HP double > light Crushing Destroyer > HP double > light Crushing Destroyer > MP double > Crushing Swing ender (34%)
HP double > light Bolt Strike > HP double > light Bolt Strike > MP double > Meteor Strike ender (31%)
HP double > Shadow Crushing Shoulder > HP double > light Crushing Destroyer > Crushing Swing ender (48%)
HP double > Shadow Bolt Strike > HP double > light Bolt Strike > Meteor Strike ender (42%)
HP double > Shadow Crushing Shoulder > HP double > Shadow Crushing Shoulder > Crushing Swing ender (54%)
HP double > Shadow Stomp Strike > HP double > Shadow Stomp Strike > Meteor Strike ender (46%)
( Damage calculation notes)
Notes: Eyedol has two sets of counter breaker combos for his two forms, but fortunately, the 0-meter and 2-meter combos have exactly the same inputs no matter the form, so there is no need to learn anything extra! The 1-meter combo is a bit weird; because Eyedol really struggles to build the ender level, he must put the shadow move very early while the damage scaling is low. They are still very similar between Warrior and Mage form, since the only difference is the shadow move input being QCB for Warrior stance and QCF for Mage stance. If you do QCB for Mage stance, the combo works just fine and nets you 1% less damage, so you may want to just accept the small damage loss, make all the combos have identical inputs, and lessen the burden on your memory. Eyedol's counter breaker damage is quite low when compared to other characters, but you should probably spend at least 1 meter to get him into the 40% range, since mid-30% is too low to make the counter breaker risk worth it. Feel free to discover your own counter breaker combos for Eyedol's instinct mode!
Eyedol is two complete characters in one. The Warrior head , a rushdown form, and the Mage head , a zoning form, are each complete with a collection of unique normals, special moves, and movement options, and the only thing shared between the two are the same set of kick normals. To distinguish between Eyedol's two forms, look at the color of his staff, as well as his posture: in Warrior, Eyedol's staff is red and he is hunched over, while in Mage, Eyedol's staff is purple and he is standing upright. Both forms are quite strong at their dominant gameplans.
Warrior form is a close-range bully. When in Warrior, his punch normals are very fast and advantaged on block so it is easier for him to keep his offensive turn. In addition, Eyedol's jumps are faster and shorter, he has a forward run instead of a dash, and he has an invincible uppercut special move, so he can more easily get into and keep the close-range space where he excels. Mage form is powerful from long range. Mage has floatier jumps, slow, stubby dashes, and weaker defensive options, but he has punch normals with exceptional reach and very smothering long-range special moves, and all his specials do amazing chip damage.
The trick to the mechanic is that Eyedol switches randomly between the two heads. To be more specific, any time Eyedol returns to neutral after performing any grounded medium or heavy normal, or special move (including enders), Eyedol has a chance to switch forms with a screen freeze similar to an instinct activation. If Eyedol does not switch, the chances of him switching the next time he performs such an action will increase by a small move-specific amount, typically lower for normals than specials. Eventually, this percentage will be high enough that Eyedol is guaranteed to switch. If Eyedol wants to try and force a switch, he can use Wake Up! (+HP), a move where Eyedol punches himself in the face. This move is time consuming and does a small amount of damage to Eyedol, but greatly increases his chance to switch.
The implication of this mechanic is that Eyedol will often switch during fights, usually when you least expect it. You may be applying strong rushdown pressure with the Warrior form, only to suddenly switch to the Mage form and have to change to a much different style of pressure. If your opponent wrestles offensive pressure away from you, you'll be left with Mage's much weaker close-range defensive options. Or, you could be happily keeping your opponent at bay with Mage's strong zoning, only to switch to Warrior stance and now be full screen away, where Warrior is least effective.
Good Eyedol players will need to learn to use both forms in all situations, and quickly adjust gameplans as the random switching chooses for you. Although you cannot switch in the middle of a combo consisting only of auto-doubles and linkers, since these are cancels and you do not return to neutral, you may switch if you try to attempt manuals, or after a launcher or wall splat ender where you are planning a follow-up attack. In these cases, you will have to be quick to recognize the switch and change your combo on the fly.
Above Eyedol's shadow meter, you will notice a special gauge that indicates the current active head, and has three pips on each half. Each head can store three Cosmic Charges, which are earned by the other head doing some specific action. To earn red Control charges for use by the Warrior head, the Mage head must hit with Tele-Strike, a teleport which can be used in neutral or in combos. To earn purple Rage charges for use by the Mage head, the Warrior head must hit with Crushing Roar, a low damage command grab. This mechanic enforces the fact that Eyedol's two heads must constantly work together to achieve victory.
