Them's Fightin' Herds/System

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Offensive Mechanics

Chains and Cancelling Hierarchy

TFH features a "magic series" type chaining system, similar to many anime style games.

While there may be some character specific restrictions or nuances, in general a basic chain combo would look something like:

  • 5A > 5A > 5B > 2B > 5C > 2C

Additionally, most normals can be cancelled into either command normals or special moves. Special moves can often be cancelled into Magic special moves, and those can be cancelled into Supers. Some characters have their own specific cancel quirks, such as Paprika cancelling specials into 3C.

Universal Command Normals

There are two command normals that every character gets access to. The exact frame data and hit properties of each might be different, but they all fill in the same role.

  • 6A

6A is the universal anti-air for every character. They all have crouching hurtboxes on frame 1, and are jump cancelable on hit. 6A's are also unique in that they allow you to go backwards in a magic series chain (similar to reverse beat in Melty Blood/UNIST), but can only be used once per chain, and only from A or B normals.

  • 5B > 2B > 6A > 5B > 2B - Example of 6A allowing multiple sets of B normals in a string.

Otherwise, 6A is similar to a normal in terms of cancels. It can cancel into specials, other command normals, Magic moves, Supers, and so on.

  • 3C

3C is the universal launcher for every character. Every 3C launches the opponent high into the air, and allows you to jump cancel on hit for a higher-than-normal jump. These are all super unsafe on block.

3Cs cannot be conventionally cancelled into anything but jump, and only on hit.

Keeping these command normals and the cancelling system in mind, here are some basic sample combos that every character can utilize.

  • 5A > 5B > 5C > 3C > j.A > j.B > jC
  • 5A > 5B > 5C > (Special) > (Super) - Some characters can insert a Magic special between the special and super. Examples include Arizona's 236D or Oleander's 236D.

Charge Inputs

Some characters have inputs with charge motions, noted by brackets in notation (for example, [4]6 is holding back long enough to build charge, then forward).

In TFH, the minimum charge time for forward charge [6] and backward charge [4] moves is 39 frames. Down charge [2] only needs to be held for 29 frames.

It takes 19 frames of not holding the direction of charge to become "un-charged" after it has been built up.

Juggle Decay System

The juggle decay system is the main system mechanic behind comboing in Them's Fightin' Herds. It can be thought of like an infinite prevention system, but with a few other utilities.

The JD meter is shown below each player's health bar. It represents a total of 380 JD points. Every attack in this game inflicts a different amount of JD points (most moves subtract points on first hit, allowing for different combo lengths based on starter), and as a combo continues, this meter can eventually max out. Once it maxes out, a few very important things happen:

1. The opponent will be knocked into the air, and every hit afterwards will make them heavier and harder to combo. This prevents any grounded infinites, as well as naturally limits how long combos can go on for. At this point, the JD bar will change from green to yellow, and as the combo goes on, it will become pinker. This yellow-to-pink coloration represents the "Juggle Decay Gravity" value, which decreases with each hit in the combo and results in the opponent becoming heavier and heavier until they can no longer be combo'd.

2. The opponent will no longer be affected by staggers or hard knockdowns. This prevents setplay after long combos. (The only exception is Supers. They will always Hard Knockdown, even after JD is maxed.)

3. The opponent will begin to gain a lot more meter per hit, and the player performing the combo will gain less.

All of these effects combined provide the player with a choice: Would you rather perform a longer, more damaging combo, while giving your opponent more meter and losing the ability to do setups? Or would you rather cut combos short, lowering your damage and betting on a successful mixup, while denying your opponent meter? The answer is not always obvious, and varies on the situation at hand. This forces decision-making on the comboing player's part, and will often vary based on playstyle and matchup.

Of course, the opponent also has their own decision to make when it comes to Juggle Decay. Juggle Decay will be reduced over time when you're not being combo'd, but if you perform a ground or air recovery (otherwise known as a "tech"), the bar will be completely reset to 0. Having an empty JD bar means that the opponent's next combo will have higher damage or setup potential. If you stay in your knockdown state, you will get up at a predictable timing and won't be able to roll, but if the opponent opens you up, you will take less damage and gain more meter from their next combo. This provides you with a decision: Do you perform a recovery to try and throw off the opponent's offense, at the risk of being punished harder if you fail? Or do you play it patient and possibly take less damage if you get opened up again?

The juggle decay system is one that allows for decision-making on both players' parts and allows more expression between different players. Some will always go for the long combos, some will be very reset-heavy, some will be very patient on defense, and some will always try to tech-roll away. And of course, there's everything in-between, and plenty of room for adaptation.

