SC6 Combat Lessons — Universal Tactics

Slade

[14] Master
Transcription of the in-game notes accessible in training mode. Starts off pretty bad, but has some useful information near the end.

Introduction

This book is a collection of ancient manuscripts on the art of combat that were written in one of the Holy Roman Empire’s great citadels. The writings were said to have been penned by practitioners of the sword, who put their illustrious master’s teachings to paper. Sadly, it appears that most have been lost, while others have notes adorning them made by the hands of others.

The original detail techniques designed for adepts who have already gone through practical training, so many fundamental notions go largely unmentioned. With this book being a selection of said works, a reader seeking to find information on the basic handling of weapons shall find it wanting.

Given that various notes and adjustments to the manuscripts are attributable to later scholars, it is often difficult to discern the original authors’ intentions.

However, as a window into the thoughts and philosophies of an ancient warrior heading into battle, hopefully these writings can be of use.

Lesson 1: Strike First

Survival on the battlefield can be summed up thusly [sic]: attack, and prevent your opponent from attacking. In other words, strike first.

Even the most stalwart of warriors flinch and break their stance when struck, and every second they spend recoiling from an attack is a second they cannot attack you. If they can’t attack you, they can’t hurt you, and so forestalling your opponent is the key to survival. Skilled warriors strike quickly, unbalance their foes, and don’t let up until their enemies are defeated.

Before all else, you must think to yourself, “how can I strike before I am struck?”

Firstly, and most importantly, do not swing your weapon carelessly: swing it with thought. Keep this simple mantra in your heart, stay calm in the heat of battle, and you may very well live long enough to grow into a hardened warrior.

Lesson 3: Watch Your Surroundings

The battlefield requires all your guile to survive. Those who enter stake their lives on winning. Gone are the concepts of good and evil. One’s cause is justified by one thing and one thing alone: victory.

Know your battlefield; use everything it provides you. Victory is not simply a matter of injuring your opponent. Should you be by the waterside, unbalance your opponent and let them take a bath. Should your back be against the wall, step sideways; let an aggressive opponent throw themselves at the mortar.

Be ever aware of both your own and your opponent’s positions and movements.

Work with your surroundings and they shall work with you. Such harmony can see you feel foes of far greater strength. Keep your eyes on your opponent and use your peripheral vision well.

Lesson 4: Deal More Damage in One Blow

Strikes that scratch the surface of the skin will not be enough to slay an opponent. When one fells a tree, one must strike with all one’s might. Felling an opponent is no different.

However, landing a decisive blow is easier said than done. First, examine the techniques your way of fighting has to offer. For example, which are fast and test your opponent? Which are devastating but take time to perform? Speed and power do not go hand in hand. You must understand what your techniques allow you to do.

Once you know this, select attacks that prevent your opponent from defending when they land. Send them into the air or prevent them from moving. Then unleash your fury. When the hedgehog has revealed its soft underbelly, the fox claims its meal. You would do well to remember this.

Lesson 5: Restrict Your Enemy’s Movement

Even the safest of attacks can be costly if done recklessly. They may be guarded or evaded with ease, leaving you ripe for the kill. Brand the following five tenets into you minds:

  1. Restrict your enemy’s movements, making it easier for you to attack. Put your opponent on the back foot with quick strikes.
  2. Straight attacks can be avoided sideways, putting you in a vulnerable position. Use a horizontal attack to stop your opponent in their tracks first before unleashing them.
  3. There is no value to an attack that carves through nothing but air. All your opponent has to do against attacks that barely reach is step back. Instead, utilize long-range attacks such as charging thrusts to limit your opponent’s options.
  4. A fallen opponent is a sitting duck. Use moves that knock them down and then follow up with an attack. This is one of the quickest ways to make sure they stay down.
  5. Never go for a huge strike without making sure you have your opponent under control. When you have them exactly where you want them, unleash your full power.

Lesson 6: Destroy Iron-clad Defenses

See an opponent who guards relentlessly as an opportunity to go on the offense. But what if your attacks never seem to get through their defense, or worse, you are forced into a disadvantageous position? In that case, vary your techniques, Make your opponent think you will strike to the face, then go low. Strikes of varied heights are more difficult to defend against. You can even through your opponent. If they use a shield to thwart your weapon, pin them down, leaving them open to a deadly strike.

Changing the rhythm of your attacks works well. The most experienced of warriors skip a beat before striking, tempting their opponent into relaxing their guard before the true blow falls.

The last one standing on the battlefield is not necessarily the strongest; those flexible of mind avoid death. Change, they say, is good for the soul: it can save your life, too.

Lesson 7: Mind Games

Brute force is not the only way to open your opponent’s defenses and land a decisive blow. Battle-hardly warriors aim to break down their opponent psychologically before going for the jugular. One of the ways to do this is to goad them into attacking. Once successful, defend and then counter.

For example, you can intentionally perform a strike that the opponent can defend against, tempting them into unleashing a powerful attack that leaves them open. Should your opponent get carried away and go for a head-on attack, dodge to the side and respond with a powerful blow of your own.

Make the opponent think they have you in their hand, then use their hubris against them, Even the smallest of gaps can be exploited if you see them coming.

But remember that even with the psychological battle won, the actual battle is still in the balance. Veteran warriors keep all exchanges (even those they lose) in mind to forge new strategies.

Beginner 1: Movement with the 8-way Run

1. Positioning Yourself with the 8-way Run.

Use the d-pad to move around freely and take your preferred fighting distance. The 8-way run is also useful for getting out of dangerous situations, such as having your back to cliffs or walls.

2. Move Short Distances by Stepping

Tap the d-pad once to perform a short step from which you can easily transition into another move.

3. Try the Tutorial Missions

The tutorial missions in “Mission: Libra of Soul” teach you the basics of battle. Use them to practice the 8-way run if you’re having trouble.

--

"So, do you see, my son? The key to any fight is movement. Be it to attack or to evade, you must adjust your position accordingly. Be ready to move at any moment, then when you see the opportunity, move to an advantageous spot. Do not forget this.

… Of greater importance, though, is the ability to apologize for one’s mistakes. Head to your mother and those you have argued with and show contrition at once."

– Frederick Schtauffen, 16th-century imperial knight

Beginner 2: Attacking

1. Vary Your Attacks

Attack your opponent with :A:, :B:, or :K:. You can also simultaneously press :A+B: or :B+K: to unleash powerful attacks. Combine either with the d-pad to change the type of attack as well.

2. Learn Combos

While there is variation across all fighting styles, :A::A::A:, :6::A::A:, :B::B::B:, and :6::B::B: unleash combos. While practicing, get into the habit of pressing the buttons one at a time instead of simply mashing them. This may be tricky to do at first, but take your time; you’ll eventually get used to it.

3. Check Your Main Moves in the Move List

Go to the pause menu during a battle to access the move list for each fighting style. There may be a lot, but you don’t need to use all of them. For the time being, concentrate on the main moves. Eventually, you’ll be able to add more moves to your arsenal — a sign you’re making progress.

--

“What matters to you most? Your life? Your honor? Whatever you treasure, the only thing that will protect it is your ability to fight. IN other words, the thing that should matter most to you is… GETTING BACK TO YOUR TRAINING!”

– Johan Dűrer, captain of the citadel guard

Beginner 3: Different Types of Attacks

1. Horizontal and Vertical Attacks

:A: performs a horizontal strike, which is great for hitting an opponent while they are using the 8-way run.

:B: performs a vertical strike — not great at hitting a side-stepping opponent, but powerful.

(:K: and combination-button moves may unleash either vertical or horizontal attacks.)

2. Three Attack Heights

High attacks can be blocked with a standing guard, and go over the heads of crouching opponents.

Middle attacks can be blocked with a standing guard, but cannot be blocked with a crouching one.

Low attacks cannot be blocked with a standing guard, but can be blocked with a crouching one.

3. Other Factors to Consider

Each attack has varying speed, reach, and power; they also vary in how easy they are to evade and how much they leave you open to attack. Even moves that may seem difficult to use at first can prove helpful. Figuring out how is part of the fun!

--

“To those without purpose, I reach out to you. Doubts may wrack you. Who am I? Why do I fight? Why do I live? But fear not. Cast your eyes over this text, learn the skills described within, and doubt yourself no more.”

– Taken from a pamphlet found squashed in between the pages of a 15th-century book of sword techniques.

