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The Ultimate Fighting Game Dictionary

The Ultimate Fighting Game Dictionary

VS Fighter Terms

2-1 combo

(an abbreviation for two-in-one combo, also known as a 2-in-1 cancel, special cancel, buffering, or interrupt combo) is a combo which takes advantage of the fact that after executing a normal attack in certain games, the player is able to immediately cancel or freely interrupt the animation of the normal to execute a special attack without having to wait for the former to finish. A simpler way to explain this concept is “cancelling a move or string into a special move.”


This is a term in Capcom vs. SNK 2 that refers to when the opponent has 3 characters left while the player only has one, and the player still manages to defeat said opponent.


A circular joystick motion, usually from forward to down to back to up. The 360, along with the similar 720, is often used for powerful command grabs given to grapplers.

Although documented as a 360° special move, Zangief's Spinning Piledriver--the first fighting game 361--can be realized with a 270° rotation. The rotation can be started either clockwise from forward to up, or counter-clockwise from backward to up. Many other games allow similar input leniency.


A kind of mix-up, that forces the defending player to guess between two options which are impossible to react to, thus giving the attacker a 50% chance to successfully land a hit. A well-executed cross-up is one of many kinds of 50/50.


From Japanese verb abareru, meaning "to run amok" or "to rage violently." Usually refers to trying to land pokes when pressured, during wakeup, and in-between the opponent's attacks, risking getting hit in hopes of landing an attack confirming into a full combo.

Absolute Block

A type of blocking scheme in a fighting game where once a player blocks a string of hits that combo together, letting go of the block button will not make them stop blocking until the hits no longer combo or otherwise give an opening for retaliation. Vampire Savior is an example of a fighting game that has absolute blocking.

Advanced Blocking

An advanced block is a block that is made to improve on normal blocking in context-sensitive definitions. This kind of blocking generally has a number of advantages over normal blocking, at the cost at being either more difficult to execute or having some sort of resource cost related to it.

The first game to use this concept was SNK's World Heroes 2. Notable advanced blocks include the Thrust Block from Weapon Lord, Parry from the Street Fighter MD-III series, the Just Defend from Garou: Mark of the Wolves, the Guard Impact from the Soul Calibur series, and the Faultless Defense & Instant Block from the Guilty Gear series.

Another recent example is the Flawless Block system newly implemented by Mortal Kombat 11, which requires a precise timing in order to counter the blocked move. This move can give the player access to their “Wakeup” attacks in the neutral or in the middle of some opponents’ combo strings (almost acting as one substitute for “Breakers” along with the newer “Breakaways”). It also gives a few additional benefits to the player such as taking heavily reduced chip damage, making certain moves/strings by some opponents more minus on block, & preventing the opponent from cancelling pokes or jump-in attacks into special moves [or in some characters’ cases, completing certain strings that may normally come out on block].

Aerial Rave

Marvel vs. Capcom series terminology for a chain combo that is performed while a character is airborne, either linked from a ground attack or started while jumping. The main difference between an Aerial Rave and a juggle is that in Aerial Raves, both characters are airborne, while during a juggle the attacking character is on the ground and the attacked character is airborne.


Aggression represents the forward displacement and measure of additional reach that is created by a character's attack.


An attack done from the ground serving the purpose of attacking an opponent who is in the air. Moves of this kind generally enjoy high priority or are upper-body invincible.


A move performed in the air against an opponent's own aerial move.


Normally, when a character executing a move gets hit, the move is interrupted and the character is put in Hit Stun. A move with Armor will not be interrupted when the character is hit by an attack. Typically, Armor is limited to one hit. If the character gets hit twice while executing a move with one hit of Armor, the move often is interrupted as normal. In some games, damage is inflicted through armor, while in others, damage is ignored, reduced, or taken as recoverable health.

May also describe super armor.

Armor Mode

A feature exclusive of the The King Of Fighters series. Armor Mode is activated by pressing BCD. It costs 3 stocks to use, and when activated, the player character will pose momentarily and flash yellow for a brief period of time (indicated by the timer at the top of the screen). During this time there is no Power Gauge and the character cannot amass Power Gauge energy or stocks. Even though the Power Gauge disappears, players can use the Guard Cancel Attack or Guard Cancel Slide (in either direction) as many times as they desire.

While in Armor Mode, all attacks inflict more damage (A little less than in Counter Mode). Characters also take less damage from attacks. Furthermore, the Dodge Attack will knock down an opponent, just like the Body Blow Attack (Guard Cancel CD attack). Another feature of Armor Mode is that characters takes no damage from blocking special moves, DMs, or SDMs. Although DMs or SDMs cannot be used, the player character cannot be hit out of an attack--an opponent's attack can still push them back, but they will continue their attack instead of being put into Hit Stun. This does not apply to certain attacks that would knock characters down to the ground or up into the air, however.

Once this mode ends, the Power Gauge will not reappear for a few seconds, and the character will still be unable to collect energy / stocks until it reappears.

Armor Breaking Move

An attack in Street Fighter IV that can defeat armored moves by default. Reversals in SF4 break armor, and every character has at least one special move that has higher priority over Focus Attacks.

Auto Combo

Also known as an Easy Beat in the context of Japanese fighting games. An Auto Combo is a type of Combo that is performed by repeatedly tapping one button. This ability is featured in most fighting games as either a viable option for amateur players and-or a safe and convenient execution at higher-level play. However, since Auto Combos are usually limited to a single type of first hit and execution, they may be easy to predict and punish, and are therefore discouraged among higher-skill players. Another reason for their lack of representation within skilled play can also be inferior damage compared to manual and learned "natural" combos.

Auto Correct

An auto correct is a feature that happens when a move is inputted when the player character's back is to the opponent (usually a special move) and the game automatically switches the character's direction, and subsequently the move, towards the opponent.

Auto Guard

A built-in feature in various fighting game characters that originates from the Street Fighter series. Moves with autoguard have a specific set of animation frames, during which any move that comes in contact with the defending character is automatically blocked: this is different from regular move invincibility in that autoguard usually nullifies any move that comes in contact with it during its duration by blocking it and thus rendering it harmless, while moves with invincibility might run out of invincibility while the attack is still able to connect with the defender, causing the character to get hit regardless.

As a tradeoff, moves with autoguard are often slowed down when they block the opponent's attacks, allowing the other character to avoid getting hit by them if the move they use to trigger the autoguard is fast enough. Moves with autoguard are most effective at going through projectiles due to the fact that projectiles usually hit only once and it is relatively easy to time the move with the autoguard animation frames so that they're active during the point of impact with the projectile. Some Super Moves also have this feature, and the length of the autoguard animation frame might be exceptionally long for them, in some cases even several seconds.

Auto Shimmy

A term commonly found in recent Mortal Kombat 11 terminology, an auto shimmy is a type of shimmy best described as a jab string that automatically baits the opponent into attempting to tech a throw. What typically defines a shimmy is being a staggerable string off of a standing jab (i.e. 1,1 or 1,2) where the string’s 2nd hit is a mid that can catch the opponent trying to duck & counter/tech your throw; in the case of an auto shimmy, ideally the 2nd hit also must be 9-11 frames & the character should also have a throw with an animation that can easily be confused with the jab’s animation (namely having a throw where both hands come out, that appears to lead with the jab hand). Because throws have a different mechanic in Mortal Kombat 11 than in other games, being a high that is punishable by ducking & attacking (i.e. with pokes, uppercuts, etc.), the idea is that the throw animation looks similar enough to the jab animation that the opponent cannot quickly distinguish between the two on reaction, & by staggering the jab hits, the player can pressure & condition the opponent into having to better read throws (as simply ducking to punish an anticipated throw will expose them to the 2nd hit of the string, which as stated is a mid). The main function of a “true” auto shimmy in Mortal Kombat 11 is to deal with opponents who have learned to OS tech throws, as the 2nd hit of the “auto shimmy” string shuts down this option. Examples of characters with an auto shimmy are Shang Tsung, Cassie Cage, Johnny Cage, Sub-Zero, & Liu Kang.


Baiting describes the act of taking certain conspicuous actions, be it moves or movement, in an attempt to elicit a certain reaction or move from an opponent, and then punishing that reaction or move in response.


A term (derived from balance of power) used in reference, or to describe the overall playable roster of a particular game, specifically referring to whether or not certain characters are inherently stronger or weaker than others via a great number of factors. "Good balance" or "well-balanced" refers to when most, if not all, of the characters in a game are on generally even footing with one another, and that no character is at a distinct advantage or disadvantage during a given matchup with the other. If one or more characters has distinct advantages over the others by a notable margin that disrupts the game's balance, they can be considered "broken". The larger the cast, the more difficult it becomes to maintain good balance. See also Game balance and Tiers.


When a character is blocking or guarding, they are in a defensive state that protects them from being damaged by their opponent's moves (or, in certain cases, softens the damage). Blocking is often performed by tilting the joystick away from the player's opponent, otherwise a specific button is used to block. Usually there is more than one kind of block (most often "high" and "low"), each of which protects against and is vulnerable to different classes of moves. In most games, blocking can be countered by a throw. The same term is known in China as guard, or even defense in some cases.


The duration in which a character is unable to switch their guard while blocking an attack. This is also usually the window of time that one is able to input a tech hit or guard cancel (in Vampire Savior), and is a period of time prior to entering block stun where the character is frozen in place and black not being knocked back.

Block String

A block string is a series of attacks that is blocked. A block string may be understood to be a combo that is blocked, wherein the defending player tries to block every move, and the attacking player tries to land a hit through the block and then hit confirm into a combo. Block strings give the attacking player multiple opportunities to apply mix-ups, and are essential to applying pressure.

If a blockstring has no gaps where the opponent recovers from block stun, it is a "true blockstring," and the opponent cannot act unless they utilize a special system mechanic that may or may not be present in the game, such as Guard Cancel. It is often desirable to use block strings that do contain gaps, since gaps create opportunities for frame traps and tick throws.

Block Stun

The term block stun is used to refer to a situation where there is a delay after a player ceases to hold back or press the block button before the player can take any action again, such as moving or performing an attack. It may also refer to the delay before a player can perform another move if the opponent themselves has blocked their move. In Mortal Kombat 1-4, both the blocker and the blocked recover at the same time, while other 2D 3D fighters have subtle differences depending on the particular move used.

Blow Away Attacks

A particular type of normal move in The King Of Fighters, also known as CD Attacks. Blow Away attacks are performed by pressing CD while standing or jumping. They cannot be used while crouching. All characters can use CD attacks, except for May Lee when she is in Hero Mode (she only has a standing CD in this mode, and it functions differently from most CD attacks). Most ground Blow Away attacks can be canceled, but there are some exceptions. Furthermore, some may only be canceled into special moves and (S)DMs, while others are canceled into command attacks.

Guard Cancel / Blow Away Attacks

Guard Cancel Blow Away Attacks (Guard Cancel CD Attacks) can only be used while one is blocking while standing up. They do less damage than normal Blow Away Attacks, have a difference appearance or performance, and cannot be canceled.


Commentator slang for when a player is getting beaten very one-sidedly by the opposing player. If a player loses to a “Perfect” or was not able to play the game due to holding block and getting hit the entire round. You would refer to the losing player as being “bodied”.

Bread and Butter (BnB)

Refers to a "bread and butter" combo or technique for a character. Usually this is one combo or technique whose use is ubiquitous and highly recommended due to its efficacy, ease of execution, and versatility. First applied to the Street Fighter II series. In games where auto combos exist, BnB may simply refer to said auto combos due to their ease of performance. (Marvel vs Capcom, Dragon ball Fighterz, etc.)


Broken can refer to both characters and moves. A character or move is considered broken when they are so powerful/advantageous that most, if not all of the other characters in the cast does not have an answer for it, and therefore is game-breaking. If a character themselves or at least one of their moves is broken, they may be banned in tournaments at times.

This term unfortunately gets taken out of context mainly due to two things. Firstly, it may be abused during the early days of a game's release when the player base has not yet found a counter or vulnerability for it. The other reason why this term is taken out of context is because most players label certain characters/moves as strong even though they are not necessarily unbeatable ("broken" in this context is synonymous with "cheap").


In most contexts, buffering means entering the commands for one move while a character is still in the animation of another move, so by the game's design the second move comes out as soon as the animation ends. This is an important element of 3D fighters, not in and of itself, but because particular 3D fighters have "glitches" or "unintended features" which modify the properties of buffered moves compared to if they were simply immediately executed after the last move. The most famous example of this is the tactic in Tekken Tag Tournament of buffering a low parry with an Electric Wind Godfist movement. If it is buffered, the game will choose to execute the move only if it is in the best interests of the player, a process known as option select.
In The King Of Fighters, buffering can be used to describe performing a normal attack and then cancelling it in the middle of its animation with a special move, cancelling the ending frames of the normal move's animation (e.g. Kyo's CD attack into his Aragami Style No. 104: Wild Bite or a R.E.D Kick). This is a tactic usually used to manipulate the rhythm of the opponent, or to bait them.
In Capcom games & later Mortal Kombat games, buffering a non-special move into a special move so quickly that the special move comes out before the normal move ends (often making a combo by nature). This use of the term is synonymous with the term 2-1 combo or 2-in-1 cancel.


Most often refers to a defensive attack performed by a player being hit or blocking. Bursts can interrupt the attacking players combo (or sometimes block string). Usually has a gauge attributed to it (ex. Guilty Gear XRd: Rev 2)

Button Mashing

Button mashing, or simply “mashing,” is a derogatory term used to describe the way in which inexperienced players play fighting games. It refers to rapid repeated pressing of buttons in a random fashion, with or without random 2 joysticks KICK STARTER ARCADE movements. If a game has a built-in feature where button mashing executes a specific combo automatically, then an auto combo is being performed.

It can also be used to describe what occurs in certain situations where buttons must be mashed to achieve a desirable outcome, such as weapons clashing in Samurai Shodown, rapidly mashing on punch buttons to increase the damage on a Shoryu Cannon performed by Sean of Street Fighter III, mashing on buttons to try to escape from a dizzy state, or an attempt to mash out of certain combos like Magneto's Magnetic Tempest combos in Marvel vs. Capcom 2.

One feature of Mortal Kombat and Mortal Kombat: Deadly Alliance is a mini-game titled "Test Your Might." It required the player to rapidly bash the buttons to keep a green meter above a certain level when the count-down ended.

When a player is intentionally trying to mash more hits from a super, a common technique is to fan or drum the fingers out over the buttons of a fightstick and wave the entire hand back and forth over the buttons.


See: Special Cancel See: Buffering

Cancelling, a concept invented in the Street Fighter II series, is defined as breaking out of a current animation or move by inputting another move that cancels the previous one. Attacks defined as "cancelable" mean they have the ability to be canceled (and effectively comboed) into a special move or super (the act of cancelling a special move into a super move is usually called Super Cancel). It also occasionally referred to as interrupting. In some games, the move which is used to cancel a previous move usually does less damage than if the move is used alone, either by default or through damage scaling.

Normal attacks to special move combos are based on cancelling a normal attack into a special attack. The King of Fighters and in a minor degree Street Fighter Alpha are known for having guard cancel techniques that immediately put a character out of block stun and allow the player to hit their opponent at the cost of some super gauge. The King Of Fighters has a detailed system of evasion and counterattacking based on cancelling blocking animation: the "CD Guard Cancel" allows one to knockdown their opponent breaking out of the character's blocking animation to land a CD attack that does little damage at the cost of 1 power bar (which is even cancelable in some cases and allows the player to start combos); the "Guard Cancel Emergency Evade" allows the player to roll both backwards and forwards to evade and punish the attacker if they time it when the opponent is doing an attack whose recovery will leave them open after the player's evasion.

Systems like Guilty Gear XX, which features the ability to completely Roman Cancel any move a character is doing by pressing 3 different attack buttons (except Dust) and spending 50% of one's Tension bar (super gauge; 25% bar in the case of False Roman Cancels) -- , thus completely eliminating recovery time.

A term exclusive to King of Fighters XI is Dream Cancel, where the leader of the team of three, the sole character who can use Leader Desperation Move, can cancel a Desperation Move (a 1-stock super move) into a Leader Desperation Move (a 2-stock super move).

Soul Calibur allows players to cancel moves by pressing G (guard) during startup, sometimes stopping the move altogether. This can effectively be used as a form of Baiting, since cancelled moves take little time and can often be followed up by a quick attack.

Chain Combo

See: Combo (computer and video games)


Channeling is the redirection of an attack to its targeted location before completion, be it the front of the opponent or the rear.

Charge Move

A move whose command input involves holding (charging) either a direction on the joystick or button(s) for a brief period of time. This kind of move is most popular in 2D fighters, although it is occasionally seen in 3D fighters (more commonly as a button charge than a joystick charge).

Cheap / Cheese

Being cheesy or cheap is a derogative term used to point out an overpowering or repetitive tactic, or a player that uses overpowering or repetitive moves. Of course, whether a move or tactic actually is overpowered and broken is a universal source of controversy. Such tactics may be discouraged during casual play with friends, but they are usually fair game during tournament play and amongst tournament players.

It is not so uncommon for a tactic to be deemed cheap by casual players and be considered a poor or weak tactic among higher end players.

In Capcom fighters, this also doubles as an ingame term for defeating an opponent via chip damage from a special or a super move, which fits the above description.

