Nathan Rad Spencer
A quick need to know guide
As an individual character:
Spencer is designed with two main purposes:
Rushdown and an awesome combo potential enabling him to kill any character off one clean hit.
In order to achieve that with Spencer, you need take advantage of his mobility(Zips and air zips),powerful air normals (air H and S) and learning the best combo's that lead to or close to the corner, regardless of who your assists are. (Knivez' zip loop or Adeleheid Stark's combos work fine.) Now bear in mind that even though his zip brings you up close, it's far from safe as characters with faster pokes can and could beat out Spencer's ground normals.
Here is where I bring in...
Working in a team:
Spencer greatly benefits from a good horizontal projectile assist (e.g.Doom beams, Task's Arrows) to support his rushdown and keep him safe at the same time.
OTG assists wouldn't hurt as well as it extends his combos and maximizes damage potential.
This covers the two essential elements in a Spencer team: The horizontal support for rushdown and the ability to extend combos with maximum flash and damage potential.
Good Horizontal Assists: Task and Hawkeye's Arrows(Combofiend), Doom Beam, Iron Man Beam, Akuma Tatsu (Knivez), Sent Drones
Some OTG Assists: Wesker Gun Shot(Omen), Doom's Missiles(GX), Felicia Sand (PR Rog)
Working in a team (as an assist):
Spencer as an assist is mainly used for extending combos and I have rarely found anyone using Spencer as a main support assist although sometimes people do get caught with a grapple but then again, it still leads off to a combo hehe so it can also be a combo starter. The grapple assist to be used is dependent on which characters are with Spencer. Grapple Horizontal Shot ends in the opponent in OTG status and this is perfect for characters with OTG moves like Dante and Sent while the Grapple Slant Shot puts the opponents in a restand neutral state which also leads to combos as well as resets. I don't see anyone in competitive play using Spencer's Armor Piercer which is pretty understandable. It's too slow to be a get-off me assist and only a handful of characters can use this assist to extend their combos. Stick to the grapples.
Notable Slant Grapple Set-ups: Iron Fist Restand Restun Combos, Wolverine Setup for either extending combo or a reset (PR Rog), Wesker Setup like Wolvie's.
Notable Horizontal Grapple Set-ups: Hawkeye Arrows Galore Combos (Zeohawk and me lolz), Sentinel Rocket Punch Combos, Dante, Wesker
Working alone (with X-factor):
Now generally, me and most players prefer Spencer to be at point or middle man for positioning for a ton of obvious reasons but sometimes when worst comes to worst, Spencer may become the last remaining member of your team. Now, don't get me wrong, Spencer with level 3 X-factor is anextremely OP character but unless you are Spencer God Combofiend, you're gonna have a hard time getting those combos and controlling him around the screen. Stick to simple
combos (like L,M,H, L Zip Grapple end with Bionic Arm) and diagonal air zips when using level 3 Spencer. The simpler you use him, the better.
Being craftier with Spencer:
Being familiar with all the things written above is great but adding a few more tricks wouldn't hurt.
-Spencer has an overhead move (f+H) which is hella slow and is kinda hard to set-up on it's own but with a good horizontal assist, you can get this. Also, you need to always, ALWAYS link the Armor Piercer after the overhead because it's very punishable. Even though if the overhead doesn't hit, the Armor Piercer will push the opponent back and keep Spencer safe as long as the opponent is not in or near the corner.
-Spencer also has a command grab set-up which you need to integrate into your game. Try to use it when they least expect it like do a d.L>d.M and if they don't
pushblock, cancel into the grab. Note that only the M and H versions leads off to a combo (don't do the follow-up move as it's crap.)
-For incoming opponents, you can do another command grab setup by delaying an air H and as they pushblock you'll land immediately, letting you dash in and do the antiair command grab setup (The H version) Yipes uses this often.
-There's also a snapback setup that Infrit used that I think is an ambiguous cross up. After doing the snapback, do a slant zip near the corner and do a Death from Above (air dwn,dwnfrwrd,frwrd+S) and when it's succesful, it leads to a combo. Having a good assist like Sent drones can totally make this a scary tactic.
-This is a rarely used and seen setup but this proves useful for players who aren't familiar with it and you have Sent or any character with good lockdown assists. Spencer has an upzip (up+anybutton+S) that has special properties because you can still activate an assist while you are upzipping. It looks like a normal zip butSpencer moves up straight. Be careful with the input of this zip because a delayed or mistimed input may lead to a swinging zip (the one where he looks like Tarzan.) Now the reason why this is so good with Sent drones is that while Spencer is zipping up and the opponent is guarding the Sent drones, he's open to mixups. You can
zip straight down and go for the overhead, the low (watch your feet) or wait for the assist to finish and do a command grab.Some other good assists for this are Strange's Eye of Agamotto and to a certain degree, Doom's Missiles.
-Spencer has one of the best air grabs in the game because you can maximize the damage from those air grabs as long as you know the right combo. Learn that combo.
-Death from above is an interesting move. Now I know it's only often used in combos but Knivez has been integrating it into his game. Using it randomly and cancelling to Xfactor when it fails lolz but I think there is potential to it. What I'd like to mention about it though is that it can lead to air grab resets. After doing a DFA in a combo, doing a stand L and jump cancelling it can lead to some pretty tricky grabs although it's kinda obvious at times hehe. There's no harm in trying, though.
-The smart and proper usage of Bionic Lancer/Bionic arm. First, while the Bionic Lancer is invincible from startup to hit contact from mid range, you are completely wide open after that so learn the distance and instance on when to use this super. The recovery is really bad if you miss and without Xfactor, say goodbye to Spencer. Another flaw is it may look full screen due to the size of the attack, but it isn't. Don't ever use this from far away since you can easily get punished hard.You can also use it to punish assists. People with assist happy mentalities will get punished and even happy birthday'd. All in all, this is by far one of the best punishers in the entire game. Don't waste it.
On being effective with Spencer:
The most helpful advice I could give to budding Bionic Commando's are the following:
-Practice practice practice his combos until you can do them with your eyes closed. (Mick Valle)
-Learn to Tiger Knee that Grapple in them combos and you're good.
-Zip smart, zip well. Zip with assists, zip with purpose.
-Bionic arm them shit (Combofiend)
Finally, parting words:
Spencer teams are designed with one purpose: maximize Spencer's combo potential enabling him to kill (or almost kill) with one touch.
In order for you to do that, you need some kind of projectile support allowing him to zip in freely and set up high low mixups.
Once you get in, do those combos you've been practicing and make sure to make them count. TK inputs will help you here.
When they come in, perform your setup of choice.( Air grabs, Upzips, Command Grab setups, etc.) and combo again.
When it fails, back off and repeat the process.
Always remember to add in the command grab when the opportunity presents itself. Punish whiffs and bad assists with Bionic Arm.
Do all this and you'll be winning in no time.
Kung nasa Bohol kayo, give me a holler!