2/5LLL - All characters possess a 3 hit light attack auto combo that can start with 2L and 5L. The second move in the auto combo can be done manually with 6L and can chain into the 3rd hit of the auto combo.
2H - Generic low.
6H - Can be charged to gain one hit of super armor after the flash effect. Causes wallbounce in the corner on hit with the exception of Noko's which causes a ground bounce.
4E - Blowback/Knockback Attack. Forces crumple on counter hit which makes it an ideal punish starter.
5E - Universal Anti-air. Has upper body invincibility.
6E - Universal Overhead. Has lower body invincibility.
2E - Universal Sweep. Can low profile some moves.
3E - Chase Attack. Will only come out vs a downed opponent.
Directions with S/HS/ES - The special moves. Every character at least has 5S, 2S, and j.S, most characters have more. HS is heavy version, ES is EX version which costs half a bar.
5LH - Throw.
5LE - Offensive Skill. Takes one bar. Any move that is not an Ultra Skill can cancel into an Offensive Skill on block. Some moves like Lina's Giga Mines can even be cancelled on whiff! These are usually used as metered combo extensions only since they are unsafe on block. Combos that begin with a Unique Attack or throw almost always require an Offensive Skill to combo afterwards. Similar to Red Roman Cancels from Guilty Gear
j.5LE/8LE - Upward Offensive Skill. Typically used to combo after airborne opponents. Shares most of the properties of the grounded Offensive Skill.
4LE while blocking - Defensive Skill. A guard cancel attack. Basically an alpha counter. Costs one bar.
5HSE/2HSE - Ultra Skill. Every character has a standing and crouching version. Both versions go up to 2 different levels and Level 2 Ultra Skills can be performed by inputting the same command again before or during the superflash. Alternative inputs are LHS and LES.
LHE - Heat Up. See section below.
When knocked down you have 3 options:
- Do nothing to stay remaining on the ground. You can stay on the ground indefinitely. While you can still be struck while in this state, you can also do any of the other two actions listed below afterward at any point.
- Input a direction to stand up. This is the safest option since you are invincible for the entire get up animation and can block immediately after. If you want to attempt a traditional reversal, stand up and then input your reversal. While there is a standing animation, you cannot perform standing only setups like instant overheads if the opponent crouches on wakeup(?).
- Input a button to do a get up/wakeup attack. This is the riskiest option since the attack is quite punishable if blocked (-20). Unlike other traditional reversals, this attack will merely reset both characters to neutral on hit rather than cause a knockdown.
Blade Strangers uses a combo gauge system where attacks drain the gauge a preset amount. This includes normals, specials, and throws. The exception to this rule are attacks that require the Skill Guage (EX Skills, Ultra Skills, and Offensive Skill).
Repeating the same move in a combo will trigger Repetition Penalty which drains the Skill Gauge more than usual. This means that performing metered actions more than once in a combo will trigger Repetition Penalty and cause the combo gauge to drain. Even if an Offensive Skill does not hit the enemy, Repetition Penalty will still apply if was used earlier! Take note that for certain characters, the light, heavy, and/or EX variations of the same move will all count as the same move and thus trigger Repetition Penalty. This mechanic is very similar to Blazblue's Same Move Proration so you may see some players refer to Repetition Penalty as "SMP".
At the time of writing, the combo system does not seem to employ any hitstun scaling whatsoever(?). Any enemies that are airborne in a combo at any point are in a permanent juggle state and can be hit so long as they do not touch the ground or empty the combo gauge.
Combo damage scales based on the scaling value of the first move, with a minimum of 30%. For example, for a starter with 75% scaling
- First move = 100%
- Second move = 75%
- Third move = 65% (-10%)
- Fourth move = 55% (-10%)
- Fifth move = 45% (-10%)
- Sixth move = 35% (-10%)
- Seventh move = 30% (-5%, reached cap)
- Eighth move = 30% (Cap)
- Ninth move = 30% (Cap)
Additionally, each repetition penalty gives you 50% for that hit and an additional -10% combo scaling
Damage scaling does not change during a move, so multi-hit moves will apply the same scaling for each hit as the first.
Heat Up is the comeback mechanic in Blade Strangers. When your character is under 35% health, you gain access to Heat Up for the cost of 1 bar from the Skill Gauge.
Upon activation, your character gains one hit of super armor and the Skill Gauge turns into a red, slowly draining bar. During this time, all EX Skills cost only 1/3rd of the red bar and all Ultra Skills cost only 1/2 of the red bar. Note that regardless of how much bar is remaining, you will always be able to perform any EX, Level 1 Ultra, or Level 2 Ultra Skill so long as you are in the Heat Up state.
You can combo into Heat Up typically with the use of a launching EX Skill although some characters may have meterless Heat Up transitions. The optimal use of Heat Up in combos is usually to perform a short combo with 2 EX skills into a Level 2 Ultra Skill.