Axl, everyone's favorite British goofball, hits the ground rough in his GG debut as the most incomplete, rushed character in the game. His moveset is, put bluntly, absolutely awful; both of his supers fail to combo into themselves and are punishable on hit, several attacks are counterintuitive and clunky to use with strange animations resulting in zero combo potential, he can't charge because the devs ran out of time so they just dummied out the code, and his seemingly practical framedata is misleading due to the hitboxes actually being somewhere in Narnia. Winning with Axl is damn near impossible due to how sloppily made he is.
Or at least it seems. Being incomplete has its benefits, such as when the devs sometimes forgot to fill in your hurtbox data as well. Axl is completely invincible at arbitrary intervals on many attacks, and mysteriously sports a 12f overhead that's completely safe on block and an incredibly low profile Instant Kill. Perhaps the move that best exemplifies Axl is Dototsu, a safe-on-block, low profile yet randomly invincible move that also works as a fullscreen option when dashbugged. You can effectively play him as a weird cross between Axl and Anji Mito, abusing invincibility and turtling your opponent out.
He's still pretty awful. But, y'know, at least he's not Potemkin. Also he's got jorts.
Axl uses janky, cheesy, incomplete moves to randomly make stuff whiff and turtle to victory.
- Can't Charge: ArcSys ran out of dev time, so they dummied out Axl's ability to charge. This means Axl misses out on infinite combos and the ability to instantly cancel normals on hit and block.
- Broken Supers: Neither of Axl's supers actually combo with themselves; opponents simply fall out of them and can block and punish the rest.
- Finnicky Ground Buttons: Axl's normals have a tendency to be slower than they appear. Their early hitboxes often appear in an unfavorable position and need to travel to hit where they are wanted. Combined with his awkward gatlings and normals' long total duration, it can be punishing to press buttons against mobile characters.
- Lacking Air Buttons: j.P, j.K, and j.S all cover similar angles, but all have poor range. j.H has an enormous dead zone between him and the Kusarigama's head.
- A quantification of how a character's health bar is reduced when they are hit.
- The act of defending against incoming attacks. Guarding either negates the damage from an attack entirely or reduces it to minor chip damage.
- Guarded against while crouching
- Guarded against in either the crouching or standing state, but not while airborne
- Guarded against in the standing state
- Guarded against while crouching, standing, or while airborne
- Cannot be guarded against, but only applies to grounded opponents
- Cannot be guarded against
- The time before an attack is active including the first active frame. For example, an attack with 10F startup means the attack will do nothing for 9 frames, then hit the opponent on the 10th frame.
- The active frames of an attack refers to the amount of time an attack can hit the opponent.
- The recovery of an attack refers to the amount of time an attacker must wait before they may perform another action, even blocking.
- A measure of frame advantage when the opponent blocks an attack. Positive values indicate that the attacker can act first. Negative values indicate that the defender can act first.
- A measure of frame advantage when the opponent is hit by an attack. Positive values indicate that the attacker can act first. Negative values indicate that the defender can act first.
- Short for InvulnerabilityA state where a character cannot be hit. A common component of reversal moves.
Fairly long ranged and fast normal, and it's angle makes it good for catching air dashes. However, it's mostly outclassed by 2P.
Both buttons are difficult for a variety of characters to contest at roundstart, with 5P being a bit better at catching jumps and 2P being a bit better at catching low profiles.
- fully extended on frame 10
A gap closing overhead for a zoning character. Converts into 214K on hit.
Used to infinite by linking this move into 2P/5P, and then comboing back into 5K. The infinite works best against wide characters—such as Potemkin, Justice, and Ky—and works on roughly half of the cast when the opponent is cornered.
- Typically hits close standing opponents on frame 16, and crouchers or far opponents on frame 20
Giant anti-air and combo normal. Mainly used as combo filler since Axl has better anti-airs.
- Hits in front of axl on frame 12
Very bizarre normal. It's not a good anti-air and the range is so bad it makes you wonder what on earth this move is supposed to do. Does have a crazy amount of active frames but that rarely comes into play.
- Knocks away on hit, probably minus unless you jump cancel
4H or 6H
The first appearance of Axl's classic overhead. In ML it's mostly outclassed by 5K in terms of being an overhead but it's a solid throw OS and high profiles to an absurd degree. Airborne during its recovery meaning even if it is punished, it can't lead into anything meaningful.
