H can be very slightly delayed to leave a small gap and CH their mash out attempt.
- In a blockstring: From any jc-able normal, gatling into 2D or cancel into tk FB mad struggle. jc-able normals: 5P, 5K, any c.S hit. You can 2D>stinger aim FRC to convert into dmg. tk S mad struggle has a gap that they may be able to fuzzy mash out of.
- after large frame adv such as blocking S carcass, spaced out H carcass, or stinger aim FRC. same options as above. you can also 2K for another low option.
- While jumping in: mixup between j.K>2K, j.KS>2K, j.KSP>2K, j.K>fb mad struggle, j.KS>fb mad struggle. j.KSP is available on taller characters. You can use regular mad struggle, but astute opponents can beat it by mashing something.
- Post FB mad struggle: +19 if they block this. you can either low airdash j.KS/j.SH, j.S on the way down, or land 2D.
Other throw setups:
- zero frame mad struggle: if you press S really early when TK ing this you mad struggle without ascending at all. C.S(1)>0 frame Mad Struggle is a classic throw setup.
- c.S(3)>Scarcass cancel: hold S~p to pretend you are Johnny and Carcass cancel your c.S. realistically slightly -, can redash in and throw or continue your blockstring.
Venom is good at making long blockstrings. Several possible end goals for blockstrings:
- low/high mixup: briefly covered in above. if the low option (2D) is blocked you need to cancel into something to stay safe, preferrably S stinger aim.
- Establish large frame adv. Most obvious way to do this is to end with Scarcass which is at least +8 on block or with stinger aim frc. They usually can jump to avoid Scarcass unless you do it from a point blank c.S(3) with dash momentum. If successful, you get a chance to rebuy pressure.
- Push them to the corner. For example gatling into f.S>2S>S stinger aim/FB stinger aim/H stinger aim (frc). Venom is way more powerful against cornered opponents so this is a pretty crucial endgoal.
- Get a ball out: Usually by cancelling a higher blockstun normal into set/dbc like 6H, 5H, or even 2D. This is normally quite weak since you may end up too close with large - frames.
It's important to vary your blockstrings, even when you are trying to keep it simple and try go for the same end goal every time. You can have branching points in your blockstrings to achieve 2 or more of the above goals. Some examples:
- 2Kc.S(3)>Scarcass. Do S carcass if 2K is blocked, 6K>DBC if 2K hits, jc 6P+H/4H to OS burst throw and do a short air combo, preferrably ending in j.H for kd.
- 5P2K2S2D>S stinger aim (frc). You can 2D>ball set instead if 2K hit. you have all of 2S2D to confirm. Alternatively you can FB mad struggle after 5P to insert a high low. If they block the whole thing and you frc you end up at large frame advantage.
- 5Kc.S(3)>Scarcass/stinger aim. you can insert high low mixup (2d/mad struggle) at any of the 4 hits. if you chose 2D and its blocked, you can continue to stinger aim.
- 2P5P5Kc.S(2)/c.S(3)>stinger aim. similar to the above.
- 2K>Scarcass. really good after a jump in. Keep them a bit close, makes it easier to redash in. Obviously not a true block string.
- c.S(2)2H(1)/2H(2)>Scarcass. Sets up perfect spacing for doing another Scarcass (thanks Hursh for pointing this out). Double carcass is good. 2H(2) miss on some characters.
- c.S(3)5H/2D>S/H stinger aim frc redash/IAD in. If 2D hits you have a chance to convert. Good string to flex your frc muscle.
- S carcass is at least +8. frame trap with dash in stuff.
- S stinger aim is at least +2. frame trap with 2S/f.S
- 2P5H has a slight gap if you delay 5H a bit. Quite useful if you show them 2p tick throw before.
- c.S(3)6H has a slight gap. can be useful to catch them trying to jump c.S>carcass.
- 6H at large advantage (after carcass/stinger aim) works as preemptive AA/frametrap and if blocked, 6H>ball set is only slightly -. Don't overuse this. It has some weird blindspots. If it misses you are in trouble. It has an extended hurtbox. Try Johnny's 2H against it at the tip for some hilarity (for Johnny)
- c.S(5H)>DBC as blockstring: good as anti jump out. Don't overuse since better opponents can SB.
If you get caught, you may be in for a hell of a time. Venom will force you to learn to sit there and block intelligently if you want to be successful, with 0 reversal options even with meter. Instant block for meter and frames, and utilize Faultless Defense for the pushback. You'll have to use both intelligently, as well as Venom's dead angle, which is a great option.
In general, FD some of the earlier hits of their blockstring for pushback. You can FD to make a particular move in their string miss and then whiff punish with 2S/2D. Honestly you won't get such an easy scenario often. FD-ing then poking out their re-dash in attempt can work.
For abare (attacking from disadvantage), 2S is a great move for counterpoking, when you push opponent's away with FD and they whiff a move. 2D's low profile on occasion can escape some situations (it can go under Sol's Bandit Bringer as an example). c.S's 5 frame startup can sometimes punish sloppy pressure/oki setups.
If you successfully poke out with 2S, one of the best conversions is 2S>S stinger aim FRC dash 2S5H>DBC or 2S2D if too far. Requires charge so unfortunately you can't IB 2S.
