Guilty Gear XrCise - Defense 2
Focus Consistency and Awareness
Defense in Guilty Gear requires a lot of mental and emotional management as well as flexibility in order to be consistent. The foundational skills of this are largely in being able to maintain awareness of ones own state and habits. Keeping your eyes and your focus on your opponent, rather than on what you are doing or projectiles that are on the screen is equally neccesary, since this means you can autopilot the stuff you build up muscle memory for while leaving more room for you to watch your internal state and for signs of what your opponent may be up to. These exercises may seem simplistic at first, but they are focused on building up the foundation in a defensive context to think and keep track of yourself and your opponent while fighting. The more you master the skills these exercises assist with, the more room you may feel in your contemplations while fighting, and the more able to spot bad habits and opportunities for improvement in your physical and mental execution.
These exercises are all under the Match Up section of the Guilty Gear Xrd Rev 2 Missions. These missions can be found by going to Battle > Dojo > Missions, from the Start Menu. Be sure you have selected Match Up missions and not Universal missions, in order to get the correct exercise.
These exercises are a supplement to the Missions content and are not intended to be replacements. If you find yourself confused by some of the terminology used throughout this exercise guide, or if you are new to Guilty Gear, we strongly encourage you take a look at the Universal missions first, before using ours.
While you can attempt these exercises with any character, not all of the advice is applicable to certain characters, due to the high variability of character abilities in Guilty Gear. The most important thing to note in these exercises is just as much when an option cannot work for you, as when it can.
We highly encourage trying the End Goals of the exercise even if they may not utilize the most optimal approaches for your character, as the End Goals are meant to teach a broader concept. Just be sure to note when said approaches are less optimal.
As these exercises are intended to supplement the game's existing tutorial content, not all of them actually require completing the goal given in the Match Up mission. Mastering these exercises is less about completing the mission given by the game, and more about how you approach the situation that the mission presents.
Match Up Exercise 05-i
- Starting Goal - Learn how to walk forward and then cross cut Hawk Baker.
- Secondary Goal - Learn how to hit May with Hawk Baker. Aim to hit her as she lands but before she recovers.
- End Goal - Hit confirm the cross cut Hawk Baker into the appropriate cancel out of Hawk Baker depending on if May is hit in the air or on the ground.
The goal of this exercise is to hit confirm combos canceled out of cross cut Hawk Baker on Sin to teach players the various small executional and emotional things that effect their execution under a stressful scenario, and to teach them what about their inputs are consistent and what can be improved in terms of emotions, mindsets, and executional habits.
First, learn how to cross cut DP motion for Hawk Baker. Get a feel for the execution. You should only walk forward for this. You can dash forward just to get a sense of the actual execution of the Hawk Baker itself, but you should shift to doing the walking forward version as soon as you can.
Once you feel comfortable with execution, try to actually hit May. You should aim for trying to hit her on the ground, but if you hit her in the air it is fine. The goal here is mainly to figure out the timing for hitting her without her getting to block, and to understand how much your own execution varies.
Last, the ultimate goal of this exercise is to get you to confirm if you hit her in the ground or air with your cross cut Hawk Baker and go into the appropriate combo. Test out various different combos and see what you can do out of the Hawk Baker, both in air and on the ground. You have meter to try a YRC. At the hardest levels try to see what options you have with the meter in your combos and see how you can best use it to extend them, as this adds yet another stack of mental consideration when doing the confirm. Having to confirm into different combos depending on your consistency is intended to help build your mental and emotional flexibility when it comes to a pure execution task. You want to be able to adapt to different situations on the fly since not every execution or situation will be the same or flawless in beginner-intermediate play and can even effect certain character archtypes at higher levels as Guilty Gear requires a lot of tight execution and timing.
For crosscut Hawk Baker walk forward and do a cross cut (press 6 after held 6 for walking then 21) Hawk Baker, then confirm into the different combos. Elk Hunt works for grounded hits and cancels out of Hawk Baker directly.
The main intention of this exercise is to get the player used to the concept that Guilty Gear has a lot of places in both opponent and player movement that can drastically change how a scenario occurs and to train the player to recognize all of the little factors in execution and mindset that effect those things. The addition of needing to do different hit confirms, and not just hit confirms but canceled out of the move directly means there is a stricter timing and a need for even quicker adaptability. If you struggle with doing so, you can try doing a non-cancelled combo when first starting out just to get used to the hit confirm concept. However, you will want to shift your training to the combos that cancel out of Hawk Baker as that is how the exercise pushes your limits and prepares you for similar tight execution windows prevalent on many characters in Guilty Gear.
