GGST/Axl Low/Strategy

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This section is still being written. It may be wildly inaccurate or missing significant data.
Please feel free to make edits, but include edit summaries and sources where applicable.

Overall Strategy

Gameplan

At mid-range, challenge the opponent's ground approach with 5P, 2P and 2H, and punish aerial approaches with 6K and 2S. j.5P and j.S can be used to challenge the opponent's aerial movement as well.

End combos with Snail to force the opponent to long-range, and threaten with Rensen, Rensen(8), Rensen(S) and Winter Mantis.

On Rensen(8) hit, the opponent is knocked down at point blank range for a close-range mix-up opportunity.

Neutral

Many of Axl's moves are high-commitment - a wrong guess can put you in an unsafe situation. Pay attention to whether your opponent tends to keep to the ground or take to the air, and cover ground approaches with 5P, 2P, and 2H, and air approaches with 6K and 2S.

j.S is a versatile attack that can be used as a keep-away tool while jumping back, or to keep the opponent locked down while jumping or air dashing forward for more pressure.

6H can be an aggressive ground tool to try to win a counterhit combo, but is more of a risk.

Snail, which can be used on the ground or in the air, has incredible range, but be careful of the long recovery.

Close Range

5K, 2K, and c.S should be your go-to close range starters. Axl is not a mix-up machine so the basic high-low and throw mix-ups apply here - 5K, 2K, or c.S into 5D or 2D, a tick throw such as 2K > Throw, or cancelling into command throw (i.e. c.S > f.S > Winter Mantis). A gatling into 6H can surprise the opponent with an overhead and grants a combo on counterhit, but it can be interrupted and is minus on normal hit and block. Ending with Rainwater can return you to a mid-range spacing, and also has the opportunity to catch the opponent in a counterhit (i.e. CH Rainwater > 5P > Rensen).

Axl has several frame traps such as 5K > 6P, 2P > 6K, 2K > 6K, and 2K > (delay) 2D which can lead to counterhit combos such as CH 2D > 5P > Rensen (8) > 5H (OTG).

With meter, c.S > jc > 66BRC can lead to some trickier strings such as c.S > jc > 66BRC > j.D > 2K, or c.S 66BRC > crossup j.D (requiring the 66BRC to be performed slightly later to allow air dashing over the opponent). On hit, c.S > jc > 66BRC > Axl Bomber > c.S > TKB is great corner carry that can lead to wall combo if close enough.

Okizeme/Setups

Rensen (8) and Axl Bomber are the two primary methods of creating an okizeme situation.

Rensen (8) knocks the opponent down at point blank range where you can start close range pressure. j.H can be used as a safejump starter, although it requires manual timing. Rensen (8) > c.S > IAD > j.H is a consistent safejump setup that works only against some character's invincible reversals. It is safe against May, Axl, Faust, Ramlethal, I-No's invincible supers, as well as Ky's meterless reversal. It does not work against invincible supers from Ky, Millia, Nagoriyuki, Giovanna, or Anji, or from meterless reversals from Sol, Chipp, or Leo. Video guide on this safejump setup is explained in detail here.

Axl Bomber also causes a knockdown which allows enough time to move in for a setup, which is a reason to use TK Bomber as an ender rather than Snail if you want the okizeme opportunity. For example, c.S > TKB, or with meter, c.S > f.S > 2H > Snail > 66RC > c.S > TKB.

6H or IAD j.H are decent overhead meaties to use on opponent wakeup. On meaty hit, 6H becomes plus and can combo into c.S or 5K for example. 6H meaties can be auto-timed in a variety of ways, such as off a Throw knockdown > microdash > 6H, or far Mantis > double T-Bag > 6H (not joking). Video evidence here.

Defense

Use Yellow Roman Cancel (YRC) to stop opponent pressure. Use Faultless Defense to gain space.

The most important thing to do when cornered is to be patient and block. Make use of Faultless Defense to push the opponent back to find an opening to counterpoke with 5P, to jump and counter with j.H or j.S, or to jump and air dash out. Faultless Defense after jumping if you anticipate being challenged in the air and try again. Challenge the opponent's IAD attacks with 6P. Don't be predictable with how you try to escape corner pressure - you may block several strings before finding an opportunity to escape.

