Defense in Skullgirls

Discussion in 'Beginner Forum' started by Sydoh, Jun 21, 2014.

  1. Sydoh

    Sydoh Silent Dolphin Administrator

    Location:
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    Sydoh
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    worldjem7
    Ms. Fortune
    Learn about the devensive mechanics and techniques in Skullgirls!
    Improve your game by increasing your skill in defense!


    Table of Contents
    • Introduction
    • Directions and Buttons
    • Blocking and Blockstun 1
    • Throws and Throw Breaks
    • Pushblock (Reaction Shots)
    • Absolute Guard
    • Reversals, Blockstun 2, And Pushblock Guard Cancel
    • Team Mechanics (Reversals 2)
    • Advancing Guard (Dealing with Zoning)
    • Summary

    Introduction
    Some of what you find here (mostly in the earlier sections) you'll also find in the Skullgirls tutorial.
    However, in order to make this a complete guide, I will be including that same information.

    This guide will go over all the defensive mechanics in Skullgirls and how to make use of them.
    These mechanics aren't obvious and defense isn't covered entirely in the tutorials, so this guide will serve as a supplement to the Skullgirls tutorials until they include these mechanics.
     
    Last edited: Aug 21, 2014
  2. Sydoh

    Sydoh Silent Dolphin Administrator

    Location:
    Canada (East)
    Steam:
    Sydoh
    PSN:
    worldjem7
    Ms. Fortune
    Directions and Buttons
    The directions in Skullgirls are as follows:

    Up-back, Up, Up-Forward
    Back, Neutral, Forward
    Down-Back, Down, Down-Forward

    In order to make referring to these directions easier and cleaner, you can refer to the number pad on your keyboard and use those numbers to refer to the directions listed above.

    numpadnotation.png

    These numbers are not absolute directions and merely refer to your position relative to the opponent. So, 6LK will always mean "forward+LK" and not "Right+LK" and holding 4 or 1 will always mean hold "back" or "down-back" respectively.

    The buttons in Skullgirls are as follows:

    LP, MP, HP
    LK, MK, HK

    PP/KK = hit two punches/kicks simultaneously
    X~Y = hold "Y" right after hitting "X"
    j. = any air moves are denoted with a "j."

    Please be sure to set your buttons under "Help & Options > Controls" before playing Skullgirls as it will make things much easier for you. The default controls are not always properly configured to your controller/keyboard/preference.
     
  3. Sydoh

    Sydoh Silent Dolphin Administrator

    Location:
    Canada (East)
    Steam:
    Sydoh
    PSN:
    worldjem7
    Ms. Fortune
    Blocking and Blockstun 1

    block1.png
    To block in Skullgirls (and most other fighting games) hold any "back" direction (1, 4, or 7).

    Blocking prevents you from taking damage from normal attacks and stops your opponent from being able to combo you. Specials and supers (blockbusters) will cause "chip" damage on block. Damage from chip is a fraction of the regular damage that the attack would normally cause. The only way to avoid chip damage is to avoid the move altogether by moving out of the way, or using an invincible move to dodge the attack.

    On the ground, there are three different attack types:
    • High
    • Low
    • Mid
    High attacks must be blocked while standing (hold 4).
    Low attacks must be blocked while crouching (hold 1).
    Mid attacks can be blocked either standing or crouching (hold 4 or 1).

    In the air, you can hold any back direction (1, 4, or 7) to block, and there are no other attack types that can bypass air blocking.

    There are three ways to bypass someone's block to land a hit:
    • Use an attack type that is the opposite of the block type your opponent is using (ex.: if your foe is blocking "Low", use a "High" attack)
    • Move to the other side of the opponent so that they would no longer be holding "back". This is known as a "cross-up." (ex.: foe is holding 4 and you move to the other side so that his "4" becomes "6" meaning he is no longer blocking)
    • Throw the opponent (I will cover this in the next section)

    When you block an attack, you are stuck in "Blockstun." You are unable to perform any action during blockstun except being able to change your block type (high/low). When in blockstun you cannot be crossed-up or thrown but you can still be hit high/low.

    If someone whiffs (misses) an attack close to you while you hold any back direction (1, 4, or 7) to block, your character will go into "Pre-block" animation where she looks like she's blocking but the move didn't connect or hasn't connected yet. Pre-block only lasts as long as there's an active hitbox out and is also close enough to trigger pre-block. You cannot jump out of this animation, and it is throw invulnerable, but you can still attack out of pre-block.
     
