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TOTSUGEKI! Tips and tricks to play as and beat May

TOTSUGEKI! Tips and Tricks to Play As and Beat May

May has been a menace for newcomers to Guilty Gear -Strive-. Not only is she a solid pick into many matchups, but she comes with a plethora of pressure tools that forces the opponents to remain in block stun for a long time. She also has tools that beat many players counterattack options. We will be talking about tips and tricks on how to play May better and tips and tricks on how to beat May!

Tips for playing May

Tip 1: How to buffer the Totsugeki

May is a charge character, similar to Guile and Alex from the Street Fighter franchise her vertical and horizontal Totsugeki (Mr. Dolphin) is her main tool for eliminating pressure and forcing offensive options on her opponent.

Numpad Notation Sheet

May's Mr. Dolphin move is her premier charge move: to use the horizontal version we hold the input 4 (back) for ~30 frames (~1/2 second) and immediate press 6 (forward) + the slash or heavy slash, and to use the vertical version we input 2 (down) for ~30 frames (~1/2 second) and immediate press 8 (up) + slash or heavy slash.

The slash version has a 7-frame startup (1/10th of a second) is -5 frames on block. Her heavy slash version has a 25-frame startup but is +5 on block! Mixing these options gives good offensive tools to stay safe and/or reset pressure.

Totsugeki basic inputs

But, what good May players will do that new players will not; is that you can buffer the horizontal AND the vertical move at the same time, giving you way better options when blocking and defending. This is achieved by holding down and back at the same time.

How do we hold down and back at the same time?

Simply holding the DPAD or fightstick at 1 (down-back) position allows you to buffer two inputs at the same time. When playing fighting games, there are only four directions 2,4,6,8 (down, left, right, up) that is read by the game. Holding diagonal positions 1,3,7,9 are actually a combination input! The combination in this case is back and down or down-back (1). Because you are technically entering two inputs simultaneously, they are buffered individually in the case of May's charge special move.

down back buffer

So the inputs for Mays charge moves can be buffered as [1]6S | [1]6HS or [1]8S | [1]8HS! You can also make the input easier for yourself on the vertical Totsugeki by inputting [1]9S | [1]9HS, where the game will prioritize the jump (8) input over the forward 6 input and give you a cleaner input to anti-air the opponent.

What's the benefit?

The benefit is that you are able to crouch block while buffering a reactive Totsugeki. Crouch blocking blocks plenty of ground options that will allow you to react to an opponents pressure with a quick counter Totsugeki.

Tip 2: Buffer the Totsugeki mid combo for some big damage!

May is a charge character and by nature her combos may seem difficult at first to understand. Blending in Totsugeki's mid combo strings are a learned skill, but there are some things to remember.

  • May doesn't have a command normal that uses 4(back), so when you are doing a simple Slash > Heavy Slash poke. You can buffer 4 (back) during the moves and use them to follow up with a Totsugeki.
    • A simple combo in this sense would be 5S > 5HS > [4]6S, where you can buffer the back input (4) as early as the standing slash.
  • The same rule applies for horizontal Totsugeki, you can buffer 1 (down-back) to follow up your combo strings. Be wary that by holding down-back (1), the game will prioritize the crouching position meaning you will be using your crouching moves as a combo.
    • A simple combo in this sense would be 2HS > [4]6HS or [2]8HS, where you can buffer the down-back (1) position to hit your 2HS...
      May midscreen BNB
  • Being able to use a combination of switching your guard and buffering 4/1 will lead you to be very successful in learning May.

Tip 3: May is actually a defensive Axe Girl!

The anchor seems like a strange tool to use in combat, but in theory, May is just an axe girl. Axe being big, burly weapons that do big damage that means May also has that in her arsenal.

may is an axe girl

  • Use the axe as a big hitbox to punish unsafe moves! One of May's strongest midgame pokes is jumping back and using the anchor as a wall to an enemy's approach option, making them less inclined to play aggressively.
  • Understand how your opponent likes to use their block strings, and use the blocking input to buffer a Totsugeki to punish unsafe moves. The slash version Totsugeki has one of the fastest start ups in the game and can counter and disrupt many offensive options leading to big combos.
  • This is more of a general rule but use your burst and Roman Cancels (RCs) frequently. May is meter hungry, meaning using resources as you get them is better than saving them over time. Be proactive in using meter and your defensive ability with May will skyrocket.

May wallbreak combo

How to beat May

The biggest tip to defeating May is understanding how her offense work. Knowing your enemy is the most decisive way to beating your enemy, but there are some tips that we can use to beat May.

Tip 1: Mr. Dolphin is actually very punishable.

Mr. Dolphin is a great rush-down tool, but it actually has incredibly low priority in aspects of Guilty Gear -Strive-. It loses in clash situations 100% of the time because simply: May's HURTBOX is in the same spot as her hitbox. If she collides with a projectile, she will take damage; if she collides with an opponent's disjointed hitbox, she will take damage; and if she collides with any opponent's move, you both will take damage and reset to neutral, resulting in resetting back to neutral.

Mr. Dolphin is also categorized as an aerial move, meaning a well-timed anti-air will beat her Totsugeki 100% of the time. However, as an aerial move, it means she can air-dash back cancel out of the Totsugeki on block. (this really should be in the tips section but we'll keep it hidden here.)

how to beat totsugeki

Tip 2: Chipp and Leo actually destroy May.

The reason is simple. Cross-ups are nightmare scenarios for May players. It ruins the buffer of the Totsugekis and they are forced to sit until a good punish scenario. So, if you are able to constantly switch sides on May, the May player has to switch sides and wait another 30 frames for the Totsugeki to come back live. Therefore, just by playing these two characters, you reduce the risk of a counter Totsugeki significantly.

Tip 3: May is by definition a defensive character

May is designed to sit and wait for opportunities to come by for big combo damage. Putting May into pressure situations and good oki options reduce the risk of May approaching for big damage. If you force May onto the offensive, she only has Totsugeki has her primary gap close option, and thus you just have to respond accordingly. Knowing the matchup is key in understanding how to force May players into bad decision making.

Thanks for tuning into our article, and we hope you are having as much fun as we are in playing Guilty Gear -Strive-