Beginner 4: Guarding

1. Guarding

Press and hold :G: to guard, which protects you from attacks. Release the button to drop your guard. It is your primary defensive technique, so you might way to try holding it whenever you’re not moving or attacking. Be careful, though; guarding too much might result in your guard being crushed, leaving you open. Finally, it’s often quite effective to attack immediately after blocking.

2. The Standing Guard

Press and hold :G: while standing to perform a standing guard, which blocks high and middle attacks, but not low ones. Middle attacks are particularly powerful in this game, so the standing guard is an invaluable tool to defend against them.

3. The Crouching Guard

Press :(2): while holding :G: to perform a crouching guard. You can evade high attacks and block low ones, but mid attacks will hit. If you think your opponent will throw you or attack low, quickly perform a crouching guard. Additionally, you can use this move to evade a high attack in your opponent’s combo.

--

“As a youth in pursuit of strength, I gave my all to offense. Now, as grey adorns my locks, I think anew… Perhaps defense was worth my time, too…”

– An elderly one-armed swordsman.

Beginner 5: Reversal Edge Counters

1. Countering an Offensive Player with Reversal Edge

In battle, it can be difficult to know wheter your opponent will attack middle or low. If you have trouble deciding how to guard, press R1 [B+G in default control scheme] to perform a reversal edge. You will go into a special stance that allows you to block high, middle, and low attacks. Once your opponent has finished their offense, you will automatically counter. If the counter lands, you transition into a reversal[-]edge clash and can potentially deal even more damage.

2. Time Your Counters

Press and hold R1 [B+G] to stay in this special stance longer, therefore extending the amount fo time you can defend. Even if your opponent goes for a two- or three-input combo, you will block it. By holding the button for as long as possible, you can move into a clash even if your reversal[-]edge counter is blocked.

3. Some Attacks Can’t Be Blocked

While a reversal edge allows you to block all sorts of attacks (including throws), some attacks can’t be defended against. Namely break attacks, which are wreathed in blue lightning, and unblockable attacks, which are wreathed in red flames. To look at it another way, you can utilize these moves against an opponent using a reversal edge against you.

--

“A wise warrior boasts a superlative defense, while a wiser warrior relies on their wties more than their brawn. But what of the wisest warriors? Why, they win the battle before it has even begun.”

– Raphael Sorel, head of the Sorel family

Beginner 6: Reversal Edge Clashes

1. The Three-Way Triangle of Reversal Edge Clashes

When one fighter successfully lands a reversal edge, both sides will move to create space between each other and enter a special sparring phase. During this phase, press :A:, :B:, or :K: to unleash a special move that will determine whether you win or lose the phase, with each move being strong against one type and weak to another type. :A: attacks beat :K: attacks, while :K: attacks beat :B: attacks, and :B: attacks beat :A: attacks. Each fighter’s style also impacts the strength of their :A:, :B:, and :K: attacks. With enough practice and knowledge about each of the fighting styles, you’ll be able to read your opponent’s moves and predict how they’ll act during reversal[-]edge clashes.

2. Guarding and Reversal Edge Clashes

If you’re not sure which mvoe to execute during a reversal[-]edge clash, you can press :G: to guard and momentarily fend off your opponent’s attack. However, be warned: if you attempt to guard when your opponent uses a :B: attack, the clash will restart and enter a second round. Additionally, if your guard stamina is low when attempting to guard during a reversal[-]edge clash, your opponent may be able to crush your guard.

3. Taking Evasive Maneuvers

If you’re confident about whether your opponent will use an :A:, :B:, or :K: attack during a reversal[-]edge clash, you can evade the attack altogether by pressing [a direction] to move out of the way, with each direction enabling you to dodge a different attack. Forward steps (:6:) will move you out of the way of :A: attacks, while side steps (:2: or :8:) will get you away from :B: attacks, and back steps (:4:) will move you out of reach from :K: attacks.

Evading during a reversal edge is a major gamble, however. While successfully dodging an attack will put you in a prime position to dish out major damage, if you guess their attack incorrectly and move the wrong way, you’ll take the hit.

--

“A swordsman puts their life on the line each and every second in a fight. Every little thing your opponent looks at, every breath they
breathe, and every step that they take, they’re all clues as to what their next move will be. And my experience reading such signs tells me that you’re made about how late I am, aren’t you? So very, very made.”

– Antonio, the “Flower Swordsman of Florence”

Beginner 7: Critical Edges

1. Critical Edges: A Deadly Trump Card

When you’ve built up at least one soul gauge, you can press R2 [A+B+K] to execute a critical edge. If it successfully lands, you’ll deal massive damage to your opponent, making it a key asset in your offensive arsenal as a fighter.

2. Fighting Style Effects on Critical Edges

Critical edges have different properties depending on the fighting style that’s used. You can learn more about these different properties and how to apply them by consulting the character fighting styles in this Combat Lessons menu.

3. Quickly Building Up Soul Gauge

The faster you can build up soul gauge, the more opportunities you’ll have to execute critical edges that can lead you to victory in battle. To that end, while attacking and taking damage as normal will slowly build up soul gauge over time, pulling off reversal edges is one way to expedite the process and accumulate a lot of soul gauge very quickly.

--

“Every swordsman, young and old alike, yearns to discover a powerful attack that will fell even the mightiest foes in one hit. But before thinking of ways to move and attack, one must first come up with a memorable name for it, a name that will be known in infamy throughout the land.”

– A nameless swordsman

Beginner 8: Mastering Soul Charges

1. Soul Charges: A Powerful Comeback in Dire Situations

When you’ve built up at least one soul gauge, press :4:+R2 [:4::A+B+K:] to trigger a soul charge. In this state, you’ll be able to unleash special soul[-]charge moves that are more powerful than your normal attacks for a limited time. Plus, even if your opponent tries to guard your attacks, your hits will cause chip damage and drain their life, enabling you to stay on the offensive.

2. Desperate Times Call for Desperate Measures

When you activate a soul charge, the soul gauge will turn into a timer that displays the amount of time remaining before its effects will dissipate. The shockwave that’s triggered when a soul charge is first activated will also push the opposing fighter away.

Soul charges have a variety of defensive uses as well. Not only can they be used to interrupt strong attacks from your opponent, they will also freeze the round timer while activated, which will prevent you from losing by your opponent running out the clock or simply running out of time while you attack. Mastery of all these different applications will therefore help you go far in battles.

3. Soul Charges vs. Critical Edges

Critical edges can deal lots of damage within a short amount of time, making them very potent in the short term when used effectively. In contrast, soul charges won’t necessarily make that big of a difference with respect to damage output, but they come with a variety of other benefits that can make them useful in their own right under certain conditions. Think wisely as you decide when and how to spend your soul gauge on the path to victory.

--

“The mark of a true hero lies in how they act in times of great peril. Where lesser people will give up when their blade fails them and breaks and they have no more arrows to fire, a true hero stands tall and proud even under great duress and presses onward. It is during such trying times that the souls of men are truly tested and their legacy in history is decided.”

– An ancient Egyptian inscription

Intermediate 1: Strike & the 8-way Run

1. Horizontal and Vertical Attacks

Horizontal attacks can easily hit an opposing fighter when they’re moving in an 8-way run, but they tend to deal only minor damage. In comparison, vertical attacks can be evaded with an 8-way run, but if they successfully connect, they can down the opponent and be used to start combos. Put another way, horizontal attacks are easy to land and keep your opponent’s movements in check, while vertical attacks are a fighter’s bread and butter for dealing major damage.

2. Reading your Opponent

As you might guess, getting a KO requires you to dish out lots of damage to the opposing fighter. Given their high damage output, it’s therefore important to carefully consider when, where, and how you’ll utilize vertical attacks during a match. Naturally, any good opponent will be thinking about the same thing, making it similarly crucial to consider how to avoid and counteract their vertical attacks oto. In this manner, horizontal attacks, vertical attacks, and 8-way running form the basis of combat. Being able to anticipate all three during a fight is key to survival and victory.

3. 8-way Run Attacks

As mentioned before, 8-way runs are a crucial defensive maneuver that enable you to sidestep oncoming vertical attacks. Obviously, though, you can’t win merely by dodging attacks. Successfully using an 8-way run to avoid a vertical attack will provide an opening for you to counterattack with your own vertical attack from an 8-way run and damage your opponent. While running, as you press and hold [a direction], press an attack button to perform an 8-way run attack.

--

"“Only a fool swings their weapon without putting any thought into the strike. You want to know why I could brush your blade away like a leaf blowing in the wind? How could I slice you from top to bottom so effortlessly? It’s simple: I know your every move. And when you know your opponent, you can predict what comes before they even begin to strike.”"

