An Ultimate guide for REBORN! Battle Arena 2

Katekyo Hitman Reborn! Battle Arena 2 is a 2009 fighting game released for the PSP. It was never successful. It was never popular. Not only because it’s an adaptation of a manga that was only ever popular in Japan, but also because it was released for a Handheld as a Japan-exclusive title. It’s also known by a very small group of people for its emulation mysteries; a game that couldn’t be played on PPSSPP for the longest time (years, in fact). Playing this obscure game adaptation of a lost-in-time anime was a lifelong dream to me, and the frustrating part is that it was always there… it was just inaccessible. Things changed in the last three years when the PPSSPP team alongside SPKelevra made an effort to fix this game’s bizarre emulation quirks, and their ultimate success was never received with either applause or booing — no one fucking cares about this game. I doubt there were that many people who even knew the game was unplayable on emulators, but yunno, at least someone knew. Someone cried. Someone spent their nights reading PPSSPP Forums in search of answers. Someone played RBA2 every day in the last couple of months, someone made a Discord server for the game, and someone wrote a super article about it… but was it me? Maybe.

So what the fuck was that introduction? I’m not sure myself, it was kinda hard to start this article ‘cause nobody knows this game… however, let’s restart. The otaku part of the FGC always dreams about a good fighting game for their favorite manga. With “good” I don’t mean Marvel Vs. Capcom 2 good, something like JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure – Heritage for the Future is enough. Something fun with enough depth, creative mechanics and competitive potential. Something like FighterZ, the most recent example, or the classic Hokuto no Ken in all of its kusoge madness, bringing infinite fun for HnK and FG fans alike. One Piece fans are still looking for a game like that, but Reborn fans (about nine people) actually have one since 2009… in theory.

The game is perfectly playable on its original console (duh), but just having a PSP nowadays is rare, let alone a game like this that was never released in the West and has no popularity to speak of. That’s why emulation exists, right? Well, that’s what I thought. But for some reason, Battle Arena 2 had a very peculiar emulator-only problem that took over a decade to be solved. Maybe you wouldn’t see it if you spent just a few minutes playing the game, but it’s not something hidden by any means:

Player 1 starts on the left side of the screen, right? Like any other fighting game. No matter what you do on that side, it works fine. But, let’s say you jump over your opponent and get to the other side. Normally, things just keep working. In fighting games, your inputs are relative to the direction your character’s facing, and not yours. A quarter circle forward is described with “forward” and not “right”, because if you’re on the other side of the screen, “forward” would mean “left”. So, are the inputs the problem? No. You see, EVERYTHING that happens on that side of the screen is reversed. Visual effects appear flipped, as if you’re still on the left side. Inputs also do that of course, but the worst are the damage effects, such as pushback. That is, hitting your opponent normally pushes them away, however, on the right side of the screen it pulls them into you. This way you can do infinite combos by simply pressing square! That’s the pure definition of “unplayable”, and for the longest time, no one had any idea as to what was causing this anomaly. And, uhh… I’m dumb so even though I’ve been researching the game, I still don’t get what causes the issua. Well, at least it’s working now.

The problem is that the damage was already kinda done. I believe there were people interested in the game throughout the past decade who tried emulating it, only to be hit with this glitch. If they didn’t give up for the lack of a translation, they did when they noticed this absurd issue. And, you know, I did the same. It’s one of the games I’ve dreamed of experiencing fully since I was little, and now that I finally can, I couldn’t be happier.

So, about the article. This document isn’t my usual review. As I said before, this game isn’t popular, and if it wasn’t for SPKelevra’s one and only mechanics tutorial on the internet, I wouldn’t know how to play the game. This guy’s work is absurd, he even went through the hassle of listing every move’s frame data in detail and explaining how every character works. His dedication is inspiring, and just like me, he loves Battle Arena 2. He’s not even a fan of the anime, he just loves the game, and I share that sentiment.

That’s why I decided this article wasn’t going to (just) be a review, but also a guide, and a source of information for anyone interested in the game. There’s barely any material related to RBA2 on the internet, and if someone were to make any, they’d have to really love the game. And I do, so why not? Alongside this document, I’ll present you with information, useful resources, and a bit of my opinion (which is mostly positive so whatever). This article, even though it’s gigantic, will be available in Portuguese as well, it’s my native language after all. Some important links will be at the end of the article, such as a Discord server I’ve made. Thank you for your attention.

Summary:

Introduction
 Target I – Music
 Target II – Mechanics
  – Basics (Inputs, Buttons, Gauges, Blocking…)
  – Slowdown
  – Colpo Drive
  – Counter Hit
  – Groggy
  – S-Reflection
 Target III – Characters
  – Notation Disclaimer
  – Character Guide
  – Glossary
 Target IV – Game Modes
  – Story Mode, Arcade, Versus
  – Shop, Spirit Cards
  – G Code
 Target V – Resources

Target I – Music

Before getting into mechanics I want to talk about this game’s soundtrack, which isn’t just great but unique enough to actually bring people into RBA2. For some reason, even though some tracks are available on YouTube, not all of them are. So, I decided to create my own channel to upload the full soundtrack, and I’ll link those videos here.

RBA2’s impeccable soundtrack exists because of, mainly, two composers: Motohiro Kawashima and Takeshi Yanagawa. Both are responsible for Shenmue I and II’s music, but Motohiro also made miracles by working in every single Streets of Rage game. Yanagawa made arrangements for franchises like Etrian Odyssey, and even though both of these guys may not have too many works on their curriculum, they’re still giants in their fields.

Reborn Battle Arena 2’s music does not follow a fixed musical genre, always looking out to present each character’s full potential and personality in their themes. This makes every track drastically different, not only characterizing each character but also the game as a whole. I normally never spend too much time talking about music, but this time I’ll try speaking about some of my favorites.

Strato-O Air is the second version of a wonderful theme for Tsuna, the protagonist. The original Strato-O brought a funky mix of Jazz with RnB while still keeping the atmospherical bit. Strato-O Air however, plays along with the original melody in an arrangement that’s both serene and ambient. This is a perfect representation of the character in this point of the story, and the Hyper Dying Will Mode he uses to fight. A serene mind is what makes Tsuna so strong, bringing forth his strongest personal attributes. A person who was always considered trash by everyone is now confident in his strength, can dominate any battlefield with intelligence, composure, and comprehension. The song reminds me of some Phantasy Star Online songs. It’s a game I fucking adore, and the similarities remind you how the main composers’ greatest works were done for SEGA games and, mainly, on the Dreamcast. Not many tracks in the RBA bring this 90s aesthetic like Strato-O Air, making it the most impressive song in the game just by simply existing.

Noble Evil is Byakuran, the main villain’s, theme. It’s a song heavily inspired by a diverse range of European cultures, especially Spain and Italy. Byakuran is a cold and intelligent man that does not look trustworthy at all, but is always similing gently. His main traits are the prominence of the color white and his motherly expression. Byakuran is a devilish angel, a wolf in sheep’s clothing, bringing fear to your heart with his “good” deeds. Although Battle Arena 2 has no clear representation of this, Byakuran’s final form has angel wings to further prove his character traits, and it’s easy to notice how Noble Evil expresses every aspect of the villain.

Foxtrot’s the main theme of Gamma, one of the most interesting characters of the future arc. At first sight he’s just a stylish, classy and handsome guy. As a villain, there’s a slight sense of a cold persona that’s quickly interrupted by his true intentions. Byakuran’s subordinates aren’t very loyal, you know? That’s why Foxtrot brings a neutral representation to the table, with the iconic Vongola Famiglia azz and the electro synth Millefiore’s members are known for. Both fit perfectly.

Bullet Spiral represents Lal Mirch, possibily the character with the coolest design revealed in the future arc that, unfortunately, does not feature the fuckass cape she’s known for. Lal Mirch is a soldier who hides her emotions in order to guide her peers into the right way. Bullet Spiral transmits this seriousness and dedication, alongside a certain sadness. It’s also one of the songs most inspired by Reborn’s anime, so I always think of Mafia when I listen to it.

From Hell is Rokudo Mukuro’s theme, one of the most popular characters of the manga. As the Mist Guardian, he’s unreadable. The first actual serious arc in the story, Kokuyo, has this man as the main antagonist. Mukuro is practically a real life demon, strong enough to be sealed like a god of darkness by the world. He’s also an illusionist, and although he’s part of the “good guy” team, his intentions are never clear. He’s clearly not a good person, being a cruel, manipulative and demonic assassin. From Hell encapsulates everything about the character and a little more, frightening your soul while also making you root for him. He’s not a hero, but if he needs to, he can be Vongola’s trump card to achieve victory. His theme song captures both his cruel villain side as well as his Vongola’s Mist Guardian title.