Use of Tension

General

Note: This section is currently based on one Axl's conjecture - please contribute to the topic.

As mentioned in the previous sections, your Tension is best used for Sickle Storm (236236H) and even Yellow Roman Cancel (YRC), as your way of getting out of pressure. Yellow Roman Cancel (YRC) provides more of a positional advantage, while Sickle Storm (236236H) is best used on reaction to punish whiffs in neutral and on wake-up to punish reckless meaty attacks and okizeme setups. At a low level, it might be possible to mash Sickle Storm (236236H) on wake-up without seeing the opponent attempt a meaty, but this is strongly inadvisable, since they could react to the super freeze and block the initial hit instead, which leads to a punish with a full combo. There is a reason why the eternal Axl adage is "Whiff the first hit and hope they don't know about the second.". However, you shouldn't rely on this, as any self-respecting player will adapt after getting hit once.

Roman Cancel

There is something to be said about raw non-drift Blue Roman Cancel (RRC), Purple Roman Cancel (PRC) and Red Roman Cancel (RRC). Their uses are very situational and most of the time not worth the metre. The reason why they are this way, is mostly due to the nature of Axl's entire kit and his character archetype. Most of Axl's moves are intended to push the enemy character away, which seldom goes along with the new changes to Roman Cancels introduced with Strive. The slowdown and, for example, the follow-up knock-back effect from a Red Roman Cancel require you to be in close proximity to the opponent. In previous games from the Guilty Gear Series, such as AC+R and Xrd Rev2, the slowdown effect was quite long-lasting and also effected the entire screen, regardless of your proximity to the opponent, which meant that moves such as Rensen ([4]6S) could be Roman Cancelled meaningfully even at full range into entire ground-to-air combos. In Strive, however, Rensen ([4]6S) can't be cancelled into anything meaningful without a follow-up like Winter Cherry ([4]6S-S) or Soaring Chain Strike a.k.a. Rensen ([4]6S-8). Realistically, the only combo opportunity from Winter Cherry ([4]6S-S) is what the community affectionately calls The Double Cherry Sundae. As you can probably see, any Rensen ([4]6S) combo, which costs you 50% of your Tension metre only nets you ~95 damage on average, which is almost half of what you would get from a generic starter c.S or 2K combo. The issue is twofold: Use of Roman Cancel as an offensive tool is very limited by range, and the damage proration (net combo damage reduction) from the act of Roman Cancelling only serves to make the use of metre completely and utterly pointless outside of very niche situations where you need just a little bit more damage to close off the round. At max-range, a useful "guard-breaking combo" is a Purple Roman Cancel (PRC) quickly after Rensen ([4]6S), which turns it into a projectile, with useful properties in neutral. The ability to cancel a Roman Cancel with a special move, allows for us to input a Winter Mantis (41236H), which will command grab anyone who blocks the projectile flying towards them, and with proper timing can even grab some attempts to Instant Air Dash (IAD) over the projectile. This is similar to using Xrd's Yellow Roman Cancel to do much the same, but with the added benefit of a command grab that comes from the back, rather than the front.

Drift Roman Cancel

On the other hand, let us consider Roman Cancel as a mid-range option with a move such as Snail (214H). A sample combo would be: 5K > 2D > 214H > 66.RRC > 5P > [4]6S-8 > c.S or c.S > f.S > 5H > 214H > 66.RRC > 5P > [4]6S-8 > c.S. Both of these combos only work if one performs a so called Drift Roman Cancel (66RC) (more general info here), in this case a Drift Red Roman Cancel (DRRC) - in this case a 66RC, i.e a dash, towards the opponent, followed immediately by a Roman Cancel. Using a regular Red Roman Cancel (RRC) would result in the combo dropping, as the opponent would not be effected by any of the beneficial elements of a Red Roman Cancel (RRC). The reason why this may be an issue is that doing that after Snail (214H), which finishes in a 4 input, requires a somewhat unintuitive double tap forward (i.e a 466 motion). This may be somewhat alleviated by the use of the Dash macro in tandem with with the Roman Cancel macro, which you can now configure as their own separate buttons, as otherwise you would be forced to press the dash button as well as three other unique buttons to perform the motion. Let me remind you that you also need to begin charging for Rensen ([4]6S) immediately after in order to make the cancel worthwhile, effectively turning the input into 466[4]6. Needless to say, making effective use of metre while also pushing the offensive also requires somewhat good execution and dexterity. Some shorter permutations on the combo starters are possible in order to make use of the benefits of a non-drift Red Roman Cancel (RRC), but result in a net loss of damage, as you are effectively mission out on hits not effected by the Roman Cancel's damage proration, as they are prior to the cancel itself.

