BBCF/Ragna the Bloodedge/Strategy
Maintaining offense is a very important aspect of Ragna's gameplan, although not his strongest. Learning how to mix-up and apply pressure properly is the only way to open up a good opponent in order to land combos and inflict damage, and while Ragna does not excel at this, he still has many tricks up his sleeve.
Whenever your attacks get consistently blocked, you need a way to open the opponent up in order to inflict damage. The most common ways are overheads and throws. Ragna is by no means a mix-up character but can be a force to be reckoned with good use of his normals and specials. His main tools are: 5B, 2A, 2B, 2C, 2D, 6B, and throws. Occasionally, cross-ups such as cross-up j.B, cross-up Blood Scythe, and cross-up instant air dash D Inferno Divider are also viable. Refer to the Move List to learn more about these moves.
Ragna's pressure is quite solid. His abundance of late-cancels on many normals make his stagger pressure extremely threatening. Combining that with his all-around solid frame data, large normals, and variety of plus-on-block options for pressure resets, his pressure can be terrifying to deal with.
Example Block Strings
- 1. 2A > 2B > 2C > 5C > 2D
Run-of-the-mill block string. Works at most ranges and can catch jump out attempts. 5C > 2D has a gap and is punishable with a reversal in case 5C gets Instant Blocked, so beware and don't use 2D whenever that happens. 2D can be special canceled for more pressure with Dead Spike and Blood Scythe, but both are answerable even without Instant Blocking, and are thus not advised to go into the habit of using. After 2D you return to neutral and must once again fight for the pressure.
- 2. 2A > 2B > (5B) > 3C > 2D or jc
Must be done at fairly close ranges and contains 3 lows. You can choose to continue pressure by jump canceling the blocked 3C into jump in j.C. However, that's quite easy to punish so dont use it too often. 2B can be canceled straight into 3C if range is an issue.
- 3. 2A > 2C > delay 5C > (2D)
A block string packed with frame traps for those who love to mash. Again, refrain from using 2D whenever the 5C gets Instant Blocked.
- 4. 2A > (2B) > (2C) > 6B > 2D
Basic block string into Ragna's standing overhead, 6B. Not particularly difficult to block since everyone knows that 6B can come after 2A/2B/2C. 6B > 2D can keep you safe on block, but even on normal block there will be a gap to challenge.
- 5. 2A > 5B (or Gauntlet Hades attempt) > 3C (or ground/air Gauntlet Hades attempt)
The earlier the Gauntlet Hades, the better. Slightly more difficult to predict and block than the previous block string, but riskier as well. In case Gauntlet Hades gets blocked, the Spin Kick followup can be used to catch possible punish attempts, however this is incredibly risky as it's extremely unsafe on block, and crouching forces it to whiff - you should expect that your opponent knows that. Using Gauntlet Hades is a better option if you have at least 50% Heat to make it safe on block by Rapid Canceling it and continuing to apply pressure.
Below you can find a blockstring gaps table based on Normal Block.
0 = no gap, delaying at all will make a gap.
Less than 0 = you have (X) frames to work with before a gap is made.
Above zero = the size of the gap (1f gap, 2f, etc.).
|6D > j.D||-5||-3||2||-2||-1||14||3||2||10||2||5||7||11||5||14||16|
Those were just simple examples, but Ragna can do much better than that using other strategies and mix-ups. The strings themselves arent as important so much as the way they can be linked into each other. Some (albeit few) of Ragna's moves are positive on block and can be used to reset block strings so pressure can be maintained from them, such as:
- 2C - +1 on block. One of his best options afterward is dash 2A > block string. However, it can lose to Instant Block and mashing. In that case use other moves such as 5C, 3C, or 2A without a dash to not get countered.
- 6D > j.D - Slow startup, but when blocked gives another opportunity to pressure and mix-up. A very important tool and can be canceled into from practically any move. You can also whiff the j.D and go for a quick low such as 2B for a slight mixup. Don't be too predicable with it, though, since the start-up is rather slow and can lose to mashing.
- Dead Spike > Dash Cancel - Another potentially advantageous move on block. 2A and 5B are relatively safe if done at short and long distances respectively. Dont be predictable with this one, since jumping can cause the Dead Spike to whiff and allow for a punish.
