Samurai Shodown VI/Gaira
Gaira Caffeine is bald. He's got no hair on his head because he's bald.
Aside from the very obvious change to his sprite, not much has changed about Samurai Shodown's resident grappler. He has a step dash instead of a run, two new moves and a faster WFT, but that's about it. He still hits like a truck in spite of the universal damage nerf and he retains his selection of rewarding mixup options to choose from when he's in range, but getting in for him hasn't gotten any easier. The system changes have generally been favourable towards zoners, so if you want to stick with the traditional grappler regardless then you gotta be bald to the bone.
- Dash type: Step
- Damage taken: 97% (2nd Tankiest)
- Rage retention: 225 (4th Highest)
- Rage duration: 9 seconds (4th Shortest)
- Miscellaneous: Gaira can cancel his weapon pickup animation, Gaira's deflect can not be counter hit, Gaira's blocked Continuous Slash can be counter hit.
Gaira is a traditional grappler, which means he has beefy normals and a long-reaching command grab, but he has to struggle with his slow speed and large frame while making his way in. At the same time, it is precisely the threat of being anywhere near Gaira which typically centralises the match into not letting Gaira get in.
Gaira has two options at fullscreen: his shout (236S) which reflects fireballs, and his ground pound (22S) that hits fullscreen and must be blocked low. Though these aren't necessarily going to win him neutral just like that, they are there to keep fullscreen zoners in check. If the zoner respects these enough, Gaira can make his way in with his new step dash, which travels a great distance in a short amount of time and can be used to buffer special moves such as his command grab (486C) or his anti-air grab (421A). Just be mindful that this step dash will not hop over low attacks such as Mina's ground arrows, despite its appearance - you may consider V Spirit if you are that desperate for such an ability just for the forward hop, but keep in mind Gaira's forward hop ain't all that and you can just reflect those ground arrows anyway. You can get up to three step dashes on their knockdown if they don't tech roll, but only one if they do.
After a soft knockdown, opponents may often go for long rolls to keep their distance from Gaira. This works in your favour, as the recovery on long rolls is susceptible to throws and Gaira just so happens to have a very good command throw. Usually a dash or a forward jump is enough to close the gap and land 486C, but against jumping opponents who appear to roll further away you may need to dash then roll cancel into 486C to reach them, assuming you are running a Spirit with rolls. If the opponent short rolls instead, timing a standing heavy slash near or far will do the trick (your crouching heavy slash won't reach), but you may want to try landing his shoulder charge (6C) for a juggle into a hard knockdown or his headbutt (623C) for a very easy meaty. Said headbutt has one hit of hyper armour, so if you're in range to land it and you're not about to die then it can be used as another option for getting up close. At around this range, Gaira also has his medium slashes and 5D which have good priority, stay active for a while and in the case of the former can recoil cancel into stuff. His shout is also a viable poke for similar reasons but it is unsafe on block. Gaira here is also in jumping range where can go for any one of his massive aerial slashes or his j2C for ambiguous crossups.
Being a grappler, Gaira has very strong mixup potential once he gets in, particularly stemming from his command grab which can shave off around a quarter of their health and results in a hard knockdown. The catch, however, is that you can't input your command grab raw because it has an up input, and in Samurai Shodown jumps leave the ground instantly. This means you have to buffer it. An ideal way of doing so up close is by recoil cancelling into it from one of your close mediums, where you can also hit confirm into either a hard knockdown or your WFT (which is now fast enough to combo into) or recoil cancel into your other mixup options. Gaira's 421S series includes a very fast anti-air grab, an overhead and a fast low. All can be combo'd into and all give hard knockdowns. The anti-air grab (421A) synergises well with your command grab, as the fact it must be buffered is otherwise a dead giveaway that you're going for it.
As mentioned earlier, having rolls is a massive boon for Gaira, so ideally he should stick to II or V Spirit. Between these, II is the superior choice because Gaira's WFT is much easier to land in this game and being able to break the weapon of a character like Mina or Amakusa is a big deal for him. Gaira has a launcher which can see potential use in State Of Nothingness, but V's short Rage time doesn't work in Gaira's favour whatsoever.
- 5A - Decent range for a jab but whiffs against most crouchers.
