Freqently Asked Questions
+R is often described as a masterpiece by a lot of players who stuck around for it. There's a lot of depth to this game. There's a lot of craziness. There's a lot of a feeling that you can kind of do whatever you want and the game will often let you. That you can make any character your own. That you can set the game to greyscale and within a few seconds, if you're familiar enough, get a rough idea of who's playing without any name labels or identifying their color.
It's got its reputation: it's strict, it's wild, it's got its jank. While those are true to an extent, there is so much to be explored in this game, so much latent freedom that is touted, that many a player finds themselves sinking into the rabbit hole of "one more rep" in training mode. Of "one more set" in locals. Of "one more try" in trying to crack this treasure chest of a game open further.
+R is an experience like no other.
What's different from Xrd?
+R is a bit of a more tight package than Xrd. While Xrd is both solid and off-the-wall in its own right, +R feels ramped up a bit higher. Execution is more strict, and the game sometimes feels like it demands more of you. On the flip side, characters feel even more bonkers and capable of some wild things. While the Roman Cancel system is, on paper, more limited than Xrd's, the game overall feels more open to interpretation. The pacing feels faster, and to many anecdotes, it simply "clicks better". For many, there is merely some personal preference, but there is a hard list of major differences.
In terms of mechanics, a list is provided below:
- Force Breaks exist (25% meter moves)
- Roman Cancels cause no slowdown
- Force Roman Cancels (25% cost RCs that can only happen during specific windows).
- Slashbacks exist, press 4+SH to do a quick move that removes your blockstun.
- RISC is Guard Gauge, which mechanically is the same, but negative guard gauge is the proration that you get as combos go on longer. This existed in Xrd, but wasn't visually represented.
- Dust only cancels into moves itself while holding up. There's no side dust.
- Staggers you escape by pressing forward/back and not buttons.
- Game is 4:3 instead of 16:9 so there's some stage shifting differences.
- No Hellfire
- No YRCs and no PRCs
- No Blitz Shield
- No Burst Supers
- No button input buffer (there's some leniency on special motions, but that's it. No skipping diagonals!)
- No Danger Time
Who should I play/how do I play X?
The ultimate answer is to play whoever you want.
Every character in this game is viable, and the tier list is less determined by character strength, and moreso based on matchups and who has the more amplified weaknesses.
A draft of our Character Select Guide can be found here (Scroll down) We're working on an update in the meantime. Hang tight!
So should I start with a "beginner character"?
No, you should start and play with whoever you jive with and enjoy the most.
Early on, you're likely to switch around a lot, and that's good! Experiment.
You'll likely gravitate towards one character and should stick with them for as long as you can. The thing is, no characters really play this game the same way. Learning as a "beginner" character won't necessarily help you play better with a character you actually want to.
Furthermore, there is no truly "right" way to play. Experts often disagree on the best means of dealing with things, meaning that the answer is open to interpretation of not only what is the strongest on paper, but what you're strongest with. There is a lot of room for personal expression in +R.
Okay, but who are the easiest characters?
This is always a question that veterans are hesitant to answer, because every character is difficult in the long run.
If you're only looking at who's got easy execution at an upfront, early level, you can check this chart by Brett:
The community generally places Faust, Ky, Kliff, Jam, Potemkin, and to an extent ABA as some of the easier characters overall. Their gameplans do not change much over time and their level of necessary execution generally remains fairly low.
The reason why this gets complicated is because a lot of these characters who seem easy early on can become notoriously difficult to win with as you progress and begin going toe-to-toe with players who have a stronger grasp of the game. Opening up opponents gets harder as certain characters at higher levels, and you may end up having to rely on more difficult mechanics, inputs, or strategies than you initially signed up for. If you're okay with that, then don't let anybody stop you.
How Balanced is this Game?
There's some scummy stuff in this game. Not gonna lie. Top tiers are still top tiers. But everybody's got quite a bit of scum, actually.
To put that in perspective, one of the worst characters in the game won Evo 2017, and another is consistently in top 3 in US majors, so in reality, it doesn't make the biggest difference.
What if you think a character is stronger than the list suggests? Feel free to prove us wrong. The list is still heavily contested to this day, on top of this game brimming with unexplored potential. New tech is still being discovered recently.
I hear this game is very difficult.
On one hand, yes. This game is strict. No skipping diagonals. No input buffer on button presses. FRCs have a minimum 2F window. Slashback has a strict 2F window.
On the other, you can make it as hard as you want it to be, and you can ramp it up over time. Nobody is expecting you to get HCL FRC Dash Splits or tk. Youzansen FRCs on your first try. Focus on starting small. Work your way up to the basic mechanics to the crazy stuff later. Make sure you're having fun, (but with +R, you generally won't have to try hard for that).
