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Each round starts with 99 seconds, and matches are played to a best of 3 rounds. The player who wins two rounds is declared the winner!
In the event of a timeout, the player with the higher percentage of health remaining will win the round.
When a draw occurs, both players will receive a round win but only if they didn't have one already. A match cannot end on a draw, therefore an additional round will be played until someone wins.
Don't be deceived by the portion of health lost from the first combo that was dealt. Much like other fighting games, the health bar lies how much a combo actually does in terms of percentage to a character's total health. To put it simply, a 500 damage attack will take a good chunk out of a starting health bar, but will shred off a couple pixels when the health bar is smaller. This is used to add dramatic effect to both the first and final combos of the round.
There's no Guts system, which means damage dealt and taken will be constant regardless of the amount of health someone has.
The Life Gauge indicates Its status with different colors:
- Green = Remaining health
- Purple = Damage recently taken
- Red = Health lost at the end of an combo/Recoverable health from blocked attacks
- Gray = Unrecoverable health
Chip Damage & Recoverable Health
Blocking any attack will result in chip damage being dealt. You cannot be KO'd by chip damage.
All chip damage taken is turned into recoverable (red) health. By not getting hit for 3 seconds, your recoverable health quickly restores over time. Blocking another attack will reset this timer.
Getting hit by an attack or grab will cause you to lose your recoverable health.
Blocking the opponent's attacks will decrease your Risk Gauge with each blocked hit. When blocking multiple attacks in a blockstring, all attacks after the first will have reduced Risk Gauge damage. If the Risk Gauge is fully depleted, your character will be in a stunned state and be unable to act for a short time.
Backdashing or doing an air dash backwards causes you to lose one bar of Risk Gauge. You will be unable to do these actions if you have less than one bar of Risk Gauge to spend.
The Risk Gauge quickly recovers back to full after three seconds of not depleting. Getting hit by an opponent's attack will slightly restore your Risk Gauge for each individual hit taken.
Sometimes you'll see your guard flash red instead of the normal green color when blocking attacks, this is called Fatal Guard.
Fatal Guard is a mechanic that punishes buffering attacks while stuck in a blockstring. If the blocking player inputs an attack during a blockstring that has no gaps, the next blocked attack will deal an additional one bar of Risk Gauge damage. Fatal Guard has a cooldown of 30 frames before it can happen again.
Fatal Guard forces the player on defense to think twice before mashing DP or 5A, and to respect the opponent's pressure. Timing your reversals and paying attention to the opponent's strings lets you bypass this mechanic entirely without ever having to worry about an empty Risk Gauge.
If you block an attack while your Risk Gauge is low enough, your character's guard will be broken and you will be unable to act for a short time. While stunned, the next attack you take will be a guaranteed counter hit for the opponent.
Once the Guard Break occurs, your Risk Gauge will be restored back to full.
The gauge increases in different ways:
- Passively over time
- Hitting the opponent
- Blocking opponent's attacks
- Getting hit by the opponent
- When advancing towards the opponent
After spending meter, the Action Gauge will darken for 5.5 seconds which reduces the amount of meter you gain. Any remaining Action Gauge at the end of the round does not carry over to the next round. Use what you got and be crazy!
|Fatal Shift||One Bar|
|Counter Boost||One Bar|
|Guard Cancel||Two Bars|
|Super Move||Two Bars|
|Fatal Shifted Super||Three Bars|
Spending one bar of Action Gauge and pressing/holding the Fatal Shift button (F) in combination with a move input gives you an enhanced version of that move.
The universal effect of Fatal Shift is increased hitstun, blockstun, and invincibility starting on frame 3 of the move's startup animation. Fatal Shift also forces a counter hit even if the opponent was in a neutral state. Getting hit by or blocking a Fatal Shifted attack decreases the Risk Gauge by one bar.
On hit or block, a Fatal Shifted move can be canceled into different actions. These include:
- Run/Forward Dash
- Air Dash
This opens up for unlimited potential in pressure and combos! Each individual hit of a multi-hit move that has been Fatal Shifted can be canceled.
Air Dash can also be Fatal Shift canceled into:
- Double Jump
- Aerial Normal
- Aerial Special
- Aerial Super
- Another air dash!