There is a route from mid-range which relies on a 66RRC after a successful Snail combo ender, after which a short dash is performed followed by 5P > 6H, which results in a wall bounce. With proper spacing the opponent can be hit with 5K > 6K > Snail, after which they will be stuck to the wall and you have a free choice of moves to wall-break with. The full string can be as follows: 5K > 6K > 214H > 66RRC > 66 > 5P > 6H > 5K > 6K > 214H > 5P (WB). [Video] 6K and onwards can be substituted for a TK Bomber finisher for more damage, if one is confident in their execution.

At close range, the common option is doing a Drift Roman Cancel (DRC) from a j.H safe jump or instant overhead. One uses the 22.RRC variation, resulting in a downwards drift, which allows for any combo starter. The benefit here is that if the hit is blocked, the cancel will most likely result in a Purple Roman Cancel (PRC), which can allow you to get out of the messy situation you've gotten yourself into and try to reset into neutral. On hit, it can result in some of the most highly damaging Axl combos, such as the beginnings of a TK Bomber loop or a simple 5P > [4]6S ender.

Conclusion

Suffice to say, all of this should generally paint the picture that there are two, if not three, viable situations in which an aspiring Axl can, with great difficulty, utilise a non-drift Roman Cancel to some amount of success. Most other characters, except for perhaps Faust and Nagoryuki, seem to be spared from such considerations.

Charge Cancel Roman Cancel

Despite the comically long name, it is a rather new piece of tech, which allows charge characters to effectively remove the need for holding a charge in specific combo routes. The inputs allow one to do the equivalent of 5P > RRC > 46S, rather than [4]6S (the brackets, signifying holding the direction). As noted in the General section, finding a route that neatly makes use of a non-drift RRC for Axl combos can be somewhat obtuse, considering the damage proration and spacing drawbacks, compared to a PRC. However, with this tech, there could be a lot more generally viable Rensen-based oki setups. However, at 50% meter, it is still questionable how this may be utilised. For mor general system information on the topic, see here.

Frametraps

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Please feel free to make edits, but include edit summaries and sources where applicable.

Blockstrings

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Mixups

You can get a simple fuzzy mixup from j.K. The permutations are:

  • j.K (jc) > j.H
    • This version allows for a metered conversion into a full combo or any j.H jump-in combo starter. Can be canceled into j.623H, but only loops in corner.
  • j.K > 2K > 2D
    • This version allows for a Snail finisher for potential metered conversion at mid-range or Rensen near corner for potential [4]6-2 oki.
  • j.K > 2K > c.S
    • This version allows for the most damage, as it can be canceled into a TK Bomber. It also allows for a conversion into a j.H safe-jump.

However, getting j.K in the first place can be an unreliable situation to account for, hence most Axls rely on jump cancelling 5K or c.S into a Drift Blue Roman Cancel (66.BRC). This is possible because at the point of jump cancelling a normal, a character is not within a move's active frames (hence no Red Roman Cancel (RRC)) , nor within a move's recovery (hence no Purple Roman Cancel (PRC)).

