Thursday, November 16, 2017

Analysis: Diddy in Doubles

The current doubles metagame revolves heavily around DLC characters, with most top teams having either a Cloud or a Bayonetta on them. Nowadays it's rare to see Diddys placing well in doubles besides Zero, Zinoto, and MVD, and even MVD usually switches to Cloud for doubles. While Diddy isn't the best doubles character by any means, he is still a valuable teammate when paired with the right partner.

Strengths

Fast Speed
Having a fast dash speed is very beneficial in doubles. Fast characters are great at helping out teammates in trouble, whereas slow characters often can't reach their teammates in time to save them. On top of having solid ground speed, Diddy also has quick movement options in the air with his Monkey Flip and B-reverses. With Diddy you can stop what you are doing and rush to help your teammate in the blink of an eye.

Quick Aerials 
Having quick aerials allow for effortless "ping ponging" with your partner. This is when you hit an opponent towards your partner, then they hit back to you and repeat for as much damage as possible. Back air is exceptional for this because it comes out quick, has little end lag, and sends at a fairly low angle. A teammate that has an aerial that will hit opponents right back to you is ideal. Because of how fast back air is, by the time your teammate has hit them towards you, you'll always be ready to return the hit.

Quick Throws
All of Diddy's throws are excellent in doubles. Besides back throw, they all have minimal end lag, making them safe to use in the chaos of doubles without much risk of punishment by the other opponent. Up throw is the fastest, so use that if you ever find yourself in a situation where you could get punished after the throw. By mixing up picking a defensive option, such as shield or roll, with throwing out quick hitboxes at the end of the throw, such as fair or down tilt, you can make it difficult for anyone to punish your throws.

Great at Setting Up Partner
One of Diddy's biggest strengths in doubles is that he sets up his partner for team combos well. His up throw sends opponents high, allowing his teammate to score kills by following up with strong up airs or up b's. Some of his other strong set ups involve the monkey flip grab foot stool. When Diddy does this, the opponent is left on the ground with a considerable amount of stun, giving his partner plenty of time to hit them with a smash attack.

Good at 2v1
A combination of Diddy's fast aerials and throws allow him to excel in 2v1 scenarios. While big and slow characters like Donkey Kong will struggle to land any hits in a 2v1 without getting punished, Diddy is able to land hits safely. The banana is another great tool that Diddy gets. You can use it to trip someone and buy time to hit the other opponent off stage, or you can use it to try to help regain stage control. Although he does lack KO power in 2v1s, his safe moves are strong enough that they can kill if you build up enough damage. Forward and back throw are kill throws at high percents, and fair and bair will eventually kill. Up tilt is another option that you have available to secure safer kills, as it has much less end lag than any of Diddy's smashes.
  
Weaknesses

Low Damage Output
In singles, Diddy builds damage fast with his good combo game. By linking a banana trip into a down tilt into a grab combo, Diddy can convert solid amounts of damage off of one hit. However, in doubles it isn't that simple. Long solo combos aren't as viable because you can be interrupted by the other opponent. You will rarely be able to execute much of Diddy's basic combos in doubles; often you will only be able to land a single hit safely. Fair and bair alone will end up being a good chunk of your damage dealt, but those only deal 10 and 8 percent respectively when unstaled. Furthermore, since Diddy's usual kill set ups are all combos as well, they are also interruptible. The fastest options that Diddy has to get kills are up tilt and down smash, but those usually won't kill until around 140% or so.

Mediocre Follow Ups
As for following up on his partner's hits, Diddy's options are lackluster. His aerial follow ups deal relatively little damage and don't KO until very high percents. You will very rarely see Diddy confirm kills by following up on a hit from his partner. Sometimes you can secure a kill with a really high up air, but it isn't very common compared to characters with strong follow ups like Cloud or Bayonetta.

Best Partners

Unsurprisingly, I believe that the best overall teammate for Diddy is Cloud. Cloud is strong against all of the popular characters in doubles, his kill potential is high, and his follow ups deal tons of damage. Diddy and Cloud work together well by ping ponging opponents back and forth at low percents, and at high percents setting up kills with Diddy's throws into Cloud's aerials. Set ups into finishing touch are simple; Diddy's up throw's angle doesn't change very much with DI and so it is easy to follow up on. Monkey flip footstool also works well as a way to set up finishing touch.

Because Diddy's follow ups aren't amazing but he is good at setting up for his partner, he does well with characters that can close out stocks at low percents. In a meta where Cloud is consistently converting kills at 60% or less off of his partner's throws, having a teammate that can also take early stocks is critical. With how easily Diddy sets up vertical kills with up throw, any character with a strong up air or an up b will synergize with Diddy. Characters like Rosalina, Metaknight, Zero Suit Samus, Ness, and Donkey Kong all fit this role perfectly. Bayonetta works great as well; from Diddy's throws Bayo can start her combos from high in the air, which gives her a good chance of converting each hit into a kill off the top.

Even though they are not the best, my personal favorite teammates with Diddy are the Mario bros. Both Mario and Luigi are good at ping pongs, and they both do a good job of taking stocks. Luigi in particular is good at ending stocks in doubles with his Shoryuken. Setting up a Shoryuken kill is pretty easy too; Diddy can just hold an opponent, use the Monkey Flip grab foot stool, or you can do it directly from a down throw. By himself, Luigi can still land relatively easy Shoryukens by using the banana. I like to pluck banana to pass it off to Luigi and let him use it, since his banana follow ups are far stronger.

If you are tired of the same top tiers as teammates in doubles and want to try something more unconventional, I think Diddy does fairly well with a few more obscure characters. Zinoto and Marss have found success using Lucario and Diddy together. Lucario is another character with potential to get early kills from Diddy's grabs when he is powered up by his aura. Up throw into Lucario back air or up air with full aura is one of the earliest kills you will see in doubles.

Another strong but different team is Diddy and Robin. I played this team with Dath at ZeRo Saga and we got 9th, which was quite good for our first time teaming. Robin and Diddy together are amazing at holding stage control; whenever opponents take center stage, Robin can shoot Thoron to take it back. Diddy's crawl is low enough that he can get under it safely, so by cleverly using a signal from your partner you can easily avoid the damage and then start controlling the stage yourself with banana. Kills come easy whenever Robin has the Levin sword.  Any throw towards Robin and you will kill with Levin Sword aerials at around 90-100%.

Conclusion


Overall, I think Diddy is a solid pick in doubles in the current meta. He can hold his own against any character, he can set up combos well, he can control the stage with banana, and his speed lets him pressure opponents and support his partner. However, in the current metagame where Cloud is killing with finishing touch at 40% and Bayo is dealing 50% or more in one combo, Diddy needs the right partner to keep up. When teaming with a character that has strong follow ups and kill potential, Diddy is a high tier doubles character. But if your partner's character can't cover Diddy's weaknesses, I do believe you will struggle against strong teams using DLC characters.