Content here can be considered incomplete until expertise is given.
As you may probably infer, this page consists of explanations and breakdowns of common strategies and solutions to situations that occur very often in Guilty Gear -Strive-. This is intended to provide general insight on the metagame of Strive, to players at novice and intermediate levels.
During a combo, it is very likely an opponent will attempt a Psych Burst to break the combo and return to neutral. However, if you are able to make the burst fail, the combo counter resets, and you can perform an entirely new combo for even more damage with devastating results. In addition, if a Blue Psych Burst is blocked or whiffs, their Burst Gauge empties even more, taking 50% longer to refill than it otherwise would, harming them across multiple rounds.
Almost every move is directly punished by an immediate Burst. However, characters often come with unique tools that allow them to specifically avoid a Burst, especially if they predict it. Many combos enable "Burst Baits", opening gaps where it is possible to block the incoming Burst safely, at the risk of dropping the combo early.
In some situations, an opponent can be launched for an extremely long time without being hit, especially after Red Roman Cancel. After this, the defender's Burst is almost certainly going to fail unless they can predict exactly when during their fall the next attack will land (if at all). This creates a unique type of Burst Bait, where by simply adding a delay a fast Burst is baited, without dropping a combo. However, Bursting too late is also affected. If the next attack during this fall is able to burst bait (see above), and hit the opponent before they input Burst, the Burst will buffer through the entire attack, forcing them to Burst immediately, and opening them up to a much easier bait.
Some Burst Baits are less risky than others. For example, while a jump cancel for blocking in the air drops the combo, it might still provide okizeme or even a mixup based on the situation, giving value after a combo regardless. By contrast, waiting for the opponent to fall completely after a Red Roman Cancel wastes a lot of Tension for no particular benefit. Additionally, combos scale to very low damage, a Burst Bait early into a combo risks losing a lot more value than a Burst Bait at the end of a combo.
Sometimes an opponent is low health but can save themselves with Burst. A burst-safe combo is a combo that is partially or completely immune to Bursts, causing it to always whiff or be Option Selected into a block, usually at the cost of Damage and Tension.
Certain moves naturally disable Burst, while other moves simply avoid the threat altogether.
Despite Counter Hits slowing down the opponent substantially, the vast majority of major Counter Hit are not Burst-safe. This means many combos are only Burst-safe after a short time, usually requiring Burst baits early to make an opponent delay their Burst long enough that a combo can begin a Burst-safe route.
Also called "Bypassing Guts", due to the calculations of Guts, some moves are effectively more damage than they seem at first glance. Guts crushing is the broard term for methods to increase the value of moves.
Because Guts only gets stronger for the next attack when going past Guts thresholds (70% health and every 10% after), it is possible to go through multiple levels of Guts at the same time, negating any benefit from Guts strengthening in this gap. This is especially prominent with single-hit Overdrives, once an opponent is near 70% health.
Another form of Guts crushing is minimum damage. Standardly, the minimum damage of all hits is 1. During combos after damage has scaled down, particularly when the opponent's Guts is at its strongest, multi-hitting attacks are substantially more powerful than single-hit strikes. This is more relevant the more scaled a combo is and the higher defense the opponent has.
Common to almost all fighting games, a fuzzy block is a universal defensive technique in which you perform an action after a brief moment of simply waiting with a block (usually holding ). If the opponent attacks you in this moment, you block, making whatever action you would have performed never come out, keeping you safe. If there is enough delay, you instead begin your chosen action to specifically counter whatever it is that would make the opponent open a gap, such as a throw, functionally giving an Option SelectA 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. against an offense where different outcomes have distinctly different timings.
It is common to fuzzy into a backdash or jump to punish throws, Throw to tech out of throws, standing block to defend against overhead mixups, and fast abare to defeat pressure resets and slow stagger pressure. However, fuzzy blocking can be vulnerable to slightly delayed offense, catching you in that moment you act instead of acting immediately or continuing to wait.
This can be even further enhanced with a fuzzy IBFD"Instant Faultless Defense", performed by doing a Instant Block (pressing block within 2 frames of an attack landing) while holding Faultless Defense., significantly affecting both safe frametraps and unsafe gaps.
Unlike most actions, Roman Canceling a backdash still grants a Blue Roman Cancel. This gives some specific perks as a defensive tool.
