Tarantula is a strong mid-range VA who can run away well with six Boosts in the air and a very versatile Weapon attack that can be used to hold opponents in place to get in or do mixups as well as preventing other VAs from just throwing out long range options. Tarantula has very easy high damage punish combos and very tricky okizeme options. His defining tool Powered Wrecker, his claw grabs, provide you with strong mid range control and good damage if you get good at confirming into the Thousand Missiles follow up. As for weaknesses, Tarantula has no reversals outside of Giga Crush, and even though he has six Boosts in the air, his Boost is another jump, so he can only go in the directions 7,8, and 9. This means that even though he can air stall quite well, he has little actual mobility in the air. This presents itself as a problem when you are cornered and want to jump out. You can up back in place fine, but if you want to move forward to get out of the corner, your back is more exposed to air backturn unblockables than other faster moving VAs.
- Can be very safe if played defensively.
- Easy and high damage punish combos.
- Extremely versatile oki options that can be difficult (or impossible) to block.
- Can cover just about any angle with attacks both on the ground and in the air (thanks to the various Powered Wrecker directions, and multiple missile trajectory options).
- Very low crouching hurtbox which lets him avoid some stuff that most VA's can't.
- Below average health.
- Air movement is very floaty.
- Can have difficulty pinning down opponents running away/difficult to force damage on defensive players.
- 5L - Kind of slow and awkward for a jab. You can chain this into another 5L into 5H, or just straight into 5H for a knockdown. It is possible to link dashing attacks after the 5LL chain, but this isn't really practical both because the execution required is extremely difficult, and because there are not going to be many chances to actually use 5L in a match. Not particularly usable, mostly because Tarantula has better options up close. Active on frame 9.
- 2L - This is the better option up close. This move comes out fast (active on frame 6), has decent range, is special cancelable, and most importantly, it hits low, in fact, this is Tarantula's only low attack. Hitting low is a big deal because it means you can use this move to catch people trying to up back out of your pressure, which, eventually, should force them to stay on the ground for you to run other mixups on. If they never learn, and keep holding up back, then you get a good chunk of damage with a couple of these on them up close. This most can also be used to for blockstop unblockables. If you jump in on an opponent and do a very late j.2W which they block high, you can hit them with an unblockable 2L while they are stuck blocking the missiles high. If you get comfortable with this, you can cancel the unblockable 2L into a 623H for a real nice chunk of free damage.
- 5H - This move is generally better to do up close than 5L. It comes out faster (active on frame 7), option selects a better throw than 5L does, the two hits give you time to hitconfirm into a special for some juicy damage, both hits are cancelable, is more advantageous on hit/block when utilizing Power Charge canceling, and does more damage. The only time that this move is worse than 5L is either on whiff, or if you don't Power Charge/Special cancel it. If you whiff or neglect to cancel this move, you will find yourself drowning in a sea of frame disadvantage. Even on hit, this move is very punishable if not canceled. You should get in the habit of Power Charge canceling every time you press this button. This is particularly important to do when going for an OTG throw on an opponent. In the even that they tech roll the knock down, preventing your OTG throw from coming out, you will just whiff a big 5H into nothing, which will probably be punished. You should get in the habit of immediately Power Charge canceling your 5H OTG throw so that if your opponent tech rolls out of it, you will cancel the start up frames of your 5H, and if they don't, you get your throw as normal.
- 2H - Knocks down on hit, but doesn't hit low. The first hitbox of this move is actually a pretty good anti air, but the startup is too slow to be used for that purpose (first active on frame 16). This move doesn't get used much, any time you need a one hit knockdown from this range you are probably better off using a Powered Wrecker. You should always Power Charge this on hit or block to make it less punishable.