    Last edited: Jun 21, 2014
  4. Sydoh

    Sydoh Silent Dolphin Administrator

    Location:
    Canada (East)
    Steam:
    Sydoh
    PSN:
    worldjem7
    Ms. Fortune
    Throws and Throw Breaks

    throwbreak1.png
    Even if you can block everything high/low/crossup, you still need to watch out for throws. Throws are the only moves that can bypass all block types, but there are ways to defend against this, also.

    Hitting LP+LK will perform or break a throw depending on the situation, but you cannot throw or break throws while crouching, so remember to let go of any down direction (1, 2, or 3) while on the ground in order to perform a throw or throw break. There are no direction requirements when performing or breaking throws in the air.

    The other way to avoid being thrown is by being in a different state than the throw is allowed to throw. Ground throws cannot throw air opponents and air throws cannot throw ground opponents.
    Jump start-up is throw invulnerable (but you can't block during jump start-up, so be careful!), so if you know the opponent will throw, you can hold any up direction (7, 8, or 9) to evade the throw. In order to avoid throws in the air you must either break the throw or perform a reversal (covered later).

    Note that you cannot throw someone in hitstun or blockstun. You must wait until the stun has depleted to land the throw or it will just whiff. In order to set up a throw, players will use a move that causes a little bit of blockstun (usually a light attack such as LP or LK) and then throw you afterwards. This is called a "tick throw."
     
    Last edited: Feb 24, 2015
  5. Sydoh

    Sydoh Silent Dolphin Administrator

    Location:
    Canada (East)
    Steam:
    Sydoh
    PSN:
    worldjem7
    Ms. Fortune
    Pusblock (Reaction Shots)

    pushblock1.png
    While in blockstun, you can hit any two punches to push the opponent away from you and cut the blockstun of the move you blocked in half. However, the opponent won't get pushed away as far (or at all!) if you have to block more hits during your pushblock animation. So, in order to make sure the opponent gets pushed away, you should pushblock at the end of attacks and/or blockstrings.

    Even if the opponent manages to continue pressuring you after a properly timed pushblock, there are other benefits to pushblocking later in a blockstring. When pushblocking you will be considered "in blockstun" for the duration of the 25 frame (minimum) animation even if all other blockstun has been depleted. This means that you cannot be thrown or crossed-up during pushblock animation because you cannot be thrown or crossed-up during blockstun.

    Here's an example video of how pushblocking near the end of a move can help block cross-ups.


    You don't always want to push them away, though. Some moves have a lot of recovery that you can punish if you make sure not to pushblock, so watch for those moves!
     
    Last edited: Jun 21, 2014
  6. Sydoh

    Sydoh Silent Dolphin Administrator

    Location:
    Canada (East)
    Steam:
    Sydoh
    PSN:
    worldjem7
    Ms. Fortune
    Absolute Guard
    When pushblocking on the ground, you are either standing or crouching (holding 4 or 1 respectively). During pushblock animation, if you hold the opposite block type (If blocking low, block high and vice versa) you will gain the same block type as if you were in the air, which blocks all attacks. Whenever you block a high or low attack, you gain this "all-block" block type for a short time. This is used as a means to prevent high/low unblockables. By holding the other block type during pushblock animation, you gain this protection for as long as you hold the direction during pushblock animation. When the pushblock animation is finished, you lose the Absolute Guard protection and must block properly and pushblock again to regain it.

    Combining this technique with pushblocking allows you to block any type of attack or throw for the duration of the pushblock animation.
     
    Last edited: Jun 21, 2014
  7. Sydoh

    Sydoh Silent Dolphin Administrator

    Location:
    Canada (East)
    Steam:
    Sydoh
    PSN:
    worldjem7
    Ms. Fortune
    Reversals, Blockstun 2, And Pushblock Guard Cancel

    reversals.png
    You can't just sit in block all day and expect to win matches. Eventually you have to hit buttons.
    In order to relieve pressure and change momentum, you'll have to use reversals to get the opponent off you.

    A reversal is any move that is invincible through the entire startup and on the first active frame and/or allows you to catch the opponent out of a move or state where he is not blocking to either give you room to act or give yourself a combo. Most supers can be used as a reversal. Always keep in mind the move you're using to reversal. Not every invincible move works well to counter certain approaches.
    Take care when using reversals, as they usually have a lot of recovery if blocked, and you can get punished very easily if your reversal gets baited.

    If you turn on hitboxes in training mode you can see the different types of invincibilities and block types.

    For more information on the different types of hitboxes, visit this thread.

    In order to use a reversal, you have to not be in blockstun. There are two ways to reduce blockstun:

    If you are blocking in the air and you are very low to the ground, you may instinctively try to pushblock to get them away from you, but at this point you can instead try to perform a reversal when you land because all blockstun is removed upon landing from being in blockstun in the air.



