Notation

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Numpad Notation[edit]

Numpad notation is a system for writing the directional commands used in fighting games in an easy-to-read, easy-to-understand way, even if it may not seem like it at first. The core mechanic of numpad notation is also how it gets its name: numbers are used in place of directions, according to their position on a keyboard's numpad.

7 7.gif 8 8.gif 9 9.gif
4 4.gif 5 5.gif 6 6.gif
1 1.gif 2 2.gif 3 3.gif
The Numpad on your keyboard

So 2.gif3.gif6.gifA becomes 236A. 236.gif

If no direction is listed, then it is assumed to be neutral. For example j.C means "jumping C" with no directional input.

All directions are written assuming the character is facing right (1P side). This replaces the abbreviations or individual direction names used in other forms of notation. Additionally, it uses common abbrevations and notations to indicate how moves are to be done during combos.

An advantage of numpad notation is its ability to simply and consistently indicate complex movement sequences. You're not really saving any space when you compare QCF (Quarter-Circle Forward) to 236, but writing [2]8462 is easier than "hold down, up back forward down" no matter how else you might try to write it. The exception, of course, is any type of full-circle motion: these are simply labeled 360, 720, etc.

Additional Notations and their Definitions[edit]

Buttons
These are pretty self-explanatory, but just in case: when buttons follow a numerical movement command, they indicate the attack button to press. For BlazBlue and Persona, these are A, B, C, and D. Guilty Gear uses P, K, S, H, and D. If an attack button is listed on its own, the direction is assumed to be 5, or Neutral.
Writing Combos
Combos are an important part of any fighting game, and so being able to read combos is also important. Based on the way attacks are written, you can determine when and how to perform the next attack in the combo.
Cancels
Cancels are interrupting the animation of one attack with a second. Cancels are separated by right angle brackets (>).
  • Example: 5A > 5B > 5C = Neutral A, cancel that attack's recovery with neutral B, then cancel that attack's recovery with neutral C.
  • Example: 5B > 623C = Neutral B, then Forward, Down, Down-Forward (Dragon Punch) + C.


