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Kid Icarus Uprising manages an innovative idea in the form of the power system. What makes it cool from day one is that it proves to be a happy medium for knockback immunity. I could go into detail, but I'll just point out the big cool part about it: nobody is forced to have KB immunity, and anybody who chooses to not have it is effectively rewarded with more tools. As long as I don't end up flinching every time I get hit, I feel a lot better than I do about Super Smash Bros. and its unconditional flinching problems.

However, I actually got worried that the extra tools would end up being excessive, and my worries about that seemed justified for a time. Fortunately, the power system managed to address the very problems it brings up. Super Speed gives powers like Aries Armor and Trade-Off severe problems, though it fails to completely address the bigger issue that is kiting, because the tagging ability it provides is still hard to manage, and power-boosted kiting can make things into an even bigger nightmare. That ends up being okay, because the power system turns out to have a way to make kiting suffer by making abuse of its mere point a deathtrap: Black Hole.

Black Hole's stats

Before we can even talk about Black Hole's usefulness, we have to provide stats:

  • Charges: 2 (level has no effect)
  • Spaces: 5+L
  • Line Power?: Never
  • Death recovery value requirement: 233 at all levels
  • Duration per charge: 4 seconds at all levels
  • Damage: (0.8+0.2L) (* 8)
  • Deployment Range: ~15m regardless of level
  • Pull Range: ~15m regardless of level, rendered useless by KB immunity

The damage is irrelevant, because Black Hole is a support power, so unless pull strength is strengthened or there is something I'm missing, I don't see a point in leveling BH up for non-grid reasons. There is no indication that it is better by enough to justify even one additional space per level. Consequently, Black Hole 3 is only better than Black Hole 1 if you somehow have 2 useless spaces in the most convenient positions. Black Hole 4 does have a useful shape going for it compared to the U shape that other Black Hole levels have, but none of the Black Hole levels require a full line, so that is unlikely to justify the 3 extra spaces.

Otherwise, the stats in general are otherwise standard. So how can Black Hole manage to stand out enough to set a new standard for the metagame? Well, let's get to that.

The big deal

Kiting is the act of consistently staying in a range where you can attack but the opponent can do nothing but take the abuse. Sound like it's a desperate lack of effort and imagination? Trust me: I was flying-happy as a kid. It was in fact the initial reason I got into the Kirby games, and what keeps me from being annoyed by it at this point is that Kirby's form of flying reduces his movement speed. Add to it that bosses have anti-air and immunity to air puffs, and you can see that it gets checked reliably enough. What makes flying appealing in the first place? It's versatile evasion, which makes it a strong form of kiting. So I was able to learn how to kite AS A KID. That simply proves that kiting is uncreative.

Of course, kiting, though uncreative, is there all the same to be an aggravation. This alone justifies me putting better defensive power boosts on weapon types that are easier to kite. Trying to win early against any opponent who is even halfway competent is a farce, simply because they can just as easily be better at doing THAT. Surviving until something comes up becomes an absolute must, or else the whole thing boils down to dumb body advantages. Defensive power proves to be VERY helpful about that, but it only proves to be relative, because the attacking opportunity still can never come up. Something has to make sure to create it.

This is where Black Hole comes in.

Used properly, Black Hole instantly stops the opponent from being able to move, preventing their escape and making it easy to nail them with your strongest hit. This seem cheap? Yeah, guess what? Kiting is cheap in and of itself. Black Hole is anything but cheap, I'll get to that, but it certainly doesn't create a play cheap to beat cheap metagame. Kiting creates a dumb body advantage expectation so it ends up being shallow.

With the opponent stumped, the user can now actually pull a direct hit on their opponent. The short duration means that BH provides only one opportunity to attack, so it can't be wasted, but it doesn't change that stronger melee weapons like clubs can use Black Hole to kill foes quickly on catch. This means that unless you have suitable defensive power, higher attack power weapon users have to be killed fast enough or they WILL use Black Hole to snare you, and weapon types with higher base attack power can afford to put on defenses to stop THAT.

