Blocking is an integral part to keep yourself alive. Knowing how to use which block in which situation will greatly improve your game. Not only will you be able to defend better, but in some cases you will be able to resume your offense faster.
Basic ground blocking is the most common defensive option. To guard against high attacks, simply hold back. To guard against mid attacks, hold back or down+back. To guard against low attacks, hold down+back.
Remember, you can not block against throws, and some attacks are just flat-out unblockable!
Basic air blocking is even easier; simply hold any backwards direction while airborne. Air blocking does not have a high/low blocking, but instead comes with another restriction... air basic blocking will not work against ground based attacks!
Ground based attacks are all non-projectile attacks that are performed on the ground, such as all standing/crouching normals, ground specials, and ground supers!
Example #1: May jumps at Sol, Sol uses 2H, May gets hit because Sol is on the ground
Example #2: Potemkin jumps at Johnny, Johnny uses his 632146H super, Potemkin gets hit because Johnny is on the ground.
Any time your opponent attempts to use a grounded anti-air attack, you will need to Faultless Defense instead of basic air block. Remember this... it's important!
As with ground blocking, you also can't air block against air throws and unblockables.
Instant Block (IB)
Instant Block is a slightly more advanced version of normal blocking; you must start blocking right before the opponent's attack touches you. Your character will flash white if you IB an attack.
The benefits of IBing are:
- Recover faster from blockstun (for exact amounts check the Attack Level table)
- Reduced pushback (which might be a good or bad thing depending on your character)
- Increased Tension Pulse (which means more Tension later)
IB does not allow you to make "illegal" blocks: you still must block high/low correctly, and you still must use air FD versus air unblockable attacks.
- Air IB keeps a player airborne longer compared to normal block and FD. Use this to throw off an opponent's timing if they are planning to mix you up as you land!
You can IB "during" attack patterns. This means that while normal blocking, you can begin IBing at any point if you can time your blocking with the opponent's attacks! Think of it as a mini-game: time your blocking to the rhythm of the opponent's hits.
Faultless Defense (FD)
Faultless Defense is an interesting and highly useful technique. It's often used to negate guard damage, but it has other important uses. To perform Faultless Defense, hold any backward direction and press any two buttons except D (example: 4P+K), and not S+H (see Slashback, below). As long as the direction and button are held down, your character will continue to perform Faultless Defense.
- Prevents chip damage
- Increases pushback
- Increases blockstun
- Can air FD to block most air unblockable attacks
- Prevents Guard Gauge from increasing
- Drastically reduces Tension Gain temporarily (reduced by by 80% for 1 second)
- Consumes Tension while used
- FD IS DISABLED WHEN YOU HAVE NO TENSION
- Air FDing an attack increases your gravity. Use this to quickly fall to the ground while air blocking if you want to perform ground only attacks (like Dead Angle Attacks)!
- FDing out of a dash immediately cuts your momentum, allowing you to stop and block instantly, or even fake out your opponent! Doing crouching FD while dashing will cause you to slide, but you'll still be able to block immediately.
One point worth repeating is that using FD in the air allows you to air block attacks that are otherwise unblockable! Air FD is the primary way to air block things like an opponent's 6P or 2H.
Another point worth stressing is that FD increases pushback while blocking. This allows a player to escape an opponent's offense sooner by pushing them out of attack range! An advanced strategy is to make the opponent's attack miss by pushing them away with FD, then counterattack while the opponent is still recovering from their whiffed attack!
Just like with Instant Blocking, you still must block high/low attacks correctly when using Faultless Defense.
Complete knowledge and mastery of Faultless Defense is critical to high level play. Always try to keep some Tension specifically for Faultless Defense.
Slashback allows a character to "parry" any blockable attack by pressing S+H while blocking an incoming attack. You cannot "hold" Slashback like you could FD. It needs to be tapped. Attempting a Slashback will make a gold ring appear around the character for a brief moment, and a gold shield will briefly appear upon a successful Slashback.
- The Risks
- Must perform the SB 2-3F right before an attack hits
- Can not block for 30F (speculated) after a SB attempt (but can attempt another SB)
- Costs 2% Tension (speculated)
- Can not SB for the first 10F (speculated) after wakeup
- Ground SB must be performed in the correct direction (4+S+H versus high attacks, 1+S+H versus low attacks)
- Air SB works against air unblockable attacks (like air Faultless Defense)
- The Rewards
- Reduces blockstun significantly:
- Ground blockstun is reduced to 2F (reduced to 4F if SB is performed after a SB failed attempt)
- Air blockstun is reduced to 4F
- Negates chip damage
- Prevents Guard Gauge from increasing
- Tension Pulse increases significantly
You will recover fast enough that basically any poke in the game you will be at frame advantage if the opponent's attack was not canceled.