Chicken Blocking
Chicken blocking, used most often in CvS and MvC circles, used to describe a situation where a player would jump to block an incoming attack in the air instead of on the ground. The idea comes from when a character lands on the ground and it cancels block stun recovery frames, the defending player is no longer in block stun, while the attacker is recovering from their attack and is unable to block, leaving them vulnerable to counterattack and punishing. Also while airborne the player need only to block in one direction thus eliminating high/low mix-ups. Many players referred to this is a "chicken's" way to play.

Chip Damage (also Block Damage)

The reduced damage a character takes from an attack while blocking. Generally an extremely small amount; in some games, normal moves do not cause this. The term refers to the visual effect of the player's life bar being "chipped" away, bit by bit. Also refers to a type of fighting that relies solely on causing such damage. [Not to be confused with DOT damage.]


A clone character is a character whose moveset is extremely similar, if not identical, to another's, despite (usually) a different appearance. In the original Street Fighter, for example, Ken and Ryu were clones. It is not uncommon for clone characters to gain distinct difference with later versions of the game or over subsequent installments of a series (e.g. Ralf and Clark from KOF, Yun and Yang from Street Fighter III: New Generation, Fox and Falco and Marth and Roy from Super Smash Bros. Melee). A clone differs from a palette swap in that a different actual sprite or model is usually used, but the movelist is still the same; the most obvious differences is that the clone takes up an individual spot on the roster and has a different name. Palette swaps are simply differently-colored sprites (usually alternate costumes for 2D fighting game characters).


See: Combo (computer and video games)
In traditional 2D fighter terminology, a string of attacks that cannot be blocked if the first hit connects. The word "combo" is also used presently by some 3D fighter fans to describe simply a series of moves which when done in a certain order perform more quickly than when done out of order (also known as a "string").

Command Move

First used in the original Street Fighter, is a simple or complex move, in execution or animation, usually performed with a simple combination of joystick and button action, such as a 'Forward' Punch or Kick. The properties of these moves are usually not radically different from other normal moves, but rather they are performed with a button press and a joystick action to allow a wider array of normal moves without having to add extra buttons. Most command moves usually enjoy special properties such as hitting overhead or low. Particularly in The King of Fighters, if a normal attack is cancelled into a command move, the command move loses its special properties but becomes cancelable themselves into a special move, while there are others that are immediately cancelable into special or super attacks when performed alone without previous canceling.

Command Grab

A command grab (or command throw) differs from normal throws. Normal throws can be teched, while command throws are untechable and can also be more damaging than normal throws. The only drawback to this is the fact that most of them require some complex directional inputs to be performed, and may come out slower than normal throws.


An advanced tactic that describes the act of making the opponent become familiar and habitual in response a certain course of action by means of repeated exposure to the same situation. For example, one can condition the opponent to block low on wakeup if they always attack low after a knockdown; this can then be useful if one wishes to take advantage of some strategy that requires starting with an overhead.

Conversion / Converting

Players that hit an aerial opponent can convert the resulting juggle into a combo. Conversions are harder to successfully execute than ordinary combos, because players must react to the less predictable motion of the juggled opponent using carefully timed (and often improvised) moves.

Counter Hit

A counter hit is a term for an attack that hits another player while they are in the process of performing an attack. In many fighting games this type of attack is granted bonus damage and/or additional effects (i.e. dizzying, stagger).

In The King Of Fighters, aside from adding damage, counter hits are given juggling properties, meaning that an opponent caught in a counter hit is immediately eligible for a followup attack. For example, a jumping CD attack that hits as counter, can be followed up by a second CD attack of the same nature, or a special, or super, or other moves that have other juggling properties.

In Mortal Kombat 11, the new Krushing Blow mechanic is often triggered by moves or strings that are counter hits or punishes, rewarding the player’s move with extra damage, popups, or other unique perks.

Counter Mode

A feature exclusive of The King Of Fighters 99 and The King Of Fighters 2000. Counter Mode is activated by pressing ABC. It costs 3 stocks to use, and when activated, the character will pose momentarily and flash red for a short period of time (indicated by the timer at the top of the screen). During this time there is no Power Gauge and the player cannot amass Power Gauge energy or stocks. Even though the character's Power Gauge disappears, they can use the Guard Cancel CD Attack or Guard Cancel Slide (in either direction) as many times as they desire.

While in Counter Mode, all attacks inflict more damage, and even though there is no Power Gauge, Desperation Moves can be performed infinitely: no stocks are required. Furthermore, the character becomes able to cancel the Dodge Attack into command attacks, special moves, and DMs, just like a normal punch or kick. A unique feature of Counter Mode is that the character can interrupt a special move with a DM, the same way they might cancel a normal attack into a special move.

Once this mode ends, the Power Gauge will not reappear for a period of time , and the character will still be unable to collect energy and by extension stocks until it reappears.


Counterpicking is when the player picks a character with a statistical advantage over that of the opponent's chosen character. Some people tend to look down upon this practice because it is easy to argue that the player has an unfair advantage over their character, whilst counterarguments claim this is a strategic choice and a matter of opinion, as well as skill among both players. Despite its obvious advantageous nature, counterpicking is usually allowed in tournaments, provided the counterpick character themselves is not actually overpowered or broken by default.


Criticals are moves that may cause more than the default damage, resulting in critical or more damage. In the games that utilize such a feature, criticals usually occur at random. One example of a character able to use criticals is Shingo Yabuki from the The King of Fighters series, whose attacks always result in a "critical" in The King Of Fighters 97 and The King Of Fighters 98, doing more damage than normal.


Not to be confused with Mix-Up. A cross-up is a situation where it is more difficult for the player's opponent to determine whether they must block left or right. Most commonly, this is done by attacking while jumping over the opponent so that it hits as one passes over them. Cross-ups are most easily used in many games after knocking the opponent down, as the opponent will be unable to move or attack while the attacker begins the cross-up (see okizeme). Cross-ups are usually not available in games where blocking is bound to a dedicated button, rather than moving backwards from the attacker, such as the Mortal Kombat series.

The term 'cross-up' generally refers to jumping attacks, but is sometimes applied to any situation in which an opponent may have difficulty in determining which direction to block in. In particular, when a dash passes through the opponent it can create cross-up opportunities on the ground.

Starting combos with a cross-up is preferred because it makes the combo more difficult to defend against, as well as providing an extra hit.

Cross-ups originated from Street Fighter II as a glitch, though much like combos, they were later intentionally maintained by the developers to add depth to the game, and eventually became a regular features in fighting games as a whole. Cross-ups were not only implemented into the system, but, for example, Iori from The King of Fighters' air Back B command actually has him kicking backwards after jumping over an opponent, and ideally only usable for easy cross-ups. There are also characters like Felicia and Sasquatch from the Vampire series who have dashes that can cross-up with out having to be performed in mid-air.

Crouch Dash

A dash either executed from a crouching position or involving a crouching movement at some point. Seen most often in 3D fighters, particularly the Tekken series, where its command is usually forward, return stick to neutral, down, down-forward. Many characters in Tekken have several different moves available from the crouch dash, and a few (the Mishima family characters in particular) can actually link one crouch dash into another, which creates a move known as the wavedash (Not to be confused with the Super Smash Bros. Melee version of wavedash). Crouch dashes in Tekken usually have the property of automatically evading high attacks, and some have automatic low parries.

Damage Over Time (DOT)

DOT or Damage Over Time— often referred to phonetically as “dot,” or more redundantly yet frequently ”dot damage” (also known as ”damage per tick” or ”tick damage”)— is defined by tvtropes.org [[1]] as “a common video game mechanic where, instead of sustaining one-time sums of damage from one attack at a time, a unit receives a negative status that inflicts a small amount of damage at regular intervals, independent of any other factors or further attacks against them. The definition of an 'interval' varies by game: In action-based genres these intervals may be measured in real time, while turn-based genres... ...may measure intervals based on ‘turns’ or ‘rounds.’”

While this mechanic does not seem to be as common in most fighting games, certain titles (such as the Injustice and Mortal Kombat series) have made use of this mechanic as a means of slowly chipping away at the opponent’s health (not to be confused with chip damage). Because the opponent loses a set amount of health regardless of the moves that follow and can do nothing about this while it is active, inflicting DOT on an opponent can exponentially increase the amount of damage the opponent takes off of other moves/strings. The primary devices that represent DOT in games such as these are “Bleeding,” “Burning,” & “Poison.”

Damage Scaling (proration)

Damage scaling refers to the fact that in the majority of fighting games, attacks may sometimes inflict less (or occasionally more, as seen in Guilty Gear) than normal damage due to any number of reasons. Damage scaling can be a result of the number of hits in a combo (Many games; numerous), the specific move used to start a combo (Guilty Gear), the amount of damage that has been inflicted so far in the combo (Last Blade), the type of move (Third Strike), number of uses of the attack, or other factors. Damage scaling may also be referred to as proration.

In most of these cases, damage scaling's main purpose is to reduce to overall potency of combos by, while not negating damage completely, reducing the damage of individual attacks and moves as the combo progresses. This severely hinders the ability of a player to perform infinites or Touches of Death, and is a standard of balancing in fighting games as a result.

Dark force

A specific feature in the video game Vampire Savior, describing a special state in which the player character activates an alternate fighting mode at the cost of one stock. This state has a limited duration and the effects are character-dependent.


A dash is a movement which is both faster than normal movement and requires some sort of input more complex than simply holding one direction on the joystick. Dashes are executed in most fighting games by double-tapping the direction (such as forward + forward, or back + back). Dashes were first implemented in the Art of Fighting series. Many types of dashes exist, depending on the game, such as air dashes, and some games even include special properties into dashes (e.g. Slayer from the Guilty Gear series is invulnerable during certain portions of his dash). There are often variations on the basic dash, such as the crouch dash (executed from a crouching position) or wavedash (a type of dash in the Tekken series, Marvel vs. Capcom series, and later Mortal Kombat series, that is specific to certain characters), and in some games mastering the execution of a certain dash is pivotal to winning strategies.

Deadly Rave

A super move in which a player must press a series of buttons (traditionally, eight button presses and a quarter-circle move) after execution in order to complete the move. Each button press must be performed with precise timing. Named after the first such super combo of its kind, Geese Howard's (from Fatal Fury) Deadly Rave.

Death Trap

A portion of an arena/stage that can be used to instantly dispatch an opponent. Examples include the cliffs and pits in the Soul Calibur series which may be used to obtain a "ring out", and the various death traps in Mortal Kombat: Deception.

Delayed Hyper Combo (DHC)

Refer to super combo. Popular damage combo in tag fighters such as the Marvel Series, Dragonball Fighterz, Tatsunoko vs. Capcom etc.
The minimum requirement is to have at least 2 characters on your team still alive. When the character on screen does a super move usually at the cost of one bar, the character on screen can immediately “tag out” to a bench character who then can immediately perform a super follow up and hit the opponent to deal more damage and extend the combo. You can combo into a DHC with a “level 3” super which is generally a character's ultimate super move. However you are unable to DHC into another character afterwards and that character remains on screen until tagged out.

Deep Hit

A hard attack, usually airborne, that causes the attacker's sprite to overlap far into the opponent's own sprite. This results in the attacker being sufficiently close to the target upon completing the attack to allow for the next hit to be part of a combo.

Desperation Move

Initially used to describe moves that can only be performed when one's health was critically low, it has since expanded to include any super move. It is often abbreviated to DM. This term is effectively exclusive to SNK games, more particularly to The King Of Fighters and Fatal Fury, where it was a known feature to be able to perform unlimited supers when a character's energy bar was reduced to a point where it started to flash in red.

An even more powerful version of a desperation move is called Super Desperation Move (frequently abbreviated into SDM), usually a much more potent and far more powerful-looking version of a normal Desperation Move typically requiring either two or more (usually a maximum of three depending if it is cancelled from a special move or not) super stocks, and/or very low life, depending on the game. The King of Fighters 96, 97, 98, 99, 2001, and 2002 featured both kinds of SDMs, one is the normal SDM which requires the player to either have their stocks at MAX, or in 2002, in "MAX Mode", or in some cases, a combination of the older feature of red bar (described above) and the power gauge system where one needs to have both a power stock and their energy flashing red, and the other being Hidden SDM which adds low life as an additional requirement.

Starting from The King of Fighters 2003, SNK included another term: Leader Desperation Move (LDM), which is virtually identical to SDM. However, unlike SDM which can be used by any character in previous The King of Fighters games, only one out of three characters chosen in the team can use LDM (this character is called the leader). Since the bosses usually do not form teams, they are already capable of doing LDMs as well.

The Battle Arena Toshinden series is also famous for its Desperation Move system. Whenever a character's energy bar turns red, a Desperation Move can be executed which will result in a critical hit to the opponent if successfully done. Desperation Moves are a big part of these fighting games and will most often determine the victor at high-level play.

While not explicitly described by this term (as DM is used all but exclusively within SNK games), Fatal Blow, which was newly introduced in Mortal Kombat 11 (replacing the X-Ray super move from its previous titles), could also be considered a DM since it is a super move that is only available to the player when they are below 30% health. Fatal Blows are also only available to each player once per match.

Double KO

Both players are knocked out at the same time, requiring a trade against each other when both players are at critically low health. Double KOs may award wins to both players or losses to both players, and the behavior is dependent on the game.

In The King Of Fighters, a Double KO results in both characters being taken away from the fight and both of the next ones jumping in to continue, and if both KOed characters were the last ones, they are pitted against each other in a last round with only 25% of their energy and a full 60-second timer, if a Double KO occurs again, the game ends for both.

In older Mortal Kombat games, it was a known trick to cause this to continue playing extra rounds.

In the case of Guilty Gear, if wins to both players would result in the end of the match, a win is given to the player with the lesser number of wins only. If the number of wins is tied, an extra, "FINAL" round is played. If there is a draw in that round, the game ends in a draw.

If there is a DKO on the final round of a match in Soul Calibur, a sudden death round will occur, in which the stage area is shorter.

Also in Street Fighter III: 3rd Strike, if both players each have the same amount of wins and are in the final round, a DKO will incur a Judgement, the first of its kind in the fighting genre. In this case 2 of the 3 judges must turn over a "paddle" with the player's character's face on it based on fighting prowess (i.e. no. of combos, longest combo, no. of parries, etc.) for them to win the match and receive a 'J' symbol.

In Marvel vs Capcom 2, if a DKO happens during 1 player mode, the screen will say "Draw Game", but the player loses automatically.

In Tekken 3, if a DKO occurs during the final round of a match, the first player wins (!!!).


To download one's opponent is to analyze the mannerisms, calls, and habits of said player in order to gain the advantage over them. Sometimes, a player will dedicate an entire round to testing and observing their opponent without actually trying to win, using the rounds ahead to capitalize on that time they used to gain information on said opponent.

Dragon Punch (DP)

This is used to describe a few different things:

A motion in 2D fighting games consisting of moving the joystick in a forward, then down, then down-forward motion. First seen in the very first Street Fighter game.
A move, typically using the above motion, which is invincible during startup, and serves as an anti-air or reversal.
Ryu's and Ken's trademark rising uppercut move from the Street Fighter games, done with the motion described above and any punch button. Also called Shoryuken in its native Japanese, or Rising Dragon Fist.
Dramatic Battle
A type of match where two teams of characters are fighting each other, all of whom are fighting at the same time. The first instance of this was in the original Fatal Fury, the term is derived from the Street Fighter Alpha series, where two characters fight a single (usually stronger) character at the same time.

Endurance Match

An endurance match is a match where a limited amount of opponents must be defeated, one after another, on a single life bar. These matches are similar to survival matches, where a player continues to play until defeated (with the timer being reset after defeating an opponent), or time attacks, where a player continues to play until time runs out or is defeated. Unlike survival matches or time attacks, endurance matches are not one-round affairs, but are typical three-round matches.

A dramatic endurance match is similar, but incorporates elements from dramatic battles.

Endurance matches were first introduced in Mortal Kombat, where three such matches (each with a single character facing two characters) were played before facing the game's bosses.

Enhanced Special Move

A special move with increased power and additional, advantageous properties, performed by expending power/meter stored in a super gauge. Also known as an ESpecial Move, EX Move, or an ES Move.

Aside from extra damage, an enhanced special move has bonus effects. These can include, but are not limited to, setting up combos where the normal version of the move would not; allowing combos to be continued with more ease; performing the move faster, making it more difficult to react to, punish, or otherwise affecting the timing of the move; having super armor or even invincibility during the move's execution. This type of special move was first used in the Darkstalkers series, but eventually became a staple feature of fighting games.

EX Focus

Exclusive only to Street Fighter IV, an EX Focus describes the ability to cancel out of a cancellable normal or special attack with a Focus Attack, expending two bars of the Super Combo Gauge. Using EX Focus attacks to interrupt a wide array of moves with a Focus Attack Dash Cancel is an essential component of high-level play.


In the Street Fighter series and related Capcom six-button fighters, a heavy punch.


The method in which a player is knocked out. For example, a player knocked out by a special move is called a special finish. A dedicated special move that knocks out an opponent in spectacular fashion is called a finishing move. In Mortal Kombat, a finish is also the method of killing the opponent character with such a move after the match is won (also known as a fatality). This style of finish has spawned a number of different variations throughout the Mortal Kombat series, including “brutalities” that must be performed as the last hit/string of the match [as opposed to being performed after winning], “animalities” that show characters morphing into different respective animals to maul their opponent, “babalities” that turn the opponent into a baby, & numerous others. Many games display special effects (i.e. flashing screen, darkened background, etc.) if a character is knocked out with a powerful finish.

Focal Adherence

Focal Adherence represents the mechanical laws of battle that two combatants must adhere to in relation to their focal point: the opponent.

