Samurai Shodown/Mechanics

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  • If there is a cancel period on an attack, it always works, regardless of hit, block, or whiff.
  • Most normal slashes will cause your character to reel back, or recoil on block. This recoil animation is, in most cases, special cancelable -- this is often referred to as a "recoil cancel", and is very important for keeping your opponent in check.


  • Jumps take 1 frames to be counted as airborn -- you are off the ground from frame 2 and the first frame you are still grounded but seems like you can not be meatied, have a jump animation.
  • Landing from a jump has no recovery, regardless of whether or not you performed a jumping normal (jumping specials will usually have landing recovery, though).
  • There is a short landing animation, but this is cancelable by any action.
  • Holding an upward direction will not cause you to immediately jump after landing. To immediately jump after landing, time another up input just as you land. This is referred to in the in-game tutorial as a Combo Jump.
  • If you land a jumping normals in the two frames before landing, you will gain substantial bonus hitstun, letting you combo after. This is usually referred to as a deep jump-in, and combos from jump-ins are generally not possible otherwise.


  • 66 - Dash
  • Dashes are your all-purpose forwards movement tool, hold 6 to dash further. You can stop your run in place (or "dash brake") by pressing 4.
  • When not in the recovery animation, you can do a dash normal (66A, 66B, 66C, or 66D) or jump.
  • During the recovery animation, you can cancel the latter frames with any action. You can cancel the earlier frames of the recovery animation with any movement option.
  • Combining the dash brake with the ability to cancel your dash recovery with movement gives you the ability to threaten with your non-dash normals from further distances, which is incredibly useful.
  • If you dash under an airborne opponent and perform a dash normal, you will instantly change direction and attack.
  • 44 - Backdash
  • All backdashes have a small amount of startup invulnerability and set you airborne from the first frame. This is a great way to evade throw attempt on landing, since you'll just get out of the way.
  • Some characters are able to cancel the airborne portions of their backdash into aerial special moves.

Spot Dodge

  • Spot dodges are performed with AB.
  • Spot dodges provide full body invulnerability, but have a long, uncancellable recovery period. They are not invulnerable from frame 1.
  • Spot dodges are primarily used to avoid throws.


  • Throw in this game is performed with 4/6CD. This is referred to in-game as a Guard Break.
  • Throws start up in about three frames (i.e. they visually connect on frame 4 after input). They have an insanely long recovery animation, leaving you wide open to punishment.
  • Forward throw is 3 frame startup and is +20
  • Throws deal no damage, but instead push your opponent a small distance and give you enough frame advantage to land a free attack or combo.
  • Back throw, due to leaving your opponent back turned, generally allows for stronger follow-ups than forward throw.
  • Back throw is 5 frame startup and is +25
  • Throw is the only move in the game that applies damage scaling. Follow-up attacks from a throw will only deal 80% of their full damage, while WFT will only deal around 60% of its full damage.


  • After a knockdown, you can either get up neutral by pressing nothing, roll forward by holding 6 or rolling backward by holding 4.
  • The timing of the wakeup cannot be altered.
  • Rolls are fully invincible and cannot be directly punished.
  • After neutral wakeup, you have a brief period of throw invincibility.
  • Forward and backward roll have no throw invincibility after wakeup.

Rage Mechanics

Max Rage

As you take damage or successfully Just Defend, the Rage meter is filled. When full, it stays full for a character-dependent period of time, signifying that your character has entered Max Rage. The data sections on character pages list each character's rage duration.

  • During Max Rage...
  • All attacks (except Super Special Moves) deal 20% bonus damage.
  • One or more of your special moves becomes Rage-enhanced, usually dealing more damage and/or having different properties. These are commonly referred to as EX special moves, and (with the exception of Yashamaru) replace the C version of the special move for the duration of Rage.
  • You can perform a Weapon Flipping Technique (WFT) with 236B+C. WFT disarms your opponent on hit.
    • WFT will only end Rage on hit. If it whiffs or is blocked, you can attempt another WFT. If it hits, the Rage meter will be depleted on the first hit.
  • When Max Rage ends, the Rage meter will be completely emptied.

Rage Explosion

For Rage Explosion duration and Lightning Blade damage values, refer to the table in the System Data page.