Checks and counters

You'd think with this level of apparent cheapness, everybody, not just me, would run armor clubs with Black Hole at the first opportunity, which would get the brokenness of other things such as Warp and Evasion +3/4 noticed faster. Why didn't it happen? Because Black Hole, even with proper banning applied (Warp, Playing Dead, and Evasion +3/4 all deserve to be banned, I'll get to that), has plenty of checks and counters. The pattern? PRETTY MUCH ALL OF THEM POWERS. They have the check to themselves that they do not last forever like mods do. (Evasion +3/4 is actually a mod easily used to humiliate Black Hole, but inherently humiliates various things in general that shouldn't be humiliated, and needs to go.) Most powers that check it do so by providing KB immunity, as the pull won't affect anybody under KB immunity. Each power also has a problem that makes it still vulnerable or not able to boost kiting naturally.

TLDR: Black Hole's checks and counters only really neutralize Black Hole than truly boost kiting, thus weakening the kiting potential of anybody capable of being a threat to a Black Hole setup.

Discounting Evasion +3/4, there are only two checks against Black Hole that aren't powers: defensive power mods and club abilities. Let's see what keeps them from rendering Black Hole useless:

  • Defensive power mods are not useful for kiting, because the whole reason why kiting is abusive is because it prevents the abuser from ever getting hit, when defensive power is useless if you never get hit to begin with. Even though the BH KOing would be given problems, kiting ability ultimately gets castrated in order to keep that from happening, creating some vulnerability to Super Speed.
  • Clubs on standard have big shots with 4-5 Shot Cancel, as well as good close range ability is why they can stave Black Hole, even ignoring that KB immunity powers are natural choices for them due to the lack of rapid fire and the painfully long charge times for their only projectiles. However, clubs are easily harassed for that very reason in combination with generally bad mobility, so getting close to them isn't a nightmare. The clubs that do have working mobility have their own problems: Magnus can't snipe anything, period, making BH unnecessary beyond defensive play; Ogre has iffy shot power which makes the melee (however strong) critical, making BH again unnecessary beyond defensive play; and Atlas lacks innate Slip Shot, when Slip Shot is expensive to begin with (that actually is relevant, I'll get to that), so its own sniping ability ultimately suffers.

Here's a list of powers that do something against Black Hole used by somebody with KB immunity and easy Effect Recovery usage (Super Armor, Counter, and Effect Recovery are ALL on my armor club set):

  • Jump Glide - KB immunity, low space cost
    • Flaw: mobility is set
  • Angelic Missile - KB immunity
    • Flaw: mobility is set
  • Super Speed - KB immunity, cost-efficient
    • Flaw: line power, escape isn't easy to control (though any damage taken is reduced)
  • Warp - teleport to different location
    • Flaw: none, really, except deserving to be banned for VARIOUS reasons
  • Reflect Barrier - protects against shots
    • Flaw: stationary defense, doesn't protect against club swinging
  • Libra Sponge - KB immunity
    • Flaw: high space cost, useless if getting hit doesn't happen
  • Interference - prevents activation, low space cost
    • Flaw: bad against problems caused by easy-hit weapons
  • Virus - deters distance closing
    • Flaw: high space cost, line power
  • Super Armor - KB immunity
    • Flaw: above average space cost for being useless if getting hit doesn't happen
  • Brief Invincibility - KB immunity
    • Flaw: low duration
  • Lightweight - makes BH harder to aim
    • Flaw: reduced defensive power (Mega Laser says hi), above average space cost, relies entirely on throwing off the BH
  • Trade-Off - KB immunity
    • Flaw: duration can be shortened by the user's health being reduced potentially forcing early using, death trap if it fails to deal sufficient damage in the duration, can't even use multiple times in a match, VERY high space cost, line power requiring full row AND column
  • Aries Armor - KB immunity
    • Flaw: VERY high space cost, line power requiring full row AND column
  • Bumblebee - can teleport out of Black Hole
    • Flaw: very conditional about it, Bumblebee can be turned into a deathtrap against BH instead
  • Counter - KB immunity, low space cost
    • Flaw: forced auto-aiming when the user is hit, useless if getting hit doesn't happen
  • Playing Dead - KB immunity
    • Flaw: considerable space cost, become immobile for its duration (this doesn't, however, make legalizing it a good idea)
  • Pisces Heal - prevents KO (kills the BH use's mere point)
    • Flaw: high space cost, doesn't recharge upon death
  • Celestial Fireworks - VERY low spaces per charge value, Tanooki Invincibility
    • Flaw: immobile moment past invincibility frames

