Ledge Jump Focus beats the Gimr ledge trap.
Don't hit the pressure plate with Shoryuken while recovering. Don't hit the TNT as well if using Ken Heavy Shoryuken. The flames will make it explode.
After playing as Steve and practicing his moves and learning his frame data and stats for a while I figured out that most people are studying the Steve mu in a somewhat wrong way.
Steve's moves and mechanics make him play more or less the same exact way regardless of matchup, so learning how Steve himself works and how his moves are helps way more for understanding counterplay than just fighting him a lot or watching VODs.
Obviously the latter are mandatory for practicing the mu but Steve is arguably the biggest knowledge check in the game for his entire kit because he has tons of openings that you can't see yourself while just fighting him since his animations convey nothing.
The single most noticeable one is him mining, you should think of Steve mining almost the same way as inkling refilling his ink.
Don't even bother punishing it unless he's doing it right in your face because it's not really going to make him stronger to mine, it just lets him actually play the game
Steve will get materials whether you like it or not, and getting overly antsy over it won't let you stop him from getting stronger as the game progresses, it only makes you more predictable and easier to beat in a dragged-out game.
The most important effects that Steve will get over the course of the game are gold and diamond, which he'll definitely get at least once in the match no matter what. Diamond is strong for obvious reasons but gold is arguably the more dangerous because it's going to have longer average effect over a full match as it makes his trash neutral a lot safer with the tiny improvement to his frame data, while diamond keeps his weaknesses exactly the same but only improves his punish game even more than it is by default, you can treat diamond the same way as waft basically, don't worry about it until later in the match since he'll save it for a fresh stock and he'll almost always have it a couple minutes in.
I said several times that his neutral is terrible and that should sound a bit off to most people who don't actually play Steve. His moves are fast and decently large while being safe and mobile(ish), and his punish game is busted, but you need to focus on his stats for the most part before Steve's counterplay properly clicks. A lot of people compare him to Kazuya because Kaz also has super strong advantage and mediocre-ish neutral, but Steve is even more extreme. His moves will nearly never hit you if you know his burst range and don't let him near you. Basically, the only things he can do in neutral against Shotos are mine to threaten you with buffs later and put up blocks to set up stage control. His approach game is damn near nonexistent outside of his exploitable minecart and he only fakes pressure with his tool buffs and material bar getting shinier.
Steve has a lot of minor and hard to notice openings that are very hard to know without playing Steve yourself or directly seeing someone exploit them. Yes UTilt on shield is basically always safe, but Steve approaching you with UTilt has a massive "poke low" target on him because UTilt is very small.
DTilt on shield is plus, but he needs to somehow get near you and catch you shielding for that to happen. Don't bother standing back and shielding within his burst range, as it's less dangerous to throw out your own move that will likely beat all his safe options. For Shotos that would be LFTilt, DSmash, RH for Ken and Hado for Ryu to cut him short, and these options will only really lose to FTilt as a grounded approach (which is between -10 and -8 on shield and can be punished with USpecial, USmash, or Grab OOS depending on his tools and its staleness), and his fairly slow grab that doesn't have all that much effective range because of Steve's pathetic ground speed. Steve can't approach safely period, he usually has to deal with your defensive options by making you approach by threatening with mining or slowly accumulating stage control with blocks and fake approaches
Steve placing blocks is another small opening that's hard to see and harder to know when you can punish him for it. Steve block place is 15 frames per block + 3 frames of jump squat, so for example if you see that he's placing a 2 block tower you have 33 frames to punish assuming you know your strongest option that can close that distance and assuming you know where he'll be standing after he places the blocks (usually standing on top of the 2nd one, but he can be either in front of it or behind it as early as frame 22 of the tower's start, you need to know/react to his habits to correctly punish this and all other block placements).
Another common thing is people getting punished for attacking his blocks or trying to stop him from building.
Blocks can look scary or inticing to attack, but really the only blocks you should bother going out of your way to break are ones blocking you away from center stage or ones that are setups for Steve to do future combos/confirms with. Any wall keeping Steve near ledge or otherwise placed randomly around while he was mixing up approaches is basically useless to him since he's so slow and clunky that he can't actually make use of the random leftover blocks while you potentially can use them against him be it with with superior range, mobility, or to maintain a lead by stalling with them yourself.
Steve typically puts up a barrier of a few blocks and blocks himself in near ledge to give himself time to mine or craft, and this is the time that he's the least vulnerable and least dangerous. The risk/reward of attacking him through a known safe wall setup is abysmal for Shotos because either you'll just stale your strong moves breaking the blocks and get nothing or you'll get severely punished by Steve during hitlag of hitting the blocks/endlag after breaking them. It's like approaching a Mii Gunner behind his mine while he charges a charge shot and trying to break the mine so you can hit him out of the charge. You'll just get punished for trying to interfere with a safe activity that doesn't actually do as much as it looks like it does while even if you succeed you won't get much out of it.
Dirt/wood block walls are common near ledge for Steve to mine behind because he'll usually not have many strong resources if he's needing to mine badly enough to give you the whole stage by choosing to go near ledge himself, and it's extremely dangerous to approach his block walls here because 1) you won't get much off of breaking them even if he messes up his punish, 2) you are within range of a bunch of approach setups after the bottom block breaks that use grounded elytra or minecart to hit you while he's safely setting up said approach by getting materials, and 3) you are near a safe Steve who is near ledge and are an easy target for huge damage off of setups that use the stage's length to extend his combos with FTilt.
