GGST/May/Strategy

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May



Strategy Summary

May's goal in neutral is to get her opponent into the corner, then use strike/throw pressure and anti-air reads to open up her opponent to high-damage wallbreak combos. May has many strong tools to achieve this, including good ground and air movement, a variety of pokes to harass her opponent and powerful counterpokes, anti-airs, and air-to-air options. Mid-screen, her neutral wins will usually result in good corner carry or okizeme. Many of May's attacks have a long total duration (including throw whiffs), relatively high startup, or both, but lead to enormous reward on hit. May benefits strongly from conditioning her opponent so that she can land these committal attacks by predicting her opponent's actions.

May is at her weakest when she is defending because her kit lacks meterless tools to escape from pressure. On defense, May needs to rely on matchup knowledge, universal mechanics, and her metered reversal to escape her opponent's pressure.

Neutral

Summary

May has a variety of tools that she can use in neutral. Her pokes (5K, f.S, and 2S) can cover a variety of distances and positions with reasonably fast startup for their maximum range. Her counterpokes (6P and 5H) are effective against mid/high pokes and stubby/low pokes, respectively.

May has one fast and relatively safe anti-air (6P) and three situationally powerful but slow anti-airs - 2H covers high jump-ins, 5H covers IAD, and 6H can cover either but needs to be used as a pre-emptive read because it is both slow and not disjoint. May can also use her S vertical dolphin ([2]8S) as a fast and safe anti-air as long as she has the charge to use it, and she can use her H vertical dolphin ([2]8H) as a long-range, reasonably fast anti-air against high airdashes.

May usually dominates the air with her massive j.H hitbox, which leads to a big reward on counterhit both as an air-to-air and as a jump-in. May can use j.H aggressively or as a bait following a backwards airdash to hit an advancing opponent. May's other aerial attacks (j.P, j.K, and j.S specifically) are situationally useful because they are faster than j.H, do not extend her hurtbox as much as j.H, or both. May's j.D is exceptionally effective against airborne opponents that are both above and in front of May.

May has some tools that can set up tricky situations from neutral. May can use 3K as a risky get-in tool. This is particularly effective against aggressive opponents or opponents with short effective range, since 3K excels at catching forward movement. May can use her S horizontal dolphin ([4]6S) to whiff punish or counterhit exceptionally slow attacks from a distance or as a risky poke from mid-range that sets up a RPS situation on block that favors May in many matchups. In pressure, May can attempt to use H horizontal dolphin ([4]6H) as a risky pressure reset against opponents who expect an S dolphin and choose not to poke. May can also use j.2H to set up ambiguous left-right crossups that can lead to a knockdown on hit or a high/low mixup on block with 2K, [2]8H, and 5D/5[D]. Against cornered opponents, May can use airdash cancels to set up high/low fuzzy offense. May's ability to set up tricky situations in neutral improves greatly when she has meter to use Roman Cancels.

Detail

Pokes

  • 5K: May's faster poke option. 5K lifts most of May's hurtbox off the ground, which lets it avoid many low attacks. 5K consistently loses to 6P. 5K notably does not have foot invulnerability, unlike in previous Guilty Gear titles, so it will lose to particularly long lows (like Ky's 2S, Faust's 2H, or Potemkin's Slide Head). May can convert any 5K hit or block into a strike/throw pressure situation by dash-canceling the move. While it is possible for the opponent to react in time to mash out (or even connect a c.S for a full punish), this is especially effective at catching opponents who respect May's pressure and hold block, and can be a surprising way to get in during a scramble. May can also cancel 5K into S Horizontal Mr. Dolphin as a safer option at its full range.
  • f.S: May's longest-range poke. It hits both low enough to hit crouching characters (except Faust) and high enough to catch jump-outs, though low-profile attacks will avoid it. May's f.S is roughly average in terms of reach and speed compared to the rest of the cast. May's f.S extends her hurtbox, but doesn't have a hurtbox at the farthest reach of its range. It usually loses to 6P, but at its maximum range it can clash. May can't start a true combo at f.S's ideal poke range except on counterhit, since S Horizontal Mr. Dolphin won't combo without the counterhit. In matchups where May outranges or matches the range of her opponent with f.S, it's a low-risk, low-reward poke. In matchups where May's f.S is outranged, it's a situational move in the corner and not very useful anywhere else.
  • 2S: May's shortest poke. 2S is useful mostly because it hits low to the ground. It excels at stopping low approaches such as Sol's Night Raid Vortex and I-No's Stroke the Big Tree, and is effective at hitting opponents who try to counterpoke May's other pokes with 6P. May generally can't follow up on 2S without meter - her best option at its ideal range is S Horizontal Mr. Dolphin. At point-blank range May can convert a 2S hit into a full combo with 2H.
  • j.H: The hitbox of j.H is huge and can hit opponents in front of May that are slightly below, level with, or slightly above May. As a poke, May can IAD into j.H to try to poke the opponent from a long distance away. May can also jump or airdash backwards and use j.H to try to catch opponents who chase after her. Be aware that j.H isn't disjoint and it more or less extends May's hurtbox to match the hitbox, which means that opponents can punish j.H if it predictably whiffs and can easily use 6P against it. At the edge of j.H's range, May can't convert it into a combo without meter or an air counterhit mid-screen. May can convert a deep jump-in j.H into a full combo.
  • [4]6S: Totsugeki! May's fast horizontal dolphin is a reasonably fast but risky poke that can cover a lot of distance. When used as a poke, May risks getting counterhit by 6P or faster low attacks on reaction, so don't poke with horizontal dolphin too often and stop if the opponent consistently counterhits it. Generally, the risk/reward for connecting [4]6S as a poke is tilted against May until she has 50 meter. The reward for landing a dolphin poke increases greatly with 50 meter, since May can use a roman cancel to create a high/low mixup on block or a big combo on hit confirm.

