You might notice that underneath your health bar, there is a tiny pulsating lighting bolt that pulses more violently as your characters die.
This lightning bolt represents a very important system mechanic called Sparking Blast. To put it in few words, Sparking Blast is a universal powerup state that can be activated once per game that essentially buffs your team in very useful ways for a limited time. Sparking is activated by hitting all of the attack buttons (L+M+H+S). This can admittedly be a little tough to execute consistently, especially on a gamepad, so it might be wise to bind a macro for Sparking on shoulder buttons (L2, Left Trigger, etc.) via Button Configuration.
Sparking Blast has multifaceted uses and a plethora of properties that are triggered upon activation. Before getting into the properties though, it should be noted that there are 3 different levels of Sparking. Level 1 Sparking Blast triggers when activated while your entire team is alive, and will leave you in a Sparking state for around 7 seconds. Level 2 Sparking Blast triggers when activated while 1 team member is dead, and will leave you in a Sparking state for around 14 seconds. Level 3 Sparking Blast triggers when activated while 2 team members are dead, and will leave you in a Sparking state for around 21 seconds. There doesn’t seem to be any difference in the properties for the different levels of Sparking Blast besides the duration. Sparking Blast is also a team buff, meaning that the buff will carry over your teammates if they are brought into battle. However, bringing them into battle doesn’t affect the set timer.
But now the question remains, what are the properties of Sparking Blast? Here’s a list of all the buffs you will receive for being in a Sparking state:
- Blue life will regenerate at absurd speeds, making your team an insanely tough challenge to kill. Keep in mind that this regeneration is only affecting the active character. Assist characters will still recover life at the usual speed.
- The base damage and meter gain for all attacks are increased. You’ll also receive more meter for blocking and getting hit.
- Airborne attacks become dash cancellable, including your 6M which is a big deal! This means that you will gain access to a scary overhead that can be easily confirmed into a combo without even needing an assist. You can even Special Cancel your 6M while in Sparking.
- ALL normal attacks will be jump cancellable on hit or on block, which can provide very strong pressure strings and new combo routes.
- The pushback on block and overall recover of Super Dashes are reduced immensely, leaving you more advantageous than usual to immediately act in midair after having your Super Dash blocked.
- Vanishes can be altered to teleport behind the opponent without performing the preset attack, leaving you able to immediately press a button of your choice after the teleport. This is done by holding down the Vanish buttons (M+H) after performing a Vanish. This makes Vanish a very dangerous punish tool!
Sparking can be activated on its own or cancelled into from a special cancellable attack or a special move itself. The Sparking Blast attack is invincible, and has a large, explosive, Burst-esque hitbox that surrounds you. If Sparking Blast is performed in a combo and this Burst connects, the opponent will be in a very long state of hitstun, giving you ample time to follow up with a combo after the Sparking Blast connects. If a raw Sparking Blast hits the opponent but wasn’t performed in a combo, they will be knocked back but will recover in time, meaning that you won’t be able to follow up with a combo.
In theory and in practice, Sparking Blast is the ultimate comeback mechanic. You can save it for your last character to gain a very powerful state that lasts 21 seconds, which is an insanely long amount of time. It is not an unordinary occurrence to see a solo character run through an entire team thanks to Sparking Blast. However, Sparking Blast doesn’t just have to be used as a comeback tool. Given the amount of leeway that’s offered with the Sparking Blast buffs, you can use it to flat out kill characters off of one touch if the resources needed to do so are available. It’s a purely strategical decision, but if a character is giving you a problem or seems to be the focus of your opponent’s team, you can activate Sparking to get rid of the problem character and not have to worry about them for the remainder of the match. Furthermore, if you are steamrolling through your opponent and you land a hit on their last character before they activate Sparking, you can cancel your hit into sparking and unleash a devastating combo on them if you have the resources to back it up. This can allow you to either kill their last character or at the very least, significantly reduce the amount of blue life they’ll be able to recover if they choose to activate Sparking in the future. It’s a trade-off though, because using Sparking early means that you will not have access to it should you need it later on in the match. Sparking as a comeback mechanic is great, but keep an eye out for other ways to utilize it for the sake of maximizing the potential of such an influential tool. Also, be careful when trying to construct your own Sparking Blast combos in training mode, since you’ll need to account for the level of Sparking necessary for your combo, and the amount of characters/assists necessary for your combo. Remember, in level 3 Sparking, you won’t have any assists in a real match, and in level 1 Sparking, you’ll have 2 assists, but the buff will only last for 7 seconds.