Shining Knuckle represents Sasagawa Ryohei, the Sun guardian who shines like a lighthouse for the family. His motto is “EXTREME!!!” living every second of his life on the limit, and that’s the idea behind his song. Ryohei’s biggest weapon is his mentality and emotions, beating his own knuckle’s strength and sending the message of his lifestyle. However, Shining Knuckle is easily beaten by another song…

Ultimate Knuckle is the theme song of Sasagawa Ryohei, ten years later. This song represents Ryohei’s main quote: “Sasagawa Ryohei… arrives!”; a simple sentence, as usual. Sasagawa Ryohei is here, so we have nothing to fear. Ultimate Knuckle is the anthem of a hero, a symbol of courage and determination. Ultimate Knuckle expresses the flag of Vongola’s strength, with the spark of hope that only the Sun Guardian can create. Ryohei brightens the path so the others can safely walk, with his fists and his own flame of determination burning in his heart. He’s the man living each day by his Dying Will.

Gokudera brings the storm with Storm Bringer. As the boss’ right hand man and the Storm Guardian, Hayato is a machine of mass destruction, the powerful and chaotic offensive of the family. Storm Bringer shows the explosive, yet tactical, side of Gokudera, one of the smartest guardians in the family who also arms himself with the hardest weapons to master. Hayato strives to be an asset for the Vongola Decimo (Tsuna) and to always be by his side, and he does that exploding everyone who opposes the boss of the family.

Punisher is the theme of Hibari Kyoya, and both the name and composition express Hibari’s spot in the story. Although he’s the Cloud Guardian, Hibari was never biased towards his loyalty. Anything that moves away from his ideals is eliminated, be it friend or foe. Hibari is a vigilante and his theme song not only expresses that, but the absolute humiliation he brings upon his foes in combat (he’s a rushdown character). Hibari always steals the show. Punisher is the track of a lone hero, not in a sad way, but in an… extremely destructive way.

Last but not least, Edge of Soul, Yamamoto Takeshi’s theme. Yamamoto is like the calm summer rain, not just in personality but in fighting style. A drizzle starts sprinkling innocently and softly, but if necessary, it turns into a rainstorm. The song has almost no instrumental presence, only having nature sounds for the most part. The wind blowing on the trees, the singing birds… like the soul of the Rain Swordsman. There are many other songs I’d like to talk about, but I decided to end it on this one, the most unique of them. It’s just… ambiance. Nature.

Some honorable mentions go to Monochrome, Fighting Bull, XX Fire, and Trick or Treat. I’d love to comment about those but this section is very long already and I’m no musician. These are also somewhat “common”. I mean, Monochrome is the most popular song in the game just by being a very funky jazz tune that anyone would love listening to.

Target II – Mechanics

OK, I think that’s why all of you are here. Before we begin, I have to again give a huge shoutout to SPKelevra and his guide, video, and document alike. Most of the information comes from him, although I’ve added some of my own input. By myself I would have never discovered what the fuck a Colpo Drive is, let alone how to use S-Reflections. So, without further ado, this is Reborn Battle Arena 2.

Vongola 101

First, we have to talk about the basics. That is, traditional fighting game stuff. The game’s buttons are very simple, sometimes a little too much. This is a three-button fighting game, with A, B, and C buttons. And then, a separate button for Throws and one for Supers. Just the fact that these two aren’t command inputs might be scary, and to be honest, I also felt that way. The thing is, Reborn is trying to be a relatively accessible fighting game in terms of controls, without actually taking any depth away from the genre. It’s important to realize some things that make this game easier for newcomers:

In addition to the “macros” for Throws and Supers, this game has an Auto-Guard. The name looks worse than it is — Auto-Guard basically means that whenever your character is completely idle, he’s automatically blocking. To block low you have to crouch, otherwise blocking is automatic. That doesn’t mean anything, in fact, it just means that you don’t have to walk back to block high. Normally, when you’re not doing anything in a fighting game, you’ll ALWAYS want to be blocking. For newcomers, it just makes more sense not to press anything instead of pressing back, although I don’t see the big deal. One big change though is that you can’t use cross-ups for block pressure, just lows, overheads, and throws, while focusing on Guard Breaks and baiting.

RBA2 has directional inputs like most fighting games, but they’re simple and very similar to ArcSys’ most recent games. A quarter circle forward, backward, and pressing down twice. These three commands are present in every character’s movesets. Naturally, everyone has only three specials, although that does not limit their utility because normals and command normals are extremely unique to the point they might as well be special moves. There are also command throws that do not count as specials, and two Supers by character (except for Tsuna and his third Super).

Most characters use their Command Normals as specials because of how unique they can be. Gokudera is the best example of this. His 6C (Forward + Heavy) throws Dynamites into the air, and if you charge it beforehand, he’ll send them in a horizontal angle that’s just much better in terms of long-distance pressure. If his bombs don’t hit anything for a while, they turn into missiles and chase the oponent. This attack was literally a Special Move in the previous Battle Arena game, and it could be executed with a quarter-circle forward motion. The difference is that in BA1 there were three angles throwing the dynamites upwards, making this move almost exclusive for anti-airing purposes. Sometimes you could zone with it, as BA1’s movement wasn’t the best anyway. Now, Rocket Bomb is an interesting and well-thought-out move, with two variations as a Command Normal without the need for anything more than that.

That aside, the rest of the game is pretty normal. There are no “gatlings”, “Magic Series” or “Passing Links”, if you will. Every Light can chain into a Medium or Heavy (or a Throw, fuck it), but that’s it. Mediums do not cancel into Heavies, stopping the classic ABC combo. Instead, combos are done with Links, which means… hitting moves while the opponent is stunned. It sounds pointless to say this, but you’ll soon understand. So the game ends up pretty close to Street Fighter and not an anime fighter like Guilty Gear. Like most Street Fighter games, there are no aerial combos because aerials do not link into anything. In fact, there are no juggles too. That’s not something I’m a big fan of, but it makes so that the game is really ground-based. Somehow that does not limit the player in regards to combos and overall offense, but it makes anti-air punishes less powerful. I mean, if it’s a Multihit it’ll only hit once before the opponent is knocked out of the air.

RBA2 has three bars – HP, Guard and Hyper Strike. The three are very common in most fighting games. The Guard Gauge goes down when you block or S-Reflect, and once it reaches zero you’re open for a punish. It recovers pretty fast if you stop blocking for a while. Most of the games I know do not use Guard Break mechanics as well as Reborn, but I’ll leave that for when we talk about S-Reflection. Hyper Strike is your Super, and it works exactly as expected. It goes up when you land hits (and not when you take them which is cool) or use Special Moves. Lambo can recover his HS by himself with Thunder Sets, but he gets no bar by hitting his opponents and that’s fucked up. When your HS bar is full (blue), na orange bar starts to cover it very fast. Once it’s full, you gain access to your Burst Hyper Strike. The difference between the two is… they’re different moves! Normally Bursts are better but that’s not a rule. Damage tends to be pretty similar, so you just use what’s best for the situation. My main, 10XANXUS, has a relatively weak Hyper Strike, but his Burst has two hits and the first one is unblockable. Some characters have good base HSs with smaller hitboxes, making it harder to land. Hibari can easily cancel one of his normals in Super 1, but it’s also easy to miss the first hit that triggers the rest of the move. However, Super 2 starts with a jump and dash and will be completed regardless of hitting or not.

Let’s slow it down
 Was I Colpo Driving too fast for you?

Reborn Battle Arena 2 does something very different when compared to other traditional fighting games. Different mechanics are linked to a very peculiar slow-motion system, one that makes time slow down not just for the impact, but to also make it easier to link frame-perfect combos and turn them into… less frame-perfect. Slowdown is done with Colpo Drives, Counter Hits, Groggy States and in theory with S-Reflects too but that’s not really how it works. So, what are all these names?

For starters, Colpo Drive is a sweetspot. That means somewhere in the moves’ hitbox there’s a small section that inflicts more damage and stun, normally at the tip. Hitting that activates Colpo Drive to power up the damage, but most importantly, adds additional Stun and slowdown, opening new and advanced combo routes. Normally you’d think hitting your opponent from as close as possible is ideal to make bigger combos, but that’s simply not true. Colpos are done with spacing and give you new possibilities, although it IS true it might invalidate some combos. A good example is Hibari’s rekka move, which has all of its hits guaranteed when hitting from up close dealing enough stun to link a Dragon Punch after it, something that would not be possible while spaced. It’s worth mentioning you can Colpo on the block, and although it has no slowdown it deals more blockstun and Guard damage, which is great during block pressure.