Counterpokes

  • 6P: Like most characters, May can use her 6P to counter-poke most mid and high pokes. Like most characters, May's 6P will lose to pretty much every low attack in the game. May can use 6P as a defensive counterpoke against some pressure strings that rely on reactable mids or highs, which is important in some matchups. May can follow-up a counterhit 6P with OTG 214P or 214K > [2]8H (whiff) to reposition herself next to her opponent at about +8 frame advantage for strong strike/throw pressure.
  • 5H: May's 5H is very disjoint, very active, hits both air and low-profile attacks, and has relatively short recovery, which makes it a very effective counter-poke when properly spaced. May can get a short combo into a knockdown from a grounded counterhit midscreen, and she can get a meterless wallbreak combo from any air hit near the corner. May's 5H has exceptionally slow startup for its range, making it very risky to use in neutral when within range of her opponent's faster normals.
  • [4]6S: Totsugeki! May's fast horizontal dolphin has enough reach and speed to counterhit or whiff punish slower attacks from a surprising distance. May can convert a counterhit into a knockdown with [4]6S > Throw. May can abuse opponents who recklessly spam attacks or intimidate them out of using their bigger pokes by consistently hitting them with this attack.

Anti-Airs

  • 5P: May's 5P is her fastest anti-air, which is the only benefit to using it as an anti-air since it lacks upper body invulnerability and offers little reward on hit or counterhit.
  • 6P: Like most characters, May can use her 6P as a reaction anti-air. The upper body invulnerability of 6P makes it a very forgiving anti-air compared to May's other options. May can follow-up a counterhit 6P with OTG 214P or 214K > [2]8H (whiff) to reposition herself next to her opponent at about +8 frame advantage for strong strike/throw pressure.
  • c.S: May's c.S hits slightly above her head, which makes it a usable, though very risky, anti-air. May is rewarded for landing a c.S with a full combo, but the lack of upper body invulnerability, low profile, or disjoint means that c.S will usually lose or trade if May's opponent connects an attack. May gets a very favorable situation if her opponent blocks c.S in the air.
  • 2H: May's 2H uses May's crouching hurtbox and has a very disjointed and active hitbox that sweeps above her from front to back. May is rewarded with a full combo on either air or ground counterhit, making 2H a strong high-risk, high-reward anti-air when combined with its favorable hitbox. May's 2H is very punishable if it whiffs.
  • 5H: The tall, disjoint, and active hitbox on May's 5H make it an effective anti-air against airdashes. May's 5H has slow startup, which means that May usually needs to be watching for an airdash to react in time to connect the attack. May's 5H is exceptionally rewarding against cornered opponents, since it leads to a massively damaging wallbreak combo on air hit.
  • 6H: May's 6H has a huge hitbox above and in front of May. Unlike 2H, it's not disjoint at all, which makes its use as an anti-air very risky. May usually needs to pre-emptively use 6H to connect because of its huge hurtbox and slow startup. May is rewarded with a ground bounce on hit that can lead to a massively damaging wallbreak in the corner. If an opponent blocks 6H, May gains a favorable situation when her opponent lands. When properly spaced, 6H is surprisingly difficult to punish on whiff thanks to its reach.
  • S Vertical Mr. Dolphin ([2]8S): May's fastest anti-air that's actually good at its job. May quickly leaps up and down while riding Mr. Dolphin, covering little distance both vertically and horizontally. As an anti-air, May can quickly use [2]8S right before her opponent connects a jump-in. The hitbox for both versions of Vertical Mr. Dolphin is above and in front of the hurtbox while ascending, which allows the attacks to win cleanly against most air attacks and trade against the rest. May's [2]8S leads to a knockdown on any air hit and even on ascending ground hit, usually leaving May's opponent at an ideal range to apply okizeme pressure. While it's possible to use [2]8S as a fast overhead, the range at which it actually connects as an overhead is very narrow, so it's more useful in mind game/mixup sequences than as a raw overhead.
  • H Vertical Mr. Dolphin ([2]8H): May can use [2]8H as a long-range anti-air. At close range it has too much startup to be effective (use [2]8S or 6P instead). May's [2]8H covers a lot of distance both horizontally and vertically, which makes it good at catching forward airdashes and high jump-in attempts. Like [2]8S, it has a disjoint hitbox as an anti-air while ascending, is an overhead while descending, gets a knockdown on any air hit, and gets a knockdown on an ascending grounded hit (though due to long startup, this is much less likely to happen in practice). May can recover from [2]8H on hit or block while she is still airborne, and she keeps her midair movement option. This allows May to extend combos after an ascending [2]8H hit using an airdash, evade anti-air punishes after an overhead block, frametrap after an overhead block with j.P, or apply disrespectful left-right mixup pressure after an overhead block or hit. May can use the movement of [2]8H to maneuver onto or around her opponent, though a savvy opponent can punish this thanks to [2]8H's long startup, the fixed arc of the jump, and the long travel time.

In order from low-risk, low-reward to high-risk, high-reward, May's anti-airs are: 6P, [2]8S, [2]8H, 2H, 5H, c.S, 6H.

Mash/Scramble Options

  • 5P: May's go-to mash button. Reaches pretty far for what it does and hits high enough to serve as a fast anti-air, if not a very good one. Loses to 6P. Can be canceled into S Horizontal Mr. Dolphin on block or 3K on hit for a knockdown, which is the most that May can get out of 5P without meter. The proration from 5P generally means that using meter to extend a combo is only worth it if it will definitely end the round.
  • 2P: The only real benefits to using 2P over 5P are that it hits lower and that it's harder to hit, both because it uses May's crouching hurtbox and because it doesn't extend May's hurtbox forward as far. 2P is not suitable for use as an anti-air. 2P is a very stubby attack that should be canceled into 5P during mash. The mash sequence is virtually identical to 5P, ending in either S Horizontal Mr. Dolphin on block or 3K on hit.
  • 2K: May can't mash 2K, but it's a six-frame low that gatlings into 2D and 3K, which makes it a good move to use in scrambles to secure a knockdown. 2K suffers from heavy initial proration, so it's only worth using meter to extend a combo from the move if it will definitly end the round.
  • j.P: May can use j.P in situations where she needs to quickly interrupt an opponent from the air or extend an air blockstring. Make sure that you actually time the j.P to connect, since it cannot be whiff-canceled, unlike in previous Guilty Gear titles.
  • [4]6S: Totsugeki! May's fast horizontal dolphin slower than most of her other scramble options and vulnerable to both 6P and lows, which makes its use as an abare attack very dangerous except against specific pressure strings where these options are impossible. However, a counterhit leads into a knockdown combo on ground hit or knocks the opponent back to neutral on air hit, and the attack has much greater horizontal reach than any of May's other fast attacks.