So not counting Warp and Playing Dead, that's 16 powers that can be used to put a damper on Black Hole. And whaddyaknow, all of them have some form of checks. But they still work well enough to prevent Black Hole from being used mindlessly. Just the mere existence of powers like Super Armor prevents it from being used at the get-go, and admittedly prodded me to dump it so stupidly from my armor club set before because I was thinking in absolutes. I put it back on when I realized how dumb that was because armor is something I should be naturally contesting, and let me tell you that the results were well beyond my expectations.

The good thing about BH

When I originally dumped Black Hole, it was because it did nothing to armor guys. The innate problem with this is that I should be naturally hitting armor guys to begin with, so what I did ultimately proved to be stupid. When I realized this, I put BH back on my armor club set. I wasn't expecting anything good enough, but when I went through randoms, I got results my older armor club power setups could only DREAM of.

As it should be talked about, Energy Charge setups tend to not have KB immunity powers, because if they do, they are expecting to get hit, and if you ever get hit with Energy Charge active, the EC goes away. This keeps KB immunity in general from having synergy with EC, especially because EC costs plenty of spaces, and so do most KB immunity powers, Counter being an exception but THAT is still useless if the user doesn't get hit. And usually, those setups are leveled to keep the 1HK attempts a consistent threat. Consequently, they're not only usually reliant on the Energy Charge (I have Mega Laser for that), but don't even have protection against Black Hole whatsoever. As a result, Black Hole punishes Energy Charge setups for trying to pull dedicated kiting shenanigans.

What particularly impressed me, however, was that Aries Armor/Trade-Off sets particularly suffer. Super Speed makes it VERY easy to escape the ultra armor power, which results in an 8 space advantage. Black Hole covers for 6 of those 8 spaces, which means that Aries/TO has to guard FURTHER against Black Hole despite STILL having a 2 space disadvantage, so I have a 5 space advantage at minimum then. 22 spaces with no line power availability is going to struggle to do any kiting (aside from Warp stupidity) that can stump Super Speed AND Mega Laser easily. If they try too hard, of course, camping can be used to stall powers, end result being that the tag power protection gets wasted.

That's the thing: the armor club user can simply read the opponent's power grid to determine what to do to destroy it. To counter this, sets have to have working ways to punch through the armor club user's expected defenses AND ways to protect themselves from BH itself. Anything less and they're begging to get camped.

Because the armor club user benefits from camping due to clubs' high base attack power, their defensive power is made a useful advantage: they can use it to survive abuse while waiting for the opponent to run out of protection. Opponents in general can't replicate it because they lack the attack power to make Black Hole their own useful weapon without abusing mod focus. Opposing clubs actually have non-power protection against Black Hole due to being able to match net power, but they're generally reachable in and of themselves, so that balances itself out. The armor club setup itself is safe from opposing use anyway, since KB immunity powers are already a cornerstone for it.

More importantly, thanks to Black Hole cramping kiting with an effective time limit, it ends up doing one very useful thing that highly benefits the armor club user: allowing them to finally ID kiting forms. Without proper IDing, the kiter can do about anything to win, and the armor guy is incapable of fighting back with proper positioning to stop the anti-armor threats. As a result of being able to work as a ticking time bomb to end that horrible imbalance, the armor club guy is given a renewed hope that results in shot speed no longer being blurred to them. With this, it becomes easier to deal with a given weapon's shots, gimping their damage input.

