IF THE AMOUNT OF TEXT INTIMIDATES YOU THERE IS A SUMMARY AT THE END.
I saw that no one has done anything for Sceptile yet, so I decided to make a post. Recently I have been looking into the mechanics of slidekicks such as Gardevior's 2y and Sceptile's 2x, and have noticed that they all work a little differently. I have been thinking about making a general thread and maybe even a video on this if there is enough interest, but I figured I would discuss Sceptile's here since I have grinded it out the most and, because he is my main, actually added it to my neutral and oki games.
What most of you will be familiar with is that Sceptile's 2X is -12 on block, meaning it is grab punishable and 1 frame away from being punishable by most light attacks. Now, common sense may also dictate that the later you hit with the move, the less negative you will be on hit. This, however, is not REALLY the case "I will get into why it sort of is in a little bit;" however, depending on how far you begin the move from your opponent, you may push him / her farther away from you, making you safer. To help you understand this, I have defined 4 general ranges at which this move can be operated.
Close Range: This range defines the spacing from your opponent in which you are so close that you are grab punishable / punishable by other means on block. This is character dependent, as characters with a shorter grab and normal range, such as weavile, will have a much more limited punishing range than characters with longer 9 frame grabs / attacks such as mewtwo. Additionally, this range does not really "exist" for chandelure and suicune because they do not have any 9 frame duel options, and therefore cannot punish you regardless.
Unsafe Mid-Range: This spacing occurs when you have started your 2X far enough away so that the pushback of the move exceeds the remaining distance Sceptile has to travel so much so that the opponent will be rendered too far away to punish Sceptile with his / her sub-12 frame input, but not so far as to prevent the enforcement a rock-paper-scissors interaction. As a result, 2X is now unpunishable on block, but not "safe" either because you will still be both minus 12 on recovery and within 13-frame range. This range, like the aforementioned one, is character dependent for the same reasons.
Safe Midrange: This is the distance between you and the blocking opponent in which you have now started the move far enough away to cause a pushback towards the end of your sliding animation so that your opponent will be too far away to reach you with most moves. This will also be character dependent like the first two ranges. The reason I have mentioned a difference between this and "unsafe" mid-range is because the fast majority of characters / players cannot really blockstring or want to begin blockstrings with moves outside this range. This means that there will be a more or less neutral state after this interaction, where as in the previous example a RPS situation is far more likely to occur / the pressure is so great players feel compelled to make a move / bait out a move with block immediately.
Far Range: This is where things get complicated. I like to think of this as a sort of "tipper" 2X because, when the 2X is executed at the precise distance, the move will actually make contact with the opponent after Sceptile has stopped moving forward. This will result in a massive gap between Sceptile and the opponent and, when executed at the proper distance, will actually be around plus 1 on block (though I mostly get even on block if not just a little minus). To put it in perspective, this range is to be executed at around Sceptile's leaf-blade tipper range. Unlike the previous three ranges, every frame later you are with the contact of the hitbox on the opponent once you have reached the Far Range threshold will directly translate into one less frame difference between the recovery of you and your opponent. Also like the previous three ranges, your "safety" is no longer dependent on what the opposing character is since you are now saving frames, not distance. Thus, it follows that the other three ranges are not safe to use when the opponent is on the wall because you will not push them back; however, because you can be at a frame advantage with proper spacing, at the Far Range, this move actually becomes a potential pressure tool on the wall while getting you into your opponent's face. One caveat here: because you take so long to reach your opponent from this range, someone with good reflexes (and off of netplay) may be able to react to your 2X if they are ready, so this can by no means be spammed at all (though you will most likely be able to shield the counter-attack in time, a very smart opponent will punish with a move which displaces their target such as fast aerials like mewtwo's jy).
There was a lot to cover here, so I am sure I forgot something lol but I hope this helps. Until now, no one has ever really seen Sceptile's 2X as anything beyond a combo-ender for the BnB, and I don't know if counterplay may develop to hinder the usage of this move, but I have come to believe 2X can actually be a good mix-up tool to catch opponents off-gaurd every now and then. Other uses for 2X include pushing the opponent into traps (mispaced unblockable oki or leech seeds) and anti-airing (the best example is how this move actually does a better job against machamp's jy than toxic or 4X, though toxic is almost always the best option for antiairing still).
To anybody who made it through this entire essay, it really means a lot lmao. For those who don't want to read:
SUMMARY: Sceptile's 2X gets safer the farther it is from the opponent until you reach a range so far away that the hitbox is delayed and you become even / plus on recover on the opponent's block as opposed to the normal 12 frame deficit.