Using IB: IB-ing the last hit of their blockstrings gives you more frames to jump out. You can also IB the last hit of a jump in and attempt to throw them. You can try to IB all the hits, but since IB has lock out periods on failed IB, it's safer to IB just the last hit.
Using SB is not a bad idea although requires practice. To safely attempt SB, try it "late" on attacks that are at the end of their blockstrings. Note that the 30F block lock out includes hitstop so you can somewhat safely attempt it on their + frame establishing frame trap attempts.
Some helpful notes about fuzzy jump, fuzzy block, fuzzy throw, fuzzy abare.
When you fuzzy jump it's usually with the intention of airdashing forward to escape. Depending on lag/your hand speed and reaction time, it might be a good idea to start doing the airdash early.
Fuzzy block is very important and is matchup dependent. In general it's hard to have a true high/low point in a blockstring. Take note of whenever you are hit by an overhead, and lab a possible fuzzy block sequence against it. It goes without saying that combining this with FD/IB is necessary.
Fuzzy abare is very useful against throw setups. you have 5f throw invul after block stun ends, so any throw setups is vulnerable to a fuzzy 2p/2k.
Fuzzy throw: TBD
Venom is a character with strong projectiles that punish you for hesitating by giving him pressure and mixups. Most characters need to be pre-emptive against his neutral with air movement to discourage him from setting up; Venom with one ball out is substantially stronger than Venom with no balls out. If you hesitate and then try to approach, Venom will usually be able to shut you down easily. Do not let Venom set balls without contesting him unless you have no choice or feel comfortable playing a very long match against a strong zoner.
Venom's 2S is a very strong ground poke that is blazing fast, but his reward without meter is very mediocre. Venom usually prefers to reset to neutral from defense before starting his own pressure, either through low-return poking or by escaping bad situations.
Dealing With Pressure
Venom's pressure is largely oriented around frame advantage, which then reinforces his mixup game, built around 2K (low), TK S Mad Struggle (high), and occasionally his throw. So, how does he build frame advantage, and how can you deal with it?
S Carcass Raid
Venom generally establishes frame advantage through S Carcass Raid, a down-up charge move that fires a slow moving but extremely plus on block projectile that can be anything from +7 up close to +15 at range.The pool ball fired is the core of Venom's pressure game; he wants to get you blocking, do S Carcass, and have you block it, at which point he will be advantaged and can reset pressure safely. Up close, S Carcass is also hard to contest, with a sub-3f gap, while further out, the gap will typically be larger than 10 frames- meaning you can try to escape. S Carcass is also prone to trading, as the projectile does not disappear if Venom is hit once it comes out.
Essentially: avoid blocking S Carcass Raid whenever safely possible. Typically, this will be done through jumping, at which point you should try to mix up your escape options or contest appropriately. Be careful though, because S Carcass Raid recovers extremely quickly, meaning Venom will have ample time to contest escape attempts.
|Gap||Approx. Advantage||Jumpable on Block?||Jumpable on IB?||Jumpable on FD?|
|Far||~10f+||+15 or more||Y||Y||Y|
(Original table from video linked below)
As discussed on the main Venom page, if S Carcass Raid is a sly pressure reset, Stinger FRC is armed robbery. After 5H, S Stinger FRC has the potential to be both uninterruptible and over +20, while H Stinger FRC is almost guaranteed to be uninterruptible and about +16. Generally, Stinger FRC is a potent and nigh-unchallengable pressure reset; in many cases, it will also snipe prejump frames. Without an invincible reversal, blocking is advised; either wait for the Venom to run out of meter, or more proactively, challenge when the Venom attempts to retake space and reset pressure.
Video discussing Venom's pressure and its counterplay
- Refraining from bursting c.S is extremely important for navigating the matchup; it might not seem like a huge deal, but between its jump-cancelability and its gatling into 6K, there are a lot of opportunities to jump and block bursts on reaction, or throw OS them at no loss.
- 5P / 2P
- Like most of the cast, Venom can make use of the self-gatling properties of his P normals to bait and block bursts by doing strings like 5P > 5P > 5P > 2D. The combination of fast recovery and a self-gatling means there is ample time to auto-block a burst mid-string. 2P is, however, less reliable than 5P at being burst safe.
- Throw / Air Throw
- Because Venom's throw can function both as a wallbounce and as an air combo starter, there are a lot of ways to burst it poorly. Generally, though, normal bursting rules apply; be careful about bursting c.S at any point in a given throw combo, and don't burst the wallbounce itself, as your burst will whiff and you'll be left with an empty burst gauge.
Safe to Burst
- 5H completely lacks gatlings and is non-jump cancelable, meaning the only way a Venom could bait a burst from a close 5H hit would be to hard read with 5H > Teleport (623K). Furthermore, bursting 5H will beat things like Dubious Curve FRC unless you heavily delay your burst.
- Close 6K
- 6K is Venom's primary combo filler move, and it leads to a floor bounce. While bursting before 6K connects can be risky due to the height given by c.S > 6K, the downwards portion of the bounce can typically be readily burst- provided you're close enough!