Focus Attack

Called "Saving Attack" in Japanese, and often abbreviated to "FA". Focus attacks were introduced in Street Fighter IV and are a core game mechanic that makes the game unique. Performed by pressing both medium kick and medium punch at the same time. Focus Attacks grant the player character super armor: as soon as this move begins, the character is able to absorb a single hit of an opponent's attack without being interrupted, unless that attack is an armor breaker (e.g. Ryu's hurricane kick [tatsu] is his armor breaker attack). Every character has one attack that can specifically break armor. Some characters, however, have moves that hit multiple times before the player is able to release MP and MK to counter, and will thus break their focus (Cody is a great example of this).

There are three levels to a focus attack charge. The longer the inputted button is held, the more damage it will do and the more potential one has for a follow up attack. A level 1 focus attack will not put the opponent into a vulnerable crumple state that allows for a follow up attack (unless it is a counter hit). A level 2 focus attack will put an opponent into a vulnerable crumple state if it hits, allowing the player to dash out of the recovery and perform a follow up attack. A level 3 focus attack becomes unblockable along with its ability to put the opponent into a vulnerable crumple state. As a drawback, it takes a long time to charge, allowing the opponent to react and counter before the focus attack is unleashed. This perceived vulnerability is often exploited to bait the opponent into making a mistake, jumping, or whiffing a move.

All the characters have different ranges on their focus attacks. The lengthiest focus attacks belong to Fei Long, Makoto, and Vega, and one of the shortest belongs to Balrog.

Focus Attack Dash Cancel (FADC)

In the Street Fighter IV series, during the charging/armored/"saving" part of a focus attack or during its recovery, the player can input dash to cancel the recovery animation. The player cannot dash out of the recovery if their focus attack whiffs. The ability to FADC is not limited to landing the FA on the opponent, as the player may still dash out of the recovery upon connecting with anything.

While the literal definition of FADC is just dash canceling a focus attack, "FADC" is more commonly referred to by the player base as a means of making some special moves safe on block or using it to extend combos. For the cost of two bars of the super meter, one can cancel the majority of special moves with a focus attack.


"Footsies" is archaic slang for the mid-range ground-based aspect of fighting game strategy. It refers to a situation where both players are outside of combo range and attack each other with mid- or long-range, generally safe attacks (pokes). The ultimate goal is to control the flow of the match, bait the opponent into committing errors, and attempt to punish every action.


In the Street Fighter series and related Capcom six-button fighters, a medium kick.

Four-button Fighter

A type of fighting game control scheme that uses punch and kick buttons of two different strengths ("light" and "heavy", typical of The King of Fighters and other SNK fighting games.

Four Fierce Combo

Attributed to Guile from Street Fighter II, his lack of delay after executing a Sonic Boom allowed him to follow up with another attack that proved to be one of the most devastating and difficult combos in early Street Fighter II history. Fully executed, it drained 60% of an opponent's full life.

This combo was generally done once an opponent was dizzy to aid in setup: jumping FP (fierce punch), standing FP, sonic boom, FP backfist (-> FP). While there are actually only 3 punches, all 4 attacks can be done with only the Fierce Punch button. Expert players could add a Sonic Boom to the beginning of the combo, making it a 5-hit, 70% damage combination. Oftentimes, this combo also "redizzied" the opponent, making them vulnerable once again to a very potentially round-ending combo or attack.

In the same vein, Ken had this ability as well after Street Fighter II: Champion Edition was released. His standing FP Shoryuken would hit twice, so a jumping FP and standing/crouching FP into a similar Shoryuken would deliver as much, if not more than Guile's combo.


A frame is a single still picture on a display screen such as a television set or computer monitor. Fighting games generally run at a fixed 60 frames per second which means they show 60 still pictures every second to simulate motion. Thus, the time that a move takes to start, how long it is considered to actually be hitting and how long the character takes to recover immediately after the move can all be measured in frames. One frame is 1/60th of a second, so a move that takes 10 frames to start up equates to 1/6th of a second.

Frame Advantage

A move which allows the 2 player's to recover and act before their opponent leaves either hit stun on-hit, or block stun on-block is considered to have frame advantage in those areas. Moves that enjoy frame advantage on-hit are often used in links to perform combos, while moves that enjoy frame advantage on-block are often used as pokes.

Frame Data

Frame Data is information about the exact duration, measured in frames, that a attack or move spends in different phases. At a minimum, frame data include: start-up frames (how many frames must pass before an attack's hit box becomes active), active frames (the amount of frames that an attack can hit the opponent), recovery frames (after performing the attack, how many frames must pass before the attacker can take another action), hit- and block-stun frames (the number of frames the opponent is disabled when hit by the attack), total frames (the total duration of the attack from beginning to end), frame advantage (or disadvantage) on both hit and block (the number of frames between when the attacker can act after using a move and when the defender can act after being hit by the move). Frame data can be used to answer which moves can be combined into a combo, which moves are fast enough to punish an opponent's move, or any other timing-related query.

Frame Trap

Used to describe the action of performing attacks and moves that appear to be punishable but are actually advantageous on-block, baiting the opponent into being punished when they attempt to retaliate. An example of this would be in the Darkstalkers series: Lilith's c.HK canceled on-block into her Luminous Illusion.

Free Cancels

Also known as Dokomademo Cancels. Often making reference to the MAX Mode feature of The King Of Fighters 2002 that gives the player the ability to cancel normal, command, and special moves into other command and special moves, Free Cancels are the term used to describe these cancels. Free Cancels work in the following manner:

Any Normal attack can be canceled into certain special moves (e.g. Kyo's far standing D into Dokugami).
Any jumping Normal attack, Command, or CD attack that hits or is blocked can be canceled into certain special moves (e.g. Kensou's jumping C into Ryuu Sougeki).
Any normally uncancelable Normal, Command, or CD attack can be canceled intro certain special moves (e.g. Ramon's standing CD into Tiger Road).
Any command attack can be canceled into certain special moves (e.g. Benimaru's Flying Drill into Kuuchuu Raijin Ken).
Many special moves can be canceled into other special moves (e.g. Maxima's Double Bomber into Vapour Cannon).
Each time a Free Cancel is used, the character flashes white and a small amount of energy from the MAX timer is lost.

Free canceling an attack into a command attack or (HS)DM is not possible (unless that attack is cancelable under normal circumstance). It isn't possible to Free Cancel a special move into itself, although moves that can be done on the ground and in mid-air are an exception. For example, one could free cancel a (C) Psycho Sword into a mid-air Psycho Sword, or the ground Minutes Spike into the mid-air Minutes Spike.

One advantage of using free cancels is that the player can cancel moves that might lose their properties otherwise.

Fuzzy Guard

Fuzzy Guard has different definitions depending on the game, and can refer to both offensive and defensive techniques.

In 3D games such as Virtua Fighter and Tekken, Fuzzy Guard is a defensive technique performed by the defender holding guard and quickly tapping down on the controller and releasing with a particular timing. With correct timing, when an incoming attack strikes the defender, the game picks the correct guard automatically, making it an Option Select, and allowing the defender to block both high and low attacks.

In 2D games, Fuzzy Guard can refer to both an offensive and defensive technique. For the offensive Fuzzy Guard, the attacking player forces the defending player to block standing by using an overhead attack, then follows with a high-low mix-up, where the high attack would normally whiff a crouching opponent. However, because the defender is stuck in the standing block stun animation, the second high attack will instead connect, and will hit the defender if they switched to low block. Fuzzy Guard is often mixed with Instant Overhead attacks, but can also be performed with double jumps or other aerial mobility.

As a defensive technique in 2D fighters, Fuzzy Guard is a method of switching between standing and crouching block at key moments during an opponent's Block String to defend against high-low mix-ups. If the defender knows the typical timing of the highs and lows in the attacker's blockstring, he can defend against both possibilities without needing to react to the attacker's decision. The attacking player can defeat Fuzzy Guard by changing the timing of their attacks, such as by delaying a low attack to strike an opponent who switched to standing block to defend against a possible high attack. Fuzzy Guard is one of several defensive techniques that utilizes the defending player's knowledge of the attacker's typical timing to reduce the need to react to the attacker's mix-ups. The other Fuzzy defensive options include Fuzzy Jump, which defeats throws, Fuzzy Abare aka Fuzzy Poke, which lets the defender interrupt the attacker's offense with fast attacks, and Fuzzy Backdash, which can be used to escape pressure or defeat throws.


Grapplers are characters designed around strong command throws. They are typically large, less-mobile, have higher Life, and have hard-hitting moves with good reach. Grapplers often have movesets that comprise of 360 and 720 motions on the joystick, and commonly have moves with armor.

Guard Break

The action of performing an attack which is blocked, but as a result leaves the blocking player open to further attack. This usually happens when a character receives too many attacks from a defense position, thus losing the guarding status. It is also known as a guard crush. There can also be attacks that are specifically designed to cause this effect. The first known instance of guard breaking was in the original Samurai Shodown, where continual blocking can actually cause the defender's weapon to break.

This is also the name of a common exploit in Marvel vs. Capcom 2 in which a character is rendered unable to block in mid-air. In the game, when a character is considered to be in a "normal jump" (either a normal jump or coming into the screen after another character was defeated), the character can only block once (this blocking action will expire after a certain amount of time passes without blocking any attacks). Therefore, any attack executed after the character is no longer blocking cannot be blocked.
Cable is especially notorious for this strategy and combining it with his Air Hyper Viper Beam (AHVB), however all characters are capable of exploiting the phenomenon, if not with the same ease or the same extent.

Guard Cancel

The action of cancelling out of block stun with another move to counterattack. An example of this is The King Of Fighters series, where many types of guard cancel techniques exist that immediately put the defender out of block stun and allow them to hit the attacker at the cost of some super gauge. The "CD Guard Cancel" allows the defender to knock their opponent down acting out of a blocking animation to land a CD attack that does little damage at the cost of 1 power bar (which is even cancelable in some cases, and allows the defender to start combos), while the "Guard Cancel Emergency Evade" allows the defender to roll both backwards and forward to evade and punish the attacker if time when the attacker is performing an attack
whose recovery will leave them open after the defender's evasion. In some other SNK games and also in some Street Fighter games the attacker can break out of their defense using Specials, Super moves, Alpha Counters, and similar moves. Systems like Guilty Gear XX feature Dead Angle attacks, in which the blocking character presses forward and two buttons (besides Dust) to move out of block stun and attack to knock away the opponent (though a Dead Angle is blockable itself, and costs 50% tension).

In the Rival Schools series, these are known as "tardy counters."

In some games this is the action of an attacking player to instantaneously stop the attack while it is in progress by using the guard button. This can be used many times to instantly transition into other attacks without recovery.

Guard Meter

A guard meter has two meanings. The most common is a gauge that drains as a player blocks attacks. When it completely drains, the player is guard crushed, and is completely vulnerable for a short period of time. In some games, the length of the guard meter may shrink after repeated guard crushes to the point where a character cannot block at all. Like low and overhead attacks, the guard meter serves as one of the many countermeasures to prevent turtling.

However, in other games, such as Guilty Gear, a guard meter fills up as a player blocks attacks, and the higher it gets the more damage (including chip damage) the player receives from all attacks.

Half Circle Backward (HCB)

The act of moving the joystick from the forward position to the down position, then to the backward position, creating a half-circle motion.

Half Circle Forward (HCF)

The act of moving the joystick from the back position to the down position, then to the forward position, creating a half-circle motion.

Happy Birthday

The act of catching both the opponent and their Assist in tag games such as Marvel vs Capcom. A Happy Birthday is an opportunity to deal damage to more than one character simultaneously, and is seen as an error by the player who summoned the assist.

Hit Box

Behind the aesthetic of the sprites in fighting games lies the actual coding. This includes hit boxes or hitboxes. Hit boxes are named as such because the windows for the virtual space that comprise individual attacks, as well as zones of player collision detecting a hit are actually boxes. For instance, when a character performs a short forward jab, the actual attacking zone is a short rectangle in the approximate location of that character's arm. When one performs instead a low sweeping kick, the hit box is would be a skinny, low and long to the ground rectangle. The player's themselves have hit boxes. For an attack to hit, it has to make contact with the opponent's hitbox. It is noteworthy that perform attacks or any motion changes your character's hitbox. Hit box data is another powerful study tool in addition to frame data. Hit box data shows visual images of hit boxes of individual attacks, as well as how a character's hitbox is affected by a particular attack.

Hit Confirm

The act of waiting to see if an attack lands, then reacting by continuing into a combo or special attack. Hit confirm may also refer to using a safe attack to see if one is able to land a combo or not. This is usually done by hitting the opponent with light attacks and other pokes. If the attack connects then the attacker may carry on into their combo. If it is blocked then the attacker can end their attack string safely. The reason why the attacker would use hit confirming is so that they do not put themselves in dangerous situations when attempting combos.

Hit Stun

The amount of time, in frames, it takes to recover after being successfully hit by a certain attack. This, combined with recovery time, is what determines whether or not an attacker will have enough frame advantage after an attack to execute a link.

Hood Flawless/Hood Perfect

Winning a match having only received chip damage.

Hunter Chain

This is a type of chain combo where:

any punch can combo into a kick of the same strength, and
an attack of lower strength can be comboed into the subsequent attack of the next strength forming a chain.
The name is obtained from Night Warriors: Darkstalkers' Revenge (Vampire Hunter: Darkstalkers' Revenge in Japan). This is sometimes known as "the chain combo", and variations of this exist in many other games, the most common being a two-chain (where only the first applies), three-chain (where only the second applies), and the five-chain (where one cannot combo a punch of the highest strength to a kick of the highest strength). It's a most common feature in the crossover series of X-Men vs Street Fighter and Marvel vs Street Fighter.


Essentially the equal opposite to a hitbox, describing the area of a character that is hit by an opponent’s hitbox.


To stall between matches in order to throw off an opponent's hot-streak.


The infinite is a combo that can be continued indefinitely, typically by looping the same sequence of attacks by comboing into the attack that started the sequence. Infinites are generally impossible to break when executed correctly, and require an escape mechanic like Guilty Gear's "Burst" to break the combo. Infinites are synonymous with Touches of Death, but are explicitly repetitive and possibly the result of developer oversight.

Instant Air

When you use a tool or move instantly after jumping. This might give the tool more usage, or make it come out faster, but the main advantage is being much lower to the ground when doing so.

Instant Air Dash

In games where dashing in the air is possible, such as Guilty Gear, it is possible to use an up-forward, neutral, forward motion to air dash very close to the ground, which is called Instant Air Dash (IAD). It can usually also be done in reverse, for an instant air back dash. Instant Air Dash is combined with other movement options to maneuver around the screen.


Certain attacks have invincible frames (sometimes referred to as i-frames) during the duration of the attack. During invincible frames, any attack will simply go through the invincible player without doing damage or inducing hitstun. Different from super armor as the attack is registered as not connecting at all versus connecting and being absorbed accordingly. Depending of the game, an attack hitting an invincible foe might still be considered as having hit for the purpose of cancelling. For example, in the Injustice series, a normal can be canceled into a special move, but only if it is a hit or blocked (i.e. it can't be canceled on whiff). However, if a normal makes contact during invincible frames, it can still be canceled into a special move even though it did not truly hit the opponent.


Generally referred to as a light punch, but it is the fastest universal attack in the game.


Jailing describes a method by which two moves connect, when one move is followed up by another move whose startup frames are less than [or equal to] the amount of the first move’s hitstun frames. The term refers to the opponent being “in jail” since they are stuck in hitstun, meaning they cannot react to the next move with anything other than blocking. For example if a character has a poke with a hit advantage of 14 & a standing jab with 7 startup frames, a player can jail their opponent with this poke— this means because the opponent is in hitstun for 14 frames, if properly timed the player’s 7 frame move will connect before the opponent can duck, jump, or attack.


A combo in which the victim is hit multiple times in midair. The move used to start the juggle is called a "launcher" or "floater". This was the second type of combo to ever appear in a fighting game, and first appeared in Mortal Kombat.

In recent The King of Fighters games, juggling is supported by another feature called wire.

Jump Cancelling

Jump cancelling is an action performable ON HIT that allows the attacking player to extend their combos airborne while the opposing character has been launched off of the ground. To jump cancel the attacking character inputs Up-Forward on the directional inputs and immediately buffers an attack as the opposing character is rising in hitstun into an airborne state. The result will allow the attacking character to do an “air string”, which is a combo performable only in the air.

Jump Installing

Jump installing is a Guilty Gear term referring to an aspect of the engine that was originally a bug, but later became a feature. The idea is to press an upwards direction during a jump-cancelable move, but then cancel the attack into another attack instead of allowing the jump to occur. This "tricks" the engine into believing the player is in an airborne-state. At the end of the attack string, if the player ends up in the air via an attack that would not normally allow them to do anything before they land, they will have all the options available that would normally be from a jump, such as air dashing or double jumping.