– Setsuka, iajutsu practitioner

Intermediate 2-1: Air Combos

1. Combos

Combos are a series of attacks that are strung together in order to deal out large damage. Air combos are particularly powerful, as they lift the enemy off the ground and make them defenseless against your onslaught. There are often plenty of opportunities to launch air combos that present themselves throughout a match.

2. Beginning a Combo

To start an air combo, you first need to land a starting attack that will launch your opponent into the air. You can do this by inputting :3::B: using any fighting style. The important thing to remember about combos is that you should input the next move you want to make in advance before your current one is finished in order to properly continue the combo and accumulate damage. (For specific combos that you can perform after the launching attack connects, consult the move list for your character.)

3. Performing Strong Air Combos

While the opposing fighter is in the air, they can’t guard against your attacks. However, once they take an attack from you, they gain aerial control, which allows them to determine where they fall. Thus, it’s ideal to land one high[-]damage attack before that happens in order to maximize an air combo’s potential. Having said that, some attacks can knock enemies down to the ground or lift them back up in the air without granting them aerial control. Discovering these properties can help you unleash stronger, more effective air combos that allow you to retain control of a round for longer.

Intermediate 2-2: Other Combos

1. Stun Combos

Air combos aren’t your only option for stringing together attacks. Another way to start a combo involves stunning the opponent. That happens when yellow zig-zags appear after an opponent has been struck, which signify that they’ve
become momentarily paralyzed. While stunned, a fighter is typically rendered completely defenseless. Attacking them while they’re in this state will trigger a stun combo.

2. Stun Combo Special Properties

In a stun combo, a follow-up attack is treated as a counter hit. As a result, every move that can be used in a combo during counter hits can be performed during stun combos as well. However, in a stun combo, each attack will only stun once, meaning that you have to use different attacks in order to keep your opponent immobile.

3. Down Follow-Up Attacks

Another way to dish out a combo is by using an attack that knocks an opponent fighter to the ground or away from you, and then following up with additional hits after the initial strike. Nevertheless, these combos aren’t foolproof and are best used sparingly, as they can be countered by the opponent performing an ukemi to evade your attacks.

--

“The battle began with the loud, thunderous roar of cannon fire. The Adrian closed the gap to its prey in short order. Soon enough the other pirates, thirsty for blood, rushed aboard the other ship. But it was only when our captain followed behind them, his two great blades unsheathed, that the real tragedy began for those unlucky enough to cross our path.”

– Fernando Hidalgo, “Chronicles of a Seafarer”

Intermediate 3: Using the Ring

1. Control the Ring to Control the Match

Each stage in this game is referred to as a “ring.” Being familiar with the shape of each ring and understanding your position within them is of the utmost importance for winning matches. You’ll quickly find as you fight taht one of the most essential skills is being able to take and retain advantageous positions using careful and precise 8-way runs. When it comes to positioning, broadly speaking, there are two things to keep in mind. The first is how to drive your opponent to the edge, while the second, naturally, is how not to have the same done to you.

2. Cliffs and Walls

The outer edges of a ring can consist of a number of different things, but among the most common and important are cliffs. If you can force an opponent off the edge of a cliff, you’ll automatically win the round with a ring out, regardless of how much life either of you have remaining. Conversely, if the opponent’s back is up against a wall, pushing them
into it won’t result in a ring out, but it will render them defenseless and allow you to hit them with a wall combo. Both of these options are powerful in their own right, and using them well can lead to victory.

3. Fighting Styles and Positioning

Different fighting styles have different attacks that can push enemy fighters left, right, or backwards. Used wisely, these attacks and the ways in which they manipulate the positions of you and your opponent can quickly change the course of battle and even result in ring outs. By taking the time to learn each style and how they interact with one another in combat, you can broaden your overall knowledge about positioning to better maintain control of a fight.

--

“Even the strongest enemy can be humbled if the land is used cleverly. When facing overwhelming odds, lament not the situation you see before you. Look to the land around you and search for ways to use it to prevail, for it shall shine a light in even the greatest darkness and show that you are never truly alone. In so doing, you’ll find yourself no longer a prisoner of fate, but a warrior in control of your own destiny.”

– Han Dongxiu, Ling-Shen Su high priest

Intermediate 4: Ukemi

1. How to Perform an Ukemi

When you get sent flying by an enemy attack, you can press [a direction] and :G: as you hit the ground to immediately recover with what’s known as an “ukemi.” There are multiple types of ukemi that you can perform, but oftentimes, the best one to do is a horizontal ukemi, which is able to easily avoid downward follow-up attacks. If you find this difficult to do, instead of [a direction], you can press and hold either :2: or :8: and repeatedly press :G: as well. (Note: There are some situations where it’s impossible to perform an ukemi.)

2. Ukemi Orientations and Effects

The direction of an ukemi changes its defensive properties. A forward ukemi (:6:+:G:) can’t be used to avoid downward follow-up attacks, but it does let you act quickly after you get up. In contrast, a horizontal ukemi (:2: or :8:+:G:) can evade downward follow-up attacks with ease, but leaves you somewhat open to attack. Meanwhile, a back ukemi (:4:+:G:) can avoid short-range follow-up attacks and helps create distance between you and your opponent.

3. Being Unpredictable

Getting knocked back by an attack is dangerous regardless of how you choose to react. As a result, it’s unwise to always recover with the same ukemi, or even use an ukemi at all. If your opponent notices you reacting to their
attacks with consistent patterns, they’ll be able to take advantage of them to damage you. Also, you’ll be left defenseless for a moment after executing an ukemi, leaving you at risk of getting attacked again. Being flexible during combat and cleverly deciding when to use an ukemi an in which direction will make you less predictable.

--

“Life is rife with disappointments and setbacks. You can’t hope to avoid every obstacle that comes your way. What’s important is knowing how to fall when you absolutely must and how to get back up. Perhaps you’ve heard of the magical Asian art of ukemi, passed down among karate practitioners in the East? It’s a magnificent art, one that | find embodies this philosophy well, as it lets you rise back on your feet as quickly as you’re knocked down, refreshed and ready to face the world anew! And, believe it or not, I happen to know this wondrous technique. I’m more than happy to teach it to you… but only if you do something for me first.”

– A peculiar mustachioed gentleman.

Intermediate 5: Getting Up

1. Being Downed

Being “downed” refers to when your character has fallen onto the ground. This can occur in many ways, such as when you choose not to perform an ukemi after being blown back by an enemy attack, or after getting hit by an air combo. Your options are extremely limited when you’re on the ground, so it’s important to get back up and regain your posture without panicking.

2. Ways to Stand Back Up

When downed, you can press :G: to do a standing guard as you get back on your feet. Alternatively, you can press :(2):+:G: to get up while doing a crouching guard. You can also roll forwards or backwards before getting up by pressing :4: or :6:, or roll horizontally before getting up by pressing :2: or :8:. If you hold down [a direction] as you roll, you can roll up to three times in a row. Beyond that, you can also press an attack button while downed, which will let you attack from the ground as if you’re crouching. (Note: If you’re facing away from your opponent while on the ground when you choose to attack, you’ll do back-facing attacks rather than standard forward-facing ones.)

3. Deciding How to Get Up

Once you’re downed, it’s easy to get attacked again. If you’re not sure how to react, the best course of action is often to simply guard as you get back up. Horizontal rolls (:2: or :8:) are also important to master, as they can help you get away from walls and cliffs and back towards a safe position, improving your overall chances of survival.

--

“There’s nothing more | want to do than just take a good, long nap, but you can’t do that around here, would have it, I’m all outta that!”

– A drunken staff fighter

Advanced 1-1: Counter Hits

1. Counter Hits

Have you ever noticed that when you hit an enemy with an attack, sometimes they’ll fall over a little differently than usual? That’s because the way that you hit an enemy changes how much damage you deal and what sort of effects you inflict on them, These hits with altered properties are referred to as “counter hits.” Once you understand how they work, you’ll be able to deal more damage faster over the course of a match.

2. Main Types of Counter Hits

There are two main types of counter hits that you’ll encounter during a match: attack counters and run counters. Attack counters are triggered when you manage to hit an enemy as they’re attacking before their attack is fully released. These counters increase the damage of your attacks. Depending on the move you use, attack counters can also make enemy fighters lose their balance more than usual and be used to begin a combo.