Pressure Starters

A flowchart showing May's gatling and cancel options.
  • 2K: May can use 2K as a quick low pressure starter. From there, she can gatling into 2D on hit for a knockdown, 6K or 5D for a high mixup, charge 5[D] for a very high risk, very high reward disrespectful mixup, or cancel into a special. May can also use 2K > 2K or 2K > delayed 2D as a frametrap. 2K connects at a range where S Vertical Mr. Dolphin's behavior can be difficult for the opponent to predict, which makes it a surprisingly strong follow-up option. At very close range, S Vertical Mr. Dolphin will connect on the way up (hit confirming into a knockdown and more or less safe on block at -3). At the middle of 2K's range, it will usually connect as an overhead, and at the very edge of 2K's range it usually whiffs, which sets up an unreactable high/low situation since May can use another 2K on landing. In most cases, May's goal when using 2K is to score a knockdown or confirm a frametrap, since the damage proration on 2K itself is so high that it will never result in a particularly damaging combo.
  • 5K: May's long-range pressure starter. May doesn't have as many follow-up options as she does from c.S, but she doesn't have to take as many risks or capitalize on an opponent's mistake to start pressure from 5K. Follow-up options include dash cancel > 623K, dash cancel > 66 BRC, 6H, 6[H], 3K, 5D, and jump cancel. 6H and 6[H] in particular can lead to a dangeorus guessing game where the opponent either respects the follow-up and gives May a reset or presses a button at the risk of a big counterhit. Other options are riskier and, with the exception of dash cancel > 623K, generally are not worth the risk without 50 meter to reduce the risk on block or increase the reward on hit.
  • c.S: May's high-damage pressure starter. May has a lot of options following c.S thanks to its frame advantage, including an immediate gatling into 6H as a frametrap, a delayed gatling into 5H or 2H as a frametrap, gatling into a high/low with 2D or 6K/5D/5[D], tick throws, jump canceling into an aerial attack or air throw, or using the advantage frames for pressure resets. Using a variety of these options is vital for May to overwhelm her opponent's ability to defend against them effectively. May gets her highest damage combos from c.S pressure, so any time she gets a counterhit or hit confirm, she can expect to deal about a third (midscreen) to half or more (corner wallbreak) of her opponent's health in damage with a meterless follow-up.
  • j.S and j.H (jump-in): May can use j.S and j.H as deep jump-ins to start pressure, since the hitstun from both moves can be enough to combo into c.S, particularly on counterhit. j.H is generally more effective at this, while j.S can be used from a greater height to beat risky (not 6P) anti-airs that are timed to beat a deep j.H for a counterhit. Both can be dash canceled into BRC for a fuzzy high/low setup against a cornered opponent. Follow-up options are the same as c.S or 2K, depending on which landing follow-up is used.

Air-to-Air

May has a potent air-to-air game when she holds her second jump/airdash for a hit confirm thanks to the launch trajectory and momentum from her j.D. This momentum is preserved if May uses a fast Roman cancel, which can lead to air combos with extreme corner carry.

  • j.P: May's j.P is good as a fast scramble or in situations where no other attack will be active fast enough to land a hit, but it has very little range and poor follow-up damage. May, like many characters, can use j.P>j.P>j.P>etc. for an easy, but not very damaging, wallbreak combo when she's near the corner with forward momentum.
  • j.K: May's j.K is her fastest air normal with good follow-up options. May's j.K works best against opponents that are slightly above her, but can hit opponents that are level with her or even below her if they are close enough. May's j.K has little knockback, so it can consistently cancel into j.D for a simple combo that can be extended using a jump cancel, airdash, or RRC.
  • j.S: May's j.S is quite slow (same startup as j.H), but hits opponents that are significantly below her, has less recovery than j.H and it doesn't extend her hurtbox by as much as j.H. Like May's j.K, her j.S has relatively little knockback, which makes canceling into j.D fairly consistent. In some situations, May can get a better combo by canceling into j.H > airdash or j.H>j.D instead, depending on positioning and momentum. Combo follow-ups are similar to May's j.K.
  • j.H: May's j.H is slow, huge, and has high knockback. It generally will not lead to a combo as an air-to-air hit without a counterhit or a cornered opponent. While it can hit from far away, characters with faster air-to-air attacks with similar reach, such as Ky, Ramlethal, Millia, or Zato, can easily counterhit May out of this attack. On counterhit, May can sometimes follow up with j.D > jc9 j.D, which can be extended using RRC. On corner hit, May can keep the opponent in the air by following up with j.D > 66 j.H > j.D or a similar extension, generally leading to a wall-break.
  • j.D: May's j.D is ridiculously disjoint and thrusts May up and forward. The attack will win against nearly any other attack from an opponent that is above and in front of May. May can jump cancel j.D, with her most consistent follow-ups being j.D > jc9 j.D or j.D > jc9 j.K > j.D. On a low counterhit, May has enough time to land and continue the combo on the ground.

Punishes

May's highest-damage punish options are c.S, 2H, and 6H, with 6H being especially effective against cornered opponents and 2H being somewhat more effective at mid-screen and significantly more useful when May is in the corner. c.S is good for baiting bursts, since May recovers in time to block a burst from the attack and, on high air hits, can delay the follow-up attack for a long time while without dropping a combo. May can use 5K as a faster mid-range punish or 2K or 5P as faster short-range punishes, with both leading into 3K for a knockdown.

