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Mechanics

Blocking

Blocking is the act of defending against an opponent's attack, reducing the amount of damage taken. This is done by simply pressing the Block button. Blocking is extremely important as it will prevent the opponent from landing hits, performing combos and dealing any serious damage. Many moves if blocked will also leave the opponent at a disadvantage, allowing you to freely attack afterwards.

Almost all attacks can be blocked depending on their Block Type:

Block Type Description
High High attacks target the upper area of the opponent. These are easily blocked and can also be avoided by ducking without the need to block.
Mid Mid attacks strike the middle area of the opponent and are the most common type of attacks. Like Highs, these are also blocked with ease, but cannot be ducked under.
Low Low attacks target the lower part of the opponent. These must be blocked low, which is done by pressing the Block and Down buttons.
Overhead Overhead attacks hit opponents who are blocking low. Unlike Low attacks, Overhead attacks must be blocked high.
Throw Throws cannot be blocked but can be countered by performing a Throw Escape in retaliation to the throw. Throws can also be avoided by ducking underneath them.
Unblockable Unblockable attacks cannot be blocked. Unblockable attacks are somewhat rare and are usually slow enough that they can be avoided on reaction.
Low Block
Blocking low against Rain's Beneath The Waves (B+4).
High Block
Blocking high on reaction to Rain's H2Blow (F+3).

In general, the moves to watch out for most are Low and Overhead attacks as defending against one will leave you vulnerable to the other. Despite this, there are quite a few moves that are slow enough that they can be blocked on reaction. For instance, Rain's H2Blow (F+3) is a very slow Overhead attack and can be easily reacted to and blocked. While on the defensive, you'll want to stay alert and look for these kind of moves then block appropriately.

Understanding the opponent's moveset and knowing how to block their attacks will prove to be invaluable when defending. Having a solid defense can make it extremely difficult for the opponent to open you up. At the same time, blocking too much will give them more opportunities to land a hit so it's important to maintain a strong balance between attacking and defending.

Flawless Block

Flawless Blocking General Shao's Make Way (B+2) prevents taking block damage, stops the opponent from building Super Meter, and leaves him at -7 instead of +3.

Flawless Block is a mechanic that occurs when a move is blocked at the moment of impact. When this happens, zero damage is taken and the attacker does not build Super Meter. Some moves when Flawless Blocked will also leave the attacker at a greater disadvantage than if the move were to be blocked normally. Flawless Blocking can be helpful in situations where you want to avoid taking block damage, such as when you are low on health. The downside to Flawless Blocking is that it can be rather difficult to perform consistently, and if mistimed, it'll result in being hit.

There is a 3 frame window to Flawless Block a move.

Up Block

Using Up Block (U+EX) to punish a jump attack.

Up Block is a method of blocking used to defend against Overhead attacks. This is done by pressing the Up button while blocking. When a move is Up Blocked, it'll leave the attacker at a greater disadvantage and in most cases fully punishable. The most common attacks to use Up Block against are jump attacks. Due to the fact that they hit as an Overhead on the way down, the easiest and most consistent way to counter jump attacks is to use Up Block.

While Up Block acts as a great anti-air, it also comes with a few drawbacks. When performing an Up Block, you'll be unable to move for a short period of time. In addition, you'll be vulnerable to grabs and Low attacks while Up Blocking. If the enemy scouts an Up Block, they can opt to not perform their Overhead attack and instead go for a grab or Low attack to punish the Up Block.

Throw

Throwing the opponent with an Away Throw (THROW) and Toward Throw (F+THROW).

A throw is a type of attack where the offender grabs the opponent to inflict damage while knocking them onto the ground. In order to perform a throw, the THROW button must be pressed while the opponent is in close proximity. There are 2 types of throws: Toward Throw and Away Throw. By default, an Away Throw is performed which will switch positions with the opponent and send them in the opposite direction. To perform a Toward Throw, press F+THROW which will throw the opponent forward.

Throws are very useful for screen positioning. If the opponent is near the corner, use a Toward Throw to keep them on the same side. If you are near the corner, use an Away Throw to switch positions with the opponent and place them into the corner instead.

Unlike ordinary attacks, throws will connect regardless of whether the opponent is blocking or not, making them great for opening opponents up who tend to rely on blocking. Although throws deal relatively low damage on their own, the damage from landing multiple grabs throughout the match adds up, especially if the opponent is unable to counteract them.

PROS
  • Throws cannot be blocked and provide an easy way to deal damage against opponents who rely on blocking.
  • Away Throws will switch positions with the opponent, allowing you to escape the corner.
  • Some throws can be followed up with a combo if an Ambush Kameo is used.
CONS
  • Throws are highs, which means if the enemy ducks then the throw will miss, leaving the user punishable.
  • They won't work if the opponent is airborne, so opponents who frequently jump will completely avoid being grabbed.
  • If the opponent reacts quick enough, they can stop the throw with a Throw Escape.
  • Throws are highly risky while providing little reward unless an Ambush Kameo is used.