    There is also a feature of pushblocking that allows you to perform reversals even if you're on the ground and can't cancel your blockstun by landing. This is called "Pushblock Guard Cancel" (PBGC). You can PBGC off any pushblock, even in the air!

    The way this works is that at the end of your pushblock animation, if you are not holding any back direction (1, 4, or 7) or down direction (1, 2, or 3) you can perform any action as if you were at neutral, meaning it's as if you were just standing there and decided to use a move and were not in hitstun or blockstun.
    This includes Tag (hit both M or H buttons) and assists (hit diagonal L/M or M/H buttons) but make sure to return to blocking if you try to call an assist! You don't want you and your assist to get hit at the same time.

    This makes it difficult to PBGC into a move that ends is back (4), such as a move with the motion 214, or 421. There is a small window of time where after you finish the motion, it is still valid when you press the button. So, you can do the motion, then let go of 4, then hit the button at the end of pushblock animation, and the move will come out.

    For the most part you will want to PBGC into a reversal.

    NOTE: The footage in this video is from v1.01 and it involves moves that have changed properties since then, so not every move in this video will work the same as it does now, but the feature is the same.

    The timing for PBGC will change depending on how much hitstop (the "freeze" time when the attack connects, this is before any type of stun) you are put in by the attacks you block, so its difficulty will vary from blockstring to blockstring. The more hitstop you are put in, the slower your pushblock animation will be and the longer it will last, meaning you have to wait until later than normal until you can perform your move, but this also means your absolute guard will be extended.
     
    Last edited: Feb 24, 2015
  8. Sydoh

    Sydoh Silent Dolphin Administrator

    Location:
    Canada (East)
    Steam:
    Sydoh
    PSN:
    worldjem7
    Ms. Fortune
    Team Mechanics (Reversals 2)

    assist1.png
    If you're on a team of 2 or 3 characters, you have some extra reversal options to help defend against the opponent.
    • Assists (Ensembles)
    • Tag
    • Stunt Double
    With an assist, you can block while calling this assist to attack while defending. The best type of assist to use for defense would be any move that normally would be used as a reversal, but you cannot use supers as assists. Calling a reversal assist can force the opponent to block the assist, allowing you to get away or start your own pressure, or hit the opponent, potentially giving you a combo. Be warned, though: all assists have 2 frames of vulnerability before the move comes out, so if the opponent has an attack out on the same frame that your assist is vulnerable, it will get hit! If your assist gets hit, Tagging and calling assists will be locked out for a short period of time, so be careful!

    As a team, you'll notice that there's a red portion that extends beyond your health after taking some damage. You can heal back this red health as long as the character remains off screen, or stops being the point character.

    Tagging allows you to switch characters to recover red health.
    • MP+MK = Tag to second character
    • HP+HK = Tag to third character
    Although risky, you can also use Tag as a reversal. Each character's tag attack is unique, but they are all punishable on block, so don't tag out recklessly!
    ________________________________________________________________

    If you're finding it difficult to reversal out of your opponent's pressure, you can always try to use a Stunt Double for 1 meter.

    To perform a Stunt Double, hit Forward (6) + Tag when in blockstun.

    Stunt Double works similarily to Tagging, except instead of doing the character's unique Tag Attack, the character you switch to does her assist attack. Once the new character has become the point character, you can do anything you would normally be able to do from the assist move you assigned to your character.

    This is the flow of cancels in Skullgirls:
    Dashes > Normals > Specials > Supers (Blockbusters) > Blockbuster Sequels

    So, if you set your assist to forward dash (PP), then you could block or perform any move.
    If you set your assist to a normal, you could cancel it into a special or a super.
    If you set your assist to a special, you could cancel it into a super.

    Note that you can cancel out of normals at any time but, you cannot cancel out of specials near the end of the move during the recovery frames. You can airdash cancel any normal.

    Blockbuster Sequels are performed by doing the motion for the next character's Blockbuster during the current Blockbuster and will cost one less meter to perform if the next Blockbuster costs 2 or more meters.

    Tagging and Stunt Doubles are also good ways to avoid chip damage and keep the character alive by switching to a different character.
     
    Last edited: Jun 21, 2014
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  9. Sydoh

    Sydoh Silent Dolphin Administrator

    Location:
    Canada (East)
    Steam:
    Sydoh
    PSN:
    worldjem7
    Ms. Fortune
    Advancing Guard (Dealing with Zoning)

    block4.png
    So far I've only detailed how to defend against close range pressure and how to counteract it.
    It's important to also know how to block zoning properly.

