I thought it’d be useful to write a more simplified break down of the basics of warden’s shoulder bash and what are the counters for it. Hopefully this will be helpful to any newcomers and will provide a nice check list of the different options and their counters.
(Disclaimer: All of these options and their counters are completely based on reads. The shoulder bash is a 50/50, guys. You’re not supposed to be able to react to each other. So keep that in mind and don’t rant here about how everything in the game should be reactable etc.)
So first let’s take a look at what all the options the shoulder bash provides:
All the options of the Shoulder Bash
From the shoulder bash, the warden has exactly four options:
- Regular bash
- Fully charged bash
- Cancel into Guard break
- Cancel into idle
Now out of these four options, the last one is passive and doesn’t lead to any damage unless you try to do something like attacking him in the middle of SB, which we’ll talk about later.
The other three options however actively deal damage. A regular bash drains a little bit of your stamina and gives the warden a free followup light attack (most wardens usually go for side lights because it’s a two hit combo dealing the most damage). A fully charged bash drains a much larger portion of your stamina and gives the warden a free heavy attack (top heavies dealing the most damage). And a cancel into guard break …well guard breaks you which usually gives them a free side heavy (unless they’re near a wall etc.).
Alright, now that we know what all the options are and what each of them do, let’s take a look at how to counter them.
Basic counters to warden’s Shoulder Bash options
So these counters are the go-to default way to counter the different options in the Shoulder Bash. These can be done with pretty much every character in the game and even though there may be better punishes for certain characters, these are the most generic ones that apply to all.
So the counters are as follows:
- A regular shoulder bash is punished by dodging in any direction (besides forward) and going for a free guard break.
- A fully charged shoulder bash is also punished by dodging and going for a free guard break. However in this case sometimes if you’re too close and dodge backwards you still get touched by it so I’d advice against dodging backwards.
- A Cancel into Guard Break is countered with a light attack which will always interrupt his guard break attempt.
- And finally a cancel to idle is punished by …well nothing, because it doesn’t deal any damage. There are counters to things he can do out of idle after cancelling, like light attacking which can be parried etc. but more on that later.
Beside these counters an additional thing you can always do is double tap dodge and roll away. As of now, this will work against any option the warden chooses. It isn’t actually a counter and just resets everything to neutral but I think it’s worth mentioning since it’s a guaranteed escape from Shoulder Bash. So if you ever feel like you just don’t want to deal with warden’s SB mixup then just roll away and watch as he makes a fool of himself and tries to GB/bash the thin air 😛
Okay so now that we know how to counter each options in the most basic way, let’s try to go a little more in-depth and see what else can we do.
At this point I’m going to break up the characters into two categories: Those who have a 500ms or faster attack and those who don’t.
Characters with a <=500ms light attack
For these characters, a very important thing is that when facing a warden’s SB any attack as fast as 500ms will always hit him out of SB regardless of whether he was going for a regular bash or a cancel to GB or even a fully charged bash (he can’t charge it quick enough to go into uninterruptible mode). So what that means is that we essentially reduce the whole mixup into one thing: Just hit him out of it. This can be done with dodge attacks as well although coincidentally characters with dodge attacks all have <=500ms lights as well (I guess go with whatever’s more damaging).
So now if you can just hit him out of SB how does it not become a completely useless move? Well the answer to this is his 4th option: Cancelling SB into idle. What the warden can do here is they can cancel out of a SB and then parry your light attack if they know it’s coming. However the key thing here is the “if they know it’s coming” part. They can only parry you based on prediction. The recovery for cancelling out of SB into idle is too long to give the warden enough time to reaction parry you. He has to throw out a parry attempt as soon as he cancels out of SB, which means if YOU know that he’s going to try to parry you then you can actually bait him and go for a GB or counter parry his parry attempt! And so the whole thing then becomes another new type of 50/50 where you either light attack him out of SB or punish his parry attempt.
Characters with slow light attacks
The characters who sadly don’t have an attack as fast as 500ms are: Raider, Conqueror and Shugoki. However, each of them have their own unique abilities that can help deal with the Shoulder Bash.
Raider has the unique ability to CGB from a dodge. Which means the SB mixup is completely irrelavant for him. Any time warden does a SB just do a dodge GB. At worst he’ll try to cancel into GB and you’ll have to CGB and at best you’ll GB him if he throws an actual bash. Becareful not to dodge prematurely though as he can just not do a SB and go straight to a GB. But if you are attentive enough and play it properly, Raider is actually the best choice for dealing with warden’s shoulder bash (don’t tell that to Tru3Ta1ent though :P)
Conqueror, our favorite RAH-man, has the unique quality that his Shield Bash overrides warden’s shoulder bash. Which means you don’t need to worry about whether he is going for a bash or a cancel to GB. Just dodge and go into a shield bash and you’ll interrupt him regardless. However, this can be countered if the warden cancels his SB into idle and then dodges your shield bash. So you can’t just blindly go for a shield bash every time and it sort of becomes a 50/50 of its own of whether to shield bash or not.
And finally, Shugoki has his super armor which doesn’t give a fuck about some puny shoulder bash and so any time a warden tries to SB out of neutral, you can use that and punish him with a GB or an attack etc. I’ve even shoulder bashed right into demon’s embrace at times lol. However be aware that once he’s hit you with a light and goes into SB, you become a mere mortal just like the rest. So it’s best to not let him trap you in his vortex in the first place. If you keep your distance and punish his neutral SBs, you shouldn’t have any problem!
Other character specific counters
Some characters have additional moves that can counter warden’s shoulder bash besides the traditional methods described earlier.
An example of that is Nobushi with her Hidden Stance.
Nobushi can use her hidden stance to deal with warden’s shoulder bash in the following ways:
- The Warden uses an uncharged Shoulder Bash: In this situation you Hidden Stance upon them starting their animation, and get the free light light if they commit.
- The Warden uses a charged Shoulder Bash: In this situation you dodge to the side out of your Hidden Stance and get a free GB for the Top Heavy.
- The Warden cancels their charge into a GB: Hidden Stance has no recovery penalty like a dodge does, so you just CGB. (Note: You can go for a light light instantly however this is a guessing game and if they decided to go for a charged shoulder bash, you will then trade a single light for their heavy.)
- The Warden simply cancels their Shoulder Bash: In this situation you want to dodge backwards out of Hidden Stance. If you go for an attack it will just get parried, if you try to kick, they will dodge and then get the guaranteed Shoulder Bash, so just dodge backwards and recover some stamina. (Once they fix the 5 second Stamina Regen delay bug, this’ll be more effective.)
I’ll add more character specific counters as they are discovered. But for now that’s about all that I can think of in terms of counters.
If there’s anything I missed or got wrong then please definitely let me know! But I hope this post was helpful in making everyone understand the Shoulder Bash move and all its options.
Thanks for reading!