The Last Blade 2/System
Power Mode allows the character to have more damaging strikes, and normals deal chip damage when opponent blocks (chip damage from normals cannot kill) This mode also allows for SDMs to be performed (when life is flashing and power bar is full), allows for an Unblockable Attack to be used (BC), and have access to super cancels I.e canceling a special move into a dm. Every character has at least one special that can be canceled this way, a few have more than one. You build meter faster compared to speed/ex.
Normal attacks on the ground that use your characters weapon will rebound off the opponent in power mode, Lee being the exception to this as his normals are all punches or kicks. This does not apply to jumping attacks. Normals that rebound cannot be guard canceled against. This doesn’t mean they are safe on block, just safe to your opponent preforming a guard cancel.
Speed Mode allows the character to cancel normals into other normals, dealing less damage and only deals block damage with special moves. The Special Attack (BC) is an overhead, so it must be blocked high. Instead of a Super Desperation Move, you can do Super Speed Combos (fandangos) or a regular Desperation move. Supers can be linked from regular slashes but not moves, depending on the character.
Please refer the FAQ on how to access this mode.
EX Mode is sort of a balance between Power and Speed, where you are afforded elements of both, such as chain combos and normals doing chip damage, but are evenly handicapped by taking more 1.3x more damage and building no meter when normals are blocked. Under EX, you get the BC overhead, you can perform Super Desperation Moves or Super Speed Combos, and have access to super cancels.
Super Speed Combos
Also called Fandangos by the community (enigma frenzy attack on the steam version), these are deadly rave type supers available in speed and ex mode. These cannot be combod normally, that is to say you cannot cancel normals into them and expect them to combo. A few characters have ways to combo into them but outside of that they are only guaranteed after a deflect. At point blank they hit on frame 17 after the backround animation ends (63F total from the 22A/B input or 27F not counting the freeze, this is universal) The game still accepts inputs during the backround animation for your opponent. 22A is an overhead starter, 22B is a low so your opponent must guess which way to block or deflect. These can be deflected in the air no matter which starter you use. They are air unblockable but not a reliable anti air as they have very little priority.
Inputs vary per character but the basic one, 22A/B 5A 5B 5C 5A 5B 5C 5A 5B 236C, is universal.
Overheads & Unblockables
Overheads and Unblockables are performed with BC. Overheads are available only in Speed and EX mode where they are moves that must be blocked high, can be followed up with another attack or linked to a special move after the overhead lands, and cause a soft knockdown. Unblockables are only available in Power Mode and are chargeable, take almost or half of your life when charged fully, cause a hard knockdown, and cannot be cancelled out of (minus washizuka and Kojiroh when charged long enough. You can cancel the rebound animation that happens in power mode when grounded weapon attacks are blocked into these.
Similar to GGXX, certain Special Moves, Desperation Move and Overheads (when hitting an opponent blocking low) can put characters in a Stagger state after a hit, which sends them stumbling backwards. Like Guilty Gear mashing out with a button and directional inputs will speed up recovery from a Staggered state. In particular after an overhead BC stagger if your opponent is mashing fast enough nothing is guaranteed as a follow up (dash then throw is still a good option). Some moves are harder to recover from i.e. first hit of Zantetsu’s DM, and some are not scripted to be recovered from i.e Akari's CD throw. For this game BCD + alternating opposite diagonals (1/9 or 3/7) is the fastest way to get out of stagger/stun.
Jumping & Hopping
There are two unique forms of jump arcs in this game: Full jumps and hops. By very briefly tapping 7/8/9, your character will perform a hop with a much lower jump arc compared to a full jump. This is incredibly useful as an approach option and pressure tool, as it becomes much harder to anti-air on reaction and the attacking player will typically land much sooner after their jumping normal connects (generating additional frame advantage). The window to perform a hop is fairly tight (5F or less) meaning the technique will require some practice to perform consistently. All characters have 4 pre jump frames and are considered airborne on frame 5.
Last Blade 2 has a simple system of airblocking that when jumping straight up or backwards you can block projectiles, anti-airs, aerial normal attacks, and ground special moves. The attacks you cannot block in airblocking are grounded normals, B+C attacks, akari’s fireballs, zantetsu’s 236A and dash slice, 1st hit of Kagami 623B, Moriya’s 214x, dm, and sdm, all characters Fandango’s.
Deflect and Recovery
Similar to Street Fighter 3 parry or Garou's Just Defend, Deflect is a defensive system that allows parrying and countering, as well as recovering. Unlike Parrying or Just Defend however, Deflecting is done with an action button "D" instead of a joystick motion. You are able to deflect attacks on the ground, low, and in the air. Air deflect also works against ground attacks. Follow up with action button "D" again if you successfully repel against the attack for a hard knockdown. this does not work when deflecting in the air. Deflecting special moves does not require 6D or 3D like in Last Blade 1 and they can be done with any direction or neutral. However, deflecting special moves requires better timing.