All characters can perform a frame 1 invincible forward dash by tapping forward twice while holding the Fatal Shift button. This Fatal Shift forward dash lets you close in the gap and apply some immediate pressure on an unsuspecting opponent. The following attack you do from the dash will be Fatal Shifted. Backdash can also be Fatal Shifted to grant frame 1 invincibility instead of Its normal frame 2 invincibility. Just like Fatal Shift forward dash, you can cancel it into a Fatal Shift action.
Certain moves will have their attributes changed when Fatal Shifted as well as being limiting on what they can and can't cancel into. Check out the character pages for more info!
When a Fatal Shift occurs, the screen darkens and time briefly stops. During this time, a Fatal Shifted move can be canceled into another move. This new move will now be the Fatal Shifted action once time resumes.
A practical use of Fatal Connection would be if Main Fatal Shifted 5D, but once time stops he sees the opponent in the air. Main can then cancel his Fatal Shift 5D into a 6D and anti-air them!
This is only the surface level of what Fatal Connection can actually do. Fatal Shifting moves with momentum lets you transfer that move's momentum to the new move you're canceling into. With one bar you can turn a simple move into a mobility tool, fullscreen approach, or a crazy mixup.
Fatal Shifting a projectile attack still causes the projectile to be thrown out as you cancel into a new Fatal Shift action. This allows you to perform TWO Fatal Shift options for the price of ONE Action Gauge. Only the first Fatal Shift attack decreases the Risk Gauge by one bar, and not the second one. Moves that are still active after Fatal Connection are listed on the character pages as Fatal Connection active.
Pressing B+C together will cause your character to flash blue and parry incoming attacks and projectiles. On contact with a move, your character will emit a blue blast that knocks the opponent back which deals 800 damage. The great thing about Tactical Guard is that it protects you from highs, mids, lows, as well as cross-ups! Any special cancelable normal can be canceled into Tactical Guard.
If Tactical Guard parries a Fatal Shifted attack, the Tactical Guard blast will increase in size and become unblockable.
Although 800 damage sounds good, Tactical Guard is still vulnerable to getting grabbed as well as not being able to parry supers. The active frames for the parry don't last the entire animation, which can lead to damaging punishes from patient players.
Tactical Guard can be used in the air, however this will give your character more recovery on landing.
The damage from Tactical Guard is non-lethal, as in it cannot KO. You still take chip damage from the parried attack, but no Risk Gauge damage will be dealt.
While stuck in blockstun, you can spend two bars of Action Gauge while inputting forward and B+C (6B+C) to emit an invincible blue blast (similar to Tactical Guard) that deals 1000 damage. Guard Cancel can be used at any point in blockstun, even during a blockstring that keeps you locked into blocking. Guard Cancel helps you avoid blockstring mixup scenarios, as well as getting out of pressure in general.
Characters that are able to setup attacks on the opponent's knockdown don't have to worry about Tactical Guard/Guard Cancel since they're able to block while the opponent is forced to deal with their okizeme tools. Another option against Guard Cancel is to throw in a Tactical Guard cancel or an armored move (looking at you Alcott) during your pressure to make the opponent think twice of immediately hitting 6B+C.
The damage from Guard Cancel is non-lethal, as in it cannot KO.
At the start of every round, both players will have access to a single use Burst that can be performed by pressing A+B+C together when under the effects of hitstun. The Burst icon can be seen right next to the Action Gauge at the bottom.
When getting combo'd you can use your Burst to become invincible, knockback the opponent, and deal 100 damage. This allows you to avoid dangerous combos and prevent the opponent from having advantage afterwards. Burst can be predicted however by the opponent, and can be air grabbed during the startup before the blast comes out. Or it can be simply blocked, making you -30. Low recovery moves and long range combo starters beat immediate Burst usage. Knowing when and where to pop it is key!
Burst is temporarily disabled from being used when hit by a:
- Hard Knockdown
- Tactical Guard
The damage from Burst is non-lethal, as in it cannot KO.
An alternate burst option that can be used while in a neutral state. By spending one bar while inputting forward and B+C (6B+C), you can perform an invincible blast that knocks the opponent away which deals 10 damage. Any special cancelable normal can be canceled into Counter Boost.
The real benefit of using Counter Boost is that Its a safe on block invincible option (only -1!) that can be used to prevent the opponent from rushing you down or setting up on you. While not as flashy as the other metered options, Counter Boost gives you some space to reset neutral and get out of difficult situations.
