EDIT 2/20/06: Added a miscellaneous section.
EDIT 2/28/06: Updated the 'normals' section, and something about Scratch Wheel in the Special Moves section.
EDIT: 3/25/06: Added a few combos reccomended to me in the thread, plus the J. Mp -> J. Hp option I noticed from watching Combofiend. Seems so OBVIOUS, now...Why didn't I ever think of that? Such a nice combo, too...
EDIT: 6/13/06: Added the 'Turtling Game' part of the strategy section.
I decided to make an Elena thread, similar to the Sean thread I made...mostly cos I figured if I made a Sean thread and I don't even play Sean, I should probably try making one for the character I use primarily. I know there's some good Elena players around here, so feel free to throw ideas my way, or correct me if you think I'm wrong. Anywho, here we goooo...
A. Normals I like to use
I think Elena has a lot of really useless normals. That seems to be more common in this game than in other games; I'm not really sure why. But, in any case, here are the normals I use...some, more often than others:
1. S.Lk - Cos sometimes, it's just nice to have a standing normal that cancels into stuff. In any case, I don't use this very much.
2. C. Lk - This move is kinda funny. It can go under fireballs at point blank (not all that useful), and it can combo into EX Spin Scythe or SA2. In fact, it's her only low cancelable normal. It's really a shame that this one is really hard to hit confirm, but in any case, it's probably good to know about it.
3. S. Mp - One of my other less-frequently-used normals, this one is nice when your opponent jumps in from too close to use Back Roundhouse effectively, and I don't have enough time to dash under my opponent.
4. C.Mp - This one is nice. It's got almost as long of range as C. Mk (on characters with straighter stances, there really is no difference, and on characters with less-straighter stances like Chun-Li, the difference is negligable), it's actually pretty nice anti-air, and it's her only hit-confirmable move. This one's very important.
5. F+Mp Overhead - It's an overhead. It's a little slower, or maybe as fast as her UOH, but the range on it is quite long, and it doesn't move her forward at all. I use this one less than her F+Mk Overhead, but this one has its uses, mainly in countering slow crouching attacks.
6. S. Mk - This isn't half bad for stopping special moves that move your opponents forward (Hurricane Kicks). Other than that, I don't use it.
7. F+Mk Overhead - Oh man...I love this move. It's got about the same range as the F+Mp Overhead (surprisingly; I thought this move had much better range), and it comes out waaay faster. The only trouble with this move is that it recovers a bit slower, and it moves Elena forward, which can put her in trouble sometimes...If this move gets parried, you're in a lot of trouble. Just learn when it's safe to follow up and when it isn't, and you'll be fine.
8. S.Hk - One of Elena's important normals for her defense. This one send Elena forward, and can go over some low attacks. This beats quite a lot of stuff on ground AND air, but is VERY slow to recover, and the range isn't quite as long as it looks. Use this if you're sure your opponent is gonna attack, so you can counter it. Otherwise, use it in close proximity. If you whiff this, it's GONNA hurt. Another thing...While this can be used as anti-air, you don't wanna use it as anti-air on closer jump-ins. Stick to S. Mp for that kinda stuff!
9. B+Hk - The other important defense normal. B. Hk moves Elena slightly backwards, giving her throw invulnerability. Is also goes over a lot of low attacks. As if that wasn't enough, it has crazy priority (better than normal S. Hk!), and does crazy large amounts of stun. Just like S. Hk, you don't wanna use this on close jump-ins, so watch out. Be sure to use her Hks along with S. Mp and C. Mp for a surprisingly solid defensive game.
10. C. Hk - A quick sweep that's pretty effective at far ranges, and even goes under fireballs on occassion. Going under fireballs isn't very practical, but it can be useful to remember. This move comes out pretty fast, and is surpsingly safe on block, considering you didn't do it too close to the opponent.
11. OC.Hk - A sliding kick that knocks down and has decent range. While the range is better than her C. Hk sweep, it's not really a lot safer, and you can't abuse it quite as much as some people's slide kicks (Dhalsim or Guy, anyone?). The range isn't quite as long as it looks (her foot doesn't actually hit the opponent), and it can whiff pretty easily. If it does whiff, btw, you're screwed - this move has horrible recovery time. Be sure to use this only when you've got a clear shot.
12. J.Mp - I use this when I'm going to jump up and immediately try and hit someone out of the air, especially because you can link it into J.Hp. This can also be useful when someone tries to parry the attack, but don't rely on that to help you very much, because once someone learns that trick, it's not very dangerous anymore. Just remind your opponent every once in a while. Overall, I stick to using it as a surprise manuver.
13. J.Hk - This is a nice, nice move. It's good anti-air, it's a good jump-in, it can be easily followed up with a combo, and it can hit either once or twice. It's good to try and learn how you can control that (because you can to an extent) to try and fool people that whore parries all day. This is a nice way to screw up their rhythm, and I prefer it move than J.Mp -> J.Hp because it's more ambiguous.