Damage Scaling

The first hit in a combo receives a move-specific "First Hit Bonus". From there, every hit in a combo will do less damage. The % of scaling will continue to reduce, but every move has its own minimum damage. Multihit moves will increase scaling with each hit. Combos in this game are often long; this means that the first few hits of your combo are often the most important when it comes to damage, as moves used later in the combo will all do their minimum damage. This also means that it can be more optimal to squeeze in as many hits as possible during the latter parts of combos, even if those hits are weak normals like 5As.

Throws will force an additional 50% damage scaling for the rest of the combo, on top of normal combo scaling. This will affect each move's minimum damage. Arizona's lasso will force 20% scaling on the rest of their combo. Hamit's Page Explaining Damage Scaling - See this guide for more intricate detail on percentages and minimum damages, but keep in mind it has not yet been updated for 2.0 and above.

As of Version 5.0, the "DMGx" value in training mode is not an accurate reflection of the actual multiplier being applied to base damage. In reality, the damage multiplier is approximately 1.18 times larger than what is being displayed. So for example, the "real" first hit bonuses for A, B, and C moves are 4.46, 3.90, and 3.62 respectively.

First Hit Bonus

The first hit of a combo (or stray hit) is given a First Hit Bonus, which affects both the damage and juggle decay of the attack. The First Hit Bonus damage multiplier on A attacks is 3.77, B attacks is 3.3, and C attacks is 3.06. This multiplier always rounds up. So, an A attack that does 25 damage would do 95 damage, as a first hit. For specials, this will vary from move to move. Additionally, every move has different juggle decay when first hit. For example, Arizona's 2B has -20 juggle decay when first hit, but 40 juggle decay otherwise. This is very important when choosing which move to start a combo. For more information about juggle decay, see Juggle Decay System.

Counter Hits

If you hit the opponent during the startup or active frames of most moves, or even the recovery of some moves, you will be rewarded with a Counter Hit. Counter Hits completely reset the opponent's Juggle Decay, multiply the damage of the hit by 1.3x, and lock the opponent in hitstun for an additional 6 frames.

Counterhit states also prevent throws from being teched. If a move is punishable and its recovery does not have a counterhit flag, then a throw that technically punishes can be teched.

Combo States

Some moves inflict different combo states, and these states can only be used once per combo. These states are as follows:

Staggers: Staggers are used to restand the opponent, and allow for combo extensions or resets. Using two staggers in a combo will result in the second one failing and leading to a regular knockdown state. Examples of staggers are Arizona's 5D Lasso, Paprika's 6A Anti-Air, and Pom's [4]6C Bark. Note that if the Juggle Decay bar is maxed out, staggers will end extremely quickly and will not allow for the same combos or any resets.

Groundbounce: Some moves will bounce the opponent off the ground and allow for combo extensions. Using a second bounce will just lead to a soft knockdown. Examples of groundbounces are Paprika's Cartwheel C, Arizona's 6B, and Oleander's j.2C. (Note that tumble states are also counted as groundbounces, so using something like Arizona's C Headbuck or Velvet's D Eruption after a bounce is a bad idea.)

Wallsplat/Wallbounce: An additional combo extender separate from groundbounces. Examples include Velvet's j.C and Oleander's throw. Using more than one per combo will result in the opponent just ignoring the wall and landing on the ground in a soft knockdown.

Armor Break

Introduced in patch 5.1.0, most characters have at least one move in their kit that will hit opponents through armor, such as that provided by Arizona's counter, or Texas's rodeo run. Moves with armor break will pierce armor regardless of how many hits it can normally take, and even armor from supers.

Armor break does not affect moves with autoguard properties such as Big Momma's 4/6D counter or Stronghoof's arsenal shield.

Defensive Mechanics


Holding back will block high attacks, and holding down-back will block low attacks. If you hold back while in the air, you will block both lows and overheads.

If the defender is blocking while within range of an attack that has begun startup, they will be put in a pre-block state that prevents them from walking or jumping backward. Because of this, low attacks can counter and discourage the use of "chicken blocking" or "upbacking" - a technique that attempts to cover both highs and lows by jumping and air blocking during gaps between moves. That being said, it is still possible to block low during prejump frames from a neutral or forward jump, neither of which trigger the pre-block state - so fuzzy defense strategies are an option.

Land cancelling almost any air normal will result in a pseudo-recovery of 2 frames during which you may perform an attack, but not block.

This game has true crossups, as well as fuzzy guard breaks.

This game has Auto guard. As long as you are in continuous blockstun, you will block crossups, and will still be blocking even if you are not holding back.