The pips are also spent differently depending on the head being used. Warrior spends his red pips to run or jump cancel any neutral attack on hit or block. By inputting run or holding any jump direction during a normal or special move, Eyedol can perform any number of surprise approaches, thwart shadow counters on attacks like Clobber, or generate extra frame advantage on attacks that would otherwise be unsafe or disadvantaged. The applications for creative pressure are nearly limitless, and Warrior Eyedol becomes very difficult to defend against when backed up by Control pips.
Meanwhile, Mage spends his purple pips to enhance his special moves with a mechanic that is almost identical to Shadow Jago's Surge moves. By hitting a punch or kick button twice quickly during any special move input, Eyedol will perform a better version of that special move (hereafter referred to as the Cosmic version); Cosmic Bolt Strike will fire all three versions at once, Cosmic Meteor Strike will fire three meteors instead of one, and Cosmic Stomp Strike will cause a second stomp that is farther range and more advantaged when blocked. Mage's zoning and close-range pressure are made much better with Rage pips available.
Building charges is foundational to good Eyedol play, but fortunately it is relatively easy for him to incorporate the pip-building moves into his gameplan. As Warrior, Crushing Roar is a great command grab to complement his regular pressure of throws, overheads, and advantaged normals. Try classic tick throw setups by canceling moves like crouching MP into the forward version of Crushing Roar, or finish a corner combo with Warrior's wall splat ender to follow up with a free command grab and pip. As Mage, virtually every time Bolt Strike or Meteor Strike hits the opponent, Eyedol can immediately perform Tele-Strike for a guaranteed pip that cannot be combo broken. If you are daring, the cross-up version can also be thrown out at surprise moments in the hopes that your opponent will not be ready to block, but you do not need to resort to much risk to build pips in Mage form since they are freely added to the end of any combo. Even "traditional" combos ending with Mage's launcher ender can earn a free pip.
The most important advice as a new Eyedol player is to not forget that you have built pips! Because Eyedol asks players to keep track of a lot of things, it is easy to lose track of the pips as you play. But since Crushing Roar and Tele-Strike will occur fairly often during play, you need to remember to use these pips frequently to bring out the true strength of the character. Even if you don't have much of a gameplan behind using pips, simply "randomly" run canceling a move into a throw as Warrior, or "randomly" enhancing a special move as Mage, is a great way to get started.
Warrior is the more dominant close-range body, where strong normals will harass your opponent into getting hit by traditional openers more often, but Mage is not left high and dry by any stretch.
: While Eyedol is a character that pushes a lot of boundaries on fighting game concepts, Warrior's openers are not too difficult to understand. Crushing Destroyer is a two-hit vertical swing of Eyedol's club that has decent range and good frame advantage. Because the move is always two hits, you will have to watch out for shadow counters, but the light version is slightly faster than the heavy version, so switching strengths might cause your opponent to input the wrong timing or react poorly. Light is also the only version that combos from jabs, making it useful for some punishes. If shadow counter is not a concern, use the heavy version for +1 block advantage, which is the best of the normal Crushing Destroyer variants, or use shadow Crushing Destroyer, which gives very strong +5 frame advantage and decent chip damage.
Crushing Shoulder, meanwhile, is a fairly standard Cold Shoulder-like horizontal approach special move. It travels slightly farther, making them good whiff punishers, but the medium and heavy versions are unsafe on block. Even the light version is slightly negative on block, so you should use Crushing Destroyer if you are trying to pummel your opponent from very close range. Shadow Crushing Shoulder is projectile invincible, giving Eyedol reliable ways to handle projectiles in the mid-range. Importantly, using a Rage pip to dash cancel heavy Crushing Shoulder is one of Eyedol's best approaches. Eyedol will be able to act long before his opponent leaves block stun, turning nearly full screen situations where Warrior normally struggles into highly advantageous pressure, or a combo if Crushing Shoulder happened to hit.
: You might think that a body designed for zoning struggles to fight up close, but surprisingly, Mage is equipped with Stomp Strike, which is one of the best close-range specials in the game. Let's start with the heavy version, which is a monstrous +3 on block and does roughly 2% worth of chip to your opponent, a very high number for Killer Instinct. It is also a true block string after many of Mage Eyedol's best buttons, such as standing HK and standing HP, which means Eyedol can be an incredible nuisance from point blank range to about two character lengths away by repeatedly canceling normals into heavy Stomp Strike. Even if your opponent blocks all of them, Eyedol earns some serious chip damage, and due to the frame advantage on the heavy version, it is not easy to challenge Eyedol after blocking one.