- j.L - This is a good move if you need something to come out fast in the air against an up close opponent. This move has kind of a deceiving hitbox. Despite the animation, Tarantula doesn't really attack forward much, this move is mostly a rectangle beneath his body, so it can be used as a pretty reliable crossup. It can be used as an instant overhead on every VA except for Fordy and Tarantula. There is a one frame window to instant overhead Swordsman, Cyclone, Vise, and Lightning. There is a two frame window to instant overhead Reptos, and Jackal. For every other VA it's 3 frames or more, and not that difficult to do. Remember that the last prejump frame looks like the VA is airborne, but isn't actually airborne yet, so you have to wait until after that to do the input. This instant overhead is very good for okizeme in the corner when you are covered with missiles from your Weapon attack. After a knock down in the corner (or even outside sometimes, depending on how the opponent rolls) you can do 2W, Power Charge cancel it, dash up and do meaty dashing L, Power Charge cancel the first hit, and then do either 2L or instant overhead j.L. If timed properly the missiles should connect after this attack, which will give you ample time to follow up for a simple dash L into 623H for a huge chunk of damage, or a fancier combo of your choice. You can see an example of this setup here. This mixup can be very ambiguous and lead to lots of damage, but the timing is difficult to get used to, both for the missiles, and the instant overhead input against some VAs. This move is also special cancelable, so you can do instant overhead j.Lx632H/LH for a quick knockdown if you don't have the missiles covering you.
- j.H - This is a real big move. You can use it from real high on the screen to tag people as you come down. Since the range is so large, this will often catch people off guard. You can also jump back and do j.H to tag people crouching after some up close pressure. This is an important part of Tarantula's space control game. The first key element is obviously his Weapon attack, but this move really helps round out his long range capability. While the initial startup is slow, once it gets going it moves pretty quick, so you can press the button when you're above the screen and not visible to your opponent, and then come down fast on them with the later frames that have more range.
- j.2H - This move has a good crossup hitbox and hits three times. The first and second hits are special cancelable. This move is very good for okizeme in the corner. When you get a knockdown, you can shoot the 2W missiles, and then jump in for a meaty j.2H. The number of times that j.2H is going to hit can be very difficult to see, so your opponent may start blocking low too early, and with the missiles, this should convert to a full combo. You can vary how many times it will hit by adjusting when in your jump arc you press the button, or, you can cancel the first or second hit into a Powered Wrecker that will whiff, allowing you to land early and do a low before your opponent expects it. This can also be used to create an unblockable from midscreen depending on how the opponent blocks the first hit when you go for a crossup. Some details of how that works can be found here.
- Dashing L - This is a move that seems pretty safe to do at first, but quickly becomes dangerous. It comes out pretty quick (active on frame 8) and moves Tarantula forward at a pretty good speed. This is what you want to use as a beginner to punish things that are very unsafe, like DPS. You can do dash L and cancel the last hit into 623H for about 40% damage on most characters. All of the hits are special cancelable, but only the first hit is Power Charge cancelable. If you run into an experience opponent with this move, and do not Power Charge the first hit on block, you will get guard cancel thrown very often. Even the first hit can be guard cancel thrown fairly easily if you do it too close. It's possible to do dash L, Power Charge cancel the first hit, and then do a tick throw. This tactic can be quite strong. Against weaker opponents, dash L is fairly safe to just throw out in pressure, which gives you big damage when it hits, and you are pretty safe to do whatever you want on block, but be careful of going to this move too often against more experienced players. It's possible to link a 5H after dashing L for a bigger combo, but it is a 1 frame link.
- Dashing H - Active on frame 9, travels much faster than dashing L, and so deals four hits in much faster succession, making it a little harder to hit confirm directly into a special move. An important advantage this has over dashing L is that you can Power Charge cancel any of the four hits. This makes it easier to link after by Power Charge canceling the last hit. There are actually enough frames to do another dashing H after you Power Charge cancel the fourth hit of dashing H, giving you an infinite combo for as long as you don't have a full meter, as seen here. This is quite a difficult link though, and it is more reliable to just do 5Hx623H after Power Charge canceling this move. The same tactic of Power Charge canceling the first hit and then going for a tick throw can be quite effective with this move as well as dashing L. Overall this move has more versatility compared to dashing L, with it's flexible Power Charge windows and faster speed, but it is a little more difficult to do combos with.
