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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.

Combo System


Characters fall at different rates when being hit in the air. In general, the heavier they are the faster they fall.

Gravity Increase
Characters also become "heavier" the more they are hit, making some combos impossible after a while.
Some attacks launch the opponent less high the more times they're used in a combo.
Ex: Ramlethal's Dauro launches the opponent less with each time it's used in a combo.

Increasing Hitstun

Crouching Opponents
Crouching opponents take additional hitstun, meaning there are specific combo routes for crouching characters.
Ex: Ky can combo 5K > 6H on crouching opponents, but not on standing opponents.
Counter Hits
All forms of CH except for small CHs cause a slowdown on hit that persists even if the opponent is hit again during its duration, doubling all hitstun during that period. Mid CHs grant 12 frames of slowdown, large and R.I.S.C. CHs grant 17 frames of slowdown. CHs can also alter the properties of moves on hit, enabling follow-ups that are not normally possible.
Roman Cancel Slowdown
All forms of Roman Cancel can cause slowdown if the opponent is within the range of the shockwave, doubling all potential hitstun during that period. Blue Roman Cancel causes 60 frames of persistent slowdown, Red Roman Cancel causes 40 frames of non-persistent slowdown on hit and 20 frames on block, Purple Roman Cancel causes 20 frames of persistent slowdown, and Yellow Roman Cancel causes 12 frames of slowdown on hit only.

The Wall

Guilty Gear -Strive-'s premier mechanic is The Wall. As the opponent takes damage in the corner, the wall will slowly crack. When the wall is one hit away from shattering, the game will freeze, the opponent will stick against the wall, and any hit will break the wall. Breaking the wall will transition the stage and give the attacker Positive Bonus.

Wall Health

As players get hit with their back against the wall, the wall will slowly crack until the next hit automatically does a wall stick effect.

Counterintuitively, wall health is tied to each character rather than the walls themselves.

  • Each attack deals a certain amount of "wall damage" per hit
    • Wall damage first does an initial amount of damage then slowly rises for a few frames
  • Wall damage slowly ticks down over time when not getting hit
  • Wall damage is capped to half of max wall damage when the wall is not onscreen
  • Most Overdrives will break the wall regardless of wall health

Players familiar with other fighting games can think of it sort of like an invisible stun/dizzy meter.

Wall Break
Regardless of the kind of wall break, the defender takes 50 base damage, both characters end up mid-screen and the attacker gains Positive Bonus.
This damage is not affected by R.I.S.C. or Proration, but is affected by Defense Rating and Guts.
Normal Wall Break
Breaking the wall with a normal or special attack results with both players recovering from the wall break at the same time.
It's functionally the same as a round start, so characters with good round start options will generally be stronger.
Overdrive Wall Break
Breaking the wall with an Overdrive knocks the opponent down after the wall break rather than resetting both players to a neutral state.
The knockdown is about +36, giving the attacker plenty of time to continue their offensive.

Damage Scaling

There are 3 standard factors when assigning damage: Defense Modifier, Guts Rating, and R.I.S.C. Level. When combined, they determine how much damage your character will take at every point in the Life Gauge. It's important to learn how strong/weak/effective your attacks will be at different points of the battle.

Read each individual section below to understand how they work.

R.I.S.C. Level

A positive R.I.S.C. Level is denoted by the pink bar filling the gauge. If it fills completely, the bar turns red and a flashing warning sign appears next to the gauge.

The R.I.S.C. Level is located directly underneath your character's Life Gauge and it directly affects damage scaling.

The R.I.S.C. Level rises each time an attack is blocked using basic block or Instant Block. Using Faultless Defense or Instant Faultless Defense prevents the R.I.S.C. Level from increasing.

Getting hit lowers the R.I.S.C. Level. Once empty, R.I.S.C. damage scaling starts to take effect. The amount of scaling differs from move to move and the effect is cumulative through the entire combo. Once the combo ends and the opponent returns to a neutral state, damage scaling is reset.

Each attack has an associated R.I.S.C. Level rating associated with it listed in the frame data, showing how much it will raise and lower the R.I.S.C Level on block and hit. For example an attack with R.I.S.C. -10/+5 would lower R.I.S.C. by 10 on hit and raise it by 5 on block.

When Empty
R.I.S.C. damage scaling starts to take effect. Initial Proration and Forced Proration are still applied.
When Partially Filled
R.I.S.C. damage scaling does not come into effect until the gauge is empty.
When Full (Red w/Flashing Warning Sign)
R.I.S.C. damage scaling does not come into effect, and the next hit is a guaranteed strong counter hit regardless of its normal counter hit type.
The special R.I.S.C. counter hit deals 10% additional damage, in addition to the standard 10% damage increase of all counter hits.

The R.I.S.C. Level slowly empties while the character is in a neutral state. Initial Proration and Forced Proration are still applied regardless of the state of R.I.S.C.

Initial Proration and Forced Proration

Initial Proration and Forced Proration are another part of Guilty Gear's engine to reduce the damage of certain combos for the sake of game balance.