Note that heavy Stomp Strike does hit three times, so it can be shadow countered, but in practice it will be difficult because from some ranges, not all the hits will connect. Plus, if Eyedol knows his opponent is capable of shadow countering this fast move, he can switch to the light or medium versions, which hit once or twice and are still even or advantaged on block. Heavy offers the most frame advantage, which lets Eyedol press the heaviest button after, but all versions of Stomp Strike will allow Eyedol to keep his turn, and it is quite difficult to know which version Eyedol has performed during a fast-paced match. Further, Cosmic Stomp Strike is even better! It does even more chip, all strengths are heavily advantaged on block, up to an amazing +5 for the heavy version, and it moves Eyedol close so he does not push himself out of range for more Stomp Strike pressure. This move should be one of your most common uses of purple Control pips. The shadow version of this move is best left alone, as it is not very strong and Eyedol has much better uses for his meter.
Both of Eyedol's forms also have a few very important combo starters that require you to continue the combo with a manual. Fortunately, the timing is easy in all cases, so incorporating these tools into your gameplan will not be too challenging.
: Warrior's Head Bash (+MP) is one of the best overheads in the game. It is a little on the slow side, so from close range it might not always work, but it hits from many character lengths away, controls a huge arc in front of his head, and will recapture anyone who happens to jump into that space. When Head Bash hits, you must manual after, but the timing is very generous, even for heavy attacks. Even better, Head Bash is negative but not punishable by normals, and at far range, Eyedol will be out of the way of most characters' buttons, which means his offense is not really over. If you want to spend a Rage charge, dash canceling Head Bash is very advantaged on block and still leads to a combo on hit, giving Eyedol yet another strong option for his approach.
Crushing Swing is Eyedol's uppercut. The light version is invincible and never leads to a combo without some trickery like an instinct cancel. The medium version, however, is upper body invincible, making it a very useful anti-air, and causes a high launch so Eyedol can run forward and juggle; even slow moves like Head Bash can catch a juggled opponent and recapture them if you do it quickly enough. The heavy version hits an extra time (so it is easier to combo break), but recaptures the opponent and leads to a standard combo. After an opponent is juggled with medium Crushing Swing, mix up between more medium Crushing Swings to keep the juggle going, or Head Bash and heavy Crushing Swing for recaptures.
: Mage has two important special moves for zoning, and both of them can lead to a combo if you connect with an easy manual. Let's cut to the main chase here; Eyedol has full screen high/low mixups since light Bolt Strike is a low, and all versions of Meteor Strike will hit overhead. The mixup is slow enough that good defenders can tell the difference and block in time, but the moves are still very potent because they will catch people who are trying to approach Mage while he is zoning. Walking along the ground is dangerous because of light Bolt Strike, while jumping or otherwise crouch blocking is dangerous because of Meteor Strike. Meteor Strike can also act like a sort of assist, since it will still come to the ground if an opponent hits Eyedol too late, so it is not a bad idea to summon close-range Meteors sometimes, even if your opponent is farther away, just to prove to them that you own the entire space on screen. Eyedol can be a huge annoyance to his opponent by constantly throwing these moves out from full or mid screen.
Converting either Bolt Strike or Meteor Strike into a combo if they hit is trivial since they do a very large amount of hit stun. From mid screen and slightly closer, Eyedol can actually walk forward a bit and use one of his long-range normals like standing HP or standing HK to connect and do a traditional grounded combo. From further away, you can react to either of these moves hitting, and then follow up with light Bolt Strike, and then Tele-Strike; this combo is unbreakable and guarantees Eyedol a free Rage pip any time a Bolt Strike or Meteor Strike hits. Because of how important pips can be to Eyedol's gameplan, I recommend always taking the pip when you get the chance. Most of the time, you will be happy with your positioning, so you only need to hit three kicks to do a front Tele-Strike. If you want to switch sides with your opponent, hold forward while pressing three kicks to do a cross-up Tele-Strike; the combo has the same timing, but switching sides can be valuable if you are cornered.
The commands for Eyedol's linkers are the same regardless of what form he is in, so that will help lessen the burden on your muscle memory. In Warrior, Crushing Shoulder will push to the corner, which helps Eyedol immensely, while Crushing Destroyer does ever so slightly more damage. In Mage, both linkers are pretty interchangeable; they do the same damage, the same corner push, build the same amount of KV meter, and have roughly the same timing for manuals. The slight edge perhaps goes to the Bolt Strike linker because it seems to leave Eyedol slightly closer, making manuals whiff a little less often, but you will want to switch between both on occasion so the defender has more to think about when trying to combo break.