No longer is virtually any individual matchup capable of being completely lopsided in favor of the opposition to the armor club. I have actually defeated Death Predators because they could not kite me brutally. They can't do anywhere near 225 before defenses damage to me using the backshot because I typically have an armor power active to begin with, which means that I barely take the early damage before getting out of the hitbox before the big punishment comes in. The Death Predators tend to have mod focus going on to be able to pull their shenanigans, so not having high protection against tag powers ends up being fatal. This is a blatant example, because the Death Predator's infamy results from the backshot outright hounding its prey to make it undodgeable, you'd have to see it to believe it, and have fun trying to Shot Cancel the backshot and its 45 Stamina. Though whaddyaknow, IDing in tandem with armor usage turns out to end up protecting me from such a big threat.

For anybody who wishes to try the time bomb armor club setup, there's also a few tactics that come up as a result of Black Hole being used to stop kiting:

  • Grid reading - Because Black Hole is countered by powers, you want to check what powers the opponent uses and how much space those powers use. Keeping track of minimums keeps the opponent from throwing you off, though if you're up for the risk, you can go ahead and guess if something is more leveled than you have seen. Ultimately, you want to BH as soon as the opponent's protection is gone so that it is never wasted. If you need a list of minimums, here you go:

https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/ccc?key=0Ajxa2ILc_Q6ddEl6b3hDYzdRNUFzZlJNWHpNVllZTmc&usp=sharing

  • Super Speed setups - Black Hole may devastate anybody who is out of powers, but you have to draw those powers into use if you want that to ever happen. Luckily, Super Speed is very useful for that: you take halved damage, move very fast, and have a much easier time using both the dash attack (which is used if you're not charged) and the forward shot (generally THE strongest projectile for a club). Proper reading results in the forward shot hitting the opponent too. And with good start positioning, Super Speed provides for working tagging. As a result, the opponent has to guard against sudden Super Speed attacks, and this inevitably leads to power usage to avoid an early demise. And Super Speed doesn't necessarily have to be used, just kept around. If it works out as a simple psychological weapon, it serves a useful purpose already.
  • Counter And Run - Basically, when the opponent uses buffs, you use Counter, which already has better duration per space at L1 (10 seconds per space is good) than most powers do at max level; and then run away. If you're expecting that the opponent is wanting to go in for the kill and can reasonably do so, Super Armor, which at level 2 (the level I use) has about equal or better duration per space (5 seconds per space) compared to key threat powers and multi-buffing, is an acceptable substitute, but Counter is better in general for this because you get a free projectile when you get hit, and the retreating should let you restrict the opponent's ability to snipe you reliably to rapid fire, preventing them from causing you severe damage. The purpose of this? To keep the buffs from being able to do any serious damage. Making their damage input cry when it's already critical ends up punishing them for fighting you at long range. Watch out: this tactic is passive so some aggression has to be kept ready to support it by giving it some spacing.
  • Super Speed Dancing - I already talked about Super Speed above, but despite this being a recent idea, Super Speed Dancing warrants its own point. Of course, I currently have to think of how to both implement AND apply it properly. But the idea is that you would use the technique to turn staving Super Speed into guesswork. By doing this, you'd have more viable positions for Super Speed, and more importantly, they can't stump you out of a tag so easily. The requirement for efficient usage of this tactic against melee guys isn't high, but it's more complex AND necessary for snipers, since those jokers could carry Reflect Barrier without losing too much in the way of anti-claw defenses.

Very likely effects on the metagame

As you can determine, the standard of anti-armor needed to win is increased to something much more acceptable. Players would have to dedicate their sets to handling anti-armor, trapping, and tag power protection all at the same time. Managing all 3 in a sufficient amount would result in giving up space on the power grid, consequently destroying the opponent's ability to kite mindlessly.

