Guard Cancel SMS

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Guard canceling is one the most important techs in the game. Without it, due to the crazy amount of blockstun that normals and specials cause, the game would be filled with blockstun traps and infinites (most sweeps are plus on block for instance). Guard canceling is executed by inputting any special move while in blockstun. Remember that desperation attacks and back/forward dashes are special moves. The character who guard cancels will cancel all remaining blockstun into the startup for their special move instead. Here is a list of the more technical aspects of guard canceling

Shoryuken!

Frame Data

  • Guard canceling cannot be done until after 9 frames of blockstun have occurred. Frame 10 of blockstun is the first frame when guard cancels can be activated. The only 2 moves that are exceptions to this are Pluto and Uranus’ desperation attacks, which can be guard canceled after only 1 frame of blockstun
  • At any point of the 9 frames of blockstun a button can be registered and the special move will come out on frame 10.
  • Both of previous statements applies to the attacker’s hit stop frames for canceling normal into specials

Applications

These mechanics allow for a few things to happen

  • One is that every normal in the game is safe* from any guard cancel option since they can be backdashed canceled. You do lose ground and potentially options if the opponent guard cancels into a fireball for instance
  • Another thing is the late jump ins can be quite safe on block for characters with slower guard cancel options. Since once the 9 hit stop frames are up, a character only has 1 extra frame of landing lag from the jump in before they can block an attempted guard cancel
  • Preforming a guard cancel option on the first possible frame (referred to as a first frame guard cancel or FFGC) are usually impossible to do on reaction. However, by using the 15 frame directional input buffer in combination with the ability to activate a guard cancel at any point in the 9 frame blockstun window, this allows for viable consistent FFGCs. To perform a FFGC, simply buffer a special move direction and then immediately hold back. Wait a bit and press the button for the special move, and your character should block and then FFGC into said special move. Some characters FFGC options are fast enough to punish non backdash canceled lights. This tech can be done as a read in neutral or to cover walking forward with a FFGC as a backup. It can also be applied to blocking multiple attacks in a row, allowing for a FFGC punish on the second blocked attack for instance.

Learning when is a good time to guard cancel for your character as well as guard cancel mixups in critical for success in Sailor Moon, and provides an interesting play experience from other fighting games.