Deflects are active as soon as the game reads the D input.
- The first 4f of any deflect will deflect specials/dm as well as normals, for standing the next 10f will only deflect normals. After this there are 20 recovery frames where you are a sitting duck.
- Air deflect is only active for 4f and you are in recovery until you hit the ground +10f when you land.
- Crouching deflect lasts 8f and has a 32f recovery.
- Be cautious with these as they can be baited and are extremely punishable if you miss.
- For Hibiki only the window to deflect special/dm on standing deflect is 6f, total frames are the same.
With the deflect button, you can also recover your character from knockdowns on the ground or in the air. However, there are some moves that you can't recover from, which are anything that is considered hard knockdown such as 6C and D after a deflect or guard cancel, or Zantetsu’s dash slice, moriya 623A>623B (speed/ex), power B+C, etc.
- Air recovery works after getting hit with an air normal, a grounded normal while in the air, and against some specific special moves. The game will let you recover 10f after hit stun ends. After an air recovery you have all your normal jump options (attack, deflect, special) but you are not “safe”
- Recovery is and should be used as a tactical tool; but it's very risky, as many characters can bait it and combo off it. As a rule of thumb, use it if you're away from your opponent, if you're close to them, you will get punished.
While waking up from a knockdown, a defending player may hold either 4 or 6 to perform a longer wake up that moves them a significant distance away from where they were knocked down. The length and duration of these rolls changes based on character, and must be taken into account while setting up okizeme. Due to a bug, Kaede and O.Kaede lose access to this mechanic after being hit by an OTG while laying face down, forcing a normal get up.
By pressing D in the air after getting hit by most attacks, your character will gain a brief window of invincibility and bounce upwards slightly. After an air tech, you're actionable fairly quickly (2F after the tech animation finishes) and can punish certain actions with an air normal. However, this game has a juggle limit of 1, meaning after many attacks it is significantly safer to forgo air teching entirely to avoid taking additional damage.
In the majority of knockdown situations you can perform a ground tech by pressing D shortly after hitting the ground, with the exceptions being on a per move basis (usually sweeps or command grabs cause "hard knockdowns" which do not allow a ground tech). This causes your character to bounce backwards slightly and become actionable much sooner than normal. Be warned that the window of invincibility is very short while the ground tech animation itself is long and reactable, meaning that the opponent will usually be able to punish a ground tech attempt with a full combo. As such, it is recommended to ground tech only in situations where the opponent is unable to directly punish in time.
This requires full meter. You preform a deflect under blockstun, allowing you to counter-attack the opponent. Input 412D while blocking. It is more prominent on Power Mode since your meter builds faster, but it’s almost always a good use of meter as it lets you take your turn and shift momentum in your favor. The opponent is launched a character high on guard cancel and open to a combo, and launched higher when guard canceling against an air normal. Any normal in power mode that rebounds when blocked cannot be guard canceled, everything else can be. You must be on the ground to be able to use this. Pressing D again after a guard cancel will do an attack that causes a hard knockdown.
Guard Rigidarity Shortening
Almost universally referred to as "switch guard" by the community, this technique is performed by switching your guard direction after blocking an attack (for example, upon blocking Kaede 4a while couching the defender would quickly switch from holding 1 to holding 4). Upon doing so, your character will suffer greatly reduced blockstun, enabling punishes that would otherwise be impossible. The amount of blockstun reduced is determined by when the technique is performed relative to the attack blocked, with the optimal timing being 1 frame after guarding. There is a small window to do this and be actionable as early as possible whether you switch frame 1 or frame 5 etc. The time frame varies from 5f to 11f after guarding depending on the move guarded. Switching guard after this time frame still gets you out of blockstun sooner than you would with no input, so it’s good to practice. Note that tic throws can be performed sooner as a result of the reduced blockstun, potentially enabling cancels into command grabs that would otherwise be useless on block. This is a critical technique to become comfortable with at higher levels of play, as it completely redefines what forms of pressure are effective and makes many otherwise safe moves incredibly easy to punish on reaction. As the action inherently requires the defender to switch their guard direction, this makes low and overhead attacks inherently stronger pressure tools since early switch guard attempts will be hit by such moves. In contrast, multihits and mid hitting sequences (such as Setsuna 236A) are significantly weaker against players comfortable with this technique, as the timing to switch guard is more predictable and less punishing if dropped.
Chain Combos (Speed and EX modes only)
Every character has their own form of chain combos but the following is a series of combos everyone is capable of:
Note: *You cannot start any chain combos from low attacks I.e. 2A 5B does not work in this game as it does in last blade 1.
