Guarding, commonly known as Blocking, is the fundamental form of defense in fighting games.
Most MP Skills also inflict a small percentage of their damage through guard. This is known as chip damage.
Hold 4 or 1 or Hold G or 2G
Basic ground guarding is the most common defensive option. Also known as blocking. There are 2 types of ground guard: standing guard and crouching guard. Standing guard will block high and mid attacks, crouching guard will block mid and low attacks.
Remember, you cannot guard against throws.
The Guard Gauge depletes for defenders when blocking attacks, and regenerates over time when not blocking. If completely emptied, the character is Guard Broken. Different characters have different amounts of maximum Guard Gauge.
When Guard Broken, the character will be stunned for 60 frames and unable to take any action, including blocking.
Blocking can be difficult since the opponent can do tricks to swap sides. However, there is slight leniency to give players time to switch blocking direction: the first 3 frames after the opponent swap sides (not necessarily in blockstun), they will still block attacks from the opposite direction even if they are holding forward direction (with respect to opponent)! All other rules for blocking still apply, such as needing to correctly block high/low.
Input 4B+S while in Blockstun
Indomitable Spirit is a defensive tool used to punish the opponent's predictable blockstrings.
- Replaces any remaining blockstun with 1F of normal blockstun then 24F unique throwable blockstun that cannot Throw Break
- Neutralizes any current pushback (including vacuum effects like Vanguard 4S)
- Neutralizes the Guard Damage dealt by the next attack blocked during Indomitable Spirit
- Converts 2% of defender's health to White Health
Since Indomintable Spirit sets blockstun to a fixed amount, using it against certain punishable attacks might make them safe on block for the opponent or even plus. Indomitable Spirit is best used against attacks that have a lot of recovery but rely on high blockstun to be safe, or attacks that are safe via pushback on block.
Since the blockstun from Indomitable Spirit is throwable, the opponent can tick throw off of a throw canceled normal.
 or  while on the ground
Walking is the most basic form of movement by holding or .
Characters will continue to walk so long as their player holds down the directional input. 1 and 3 are not valid walk inputs. Each character has a unique walk speed for both forwards and backwards.
One of the main advantages to walking is that it provides fine grain control over one's positioning. By contrast, jumps lock the player into a fixed arc, and runs maintain momentum for a time after the player releases their input.
Because walks can be canceled immediately, they allow the user to block freely after forwards movement, which running on its own does not allow. Another advantage is that walks are usually silent. Without an associated audio queue, walks can be hard to react to.
6 while on the ground
Running is conceptually similar to walking, but faster and with some negative trade-offs.
Although running requires two consecutive
6 inputs, the player can shift their forwards input into a
3 input so long as they maintain a constant forwards input. The player character will continue to run so long as a valid run input is held (up to 82F). If the player releases the run input and does not cancel the run into another action, they will perform a run skid animation that can be canceled into all actions except walk, run, backdash, or neutral crouch.
Runs will sometimes maintain momentum when canceled into another action, and other times can have their momentum negated. This varies on a case-by-base basis.
44 while on the ground
Backdash is a movement option that provide a quick burst of backwards movement. It is immediately airborne and make the character lose their lower hurtboxes on the 1st frame, making them naturally invulnerable to throws and some lows.
6G or 4G while on the ground
Dodge (aka Roll) moves a character forward/backwards while avoiding attacks, but is vulnerable to throws. They are strike invulnerable for a significant amount of time until their recovery, and projectile invulnerable up until its very last frame. Using dodges to move through big attacks with slow recoveries can guarantee punishes, or allow you to safely close in on your opponent at the cost of frame advantage.
Dodges cannot be performed while guarding, so players should hold / before pressing .
Any Upward Direction while on the ground
Jumping is the most basic way to put one's player character into the air.