This means that resource management would become a more key skill. Without it, you will have too little time, attack power, or trapping ability to kill the armor club user. And in case you decide to do something like be overly reliant on deception, the armor club user can in turn do grid reading in order to determine weaknesses in your setups. I have a sheet for info relating to that here: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/ccc?key=0Ajxa2ILc_Q6ddEl6b3hDYzdRNUFzZlJNWHpNVllZTmc&usp=sharing

However, people could mistake anti-armor for boosting one move too much. This would be a fatal mistake of overthinking, because armor clubs can just look for which moves are likely to be boosted on that dumb thought process and proceed to make a mockery of that.

Let me summarize: in a good metagame, a good player would have minimum three forms of anti-armor under their proper control, more being preferable but no need to make players push themselves too hard; and then not underestimate armor foes anyway. If only two is expected, one of them could be a kite-friendly one that allows for the second one to be a mere bonus. Having three expected means that one kite-friendly method will not determine a matchup or anything stupid, and two of such will inevitably create a common weakness guaranteed to be exploited, so players would want to keep their anti-armor organized, which is done by playing smart.

Anyway, that out of the way, I'm going to point out that my Tankscraper has a lot of fun with people having 300 Value weapons with NO defensive power boosts to support them. It uses the Black Hole timebomb setup to obliterate any low defense pest it wants while the opposition struggles to kill the bloody thing. Even though it doesn't 1HK, nothing 1HKs the thing without severe strain either, and believe me, I've been hit head-on with a Trade-Off Taurus Arm setup--which actually proves that something about it needs to be banned because it mocks things like the Darkness power--it had failed to kill me, and I ultimately got the KO because the blow was late into Trade-Off's duration thanks to Super Speed. Usually, the 1HK setups have as much depth as the players behind them too, so when something resists them, they don't have anything to protect them.

Summary is, high Value now becomes a nasty weakness because avoiding abuse without fail becomes a nightmare.

Suddenly, now there's a lot more hope for low Value weapons being usable. This especially applies for low Value clubs, which had the problem that they're easily kited safely regardless. Paladin clubs (which is to say clubs with high defensive power used well) setting the bar means two things for low Value clubs: 1) Low Value clubs can contest paladin clubs naturally, since if they get hit for KO themselves, the penalty isn't nearly as severe. This prevents paladin clubs from wanting to rush them because they don't want to waste powers on killing infantry weapon wielders. Consequently, low Value clubs can focus on tag powers to deal with everything else. 2) Tag powers being useful in and of themselves means that low Value clubs can actually fight back against everything else. And considering that my Tankscraper is efficient primarily because the defensive power does cancelling out against the 1HK land, rather than having any high star values, it's not a stretch to imagine that low Value Clubs would be equally efficient when they have their power grid improve their hit/evade mix to address 1HK sniper jackholes better.

I don't see a single power that Black Hole would render useless. I think that Health Recovery and Power Thief can both be used in fact as more usable powers. Health Recovery could be used to weaken grid reading, since it's 2+2L spaces, 3 charges on every level, and the only way to determine level well is by looking at its duration, which can be interrupted by hitting the guy in the first place. I expect that it would be on a high Value weapon that has high defensive power, because the 1HKs would be prevented, and the healing would end up restoring more Value worth of damage.

Power Thief would be even more of a threat, because the thing actually DOES steal charges rather than simply copy them, contrary to what was previously believed. This is a big difference against my Tankscraper set as a key example: rather than that Mega Laser or Black Hole could be used by the opponent for painfully low worth against me giving the opponent considerable luck problems to worry about, I actually lose the respective charge, which hurts my ability to trap the joker later on. (This also hurts Trade-Off usability on melee sets: PT a suspected TO set and pressure it into wasting the TO.) And since Effect Recovery is bad at baiting it off because higher space powers are more likely to get their charges taken, Power Thief can thus reliably turn ANY melee attack against me into a problem. Mega Laser being hocked is my best case halfway-reliable scenario if I get hit by melee, because that doesn't hurt my ability to use BH as harshly as ANY of the other power thefts except ER. So you can ultimately see why PT costs a full line. The good news for my fighting back is, to melee me, the opponent has to get close, and everything about that is self-explanatory when PT doesn't even give them a stat boost.