- Pressing 4AAA also works as 4A 5AA
- You can skip normals or mix in other variations of chains. For example 4A 5A 3C, 5A 2A 2B, 4A 2A 2B BC etc.
5A>5B>5C is universal (Autocombo)
Most every normal in chain combos are cancelable (varies per character) And most characters can combo DM’s from chains in speed. Amano, Kagami, Okina, and both Kaede/O.Kaede cannot. 6B and 6C are never cancelable in speed/ex
You will see people refer to them as Dashing High, Dashing Low, Dash A or Dash B etc. This might get confusing, so I hope this clarifies it since it's pretty important for some chacters.
Dashes in general CANNOT be done by simply tapping 66, you have to tap 6, then tap again and hold it, 6 is the notation for that.
Dashing HIGH can only be done with A or B, all you have to do is Dash (6) and after a while press either A or B while holding 6.
Dashing LOW can perform with any attack button, however, you have to Dash (6) and then move to 3, it's a little tricky and not really useful.
Throws are input by pressing C and D simultaneously, and cannot be blocked. Which direction the opponent is thrown in varies based on the character performing the throw, however by inputting 4CD instead the throw animation will be mirrored (with the exception of Shigen's throw, which will always send the opponent in the direction he is facing). Throws in this game come out instantly, catching pre-jump frames and winning "trades" with strikes. There are no throw techs in this game, so if both players land a throw on the exact same frame, player 1's throw will take priority. Note that although normal throws are very strong in isolation, they have incredibly short range and possess long whiff animations. Additionally, there is a lengthy window (8F) after an opponent blocks or gets hit where most throws will fail, making it fairly easy to mash out of most tic throw attempts.
Akari, both Kaede’s, and Shigen have air throws. While they follow the same rules as normal throws (instant in range etc.) they can be used in combos. All but Shigen have a lengthy whiff animation if you miss. Shigen can cancel the whiff animation into an air normal for whatever reason. Additionally they can catch a few characters wake ups (all of Lee and Akari’s, Mukuro’s forward roll) as they’re considered airborne during these.
While a character is below 25% life, their health bar will begin flashing. During this state, desperation moves can be freely performed without meter. Power and EX mode also gain access to their super desperation moves by spending a bar of meter. Note that super speed combos and guard cancels will still require and consume meter to perform.
Off The Ground Attacks (OTG)
Some attacks are able to hit an opponent while they are lying down (5c universally). While an opponent is lying down, every character gains access to a unique command normal specifically designed to hit OTG. The input is character specific but usually bound to 3B. 5C is a universal OTG and is sometimes the best option to use. There is a small window just before an opponent begins their wake up animation where an OTG is treated as a reset, providing a slight damage optimization.
By attacking an opponent repeatedly, an invisible value the opponent possesses will be increased. Hitting specific attacks while this value is high enough will result in a stun, knocking the opponent back significantly farther than normal and leaving them defenseless for roughly 3 seconds. Over time, this value is slowly decreased (seemingly even during hitstun?), requiring sequences optimized for stun to be performed quickly. Speed and EX characters are incapable of building stun quickly enough to achieve one during the course of a normal match, making this mechanic effectively exclusive to power mode. Nearly every attack in the game builds some amount of stun, however which moves are able to actually cause the opponent to become dizzy is determined on a case-by-case basis, and will never trigger on OTG hit (as a general rule of thumb; command grabs, throws, jabs, guard cancels, D>D attacks, taunts, and supers are unable to trigger a stun). Additionally, some moves have such high recovery that they result in a net loss of stun gain even on hit, making the mechanic very awkward to route around for some characters.
Under normal circumstances, combos are not allowed to deal more than 180 damage to an opponent (out of the maximum 256 life characters possess). If the next hit of a combo would pass this threshold, it instead will only deal enough damage for the combo to hit 180 (even if this means the attack does 0 damage). Most OTGs will be treated as a reset if delayed, and as such can ignore this restriction to deal normally impossible amounts of damage. Additionally, Shigen's counter super ignores the damage cap entirely, allowing it to deal massive damage to low defense characters. Notably, a damage cap combo performed on a full life opponent will not actually bring their health low enough to trigger desperation mode. Since this mechanic does not actually cause infinites to drop, such combos would theoretically last long enough to time out the opponent regardless of the current state of the match. As such, most tournaments will provide a limit on infinite combos and such routes are considered bad manners in casual matches.
All characters in this game have the same health total of 256, however each character has a specific damage multiplier applied to every hit they receive to either increase or reduce how much damage they take. This is an important distinction due to the damage cap mechanic, as every character can still lose potentially a little under 75% of their life from high damage combos regardless of their defense value.