14. J.Lp and J.Mk - I guess I should mention these, since they're her crossups...but I don't use them. Oddly enough, you can link these two moves, but you can't do it when you cross up. I don't ever go for crossups with Elena, though.
B. Special Moves
Elena has great special moves...but none of them are particularly safe unless you use the EX versions...that's just my opinion, though. The normal versions can be nice when used in combos, but that's about the extent to which I use them. In any case...
1. Spin Scythe - Sigh...this move would be really nice in any game without parrying...but I guess there's no point in wondering what that would be like. Pretty much any person you play against will not fall for any of the built in tricks of Spin Scythe (additional hits, Hk Spin Scythe ticks), and none of the normal versions will combo in from any move you do. Thusly, you have to resort to EX. EX Spin Scythe, though, is very nice; it's the staple of all her B&B combos. More on that later, I suppose...
2. Scratch Wheel - I think I have a rather unpopular opinion of this move, as a lot of people like the normal versions. I think that none of the normal versions are particularly safe outside of a combo; Short and Forward Scratch Wheels won't even hit jumping opponents right next to you if they're on their way up. Wtf? I have no idea which of Elena's limbs actually hit. Roundhouse Scratch Wheel is move effective in this way, but it still has its problems. Even if Forward Scratch Wheel has some invincible frames on startup, I think there's much better, safer options overall for anti-air. I use the EX Scratch Wheel as a Reversal attack sometimes (it's her safest option, which isn't saying much, unfortunately), and I use the Short and Roundhouse Scratch Wheel in her various combos.
Actually, I found one very random use for Short Scratch Wheel: It makes a good Psychic DP attack when you use it in her wakeup game. What I mean is, for example, say you use F. Mk overhead and it gets blocked. Elena and her opponent recover at about the same time. Your opponent will naturally want to try and attack you, so you can just go for the Short Scratch Wheel and knock em down again. Of course, wakeup game is all about reading your opponents and training them, but should the occassion arise, this is an option at your disposal. ...Oh yeah, and if they block the Scratch Wheel, you're still in range for a Kara Throw. >:D
3. Rhino Horn - I don't think I need to say much about this...The Short and Forward versions are safe when blocked, but are also slow, predictable, and the Short version doesn't travel very far. Let's not even get into the fact that NO Rhino Horn hits crouching opponents. It's my opinion that outside of combos, you shouldn't even be using Rhino Horn to hit grounded opponents, anyways. Outside of combos, I use EX Rhino Horn in a similar fashion to Alex's EX Slash Elbow; that is, I use it Psychic DP style to punish people that jump backwards (or even forwards sometimes, but much less frequently). Other than that, I just use the EX version in some of her combos.
4. Mallet Smash - I used to like this move a lot, until I found out how great her command Overheads were. You can link the normal versions of this move into Scratch Wheels on crouching opponents, but if that's the only time you ever used Mallet Smash, that might get a little predictable. You can do the same thing using EX Mallet Smash on standing opponents, though I don't think that's very practical, either. I use Mallet Smash only in certain combos, and to psyche people out by using it to cross-up, but that's not something you should be doing very often. Suffice to say, I don't use this move very much.
5. Lynx Tail - ...Has anyone EVER found a good reason to use this move? I think NO version of this move is practical. No normal version combos in from anything, and the EX Version frequently whiffs, not to mention there's easier ways of knocking an opponent down that deal more damage. Don't even bother with this move.
C. Which SA?
Boy...this is pretty hotly debated. First, let's start with something everyone can probably agree on:
SA1 (Spinning Beat) is not very good.
Yeah? We can all agree on that, right? Cool. The BIG debate usually comes with which SA is better between SA2 (Brave Dance) and SA3 (Healing). Personally, I am an SA3 fan, and I think I'm the only Elena player I know that primarily uses Healing. Now, trying to use empirical evidence, here's why I think SA3 is better than SA2:
1. You can deal damage comparable to SA2 by using EX combos.
- SA2 alone does 56 damage; C. Mp XX SA2 (the B&B using SA2) does 65 damage (FYI, all my damage data in this spiel is based on Ryu). Now, let's take a look at some combos you can do without Brave Dance...
- C. Mp XX EX Spin Scythe, Lk Scratch Wheel does 54 damage. Not bad for a combo you can do 3 times (technically 4 times, cos the C. Mps and Scratch Wheels will give you enough to do an extra one) with SA3, huh? You can do this combo anywhere on the screen, and, if you were able to land it that many times, it will do near 100% damage to most of the cast (It WILL do 100% damage to characters with lower vitality, like...I dunno...Yun and Chun-Li? Yang and Akuma?
). It's really not hard to build enough meter to do this combo, and you can use it without worrying about ruining any chance you might get%2