- Blood Scythe - +3 on block. A very slow move to start-up, but when blocked gives Ragna the advantage.
The key to pressure is mixing these moves into your block strings, for example:
Block string #3 plus #5 2A > 2C > delay 5C > Dead Spike > dc 2A > 5B (or Gauntlet Hades attempt)> 3C (or ground/air Gauntlet Hades attempt)
Block string #4 into #1 plus #2 2A > (2B) > (2C) > 6B > 6D > j.D > 2A > 2B > 2C > dash 2A > 2B > (5B) > 3C > 2D or jc
That's the basic idea behind Ragna's mix-up. Don't forget to put some throws in the mix! But that's not the only thing he has to offer.
Easy to execute and a very powerful tool. It basically consists of multiple 2A's delivered at different timings to create frame traps or reset pressure. It's hard to deal with since the opponent is forced to block in case of a frame trap timing stuffing mash attempts. However, Barrier Guard and Instant Barrier can push you farther away and make this lose effectiveness more quickly. So make sure to mix this with other block strings and moves.
- 2A > delay 2A > dash 2A...
Delay 2A creates a frame trap and dash 2A puts you closer to start a better block string. Then mix everything so something like this can be done:
- 2A > 2C > Blood Scythe > dash 5B (or throw attempt) > 2B > 2C > dash 2A (or throw attempt) > 2A > dash 2A (or throw attempt) > 5B > Gauntlet Hades
This particular string is hard to react and block for most part. You can also throw at any of these points. Blocking for too long can be uncomfortable even for the most experienced players, so the Gauntlet Hades at the end can certainly hit since Ragna has many more options after 5B, including lows. In the event that it gets blocked, you can still Rapid Cancel to continue your pressure with another block string.
Note: Blood Scythe should be used very sparingly in block strings. Despite being plus on block, it is, as mentioned, incredibly slow. Even if the opponent is in blockstun when you start it, they will almost certainly recover by the time it becomes active. It is merely something to consider if the opponent is unwilling to challenge your offense.
Okizeme occurs when an opponent is forced to recover in a way that gives you initiative to begin pressure. Even though Ragna's main strength doesn't lie in mix-ups and okizeme, he's more than capable of getting in to inflict pressure. Ragna's okizeme, as stated before, starts after finishers/knockdowns such as Hell's Fang, Inferno Divider (to Ax Kick), and Nightmare Edge. Ideally, Ragna gets the greatest amount of advantage from Nightmare Edge, but there will be times when the other two are the only way to end a combo.
- Inferno Divider >> Upper >> Ax Kick
After Ax Kick, Ragna lands right next to the opponent at slight advantage, assuming the opponent techs immediately. If they attempt a late tech, use 2B > 5B > 5D(1) > Gauntlet Hades to catch them off the ground and carry further into the corner. In the event they obediently tech, dash in and start pressure with either 2A, 6D, or even an immediate throw. Watch out for reversals, if the opponent has any, as they can beat any of these options. You can also try to execute the rather gimmicky but surprisingly effective cross-up instant air dash into D Inferno Divider (into Rapid Cancel) in order to catch the opponent off-guard and go into a very damaging combo. 50 Heat will be required for the Rapid Cancel to convert off of the hit.
- Hell's Fang >> Follow-up
Gives Ragna considerable advantage and much better mix-up options, especially in the corner. Mid-screen, despite the deceptive distance and recovery from Follow-up, it also gives enough time for Ragna to dash in and 5B, which can beat jump out attempts and forward rolls. Many players who back roll then like to jump to freedom, so consider the option of airdash into air throw in these cases.
- Nightmare Edge ( >> Follow-up)
Ragna's new best ender as of Central Fiction. Gives Ragna even more advantage than Hell's Fang, and slightly more corner carry. Options afterward are fairly similar, though in mid-screen Ragna can also elect to not use the follow-up to end with the opponent right in front of him with a ton of frame advantage, allowing for possibilities such as a cross-up microdash j.B.
In the corner, Ragna can set up for safejumps and their associated mix-ups by ending a combo in Inferno Divider (into Straight Punch) and Not Over Yet. After ending the combo, jump and do one of the following:
- 1. j.C - Time the j.C to potentially connect right before you land, for a safejump. In other words, if they block on wakeup the j.C hits, if they reversal the j.C whiffs but you land and recover in time to block and punish the reversal. It can also catch forward rolls, in case they try to escape from the corner. Works better with neutral jump. j.B can also be used to the same effect and it catches forward rolls more easily than j.C.
