Last week was a brief review of Lucario; this week we have a look at another canine competitor, Star Fox's Wolf. Much like Lucario, Wolf is a character that benefits from an aggressive play style. Compared to Brawl, he has a marked improvement in his ability to string together combos and that's compounded by his great aerial game. His Reflector (Shine) now functions a bit more like Falco's (Melee/Project M Falco, that is) and this makes his rush down game all the more satisfying.
Akin to Fox and Falco, Wolf's Shine is his best friend. As always, it's a great defensive tool, but who uses it for that?! Offensive purpose is where the Shine...well, shines. The trajectory that your opponent pops up at when hit with a Shine will tend to be up and away. The beauty of this is that with a healthy combination of jumping and ingenuity, you can extend combos well beyond the initial Shine strike. As with his fellow space animals, Wolf can jump out of his shine, which will afford you the opportunity to chase up effectively. This is where the ingenuity comes in to play - Depending on the opponent and their current damage level, you'll have to assess whether a hop or a full jump is more appropriate to get to the opponent, and then determine the attack to hit them with. To keep combos going, you'll want to aim to use your UpAir and ForwardAir to juggle. Keep in mind that the end of the swing of your ForwardAir is far more powerful than the rest of it, so if you land with this, you'll be doing a lot more chasing and they might recover in the air, ending the combo.
|Keep them in the air, and keep them guessing!|
As mentioned above, NeutralAir serves as a good approach, not only for having multiple hitboxes during the rotations, but for absolutely chewing through shields. A couple of well placed NeutralAir hits can bring a shield near the breaking point, which will always force your opponent to reconsider how they handle your approach. L-cancelled NeutralAirs will afford Shine opportunities, which is what you always want to be aiming for. Your approach should always be varied, so always be willing to pivot and rush in with a BackAir; this kick is all-purpose and will be one of your best friends with Wolf, both for damage and kills. DownAir is deceptively fast, and when punishing a whiffed smash is one of your best bets, as it will pop your opponent straight up for some more Wolf-brand fun in the sky.
|A spinning Wolf is a dangerous Wolf.|
|Keep right up with your lasers and stay ahead of your opponents.|
Finally, let's look at those same moves from the recovery side. This is where the clouds roll in; Wolf's recovery is less than stellar. Like Fox and Falco, it's very predictable, as you're either going to come in a straight line via UpB or a slight angle via SideB. One thing you should get used to as you approach the ledge is the use of Shine to mess with your opponent's perception of your momentum. When you Shine in midair, you'll essentially hang there, almost still for a moment. Use this opportunity to dodge an attack meant to push you farther away and then zip to the ledge or find yourself at just the right angle to tag your opponent with SideB to give yourself space to reset. Continue to keep in mind that SideB has a lot of wind down time compared to other moves, so once you land, you'll be vulnerable if you haven't created that space.
|The effects of a well placed Side B|
If you've got a combo video or a particular combo you like to pull off with Wolf, let us know in the comments. Disagree with what I said or have something to add? Be sure to tell us! And don't forget to tag any tweets you make about Project M with #projectmelee; I'll once in a while make mention of something concerning it as well @sbfantom.