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All characters have 420 points of health, but that doesn't mean each character can take the same amount of damage! Each character has a Defense Rating that scales the damage they take per hit, and as characters pass health thresholds they take less damage per hit known as Guts. See GGST/Damage#Guts and Defense Ratings to learn more.

Tension Gauge

Tension is a highly important resource in Guilty Gear. It's located at the bottom of the screen and directly affects what options a player has available at any time. Knowing the features and subtleties of the Tension Gauge system is a definite requirement for high-level play. The Tension Gauge starts every round empty, so don't be afraid to use it all each round if you can.

The Tension Gauge is divided into two sections, each representing 50% Tension. The gauge displays one gear for each metered action you can take, for a maximum of two.

Gaining Tension

To increase the Tension Gauge, perform some type of offensive action. This includes attacking the opponent, or simply advancing towards them. As a general rule: the more aggressive the action against the opponent, the faster the Tension Gauge will fill up. Performing these kinds of actions increase Tension Balance, which in turn dictates the amount of Tension gained.

  • Normal Attacks build Tension on hit or block
    • Ground normal attacks build the most tension
  • Special Attacks build Tension both on startup and upon touching the opponent on either hit or block
  • moving towards the opponent slowly gains Tension
  • Blocking builds a small amount of Tension, Instant Blocking increases the amount
  • Clashes build 10% Tension
  • Hitting the opponent with Gold Burst completely fills the Tension Gauge

Spending Tension

Roman Cancels and Overdrives each cost 50% Tension, while Faultless Defense gradually drains Tension as it's used.

Going into Negative Penalty will remove all of your Tension.

Tension Gain Penalty

After using a Roman Cancel or Overdrive, the amount of Tension characters build is reduced by ?? % for ?? frames.

After getting Negative Penalty, the amount of Tension characters build is reduced by ?? % for ?? frames.


File:GGST Burst Gauge.png
It doesn't move anymore!

While at first glance, Bursts simply look like a "combo breaker", there is actually much more to it. There are two different types of Bursts: Blue and Gold. Both have different effects, and understanding how each can be used is crucial to high-level play.

To perform a Psych Burst, press GGXRD D Prompt.png plus any other attack button with a full Burst Gauge. The Burst will be blue or gold depending on what the character's current state. The differences between each are described below.

The Burst Gauge starts the match 100% filled and it is carried over between rounds; if you use your Burst at the end of one round, you will be waiting a while before you can use it again!

Building Burst

There are two ways to gain Burst Gauge:

  • Wait
  • Get Hit

The exact formula for this is unknown, however, it is likely very close to how the Burst Gauge works in the XX series. See GGACR/Gauges#Building_Burst for details.

Positive Bonus

Breaking the wall gives the attacker a few temporary buffs. Lasts for ?? frames.
  • Automatically gains Tension
  • Damage for all attacks increased 10%
  • Damage taken from all attacks decreased 10%
  • Nullifies Tension Gain Penalty

Negative Penalty

Negative Penalty is basically a feature designed to keep gameplay interesting.

While the common misconception is that it actually stops people from turtling, it really just deters players from avoiding any type of contact for a prolonged period of time. If a character consistently attempts to backdash, jump back, and air backdash (or sits in one place and does nothing... which most opponents won't allow) a warning will appear in the upper left or upper right corner of the screen and the announcer will say "Danger". If the player still keeps avoiding all types of contact "Negative Penalty" will appear, then that player will lose all stored Tension and will have Tension Gain Penalty for ?? frames.

Keep-away or run-away tactics will not incur Negative Penalty if the player is actively using some form of offense. Even if it's passive, it's more than enough to not get penalized. For example, if an Axl player remains full screen and tries to keep the opponent away from him using long-range attacks, he will not get penalized.