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Combo System


Characters fall at different rates when being hit in the air. In general, the heavier they are the faster they fall.

Weight Values
Character Weight
Anji Mito Normal
Axl Low Normal
Baiken Light
Bridget Light
Chipp Zanuff Normal
Faust Normal
Giovanna Light
Goldlewis Dickinson Heavy
Happy Chaos Normal
I-No Light
Jack-O Light
Ky Kiske Normal
Leo Whitefang Heavy
May Light
Millia Rage Light
Nagoriyuki Heavy
Potemkin Heavy
Ramlethal Valentine Light
Sol Badguy Normal
Testament Normal
Zato-1 Normal
Gravity Increase
Characters also become "heavier" the more they are hit, making some combos impossible after a while.
Some attacks launch the opponent less high the more times they're used in a combo.
Ex: Ramlethal's DauroGGST Ramlethal Valentine Dauro.pngGuard:
launches the opponent less with each time it's used in a combo.


When being attacked, characters usually get pushed in the opposite direction.

In mid-screen, only the receiver gets pushed back.
Once the receiver reaches the corner, the rest of the pushback immediately starts to transfer to the attacker equally.
When being hit in hitstun, the pushback from the new attack stacks with the remaining pushback from the previous attack.
When the receiver Bursts or Wall Sticks during hitstop, all pushback immediately cancels on both characters.
When crouching, pushback is slightly decreased.
Pushback Increase
Pushback of attacks increases as time spent in hitstun increases.
Pushback increases in both grounded combos and juggle combos, but the grounded one suffers this effect much more. This means to further extend a combo, it's quite necessary to launch the opponent into the air first.
Certain moves have higher combo blowback scaling than others, increasing pushback at a higher rate. Some moves may also apply different combo blowback scaling on combos when used as a starter.

Increasing Hitstun

Crouching Opponents
Crouching opponents take one frame of additional hitstun, meaning there are specific combo routes for crouching characters.
Ex: Ky can combo 5KGGST Ky Kiske 5K.pngGuard:
> 6HGGST Ky Kiske 6H.pngGuard:
on crouching opponents, but not on standing opponents.
Counter Hits
Excluding very small Counter Hits, all forms of Counter Hit inflict a slowdown on the opponent that persists even if the opponent is hit again throughout its duration, doubling all hitstun during that period. Further details can be found here. Counter Hits can also alter the properties of moves on hit, enabling follow-ups that are not normally possible.
Roman Cancel Slowdown
All forms of Roman Cancel can inflict slowdown on the opponent if they're within the range of the shockwave, doubling all potential hitstun during that period. Blue Roman Cancel inflicts 60 frames of persistent slowdown, Red Roman Cancel inflicts 40 frames of non-persistent slowdown, Purple Roman Cancel inflicts 20 frames of non-persistent slowdown, and Yellow Roman Cancel inflicts 10 frames of slowdown on hit only. Canceling the Roman Cancel also inflicts slowdown at close range, but for smaller durations.

The Wall

Guilty Gear -Strive-'s premier mechanic is the wall. As the opponent takes damage in the corner, the wall will slowly crack. When the wall is one hit away from shattering, the game will freeze, the opponent will stick against the wall, and any hit will break the wall. Breaking the wall will transition the stage and give the attacker Positive Bonus.

Wall Damage
Everything to the right of Ky here is near the wall. Total wall damage is capped to 50% when the opponent is not located near either wall.

Counterintuitively, wall damage is tied to each character rather than the walls themselves. Characters still receive "wall damage" even when they are not near a wall. Players familiar with other fighting games can think of it like an invisible stun mechanic.

Each attack deals a certain amount of wall damage per hit. Typically 300-700 per attack and 1000 for a throw.

  • Total wall damage is capped to 1500 (50%) if the opponent is not near a wall at the moment the attack begins.
  • Wall damage is uncapped if the total already exceeds 1750. Dust Attacks and throws also ignore the cap.
  • Dust Attacks deals 200 extra wall damage if the opponent is touching a wall.

