Rivals of Aether - Ranno & Clairen

Rivals of Aether, despite being a relatively small indie game, is easily one of my favorite fighting games of all time. Rivals brings a lot to the table when it comes to what makes a "good" fighting game, and really scratches the same itch that other platform fighters do. (most notably Super Smash Brothers). I wrote a recent blog discussing the latest character to release in Rivals, Ori and Sein, and I was happy to say the character is a total blast. Ori didn't really satisfy my hunger for MORE RIVALS but here we are, not even two months later, with another two new characters for my favorite indie fighting game - "Ranno, the Poisonous Pacifist" and "Clairen, the Flame's Salvation"!

"Ranno, the Poisonous Pacifist"

Ranno was actually revealed back in August at this year's Super Smash Con, which felt like an eternity ago because I was so damn excited to play him. Ranno is the third character hailing from the water kingdom, alongside Orcane and Etalus. Ranno is kind of similar to Sheik, if you're familiar with Smash Brothers and has a plethora of close range rushdown options and even some zoning to boot. The frog monk has a pretty unique kit compared to the rest of the cast, including a super jump (executed by crouching before a jump), a damage over time effect and the ability to spawn bubbles and capture your opponent inside them. Ranno's damage over time debuff is applied via throwing poison darts (neutral special), smash attacks, and even rapid jabs. Up special can also add a stack of poison, and can be canceled into a whirlwind of poison darts. The max amount of venom is four, and each stack will add more damage over time, as well as effect how long your opponent will be stuck in your poison bubbles. It sounds a little complicated but everything about Ranno flows and feels extremely natural. His side special allows him to extend his tongue, which can be used to eat your opponent and spit them out inside a bubble, or to traverse terrain/make it back to the stage. He's easily my favorite post launch character to date, and I look forward to playing him more.

"Clairen, The Flame's Salvation"

Clairen had an insane amount of hype surrounding the release, thanks to some pretty solid marketing from Dan and his team. I remember before her official reveal on October 1st, the Rivals subreddit was ablaze with theories and guesses as to what Clairen would look and play like.
This cryptic image fueled hype for over a month.

Clairen is pretty much the Rivals of Aether's version of Marth from Smash Bros, tipper and all. Adding a "swordy" to the game was pretty heavily requested and Clarien fills the role as expected. Good range and excellent aerials let Clairen control the pace of the match as she sees fit, until she can end the match with her pretty insane kill potential. Unlike Marth, Clairen's tippers add a special stun effect when they land, which can extend combos if you wish, but they do add more knockback/damage. Clairen has some pretty unique specials included a grab for combo starting and a pretty crazy parry which creates an anti projectile zone. Ultimately, I think Clairen is a bit too strong, but she's a blast to play.

Rivals is a game I'm constantly pushing for people to try, whether it be close friends or people around the shop, and I've never had somebody not like it. The cast of characters seems to be one of the game's strongest appeals, and I think Clairen and Ranno only increase the allure. If you've never played Rivals/don't own a copy for yourself, this is the time to jump in! The excellent indie fighter is on sale for 50% on Steam to celebrate the new release, and you can even grab both characters for only $5! 
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