You can Slashback multi-hit moves as well as gatling chains. You must Slashback AS the active frame becomes active. AKA you do not want to do it "before" the hit hits, like with Instant Blocking. You want to do it just as it hits you, similar to parrying in Street Fighter III: Third Strike. You can activate Slashback any time you are in Guard Stun as well as at Neutral.
You can also use SB to stop a dash/run as you would use FD Braking.
Press 4+H or 6+H when being normal thrown to perform a throw break. There are 2 versions of throw break:
The first is when both players press throw at the EXACT same time. This causes a purple flash and both players back off and recover at the same time.
The second is when a player presses throw within 2 frames (speculated) after being thrown. In this instance the throw animation will start, a purple flash appears, no damage is dealt, and they will back off in a less favorable way depending on the character's throw. For example, escaping Johnny's ground throw this way will leave you airborne and slightly away from Johnny.
- Only normal throws can be broken; command throws cannot be broken
- Throw breaks CANNOT be performed while recovering from a move, so unsafe attacks are still unsafe
Dead Angle Attack (DAA)
Dead Angle Attacks are invincible attacks that knock the opponent away and cost 50% Tension Gauge. To perform a Dead Angle Attack, press forward + any two buttons simultaneously (6P+K for example) while in blockstun.
DAAs are used to hit away an attacking opponent and reset the momentum of the match. It can also be used to do a small amount of damage and some characters (particularily Potemkin) can set up a combo afterwards. Each character's DAA is unique and as a result, some are stronger than others.
Like most other attacks, DAAs have startup, so it's possible to bait an opponents DAA with attacks that recovers quickly or by Jump Cancel > air block. It's best to use DAAs when you are certain it will connect or else the opponent will be able to severely punish you.
As mentioned in the Tension Gain section, using a DAA will reduce the amount of Tension you gain by 80% for a full 4 seconds.
Bursts are an extremely expensive but highly versatile tool in Guilty Gear. To Burst, press D + any other attack button. The character will rise into the air and an aura of energy will strike all around him. Bursts are strike invincible, but not throw invincible!
Depending on a character's current state, the Burst will be either Blue or Gold; in terms of defense, both types of bursts have their uses:
- Blue Bursts can be used while blocking or while being hit to deny the opponent damage and reset the pace of a match.
- Blue Bursts are completely vulnerable until the character lands.
- Gold Bursts can be used on wakeup as a reversal that also give full Tension on hit!
- Gold Bursts are strike invincible during the recovery, so you must use an air throw to punish a blocked Gold Burst.
More information on bursts can be found here.
One Frame Jump
One Frame Jumps are an advanced defensive tactic used to escape pressure by chicken blocking faster. To perform a One Frame Jump press ~Faultless Defense. No dust will appear from the ground if this is performed correctly.
Contrary to popular belief (and the name), this does not reduce jump startup time at all. However One Frame Jumping shrinks the size of a character's hitbox because a character's air blocking hitbox is much smaller than a character's jumping hitbox. This gives the illusion of a much faster jump startup than normal.
In addition, properly performing a one frame jump causes you to rise straight up, cutting your momentum if you dashed into your jump. This can open up some interesting punish and combo opportunities!
Throw/FD Option Select on Wakeup
On wakeup, press 4+H+S~K. This counts as a throw input and if no occurs, then a FD comes out instead. This is a useful option select that forces opponents to respect a wakeup throw while still being safe from correctly spaced meaty attacks.
This option select takes advantage of a few quirks of SB and FD:
- 4+H+S would normally be a Slashback, but Slashback is disabled on wakeup so a 5S occurs instead.
- Most normals can cancel the first few frames of startup into FD. Performing S~K will cancel the startup of 5S into FD.
Fuzzy Jump on Wakeup or after Blockstun
On wakeup or after blockstun, block (or FD) briefly then perform a One Frame Jump. This is useful versus opponents who rely on throws for offense.
This option select takes advantage of the fact that characters have 9 frames of throw invulnerability on wakeup and 5 frames of throw invulnerability after leaving blockstun.
Combining this throw invulnerability with One Frame Jump allows you to attempt a chicken block while blocking meaties and throws! But remember, timing and properly punishing your opponents whiffed throw attempts are both equally important for successful use of this technique!