For most intents and purposes this fuzzy is practically a metered option, but if you somehow get the situation without having to spend the tension, more power to ya. [Video]

Move-specific Tips

Rensen + Winter Mantis

There are several variations of this pairing, but the basic form is: [4]6S-8, c.S OTG > 63214H What this does is result in a difficult to react to close-range command grab, which becomes active as soon as the opponent wakes up. On hit, the close range Winter Mantis performs an automatic TK Bomber, which allows for a plethora of combo routes as a follow-up. It is also noteworthy that it works on every character with a micro-dash before the c.S OTG. You can then follow up with any close-range Winter Mantis follow-up (e.g 5P > 6K > [4]6S-S). [Video]

Another less common but still viable option is to use a Purple Roman Cancel at fullscreen to cancel the startup of Rensen, turning it into a projectile. With fast enough execution this can be done early, letting you cancel the RC before the projectile hits the opponent and perform a Winter Mantis (63214H), resulting in a grab if the opponent blocks the Rensen projectile.

Both of these options whiff if the opponent manages to see the grab and jump pre-emptively.

TK Bomber

Your First TK Bomber

If you're having a hard time with TK Bombers try to focus on one thing at a time, be that the initial cancel from c.S/5K, the TK motion itself, the link to c.S/5K after that or the second/third TK Bomber in the sequence. What is important to know is that the whole idea of the TKB is to jump-cancel the c.S/5K normals, so be patient and wait for those to play out a bit, otherwise you're likely to get unwanted Winter Mantises, 2Hs or 6Hs. There is the alternative situation where you might be getting j.H instead, which likely means that you are getting the jump cancel timing somewhat right, but your TK motion is still slow, so speed up those inputs, speciffically, reaching the 2 and 3 earlier. After you've gotten the basic timing down, you should be able to do at least one TKB. Don't rush to TKB loops, their alure also hides madness. Practice just hit-confirming in your matches with c.S/5K > TKB for now, until you get the hang of it. If it helps, you could also do the TK motion raw in training mode. A cool and somewhat practical combo is to use One Vision and then do two raw TK Bombers on the training dummy, as time is stopped. Keep in mind that you will have to change the direction of the input for the second TK Bomber, as you will have crossed up. This should give you a fair amount of practice on both Player 1 and Player 2 side.

Stringing Two TKBs Together

Once you've started feeling yourself and are confident that you have mastered the single TKB, you will likely want to move into the corner, where all glorious Axl twitter clips are forged. The first thing you will need to realise about starting a TKB Loop is that your execution needs to be somewhat on point. Guilty Gear -Strive- has a somewhat generous input buffer, but that can be a blessing and a curse. At the core of a TKB Loop is the necessity for the first TKB to have started as close to the ground as possible. This ultimately means that the timing and the execution need to be tight and tidy, because if Axl jumps a little bit too high, that results in effectively higher recovery on your Axl Bomber, as Axl needs to fall down longer before he can start another c.S/5K, for which he needs to be grounded. Minimising that recovery means that the subsequent TKBs become easier to perform. I will refer to this as a perfect TKB. A simple visual aid is to hit 5K or c.S roughly whenever the opponent is at the level of Axl's headband. Note that depending on which normal you chose, the cancel window for the following TKB will be different. You can read more in the Advanced Combo Theory section in the Combos page, but the gist is c.S is slower but more lenient, while 5K is faster, yet tighter. In time you will learn that different normals are better at certain heights, but that is another topic. Another visual aid may be that Axl has reset to his idle animation for a split second after landing from a TKB, meaning he's ready to press buttons. An audio cue that may help you with your timing is Axl finishing the Axl Bomber voice-line, as the timing in the Japanese dub is pretty close to the link timing from what I've noticed. If you're getting the c.S/5K link, but are struggling to get the Bomber out, refer to the tips at the beginning of the first paragraph. A beginner-friendly technique is to hover your hand (or finger) over the stick (pad, analogue, etc.) until you see the c.S/5K link connect, after which you can start doing the TK motion. This should stop you from rushing to make inputs before you've even confirmed if the normal has connected. The Combos page has a few [4] Hard difficulty TKB loops, which substitute the third repetition with some other type of finisher. Familiarise yourself with those, until you are comfortable doing two reps of TKBs. They are more than adequate and are often safer in competitive play, as they secure the Positive Bonus from a Wall-Break, while minimising the risk of dropping the TKB loop, at the expense of a less than significant amount of damage.