Wall damage continues to rise at a rate of 5 per frame until the combo ends (e.g. the opponent recovers from hitstun or lands flat on the floor).

  • Wall damage also rises at a rate of 5 per frame while in the Guard Crush state (e.g. blocking Potemkin's Garuda ImpactGGST Potemkin Garuda Impact.pngGuard:
    All (Guard Crush)
  • If the opponent has at least 1500 wall damage, they will only receive further time-based wall damage if they are touching a wall.
  • Time-based wall damage is paused during hitstop and throw animations.

When a player is not being hit, wall damage is recovered at a rate of 10 per frame.

  • This is halved to 5 per frame while the player is touching a wall.
  • Blockstun and wake-up animations count as not being hit, so wall damage will continue to be recovered during them.
  • Recovery is paused during hitstop.

Recovering from a Wall Stick or a knockdown caps wall damage to 2500. Recovering from a Wall Break or a Homing Jump combo will reset wall damage to 0.

The current amount of wall damage can be discerned to some extent by the size of the crack in the wall.

  • No crack: Less than 2000 wall damage.
  • Small crack: At least 2000 wall damage.
  • Large crack: At least 2500 wall damage.
  • Wall Stick: At least 3000 wall damage.

Note that against a grounded opponent, the wall damage dealt by an attack is not actually counted until you hit the opponent again.

Wall Stick
A launched opponent will stick to a wall on contact (for 60 frames) if they have at least 3000 wall damage after being hit.
A grounded opponent will only stick if they already had at least 3000 wall damage before being hit.
Certain attacks will never cause a Wall Stick, a Wall Break, or both (e.g. a raw, fully charged Dust Attack, Throws, Red Roman Cancel).
Wall Break
Regardless of the kind of Wall Break, the defender takes 50 base damage, both characters end up mid-screen and the attacker gains Positive Bonus.
Wall Breaks deal 74% minimum damage. This damage is not affected by proration, but is affected by defense modifiers and Guts.
Normal Wall Break
Breaking the wall with a normal or special results with both players recovering from the Wall Break at the same time.
It's functionally the same as a round start, so characters with good round start options will generally be stronger.
Overdrive Wall Break
Most Overdrives will break the wall regardless of wall damage.
Breaking the wall with an Overdrive knocks the opponent down after the Wall Break rather than resetting both players to a neutral state.
The knockdown is about +36, giving the attacker plenty of time to continue their offensive.

Damage Scaling

There are 3 standard factors when assigning damage: Defense Modifier, Guts Rating and R.I.S.C. Level, as well as 2 non-standard factors assigned on a move-by-move basis: Proration and Off The Ground. When combined, they determine how much damage your character will take at every point in the Life Gauge. It's important to learn how strong/weak/effective your attacks will be at different points of the battle.

Read each individual section below to understand how they work.

R.I.S.C. Level

A positive R.I.S.C. Level is denoted by the pink bar filling the gauge. If it fills completely, the bar turns red and a flashing warning sign appears next to the gauge.

R.I.S.C. Level is displayed in the R.I.S.C. Level Gauge, located underneath your character's Burst Gauge. It directly affects damage scaling. The R.I.S.C. level ranges from -12800 to 12800, with any positive amount being shown on the R.I.S.C. Gauge, and a negative amount results in combo scaling.

Any time you block or are hit, the R.I.S.C. level changes.

