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Vanguard is an extremely long-range character, but he's not exactly a zoner. Due to the slow startup on many of his attacks, Vanguard will often spend his time turtling in most matchups, waiting for an opportune moment to use his powerful party-starter attacks.

His Skills uniquely chain into each other for lengthy block strings, an aspect further helped by his Awakening Passive. However, this comes at the cost of being unable to cancel his normals into them, forcing him to use MP when converting from his normals.
Thankfully, he is also a very mana-efficient character, being able to perform most of his optimal combos with just about 100 MP.

On pressure, Vanguard can very quickly crank the opponent's Guard Gauge, threatening a Guard Break.
This is his primary method of opening the opponent up, as he lacks any traditional mixups.

Vanguard suffers the most on defense; Other than his slower normals, his options are limited with his Lunge StrikeDNFD Vanguard 623M.pngGuard:
DPDragon Punch A move that has invulnerability during its startup, long recovery, and a rising motion. whiffing against most crouching characters, and even some standing ones. His Guard Cancel is similarly angled, making it difficult to use at anything but close-range. This downside emphasizes Vanguard's need to control space and avoid being put in close-range pressure situations whenever possible.
Lore:These men fight at the frontline of battle, more courageous than anyone else. They are enthralled by the power of their Demonic Lances, causing them to set off in search of stronger foes.

Most Demonic Lancers achieve countless victories, then lose just a single battle; thus ending their lives in the Imperial Arena.
But there are the rare few that do not follow this precedent, and manage to survive for so long they end up being unable to find any more worthy opponents in the Arena.

The De Los Empire started calling these men their "dogs" while exploiting them in extreme conditions by promising them their freedom at the end of rigorous missions.
Vanguard is classified as a Standard type. He is capable of pressuring at long ranges and inflicting massive Guard Gauge damage.
Pros Cons
  • Screen Control: Vanguard has access to many massive, long-range disjointed attacks that make him very difficult to contest at longer ranges.
  • Safe Pressure: Vanguard's pressure sequences tend to push him back to a range at which most characters cannot comfortably challenge him.
  • Guard Crush Proficiency: Vanguard's Awakening Passive gives him access to practical block string sequences that can guarantee a Guard Crush at any time. In these situations, Vanguard doesn't need to put himself at risk or even rely on traditional mixups to threaten heavy damage.
  • Limited Normals: While not a particularly big weakness, Vanguard's A and B normals are on the slower side and cannot be chained into Skills, unlike the majority of the cast.
  • Don't Whiff: Most of Vanguard's attacks have a pretty substantial amount of recovery, meaning that whiffing is... Ill-advised.
  • Weak Defense: Vanguard's only invincible reversal completely whiffs on most crouching opponents, making him susceptible to low-profile meaty attacks. Paired with his slow close-range normals, it can be difficult for him to escape pressure.

Awakening Effect: DNFD Guard Damage Up Icon.png Demonic Lance Mastery

Awakening Effect: activates when entering Awakening mode at 30% HP or less.

Increases the Guard Damage dealt when attacks are blocked by 50%.
DNFD Vanguard Portrait.png
Guard Gauge:1050
MP Regen Rate:12
Fastest Ground Abare:This character's fastest attacks for mashing or scrambles. Excludes universal throws.2A (7F)
Reversal Attacks:Any reversal-esque moves this character has. Excludes universal options.623M (13F)

Normal Moves



Damage Guard Startup Active Recovery On-Block Invuln
50 Mid 9 -1 none

Vanguard's quickest long range poke, but can be low-profiled. Can cancel into 5AA even on whiff. Decent round-start option and decent meaty after low-advantage knockdowns, such as after Throw or 2M.

Against characters that cannot go under the move without committing to a risky option (such as Ranger's 2SDNFD Ranger 2S.pngGuard:
), this move becomes a very abusable neutral tool and opens up Vanguard's options when approaching, as the opponent has to consider its threat at all times. As the cherry on top, cancelling to 5B serves as a very consistent confirm, and he has multiple options to keep himself safe if the opponent blocks.

Whiffs against the following characters when crouching, but not guarding:

Whiffs VS BRZ, STR, GRP (Max), INQ (Far), SWI, ENC, KNO, DRK



Damage Guard Startup Active Recovery On-Block Invuln
60 Mid 11 -2 none

Not particularly useful for combos, as it has a pretty horrendous proration value. Where it really shines is as a neutral tool, as it has incredible range and is available on whiff to catch opponents that roll through 5A.
The ability to catch rolls is especially important, as Vanguard is particularly vulnerable to rolls due the large amount of whiff recovery on his other moves.