ThreeKB

If you can do two, you can do three. Just practice. The main wall you need to overcome is the fact that now the first two TKBs need to be perfect TKBs, rather than just the first one. Once you have overcome this hurdle, you will have mastered the TKB Loop. The third TKB does not need to be perfect, as it always results in a wall-splat. Once the opponent is gently lounging on the wall, they are at your mercy, and there is but only one thing to do: You guessed it - another TKB. Just do a raw TKB, like the ones in the first paragraph and send the fool through the wall and get you positive bonus for that sweet-sweet Roman Cancel, invincible reversal overdrive and time-stop goodness. We have a plethora of cool combos available for 3x TKBs in the Combo page - check those out. Now all you need to do is figure out how to get yourself into the situation where you can pull those off in a real match. That, however, is a topic for another time. Enjoy youselves, you earned it! I better see those clips on Twitter.

Effects of Weight Class

A side note is that the weight class of your opponent plays a very real factor in the execution of TKB loops. The lighter they are the more lenient your Bomber loops can be; In fact, if you try TKB combos on Millia (for example) in training mode you will notice it is possible to have very sloppy and late TK Bombers and still get double or triple Bombers in a single combo. You will also notice under the Notes section of some combos in the Axl Dustloop Combo page making mention that the combos are more difficult or flat out impossible on heavy opponents (i.e. Potemkin, Nago etc). This is simply because the lighter your opponent the higher they will fly from your TK Bomber, which allows you more leniency to perform your next grounded link (be it c.S or 5K), which in turn gives you more time to perform the TK Bomber input as they don't need to be "perfect" as you have more allowable frames of recovery before your next relink. Using this information is very helpful during real matches; The lighter your opponent's character is the more internal confidence you can give yourself to perform that sweet TKB loop on your opponent so they will be more reliable. That isn't to say you should never attempt TKB loops on heavy characters, but moreso gives you a mental compass as to the risk-reward of performing the additional loop vs the possibility of dropping the combo.

Fighting Axl

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Axl 5P

Axl's 5P is by far the most staple lynchpin move in his arsenal and how well your character gets around it is a large determining factor to how easy the match-up is for you in neutral. Axl loves to use this move in many situations as his fastest long-range interrupt, fairly non-committal poke, pre-emptive anti-air, reactive anti-airing, general zoning, IAD shutdown and the list goes on. If blocked you can immediately attempt an aggressive jump option to dissuade Axl from special cancelling, but he can reactively anti-air should he never commit. A relatively universal option is to run at Axl which is usually enough to low-profile 5P while approaching, whilst risking getting caught by 2P or 2H zoning attempts which in turn loses to jumping and IAD approaches. The risk-reward of beating either 5P or 2H and getting a clean approaching punish is usually relatively higher than Axl's risk-reward so you always have time to guess and brute force it. However if you don't have access to a run mechanic or have bad movement options in general the aforementioned vague strategy will not work.

If your character is on the shorter end of the spectrum (Millia, Gio, Chipp, May etc) almost anything you do grounded will make 5P whiff, thus eliminating a huge part of Axl's zoning RPS. Really leverage this and force Axl to zone with 2H and Rensen only to open yourself up to easy aerial approaches.

Brute-forcing Aerial Approach

Unlike past Guilty Gears, Axl cannot hit you with air-unblockable normals and anti-airs so it does not cost you any resources (except the RISC gauge) to just jump frequently towards Axl whilst blocking AntiAir attempts. Watch out for blocked 2S into late cancel 2H which will catch you low on landing, and make sure to immediately jump again if Axl does 2S 2H on air-block to prevent Rensen or Mantis special cancel from connecting. Eventually Axl will miss an anti-air which gives you the free signal to land that counterhit jump-in attack. However, characters with less air options or low mobility in general might struggle to utilise this baseline strategy, and this strategy is highly susceptible to getting air-thrown.

If you ever jump over his projectile and think his Soaring Chain Strike followup will hit you, normal air-blocking will leave Axl incredibly plus to perform a guaranteed mixup on you. If you FD his Projectile-Up followup you will recover from air-blockstun way faster and be able to throw Axl immediately, forcing the Axl player to always tech the throw in that interaction, backdash or jump. This is another way to significantly reduce Axl's zoning RPS and "approach" him easily. Video explanation timestamped here.

