After months of teasing, we finally get Marie as a playable character in Skullgirls in the Alpha version! On top of everyone’s excitement to see what kind of ideas she can bring to the table, the other big discussion has commenced in the big balance update that many players within the scene have been eager to see happen. As players prepare for 2024, and make all kinds of Marie-based teams for the Skullgirls Championship Series, the drum beats of war have once again ring true for the upcoming battles. 

Marie is here!

Nah… this is devious #SG_MAR — PME (@PME_SG)

Of course in October, Marie has finally arrived for everyone to try out in the alpha version of Skullgirls! Since then, there has been tons of tech that are being discovered and set up for her gameplay by the hundreds of clips posted on Twitter and Discord. As someone who is writing this article I also had some time to myself playing around with her. Early on in discussions about where she lines up against the rest of the cast, the consensus seems to be that she is a strong character but has weaknesses.

For starters, she doesn’t have a dragon punch move to get people off of her in high-pressure situations, among other tools to help her get out in the corner. Much of her natural so far relies on her Hilgrid assist to set up lasers to cover her approach, alongside launching Dust Bunny as another option to get in. Of course, we are still early on in learning what approaches Marie can do out in real matches. Most of these issues are solved by adding assists to have that extra character cover gaps in her gameplay.

Personally, I feel like she represents what Skullgirls is. Having creative freedom in what routes you want to go for on top of resets she can produce and having it all connect quite easily, without limiting your ideas. With all this being said, we have to take early impressions with a HUGE grain of salt as she is subject to change in balancing for her official release in the future.

Perfectly balanced, as all things should be

While we are all having fun learning what Marie can do, and what tech is being discovered with her, one of the devs at Hidden Variable dropped a huge think piece of some ideas for the long-awaited balance patch that Skullgirls players have been waiting for quite some time. Not only did the dev go into detail on ALL of the characters that should be adjusted, but also went into the system mechanics as well. While many of these ideas are just as he stated, just thoughts on what COULD happen. I post some of the key ideas from the blog posts for you all to see what kinda ideas Hidden Variable is up to for the upcoming balance patch. You can read the blog posts in their entirety on the Skullheart forums.


I’d love to get a read of the room on how we’re all feeling about two touch teams from round start. Specifically dash up cLK or overhead, then one mix up into death from round start conditions and spacing, but also for the next character arriving on incoming when teams have ~1.5 bars and can build another one easily for the DHC unscale in the corner.

Currently, we lean towards making changes that push things towards three touches from these conditions. This could manifest in a couple different ways:
• Small health increase, to keep combo damage consistent with past data.
• Reducing the DHC unscale value from 70% to something smaller. DHC unscale adjustments would perhaps require specific override rules for some supers to keep some supers viable, but we’d cross that bridge when we come to it.
• Other damage adjustments where needed.


• Applying even harsher combo scaling. It’s 50% right now, it could be as low as 20%! Even lower scaling also means more meter for the defender due to inverse meter scaling.
• Immediately starting combo stages at stage 3. Pretty bold, but it would certainly move the needle and force people to back off.
• Giving players access to super gold bursts (the fully invuln one, that keeps all of your Undizzy) to escape air throw burst bait loops when some conditions are met.
• Potentially having said super gold burst (the one that keeps Undizzy… this needs a name… “Super Gold Burst” perhaps?) put the victim into a sliding knockdown so that you can dash over and be plus as they wake up. Guessing correctly on these max Undizzy loops only to knock a zoner away and have them immediately set up projectiles is pretty rough, this would flip the advantage and deter these high Undizzy loops as intended by the mechanic original


“Bombs should go away when Peacock is hit”
• Sure, let’s talk about that. Bombs sticking around so they can trade favorably with opponents in defensive situations feels like a pretty big part of her kit. It may be too strong of a perk for her to have given how quick and slippery she is, and how fast she can get bombs out.
• There are two things I’d prefer to try first before “bombs go away on hit”, instead:
→ Bombs go away on hit, but only after a delay. Using M or H to trade against a dash in or jump in would still be viable, but if you just called the bomb mere frames before getting hit, it would explode before it reaches her. Standing inside of L George and playing footsies as you walk backwards with him would still be viable, but him walking across the entire screen to interrupt would not be, etc. You can envision how that would work hopefully.
→ Bombs have atrocious damage scaling applied if they hit the opponent after Peacock goes into hitstun. This experiment was tried briefly before, but this would be a more aggressive version, maybe even scaling down to 20%. Peacock would very much be incentivized to reset ASAP or knock the opponent away, lest she donates tons of meter to the opponent for a small amount of damage in return.
→ Could do weaker versions of both of these ideas, but combined.