Kara Cancel

A Kara (Japanese for "empty") Cancel is a special type of Canceling that exists in games such as Street Fighter III, Street Fighter IV, and BlazBlue. In a typical cancel, the animation of the move is interrupted after it hits the opponent, thereby allowing a subsequent move to follow up the canceled move in a combo. However, when a move is kara canceled, it is interrupted while still in its start-up frames before it even hits the opponent. Often, kara canceling is used to increase the effective range of a certain subsequent move, such as a throw. In this case, the initial move to be kara canceled is typically a normal move that causes the character to move toward the opponent during the move's initial start-up frames. The throw command is then quickly inputted, right when the appropriate start-up frames have lapsed. By kara canceling the normal move into a throw, the normal move's initial start-up frames are utilized to move the character closer toward the opponent before the throw comes out. A throw executed in this manner is called a "kara throw". Kara canceling might also alter the properties of the subsequent move (a throw, in this example). In most games with kara canceling, only normal moves or command moves can be kara canceled. Because the kara canceled move must be interrupted during its initial start-up frames, the subsequent move must be inputted extremely quickly. The timing is usually significantly more demanding than a conventional normal cancel.


A knockout (KO) occurs when a player's life is depleted and the player's character is "knocked out." Sometimes compared to Ring Out.

Krushing Blow

A unique mechanic to Mortal Kombat 11, Krushing Blows (or KBs for short) are enhanced versions of certain moves that trigger via a specific “requirement,” resulting in the camera zooming in on the opponent to show the move inflicting graphic [typically internal] damage, such as broken bones/impalement/crushed organs/etc. (similar to the “X-Ray” visuals in previous Mortal Kombat titles).

There are Krushing Blows attached to several different types of moves in the game such as normal/basic attacks, combo strings, throws, special moves, & more. Many of the KBs share a requirement stating that the corresponding move must be a counter or punish, as a means of rewarding the player for such; however certain moves have different, more specific trigger requirements (including but not limited to “Must hit 2x in a row,” “Must miss 2x in a row,” “Only the last move in the string must hit,” “Must connect at max range,” “Must hit while opponent is stand blocking,” & many more).

There are a number of various benefits to triggering a Krushing Blow; while most of them simply reward your move with extra damage or an additional hit, other rewards include popups or restand/stun that help you start or continue combos, DOT, & more. Some characters are rewarded with much higher damage than others off of their KBs and can actually win entire rounds or matches simply by strategically budgeting their KBs (or landing them by chance). This affects the meta of the game greatly, although Krushing Blows are not necessarily crucial or required to understand or succeed in the game.

Every character has a differing number of Krushing Blows, as well as differing requirements for each one, with only the uppercut KB being mutually shared by every character (triggers by countering or punishing a high attack). Several characters have a KB attached to one or both of their throws, with the requirement being that the KB will trigger on the next throw if the opponent incorrectly techs the previous throw. Much like with a “counter” or “punish,” the screen will display “Escape Failed” when this occurs, which notifies the player that they have their Krushing Blow loaded. The KB is reset if the opponent manages to tech the KB throw successfully. Characters with a Krushing Blow on both throws can only use 1 per match.

An option called “Krushing Blow Held Check” is available to toggle on/off, which requires the player to hold down the last [attack] button of the triggering move in order for the Krushing Blow to successfully trigger. A higher level player may select this option to have more control over how they budget their KBs; for example, if they have a move with a Krushing Blow requirement of “countering/punishing an attack,” this option allows them to save their KB as opposed to wasting it automatically when an opponent incorrectly hits a button or whiffs a move (i.e. at the end of a round where the player still has sufficient health left & does not need the Krushing Blow).


A form of mix-up which allows for the aggressor to force their pressure onto the opponent if they know how to deal with the original mix-up. For example, you might delay your low attack if you know your opponent is fuzzy guarding.


Also called "energy", "health", or "vitality", a character's life is how much more damage they can receive from their opponent and other sources, represented by a bar at the top of the screen, with the bar depleting inwards in most cases (Darkstalkers 3 being a notable exception). When a character's life bar is completely drained, the round is lost. Some games like Real Bout Fatal Fury, Samurai Shodown, and Art of Fighting have a total life bar that is composed by two bars, one which is the classical yellow one, and a red one. This feature is used to implement certain super gauge systems and other strategic details.


Linking moves is the act of performing a move with quick startup immediately after a move with quick recovery has connected while the opponent is still in hit stun, thus linking both attacks together into a combo. In general, a combo can be formed either by canceling one move into another move, or by linking one move into another move. The difference is that in canceling, the animation of the earlier move is interrupted, whereas in linking, the animation of the earlier move is not interrupted.

Low Attack

Quite simply, a low attack is an attack that must be blocked crouching. They are an integral part of mind games when mixed-up with high/mid and overhead attacks.

Level 3 (Super)

Popularized by VS team fighters such as MVC3/I, DBFZ, ETC.
The level 3 super is referred to as a super move that is performable as long as the player has 3 FULL meters of super bar. The player is unable to DHC after any level 3, and level 3s generally have some type of special game property to give advantage to the player who just used it, for example in DBFZ all level 3s give a hard knockdown for better Okizeme.


A matchup refers to when two characters face off each other in a fight. Matchups can be determined either as good or bad depending on a variety of factors such as character speed, strength, and whether or not that character has a hard time getting close to the other character. Matchup data is often the underlying basis for tier lists. A matchup chart shows how each character fares against the other characters of the game. A high-tiered character has matchups mostly in their favor, while a low-tier character has mostly bad matchups.

MAX Mode

MAX Mode is a feature present in The King Of Fighters 2002, it is a mode which the player can "enter into" or activate. MAX mode costs one level of power gauge to activate (by pressing BC). When the player does this, the character will do a starting pose, then start to flash. During this time, a blue gauge appears above the Power Gauge and begins to slowly drain. Once it is empty, MAX mode ends.

When it is activated, it becomes possible to cancel moves from normal, command, and Special moves into Special moves, and even some Command Attacks. Hence, it is possible to cancel normally uncancelable moves into safer moves, Uppercut moves, and many other types of moves to surprise the opponent, attacking or defending oneself, or to create complex sequences of attacks. As for combos, it is also used to create combinations that otherwise wouldn't be possible, such as repeating one special move into another and canceling into the same previous move again to create a semi-infinite (which is prevented and limited by the bar that depletes from itself a certain quantity of bar energy whenever a move is cancelled). Certain attacks can only be canceled from initially and not into when in the middle of a combo or string of attacks.

Also, to allow the player to activate MAX Mode dynamically, there is a feature called the Quick MAX Mode Activation, performed by pressing BC when one of their attacks hits or is blocked. Quick MAX Mode activation costs 2 levels to use. Quick MAX Activate offers the advantage of canceling instantaneously the animation of any Normal or Command attack, and eliminates its own MAX Mode startup animation. When the current attack is canceled, the player can immediately attack their opponent after pressing BC, having the absolute freedom of continuing movements and taking any action desired, from running forward to continue the combo, to jumping, to evading, etc.

While in MAX mode, the player character's attack power decreases. Only DMs do a normal amount of damage. Furthermore, Power Gauge energy cannot be gained while in MAX mode.

One can perform a DM without losing any levels from the Power Gauge. They can also perform an SDM, which will only cost one level to use. If their Life Gauge is very low (to be exact, below 1/3rd of the total gauge length), they can use HSDMs as well, which have the same requirements as SDMs. In all of these cases, performing the (HS)DM will immediately end MAX mode.


First used in Street Fighter II to describe the act of attacking the opponent as they are standing up in such a way that only the latest active frames of the move strike the opponent. Since active frames after the frame that connects with the opponent are effectively recovery frames, and because the opponent experiences the same amount of stun, hitting with later active frames increases the attacker's frame advantage. A meaty attack can also be performed with attacks that move forward, since hitting at the end of the forward movement will often also be hitting with later active frames; or by juggling an opponent so that they fall into the later active frames of an attack.

"Meaty" also refers to hitting an opponent on the first frame possible of their wake-up, usually with an attack with many active frames regardless of which portion of the attack's active frames connect.


An old courtesy tactic that appeared back when Street Fighter II became popular. When fighting someone in a 2-player game; the winner of the first round lets the other player win the second round. This "mercy" round not only gave players who were clearly outclassed the opportunity to play a little longer, but to also practice moves, learn combos, etc. The term mercy was first officially used in Mortal Kombat 3, where instead of finishing an opponent off, players were also able to give an enemy a small portion of energy back - called a mercy. An Animality could only be performed after a mercy, so a mercy in Mortal Kombat 3 was a form of humiliation.

Nowadays, Mercy is no longer practiced as much under normal play, In fact, committing mercy is explicitly discouraged at tournaments; Mercy is classified as "intentional underperformance", informally called "sandbagging", and punishable by disqualification.

Mortal Kombat 3, on the other hand, introduced a Mercy finisher wherein the winning player can perform a series of inputs to bring their opponent back to life with a small remainder of their health restored. Though it was removed from later installments of the series, it was recently brought back in Mortal Kombat 11.

Meter (Gauge)

Commonly referred to as Super Meter or just Super. Refers to a bar secondary to Life that increases over the course of a game, either from inflicting damage, receiving damage, both, or even over time and under special conditions. It is usually located at the bottom of the screen, and different games have different systems as well as different names. Some examples of fighting game series with Meter are Marvel Vs. Capcom (Hyper Level), Street Fighter (Combo Bar from SF3 onward), Guilty Gear (Tension Gauge), and Mortal Kombat (Super Meter from MK9 onward). Most commonly, this meter is used to execute "supers", powerful moves that take up some of the offending player's meter. Many fighting games also use the meter for "EX" or "Meter Burn" moves, moves that take up less meter than supers, and make a character's normals or specials more powerful.

Meter Gain

Refers to how much meter is gained from executing an attack. How much meter is gained usually depends on whether the move is normal or special, and whether the attack lands or is blocked.

Mind Games

Mind games are described as the use of psychology to maximize one's chances of winning. A big part of mind games is archetyping, dissecting the way an opponent plays and then immediately preparing oneself to ready an effective counter strategy, as well as a great deal of other tactics that take advantage of the amount of predictability present within an opponent.

Mind games generally used within fighting games can include:

Conditioning an opponent into doing a certain move in response to something, then baiting that response to punish.
Putting forward an incredible rushdown game and then suddenly shifting gears at the least expected moment, and viceversa.

Mirror Match

A match in which both players use the same character.


Not to be confused with Cross-Up. Mix-Up is a strategy or technique of making one's attacks more difficult to predict. In 2D fighting games such as Street Fighter or The King Of Fighters, it typically involves using Low attacks, Overhead attacks, Throw attacks, and generally any assortment of attacks which require different responses from the opponent in order to defend against them. Mix-ups become more effective as the variety and complexity of the required defenses increases, and as the amount of time available to react decreases. When used in a pressure string, mix-ups can allow a player to connect a combo or inflict a knockdown to continue the pressure if their opponent fails to correctly guess what to do, how to evade/counterattack, or where to block.

Certain mix-ups are so effective that they are frequently considered impossible to defend against except by luck or knowledge of the opponent's tactics; in this case, they are sometimes called 'resets'.

Mix-up can also refer to the strategy of entering poses or stances which have multiple moves with different attack properties available to them, such as Lei Wulong's animal kung-fu arts or Guy's Bushinryu ninpo arts.


The list of moves a character can perform.

Negative Edge

Use of button release in place of button press within a command input sequence; most Capcom fighting games allow special and super moves to be performed with this method. A number of them also allow throws to be performed this way.

Neutral Game

The situation where neither player is currently attacking or defending, or when both players are attacking and trying to find an opening, for example at the start of the game. Usually, it emphasizes that no player has an advantage over the other, thus the situation is called 'neutral'. Often, the neutral game consists of each player trying to achieve advantageous spacing or finding a chance to apply pressure.

Normal move

A normal move or normal attack is any attack performed using a single button press, without moving the joystick and usually without being in midair. They are the most basic form of offensive technique in fighting games, usually dealing the lowest damage of a character's move set, and executing fairly quickly and from close-range. As the basis of all offense and combos, normal moves benefit from features such as free canceling, Hunter Chains, and 50/50s.

Number Pad Notation (Numpad Notations)

Referring to the keyboard number pad to have a universal language for directional inputs instead of saying Dragon-Punch Medium, quarter-circle back heavy, etc., we can use

For directional inputs so QCF heavy will be noted as 236H and dragon-punch medium can be noted as 623M. The FGC uses these inputs due to shortening the written language of learning intricate combos and keeping the language universal with good readability for all individuals.

OD (on drugs)

Slang popularized by Fighting Game player now commentator IFC Yipes. The term is used to describe someone who is in complete control of the game and is doing amazing things against his opponent. “This man is OD!”

OCV (also Straight)

Abbreviation for One Character Victory. It is used to refer when a person wins a match in a team-based fighting game by only using one character on their team (like in The King Of Fighters, or tag games like Tekken Tag Tournament or Marvel vs Capcom). Since the one character doesn't necessarily regain all or any of their energy after defeating an opponent, and has been able to defeat the whole team of the other player by themselves, this type of victory indicates a very decisive win.

Off the Ground (OTG)

A state in which the opponent has been knocked down to the ground. An OTG attack is an attack that hits an opponent who has fallen to the ground. This can be used to keep a combo going.


Okizeme (a portmanteau for "waking attack" in Japanese), or Oki for short, is the art of putting pressure on a rising or grounded opponent. This is often done by putting an opponent in a situation in which they must immediately block, often with a new string of attacks or a projectile. This term and the technique's effectiveness is much more prevalent in the world of 3D fighters, which generally allow characters to attack downed opponents, something minimally found in 2D 3D fighters. In 2D 3D fighters, an opponent generally cannot be attacked while knocked down, and can rise and immediately theoretically counter or block any move, making okizeme more of a psychological concept, known instead as wake-up game. This is not always true of 2D 3D fighting games, however. For example, in the Blazblue series, which allows characters who have been knocked down to roll away in multiple directions, pressuring a character as they stand up (as well as trying to predict which direction they will roll in) can have a profound effect on the outcome of the match.

Option Select (OS)

Option select describes a situation in a fighting game where the action of the player is ambiguous, and the game's programming itself will determine the outcome based on the situation. Generally speaking, the result chosen is the one that is best for the acting player. For example, in Virtua Fighter 3 it was possible to do an action for both a block and a throw, and if the throw would have successfully captured the opponent, it would do that, otherwise it would do a block. In SNK vs. Capcom: Chaos, attempting an air throw will result in a light attack if there is no opponent within throw range. In Street Fighter II, a Negative Edge throw will throw the opponent if they are throwable, and do nothing if they are not, allowing a safe throw attempt that cannot be punished. Option select is sometimes the result of a flaw or overlooked feature within the game.


Orientation is one of the laws of Focal Adherence that forces all attacks, defense, and movement to relate specifically to the location of the opponent while dictating the direction each character faces. This law prevents a character on the left side of the screen from turning and moving Forward in the direction of the screen when the player presses left. If characters switch sides, Orientation forces both characters to turn and face each other, be it automatically, or upon further action from the character(s). This law defines the difference between the game's acknowledgement of Left/Right and Back/Forward with respect to all character actions. While most fighting games are structured upon this law, some games such as Super Smash Bros. Melee are not.

Overhead Attack

An overhead attack, rarely referred to as a middle attack (derived from the naming of "high" or normal attacks and "low" attacks), first used in Street Fighter II, is an attack (normally a command move) that hits players who are crouching and blocking, and must be blocked standing, in direct constrast to low attacks that serve the opposite function. It is among one of many countermeasures to deter turtling. Because of the nature of the attack, many attacks done from the air are overhead attacks by default. Therefore, this term is usually used within the context of a ground attack. Examples of overhead attacks include Kyo Kusanagi's Ge Shiki: Gou Fu You (Foreign Style: Thunder Axe Positive), Ryu's Sakotsu Wari (Collarbone Breaker), Guy's Neck Breaker or his Run Command into Neck Flip, Ky Kiske's Greed Sever, and Terry Bogard's Hammer Punch. Games that use the convention of "mid-level attack" or "middle attack" include the Soul Calibur series and the JoJo's Bizarre Adventure fighting games.

In some games, these attacks are cancelable and comboable into special or super moves, or even cancelable intro special features of the gameplay system, like The King Of Fighters 2002's MAX Mode, which can be used to cancel the animation of these moves as soon as they hit to run and start a normal combo intro anything.

Panic Move

A move that's usually done when being pressured or when in negative frames. Has some sort of evasive property or is invulnerable.


Parrying is a technique introduced in the Street Fighter MD-III series as a means of evading an incoming attack without receiving damage or blocking. The technique is achieved by timing a toward or down controller motion (when on the ground) at the exact moment an opponents attack is about to hit. A successful parry generally leaves the opponent vulnerable to a counterattack. It is also possible to parry in mid-air by tapping the controller down while airborne. Parrying works against regular, special, and super moves. To parry a full special or super move, the player must perform individual parries against every damage frame of the incoming attack.

In JoJo's Bizarre Adventure: All Star Battle the parry technique takes the form of Stylish Dodging, requiring the defender to guard (backwards stick motion) as soon as an attack lands to instantly slide to the attacker's side unscathed.

Plink (also called Priority linking or Piano-ing)

Plinking, or Priority linking, is a fundamental technique in which two or more buttons are pressed in rapid succession, allowing for easier input commands and overall better execution. This technique was popularized in Super Street Fighter MD-IV, when 2 players utilized it to execute more difficult combos.

Plus/Minus/Neutral [on-block]

Correlates with Frame Advantage. In an attacker-defender relationship, an attacker's move's ability to be punished or simply strung from against a defender's block is described as being "plus", "minus", or "neutral". If a move is "plus" or "positive" on-block, then the amount of frames it takes for the attacker to recover from executing the move is less than the amount of frames it takes for the defender to recover from block stun; the attacker has the advantage and can act first, which allows a block string to continue among other benefits. If a move is "minus" or "negative" on-block, then the amount of frames it takes for the attacker to recover from executing the move is more than the amount of frames it takes for the defender to recover from block stun; the defender has the advantage and can act first, which can result in the attacker being punished.