A Counter Hit consists of hitting an opponent while they’re doing something, as usual. CHs activate the same slowdown mechanic and additional damage/stun as a Colpo. But what happens if you hit a Counter Hit at the optimal range for a Colpo Drive? They stack. Two stacks of damage and stun, chained together. I think you can imagine how powerful that is.

Groggy is a state that happens when you take too much damage consecutively. It’s akin to Street Fighter’s Dizzy mechanic. During Groggy you can still move, attack, and block as normal. However, every hit you take has the effect of a Colpo – that is, 1.5x the damage and more stun, with some Slowdown. Just like CH + Co, you can add Groggy to the mix when your opponent is inflicted with it, as they all stack together. The thing is, you combine the three knockdowns with your opponent immediately, interrupting your combo potential. Ideally, you do not want to have all three at once, but use two of the three interchangeably. You don’t need to space a move to get Colpo if you can get a Counter Hit instead while your opponent is Groggy. It also works in reverse – spacing your moves so you don’t have to wait for your opponent to act in order to counter. While your opponent is not groggy, you can focus on punishing with pokes to get both CH and Co. This variety and additional freedom is extremely unique in RBA2, and I’ve never seen a game that works like this. And, of course, Slowdown ties it all together to make frame 1 links easier to do, although not much. In fact, it may even bring you down by changing the timing of your combos, naturally asking you to delay them by a frame or two to get those lingering links. You get more time to press your buttons, the price is having to press them a little later than usual.

All these mechanics complement each other, but that’s pretty easy when they all share the same effects. However, S-Reflection is a 100% defensive mechanic and it invades the Holy Trinity making it even better. S-Reflection is somewhat hard to understand at first, but I’ll try to explain it without making things difficult.

All moves during their startup animation (before their hitbox activates to do damage) have Reflect Frames. If an opponent tries hitting you before your move comes out, he may hit your Reflect. When that happens, you take no damage, not even Chip, but you use more Guard Gauge than usual to block. S-Reflect does not interrupt the attacker’s move, or the defender’s, everything works as usual. The one hitting an S-Reflect armor can also do Special Cancels or Chains to keep the pressure. But does that mean it’s impossible to punish moves before they come out? Of course not.

This mechanic is pretty similar to Street Fighter’s Focus Attack, however, FAs are defeated with Multi-hits. S-Reflect is beaten by High-Low mixups. A good example is a Standing A from most characters, the punchy ones. These moves can reflect overheads and mids, like other 5As, but can be crushed by lows. That doesn’t mean they’re defeated by crouching moves, but moves that hit the character’s lower body. Most 2As (Croching A) that are just punches do not count, they’re Mids. Except for Tsuna, that punches lower than most characters, low enough to beat upper-body armor. However, Tsuna’s punch is not a true low and can be blocked standing. In a similar vein, crouching moves can only beat lows, and Throws can only beat mids, being crushed by both low and overhead moves (like aerial attacks). There’s a bunch of exceptions that are character and matchup dependent, and the S-Reflection frames are also different for every move. When you hit someone’s armor and get your ass reflected, time stops for a frame so you can link your next hit. This way, even after getting reflected, you might still be able to keep contesting that Hitbox with other moves, so that Reflects are not invincible. Therefore, if you do not manage to win the interaction you’re not just getting hit but also letting your opponent land a free Counter Hit, inflicting 1.5x damage and stun.

A cool thing about the game is that it doesn’t try to be like other fighting games. That is, Reborn recognizes its mechanics and the characters’ movesets are built with them in mind so they both feel like one. A lot of characters have moves with insanely long startup that, for instance, make the character duck before attacking. That lowers your hurtbox and has a perfect interaction with the S-Reflection System, and every time you evade a move you might as well get a Counter Hit after, leading you to stronger Punishes. A lot of moves look terrible at first sight, but if you try understanding them with these mechanics in mind you may realize their untouched potential. Some moves are created with baiting and punishing in mind, so that your opponent tries punishing you themselves (getting the bait) and get S-Reflected and then Countered instead. That’s how Hibari’s 4B works, although it may look like a slow move with little range, it’s perfect to punish grounded assaults.

There are more mechanics and oddities related to known fighting game stuff, but I don’t think my audience would care that much. But, if you do, I’m linking SPKelevra’s amazing doc that speaks in full detail about all of these cool stuff in ways I could never dream of achieveing.

Target III – Characters

If you’re new to Recanto or reading one of my articles, nice to meet you, my name’s Rosie. My autism gives me various hyperfixations and once in a while I use these articles to loredump about them. This is one such case. Now I’ll explain every character in the game in excruciating detail in my own way, but you’re not entitled to read it all. I just want to do it, and I hope someone’ll have fun with it.

For starters, we have to introduce some important concepts that make life easier, yours and mine. Normally for fighting games, we use specific ways of codifying some terms. Some use QCF, which stands for Quarter-Circle Forward. I don’t like it, it suggests everyone in the world knows English and that is… well, maybe kinda true, but anyway. This might look weird at first, but I like and recommend number notation for input commands.

In a numerical keyboard, whether it’s a calculator, cell phone, or even your PC, numbers are always displayed in a fixed order. This is true around the world, as far as I know. This is what I refer to:

7 8 9
 4 5 6
 1 2 3

Now, let’s say each of these numbers represent a direction on the stick. 5 is neutral, 6 means right (or forward), 4 is walking back. 7, 8 and 9 jump. 1, 2 and 3 are crouching. A 5A is a simple, basic, standing punch. 2A is a crouching punch. 236 would be a quarter circle forward, because it starts at 2 and travels all the way over to 6, which means forward. 623 is a Dragon Punch, but that doesn’t matter for us now as Reborn lacks those. 41236 or simply 426 is a “half circle”.

236 – 22 – 214, in order

But… why don’t we just use the actual names? Well, it’s not practical. When you’re talking about frame data or a combo it’s very hard to understand it without simplifying. I’ll show you a Tsuna combo written in both ways so you can understand it:

Crouching Medium > Standing Light (Hitting a Colpo Drive) > Chains into a Backwards Standing Medium > Standing Light > Chains into a Backwards Standing Medium > Backwards Standing Heavy > Special Cancel into Down, Down Heavy

Or:

2B > 5A (Colpo) > Chain into 4B > 5A > 4B > 4C > Cancel into 22C

The first one took three whole lines in my Microsoft Word, but it doesn’t fill a single one in the second. You could even simplify further by saying “Co” instead of Colpo, switching Chainfor a “-“ and linking a Special Cancel with “xx”. That’s how SPKelevra note the very same combo. It’s not practical to say “Quarter-Circle Backwards”” when you can change it for three digits: 214. With time you end up getting very used to these combinations because they never change when going to a different game. It’s complicated to name some inputs like the Dragon Punch, aka Z Motion, aka Shoryuen, which stands for forward and a quarter-circle forward, or simply “623”. Or the famous Pretzel Motion from KOF that even though it’s fairly popular, “Pretzel” doesn’t explain shit – meanwhile, 15263 tells you all the directions in order: down back, half circle forward, down forward.

Pretzel Motion in all its glory.

Now we’ll follow up with a guide for every character in the game, but at the end of this section, there’s a Glossary for any FG terms you’re not familiar with. This glossary also has its own page here, if you want to leave it open in another tab while reading the chapter.

Characters

Sawada Tsunayoshi (Tsuna)

Age: 14.
Height: 157cm, I’m actually taller than him.
Blood: A.
Gender: I know what you are.
Flame: Orange, Sky.
Occupation: Part-time Mafia Boss, full-time loser.
Weapon: X-Gloves and his own Flames.
Track: Strato-O Air.

Tsuna is the perfect character for any beginner, utilizing the main mechanics of the game to its peak with his kit. Instead of trying to copy Ryu, Terry, or Sol, Tsuna was designed to show you how the mechanics interact with each other. It’s a character that focuses on punishes, baits, and all that shit. Considering the nature of his normals and specials, you’ll quickly understand how Colpos can be used for your offensive, how strong a Counter Hit is (Tsuna’s punishes are fucking awesome), some simple uses for S-Reflection and also keeping your opponents Groggied frequently. Despite all that, the character can’t really do much from far away and if you’re too close most of his moves won’t be that effective. He doesn’t have a lot of good cancels, after all, he can only chain four of his normals. Tsuna’s advanced combos are great but hard to learn, considering his best moves finish combos prematurely (Vertical Edge).

Normals: Tsuna has good normals focused around punishing and applying midrange pressure. His 5A is notorious for linking into one of his best Command Normals, and that can start loops that eventually lead to strong combos. 5B, despite being a punch, is a relatively low move so it can break various high reflects, such as throws. 4B is practically a Special Move, as Tsuna backdashes and starts flying in place. You can hold him there for a bit, and once you let go Tsuna flies to his opponent. As I said before, this move can be linked from 5A, and that’s pretty cool. 4C is his best normal, that’s not only an amazing, extremely fast anti-air but it’s also Special Cancelable. It’s a frame 4 move, crushes mid Reflects and cancels, it can’t get better than that. His only aerial that’s worth mentioning is j.2B (j. stands for Jumping), it’s a divekick. A powerful movement option for the character, and it can also start great combos and set up throws.

