Eternal Fighter Zero/Game Mechanics

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Game Mechanics

Guard or Block

[Hold 4 for high block, hold 1 for low block]

Blocking prevents an opponent's attack from connecting, negating incoming damage and greatly reducing stun from attacks. Small amounts of damage (called "chip damage") will be received when blocking special moves, but characters cannot die from this damage. There are three forms of blocking: stand, crouch, and air blocking. These types of blocking are important, as every attack has its own rules on how it may be blocked. For example, most grounded normal attacks and certain special moves cannot be blocked in the air, and many crouching normals cannot be blocked while standing, only being blockable while crouching, or "blocking low".
Unlike many other fighting games, characters do not enter any kind of "preblock" or "proximity guard" state, where they are stuck in place anticipating an attack. If you are holding 4 to block high, your character will continue to walk backwards until an attack connects and puts them into blockstun.

Dash and Backdash

[66 and 44]

A quick movement forward and backward, respectively. This move ranges widely from the character running on the ground, hopping around, or flying in the sky, but in all cases you will be unable to guard while moving. It is also possible to dash and backdash in midair (usually called an Air Dash). Most characters can airdash only once, but some can airdash multiple times. Note that, unlike Guilty Gear, double jumping does not remove your ability to air dash, but airdashing still removes your ability to double jump.


[7 or 8 or 9]

Causes the character to jump. 7 is a jump backwards, 8 is straight up, and 9 is a forwards jump. Also, any running-style dashes will affect the momentum of any jumps immediately following the dash. For example, dashing and then 8 will turn into a slight jump forward. It is also possible to jump once more while in midair (usually called a Double Jump), but it is no longer possible after air dashing.


[When next to the opponent, 4C or 6C]

A close-range grappling move which cannot be blocked by the opponent. Since they do not happen instantly, it is possible for a throw to whiff, leaving you vulnerable in a recovery animation. Examples are trying to grab an opponent who is invincible or who jumps out of the way (ground grabs can't hit airborne opponents). The hitboxes of grabs target the opponent's collision box rather than their hurtbox. Unlike many other fighting games, there is no throw teching in EFZ.

Air Grab/Throw

[When next to the opponent midair, 6C]

A close-range aerial grappling move targeting an airborne opponent which cannot be blocked. You are unable to perform an air throw while doing an air dash. However you could do an air throw after the dash is finished. Air throws start up much quicker than ground throws and have no whiff animations, with a jC attack coming out should they miss.

Air Recovery

[When stun bar empties, 4A/B/C/S or 6A/B/C/S]
Also known as Air Teching

After being hit in the air and the stun bar underneath the character runs out, pressing left/right and any button will allow the character to leave their invincible falling state and recover in midair. Unlike most games with this mechanic, air teching leaves the player unable to take any action for 16 frames, including blocking. This is very easily taken advantage of, and a common strategy for ending combos is using a tech trap, where a techable combo ender is used and followed up by a whiffed attack to cover the opponent's tech until they fall to the ground. The universal option to cover a tech is to option select with j6C, which either air throws an early tech or jC's a later tech, although some characters may have better options. Recovering as the defender in such a situation is almost certain to incur additional punishment, potentially even a second combo. For this reason, recovering is usually only advised when far away from the opponent. Air recovery will not work against certain attacks which apply an untechable state. If trying to mash out an air recovery, S may be the preferred button due to its lack of associated attacks.

SP Gauge (Super Meter)

"Special Gauge"

A large gauge at the bottom of the screen used for Eterny Specials. Gained by attacking (even on whiff) or getting hit, and can store up to 3 levels with different colors for each.

Eterny Special (Super)

Eternity Specials (officially spelled "Eterny", commonly called "Supers") are powerful special moves that require SP gauge to be performed. There are three levels of Eternity Specials, with Level 1 being the weakest and Level 3 being the strongest. The stronger an Eternity Special, the more SP gauge it consumes. The vast majority of Eternity Special have 3 variations dependent on level, with the level being determined by the strength of the button used to input it. The exceptions are Eternity Specials with only one version or multiple Level 1 versions.
  • Level 1: Light attack button. Consumes one level of SP gauge.
  • Level 2: Medium attack button. Consumes two levels of SP gauge.
  • Level 3: Strong attack button. Consumes three levels of SP gauge.
If you input the command for a particular level of Eternity Special but do not have the required SP for it, then the highest available level will be performed instead. Eternity Specials will briefly stop time while flashing a black background, also known as a superflash effect which is common in fighting games. Each level of super has a distinct sound effect that plays during superflash, and Level 3 supers will put the background into grayscale.

Final Memory (FM)

A Final Memory is a character's last resort move. They require 3 levels of SP gauge and the character's life gauge to be at 33% or less (flashing red). The flash and sound effect of a Final Memory are the same as a Level 3 Eterny Special.
Final Memories are also called hidden supers because their commands were not shown in most versions of the manual. They were officially printed for the first time in the Eternal Fighter ZERO –Memorial– manual.