If a move, be it normal or command, is "neutral" on-block, then both the attacker and defender will recover from the move and block stun respectively in the exact same amount of frames, giving no direct advantage or disadvantage to either.

These terms, while usually used in reference to blocking, can also be used to refer to the attacker's frame advantage upon a successful hit, such as rare scenarios where an attack or move might be minus on-hit.


A poke is generally a quick attack that is done to hit an opponent from just about the maximum range that specific move will allow, generally done as a single attack to accomplish any of the following things (sometimes more than one): to stuff an opponent's current attack, even one of their own pokes; to create distance between the two players; to deal "safe", unpunishable damage; to hit confirm into a full combo.


Pressure involves using a sequence of attacks to keep an opponent on the defensive and often involves okizeme and mix-up tactics. The purpose of pressure is to keep an enemy from effectively attacking back until they make a mistake, usually allowing for a damaging command move or combo to be performed.

Pretzel Motion

The Pretzel Motion is a motion introduced in Fatal Fury Special, which was used under series' antagonist "Geese Howard" as his Raging Storm Desperation Move. It is notable for being difficult to pull off, as the motion is done by doing a down-back, to Half Circle Back (HCB), then down-forward motion. The name derives from these three motions executed together in sequence. It is also used by Hazama in the BlazBlue series as his Astral Heat.


A descriptive measure of an attack's tendency to strike the opponent when that opponent is also attacking. In general, higher priority attacks always interrupt lower priority attacks. It is important to note that "priority" is usually simply a term of convenience - very few games actually have an internal mechanism that governs the resolution of attacks via priority. Instead, priority arises as a consequence of the characters' hit box properties during a move. Typically, hit box properties can lead to priority in two ways. First, during the move, the character's attacking hit box can extends far beyond their target hit box such that they can hit the opponent without being hit themselves. Second, priority can arise when a move allows the character to attack another character while being invincible for a certain duration of the move (where such invincibility is usually the consequence of the complete absence of a target hit box). An example of a high priority move is Ken's Shoryuken in the Street Fighter II series, a move which had extensive invincibility frames during its startup. In later renditions of Street Fighter II, the amount of invincibility frames was reduced, but even when not invincible, the attacking hit box remained a great deal larger than the target hit box for a relatively long duration of the move.


Attacking an opponent who is recovering from performing an attack. It is, of course, easier to "punish" whiffed attacks, as well as attacks that have long recovery time.

Puppet Fighter

A Puppet Fighter is a type of character who has the ability to actively control two separate persons or entities simultaneously. One person acts as the main character, while the other acts as an extra tool (aka the Puppet). These types of characters are usually considered to be amongst some of the most difficult characters to play. If played correctly, the player can control most of the screen. These types of characters usually tend to be one of the best characters in their specific game. The Puppet Fighter playstyle was introduced in the JoJo's Bizarre Adventure fighting game made by Capcom with the character Devo and his Ebony Devil. The playstyle would later be adopted by other fighting games. Some examples of Puppet Fighters include Ice Climbers from Super Smash Bros. Melee, Zato-1/Eddie of the Guilty Gear series, Carl and Relius of the BlazBlue series, Rosalina from Super Smash Bros. 4, Ms. Fortune from Skullgirls, and Viola from Soul Calibur V.

Pursuit Attack

Although this could be done in Street Fighter II, by some characters, it was not properly implemented until Night Warriors: Darkstalkers Revenge. It is an attack that hits a character who is lying down on the ground. A combo that contains, but does not end with, a pursuit attack is known as an off-the-ground combo, or simply OTG.

Push Block

A technique added to normal block, that pushes away an attacker that is using a combo string against the defender. It's a defensive component featured in some games of the Marvel vs. Capcom series, Skullgirls and Injustice: Gods Among Us.

Quarter Circle Back (QCB)

The act of moving the joystick from the downward position to the direction that makes the character move backwards, forming a 90 degree angle, or quarter circle. Sometimes called a "Tatsu" (short for Tatsumaki Senpuukyaku [Hurricane Kick]), or "Reverse Fireball" motion.

Quarter Circle Forward (QCF)

The act of moving the joystick from the downward position to the direction that makes the character move forward, forming a 90 degree angle, or quarter circle. Sometimes referred to as a "Fireball Motion", as it is commonly used to perform a character's projectile attack.

Quick Recover

Called ukemi (受身) in Japanese. A quick recover is when a character gets back on their feet quickly after being knocked down. This is performed differently from game to game, however it is usually performed by pressing down or the jump button the moment the character hits the floor.

In more recent years, this action is simply referred to as "teching" a knockdown; not to be confused with teching a throw. Both actions have some commonalities, involving a well-timed button press, directional input, or both at once to prevent the character from entering a disadvantageous state.

Rage Gauge

The rage gauge is a type of super move gauge where the only way to gain energy and fill the gauge is to receive damage exclusively. It was introduced, and most commonly used, in the Samurai Shodown series of games.

Because of the way power in the gauge is obtained, the rage gauge typically gives many bonuses when completely filled up. For example, characters typically deal significantly more damage when the rage gauge is full. However, this gauge often has drawbacks: it is not uncommon for the gauge automatically empty after a certain period of time (when the rage starts to "cools off"), or at the start of every round.

The rage gauge was originally designed as a variation of a super move gauge: the first Samurai Shodown game did not have super moves, but did allow a player to deal substantially more damage when their "rage gauge" was high.

Also featured in Capcom v. SNK 2 as the K-Groove gauge, and in Street Fighter IV as the method for executing Ultra Combos.

A variant entitled "rage mode" was also utilized in Mortal Kombat vs. DC Universe, where the rage gauge would fill both when the player received and inflicted damage.

There is also a Rage mechanic in Bandai-Namco's "Tekken 7", whereas a player's health drops to a certain amount (approximately 25% remaining) to receive the Rage buff. The player then gains an Attack Power buff (which actually slightly increases as the player gets closer to 0 health) as well as access to two additional moves: "Rage Drive" and "Rage Art". A player may only choose one of those two options when using the Rage mechanic. "Rage Drives" (also loosely called "blue stuff"; the character is enveloped by a blue aura for a brief moment during the attack) usually allow for a follow-up attack for most characters. However it can be interrupted by an opponent's attack if the positioning and choice of attack is appropriate. "Rage Arts" can absorb an opponent's attacks during the startup of the move. They have unique cinematic effects and lead to exciting finishes of fights, especially at the highest levels of competition.

Ranbu Super

A term for any super move which involves a dash forward followed by a predetermined, auto-executing series of rapid hits, traditionally ending with a powerful uppercut or close equivalent. Named after Ryo Sakazaki's super Ryuko Ranbu.


Reading is when one understands their opponent's playstyle and patterns so that they have a better idea of being able to correctly predict what the opponent is going to do next in a given situation. When a player is very effective at reading their opponent, it is informally referred to as having "downloaded" them.


The time or frames it takes for a character to return to a neutral state after the frames in which the attack actually hits have passed.

Red Parry

Exclusive to Street Fighter III: 3rd Strike, a Red Parry is a parry done while in block stun. Because the stick must return to neutral before one can parry again, the timing window is much more precise than a standard parry. The additional benefit given for executing this move is that it can be executed more safely, since the player starts a Red Parry after blocking an attack. There are many more cases where a Red Parry can be used to effectively punish a predictable opponent than an ordinary Parry can offer. However, the strict timing requirement makes execution extremely risky. The character flashes a reddish-orange color instead of the standard blue when red parrying.

Renda Bonus

This is a trait unique to Vampire Savior. Some characters gain a frame advantage bonus when chaining light attacks into themselves, usually +2-3F advantage bonus over the base amount of frame advantage. However, this is character specific and does not apply to the whole cast, or to every light attack. An example would be Bulleta's far standing LP which is normally +10 on hit, but becomes +13 on hit when chained into itself.


A type of special move that can be comboed by repeating its own motion, to a maximum number of attacks (usually three). For example, QCF+P into QCF+P into QCF+P. Named for Fei Long's Rekkaken move in Street Fighter II.

A rekka-type move may also use a more unique command sequence. For example, Samurai Shodown II Nienhalt Sieger uses QCF+C (Tigerkopf) into QCF+B (Falkennagel) into HCB+A (Elefantglied) for his back breaker combination move.

A rekka character is a character whose moveset primarily involves the use of rekka-type moves, typically having attacks that branch out or combo into each other organically under the benefit of free cancelling while their overall movelist can still be limited.


Term used in the Last Blade games, whose command is D or forward/down-forward+D. A repel reverses an opponent's attack and gives the chance to counter with an attack/combo of choice. This way, the player not only can avoid getting hit but also punish the opponent for attacking.

Also present in the Soul Calibur series. If the player guards as they press forward and an opposing attack connects, the attack will be repelled, forcing the opponent off balance and giving an opportunity to counter.


Reset refers to ending a combo in a way that leaves the opponent in a neutral state rather than a knockdown, then immediately attempting a second combo. The first combo does less damage than a full knockdown combo, but the second combo will reset damage scaling and do full damage, inflicting more damage overall. Resets are harder to defend against than okizeme after a knockdown because the opponent receives no wakeup invincibility, and resets make it difficult to guess when the combo will end. By definition, however, resets must be escapable, making them fickle to attempt.

Another term to describe this (to eliminate confusion) is “Restand,” which is essentially used the same way to describe ending a combo with a move that “restands” the opponent instead of launching/juggling them or knocking them down. The reason some people prefer this term is because while most moves of this nature tend to reset the neutral, some of these moves can restand the opponent while leaving them in hitstun which allows the player to continue their combo (as opposed to having to start a new combo).

A lesser known type of reset is informally called a American Reset. This type of reset is completely unintentional on the attacker's part ("dropping" the combo). However, the moves in the combo string proceed to hit the opponent again anyway, resulting in the combo completing with the added bonus of having the damage scaling reset.


In the context of fighting games, "respect" has a loose definition. However, it commonly refers to an attack/action/move's described ability to demand an opponent consider it a threat; if a move has to be 'respected', then it must be taken into consideration by an opponent as a viable action/ability on the player's part and as a non-negligible tool of the player character's given moveset. What moves within a moveset can demand respect is subjective and is tied to the meta of the game and match, as well as player skill. Respect can be usually applied to moves as a form of hierarchy, with higher-respected moves naturally taking the form of superior options that are used frequently since they are more advantageous for the one using them (e.g. Bread and Butter moves). Also, a move that can be considered weak may find itself 'demanding respect' if used at an opportune moment, when no other options but itself are optimal within the given situation.

By definition, to 'disrespect' a move or action is to think it weak, situational, or inferior to other options, likely as a move that can consistently be punished if used in many situations, or simply dealing less damage in comparison to another move of similar utility, among other less-than-optimal characteristics. High-level players tend to operate on the basis that they have less responses and options against an action that demands respect, while random or inopportune use of a less respectable action potentially places a disadvantage on the one using it, with a punish being the most common form. Those that disrespect a move naturally place themselves at more risk around it or attempt challenge it with one of their own moves.


A move that generates a certain advantageous situation when done in immediate reaction to an opponent's attack. Overlaps with Parry.

Sometimes a reversal is done at what the game considers the optimal time necessary to take advantage of either the move's invincibility frames or priority for the best possible outcome. The timing window for such moves is generally small. An example of this is present in Street Fighter, where a move done at the first possible frame on wake up is considered to have reversal timing. The Dragon Punch is a popular move to use as a reversal.

In Mortal Kombat X, a reversal is a move entered right after blocking an incoming attack. The move will then automatically come out at the first frame possible after the block stun, leaving the opponent no chance to defend against it.

Reversals can also refer to moves specifically designed to be used while the opponent is attacking, but do no damage on their own - i.e., if the opponent attacks during the active frames of the reversal within sufficient range of the player's character, an automatic counterattack will be launched. The most prominent and known example of this is Kyo Kusanagi's Nue Tsumi (Style No. 902: Clipping Chimera), another one is Blue Mary's Mary Reverse Facelock and (for short) M. Head Buster (that can even be comboed into special and super moves, as it has juggle capabilities, further expanding on the concept). An easier way to think of this form of reversal is a throw that only deals damage if the opponent attempts to attack while it is active. This kind of move is more common in SNK games and in 3D fighters, where they can also be known simply as "counters", and this form of reversal differs from parries in that parries do no damage - they simply interrupt an opponent's attack. Some games offer command options for escaping a reversal (and thus negating the damage from it), though the complexity of the escape varies wildly.

Ring Out

A victory achieved by sending the opponent out of the ring or fighting arena; these are usually only found in 3D fighting games, but some 2D fighters, like Real Bout Fatal Fury, contain ring outs as round ending stage hazards once the barriers are broken. Ring outs are recognized and usually the only way to KO an opponent in the Super Smash Bros. series (exception being Stamina Mode).


Rolling is a gameplay feature found in some SNK games, and is an important part of the engine in The King Of Fighters. The entire concept behind Rolling is to evade the attacker either by Rolling forward when the defender knows that the attacker's attack will have a slower recovery time than their roll so the defender can punish it through frame advantage (players can also calculate the timing of the roll to reach the opponent's back before their attack finishes, even if it is an attack that is normally thought to be "safe", anticipating their movements) or by Rolling backwards to prevent any dangerous attacks from the attacker and neutralize any poking attempts. The Rolling moves (otherwise referred to as the "Emergency Evade") can be used by themselves, or while blocking an attack. The defender is immune to attack as the Roll begins, but can be attacked while recovering from the Roll (before they have a chance to block). In most cases, throws of any kind can grab characters out of a Roll at anytime.

A third type of roll was added in The King Of Fighters 2002, the "Quick Emergency Evade." It allows an attacking player to cancel any normal attack, command attack, or Blow Away Attack (CD Attack) into a forward roll, successfully adding another mind game that comes in effect when the defending player tries to knock them down with a Guard Cancel CD Attack. While the defending player spends one power gauge to perform this CD attack to knock the attacker out of any sequences or strings of attack they may be doing, the attacker themselves can spend one power gauge to evade the defender's Guard Cancel CD Attack by rolling forward, which leaves them open to the attacker's attacks. It can be used even if the attack is not cancelable, or before the attack even hits. Canceling a roll in this manner will cost 1 level of Power Gauge, even if the character is in MAX Mode.

NRS has implemented Roll Escapes in recent games, namely Injustice 2 and Mortal Kombat 11.

Roll Cancel

In Capcom vs. SNK 2, roll cancelling is the ability to cancel a roll into a special attack. This changes the roll "animation" into that of a special attack, but the engine does not re-evaluate the invincibility frames from the roll. This means that for the first 17 frames of a character's special (about 1/3rd of a second), they are completely invincible.


In the Street Fighter MD-04 series and related Capcom six-button fighters, a heavy kick.

Rubber Band AI

Rubber Band AI is found in several fighting video games most notably in the Soul Calibur Series. The concept refers to a game where CPU opponents will retaliate with more effective combos after they lose a round somewhat fast or with the human player not taking a certain amount of damage. The CPU will almost appear to have increased difficulty.


The complete opposite of turtling, a rushdown style is considered to be completely offensive, often using a huge variety of mix-up, pressure, and mind games to force an opponent into a suboptimal defensive situation, seeking to create openings and watch for sudden mistakes to capitalize with proper, devastating punishment. Because of its overtly offensive, flashy nature, rushdown is generally considered to be a very entertaining -- if risky -- style of fighting. The King Of Fighters is a game acknowledged for having a universal system of movements that allow an evolved form of rushdowns.


Running, as it literally means, is the act of approaching the opponent through continuous movement much like Jumping, but unlike it, Running lets the 2 player's travel along the ground.

The game that most prominently established the maneuver of Running for the first time was in Samurai Shodown, back in 1993. Instead of only walking forward, when the player could just jump instead for added mobility in Street Fighter, the Run came into scene to complement Jumps, effectively giving a better notion of mobility that contradicts the often aerial advancement that characterized games of the past. Other games then, such as SNK's own The King of Fighters 2021 and later Guilty Gear implemented this feature. Mortal Kombat 3 also introduced a run mechanic in 1995 in the form of a dedicated “Run” button and a “Run meter” that would drain when using run & performing combos. This differed from the approach of holding down the forward button after a dash (such as was used by some of the aforementioned games). This mechanic returned in Mortal Kombat X with slight differences; the “Run meter” (renamed “Stamina meter”) now would drain only by running, & in place of a “Run” button players would simply hit/hold Block at the end of their dash [F,F+Block] (as the Block button also serves as the “EX” button). Ring of Destruction: Slam Masters II introduced Backwards Running, which can be served as a basis for Namco's Soul series.

By Running a player can:

Approach the opponent quickly but sticking to the ground
Stop at any moment, with freedom to block, to perform a Low Attack, an Overhead Attack, a Throw, and any other type of movement such as Jumping or Rolling to evade, retreating, etc.
When timed well, it can be used to anticipate the opponent's movements by running and attacking (when they attack or try to jump)
Accompanied with backsteps, it can be used for zoning.
When a player does a Jump, it can actually pass below it, end in the back of a player, and the Running character can then turn and attack the opponent in the back, successfully punishing them for jumping.


Fighting game slang for playing against the same person usually after a bad loss, asking for a "runback."


