Blocking is an integral action to keep yourself alive. Knowing how to use which block in which situation will improve your game immeasurably. Not only will you be able to defend better and survive longer, but in some cases you will be able to resume your offense faster.
Basic ground blocking is the most common defensive option. To guard against high attacks, simply hold back. To guard against mid attacks, hold back or down+back. To guard against low attacks, hold down+back.
Remember, you cannot block against throws, and some attacks are just flat-out unblockable!
Basic air blocking is even easier; simply hold any backwards direction while airborne. Air blocking does not have high/low blocking, but instead comes with another restriction... basic air blocking will not work against ground based attacks!
Ground based attacks are all non-projectile attacks that are performed on the ground, such as all standing/crouching normals, ground specials, and ground supers!
Example #1: May jumps at Sol, Sol uses 2H, May gets hit because Sol is on the ground.
Example #2: Potemkin jumps at Johnny, Johnny uses his 632146H super, Potemkin gets hit because Johnny is on the ground.
Any time your opponent attempts to use a grounded anti-air attack, you will need to Faultless Defense instead of basic air block. Remember this... it's important!
Also remember that after you air block (any kind), your jump options are restored! This means that you can do something like double jump to block an aerial projectile, then double jump again, or airdash afterwards, if you're not too close to ground.
As with ground blocking, you also can't air block against air throws and unblockables.
Landing while in air blockstun does not cancel out the remaining blockstun - instead you will transition immediately into ground standing blockstun for the remainder of blockstun.
- For example, after blocking an attack in the air that causes 20F blockstun, you land after 15F. That means after landing, you will be in blockstun for 5F before you are free to move.
Instant Block (IB)
Instant Block is a slightly more advanced version of normal blocking; you must start blocking right before the opponent's attack touches you. Your character will flash white if you IB an attack. The window to successfully IB is 8 frames wide. If you block on the frame your opponent makes contact, or as much as 8 frames before then, you get instant block.
The benefits of IBing are:
- Recover faster from blockstun (for exact amounts check the Attack Level table)
- Reduced pushback (which might be a good or bad thing depending on what you're trying to do)
- Builds a small amount of extra tension
- Increased Tension Pulse (which means more Tension later)
- Increased Tension Pulse Threshold, which allows your Tension Pulse to increase to a higher rate than normally possible!
- Air IB keeps a player airborne longer compared to normal block and FD. Use this to throw off an opponent's timing if they are planning to mix you up as you land!
IB does not allow you to make "illegal" blocks: you still must block high/low correctly, and you still must use air FD versus air unblockable attacks. You can IB "during" attack patterns. This means that while normal blocking, you can begin IBing at any point if you can time your blocking with the opponent's attacks! Think of it as a mini-game: time your blocking to the rhythm of the opponent's hits. IB does have some weaknesses/limitations to it. If you mash IB, you are likely to instead perform a backdash, which while a good defensive option, will likely cause you to get hit in blockstrings with delayed attacks. If you fail an instant block attempt, any following Instant Block attempts will also fail for an unknown period of time (this is estimated to be somewhere between 5 and 10 frames) (SlashGordon here - it's a minimum of 21 frames of lockout, but I'm still testing this). Don't mash IB, actually look for it!
Burst Baiting Notice: If you bait and block a burst, you normally sustain a strong amount of pushback and blockstun. However, if you IB a blue burst, you will quickly drop straight to the ground below the point where you blocked, setting up the perfect opportunity to punish. IB'ing a burst is actually more advantageous than SB'ing one!
Faultless Defense (FD) is a crucial defensive tools. It's often used to negate chip damage and increase pushback. To perform Faultless Defense, hold any backward direction and press any two buttons except D (example: 4P+K), and not S+H (see Slashback, below). As long as the direction and button are held down, your character will continue to perform Faultless Defense.
- Prevents chip damage
- Increases pushback
- Increases blockstun
- Can air FD to block most air unblockable attacks
- Prevents Guard Gauge from increasing
- Drastically reduces Tension Gain temporarily (reduced by 80% for 1 second)
- Consumes Tension while used
- FD IS DISABLED WHEN YOU HAVE NO TENSION
- Air FDing an attack increases your gravity. Use this to quickly fall to the ground while air blocking if you want to perform ground only attacks (like Dead Angle Attacks)!
- Holding FD out of a dash immediately cuts your momentum, allowing you to stop and block instantly, or even fake out your opponent! Tapping FD instead of holding it, or performing crouching FD while dashing will cause you to slide, but you'll still be able to block immediately.
One point worth repeating is that using FD in the air allows you to air block attacks that are otherwise unblockable! Air FD is the primary way to air block things like an opponent's 6P or 2H.
Another point worth stressing is that FD increases pushback while blocking. This allows a player to escape an opponent's offense sooner by pushing them out of attack range! An advanced strategy is to make the opponent's attack miss by pushing them away with FD, then counterattack while the opponent is still recovering from them whiffed attack!