(P.S.: Special Names are kinda made-up. Some characters say the name of each move out loud, but I can’t read a Japanese Command List, just translate it using intuition and knowledge of the source material.)

Flame Shoot: Done with 236, a punch directed to the ground, it also ignites a small flame. Through charging, you can release a bigger, anti-air flame. Each button changes Tsuna’s initial hop distance, and fully-charged Flame Shoot is a +4 on block.

Boost Charge: 214, dash punch. Doesn’t look particularly strong at first sight, but it can be used in the middle of combos to extend them if you hit Colpo or Groggy opponents. It can get crushed by any low so it’s not safe, it can also be reflected.

Vertical Edge: 22, a showstealer Flash Kick. An absurd punish game can come out of this single move, and it can also be used for finishing great combos. Its hitbox and startup are rather stupid, and it’s the ease VE has to fuck life bars that makes Tsuna such an accessible character. If you play Tsuna, abuse this move. If you play against Tsuna you have the right to slap player 2 for using this move.

Zero Chitten Toppa Kai: 214 Throw, single best command throw in the game. Alongside leaving opponents in Groggy, it also boosts your Hyper Strike gauge considerably.

Hyper Strike – Zero Chitten Toppa First Edition: Super 1, another Command Throw but this one can be ducked to dodge. It’s easy to combo onto and it’s a good Punish anyway.

Burst Hyper Strike – X-BURNER: Gigantic projectile that covers the whole screen in front and behind Tsuna. Easy to block or reflect, so you should probably use it on combos.

Burst Hyper Strike – X-BURNER Air: Tsuna is the only character with a third Super, and also the only one with an aerial Super. It works exactly as grounded, but it’s much safer. The downside is not being able to combo from it, so it’s only ever useful as a punish.

Gokudera Hayato

Age: 14.
Height: 168cm, I’m not taller than him.
Blood: B.
Gender: 100% Gay man. That’s, like, a fact.
Flame: Red, Storm… although that’s only his main one, this motherfucker houses five different flames.
Occupation: The boss’ right-hand-man, and also the boss’ official side-hoe.
Weapon: Red Mega Buster, kitty, dynamites and flying hitboxes.
Track: Storm bringer.

Gokudera sets the flow of the match as an amazing zoner. He forces your approaches to behave like he wants them to, and in the way that is most advantageous to him. Although he might lose to characters with better aerial options (such as both Mukuros and Dino), that does not mean he’s deprived of good anti-air options. In my opinion he has the best projectiles in the game, and if he’s ever in close-range he has normals that can take care of the situation… not that well though. It’s also fairly easy for him to get knockdowns, which allow him to reposition himself and restart his pressure in the best possible range.

Normals: 4B is a knee-attack that starts out with a crouching Gokudera. You can keep him ducking for some time or wait until the last second so he can unleash a stronger version of his knee. His smaller hitbox while ducked can dodge certain moves and even uncharged knee is a good punish. 6B is a small dash attack using his elbow, and it’s a great way to combo. You can loop it with 5A>6B>5A. 6B can also crush low reflects, a very unique trait. A lot of his normals can be called “Bomb Trap!”, as Gokudera explodes a dynamite in his hand. 4C does that while walking back, and j.2C is a great way to attack in the air. j.5C is a cross-up kick, making Gokudera one of the only characters that actually benefits from jumping over opponents! Finally, Rocket Bomb is his 6C, a move that shoots dynamites upwards that turn into homing rockets after a while. By charging the move before releasing, the dynamites are thrown forward in a much better angle for zoning. Uncharged is good for block pressure, anti-airing and Chip Damage (that normally works best in okizeme).

Flame Arrow: 236, each version sends a dramatically different projectile. A is… honestly garbage, but B and C are great. Alongside dealing good Guard damage, B is also great for comboing and can even knockdown. C shoots lots of projectiles at once, great for pressure and it has absurdly long range. It does not knockdown though, so if you want that you should go for the B version.

Bomb Dash: 214, dash punch similar to Tsuna. It’s not very good, but can be used to travel below jumping opponents to mix them up.

C.A.I. Shield: 22, Gokudera summons a bunch of shields around him that alongside blocking projectiles, can also damage opponents. You can, in fact, combo onto them, or use them for applying pressure. Each button decides where the two main shields will stay after the others vanish, and it’s very easy to interrupt opponents from countering you by using this. In fact, this move is the reason why Gokudera is a good character, because he can just leave a big hitbox in front of him like it was an Aegis Reflector (it’s not, though). His oki is wonderful because of this, and anytime you try jumping above his projectiles keep these shields in mind so you can deal with them once you’re close enough.

Uri!: 236 Throw. It’s a Command Throw, that’s also a projectile! It’s very easy to jump above it but if you’re forced to jump over a projectile to dodge it that’s a bad sign. Gokudera can switch sides by hitting this one.

Hyper Strike – Ultimate Flame Arrow: A barrage of midrange projectiles. Easy to block and dodge, but you can still combo from it to get some damage.

Burst Hyper Strike – Scorched Arrow: A single big projectile aimed above. It’s slow enough to not combo or punish, but with the slightest read it’s actually good. Mainly because Gokudera conditions his opponents to jump.

Gokudera Hayato – 10 Years Later

Age: 24.
Height: 176cm.
Blood: B.
Gender: GAY
Flame: Red, Blue, Yellow, Green and Purple.
Occupation: Malewife.
Weapon: Red Mega Buster, Tigger, dynamites, and style.
Track: Perfect storm.

After ten years Gokudera realizes he can use his bullets to turn into a rushdown character. Goku10 is less of a defensive and keepaway character, trading his zoner tools for approach options, still using his projectiles but now getting close, instead of forcing his opponents to get in. Gokudera has a short-fuse and bad temper, so it just makes total sense that his refined moveset solves things one-on-one.

Normals: Considering he’s a clone of the previous character, I’ll simply explain his new normals and some returning tools. His basic 5A>6B combo is still here, for instance. All of his As and Bs are the same, so we can skip to C. 5C has changed, and it’s now a straight, upwards kick, making it a better option in speed and angle. 6C is almost the same (it’s Rocket Bomb), but his charged version is MUCH better. Now, alongside a better angle, it’s also faster than both original Gokudera’s dynamites. 2C is a great anti-air now, and j.2C isn’t Aerial Bomb Trap anymore but an actual divekick. This Divekick is responsible for altering Gokudera 10’s playstyle, and it compliments his j.5C kick perfectly. Both moves also help Gokudera in linking into his throw, that’s also much more powerful than the original as it knocks down and switch the character’s side.

Flame Arrow: Same move, exactly the same. Only change is that it’s in a new character, so its overall utility is different.

Flame Dash: 214, a completely different Dash Attack. Gokudera used to run towards his opponents using a dynamite’s impact for a dash and then punching. That was very slow and impractical. Flame Dash, however, utilizes a flame shot as a cannon to shoot Gokudera into a knee dash. Not only is it much faster, but also safer and it can be properly spaced. The Reflect frames are pretty generous, it beats Lows and it’s way harder to punish than his original dash punch.

Flame Barrage: 22. Losing C.A.I. Shield is one of the greatest reasons for Gokudera’s new offensive playstyle, trading his main defensive tool for Flame Barrage, a move that does not cover its predecessor’s strengths. It’s basically machine gun bullets upward, something that even as an anti-air isn’t as good as 2C.

Hyper Strike – Flame Blade: Great for combos, perfect for pressure and inflicts some good Guard Damage.

Burst Hyper Strike – C.A.I. Combination: Frame 1 Super, an awesome punish of course. It’s very easy to hit and almost impossible to challenge. It also summons adult Uri!

Yamamoto Takeshi

Age: 14.
Height: 177cm.
Blood: O.
Gender: Baseball player.
Flame: Blue, Rain.
Occupation: Nice guy, Baseball maniac.
Weapon: BladeBlue.
Track: Edge of soul.

One of the scariest characters. Yamamoto is a mixup demon, with good Low and Overhead options that are skillfully strengthened by his conditioning and range. Yamamoto’s punishes, even one-hit ones, usually take half of your health away. The amount of raw damage he can do without ever putting himself at risk is absurd. However, his normals are rather slow and he can’t do much at close range. Of course, you have to get close to him to force his close-range playstyle, and it isn’t even that bad. Yamamoto has no combos, however he can do good damage with just a two-hit confirm.