Run counters, on the other hand, are triggered when you hit an enemy with horizontal attack as they’re moving around the ring in the :3:, :2:, :9:, or :8: directions. They also occur when you hit an opponent with an attack — horizontal or vertical — as they’re moving in the :1:, :4:, or :7: directions. (Run counters aren’t triggered when the enemy is moving in the :6: direction.) Consistently triggering run counters relies on your ability to predict your opponent’s movements and react accordingly with an attack that will stop them in their tracks.

3. Impact Counters

Impact counters are a special type of counter hit that are triggered when you land an attack on an opponent that can’t be canceled out by a guard impact or reversal edge. Break attacks are often best used in amatch in order to trigger impact counters.

--

“Everything in life has its time and place. There’s no need to rush things. The Twenty-Four Histories contain a Chinese phrase that embodies this well: wo xing. chang dan. It means to wait patiently and endure hardships as they come along until the time is right for you to strike back and have your revenge… Oh, come on, don’t look at me like that. I promise I’ll make you more mooncakes tomorrow!”

– Li Meimei

Advanced 1-2: Confirming Hits

1. Checking Attack Hit Confirmations

Some moves can only start combos if they’re used as a counter hit. When you want to use one of these to begin a combo, be sure to check that a counter hit has indeed taken place, then input the rest of your combo.

You can tell when a counter hit has taken place at a glance based on the color of the sparks that fiy when one of your attacks lands. A normal hit will cause yellow sparks to appear, but a counter hit will be signified by a mixture of red and biue sparks. It takes practice to notice spark colors in the middle of a fight, but eventually, you’ll be able to recognize each hit type without losing focus.

2. Mastering Hit Confirmations

Beyond counter hit confirmations, it’s also important to be able to quickly distinguish when an attack has successfully connected and when your opponent has blocked it. When you know your attack has hit, that’s your cue to maintain the offensive and pursue them for more damage. But when you know they’ve
blocked an attack, it might be time to change course and assume a defensive position to prepare for a counterattack. Mastering the timing and visual cues for these sequences will go far in making you a stronger fighter.

3. Making the Most of Training Mode

Being able to read hit confirmations in the middle of battle is an advanced skill that can be difficult to practice during live matches. The best way to get started is by practicing in Training mode, which allows you to stage fights under various conditions to hone your skills. For practicing hit confirmations, it’s recommended that you set the dummy opponent to “Guard All Random.” If you want to take it one step further, you can also set the dummy’s counter settings to “Random” so that you can practice counter hit confirmations as well.

--

“It’s simple, really. When fighting, it’s important to be flexible and change how you attack based on who you’re up against. It’s the same with forging weapons. How I use my hammer and anvil changes depending on what materials I’m using.”

– Klich, the combat blacksmith

Advanced 2-1: Timing

1. Simultaneous Attack Priority

Each move has its own specific timing that dictates how long it takes to hit an enemy and deal damage. Fast-hitting attacks usually deal less damage, while high-damage attacks are slow and take longer to perform. Because of this, if two players execute a move at the same time, the faster attack will win and connect with the other fighter first. The one on the receiving end, meanwhile, will flinch and have their attack canceled.

2. Beating Opponents to the Punch

It may be somewhat uncommon, but fighters do launch attacks at exactly the same time during a match. When this happens, whoever is hit first will falter at the blow, and it will take time for them to recover and make their next move. This opens up further opportunities to attack, even with comparatively slow techniques. The end result is that you’ll have more breathing room to fight how you want and can control the flow and tempo of a round if you can hit your opponent first.

3. Successfully Guarding

In most cases, when an attack connects, the attacker is able to move again faster than the fighter on the receiving end. However, when one fighter successfully blocks another’s attack, the blocking character usually recovers more quickly. When facing an especially aggressive opponent, it can be to your advantage to stand your ground and calmly block their attacks, then strike back with a quick move of your own.

Think of action prioritization in terms of taking turns: when one of your attacks hits, it’s your turn to keep fighting; when one of your attacks is blocked, it’s your opponent’s turn to fight back. However, note that there are exceptions to these rules. In particular, for break attacks, the attacking player will still be able to move first even if the defending player tries to block.

“Échec et mat. Check and mate. Not to disrespect m’lady’s intelligence and instincts, but you have a tendency to act rather rashly at times, which is to my advantage when we’re not playing a game of speed. Remember: it’s often better to bide your time and quietly manipulate the playfield so it works in your favor. Only then should you attack. And this is a lesson that can be applied far beyond the chess board.”

– Maelys, attendant of the Duma family

Advanced 2-2: Distance

1. Controlling Time and Space

In close combat, quick moves will hit their target faster than slower ones and make the enemy stagger. Because of this, speed plays a crucial role in attaining victory, but realistically speaking, rarely is an entire match spent solely in close quarters. Try as you might, faster but shorter attacks can and will still lose to slower, long-range attacks if they can’t close the gap and connect with the opposing fighter.

2. Be Mindful of Distance

True mastery of your character’s moves requires grasping not only how long they take to execute, but also their reach. It’s important to consider which of your attacks can connect with your opponent at various distances, and vice versa. Once you understand how much reach you and your opponent’s attacks have, you can make better judgment calls about how to approach your enemy at different distances.

3. Distance and the Ring

Each fighting style has its own ideal distance to an opponent. Those that are better suited for long-range combat, for example, work best when fighting from a distance, winning matches with a barrage of one-sided attacks from afar. Compare that with fighting styles that are tailored for close-range combat, which focus on maintaining just enough space for enemy feints to fail, then closing in for the kill after an attack misses. However you choose to fight, being constantly mindful of the distance between you and your opponent will enable you to take advantage of your fighting style’s strengths and dominate matches.

It’s also a good idea to get in the habit of keeping an eye on where you and your opponent are relative to any walls and edges. If you find your opponent backed up against a wall, don’t let them get away and create distance. Walls allow you to attack without needing to worry about potentially missing your opponent as much as you would in a more open space.

“My father left me with only one memento: a deadly melody, one that throws my victims’ sense of space into complete disarray. And now, I’ve passed it on to you. Go forth and play it.”

– Eiserne Krähe, the Steel Crow

Advanced 3-1: Close Fighters

1. Scoring Counter Hits

When you find yourself able to make the first move in close-quarters combat, you should prioritize attacks that can score counter hits and start combos. Situations where you can attack first are often ideal for executing attack and run counters in particular. Pay close attention to the combat lessons and character move lists, and eventually you’ll learn which attacks deal high amounts of damage as counter hits.

2. Guard Breaking

Any opponent worth their salt is going to be wary of counter hits and will likely make liberal use of guarding to avoid taking damage. This can be troublesome, but the best way to counter a defensive fighter is to use a break attack to break through their guard with a combination of middle and low attacks. Given that middle attacks generally deal more damage than low attacks, it’s likely that your opponent will be on the lookout for them. It can be effective to use lots of low. attacks and throws to make your opponent resort to crouching guards when you attack, then hit them with a strong middle attack.

3. Maintaining Offensive Momentum

It goes without saying, but once you find an opportunity to attack in close-quarters combat, it’s best to find ways to attack an opponent for as long as possible. For instance, if you have a combo that’s executed by pressing :A::A::A:, don’t always finish it. Your opponent will learn to expect it. Instead, think about disrupting the combo and ending it early by only pressing :A::A:. While your opponent is still guarding in expectation of that third strike, you can catch them by surprise by mixing it up with another move such as a throw for a potentially easy hit.

Naturally, the principle works in reverse. If your opponent expects you to only swing twice in the above combo, the third attack could catch them off guard and land as a counter hit. In this manner, varying when you interrupt a series of attacks and when you complete them can provide you with opportunities to maximize the time you have to attack the enemy.

--

“I get bored fighting you and winning 5o easily time after time. But that’s not going to stop you from coming back for more tomorrow, is it? At the very least, try to surprise me. Do something different when we fight. You’re too predictable for my liking.”

– Zhang Wu, nunchaku user

Advanced 3-2: Distance Fighters

1. Foiling Attacks with Reversal Edges

When facing a fighter who can attack faster than you, attempting to trade blows with them up close is not the best idea — doing so is likely to result in lethal counter hits. One option you have at your disposal instead is to use a reversal edge to stave off any high, middle, or low attacks from your opponent and counter.