Immediate Followup/Kara Cancel
Occasionally you'll need to press one button immediately after another to perform special attacks or to kara cancel (allowing you to use the movement of an attack that you cancel to reach farther with the attack you cancel into). These are written using a tilde (~) between the attack buttons.
  • Example: 225D~C = press down twice, return to neutral and press D, then immediately press C. This allows you to use the movement of 5D while actually performing 22C.
  • Example 2: 236B~214B = press Down, Down-Forward, Forward + B, then immediately press Down, Down-Back, Back + B.
Links
Links are attacks that do not cancel into each other, but that still combo thanks to hitstun.
Example: 5B, 5C = neutral B, then neutral C after the B attack recovers.
Note: unless links have an especially long wait on them, timing is usually not written. Typically the next move is performed as soon as it's available to use and will hit the opponent.
Canceling Multi-Hit Moves Early
If you need to cancel an attack that hits multiple times before all of the hits connect, it's typically indicated by adding the number of hits desired in parentheses to the end of the attack.
  • Example: 41236C(1) = cancel after the first hit from half-circle forward C.
Followups
Some moves allow additional commands to be entered afterward to change how the first command works. Hazama demonstrates two of the most common forms: a stance, and a variable Drive. Followups are written using an arrow (->) between commands.
  • Example: D -> A = press neutral D, then press neutral A for the followup.
Multiple Possible Inputs
This comes up more often in some games than others, but almost always turns up in move lists. When multiple buttons can be pressed with a single movement input, slashes (/) are used to separate the possible inputs. If ANY input is acceptable, an X is used.
  • Example: D -> A/B/C/D = press neutral D, then you may press either A, B, C, or D.
  • Example 2: 236X = press Down, Down-Forward, Forward, then any attack button.
Holding/Releasing Buttons
Sometimes an attack or command requires an input to be held, and then released later. Brackets are used for both, [] for hold and ][ for release. You'll see a lot of these in Carl combos.
  • Example: 5[D], 22]D[ = press D while neutral, then press Down twice and release D to perform the second attack.
  • Example 2: [4]6A = hold Back, press Forward + A.
Repeating Inputs
Some attacks require, or allow, an attack button to be pressed multiple times. It's simple math: Command (xNumber of times to perform the command). If an entire group of commands is to be repeated, the commands will all be surrounded in parentheses with the multiplier outside.
  • Example: j.C(x5) = while jumping, press neutral C five times.
  • Example 2: 5C(xN) = press neutral C forever, or until it stops working.
  • Example 3: (5A 5B 5C)xN = loop neutral A, neutral B, and neutral C forever.
(Fatal) Counters, and Rapid/One More Cancels
Some combos only work under special conditions. One of the most common is a combo that's started with a counter hit - because counter hits have additional hitstun, they allow for combos that would otherwise be impossible. When an attack has to be a Counter Hit to work properly, CH or Counter Hit is written before the attack. If it needs to be a Fatal Counter, FC or Fatal is used instead. Furthermore, some moves don't link together naturally, and require a Rapid/One More Cancel for the combo to continue. When a Rapid Cancel is used in a combo, it is abbreviated as RC (One More Cancel is OMC, while Burst is OMB), with no other separation, and you'll use it to cancel the move that came before it.
  • Example: CH 5B > 6A RC 236B = neutral B hits as a counter, then cancel to forward A, and rapid cancel that into quarter-circle forward B.
Whiffs, and Other Unusual Things
You can't have shorthand for everything. Sometimes an unusual circumstance comes up that can't be adequately explained in three letters, and so instead we simply give the instructions in the combo itself. Common instances of this are "whiff", "dash", and "delay", but there are plenty more besides those.
  • Example: BC whiff, 6C = press B and C together to perform a throw that misses the target, then cancel to forward C.
  • Example 2: 236236B, walk forward 4D = double quarter-circle forward B, then walk forward in order to make the back D hit.
Attacks After Landing, Dust Followups (GG Only)
Links can sometimes start with an air move and finish with a ground move. When this is the case, the gap between moves during which you land on the ground is indicated with |>. In Guilty Gear, combos performed in the superjump following a successful Dust attack are indicated with two opposing slashes - /\.
  • Example: j.5C |> 6C = perform a midair neutral C, then land and perform a forward C.
  • Example 2: 5D /\ j.P j.K j.S = perform a standing Dust attack, then jump to perform the Dust superjump and, while in midair, press punch, kick, then slash.
Prefixes
Sometimes you'll see a prefix before a numerical movement command or attack. Here are some of the most common:
  • j. Jumping, or in midair. sj. indicates a superjump.
    • Example: j.2C = perform a Down+C attack while in midair.
  • jc. Jump Cancel (cancel the previous attack by jumping, then perform the indicated command), sometimes written as dj. (Double Jump)
    • Example: 6A > jc.B > j.C xx j.236C = Forward + A, cancel with a jump and attack with neutral B, cancel with neutral C, cancel into the special move quarter-circle forward + C.
  • c. Close. In Guilty Gear, Slash attacks work differently when you're near your opponent. f. is for the Far version of that attack.
  • d. Command performed while in Drive (Noel's Chain Revolver moves are notated this way)
    • Example: 5D > d.6D = press neutral D to initiate Drive, then press forward D while in Drive for the next attack.
  • tk. Tiger Knee, indicating that the command should be performed on the ground with an upward end to the motion, allowing it to be performed just as you enter a jump state.
    • Example: tk.236A = Down, Down-Forward, Forward, Up-Forward, then press A just as you enter the air.
Move Names, Placeholders
In combos, you may find the name of an attack used in place of an input. Just perform the move that's written. Additionally, combos might end with phrases like "air combo ender," "OTG ender," things of that nature. In these cases you would use any general combo that suits the situation and yields the result you want, rather than writing out a new combo for each possibility.

