Sly is a unique character among the cast. He does not have the ability to block, roll, or air-dodge. He is instead able to decrease his visibility. His Smoke Bomb acts as his Evade and can make Sly mobile and unpredictable. Sly is strong in close combat with quick, high AP-gaining attacks that are safe and able to apply pressure to an opponent. Sly is not a combo-heavy character and has some of the lowest combo capabilities among the characters. Sly is generally seen as a strong 1V1 character but his move-set is limited for dealing with crowds. Sly's invisibility is useful for sneaking up to crowds and attacking opponents.
- Cane Swipe - - A quick two-hit swing with the cane.
- Spinning Strike - + - A spinning swing with the cane that trips opponents. Hold button to release a more powerful swing that knocks the opponent away.
- Cane Swoop - + - Rise upwards and slightly forwards while swinging the cane in the motion of an upwards arc.
- Knockout Dive - or + - Leap forward in a small hop while twirling the cane.
- Air Cane Swipe - (Air) - Quickly swing the cane in a heavy downwards arc, knocking down opponents.
- Air Knockout Dive - + (Air) - Quickly descend and slam the ground with the cane, knocking the opponent back.
- Air Cane Swoop - + (Air) Same as the ground version.
- Air Dive Forward - or + (Air) Same as the ground version.
- Alarm Clock - - Toss an alarm clock forward, stunning opponents if they touch it.
- Rage Bomb - + - Toss a bomb that causes confusion.
- Smoke Bomb (Auto Aim) - + - A teleportation technique. If the purple line shown during the move is at a distance from the opponent, Sly can teleport behind them.
- Electromagnetic Raccoon Roll - or + - Roll forward while surrounded in electricity, knocking the opponent back.
- Cane Stun - (Air) - A slow, horizontal swing of the cane that stuns the opponent.
- Insanity Strike - + (Air) - A diagonal swipe with the cane that causes confusion.
- Air Smoke Bomb - + (Air) - Same as the grounded version.
- Charged Voltage Attack - or + (Air) - Strike the opponent with electrified cane while moving forward.
- Decoy - (counter) - Sly flinches back, pretending to be hit. If an opponent strikes him, he instantly teleports behind them and counters with a quick thrusting strike with his cane.
- Cap Mine - + - Plant an explosive cap on the ground.
- Explosive Barrel - + - Sly hops into an explosive barrel; press any attack button to set off.
- Rail Slide Plus - or + - Sly quickly slides through the ground, leaving a trail of electricity that stuns the opponent briefly before ejecting them away.
- Air Decoy - (Air) - Same as the ground version.
- Air Cap Mine - + (Air) - Same as the ground version.
- Air Explosive Barrel - + (Air) - Same as the ground version.
- Air Rail Slide Plus - or + (Air) - (Air) - Same as the ground version.
- Mega Jump - + Sly propels himself upwards slightly higher than a double jump.
- Parachute - Hold during fall. Sly whips out his parachute which slows his descent.
- Down Throw - Sly grabs and tosses the opponent up, hooks them onto his cane, and then slams them to the ground.
- Up Throw - Sly grabs the enemy and knees them, before swinging his cane like a golf club and slamming them upwards.
- Forward Throw - or Sly latches onto the opponent and kicks them away.
- Item Pick-up -
- Invisibility - Instead of blocking or air dodging, Sly becomes almost invisible and his horizontal movement speed decreases by 25% when you press and hold the L1 button. After two seconds Sly becomes more visible. Using a move generally makes Sly reappear shortly. Even picking up an item. You can be invisible while holding an item however. The only exceptions are moving around, ducking, jumping, mega jumping, parachuting, the Cane swipe combo (neutral square) and taunting. The only use of invisibility in a 1v1 is that his backstab move steals 40AP instead of 20 when invisible.
Unstoppable Ally - Murray briefly shows up and Thunder Flops an opponent with a tumbling arm charge. Costs 150 AP and can generally get you one kill. It is a decent super to punish an opponent who leaves himself vulnerable. The most reliable kill confirms are the ones off of his grounded counter and off of his alarm clock.
Flying Raccoon - Sly flies around on Carmelita's jetpack and drops bombs on opponents. You can freely move in any direction while using this super. Pressing any face button, super button or grab button drops two bombs. They come out at an angle of 15 and 30 degrees. Costs 325 AP and generally nets you one kill. It is slightly more reliable than the level 1 and because you can't be hit by normal moves after transforming, and can throw out bomb immediately after you transform, it is an excellent punish super.
Recon Sly and His Targets - Bentley comes on the binocucom and helps Sly wipe out enemies by taking pictures of them. Every picture taken kills. Costs 675AP and unless you make a big mistake, it will reliably get you 2 kills in a 1v1. Using a glitch, it is even possible to get 3 kills, but this is much harder.
- , ,, wallbounce, (80AP)
- Charged (block break), , ,, wallbounce, (140AP)
- Charged (block break when your opponent is really close to the wall),,,,, (130AP)
A key part of mastering Sly is learning how to use his oki game. I will try to give an idea about how you could play this.
The opponent’s options:
In the following I will assume your opponent is in HKD in a corner as this is when it is the easiest for you to predict what your opponent will be doing. Most of this applies to the general situation as well. Your opponent generally has a couple of options right now:
- He can roll forward facing forwards.
- He can roll forward facing backwards.
- He can wake up neutral.
- He can wake up blocking (unless he’s Sly).