PT would be ideal on a weapon with VERY Value efficient defensive power. I'm talking no weaker than competing with the Tankscraper and its take effectively sub-100 Value damage that doesn't even get close to KOing when it gets hit by a 225 damage attack shenanigans. This would allow the Power Thief user to get close and work its magic on the bigger threats: snipers who naturally want to try to stay away. Just remember: for a counter to matter, it has to be viable by doing more than countering the particular threat to your setup. You don't want it to be useless in case it knuckles under against its intended target. You want to make sure it works against OTHER things, so that its usage flows naturally.

I don't know what else would happen, but I doubt the cons will outweigh the pros. The pros make themselves readily apparent, that's for sure.

Still needing bans stuff

Black Hole does, of course, improve things, but there are problems that can stump it to the point where its surprising depth ends up not meaning a thing. There aren't too many things that need to go, but they are still there, and will be listed first.

Evasion +3/4 is a mod that allow for indefinite invincibility when dodging. I have seen this make a brutal mockery of powers that do not deserve it. Heavenly Light and Mega Laser have certainly been sponged by Evasion +3/4, and Black Hole suffers too. This is unacceptable because mods are not supposed to be powerful enough to completely stall powers. They are supposed to be weaker because they're infinite duration. Evasion +3/4 is too strong for that and needs to go. And I'll just summarize another banworthy reason: it abuses the fact that being near an opponent sets the dodge flag. Have fun, cannons and staves.

Actually, considering how easy it actually is to fast dodge, Evasion + as a WHOLE may need to be banned, period, simply to prevent people from destroying powers by mindlessly mashing the analog stick.

Update: tests have been done. +2 is capable of complete invincibility with dash-around spam. +1, however, Black Hole actually has its vacuum punch right through the dash-around spam. +1 is okay to have legal as a result, but +2 (and above, obviously) needs to go.

Another mod that is just begging for being banned is Shot Range +. For only 35 Value, a given weapon gets 60% more range. The problem? Most weapons with anywhere above 50 meters worth of base range can't make use of that extra range on decent maps, when those weapons tend to have weaknesses to get that extra range to begin with. Now this doesn't seem like a big deal, but then you realize that some weapons benefit from Shot Range + for even more reasons, namely that the damage reduction for certain weapons (CAPRICORN CLUB) is slower, and that certain weapons have more looping opportunity. Again, the higher base range weapons have counterbalancing weaknesses, but with their range being rendered redundant, the SR+ weapons now have a blatant advantage. I don't even know what the developers' mindset was with the math, because Shot Cancellation +1 is about 42 Value, for good reason. Shot Range + simply has ridiculous amounts of Value efficiency. And don't claim that some weapons need it, banning Shot Range + also weakens their more OP competition. Shot Range + also makes the Predator Cannon unfair against anything that doesn't use an armor power: if you ever get hit by any portion of the backshot without one active, there is NO avoiding being hit for 1HK.

Other mods should be okay in general, although Freezing + is really pushing it, but mainly due to the lack of suitable reasons to have Petrification + over it.

As to powers that need to be banned? Warp and Playing Dead. Warp, I can go on about all day about Warp, but the summary is that it's a mindless, kiter-favoring version of Super Speed. Find one working reason why Warp would deserve to be banned LESS than Super Speed, I would love to hear it. Warp deserves to be banned on its own merits too: at least under Super Speed, you actually take melee damage, however reduced.

As for Playing Dead, certain weapons can use it to pull stupid amounts of standing shot abuse. Although banning the inherently OP Shot Range +, it may need to be reviewed again. It wouldn't surprise me if its space requirements and need to be stationary to be usable bring it down to more balanced levels.