More Abbreviations[edit]

CH
Counter Hit
To interrupt the opponent's attack with your own. Counter Hits usually have increased hitstun or have additional properties that normal hits do not have. This usually gives the opportunity to retaliate with even stronger combos.
FD
Faultless Defense
A Guilty Gear term that refers to a special type of blocking that negates chip damage and increases pushback. Can be used to refer to similar mechanics in other games (such as BlazBlue's Barrier Block).
IAD
Instant Air Dash
To perform an air dash from a standing position as fast as possible. Done by pressing 956 to air dash forwards or 754 to air dash backwards.
IB
Instant Block
A mechanic used in games like Guilty Gear and BlazBlue where you begin blocking right before an attack strikes you. The benefit of this is that you recover faster, suffer less pushback, and gain extra meter.
OCV
One Character Victory
When a single person defeats every opponent in a team match.
OTG
Off The Ground
The act of hitting the opponent when the are knocked down, thus hitting them Off The Ground.
FC
Fatal Counter
A state inflicted on the opponent that increases hitstun on all subsequent attacks in a combo, allowing for bigger and/or longer combos.
Often earned by counter-hitting the opponent with specific moves.

Gameplay Related Terms[edit]

Burst noun
An invincible attack that can be performed during hitstun to prevent an opponent from performing a full combo. Bursts usually consume a very hard-to-come-by resource and can be baited and punished.
Cancel verb
To perform a second action while the first action is still in motion. Used to create combos, advantageous situations, etc.
Catch Move noun
An attack where your character goes into a blocking stance and will only trigger an attack if the opponent hits you. Examples of this include Hakumen's Drive attacks or Axl's Tenhou Seki (214P/K)
Command Throw noun
A throw that is performed by inputting a special command like 214C. Generally command throws have special properties like more damage or inescapable.
Chicken Block noun
Jumping into the air and blocking rather than standing on the ground and being forced to guess a high-low mixup.
Chip Damage noun
Damage incurred when blocking an attack. Typically, only Special Attacks and Super Attacks have chip damage, but there are exceptions.
Combo noun
A sequence of attack where if the first attack hits, then the followup hits are guaranteed to hit the opponent.
Crossup noun
To perform a maneuver where a defending opponent must block the opposite direction. An example is Ragna jumping over an opponent and attacking with a j.B. Depending on the timing, the opponent must block in two different directions.
Dead Angle/ Alpha Counter/ Counter Assault
An attack that is done during blockstun that has invincibility and is used to stop the opponent's pressure.
EX / Force Break
A type of special attack that consumes meter, but is not a super. Normally the power of these attacks are between that of Specials and Supers.
Faultless Defense / Barrier Block noun
A special type of blocking that negates chip damage, increases blockstun, and pushes the opponent back further than usual. This type of blocking comes at the cost of a resource.
Frame Trap noun
An offensive technique where the attacker leaves a small opening in their offense, goading the defender into performing an attack. This opening is designed such that the attacker can easily counter the defender's attack with his own.
Fuzzy Guard noun
An advanced offensive technique where the player tricks the opponent to block high then low, then does two high attacks in a row that would normally miss the opponent if done independently.
Gatling / Revolver Action / P Combo
The special category of cancels that describe how each character can cancel normals into other normals.
Guard Point adj.
An attack that automatically blocks certain attacks. Examples of this include Bang's Drive attacks and Baiken's Suzuran (63214K)
Hard Knockdown noun
A knockdown that forces the character into a prolonged knockdown state.
High-Low noun
A mixup where the opponent must choose between blocking high and low.
Hit Confirm verb
To perform the first hit of a combo, but only performing the followup hits if the first hit successfully hits the opponent.
