This is a place to discuss anything about Dr. Shoals, such as sharing tips, analyzing matchups, and fighting over her best costume color. I should state that I am by no means an expert Divekick or Shoals player; I simply bought Divekick at release and Shoals is the character that most clicked with me, so I decided to start this thread. English is not my first language, so please excuse any spelling errors. Also, feel free to point out any misinformation, I will correct it as soon as possible!
Summary of Dr. Shoals' moveset;
A good normal jump. It has no special properties, but it takes Shoals pretty far up. For reference, her jump height is close to Mr. N's, and slightly higher than Dive's.
Unlike most characters, Shoal's kickback resembles a backdash as seen in other fighting games. It has a great range, and does not move her upwards. This is very useful when the opponent divekicks at her from above; a diagonal-upwards kickback would still get her hit in the feet, but Shoals' kickback gets her out of the way without exposing herself. The downside of the kickback's horizontal movement is that she gains no height to divekick from. This makes Shoals' kickback unfit for punishing whiffs, or building meter.
Shoals has two divekicks, both a bit on the slow side. She starts out with a shallow one, and this divekick can be canceled into a steeper one mid-flight. The shallow divekick is useful for covering ground or hitting characters that position themselves in the air a lot (like Stream, or Shoals herself). It runs out after about 1.5 seconds, leaving her falling towards the ground and unable to do further divekicks or air specials. Her steep divekick is useful for coming down on enemies after she's positioned herself above them using her shallow divekick and air special. It's also her fastest way to the ground, should something dangerous come in from overhead. It's good to note that both divekicks generate meter, though this is somewhat canceled out by the fact she can't simply kickback -> divekick to build meter due to the nature of her kickback
Ground Special - Brilliant Escape (Fly Away)
Activating Shoals' air special will send her flying diagonally backwards, not unlike a normal kickback. The longer you hold the buttons, the further and higher she'll fly, but beware that her meter is drained continually. The ability needs about 20% meter to activate, but will not immediately cost meter; the only cost in the gradual meter drain from using it.
Air Special - Death From Above (Hover)
Shoals can activate this after jumping, or cancel into it from either divekick. She will enter a hover mode, which will keep her in place in the air and will gradually burn meter while doing so. Like her ground special, the ability needs about 20% meter to activate, but will not immediately cost meter. You can press dive or kick to slowly glide backward or forward, respectively. To exit the the hover mode, press both buttons again and Shoals will start falling. From this state, she can still perform her divekicks, even if she has done them before entering the hover mode.
Some thoughts on Dr. Shoals;
- The core of Shoals' gameplan is to position her above the enemy using her shallow divekick and hover, and then come crashing down with the steep divekick for the KO. This is very predictable though, and opponents will try to either do a quick kickback, or a short divekick 'hop' forward, to dodge your divekick and punish it. To counteract this, try to be unpredictable with your attacks; cancel your steep divekick with hover to delay or abort your divekick, or don't switch to the steep divekick at all. Keep them guessing!
- Shoals is probably the character with the most control on the Divekick roster. While some characters can move only in 3 directions (straight up, diagonal backwards and diagonal forwards), Shoals can move in 7! She can go backwards (kickback), diagonal backwards (ground special), straight up (dive), shallow diagonal forwards (divekick), steep diagonal forwards (divekick), stay in place in the air (air special), backwards in the air (air special) and forwards in the air (air special). Plus, were most character have to commit to a move, almost all of Shoals' movements can be cancelled into other moves. Make use of this! Adjust your movement after the opponent has already commited to a divekick to get the jump on them.
- Shoals' weakness is that she can't quickly punish whiffed divekick attempts. The normal kickback -> divekick approach does not work, because her horizontal kickback cannot be divekicked from. Her best option is to use her ground special, but it needs to be used for a second before it can be divekicked from.
- Shoals' has multiple options for meter building. I have not deeply looked into how fast (or viable) each option is.
1. Dive, kick, kick, kickback. Move up, perform two divekicks for meter, return to position. This option is the easiest and may be the fastest, but it does extend you forward quite a lot so it can be unsafe.
2. Ground special (hold for a brief moment), kick, kick. Move diagonally backwards, perform two divekicks for meter. This option may be slower (the cycle is faster, but also costs meter to perform), but it doesn't move you forward.
If you're good, you can also try to cancel your second divekick into hovering, then cancel hover and do another two divekicks for double the meter. I don't know if this is significantly quicker or even viable, as I have trouble doing it consistently myself.