Part of that difficulty is part of the game. There's a certain level of satisfaction from pulling off a hard setup or input or that game winning combo full of frame perfects that you've labbed for hours.
That's miles down the road though. And the first mile starts with one step.
What should I focus on?
Early on, it's best to start with actually figuring the game out. A drafted startup guide can be found here.
The harder stuff: combos, all of the mechanics, and settling on matchup knowledge and esoterics are the last thing to start with. Ramp your way up. Get used to your characters buttons and inputs first. Get used to figuring out what to do in neutral. Learn to mix FD with regular blocking. Get familiar with movement.
There's no reason to overload yourself with the hard stuff first. If you want to be a lab monster, that's absolutely fine. If you want to be a player, it's best to start with actually figuring the game out. You can start in the lab and get an idea. You can start by playing and figuring it out as you go. You can start by watching footage and gleaning that way. Regardless of how you do it, it's best to get into the cycle of doing all three.
All you need to do is start.
How do I hit opponents and structure offense?
Guilty Gear is known for its generally freeform offense from its Gatling System, which lets you chain normals from weaker to stronger, similarly to the Marvel and Darkstalkers series.
You can form some basic but effective combos and pressure strings from the beginning by simply chaining 5P > 5K > c.S > 5H > 2D. For most of the cast, this will score a small confirm with decent damage and a knockdown, which is what Gear's offense is centric around: applying wakeup pressure/okizeme.
This system lets you hammer out something simple without having to jump straight into training mode, and also get an idea of how later offense works. Pressure generally works the same way, though you'll want to cancel into something safer, stop and get back in, or jump away if you're being blocked.
Launch/juggle combos are a different beast which have their own complexity, but the gatling system also applies in the air, so it's not a step into the completely foreign, though it gets more into character specifics.
Starting out, you might be tempted to immediately skip straight to the combos section for your intended character and starting grinding Sidewinder Loops and Dustloops and Mist Finer confirms. This can work for some people, but it is generally not a recommended way to begin.
How do I stop getting hit?
The thing about +R is that for every busted character mechanic, there's a powerful defensive mechanic. Blocking by itself is already solid if you can deal with the mix.
Ultimately though, +R rewards offense, even if you can fight back on defense. Eventually, you'll get opened up and hit. Some things are just unreactable, that's the nature of the game.
You'll come to recognize more as you play more. And the more you grow, the further you'll probably want to go.
What's this I've heard about 0F throws?
Not only that, but throws can be Option Selected with any other button if you try to throw forwards, so you'll get another button if your throw wouldn't come out. On paper, this sounds really busted.
And it kind of is! Everybody can use a throw as a reversal! But part of learning the game is learning around this strength. Making sure that your oki is spaced safe to wakeup throw, and playing both your offense and your defense around this mechanic is kind of like RPS, but instead of three options you get closer to five or seven which all cover multiple scenarios.
This means that every single character has at least one extremely powerful tool that you need to be cognizant of, but there are plenty of ways to bait and beat this. This design philosophy is part of what makes Guilty Gear such a strong series.
If you give every character a defensive toolkit which would be absolutely bonkers in any other fighting game, you can build off of that baseline and make everybody as crazy as you can think of, with some level of restraint, of course. This is how Guilty Gear manages to remain balanced at such a high level. 0F throws are a piece of the puzzle that makes +R.
I'm trying to throw, but I keep getting an attack and not throw what's going on???
You can't throw while running, and there is throw invincibility on various universal things in the game. Explained here: Link
How do I Dust Combo?
-5Ds in this game grant you a "homing jump". While in this state, holding UP, or 7/8/9 during an air normal will automatically put you back into the Homing Jump, cancelling whatever normal you were doing. This is how you can perform multiples of the same normal while not usually possible.
Example: for the Sol combo 5D > j.D > j.D > j.SKS > dj.SH > j.623S > j.214K, you would only need to hold UP during the bolded arrows.
This is very similar to Xrd's, with the exeception that Xrd cancels into Homing Jumps for you automatically.
Yes and no. Many characters have one or two vital FRCs (Force Roman Cancels) for more comprehensive play, but some can get by without using any.
There are plenty of competent players who don't utilize their character's entire toolset, either out of a lack of ability or judgment that there are better options.
Given that, FRCs are not the hardest things to learn. Some FRCs are actually very easy, and many have a pretty consistent point where it becomes muscle memory to hit. You may not hit them every time, but that's part of +R's beauty in a sense: a level of play and a standard that you hold yourself to shooting for every time.