2. From Guarding to Counterattacking

In many instances, blocking a high-damage combo starter will create a major opening for you to hit back. Stay calm and guard against wide, lumbering attacks, then move in with a quick counter of your own. Such tactics aren’t without their weaknesses, though; if your enemy lashes out with what turns out to be a two or three-stage combo, they might be able to disrupt your counterattack and damage you. Additionally, you can’t guard forever. If you find yourself low on guard stamina, the danger of your opponent crushing your guard in the midst of their attacks becomes that much greater.

3. Defensive Measures

There are other ways to avoid an opposing fighter’s attacks and create opportunities to hit back beyond just reversal edges and guarding. For example, crouching guards will make high attacks and throws miss. You can then use the opening created to start a combo of your own. Similarly, given that many middle attacks are vertical, you can step out of the way with an 8-way run and respond in kind with a damaging combo.

Responsiveness and adaptability are key when it comes to defense. Pay attention to how your opponent attacks and use crouches and 8-way runs to open up offensive opportunities. Of course, it’s worth remembering that if timed well, repelling an attack outright with a guard impact is an excellent idea.

--

“No matter how dire the situation, the Silver Wolves never back down! Men, follow me! We’ll show these shameful cowards what it means to face us and our sharp fangs!”

– Queen Hildegard von Krone, acting ruler of Wolfkrone

Advanced 4-1: Control at Mid Range

1. Fighting at Mid Range

When a match starts, you and your opponent will be standing apart. Depending on what fighting style you’re using, you might not have any attacks that can hit from that far. This distance, where each fighting style’s strengths and weaknesses are most evident, is what’s referred to as “mid range.” Whereas the biggest deciding factor in close-range fighting is the timing and speed of moves, at mid range, greater emphasis s placed on controlling distancing.

For fighting styles that focus on long-ranged attacks, the goal at mid range is to lay down a series of one-sided attacks and maintain your distance. Conversely, for fighting styles with less reach, the goal is to slip past the opponent’s attacks and engage them at close range. Whichever side of the spectrum your personal style falls under, it’s important to know the range that both you and your opponent excel at.

2. Controlling the Ring.

When using a fighting style that works best from afar, it’s possible to defeat an opponent with less reach before they can even get near you. To accomplish such a feat. You need to maintain a steady stream of damage while keeping them at arm’s length. Attacks that have reach, speed, and a quick recovery are ideal for doing just that. Smart application of these moves will prevent the other fighter from getting close, and let you maintain control of the fight.

3. Enhancing Control

Achieving control of a fight is fundamentally about knowing which moves can exert control at which distance. If you can make these attacks graze your opponent at the very edge of your reach, you’ll likely catch them by surprise and damage them, as they won’t expect the range of your attacks to extend so far. It’s a good idea to practice with each of your moves so that you can intuitively learn just how far their threat range is.

--

“Oh, what’s the big deal? It can’t hurt to get at least a LITTLE close, can it?”

“I don’t know about that. Master told us it was important to maintain distance…”

– An overheard conversation on a highway between a girl with a sword and a boy with a staff

Advanced 4-2: Countering at Mid Range

1. Breaking Control

For fighters that employ a close-range style, one of the bigger struggles they’ll face is how to combat an enemy who controls the ring with long-range attacks. Closing distance without getting hit requires knowing when to advance and when to guard. As you approach an enemy, quickly stop and block when you see them attack. If you succeed, you’ll be able to act first, and can use the opening to get a little closer. Rinse and repeat until you’re close enough to strike.

Having said that, this strategy isn’t without its risks. If you mistime a block, you’ll get hit and take damage, which will make staging a comeback that much harder.

2. Using Missed Attacks to Break Control

Even if you manage to slowly block and guard your way close to your opponent, you still need to break through their defenses and hit them to win. This can be tough, but there’s another option. The best way to quickly break a long-ranged opponent’s control and turn the tide is to make them miss an attack, then strike before they can recover. When timed well, it can enable you to pull off powerful combos that can end the round in one fell swoop.

3. Taking Advantage of Misses.

In order to exploit a fighter’s missed attacks to regain control, it’s imperative to learn the reach of their moves. Once you do 50, you need to stand at the edge of their attacks’ range. When you see a strike coming, move to the side or backwards to avoid it. If you manage to dodge, there’s no time to waste! Immediately input a retaliatory attack before your opponent recovers. Timing is critical: don’t wait until you see that your opponent has missed before entering the command. Rather, do so as soon as you see an attack has been executed.

--

“Countless bodies were piled up all around the Azure Knight, encircling him like followers huddled around their Prophet. What drove him to commit such carnage, none can say. Perhaps he lacked a wise, able commander who could have held him back. Or perhaps he had simply found himself lost in the throes of utter fear, his mind consumed with dread and despair. In any case, one thing was certain: the Azure Knight couldn’t bring himself to step away from the horror that he himself had created.”

– The book of the Mad Pilgrim

Advanced 4-3: Break Attacks at Mid Range

1. Countering Opponents Waiting for a Miss

The amount of damage that can be done to you from a combo that arises from a missed attack outweighs the damage that you can do from a single move meant to exert control. As such, experienced fighters will often not unleash any moves at all as they try to bait the other side into missing an attack. Close-range fighters can excel during these matches by using the standoff as an opportunity to quickly approach their opponent and possibly even finish them right then and there.

2. Getting Past an Opponent’s Guard

Once you’re close to the enemy fighter, it’s recommended that you start employing throws and low attacks in order to break their standing guard. This is because, in many cases, when an opponent sees you running at them, they’re likely to put up their guard out of instinct. If, however, they try to use a technique to stop your advance, you can use the command :6::(6): to break through it. Alternatively, you can also switch to the normal strategies for dodging such attacks in an attempt to make your opponent miss as well.

3. The Three-way Triangle of Mid-range Combat

When broken down to its essential components, there are three things that comprise mid-range combat: control tactics, tactics for making your opponent miss, and getting close and breaking your opponent’s guard. Each one is strong against one and weak against another. When an opponent is controlling the space and won’t let you get close, focus on trying to make them miss an attack so you can safely approach them. If you see that an opponent is trying to get you to miss an attack, abandon control moves and shift your priority to getting close and breaking their guard. And if your opponent s trying to get close to you, that’s when you dish out the control moves to maintain space between the two of you.

Once you’ve mastered the ability to read these situations and can act accordingly in the heat of battle, you’ll be well on your way to becoming an advanced player.

--

“1. Completely isolate yourself from the world around you. 2. Through conflict and equilibrium, create an environment of total and utter stagnation. 3. Repeat the cycle, attain harmony, and live for all eternity.”

– Secrets passed down among a clan of outcasts

Crushing an Opponent’s Guard

1. Guarding Limitations

Although guarding will save you from losing life to an opponent’s attack, it also drains your limited supply of guard stamina. Once your remaining guard stamina runs low, your health gauge will begin to glow. Initially, it’ll glow yellow, but if you continue to guard, it’ll glow red and aggressively flash. If you persist and continue to guard, your guard will crushed, leaving you wide open to an attack from your opponent. You should therefore be careful to limit the amount of attacks you need to directly guard against while at the same time making your opponent continuously guard against your attacks to drain their guard stamina.

It’s also worth noting that things like guard impacts and reversal edges also consume a small amount of guard stamina when used.

2. Properties

When you attack an enemy whose guard has been crushed, the hit will have the same effects as a typical attack counter. As aresult, moves that you can use to start combos only when they act as counter hits can also be used to start combos against fighters with their guards crushed. However, small, quick attacks that deal little damage will not crush an opponent’s guard, even if your opponent only has a small amount of guard stamina remaining. Likewise, while big attacks with long execution times can be used to crush their guard, the slow recovery time makes it difficult to successfully follow up with additional attacks afterward.

3. Guard Crushing Tips and Counters

One of the primary ways to crush an opponent’s guard is to make them defend against big attacks, since lumbering, heavy moves that deal more damage reduce guard stamina more than weaker attacks. On the other hand, if you find yourself confronted with a fighter who’s intent on crushing your guard, you can stop them with either an 8-way run to dodge their attacks or with a reversal edge to counter them. Using a soul charge or interrupting their attacks with a faster one of your own are also viable strategies.

Once a fighter has had their guard crushed, their guard stamina will fully recover. Because each fighter’s guard stamina amounts are carried over between rounds, it can be strategic to avoid crushing a fighter’s guard in one round so that you can more quickly do so in the next.

