Abigail's V-Trigger 2 in Street Fighter 5: Arcade Edition isn't broken... but it's pretty damn strong

Here's what all the hoopla is about

Posted by Steven 'Dreamking23' Chavez • January 30, 2018 at 7:53 p.m. PST | Comments: 63

Abigail's V-Trigger 2 in Street Fighter 5: Arcade Edition is... pretty strong.

If you've been tuned into the competitive side of the game since the update's launch earlier this month, you've probably heard as much about the towering titan's new move.

When Trigger 2 is activated, Abigail gains access to a powerful shoulder tackle that can absorb an infinite amount of hits when fully charged, is safe on block (with all levels of charge), quickly closes the distance between him and his opponent, can be used for combos, and is difficult to get away from.

This attack undoubtedly has a lot going for it, and there has been a bit of a knee-jerk reaction to this V-Trigger 2 in the fighting game community. While Abigail's numerous buffs have contributed to belief that he is now one of the top tier characters in the game, it is V-Trigger 2 specifically that is being referred to as "broken" and "over powered" by many.

Now, I have been a serious Abigail main since his Season 2 release back in July of last year, so I am confident in my knowledge of the character. With that said, I will be doing my best to break down what V-Trigger 2 is all about, why it's deemed so strong, and hopefully provide some information that may not be taken into consideration when falling deep into the hoopla.

Why is it strong?

Abigail's V-Trigger 2 gives the powerful combatant a quick way in. Up close is where Abby wants to be, and with this shoulder tackle, he can get into prime position with the push of two buttons, all the while plowing through oncoming attacks if his timing is right.

On top of that, Trigger 2 can be activated from nearly all of Abigail's attacks -- this includes special moves. Using it to cancel an Abigail Punch, then continuing the sequence with another Abby Punch into tackle not only tacks on the damage, but puts him back into the position he wants and can even be used to set up traps for when the opponent gets up.

The most frequent complaint I hear about it, though, is how difficult it is to stop. With a full charge, Abigail breaks his opponent's guard and leaves them susceptible to a big, albeit heavily damage scaled punish. A full charge also has hyper armor during the charge up phase as well as while Abigail is rushing forward, making it hard to counter.

All versions of the tackle are safe on block too, with level 2 leaving Abigail at an advantage. A tackle that isn't fully charged can be stopped with a single hit when Abigail is moving forward, but due to how fast it travels and his ability to change up the timing, it often becomes a guaranteed way in for Abby.

Why isn't it broken?

Despite how incredibly ridiculous the move sounds based on what I just described (and seeing it in action), I still don't feel it's broken.

Though some people believe that Abigail is a "dumb" or "brain dead" character that is easy to win with or gets free wins, any serious Abigail player will tell you otherwise. Abigail is hard to play competitively, and not only requires strong reads on opponents, but strong execution and patience.

You've probably seen clips where an Abigail player blocks an opponent's EX reversal, then proceeds to take 80% of the opponent's health with a single combo. While it's absolutely true that those sequences are devastating, that damage output is a key component to his existence for a number of reasons.

For starters, the same thing that Abigail excels at in Street Fighter 5 is what he's weakest to.

Once he gets up in his foe's grill, he can end a round in just a matter of seconds. This exact thing can be done to him when he gets smothered, as he doesn't have strong defensive options (outside of Critical Art).

There are also several match ups that can put Abigail into a position where there isn't much he can do to get in. If the opponent has a decent understanding of how to stop his run (fun fact: walking back is a good counter in many cases), you'll find yourself sitting full screen away from Guile or Menat without much hope of closing the gap, especially with low health and/or a lack of resources.

Arcade Edition also added new V-Triggers for everyone on the roster, and many characters were given tools that hit two or more times. A move like Dhalsim's Trigger 2 places a slow moving projectile in play that has at least five hits attached to it, making it a huge hindrance to Abigail.

Abigail's attacks absorb three hits at most, so without V-Trigger 2 he'd find himself in even more spots where getting in is almost unfairly difficult.

