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Frame Advantage

Frame advantage is the concept of who is free to act first after an interaction.

This is most commonly brought up after blocking an attack; who can act first - the attacker or defender? Frame advantage has the answer! A negative value means the defender can act first, and a positive value means the attacker can act first. The value shows exactly how many frames one character can move before the other.

  • Ex: Frame Advantage -5 means the defender is free to move 5 frames before the attacker.
  • Ex: Frame Advantage +2 means the attacker can move 2 frames before the defender.

Each character's full frame data page shows both the frame advantage when an attack is blocked as well as on hit. Air attacks don't have frame advantage listed since that value is heavily influenced by when the attacker lands after an attack.

Frame advantage assumes that the attack connects as soon as possible against a standing/crouching opponent, and that the attacker does not cancel the attack into anything else.

For more information on using frame data see here.


This means you hit the opponent during their attack's recovery. Good job!
Dodging the opponent's attack, then punishing them is a common tactic.

Sometimes "PUNISH" will appear on the HUD. This means that you hit the opponent during the recovery of their attack.

Attacks are punishable on block if the defender has enough time to hit the attacker after blocking the attack. Each character's frame data lists the amount of time to punish an attack on block; this is known as frame advantage/disadvantage. An attack that is -11 on block means that the defender can use an attack that has a start-up of 11 frames or less to punish the opponent. Of course just because an attack is fast enough does not mean it can reach the opponent, so knowledge and practice are still necessary, even when a player knows the numbers. Instant blocking an attack earlier in the blockstring will keep the defender closer to the attacker and make attacks easier to punish.

While the concept of punishing exists in all fighting games, the HUD indicator is helpful for learning while mid-match. Did you actually punish the opponent's attack or were they just not blocking? Now you can know for sure.

One caveat to this is certain attacks are in Counter Hit state during their recovery, such as Ky's Stun Edge. In these cases, the HUD will show COUNTER instead of PUNISH.


Reversal is a term used to refer to either performing an action on the first possible frame after recovery or actions that would be used in such a context, such as moves with invincibility during start-up. The HUD displays the word "REVERSAL" when performing a special or Overdrive immediately after recovering from blockstun, hitstun or knockdown. This message is useful to tell when an attack is performed as fast as possible. Please note that there are two different reversal messages depending on whether the reversal is performed out of stun or after waking up.

Input Buffer

Whenever you press an attack button, it will automatically be buffered for an additional 4 frames, for a total input window of 5 frames. This means that difficult links are easier to do by pressing the button right at the very end of your recovery.

Similarly, the same principle can be applied to dashes. If you complete a dash input within 5 frames of recovery, then regardless of any directional inputs after that, you will begin dashing as soon as recovery ends. This can also be done any time while your character can not move, such as during blockstun, on wake-up, etc.

Super Freeze Buffer

Overdrives are easily reactable...

During an opponent's super freeze (such as when the screen darkens during a Roman Cancel or the camera focuses on the attacker during an Overdrive), players can input a special or Overdrive and it will be executed immediately after the super freeze ends. This means that provided you are not in the middle of an attack, it is trivially easy to react to an opponent's Overdrive with an attack of your own.

This buffer is often used to execute an invincible attack (such as an Overdrive) that will avoid the opponent's attack. This is because Overdrives usually have a bit of start-up even after the super freeze. If you can have an invincible attack out before the opponent's attack becomes active, then you can avoid the attack.

Normally, every character can kara cancel the first 3 frames of start-up on their normals into certain other actions, such as Faultless Defense. While Faultless Defense cannot be buffered during super freeze, it can be held, so if you are in those first few frames during a super freeze, then you can cancel your normal into Faultless Defense to save yourself.

Overdrives may list their start-up values as: start-up pre-flash + start-up post-flash or start-up pre-flash + (super freeze duration) + start-up post-flash.

Meaning an attack with start-up 5+(90)+5 has 5 frames of start-up, then 90F super freeze, then hits the opponent after 5 more frames for a total of 10 frames of start-up.

Overdrives With No Start-Up After Super Freeze
... unless they're active immediately after the super freeze!
Some Overdrives are special: they have no additional start-up after the super freeze. This means that super freeze buffer is useless against these Overdrives because the attack will already be active immediately following the super freeze - you can think of the super freeze as just a formality, the Overdrive has already become active.
 I-No's MegalomaniaGGST I-No Megalomania 1.pngGuardGround Throw (All)Startup11+0(41)RecoveryAdvantageN/A (-18) is a prime example of this; you must already have some way to avoid it before the super freeze or else it will be too late. You can identify such attacks in the frame data by looking at their start-up post-flash, which should be 0.

Counter Hit Confirm Option Select

Large Counter Hits allow players to choose between 2 cancel options afterwards - one that comes out on normal hit or block, and one that comes out on Counter Hit.

During a Large Counter Hit, players can input additional commands during the zoom-in and slowdown effect. These new inputs will override whatever the player inputted previously, letting players input commands that will only come out on a Large Counter Hit.

  •  Ky performs 5H > 236S ~ 214K
    • On normal hit or block,  Ky will perform 5HGGST Ky Kiske 5H.pngGuardAllStartup12Recovery21Advantage-8 > Stun EdgeGGST Ky Kiske 236S.pngGuardAllStartup13RecoveryTotal 46Advantage-14
    • On Counter Hit,  Ky will perform 5HGGST Ky Kiske 5H.pngGuardAllStartup12Recovery21Advantage-8 > Foudre ArcGGST Ky Kiske 214K.pngGuardAllStartup24Recovery6Advantage-2~+6 [+5~+12]

This same principle applies to R.I.S.C. Counter Hits.


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