Players can jump while on the ground, or while in the air. When a character jumps, they are locked into a fixed arc which is determined by the direction of the jump input combined with any momentum they have at the time of the jump. Most characters have the same jump physics, with only a few outliers. These determine the speed, height, and duration of their jumps. Before the character becomes airborne, there is a short Prejump Animation with some limitations, explained in its respective section. After a player jumps, they take on the airborne property, which affects what moves they can use, as well as how they receive incoming hit effects. During the first airborne frame, characters can only guard and not attack. This is only a factor when calculating the fastest input for Instant Air Specials.
Characters can jump two times before returning to the ground under normal circumstances.
Jumps are not instantaneous - before going airborne, characters will enter a standing state called prejump for 4F. During prejump they can not guard, but are invincible to throws.
It is actually possible to cancel prejump into grounded MP Skills. The reason for this is that players can be slightly sloppy with their inputs and still get specials (ex 2369M instead of 236M). This gives characters with Skills that can only be jump canceled, such as Inquisitor and Lost Warrior, access to new cancels that would be otherwise impossible.
Landing from the air has recovery. This recovery comes in 2 kinds: Standard Landing Recovery and Special Landing Recovery.
Another quirk about landing is that the frame before actually landing is considered grounded. Meaning during this frame, getting hit will result in ground hitstun and ground throws can hit.
- Standard Landing Recovery
- Whenever the player lands from being in the air, they experience landing recovery.
- During the first 3 frames of landing the following actions are disabled: forward/backward walk, all jumps, and backdash
- All other actions are available immediately on 1F after landing - notably attacking, guarding, and run
- Runs and attacks can be buffered before landing thanks to Advanced Input. Performing an allowed action will enable all actions, so it is possible to land, run for 1F, then jump (easier said than done, of course)!
- Special Landing Recovery
- All airborne attacks will apply unactionable landing recovery which overrides the standard landing recovery. This recovery does not have a unique animation, and the duration of the recovery depends on the move used.
- In general, A attacks have 2 frames of recovery, B attacks have 3 frames, and S attacks have 5 frames of recovery upon landing.
- Some moves that apply this special landing recovery may have their animation end and be able to recover while still airborne, or simply cancelled into another action. The special landing recovery will still apply when the character lands, unless they are hit or they override it with another move that also applies special landing recovery or has its own unique landing animation.
- A landing animation is different from special landing recovery since it is still considered part of the same move. This means the landing animation could still retain things like cancel options or counter-hit recovery from an earlier part of the move.
Ground Recovery is automatic immediately on falling to the ground while in air hitstun. After Ground Recovery there is 2F of actionable full invulnerability. Attacking during this time will remove the invulnerability.
Disabling Ground Recovery
Certain hit effects disable Ground Recovery by inflicting Hard Knockdown. They are often used to extend combos or set up unique okizeme situations.
Air Recovery happens automatically if air hitstun ends while airborne. After Air Recovery they are fully invulnerable until landing, but actionable. Attacking during this time will remove the invulnerability.
Pressing or performs an attack, ranging all the way from simple punches to huge weapon swings. Normals form the core of every character's offense and are often cancelled into Skills and MP Skills to create damaging combos.
Throws are proximity based attacks which the opponent cannot guard against. In order to throw an opponent, a few conditions must be met:
- The players must be in a similar grounded or airborne state.
- To throw a grounded opponent, the attacker must also be grounded.
- To throw an airborne opponent, the attacker must also be airborne.
- The defender must not have throw invulnerability.
- The defender must be within the throw's range (see below).
If all of the conditions are met, then the attacker can hit the opponent with a throw.
A+B Within close proximity of the opponent on the ground
Throws are strong tools against opponents who have been conditioned into blocking for too long. However, throwing while out of range triggers a vulnerable whiff animation.
Holding back while throwing will throw the opponent behind you.
Special Move Throws
Some special moves have the throw property. Grappler's Break DownGuardThrow (250)Startup7Recovery36Advantage- and Berserker's Blood LustGuardThrow (170)Startup11Recovery23Advantage- are two examples of such throws.