Spotting Obvious Special-cancel Windows

Jumping frequently is unironically an important part of fighting Axl, which will force Axl to resort to j.S spamming to keep you out. Whenever Axl presses 2D, 2H or 5H he is forced to special cancel if he wants to further his pressure and not forfeit his "turn". However, jumping forwards the moment you recognise those normals will shut down 3 out of 4 of Axl's special cancels (Projectile, Mantis and Rainwater) whilst losing to a delayed-cancel Snail (214H) which puts Axl at -24 if you block this move. If you can consistently block-punish Snail (using moves like Sol Night Raid Vortex, Nago's 214H, Ky Stun Dipper, May S Dolphin, Ino Chemical Love, Axl 2H, Potemkin Hammerfall etc etc) and jump over his other 3 options Axl's risk-reward of performing an offensive special cancel will be so terrible that he will have to resort to stagger pressure or leave himself at mild minus frames and hoping to Antiair you with 2S.

However, whether you can actually get a punish against Axl's Rainwater special cancel off further-spaced 5H and 2H specifically is slightly more character-specific. Refer to this video timestamp here for a detailed visual explanation of the above.

You should also not let Axl get away with special cancelling his 2H ever, especially at further distances. If you jump he cannot catch you with neither his Command Grab nor his Projectile, and 214H will be too far away to connect unless he reads your IAD. If you have a quick forward-advancing Super you can also punish Axl for attempting to 2H special-cancel, and if your super is less than frame18 startup you will punish Axl regardless of him special cancelling or not. Video details timestamped here. Yes, this still applies if you get normal-hit by the long-ranged 2H, you will be able to jump both specials still or reversal Super his special cancel gap, but cannot punish him if he doesn't cancel.

Other Small Knowledge-Checks

  • Punish Axl's reversal Super by blocking the first hit and jumping the second, to get a deep jump-in punish.
  • Axl's 6H overhead is -3 on block, so blocking it close allows a guaranteed throw punish. It is also approximately +0 on hit and +1 on crouching hit, so you can conceivably always contest Axl with a 5frame normal or mash throw to defeat him if he ever tries to take his turn after pressing 6H. Video demonstration here.
  • You can jump over Axl's Rensen Spinning Strike helicopter-looking followup if he does not jail into it from the initial projectile. Don't down-back and block waiting for the vacuum to pull you in, jump and/or airdash and let the vacuum bring you in to punish him!
  • Don't be scared if Axl ever installs Time-stop against you in neutral or infront of you immediately. He suffers 22 frames of lag after the install which gives you a sizeable window to contest for pressure and possibly hit him, making him waste 50 meter.

Matchups

GGST Sol Badguy Icon.png Sol Badguy

  • When Sol uses Heavy Mob Cemetary, your only recourse is to jump, but there is also a possibility that Sol will PRC and try to air-grab or air-to-air you. You can be ready for this situation by hitting Sol while he is in his INFINITE armour Dragon Install state with j.H as you are over him. If they don't PRC, the j.H leaves you at a decent enough distance for Sol to not have a great follow-up. If they do, the moment you see the PRC, cancel that technically on-hit j.H into Axl Bomber and blow them away. Works like a charm. [Example of this in action at the very end of the round: Video]
  • After blocking Bandit Revolver (236K), Sol can be reliably punished with either 5K > 2D (for hard knockdown) or 5K > 2D > 214H (sent fullscreen + slightly more damage). If Sol ends a blockstring with Bandit Revolver, he is often close enough to be thrown.
  • After blocking Night Raid Vortex (214S), Sol is -17 & punishable by any of Axl's grounded normals except 5D/6H. A reliable example punish is 5K > 2D > 214H, but Sol is also left close enough for c.S > TKB > ... which leads to a variety of routes for better damage & corner carry.
  • If a grounded Bandit Bringer (214K) is blocked & very close (such as during corner pressure), Sol typically lands close enough to be thrown. However, this is not true of a charged Aerial Bandit Bringer (j.214K) or if the grounded version hits meaty.
  • Both versions of Volcanic Viper when blocked can be punished with a full counterhit c.S > TKB > ... for potentially huge damage & corner carry.
  • Night Raid Vortex can be counterhit by 2H which grants a followup sickle flash ([4]6S). Though this is risky to attempt on reaction unless Sol starts vortex from fullscreen, as Sol is granted a large (200+ damage) combo from anywhere if vortex counterhits.
  • The startup of Bandit Bringer can be counterhit by either 6K/2S for a reliable followup of 5P > [4]6S > (Soaring Chain Strike / Winter Cherry). Though this may be difficult to perform strictly on reaction.