- 5B - Frontal bead swing ideal for recoil fishing, but will whiff against some crouchers.
- 5C - A slow swing upward. Useful as a far anti-air and punish tool.
- 2A - 5A but lower.
- 2B - Shorter range than 5B but hits crouchers.
- 2C - A heavy swing. Special cancellable
- n5A - Gaira strikes downward with the back of his fist. Hits crouching opponents.
- n5B - Looks similar to the far version but the beads stop where the opponent is hit. The main difference is that this is special cancellable.
- n5C - Two heavy hits as Gaira swings his beads downwards. Causes a knockdown if both hits connect.
- n2A - n5A but lower.
- n2B - n5B but lower and does considerably more damage. Special cancellable.
- n2C - Same as far version but has more frame advantage on hit.
- 5D - Mighty foot. All his other kick attacks are lows but not this one. Useful for its long reach and high amount of active frames. Links into stuff on counter hit.
- 6D - Standing low. Doesn't link into anything even on counter hit, but its active frames make it a strong meaty. Potentially useful in State Of Nothingness where it can lead into combos, but Gaira's only overhead is 623B which does not.
- 2D - Fast low. The least range among all of Gaira's normals.
- 3D - Sweep. Slightly less range than 5D.
- njA - Aerial 5A.
- jA - Diagonally-downward punch.
- jB - Aerial 5B. Ideal as an air-to-air for its strong priority and decent reach.
- njC - Fast swing directly below you. Practically no hitbox within the beads, just like jB, means this attack is pretty hard to stuff.
- jC - Aerial n5C. Comes out noticeably slower than njC so you will have to be more pre-emptive with using this as a jump-in. Or you can deliberately time it late for a fakeout into 47896C.
- jD - The hitbox only covers your knee, so not an amazing air-to-air.
- u5S - Same as n5A.
- u2S - Same as 2A. Not immune to throws anymore.
- juS - Same as jA.
Hyper Slash (I)
- A+B - Essentially his 5C. A superior anti air to 421A considering that it will not only hit them but also shatter their health. A worthy System to pick as Gaira is in no need of his super.
Continuous Slash (IV)
- A+B - Gaira is one of three characters who is put in a counter hit state after Continuous Slash is blocked. The other two are Nicotine and Shizumaru.
6C, can be done unarmed
- A forward shoulder lunge similar to Iroha's 4D. You can link something after this, mainly juggles into special moves, but if you are in the corner you have a small window to link into 6D, which will reset the opponent and give you enough time to buffer 47896C for right as they land. If this gets blocked it will be harder to punish if spaced properly.
Centennipierce Slam - j2C, can be done unarmed
- A butt slam with fast startup. Knocks down on hit. Gaira retains all of his momentum as he braces for impact, making this pretty easy to use as a crossup. This has a fair amount of recovery, so if they block this you will not like it.
- New to VI is this move's ability to hit OTG.
Shout! - 236S, can be done unarmed
- 喝!!! This is a displaced poke, fireball reflector and combo ender rolled up into one move as Gaira shouts a kanji in front of him. Has reasonably fast startup and knocks down on hit. Does not do chip damage.
- This move's reflect hitbox is much greater vertically than the kanji itself, allowing it to reflect a variety of Mina's arrows for instance, notably her anti-air shots and low ground shot.
Earthquake Assault - 22S
- Daimon-style ground pound which must be blocked low or jumped over, but will not deal any chip damage. Knocks down on hit. If you're close enough there is an additional hit with his beads beforehand which does a lot more damage and also knocks down, but it can be blocked mid (the opponent still has to block low for the ground pound, however). The knockdown gives Gaira some time to close the gap with his step dash, especially if they don't tech roll.
Ceiling Slam Grabber - 421A, can be done unarmed
- Anti-air. Can be air parried by opponents using III Spirit despite appearances, as this is a strike and not a throw. Regardless, if you're expecting the opponent to jump out of your mixup then this is a worthwhile option to catch them given its fast startup and long active period. Will whiff on most grounded opponents but Kusaregedo can block it standing, where you will learn firsthand that this move is absolutely not safe at all. Hard knockdown. Notably, this move has less recovery when unarmed.
