Tension is a highly important resource in Guilty Gear. It's located at the bottom of the screen and directly affects many of your attack options. Perfect utilization of the Tension Gauge can often be the deciding factor of a win or loss. Knowing each of the features and subtleties of the Tension Gauge system is a definite requirement for high level play.
The Tension Gauge is divided into four sections, each representing 25% Tension. The gauge also changes colors to quickly show how much Tension is available at any given time.
The Tension Gauge is emptied at the start of every round, so saving Tension for the next round won't work!
To increase the Tension Gauge, perform some type of offensive action. This includes attacking the opponent, or simply advancing towards them. As a general rule: the more aggressive the action against the opponent, the faster the Tension Gauge will fill up. Performing these kinds of actions increase Tension Balance, which in turn dictates the amount of Tension gained.
Normal Attacks have a base Tension Gain on hit or block. Special Attacks have a base Tension both on start-up, and upon touching the opponent on either hit or block.
Ground backdashing, air backdashing, walking backwards, standing still etc. will contribute towards Negative Penalty and the Tension Balance will slow down. Experiment and notice that if you sit still or backdash a few times your Tension Gain off of movement, random hits and blocked normals goes down drastically.
How much tension each move in the game uses.
- Faultless Defense: 0.25% per frame (green), on block (blue) it costs ((damage of the attack * 0.25)+2.5)%
- Dead Angle Attack: 50%
- Red Roman Cancel: 50%
- Yellow Roman Cancel: 25%
- Purple Roman Cancel: 50%
- Blitz Shield: 25%
- Overdrives: 50%
- Blitz Overdrives: 50% + 100% of Burst Gauge
- Negative Penalty: 100%
Tension Gain Penalties
The amount of Tension you gain after performing most actions that cost Tension for a period of time.
- After using Faultless Defense, Tension Gain is decreased by 80% for 1 full second after Faultless Defense stops.
- Tension Gain is decreased by 80% for 4 seconds after using a Dead Angle Attack.
- Tension Gain is decreased by 80% for 6 seconds after using a Roman Cancel.
- When Negative Penalty is incurred, Tension Gain is decreased by 80% for a full 10 seconds.
- Overdrives and Blitz Shield have no effect on Tension Gain.
Negative Penalty is basically a feature designed to keep gameplay interesting. While the common misconception is that it actually stops people from turtling, it really just deters players from avoiding any type of contact for a prolonged period of time. If a character consistently attempts to backdash, jump back, and air backdash (or sits in one place and does nothing... which most opponents won't allow) a warning will appear over the Tension Gauge. If the player still keeps avoiding all types of contact "Negative Penalty" will appear, and that player will lose all stored Tension.
Keep-away or run-away tactics will not incur Negative Penalty if the player is actively using some form of offense. Even if it's passive, it's more than enough to not get penalized. For example, if an Axl player remains full screen and tries to keep the opponent away from him using long-range attacks, he will not get penalized.
As mentioned in the above section, when Negative Penalty is incurred, Tension Gain is decreased by 80% for a full 10 seconds. Try to avoid this situation at all costs!
Following its introduction in Guilty Gear XX, Psych Burst is possibly the most misunderstood feature of the game. While at first glance, it is merely a "combo breaker", there is actually much more to it. There are two different types of Bursts: Blue and Gold. Both have different effects, and understanding how each can be used is crucial to high-level play.
To perform a Psych Burst, press plus any other button with a full Burst Gauge (in other words, either +, +, + or +). The Burst will be blue or gold depending on what the character's current state. The differences between each are described below.
|Blue Burst||18F||6F||Total: 54F + 3F after landing||11F||1-23F|
|Gold Burst||18F||6F||Total: 50F + 3F after landing||13F||1-50F|
- Bursts become airborne on frame 1.
- Invincibility ONLY applies to strikes and projectiles; Bursts can be air thrown at any point, even during start-up!
- Landing recovery can be canceled into non-movement options
The Burst Gauge starts the match 100% filled and its is carried over between rounds; if you use your Burst at the end of one round, you will be waiting a while before you can use it again!
Bursting while at neutral will produce a Gold Burst. Hitting an opponent with a Gold Burst will instantly max out your Tension Gauge, ignoring any Tension Gain penalties. It is not possible to combo into a Gold Burst, however.
Gold Bursts are invulnerable to strikes. However, at any point in the air during or after a Gold Burst you can be air thrown (Note: Potemkin's Heavenly Potemkin Buster and Heat Knuckle technically aren't throws). With perfect timing, Gold Bursts can be air thrown out of start-up. This is the only drawback.
Regardless of whether the Gold Burst hits or misses the opponent, the Burst Gauge will be reduced to 1/3 full.
Proper use of the Gold Burst can quickly give a player the advantage by knocking the opponent down while simultaneously gaining full Tension. Discover what attacks and patterns opponents commonly perform so that they can be interrupted by a Gold Burst (for example, against Potemkin's j.D).
Bursting while at in a defensive state (being hit, while blocking, while knocked down, etc.) will make it blue. The major drawback to Blue Burst is that unlike Gold Bursts, the recovery is completely vulnerable. So, if you Blue Burst out of a combo and your opponent anticipates this and blocks the Burst, they are free to punish you for free as you fall. Blue Bursts can also be air thrown at any point - even on startup!
If the Blue Burst hits the opponent, the Burst Gauge will refill to 1/3 full. However, if the opponent blocks the Blue Burst (or it whiffs completely) then the Burst Gauge will be completely emptied.
Using a Blue Burst can often save a player from taking massive damage, or ultimately receiving the round-ending blow. However, an astute opponent can anticipate when you are basically "forced" to use a Blue Burst, bait it, then punish you for FREE afterwards (since you won't have another Burst to use).
Disabling Psych Burst
Psych Bursts (namely Blue Bursts) can be disabled even with a full Burst Gauge. A red X will cover the Burst Gauge during this time.
Blue Bursts will be disabled while:
- Being thrown.
- Being hit by an Overdrive Attack or an Instant Kill Attack.
- Being stunned.
- Getting hit by attacks that force the opponent in place in non-standard hitstun, such as Axl's Spindle Spinner and Leo's Siegesparade.
The Burst Gauge grows over time, and when taking damage. The exact formula for this is unknown, however it is likely very close to how the Burst Gauge works XX series. See GGACR/Gauges#Building_Burst for details.