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Them’s Fighting Words: Skullgirls Guide to Painwheel

Dominic Dimanche

Welcome back one and all to another thrilling chapter of Them“s Fighting Words. For our next installment, we introduce the masked tortured soul, Painwheel.


The Rundown


Painwheel is as pure of a rush-down character as you can get. Her entire moves list and tactics are centered around getting up close to her target and staying there for as long as possible while she pummels her target into oblivion. Her main ability to fly gives an excellent source of mobility as she swoops down on her foes like a hawk. And with her ability to absorb hits and send the damage back at her opponents makes her an efficient berserker class to play with.


The Basics


Painwheel is a very straightforward brawler type and her movements tell the tale quite handedly. Her ground movement is rather slow with an average forward and backward dash on the ground. And her normal attacks all hit hard and relatively quick considering her build and have solid reach for the most part. All in all, her moves will usually get outpaced by some of the speedier fighters like Valentine or Ms. Fortune, but this can be used to Painwheel“s advantage…




Pain and Pleasure (minus the pleasure)


The specialty of Painwheel is her “hatred guard” ability. By holding down on a majority of her normal attacks, they not only gain armored properties for a couple hits as the attack charges up and allowing her to strike back uninterrupted, but when the attack does unleash, it does so with the added the base damage of the attack she absorbed with an additional 85% added on top of that. With this in mind, Painwheel can easily throw herself into the thick of battle and not have to worry about a few errant strikes. Her standing fierce punch, when fully charged, can absorb up to three hits which upon unleashing it, causing a stagger hit to open up her foes for more punishment.


Along with this important tool, she can also use that bladed propeller on her back for flight. While she takes to the sky, her air movements are considerably quicker when she uses them to press forward than backing off. While in the sky she can set up some nasty cross ups and dive bomb attacks to really force her opponents into a defensive stance. Some of her other special attacks employ her modified her body to mount an offense from afar so she can close the gap and do some serious damage.


Her “Gae Bolga Stinger” is a volley of projectiles she fires into an arcing angle. The light variation fires a single shot in a straight line that causes stun on contact, medium shoots a cluster shot of five bolts, and heavy fires five bolts in a rainbow arc. They all fire slowly but the heavy form can be useful as an anti-air, while the light form would be the most useful for its stun properties.


Painwheel“s other method for closing distance is her “Pinion dash” attack. The pinion dash makes her curl up into a ball and rocket off in a Sonic-esque spin-dash move. The faster you press the attack, the faster she spins and the more damage she can put out. However, this move can be knocked out of pretty easily and leaves her open, so it“s best used when the foe is far away. Another danger is if the hit is blocked, she“s left vulnerable to a counter hit as well so bear that in mind.


As for her last special, “Buer Reaper,” it“s a two-hit move that performs a throw on hit but can be blocked. It works best as a method to link combos. It can also be used in the air so it can be perfect to punish foes in the air as well for a solid knock-down linked to a nasty wake-up game string.




Super Combos


Painwheel“s three supers are pretty straightforward, each setting up some heavy damaging combos or in regards to her level three, making her even more ferocious.


Her two level one supers are “Death Crawl” and “Buer Thrasher” respectively. “Death Crawl” is her multi-hitting ground super which causes her to crawl across the ground with blades jutting out in a Voldo-styled stance. It“s at its most damaging after stunning or nailing your foe after they“re knocked down for some free on the ground damage. Her other level one super, “Buer Thrasher,” is an air only super that grabs her foe and deals some serious damage. This can be easily linked into from most of her air combos and acts as a perfect exclamation point for her combo strings.


Her level three super “Hatred Install” isn“t an attack but more of a “berserker mode” for Painwheel that gives her some terrifying perks to her stats. The upgrades are as follows:

  • Painwheel's normal throws and her tag in attack become Hatred Piston, a throw with an extended animation and more damage.
  • All Hatred Guard moves have one additional hit of armor.
  • Damage absorbed by Hatred Guard gets reduced with a 75% multiplier, and the returned damage gets increased with a 110% multiplier.
  • Damage absorbed by Hatred Guard cannot kill Painwheel.
  • Increased movement speed during Flight.
  • The light version of Gae Bolga Stinger does not have any additional damage scaling.
  • Medium and Heavy versions of Gae Bolga Stinger get a reduced charge time, less recovery, and travel across the screen faster.
  • All versions of Buer Reaper have an increased hit-stop effect, allowing ground light and medium version to combo into Death Crawl at midscreen.
  • Aerial medium version of Buer Reaper causes a slide.
  • Aerial heavy version of Buer Reaper causes ground bounce.
  • Death Crawl travels across the screen faster.
  • Buer Thresher has more hits, increased total damage, and ends with a lengthy ground bounce.

When she activates Hatred Install, a timer kicks in which runs down as she stays onscreen and whenever she tags out, the timer pauses. In addition, the lower her health is when she triggers it, the more time she has to stay for Hatred Install. This makes her extremely dangerous when she is on her last legs.


Table of Contents







(Special thanks to Shoryuken Wiki for the raw numbers behind Painwheel“s Hatred Install.)


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