For many Guilty Gear Strive players, Leo Whitefang is a threat that can easily snowball a match into victory once he gets started. Leo Whitefang is equal parts well-rounded fighter and snowballing gorilla. Here's what you can do to survive against Leo Whitefang in Guilty Gear Strive.
Read More: Guilty Gear Strive Tier List
Leo Whitefang As A Character
Similar to the main characters, Leo Whitefang is also an all-arounder with well-rounded attacks used for offense and defense. Leo has his own version of a projectile, invulnerable uppercut, and a gap closer combo tool which are all reliable as long as he doesn't predictably use it. Leo's damage potential is also high but the players needs to know how his combos work.
The best of Leo's skillset is his Brynhildr stance. Even though he appears to be vulnerable when his back is turned from the enemy, he actually changes his normals to be faster than usual and is designed to break his opponent's defense with fast lows and overheads. Trying to interrupt his offense will most likely result in a counter hit in Leo Whitefang's favour if just carelessly finding the gaps in the pressure.
Overall, Leo Whitefang thrives on cornering his enemies into situations where the advantage is generally in his favor. Fighting him will generally need to play smartly against these odds to get out of his pressure.
Fighting Him Head-On
As of now, Leo Whitefang's reliable options for neutral make him a threat in fights. Regardless of who your character is, fighting him will need you to stuff his options well.
As a fighter, a basic Leo Whitefang approach is to close-in carefully while looking for opportunities that an enemy to attack him. His well-rounded options make this a strong tactic to close in. If done too effectively, Leo can make his opponent back off to the corner fully.
It's common for Leo players to aggressively approach but most of their attacks are calculated risks loaded with reversals for enemies trying to punish and projectiles to catch escaping opponents.. However, make sure punish them in the middle of Leo's attacks just in case they want to slip in a sneaky reversal to cover their reckless offence.
Escaping Backturn Stance
Leo's win condition is access his backturn stance safely near his enemy. Once he does, he'll whip up a storm of fast normals which can challenge your block and deal massive damage as they're easy to string together in a combo. Here's what his usual choices are in back turn stance
- Backturn Kick (bt.K) - Leo kicks you the foot. A fast low option and is generally their best option in opening you up. This is the sole reason why it's generally smart to block low immediately when Leo is close and in backturn stance
- Backturn Slash (bt.S) - Leo generates a cross that hits mid. Main pressure tool if they want to lock you down on the ground. Carelessly trying to jump out of this will get you caught by this move.
- Backturn Heavy Slash (bt.HS) - Leo chops down with his weapon. His overhead tool during backturn stance. Can only be interrupted if you call it out with your own Punch or Kick attack. Interrupt too late and Leo will get a counter hit to start a painful combo which will likely end in a wallbreak near the corner.
- Glanzendes Dunkel (214K, command throw option) - Leo players often use this if they decide that you're too afraid to move away from crouch blocking or your blocking is too difficult to break. Avoid this move by jumping straight up or back dashing to make it whiff.
- Blitzschlag (214H, slower overhead option) - Slowest overhead in Leo's arsenal during backturn stance. Interrupt this move as jumping out and backdashing will caught in its massive range. Blocking it will be a guard crush which will reset his pressure for another set of backturn attacks.
- Kahn Schild (Dust option, parry shield) - This shield will parry any attack and return any projectile it blocks. It's often the callout tool for Leo players when their enemy presses a button. However, this move cannot block throws so lean in for a grab when he does this.
If Leo traps you in this situation, stay patient and wait for him to use his slower options. However, you'll have to preemptively call these moves out as reacting too slow may still get you in trouble.
Lastly, Yellow Roman Cancelling his backturn stance pressure can help you get out of it fast. Landing this defensive Roman Cancel removes Leo from backturn stance which could help you escape the situation faster.
Left Or Right?
One of Leo's strengths is that he can go for a left or right mixup with just a set of two special moves. Erstes Kaltes Gestober (236S) and Zweites Kaltes Gestober (236HS) are these options which are seen usually during his blockstring pressure or combos. The Erstes version (236S) sends him straight in front of the enemy which is often used to end his combos to his advantage or just cash in an faraway opening with a fast advancing attack. Block this version and punish with your fastest option if aiming to steal a turn.
Meanwhile, the feared version is the Zweites Kalter Gestober as it does the same as previous one at a farther range. However, this move will crossover against Leo's foe if he still enough distance to go behind his foe. It's mostly a free starter for his backturn stance setups if his enemy fails to punish it.
While it sounds like a strong option, it's highly punishable if Leo uses it carelessly. If he crosses over, players can grab him as he tries to crossover for the Zweites hit. It doesn't matter which direction as the game will autocorrect for them. Do this alot for free damage if Leo uses it raw in neutral.
Overall, the matchup is tough but gets more bearable once you respect Leo's options and know where his range is lacking