- He can wake up and jump immediately.
- He might be able to counter (Raiden, Dante, etc.).
- He might be able to super on wakeup (Sly’s level 2, Cole’s level 1, etc.)
- He might be able to grab on wakeup if his grab is fast enough (Raiden, Sly, etc.)
- He might attack immediately on wakeup. (Most interesting in the case of Heihachi, who has a wakeup attack and characters that have armour on their attacks, e.g. Big Daddy)
And an opponent can even extend the time he is lying on the ground by holding the block button.
Your aim will be to limit your opponent’s options, predict what he will do and capitalize on his mistake.
Limiting his options:
Limiting his options will generally be done by using either the mine or the alarm clock:
It is easier to start a combo from the alarm clock and you can even level 1 your opponent after he is stunned by the alarm clock. The clock also has the advantage that it cannot be countered.
The mine on the other hand gives slightly more AP and can be placed slightly faster and slightly more accurately than the alarm clock. It also has the advantage that it does not disappear as the clock might disappear if your opponent stays on the ground long enough and you threw it too early.
You can place the clock/mine either on top of your opponent’s body or within his roll distance.
- When placed on his body you will generally encourage either blocking on wakeup or rolling forward.
- When placed within rolling distance the opponent will generally not roll into it.
Take note however that some characters might just plunge through your threat by using an attack with superarmor.
Capitalizing on the opponent’s reaction:
After putting down the clock/mine you could charge up your down square to add to the threat. Finding the right timing for this is a bit tricky however, but make sure you can cancel out of it by jumping if the opponent does not react the way you want him to.
Let us discuss which option you have after putting down the clock/mine.
If the opponent blocks on wakeup :
- You can run up to him and grab him and knock him down again to reset the situation.
- You can unleash your charged down square to guard break, perform a combo and preferably knock him down again at the end in order to reset the situation.
- You can use your level 1
If the opponent rolls on wakeup:
- You can follow up after him with your charged down square to hit him away. If you’re charging in the wrong direction, but haven’t moved yet, you can still change it or jump cancel it to do something else.
- You can follow after him with electric raccoon roll (side triangle).
- You can turn around and backstab him for 40 AP. (Granted that the opponent does not turn around during his roll by holding the d-pad/analog stick in the opposite direction he is rolling in, which for some reason people rarely do).
- Turn around and level 1 (risky, but you might catch someone with it).
If the opponent wakes up neutral:
- Jump and knock him down again.
- Run up to him, grab and knock him down again.
- Electric rail slide (side Circle) is also a possibility. It can lead to an AP burst near the corner using the rail slide loop, but it’s not recommended.
- Throw rage bomb
If the opponent jumps on wakeup:
- Jump and knock him down again.
If the opponent just lets himself get hit by the clock:
- Level 1 or level 2.
- Perform a combo of your choice and knock him down again.
- Teleport behind him and backstab.
If the opponent just lets himself get hit by the mine:
- Jump and knock him down again.
If the opponent counters the mine:
- Grab him
- Counter his counter and follow up with a combo of your choice.
When played well, you can get a lot of profit from a HKD in the corner.
- , Level 1
- ,,, level 1
- (successful counter), Level 1
- (fully charged), guardbreak with the tip, Level 1
When you are close to your opponent and release square at the exact time the cane is fully charged you slide a lot farther away. You need to hit your opponent for this extended slide to occur. This can be useful to push an opponent towards the corner, but is hard to do in a real match.
Some facts about the alarm clock
The alarm clock can’t be countered by any of the characters that have a counter move. This makes it ideal for oki against those characters that would usually react with a counter when someone places a mine like objecting on top of them. It is also indestructible.
A closer look at Sly's teleport
Sly's teleport has a couple of tricks you might not be aware of. Let us start with somecommon knowledge: Sly's teleprt functions exactly like the roll of other characters. You immediately have invincibility frames the moment you use it, but you can get grabbed out of startup. (Online however netcode may let you get hit during startup, which is also a main cause for the so-called Sly infinites). Just like a roll, you can control the direction you will teleport to by holding that direction. If you hold no direction, you will either teleport in place or teleport behind your opponent under certain conditions.
These conditions are as follows:
- You need to be facing your opponent
- You need to be within a certain range of your opponent. The shape in which you can do this seems to be elliptical. The maximum horizontal range seems to be 4.5 tiles and the maximal vertical range about 3.5 tiles.
- Your opponent can not have invincibility frames. If he does, you won't teleport behind him.
If there is no room to teleport to, you will be put on the nearest spot where there is room.
If you use the teleport when you’re slightly below an opponent who’s on a platform you will appear behind him on the platform.
Controlling the direction you face after teleporting
What will probably be lesser known, but really useful is that you can control the direction you will be facing at the end of the teleport by varying how soon you input the direction. Sly will face the direction he teleports towards if you immediately input left or right, but he will face the direction he was already facing if you slightly delay inputting left or right. Holding no direction lets you face the direction you are already looking towards unless you’re close enough to an opponent to teleport behind him, in which case you will end up facing the same way as your opponent.
Some minor things about air teleporting
- The grounded teleport is much safer than the aerial version: you can teleport in quick succession when on the ground, while you will have to wait a short while before you can teleport again after teleporting in the air.
- If you use the neutral air teleport when near a grounded opponent you will teleport yourself to the ground and behind him.
- Air teleport's recovery/end lag can be cancelled by air teleporting perfectly into a ledge.