- Weapon Off 5L/H - This jab is actually much better than Tarantula's normal jab as it is faster and has good advantage on block. With the arm off it is possible to do 2L and link 5L afterwards as seen here. Even though this attack is a lot better than normal 5L, you want to get your arm back as soon as possible because of how important Powered Wrecker and normal throws are to Tarantula's gameplan.
- Normal throw range - 43
- L throw - Pretty typical hold throw. You normally want to be doing the other one as 5L is a poor option select in the event that you don't get the throw. If the opponent knows how to mash, you won't get as much damage anyway.
- H throw - Tosses the opponent across the screen. This is the better throw option for Tarantula. Make sure to always have a Power Charge cancel ready on your 5H in case you don't actually get the throw.
- Arm Ripper throw - Standard Arm Ripper. L version range is 37 frames, H version is 36 frames.
- Thousand Missile.
- Shoots two missiles with similar trajectories across the screen. These can be destroyed by hitboxes that they come into contact with. If the reach the ground without hitting a target, they will blow up on the ground creating a larger hitbox.
- Tarantula has two versions of his Weapon attack on the ground. The 5W version launches the two missiles at a mostly horizontal trajectory across the screen, one travels full screen, and the other stops slightly short of it. This attack is extremely good for putting a hitbox in front of yourself as you move in on the opponent. The missiles move slow enough, and Tarantula moves fast enough that if you Power Charge cancel the recovery of the weopon attack, you will be able to follow up with a combo if the opponent is hit by the missiles. You can also use this same approach to do tick throws, instant overheads, or lows if they are blocked. If you are dashing on the ground, you will always get 5W when you press the Weapon button, regardless of which direction your are holding. The 2W version launches both of the missiles in a sharp arc upwards and come back down to land about 3/4 of the screen away. These move much slower than the 5W missiles and so they give Tarantula a lot more protection to do other attack or approaches behind. They are particularly deadly when done on the opponents' wakeup, allowing you to do all sorts of mixups, some of which would normally be unsafe, and then have the missiles come in to protect you from being punished, or allow you to extend combos from the hits you got. To get the most out of these missiles, you should always be Power Charge canceling the recovery, as you get many more frames to act sooner if you do so. These missiles can also be a decent preventative anti air if you are worried about an opponent swooping in from the sky. You can set these up and have some time to move around under them before they land, forcing your opponent to either withdraw from their offense a bit, or risk getting tagged.
- Tarantula also has two version of his Weapon attack in the air. The normal j.W attack shoots the missiles out mostly horizontally, similar to the 5W on the ground. This is going to be your main tool from full screen against opponents that play very defensively in the air. It allows you to reach out with a hitbox from very far range to keep them from just doing attack whenever they want. Forcing them to block this also allows for a window in which you can approach without risking being attacked. It can be very effective to shoot these from beyond the top of the screen when the opponent can't see you. Missiles shot like this will often catch people by surprise who are no carefully watching your weapon gauge. If you shoot this as you are falling and it hits the opponent on the other side of the screen, you can follow up by doing charge 2-8 Tarantula Stamp for a combo. This gets you in with a knockdown to start running okizeme from full screen. The j.2W attack shoots the missles donwards at a much sharper angle, right in front of Tarantula. This version tends to be used to secure Tarantula a safe landing when the opponent is below him and he is up in the air. It can also be used to set up block stop unblockables as described under the 2L section. Using this in place of a button when jumping in against an opponent can be very good at beating potential anti airs, or keeping you safe from something like a dragon punch as you recover much quicker from the Weapon attack than a normal attack.
- For some reason, Tarantula is able to create unblockables with his Weapon attack when he shoots them, and then switches sides with an opponent before the missiles connect. There are numerous natural ways to set this up over the course of a match, but a very simple one that will catch most people who roll forward on knockdown is to shoot the 2W missiles, and then cancel the recovery into Tarantula's charge 2-8 L/H Tarantula Stamp move. If successful, the opponent will be hit with the unblockable missiles, and you can follow up for a full combo as the missiles have a rather large amount of hitstun on them. For some unknown reason, this doesn't always create an unblockable, just usually. You can see an example here. This is the only weapon attack known to behave this way when switching sides with the opponent.