Invulnerable Reversal

(j.632146H clash) Two hits are better than one!
  • The Wonderful and Dynamic Goshogawara (632146H/j.632146H): May's only invulnerable reversal, but a very good one to have. Hits twice, once on the way up as an invulnerable uppercut, and once on splashdown. Only the splashdown hit can wallbreak. The second hit will connect if the first does, even from a great height. May is not invulnerable during the splashdown, though the attack will continue regardless of whether May gets hit or not, which makes interrupting this overdrive very risky for May's opponent. In reversal trades, 632146H does reasonably well thanks to its generous invulnerability frames on startup, large hitboxes, lengthy vulnerable float (which avoids some super hitboxes), and second hit. If May has 100 meter, she can RRC on hit to start a very damaging combo or PRC at the maximum height of the attack on block to threaten a left-right mixup. In either case, May will hop off Goshogawara and the super attack will continue. May can also use 632146H to force a knockdown after a wall-break, and it is faster and easier to use for wall-breaking than her Great Yamada Attack. The aerial version of this attack (j.632146H) is similar in function to the grounded version, but notably does not hit opponents that are completely below May during ascent. May's j.632146H also has a niche use as a potent air combo finisher that can force wallbreaks from mid-screen.

Situational/Combo Fodder

  • 3K: May's 3K is a low-profile sliding low attack that gets a hard knockdown on hit. The low-profile can avoid many attacks, but takes a lot of frames to come out and has a short duration, which makes it less suitable for avoiding attacks or projectiles on reaction than 6P. 3K is an excellent gatling choice when using one of May's faster attacks to punish a whiffed or blocked attack to score a knockdown. While 3K can be used in neutral to surprise opponents and get a knockdown from farther than 2D can, it's punishable on block and does not trade well, which makes it risky to use in neutral.
  • 6K: May's quick overhead. It has the same startup as an uncharged 5D, but it has a better hurtbox, it has more subtle visual and audio cues, and it is relatively safe on block. May is airborne for most of 6K's startup and active frames, which allows May to avoid lows and throws. 6K has very little range, leads to very little without an offensive RC, and has initial proration, which greatly limit its usefulness outside of RC-based high/low mixups.
  • 2D: The range on May's sweep is frustratingly short, which means it's pretty much useless except for combos, RC-based high/low mixups, and blockstrings from 2K, c.S or a point-blank 5K. The only real benefit to using 2D instead of 3K in blockstrings is that it can safely special cancel into [4]6S on block or [2]8H on hit. Use 2K in neutral instead, since it's four frames faster, has about the same range as 2D, and gatlings into 2D or 3K anyways.
  • 5D: The range on May's universal 5D matches the animation and is surprisingly long. Like all characters, May's uncharged 5D is very unsafe on block and lacks follow-up options on hit without RRC, so it's only useful as a round-ending high/low mixup option. May's charged 5[D] behaves similarly to the rest of the cast, allowing May to press up to begin a homing jump combo on initial hit. May's homing jump combos do ridiculous amounts of damage since she can use j.D, her highest-damage air normal, where most characters would need to jump cancel. The reward May gets from connecting 5[D] is arguably worth the risk she takes and the mind games she needs to use to foil her opponent's defense, but like all characters, May's 5[D] is very easy to defend against and punish if used predictably.
  • j.2H: May's j.2H is a situationally effective mix-up tool that makes it difficult to anti-air her. When May uses j.2H, she slows her air momentum and rides her anchor to the ground. This forces May's opponents to either respect j.2H and block high or commit to a hard read anti-air when May still has her midair jump option. May's j.2H is also a decent left-right mixup attack following an airdash over her opponent. May can convert most air-to-ground j.2H hits into a knockdown with j.2H > 2K > 3K or start a blockstring with j.2H > 2K that leads into high/low pressure. The small hitbox and large hurtbox of May's j.2H make it easy to anti-air if May uses it too often, so it's best used sparingly or in situations where no other option will do a good job of maintaining May's pressure.
  • H Horizontal Mr. Dolphin ([4]6H): Totsugeki! May's signature delayed dolphin charge, hits from the same range as [4]6S. The startup on May's [4]6H is very slow and reactable, so May usually needs to mix [4]6H with [4]6S to command respect and keep her opponent from automatically interrupting [4]6H on reaction. Skilled opponents can tell the difference and consistently react to [4]6H with 6P, a low, or an invulnerable move, which can make [4]6H more or less useless except for combos. May is +5 on block when using [4]6H, so she is free to extend her pressure using attacks such as 5K, f.S, or [4]6S. May's [4]6H staggers on counterhit, and unlike [4]6S, May can dash in for an inescapable Overhead Kiss, which is one way she can get wallbreaks from her potent corner pressure.
  • P Arisugawa Sparkle (214P): While this attack is strong for okizeme and some OTG setups, it has far too much startup and far too little range to be useful in neutral.
  • K Arisugawa Sparkle (214K): May's "fireball." It has painfully long startup for its range, but May can try to use 214K as a poke from about three-quarters screen anyway. The projectile can be destroyed by any opposing attack. Because the attack starts above May's head, it fares reasonably well against IADs from its maximum range. Most characters have either fast movement speed, low-profile advancing attacks, anti-projectile tools, better long-range attacks, or some combination of these, which greatly limits the usefulness of 214K in neutral. May can use the advantage frames and projectile hitbox from 214K to advance in relative safety using S Horizontal Mr. Dolphin or a ground dash.
  • Great Yamada Attack (236236S): May's meme overdrive. Summons a gigantic pink whale that advances from May's side of the screen to the opponent's as a full-screen projectile that hits like a truck. May's 236236S has much less startup when used on May's side of the screen than the opponents. May's 236236S notably has a dead zone directly in front of May and offers no invulnerability, so it's very unsafe when used at close range without PRC. May's 236236S is used in some of May's highest-damage combos. The tumble state following a 236236S hit counts as airborne, which lets May continue the combo if she catches up to her opponent during the tumble. In neutral, the main use of 236236S is as a hard call-out against counterable air options while May is in the corner. When used to wallbreak, May needs to cancel into 236236S as soon as possible or her opponent will escape the wallsplat in time to block it. If May can't cancel into 236236S or use it almost immediately after her opponent's wallsplat, she will not be able to use it in time to wallbreak.