As the only H command normal in the game, 4/6H oddly gatlings from 5H and nothing else. This doesn't have very solid applications as this button is substantially minus on hit & block and doesn't cancel into anything, but it's neat.
- Never links into anything, while 5K does
- Hits in front of Axl on frame 16
This is actually a really nice button. It's fast to start up, has an above average hitbox, and becomes essentially a 2S in disguise when allowed to extend fully. On top of that, unlike future games, it can gattling into most of his buttons.The main problem with this, and other chain normals, is that the total duration is long. Be mindful not to whiff.
Anti-air kick. Also used in combo since he often doesn't have a better gatling option. It is air unblockable, but the range isn't great. Probably one of your better reactionary anti-airs since 623S covers a specific angle and is liable to not work against opponents close to you.
- Air Unblockable
A bizarre move which alternates between hitting in front of and behind Axl at regular intervals. Much shorter range than you'd expect for an Axl chain normal, struggles to reach further than many characters' 2Ks.Causes a techable knockdown, which would just be bad but Axl can't even CC to make himself safe so it's pretty egregiously terrible instead. Has no hurtbox at his feet for most of the duration so may have niche use against characters who use a lot of low pokes.
|12x3||Low||12||8(3)8||31||Strike 19~22, 31~34|
"Long" range ground button. The first hit is diagonally up-forwards from Axl which can whiff on many opponents. Unlike future games this is special and jump cancelable. Also unlike future games, this button doesn't go nearly as far as you'd like, it's only slightly longer than your P normals when it's fully extended, which is overall underwhelming because this is your only real "chain" normal that isn't a P button.The most interesting thing about this move is that it's missing hit and hurtboxes at 2 points in the animation, randomly making him unable to hit or be hit for a few frames at a time.
This move is almost good. It has a very tall hitbox, it's fast, and it's really active. The problem is that the entire space between Axl and the head of the kusarigama is a dead zone, effectively making the move into a thin vertical line roughly round-start distance away from him.
- The active frames are so long that under most circumstances you land before a recovery animation can play through
This move makes no sense and has no clear purpose.
Axl does two consecutive weird, tiny hits with his kusarigama with a little hitbox in between, either being cancellable into Homing Jump, but the second hit is pointless and will almost certainly whiff either because it's out of range horizontally or it whiffed on a croucher as did the first. It is frame 3, but calling the hitbox inconsistent would be an understatement.
On top of that, Axl can consistently launch with Dototsu, meaning there isn't even a point comboing into Dust.
- Whiffs on some crouchers
Standard Guilty Gear throw.
- Side Switches on hit
Purgatory: 1000 Cuts
|FATAL||All||18||3||9||N/A||N/A||Above Ankles 1~29|
It's the same Rensen you know and love from later games in the series, but with a major downside: Axl cannot roman cancel (or an equivalent) in this game. In later games, rensen + roman cancel is an incredibly potent, multi-purpose option. Without access to roman cancels, this move is significantly less valuable and is considerably more risky when the opponent avoids it.Oh and it's randomly invuln for a few frames at the very end of the recovery.
|5x2||Mid||6||26||31||Strike 6~14; 51~63|
The first 8 active frames are fully invulnerable, and then the last 12 frames of recovery are also fully invulnerable. The first bit of invuln kinda makes sense for what the move does, but the end? I don't know why. The invuln helps in mitigating this move's bad on-hit/block frame data, as it's difficult for characters not named Chipp to punish him with much, though Axl has to either play RPS or hold pressure after.
As for the intended use of this move, it's a bit spotty as a reactive measure to people jumping over Rensen with how fast IADs are in this game, though it covers a lot of space while being very active once it does come out. Instead, it's mostly used as a minus-but-generally-safe combo followup to Rensen, with both hits either comboing due to a lack of tech or catching the opponent with their air unblockable hits if they do. Since Rensen Geki takes so long to recover on its own, you're often not in a much worse spot using Kyokusa Geki after regardless of on block or whiff, so the common sentiment when playing Axl is "might as well".
- Air Unblockable
|18||Mid||8||19||18||Upper Body 8~11; Strike 40~45|
Big anti-air special with some ok invuln to help it in that aspect. It can follow-up into itself on hit (only on the later active frames, for some reason?) by inputting 623S again, which can be done as many times as it hits. This can make it potentially a fairly high reward anti-air but the hitbox is a bit specific to be especially useful.