Reinforce Gauge (RF Gauge)

A smaller gauge located underneath the SP Gauge that is used for Instant Charge, Reinforce Attacks and some character-specific moves, such as UNKNOWN's flight. The gauge fills passively over time, stops filling while being hit, and fills twice as fast while blocking. The RF Gauge cycles through three distinct stages:
  • Dark Blue: Represents 0% to 49% RF. The gauge has a black background and fills over time with dark blue. No universal mechanics are available during this stage, so only some characters can make use of the gauge during this time. Left alone, it takes about 9 seconds to fill up with blue and progress to the next stage.
  • Red: Represents 50% to 99% RF. The background is dark blue and fills over time with red, although at a third of the pace it filled with blue. RF moves and IC become available at this stage. It takes about 26 seconds to fill to the next stage.
  • Light Blue: Represents 100% down to 0% RF. The gauge is completely light blue. RF moves and IC can be done no matter how full the gauge is and have improved attributes, with RF moves being discounted (25% RF) and IC becoming Blue IC, which makes combos more powerful. Getting hit will drain the gauge and it will not refill itself until emptied, at which point it loops back to the Dark Blue stage.

Instant Charge (IC)

[RF gauge must be red or light blue, 22C during an successful attack]

If the RF Meter is in the red or light blue stage, pressing 22C after an attack which connected (hit or blocked) will perform an Instant Charge, which completely consumes the RF gauge to cancel the attack's recovery. It is also accompanied by a split-second freeze, providing some bonus time to input the next attack. IC can make a punishable move safe or even advantageous on block and opens up countless combo routes after a hit, but not every attack is IC cancellable!
Also, if the RF gauge is in the light blue stage, an IC will become a BIC (Blue Instant Charge) which adds up to +50 to the POWER value, allowing for longer combos. This POWER increase is correlated with how full the RF gauge is at the time of the IC.

Flicker Instant Charge (FIC)

Certain attacks will let you perform an IC on whiff, or if the attack is a projectile. Doing this is called a Flicker Instant Charge. An FIC has the same properties as IC, except that it can only be done in specific frames of the attack, usually making the timing more difficult.

Reinforce Attack (RF Attack/EX Attack)

RF attacks are typically high-damage, high-priority versions of special moves, and are performed by doing particular special move inputs using C. They can only be performed when the RF gauge is in the red or light blue stage. If the gauge is red, it will cost 50% RF to perform an RF attack (which will certainly drop the RF gauge back to the dark blue stage). If the gauge is light blue, it will only cost 25% RF, or whatever amount is remaining if there is less than 25% RF left. If an RF attack is attempted without adequate RF, the B version of the move will come out instead.

Recoil Guard (RG)

[Just as opponent's attack is about to hit, press 4 for high RG, press 1 for low RG]

A Recoil Guard is a strictly-timed block, only occuring if the player blocks within 10 frames of an attack hitting. It differs from a normal block in that RGing an attack will negate the block stun, pushback, and chip damage normallly associated with blocking the attack. After an RG you will be placed into "RG Stun", which you can then freely cancel into an attack. The opponent can still cancel the RGed move into another attack, so you will have to choose when to counterattack at your own discretion. When on the ground, you also cannot RG out of RG stun, meaning against rapid hits you will have to block normally before being able to RG again. RG Stun can be cancelled into RG in the air, allowing the player to RG all consecutive hits if they choose to.
In order to recoil guard an attack, you must generally be in the same state (standing, crouching, or midair) as you need to be if you were going to block normally. For example, if an attack can only be guarded low, it can only be recoil guarded low as well. If an attack is unblockable, then it cannot be RGed. The only exception to this rule are air unblockable moves which can be air RG'd.
See the Recoil Guard strategy guide for a more in-depth introduction.

Recoil Counter (RC)

[Just as opponent's counterattack from RG is about to hit, press 4 or 1]
Also known as Counter RG

If the opponent recoil guards your attack and tries to counterattack during your attack's recovery frames, you will be allowed to recoil guard, cutting your attack's animation short if timed correctly. It is then possible for you to counterattack back and for the opponent to recoil counter back, and so on.
A visual example of Recoil Counter can be seen here.
Consecutive back and forth Recoil Counters are most commonly referred to as Recoil Guard Battles.

