Let’s look at the three basic attack buttons in Injustice 2 and what they do.
The simple jab is generally your fastest attack. It’s good to start with these up close because in Injustice 2, the fastest attack always wins. However, a lot of light attacks hit high, meaning it’s easy to duck under them and counter. More on "high", "low" and so on later.
The medium attack is a little slower and usually very close range, suitable mostly for a point blank attack when an opponent is just getting up. However, you can’t duck under most medium attacks, meaning they’re safe to attack with without much fear of reprisal.
Mid attacks are generally a safe way to apply pressure, but to do real damage you’re going to have to take a chance on a riskier move eventually.
The heavy attack is of course a big hit, slower than the other two. Other than that, the details vary a lot by character: It can be a big, long-range poke or a close strike that sends your opponent flying.
Throws are what you use when you already know your opponent is going to block. Either use the designated throw button or press light attack and heavy attack at the same time to go for the grab, slamming your opponent for a respectable amount of damage.
Every stage in Injustice 2 has background elements that you can pluck out of the background and use against your enemy.
For example, in the Fortress of Solitude, you can knock your opponent into the statues in the background.
Do this by pressing the Stage Interaction button or light and medium attack at the same time. There will usually be an on-screen prompt, like a glowing item or a button prompt underneath your life bar.
Some items are unblockable, but others are not. It’s best to get to know all the stages and be aware of your position on the stage. If you don’t, you’ll get sucker punched all the time.
Hold back to block the majority of attacks. You will take a little bit of damage from blocking (commonly referred to as "chip damage" for the tiny bits of life bar lost), and even this can be fatal.
A standing guard will defend against everything but low attacks, throws and unblockable attacks.
Hold down-back for a low guard. This will defend against low attacks, duck underneath high attacks, and defend against mid attacks. It sounds strong, but low guard loses completely to overheads, which players will usually follow up with a combo for huge damage. Low guard doesn’t save you from throws, either.
Attacks in the air generally follow a similar pattern for most characters. The air light attack is fast, without much range. The air medium attack is average in speed and power. The air heavy attack is slow, hits hard and knocks your opponent into the air, opening up the possibility of a combo.
If you’re fast about it, you have a chance to slip out of your opponent’s throw once it starts. If you’re familiar with Tekken, to which this game owes a lot in general, it’s the same system.
There is a gap in the animation after a throw connects, at the moment where the thrower grabs your opponent. At the moment this begins, press throw on your end and you should be able to break out of the throw. Timing for this is tight but not impossible. It’s definitely something to practice. If your reactions are good, you’ll be able to break out of a lot of throws.
Attack types (high, mid, low, overhead)
Injustice 2 handles attack types in a manner quite unlike most 2D fighting games. Its close combat resembles 3D games like Tekken and Virtua Fighter.
High attacks are typically the very fastest jabs, as well as most projectiles. They will hit a standing opponent and counter many slower attacks due to their speed.
However, a player who crouches underneath a high attack will dodge it entirely and may even be able to counter with a low jab. Along the same lines, the best way to deal with an opponent who’s using a lot of projectile attacks is simply to duck and move in slowly between bursts.
Mid attacks always make contact, whether your opponent is standing or crouching. However, they can also never open up an opponent who just keeps blocking. Some mid attacks, usually at the end of an attack string, leave the attacker wide open for a counter against an opponent who is simply patient.
Note that you can’t judge whether an attack is mid with just your eyes. Wonder Woman’s standing medium attack looks like a high attack but hits mid. There are a lot of moves like this, so you need to refer to the move list to be sure.
Low attacks only hit against a standing guard. Imagine a foot tripping the standing fighter. Depending on the character, even a low attack can start a combo, so look out for them.
The inverse of the low attack, overhead attacks only hit against a crouching guard. Imagine a fist coming down like a hammer on the head of the crouching opponent. Every character has at least one overhead attack, and they can often lead to much greater damage than a low can.