R.I.S.C. Gain
The R.I.S.C. Level rises each time an attack is blocked normally or with an Instant Block. Using Faultless Defense or Instant Faultless Defense prevents the R.I.S.C. Level from increasing. Once you stop blocking, or if there is R.I.S.C. left over after taking a hit, the gauge will slowly drain after a short period of time. Attacks with a higher Attack Level build more R.I.S.C., and some characters have their R.I.S.C. Level increase faster than other characters. Each character's gain modifier can be found here.
  • Every blockable move has a R.I.S.C. Gain value. See the character frame data for R.I.S.C. Gain on each move, and Base R.I.S.C. Gain for how this is calculated.
  • Displayed R.I.S.C. Gain is increased by 50% if an 'All' guard attack is blocked in the air, or by 100% if a low or an overhead is blocked in the air.
  • R.I.S.C. Gain is halved (multiplied with Air Block modifier) after an attack is blocked until the R.I.S.C. Level starts depleting. This will apply to all subsequent hits in a multi-hit attack.
R.I.S.C. Loss
Getting hit lowers the R.I.S.C. Level. When the R.I.S.C. Level empties, the value continues to lower into the negatives (not shown on the gauge) when damage is dealt, and damage scaling will start to take effect, decreasing damage. The amount of scaling depends on the current R.I.S.C. Level value, and the effect is cumulative through the entire combo. Once the combo ends and the opponent leaves hitstun, any negative R.I.S.C. returns to zero and damage scaling is reset.
  • Every hittable move has a R.I.S.C. Loss value, with 1000 being the standard. See the character frame data for R.I.S.C. Loss on each move.
  • If the current R.I.S.C. Level is positive when attacked, the current value will be reduced by 25% before applying R.I.S.C. Loss. This applies even if the hit in question has 0 R.I.S.C. Loss.
    • This does not apply to any and all types of throw, which reduce R.I.S.C. Level by a flat value once all damage is dealt. However, Purple Roman Canceling a throw before all damage is dealt will apply R.I.S.C. Loss like a standard hit.
    • This also does not apply to a Red Roman Cancel shockwave, which does not reduce R.I.S.C. Level in any way.
  • Multi-hit attacks only lower the R.I.S.C. Level the first time they hit, and any damage scaling caused by this will not apply to subsequent hits of the same attack.
    • Specific multi-hit cinematics may calculate certain hits separately. Scaling will reduce the damage of subsequent hits, and subsequent hits of R.I.S.C. Loss calculate as 0 R.I.S.C. Loss. Check additional details of moves on character frame data for more information.
  • R.I.S.C. Gain Modifier does not affect R.I.S.C. Loss.
When Empty
Diagram showing the damage scaling applied by negative R.I.S.C. values. (Full maths here).
If R.I.S.C. Level is at zero, R.I.S.C. damage scaling does not come into effect until it enters negative values.
If R.I.S.C. Level is in negative values (not shown on the gauge), R.I.S.C. Level damage scaling starts to take effect, and will reset to zero once the combo ends.
When Partially Filled
R.I.S.C. Level damage scaling does not come into effect until the R.I.S.C. Level enters negative values.
When Full (Red w/Flashing Warning Sign)
R.I.S.C. Level damage scaling does not come into effect, and the next hit is a guaranteed Counter Hit.
If the hit is a strike, it becomes a Large Counter Hit unless the strike locks the opponent's position or leads into a special cinematic state on hit.
R.I.S.C. Counter Hits deal 10% additional damage in addition to the standard 10% damage increase of all Counter Hits.

Proration is still applied in combos regardless of R.I.S.C. Level. The R.I.S.C. Level slowly empties while the character is in a neutral state.


Proration (also referred to as base combo scaling) is a percentage-based damage modifier applied to certain attacks independently of other forms of damage scaling in order to reduce the damage of certain combos for the sake of game balance. Proration comes in two varieties: Initial proration and forced proration.

Initial Proration
Factored in only when the first attack of a combo is done with an attack with this property, prorating all subsequent attacks in the combo.
Generally applied to quick attacks that are common as pressure or mix-up (particularly lows), as a way to balance their speed and keep damage reasonable in situations where the opponent's R.I.S.C. Level is likely elevated.
Forced Proration
A more harsh version of initial proration, prorating all subsequent attacks in a combo no matter what. For example, all normal throws have forced proration.

Proration does not stack, as lower percentages overwrite higher percentages.