Initial Proration
is factored in only when the first attack of a combo is done with an attack with this property.
Initial Proration is generally applied to quick attacks that are common as pressure or mixup (particularly lows), as a way to balance their speed and keep damage reasonable in situations where the opponent's R.I.S.C. Level is likely elevated.
Forced Proration
is a more harsh version of initial proration: it prorates subsequent attacks in a combo no matter what! For example, all normal throws have forced proration.

Minimum Damage

Overdrives deal a minimum of 20% of their base damage. This damage is not affected by R.I.S.C. or Proration, but is affected by Defense Rating and Guts.

Guts and Defense Ratings

All characters have 420 life. Depending on how much life a character has left, there are different levels of damage scaling. This damage scaling is different than the type given by the R.I.S.C. Level; both affect damage scaling at the same time.


Guts acts as a type of damage scaling that gets more intense the lower a character's life. For example, an attack that would do 100 damage to Sol at full life would only do 40 damage when he is at 10% life.

This means that the Life Gauge is misleading; a Life Gauge that visually looks like it's 50% full actually has much more than 50% life left!

Each character has a Guts Rating. As you can see, the lower the Guts Rating, the less damage scaling a character will receive at lower life values.

Guts Rating
Guts Rating < 70% Life < 60% Life < 50% Life < 40% Life < 30% Life < 20% Life < 10% Life
0 97% 92% 89% 84% 75% 66% 56%
1 96% 91% 87% 82% 73% 63% 53%
2 95% 90% 85% 80% 70% 60% 50%
3 94% 89% 83% 78% 67% 57% 47%
4 93% 88% 81% 76% 64% 53% 44%
5 92% 87% 79% 74% 60% 50% 41%

The implications of the Guts system also leads to interesting damage optimization choices when the opponent is low on life.

  • Attacks do a minimum of 1 damage per hit, so attacks and combos that do lots of small hits can end up doing more damage than standard combos in low life scenarios.
  • Single hit, big damage attacks can effectively do "more" damage when the opponent is near the life threshold of gaining another defensive boost.
    • Example: Doing a single big hit when an opponent is at 41% health so that they have less life with the > 30% life defense bonus.
    • This concept is similar to doing big damage combos when the opponent is near Awakening status in the Persona Arena series.
  • Chip Damage is unaffected by Guts, meaning it effectively does more damage when life is low!
  • Life gain effects (Faust's healing items) are also unaffected by Guts!

Character Defense and Guts

Guilty Gear has character specific defense ratings. The chart below shows each characters defense modifier.

name defense guts
Anji Mito 1.06 5
Axl Low 1.07 1
Chipp Zanuff 1.26 4
Faust 1.01 0
Giovanna 1.03 1
Giovanna (100% Tension) 0.93 1
Giovanna (>50% Tension) 0.97 1
I-No 1.06 1
Ky Kiske 1.00 2
Leo Whitefang 1.00 3
May 1.06 4
Millia Rage 1.18 2
Nagoriyuki 0.96 4
Potemkin 0.93 3
Ramlethal Valentine 1.06 1
Sol Badguy 0.98 2
Zato-1 1.07 0

Other Damage

Chip Damage
When special attacks and Overdrives are blocked, they deal a percent of their base damage as chip damage to the opponent.

For most specials and Overdrives, it's ?? % of their base damage, but some attacks do unique amounts of chip damage. For example Sol's Fafnir does ?? %, and I-No's Megalomania does 0%. Chip damage ignores Guts scaling, making it more potent when the opponent is low on life. However, any chip damage that would KO a defender with 2 or more health will reduce their health to 1 instead. That means chip damage can only kill someone if they are exactly at 1 health. This also means that special attacks/Overdrives that do multiple hits are much more effective at low life scenarios since they can bring a defender to 1 health and immediately deal the fatal hit of chip damage.

Wall Break Damage
When breaking the wall, the defender takes 50 base damage.

This damage is not affected by R.I.S.C. or Proration, but is affected by Defense Rating and Guts.

Life Drain
Nagoriyuki's Life Drain during Bloodrage is unaffected by Guts. It also can not KO himself.

Effective Health (EHP)

Effective Health measures the raw amount of damage a character can take, taking Guts and the defense multiplier into account. Values are rounded to the nearest whole number.

Effective Health
Character Defense Guts Effective Health %Median
Anji 1.06 5 553 104%
Axl 1.07 1 485 91%
Chipp 1.26 4 449 84%
Faust 1.01 0 502 94%
Giovanna 1.03 1 504 95%
Giovanna (50%+ Tension) 0.97 1 535 100%
Giovanna (100% Tension) 0.93 1 558 105%
I-No 1.06 1 489 92%
Ky 1.00 2 533 100%
Leo 1.00 3 548 103%
May 1.06 4 534 100%
Millia 1.18 2 452 85%
Nagoriyuki 0.96 4 590 111%
Potemkin 0.93 3 589 111%
Ramlethal 1.06 1 489 92%
Sol 0.98 2 544 102%
Zato-1 1.07 0 474 89%

Invalid Combos

File:GGST Invalid Combo.png
You could have blocked this

After Float and Guard Crush, players are briefly stuck in a state where the only actions they can do is block or not block. Getting hit during this time results in an Invalid Combo.

After Stagger, players can time a button press to quickly recovery from stagger. If players are hit by an attack that only connects during the window they could've blocked in during a successful stagger escape, the HUD will show an Invalid Combo.