Push Block, Instant Block, and Cross-Canter

Pushblock: Pressing two attack buttons while blocking will result in a pushblock. Pushblock pushes the opponent away, at the cost of increasing your blockstun by 25 frames. The opponent will move different distances depending on the strength of the button pushblocked, if the move pushblocked was a jump attack, or if it was a special move. If the opponent connects with a second hit while you are pushblocking, their backwards momentum will be cut short. Pushblock gets weaker the more you use it, to the point where if you use it too much it will barely push back at all. A move that deals chip hitting a pushblock will convert chip damage to "red life", which regenerates over time. Switching block direction while pushblocking will allow you to block both high and low at once during your 25 frames of blockstun, a technique known as "absolute guard". This is because you are considered blocking the direction from before the pushblock and the direction after the pushblock at the same time. If below a certain 300 health, hitting a pushblock will negate chip entirely.

Instant Block: Tapping the correct blocking direction so that you begin blocking a move no more than 8 frames before it connects will provide you with an instant block. IB generates you a good chunk of meter, reduces pushback from the opponent's normal, and reduces blockstun by 3 frames on the ground and 6 in the air. This allows for new/easier punishes and more opportunities to challenge pressure, but due to the leniency on chains and cancels in this game, the opponent can throw off your IB timing by delaying/varying their string timing. If below 300 health, chip will be completely negated by IB.

Cross Canter: Pressing the forward direction and two attack buttons while blocking will result in a Cross Canter. This technique costs half of a super bar. CC will interrupt your blockstun and initiate a strike-invincible counter-attack that comes out on frame 23. If it hits the opponent, they will be knocked down and take 80 base damage worth of recoverable "red life", resetting you and your opponent to neutral. However, this move can be thrown and is unsafe on block, as well as being highly punishable if it whiffs. After using Cross Canter, regardless of if it hits, whiffs or is blocked, you will be unable to gain meter for 5 seconds. This time can stack if you continue using Cross Canter, up to a maximum of 10 seconds.

Chip Damage

In this game, specials and supers do chip damage when blocked and chip can kill. Chip damage will be converted to temporary damage if the opponent is currently pushblocking. If below 300 health, chip will be completely negated by Instant Block and moves hitting a Pushblock.

Ground and Air Tech

Holding a button while being combo'd will automatically "tech" you out of the combo if it ends. Holding different directions while holding a button will result in different techs. Holding any upwards direction will allow air techs, but prevent ground techs, while holding a downwards direction will allow only ground techs and not air techs. Holding only left, right, or neutral will tech in that direction regardless of whether you are airborne or grounded.

Teching will reset your JD bar to 0, which may result in you taking more damage from your opponent's next combo if you are unable to defend properly after teching.

Air techs only differ in the direction you move while teching. Note that if you tech forward, your character will not turn around as you fall to the ground, making it difficult to attempt an air attack on the way down.

Grounded techs are more nuanced. Teching in place is a lot faster than teching forwards or backwards, and carries no risk aside from removing your JD. Forward and backward techrolls, however, are slower, and carry a unique risk to them. The latter portion of their animation is not fully invincible, and can be thrown. Due to their slow speed, opponents can throw them on reaction if they make a correct read on which direction you try to tech.

Additionally, if a player is in a soft knockdown and the JD bar has not been maxed out, they are in an OTG state and the combo can be continued if they do not tech. This OTG state also can occur post-JD-Max, specifically if the combo ends with a stagger or a techable tumble state. This gives the player another situation to consider when it comes to teching.

If a combo was escapeable by teching, the combo counter will turn blue, as well as show a smaller number underneath it that shows which hit you could've teched out of. (Similar to a "black beat" in Guilty Gear.)


Dashes, in either direction can be performed by holding a side direction (up/down + direction does not count), releasing it for at least frame, and then pressing it again within the next 26 frames of when it was initially pressed.

As you may notice, this input window is quite generous, which can sometimes become a problem when interacting with the Instant Block mechanic - it's very easy to accidentally backdash when attempting to instant block a high attack when back is already being held, such as while walking backwards or after blocking high.

Forward Dash

Forward dashes are non-commital in TFH. You can dash forward and cancel it at any time by crouching, jumping, or performing an attack. If you block high while dashing forward, your character will continue moving forward until the dash animation resolves, allowing you to approach while blocking high. Blocking low makes you crouch, which cancels the dash, meaning it's harder to approach and block low.

You can also wavedash, by crouch cancelling dashes and inputting forward quickly. The motion looks like: 66526526526526


Most backdashes by default have 8 invincibility frames, starting on frame 2. Texas's has 29, although with a much longer animation overall.