Pressure

Summary

At a distance, May can attempt to use 5K, 3K, IAD j.H, IAD j.2H, [4]6S or f.S > [4]6S to begin pressure. All of these options except 3K will lose to 6P, all except the IADs can be safely blocked low, the IADs and 5K > dash-in are very reactable, and 3K is very unsafe on block. At a slightly shorter range, May can attempt to use 2S > [4]6S, which will beat 6P while being safe on block, at risk of getting poked herself. This weakness in May's midrange pressure requires careful play in neutral to overcome against a skilled opponent.

May can use counterpokes and reactive play to secure a knockdown into pressure. In this situation, May can use 6P CH, 5H CH>[4]6H>5K>3K, [2]8S air hit, [2]8H air hit, and [4]6S CH > throw to get knockdowns from a safe distance, depending on her opponent's neutral tactics.

May can use rock-paper-scissors to threaten pressure after S Horizontal Mr. Dolphin, which will leave opponents feeling like it's never their turn when done correctly. Once May is close, she can use c.S to establish strike/throw pressure or 5P/2K to try for a quick knockdown into okizeme.

If May can get on top of her opponent, she can use c.S to start pressure, which has stronger and more varied follow-up options that are harder to defend against. May can also use 2K at close range to start low/high pressure against opponents who fall asleep on defense or who focus too much on strike/throw defense, or 2P or 5P to set up quick strike/throw mixups in situations where she is too far away or not at enough frame advantage to use c.S.

Detail

Blockstrings and Hit Confirms

2P/5P/2K Starter:

  • [2P or 5P]x(1-3) > [4]6S on block or 3K on hit: May mashes the attack. After connecting 2P on hit or block, May should continue the string with 5P for greater reach. May can end this attack string with 3K on hit for a knockdown or [4]6S on block. May needs three hits or blocked punches to charge a dolphin if she starts charging during the first punch.
  • 2P or 5P > 6P: A quick frametrap that is punishable on block.
  • 2P or 5P > 3K RRC or 6K RRC or 5D RRC: With 50 Meter, May can use 3K, 6K, or 5D to set up a quick low/high mixup. May can use RRC to safely cancel 3K on block, and she can use RRC to hit confirm any of these attacks into a combo. May can be pushed out
  • 66 2P or 5P > 623K or 4/6D: With forward momentum, May can use a single punch to set up a tick throw.
  • 2P or 5P > 66 623K or 66 4/6D: May can also dash after the punch into a throw, though this is slightly easier to react to on defense.
  • 2K > 2K: A simple, low-risk frametrap that conditions the opponent to block low.
  • 2K > 3K on hit: May can hit-confirm into 3K at any range where 2K connects, though hit-confirming from a single 2K is quite difficult.
  • 2K > 2D > [4]6S on block: At most ranges except for 2K's maximum range, May can gatling into 2D, and she can either take the knockdown on hit, combo into [2]8H on hit, or cancel into [4]6S on block.
  • 2K > 3K RRC or 6K RRC or 5D RRC: With 50 meter, May can set up a low/high mixup with 3K, 6K, or 5D that's threatening on hit thanks to RRC and safe on blocked 3K or 5D thanks to PRC.
  • 2K > 5[D]: A high-risk, high reward low/high mixup. Usually May needs to overwhelm or distract the opponent with other attacks or threats to have any chance of landing 5[D] because of how easy it is to block on reaction on its own.
  • 2K > [2]8S: Creates an ambiguous low/high mixup situation where May can either connect [2]8S while ascending, as an overhead, or whiff and follow up with 2K as a low depending on spacing. This is difficult for the opponent to react to and is especially rewarding when May can use RRC to hit confirm [2]8S. If [2]8S does not hit while ascending, this is not a true blockstring or frametrap, and opponents can escape by backdashing, moving backwards, or striking May during [2]8S, so avoid using this too often.

5K Starter:

  • 5K > dc 623K or dc 4/6D: May can attempt to dash-cancel 5K into a throw. The dash cancel is reactable and punishable, which means that May needs to surprise her opponent for the throw to succeed.
  • 5K > 6H or 6[H]: A wide frametrap. May's opponent can jab or use an invulnerable move to counterhit uncharged 6H, but when May throws in partially or fully charged 6[H], she can get big punishes against aggressive opponents who whiff or a guard crush against cautious opponents who keep blocking. When properly spaced, jabs will not hit May while she is charging 6[H]. While slower pokes can hit May if she charges 6[H], the risk of a big counterhit on uncharged or partially charged 6H often deters opponents from challenging the move. On normal block, May can use [4]6S as a frametrap or do nothing as long as she is far enough away to avoid a punish. On guard crush, May can use 214K or [4]6H to continue pressure.
  • 5K > 3K: May can hit-confirm into 3K at any range where 5K connects, though hit-confirming from a single 5K is quite difficult. With meter, May can blindly use this blockstring to catch opponents who are asleep on defense or trying to move after 5K and RRC to make 3K safe on block or get a combo on hit.
  • 5K > 5D RRC: May can threaten a high with 5D from shorter-range 5K attacks. This is only worth using when May has 50 meter to RRC a hit into a combo.
  • 5K > dc 66BRC: May uses the time slow from BRC to either counterhit an opponent who pressed a button or to do a high/low mixup against an opponent who kept blocking. It is possible for the opponent to jab May out of a follow-up 6K even during the slow effect, but May's faster attacks will be too fast to counterhit and the threat of a big counterhit during a BRC deters many opponents from trying abare attacks in this situation.
  • 5K > [4]6S: Generally May can't charge a dolphin solely during 5K's startup and hitstop, but if she began charging before the move was used this is an option.