- 2. Air dash j.C >> j.D - Delayed double overhead mix-up, typically used after the opponents starts respecting your okizeme and blocks. Because most people are used to blocking high and then low at a set timing, this simple mix-up becomes very effective. Committing to mix-ups like this will lose the safejump and thus leave you vulnerable to reversals again, so be sure that your opponent is actually willing to block first.
- 3. 2B - Empty jump-in into low setup. Expecting the j.C, and thus blocking high, makes the 2B hit unsuspecting opponents. It's a very good option to throw off their guard. It can lose to mashing, throws and obviously reversals.
- 4. Throw - Yet another mix-up option as an empty jump-in. As usual, mix-up this with any of the above to keep yourself unpredictable.
- 5. Air dash j.C >> delay j.D (whiff) >> 2B/throw - A very tricky mix-up that is specifically used to catch those who are expecting to block the regular air dash j.C > j.D mix-up. Game their reactions with a j.D that doesn't become active before you land, then performing either the 2B low or a throw.
If you end a combo near the corner, while you won't have a safejump, you do still get one additional distinct okizeme option.
- 6. Meaty Dead Spike >> Dash Cancel - Dead Spike gives Ragna considerable advantage and even more so if done as the opponent wakes up. It forces them to block and basically lets Ragna in for free.
This setup loses to projectile invulnerable specials and Distortion Drives, as well as delayed neutral techs, so be wary of these options.
Don't forget that all of these setups except for 1 and 6 will lose to any reversals. Just remember to always mix up these options and never let yourself become predictable.
Ragna's defensive game, like the rest of him, is quite well-rounded.
- He has a strong DP in C Inferno Divider, which is fast with a good hitbox, making it a great option for escaping pressure and taking your turn back. However, like any other DP, it carries a lot of risk with it, so generally restrict its use to places you know it will work, or when you have 50% Heat. In Overdrive, his DP can be comboed off of meterlessly, letting you get better okizeme and damage. ODr > DP is a good option against some things that would normally force you to immediately EA.
- While Carnage Scissors is a reversal, when being pressured up close you should use DP > Rapid Cancel instead. This is advantageous on block, and on hit will provide better okizeme than CS outside of the corner, even letting you sideswap the opponent into the corner. Carnage Scissors is most useful as a reversal versus zoners, due to how far it travels across the screen. Making them whiff a projectile through the invulnerability is in most cases a guaranteed punish.
- In terms of abare, Ragna has pretty good buttons for contesting pressure:
- At closer ranges use 2A. It is a fairly standard, functional jab all around. Do not use 5A, as while it is 5f fast, it will whiff crouchers. In select scenarios it can be useful for escaping grounded pressure, but you should mostly use 5A as an anti-air.
- At longer ranges, use 5B. It is fantastic for contesting at longer ranges and a great whiff punisher, making it a very effective tool once your opponent has been pushed back with Barrier/Instant Barrier.
- For anti-airing out of pressure, Ragna has a couple options:
- 6A is his dedicated anti-air, and is a great reaction anti-air due to the extremely fast head invulnerability. However, it can be easily baited because of its small hitbox and long recovery, so be careful when using it.
- Ragna's safest anti-air is 5A. While it lacks any head invulnerability or verticality in its hitbox, it is 5f fast, allowing you to stuff IADs or longer range jump-ins quite well. Its greatest strength is its fast 9f recovery, making baiting it extremely difficult.
- Ragna's Counter Assault is quite good, using the same hitbox as 5B. It's preferable to DP > Rapid Cancel instead with your 50 meter, as this will get you a short combo/your turn back; but in a scramble, scary pressure situation, or gapless blockstring, his CA is a good tool to get the opponent off of you, and is also much harder to bait. However, be aware that it can whiff if the opponent is too close, leaving Ragna open for a punish, and it can also be low profiled by moves such as Bullet 2BGuard:
Ragna's neutral game is a lot stronger comparatively than his offense game, but it requires a good, deep understanding of Ragna's moves and how each should be used in what situations.