Lethal Hits

1. Lethal Hits

Under specific circumstances, certain attacks will cause what’s known as a “lethal hit” when they connect. When a lethal hit occurs, your opponent’s movements will slow down, allowing you to perform even deadlier combos than usual. You’ll also receive a bonus boost to your soul gauge. All told, the effects of lethal hits can enable you to shift a fight greatly in your favor. (Note: As a special effect, when a lethal hit occurs, your opponent’s equipment will break, but this has no actual effect on their defense or other parameters.)

2. Lethal Hit Activation Requirements

Lethal hits can only be triggered using moves within each fighting style that are specially designed for that purpose. Beyond that, specific requirements that are unique to each move must be met with respect to how they hit the target in order for a lethal hit to be triggered. Put simply, lethal hits are an advanced gameplay system designed for experienced players that require careful planning in order to pull off. Nevertheless, the harder a lethal hit is to perform for a given move, the greater the soul gauge bonus is when triggered, making them well worth your while to pursue when you feel ready for them.

3. Finding Opportunities for Lethal Hits

The first thing you need to do when trying to incorporate lethal hits into your combat routine is to determine which moves within your fighting style are capable of triggering them. To do that, consult the lethal hit tab within your fighting style’s move list, where you’ll learn the activation requirements for each move. Some moves are extremely difficult to use for lethal hits, though. In such cases, it’s better to focus on moves that you can comfortably use in your existing arsenal, rather than force yourself to incorporate tricky moves for lethal hits that you are unaccustomed to using.

Throws and Grapple Breaks

1. Throws

Throws can be performed with any fighting style by pressing either L2 [:A+G:] or :4:+L2 [:4::A+G:]. Throws are a powerful asset in your combat arsenal, as they can’t be blocked by a standing guard. Once you input the command to throw your opponent, your character will perform a grab animation. If it connects, they’ll then proceed to throw your opponent and deal damage to them.

Generally speaking, throws performed by pressing L2 will thrust your opponent forward, while throws that are done by pressing :4:+L2 will shove them backwards, although this can vary depending on the fighting style. You can also perform crouching throws and mid-air throws, which, as you might expect, are done against crouching and mid-air opponents respectively.

2. Grapple Breaks

Rest assured, not all hope is lost if your opponent manages to grab you. When that happens, you can input a specific command to perform a “grapple break” that will let your character break free. There are two types of grapple breaks, one for each type of grab. When your opponent comes at you with a :4:+L2 throw, you can press :4:+ any attack button (:A:, :B:, or :K:) to grapple break. If they use a L2 grab, you can grapple break by pressing an attack button without pressing [a direction].

Be warned: not all throws can be grapple broken. If you see a flame effect appear when your opponent grabs your character, that means that the throw cannot be escaped. On the flip side, there are also rare throws that can be grapple broken in the middle of the throw.

3. Using Guarding and Grapple Breaks Together

When you find yourself on the defensive, you can safely press and hold :G: while in a standing guard, then press one of the attack buttons when an opponent grabs you in order to grapple break. Since you won’t move or attack as long as :G: is held down, this allows you to guard and grapple break at the same time. This can potentially lead to bad habits in terms of how you control your character, but it’s the safest defensive technique to perform during a battle, which makes it highly useful in real matches. Finally, if you find it hard to time your button presses correctly when attempting to perform a grapple break, you can press and hold :G: while repeatedly pressing an attack button and hope for the best.

Break Attacks

1. Break Attacks

Powerful attacks capable of breaking an opponent’s guard are signified with blue lightning that appears when executed. Generally speaking, they can be performed by pressing L1 [A+B], although each fighting style has multiple other attacks capable of breaking an opponent’s guard as well. Critically, these attacks have the ability to break through reversal edges and guard impacts. They also allow you to act first after an opponent blocks them.

2. Using Break Attacks

Break attacks are slow to execute. Without careful, strategic planning, your opponent can easily dodge them or counter them with quick attacks. As a result, it’s best to use them with discretion and wait for your opponent to trigger a reversal edge or guard impact before executing a break attack. This makes break attacks ideal after you’ve hit your opponent already, when their instincts will likely tell them to assume a defensive position. Again, the fact that you can move again first, even after a break attack is blocked, is another good reason to wait until your opponent is acting defensively before using them. Once you’ve made your opponent block your break attack, you can do a short combo like :A::A: or :B::B: to follow up with some quick hits.

3. Special Break Attack Properties

Once you’ve blocked a break attack, you’ll be temporarily unable to block. When that happens with certain break attack techniques, there are instances where your opponent’s next attacks are guaranteed to hit. In very rare cases, there are attack strings that can take advantage of this property to deal massive damage when the conditions are just right.

Guard Impacts

1. Guard Impacts

Guard impacts are performed by pressing :6::G: and are used to repel an opponent’s attacks and break their posture. When successful, they provide openings that can be used to unleash a combo. However, guard impacts require precise timing, as they can only repel an enemy’s attack at the very beginning of the animation. For newer players, it’s suggested that you focus on mastering reversal edges first, then slowly incorporate guard impacts into your fighting routine. This will likely make the learning process go faster and more smoothly overall.

2. Guard Impacts Vs. Reversal Edges

One major trait that differentiates guard impacts from reversal edges is their ability to outright cancel an opponent’s actions. This gives them an edge over reversal edges against attack chains that might otherwise be difficult to handle. Guard impacts make for a swift defensive response and are ideal for interrupting a potentially prolonged series of attacks. But, like reversal edges, guard impacts can’t block break attacks or unblockable attacks and are therefore not invincible against every attack that you might face.

3. What to Do After a Guard Impact

After you’ve performed a guard impact, you might be tempted to use the most damaging attack you have. But, before you react, it’s important to consider how and to what extent your guard impact has broken your opponent’s posture, as it varies depending on the strength of the attack being reflected. Weak attacks that are repelled with a guard impact will greatly disrupt your opponent’s posture, while stronger, heavier attacks that are repelled will impact their posture to a much lesser degree. In total, there are three different states that an enemy fighter can be in after taking a guard impact, which are outlined as follows:

  • When a weak attack is repelled, the enemy is exposed long enough for you to initiate a combo.
  • When a medium attack is repelled, the enemy is exposed long enough for you to hit them with a quick attack.
  • When a large attack is repelled, you’ll be able to move again first, but won’t be able to attack them quickly enough before they recover.

It’s important to bear all of these potential states in mind when fighting so that you can properly plan for your next move upon successfully executing a guard impact.

Guard Impacts (Supplemental Info)

1. Responding to Guard Impacts with Reverse Impacts

When first learning about guard impacts, it might seem that, when an opponent. hits you with one, all you can do is stand idly by as they follow through with an attack. Although guard impacts o leave you open, you’re not entirely defenseless. That’s where reverse impacts come into play. Reverse impacts are performed just like guard impacts: by inputting :6::G:, but after you’ve been guard impacted and are unable to move. With the right timing, a reverse impact can help you turn the tables back on your opponent after having the tables turned on yourself.

2. Reversal Edges after Guard Impacts

Another option that you have available to you after being guard impacted is to use a reversal edge by pressing R1 [B+G]. This is useful in situations where your opponent tries to follow up a guard impact with a large attack. Such attacks can still be repelled with a reverse impact, but you have little to gain from doing so. In comparison, if you choose to respond to a large follow-up attack with a reversal edge, you’ll get a wide enough opening to be able to strike back at your opponent.

3. Watching Out for Reverse Impacts

As should be clear by now, even once you’ve been guard impacted, the enemy fighter is likely to be aware of the possibility you’ll try to counter their next move with a reverse impact. The same is obviously true in reverse; even if you successfully execute a guard impact, you can’t get complacent, as your next attack may be reverse impacted. If you suspect that your opponent is going to attempt a reverse impact on you, go for a break attack instead. Or, if you think your opponent is deliberately refraining from using a reverse impact or a reversal edge, that’s when you can go in and initiate a combo. Recognizing which situation is about to take place will help you make the most of successful guard impacts to inflict as much damage to your opponent as possible.

Move Levels

1. Move Levels

In addition to raw damage output, every attack in the game has what’s known as a “move level,” which denotes its strength when it clashes against other attacks. Broadly speaking, move levels classify an attack as either weak, medium, or strong. They also affect what happens when a vertical attack clashes with a horizontal attack. Vertical attacks are strong against horizontal attacks; when the two clash, the vertical attack’s move level will be considered one level higher than normal. For instance, if a medium vertical attack clashes with a strong horizontal attack, its strength will be roughly the equivalent of a strong horizontal attack when resolving the clash.