Eyedol is a character that should try to prioritize pips over especially long combos if the opportunity arises, especially considering the fact that he does below average damage outside of instinct mode. Where possible, prioritize the enders that lead to building those charges.
: The ender that allows Warrior to build Rage pips is his wall splat ender, Crushing Shoulder, due to the fact that the Crushing Roar command grab will be inescapable after any wall splat. If you are near the corner, doing Crushing Shoulder ender into a command grab is much preferred to any other ender, and Eyedol will still be able to apply another mixup since Crushing Roar leaves Eyedol at +4 advantage. His damage ender is slightly below average damage, but still useful to close out rounds, or when not near the corner. The ground bounce ender leads to similar juggle combos that you would find after landing medium Crushing Swing in neutral. These can lead to recaptures and more enders in the future.
: When Mage is doing his long-range zoning, he will likely never use a traditional ender, since he will prefer to follow up any Bolt Strike or Meteor Strike with Tele-Strike and build some Control pips. If you land a close-range combo, such as after the excellent Stomp Strike opener, you may want to consider keeping the combo short and finishing quickly with the Stomp Strike launcher ender, because this will also let Eyedol juggle a free Tele-Strike as the opponent is falling and build pips that way. Because Mage Eyedol's battery and damage enders both give him below average benefits, you may just prefer to keep your pip supply full. If you are happy with your pip building, both the battery and damage enders are good secondary choices; the damage ender will keep the opponent close if you want to do more Stomp Strike pressure, while the battery ender will send the opponent full screen away if you decide it's time for them to run the zoning gauntlet.
Eyedol has no flipout among either bodies, and only Warrior form has any recapture moves. Warrior Eyedol does end up performing juggles, due to his medium Crushing Swing anti-air and Crushing Destroyer ground bounce ender, so having a recapture is quite helpful for him. Head Bash, his long-range overhead, is quite slow so you will have to perform it quite early during juggle combos for it to work. While both of these moves can be broken on reaction, being able to switch between two possible break strengths (medium for Head Bash, heavy for Crushing Swing) forces opponents to pay attention or else risk a lockout. Mage is not particularly bothered by not having a recapture, since any time his opponent is in the air, such as after a Stomp Strike launcher ender, Eyedol largely prefers to juggle with Tele-Strike and earn a pip instead.
It is impossible to discuss all the uses of Eyedol's instinct, because this character can essentially do anything at any time, and is limited only by the player's creativity. If you want to zone like Mage, you can. If you want to rush down like Warrior (or like Mage), you can. If you want to approach with the tools of either body, buffed to have all the advantages of a given form without any of the drawbacks, you can. If you want to build pips for either body, or spend pips for either body in ways normally not allowed, it's all possible in instinct mode. Because of its strength, defending against Eyedol in instinct mode is tricky. If your opponent is more liberally using the instinct-enhanced light Crushing Swing uppercut, your best bet for punishing before the meteor crashes down on your head is to quickly do a projectile invincible shadow move. You have time to punish, but you will have to be fully ready. And if this wasn't all enough, Eyedol's damage gets a significant boost in instinct; in particular, the shadow Crushing Destroyer linker hits with five club swings and the power of five electricity waves, which can raise the ender level by 2 all on its own. Use this immediately if your opponent locks out.
: Warrior's specialty normals are Head Bash, a long-range overhead that has been discussed above, and a collection of normals that are designed to keep him close to his opponent at frame advantage. The star moves are standing MP and crouching MP, which are only one frame slower than the fastest light attacks, are +1 on block, and have virtually no pushback so they can be pressed many times in sequence and beat everything the opponent tries except an invincible move. Clobber, a 3-hit rushing command normal (+HP), is a high damage punish starter, but is difficult to use in neutral because it is so easily shadow countered. Warrior can dash or jump cancel it at any time to try and bait a shadow counter attempt, but there are better uses for Warrior's pips than this. Jumping HP causes a ground bounce; it is useful to throw wrinkles into your juggle combos, but jumping HK should be preferred for standard jump approaches.
: Mage's specialty normals are a little slower than Warrior's, but are designed to take up lots of space on the screen. Mage gains access to Rod Blast (+MP), a nearly full-screen normal that does a good grip of damage and covers a ton of space. Many characters will not get hit by this if they are crouching, but it is still a useful normal to throw out on occasion in case the opponent jumps or tries to walk forward. It cannot be special canceled, which means the damage is your only reward. Otherwise, standing MP and standing HP are excellent mid-range buttons to press and cancel into your choice of Bolt Strike or Meteor Strike (for high/low mixups and space control), or Stomp Strike at closer range for chip damage and safety.