Hard Head Grabber - 421B, can be done unarmed
- Overhead hitgrab. Can be armored. Has a bit of startup but can combo from quite a few things as a very damaging combo ender. On its own it's strong for an overhead, which is a good thing because this is the only standing overhead Gaira has. Hard knockdown. Notably, this move has less recovery when unarmed.
Butt Slam - 421C, can be done unarmed
- Low hitgrab. Can be armored. Gaira quickly reaches for the opponent's shins then flips them over. The lunge forward and its speed make this a strong punish tool and combo ender, but not necessarily your first choice of mixup given Gaira has only one grounded overhead. Hard knockdown. Notably, this move has less recovery when unarmed.
Heart Slicer - 486C
- Long-ranged command grab which does fixed damage independent of your Weapon Gauge and results in a hard knockdown. You can increase the damage by up to around 180% of the usual amount by spinning the joystick. The up input means you're going to jump if you don't buffer this in some way. Common ways to buffer it include jumping, step dashing, recoil cancelling, dodging and roll cancelling. Because this grab will always be telegraphed by some former action, your opponent is likely to start playing around this limitation. The recovery on this thing is obscenely long (though nowhere near as bad as in earlier games), so ideally you want to use the threat of your command grab to hit them with your other mixup options.
- Gaira is one of three characters who, in the arcade version, can command grab an opponent as they recover from an OTG attack. Gaira is unable to pursuit after his command grab, but he can still hit OTG with j2C, then pursue the opponent with an unescapable command grab. This effectively gives Gaira an infinite which works best if you are running a Spirit which grants access to rolls. This was fixed in the console versions but can be re-enabled by setting the game mode to Arcade.
Determined Hard Head - 623C, can be done unarmed (Samurai Drive)
- New move. After a long windup Gaira delivers a powerful headbutt which stuns the opponent. Much like a Hyper Slash, this thing will absorb up to one hit of hyper armour, and while Gaira will take all the damage he will continue the attack without pause. If you land this move as a counter hit you can link into all sorts of things. Furthermore this move can be used to call out short rolls.
Toy Transformation - 412146E (II)
Exploding Euthanasia - 236AB
- Gaira's old WFT where he leaps up, then strikes the ground with his beads as the image of a deity manifests. The super flash eats into its startup animation, making it faster to come out. This means you can combo into this from close mediums now. A much more useful WFT overall for this reason, and at any rate a much better anti-air as well.
- This now does five hits instead of one, making it better for chip kills.
Determined Splendid Death - 23623BC (II), 236BC (VI) (Samurai Drive)
- A headbutt, a palm strike and then a shoulder charge. The first hit travels decently far, has armor, and everything else is likely to connect afterwards, but the slow startup means it can only usually combo from 2C.
- n5B/n2B/2C 236S/421B/C/236AB - 421B does the most meterless damage.
- 2C 22S - Redundant but it's there. Doesn't do that much because you're hitting with the ground pound instead of the beads.
- 2C, 3D/236A/421C - Basic links from 2C, if you're not cancelling it for some reason. All of your jabs and other kicks link as well.
- 2C, 6C 421A/236S - Counter hit only. 6C can be done on its own of course. 421A ender makes this your most damaging combo overall.
- 6C, 421C - Corner only. Trickier to land than 421A but less damaging. Only use for swag purposes.
- 5D, 236A/421C - Counter hit only.
- 623C, 236S/421B/C - Counter hit only.
- 3C/j2C, 486C, j2C, 486C, j2C ... - Arcade-only glitch. Gaira can follow up from his pursuit attack or Centennipierce Slam with Heart Slicer. This can be re-enabled in console versions by switching the game mode to Arcade.
Continuous Slash (IV)
- 2C/623C, A+B - Counter hit links into dial-a-combo.
- A+B AA 236S/421B/C - Ground combos.
- A+B BBC 236S/421A/236AB - Juggle combos.
- A+B BBC 22S - Corner only.
State Of Nothingness (V)
- 6C, 2C, n5A, ABC - Launcher combo from minimum time.
Frame Data - Provided by Tekitogate
|Attack||Startup||On Hit||On Standing Block||On Crouching Block||Notes|
|6C||18||KD||-11||-6||Active for 12 frames|
|5D||13||-1||-13||-8||Active for 11 frames|
|6D||9||-5||N/A||-12||Active for 12 frames|