- 236 L, H, or LH - Powered Wrecker. This is one of the most versatile special moves in the game. Every version is active on frame 6, making it one of Tarantula's fastest moves. This move is used as a defensive poke, a guard cancel, a long range punish, space control, an anti air, and a frame trap tool. The L version goes in a horizontal direction grabbing in front of Tarantula. The H version travels upward at a 45 degree angle from Tarantula. The LH version travels vertically, directly above Tarantula. You will mostly be using the L and H versions of this move on the ground, but the LH grounded version is situationally useful. The air versions of the this move are all the same as their grounded counterparts in terms of angle. This move can be done during with a Boost to really scrape the hitbox across the screen, giving you a wide area that your hitbox will cover. You can also Boost while the move is active, to massively extend the active frames and move across the screen with the arm extended. This is almost never good to use as you are left very wide open if the opponent should avoid the attack and you will recive a full punish, but it can occasionally surprise people who see you whiff it, think they can move in for a punish, and then find that you have extended the move Boosting into them for the grab. For some reason the L and LH version in the air make Tarantula invincible from when they recover to when he hits the ground, and the H version makes him strike invincible from when it recovers to when he hits the ground. The air versions are excellent tools against players who like to fly around and throw stuff out. They present hit boxes that you have a lot of control over in various places around the screen. You can use the momentum from the startup of your air boost just like you can on the ground with this move. Obviously the air boost is more limiting than the ground one, but you can use it to back away as you are throwing out a claw or move forward with one. When you hit with this move, you will either capture the opponent, from which you can do a follow up, or it will strike them and knock them down. If you ever combo into Powered Wrecker, it will just strike for a knockdown and you won't get the capture. As the hitbox extends, each distance of hitbox is active for two frames, the capture hitbox is only active on the first of each of these two frames, so even if you didn't combo, you will occasionally get just the strike rather than the capture as you do this move. There are three follow ups to the capture. First, if you do nothing, Tarantula will just bash the opponent on the floor a few times before letting them go. This does the least damage and isn't particularly difficult to tech roll, so you should try to never get this follow up.
- Any attack - Wrecker Slam. This is the second follow up to Powered Wrecker's capture. Tarantula jumps up and then slams the opponent on the ground. This follow up requires the fastest tech roll input, so it can be ok to do as a surprise every now and then if your opponent is getting too comfortable teching the other versions, even if it doesn't do the most damage.
- 214L/H - Thousand Missiles. This is the follow up that you want to go for pretty much every time. It does the most damage, which is a nice chunk, and lets you follow up with oki even though they get tossed across the screen. One thing to really practice with Tarantula is getting this follow up as consistently as possible. It's a little easier to do the input for the air versions as you don't have to do the follow up until he hits the ground, so you have some time to confirm and do the input.
- j.632 L, H, or LH - Downward Powered Wrecker. This move is air only, and lets Tarantula do Powered Wreckers from the air down on grounded opponents. The L version is the same as 236L in the air, but the H version goes in a diagonal line down from Tarantula, and the LH version goes straight down in a vertical line from Tarantula down to the ground. The L version behaves the same as the 236L version in terms of invincibility on the recovery. The H and LH versions have no invincibility on recovery. The follow ups for this move on capture are the same as the follow ups for Powered Wrecker.
- 623 L, or H - Rising Tornado. Even though this is a dragon punch move, there is zero invincibility on this. It has a decent anti air hitbox, but it is far too dangerous to use in neutral. This is mostly a combo tool, and for that you exclusively use the H version. The L version does less damage, and it's possible for some characters to punish it if they tech roll properly, the H version doesn't have this problem. This is your go to move to cancel into from dash L on hit, or a hit confirmed 5H.