  • By pressing ABC, you will perform a Rage Explosion (RE).
  • RE is a more powerful version of Max Rage which gives up your Rage meter, meaning once RE ends, you will not be able to do anything that uses Rage for the remainder of the match.
  • During RE, your attacks deal 40% bonus damage and you have access to all the benefits of Max Rage.
  • You can activate RE during hitstun, but only on the ground. It will not work during "catch" moves such as Yoshitora 214S or Genjuro 421S.
  • RE activation has a hitbox that pushes the opponent back on hit. It does no damage, but is completely unblockable.
  • Activation takes 60f total. The initial RE activation is invincible for its full duration and you can block immediately after it ends.
  • When either character is in the RE state, the match timer stops ticking down.
  • RE at 1000 health lasts around 305f (5.1 sec), counted from the moment you can act again after RE activation to when the timer symbol changes colors from red to blue.
  • For each 100 life you're missing, RE duration increases by ~68f and maximum possible Lightning Blade damage increases by ~30.
  • The RE timer does not tick down while you're in hitstun or knocked down. It does tick down during blockstun.

Lightning Blade

  • During RE, you can perform a Lightning Blade (LB) attack (commonly referred to as an Issen) by hitting A+B+C.
  • LB is a fast-advancing dash attack that instantly catches the opponent on contact.
  • It is fully invulnerable on startup, and projectile invulnerable for the whole animation.
  • It is blockable, and very punishable.
  • Its damage is based on the remaining amount of time in your RE. More time left = more damage.
  • Minimum Issen damage is 300.
  • Haohmaru WFT during RE does 490 damage. In general, when there are less than ~7 seconds of RE duration remaining, doing a WFT does more damage than Issen.

Just Defend and Stance Break

  • Blocking an attack just before it would connect will cause you to Just Defend the attack.
  • The Just Defend window is very generous -- pressing 1 or 4 within roughly 8 frames of an attack connecting will result in a JD.
  • because the window to JD is somewhat generous, you can JD more than one hit in a single JD as long as the hits are very close to eachother
  • Because Samurai Shodown does not have Absolute Guard (i.e. you must continuously hold 1/4 to fully block multi-hit attacks), you can attempt to JD an attack after blocking normally.
  • Just Defend does not cause you to take reduced blockstun. However, a successful Just Defend will build a small amount of Rage for your character, and grant access to your Stance Break.
  • Stance Break is a special guard cancel available only from a Just Defend. It is performed by pressing AB after a JD.
  • Stance Break is a blockable attack that does no damage, but will knock down on hit.
  • Stance Break has no invincibility so it is prone to losing to multi-hitting attacks during start-up.
  • the window to perform stance break is pretty generous, so you can still do it pretty late, although you always want to perform stance breaks as soon as possible.
  • Stance Break has a lot of recovery, so whiffing or blocking can leave you very punishable. It is advised that you do not attempt to Stance Break after JDing jumping attacks.
  • While unnarmed, stance break seems to have more range

Counters and Weapon Catches

Counters and Weapon Catches are really important for keeping your opponent from being too predictable, but can mostly be ignored by new players. They're both considered to be specials, so you can cancel into them normally.

  • 236AB - Counters
  • These are often referred to as Deflects.
  • This will counter any normal weapon slash, barring lows and a few odd ones out. Punches and kicks cannot be countered. With very few exceptions, specials cannot be countered.
  • The effect of the deflect depends on the strength of the attack deflected:
  • Countering a weak slash stuns them for a short period.
  • Countering a medium slash stun them for a long period.
  • Countering a heavy slash will disarm the opponent and stuns them for a short period. Any deflectable running slash attack will count as a heavy regardless of input.
  • u.236AB - Weapon Catch
  • Weapon catches may only be done when unarmed.
  • This will catch any normal weapon slash, barring lows and a few odd ones out. Punches and kicks cannot be caught. With very few exceptions, specials cannot be caught.
  • All catches will disarm the opponent and give an untechable knockdown, so they're stuck on the ground for quite awhile.

Sword Clash

  • A Sword Clash happens when both player's armed normals connect, causing them to run together and have a button mashing minigame to decide who gets disarmed.
  • The following conditions must be met for this to occur:
  • It can only happen once per round.
  • The clash boxes overlap each other. These generally exist before the attack actually comes out, have greater active time, and cover a larger area than what the actual attack would hit.
  • Most low attacks cannot clash.
  • There must be at least 16 seconds remaining on the timer.
  • There must be a difference of at least 160 health between the two opponents.
  • If the clash boxes overlap but the full conditions are not met, there will be a distinct clash sound and nothing else will happen.
  • Once activated, both players will have 160 frames(2.6667 seconds) to reach the 10 button press limit. When time is up or when the limit is hit...
  • If there is a tie, both players will be disarmed.
  • Otherwise, the loser will be disarmed.
  • Disarmed weapons will fly off in a random direction. If both players are disarmed, both weapons will go in the same direction.


  • If someone is hit with two heavy attacks in a row in a combo, they will be knocked down, even if the attack does not normally knock down. This can be avoided by doing something like heavy, medium, heavy, etc.
  • Killing the opponent with a heavy slash cuts them in half. Using a middle slash leads to the blood spurt animation.

Samurai Shodown

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