Another important part is that Counter Boost makes you entirely invincible throughout the whole animation, making it impossible to whiff punish. While this does sound like a strong defensive tool, anytime a player burns meter to use Counter Boost, they lose the damage potential Fatal Shift/supers would've given them. Any "burst-esque" moves such as Tactical Guard, Burst, or your own Counter Boost are the only attacks that can go through Counter Boost's invincibility.
The damage from Counter Boost is non-lethal, as in it cannot KO.
Certain moves offer more utility than just damage. These include defensive measures that allow you to contest the opponent's attacks with your own, and come out on top!
The most straight forward of them all. Moves that make your character's hurtbox disappear and become invincible for a short time. Great for getting out of tough spots and tight pressure, but are very punishable on whiff and block.
Four characters have a meterless invincible reversal:
- Main 236C
- Sisca 214B
- Tina 214A
- Saving Tina j.4A (Can still be air grabbed)
Invincibility is also tied to:
- Supers (Frame 1, not every super is invincible)
- Fatal Shift (Frame 3)
- Backdash (Frame 2)
- Fatal Shift Forward dash/Backdash (Frame 3)
- Fatal Shift Airdash (Frame 2)
- Tactical Guard (Activation, Frame 1, can be air grabbed)
- Guard Cancel (Frame 1, can be air grabbed)
- Burst (Frame 1, can be air grabbed)
- Counter Boost (Frame 1)
Moves with armor allow you to get hit and not be interrupted. Typically known as a "guard point", armor takes the hits like you're guarding them. You only take chip damage from moves that hit the armor, and no Risk Gauge damage will be dealt to you either! Currently, armor can be found on Tactical Guard and multiple of Alcott's normals/specials.
Just watch out for grabs, as armor cannot protect you from those.
Upper/Lower Body Invincibility
Some attacks will decrease the size of your character's hurtbox, to the point where your character can only be hit either on the top half or lower half of their body.
Upper body invincibility makes the top half of your character's body invincible while the lower half is still vulnerable to getting hit. Commonly seen in a character's 6A, this type of invincibility is great against high-hitting grounded attacks or aerial jump-ins from the opponent.
Lower body invincibility makes the lower half of your character's body invincible while the upper half is still vulnerable to getting hit. Not all characters have access to lower body invincibility, but when Its available it makes for a strong tool since you don't have to worry about many grounded moves in neutral.
Profile moves shift and/or shrink your character's hurtbox to where they become a difficult target to hit.
High profiling can be found with moves that cause your character to hop in the air and avoid most grounded options.
Low profile moves make your character's hurtbox small and short, to where you can evade attacks from above or on the ground.
Whether you're playing lil' dragon Qdora or big burly Alcott, some attacks are hard coded to not hit a character who is crouching.
Avoiding these crouch avoidable attacks begins on frame 1 of the crouch squat animation. As long as you're not forced into a standing state on hit, crouch avoidable moves are still crouch avoidable even when getting combo'd or stuck in hitstun.
Starting on the 7th frame of a jump, your character will be invincible to low-grounded attacks.
This invincibility lasts until you land back to the ground, or if you perform any action in the air.
Hitting the opponent during the startup/recovery of their move or throw will result in a counter hit. A counter hit gives additional hitstun, damage, and new properties such as ground bounce. There is a 5% increase in damage on counter hit.
Aerial Damage Bonus
Your attacks deal additional damage when the opponent is in the air. The additional damage is different based on the move, but Its roughly a 20% increase in damage.
At the bottom of the Combo Counter, a blue bar represents the amount of hitstun the opponent has before they're able to act again. The hitstun from attacks carry over when combining multiple moves together.
For example, Main's 2A cannot combo into 5D because there's not enough hitstun. But by doing 2A > 2A > 5D, all the hits connect because of the added hitstun from the second 2A!
With this, new combo routes can be made by linking attacks that normally don't combo into each other.
While being launched and combo'd in the air, the opponent can immediately air tech when there's not enough hitstun and safely land to the ground. If the the opponent doesn't air tech in this situation, it will create an Invalid Combo.
The combo counter will turn blue and have a big X in front of the number of hits. This indicator helps determine if a combo was true, or if the opponent didn't air tech in time.
Using the same attack in a combo consecutively will result in less damage. Experiment and think of new ways to piece your combo together to deal the most damage possible!
When an attack from both players collide with one another, the screen flashes and both players recover on the same frame. During the flash, you can cancel into any action similar to Fatal Shift.