c.S Starter:

  • c.S > 2H: Use immediately to build up RISC on block or slightly delay 2H for a frametrap. This is a very rewarding frametrap midscreen or when May is in the corner. It deals less combo damage on hit than 6H in the corner, but can frametrap 3-frame normals with good timing, unlike 6H. End the blockstring on [4]6S to end pressure safely.
  • c.S > 6H: This is a natural frametrap gatling when used with no delay. In the corner, May can convert this frametrap into a massively damaging combo on hit or counterhit. Without meter, May will not get as much out of this frametrap midscreen as 2H. As before, on block, May should end the blockstring with [4]6S to end pressure safely.
  • c.S > 5H: Use immediately to build up RISC on block or slightly delay 5H for a frametrap. 5H is safe on block against opponents without faster-than-average normals (4f or faster), which gives it a niche use against opponents who are very good at using IB against dolphin in blockstrings. Aside from that, there's usually not much reason to use this blockstring, since it is less rewarding than either 2H or 6H on hit.
  • c.S > 2D: Go for a low hit and knockdown. On block, end the blockstring with [4]6S to end pressure safely. On hit, May can convert into a combo with [2]8H.
  • c.S > 6K: Go for a high hit. Not very rewarding unless May has 50 meter, but relatively safe to end pressure at -2. With 50 meter, May can use RRC to convert a hit into a full combo.
  • 66 c.S > dl.c.S: May can use this route as a large frametrap and risky pressure extender from a point-blank c.S with forward momentum. May gets to start another blockstring on successful reset and a full counterhit combo on hit.
  • c.S > 66 c.S: May can use this route as a risky pressure extender. If May delays the dash until the end of c.S's recovery instead of dash canceling, she gives less time for her opponent to react to her movement, which makes the subsequent attack more likely to work. May gets to start another blockstring on successful reset.
  • c.S > 66 623K or 66 4D: A tick throw setup. If May delays the dash until the end of c.S's recovery instead of dash canceling, she gives less time for her opponent to react to her movement, which makes the tick throw more likely to work. 623K is most rewarding when May's opponent is in the corner, while normal throws are particularly useful for side-switching May's opponent into the corner.
  • c.S > dc BRC: Similar to the 5K setup, May sets up a high/low mixup using the time slow effect from BRC. Unlike 5K, c.S applies enough blockstun so that May's opponent can't abare out of any of May's fast follow-up options.

j.K, j.S, or j.H starter:

  • j.K or j.S or j.H > adc 66BRC > [j.K > land 2K] or [land 2K]: The left/right crossup part of a 4-way metered mixup. May can choose to either strike the opponent in the air or on the ground as a high/low frametrap. If May airdashes while above her opponent's collision box, she will cross up. When May starts with j.S, the follow-up j.K will be a true blockstring, while the follow-up 2K will be a frametrap. May needs to enter the BRC as soon as possible to make this blockstring into a useful frametrap. May can attempt to use j.H to start this high/low mixup as well, but she needs an exceedingly deep hit to cross up.
  • j.K or j.S or j.H > jc 22BRC > [j.K > land 2K] or [land 2K]: The same-side part of a 4-way metered mixup. May can choose to either strike the opponent in the air or on the ground as a high/low frametrap. May need to quickly enter the BRC to make this blockstring a useful frametrap. May can attempt to use j.H to start this high/low mixup as well, but she needs an exceedingly deep hit to connect the follow-up.

j.2H starter:

  • j.2H > 2K > many options: May uses jumps or airdashes to set up an ambiguous left-right crossup with j.2H. If the opponent fails to anti-air the initial hit, May can set up a series of high/low/throw mixups - ... > 66 623K or 4/6D for a tick throw, ... > 3K to hit confirm into a knockdown or as a high/low/low with meter to make it safe on block, ... > 5D for a high/low/high, or ... > [2]8S to set up an ambiguous high/low/high or high/low/low depending on distance. The 2K > 3K confirm may not hit with a max range 2K hit and unfavorable momentum. May can end on [4]6S for a lower-reward hit confirm in this situation instead, or as a relatively safe pressure ender. The number of possible follow-ups and distance from block pushback on the initial attacks makes defending against this pressure string on block exceptionally difficult as long as May varies her follow-ups.

Okizeme

May's powerful strike/throw pressure lets her apply simple okizeme with meaty c.S to great effect against opponents who cannot use a reversal. Against characters with meterless reversals (Sol, Ky, Chipp, and Leo), May can instead choose to throw or 623K on wakeup, which will beat these reversals if done correctly. Throw okizeme is also an effective way to punish players who are overly respectful of May's strike okizeme, and can condition them into jumping or mashing on wakeup instead.

Some knockdowns allow May to perform specific okizeme setups that are safer than c.S. Some of these setups are listed below:

2D Knockdown:

  • 2D > dl 214P or 214K > 66 > (214P or 214K blocked on wakeup) > c.S or 623K or 4/6D: A strike/throw setup that uses Arisugawa Sparkle to make wakeup reversal ineffective. If May runs in immediately, she can use c.S as a frametrap from the 214P on block or combo on hit. May needs to slightly delay a throw attempt (or the prior run-in) so that her opponent's throw protection will run out on block.

4/6D Knockdown:

  • 4/6D > 9 > 66 dl. j.2H 1: May's regular throw sets up a safejump using j.2H. May needs to delay the attack a bit so that it strikes late enough to connect with the opponent on wakeup. This can cross up on forward throws, but usually will not cross up on backward throws.
  • 4/6D > 214K > 66 > (214K blocked on wakeup) > c.S or 623K or 4/6D: The Arisugawa Sparkle setup can also work from a throw. In this case, May needs to use 214K to hit opponents who try to jump on wakeup, and needs to use the attack with no delay after the throw.
  • 2S OTG > [4]6H: Most commonly used after knockdown from a throw. You get free damage from the OTG and then plus frames from the H Dolphin. Note that it will lose to reversals - if they don't have the meter or a DP though, this is fairly optimal, as its basically free damage.