Recoil Armor

Recoil Armor is a property that allows a character to take a hit without receiving hit stun. When a character with Recoil Armor is hit, she will flash white and pause for a small moment, then continue to move. Recoil Armor is activated when performing certain attacks, Eterny Specials, and Final Memories.
Recoil Armor only provides protection from hit stun. Full damage will be taken from incoming attacks, and multiple hits will not be considered a combo. As a result, their damage will not be scaled. Also, Recoil Armor can be defeated by throws, hitgrabs, and certain "armor breaking" attacks. Hitting an armored opponent does not count as a "hit", for example moves which are only jump cancellable on hit cannot be jump cancelled against armor.
Anti Armor Moves
  • ! Mark - Not an armor breaker but often beats partially armored moves, such as multihits, or special case moves with explanations attached. Either way, not moves to be used against Rumi's Kimchi FM or Ikumi's Genocide Mode.
Satomura Akane
  • 214*~4C
  • FM
  • !5C
  • !Ground Grab - The damaging hit does not break armor, leaving Akane minus on hit if used against Kimchi Rumi or Genocide Ikumi, although she is invincible until out of recovery.
Minase Akiko
  • 236B (durian)
  • 41236*
  • 236236*
  • 214214*
  • 641236*
  • FM
Tsukimiya Ayu
  • !214214A
  • !641236*
  • !FM
Doppel Nanase
  • 41236*
  • 236236*
Amasawa Ikumi
  • 41236C
  • 4123641236*
  • Rampage (Genocide Activation)
Kirishima Kano
  • 214214B
  • 236236C (falling meteors only)
  • FM
Misaka Kaori
  • 641236
  • FM
Sawatari Makoto
  • f5B
  • 5C (second bullet and onward)
  • jC
  • j2C
  • FM
  • !Ground Grab - The damaging hit does not break armor, leaving Makoto minus on hit if used against Kimchi Rumi or Genocide Ikumi, although she is invincible until out of recovery.
Kawasumi Mai
  • 236236S (in FM)
  • !214214C
Shiina Mayu
  • 41236S
  • 214S
  • 641236*
  • FM
Tohno Minagi
  • None
Kouzuki Mio
  • SR 236* - A/B followups also break armor but 236A/B~A will not vacuum characters in armor installs.
  • !SR 2B
  • !LR 412*
Kawana Misaki
  • 623*
  • 22A/B
  • 6321463214*
  • FM
Amano Mishio
  • None
Kamio Misuzu
  • 214214*
  • 41236A
  • 41236C
  • FM
Nagamori Mizuka
  • 2C (with bow)
  • Note explosion
  • 214214B Explosion
  • 236236*
  • FM
Minase Nayuki (Asleep)
  • 236236*
  • FM
  • !214214C
Minase Nayuki (Awake)
  • 641236*
Nanase Rumi
  • 214B/C
  • 41236*
  • 41236*~236B/C
  • 214214*
  • 236236*
Kurata Sayuri
  • 41236*
  • 2141236*
  • 6321463214*
  • 236236*
  • FM
Misaka Shiori
  • 641236*
  • FM
  • 463214*
  • j236236*
  • 236236*

Guard Attack

Also known as Guard Point, Autoguard

A guard attack is an attack that protects the performing character from getting hit as if she is guarding. They allow characters to guard incoming attacks with another attack: the guard attack will guard the incoming hit and continue its animation after a short pause. Similarly to guarding, no damage is taken from normal attacks, chip damage is taken from special moves, and the guard visual effect and sound are shown. Also similarly to guarding, moves with guard attack will "block" in accordance to whether they are standing or crouching. However, all moves with this property are standing, so for practical purposes guard attack does NOT protect against attacks that hit low.
Guard attacks are useful for counterattacks with the benefit that little or no damage is taken. However, guard attack is typically only in effect for very brief periods, so using them properly requires good timing.
Guard attacks can be prone to taking an extraordinary amount of damage from some multihit projectiles, as unlike when blocked normally their hitboxes will not go inactive upon being guarded, and will subsequently apply chip damage on every subframe they are active. This constant ticking of damage will even continue during superfreeze, hitstop, etc.

Special Knockdown (OTG State)

Also known as Ground Bounce

Some moves have a property that puts the opponent in a special state if it knocks them down. While in this state, they can be hit Off The Ground for a period of time (depends on character). Do note that unlike some other games that let you hit OTG, this is a property of the move that knocks down, not the move that hits the grounded opponent.
When a grounded opponent is hit, they will be launched slightly.


Counterhitting is the act of hitting an opponent while they are in the startup frames of their own attack. Unlike most fighting games with this type of mechanic, EFZ counterhits are rarely impactful, as they only work with projectiles, have no special indication of when they happen, and only double the counterhitting move's untech time. They are worthless when the opponent isn't launched/airborne as there is no direct damage bonus, and the untech bonus is only barely helpful if the move can already be comboed off of as it only applies to the first hit. Additionally, the properties determining if moves can counterhit or can be counterhit are assigned very inconsistently, with many moves unable to counterhit and entire characters being counterhit immune. Regardless of whether or not they work as Tasogare Frontier intended, counterhits can still provide meaningful benefit in matches, predominantly with Akane and Misaki's 236A's.