- Ragna's primary footsies normals (5B, 5C, 2D, j.C) are all very powerful. They can lead to good combos on hit and are relatively safe when used outside of point-blank range. 5B is also incredibly easy to hit confirm into damage and good okizeme afterwards. Be sure to use these moves a lot; Ragna isn't called a footsies character for nothing.
- Ragna's anti-air game is decent. It works well for the capabilities that he is given, but it's nothing particularly special. Regardless, it will still give opponents who try to approach you from the air a problem.
- 6A is considered to be Ragna's official anti-air, and its range and time frame of head invulnerability makes this move work a lot of the time. However, the move has quite a lengthy recovery, and a few characters can take advantage of that, a prime example being Hakumen's HotaruGuard:
-. Unfortunately, 6A is only jump cancelable on hit, meaning that you're forced to cancel into a drive or a special, putting yourself more at risk. Because of this, you're often discouraged to use 6A as an anti-air, but it is still useful in many situations.
- 5A is also a very powerful anti-air given for its quick speed and easy hit confirm off of it. Compared to 6A, 5A leads into slightly less damaging combos, and doesn't have any invulnerability, but it is much safer to use in neutral. Additionally, 5A can gatling into absolutely any move, so you can go straight into a mix-up if you catch the opponent blocking your 5A in the air (it is also safe, so you can bait any reversals that you expect).
- Although not conventionally an anti-air, 5B surprisingly serves well to catch lower jump-ins. It's faster than 6A, the hitbox is decent, the combos from this move output a lot of damage, and it's incredibly easy to hit confirm into a combo on Counter Hit. Keep in mind however there is also a hurtbox at his foot, and using the move when close to the opponent will often result in the opponent beating your move out. Because of this, limit its use to ranged situations, just like you would on ground.
- 6A is considered to be Ragna's official anti-air, and its range and time frame of head invulnerability makes this move work a lot of the time. However, the move has quite a lengthy recovery, and a few characters can take advantage of that, a prime example being Hakumen's HotaruGuard:
- Ragna's air-to-ground approach is still reasonably strong thanks to j.C. While this may give you an easier time when in the air, anti-airs will still be able to beat your air approaches out, and j.C doesn't make Ragna's aerial game that much stronger to the point where you should be in the air all the time. It's still important to stay grounded as much as possible.
- As far as Ragna's air-to-air capabilites are concerned, Ragna tends not to spend much time in the air due to the sheer usefulness of his ground normals. However, that's not to say that his air normals are lacking.
- j.A is fast and cancels into itself on block. It therefore can be used as a safer alternative in situations that would normally force you to use one of Ragna's other anti-airs, such as 6A or C Inferno Divider, should you be in the position to use it. Not only that, but high jumping into j.A allows you to pursue an opponent normally too high for conventional anti-airs.
- j.D is used scarcely in neutral due to Ragna not really benefiting at mid range in the air, but it's worth noting that it's quite large and hits above Ragna, which is quite rare for an air normal, and has plentiful hitstun should you land it.
Tips and Tricks
Ragna's pressure is basic, but effective, and learning how to counter each of his moves is integral to dealing with it.
Normals & General Tips
One of Ragna's best offensive options is 2A stagger pressure. If Ragna gets in close and starts using 2A stagger, the safest counter is to use barrier block (or preferably instant barrier block). This will quickly push Ragna out and force him to use other means to maintain his pressure, that will have clearer, better counters.
2C is Ragna's go-to blockstring ender, being +1 on block with decent range and fantastic whiff recovery. Something Ragnas may try is spacing out their normals so they whiff 2C instead of hitting it on block, and because of its incredibly fast recovery, they then pressure reset immediately after. Do not let this happen, if you see Ragna whiff 2C, prepare to contest.
6B is Ragna's overhead normal, and is quite reactable. Keep in mind that Ragna can only gatling into 6B from his jabs, 2B, or 2C, so watch for the startup whenever blocking these moves. When 6B is blocked Ragna can still continue pressure, but his followups are limited to 6A, drive attacks, and special moves, making his next move predictable.
6D is a very tricky pressure reset and mixup tool for Ragna. He has three main options that he can do out of it:
- j.D, for overhead mixup or to pressure reset. Note that 6D > j.D is always a true blockstring no matter what. Ragnas will use j.D to condition you to block high and respect 6D, opening up their mixup options. When blocked, j.D is very plus, letting Ragna dash in and reset pressure.