You can practice FRCs by opening training mode and turning on the input display, which will flash blue during this window. In order to find your character's FRCs, you'll have to go to their Frame Data pages and look them up. A list of every character's FRCs is to be added to their wiki page in the near future.
NOTE: We've noticed some inconsistencies with this display. While it is accurate for the most part, it can be a frame or two off. It's best to use it as a general guideline for where your FRC is.
What's the recommended pad/stick layout?
We normally suggest the default layout for stick, and many pad players find it most comfortable to set H to R1, D to R2, and an FD macro (P+K) to L1 and an RC macro (P+K+S) to L2. P, K, and S are usually set to the left or bottom three face buttons.
Feel free to experiment, of course. What matters most is what you find comfortable and intuitive.
How do I set the training dummy?
To ensure the combos you're practicing are valid, set "recovery" to either "back" or "forward", and "recovery frame" to zero. (This is because neutral techs are one frame slower)
Some other important menu options include:
- Display: set to Both for the input display and damage info
- Guard: Off/First/Limited/On.
- First will keep the dummy blocking as long as the current blockstring is airtight. However, it will NOT guardswitch properly, meaning a dummy set to standing will block a 5P but get hit by a followup 2K.
- Limited will take a hit up until a string is no longer airtight. It will then block everything until you stop, and continue blocking for an unspecified amount of time (estimated around 2 seconds)
- Off and On are self explanatory. Block on will block everything, regardless of state.
- Unfortunately, there is no random block setting.
- Guard Setting: Can be "Normal", "Just" (Instant Block), "Faultless" (Faultess Defense), or "SlashBack" (self explanatory)
- Slip Recovery: Affects how quickly the dummy shakes out of stagger, NOT stun/dizzy. If you wish to practice dizzy setups, you'll need to record the dummy mashing out manually and play it back.
- A note about playback: Using a dummy to play back an input will not correct for direction. So if you input 236P as your dummy motion, and play it back while on the other side of the dummy, it will instead perform 214P, unfortunately.
- You can have a dummy record a button on the first frame of a recording by holding down the button while you press record.
- Unfortunately, there is no way to play inputs back on wakeup or as a reversal, you would have to time it manually yourself.
- You can have a dummy record a button on the first frame of a recording by holding down the button while you press record.
How do I pick my color?
On the character select screen, every character has one color bound to each of the game's attack buttons: P, K, S, H, and D.
Pressing R (Respect) will cycle through the set of colors available: Normal, EX, Slash, and Reload.
Every character's colors can be viewed on their wiki character pages, by clicking the "Colors" item underneath their portraits.
What's with Gold/Shadow colors?
These palettes are unlockable, powered up versions of characters. Golds augment characters drastically, increasing many of their stats or amplifying one of their character traits. Gold Sol, for example, gets a permanent powered up Gunflame, increased, speed, damage, health, and HP restoration. Shadow characters only gain infinite tension.
While amusing for a while, they are, of course, banned from tournament play. The GGPO update is overriding their usual selection method (Slash D and Reload D) by picking them with the button set to "Record Enemy". You won't be able to play them online unless somebody sets the room to allow them, either.
What's with EX characters?
EX characters are alternate versions of each character (except Kliff and Justice, technically) that use old moves from previous iterations or ideas which were never implemented into their main versions.
If you were wishing to main an EX character, they are banned from tournament play, if only because they are not in the arcade version. They're also not particularly balanced. But if you want to run an EX character tournament, nobody is stopping you!
Cool, where do I find footage?
There are a good amount of resources (with some in the infamous 144 and 240P). Here are some recommendations:
- KeepOnRockin Video Database
- Horibuna Video Database (JP)
- Goldenrody's Channel
- Hotta's Channel (Active!, JP)
General character guide vids:
Questions will be added to this FAQ as necessary. If you want more in-depth explanations of mechanics, go through the Controls, Offense, Defense, and System Mechanics pages.
If you have more indepth questions, feel free to reach out in the discord. We're a pretty lax community and there's a myriad more resources available in there.
- A.B.A [★]
- Anji Mito [★]
- Axl Low [★]
- Baiken [★]
- Bridget [★]
- Chipp Zanuff [★]
- Dizzy [★]
- Eddie [★]
- Faust [★]
- I-No [★]
- Jam Kuradoberi [★]
- Johnny [★]
- Justice [★]
- Kliff Undersn [★]
- Ky Kiske [★]
- May [★]
- Millia Rage [★]
- Order-Sol [★]
- Potemkin [★]
- Robo-Ky [★]
- Slayer [★]
- Sol Badguy [★]
- Testament [★]
- Venom [★]
- Zappa [★]
Click [★] for character's full frame data