Throws, while being an easy way to net damage, should be used with extreme caution. Against opponents who know how to deal with them, attempting to go for a grab can be a huge risk.

A Toward Throw requires the player's Kameo Fighter to be available in order to be used. If the Kameo Fighter is still on the screen and a Toward Throw is used, the character will perform a shove instead, yielding minimal damage. In such situations, use an Away Throw instead.

Throw Escape

Breaking a throw by using a Throw Escape on reaction to the enemy's throw.

It is possible to break a throw by using a Throw Escape. This is done by quickly reacting to the throw animation then pressing a specific button depending on the kind of throw used. To counter an Away Throw, press the 1 or 3 button. Conversely, a Toward Throw can be prevented by pressing the 2 or 4 button.

Performing a Throw Escape is ultimately a guess as to which type of throw the opponent will use. However, paying close attention to the screen position of both characters and the opponent's tendencies will allow you to predict which direction they'll likely throw in and react accordingly.

Enhanced Uppercut

Using an Enhanced Uppercut to follow up with a combo.

After landing a successful uppercut (D+2), it can be enhanced by quickly jumping and pressing the EX button. This will allow you to combo off of the uppercut for higher damaging punishes at the cost of 2 bars of Super Meter.

Currently, this mechanic is deemed by many players to be not worth using due to its high meter requirements and low reward compared to going for a normal punish. This is subject to change in future game patches.

Armor

Using Sindel's Enhanced Karthweel (DF4+EX) to armor through Reptile's Slip-N-Died (B+3,1,3).

Certain moves have a property called Armor. Moves with armor cannot be interrupted, making them powerful attacks to use while on the defensive. Typically, they are best used when at a disadvantage and the opponent is most likely to go on the offensive. An example of an armor move is Sindel's Enhanced Kartwheel (DF4+EX).

Armor moves usually cost 1 bar of Super Meter, and most are punishable if blocked. Since most armor moves can absorb only 1 hit, it's possible to Armor Break them by using a fast multi-hitting attack consisting of 2 or more hits. The only exceptions are Fatal Blows and attacks such as Havik's Helping Hand (DB1) which require additional hits in order to be broken.

Getup

After being knocked down, a player can perform what's known as a Getup. There are 2 different kinds of Getups:

Getup Attack
Using Sub-Zero's Enhanced Ice Slide (BF3+EX) as a Getup Attack to counter the enemy's offense.
Delayed Getup
Using a Delayed Getup to avoid the enemy's attack then punishing before they can recover.

Getup Attack - A type of Getup that is done upon getting up from the ground. Any grounded Special Move can be used as a Getup Attack, though it's best to use ones with armor to blow through the enemy's attack.

Delayed Getup - A type of Getup that extends the amount of time the character is able to stay on the ground. To use a Delayed Getup, hold the SS button while knocked down. By using a Delayed Getup, enemy attacks will miss, giving you the opportunity to get up off the ground safely.

Breaker

Performing a Breaker (F+EX) to escape a combo.

Characters can escape from a combo by using a Breaker. This is done by pressing F+EX while in a combo. Breakers cost 3 bars of Super Meter so they are quite expensive, but can save you from taking heavy damage. In addition, the player's Kameo Fighter must not already be on the screen before use. In general, you should break as soon as possible to minimize the amount of damage taken.

Although Breakers can be valuable, there are times where it can be more beneficial to not break and instead save Super Meter for other purposes. Some players prefer not to break due to how resource-heavy Breakers are and would rather spend meter on enhancing Special Moves instead.

Kameo

Using a Kameo (KAMEO) to attack the opponent.

Kameo is one of the most important mechanics as it allows the player to call forth their Kameo Fighter to provide assistance. Each Kameo Fighter has their own set of moves that can be used by pressing the KAMEO button along with a directional button if the move requires it. Kameo moves need Kameo Meter in order to be used. Most use up half of the Kameo Meter, while other much stronger Kameo moves use the entire meter.

Fatal Blow

Performing a Fatal Blow (SS+EX) to deal massive damage.

Fatal Blow is a character's most powerful attack. In order to use a Fatal Blow, a player must be at 30% health or less and must press SS+EX. An additional requirement is that the player's Kameo Fighter must not already be on the screen.

Once used, a short cinematic sequence will play before the character performs their attack. If the Fatal Blow successfully connects, it'll deal substantial damage and cannot be combo broken, making it an amazing comeback move and round finisher. After the Fatal Blow hits, it cannot be used again for the remainder of the match.

Fatal Blows gain a short amount of armor upon use, allowing the character to bypass enemy attacks. In some situations though, a well-timed attack will interrupt the Fatal Blow before the armor has time to take effect or after the armor has worn off. They are also very reactable because of the cinematic that plays upon use, so it's easy for opponents to quickly transition into blocking once they see the Fatal Blow. If blocked, Fatal Blows are highly punishable so it can be quite risky to throw them out. It's also worth noting that Fatal Blows cannot be used again for 10 seconds if they're blocked or if they miss.