Here are a few important rules to keep in mind.
Rule 1: 9/10 people will refuse a rematch (even if they win) because apparently everyone hates playing against Axl.
Rule 2: If you end up being paired with a Nago or Pot online, ensure that you come to terms with the fact that you will be effectively removing their ability to play the game for next two minutes, and you may be pushing a person to commit nefarious deeds in real life.
Rule 3: Don’t get mad if you get put against Gio or Sol and immediately ragequit, but instead try and learn the matchup instead of letting your controller get intimate with the floor.
The Important Stuff
Luckily, you have a few tools just for the job.
With the name of the game being moreso “Keep Away” as opposed to “Guilty Gear STRIVE” when playing as Axl, it is in your hands to utilize your long range to keep opponents at a safe distance, while also maintaining the offensive by occasionally dipping into mid-range to pull off high damage combos. This balance is likely the most difficult part of learning how to play Axl, but with enough practice the pieces slowly fit into place.
Use your 5p and 6k to keep targets at the maximum distance away and for some good poke damage.
5p goes straight forward, while 6k shoots your sickle a bit upward as a neat counter to someone trying to airdash into your face (May, I-no, and Gio are the ones to watch out for here).
If you’re looking for some real damage, you’re going to have to get a bit closer. 5s and 5hs are both moves that have fairly quick startup, and have large hitboxes that work well in countering people who are mashing over and over after a knockdown, and can lead to some nifty combos too.
During the course of the match, it is extremely important that you punish the opponent for moving in any cardinal direction, and breathing for that matter too.
If they jump from fullscreen, 6k. Closer to you and trying to overhead? 2s has you covered.
Your dust attack will likely not get used much while playing as axl, but if you manage to connect with 5k you can combo into a 2d. This can then lead to other extensions as well.
If the opponent dashes, 5p.
If the opponent crouches, 2p, or 2hs for an extension.
If the opponent so much as stands still for more than half a second, send your unblockable HCFhs there way and clothesline their ass back to the lobby selection screen.
If you’re playing Axl, your goal isn’t to win matches, but to ensure that the enemy knows that they are not allowed to play the game under any circumstances, and that you have fun while doing it.
Try and mess with your opponent as much as humanly possible. Normally getting 50% without the opponent getting anywhere close to midscreen is enough to make someone put down the controller and hand you free wins, but if this strategy doesn’t work than continuously spam the move you think is both the most effective and annoying until the opponent’s mental is nothing but dust in the wind.
If by some miracle the opponent chooses to rematch, it is now your duty to pay eternal respect to them and give them the best sets of their lives. Fight an honorable battle, and show them how grateful you are that you get to play more than half a set with the same person.
However, if the opponent shows ANY signs of wanting to play the sixty dollar game they just bought at any point during the match, make sure you teach them a lesson and show them who the real cool guy on the block is.
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