If you’ve been paying attention to any feeds surrounding Guilty Gear Xrd -SIGN-, you might have heard mention of a recently discovered option select that has quite a few players worried. It’s a type of option select that has appeared in other games before, but hasn’t quite appeared as strong as this incarnation or even remotely as applicable. Here’s an in-depth explanation on how it works.
This technique relies on a pretty basic concept that appears in a lot of games called proximity guard, so let’s go over that real quick. Proximity guard is simply the mechanic that, if a character is holding back while in proximity to a move, they will enter into a blocking animation, whether or not they will actually block the move.
This exists in most fighters and is most easily noticed in the Street Fighter IV series. In the image below, if a player were to be holding back while in the extended yellow box of the move, they would be locked into proximity blocking. Do note that Street Fighter IV is an extreme example, as proximity guard is triggered much farther than normal when compared to other games.
Now that we understand what proximity guard is, how does this option select utilize it? Well, it would appear that when ending a special move input with Faultless Defense, instead of that special move, you will simply get Faultless Defense. However, if the user is put into a state of proximity blocking while the move is buffered, the special move will come out instead of Faultless Defense.
Basically, all you need to do is input a special move and end the input with Faultless Defense. If proximity guard is triggered, you get the special move; if not, then the character will simply flash Faultless Defense and be left at neutral. Here’s a couple of quick video of the option select in action.
So, there is the option select functioning out of neutral situations. If you’ve been around before, this looks really similar to an option select known to exist in Street Fighter IV. That version had many drawbacks and ultimately found little to no use in competitive play. But in the case of Xrd, the disadvantages associated with the Street Fighter variant are not present thanks to Faultless Defense allowing it to be performed in a greater number of situations with relative safety. This means that, in neutral, it can be used with little to no risk to catch certain moves with stronger specials and to safely hide special move inputs on defense, and it may even have offensive applications to cover multiple options a defensive opponent may choose.
It is still important to note the option select’s inherent limitations. This can all occur assuming the player does the input in a state that would allow them to enter proximity guard. That means a character cannot be running, airborne, otherwise in recovery, or a state other than neutral, such as blockstun. Furthermore, a move’s proximity guard triggering hitbox exists during startup frames, meaning the special move can be triggered by kara-canceling into Faultless Defense, as seen here:
It’s worth noting that the timing window is incredibly strict, but it is an option that can be explored. As more and more players work on developing the option select, others are scrambling to come up with countermeasures.
Now that we’ve seen what the option select is, let’s discuss one last aspect. When you input this option, it is assumed you will get one of two outcomes: a special move or Faultless Defense. In the case of the latter, a player will only need to flash Faultless Defense for an instant before being returned to neutral, meaning another input can be left there for the character to perform instead. One could even add Roman Cancel inputs on top of these options. Players haven’t fully explored this concept yet, but ideas and tests have appeared across the online community.
With Evo 2015 only a few weeks away, this is a pretty major and possibly game-changing discovery. There isn’t a lot of time to fully develop and begin to implement all the ideas here, but the neutral uses have already begun to be tested in live matches and notable players are doing their best to discover practical situations. It’s only a matter of time until we see if this option select creeps its way into the game proper and becomes a major playing point, or if it fizzles out and dies in similar fashion to other known techniques.