    The tools you have to defend while approaching zoning are as follows:
    • Jump forward and block
    • Block while dashing forward
    • Use a special/super move or other character specific methods

    The simplest and most obvious way to try to get in on a zoner is to jump forward and block. This can be tricky because, depending on your controller, you may not always be able to block in time before the next projectile reaches you. In some cases, this is necessary to avoid ground-level projectiles altogether and/or to punish a poorly timed special. The alternative is to block while dashing forward, which is surprisingly effective. Please note that this is only true for ground dashing forward. Airdashes and ground backdashes are completely vulnerable and you are unable to block during any airdash or backdash until the dash has completed. You can, however, cancel a backdash with a jump or any move, and you can cancel an airdash with any move (but not into a jump).

    You can block while dashing forward by hitting any two punches, when at neutral, to initiate a dash, then hold back (4) for the rest of the dash. All dashes in Skullgirls have a minimum distance they cover before it returns to you blocking. To advance while guarding, do the following:
    hit any 2 punch buttons at the same time (PP), hold back (4), and once you've stopped dashing, let go of back,
    then hit any 2 punches again, and hold back again and repeat.

    Some characters (like Filia) can "wavedash" by hitting PP, then hitting any down direction (1, 2, or 3) repeatedly in quick succession. By hitting PP and canceling it with down-back (1) you can "wavedash block" which allows you do advance on the opponent while guarding against his attacks. This method may not always be effective if your character has a slow dash or has a lot of startup before it becomes fast, so you'll have to decide which method of entry (jump block, or dash block) is best for the current situation.

    Some characters can counter zoning altogether by using supers or avoid much more than usual by having an especially high jump, super jump, double jump or a combination of all of those, or by using a special move to go over the projectiles, or to bypass them completely.

    Some examples include:
    Double can counter specials with her car super (236PP~4).
    Filia can use Airball L to go very high over projectiles.
    Valentine and Squigly have very high jump and double jumps, and valentine's airdash also gives her some height.
    Peacock can teleport behind the opponent (214HK).

    There are many other character specific ways of avoiding projectiles and other moves by using moves that alter your character's hurtboxes. Find what moves your character has that helps approach zoners or avoid getting hit! Anything that makes your character move forward and/or makes her hurtboxes smaller are good ways to advance on zoning if used in the proper context.
     
    Last edited: Feb 24, 2015
  10. Sydoh

    Sydoh Silent Dolphin Administrator

    Location:
    Canada (East)
    Steam:
    Sydoh
    PSN:
    worldjem7
    Ms. Fortune
    Summary
    Although you have gained knowledge of the blocking techniques from this guide, you're most likely not going to be able to block everything perfectly right away.

    If someone starts comboing you, don't give up! Always remember to continue blocking when being combo'd. Players will try to do "resets" where they combo you for a bit, then intentionally stop the combo and attack where they think you're not blocking, or they will try to throw you, in order to reset the damage of their combo. Watch how they reset you so that you know how to block it the next time you see it!
    • Make sure to block the proper direction (high/low) and watch out for throws.
    • When in blockstun you can't be thrown or crossed-up.
    • Use Pushblock and Absolute Guard to give you extra protection and make it easier to block in certain situations and/or to help give you extra breathing room.
    • Landing from blockstun and using Pushblock Guard Cancel give you opportunities to use a reversal.
    • Use the proper reversal for a given situation.
    • Use reversals, call assists, and tag wisely to help get the opponent off you. Don't use them so much that you become predictable.
    • Use jump block and dash block to weave around zoning and find character specific ways to help get in on zoners
    Your blocking determines if you lose, your opponent's blocking determines if you win.
    You have to attack and defend properly to emerge victorious.

    If I missed anything in this guide, or if you have any questions, feel free to leave a comment.

    Visit my youtube page to see the playlist of the videos in this guide.
     
    Last edited: Feb 24, 2015
  11. Sydoh

    Sydoh Silent Dolphin Administrator

    Location:
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    Ms. Fortune
    reserved
     
  12. Sydoh

    Sydoh Silent Dolphin Administrator

    Location:
    Canada (East)
    Steam:
    Sydoh
    PSN:
    worldjem7
    Ms. Fortune
    reserved
     
  13. Sydoh

    Sydoh Silent Dolphin Administrator

    Location:
    Canada (East)
    Steam:
    Sydoh
    PSN:
    worldjem7
    Ms. Fortune
    reserved
     
  14. Sydoh

    Sydoh Silent Dolphin Administrator

    Location:
    Canada (East)
    Steam:
    Sydoh
    PSN:
    worldjem7
    Ms. Fortune
    Updated Reversals, Blockstun 2, And Pushblock Guard Cancel with a video of Land Canceling.
     
    Last edited: Aug 20, 2014

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