So just let him mine while you keep stage control until he's satisfied with how many attempts he gets to minecart/set up block combos before his materials go dry again
the concern that he'll just mine forever behind the blocks and keep getting stronger materials and tools isn't that big a deal since 1) he's going to get that anyway and 2) he can't mine forever near ledge behind one block setup because of how the orientation is on his actually safe block formations not allowing him to put the blocks back up in the same spot when they break again: the 3 wide base 1 block high walls are going to break from the inside out, bottom blocks first, meaning when they break in a few seconds he'll have to either push for stage control or retreat another few steps to get another safe wall up to mine more, both of which benefit you via either forcing him to approach you for a bit from a usually unfavorable position or by giving you even more stage control from retreating, so just prepare for what he'll do when he gets out of the blocks rather than trying to force him out yourself and getting punished hard.
Again, this is another situational awareness scenario that will happen at least a dozen times every match with a lot of incorrect choices for you to mess up on and knowing when and how you can push in on a Steve's block wall mining depends on the wall he built, type of block he built the wall with, its position on the stage, who has the lead, what your and Steve's %s are at, how long the blocks have until they go out, and what you've seen the Steve do in this situation before. It's raw Steve character knowledge rather than specific matchup knowledge since the same walls are safe on most characters and the same openings are always there for any character to exploit if the other guy knows them, so to really learn the Steve matchup you need to know Steve's setups, options, and major flaws inside out from the Steve's end rather than relying on your character's knowledge of what move is often good where, since Steve is so different from anyone else in stats, mechanics, and options that you'd be surprised what moves of his are actually unsafe from what positions and what aren't.
I'd go into more specific details on his most dangerous moves, setups, and options like minecart's specific gimmicks and counterplay to his combos or specific combos Shotos can do with blocks but those are already mostly covered Steves or Shotos who've fought a lot of Steves, but the most useful piece of advice I've found against Steve is to actually play as and study Steve yourself and figure out his weaknesses and how to exploit them, and I believe Steve is by far the hardest character in this game to get a proper grasp on without learning him directly.
Some specific interactions to always keep in mind if you don't feel like playing as Steve to learn the mu or reading the 4 page essay up there:
- 1. When you die and respawn at 0% with Steve at kill% mining near the ledge behind a block wall, do not mess with that wall, your halo invincibility will wear off before the blocks do and steve will carry you across the stage with FTilt and get a free 40-70% inescapable combo, just chill and wait for him to refresh his resources enough to feel like attempting to approach, which you can then punish.
- 2. Do not stand near the block wall when he's mining despite having plenty of resources, it's likely bait to approach with an instant USpecial or minecart setup once the bottom blocks break and it's hard if not impossible to reactively punish it when Steve does this trap correctly.
Then there's some less common and braindead Steve approach options that will knowledge check you to death
- 1. Grounded USpecial slide under a block: just don't stand too close to Steve behind walls about to break, the hitbox on USpecial wears off about 40 frames in and you can punish him afterwards
- 2 Steve approaching from on top of plat: he will DTilt you and it is plus on shield and links to a lot of stuff if it's not shielded, don't stand in front of him within DTilt range and if he whiffs DTilt, it's as laggy as most smash attacks, just beat his ass for it .
- 2.5. Steve can do the same DTilt approach as mentioned before from plat-height blocks instead of an actual plat, and this is much safer because blocks can't be jumped through and will break from under him during DTilt's endlag making it safe on whiff: just get behind him from under the blocks.
- 3. Very, very common approach option by Steve to cover the stage is to minecart then jump out while letting it slide under him, minecart stops grounded anti-airs and grabs out out of shield and can frame trap dodges while Steve covers you from jumping over it by threatening an aerial. Optimally you should run in and jump FAir him before he gets to let out a strong aerial to cover the air, but if you're too far to do that just DSmash the minecart to break it and special cancel into something instead of risking an air-to-air.
- 3.5. If you break the cart, a good Steve will usually try to avoid disadvantage by standing on a block above you then either retreat (which you should just let him do because he can threaten to safely DTilt you as mentioned in 2.5) or approach you by building blocks in the air. Here he can do a bunch of stuff depending on the blocks. Dirt is the most dangerous because they break very fast and let him punish your positioning instantly with anvil if you're under the block or DTilt if you're on either side of him. Here is where I'd say to learn the timing on Steve's block placement vulnerability and punish him while he's adding blocks, but just out from under Steve until he has to land if you don't know the timing to punish him mid-building.
Other than that, his aerial approaches suck because his jumps are trash (parry his big aerials and punish hard or anti-air his fast little aerials with RH if Ken or Hado if Ryu) and his grounded approaches are super linear to beat. Just shield and USpecial/USmash/Grab FTilt on shield, poke low if he's walking towards you while using UTilt or looking up, and don't let him get within DTilt range or UTilt range of your shield or you're more or less dead.
Ken Shield Breaks
- LUTilt > LUTilt > HUTilt > CKIZ
- NAir > HUTilt > CKIZ
- NAir > LUTilt > DSmash > RHIZ
- LUTilt > LUTilt > LUTilt > DSmash > RHIZ
- DDFADC1 > Light True Shoryuken
- DDFADC2 > Heavy Shoryuken
- DDFADC2 > Light Shoryuken
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