Off The Ground

Attacks that hit an opponent during Hard Knockdown are considered Off The Ground (OTG), dealing a percentage of their regular damage determined on a move-by-move basis. Most attacks deal 80% damage OTG, but some will deal 60% or 100%. Attacks that deal 100% damage OTG are typically attacks that swing downward, towards the ground, while attacks that deal 60% damage OTG are typically attacks that launch upwards.

Successive hits after an OTG are all considered OTG hits and scale accordingly. However, unlike other forms of damage reduction, this modifier only applies to the hit in question, each hit uses its own modifier.

Minimum Damage

Overdrives deal 20% minimum damage. Wall Breaks deal 74% minimum damage. This damage is not affected by proration, but is affected by defense modifiers and Guts.

Guts and Defense Ratings

All characters have 420 life. Depending on how much life a character has left, there are different levels of damage scaling. This damage scaling is different than the type given by the R.I.S.C. Level; both affect damage scaling at the same time.


Guts acts as a type of damage scaling that gets more intense the lower a character's life. For example, an attack that would do 100 damage to Sol at full life would only do 50 damage when he is at less than 10% life.

This means that the Life Gauge is misleading; a Life Gauge that visually looks like it's 50% full actually has much more than 50% life left.

Each character has a Guts Rating. As you can see, the lower the Guts Rating, the less damage scaling a character will receive at lower life values.

Guts Rating
Guts Rating ≤ 70% Life ≤ 60% Life ≤ 50% Life ≤ 40% Life ≤ 30% Life ≤ 20% Life ≤ 10% Life
0 97% 92% 89% 84% 75% 66% 56%
1 96% 91% 87% 82% 73% 63% 53%
2 95% 90% 85% 80% 70% 60% 50%
3 94% 89% 83% 78% 67% 57% 47%
4 93% 88% 81% 76% 64% 53% 44%
5 92% 87% 79% 74% 60% 50% 41%

The implications of the Guts system also leads to interesting damage optimization choices when the opponent is low on life.

  • Attacks do a minimum of 1 damage per hit, so attacks and combos that do lots of small hits can end up doing more damage than standard combos in low life scenarios.
  • Single hit, big damage attacks can effectively do "more" damage when the opponent is near the life threshold of gaining another defensive boost.
    • Example: Doing a single big hit when an opponent is at 41% health so that they have less life with the <30% life defense bonus.
  • Life gain effects ( Faust's healing items) and life drain effects ( Nagoriyuki during Blood Rage) are also unaffected by Guts.

A list of every character's individual Guts values can be found here.

Character Defense

Guilty Gear has character-specific defense and Guts. The chart below shows each character's defense modifier and Guts Rating.

As you can see, Chipp's defense modifier is the largest and Potemkin's defense modifier is the smallest (excluding Giovanna with 100% Tension). This means that an attack that inflicts 100 damage on Ky (x1.00) would inflict 126 on Chipp (x1.26) and only 93 on Potemkin (x0.93), assuming Guts is not a factor.

Defense Modifiers
Character Defense (Truncated) Defense (Exact) Guts
Anji 1.06 272/256 5
Axl 1.07 276/256 1
Baiken 1.11 286/256 4
Bridget 1.06 272/256 0
Chaos 1.03 266/256 1
Chipp 1.26 324/256 4
Faust 1.01 260/256 0
Giovanna 1.03 264/256 1
Giovanna (50~99% Tension) 0.97 264/256 -5% ※ 1
Giovanna (100% Tension) 0.93 264/256 -10% ※ 1
Goldlewis 0.96 246/256 3
I-No 1.06 272/256 1
Jack-O' 1.11 286/256 2
Ky 1.00 256/256 2
Leo 1.00 256/256 3
May 1.06 272/256 4
Millia 1.18 304/256 2
Nagoriyuki 0.96 248/256 4
Potemkin 0.93 240/256 3
Ramlethal 1.06 272/256 1
Sol 0.98 252/256 2
Testament 1.04 268/256 1
Zato 1.07 276/256 0

※: Giovanna's defense increase is applied separately to her defense modifier. As a result, damage may vary from the expected value due to truncation during damage calculation. For example, at 100% Tension, she takes 92 damage from a 100 base damage attack, but takes 186 damage (93 doubled) from a 200 base damage attack.