Normals: 4B summons Rondine di Pioggia, a bird that works like a projectile. Conditions block in okizeme and corner pressure, helping Yamamoto in extending his advantageous state. 6B is a easily reactable overhead, but on the right conditions it may confuse your opponent and nab you a Knockdown. 4C is a massive anti-air that also significantly pushes Yamamoto back after completion. It’s safe on block because of its reach and a great, but slow, poke. 6C is terrifying: what would normally be just a slow normal, in Yamamoto’s hands turns into a wonderful way to get in and catch a bunch of your opponent’s Guard Gauge while you’re at it. As a Punish it’s THE move that takes out half of a full health bar, and it also knocks down! Considering damage scaling up in Colpo, Groggy and Counter, you can make it even stronger. Lastly, 2C is a very powerful Low with absurd range. It’s even on block, meaning it’s a 100% safe!

Samidare: 236 Special with two slashes, the first one being Mid while the second is Low. Great in pressure when used in intelligent ways, as it is easily avoidable by jumping if your opponent knows it’s coming. It can be reflected, which is a problem, but it’s a move used for mixing up and not your main pressure tool. Use it too much and you waste its power!

Shinotsuku Ame: 214 Dash Attack, extremely safe and also combos. A multihit – third hit inflicts Groggy and the fourth adding enough Stun for follow-ups.

Utsushi Ame: 22, a teleport first and overhead divekick second. Akin to Samidare, if it’s telegraphed by your opponent it’s rather easy to punish so use it wisely.

Hyper Strike – Scontro di Rondine: Super that covers the entire screen and it’s almost impossible to challenge. It’s just like Yamamoto turns invincible by activating it! Sucks away over half of Guard Gauge.

Burst Hyper Strike – W.B.C.: A projectile with a small combo follow-up. Slow, but a good punish nevertheless.

Yamamoto Takeshi – 10 Years Later

Age: 24.
Height: 185cm.
Blood: O.
Gender: The only good cis man.
Flame: Blue, Rain.
Occupation: Badass.
Weapon: Blueyer Blade.
Track: Master of Blade.

I’m not a big fan of this character, considering he’s mostly… a better version of base Yamamoto. He has some differences, but all he does is get Yamamoto’s defensive abilities, doubling down on them and turning them into strong offense. Maybe you’d rather have the retreating 4C or base Yamamoto’s great Super 1, but Yamamoto10 is just better at everything.

Normals: Same 4B projectile, 6B overhead, but 4C does not push him beackanymore, it’s instead used in combos as it goes forward. It’s also much faster! 5C has a strong followup that can knockdown. 6C has changed, imo for worse, but it still does good Guard Damage and can punish hard. 2C is still here and j.5C is much faster.

Samidare: Same move.

Beccata di Rondine: Although it’s also a dash, it works very differently. B and C might even have a similar horizontal slash at the start like base Yamamoto, but the main bit of the Special move are the hundred diagonal stabs. It’s safe on block, hard to reflect and it’s probably the safest and most effective Special to apply guard pressure. If you block the first hit you’re not able to reflect the rest of it.

Utsushi Ame: Exactly the same as original.

Hyper Strike – Utsushi Ame (Kiwami): Confirm Super, starts as a simple slash and then moves on to it’s main combo.

Burst Hyper Strike – Scontro di Rondine (Revised): Starts out as a great projectile and then turns into a combo. Neither of these two Supers are better than base Yama’s Super 1, so it’s a solid reason to prefer the other one… it’s just not a good one anyway.

Hibari Kyoya

Age: Nobody knows. Might be 15.
Height: 1,69.
Blood: ???
Gender: Who cares?
Flame: Purple, Cloud.
Occupation: Leader of the Namimori Disciplinary Comitee.
Weapon: Tonfas, but they have a Morning Star attached just for the heck of it.
Track: Punisher.

This is my secondary main, and not really because I chose him, quite the opposite. Ok, Hibari is actually the character for anyone that gave up on playing it fair, a full-fledged rushdown with all the privileges of a Top Tier. Winning with Hibari does not bring you glory, but peace. Wonderful Normals with a confirm into any of his Specials, and some of these Specials can confirm into the others. Great combo Supers too. Hibari can convert any hit in a gatling gun of blows, not only housing amazing Health Damage but also Guard Damage and Groggy. Hibari wrecks up your entire HP and then adds salt to injury leaving your character groggied so it can be hit harder next time. Matches agains Hibari end quickly and are rather one-sided. If you give him a micro-window to get in, it’s over. Block a move and five more are unleashed – your Guard Gauge will be empty in no time. His only weaknesses are his lack of projectiles and how easy it is to predict his movements, in addition to less health than most.

Normals: 5B is a great poke that can cancel into 214A on Colpo Block to deal more Guard Damage, but just hitting it easily converts into a combo. 4B is great for baiting and eventually punish, as it’s a great reset when connected to a 5A/2A. Can be cancelled in Specials if it hits! 6B is a low with good range and might easily crush High reflect attempts. 5C is a pretty nice multi-hit that crushes reflects and in CH + any other state might combo in a Dragon Punch, lending you a knockdown, or a 214 if you want your opponent standing. 4C starts out with a upper-body invincible dodge and then follows up with a multihit that will most likley Colpo. Does crazy damage on Groggy and can link into a variety of different moves. 6C is the fastest normal, and links into a Dragon Punch on Colpo (second hit). 2B can be cancelled into any Special with ease, it’s basically a simple low forward. 2C is an anti-air, it cancels into Specials and can also work as a good poke. His Aerials, although pretty common, are the final pieces of the puzzle to his awesome moveset. Hibari has no bad normals!

Tonfa Rush: Rekka 236 that’s marvellous on both Hit and Block. Despite being a three hit Rekka, it actually hits WAY more than that. Alongside always leaving your opponents Groggy, it does enough stun so that you can link into a 22C (strongest Dragon Punch) even after hitting all the hits of a 236C (strongest Rekka). It knocks down too. Absurd damage, and there’s no way to get out of the move on block through mashing or jumping. The only way to get rid of it is reflecting the last section of the move, the one with the most hits so… good luck!

Tonfa Dash: 214 Dash Attack, pretty useful in combos and getting in. Crush High reflect and can travel below certain things. Pretty fast too! Tonfa Rush is preferable in close range combos, so Tonfa Dash covers midrange ones and some longrange too.

Rising Tonfa: 22 Dragon Punch. Anti-air, reversal, combo finisher, and knocks down. Frame 4 makes it good in absolutely everything.

Hyper Strike – Bite to Death: Great for confirms, but tiny hitbox. Good damage, though, so it’s worth it.

Burst Hyper Strike – Clean Up Public Morals(?): Dodges Lows and has a better hitbox, also good in confirms. As you can see, it’s a completely combo oriented character.

Hibari Kyoya – 10 Years Later

Age: No one knows, but it IS ten years later.
Height: 178cm.
Blood: ???
Gender: Enby, but it’s not like he’s ever going to admit any gender.
Flame: Purple, Cloud.
Occupation: Unemployed.
Weapon: Cloud Tonfas and a cute hedgehog. The only living being Hibari spares are animals.
Theme: Proud Cloud.

In a full 180° switch when compared to base Hibari, this one is a shoto. An extremly versatile and balanced kit, with a dash, Dragon Punch and a Fireball. Has an easier time getting in and maintaining space control, without his explosive and easily spammable combos from ten years ago. Great normals, a divekick followup from his Dragon Punch and good Counter Hit damage, but suffers from doing little damage from just winning neutral. His DP confirms are very inconsistent and it’s pretty easy to evade his projectile through ducking. Relies heavily on his Supers to win.

Normals: 6A is a Special Cancelable normal, great for punishing close-ranged lows. 5B is the same move base Hibari has, just like his 6B that can link into DP on a Counter Hit. 4B is a two-hit advancing attack, and both hits are cancelable in Specials. 5C is back, just like 6C, both are still great moves for punishing and applying pressure. 4C begins like the original with a dodge, but after the first hit Hibari follows it up with three more that end up on a Knockdown. All the crouching moves are here, specially 2C and his anti-air.

Hedgehog Bomb: 236, Fireball. Very big projectile but too high, making it a very easy move to dodge by ducking. Hard to combo onto it, but the other options are better for comboing anyway.

Tonfa Dash: Same as the original.

Rising Lark: Rekka Dragon Punch, the second hit is a divekick. That makes the move way more useful, both in combos and punish. You can use it to get in too. Normally you’d prefer Tonfa Dash for combos as this DP isn’t that reliable, but it’s useful in different situations.

Cloud Prison: Command Throw, 236 + Throw. Primarily used to start pressure on block, lending you a free Knockdown.

