From Dustloop Wiki

Basic Mechanics

Normal Moves

Four normal attack buttons listed above under Controls. Punches and Kicks of both light and heavy variations. Kick buttons typically have better damage and range. Punch buttons tend to have specific uses depending on framedata/hitboxes - check out the characters pages for more information. Standing and Crouching light normals can be canceled into another button, including another light normal. Jumping light normals are active from button press until you hit the ground or it touches your opponent Close Normals: Some characters have some different normals if they're next to the opponent. Important examples are Neptune and Pluto, who's Close HK and HP respectively are overheads.


Every character in this game can backdash by pressing 454. They go varying degrees of distance depending on the character, but they are all super long compared to the backdashes of most fighting games (some even going full screen!) Backdashes are fully invincible until the last frame. Moon and Uranus can forward dash. Moon's is a flip that goes most of the screen, while Uranus has the equivalent of a backdash that moves her forward, minus the invincibility except when it's done on wakeup.

Special Moves & Desperation Moves

There are universal differences between light and heavy specials; light versions are slower or go less distance and recover faster -- whereas heavy versions are typically faster, hit harder, and have much longer recovery. Desperation Moves: When your character has low life (they will be breathing heavy in an idle pose) OR there are less than 10 seconds left on the clock, you can use your character's Desperation Move. You have an unlimited amount - there is no super meter!

Input Buffer

A 15-frame directional input buffer allows you to buffer special moves. This means you can do inputs like 4214+P as Moon and get a backdash cancelled immediately into heart, or walk for 14 frames before releasing a charge move as Mercury/Pluto [4]6P/[4]6K respectively. You can also buffer Special Moves and Desperation Moves during any other move, and it will come out as long as you finish the input starting four frames before said move recovers. The game also has three frames of input delay like most SNES games. Any Normal can be cancelled into any Special or Desperation Move, theoretically. This include backdashes and forward-dashes, as they count as Special Moves. Backdashes make characters airborne which allows characters to use their air specials out of backdash. Example: 44214+P for Moon's Heart Attack out of backdash. The Game only allows 1 directional input per frame; inputting Special/DM directions too fast will caused dropped inputs. No Pre-match Charge: Unlike most fighting games, characters with charge moves cannot charge them before a round starts. However, there is an exception to this rule unique to this fighting game. Charge time from the prior round carries over into the next round. This even applies in-between games!

Hit & Damage Properties

Moves can hit High, Mid, or Low. Every attack from the air that isn't a fireball counts as a High and every crouching heavy kick sweeps Low. Some attacks may vary by the guard they're blocked by. Every attack that does not hit High or Low is a Mid. There is NO damage scaling in this game, resulting in combos doing high damage. Characters have both body and head hurtboxes; hitting the Head hurtboxes results in Head damage, regular damage but with added bonus of +1 damage. head_hurtbox.png Counter-hit damage exists, and the damage can potentially stack with head damage. A Desperation Move that deals both counter-hit AND head damage can take a majority of a health bar. Throws cannot be counterhit


All characters have at least one normal throw, done by pressing 4/6 + HP or HK (see character pages for details) There are Four types of throws -- Techable throws, Multi-hit-style untechable throws, Air throws, Command throws. Throw tech is done by pressing any button twice. (just mash it out) Jumping does not avoid grabs and will still grab you out of your prejump frames(base 5). Try one of your throw invul-reversal options instead.

SMS GuardCancel.gif

Guard Cancels

credit to O-RANGE for the gif

You are able to cancel your block stun into any Special Move, Desperation Move, backdash, or forward-dash. This is a very common technique at high-level play, and is the defining difference between this game and other games. Knowing when to guard cancel into a dash to create space, GC into 360s to punish foolish jump-ins, dragon punches to retake momentum, or projectiles to win fireball wars, etc., is key to success in this game! Guard canceling is one the most important techs in the game. Without it, due to the crazy amount of blockstun that normals and specials cause, the game would be filled with blockstun traps and infinites (most sweeps are plus on block for instance). Guard canceling is executed by inputting any special move while in blockstun. Remember that desperation attacks and back/forward dashes are special moves. The character who guard cancels will cancel all remaining blockstun into the startup for their special move instead. Here is a list of the more technical aspects of guard canceling

