Having a few selected stepping maneuvers at one’s disposal comes in handy to 1. move freely around the battle field 2. bait the opponent into errors 3. turn you into a harder-to-hit, moving target and 4. disguise your true intentions (making you more random to the opponent).
Let’s have a look at my four example maneuvers.
The maneuvers can be divided into defensive and offensive ones.
Defensive stepping maneuvers often work hand-in-hand with a back dash that has usually the highest retreat range.
1. Safe Retreat …
The Safe Retreat is the “bread-and-butter” of stepping. Whether you use it as match-opener for, literally, a safe retreat or in general, it always comes in handy for backing off from your opponent in unpleasant situations. The dodge can be canceled with a backward or forward crouch-dash making it impossible to get thrown. You can also combine it with moves that start from a crouching state such as the Shoulder Ram.
2. Vane Back Off
Especially useful for characters with a high walking speed, the Vane Back Off came straight from our swift Vanessa. It often baits the enemy into errors as he misjudges the distance to you. Characters whose walking speed isn’t this high should give this pattern a try too.
Offensive stepping often pretends a fake offense canceled into retreat movements.
3. Fake Retreat …
Similar to the Safe Retreat you back off at first, and evade. But then you slowly cancel the DM into an Offensive Movement. It is—so to speak—a box step with OM that can be helpful from a distance, and for starting an offense. While it has evasive properties against certain moves, especially the OM part is susceptible to throws.
4. Aggressive Feint
This movement only pretends to be aggressive and overly risky, but it isn’t. You can cancel the maneuver at any time by guarding.
Often combined with moves from a crouched state (like the Shoulder Ram), the Feint comes for aggressive aggroing—putting the opponent under pressure by pushing yourself forward with clever step-canceling. You first start out with a forward dash—showing your opponent that you’re open to throws, punch-strings, and the like—but then immediately retreat by crouch dashing backwards. You can combine the maneuver with moves that start from a crouched position, or simply repeat the stepping pattern over and over.
Want to know more about stepping? Read the article Stepping in Virtua Fighter 5.