Hyper Strike – Reverse Needle Sphere Form: Aegis Reflector. Creates a giant sphere behind the opponent and it’ll stay there to force blocking or giving you access to longer, more damaging, combos. A simple combo showcased by SPKelevra is: 4B cancel into Super 1>214A>5A>5A>4C>5A>5A>Command Throw.

Burst Hyper Strike – Needle Sphere Form: Hibari shoots two projectiles that will fly around the stage. Meanwhile, Hibari combos his opponents as his projectiles protect him.

Lambo – 10 Years Later

Age: 15.
Height: 179cm.
Blood: A.
Gender: Cishet Male.
Flame: Green, Lightning.
Occupation: Unemployed, but the loser kind.
Weapon: Thunder horns.
Theme: Fighting bull.

There’s no child Lambo in this game so it’s somewhat redundant to add “10YL” to his name, but it’s still adult Lambo. This is the most unique character in the game, considering it’s the only one with his own mechanic. Lambo uses the Hyper Strike gauge in his Special Moves and can only get bar by charging it himself. He still has Supers, but it’s like he’s a character with EX too! It happens that Lambo is an amazing character with meter, but he can’t do much without it. To get some meter you need a Knockdown, or you need to land your Command Throw, and with just a little HS you have access to a great projectile and a wonderful confirm that does crazy good damage and Groggy.

Normals: 5A is a Mid jab (hits mid), 6A is considered Low for Reflects so it crushes Throws and Reflect attempts. 6B is good in pressure and can punish jabs. 5C is the most ridiculous normal I’ve ever met in this game. You know how those bigass long-ranged kicks are always considered Heavies? Kicks that are usually used for punishing or anti-airing? Well, this one can cancel into Special Moves. Does great Guard Damage too, and you can double or triple it by confirming into a Special. 4C is a hop that dodges Lows and kicks high, working well as a Punish and can also combo into a thunder 22C. It can Knockdown on Counter Hit! 6C compliments this move starting with the very same hop, but instead of kicking high, it kicks low. Combos into 2B and, naturally, into a Special. 2C is a slide that can be properly spaced to be safe and can travel beneath projectiles.

Elettrico Cornuta: Your ideal Combo Finisher, does heavy damage. Charged version always Colpos, it’s safe on block and can Knockdown Groggy opponents.

Thunder Set: 214, charges up your meter. Has a big hitbox that can be used for anti-airing and you can combo onto it from a 2A. If you hit it from close range, you can combo into 6A>236C.

Elettrico Reverse: 22, great projectile. Travels on ground so you can jump above it, but it’s good for challenging other projectiles and start corner combos. It can Knockdown Groggy opponents.

Abbraccio Elettrico: Amazing Throw that charges meter, input 236+Throw. Base Throw is also great, setting up a free Thunder Set.

Hyper Strike – Super Elettrico Cornuta: Great Combo Ender, lots of reach and obscene damage.

Burst Hyper Strike – Vertical Elettrico Cornuta: Invincible reversal, also an anti-air.

Rokudo Mukuro

Age: 15.
Height: 177cm.
Blood: ???
Gender: Fluid.
Flame: Indigo, Mist.
Occupation: Gang leader.
Weapon: Trident, snakes.
Theme: From hell.

I don’t like to use this character. Mukuro is a character focused entirely on normals and zoning, with a lot of range in all of his moves. However he has no combos or good confirms, only having As for cancelling. Maybe the most interesting parts about the character are his two different divekicks. Good Supers too.

Normals: j.2B and j.2C are two drastically different divekicks. The first one acts like a normal divekick and just launches the character diagonally downward. Works as a great poke and might even be plus if you hit in specific ways. The second one scales with the character’s momentum. Normally, Mukuro rolls forward (in the air!!) and then throws himself downwards (but in a horizontal-esque angle). You can travel through the whole screen with that. But, depending on the direction of your jump and the moment you activated this move, both the distance and speed of travel vary. This is good for mixing up your approach and sells the character by itself. But moving on to other normals. 5B is a good poke, 4B is a retreating version of the same move and hits low. 5C is a good anti-air. Meanwhile, 4C is a version of the same move that starts with a dodge so it can punish better. But it’s easy to reflect and way too slow. 6C is a normal with unbelievable horizontal distance, probably the character’s best poke but that’s it: just a poke. Too slow to do anything outside of its ideal range, but does some good Guard damage. 2B is a slide, which I would normally be a fan of if this character didn’t desperately need a low forward, you know? 2C is an anti-air, great one at that, better than the character’s other anti-air options.

Hell Path – Tsubute: High projectile, but you can combo onto 236C from up close!

Sen: 214, I hate this bullshit move. A and B combo into 2B, meanwhile C has its own finisher. It’s a reflect move, reflects low and high.

Beast Path – Orochi: 22, summons a snake falling from the ceiling. If it came out of Mukuro’s feet it would be pretty useful, but considering you’re frozen for half a second when you use this move, it’s not that good. Does not hit low, so it’s only mildly useful from (very) far away.

Hyper Strike – Human Path – Gouka: Super 1 dashes forward reflecting throughout Mukuro’s whole body. Great damage if it hits!

Burst Hyper Strike – Dragon Bite?: Combo where he spins his trident, so it has a very big hitbox. Does good Chip Damage, but little Guard Damage.

Rokudo Mukuro – 10 Years Later

Age: 25.
Height: 182cm.
Blood: ???
Gender: Fluid.
Flame: Indigo, Mist.
Occupation: Real life Devil, but not always a 100% real.
Weapon: Trident, fuck-ass illusions. Fuck the snakes!
Track: Lord of nightmare.

This is my prefered Mukuro. Most of his normals are still here, losing some and getting some new ones, but what really matters are his Special Moves. This is a character that encapsulates the concept of an illusionist perfectly, messing with your head in all of his three Special Moves that work together perfectly. His Normals also fit my style better, but he did lose one of his two divekicks.

Normals: Mukuro10 keeps his j.2C to play around with movement, but gave up his j.2B that was used for poking. He did get 6A instead, a High-Mid jab that can cancel into Specials! It doesn’t truly cover his lack of good cancels throughout his moveset, but it’s pretty cool nevertheless. 5B poke and retreating 4B are back, but they have a new friend – 6B is a low poke with obscene range and that changes the character’s entire gameplan (not really but it’s good). All the heavies are here but I swear 4C feels better now. I might be wrong though, it could be the same move.

Six Paths Rupture – Jitsu: 236 projectile, leaves Mukuro in an invincible state from the first frame. Shoots out an illusion of himself, and when it’s over, Mukuro warps to where his illusion is.

Six Paths Rupture – Void: 214 projectile, leaves Mukuro in an invincible state from the first frame. Shoots out an illusion of himself, but Mukuro stays in place. Both are used interchangeably to mix opponents, considering it’s the exact same move with a different outcome relating to Mukuro’s movement.

Six Paths Transfer: 22, teleport, the best in the game. Extremely fast and can take you behind yourself, behind your opponent and simply forward. You can spam that shit nonstop.

Hyper Strike – Human Path – Linnaeus: Low hitting Dash, has to be blocked accordingly. Lots of damage.

Burst Hyper Strike – Hell Path – Rekka: Creates a vulcanic eruption below the opponent, hard to hit but you can set it up through a knockdown.

Chrome Dokuro

Age: 13.
Height: 152cm.
Blood: ???
Gender: Certainly transfem.
Flame: Indigo, Mist.
Occupation: My daughter.
Weapon: Trident, Ken, Chikusa, Mukuro and na owl.
Theme: MonoChrome.

Chrome is almost like a second Mukuro clone, but her game plan is unique enough to separate her. She works around assists and setup-based zoning. Great for controlling the match as a whole but if she loses her control for a single moment it’s over, considering she has the least amount of health between all the characters and no reversal options outside of Super 2. Good normals and Specials.

Normals: Most of her notable moves are located on the C button. 5C is a great poke, and completely invalidates 5B in most occasions so there was no need to mention it. 4C is a much better version of both Mukuro’s 4C, instead of starting with a dodge it has a low hit to guarantee a combo on the important slash. 6C is a low poke, pretty good one at that. All crouch moves are good: 2A is a throw-crushing low, 2B is a slide and 2C is an awesome poke.

Throw: Although both ground and aerial versions have terrible damage, the grounded version automatically inflicts Groggy and leads to small but damaging combos.

Come… Mukuro-sama!: Air to ground projectile, 236. Stronger buttons add more delay, but has more advantage frames. 236C is plus on block.

Help me… Chikusa!: 214, boomerang projectile. You can summon multiple yo-yos at once, different buttons have different angles. Perfect setup for absolutely anything.

