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Guilty Gear Strive beginner’s guide, tips, and tricks

How to pick characters and tips to get good

Nagoriyuki and Sol Badguy from Guilty Gear Strive fight against one another Image: Arc System Works

Guilty Gear Strive is the latest entry in the fast-paced anime fighting franchise. Whether you’re new to the series or a veteran who needs a refresher, it’s worth playing the game’s tutorial and mission mode, which explains everything from the basics all the way up to expert-level techniques. For everything else, we have a few tips.

This Guilty Gear Strive beginner’s guide explains how to choose a character based on their difficulty tier, why you need to do the mission mode, and several other tips that will give you a fighting chance.

Table of contents

Character difficulty tier list

The roster of Guilty Gear Strive features several characters who have completely different fighting styles. On the character select screen, each character’s portrait features a bit of information that explains how they perform in combat.

The character select screen in Guilty Gear Strive
The character select screen in Guilty Gear Strive
Image: Arc System Works via Polygon

Under each character’s name, you’ll find the following:

  • A five-star meter displaying each character’s ease of use. More stars mean the character’s fighting style will be quicker to grasp for first-time players.
  • On the bottom left of the character’s info, a diagram that explains how effective each character is at three rangers: close, mid-range, and far. The scale goes from A to C, with A signifying this is a character’s ideal range and C meaning the character is less powerful at that distance.
  • A colored note on the right explaining the character’s fighting style. For instance, balance fighters have abilities that cover a lot of options. Rushdown characters keep pressure on opponents and high speed characters dart across the stage. Other characters have totally bespoke types, like shooting or power grappler.

Use the information below to figure out which character you’d like to try. If you’re unsure whether a character is for you, go into training mode and check out their moves. Experiment with their movement and attacks to see if you like their style of fighting.

Guilty Gear Strive difficulty tier list

Character Type Ease of Use Close Mid Far
Character Type Ease of Use Close Mid Far
Ky Kiske Balance ***** B A B
Sol Badguy Balance **** A B C
May Balance **** B A C
Giovanna Rushdown **** A B C
Chipp Zanuff High Speed *** A B C
Anji Mito Balance *** B A C
Leo Whitefang Balance *** A B B
Axl Low Long Range *** C B A
Potemkin Power Grappler *** A A C
Ramlethal Valentine Shooting *** B A B
Nagoriyuki One Shot ** B A C
Millia Rage High Speed ** B B C
I-No Rushdown ** A B B
Faust Unique ** C A B
Zato-1 Technical * C B B

Play the mission mode

While doing the mission mode in Guilty Gear Strive might seem like homework, it’s worth completing. Beginners will learn the unique mechanics that the Guilty Gear series features. For returning players, mission mode is worth your time as a handful of changes in Strive alter or completely remove aspects of the franchise you may be used to.

Mission mode in the Offline > Dojo > Mission menu. This section of the game is broken up into five areas that explore how to play Guilty Gear Strive. Each area has several challenges that teach you the basics from how to control characters to expert-level techniques and combos.

The mission menu in Guilty Gear Strive
Mission mode’s area select is broken up by difficulty
Image: Arc System Works via Polygon
  • Castle Area has 16 missions that teach you the basics of fighting games.
  • Forest Area has 18 missions that explore the controls of Guilty Gear Strive and beginner-level fighting strategies.
  • Mayship’s 18 missions go over techniques specific to the Guilty Gear franchise.
  • Wasteland features 37 missions that cover expert-level techniques.
  • Hell Area is the final section with 32 missions that cover specific scenarios to further bolster your in-game knowledge.

Tips to become a better player

Mission mode covers a library of techniques that may take a few days or weeks to master. If you’re just getting started, this list of tips can help you quickly boost your confidence and mastery while playing Guilty Gear Strive.

Avoid excessive defense

Playing too defensively in Guilty Gear Strive is something that can get you punished. There are two systems in the game that will harm players who spend too much time defending or do not mount an offensive often enough.

While fighting, keep an eye on your RISC Level, which is a small pink/purple bar that appears underneath your character’s health and Burst meter. As you block attacks, this meter grows.

The RISC Level meter in Guilty Gear Strive
The more you block, the greater your RISC Level
Image: Arc System Works via Polygon

The larger this meter is, the more damage you will take once you are hit. The more you block attacks and avoid damage in the moment, the more potential extra damage you build up in the future. If your RISC Level has anything in its meter when you take a hit, that damage will be amplified.

The best way to circumvent receiving extra damage is by dodging attacks or hitting your opponent. Either of these will lower your RISC Level.

However, dodging attacks also has negative effects. If you spend too long without attacking your opponent at all, you will receive a negative penalty. When this penalty is issued, a large graphic will appear on screen, and you’ll lose all of your tension meter. Without tension meter, you can’t perform any overdrive attacks. The only way to combat receiving a negative penalty is by hitting your opponent.

Map your dash command

Dashing usually requires double-tapping forward or backward in quick succession. This is the case in most fighting games, so this technique might be common for fighting game enthusiasts. However, mapping dash to a button can be helpful for both beginners and veteran players.

The button mapping screen in Guilty Gear Strive
Mapping your dash button can be a big help
Image: Arc System Image: Arc System Works via Polygon

To remap your controls, go to Settings > System Settings > Button Settings (During Battle). From here, you can map any attack button, and several commands, to any button you like. One of Guilty Gear Strive’s best features is being able to map dashing to a single button.

When dash is mapped to a button, like the L1 button in our example, tapping the button causes a forward dash. Holding back and tapping L1 causes a back dash. For players who aren’t accustomed to quickly tapping directions to dash, this setting can make it easier to perform this technique. For veterans, they can use the mappable dash command to quickly perform air dashes.

To perform an air dash the normal way, double-tap forward or backward after pressing up to jump. Advanced players often like to perform air dashes as quickly as they can create more complicated attacking opportunities. However, this can be difficult as it requires pressing up simultaneously with a direction, and then pressing that direction again. With dash mapped to a button, all you need to do is hold up and the direction you want to go then the dash button to perform an instant air dash.

Use forward + punch

In addition to special moves, each character has several upgraded basic attacks called command normals. These strikes aren’t as elaborate as special attacks, but they offer some utility beyond simply hitting opponents.

You can find command normals in each character’s command list. Every fighter has different command normals with different attributes, but there is one they all share: forward + punch.

The Command Normal 1 explanation for Ky Kiske in Guilty Gear Strive
This attack doesn’t look fancy, but it’s special
Image: Arc System Works via Polygon

While this attack doesn’t look particularly interesting, it does have a unique property: While the attack is active, your character is invincible from the waist up. That means this move works great as an anti-air attack. It can also negate some attacks that hit high, like overhead attacks or projectiles that hit above the waist, like I-No’s projectile.

Forward + punch has a very limited range, but great utility. If an opponent jumps in with air dashes a lot while attacking, using this command normal can stop them.

Learning to time the attack properly takes some practice, but it’s a good technique to learn early to be defensive, while still attacking. Mastering forward + punch as a way to stop attacks is a great way to protect yourself without blocking or dodging, which can raise your RISC Level or give you a negative penalty.

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