2. How Simultaneous Attack Clashes Are Resolved

If two attacks happen to meet at exactly the same time, the clash will be resolved based on the difference in move levels for each attack, as described below:

  • If the move levels for both attacks are equal when they clash, they’ll bounce off one another and neither side will take damage.
  • If the difference in move levels for both attacks is small, the player with the weaker attack will have their move repelled and will be left open to a counterattack.
  • If the difference in move levels for both attacks is great, the stronger attack will proceed as normal and hit the receiving player.

(Note: These rules don’t apply to non-weapon attack clashes. In cases where two non-weapon attacks clash at the same time, both attacks will hit regardless of their respective move levels.)

3. Move Levels and Guard Impacts

Move levels also affect how a guard impact will be resolved, as described below:

  • Weak attacks will create a large opening when repelled, enabling the defending fighter to initiate a combo.
  • Medium attacks that are repelled will knock the attacker slightly back, providing only enough time to execute a small, quick attack n retaliation.
  • Strong attacks will not create a large enough opening upon being repelled to be counterattacked and are safe from follow-up attacks.

Reversal Edges (Supplemental Info)

1. Additional Ways to Trigger Reversal Edge Clashes

Clashes that take place after a successful reversal edge are an important component of every fight. In addition to the normal method of triggering them, there are two other ways that they can occur during a match. One way is for a reversal edge to be guarded against after the input has been held down for the maximum amount of time. The other way is for one fighter’s reversal edge, after interrupting their opponent’s attack, to be guarded against. In both of these cases, break attack properties are applied and the reversal edge can’t be blocked by other reversal edges or guard impacts. Your only options available against them are to either evade with an 8-way run or to try to block them as best you can.

2. Reversal Edge Clashes: Round 2

Under specific circumstances, reversal edge clashes can continue for a second round. This will occur either when both players choose the same attack button during the clash, or when one player chooses to attack with :B:, and is blocked by the other player pressing :G:. In the event that a second round occurs, even if both players choose the same attack, one side will always win. (See below for more details.) Additionally, if one player attempts to guard against a :B: attack, their guard will be crushed. In essence, no matter what happens, a definitive conclusion is always reached when a second clash occurs. (Note: If a player with low guard stamina attempts to guard by pressing :G: in the first round of a clash, their guard may still be crushed by a :B: attack.)

3. Offense and Defense in Reversal Edge Clashes

The fighter who successfully lands a reversal edge and initiates a clash is treated as the attacker. Because the attacker has already broken the defending fighter’s posture, they have the following advantages, as outlined below:

  • The rate at which the attacker gains soul gauge in order to trigger a critical edge is greatly increased.
  • If the reversal edge clash enters a second round, all of the attacker’s hits will be treated as lethal hits.
  • If the reversal edge clash enters a second round and both players press the same attack button, the attacker will win the clash.

Soul Gauges

The soul gauge is the second most important battle UI element after the health gauge. Each player can build up to two gauges. Once they have at least one, they can choose to spend it on either a critical edge or soul charge. Soul gauges are carried over into the next round, so use them strategically. Also, if one fighter wins two consecutive rounds, the losing player will start the next fight with an additional soul gauge. There are multiple ways to gain or lose soul gauge, the main instances of which are described below:

  • Foiling the opponent’s attack with a reversal edge will add to the soul gauge. Additionally, initiating a clash with a reversal edge will give the initiating player a large boost to the amount of soul gauge that they receive.
  • Taking the initiative by doing things such as attacking and advancing on the opposing player will add to the soul gauge. The higher an attack’s move level, the more soul gauge the user will gain.
  • Both inflicting and receiving damage will increase a player’s soul gauge.
  • When the final round begins, fighters will pump themselves up and gain one soul gauge.
  • Successfully executing a guard impact will add to a player’s soul gauge.

2. Spending Soul Gauge

As mentioned above, each player can only gain a maximum of two soul gauges. Thus, while it’s important to find ways to increase your soul gauge, it’s also equally important to actively use your soul gauge. This is especially true of the additional soul gauge provided as a bonus during the final round of a match. With everything on the line, it’s important not to be stingy with your soul gauge. Use it or lose it!

3. Keeping One Soul Gauge in Reserve

While it’s important to be proactive about spending soul gauges, it can be helpful to keep one gauge in reserve to give yourself a trump card that can turn the tides of battle. This is because when your character is low on health, damage that’s dealt with critical edges is greatly increased. Plus, when a soul charge is active, the battle timer stops, preventing a battle from ending by the timer running out. Of course, this isn’t to say that there’s never a good time to empty out your soul gauge and spend it all to go on the offensive. Weigh your options wisely.

Aerial Control

1. Aerial Control

When you find yourself on the receiving end of a combo-starting attack, don’t fret — you haven’t lost yet. During an air combo, you can press [a direction] to activate what’s called “aerial control” and influence the direction you’ll fall. Used effectively, aerial control can help you minimize the amount of damage that you take from an enemy’s combo and get you out of dangerous situations. However, it’s important to know that you cannot use aerial control if your character’s body is spinning in the air at high speeds.

2. Falling Diagonally Backwards

The best direction in which to move with aerial control depends on the combo that your opponent is deploying as well as combat conditions for the round in general. More often than not, the best way to avoid an aerial combo is to move diagonally backwards by pressing either :(1): or :(7):. This will shift you out of the axis of many of your opponent’s vertical and short-range attacks. However, be mindful of your surroundings when choosing which direction to fall. If you’re near the edge of a ring, one wrong decision can mean the difference between landing, safely on solid ground and plummeting to your demise.

3. Aerial Control Near Cliffs

If your opponent hits you with an aerial combo near a cliff, rather than move diagonally backwards and risk falling off, it’s advised to use aerial control to move back towards the center of the stage by pressing either :(3): or :(9):. While this carries the risk of taking a lot of damage from a powerful combo, that’s still a better price to pay than an accidental ring out.

The Offense and Defense of Downing

1. Downing an Opponent

After a fighter has been knocked down, their options are limited and they are mostly unable to go on the offensive. This provides a superb opportunity to attack. Offensive moves that are designed to make the most of an opponent being downed are referred to as “okizeme.” It’s imperative, therefore, to learn which moves in your fighting style are able to bring an opponent down, with L2 [A+G] throws being among the most obvious options.

2. Hitting an Opponent While They’re Down

Once you have an enemy fighter on the ground, you’ll want to transition to attacks designed to stop them from getting back up. For starters, it’s often best to use a low or middle attack that can be executed quickly and hits downwards. Ideally, it should be a move that can break through their guard whether they choose to stay down or try to get back up.

Big moves that could normally be readily countered by your opponent with quick attacks are also effective when they’re downed. In particular, break attacks that allow you to move first even when they’re blocked are highly recommended.

3. How to Respond When Attacked While Getting Back Up

Once you’re down on the ground taking okizeme attacks from your opponent, it’s hard, but not impossible to get back up without taking further damage. The key is to make yourself as hard of a target as possible to hit. This means that, in addition to guarding, you should also incorporate horizontal and backwards rolls to avoid getting hit.

Also, remember that, even if you’re hit while you’re down, you can still respond by using an ukemi. Sometimes, it may even be ideal to stay down, get hit, and use an ukemi to create distance between you and your enemy. That way, you can safely stand back up. You’ll take damage, but it can be a fair tradeoff if it can help you avoid taking even heavier damage. You can also avoid being hit with a damaging attack and getting knocked back down immediately after getting back up as well.

Defensive Properties

1. Moves with Guard Impact Properties

In addition to the general guard impact that can be performed with every fighting style by pressing :6::G:, there are guard impact moves unique to specific styles as well. Some of them can even be simultaneously offensive and defensive, allowing you to repel an enemy attack and counterattack at the same time. While these moves certainly have their fair share of advantages, the drawback s that, unlike normal guard impacts (:6::G:), the specific types of moves that they can repel are limited. For example, some moves with guard impact properties may only be able to repel vertical attacks and, even among vertical attacks, they might not work against kicks and thrusts. When learning which moves have guard impact properties, be sure to consult the additional notes provided in the move list to see what sort of limitations are present. (Note: Some moves with guard impact properties can be reverse impacted by your opponent.)

2. Using Revenge to Take Hits Without Flinching

Some powerful fighting styles have a property known as “revenge” that allows fighter to take hits without having their move interrupted. When a fighter takes damage while revenge is in effect, their body will glow red as they continue to execute their intended attack. Revenge can be a powerful tool when used in capable hands, as it can negate the threat of enemy attempts at exerting control. However, revenge only applies to high and middle attacks; a revenge fighter will still flinch at a low attack. There are also some moves where revenge will only remain in effect up to a certain damage threshold. If the damage taken in one attack exceeds that threshold, then the fighter will flinch as normal.