Hyper Armor adj.
An attack that can absorb multiple hits from the opponent (usually taking a fraction of the regular damage). Examples of this include Tager's 6[A] and Potemkin's Judge Gauntlet (63214D)
Link verb
To perform a second action after the first action completely finishes its animation in order to create a combo.
Low Attack noun
An attack that the opponent must block low.
Meaty Attack noun
Performing an attack early on okizeme to gain a lot of frame advantage and bait reversals.
Meter noun
A generic term to describe a resource that is used for offense/defense such as Guilty Gear's Tension, BlazBlue's Heat.
Mixup noun, verb
To perform a maneuver that forces a defending opponent to choose between 2 or more options (typically blocking high/low). If the opponent chooses incorrectly, then he is hit by an attack. There are many different types of mixup (such as crossup and high-low).
Neutral noun
When neither player is in an advantageous position in terms of position on the stage.
When the player does not press any direction on the joystick/pad.
Normal
A type of attack that is performed by pressing a single button.
Negative Edge noun
Using button-release to perform attacks. To perform, hold down an attack button, perform the motion, then release the button.
This technique can be applied to doing special attacks for almost all characters, but characters who use this intensively include Guilty Gear's Eddie and BlazBlue's Carl.
Okizeme noun
Attacking an opponent about to wake up. Usually with meaty attacks or mixups.
Option Select noun
A technique where one command (or series of commands) will perform a different action depending on the circumstances, thereby allowing one action to be able to handle two distinct situations.
Overhead noun
An attack that the opponent must block high.
Pressure noun
To attack the opponent continuously and leave little room for counter attacks.
Rekkas noun
A series of special attacks that are only available after the first one is performed. Named after Fei-Long's Rekkaken punches in Street Fighter 2.
Reset noun
Purposefully ending a combo early in order to perform a mixup in order to deal more damage.
Reversal noun, adj.
An invincible attack with lots of recovery. Commonly used to describe attacks like Ragna's Inferno Divider or Sol's Volcanic Viper.
To perform an attack as soon as possible after getting knocked down or leaving hitstun/blockstun.
Rising adj.
Performing a jumping attack while ascending from a jump.
Rushdown noun
Style of play where you constantly attack the opponent in close range fighting, never giving him an opportunity to retaliate.
Shoryuken, DP, SRK noun
Ryu's dragon punch attack (from the Street Fighter series). Used to describe any character's attack that has invincible startup, long recovery, and a jumping/rising motion.
Special
A type of attack that requires a command like 236A. These attacks typically special effects that normal attacks do not have such as chip damage, invincibility, etc.
Super
A type of attack that consumes meter, and is typically followed by a superfreeze.
Super Armor adj.
An attack that can absorb a single hit from the opponent (usually taking a fraction of the regular damage) before the opponent's attacks will hit you. An example of this is Potemkin's Hammerfall ([4]6P)
Ukemi, Tech noun, verb
To recover from a knockdown or air hitstun state by pressing a button. This is a common action found in games like BlazBlue and Guilty Gear.
Wake up noun
The character state after a character is knocked down and is about to be able to move again.
Whiff verb, adj.
An attack that completely misses the opponent such as when the opponent is out of range of the attack.
Zoning/ Keep Away noun
Style of play where you stay far away from the opponent and use ranged attacks to keep the opponent away while slowly whittling away the opponent's life.
360, 720, etc noun
To input a directional command that is 360/720/etc degrees clockwise or counter-clockwise. This is typically for command throws like Zangief's Spinning Piledriver or Tager's Gigantic Tager Buster
50/50 noun
A mixup where the opponent has a choice between 2 options.

Frame Data Related Terms[edit]