Oddly enough, this move is supposed to be charge cancellable, but the developers added a semicolon to the end of the function declaration that would allow him to charge, meaning that when you try to charge, the function doesn't return anything, so he can't charge. With some minor adjustments to the code, Axl is able to charge cancel this special. However, his options after CC are too janky or slow, and he cannot do CC infinites. Nothing ventured, nothing gained, I guess.
- Air Unblockable
|All||5||33||16||KD||Anji 6P shaped 5~38|
Rather than countering specifically highs and mids like in later games, it counters anything that hits the activation box. This means there are crouching mids that will not trigger it and standing lows that will. Aside from that, this counter doesn't lead to a combo, is slow to start up, is unable to be used as a guard cancel for some reason, is competing with other good defensive options, and does absolutely piddly damage on connect to boot. It's not particularly safe to just throw out in neutral at all, either, since the whiff animation's almost a full second long.
This move's most notable feature is that it has a long animation on connect to let the embarrassment of landing it sink in.
For some reason this Tenhou Seki has funky upper body invuln that looks identical to Anji's 6P. This doesn't matter a ton as long as an attack was going to touch its catchbox, but it helps it marginally as an anti-air.
- active frames refers to the duration for which this move can counter.
|28||Overhead||63||15||47||KD||Gone 20~62; Strike 103~114|
This move travels up off the top of the screen then comes back down while enveloped in hitboxes. You can influence Axl's horizontal movement during this move significantly. Unlike in +R, you cannot delay the move by holding the button.
- Invulnerable for a few frames during the animation rising from the belly flop
- There's three 1 frame gaps in the middle of the move's hitboxes, but I can't be bothered to count that nightmare.
One of Axl's better moves. Dototsu is an intermittently invulnerable attack that causes a dust launch on hit, allowing Axl to potentially follow up with different options. This is useful on defense and as a combo ender. It's also safe against most characters when spaced properly, not accounting for guard cancels. Importantly, if dash cancelled with 21466K, the move goes almost full screen, giving Axl a strong burst option in neutral thanks to the invincibility.On hit, following the dust launch is a bit spotty and will seldom lead to reward or even a plus on hit scenario. 41236K can be high reward depending on hurtbox size, but it requires an immediate cancel while you're still grounded in order to combo, which can be hard to react to. If you have a good angle lined up for it, 623S works and keeps you safe, though the amount of times it'll self cancel and how it'll work in general is pretty nebulous. If you do follow the dust launch, j.K>j.S combos when hit early, but you get nothing from there and are potentially minus or punishable on connect. Tends to drop also.
|~50?||Low,All||1||Until Reaches Wall/Enemy||N/A||KD||none|
For some reason, this move isn't listed in Axl's move list in game in either the original release or the 2019 re-releases.
It functions the same as Chipp's Banki MessaiGuardAllStartup9Recovery0 on whiff, 20 on hitAdvantage- in that it travels (very slowly, in comparison) until it reaches the opponent's collision box. When it activates, Axl does a Ranbu-style super that cycles through a bunch of normals before ending in 214K, complete with the dust launch. There's a 2S somewhere in there, so it has to be blocked low and will pop the opponent up for a little launch which'll make the following hits behave strangely.Terrible super that has zero applications. If you manage to hit someone with this, they can tech out after the first hit and punish Axl, and it later drops on hit even if they don't tech. This also applies to his other super, but at least that one deals more damage on its first hit, so there's no upsides to this one.
|50,7x2||All||6||20(21)50||3||KD||Strike 1; All-But-Foot 2~9; Strike 10~14; All-But-Foot 15~36; Strike 37~43|
Drops on hit just like 63214K, and is very easily punished. However, the first hit does a lot of damage, so hit-confirming into this off of a stray hit when your opponent is low enough is a viable kill option. It also reaches near fullscreen so it might have use in getting ranged chip damage, but it could just be jumped upon reacting to the super flash.
If you're feeling spicy or Dototsu keeps getting blown up, this super is a passable but extremely nebulous abare option due to its spotty invulnerability and solid speed. You're likely to be punished even in the best case scenario but since you're picking Axl, the possibility is something you're comfortable with by now.
- What on earth is that invuln