Damage Guard Startup Active Recovery On-Block Invuln
60 Mid 11 -17 none

One of Vanguard's most versatile attacks as well as a consistent combo starter. Hits incredibly high up, decently far, and a little behind himself, making it good to throw out in a lot of neutral situations. Including the built-in forward movement, this makes it a very commanding presence in neutral; so much so that despite its immense recovery, the threat of 5B can sometimes become greater than the move itself, allowing Vanguard to get away with options the opponent would normally be ready to challenge.

  • Does not normally combo into 5M on grounded opponents, requiring 2B to be used first. This cancel connects properly on anti-air or Counter Hit, however, leading to higher damage with just 5B alone.
  • Cancel Options: 2B
  • Cannot be chained into Skills.



Damage Guard Startup Active Recovery On-Block Invuln
40 Low 7 -5 none

Vanguard's fastest normal and low attack, but has considerable recovery. As a result, it is necessary in situations where speed is required, such as in Conversion mixups or punishing attacks at close-range that Vanguard normally cannot due to his sluggish frame data.



Damage Guard Startup Active Recovery On-Block Invuln
60 Low 13 -20 none

Extremely long-range low attack. Has a lot of whiff recovery, so it should mainly be used to challenge forward movement or as a combo piece. If blocked, Vanguard can cancel to 5M~6M or ~4M for a true block string to push them away or a highly rewarding frame trap, respectively. Causes a hard knockdown on Counter Hit, which, while difficult to follow up, allows Vanguard to move close and set up okizeme. Hilariously, the hitbox is so big that it'll even hit some low-crush moves like Berserker's 4SDNFD Berserker 4S.pngGuard:

  • Only cancels to MP special moves. Unlike 5B, 5M will connect fully on grounded opponents, though the cancel may whiff from farther out due to 2B's immense range.
  • Cannot be chained into Skills.



Damage Guard Startup Active Recovery On-Block Invuln
40 High 8 none

A fast, long-range air-to-air. Has situational air-to-ground poking advantages due to a reduced hurtbox when compared to j.B, most notably against Swift Master while Wind TwistDNFD Swift Master 214M.pngGuard:
is active.

  • Has a hitbox closer to Vanguard's body that can hit taller opponents while crouching, though j.B is still preferred for use in Conversion mixups. Whiffs on the same characters crouching as 5A, including Inquisitor up close.
  • Cancel Options: j.B
  • Cannot be chained into Skills.



Damage Guard Startup Active Recovery On-Block Invuln
70 High 10 none

An extremely versatile button that covers a wide area. It serves as a good air-to-air and a great deterrent to grounded approaches.
It can be used as an instant-overhead when paired with Conversion, which is one of Vanguard's only real mixup options. While hard to time, it can be very rewarding.

Hits all but the following characters crouching when done meaty:

  • Cannot be chained into Skills.

Universal Mechanics



Damage Guard Startup Active Recovery On-Block Invuln
150 5 2 22 none

Leaves Vanguard half-screen at +3, which while sounding bad on paper, is actually useful for Vanguard due to the range he typically likes to play at.
In the corner it leaves him close enough to the opponent to enforce simple-but-effective strike/throw mixups.

Guard Cancel


Damage Guard Startup Active Recovery On-Block Invuln
70 Mid 23 1-?? Strike/Projectile

Uses 2S's animation, giving it poor horizontal range. Despite this, it is very tall and can hit characters such as Kunoichi, Launcher, and Troubleshooter out of airborne setups.


Side Slash


Damage Guard Startup Active Recovery On-Block Invuln
90 Mid 18 -4 none

A slow poke with a large disjointed hitbox and a multitude of cancel options on contact. It also serves as an ideal combo starter or punish tool, leading to significant damage anywhere on the screen. Opponents will often attempt to roll through Vanguard's more committal attacks, such as 5B and 2B, in which case this normal can be used to punish that option heavily.

  • Surprisingly safe on block, making it a good alternative meaty to 5A when far away, providing better cancel options and guard damage. This also makes it an ideal block string ender when needing to save MP.
  • Cancel Options: 2S, 6S, 4S
  • Unique S Chaining: Starting from 5S, 2S, 6S, or 4S, Vanguard can chain into another Skill he has not used before in the chain.

Cleave: Upper


Damage Guard Startup Active Recovery On-Block Invuln
80 Mid 14 -12

Though it has a dead-zone right above Vanguard's head and doesn't reach as far out as 5B, it is much taller. It's a fairly common combo piece, making for some of his most damaging combos when used as a starter, and serving as a launcher to bridge to j.M. Due to lacking horizontal range, it may whiff in certain Skill block strings, unless used in the correct order.