Though somewhat expensive and briefly opens you up to a Counter Hit. However, this greatly enhances the effectiveness of a backdash by reducing its recovery significantly while slowing the opponent, punishing even very fast attacks. In addition, the slowdown of a Blue Roman Cancel is very long, granting uniquely strong combos and pressure immediately after, not available with other reversals.
Using a similar technique to the BRC Overhead, it is possible to control the direction of the BRC drift. This can be useful as drifting backwards outside of the corner loses some punish opportunities. Drifting upward allows some mixups, and drifting down allows very fast grounded punishes.
When canceling an invincible Overdrive before the super flash, you are able to use the invulnerability frames of it and immediately go into a Purple Roman Cancel, while only spending 50% Tension for the Roman Cancel. This substitutes the Overdrive's attack with a Roman Cancel, giving you similar opportunities to punish, while mitigating most of the risks if your reversal were to be baited or whiff.
Advantages of Super PRC:
- Recovers almost immediately while slowing down the opponent, putting you in advantage.
- Can allow stronger punishes, especially on Counter Hit.
- Only costs Tension when you can safely Roman Cancel.
Disadvantages of Super PRC:
- During a 6F window when you Roman Cancel, you are in Counter Hit recovery.
- Less invulnerability, on account of only using the invulnerability before super flash.
- Has a longer Tension Penalty (less Tension Gain).
- Slower startup attack, due to the added startup of PRC and any follow-up move, making it harder to punish with.
Though usable by any character with an invincible reversal, the value of Super PRC varies massively. Generally speaking, long pre-flash frames such as Faust's Bone-Crushing ExcitementGuard:
-32 are better to grant enough invulnerability to make it difficult for an opponent to safely delay enough to hit the Roman Cancel timing. Super PRC also makes a practical substitute for reversals with impractical limitations, such as Potemkin's Heavenly Potemkin BusterGuard:
Compared to Backdash BRC, Super PRC offers a much greater invulnerability time, but has a longer Tension Penalty and doesn't offer the same punish potential, due to less slowdown effect.
FD Option Select
Attacks can immediately Kara CancelA type of cancel where the beginning of an action is quickly canceled into another before the first action completes its startup. into Faultless Defense for a couple frames. This allows a unique Option SelectA 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. with Left-Right mixups by having the opponent's direction determine if you perform an attack or immediately kara into Faultless Defense.
To perform it, decide your reversal of choice, such as 6P, or an invincible reversal like Sol's Volcanic ViperGuard:
-28 or Giovanna's VentaniaGuard:
-37. The input is done in reverse and should end with with (e.g. Volcanic Viper is normally but will be input as ), and press with either another attack button or the Faultless Defense button () at the exact same time, (i.e. 4124S+H or 4124S+FD). The result: on crossup you perform a reversal, but if they remain same side you simply block.
Despite what was mentioned above, this option select can be used in either direction: FD blocking a crossup and doing a reversal on same side. However, this is more risky as same side pressure is more likely to be a safe jump or baiting out reversals in some way, where tapping FD does not commit to significant risks, only attacking when the opponent takes the risk.
Though strong, the option select is very timing sensitive to when a crossup occurs, delays can adjust when you would need to perform it. Addtionally, it momentarily stops blocking low, meaning quick low attacks can often disrupt it. Lastly, not all crossups can be beaten this way, particularly if relying on 6P for lack of a stronger alternative.
Some quirks exist in the input structure, if you use 421S+H, you always get the S version of Volcanic Viper due to input priority (
D > H > S > K > P), meaning you would need to input 421H+FD to do an option select with the H version. This also cannot be used with Throw at all, since that inputs in either direction, and cannot kara cancel.
Air Dash FDC
Air dashes cannot be canceled into Faultless Defense, however, air normals can Kara CancelA type of cancel where the beginning of an action is quickly canceled into another before the first action completes its startup. into Faultless Defense. By canceling an air dash into an air normal and then instantly kara canceling into Faultless Defense, you are able to fall at the same rate as if you were to attack without actually attacking. This is called Faultless Defense Cancel (FDC). FDC alters the trajectory of your fall after the air dash to match that if you were to attack.
Due to generous buffers, an air dash FDC is very easy: simply buffer and hold two attack buttons while holding back (e.g. [4K+S]) or one attack button while holding Faultless Defense (e.g. [4K+FD]) during the air dash. As soon as the cancel window opens you will automatically kara cancel. You do not need to hold Faultless Defense after the kara (and doing so wastes Tension), but releasing too early will stop the kara cancel and simply perform the attack.