Special moves like this fall into two categories:
- Command Throws
These cannot be broken and can be comboed into. They typically have other unique properties, such as higher damage, more start-up, and additional hit effects. Enchantress's Keep Away!GuardThrowStartup18Recovery40Advantage- and Grappler's Break DownGuardThrow (250)Startup7Recovery36Advantage- are examples of Command Throws.
- Hit Grabs
Technically not throws but are often mistaken for them, these are blockable strikes that go into a throw animation on hit, such as Lost Warrior's 6SGuardAllStartup20Recovery42Advantage-25 and Inquisitor's 623MGuardMidStartup10Recovery42Advantage-26.
Characters cannot always be thrown. Below is a list of situations when a character cannot be thrown:
- During prejump
- During blockstun plus 8F after
- During hitstun plus 7F after
- During Ground Recovery plus 9F after
- When they have Throw Attribute invulnerability
Priority of Strike vs Throw vs Command Throw
When two strikes hit each other, either a clash or trade occurs, but what happens when throws are added to the mix?
- Throw vs Strike or Any Throw vs Command Throw: The character with Priority will lose.
- Dragon Rush vs. Dragon Rush: The character with Priority will be thrown and immediately break the throw.
Input Throw While Being Thrown
Players can break a throw by inputting a ground throw between 4 frames before the hit until 4 frames after the hit (total 9F: 4F before + the frame it hits + 4F after). The defender starts their tech animation 1 frame earlier than the attacker, leaving the defender +1 afterwards. If both characters throw on the same frame, the attacker is considered the character who attacked most recently.
- Throw break cannot be performed while recovering from a move, so unsafe attacks are still unsafe.
- If the throw connects while the defender is holding the button, the defender cannot tech, even if they release after the throw connects.
Cancels are the act of canceling one move into another. Usually this requires that the first move makes contact with the opponent. Cancels are commonly used to make combos and blockstrings.
- Normal Cancel
- Also known as Gatling Combinations, or Gatlings for short.
- Many normal moves can cancel into other normals.
- Normal cancels vary character to character but most characters have these cancels:
- Check each character's Frame Data page for specific cancels available for them.
- Special Cancel
- Most normal moves can be canceled into Skills and MP Skills. Skills and MP Skills canceling into each other varies widely by character.
- Jump Cancel
- Some Skills can be jump canceled. Check each character's Frame Data page for specific cancels available for them.
- Conversion Cancel
- See Conversion for details.
B+S In Neutral State or During Most Attacks with White Health
Conversion cancels the current action and puts the character back into a neutral state. Conversion consumes all remaining white health plus an extra 5% of max health on activation, and restores MP proportional to the amount of White Health consumed. Cannot be done while blocking or after throws, some MP Skills, and Awakening Skills.
- Conversion animation is 6F
- Slowdown for opponent starts on 1F and lasts for 30F
- Slows down opponent by 50% and ends immediately when any character gets hit
6B+S While in Blockstun with 100 MP
An invincible attack that launches the opponent away on hit. Unlike MP Skills, you MUST have at least 100 MP to use Guard Cancel. The damage it deals is minor and cannot K.O. the opponent. Guard Cancel also gives the opponent white health on hit, giving them access to Conversion for a few seconds afterwards. Different characters use different moves for their Guard Cancels so their hitboxes widely vary, but they are universally strike/projectile invulnerable and unsafe when blocked. Like reversals, Guard Cancel leaves you in a counter hit state during recovery, allowing many characters to punish it more heavily on block.
Direction + S
Skills (aka Specials) function in a variety of ways depending on the character. Some Skills function closer to normals while others have special properties.
Direction + M With MP or Motion Input + M With MP
MP Skills are powerful moves that have unique effects and properties. Each MP Skill costs varying amounts of MP to use and pauses MP regeneration briefly when used. They can still be used without enough MP in stock as long as a character has at least 1 MP remaining, but this puts the character in Exhaustion until MP recovers to at least 1.