• Plenty of chatter about Beowulf internally – just to lay it all out on the table transparently, here’s where we’re at…
• Even with changes to Beowulf in previous patches, he’s still at his most powerful when he’s building hype using resource building assists such as A-Train, then spending it to two touch off of his oki, or TOD you even if he’s saved up enough meter. Attempting to move Beowulf away from this gameplan is met with some amount of friction, as Beowulf A-Train players will be frustrated at having the most effective strategy for the character removed. As a result, it feels very difficult to change anything about him and allow for more viable playstyles, so we’re at a bit of a logjam here.
• The way Beowulf fundamentally engages with hype and builds hype would likely have to be reworked to let him be played freely in different positions with flexible team compositions. For some patches closer to his release I’ll remind you that Beowulf couldn’t build three hype with taunt, and had less ways to dump a ton of hype on EX moves during a combo, since many EX finishers didn’t regrab – he may have been worse, but he wasn’t shackled to resource assists for doing a ton of damage.
• Summary: For as long as Beowulf remains a character that wants to taunt in the middle of a combo with an assist call (due to how hype building works), he will probably pilot the same as before. I expect him to lose his effective 0 bar two touches (!) in some of the global two touch changes mentioned way above, so this may be our collective best shot to give him different ways to be played. If the Beowulf + A-Train players want him to stay with the same gameplan, with the same assist dependencies, we’ll have to figure that out too. Thoughts welcome!


• I’m inclined to give a decent amount of weight to ideas for how to nerf Ms. Fortune from the Ms. Fortune players themselves, so many of these changes will be familiar to those who have kept up with the thread, and for those who experienced the short lived Ms. Fortune nerfs from the last patch before they were cut short.
• cLK head loops will be removed.
• jLK will see tweaks.
• Reduced confirm time from Nom seems reasonable.
• Worth trying changes to hit the head more reliably for all characters when it gets stuck behind them, in addition to perhaps locking it out for longer.
• Making her supers easier to punish when they end near the head is a good suggestion.
• She may need targeted damage nerfs on top of any other global changes we may experiment with.
• I’d like to continue the previous experiment of making her easier to hit when she’s up backing away from you, but with a new approach.
• Something about her plethora of very effective defensive options will probably be adjusted, be it Fiber, Headroll, or both.
• For Fiber, letting Ms. Fortune get thrown for attempting it by moving it to strike invuln feels like the right call here. For how fast she can slip away if you’re not jumping in front of her, more options to call out Fiber in neutral (with or without an assist backing it, which makes it especially difficult to counter) would be ideal. Making it more unsafe on block so the slower characters can get into position to punish it as suggested seems reasonable too. We’ll see where everything shakes out with her defensive options and we’re still discussing internally.

This is what a small taste of possible changes coming to the game for both characters and the current meta. In all honestly after reading the blog posts in their entirety, I am very curious to see how things will play out. Seeing a game that typically plays out two-touch life bars go to three-touch would make the game a tad longer, but I also would feel players would find a way to still two-touch to death regardless of what changes are implemented.

It feels like this happens to all fighting games: the developers want you to play a certain way, while players find ways to get around those rules to get the win. In the words of the late great Eddie Guerrero, “If you’re not cheating, you’re not trying“. If this is indeed the last patch balance update to the game, the devs have a lot of work ahead of them to make changes they feel comfortable with for a game that is already considered well-balanced for the most part.

Spotlight: Astral Finish Festival #23

While the big 3 majors are done here in the US for Skullgirls, we still have a few big international Skullgirls tournaments happening in the coming months. One of which is in the Mexico region at Astral Finish Festival happening on November 18th. Skullgirls is one of the main games for this event with a pot bonus of $4,500! This is the 2nd highest amount of money for a Skullgirls tournament this year outside of this year’s EVO Hidden Variable donated a $5,000 pot bonus for the Skullgirls tournament this year. There are some killers in the region that will show up for this event and with this amount, you might see some USA players make the travel for this event.

The stream schedule is yet to be released, but keep an eye on the @SGMolly Twitter/X account, and organizer AF_GDL’s Twitter/X account to get more details on the big event. Link to the page can be found here.

Bonus Spotlight: Danisen League Charity Event

Normally I just have one spotlight, but had to add this event as well to look out for this week! Danisen League is holding a charity tournament to help raise money for the Palestine Children’s Relief Fund for those affected by violence in Gaza. It will take place this Friday and will be streamed on

All donations will go to the fund, and the tournament is free to enter (PC Only)! More details are below in the promotional image.

Editorial Corner

While it definitely feels like it is downtime for Skullgirls activity, the Marie alpha has got the whole community active again to play Skullgirls. Not to say it hasn’t been active judging from the weekly schedules I post, but it does feel like we are in this lull period of the game right now. Not to mention outside of Skullgirls, this has been a banger year for games in general so I can see why there may not be as many people playing the game at this time. 2024 is going to be a huge year for the community, and the game when the Skullgirls Championship Series starts, and possibly the swan song for the game. It feels like from hearing the talk from some players that have the feeling of it, but Skullgirls has been around for 10 plus years, and for me personally, I like to see this legacy game keep moving forward and still be played for as long as there is a fanbase for it. If 3rd Strike is still very active, and holds these big events once a year of team battles, then that’s the hope and dreams I love to see Skullgirls achive one day when we are all old and still playing this bonkers crazy reset-heavy game.