A term first used in Virtua Fighter series, a Sabaki (sometimes called a Sabaki Parry) is a move that automatically parries an attack during its animation. Sabakis are not invincible, but can absorb, counter, parry, or ignore other attacks. The attack auto-parries the opponent's move allowing the player's Sabaki to continue as though it was never interrupted. These moves usually work against specific attacks or specific types of attacks only. If done and an attack is not parried, the Sabaki will usually run it's course as a normal move or attack. Examples of a Sabaki are Sarah's FL P+K (Sabakis low punches) and Bruce's Irvin (Tekken) f,f+2 (Sabakis high left punches). Another example of a character with Sabakis could be Spawn in Mortal Kombat 11; his “Unholy Veil” advancing charge [BF2] has a “Krushing Blow” popup that is triggered when Spawn absorbs a projectile during this move’s startup animation. Another move exclusive to his 1st tournament variation, “Blaze of Glory [DB1],” acts as a low projectile but also parries low attacks during its startup animation. The move can be delayed by holding 1, & it can be cancelled during this delay with 1 bar of defensive meter by pressing D. Successfully parrying a low attack triggers its Krushing Blow.


A move that cannot be punished if blocked. Usually these moves have a very short recovery time, or they block stun the defender for a long enough so that the attacker can block before the defender is capable of retaliating. A term first coined in the Street Fighter II series.

Safe Jump

The technique of timing an aerial attack against a fallen opponent in such a way that that if they try a reversal upon wakeup, one can recover and defend against it in time, and punish it. If no such attack occurs, the attacker's jumping attack will hit the defender's block and allow them to continue pressure, often with a mixup or tick throw, followed by another safe jump to repeat. Either way the defender is at a disadvantage. This works in games that have it because most reversals don't hit on their first frame.


The negative reactions of a losing player to a match. Generally, these will come in the form of toxic behaviors such as hitting equipment and condescending opinions on the match.

Salty Runback

Salty runbacks occur when the losing player cannot accept their most recent loss, and the losing player asks for one more match.


A derogatory term with a specific meaning, but nowadays synonymous with "loser." Originally, it was solely used to denote players who would call certain moves "cheap" or refuse to cultivate their tactics and strategies on principle, so one could easily be a skilled player and still be a scrub restrained by arbitrary barriers. A scrub, therefore, does not play with winning as the end goal; rather, they play for honor, or any other arbitrary value. The word has since lost its CD-ROM original meaning, due to its spread to other genres in the guise of a generic insult.


A tense moment in a match where one or both 2 players attempt to gain the advantage over the other. Usually resulting in a win, combo, or elimination of the opponent's team character. the term derives from the act of scrambling eggs.


Introduced only in the Street Fighter III series is an option select that combines a Kara, Ryo, Ken, Walker Bizon, Edwin Guille, Dalshim, Honda, Zangif, Vega, Balrlog, Sagat, Marc, Arron Higachi, Dave, Luiza, Louis, Kantania, Alain Mandez, Garcia Potano, Malek Rozvelt, Clinton Barton, Nicke Amsterdam, Micke Houliday, Franco Bayano, Fransisco Jiletan, Megane Morgane-Throw and parry, and if the opponent is attempting a throw, will perform a higtech. If the opponent trying to attack, it will come out a parry following the move that was used as kara.


A devious trick or offensive option that is highly risky but hard to defend against, and thus can be very rewarding. Can refer to any number of situations where a player utilizes cheap actions to secure a close victory if they are correct about their read. May also describe complicated scenarios where a player that is on the verge of winning suddenly loses due to a combination of comeback on the part of the opponent, bad reading, and bad luck due to factors outside of either players' control.


A shimmy, or shimmying, is a type of baiting tactic in which a player relies on a move/string and their movements (generally moving in & out of throw range) to bait the opponent into attempting to tech a throw (or throwing out a certain move to counter/punish this predicted throw, such as a poke), leading them to whiff their attempt which allows the player to punish them. What typically defines a “shimmy” string is being a staggerable string off of a standing jab (i.e. 1,1 or 1,2) where the string’s 2nd hit is fast enough to be jailed [ideally the 2nd hit is often a mid that can catch the opponent trying to duck & counter/tech your throw].

In the case of Mortal Kombat 11, an auto shimmy refers to a jab string of this nature that [by design] automatically baits the opponent into teching a throw, based on how similar the throw animation is to the jab animation & also how fast the 2nd hit in the string is. See: Auto Shimmy


In the Street Fighter series and related Capcom six-button fighters, a light kick.

Short Jump

A Short Jump or a Small Jump, also known as a Hop or Short Hop, is a concept characteristic of The King Of Fighters, which was introduced in The King Of Fighters '96 along with the run and the roll, later included in games such as Real Bout Fatal Fury, Street Fighter III (in the form of Universal Overheads), Garou: Mark of the wolves and Guilty Gear. Mortal Kombat 11 has also recently implemented this mechanic, adding “Hop Attacks” that are unique to each fighter. A Short Jump, performed by tapping Up lightly and releasing the directional instantly, is obviously a shorter version of a normal Jump, with a lesser degree of elevation and a faster falldown. It is, in every sense, a quicker jump that allows the following:

Elevation from the ground to evade low attacks and ground projectiles
Because it falls faster than a normal Jump, when timed right, it can be used not only to evade but also to punish sweeps.
Aerial rushdown due to the quicker recovery
Faster and more effective mind games of different degrees of rhythm through alternation with Runs, Short Jumps, and normal Jumps
More safety in jumping

Shotokan Character/Shoto/Shotoclone

This term derives from the fighting style of Ryu and Ken from Street Fighter, incorrectly described as "Shotokan" in the English translation of the Street Fighter games. The style used by these characters is a fictional one with no name, however it can be described as an "Ansatsuken" ("assassinating fist") style, as it is designed to kill (Gen, a character with an extremely different style, is referred to as using an "Ansatsuken" style in Japanese game literature -- Ansatsuken is a description, not the name of any particular style).

In the Street Fighter games, Shotokan Character (Shoto, Shotoclone) refers to a group of characters who employ a fighting style introduced with Ryu in the original Street Fighter, characterized by Shoryuken, Hadouken, and Tatsumaki (Hurricane Kick). The quintessential Shotos in the Street Fighter Series are Ryu, Ken, and Akuma. This term is also used in a broader sense to refer to characters that employ altered but recognizable "Shotokan" styles. This group comprises Dan, Sean, Gouken, Oni, and Sakura.

Although used less commonly, an even broader definition of Shoto (Shoto Style) refers to any character or gameplay style that utilizes projectile moves similar to the Hadouken to keep opponents at a distance, and an anti-air attack similar to the Shoryuken to counter opponent jump-ins trying to get over the projectile. In Street Fighter, Sagat falls in this definition, since he has a fireball inputted by the quarter-circle-forward motion, and his tiger uppercut employs an input identical to the Shoryuken's input and also functions similarly. Characters in other games, such as Morrigan in Marvel vs. Capcom, can also fall within this definition.

Six-button Fighter

A type of fighting game controls that uses punch and kick attack buttons of three different strengths, much like that of Street Fighter.

SNK Boss Syndrome

SNK Boss Syndrome is a term use to describe the abnormal level of difficulty of the bosses in certain fighting games, especially games made by SNK. Bosses suffering from SNK Boss Syndrome have these characteristics:

Their moves have very high priority, very high damage or amount of hits, very wide range (including full-screen) and occasionally special features such as unblockability and auto-guard.
They often have great endurance, either because of their unusually longer life bar or their defense (in that they take less damage than normal characters).
Their speed, both in movement and in attacks, are usually above every other character in the game. One of the most well known occurrences is during any of the final boss fights with Rugal's various incarnations in The King of Fighters series.
Their AI pattern is usually less advanced than most normal enemies, supposedly to 'compensate' their high performance in every other scenario. There are also cases where the boss is programmed to 'controller-read', basically knowing ahead of time what the player will do, and already have a counter ready for it. A good example of this was with Igniz from King of Fighters 2001, who would counter projectiles every single time with one of his own.
They often do not have a distinct crouching animation, making it hard to tell when they will block low or use a low attack.
King of Fighters XI adds one more symptom to this syndrome:

Whenever a fighter hits an opponent, a pointer moves towards the attacking fighter, giving them some sort of advantage point. When a boss hits a player however, the advantage they get is far greater than the advantage taken by normal players/enemies. Since the one with greater advantage points will win upon time out, this makes beating bosses via time out in this game near impossible- moreso since the main boss, Magaki, can rapidly deploy an incredible amount of projectiles, that if not properly avoided, very quickly defeat the player through sheer chip damage.


Spamming is, in short, repeatedly throwing out the same move over and over again, regardless of whether or not said move is necessarily a good one. Usually, though, highly 'spammable' moves are very safe and can be difficult to counter (e.g projectiles). Derived from the term for junk e-mail.

Spatial Cognition

Spatial cognition is concerned with the acquisition, organization, utilization, and revision of knowledge about spatial environments. These capabilities enable humans to manage basic and high-level cognitive tasks in everyday life. In the context of fighting games, this would define how one conducts combat due to the information provided by one's environment, relating to the opponent's position, the opponent's attack, and the environment itself. This would suggest that the player must have a full understanding of the different levels of focal adherence presented by the game, the limitations of one's character in relation to their position within a fighting stage, as well as in relation to the position of one's opponent.

Special Move

A move is simply a fighting technique such as a kick or a throw. Each character usually has many moves, each performed by a different combination of joystick movements and/or button presses; these moves fall under "normal moves". A special move is a unique, sometimes difficult-to-perform move that often has an exaggerated or supernatural effect. Physically, these special moves typically require multiple inputs to perform, and are, for the most part, unique to each character (clones aside). The majority of traditional fighting games also include super moves, which are more powerful but costly special moves.

Spinning Pile Driver

Abbreviated SPD, One of the key moves for Zangief. This is mainly used to describe moves with 360 stick inputs that are short-ranged, high-damage grabs like the aforementioned move of Zangief's, but can also be applied to any move involving a full-circle input.


Staggering (or staggers) refers to a method of pressuring & conditioning the opponent by not completing a character’s full string(s) but instead “staggering” the first 1 or 2 hits of the string, usually on block, to stop your pressure & open the opponent up for other attacks such as a grab or shimmy (or just to mix them up by switching between staggering & completing the string). This can also be done simply to make a character safer than if they were to complete their full string.

Moves that would be considered good “staggers” are relatively fast on startup with good hit [& usually good block] advantage— moves with plus frames that are typically good for pressure, forward advancing moves (i.e. mids/lows, kicks, etc.), & moves/strings that have good mixup options off of them (such as a shimmy string or a string that contains an overhead) are seen as the characteristics of a good “stagger,” as they can be stopped at will leaving you at a safe advantage. This conditions your opponent to be afraid of your next move and allows you to follow up with more pressure. Sometimes full strings can be staggered depending on their properties, but generally “staggers” refer to a hit or hits that start a string that are intentionally not completed.


The time or frames it takes for a character to enter a state in which the attack actually hits after leaving its neutral state.

Strike Throw

Strike throw is very simply a form of a mixup where the player makes their opponent guess whether they're going for a throw or strike (as the name implies). This is usually done with a normal that has to be blocked (mid/low/overhead) that has startup frames similar to that of a throw, which is unblock-able. This mixup will make the opponent guess between blocking a normal, or avoiding a throw.


A sequence of attacks. Usually used to refer to strings that aren't combos. This term is used both in 3D fighting games to refer to sequences of attacks that execute much faster sequentially than if done out of sequence, and in 2D fighting games is mostly used to describe a sequence of pokes done to force someone to continue blocking to create safe distance (this is better known as a block string).

Some 2D games (or 2D game players) misuse the term when naming chain combos as strings (generally, precanned strings or canned strings).


In Street Fighter and related Capcom six-button fighters, a medium punch.


Stuffing an opponent's attack refers to the act of using a move to stop or beat an opponent's move, such as beating out an opponent's poke with a higher priority poke. This does not necessarily mean using a higher priority attack (for example, in The King Of Fighters, the act of using a Weak Attack to trade hits with an anti air move, or in Street Fighter III Chun-Li's Houyokusen Super can be stuffed in the beginning by throwing out a very quick, low poke, such as a crouching light kick).


A temporary state of helplessness caused by taking a lot of damage quickly. The opponent is usually guaranteed a free hit, combo, or throw. Also called daze or dizzy.
Block stun: a short frozen state after blocking a move or performing a blocked move. The player can usually change their guard during block stun, but cannot attack until it wears off. A defending player cannot be thrown during block stun.
Hit stun: a short frozen state after being hit. If a second attack hits during hit stun, it starts a Combo. A player cannot be thrown during hit stun.
A special command move that temporarily calls an object, character, or creature onscreen that performs a variety of actions - dealing damage to the opponent, absorbing damage for the player or restoring the health of the character. Character summons are sometimes referred to as assists, especially when used in games with team-based mechanics such as the Marvel vs Capcom series and some King of Fighters games. By contrast, "summon" is often applied to characters in games with both team and solo character selection, where said characters have another summoned character perform an action as part of their standard moveset. Offensive creature and object summons are more properly thought of as projectile attacks instead of summons (see Dizzy). Examples of summons can be seen throughout the fighting game world, but are more common in the SNK world where inactive characters on the player's team can be called in to assist a limited number of times per match.

Super Armor

Super armor is a state during which a character may absorb a specific number of hits without entering a hit stun state (i.e. taking the attacks without flinching), possibly escaping a Frame Trap.

Its protective effects may last for only a single hit, or several hits, and in most cases, will wear off after a fixed duration (such as at the end of a move's animation, or the end of a powered-up state), regardless of whether or not it was depleted by being hit. By definition, it does not provide invulnerability, nor any reduction in damage taken, although in some games a separate damage-reduction effect may coincide with super armor.

In some cases, performing certain moves may grant super armor during the move's animation duration; in other cases, certain characters may have super armor in their default state (typically large, imposing characters).

Terminology for some games distinguishes hit stun protection that only lasts for a limited number of hits as "super armor", whereas in contrast, a similar state that will prevent hit stun for unlimited hits (therefore limited only by duration) is referred to as "hyper armor" instead.

Active super armor may be shown as a character flashing a different color when hit.

Super Canceling

Super cancelling is the act of canceling a Special move into a Super Move, and it is a feature found in Street Fighter III, The King Of Fighters 99, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, Neowave, and XI, original from Street Fighter EX. In The King Of Fighters, the character will flash white as soon as the cancel occurs to provide confirmation of its success.

In order to perform a super cancel, a spare level of Power Gauge energy is needed to expend. This means that super canceling into a Desperation Move or Super Desperation Move actually costs two levels of power. Also, one can only super cancel into moves that hit or are blocked: a whiffed attack cannot be super canceled.

In The King Of Fighters 2002 some characters can cancel uncancelable moves directly into (HS)DMs. This is not considered supercanceling, as the player only loses Power Gauge levels for the (HS)DM used, and not the act of canceling. Examples include Kula and K's One Inch, Maxima's Mongolian and Blue Mary's Hammer Arch.

Also, characters with "button-press" (S)DMs (like Mary's Dynamite Swing, or May Lee's Disposition Frog) or even HSDMs, (like Mai's Kubi no Kitsune), can cancel out of any uncancelable normal attack or command attack. For example, one could cancel the 2nd hit of the Benitsuru no Mai (which is uncancelable even if canceled into) into the Kubi no Kitsune. The same would apply to Mary's far standing D canceled into the Dynamite Swing.

Super Combo and Super Combo Gauge

See: Combo, a combo that utilizes a super move at the end of the combo to force an okizeme situation. It generally comes at the cost of resources, such as super meters in versus franchises. (ex. hard knockdown, tech chase, installs)

Super Jump Cancel or High Jump Cancel (SJC or HJC)
Canceling the animation of a move with a Super Jump. This ability originates from Capcom's series of fighting games.
Super Move
Super Moves (or simply Supers) are a class of move that is utmost in the hierarchy of moves, being above special moves, command moves, and normal moves in terms of damage or potency (and usually, also in complexity of input). Because they are more powerful than special and normal moves, supers often require additional conditions to perform, such as filling a super gauge to a certain amount, or being low in health. Supers, in the broad sense, are known under a variety of different specific terminology depending on the game, such as "Desperation Move" (King of Fighters), "Super Art" (Street Fighter III), “X-Ray” (Mortal Kombat 9 & X) and “Fatal Blow” (MK11). In Street Fighter IV, there are two tiers of super moves, one called "super" and the other called "ultra," each requiring different conditions to execute, with the ultra being more damaging.

Super Stock

A unit of measurement in a super gauge; one or more stocks are used when performing a super move. A stock gauge is a gauge where a sometimes visual, sometimes numerical indicator exists to indicate the number of stocks collected. An early game to use this mechanic was Frank Bruno's Boxing in 1985, which had the KO meter. A leveled gauge is a gauge where a portion of the super moves gauge represents a super stock. Super stocks allow players to use super moves and other moves requiring super gauge power such as evasion, counterattacking, etc. Holding multiple super stocks was first seen in the Darkstalkers series.

Survival Battle

A type of match where a player must defeat as many opponents as possible (using the same life bar) before being knocked out. In most instances, some life is recovered before the next opponent is fought.


Refers to any normal move that knocks the opponent off their feet and knocks them onto the ground. Most commonly these moves are inputted with commands such cr. HK (crouching heavy kick) or B4 (back Rear Kick), varying depending on the game. Sweeping made its debut in the original Street Fighter. It is also heavily used in Mortal Kombat games.


