GGST/Gauges

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Life Gauge

This gauge displays your remaining life. If the gauge is depleted, the round or match will end.

All characters have 420 life, but that doesn't mean each character can take the same amount of damage. Each character has a defense rating that scales the damage they take per hit, and as characters pass certain thresholds of their remaining life they take less damage per hit. See Guts and Defense Ratings to learn more.

Tension Gauge

GGST Tension Gauge.png

Tension is a highly important resource in Guilty Gear. It's located at the bottom of the screen and directly affects what options a player has available at any time. Knowing the features and subtleties of the Tension Gauge system is a definite requirement for high-level play. The Tension Gauge starts every round empty, so don't be afraid to use it all each round if you can.

The Tension Gauge is divided into two sections, each representing 50% Tension. The gauge displays one gear for each metered action you can take, for a maximum of two.

Gaining Tension

To increase the Tension Gauge, perform some type of offensive action. This includes attacking the opponent, or simply advancing towards them. As a general rule: the more aggressive the action against the opponent, the faster the Tension Gauge will fill up. Performing these kinds of actions increase Tension Balance, which in turn dictates the amount of Tension gained.

  • Normals build Tension on hit or block
  • Specials build Tension both on start-up and upon touching the opponent on either hit or block
  • Moving towards the opponent slowly builds Tension
  • Blocking builds a small amount of Tension, Instant Blocking increases the amount
  • Clashes build 10% Tension
  • Hitting the opponent with Gold Burst completely fills the Tension Gauge

Spending Tension

Roman Cancels and Overdrives each cost 50% Tension, while Faultless Defense gradually drains Tension as it's used.

Going into Negative Penalty will remove all of your Tension.

Tension Gain Penalty

After using a Roman Cancel or Overdrive, the amount of Tension characters build is reduced by 90% for ?? frames.

After getting Negative Penalty, the amount of Tension characters build is reduced by ?? % for ?? frames.

Burst Gauge

Top: Half-Full Burst Gauge
Bottom: Full Burst Gauge

While at first glance, Bursts simply look like a "combo breaker", there is actually much more to it. There are two different types of Bursts: Blue and Gold. Both have different effects, and understanding how each can be used is crucial to high-level play.

To perform a Psych Burst, press GGST D Prompt.png plus any other attack button with a full Burst Gauge. The Burst will be blue or gold depending on what the character's current state. The differences between each are described below.

Burst Frame Data
Version Damage GuardHow this attack can be blocked. Throws have their throw range listed instead. StartupThe number of frames between inputting an attack and when the attack becomes active. Includes first active frame. ActiveThe number of frames for which a move has hitboxes. Occurs after Startup. RecoveryThe number of frames after a move's active frames during which the character cannot act assuming the move is not canceled. On-BlockThe difference between the attacker's recovery and the period that the opponent is in blockstun. This Frame Advantage value is based off the fact that the very first active frame touches the opponent. Throws list the amount of Frame Advantage upon successfully throwing the opponent. Invuln
Gold Burst 0 All 18 6 22+9 after landing -10 1~45F Full
Blue Burst 0 All 14 6 33+9 after landing -30 1~27F Full
  • Bursts become airborne on frame 1.
  • Gold Burst has an Attack Level of 2, Blue Burst has an Attack Level of 1.
  • Blue Burst has 6 frames of hitstop.
  • Recovery listed is while grounded.
    • If activated while airborne, recovery is until landing + 9 frames after landing.


The Burst Gauge starts the match 100% filled and it is carried over between rounds; if you use your Burst at the end of one round, you will be waiting a while before you can use it again. Using a Burst will deplete 2/3 of the Burst Gauge, however, if you perform a Blue Burst and it fails to hit, the entire gauge will be depleted.

Building Burst

There are two ways to gain Burst Gauge:

  • Wait
    • The less life the character has, the faster the Burst Gauge builds
  • Get Hit
    • Amount gained by getting hit is proportional to damage taken

The exact formula for this is unknown, however, it is likely very close to how the Burst Gauge works in the XX series. See Building Burst for details.

R.I.S.C. Level Gauge

The R.I.S.C. Level Gauge is located right under the Burst Gauge. For details on how it affects damage see here.

Positive Bonus

GGST Positive.png
By breaking the wall or maxing out Tension Balance, you enter Positive Bonus state.

If a player either breaks the wall or maxes out their Tension Balance through general aggressive play coupled with high Tension Balance increasing actions such as landing Homing Jump combos, performing Overdrives or successfully performing Instant Blocks, "POSITIVE" will appear in the corner of the screen next to your character's portrait, denoting Positive Bonus, and the player will have the following buffs for ?? frames.

  • Automatically gain Tension
  • Increased Tension Gain Rate (approximately x2.0)
  • Nullifies Tension Gain Penalty
  • Damage for all attacks increased 10%
  • Damage taken from all attacks decreased 10%

Needless to say, this is an extremely powerful state, allowing the player to build a huge amount of Tension and spend it all without fear of Tension Gain Penalty. This creates situations where you can conceivably pressure the opponent and then continually Roman Cancel to extend that pressure, or open the opponent up and still have Tension to spare on converting the hit into a full combo.

Negative Penalty

GGST Negative.png
By continually performing actions that lower your Tension Balance, you enter Negative Penalty state.

If a player consistently attempts to walk back, backdash, or air dash backward (or sits in one place and does nothing), "DANGER" will appear in the corner of the screen next to your character's portrait. If the player still keeps avoiding all types of contact, "NEGATIVE" will appear, denoting Negative Penalty, and the player will lose all stored Tension and will have Tension Gain Penalty for ?? frames.

Keep-away or run-away tactics will not incur Negative Penalty if the player is actively using some form of offense. Even if it's passive, it's more than enough to not get penalized. For example, if an Axl player remains full screen and tries to keep the opponent away from him using long-range attacks, he will not get penalized.

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