Help me… Ken!: 22, summons Ken for a punch that nabs half of an HP bar. Great Punish, perfect for combos too. Normally it would be too slow to combo, but you can hit 22A out of a Colpo 5A on Groggy. Damage so big it looks fake. Disjointed, anti-air, lots of Guard Damage. Perfect move!

Hyper Strike – Hell Path – Enma’s Pillar of Fire: Horrible, do not use it. Too slow, does not combo, no chip, no Guard Damage, and you can dodge all eruptions by walking back. Dogshit move.

Burst Hyper Strike – Everyone… lend me your strenght!: The good Super! A high-hitting throw, you can dodge it through ducking or jumping. If you duck, though, Chrome will finish the move with an unblockable push that can go so crazy it can be +9 on the right conditions and, of course, lead to combos. Has to be reflected.

Sasagawa Ryohei

Age: 15.
Height: 168cm.
Blood: A.
Gender: Extremely masc in a very trans way, but he’s probably cis… probably.
Flame: Yellow, Sun.
Occupation: Captain of the Boxing Team.
Weapon: Fists and his own heart.
Track: Shining knuckle

Ryohei is a boxer to the extreme, and extremely similar to characters like Street Fighter’s Dudley or Balrog. His playstyle focuses around close-range pressure, but he has a projectile and tools to deal with other projectiles, alongside evasive techniques that end up whiff punishing (counter). However his range is very poor, and the lack of good lows combined with his difficulty in getting knockdowns give Ryohei big problems in the long run. Getting close to his opponents is not hard for him, but he desperately needs to do that in order to cause any damage whatsoever.

Normals: 5B is a frame-5 punch on the stomach that can be cancelled, and might be the character’s best normal. Pokes, punishes and pressure can all be handled by this move. 4B is a three-hit combo that naturally links into 6C if the last hit colpos. 6B is an advancing low but it actually sucks because it’s MINUS ON HIT, which means you’ll get punished for landing it. However, it is a good punish as the additional Stun frames from a Counter Hit makes it plus. 5C is a poke that’s even on block and can get you a Knockdown with the right states. Can link into itself or 22A on CHCo. 4C is exclusively a punish, too slow to do anything other than that. However it does throw Ryohei’s body backwards a bit and can be charged, making Ryohei walk forwards before attacking. Reminds me of Balrog’s charging punch! You know, that beefy smack he does if you hold P for a while. 4C can also be used to reflect before punishing. 6C is a good poke that crushes low reflect attempts. Damage is this move’s biggest feat. Both the character’s 2A and 2B are lows, although they may look mid. Very bizarre if you ask me. Reflected as mids, but blocked low. 2C is used for block pressure, but it’s an obvious anti-air and can link into 236 or Super 1 for big guard damage.

Extreme Shot: 236 Projectile, it doesn’t go very far but deals nice guard damage, perfect pressure tool.

Extreme Counter: Dashback first, dash punch later, made with 214. Each version goes a little further back and adds another hit to the punish, although it’s fairly easy to reflect B and C’s additional punches if the first blow is blocked. Because of that it’s considerably risky to throw this move out without thinking well first. Alas, that’s expected from a move like this one.

Extreme Sweep: Ryohei crouch-dashes forward dodging most projectiles and then uppercuts (without getting off the ground so it’s not a DP, works pretty similar to a classic SF2 Balrog move). Most normals can cancel into this with either a Counter Hit or Colpo Drive, sometimes even a clean hit is enough.

Extreme Feint: Command Throw. Exactly like a normal Throw that leaves characters standing, but it starts with a dashback and then a dash forward. Ryohei’s sways remind me of my Slayer so I like this character. The “Throw” part of the move is faster than a base throw, but this one is designed around baiting while the base throw is… a throw, made to beat blocking. You can start pressure with this throw, or extend it, as it does not knock down opponents (don’t get me wrong, that SUCKS, but you can still make the most out of a bad situation).

Hyper Strike – Extreme Rising: Easy combo Super, but the second hit is very easy to reflect if the first one is blocked. Two Dragon Punches.

Burst Hyper Strike – Extreme Sun: A very special Super. There are no good setups to hit it, but that does not make it a bad move. For comboing, you need to hit a Counter Hit Groggy 5B, which makes it very hard to consistently land. However, if this move is blocked it completely destroys 100% of your opponent’s Guard Gauge AND Knocks down. Might trigger Groggy state too.

Sasagawa Ryohei – 10 Years Later

Age: 25.
Height: 181cm.
Blood: A.
Gender: EXTREME.
Flame: Yellow, Sun.
Occupation: Giant star in the sky, all the planets cycle around him.
Weapon: Fists, heart… and jet boots/gloves.
Track: Ultimate knuckle.

Ryohei10 is the EXTREME version of base Ryohei, throwing his offensive to the maximum for the price of little defensive options. They share a lot of moves but even the new ones follow this rule. Rekkas turn stronger for the cost of safety, less baits to get better punishes in return, startup speed for slow recovery (less startup is good for counters but give you less reflect frames as a result). Easy Knockdown setups make this character way more aggressive, but he does find himself in risky situations quite often in order to earn his better pressure. Probably the best relationship between past and future forms in the game, I love both Ryoheis.

Normals: 5B is the same normal that base Ryohei has, but in a new character, meaning it can now cancel into a great 236 for pressure and combos. 4B punches twice, and both hits are cancellable into Special moves and come out very quick, for the cost of being minus on block. It doesn’t get any better when hitting groggy though, with no additional Stun frames. Same low 6B, minus on hit. 5C is similar to the original but faster (PLUS 2 ON BLOCK) and great use in combos considering it can do from 7 frames of stun all the way to 12. 4C has a nice reflect on startup and can lead to powerful combos in a close-range Counter Hit. From far away, Colpoing, it’s pretty safe. 6C is the same move, but it can now combo into 4B in the corner. Crouching moves stay.

Maximum Combination: 236 Rekka, multiple punches dealing obscene Guard and Health damage. You’re obligated to block this move, so it truly is the perfect pressure that can start from a lot of different normals. Ideal combo, but also good pressure.

Maximum Counter: 214, a Rekka that starts with a backdash and follows-up with a string of aerial blows. Hitting all three hits lead to a knockdown, but it is a very easy move to reflect when the first one is blocked, and you can even punish it with a good throw. First hit can link into 4B and lead into combos if used on Counter Hit, but the other two never work alone. If you use the second one, you’re already commited – finish it.

Maximum Upper: 22, similar to base Ryohei’s crouch dash but ends in a Dragon Punch, that is, an uppercut that sends Ryohei into the air, making it extremely commitable. Any of the states like Colpo or Counter can knockdown. It’s a relatively low-hitting move so it can beat throws and upper-body armor.

Hyper Strike – Combination Cannon: Great in combos, but easily interrupted by Low punches and reflects. Eliminates half of the Guard Gauge if blocked or reflected.

Burst Hyper Strike – Maximum Ingram: Purely used as a punish, has a lot of range and anti-airs.

Lal Mirch

Age: Over 20.
Height: 166cm.
Blood: O.
Gender: Transgender man, he just doesn’t know yet.
Flame: Blue, Purple, and Indigo (Rain, Cloud, and Mist).
Occupation: Secret Agent, teacher.
Weapon: A shotgun, AK-47 and a centipede. Lal’s armed to the teeth.
Track: Bullet Spiral.

Lal is one of the most stylish characters in the game, and also one of the characters I just can’t play at all. She has good tools for almost any occasion, except for reversals (although she has a Super for that). Good normals, combos, setups, pressure, zoning, anti-zoning, anti-air and mobility. The full package.

Normals: 6A is one of the best normals in my opinion, a Special Cancellable kick with good range and way too much stun for a simple Light. 5B is a kick with twice the range of the last one and yet can be cancelled too, turning it into a menace in neutral. 4B is perfect for pressure and punishing counter attempts using jabs and throws, combined with an awesome 2A to further upgrade its capacities. Cancels into Specials too. 5C fires her arm machine gun in an arc starting on the ground and going up. Multiple hitboxes with drastically different angles are perfect to crush reflects, and every single hit has to be blocked. Plus on block, making it the best way to pressure your foes at any moment. 4C is the best combo ender for small combos, almost always knocking down on the second hit. Easy to combo into it too, as you can chain it out of a 5/2A. 6C pokes at a good distance and does crazy Guard Damage for no reason. 2C is a good anti-air, plus on block.

Raid Blade: 236 Command Dash, you can cross-up with ease. This Dash has three followups – the first one, done with A, just cancels the Dash early. B is a low kick and C is a high punch. Good for punishing and in neutral game overall. It also has fun interactions with Lal’s 22 projectile.