In games that allow the player to select multiple characters at a time, Tagging refers to the act of switching between those characters mid-round. In The King Of Fighters XI, there are multiple tagging instances, such as tagging out to save a character's life (although none is recovered when said character is resting), to bring in the Leader partner, to save a character from a lentghy combo with an emergency maneuver, or to cancel an attack in the middle of the animation to bring in another character and create longer combos. Some games, such as Marvel vs Capcom 2, include some sort of attack from the tagged-in character to cover the tagged-out character's escape, while others such as Tekken Tag Tournament leave the entering and exiting characters vulnerable and require careful timing. In most games that include the tagging feature, inactive (offscreen) characters can slowly regenerate health, though this is usually limited to a section of the life bar colored red or some other color - i.e., most games will not allow an inactive character to completely regenerate all of their health. In the Dead Or Alive series, many of the throw attacks when used in Tag Mode will bring in the Tag Partner for a special, extra damaging attack involving both characters if the two have similar fighting styles. The partner who came in for the attack will then remain while the other leaves.


A taunt (chouhatsu in its native Japanese) is a move that generally has little to no offensive use, its entire purpose mainly to mock the opponent. Different games, however, may have taunts that may be used in offensive situations or as tactics. Of note are many different SNK games such as the Art of Fighting series and some earlier versions of The King of Fighters, where taunting decreases your opponent's special gauge or super move gauge. In other editions of The King Of Fighters, they can be canceled into anything from normal to super moves, and are used to bait your opponent. The DBZ Budokai series uses taunts in a similar fashion, as a successful taunt deducts one Ki Gauge from the opponent. In the Strikers era, it is used to replenish one stock of one's Striker's bar.

Other games, such as Street Fighter III: 3rd Strike, feature taunts that may give certain properties and enhancements to characters when utilized. Of note in this game is Q, whose defense increases drastically every time he taunts, maxing out at 3 taunts, thus making taunting an integral part of his gameplan. In Tekken Tag Tournament, Bryan Fury possesses a combo in which he dealt a small amount of damage with his taunt, and most of his more devastating combos in Tekken 5 and on begin from a taunt. Recent entries in the Mortal Kombat series feature taunts for some fighters which serve to replenish some of their health. Shao Kahn has always had a “Ridicule” taunt in his classic Mortal Kombat appearances where he taunts the opponent with insults like “You suck!” as well as having a laugh taunt. In Mortal Kombat 11 these taunts now act as damage debuffs & buffs [respectively], with Ridicule decreasing the opponents damage output & Humiliate (laugh) increasing the damage your opponent takes. Shao Kahn also has a Krushing Blow that triggers only if the string it corresponds with is done while the opponent is debuffed by one of these taunts. Naruto: Ultimate Ninja gives some characters the ability to restore small amounts of health by completing a taunt as well.

Dan from the Street Fighter Alpha series, is known for being both a low tier character in almost every game he is in, and for having a multitude of taunts to do in the air, ground, floor, rolling, and even as a super combo.

On the other side, Ryuji Yamazaki from the Fatal Fury and King of Fighters series has a couple of moves, one in which he first taunts the opponent, offering a free hit. When the opponent complies, they are counterattacked. The other one is a delayed attack that is simulates a taunt when the attack button is held.

Luigi in Super Smash Bros. also has a 'useable taunt'; his ground kick can (under extremely rare circumstances) deal a point of damage and a minute amount of knockback to an oncoming foe, but it cannot KO an enemy even at 999%. Snake, introduced in Super Smash Bros. Brawl, has a usable taunt that can KO. Similarly, Luigi's taunt in SSBB can be used to 'Meteor Smash' an opponent straight down if done right next to the edge of a stage.

In JoJo's Bizarre Adventure: All Star Battle, every character can taunt an opponent while they are down and cause them to lose some of their super meter in exchange for allowing them to wakeup instantly. However, once per match, taunting can be used to force an opponent to wakeup into an active attack or projectile in an obscure-yet-advanced example of okizeme.

Kliff Undersn, a character from the Guilty Gear series, has a taunt that works as a projectile attack.

Guilty Gear also has two different forms of taunt: a standard Taunt in which the character mocks their opponent, and a Respect, in which the character instead compliments the opponent. The gameplay difference is that Respect can be cancelled at any time, into any move or jump (allowing Mind Games to be played if the opponent doesn't recognize it), whereas Taunt stops the character from doing anything for a few seconds.

The character Taokaka from the Blazblue series has a combo referred to by fans as the "tauntloop." Taokaka's taunt animation is a series of short punches, which the player can use to hit an enemy and briefly stun them, allowing Taokaka to continue her combo against them.


The term usually refers to "Throw Teching" or “Throw Escape,” which is when a player counters and prevents the opponent's Throw attempt, usually by inputting their own throw. Although the end result of a throw tech can vary by game, both characters typicaly reel back a short distance from the broken throw attempt, and end up out of range of each other's normal throws. It can also refer to quickly recovering from a knockdown attack.

This term was first introduced following later versions of Street Fighter II, where it is also called "Softening" - this is slightly different from Throw Teching as it is conventionally known in more recent games. With Softening, the damage from being thrown is reduced instead of negated entirely, and while they still end up getting thrown after successfully Softening, the character receiving the throw lands on their feet instead of in a knockdown state.

Mortal Kombat 11 places importance on properly reading/teching throws via its new Krushing Blow mechanic; either one or both of certain characters’ throws will have a Krushing Blow that is triggered if the opponent incorrectly techs the previous throw.


Throws are block-defeating moves that usually involve pressing an attack button and occasionally a direction at extremely close range. A predefined animation typically plays that ends up with the opponent taking a reasonable amount of damage. This can be used to punish turtlers or add to mix-up. It is possible, in some games, to either minimize or negate a throw, usually done by throwing back as soon as one is thrown; this referred to as teching.

Tick Throw

Tick throwing is a technique that involves inputting a throw at the end of the opponent's block stun to give them a very small gap of time in which to counteract the actual throw. Tick throwing is often used during okizeme, where an opponent will often have to rise in a defending position, though it can also be used after a blocked jump-in. The attacker can stick out a safe on block attack while the opponent is rising, which will probably be blocked, then follow with more safe on block attacks which must be blocked if the first one is blocked, then throw the opponent again when they become throwable. Named for the ticking sound that accompanied repeated jabs/shorts in Street Fighter II. Command Throws can be particularly effective for tick throwing, because they often have multiple active frames, and can thus be input before the opponent's block stun ends, and should the opponent become throwable during any of them, they will be thrown. If outside the opponent's throw range, the opponent can't counter throw, and can only escape with a reversal attack, which often requires 1 frame precision. While originally considered cheap by many, they are a staple in the arsenal of grappler characters when the game allows them.

Command Throw

Similar to a command move, command throws are moves that require motion and button sequence to achieve and is usually unique to the character. These throws typically do not come out as fast as normal throws or are harder to perform (such as requiring a 360 motion), but usually either yield higher damage or the possibility for a follow up combo. To solve this problem, The King Of Fighters was the first game to introduce simple motions for throws and special throws, usually Hcf, Hcb, or for some of them that had extra properties (such as Iori's Kuzu Kaze, which leaves the opponent open to any attack after switching sides with him) with an added direction like Fwd then Hcf, Hcb then forward, or viceversa, simplifying the input required and making them far more practical in real matches. Super versions of these moves are often the same motions twice, or sometimes completely different ones. Command throws are generally inescapable if they connect.

3D fighting games usually include a multitude of Command Throws (instead of the normal definition of Throw, above) which are escapable, but the complexity of the escape command required differs from game to game - in the Virtua Fighter series, for example, throw escapes are rare, whereas in the Tekken series it's often possible for a player to mash their way out of a throw.

Throw Loop

A “throw loop” refers to the phenomenon by which a player’s throw leaves their opponent right near them & therefore forces them to guess the move. This term commonly comes into play when discussing the concepts of oki and vortexes.


A relative measure of a selectable character's inherent (or, sometimes through engine bugs) attributes and their performance with a hierarchy; generally this refers to high-level play found in organized tournaments. Top Tier characters are those whose attributes are seen as the greatest, and are the characters most often used in tournaments. Low Tier characters, on the other hand, are those whose attributes are seen as the worst, and thus take the most amount of effort to be used properly to be able to win and may not even be viable in tournament play at all. A game is considered to have good balance when the differences between tiers are small. A common “tier list” typically categorizes tiers into letters S, A, B, C, or even D, with “S” representing the highest tier. Some categories are amended to be “plus” or “minus” as a way of almost “fine-tuning” one’s tier list (i.e. “S-“ or “A+”).

Tiger Knee (TK)

Certain aerial moves in some games can be tiger kneed (commonly abbreviated as TK). Originally what was a glitch of sorts seems to be an intentional addition to most new games. Tiger kneeing allows air moves to be performed on the ground or extremely close to it. This is done, usually, by performing the required attack motion and quickly pressing up as well as the necessary button, causing the move to go off as soon as the character leaves the ground. For example, Cable's Air Hyper Viper Beam (AHVB) in Marvel vs. Capcom 2 can utilize a Tiger Knee motion so the hyper hits instantaneously. The term comes from Sagat, whose Tiger Knee required a Down+Back to Up motion.

Time Killer

A player who intentionally runs down the clock for the whole round the moment a lifebar advantage is gained. No single technique is employed to play keep-away, but turtling and pressure are the two most often, and easy, ways to do this.

Time Over

Typically, players have about a minute or 99 seconds to try to knock each other out. If time runs out before one player KOs the other player, the player who has done the most overall damage wins the round. In the rare event that both fighters have the exact amount of health at Time Over, the match is usually declared a draw.

In The King of Fighters XI, when a time out occurs, winner is no longer determined by amount of Life Gauge left, and instead, a judging system determines which party is worthy of the victory, who usually is the one doing more hits and combos. This however, is abused by the game to worsen the SNK Boss Syndrome, in that even when the bosses do minimal damage, they are immediately favored by the judging system by leaps and bounds, thus unlike the previous The King of Fighters games, beating a boss via Time Out in this game is practically impossible.

Touch of Death

A Touch of Death describes a scarce few examples in fighting games where a particular combo or combos, when performed correctly, will KO the opponent from a full life bar with no opportunity to escape; a combo that deals at least 100% of the opponent's health in damage, or at least 50% and dizzys if the person was not already dizzy when the first hit landed. The ability to execute such a feat may be an unintended glitch/oversight and possibly even an example of a broken character and-or poor game design, but it can also be an intentional feature that requires a masterful level of skill, a heavy amount of resources, and some risk to successfully perform. While infinite combos may be considered ToD, true ToD combos involve complex execution and steps that typically cannot be considered repetitive or cheap, having no exact repeating pattern to them. Examples of games that have Touches of Death include Marvel vs. Capcom: Infinite and Dragon Ball FighterZ.


A trade occurs when two fighters trade hits with each other, both connecting their attacks at the same time and interrupting each other's full attack animations. This can be due to pure coincidence or it may be sought after because it is advantageous to the player in question. Good trades and bad trades are determined by who receives more damage as consequence of the trade.

Trip Guard

Trip guard is the ability to block low after landing from a jump.

It is, at times, erroneously used interchangeably as a term for exploiting the lack of trip guard, which lends itself to confusion.

The term gets its name from a common technique in Street Fighter II where a player would catch a jumping opponent with a sweep as an anti-air, hence the "trip". It is particularly common among the shotos, as knocking the opponent down puts them in an excellent position to lay a fireball on top of them as okizeme.


The act of staying in a defensive stance for most or all of the match, only attacking when the opponent misses, or with a reversal move. Usually done when far ahead in the match and running low on time, to avoid unnecessary risk.


An unblockable attack is an attack that cannot be normally defended against through blocking. Such attacks will ignore the fact that the fighter is blocking, thus penetrating their guard and consequently ending up with the fighter taking damage regardless.

This can also refer to unblockable setups, where a player simultaneously hits the opponent with two different attacks that need to be blocked differently. For example, if a character fires a delayed projectile that hits high, then does a low attack at the same time the projectile hits the opponent. One of the two hits is guaranteed to succeed if the opponent attempts to block.

Universal Overhead Hit (UOH)

These refer to standard overhead attacks that originated in Street Fighter III: New Generation. Executed by pressing down + down + any attack and done in 3rd Strike by pressing medium punch and medium kick, the character hops to execute a slow attack that cannot be blocked low. In Mortal Kombat 11, pressing an attack button while performing a short hop will result in a universal overhead hit referred to as a “Hop Attack.” While Hop Attack overheads are still considered “universal” in the sense that every character has access to them, these attacks are different for every character & each fighter has 2 distinct Hop Attacks (tapUp+1/2 & tapUp+3/4, or more simply Hop+Punch & Hop+Kick].


A move where the opponent player cannot react in time to initiate a defensive option due to fast startup animations or too many animations happening on the screen at once. This can happen where the opponent successfully lands a blockstring that ends with a frame tight extension, usually some type of 50/50 mixup or frame trap that ultimately hits his or her opponent.

Victory Symbols

Victory Symbols are usually seen in Capcom games. Each symbol represents a different type of victory. They include:

Cherry - Victory by weak attack (Jab or Short).
Cheese - Victory by block damage.
Lasso - Victory by Command Throw.
Hourglass - Victory by Time Over.
"C" - Victory by Chip Damage (equivalent of Cheese)
"V" - Victory by Normal Attacks (not including weak attacks, special attacks, or throws)
"G" - Victory at low health, to mimic Tekken's traditional "Great!" announcement (Street Fighter X Tekken)
"A" (Street Fighter) - Victory by Alpha Counter
"A" (Marvel) - Victory by Air Combo
"S" - Victory by Special Move
"SC" - Cheap Victory by means of Special or Super Moves (see "C" and Cheese)
"S*" - Victory by Level 1 Super
"S**" - Victory by Level 2 Super
"S***" - Victory by MAX Level 3 Super
"X" - Victory by use of X-Power (Supers in X-Men Children of the Atom), or by Cross Art or Cross Assault (Street Fighter X Tekken)
Lemniscate (or Infinity Symbol) - Victory by use of Infinity Combo (Supers in "Marvel Super Heroes")
"P" (Perfect) - Victory achieved with no damage whatsoever
Hand Shake - Victory by Tag Team Attack (Seen in the VS series)
"Ten" or "天" kanji (Street Fighter Alpha 2, Akuma and Evil Ryu only) - victory by Shun Goku Satsu or by use of Pandora mode (Street Fighter X Tekken)
"J" - Victory by Judgement, won when the player is awarded majority of the judges' votes after a double KO (Street Fighter MD-III only)


A situation where one player is continually able to force their opponent to make an unfavorable guess out of a combo or setup, resulting in the opponent getting caught in the same setup all over again. Usually performed after a reset or a hard knockdown and the opponent is forced to guess where to block on their wakeup; High, Low, Left or Right. Originally applied to Marvel vs. Capcom 2 player Michael "Yipes" Mendoza who used it with his Magneto/Psylocke team, but was later popularized in Street Fighter IV where characters such as Akuma, Cammy, and Ibuki could do it after a hard knockdown.

The key moves of a vortex are typically unreactable (either too fast to react to, or have no visual cues), forcing the opponent to guess which defensive response to use; selecting the wrong response results in damage, and importantly for the definition, loops back to the starting situation again (such as the opponent being in hard knockdown), looping until the opponent eventually guesses correctly to "escape the vortex".


Yomi (literally "reading") is a Japanese term meaning "reading the mind of the opponent", and is essentially an intangible asset required in fighting games. It's the ability to know what one's opponent is going to do, and act appropriately, whether achieved by "conditioning" the opponent to act one way, and then acting in another way, or simply working one's way into the head of the opponent. This term would be used for the name of the card game created by competitive Street Fighter II player and game designer David Sirlin.

Yomi Counter

a new form of throw escape that's not been used before in any other fighting game, from Fantasy Strike. It requires to release inputs and directional inputs and stand in a neutral position to reverse throw.


The frames in which a character is considered to be standing back up from being knocked to the floor. In 2D games, the character waking up is generally invincible, and can often transition from the last frame of wakeup to a special move or throw, as opposed to in 3D games, where characters waking up may still be vulnerable to attack.

As a corollary to this, a wakeup game is the ability for a player to choose how they stand up, or, often in the case of 3D games, whether to do so at all. Options open to the player may include: rolling towards or away from the opponent, attacking, or, in some 3D games, staying on the floor. Because 3D fighters still allow a player waking up to be attacked, wakeup games are considered vital to offset that vulnerability, as a waking character can bait and punish an opponent who thinks they can inflict extra damage while the player is down.


Wavedashing is accomplished when a character successfully links one crouch dash into another, named so for the bobbing motion this produces in a player character. The primary notoriety of this technique originates from the Mishima family - Jin, Heihachi and Kazuya - in Tekken, where wavedashing by a skilled player using those characters was one of the more frustrating tactics to play against. Many considered the tactic almost unbeatable, as wavedashing allowed for rapidly closing on the opponent, automatically parrying most low attacks and preparing the character to unleash a signature attack known as the Wind Godfist, a high-hitting launcher that dealt respectable damage on its own and led into several juggles. The Wind Godfist however, leaves the player vulnerable to quick attacks afterwards on-block, but there is a harder to do, faster, and much more effective variant, the Electric Wind Godfist, which pushes the opponent far away on-block and gave the user a frame advantage. The Electric Wind Godfist also gave better recovery on-hit, so much more effective and devastating combos could be done. Both moves are high, so they can be ducked, but the player has a mix-up with mid pokes and sometimes launchers against those who try to do so. They can also use lows against those who simply try to block. The wavedash can be interrupted, but mind-games and mix-ups can trick the opponent. All of this combined to make the wavedash a very rapid mind game that was difficult to counter. Other characters in the Tekken series have proven to be capable of wavedashing, but their mix-ups are usually not as effective as the Mishimas.