Combo System

Combos on grounded opponents are fairly straight forward, being limited by the pushback inflicted by your attacks. Certain moves can launch the opponent into the air, allowing for juggles. During juggle combos, the player needs to manage juggle height while fitting in as many high damage hits as possible before the juggle potential runs out.
A simple example of the combo system can be seen here.

The Juggle Budget Analogy

A simple analogy for understanding how many times you can hit during a juggle combo is to imagine that you have a "juggle budget." The total budget is determined by the combo's remaining "Power", which is listed below the damage counter during combos. Power will always start at 100% at the beginning of a combo, and from the second hit onwards will be reduced by specific amounts depending on the move used. For practical purposes, your combo potential will typically end at 30% power, although this may vary from character to character. Past this point, comboing further in a meaningful way will be difficult, if not impossible, and often gives up a guaranteed knockdown or air recovery trap.
Every move in EFZ has a value attached to it that will subtract from your combo budget should it hit the opponent, this is the proration value (PV). Sayuri's 5A has a PV of 7, so every time it hits the opponent the Power will be reduced by 7.¹ In this way, you can judge how many more times you can connect with an attack before you run out of combo budget.
Power doesn't only indicate your remaining budget, it also directly relates to how long you will have to connect an attack before the juggle bar runs out. The higher the Power, the more time you will have before the juggle meter disappears and makes any further comboing impossible.² This means that certain methods of comboing, such as air dash cancels (like Sayuri jC j66 jAC), will stop working at certain Power levels. These are called Combo Break Points.
Blue Instant Charge is a way to replenish your budget by up to 50%. Power is not capped at 100% either, so it may go beyond this. However, at over 100% Power, attacks will apply their PV reduction twice.³

1 In order to keep things simple, the fact that the actual value taken from Power is PV * Power was omitted. This part can be ignored by newer players. At 100% power, Sayuri's 5A will take 7 from power on the second hit. If Sayuri does 5A again, 6.51 power will be removed, as the power is now 93%.
2 The actual mechanics are a little bit more complex than this. Attacks have a juggle value attached to them that can also affect how long juggles will be possible for.
3 PV deduction happens in steps and will only trigger the second deduction if the Power value is still above 100% after the first deduction. This means that when a move with a PV of 7 is used at 115% Power it will reduce the Power value to 101%. However, if the same move is used at 106% Power it will only be reduced to 99%.

System Arcane

Damage Scaling

Damage scales according to the Power displayed under the combo hit counter; the damage of a move is the maximum between the Base Move Damage and Power * Base Move Damage.
Power can increase beyond 100% by using a Blue Instant Charge, but moves will still only deal exactly 100% damage. The juggle time compoment of power does not have this restriction.
During a combo, Power is computed according to the following equation:
New Power = Old Power - (Old Power * Current Move's Proration Value)
If the factor (Old Power * Current Move's Proration Value) is above 1 (or 100%), then the move's proration is applied twice. It is therefore more efficient to use BIC later in the combo.

Untechable/Juggle Time

Power also scales your juggle time. As a result, the more hits in your combo, the lower power gets, and the less juggle meter you gain for each subsequent hit.
For a more in-depth explanation, please refer to the advanced mechanics page.

Guard Gauge

When blocking attacks, a cyan bar fills below the defending player. This bar is invisible when not blocking, but it hasn't gone away. It drains slowly over time, and when a character is juggled, it increases their juggle time for the first few hits of the combo, allowing combo routes not normally possible. While the Juggle Gauge is displayed, the Guard Gauge will rapidly and invisibly drain. Until then, the juggle time for the opponent will be frozen; each successful hit will correctly set the opponent's hitstun, but the hitstun will not tick down until the Guard Gauge is emptied.

Move Cancelling

A move cancel is when you "cancel" the recovery frames of an initial attack by performing another attack. Doing this allows the player to chain moves together in rapid succession. You can move cancel an attack only if the initial attack landed on the opponent (almost all of the time it does not matter if the opponent blocks). Usually, a move can be only cancelled into a higher class move, in the order of A normals, B normals, C normals, and special/super moves. Sometimes, moves can be cancelled by a move of the same class. For example, all A normals can cancel into themselves, and all characters have some form of B-button normal sequence where a B-move chains with another B-move. Rarely, a move might be cancelled by a lower class move, such as Kaori's B-version "Cyclone Upper" move into an A normal.

Jump Cancelling

A jump cancel is when you "cancel" the recovery frames of an attack with a jump. Doing this allows the player to follow their opponent into the air for an air combo, or to confuse the opponent with a high/low mixup. You can jump cancel an attack only if the initial attack landed on the opponent (most of the time it does not matter if the opponent blocks).

Nayuki (asleep)
Nayuki (awake)