Unlike forward dashes, backdashes cannot be cancelled by crouching, and blocking during a backdash is impossible. You can jump during a backdash, however, the high-blocking state that your prejump frames normally have if you hold up-back is gone, meaning that you cannot backdash into upback to dodge mids and highs. You can also use attacks while backdashing, which allows for possible whiff punishes/interrupts. You can combine backdash with invincible moves to extend your invincibility and throw off your opponent's punish timing.

If a backdash is used as a reversal (on wakeup, out of blockstun, or out of hitstun), then the first frame will gain invincibility. This means that any character can use backdash as a reversal with true frame-one invincibility. There is a tradeoff however - a backdash used as a reversal out of a recovery roll or knockdown cannot be cancelled into an attack.


Every character has a forward, back, and air throw. Throws are input with an optional direction + BC. Throws on the ground have 6 frames of start up, have 3 active frames, and 23 frames of recovery. Throws in the air have 8 frames of start up, 3 active frames, and 18 frames of recovery. Both ground and air throws have a 17 frame tech window. If a throw is teched, the one who initiated the throw is -1.

The first few frames of B and C normals can be cancelled into throws while standing or airborne, but not while crouching. Crouching B~C (but not C~B) will however still tech throws, allowing for an option select between 2B and throw tech.

Most characters can combo from throws. Combos from a throw will deal 50% damage.

Some characters can combo into throws, but these throws can be teched. If a player is thrown during a counterhit state, they cannot tech. This is represented by the green "!" being red instead.

There is no throw protection in TFH - you are vulnerable to being thrown immediately after exiting hitstun or blockstun, or on wakeup. This means it is possible on offense to time throws or command grabs in a way that cannot be mashed out of and can only be avoided with a throw-invulnerable option such as jumping or backdashing. In practice this mostly only occurs with command grabs that can be cancelled into from normals, as standard throws cannot, and most TFH normals do not give the necessary frame advantage on block or on hit. The input buffer system also makes it very difficult to perform a tick throw without dashing first.

Character Specific Mechanics

Movement Options

Each character has their own movement options.

  • Arizona - Forward Run*, Back Dash, Jump, Short Hop, Super Jump.
  • Oleander - Forward Dash*, Back Dash, Jump, Double Jump
  • Paprika - Forward Run*, Backwards Run, Jump, Short Hop, Super Jump
  • Pom - Forward Dash*, Back Dash, Jump, Air Dash, Float
  • Tianhuo - Forward Dash*, Back Dash, Jump, Super Jump, Air Dash, Fly, Firecracker Flip
  • Velvet - Forward Dash**, Back Dash**, Jump
  • Shanty - Forward Dash*, Back Dash, Jump, Short Hop, Run (in Run Stance), Wall-Cling (and Change Walls)
  • Texas - Back Dash, Jump, Short Hop, Super Jump, Rodeo Run
  • Stronghoof - Forward Dash**, Back Dash**, Jump
  • Nidra - Forward Run (glide)*, Back Dash, Jump
  • Baihe - Forward Dash*, Back Dash, Jump, Air Dash, Super Jump, Tactical Retreat
* Can be stopped early by holding down.
** If you stop this movement with a down input, Velvet or Stronghoof will continue to slide in the direction of the dash.

Magic System

Every character has their own unique mechanics surrounding the Magic System. Here are some short summaries of each of the character's systems.

Arizona: Has 3 stocks. Starts with 0 magic stocks. Generates by performing Lasso specials, executed using various directions and the D button. These lassos have good combo utility and neutral utility. Once she has magic, she gains access to Magic versions of her usual specials, as well as two additional specials. Her D Headbuck has armor on frame 1, her D Stomp is a fullscreen unblockable. She gains access to a Magic Dash that lets her escape the corner or move past fireballs, as well as a Magic Counter that leads to either a combo or a + on block scenario if the opponent activates it.

Oleander: Has 3 stocks. Starts with 0 magic stocks. Generates by pressing D to perform a reading special move. Once she has magic, she can perform teleports in various directions (as well as a teleport that can hit the opponent and is invincible), lay down stationary projectile traps, and gains a magic version of her usual fireball. All of her magic specials will drain meter from the opponent if they hit.

Paprika: Has 6 stocks. Starts with 6 magic stocks. Has various commands with D that allow her to toss various "gifts" at the opponent. Each toss has its own cost associated with it. Her Apple and Broccoli gifts will remain on the ground as an "edible", which either Paprika or her opponent can press A to eat while near them. Eating an Apple restores HP, while Broccoli gains meter. Paprika can also toss a potted plant, which hits twice and can lock down the opponent, as well as a low-hitting cinnamon roll that travels slowly along the ground. She cannot regain magic stocks unless the opponent eats one of her gifts.

