But if you're getting ganged up on (which happens far to often in team play), the best items to have are "retreat" items, like the shields or Zeus' teleport.
Also, if you don't want a player uses their item, play as a Zeus champ with a Zeus weapon because they have the ability to silence the use of both magic and items.
It usually works well 1.5 seconds before an air grab, ground grab/grapple or during regular combos. I usually save mine when I know depending on weapon and what location on the map im currently going to face a huge combo with lots of bouncing I use it.
No I think he means you can only escape a grapple if you use it 1-5 seconds prior to that chain coming out...which is about the same as my experience with it. If I don't activate prior to someone's grapple, I'll get thrown. Period.
ANything else I can escape...combos, launches, even Zeus' vacuum lightning bolts and fire traps.
...I know this has been said to death but lag might be a reason people aren't able to escape. I know my L2 press has failed leading to my death but this happens rarely.