6P Counterhit Setup:

  • 6P (CH) > 214P or 214K OTG > [2]8H (whiff): May hits her opponent on the ground with Arisugawa Sparkle, then uses [2]8H to position herself next to the opponent. If executed correctly, this leaves May at about +8 frame advantage when her opponent recovers, which lets her run strike/throw pressure from a relatively easy anti-air counterhit.

623K Setups:

  • 623K > 5P > [4]6S (whiff): May chases her opponent following a midscreen 623K, then uses [4]6S to position herself next to the opponent. If executed correctly, this leaves May at +6 frame advantage when her opponent recovers, which lets her run strike/throw pressure from a midscreen command throw.
  • 4/6D > dl 214P or 214K > 66 > (214P or 214K blocked on wakeup) > c.S or 623K or 4/6D: The Arisugawa Sparkle setup can also work from 623K, though 623K will deal less damage than a regular throw.

May can choose to use 2K instead of c.S in all of these situations to threaten a low, though the significant loss in potential damage is not worth it unless the opponent is very low on health and will lose either way.

S Horizontal Mr. Dolphin RPS

When May uses S Horizontal Mr. Dolphin ([4]6S), and her opponent blocks, the opponent can follow up in a number of ways using the frame disadvantage that [4]6S gives up:

  • Hold block: The opponent is playing carefully and waiting to see what May will do.
  • Poke (usually f.S or 2S but character dependent): The opponent is aggressively trying to take a turn using the advantage frames.
  • Counterpoke (usually 6P): The opponent expects an unsafe pressure extension from May, and pre-emptively counterpokes it.
  • Jump: The opponent wants to reposition, usually to escape the corner but possibly as a hard read expecting May to jump.

May, in turn, can follow-up a blocked [4]6S in a variety of ways. In many cases, she can attempt to take her turn back by making a read and assuming some risk:

  • Hold block: May's safest follow-up. May gives up her turn but generally can't be punished for doing so. Helpful for learning what the opponent will do in the situation.
  • Backdash: An evasive follow-up. May tries to avoid an opponent's poke or counterpoke using the movement and invulnerability frames of her backdash. If the opponent whiffs, she can punish with [4]6S. This works best against opponents with short pokes (such as Chipp), and is countered by longer-range, slower pokes that can hit her backdash after its invulnerability frames (such as Ramlethal's f.S).
  • Jump backwards: An evasive follow-up. May tries to avoid an opponent's poke or counterpoke by jumping away. She can follow this with an attack or air movement option depending on what her opponent does. This tactic loses to pokes that can hit her pre-jump frames (any poke active on frame 9 or sooner that can reach, and most mid pokes that are active on about frame 11 or sooner).
  • Jump forwards: An aggressive follow-up. May tries to avoid an opponent's poke or counterpoke and position herself for a counterattack or continued pressure by jumping forward. This tactic loses to the same pokes that can hit a backwards jump as well as high counterpokes, and puts May at a disadvantage if her opponent does nothing (her opponent is in a good position to anti-air her) or jumps (her opponent is in the air with frame advantage).
  • 6P: An aggressive follow-up. May tries to counterpoke the opponent's mid poke. Loses to any low poke that can reach May, delayed mid pokes that strike after 6P's active frames, and whiffs against opponents that hold block, potentially resulting in a whiff punish on reaction.
  • 5K or [4]6S: A very aggressive follow-up. May tries to reset pressure despite being at -5 frame disadvantage. Counterhits delayed attacks (except 6P) and very slow buttons, and gets a reset against opponents who hold block. 5K is a stronger reset than [4]6S, but it's harder to capitalize on a counterhit 5K than a counterhit [4]6S. Loses to any sufficiently fast opposing attack (13 frames or faster), and consistently loses to opposing 6P. Opponents who jump will get out of the way, possibly putting May in the corner if she used [4]6S.
  • 2S: A very aggressive follow-up. May tries to counterhit the opponent's counterpoke despite being at -5 frame disadvantage. Counterhits 6P and stubby low counterhits, as well as very slow buttons, and gets a reset against opponents who hold block. Loses to any sufficiently fast opposing attack that can reach May (14 frames or faster). Opponents who jump will avoid the attack and gain an advantage against May.

Gimmicky Pressure

May has a lot of pressure options that, while costly or easy to counter, are unconventional and situationally very rewarding on success. May can often get away with these tactics against beginners or players who haven't seen the tricks, but they are very punishable or expensive if successfully countered or defended:

  • Dolphin spam: S dolphin spam loses to 6P and low pokes. Mixing in H dolphin is punishable with longer pokes or 6P on reaction. If May's opponent doesn't try to do either of these, it's free RISC, and if her opponent makes a mistake and gets counterhit, she can cash out for huge damage.
  • [4]6H > 5K > [4]6H > 5K > etc...: Sets up a seemingly endless, but fake, H dolphin loop. May's opponent can attempt to escape the loop by poking May out of H dolphin's startup, but May can counter this on read by using [4]6S instead of [4]6H. May's opponent can also attempt to escape using 6P against May's 5K, which May can counter on read with 2S instead of 5K. The loop ends if May confirms a Mr. Dolphin counterhit into Overhead Kiss or a throw, if she confirms any hit with RRC, if she gets hit, or if she uses [4]6S.
  • 2K > [2]8S (whiff) > 2K > [5]D: Hit at the edge of 2K's range to start a very cheeky low-high mixup. Relies on the opponent being overwhelmed by trying to block a fast low, then a fast high (that whiffs), then a fast low and catching the opponent blocking low. The follow-up combo can deal about 2/3 to 3/4 of the opponent's health. If May's opponent blocks the first low then walks away slowly or backdashes, the opponent can escape.
  • [2]8H (overhead hit) > jump/IAD forward: Easy to anti-air, especially with big buttons, but can lead to a disorienting mixup for May's opponent.
  • [2]8H (overhead hit) > j.K > land 5P > 3K (on hit): Situational frametrap from an overhead vertical dolphin block. Leads to a knockdown if confirmed.
  • 632146H > 66PRC: When used directly in front of the opponent, the drift PRC sets up a left/right mixup with either air backdash or no air backdash. May can mess with the timing of the backdash to fake out her opponent. May can try to do this at any point before the splashdown, but doing it later doesn't allow May as many opportunities to play mind-games. May can also cancel the forward PRC into a quick air button to make the mix-up more difficult to react to, and she can even cancel a neutral PRC during the early part of the overdrive to fling herself into a quick left/right mixup using its momentum. Recommend you reserve this option as a last ditch effort to close the round, or when you have Positive Bonus.
(Goshagawara cross-up) Late PRC to cross-up right before the splashdown.
  • [4]6S > 22RRC~5[D]: A very cheeky overhead from Horizontal Mr. Dolphin.
  • [4]6S > 88RRC~j.H: A quick overhead from Horizontal Mr. Dolphin. In corner this can lead into a wallbreak combo on hit.
  • [4]6S > 66RRC~2D: A quick low from Horizontal Mr. Dolphin. The RRC needs to be input as soon as possible after the dolphin hit or May will be airborne and perform j.D instead. In corner, this can lead to a wallbreak combo on hit.