Active noun
The active frames of an attack refers to the amount of time an attack can hit the opponent.
Attack Level noun
An attack attribute that determines how much hitstun or blockstun a move inflicts.
Blockstun / Guardstun noun
Similar to hitstun but applies when the opponent blocks an attack.
Frame noun
The smallest unit of time in a fighting game. Most fighting games are 60 frames per second.
Frame Advantage/ Static Difference
The difference in time an attacker and a defender can begin moving again after blocking an attack.
Hitbox noun
A general term showing where an attack can hit the opponent and where the character is vulnerable to attack.
The hitbox specifically relating to where an attack can hit the opponent.
Hitstop noun
When a character is hit, both characters are stopped in place to give the hit the feeling of impact. Hitstop describes this phenomenon. Typically hitstop affects both players equally, but this is not always true. For example an attack may cause the opponent to be in hitstop longer than the player, or in cases of most projectiles, the attacker does not experience hitstop at all.
Hitstun noun
When a character is hit while standing or crouching, the defender is forced into a stun animation for a set period of time where they are vulnerable to further attacks. This period of time is called hitstun.
Hurtbox noun
The hitbox specifically relating to where an attack is vulnerable to an opponent's attack.
Recovery noun
The recovery of an attack refers to the amount of time an attacker must wait before he may perform another action.
Startup noun
The time before an attack is active including the first active frame. For example, an attack with 10F startup means the attack will do nothing for 9 frames, then hit the opponent on the 10th frame.
Untechable Time noun
Minimal airborne "hitstun".
Getting hit while airborne will force you into a vulnerable falling state. After the untechable time passes, you can choose to ukemi (aka tech) and recover in the air, wait and delay your ukemi, or simply fall to the ground.
This delayable timing difference between ground hitstun and untechable time is the reason the term was created.

Fighting Game Culture Related Terms[edit]

Scrub noun
A low level player.
I'm a scrub! Go easy on me!
Beast noun, adj
A very strong player.
BnB, B&B, Bread and Butter noun
A staple combo that is simple yet effective.
Stream Monster noun
A person who watches many video streams of tournaments/other fighting game events and participates in the stream chat.
I don't feel like going anywhere this weekend. I think I'll just be a stream monster.
Pot Monster noun
A person who enters a tournament believing he has no chance at winning anything.
I'm a pot monster: I know I'm not going to win anything, but I want that tourney experience!
Free adj
To declare that something (or someone) is easy or requires little to no thought to handle.
You're challenging me? Dude, you're free! I don't even have to use my main to beat you.
Salty adj
To feel remorse and bitterness.
He must have been salty after losing to him; they were arguing with each other all year on the forums.
Broken adj
An overpowered character or tactic. Comes from the idea that the game's developers did not fully test a character/tactic thus being 'broken' and not ready for release.
Man that shit is broken. Did you see how much damage it did?
Shoto noun
A character in a fighting game that resembles Ryu and Ken from Street Fighter in terms of playstyle.
Who's the shoto of this game? They're always good for beginners like me.
Grappler noun
A character in a fighting game who's primary gameplan is to get close to the opponent and throw them for massive damage. Grapplers usually have poor mobility and high health.
I hate fighting grapplers, they're so scary when they get close to you.
Money Match noun
A match between two players where both players put money into a pot and the winner of the match gets the money.
Anyone here want to money match? I need to make some money this weekend!
Main noun
The character(s) a player primarily uses and devotes most of his time to using him.
It's been a year since last talked, how have you been? Do you still main Sol?
Sub noun
A character a player uses, but does not use as much as his main.
I swear that guy has an army of subs that he switches between. Maybe he's trying to find a new main.
Mash verb
To press buttons rapidly without any planning. To perform an action without thinking.
"Do you have any idea what you're doing?"
"Sorry, I'm just mashing till I figure something out"
Download verb
To learn a player's behavior patterns in order to gain an upper hand in a match.
He won the first game, but I was just using that time to download him. After that I didn't lose a game against him for the rest of the night.
Technology noun
New tactics and combo
XCopy verb
To shamelessly copy another player's combos/tactics/playstyle
Comes from the Street Fighter 3 character Twelve's Super Attack of the same name
Runback noun, verb
Synonym to rematch
Respect verb
Constantly taking the most conservative option available due to opponent's skill, randomness, or character's strong options
Disrespect verb
The opposite of respect: to perform high risk options without fear of punishment.
Hard Read verb
To correctly predict the opponent's action without relying on option selects.
Call Out verb
To make a hard read and punish the opponent for massive damage.