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Mega Knockdown is turn based, so it is possible to separate the gameplay into a few distinct steps, or phases.
During this time, both players lock in their movement and combat actions.
Walking and jumping movement happens during this step. You can't move into or past a square occupied by an opponent. If a player tries to move to an invalid square (one occupied by an opponent, or the corner), they stop at the closest valid square.
Generally, if two players try to move to the same square, the player closer to the corner gets to move there. If a player is jumping and the other player is walking, the walking player's movement gets priority over the jumping player's 2nd move.
Now that both players have moved (or not), the game checks to see if players are in range of the other players' attacks. If the opponent is out of range at this point, you whiff. If the opponent is in range, contact is made.
Some specials move the player forward after the range check, such as Flatskin's 6B and all of Lewis' specials.
Note: Late-moving attacks get extra range against each other, since they tend to collide after the evasive early frames.
If both players are in range and their attacks will make contact, the game checks to see which attack will come out first. It does this by comparing the startup speed of both players' attacks, then considering any relevant modifiers, such as frame advantage, or if a player delayed their attack by walking. The player with the faster speed wins, meaning that they hit the opponent before they would be hit. If speeds are equal, a trade occurs.
Throws don't get a speed check. They are hard coded to win or lose to attacks, depending on the throw chosen.
|X-Frame Disadvantage||Add X frames to effective startup|
|Walked||Add 10 frames to effective startup|
|Getting up from KD||Add 10 frames to effective startup|
Example: Nick uses forward A, which has an effective startup of 20f (10f startup + 10f delay from walking). Lewis is -20, and uses Back+A, which has an effective startup of 45f (25f startup + 20f delay from frame disadvantage). 20<45, so Nick interrupts Lewis' attack.
If a player is hit, they take damage, are pushed, and/or knocked down, depending on the properties of the attack. Some attacks start a combo on hit, allowing more damage to be tacked on.
If an attack is blocked, the defender might take some chip, and usually the attacker gets some frame disadvantage next turn. Sometimes a Punish opportunity is triggered.
If both players are hit by attacks at the same time, a trade occurs. Both players take damage and are usually pushed back, but no combos occur.
If both players would throw each other, the throws are cancelled into a "tech" and both players are pushed back.
The game waits for any remaining animations to finish, and the next Input Phase begins.
The game's titular mechanic. If a player is knocked down, they will have frame disadvantage next turn, and any horizontal movement they input will be cancelled. You can still input a walk or jump command (useful to choose a specific normal or special attack), but you will walk/jump in place after getting up.
If you attack a player as they are getting up from knockdown, it is considered a meaty attack. Meaty attacks have one 'tier' better frame advantage than they normally do, per the below chart. Plus moves and "very unsafe" moves don't benefit from landing meaty.
Unsafe -> -20 -> -10 -> +10
Some attacks are so disadvantageous on block that they give the blocker a free punish turn. On this special turn you can attack, but you don't have time to walk or jump. You can still input a ground movement command in order to punish with a special move, but you won't be able to walk forward and jab, for instance. If you try it, you might whiff if it puts you out of range.