This has several useful applications:
- Allows a fast air dash for movement without extending a hurtbox.
- Can set up for a mixup by landing early without using an air attack.
- If tapped briedly, it can be used to fall at the same speed while delaying an attack, for better on-block/on-hit advantage from the same air dash trajectory.
You are in a Counter Hit state for 1 frame before blocking during an FDC, adding a slight amount more risk than a standard air dash.
Delay Gatlings and Cancels
Once an attack has connected on hit or block, any gatling, special, jump, dash, or overdrive cancel can be performed at any time during recovery. This means attacks can be delayed to any timing you like. This is a critical part of offense, creating delayed attacks means an opponent doesn't know when to anticipate strikes, opening the door to riskier options such as pressure resets, Throws, and mixups. True blockstrings can become frametraps, or be delayed to catch backdashes, or used to defeat fuzzy blocking.
- K Normal Cancels
- Unlike all other moves, the 5K, 2K, and j.K on every character can only be canceled from active frames, and not recovery. For example, if a 5K attack has 3 active frames, the maximum delay possible is only 2 frames total. This largely restricts what is possible off K normals for pressure.
- This does not apply to command normals such as 6K if the character has one, which can be canceled at any time.
- Unique Special Cancels
- A few specials can cancel into other specials. Some specials such as Millia's MirazhGuard:
- or Nagoriyuki's KamuriyukiGuard:
-3 may only be special cancelable during a specific window. Check the notes on a move for more details on its cancel window.
Instant Air Special (Tiger Knee)
An Instant Air Special is any time when an air special such as Baiken's YouzansenGuard:
7 after LandingAdvantage:
-14 (IAS) immediately from a jump, allowing it to be performed extremely low to the ground. This can be done both in neutral and from a jump cancel, the latter of which allows a slightly different but easier technique.
Universally, this can be performed by inputting the attack's motion, such as , and immediately into a jump , delaying a few frames to allow the jump to occur before pressing the attack button . Done correctly, the jump momentum is canceled immediately, giving a much lower attack.
Alternatively, if performing a Jump Cancel such as from a c.S attack, you can input the jump cancel during the attack's hitstop, then simply perform the air special's input with the right timing. If the input lacks a ground version, this is extremely simple as the input will perform no action until the jump. For moves with a grounded version, such as Bridget's Stop and DashGuard:
-4, you will need to time the input, or use the other method.
- High Jump IAS vs. Regular Jump IAS
- Rapid input sequences like can be read as a High Jump, by performing a short crouch before jumping. Some specials are affected by this, as the High Jump gives an unwanted amount of extra height, causing the attack to begin higher and land slower.
- To avoid this, you will either need to perform the motion slower, giving barely enough time for the crouch to not be a valid High Jump input, or buffer a crouch input for a moment before beginning the IAS input.
Kara BRC Cancel
It is possible to cancel some moves into a Blue Roman Cancel, specifically if they can be either jump or dash canceled.
Jump Cancel~BRC or Dash Cancel~BRC
Inputting a Roman Cancel instantly as a jump or dash cancel begins will result in a Blue Roman Cancel, as you cannot Purple Roman Cancel a jump or dash cancel.
Due to the mechanics of these karas, you can perform a Blue Roman Cancel frame 1, meaning no frame is spent in a prejump or dash cancel state. However, doing so requires a 1 frame link, otherwise you will Red or Purple Roman Cancel out of the attack being jump or dash canceled.
BRC Instant Overhead
(During a Forward Dash) 66~4~BRC~j.X
During a Forward Dash, kara cancelling a Forward Dash input into a Back input allows one to Forward Drift Blue Roman Cancel while remaining airborne. Then, if you fast cancel this BRC into a character's fastest air normal (usually either j.P or j.K), a fast overhead attack can be performed, which can lead into a short combo on hit and remain advantageous on block, while also being safe to invincible reversals with proper timing. This is much more difficult to react to compared to jumps and fully charged Dust Attacks, however it has stricter execution requirements and only works at close range.
Counter Hit OS
An Option Select that takes advantage of GGST's Counter Hit system. By attacking with a mid Counter Hit or higher poke (such as a 2S or 5H), then inputting a special move immediately followed by another, you can guarantee that the second special you input will only come out on Counter Hit.