- 421 L, or H - Falling Winds. This is kind of an interesting move without really a straightforward way to use it. It is not an overhead despite coming in from the sky. The H version is almost completely useless, comitting you to a very long and punishable move that isn't very likely to hit in the first place. It can catch some taller characters standing and it does a good amount of chip, but it's very unreliable at actually catching anyone. The L version is more of a movement option. You can cancel the recovery of your Weapon attacks into it to let Tarantula move forward and sometimes over his opponents when they are knocked down. On block it's pretty punishable, and on hit it knocks down. The L version can occasionally be used as a frametrap since the startup of Falling Winds has Tarantula jump back, he can do this to avoid an opponents counter attack, and then come back and hit them. This is not something you will see often though, and even in the right situation, you are probably better off doing something else.
- 2 (Charge) 8 L, or H - Tarantula Stamp. Tarantula jumps up in the air and comes down on his opponent to stomp on their head. This move will track to whereever your opponent is at the time, within reason, it will always have the same general trajectory. This move is very punishable on block, but it can be used pretty effectively in neutral when covered by some missiles to prevent being punished. It comes out very fast so it can ve used as a fullscreen punish for move with a longish recovery on the oppoesite side of the screen, and can also be used as a follow up to full screen missiles that happen to land. It hits overhead so it can sometimes be tricky to block. Despite how it looks when it hits sometimes, this move will never crossup. This is used as one of the canned unblockable setups after a knockdown by doing 2W canceled into 28H, and if the opponent rolls forwards, they should be caught by the unblockable missiles allowing for a full combo. It can be used even outside of an unblockable missile setup to get close to an opponent on knockdown by whiffing it. This move does OTG, so if the opponent doesn't tech roll, and you try to use 28H to get close to them for oki, they will just get stomped on. As an OTG it does less hits. The full amount of hits only come out on hit, on block it will just do one hit. It's possible for it to hit very deep on an opponents wakeup and recover before the last hit that intitiates the knockdown comes out. When this happens Tarantula will be suspended slightly in the air, but the game will see him as being grounded. From here you can do whatever you could do on the ground, including 2L to hit low while being up in the air. This can be very confusing for the opponent to block. It is also possible to just combo after the stomp when you are able to hit deep and not knock them down. You can see some examples here, here, and here.
- LH - Giga Strike. This burst is invincible for 26 frames, much longer than most, but has a smaller hitbox than most, being mostly just around the blue aura that covers Tarantula. Since the burst is so invincible, you can burst through opponents bursts, or burst without fear of them bursting back as you can be pretty certain of beating theirs.
- 236236 L, or H - Falling Destroy. This super is a ground to air grab that will also grab opponents on the ground if they are there as Tarantula lands. The grounded portion has a range of 73 pixels and the air portion has a range of 107. The air grab comes out very fast. If the opponent is in the air in front of you, and isn't already doing a move, they will probaby get grabbed. Grounded opponents have lots of time to react with an appropriate button/special move/or burst because Tarantula won't grab opponents on the ground until he lands from his jump. This super is very effective in the corner against opponents that like to up back out of pressure. If you can get someone to block the missiles in the air or on the ground in the corner while you are next to them, this super is guaranteed to hit. On hit, some character can punish this super if they tech roll properly, so be careful when using it. Generally you want to make sure it will kill. Being able to grab airborne opponents is a VERY strong ability in Cyberbots. Even if they range and application is very limited compared to other air grabs in the game, this super is still very useful.
- Tarantula's most basic combo is Dash Lx623H. This will give you a good amount of damage and is very easy to do. You can also do Dash H, Power Charge Cancel the fourth hit, 5Hx623H. This is a bit more damage.
- The possibilities for Tarantula's combos, like most characters in the game, are pretty open ended, but they all require a level of execution beyond what is practical for humans when playing the game. You can see some examples of his combo potential here, and here. As you can see from these, you can get pretty much all of his moves to combo in different ways if you have the execution for it.
- Hitboxes, courtesy of Totu_Q