Like most fighting games, blocking is a very important skill to learn. After all, most people can't really do much in a fight if you can't be bothered to defend themselves. There are three versions of the standard guard: a standing block, a crouching block, and an aerial block.
As a general rule-of-thumb, a standing block will not block attacks that aim low, a crouching block will be vulnerable to overheads and other attacks the aim high, and an aerial block will not work against grounded attacks, especially anti-airs. This is what one might call the high-low mix-up concept.
In addition, blocking any attack will fill up the Action Gauge by a tiny amount. However, the blocker will still suffer from chip damage when blocking more powerful moves and will always lose to any successful throw attempts.
A Royal Block is basically a normal block performed at the exact moment the player's opponent lands an attack. It is indicated by the blocker flashing white and allows the blocker to recover from blockstun much quicker, making it a little easier to fire off a counterattack, as well as gain a bit more meter and lessen the amount of chip damage when blocking special moves. It should be noted, however, that the high-low mix-up concept applies to this type of blocking as well.
A Shield is a special kind of block that completely negates any and all chip damage, as well as prevents the user’s Guard Gauge from being depleted. This makes it the perfect defense against several Decisive Actions - except for the ones that are basically super throws, which it still loses to. In addition, it also pushes the opponent a noticeable distance farther away from the blocker than a normal block would if an attack connects with the Shield.
It should be noted that the high-low mix-up concept is still applied here. However, using the Shield is the only method in which one can block grounded attacks while in the air. In exchange for its usefulness, actually using the Shield consumes the Action Gauge at a steady rate as long as the guard is held up. This means that having a bit of meter saved for use of the Shield is always a good bet.
The Anti-Shield is a defensive maneuver best compared to a parry mechanic. Correct usage of this move can instantly repel an incoming attack, allowing for an opportunity for the player to put the match in their favor - unless the parried attack was a projectile, of course. A successful Anti-Shield rewards the player by having a tiny amount of both their Action and Burst Gauges filled up, and using it even works on moves that are normally unblockable.
However, actually using one costs one bar of the Action Gauge and the repelled opponent can simply use an Anti-Shield of their own to repel their counterattack. In addition, the high-low mix up concept is still in effect - meaning low attacks must be repelled with a crouching Anti-Shield - and the Anti-Shield itself doesn’t work against throws, a fully-charged Shield Crush, and super moves.
After performing an Anti-Shield, the player may opt to perform a Shield Crush, which can break through an opponent’s defense - though it does not completely drain their Guard Gauge and put them into Zero Guard state - and make it easier for them to crush the opposition. The attack itself can be charged and, at maximum charge, becomes unblockable - even against the opponent’s Anti-Shield.
Reversal Action is an action that is used to interrupt the opponent's offensive momentum while blocking. There are two different types of Reversal Actions, which are the Reversal Evade, which is an escape maneuver used to get out of the opponent's path, and the Reversal Crush, which is an invincible counterattack that knocks the opponent away but deals no damage. However, usage of either type of Reversal Action requires one stock of the Burst Gauge to use.
A Throw Escape is a defensive maneuver where the player, upon being hit with a grab by their opponent, attempts to break out of it. However, the timing is painfully strict and can be easily messed up, in which case, the player will get hit with the dreaded Throw Reject Miss, meaning there is no hope of escaping that throw now and free damage for the opponent. In addition, throws cannot be escaped at all when it is done as a counter.
A Crash Burst is a defensive maneuver that emits a shockwave, sending one's opponent away if it hits. They are near-invincible, but can be countered by throws with the correct timing. However, they can only be used with two stocks of the Burst Gauge available. Crash Bursts come in two different variations:
- A Gold Crash Burst is used to gain momentum, press one's advantage further, and can be used as a reversal on wakeup. It also grants a maxed-out Action Gauge - five bars of meter - on hit but completely depletes the Burst Gauge, whether it connects or not.
- A Blue Crash Burst is used as a form of defense to stop an opponent's onslaught. However, it doesn’t completely fill up the user’s Action Gauge, even on hit, but only depletes three-fourths of the two stocks used to intiate the Burst.
A Reversal generally refers to any action that is made immediately after a fighter successfully makes a recovery after being attacked by the opponent or leaves blockstun after blocking an attack.
One example of a reversal is Zagan performing his Nightmare Razor special after getting back up from a knockdown. Although, this can easily apply as well to other characters with “Dragon Punch”-esque attacks that have invulnerability.
Gameplay Mechanics: Movement & Cancelling, Offense, Defense, Gauges, Attack Attributes