Most MP Skills have a 15F slowdown effect on the opponent where they are slowed to to 50%. When this slowdown begins varies by move, and based on testing it won't trigger if the opponent is too far away. This effect is currently undocumented beyond these facts, so players should just note that the opponent will be briefly slowed down when an MP Skill is used.
- Technical Input
Most MP Skills can also be input with a "technical" full motion e.g. + can also be input with +. Using the full motion causes MP to begin regenerating sooner than when input normally.
A technical inputmotion input will cause "GOOD" to be displayed in green. Blue text indicates a "precise input".
AS During Awakening (Once Per Round)
A very powerful attack that can only be used once a round, and only after a character enters Awakening. While it deals high damage, it has no invulnerability and using it turns off your character's Awakening Effect for the rest of the round.
In Gold cube, Awakening skills deal 400 Raw damage and 200 minimum damage . In Clear cube, they deal 300 Raw and 150 minimum.
The MP Gauge starts each round with a maximum of 100 MP. As a character loses life, the maximum size of the MP Gauge increases by 10 MP for every 7% health lost up to a maximum of 200 MP at 30% health.
MP is restored naturally over time, by hitting with attacks that do not cost MP, and by using Conversion. The general trend for MP gain from most single-hit moves on hit is that 1 MP is gained from normals, 3 MP from normals, and 5 MP from Skills. MP is not gained by attacks that are blocked.
Different characters have different natural MP regeneration rates.
Using MP Skills and Guard Cancel costs MP. Different MP skills cost different amounts of MP, while Guard Cancels cost 100 MP. There is a brief delay before MP begins naturally recovering after using an MP Skill. This delay varies between different moves and can be shortened by using the MP Skill's "technical" full motion input if it has one. MP Skills can be used as long as at least 1 MP is available, while Guard Cancels cannot be used without at least 100 MP.
Using an MP Skill that reduces the MP Gauge to 0 or to an (invisible) negative amount will put the character in Exhaustion state. MP Skills are not usable while Exhausted, and remain unavailable until MP recovers above 0.
Imagine going into Exhaustion as going into negative MP and will last until they are no longer negative. The MP regain rate is unaffected.
Ex: Using a 50 MP skill when at 10 MP will put the character at "-40 MP" and they will be in Exhaustion until they get up to 1 MP.
A special powered-up state that automatically activates when characters reach a health threshold, visually indicated by the larger section at the end of the health bars. This activates the character's Awakening Effect and enables the use of their Awakening Skill. Healing life back above the Awakening threshold does not disable Awakening.
Awakening only activates when the player's total health (including white life) is beneath the threshold.
Characters gain passive buffs when they enter Awakening. Each character has unique buffs, and more details about them can be found on their character pages.
Players can select one of two Awakening types when choosing a character:
- Gold Cube
- Activates at 30% life and has powerful, oftentimes swingy effects that can greatly change the flow of the match.
- Activates at 50% life and has comparitively weaker effects (usually a suite of passive buffs) that increase character performance.
Additionally, Awakening Skills in clear cube deal 25% reduced damage (300 raw / 150 scaled).
A counter hit (CH) occurs when hitting the opponent when they are in Counter Hit state. The opponent will flash red and the HUD will show "Counter!". On Counter Hit, the opponent suffers more hitstun, allowing CH specific combos. As a general rule, attacks gain 3F hitstun; attacks gain 5F hitstun; and and gain 8F hitstun.
All attacks are in CH state during an attack's startup and active time. Most attacks are not in CH state during recovery, but there are exceptions:
- All normal throws and command throws
- All Guard Cancels
- Moves with invulnerable or guard point startups.
- Some other moves, noted in frame data.
Icons under the portraits represent various statuses affecting characters, ranging from Awakening Effect buffs when characters enter Awakening to unique buffs and debuffs used by certain characters.