: All of Warrior's special moves have seen discussion in previous sections, but it helps to think a bit more about when and how you might want to use them as a whole. From close range, it's important to stress that you often don't need to cancel into a special move. Because Crushing Shoulder is always negative and Crushing Destroyer can always be shadow countered, sometimes simply repeatedly pressing advantaged normals like crouching MP and standing MP and mixing in throw and throw baits is more effective. This will also make Crushing Destroyer harder to shadow counter when you do choose to use it, since it will be more of a surprise. Crushing Roar, the pip-building command grab, should also be brought out often in tick situations, since it has surprisingly large range (after landing a Crushing Roar, you are still in range for another one directly after), and Mage pips are quite valuable. From farther range, use shadow Crushing Shoulder to get through most projectiles on reaction, and when you have Warrior pips, using medium or heavy Crushing Shoulder with a dash cancel is an excellent way to close the gap and give yourself frame advantage.
: Using Mage's special moves is a bit more nuanced. From close range, the choice is clear; Stomp Strike is amazing. It does lots of chip, is advantaged on block, and is difficult to shadow counter. Close range Meteors also work decently well to thwart shadow counter attempts and to keep people on edge. From long range, where Mage typically thrives, mixing in Bolt Strike and Meteor Strike to keep your opponent guessing is important, and knowing when and how to use each is a matter of experimentation and practice. If your opponent tries to jump, you can try to zap them with the anti-air medium Bolt Strike, or try to bounce them off the ground with a meteor. In both cases, if you can confirm they got hit quickly, you can do Tele-Strike to build a pip and knock them away again. Otherwise, all grounded hits of Bolt Strike or Meteor Strike should be immediately followed by light Bolt Strike, and then Tele-Strike.
But let's talk about one of Eyedol's best uses of shadow meter; shadow Bolt Strike. When used in neutral, this move causes a knockdown, but it is an instantly screen-filling projectile that has invincibility after its first initial startup frame. It also clears all projectiles on the screen immediately. This means Mage form can easily use shadow Bolt Strike to anti-air from any distance, or punish a character trying to perform any action from long-range (such as, for example, Glacius's Shatter or Hail). Because it must go through one frame of vulnerability at the start, it is not infallible as a reversal, and it is punishable if blocked, but Mage Eyedol should be making people fear this move any time they flinch from anywhere on the screen.
Your first goal should be to build pips. This means learning a few very easy tick throw setups for Warrior's command grab, and practicing the timing for converting Mage's Bolt Strike and Meteor Strike zoning into Tele-Strike. With that in place, when Warrior is close or Mage is far, Eyedol's strengths just naturally shine. Basic plus-on-block normals and throw setups will be hard to defend as Warrior, and as Mage, throwing out long-range normals, or Bolt or Meteor Strikes with backup shadow Bolt Strikes to make your opponent take serious risks to approach, is where Eyedol gets most of his damage.
The main trick to playing Eyedol well is learning how to handle the random head switches, and learning how to use a form when it is not at its favorite range. The fact that Eyedol's linkers are mapped to the same inputs is quite helpful for handling random switches when trying to do manuals or combos after wall splat, but it can be visually jarring to have your character switch on you, and it's okay to drop combos and try to scramble for throws while you learn to handle this. If you were planning to convert a Mage long-range Bolt Strike into Tele-Strike, it is more difficult to suddenly continue the combo if you switch to Warrior unexpectedly. One approach is to run forward and try to hit with heavy or shadow Crushing Shoulder; from everywhere except truly full screen away, this should work. Or, you could simply use the opportunity to run forward and get in Warrior's best range, let the combo drop, and just prepare to lock your opponent down with Warrior's close-range tools.
From close range, switching suddenly to Mage isn't the end of the world, because Mage can immediately start using Stomp Strike, and then choose to continue the close-range pressure (perhaps randomly switching back to Warrior eventually, where he is already at a great range), or slowly back away and start zoning. But from farther range, when your opponent is not being hit, switching to Warrior is a little bit more difficult, especially in matchups against good zoning characters. Here, you will have to bide your time until you are in range for Head Bash or heavy Crushing Shoulder, and then try to make them block it and use a dash cancel pip to get back in. Another alternative is to try and sneak in uses of Wake Up! so you can switch back to Mage and not have to deal with the approach, or simply activate instinct so you are now the game's best character. Mixing and matching these approaches will keep defenders on edge. But at the end of the day, Eyedol is worth playing because he allows for very creative and entertaining neutral game play, and using a form at its peak potential will make you feel powerful.