- j.D whiff into mixup. After conditioning you to respect 6D and block high with j.D, Ragna can then whiff the j.D and hit you with a 2B or throw. When j.D is whiffed, Ragna is +1 on block, so if he goes for a mixup and you use a jab, you should beat out his option. Just keep in mind that Ragna is still at advantage, and can frametrap or maintain his turn if he wishes.
- Jump canceling, which isn't a very powerful option, but it exists and is good to keep in mind so you don't let Ragna get any free pressure resets.
- Something important to note about 6D is that it will ALWAYS have a gap before it, letting you reversal through it and avoid its tricky on-block situation. Barriering 6D out also limits Ragna's options afterwards immensely, as j.D is guaranteed to whiff at longer ranges. Overdrive is also a powerful counter to this move, as on whiff it leaves Ragna wide open for a massive punish.
Ragna has a powerful tick throw game, and due to his umremarkable other mixup options it is an important part of his pressure. Something to be wary of versus throws is the Throw Reject Miss (TRM) state, which many Ragnas exploit and bait out, such as with 5A whiff > throw. Be careful using throw OS against Ragna, as he has good options to deal with it.
All of Ragna's special moves have specific counters to them:
A common special move to see in Ragna's pressure as it is a long-range pressure reset that gets Ragna back in close and is plus on block when dash canceled. However, it has several powerful counters to it, that once you start applying will force Ragna to carefully consider when he uses it.
The first is to jump over it. Dead Spike is pretty much always fuzzy jumpable (171), and if you jump over it you can get an easy punish.
The second is instant block (IB). Dead Spike is +2 at the earliest possible dash cancel, meaning that if IB'd it will be minus on block. Against careless players this is an easy spot to score a counter hit, but be aware that better Ragnas will react to the IB and play around it. Even so, you are still robbing him of his frame advantage and putting yourself in the power position.
One of Ragna's few mixup tools, and a risky one, as it is punishable on block. In order to punish Gauntlet Hades on block, use a crouching normal that is 12f or faster, as otherwise you may get caught by the Spin Kick followup attack. Most Ragnas will not use this move without 50 meter to keep it safe, but even so it is an option to always be aware of. The best counter to Gauntlet Hades is to simply react and block it, then punish accordingly. You can hit him out of the startup, but this is obviously risky, made even more so by Gauntlet Hades' ability to high profile some moves.
Example video on punishing Gauntlet Hades with Ragna:
An extremely slow pressure reset, mainly used by Ragnas to keep the opponent grounded. It is +3 on block, so if normal blocked be wary of your next action, as Ragna is at significant advantage. Note that on IB it becomes neutral, opening up your options immensely. The main caveat to this move is that it has 37f startup, making it easily reactable. Do not block Blood Scythe, simply anti-air Ragna out of it. It's worth noting that smaller anti-airs, if timed incorrectly, can clash with Blood Scythe due to its large, disjointed hitbox. Make sure to practice the timing for anti-airing Blood Scythe with your character to avoid this happening.
Air Blood Scythe is a very different move, with much faster startup but much worse frame advantage. Ragnas will generally use this in pressure to catch opponents trying to jump out, but if blocked note that Ragna is very minus, potentially punishable depending on the height the move was used at.
Hell's Fang is typically used to catch jump startup, or as a powerful pressure reset with 50 meter. On block this move is -4, making it relatively safe but putting Ragna at significant disadvantage. If IB'd, it becomes punishable, making this the preferred counter to Hell's Fang. Overdrive is also a powerful counter to this move, as ODing through it gives a guaranteed punish (make sure to punish with a fast button if ODing through the first hit, or you may be hit by the followup attack).
Ragna's defensive tools are good, but nothing particularly special.
Ragna's only real defensive option outside of system mechanics is his DP, in C Inferno Divider. It is quite fast, with a large vertical and horizontal hitbox (it even hits behind him, which can be relevant to some characters such as Azrael). This makes baiting it somewhat difficult, but not improbable. Just be careful not to give Ragna too much freedom by over-respecting his DP.