GGST Ky Kiske Icon.png Ky Kiske

  • If you can bait out his DP with a safejump setup, can punish with just as he's landing for a counterhit combo. 5[D] is also usable for huge meterless damage if you're midscreen.
  • 5K is good at stuffing Foudre Arc and getting a conversion. 6P, on the other hand, tends to lose against it.
  • Ky ending a combo into 214S followed into a 236H fireball is not a true oki situation, be sure to challenge Ky's approach while still being unpredictable.

GGST May Icon.png May

  • Great Yamada Attack from far away can be punished with Winter Mantis on reaction.
  • 5P can be used proactively in neutral to punish & discourage Dolphin pressure. 2H will counterhit dolphin, allowing for sickle flash followup, though this may be difficult to perform strictly on reaction at the range where Dolphin is most threatening.
  • If May uses Arisugawa Sparkle from about mid/close-range, it is possible to counterhit 2H on reaction, allowing for a sickle flash ([4]6S) followup. The timing is tighter the farther away May is.
  • After blocking S. Dolphin, f.S will beat most of May's grounded options & prevent her from immediately jumping, but will trade with May's 2P/5P & outright lose to May's 6P due to lowering her hurtbox.
  • May is particularly difficult to anti-air, especially when she is directly above Axl, due to her fast & high jump arc, j.2H & j.D that allow her to alter her jump trajectory, and large hitboxes on j.S & j.H that cover a lot of space.

GGST Axl Low Icon.png Axl Low

GGST Chipp Zanuff Icon.png Chipp Zanuff

  • Ground Alpha Blade will cross you up if Chipp is close enough, but it can be thrown.
  • Senshuu, the overhead rekka followup, is not only unsafe for Chipp on block, but can be interrupted during the startup with 5K (https://twitter.com/nuttacon/status/1363179992977453063).
  • Similarly, the Genrou zan command grab can be interrupted with 5K or air throw. Using backdash against it is a heavier risk/reward, but if timed correctly, will allow you to get a bigger punish. Backdash BRC can also give you a huge CH Bomber starter.
  • If Chipp is trying to get directly on top of you for j.2K pressure, your best bet is to be on the move and get into a more favourable position. He moves slightly forwards during it, so this can be used to your advantage by running under it, then punishing Chipp. Backdashing to avoid it is possible. Faultless Defense also has uses against it.

GGST Potemkin Icon.png Potemkin

Cycling between using normals, rensen and command grab to keep Potemkin out is key in this matchup. Potemkin has clear options to Axl's keepaway tools, but by nature still has to work to get in

Hammerfall will plow though single normals, but dies to Rensen. Flick can punish rensen from most ranges but can be hit on startup or commandthrown. General movement let's him block and react to Axl's keepout, but blocking normals pushes him back.

  • j.s, j.h in neutral is a great option to check occasional hammerfalls. If the j.s get's armoured, j.h will come out and punish the hammerfall. example clip
  • j.s > j.214H is a very important tool to threaten Potemkin away from doing Slide head at full screen, especially after he blocks your Rensen as you cannot sneak another one before getting knocked down. Video concept here.
  • Keep your 2S and/or 6K antiairs ready as Potemkins may try to jump block against you. If 2S is blocked try to late gatling into 2H as they hit the ground to prevent rejumping and catch them not low-blocking as they land. Then cancel blocked 2S into late Mantis for a meaty grab on their landing. Video concept here
  • Throw Hammerfall. If he breaks, he loses armor and you can punish. 2P > 6K can be thrown in-between.
  • Watch for 2P into Mega Fist.