  • Cancel Options: 5S, 6S, 4S
  • Unique S Chaining: Starting from 5S, 2S, 6S, or 4S, Vanguard can chain into another Skill he has not used before in the chain.

Cleave: Cut


Damage Guard Startup Active Recovery On-Block Invuln
80 Mid 21 -9 none

Vanguard steps forward while using this move, lending it consistency as a combo part after 5S and also giving it considerably more range than it would initially appear.
It can be used while approaching, though due to the significant forward movement, Vanguard may end up running directly into an attack before 6S becomes active.

  • Cancel Options: 5S, 2S, 4S
  • Unique S Chaining: Starting from 5S, 2S, 6S, or 4S, Vanguard can chain into another Skill he has not used before in the chain.

Cleave: Slash


Damage Guard Startup Active Recovery On-Block Invuln
80 Mid 20 -10 none

4S has a unique vacuuming effect, pulling opponents closer. This helps close the gap without necessarily having to move forward, which makes for more consistent combos and block strings, especially when paired with 6S.
It also makes for a generally safe meaty after many knockdowns, even being able to avoid some reversals. With proper spacing, it can even avoid those of characters such as Troubleshooter and Inquisitor.

  • Cancel Options: 5S, 2S, 6S
  • Unique S Chaining: Starting from 5S, 2S, 6S, or 4S, Vanguard can chain into another Skill he has not used before in the chain.

Impact Strike

j.S DNFD OTG Icon.pngCan hit a knocked down opponent off the ground

Damage Guard Startup Active Recovery On-Block Invuln
50, 40 Mid 25 Until Landing+25 -8~-4 none

Vanguard's main OTGThe act of hitting the opponent when they are knocked down. Short for "off the ground" or "on the ground." combo extender. As it kills most of his forward momentum, it can be tricky to use to follow up at range, but this can be circumvented by running forward and performing it as an instant-air.
Stalls Vanguard in the air for a fair amount of time, which lets him bait shorter reversals, such as that of Troubleshooter's. On shallow interactions, it can be cancelled into 4S and used to bait a variety of reversals.
It also serves as a pretty rewarding callout and whiff punish for certain horizontal pokes and forward-moving attacks, as well as functioning as a throw-bait, contributing to Vanguard's strike/throw mixup potential.

MP Skills



Damage Guard Startup Active Recovery On-Block MP Cost Invuln
60,80 Mid 21 -10 30 none

Vanguard enters the Brandish stance, enabling various follow-ups as long as one of its two hits connects. The cancel window for follow-ups is very large, allowing for staggered pressure with varied timing.
Depending on the starter, it may be necessary to omit the second hit of the move during a combo, as to make follow-ups easier.

Inferno Charge

5M during Brandish DNFD Projectile Invincible Icon.pngTemporarily invincible against projectile property attacks

Damage Guard Startup Active Recovery On-Block MP Cost Invuln
20×3, 40 Mid 20 -2 10 none

The main choice for Guard Break setups due to the sheer amount of Guard Damage and its gap-closing capability. Conversion leaves Vanguard plus enough to make 5S afterwards a gapless block string, letting him continue pressure and enabling gapless 100% Guard Break routes when in Awakening.

  • One of two gapless follow-ups to 5M, alongside 5M~6M.
  • Projectile immune, but pretty impractical to use for that purpose.
  • On hit, can link into 2A, but does not work against the following characters:
2A Whiffs VS STR, RNG (Standing), INQ, SWI, ENC, HIT (Standing), TRO (Standing), LOS (Standing)

Crescent Slash

2M during Brandish DNFD Knockdown Icon.pngInflicts hard knockdown on hit

Damage Guard Startup Active Recovery On-Block MP Cost Invuln
100 Mid 28 -14 20 none

Vanguard's primary combo extension tool. As long as hitstun decay isn't high enough for the opponent to tech out before the second hit of 5M, Crescent Slash will always connect.
When hitting a grounded opponent, the combo can continue with the use of OTG j.S. If the opponent was already in a juggle state at the time 5M~2M connects, then a raw 5S link is possible, given enough height.

Dread Bore

6M during Brandish DNFD Knockdown Icon.pngInflicts hard knockdown on hit

Damage Guard Startup Active Recovery On-Block MP Cost Invuln
20×5, 80 Mid 25 -12 30 none

Gapless follow-up and primary combo ender when wanting to conserve resources or from absolute max range. Causes a Hard Knockdown, allowing Vanguard to close in for okizeme.
It also deals significant Guard Damage, allowing it to safely chip at the opponent's Guard, though not to be used to actually Guard Break due to the large amount of pushback.
Can be manually delayed to create a frame trap and catch people trying to mash or jump after pressure. It's so active that it can even catch rolls.