Mortal Kombat 9 & Mortal Kombat 11 also utilize Wavedashing in certain characters.

Wavedashing also refers to a form of movement in Capcom's Vs. games, achieved by rapidly alternating between pressing two attack buttons and crouch. By canceling the slower half of the dash, chaining rapid dashes together is possible. However, unlike the Tekken series, wave-dashing has no benefit other than increased speed in covering the screen.

A form of wavedashing is possible in Nintendo's Super Smash Bros. Melee, in which a character performs a diagonally downward-angled air dodge into the ground from the instant they leave the ground during a jump, allowing a quick burst of movement with 10 frames of time. This is an advanced technique that allows any character performing it to utilize a wide array of attacks in conjunction with quick movement - these attacks would otherwise be available only from a neutral or slow-moving state.

Weapons Fighter

A fighting game where most or all characters have weapons, and there are gameplay rules that involve these weapons (such as how to disarm and rearm weapons). The first high-profile example of this was the Samurai Shodown series, but the more common modern example is Soul Calibur, as almost all of the fighters are armed with melee weapons (tonfa, longswords, katana, quarterstaff, katars, etc).


A move that misses the opponent completely. This is what the term “whiff punish” refers to when a player punishes a move that the opponent whiffs. Sometimes used intentionally to bait an opponent, build a super meter, or reduce recovery time in slow moves by cancelling them into a quicker move that whiffs.


In the recent King of Fighters game, some attacks which hit a fighter hard enough can make the victim fly straight onto the 'wall' and get bounced, leaving them very vulnerable to follow-up attacks. This is called wiring. Most wire attacks are usually counter-wires, in that if the attack hits an enemy as a counter-attack, wire effect will occur, otherwise, the opponent will merely be thrown far away.

In other fighting game series this is often referred to as "wallbounce" or "wallsplat", depending on whether or not the opponent ricochets off the wall or crumples.


Zoning is a tactic in 2D fighters usually used at mid-range or far mid-range, the purpose of which is to control space and keep the opponent far away using projectile attacks or long reaching pokes. The idea is to space oneself so that they are in a position to respond to or punish any entry angle or attack of the opponent's. Ideally, the player can use certain pokes and attacks to beat the opponent's attacks, punish their advances or jumps, and hopefully shut down their offensive options, while landing hits. In attempting to zone, it is important to know the properties of one's own attacks as well as the attacks of the opponent, in order to find the best move to use in countering the opponent's move. The ability to predict the opponent's next move, and having good reflexes to react to that move, are also important.

Smash terms

Advanced technique

A technique that isn't one of the game's basic moves, that requires beyond basic inputs to successfully perform.


An attack that a character performs while airborne. In each Smash game, every character has five different aerials, one for each of the four basic directions and one for no directional input. The type of aerials are:

Neutral aerial

Referred to as "nair" for short, an aerial inputted when the attack button is pressed without any directional input. Neutral aerials are typically weak and the character's aerial attack with the fastest start-up, while involving being a type of sex kick, or an attack where the character spins.

Forward aerial

Referred to as "fair" for short, an aerial inputted when the attack button is pressed in conjunction with the direction the character is facing. Forward aerials typically involve some sort of attack towards the front of the character. Effect wise, there is no common arch-type for forward aerials, with their speed, power, reach, and trajectory varying greatly across characters.

Back aerial

Referred to as "bair" for short, an aerial inputted when the attack button is pressed in conjunction with the reverse direction the character is facing. Back aerials typically involve some sort of attack towards the back of the character, and are usually a solidly useful attack that is above average in all categories; very few characters have a back aerial that is decidedly ineffective or inferior to the character's other attacks.

Up aerial

Referred to as "uair" for short, an aerial inputted when the attack button is pressed in conjunction with an up directional input. Up aerials typically involve some sort of attack aimed above the character, and are usually an upward hitting attack meant to juggle the opponent and/or KO opponents vertically.

Down aerial

Referred to as "dair" for short, an aerial inputted when the attack button is pressed in conjunction with a down directional input. Down aerials typically involve some sort of attack aimed below the character. Effect wise, down aerials are typically either meteor smashes, a multi-hitting drill type of attack, or a stall-then-fall that also may or may not meteor smash.


If a character lands with an aerial during a specific timeframe of the attack (usually the immediate beginning or immediate end of the move), the character will land with their standard landing animation instead of the aerial's landing animation, resulting in almost no landing lag.


The invisible boundaries on the four sides of a stage, that will KO a character who passes them, whether by being knocked past them or moving past one themself. The exception is the top blastline, which will only KO when a character passes one while in knockback.

Chain grab/chain throw

A series of consecutive throws that allow the player to regrab the opponent before they can escape; essentially a combo involving throws.


When two attacks collide into each other. It will either result in the attacks cancelling each other out (if they deal similar damage) or one overriding the other (if one is significantly stronger than the other).


Short for "dash attack-cancelled up smash", an act where a player immediately cancels their dash attack with an up smash, which results in some characters sliding forward a significant distance while performing their up smash, used primarily in Super Smash Bros Brawl

Dash attack

A type of attack that a character can perform while dashing. Typically involves the character moving forward a small distance while attacking.

Dash dancing

The act of repeatedly dashing back and forth, done to either confound the opponent or to show off.

Direction of attacks

All characters can direct their attacks;

Up: All characters can do an upwards directed attack on the ground or in the air.

Down: Likewise with up, all characters can do a downwards directed attack on the ground or in the air.

Sideways: On the ground, attacks directed to the left or right are referred to as "side" attacks.

Forward: Offensive moves initiated while moving forward in the air. Also tends to be used for side ground attacks; "forward tilt" and "side tilt", and "forward smash" and "side smash", refer to the same attack.

Back: Offensive moves initiated while the control stick is pointed the opposite direction of where the character is facing.

Neutral: No input given other than the attack button.

Directional influence (DI)

If a player holds the control stick in a direction as they're struck with an attack, they will slightly alter their launch trajectory in the direction they were holding their control stick. Can be utilised to live longer and to escape combos.

Smash directional influence

If a player makes any movement inputs right when they're struck with a hitbox, their character's position will move slightly towards the direction inputted before being launched. Mostly utilised to escape combos and multi-hitting moves before their completion.


The act of attacking an offstage opponent, taking advantage of their increased vulnerability to more easily damage and KO them, while trying to prevent them from successfully making it back to the stage.

Falling speed

The speed at which a character falls when airborne.

A term used to refer to characters with especially low falling speeds, such as Samus.


A term used to refer to characters with especially fast falling speeds, such as Captain Falcon.


Pressing down on the control stick at or after the peak of a jump, causing the character to fall quicker.

First Actionable Frame

Referred to as "FAF" for short, the first frame in which another action can be performed.

Final Smash

An attack of ultimate power granted to a character upon breaking the Smash Ball. Activated by pressing the special move button once gained.


A KO that involved disrupting an offstage opponent's recovery, resulting in them failing to make it back to the stage and falling to their death at the bottom blastline, rather than forcefully knocking them past a blastline.

Glide toss

A technique that involves immediately cancelling a character's roll by throwing an item, which results in the character sliding in the roll's direction while throwing the item. The distance slid depends on the character, what direction the character was rolling, and the specific time they interrupted the roll. The distance slid can be between almost no distance to almost the entire stage length.


A state where a character in the air is unable to perform any action until landing. Typically occurs after performing a recovery move, and is indicated by the character being stuck in a character-specific pose while flashing.


The common term for a character's neutral attack, which is a ground attack inputted by pressing the attack button without any directional input. Typically a very quick, short reaching, and very weak attack, that can be followed through for a standard basic combo.


A technique that can be performed by inputting certain actions while in the pre-jump lag that all characters have.

Kill confirm

A true combo, where if a condition is met, the opponent will be able to be KO'd.

50:50: A kill confirm where the opponent can evade with an airdodge, but the attacker can still hit them if they read the air dodge and then delaying to hit after they lose invincibility. If they chose to delay, the opponent may take advantage if they didn't air dodge.


The amount of force applied to a character when hit. Also used to describe the distance flown due to this force.


When a character is launched out of the stage, or, in Stamina Mode, runs out of hit points.


The act of pressing L/R/Z right before landing with an aerial attack to reduce its landing lag.


The end part of a platform that characters can hang on to. Typically, characters grab onto the ledge when recovering from offstage. Various actions can be done off a ledge.


The act of grabbing a ledge to intentionally prevent another player from doing so. Often utilized during edge-guarding.

Guest/Third Party Character

A playable character that is not originally from a Nintendo property; Sonic, Snake, and Mega Man are all guests.

Meteor smash

An attack that launches opponents downwards. Since grounded opponents can't be hit through the stage, such attacks will instead cause them to bounce off the stage, resulting in them flying upward with reduced knockback.

Meteor cancel

A mechanic that allows an aerial character hit by a meteor smash to completely negate the meteor smash's knockback, by jumping or performing their recovery move in a specific time frame after being hit with one.


An attack that launches opponent downwards, but at a diagonal enough angle that the game doesn't recognise it as a meteor smash, and thus cannot be meteor cancelled. Also a common term used to refer to meteor smashes in Smash 64 and Brawl, where the lack of any downward-hitting attacks with altered functioning negate the need to have distinct terms.


An attack that hits opponents at an especially low horizontal angle, which causes them to fall below the stage's height when knocked offstage with one.

Midair jump / Double Jump

A jump every character can perform while airborne, often referred to as a "double jump". Most characters can only use one midair jump before landing or grabbing a ledge, but some characters can jump an additional multiple times in the air before landing.

Double jump cancelling

The act of cancelling the momentum of a character's midair jump with an attack. Can be performed only by the few characters with a special midair jump, such as Yoshi.


Luigi's Green Missile move has the chance to randomly "misfire" regardless of charge, resulting in explosive animation that causes Luigi to fly across the stage, resulting in it traveling faster and farther, while dealing significantly more damage and knockback to any opponent Luigi collides with.

Momentum cancelling

A technique, where a player in knockback performs various actions, to redirect or negate their momentum, allowing them to survive blows that would have KO'd them otherwise. Only possible in Brawl, as hitstun cancelling is required for a character to be able to act while in knockback.


A technique that allows a character to move backward a small distance while dashing.

Out of shield

Refers to any action a player performs immediately out of their shield. An out of shield punish is when the player successfully punishes the opponent after the opponent struck their shield.


A technique where a player stays hanging on the ledge beyond what is necessary, abusing the ledge's invincibility to remain safe. One of the most prominent stalling tactics.


The mechanic that determines what happens when the hitboxes of two attacks collide with each other. Usually results in the two attacks being interrupted and thus "cancelled out", though if one colliding hitbox deals significantly more damage than the other, only the weaker attack will be interrupted while the stronger attack continues throughout its normal duration. Also erroneously used to refer to an attack's general ability (through its speed, reach, and hitbox placement) to bypass other attacks.

Transcendent priority

A term used to refer to a property some hitboxes have, where they are completely unable to clang with the hitboxes of all other attacks, allowing them to bypass priority altogether.


An effort to return to the stage once knocked off it.


The act of a player traveling underneath the stage from one side to the other, usually to stall time. There are "anti-scrooging" rules that were implemented in many high level Brawl tournaments. The general rule states that the character must land on the stage before scrooging again. The terminology/technical was abused however

Share stock

In team based multiplayer matches, it is possible to take an ally's extra life once the player has been removed from the game, done by pressing Start in Melee or A+B in Brawl.


The act of a player attacking the opponent from underneath the stage's main platform. Considered to be an "offensive'’ version of ledge Planking though Sharking also can involve platforms that can be jumped through, such as on Halberd.

Short hop

A smaller jump, done by tapping the jump button briefly and letting go near immediately.

Smash attack

A powerful offensive ground move that can be charged for additional damage. Every character has three types of smash attacks;

Forward smash

Also known as "side smash, and referred to as "f-smash" for short, inputted by pressing the attack button in conjunction with a tapped left or right directional input. Typically involves the character throwing a mighty blow in front of them, with generally more reach than their other attacks. Forward smashes are usually the character's slowest but most powerful smash attack, and one of the character's most powerful attacks, if not their strongest altogether.

Up smash

Referred to as "u-smash" for short, inputted by pressing the attack button in conjunction with a tap up directional input. Typically involves the character forcefully striking upward. Effect wise, up smashes tend to be an inbetween of forward and down smashes in terms of speed and power, though some characters have up smashes that are distinctly more powerful than their other attacks (Fox being a prominent example of such throughout the series). Some characters also have up smashes that are weaker than their other smashes while being multi-hitting.

Down smash

Referred to as "d-smash" for short, inputted by pressing the attack button in conjunction with a tapped down directional input. Typically involves the character striking both the front and back of them, whether at the same time or in succession. Down smashes are usually the character's fastest, but weakest smash attack.

Space animal (spacies)

Refers to Fox, Falco, and Wolf, whose similar fast falling speed and gravity values allow them to get inflicted with unique combos and chain throws that don't affect other characters. Captain Falcon is also sometimes lumped into this group, for having the similar falling speed and gravity that allows him to also get hit by "space animal combos".

Special move

A move that has unique or otherwise unusual properties, that go beyond merely damaging a foe, and can be typically initiated from the ground or air. Also called B Moves. Every character has four special moves (three in the original Smash), which are:

Neutral special

A special move inputted by tapping the special button without any directional input. Neutral specials are typically the character's most basic special move, being a projectile or some type of charging attack.

Side special

Also known as a "forward special", a special move inputted by tapping the special button in conjunction with a left or right directional input. Side specials are typically special moves that involve the character moving forward while attacking, or a projectile with more complicated attributes. Side specials did not exist in Smash 64.

Up special

A special move inputted by tapping the special button in conjunction with a up directional input. Up specials are typically the character's "recovery move", a type of move that allows the character to move a significant distance through the air. Up specials also usually have minimal practical effect outside recovery purposes.

Down special

A special move inputted by tapping the special button in conjunction with a down directional input. Down specials are typically a character's special move with another function (i.e. they have a more unique effect than the character's other special moves).

Stale-move negation

A mechanic that causes a move to weaken as it is successively used. It additionally only counts moves that successfully hit an opponent; a move that fails to land will not count towards it.


A collectible item that can be applied to characters in the Subspace Emissary to boost stats.

Sudden Death

A mode used to resolve ties in VS. mode matches, where all tied players will fight only one stock with 300% damage, while Bob-ombs start falling from the sky if the players fail to KO each other in time.


A method of recovery involving grabbing onto a ledge from a distance.


A collectible object, modelled after specific characters from Nintendo's franchises, that can be viewed in the trophy gallery, accompanied by a short bio of the trophy's subject. Trophies can be obtained by doing various tasks in-game.

Time out

Refers to when a match's timer runs out, resulting in the end of the match and a winner being announced, or progressing to Sudden Death if two or more players tied. In competitive play, it's also used as a verb, to refer to when a player wins a game via letting the time run out while they had the lead.


The common term for "strong attacks", standard ground attacks that can be performed towards a direction with the control stick "titled" instead of tapped. The are three type of tilts;

Forward tilt

Also known as "side tilt", and referred to as "f-tilt" for short, inputted by pressing the attack button in conjunction with the control stick tilted towards the right or left direction. Forward tilts typically involve the character throwing out some sort of basic attack in front of them, while being an inbetween of their jab and forward smash in terms of power, speed, and reach. Usually serves as a quick spacer or weak punisher.

Up tilt

Referred to as "u-tilt" for short, inputted by pressing the attack button in conjunction with the control stick tilted up. Up tilts typically involve the character throwing out some basic attack above them. Up tilts tend to be more powerful than forward tilts but with less reach, and usually serve as a quick ground attack that can start combos and juggle opponents, while being capable of KOing at very high damages, though some up tilts are distinctly powerful and can KO as effectively as smash attacks.

Down tilt

Referred to as "d-tilt" for short, inputted by pressing the attack button in conjunction with the control stick tilted down. Down tilts typically involve the character throwing out some basic attack that is aimed low in front of them, and are usually the character's fastest tilt, but also their weakest. Many down tilts also have the ability to induce tripping, and many can semi-spike or meteor smash.


How well the character sticks to the ground. The lower the traction of a character, the farther they will slide around on the ground from momentum.


The act of a character tumbling over, and being left in a vulnerable sitting position. Tripping can be induced from being hit with certain attacks at too low of damage to get launched off the ground, and in Brawl, can randomly occur 1% of the time whenever a dash is inputted.

Wall of pain

A technique where a player barrages the (usually offstage) opponent with a succession of aerials across a horizontal distance, while the opponent is unable to, or can react little before the player finishes. Most prolific with Jigglypuff, though other characters with multiple midair jumps can pull off lesser variations.

Wave dashing

A technique in Melee that involves the character air dodging into the ground at a diagonal angle, resulting in them sliding a small distance while being able to input any other action. How far a character slides is dependent on their traction, with characters sliding farther the lower their traction is. Characters with the highest traction will barely move, while those with the lowest traction will slide nearly half the stage's length.


Each character has a weight value, which affects how far they are launched when hit, with characters suffering less knockback the heavier they are. Heavier characters typically survive for longer than lighter characters, but are in return more vulnerable to being comboed.