Effective Health (EHP)

Effective Health measures the raw amount of damage a character can take, taking Guts and the defense modifier into account. This is not a true measure of character defense in practical terms, as Guts does not apply retroactively when taking damage, but this can be used as a guideline for how Guts influences a character's defense. Note that these values are calculated from truncated defense values, and therefore may not be 100% accurate. The final Effective Health value is rounded to the nearest whole number.

Effective Health
Character Defense Guts Effective Health %Median
Anji 1.06 5 553 110%
Axl 1.07 1 485 96%
Baiken 1.11 4 510 101%
Bridget 1.06 0 477 95%
Chaos 1.03 1 504 100%
Chipp 1.26 4 449 89%
Faust 1.01 0 502 100%
Giovanna 1.03 1 504 100%
Giovanna (50~99% Tension) 0.97 1 535 106%
Giovanna (100% Tension) 0.93 1 558 111%
Goldlewis 0.96 3 571 113%
I-No 1.06 1 489 97%
Jack-O' 1.11 2 480 95%
Ky 1.00 2 533 106%
Leo 1.00 3 548 109%
May 1.06 4 534 106%
Millia 1.18 2 452 90%
Nagoriyuki 0.96 4 590 117%
Potemkin 0.93 3 589 117%
Ramlethal 1.06 1 489 97%
Sol 0.98 2 544 108%
Testament 1.04 1 499 99%
Zato 1.07 0 474 94%

Other Damage

Chip Damage
When special moves or Overdrives are blocked, they deal a percentage of their base damage as chip damage to the opponent.

Special moves and Overdrives follow these general rules regarding chip damage:

  • Strike specials and Overdrives: 25%
    • Strikes that apply Guard Crush on block: 50% ※1
    • Ky's strikes during Shock State: 50% ※2
    • Ky's strikes during Dragon InstallGGST Ky Kiske 214214H 1.pngGuard:
      : 75% ※2
※1: This excludes Anji's KouGGST Anji Mito 236S.pngGuard:
12 [28]
※2: Excludes the first hit of Stun DipperGGST Ky Kiske 236K 1.pngGuard:
Low, All
-15 [-10]
, which has no special properties in this state
  • Projectile specials and Overdrives: 12%
    • Projectiles that apply Guard Crush on block: 25%
    • Ky's projectiles during Shock State: 25%
    • Ky's projectiles during Dragon InstallGGST Ky Kiske 214214H 1.pngGuard:
      : 37%

In rare cases, there are even normal moves that can deal chip damage to the opponent:

  • Nagoriyuki's Blood Gauge normals:
    • Level 1: 10%
    • Level 2: 15%
    • Level 3: 20%
    • Blood Rage: 35%

Any chip damage that would K.O. a defender with 2 or more life will reduce their life to 1 instead. That means chip damage can only kill someone if they are exactly at 1 life. This also means that special moves and Overdrives that do multiple hits are much more effective at low life scenarios since they can bring a defender to 1 life and immediately deal the fatal hit of chip damage.

Life Drain
Nagoriyuki's life drain during Blood Rage is unaffected by Guts. It also can not K.O. him.

Invalid Combos

Top means it was a combo. Bottom means you could have blocked.

During the last few frames of a floating crumple or the entire duration of a Guard Crush, players are stuck in a state where the only actions they can do is block or not block. Getting hit during this time results in an invalid combo.

During a stagger, players can time a button press to be able to block. If players are hit by an attack that connects during the window they could've blocked in after a successful stagger recovery, the HUD will show an invalid combo.