Though V-Trigger 2 does good damage, it's not on the level of V-Trigger 1. Sacrificing that explosive damage output for a more consistent way in is fair, and something that Abigail should definitely have.

It's still early

Another very important thing to keep in mind is the fact that it's still very early into Arcade Edition's life. Counters for Abigail's V-Trigger 2 aren't readily apparent, but that doesn't mean they don't exist.

We're already seeing players come up with ways to get around the powerful attack or stop it in its tracks. This video from The Laboratory covers three different tactics that can help deal with Trigger 2 and with several characters -- without using meter.

In addition to these maneuvers, Critical Arts will counter Abigail's V-Trigger 2. It's also worth noting that blocking can be effective against the tackle as only the fully charged version will break guard.

Since a full charge takes several seconds, there is often enough time to see it's coming and jump over (if you decide to stand your ground and block).

Our very own John "Velociraptor" Guerrero has been spending time trying to break down Abigail's V-Trigger 2 as well. Instead of being in the driver's seat like me, he's gotten good experience fighting against it and here's what he thinks about the move so far.

Velociraptor's thoughts

I think it's very important to start by refreshing our minds with the caveat that early tech in new versions of fighting games, while often indicative of where things will generally go, is rarely as potent as emotional, knee-jerk reactions will preach that it is.

Even before Arcade Edition actually dropped there was plenty of talk about Abigail becoming a monster of a character based on on-paper patch notes. Indeed we are seeing him do better both online and in our first AE tournaments as we saw AB|StormKubo and DNG|Itazan both reach top 8 at EVO Japan, and LPN take first at Genesis.

One thing to keep in mind is that it's very common to see grappler type characters emerge as very strong early on, simply because people are not yet accustomed to dealing with day one gimmicks that are eventually nullified. In the meantime, grapplers hurt a lot if you don't know how to field them, and I'm sure Abigail is riding that wave to an extent right now.

Specifically focusing on his now infamous V-Trigger 2, I will admit that on paper, it already looks overpowered. Abby can do it three times with a single gauge, it's never unsafe, and has 99 hits of armor and guard breaks when charged. Add on top that it's versatility extends into combos and that it can be canceled into Critical Art and you do indeed seem to have an OP move on your hands.

Numerous tech videos have been released showing how some characters can deal with this move, usually by avoiding it via aerial movements or low profiles, though the risk vs. reward is still almost always heavily in Abigail's favor when he simply tosses it out.

As a Necalli player, I found the only consistent solution (outside of stocking my own CA and holding onto it to deter him from using VT2) was to stock an EX DP that I could use on reaction should I ever see my opponent begin charging the attack. At best, this will allow me to pass over Abby and then punish his recovery, while at worst the VT2 still catches my non-invincible frames.

It's not an amazing answer, but it is something. Given Capcom's more recent attention to balance and such, I have a hard time seeing them simply throw an over the top OP move into SF5. I know they've done such things before, (shout outs to Abel's "Breathless" (read: Brainless) Ultra 2 in Super SF4 or half of Yun's moves in SF4AE) but I'd like to imagine we're beyond that.

With many top Abigail players actually opting to still use V-Trigger 1, I'd be willing to bet that VT2 is more of a gimmick that we'd think. We'd expedite the process toward finding more solutions and counters by avoiding the victim mentality that simply writes it off as an unstoppable move that we couldn't possibly deal with.

In the end I wouldn't be surprised to see Capcom nerf at least one of this technique's multiple strong properties, if nothing else for the sake of lower level players, but I also don't think it's quite as bad as people are making it out to be.

At the end of the day, I don't believe Abigail's V-Trigger 2 is broken. The attack is most definitely strong, but it isn't going to propel bandwagoners to first place at EVO based on its strength alone.

If you don't put in the time to really learn how to play the character, V-Trigger 2 will only take you so far. On top of that, we're already starting to see counters to it surface.

In a few month's time, I don't think we'll be seeing quite as much of Abigail as we are now.

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