3. Other Defensive Properties

Beyond guard impact and revenge, moves can have a variety of other beneficial defensive properties. These include moments of invincibility that go into effect during specific timing windows. (This applies to the majority of critical edges.) There are also a number of techniques that provide invincibility only against certain attacks. For example, some work only against high attacks. This can stop some of the fastest attacks in the game, such as :A::A: combos. Knowledge of these sorts of defensive properties will open up the strategic options available to you.

Making an Opponent’s Attacks Risky

1. Finding Openings in Enemy Attacks

Although attacks are, by nature, designed to inflict damage, all of them come with an element of risk. After an attack is finished, it takes time to recover before you can move or guard again, which leaves you open to a counterattack. Thus, it’s crucial to make it risky for your opponent to attack you, thereby limiting the number of viable options they have at any given time. Failure to do so will allow them to steamroll you with strong moves.

2. Guarding First for a Definite Counterattack

When you guard against an attack, your character will recoil and momentarily stop before you can react again. When this window is shorter than the attacking player’s recovery time, you have an opportunity to move again first and can land a sufficiently quick attack. These sorts of guaranteed hits are referred to as “definite counterattacks.” Definite counterattacks can be used to initiate combos and land slow, damaging techniques. They allow fighters to attack without needing to engage in conventional mind games and predict each other’s actions, and are a major source of damage in matches between experienced players. Fighting styles that emphasize defense have attacks that are well-suited to definite counterattacks, and you’ll be on your way to mastering the advanced systems that this game has to offer.

3. Definite Ripostes

There are some attacks that won’t be quick enough for a definite counterattack. However, that same attack can successfully hit an opponent if you dodge their attack first. This technique is known as a “definite riposte.” A definite riposte can be achieved in a number of different ways. For instance, if an opponent uses a long-range horizontal high attack or tries to grab you to break your guard, you can duck to dodge, then hit back. Likewise, if an enemy swings at you with a vertical attack, you can slip out of the way with an 8-way run or a step, then safely retaliate when you’re outside the axis of their attack.

There are also numerous instances where you’ll be able to dodge an opponent’s attack string mid-combo. That’s why it’s important to not only study up on your own fighting style, but those of your opponents. That way, you’ll know what sort of attack strings to expect and be able to plan accordingly.

Chip Damage

1. Chip Damage

While a soul charge is in effect, you can inflict “chip damage,” which is damage that’s dealt to an opponent even while they’re guarding your attacks. You can tell that you’re damaging an opponent with chip damage when they glow red while guarding. Chip damage therefore rewards players who go on the offensive while a soul charge is active by letting them damage defending players who insist on guarding. However, chip damage cannot be used to knock out an opponent; you’ll still have to finish them off the old-fashioned way, even with a soul charge activated. (Note: Some fighting styles have moves that can inflict chip damage even when a soul charge isn’t activated.)

2. Avoiding Chip Damage

Chip damage is a nasty, dangerous thing to have to confront during a fight. But, since it only affects you if you directly guard against attacks from an opponent with an active soul charge, as long as you use other defensive measures, you can still avoid taking any damage. Reversal edges and guard impacts are two ways that you can effectively defend yourself against a soul charged opponent.

3. Employing Perfect Guards

None of this is to say that it’s entirely impossible to avoid taking damage by blocking. If you press :G: right before an enemy’s attack is about to connect with you, you’ll perform a perfect guard that will cancel out any chip damage that you’d otherwise take. You’ll know that you’ve successfully executed a perfect guard if your character’s body flashes white and your soul gauge slightly increases. Perfect guards are extremely difficult to pull off reliably and shouldn’t be used recklessly. Still, if you learn how to execute them and keep them in mind, they just might save you from a tough bind.

Special Inputs

1. Advance Inputs

In this game, you don’t have to wait for your character to recover and be able to move in order to input your next attack after a period of immobility. If you already know what move you want to use next while your character is immobile, you can go ahead and input it in advance. The game will then remember this input and execute it immediately once your character can act again. These are called “advance [buffered] inputs,” and are extremely useful for when you want to make a move as soon as possible. They can also be used during combos to improve your chances of successfully executing them.

Don’t worry too much about the exact timing of advance inputs, either. As long as you input them a little earlier than normal, the game will register them and activate the technique when your character is allowed to move.

2. Delayed Inputs

When inputting a combo, conventional wisdom tends to say that it’s best to input each command as quickly as possible. With some fighting styles, however, you can delay the input for a technique. Doing so will widen the interval between attacks in the current attack chain. These delays can be used to trick opponents into thinking that you’ve stopped a combo in the middle of the sequence, faking them out before you hit them with the next attack. You can check the notes for each move in the move list for your fighting style to see which ones can be delayed.

3. Just Effect

A just effect is a type of buff that can be triggered with some moves within certain fighting styles by inputting them with specific timing. In most cases, a just effect is activated by inputting the next move in an attack string right as the previous one is connecting with the other fighter. Just effects do all sorts of things, such as increasing attack damage. You can check which moves have a just effect by consulting the move list for your fighting style.

Just effects are an advanced system that are designed for experienced players. Once you feel comfortable with the basics of how your chosen fighting style plays, you should consider learning which moves have a just effect and how to trigger them.

Special Inputs (Supplementary Info)

1. Crouching

After using moves such as :2::A: or :2::K:, you’ll sometimes find that your character enters a crouching position. This can also forcibly happen after guarding against certain attacks, such as strong downward swings. While crouched, bear in mind that the moves that you execute after inputting a command will differ slightly from those while standing. If you don’t press [a direction] while pressing any attack button, you’ll attack while standing back up. If you press either :1:, :2:, or :3:, and any attack button, you’ll perform a crouching attack. (Note: You can still do reversal edges, critical edges, :A+B: attacks, and throws directly from a crouched position.)

2. Performing Standing Attacks from a Crouched Position

As mentioned in the previous section, attacks performed while crouched differ from those while standing. For example, :A: becomes “rising :A:,” while :2::A: becomes “crouching :A:.” Your options aren’t just limited to rising and crouching attacks while your character is crouched, though. One way to get around these limitations is by using [a direction] (other than :1:, :2:, or :3:) when inputting an attack. As an example, while crouched, if you input :6::B:, you’ll perform that move as you normally would because there’s no alternat[ive] version of it while crouched.

Another method to get past crouching limitations is by using what are known as “forced standing inputs [RCC].” These are performed by inputting either :4: or :6: as an advance input for a step after doing an attack that returns you to a crouched position. Doing this allows you to bypass the stand recovery window from the attack as your character performs a step. Once your character is stepping, you can then unleash standing attacks again by pressing an attack button as usual.

3. Advance Inputs for 8-way Runs

You can only enter a :6::(6): command or a :4::(4): command if you wish to execute an 8-way run as an advance input. :1::(1):, :2::(2):, :3::(3):, :7::(7):, :8::(8):, and :9::(9): cannot be directly input in advance. If you advance input either of the valid commands, you’ll execute a move after doing an 8-way run in the specified direction for a set period of time.

Ring Walls and Cliffs

1. High and Low Walls

On many stages, you’ll come across high and low walls placed throughout the ring. The difference between the two types is that with high walls, you can’t push an enemy over them and win due to a ring out, whereas with low walls, you can do just that if you can launch the enemy up and over them. When positioning yourself within a ring, be mindful of where any walls are, as well as their height, so they can plan accordingly.

2. Destructible Walls

Beyond differences in heights, some walls can also be broken, while others cannot. Destructible walls will collapse and disappear if you push an enemy into them. Once that wall is gone, the cliff behind it will be revealed, at which point you or the enemy can be knocked over the edge and ring out as normal. Typically, most walls that are destructible will break after either fighter is pushed into them once, but there are some walls that will take a few hits before finally collapsing.

3. Floor and Ground Colors

When positioning yourself around a ring, you can determine how close a wall or cliff is based on the coloring of the ground underneath your character. If a wall or cliff is close to your current position, the coloring and pattern of the ground beneath your character will be different than it normally is when you’re standing in the center of the ring. In other words, i the ground below your character looks different than usual, that means you’re in danger of a ring out. Be careful when navigating these areas, lest you fall out of the ring.