Aries Armor and Trade-Off are certainly tempting (they don't do anything broken against a set with Super Speed, the most annoying thing being that they punish Counter if that's used, but players should be able to choose other powers), but key weapons, below, being banned should keep both powers under control. If Virus and Darkness prove sufficient for trading them both out when they can't pull anything overly powerful, they should prove balanced.

Weapons that still need to be banned are Brawler Claws and, to an extent, the Taurus Arm. Both are mindless melee rush weapons with more attack power AND mobility than they deserve. Other weapons considered strong to begin with generally are such because of Shot Range +. Brawler Claws is the bigger aggravation without fail because it has more mobility and a base Shot Cancel value of 3 on the neutral rapid fire. Taurus Arm is mindless, though: it deals sickening amounts of combo damage and doesn't have suitable mobility problems for the fact that it easily abuses things like Petrify/Freeze +. Other than that, the only real things worth noting are the Gemini Orbitars, which does have attack power problems that simply need to be emphasized more; and Raptor Claws, which are almost as fast as Brawlers and equally as powerful, so they could make a few weapons, including Bear Claws, obsolete. Both need review, of course.

If you're wondering about Slip Shot, that should become a lot more fair without Shot Range + or Warp available, thankfully. Without Shot Range +, medium base range weapons would have a harder time keeping their location from being exposed in any of the indoor maps. High base range weapons would consequently get a unique advantage, namely that they don't have to fear this problem, and their natural weaknesses should keep them under control. Warp banning also keeps the ability to do hide-and-seek repeatedly under control, since its legal substitute, Super Speed, would still showcase which direction the user moves. Talking about Super Speed brings up Slip Shot's issues:

  • It can't do anything useful in an open area. This doesn't seem like much because being in the open area is where the snipers can get at you, but it's ideal to try to simply survive it.
  • Here's why surviving Slip Shot is a big deal: it has power grid problems. By surviving it, you can milk them for what they're worth. This alone prevents somebody from just using Slip Shot mindlessly.
  • First grid problem is that it requires 10 spaces minimum. This helps determine that you can use Black Hole sooner if you use that. And the common Homing Boost + Energy Charge + Slip Shot setup requires 25 minimum, which means there is not a lot of room for protection against tag powers.
  • Second grid problem? It requires a full line at any level. This prevents usage with Aries Armor and Trade-Off, both of which require a full row and column. Neither is particularly useful on a sniper set, granted, though Trade-Off would be the bigger worry.
  • The third grid problem is the big one: leveled Slip Shot, which is the only way to have multiple charges for it, requires a full row and column. This prevents leveled Slip Shot from being paired with Super Speed or Bumblebee, which means that (Warp being banned) the Slip Shot guy can't escape as easily if they're caught.

If anything, Slip Shot has some degree of depth, namely that it can be used to destroy closed area camping. If it doesn't need to be banned, it should be allowed to stay. And Reflect Barrier and Super Armor both trade well against it.

In closing

It's just amazing that one power can do a lot for a game, but that's Black Hole for you. Super Armor is drastic because the KB immunity is not forced, but it nevertheless works because it's desperately needed momentum protection for power guys. Of course, Black Hole has proven its worth. Stopping kiting, making defensive power more useful, creating a resource management standard, and ultimately adding to the depth of tactics can only serve to improve the metagame.

Cheatsheet

This space be used for cheatsheets for bolstering Black Hole's usefulness further:

Power Minimum Space
Jump Glide 4
Angelic Missile 7
Super Speed 6
Warp 5
Reflect Barrier 6
Libra Sponge 12
Interference 3
Virus 8
Super Armor 6
Brief Invincibility 5
Lightweight 7
Trade-Off 11
Aries Armor 11
Bumblebee 7
Counter 4
Playing Dead 10
Pisces Heal 12
Celestial Fireworks 4

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