You know, in the heat of the summer, the best thing you can do is cool down. That’s what I’m here for, because it’s time for another Lrn2 article and the subject is none other than everyone’s favorite cryomancer, Sub-Zero! Before I go further, I must remind you, dear reader, that Sub-Zero is not for everyone. He’s a defensive-minded character who requires a certain degree of patience in order to play properly. Everything about him screams defense – his specials, his punish opportunities, and the tactics required to play him. You cannot employ the same tactics with Sub-Zero that you can with someone like Scorpion or Kung Lao; it simply will not end well for you. Allow me to explain…
Ice Ball – D, F, FK (e-Ice Ball – D, F, FK+BLK)
The iconic Ice Ball returns with a vengeance. It has a pretty short startup time and, as usual, provides you with a free combo opportunity, but it does no damage on its own. You can cancel a few of Sub-Zero’s strings into this move, so you would do well to get accustomed to the timing window needed to cancel into this move. The enhanced version simply keeps your opponent frozen for longer and is impossible to jump over, so if you’re fighting an opponent who likes to take to the air, it’s worth trying.
Ground Freeze – D, B, FK (e-Ground Freeze – D, B, FK+BLK)
Sub-Zero’s Ground Freeze looks worthless. After trying for a while to find an applicable situation for this move, I can honestly say that it isn’t worth using at all. The startup is terribly slow, the radius is awfully small, and you’re really better off trying to cancel something into an Ice Ball anyway. The enhanced version is slightly better because it covers the whole screen, but it still isn’t worth it. If they improved the startup, it might be viable.
Ice Clone – D, B, FP (e-Ice Clone – D, B, FP+BLK)
The Clone is a good way to catch overly aggressive opponents, which plays right into the hands of Sub-Zero. You have a few options after deploying a clone. You can try to bait a projectile trade, which Sub-Zero will almost always win, you can try to rushdown, something that is far more effective against teleporting characters since you can try to bait them into teleporting right into the clone, or you can block dash up to where the clone is to try to bait an attack. The enhanced version stays out for five seconds (as opposed to the normal’s three). Also of note is that the Clone is totally useless against the AI.
Slide – B, F, BK (e-Slide – B, F, BK+BLK)
Sub-Zero’s Slide serves two purposes. It’s a good move to catch someone napping before they can crouch block, and it’s also useful for ending juggles. It has excellent range and a very fast startup. Even though Sub-Zero moves pretty slow across the screen, the Slide has amazing priority and is also pretty difficult to jump if not timed properly.The enhanced version adds a second hit on the backend, which makes it great for getting out of corners and it’s really the only one of Sub-Zero’s special moves that is worth enhancing.
X-Ray – CS+BLK
Sub-Zero’s X-Ray is interesting because it covers a lot of ground, can be comboed into, and does good damage. You can also charge it (by keeping BLK held down) for up to five seconds and can cancel it at any time during the charge by dashing in either direction. The thing is, that because his specials are so lacking when it comes to justification for enhancing them, your options with Sub-Zero’s meter are either to use breakers, continuing your defensive play, or to save for his X-Ray. Sub-Zero has plenty of chances to set this up, so have no fear.
1- JPS, BP, BP, cIce Ball, throw. (8 hits, 20%)
2- JPS, B+FP, BP, cSlide (4 hits, 21%, 5 hits, 24% with e-Slide)
3- JPS, BP, BP, cIce Ball, JPS, BP, BP, BK, Slide (9 hits, 31%)
4- JPS, BP, BP, cIce Ball, NJP, BP, BP, BK, Slide (9 hits, 28%)
1- JPS, BP, BP, cIce Ball, JPS, BP, BP, BK, e-Slide (10 hits, 33%)
2- JPS, BP, BP, cIce Ball, JPS, BP, BP, cX-Ray (10 hits, 42%)
3- JPS, BP, BP, cIce Ball, JPS, BP, FK, cX-Ray (10 hits, 42%)
4- JPS, B+FP, BP, cIce Ball, JPS, B+FP, BP, cX-Ray (10 hits, 48%)
Your main objective with Sub-Zero is to punish and hit for big damage whenever possible. He is one of the slower characters in the game, so don’t expect to be able to jump in on opponents and mix it up reliably. He has some great combo chances when you can get cancels into Ice Balls. Try to employ an Ice Clone at various distances against aggressive opponents in order to gain the upper hand. Slides are good for covering ground and at the end of some of Sub-Zero’s juggles, so it can prove to be a very versatile move in the right situations. A key thing to remember, though, is don’t rely on Sub-Zero’s special moves by themselves. Naked Ice Balls and Slides might work against opponents who aren’t prepared, but you’ll find it difficult to hit them consistently against high-level players. If you can stay patient, you will find success with Sub-Zero.