Defense

May doesn't have much for character-specific defensive tools outside of her reversal overdrive. She will rely heavily on faultless defense, mash-outs, YRC, and counterhit 6P to escape pressure, depending on her opponent's pressure strings. May's best abare and quick punish attacks are 5P (speed), 2P (speed, better hurtbox than 5P), 2K (low profile, trades a little speed for a little reach), 5K (trades a lot of speed for more reach), and [4]6S (trades speed and a very poor hurtbox for a lot of reach). May has access to a mid-range hard knockdown from a command normal (3K), which she can use as a gatling after punishing with her fast punch or kick attacks to take her turn back. With 50 meter, May gains access to a reversal overdrive. In some matches, the threat of a reversal overdrive is enough to cause May's opponents to let off on pressure, which alleviates one of May's biggest weaknesses. If May's opponent doesn't respect this option when she has 50 meter, May can use it to deal a lot of damage and potentially steal a round from her opponent's pressure string or okizeme.

Meter Usage

May can deal a lot of damage and wall-break without meter, so she doesn't need to use it to increase her combo damage (though May can deal immense damage in some situations by spending meter). May becomes significantly more threatening when she has 50 meter to hit confirm easy-to-land attacks with RRC, which opens up opportunities in neutral against careless opponents for more damage and causes cautious players to play more passively. May can also use her meter to make up for her otherwise mediocre defense through Faultless Defense and YRC, or to open up her mid-range mixup game against opponents who are good at defense.


3K > 66RRC In Neutral

May can use run up 3K > 66RRC as a way to "skip neutral" / bypass the opponents pokes to either start her pressure or confirm into a somewhat scaled combo. Such as (3K > 66RRC > 6[H] > [4]6H) using 3K > 66RRC as a roundstart option after wallbreak is also somewhat strong, due to it bypassing predicted roundstart Dolphin counters, such as 6P and even some roundstart buttons, like Sol's f.SGGST Sol Badguy fS.pngGuard:
All
Startup:
10
Recovery:
13
Advantage:
+2

Fighting May

May's pressure resets are quick and can lead to huge RISC or a command throw on block. There are some specific points in May's pressure where you can consistently challenge her resets:

  • After fast (S) Horizontal Mr. Dolphin on block: You can play rock-paper-scissors with May to take your turn back. If May is not aware of the RPS, she may lock into one option that you can counter. Countering this choice will either force May to choose another option or block low. If she keeps playing RPS, you can respond in kind. If May starts low blocking in this situation, you've won and removed one of May's most annoying pressure extenders from the match. On instant block, you end up close enough to May to punish her with a quick attack.
  • On reaction to slow (HS) Horizontal Mr. Dolphin: You can poke May out of this attack with 6P or a low poke. Blockstrings that lead into this attack generally leave wide gaps, and it is very reactable both in blockstrings and in neutral.
  • During 5K frametraps: The upper body invulnerability of 6P makes this an effective abare option against May's 5K.
  • After 5K dash-in: If you react to the dash-in, you can mash out of it. If you're bold and quick to react you can even punish May with a full c.S combo.

May can set up many frametraps in her pressure outside of these situations using dolphins and beefy normals, so mashing out of her pressure is very risky and the risk/reward is skewed heavily in May's favor.

May's Horizontal Mr. Dolphin has a fairly large hurtbox, and its hitbox does not hit low-profile characters. 6P and low pokes are most effective at stopping it. That said, its speed and range mean May excels at counterhitting slow normals in neutral and whiff-punishing attacks from a distance. Try to keep track of when May could have a charged dolphin ready and ensure that you use your neutral options carefully so that she doesn't get free dolphin hits against you.

May often uses Horizontal Mr. Dolphin in corner pressure. You can use this against her by jumping over the dolphin (particularly the slow HS version) on reaction, which will put May in the corner and you in an ideal position to begin corner pressure of your own.

May's jump-ins are not disjoint and can easily be challenged with 6P or other anti-air disjoints, especially once May has used up her second jump or airdash and her jump trajectory is set. May will often try to bait anti-airs with late second jumps, so be patient and wait for May to commit before going for an anti-air. May's j.D has a lot of recovery, so even if she uses it to avoid 6P, she will not be able to punish the whiff.

You can escape from counterhit S Horizontal Dolphin's stagger in time to jump out of a follow-up Overhead Kiss. Practice the stagger event to consistently get a perfect press (you'll see a solid gold button) and avoid one of May's biggest punishes!

Without 50 meter, May doesn't have many defensive options. If you can pressure her in this situation, keep it up and press your advantage!

Resources

Anti-May Guide by TempestNYC: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1Ig-TpIEh3gcvDRkyhw8f54yK4U3q6GAABOmd17WAGdY/edit

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