The Stones System
Championship Mode / Friendly
This is the real player vs player (PvP) mode.
Cancel combos / Block Cancelling
Important for O.Rugal and Nameless, this feature makes them incredibly powerful. Normally when executing a special move there is a time of recovery, which means you can’t always follow up with another move. However, pressing the block button, or the normal attack button, will cancel this recovery, allowing you to continue your combo.
This is why normally O.Rugal can’t do skill 1 into skill 2 into skill 1. However with a block cancel, he can.
This is why Nameless can do skill 3 after his ultimate move, which shouldn’t be possible, and leaves players scratching their head.
If you have an opponent flying into the air and can see that your move hasn’t finished its animation, hit the block button. Now you can continue that combo and destroy the opponent.
Block cancelling can also be used to stop your character when they are doing a move in the wrong direction. You could roll, which evade an attack, but you are still vulnerable at the end.
Block Cancelling to Reset
If you block cancel basic attacks, the combo is only paused, and will continue every time you release block. However, if you press forward, then block, and do not release forward, press attack, then block, then attack, this attack has been reset to your first attack. This is very useful because characters who use a normal attack string will be vulnerable by the last hit. An attack string which is reset to the first hit means each attack is quick and can continue infinitely. This adds a great pressure to the opponent who is looking for an opening. Just don't repeat this attack string in a predictable rythym of attack, block, attack! Mix it up!
The block cancel is also important for provoking opponents to attack. You can cancel normal attacks, not just special moves and even supers. Normally an opponent waits for Nameless to do two normal attacks and will then interrupt. But if Nameless cancels… then Nameless can block whatever they throw out. Then there is a mind game to see who will throw out another special...
This function is to raise the level but also adds a new layer to the combat, just pressing the button when available will cause the player to interrupt a combo with a tiny period of invincibility. It does not break guard, so it can be baited and then punished. It can also be used to extend a combo by bouncing the opponent back into the air.
In championship mode there is actually a training mode, and in Infinite Battle there is a practice mode before the match. Infinite Battle is actually a better mode to practice because combos count without considering an evasion roll. Also to note, gravity is different in PvP so training mode combos only work for PvE. And then there’s online timing to consider….
Some tactics that you have used against the AI will go out of the window. Experienced humans won't fall for it.
Rolling past a projectile won’t help you if the opponent can cancel it and punish with another move. Ultimately the most common winning tactic is to let your opponent throw their special moves at you while you block, then you punish. When the opponent gets wise, then it’s a cat and mouse game of baiting out a special move and cancelling it… or not. Good luck!
The next meta was a character who could do a special move and then had hyper armour, so you couldn’t punish. You need to roll past them or away from them. You have to judge if they can cancel and roll again. Remember, more than two rolls in a row have increased recovery.
The next meta after that was a character with a guard crushing special move, eg Zero, Igniz, Paul, and anyone equipped with the Checkmate card set (10% chance). This means if you don’t roll, you’re dead, because you can't block.
The worst meta is a character with hyper armour recovery and a grab. So if he charges at you, you need to roll and stay away, because if you block you will get grabbed. There’s nowhere to hide from Goenitz because he has a homing wind attack. Block, and roll the charging attack. Good luck finding an opening but remember that leverage affinity is still in play.
The New Meta arrived with Awakening. For top level fights it's essential to have an awakened character because of the new function that gives you a chance to break combos or even continue them. Again, these can be baited and wasted. Awakening cannot be used in the air but it can be used to break ultimate moves!
The next meta was the hardest to reach: the stones. These need to be levelled to 7 to unlock their full abilities and if you are lucky to get a plus stone that removes power guage, you have a huge advantage.
The latest Meta involves PG stealing characters to dethrone Tekken set as the best card set. The newer card sets now give guard break and immunity at 0% health and higher critical damage. It's becoming a very complex countering system where you'll need some luck to win anything.
After the recent batch of characters (UI Iori, Shion) here's another recap for the serious players:
General: learn your opponent’s abilities. Unless they have a grab or “ignore guard” move, you can block, unless they have a Ryugo (checkmate) set. If you think they are going to grab or do an “ignore guard” attack skill, roll, then block or roll again, anticipating their 2nd cancelled move. You are looking for the moment they spend their skill and are in recovery (the animation where the character is returning to a neutral stance) because here they are vulnerable and should be attacked. Usually players are most vulnerable after spending their third skill, as each skill can be cancelled into each other.
Players that complain that opponents block too much need a Ryugo set. Players that complain that opponents roll too much need to hit the buttons faster (but blaming lag is ok too). Players that get punished after rolling should stop rolling or try to mash an invincible move or super after rolling.
A serious player will watch the evasion bar, as the opponent is likely to press it as soon as it is full so let them, and punish it. Same for when juggling with combos, when they hit the floor, they will roll out, so let them, and punish.
The next layer of mind games comes with super armour, as that means they are in recovery and you can hit them but they can still hit you too. Hyper armour is the worst because they won’t take damage while getting hit and hitting you. In this situation you should have the same buff and aim to finish your armour last so that they will fall into a combo. FES K' is the craziest here because he has heavy gravity and with his tank status will absorb the damage and simply should dodge at the next opportunity. He's very very dangerous, and he's depleting the opponent's power guage.
Immunity just means they don’t care if you hit them, they won’t lose damage, but they will get juggled into the air.
For players that seem to have endless armour, consider using a character that can afflict damage over time (DOT), using poison, bleed, freeze etc.
For opponents that roll a lot, test your reactions and input lag by pressing the attack button to hit them as they finish the roll. If they don’t get hit and simply roll a second time, you must adjust your timing and press the attack earlier/ faster. Watch carefully because if you press it too early while the opponent's dodge is still in front of you, by the time your move activates, you will attack in front, while the opponent has moved behind. And You may need to predict it for some online situations. For some situations there is simply no escape, for example, at round start, if Geese throws a ground fireball (Reppuken) and the opponent tries to roll through it, doing his rushing attack (Fudoken) WHEN you see the roll (not before), should ALWAYS hit them. If this isn’t working, you really need to adjust your timing.
Look at your moves and see which is the fastest, or which has an invincible start up. For example, using Nameless S3 at the start of a round is faster than using S2.
It's next recommended to look through Character Notes & Strategies.