4M during Brandish DNFD Super Armor Icon.pngSuper Armor, allowing the move to absorb hits from the opponent while remaining active, except against throws and awakening moves

Damage Guard Startup Active Recovery On-Block MP Cost Invuln
120 Mid 30 -10 20 none

Has 3 hits of Armor and leads to massive reward on counter-hit, where it causes crumple state. On block, Vanguard is pushed back enough that it safely resets neutral, though it is susceptible to being rolled.
As one of Vanguard's win conditions in Awakening is to deal heavy amounts of Guard Damage and set up a Guard Break, Behead is his primary counter against Guard Cancels.
As long as Brandish is blocked, he can react to Guard Cancel activations with Behead to score a Counter Hit into a massive punish.

Lunge Strike

2M or 623M DNFD Knockdown Icon.pngInflicts hard knockdown on hit DNFD Reversal Icon.pngTemporarily fully invincible

Damage Guard Startup Active Recovery On-Block MP Cost Invuln
50, 40, 80 Mid 13 -40 70 1-?? All

Vanguard thrusts his spear into the air at a 45 degree angle forward. While it is an invincible reversal, it is extremely easy to low-profile and thus very risky to use. Instead, due to its range and invincibility, this move acts as an anti-air that's more difficult to stuff than 5B or 2S, but also leads to lower reward.

  • Pulls the opponent into a cinematic on hit, knocking them down in the same position in front of Vanguard every time.
  • Whiffs against all crouchers except Crusader and Lost Warrior point-blank.
    • Also whiffs on some small characters' standing normals, most notably Enchantress and Dragon Knight.
      • Also whiffs against enemies directly above Vanguard.


6M or 236M DNFD OTG Icon.pngCan hit a knocked down opponent off the ground

Damage Guard Startup Active Recovery On-Block MP Cost Invuln
100, 80 Mid 15 -7 40 none

Extremely fast for its range, allowing it to be used to confirm pokes with lower hitstun like 5AA. It also hits OTG to function as a combo ender, or to extend to Demonic InfernoDNFD Vanguard AS.pngGuard:
if available. Despite the length of time between the two hits, it is gapless and has a ton of pushback, making it generally safe to use even in neutral. Canceling Earthshatter into Conversion can allow Vanguard to run up and pick up with a Skill before the opponent drops to the ground, giving him access to far better combo routes from situations he wouldn't normally be able to capitalize on.


4M or 214M

Damage Guard Startup Active Recovery On-Block MP Cost Invuln
20×7, 80 Mid 15 -2 50 none

Devastate can frame-trap from most moves and has a very active and large hitbox, reaching well behind Vanguard. Though this can catch rolls, Vanguard won't turn around for the follow-up attack, which leaves him vulnerable. Most notably, it can be used to extend corner combos into 2S, given enough height. Additionally, when used as a corner combo ender, it gives Vanguard enough advantage to safe-jump with j.B. It is also very safe on block and deals a fair amount of Guard Damage. Although it can be used as a situational anti-air, it is somewhat difficult to justify as it is prone to trading with normals while offering less reward than any of his other three anti-airs.

Doom Glaive

j.M DNFD Knockdown Icon.pngInflicts hard knockdown on hit DNFD OTG Icon.pngCan hit a knocked down opponent off the ground

Damage Guard Startup Active Recovery On-Block MP Cost Invuln
60, 80 Mid 15 +2 50 none

Common combo filler, allowing for a follow-up OTG pickup with j.S or 236M afterwards. It is too slow to act as an air-to-air itself and should instead be used to extend from options with less risk, such as j.B.
For what it's worth, j.M is also plus on block and can therefore allow Vanguard to enforce a bit more control. Can also hit OTG, causing a small launch into an immediate second Hard Knockdown.

Awakening Skill

Demonic Inferno

AS DNFD OTG Icon.pngCan hit a knocked down opponent off the ground

Damage Guard Startup Active Recovery On-Block Invuln
400 Mid 2+16 -39 none

Most commonly used as a combo ender after 236M to close out the round. When midscreen, 236M should be canceled after the first hit to make sure the AS connects.


DNFD Vanguard Color 1.png
DNFD Vanguard Color 2.png
DNFD Vanguard Color 3.png
DNFD Vanguard Color 4.png
B-Type Color (DFO)
D-Type Color (DFO)
DNFD Vanguard Color 5.png
DNFD Vanguard Color 6.png
DNFD Vanguard Color 7.png
DNFD Vanguard Color 8.png
C-Type Color (DFO)


Ambox notice.png To edit frame data, edit values in DNFD/Vanguard/Data.