You don't need technical mastery to learn & win in Guilty Gear Strive

You don't need technical mastery to learn & win in Guilty Gear Strive

Timing is everything in any fighting game, even one as 'technical' as GG Strive. Watch me demonstrate how to defeat an opponent without any combos or cancels at all!


Whenever it comes to Guilty Gear Strive, a common concern I hear about whether or not to get into the game is the barrier of entry - how technical the game looks. It's true on some level, with various forms of cancels, faultless defense, bursts, supers, and long combo strings available, getting into Guilty Gear can look like a daunting task.

That's why I, your impromptu coach and fighting game guru, am here to tell you that the challenge is all in your head. You don't necessarily need any of that stuff I listed in your head. All you really need is good fundamentals: offense, defense, and timing. And I'll prove it. Watch this match below from the beta in which I wipe an opponent out with nothing but understanding of their gameplay and single button presses.

It's as simple as that. Now I can imagine the counterargument, "they weren't that good," or "not every opponent plays the same". But the fact of the matter is I made them look "not that good" by properly exercising my fundamentals. Take note that this is the second round of the match. Here's exactly what occured.

  1. I took in enough knowledge of my opponent's strategy from the first match to figure out how I thought they were going to fight me.
  2. I've spent enough time with my character to know which moves and normals would be effective counters for my opponent's approach.
  3. I remained cautious enough to ensure that they would hit me less than I hit them (in this case, barely being hit at all!).

And don't just take it from me. People like Sonic Fox have made this argument about fundamentals with more experience than I could ever hope to pour into the subject, and that fellow is a multi-time EVO champion.

I think Sonic Fox's hierarchy is extremely helpful to consider. Playing a fighting game is like playing music. Nobody starts out capable of playing a full song. You need to pick an instrument. Then you need to learn the notes. Then you need to figure out how to make the notes sound like they belong in order. You see, I beat that player with a handful of basic notes. But it's not just knowing the notes. It's the rhythm too. My rhythm was stronger. My timing was better. I saw what they were doing and I poked holes in it with a rhythm I created. Unable to adjust their rhythm to overcome my rhythm, they lost to me. It's as simple as that.

And that's another important thing to consider: Adjustments. Being willing to make changes after you discover where your rhythm, attack, and defense fall short. If you can keep those holes in mind, then you can see the moments coming when they happen again and maybe then you can overcome them by sheer prediction of the moment. That Ramlethal didn't beat me now, but if they remember what I did and think about how they can adjust their rhythm around it, they might later!

And that leads us to escalation. This is where you start looking at those things beyond the fundamentals: The cancels, the faultless defense, the supers. You should focus the most on your basics of attack and defense, and if those fail, then you should start to think about the special things you need to augment your rhythm even further to overcome that fault in your system.

But most importantly, you should have fun. If you think a game like Guilty Gear Strive looks gorgeous and fun, I implore you to try it. You don't need to be able to string together amazing combos like some of the folks you see out there. You don't need to be able to know exactly what Roman Cancel you need and when. You should just find the character that makes you happy to be playing, unravel them, figure out what makes them tick, learn their basics, and then discover your rhythm with them! And if the rhythm that leads you to that sweet W/W victory is as simple as one button press fundamentals used at the right place and time, then there's absolutely no shame in that. GG, HF y'all.

From The Chatty
  • reply
    February 23, 2021 5:39 PM

    Defeating opponents without any "technical mastery" in GG Strive

    Read more: You don't need technical mastery to learn & win in Guilty Gear Strive

    • reply
      February 23, 2021 5:54 PM


      • reply
        February 23, 2021 6:24 PM

        I truly do believe in terms of art, animation, mechanics, and technology, this may be the most important fighting game in a very, very long time and that the entire scene has been put on notice to be better than it has been for GG Strive's sheer existence.

    • reply
      February 24, 2021 6:27 AM

      GGST looks great, hope there's a large influx of new and returning shackfighters with this one. They're definitely trying to make this one slightly more accessible.

      You guys should try to get the details on what the Player Match setup looks and functions like, and if you will be able to invite friends directly to it again, spectate matches while waiting your turn, etc. They've only mentioned support for it in a previous trailer. (Up to 9 players, many customizable options, that's all we know)

      Game is coming soon, it's one of the few things still up in the air for this one. Will it be the simple 4 arcade cab setup like Rev2, a menu screen through the lobby like DBFZ, something more like the new Strive lobby system (ugh), or something else?

      • reply
        February 24, 2021 1:28 PM

        I will definitely keep this mind and try to keep an eye out as we get closer to the game's launch! I totally agree I would like the lobby system to be more similar to GGXrd (basically the ideal scenario you described). I hope they rework lobbies after the beta too. The towers are okay, but the lobbies are bunk and everyone has told them so.

    • reply
      February 24, 2021 10:08 AM

      I like your article.

      I played the beta for a bit and only did a couple of matches online in which I got completely destroyed. I am torn between waiting for a 50% sale and wanting to support devs.

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