Guard canceling cannot be done until after 9 frames of blockstun have occurred. Frame 10 of blockstun is the first frame when guard cancels can be activated. The only 2 moves that are exceptions to this are Pluto and Uranus’ desperation attacks, which can be guard canceled after only 1 frame of blockstun At any point of the 9 frames of blockstun a button can be registered and the special move will come out on frame 10. Both of previous statements applies to the attacker’s hit stop frames for canceling normal into specials APPLICATIONS These mechanics allow for a few things to happen

One is that every normal in the game is safe* from any guard cancel option since they can be backdashed canceled. You do lose ground and potentially options if the opponent guard cancels into a fireball for instance Another thing is the late jump ins can be quite safe on block for characters with slower guard cancel options. Since once the 9 hit stop frames are up, a character only has 1 extra frame of landing lag from the jump in before they can block an attempted guard cancel Preforming a guard cancel option on the first possible frame (referred to as a first frame guard cancel or FFGC) are usually impossible to do on reaction. However, by using the 15 frame directional input buffer in combination with the ability to activate a guard cancel at any point in the 9 frame blockstun window, this allows for viable consistent FFGCs. To perform a FFGC, simply buffer a special move direction and then immediately hold back. Wait a bit and press the button for the special move, and your character should block and then FFGC into said special move. Some characters FFGC options are fast enough to punish non backdash canceled lights. This tech can be done as a read in neutral or to cover walking forward with a FFGC as a backup. It can also be applied to blocking multiple attacks in a row, allowing for a FFGC punish on the second blocked attack for instance. Learning when is a good time to guard cancel for your character as well as guard cancel mixups in critical for success in Sailor Moon, and provides an interesting play experience from other fighting games.

Advanced Mechanics

Side Advantages

SMS Cheatsheet.png

Credit to BigZam and koushun for image

Sailor Moon S is not a perfectly symmetrical game; Player 1 and Player 2 have different properties on the same move in the same situation. This is probably due to development oversight or game glitches, and sometimes referred to as “Port Advantage.” However, the game is very consistent once you understand the rules. Side Advantage explains the advantages that P1 and P2 each have.

P1 Advantages

  • If both players throw on the same frame, P1 will always win. This is true when command grabs and normal throws connect on the same frame, as well.
  • P1 can cancel the end of their backdash into a normal throw. This is very useful for characters like Chibimoon and Pluto who lack good reversal options.
  • P1 gets to pick the stage

P2 Advantages

  • When P2 techs a throw from P1, P2 has invincibility until they can block upon landing. However, when P1 techs a throw from P2, P1 cannot block on landing for 1 frame. This can give P2 a free combo if their throw is teched in the corner.
  • When P2 throws P1, P2 is completely invincible through the recovery of P2’s throw animation. P1’s invincibility on their throw varies with the animation.
  • This is important for Mercury because her throw is -5 on throw tech. If a P1 Mercury throws P2 into the corner, P2 can tech the throw and punish the throw.
  • P2 Mercury cannot be punished this way, and can actually abuse her invincibility to try to throw loop the opponent.
  • When P2 performs a Reversal backdash (or forward dash for Uranus), P2 can block, backdash, or perform any normal or special immediately after their invincibility ends.

Example:When 2P throws 1P into a corner, if 1P techs the throw, the right timing (meaty?) will cause 2P’s next attack to be unblockable! This makes corner throws a win-win situation for 2P. Mercury cannot take advantage of this, she doesn’t have enough frame advantage after hers.

Character Direction Advantages

Player facing right has 1 pixel more range on throws. This includes command throws. Player facing left has 1 pixel more range on their normals and specials (including projectiles).

Reverse Wakeup and "Overlapping"

In the corner while opponent is still waking up from a knockdown some characters can try to crossup in the corner by jumping and then backdashing to overlap collision box of the P2, if P2 wakes up into P1, They'll get stuck to each other. Making the iconic Jupiter combo