This exercise is good at checking your consistancy and what emotional states effect your executional consistancy. You can use this exercise after doing other more difficult exercises to check what emotion states tend to effect you so that you can focus on training those emotion states for better consistency. This is also a way you can change shifting gears into autopilot, as it can take a while to build up the mental muscle memory to make that transition seamless.
Match Up Exercise 08
Baiken (recommended) or Jam
- Starting Goal - Block Bad Moon and then parry the two hit follow up using Millia rather than your block stun animation or the flower animation to time your parry.
- Secondary Goal - Do the same as previous goal but this time Just block Bad Moon.
- End Goal - Do all of the previous goals with the addition of a parry attack after the second parry as Baiken.
The goal of this exercise is to get the player to learn how to do a defensive reaction by watching the opponents own movements rather than their set up, their attack or the players own blocking by focusing on blocking Millia's Bad Moon and then parrying Millia's flowers by watching Millia's own recovery from the Bad Moon.
First block everything Millia does, and learn to watch Millia's recovery. Get used to watching the opponent rather than yourself or the flowers that pop up on screen. Once you feel comfortable doing so, try to parry the follow up after blocking Bad Moon. You may notice your mind moving to look at your character or the flowers at first. The goal of this step of the exercise is to train your mind to not do this, and to time the parry based on Millia's own movement. This is a higher level skill you will need to learn to do against all characters, and this is therefore an introductory exercise to the concept.
Once you are comfortable parrying while watching Millia, start Just Defense blocking the first hit. This adds more stress and takes up some of your focus.
Finally when you feel comfortable doing that, try to confirm the last parry into a parry hit while doing all the rest, for maximal difficulty. If you can do that consistently while watching Millia you will know you have mastered this exercise, though you need to train this concept further to fully master the skill.
Training your mind to get used to always watching the character while being able to do defensive reactions can be difficult and beginners can feel nervous doing so at first. Part of this is a matter of confidence and letting go. Getting comfortable with your moves and knowing exactly what they do is paramount to learning this skill. It is not always something you can maintain without a lot of practice, but being able to recognize when you are looking at yourself or the opponents projectiles or set up tools and correct for it is equally important when starting out. Guilty Gear has a lot of characters with various set up tools that put distracting things on the screen more than most other fighting games, therefore this is intended to get a player used to dealing with that.
Match Up Exercise 09
This exercise works for most characters
- Starting Goal - Get a feeling for the gap in Zato's pressure by crouch kicking Eddy at the start of Zato's saw blade move.
- End Goal - Explore your forward jump instant button options as well as any special moves to find out what works and what does not.
This is an exploratory type exercise and is more about the options you can and cannot do, and learning the limitations of your characters buttons in a pressure situatiton where your opponent might have a gap.
First try finding the gap in Zato's string, you can do this by jumping or crouch kicking, but first use your crouching kick and see if you can do any damaging combos out of it. Then search for more normal button you can use in order to figure out what possibilities there are. Just Defense meaningfully affects this due to the difference in recovery and push back. Some options may be possible and some not depending on this. Some characters can use stand kick instead of crouching kick.
Finally learn your more advanced options. Try your best to Just Defense all hits before the gap, though again this is more of an exploratory exercise. Note not all characters have them, but some can do an instant jump hit. Some characters can jump over the buzz saw and hit. The intention of this is to learn different defensive options, and how to utilize the differnt block types. This intended to show you that you can confront this type of pressure string without needing to mash the fastest button. Later on most opponents will learn to do better strings, but it is good to build up confidence for the occasion where an opponent does range dependent strings that may have gaps when not correctly spaced at higher levels.
Mastery of this exercise comes when you feel you have an understanding of all the ranges, speed and timings of your various options for punishing the gap in Zato's pressure.
Even though this is easy to do executionally, mindset wise and emotionally this is not easy for everyone. The exercise starts you doing less risky options before leading to more substantial and damaging ones. Sometimes an opponent has to do a special move to keep pressure on you, and in that situation sometimes you can stop it during start up if you don't flinch. For many people not flinching in a pressure scenario is difficult unless they have the read on the opponent. This exercise is designed to help you know what options you can use in similar scenarios ahead of time, since unleashing damage on an opponent who is trying to pressure you can lead to them thinking twice and give you more room to take back advantage. This is harder to do at higher levels of play where the timing and strings are tighter, but even then its not always the ideal situation for your opponent and you need to be ready to take advantage of such gaps. Therefore this is an introductory exercise to the concept of learning a gap in pressure and doing what would feel like a risky option. To further develop this you need to train yourself to be able to see more frames of an opponents pressure and movement, as well as to discern your opponents behavior, all of which are covered in other exercises and bots.
Meter is not available in this exercise, however, it may be part of what allows you to get more damage in this type of situation.