Just like with Instant Blocking, you still must block high/low attacks correctly when using Faultless Defense.
Complete knowledge and mastery of Faultless Defense is critical to high level play. Always try to keep some Tension specifically for Faultless Defense.
Baiting Notice: FD normally increases your gravity when you block, but it also has the exaggerated effect of causing you to plummet straight down if you bait and block a Burst while in a Homing Jump. Since Dust Attacks have very blatant hit effects, you can use FD during your Dust combos and Impossible Dust setups to go for a reset if they burst out.
Slashback allows a character to "parry" any blockable attack by pressing S+H while blocking an incoming attack. You cannot "hold" Slashback like you can with FD; it needs to be tapped. Attempting a Slashback will make a gold ring appear around the character for a brief moment, and a gold shield will briefly appear upon a successful Slashback.
- Reduces blockstun significantly:
- Ground blockstun is reduced to 3F (reduced to 4F if SB is performed after a SB failed attempt - still need to test this)
- Air blockstun is reduced to 4F (still need to test this)
- Negates chip damage
- Prevents Guard Gauge from increasing
- Builds an immense amount of extra tension
- Tension Pulse increases significantly
- Increases Tension Pulse Threshold (Higher Tension Pulse than normally possible)
- Air SB works against air unblockable attacks (like air Faultless Defense)
- Air SB keeps you airborne slightly longer than normal air block, like FD. Compare this to IB which causes you to fall immediately.
- On successful Slashback, the window increases to a whopping 6 frames. This has been tested and confirmed.
- You cannot input a follow-up SB 6 frames early and then walk forward while blocking. You will get hit. This has been tested.
- We have yet to discover the exact duration for how long a successful SB increases the window for follow-up SBs to 6 frames.
- The window wears off if you SB Sol's 5H, then try to SB a chained Bandit Bringer early, but it succeeds if you SB Sol's 2K and try to SB a chained Fafnir early. This means the window should be at least 30 frames if you account for hitstop, but it's fewer than 47.
- Must perform the SB within a 2F window of getting hit (So either on the frame they make contact, or the frame right before the attack hits)
- Cannot block for 30F (speculated) after a SB attempt (but can attempt another SB).
- Costs 2% Tension (speculated)
- Cannot SB for the first 10F (tested) after wakeup
- Ground SB must be performed in the correct direction (4+S+H versus high attacks, 1+S+H versus low attacks)
You will recover fast enough that basically any poke in the game you will be at frame advantage if the opponent's attack was not canceled.
You can Slashback multi-hit moves as well as gatling chains. You must Slashback AS the active frame becomes active. AKA you do not want to do it "before" the hit hits, like with Instant Blocking. You want to do it just as it hits you, similar to parrying in Street Fighter III: Third Strike. You can activate Slashback any time you are in Guard Stun as well as at Neutral.
You can also use SB to stop a dash/run as you would use FD Braking.
Press 4+H or 6+H when being normal thrown to perform a throw break. There are 2 versions of throw break:
The first is when both players press throw at the EXACT same time. This causes a purple flash and both players back off and recover at the same time.
The second is when a player presses throw within 2 frames (speculated) after being thrown. In this instance the throw animation will start, a purple flash appears, no damage is dealt, and they will back off in a less favorable way depending on the character's throw. For example, escaping Johnny's ground throw this way will leave you airborne and slightly away from Johnny.
- Only normal throws can be broken; command throws cannot be broken
- Throw breaks CANNOT be performed while recovering from a move, so unsafe attacks are still unsafe
Dead Angle Attack (DAA)
Dead Angle Attacks are invincible attacks that knock the opponent away and cost 50% Tension Gauge. To perform a Dead Angle Attack, press forward + any two buttons simultaneously (6P+K for example) while in blockstun.
DAAs are used to hit away an attacking opponent and reset the momentum of the match. It can also be used to do a small amount of damage and some characters (particularly Potemkin) can set up a combo afterwards. Each character's DAA is unique and as a result, some are stronger than others.
Like most other attacks, DAAs have startup, so it's possible to bait an opponent's DAA with attacks that recovers quickly or by Jump Cancel > air block. It's best to use DAAs when you are certain it will connect or else the opponent will be able to severely punish you.
As mentioned in the Tension Gain section, using a DAA will reduce the amount of Tension you gain by 80% for a full 4 seconds.
Bursts are an extremely expensive but highly versatile tool in Guilty Gear. To Burst, press D + any other attack button. The character will rise into the air and an aura of energy will strike all around them. Bursts are strike invincible, but not throw invincible!
Depending on a character's current state, the Burst will be either Blue or Gold; in terms of defense, both types of bursts have their uses:
- Blue Bursts can be used while blocking or while being hit to deny the opponent damage and reset the pace of a match.
- Blue Bursts are completely vulnerable until 3 frames after the character lands.
