Blockstrings in fighting games are a string of attacks that happen in rapid succession where the first hit is expected to be blocked. The goal of a blockstring varies from pushing the opponent into the corner to setting up a mixup, to conditioning the opponent.
Where there are no ironclad rules about creating blockstrings, players should consider the following:
- What is my goal for this blockstring? What do I gain from accomplishing my goal?
- If I can't achieve my goal, what is my backup plan?
- How risky is my blockstring? How easy is it to counter? What do I lose if I am countered?
Common Goals of Blockstrings
Let's look over a couple common goals, and see how people create blockstrings to achieve those goals
Hitting the opponent with a mixup
- My goal is to hit the opponent with an overhead
- How can I safely do the overhead on the opponent? My ovehead is slow and the opponent often jumps out before I can hit them.
- I can try using a blockstring that starts with fast move to stop the opponent from moving/counterattacking, then cancel into the overhead during the blockstring.
Discovering Opponent Tendencies
Sniffing out tendencies in your opponent's defense and exploiting them should be a part of deciding what to put into a blockstring. Common tendencies include:
- Inability to block certain overheads.
- Solution: Keep hitting them with the overhead until they start blocking it.
- Mashing an attack all the time.
- Solution: Frame Traps
- Willingness to keep on blocking
- Solution: Throw the opponent or break their guard with an unblockable.
- Overuse of a particular option select.
- Solution: Counter the option select. Throw OS in Blazblue is beaten by delayed throws to fish for Throw Reject Miss. Fuzzy Jumps can be air thrown. Fuzzy Guard can be beaten with multiple overheads in a row (Fuzzy Guard Break). etc.
- Using a reversal during blockstring gaps or pauses.
- Solution: Intentionally end a blockstring prematurely on a move with positive or at least close to neutral frame advantage. Block or avoid the reversal that should (hopefully) come out.
- Heavy use of timing sensitive defensive mechanics like Instant Block
- Solution: Staggered timings of moves in a blockstring to create unexpected changes in attack rhythm.
Resetting a Blockstring
Resetting a blockstring is basically ending one blockstring, and quickly running back in and starting a new one. This is done by ending your current blockstring while at frame advantage and take advantage of the fact that the opponent (probably) won't retaliate. This often costs resources (ex: Roman Cancel, Rapid Cancel, assists) or risk using a slow attack that is easily interruptible (ex: Jump-in, slow attack that gives frame advantage).
Along those same lines, you can try to be more sneaky by tricking the opponent to stay still (for example by stopping your blockstring early), and then running back in and starting a new blockstring!