Arm Gun Burst: Short range projectile done with 214. Each button fires at a different angle. Lal continues shooting if you hold the input, and you can also move her left and right. I didn’t know that beforehand! That makes her way cooler to me now.

Capture Web: A wonderful projectile. Lal shoots upwards and spawns a big, paralyzing barrier. A shoots it right in front of her, B shoots at a medium distance and C spawns the web far away. Very fast move, once its active, hitting Lal won’t make it disappear, you have to wait or block it. You can combo into it and OUT of it, especially using Raid Blade.

Frankensteiner: Great Command Throw that starts out reflecting low, big contrast with a base throw that reflects mid. Done with 236, it only hits standing opponents considering Lal leaps into the air to trap her foes with her legs before executing the titular wrestling move. Knocks down.

Hyper Strike – Drain Peed???: Possibly the best Super in the game. Frame 1, combos out of all of her moves, anti-air. Perfect reversal, and she desperately needed something like it.

Burst Hyper Strike – Operation Buonanotte: “Drain Peed” is a weirdass name but it was fairly easy to translate. “Operation Buonanotte” however took me a long while, you know? I had to ask help for that one as Google Translate couldn’t read one of the letters for some reason. It ended up giving me a word that simply does not exist… but I digress, it’s a heavy damage super but if you can use the first one, do it. Do not waste meter with this one if you can risk losing your get-out-of-jail card for any situation.

XANXUS

Age: 24.
Height: 188cm.
Blood: O.
Gender: Transmasc.
Flame: Orange, Sky.
Occupation: Leader of a Professional Assassination Squad, and would be Vongola’s boss if it wasn’t for these meddling kids and their stupid Hitman Baby Tutor. 
Weapon: Two pistols. 
Track: XX Fire.

Ten years ago version of my main, so I kinda feel safe in saying this is my main too. You don’t like it, take it to corporate. XANXUS focuses his playstyle in different zoning styles and forcing your opponents to beg for their lives. I don’t think there’s any character as capable as Xanxus in terms of guard breaking, and that’s possibly the one thing that separates both double Xs – this one forces your Guard Gauge into retirement, and there’s nothing you can do to stop him. It’s hard to approach him in battle and once you finally get in he can easily fly across the stage to the other corner of the screen. He might have a weakness that I’m not aware of, but nothing a Xanxus main isn’t prepared to face. The cool aspect of playing one of the two Xanxus is knowing for certain nothing can stop you. If an official tier list is ever created and this motherfucker is considered a Mid Tier, I’ll personally carry him to the top. We have a blood contract and if I try to run I get blasted on sight.

Normals: Most notable normals include his two-hit 4B, with a pretty high kick first and a low second kick that’s cancelable. 2B is your cancelable low with great range. 5C is an anti-air that does crazy damage, cancels into Specials, and can be confirmed into 22C on block to erase your opponent’s Guard Gauge (he cannot reflect it [fuck off, nerd]). 6C is a fullscreen projectile but it’s high enough that you can crouch to dodge it… if you’re quick enough. This move has plus frames in all ranges, and it’s fast so it can punish your jumps and zoning attempts. It also forces linear approaches from the opponent. You’ll lose contact with the ground if you’re trying to get in against Xanxus, considering he can easily dominate the whole screen with a single move. And, if you DO get close, 2C is the exact same move but crouching. Great low, not fullscreen but still has good range, also plus and can combo. Even if you block it, you can’t punish a plus 5 so you’re kinda cooked. In the air, Xanxus has a j.2C that shoots the same projectile downwards, from the air. It deals so much Groggy it can make any character panic in no time. Good angle too, and it is pretty fast.

Throws: His ground throw is very common but it does feature a badass animation of Xanxus throwing his opponent in the ground and kicking them. Classic Xanxus. But his aerial throw is ridiculously awesome and it can almost inflict Groggy by itself. Lots of damage too. However, I wouldn’t consider talking about normal throws with no special abilities if it wasn’t Xanxus. I’m biased as fuck.

Fiamma d’Ira: 236, a projectile with three speed variations, can be charged. Charging the move raises the size of the fireball, its damage and how much Guard Gauge it can take out. It can even take out 10/12 out of it. Use it in confirms, pressure and zoning in general. It also forces your opponents to approach in specific ways. Most characters have major difficulties in dealing with Xanxus’ projectiles, this move may be the biggest reason.

Pioggia di Fiamma: I lied, this is the biggest reason Xanxus is so hard to deal with. 214 is a barrage of bullets while Xanxus, for all intents and purposes, travels all the way back to the corner behind him, making it a safe move to throw out whevener you want. The bullets are lows, forcing crouch block from your opponents and punishing reflect attempts. Oh, and you can combo onto it too if you want to keep your pressure going even from far away. Xanxus comes and goes through the stage for as long as he wants to, and this move is the biggest reason for that.

Vulcano: I lied AGAIN, this is the biggest reason Xanxus is so hard to deal with, AND the fact he can fly through the stage for as long as he pleases. 22 is an AERIAL SHOULDER BASH HELL YEAH!!!!1 and it works like a Dragon Punch, meaning it’s an invincible reversal. If you block this move standing your Guard Gauge goes to hell all at once. Crouch block it instead and let Xanxus fly above you. This move can easily travel through the whole stage, but forward this time around. It can also apply destructive pressure on block. If you think that’s cool just wait until you see the other Xanxus…

Hyper Strike – Colpo d’Addio: A torrent of bullets. You’re forced to block them all, although you can reflect the final, stronger, hit if you’re lucky. Eradicates your Guard Gauge no matter what, though. Easy to combo into, but it’s one of the best Supers to use even if you know it’s gonna get blocked. Xanxus WANTS you to block his moves.

Burst Hyper Strike – Vortice d’Ira: This move causes quite a stir on Twitter (not really). Unblockable and you can’t even reflect it. The only mean of escaping is to hit Xanxus with a low to counter him, or jumping. Normally this move is used after 5C is blocked, and although that’s a pretty good strategy every character has a (frame perfect) way to dodge it in this situation. It’s fairly easy to pinpoint wheter it’s coming or not, but getting the timing right is a challenge by itself. For some reason, Genkishi can just hop over it with ease.

XANXUS – 10 Years Later

Age: 34.
Height: 193cm.
Blood: O.
Gender: Trans man.
Flame: Orange, Sky.
Occupation: Wathever the hell he wants, nerd.
Weapon: Two .50s, watch your ass. A liger too. XANXUS cares about that animal like he never would for a human being.
Track: Over kill.

Alright, this is my actual main. I’m completely in love with this character, not just in playstyle but in character. He and Franky (One Piece) suddenly appeared in my life to remind me that my attraction to all genders includes men. From his cold glare, to his burn scars on the face, his coat hanging from his shoulders, the loose tie, his attitude, the voice, his two flame pistols, moves about disrespecting people… I could never fix him, no one could, and I want him that way.

Ok, but about playing as him. This XANXUS is a little more about hand-to-hand combat when compared to his past self, still having his zoning abilites but focusing them in mid to close range pressure. That’s perfectly represented by the replacement of his 236 Fireball in favor of a knockdown combo finisher that can only work from up close. Dumping one of his major strengths for something way more cruel like personally exploding his foe’s face (a close range move) fits Xanxus perfectly. Now, piling on his great projectiles that are almost entirely here, he also received better normals and confirm options, letting go of a bad 6B in order to receive an amazing low. Two Supers that cannot be blocked are also included in the character’s new kit, and if you ask me that’s crazy broken.

5A: Two-hitting jab, both hits confirm.

2A: Basic jab.

j.5A: Aerial basic jab.

5B: High poke, might miss crouching characters. Kinda slow, but safe when properly spaced.

4B: Two hits, a mid and a low. Great for comboing out of a Jump-In aerial, it may replace 2B in this situation. You can cancel the second hit in any of your Specials safely.

6B: Two hits, a low and a mid, in that order. Does not cancel into Specials, but it cancels into 2A and that’s much better, in fact. It was designed to beat Throws, and cancelling into 2A you can, for instance, throw out 2B > 22C to do massive damage.

2B: Fast, nice range, a low that cancels into Special moves allowing quick confirms that may even knock down.

j.5B: Your specialized jump-in normal. j.5C is good but has little range, something that’s covered by this one.

5C: Marvellous anti-air that cancels into Specials, deals good damage and it’s specially useful for pressuring.

4C: Could honestly be better, but it’s good as it its. A very high poke that unfortunately doesn’t Colpo and creates a distance between Xanxus and his opponent. But, y’know, sometimes that’s what you’re looking for anyway.

6C: It’s sad but this move is worse than the original. If you plan on zoning at long range it’s still good and you can shoot twice, but it’s not plus anymore. Actually, it’s minus on hit. Does more damage, at least, so it’s not all bad.