Ragna's anti-air game is decent, fantastic in certain scenarios and underwhelming in others. Ragna can use his 5A as an anti-air, due to its fast 5f startup and high hitbox, which is very good at stuffing low jump-ins and instant air dashes. It's also extremely difficult to bait because of its fast recovery, which is why you want to try and approach Ragna from higher angles. 5A will not help him from an attack directly above him. In that scenario, he will have to use 6A, which is much easier to play around. 6A has very fast head invulnerability, but its hitbox is small, and its recovery is long, making it very easy to bait. It can also be crossed up due to the input, so ambiguous crossups are powerful against 6A.
Ragna's pokes are extremely good, and this helps him contest pressure quite well, depending on the character he's facing. If he pushes you back with barrier or instant barrier to his range, and you are a character with stubby buttons who cannot contest in that range, Ragna is in a very good position. Pay close attention to his barrier usage and try to stay within your own range.
It's also worth noting that Ragna's 2A is 7f fast, and his 5A whiffs crouchers, meaning that his fastest reliable button out of pressure is 7f. This can be useful in certain scenarios, such as a ±0 on block situation if you have a faster jab.
Ragna's neutral is strong, being the area he excels in the most.
Ragna has many large buttons that he uses to control space in neutral. His main footsies tools are 5B, 5C, j.C, and 2D, which all have great range and are easily hit confirmable. If you cannot contest Ragna's range, then you will have to be cautious about making your way in. If going for an airborne approach, try to approach from a higher angle so Ragna is unable to use 5A, and be prepared to bait out his 6A and punish him. IADs are risky against Ragna, since his anti-airs are suited to stuffing fast, low airborne approaches.
Ragna's air-to-air game is decent as well. j.A is a very fast midair check, j.C is a large, powerful general-use air normal (that is also his go-to air-to-ground button), and j.D, while having limited use due to its slow startup, hits above Ragna, which is something to be wary of.
Ragnas will typically stay grounded, using his powerful grounded normals to poke at the opponent and whiff punish. 5B is his main footsie tool, and despite how powerful it is it does have its drawbacks. It has 16f of recovery, so if Ragna is careless with his use of 5B then you can whiff punish it or force your turn. However, stay cautious of its 8 active frames, and do not try to whiff punish too early. Note that some characters can low profile 5B, such as Bullet or Izanami with their 2Bs.
In terms of keeping Ragna out, his main approaches will likely be with 5B, j.C, or Hell's Fang (the latter of which has greater detail down below). These are all pretty standard fair moves, with simple but effective uses. Watch Ragna's approach and prepare to whiff punish or stuff him out with your character's favoured tools.
Ragna will not typically use a large number of special moves in neutral, but there are still some that can prove useful.
-4 is the special you will likely see in neutral the most, as it can be a useful get-in tool, especially with meter. Its extremely active hitbox makes it hard to stuff out with normals once it has started travelling, but projectiles and disjointed normals will thwart this move very easily. You can also simply jump over it and punish from there. Be careful not to get counter hit by it as that gives Ragna a massive reward.
Air Gauntlet HadesGuard:
- and air Blood ScytheGuard:
- can both also see some use in neutral, and they share similar purposes. Air Gauntlet Hades flings Ragna across the screen at a wide angle with an active hitbox, making it useful for travelling in some matchups. Air Blood Scythe travels less distance, but hits at a much wider angle, making it more generally applicable. Both of these moves are minus on block and can be anti-aired, so it's preferable to take a passive approach vs them. Just be careful not to give Ragna too much leeway when he's airborne because of these moves, but always remain aware of them.
-5 is Ragna's divekick, and while it doesn't see a massive amount of use in his neutral game, it can be an effective tool to bait anti-airs. Be wary of this when anti-airing Ragna, and if possible try to attack once he's already within range of your attack. Keep in mind that when normal blocked, Nightmare Edge is -5, letting you take your turn back. It also sends Ragna directly downwards, so characters with large horizontal range on their anti-airs (that have their hurtbox retract quickly), such as Es with her 6BGuard:
-9, can safely anti-air Ragna at certain ranges.
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- Active Flow
- Advanced Input
- Attack Attributes
- Attack Level
- Astral Heat
- Auto Heat Gain
- Barrier Block
- Barrier Gauge
- Bonus Proration
- Combo Rate
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- Crush Trigger
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- Purple Throw
- P1, P2
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- Same Move Proration (SMP)
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- Super Flash Buffer
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- Ukemi/Tech (Air)
- Ukemi/Roll/Emergency Tech
- Untechable State