- Blue Bursts are throw vulnerable during their entire duration.
- Blue Bursts can be performed while OTG (on the ground). It gains the same benefits of a burst as well as being in OTG state. OTG Bursts are thus COMPLETELY INVINCIBLE during startup and active, and are throw invincible until landing.
- Furthermore, any hits landed after an OTG burst count as OTG, meaning their damage, hitstun, and combo ability are reduced significantly.
- Gold Bursts can be used to gain momentum, press an advantage, and can be used on wakeup as a reversal that also grants full Tension on hit!
- Gold Bursts are strike invincible during the recovery, so you must use an air throw, or a ground throw within 3 frames of landing, to punish a (blocked) Gold Burst.
- Gold Bursts have more hitstun than Blue Bursts, meaning they will usually knock the opponent down (particularly on Counter Hit), and can even be combo'd off of in some cases, though they prorate heavily.
- Gold Bursts also have more blockstun than Blue Bursts, so they're harder to punish after being blocked than Blue Bursts.
- Neither Blue Bursts nor Gold bursts can be thrown by command air throws/anti-air throws, meaning Potemkin's Heat Knuckle, Heavenly Pot Buster, and Aerial Pot Buster, and Anji's On won't work.
More information on bursts can be found here.
One Frame Jump
One Frame Jumps are an advanced defensive tactic used to escape pressure by chicken blocking faster. To perform a One Frame Jump press ~Faultless Defense. No dust will appear from the ground if this is performed correctly.
Contrary to popular belief (and the name itself), this does not reduce jump startup. However, One Frame Jumping shrinks the size of a character's hurtbox because a character's air blocking hurtbox is much smaller than a character's jumping hurtbox. This gives the illusion of a much faster jump startup than normal.
In addition, properly performing a one frame jump causes you to rise straight up, cutting your momentum if you dashed into your jump. This can open up some interesting bait, punish, and combo opportunities!
Throw/FD Option Select on Wakeup
On wakeup, press 4+H+S~K. This counts as a throw input and if no occurs, then a FD comes out instead.
This option select takes advantage of a few quirks of SB and FD:
- 4+H+S would normally be a Slashback, but Slashback is disabled on wakeup so a 5S occurs instead.
- Most normals can cancel the first few frames of startup into FD. Performing S~K will cancel the startup of 5S into FD.
This is a useful option select that forces opponents to respect a wakeup throw while still being safe from correctly spaced meaty attacks. Be sure not to perform this out of throw range, or you are vulnerable to any kind of meaty, particularly lows. This also works well against many counterhit / overhead fishing throw invincible normals, such as Jam's 6H, Order Sol's 2H, Slayer 6K, or low airdash overhead mixups. Note that if they are performed as true meaties, the OS will lose (see below for explanation), but as many of these are usually meant to hit slightly late as a CH, you will get a standing FD rather than get counterhit. The standing block you get on a failed throw is relatively good because there aren't very many throw invincible moves that hit low. Switching to blocking low immediately afterwards is generally recommended to defend against rapid lows in case you mistime, etc.
Some options to punish this OS / weaknesses to be aware of when using:
- Throw invincible meaties - Moves such as May's 5K will cause the normal to come out rather than the throw, meaning a true meaty will win. Full invincible moves like DPs also work great for this purpose.
- Low attacks out of throw range - The OS relies on throwing lows rather than blocking them. Since this OS is generally used when in throw range, making the range you're meatying out ambigious or walking out of throw range at the last second are both very strong options for punishing this OS, just like punishing wake-up throw in general.
- Throws - since this OS gives you either a throw or OS
- Crossups - meatying with moves that switch sides, such as Order Sol's Gunblaze, is an easy way to punish this OS. The crossup will either mess up the FD input, which means the OS just becomes wakeup throw, or the FD can come up (if the meaty is delayed). FD eliminates crossup protection, meaning the crossup will just hit them, unless they perfectly switch sides after FD'ing. Either way, provided you are meatying with something that avoids wakeup throw, this is a very strong option.
- Setplay in general - meatying using projectiles such as Venom's ball oki or Dizzy's Fish completely avoid having to deal with this option select entirely. Though this does not necessarily PUNISH
Fuzzy Jump on Wakeup or after Blockstun
On wakeup or after blockstun, FD briefly then perform a One Frame Jump. This is useful versus opponents who rely on throws for offense.
This option select takes advantage of the fact that characters have 9 frames of throw invulnerability on wakeup and 5 frames of throw invulnerability after leaving blockstun.
Combining this throw invulnerability with One Frame Jump allows you to attempt a chicken block while blocking meaties and throws!
Blocking High-Low Unblockables
Multiple attacks can not hit at the same time in the GGXX series: if a strike and a projectile would hit the opponent at the same time, then the projectile is delayed for 1 frame.
This fact means that it's possible to block high-low unblockables if you can switch blocking with perfect timing on that one frame!