Pom: Has 3 stocks. Starts with 3 magic stocks. Can temporarily use her magic to summon various puppies that she can then command with the D button. Using one magic will provide her with a multi-hitting digger puppy, who only has one use. Using two magic can either give her a high-hitting hovering puppy or a low-hitting biting puppy, both of which have two uses. With 3 magic, she can summon a large momma dog, who has a vacuuming bite attack, a counter, and a command grab. She has three uses. Once her dogs are dismissed, her magic will regenerate after a brief period of time.

Shanty: Has 6 stocks. Starts with 0 magic stocks. They generate slowly over time. She can obtain magic stocks from her Parley special, and her Level 2 Super gives 3 stocks on hit and increases magic regeneration for a period of time. Her magic gives her access to her Run Stance and Change Walls move from Wall Cling, allowing more mixup, movement, and cancellable options.

Tianhuo: Has 2 stocks. Starts with 0 magic stocks. Pressing D will cause her to enter a flight state at no magic cost. Her magic will generate over time, but will briefly stop generating if she airdashes or flies. She can spend magic to perform Firecracker kicks, which work as a divekick/combo tool. She can also perform 3 different Firecracker flips, each with their own utility. One is a strike-invulnerable flip that retreats backwards, one is a lower forward-moving flip that allows for quick surprise overhead attacks, and one is a higher-arcing flip that allows for crossup mixups. While in her Level 2 install, her magic will always generate regardless of her airdashing or flying.

Velvet: Has 6 stocks. Starts with 0 magic stocks. They generate slowly over time, or she can use her Level 2 Super to give herself 3 stocks. Her magic gives her access to specials that bolster her zoning and defensive game. She gains a snowball projectile that she can fire from various angles, wind specials that let her manipulate her opponent's positioning, and an invincible reversal.

Texas: Has 3 stocks. Starts with 0 magic stocks. Gains magic by landing tipper hits with his Cowbell (5D, 2D, 6D). With magic, on hit, Texas can pull in his opponent in different ways depending on the version of cowbell used, allowing for high-damage combo extensions.

Stronghoof: Has 4 stocks. Starts with 4 magic stocks, which refill over time. Vetr action: Arsenal (236x, uses 1 magic, but fills on hit), Lariat (uses 1 magic; holding 5D pulls and 6D pushes), Winter Wind (4D, 6D, 8D, or 2D, and drains magic), and Ice Slick (22D, uses 1 magic).

Nidra: Has 4 stocks. Starts with 0 magic stocks. Gains magic in Night Stance (enter with 5D). Wake Up! (exit Night Stance with 5D) costs 1 magic, and Magic Dream Drop (214D) empties all magic. Awakened State (22D) requires full magic and drains it completely.

Baihe: Has 6 stocks. Starts with 0 magic stocks. Gains magic with Turret Stance (5D). In Turret Stance, you can do the following moves: Reload (5D, fills 1 magic, or 2 if perfect), Rapid Cinder Shot (A, B, or C; uses 1 magic each), Counter (214D, uses 1 magic), and Exit (8, 44, or 66). Siege Cannon (623D) and Phalanx Strike (41236D) empty all magic stocks, but have three different levels depending on how many stocks you had at execution time: 1, 3, or 5 magic stocks[1]. Tactical Retreat is also possible (4D, 1D, or 2D), but uses no magic.


The timer is 99 real-world seconds. Timer victories are based on percentage of health.

There is no such thing as guts scaling in this game. Regardless of remaining HP, all moves will do their usual damage.

There are five different categories for character health, several of which being shared between multiple characters:

4800 5100 5280 5350 5500
TFH icon Pom.png
TFH icon Tianhuo.png
TFH icon Shanty.png
TFH icon Nidra.png
TFH icon Oleander.png
TFH icon Velvet.png
TFH icon Baihe.png
TFH icon Stronghoof.png TFH icon Arizona.png
TFH icon Paprika.png
TFH icon Texas.png

Chip damage can kill in this game. It can be prevented by pushblocking, however you cannot do this for the first hit of a blockstring.

There is a such thing as temporary health. The only way to inflict it is to either successfully Cross Canter the opponent, or to get hit by a special move that inflicts chip while you are pushblocking.

You cannot conventionally cross the opponent up if they are fully cornered - although be aware that teleports (such as Oleander or Paprika's) can steal corner, and there are some tricky moves that can pull you very slightly out of the corner and allow crossups you might not visually suspect.