GGST Faust Icon.png Faust

  • Some of his items can be used against him. The bomb can be hit and knocked back, the food can be eaten, and you can pick up his horn, summoning a crowd of small fausts for you.
  • Faust's 41236K Thrust can be countered by 6P.
  • His teleport is reactable and can be avoided by mashing/blocking on the correct side, or blocking and punishing the dive version (which hits same side).

GGST Millia Rage Icon.png Millia Rage

GGST Zato-1 Icon.png Zato-1

  • Zato's dash easily get's hit by Axl's 5P except at tip range, so be sure to abuse that button against him. Visual Example

GGST Ramlethal Valentine Icon.png Ramlethal Valentine

  • You can use 6P to low-profile her projectiles, as it removes your upper body hitbox. [Video]
  • 2P and 2H will avoid Ramlethals high sword toss, making them good options to check her offense. It's also a riskier option after a blocked low sword toss, to shutdown her approach and cancel the explosion.
  • Ramlethal doing otg 214H or super after throw in unsafe on hit, make sure to challenge them if they don't secure a kill.

GGST Leo Whitefang Icon.png Leo Whitefang

  • His crossup and command grab's startups can be thrown.
  • Rensen and your ranged normals can poke Leo's recovery after he used his projectiles, destroying them.

GGST Nagoriyuki Icon.png Nagoriyuki

  • Play around blood gauge. When Nago has low blood, 236S, 236K nullifies rensen and let's Nago close the gap, but at higher blood he will have to respect rensen.
  • Bursting early against Nago is a good idea, this will blow him back to neutral with blood, letting you abuse rensen more. Goes without saying that you shouldn't burst predictably.
  • Instant FD the second hit of his f.S > S string to push him out of range of throw mixup. If you want to prevent chip damage, it's better to use it against 5H rather than f.S [Video].
  • Use Winter Mantis (41236H) to punish the Blood Rage transformation - it leaves them bleeding out on the ground for a massive chunk of their health and forces them to be mindful of their blood gauge at a distance.
  • Try and not use Soaring Chain Strike after hitting rensen, since Nago has a hard time closing the gap to Axl, pulling him in might be doing Nago a favour.
  • Nago is 0 on block after 214H, and with Axl's fastest normal being 6 frames he has a hard time challenging Nago's options. It's preffered to backdash instead of mashing if you predict a commandgrab after.

GGST Giovanna Icon.png Giovanna

  • Giovanna's 236K special Trovão will avoid Axl's 5P and 2P on startup and active, and 2H when it's active. Be mindful of throwing out normals.
  • Axl's 2K can lowprofile both of Giovanna's reset specials, Trovão (236K) and Sol Poente (214S) when timed accordingly. This allows Axl to punish with a normal starter or a throw.

GGST Anji Mito Icon.png Anji Mito

  • Anji's 236K dodge can be thrown. If he ever manages to go through rensen, using the 2 followup will hit him out of his invulnerability frames.
  • Each of Fuujin's followups can be countered. P projectile is + but is avoided by jumping. K dash can be mashed out of or jumped to avoid a throw. S low is a true blockstring but ends his pressure, being -7. H overhead can be blocked and punished (-15) or blocked in the air, but doing so will let him reset his pressure. You can cover all 3 non-low options with forward jump and block for low/no reward, cover overhead and dash with late throw or 5K mash, and remember to punish the -7 Low with 5K. Very in-depth analysis of countering all 4 options explained here.

GGST I-No Icon.png I-No

  • STBT S can be blocked and punished (-7), but is a frametrap. STBT H can be mashed or thrown, but it's +2 on block.
  • I-no's STBT can lowprofile most of your long range normals (yes including 2P) except 2H. Hitting her during the animation will net you a CH 2H starter.
  • Her Antidepressant Scale (the note) can be used to force your movement. If she attempts to use it in the air, it's possible to time a Winter Mantis to punish her as she lands.

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