Fighting EX Layer/Doctrine Dark

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Doctrine Dark is a fairly unorthodox character that both plays lame and zone-y, but also can pull off powerful mixups and setups up close. A combination of wires and mines allow him to constrict the opponent's movement options very easily and also let him get full combos off any confirm. While he suffers from poor damage and some bad normals, Doctrine Dark dictates the pace of each match and frustrates the other player into making bad decisions which he can fully capitalize on.

Quick Guide

  • Take Shinobi as your deck, D.Dark can easily lame out the opponent for 12 seconds at the start of the match to get Ghost Triggered, letting you turn invisible when you dash. You also get Guard Cancel, which lets you do Specials and Supers out of blockstun.
  • 2MP, 2LK, 2MK and 5LK are decent pokes.
  • Keep the opponent out the opponent with EX-Plosive and Dark Wire (236P). This'll often force them to jump. If they land or walk into EX-Plosive, it's often a free combo and even from faraway you can catch them with Dark Wire. You still want to be close enough that you can easily dash in to start your offense and also have EX-plosive threaten the opponent.
  • If someone is jumping in on you, either do 5HK or 2HP. Super Cancel into Dark Knife (236236P) if you get the hit. D.Dark can instead use Dark Defender (623P) and juggle into 5HK/2HP > Dark Knife.
  • For jump-ins, stick to j.MK. This is also your crossup jump-in normal.
  • D.Dark has some particularly awkward normals, so for chains stick to 2LK > 2MK > 2HK. The 2HK is almost completely safe so feel free to end blockstrings with it.
  • If your chain hits, instead of 2HK, you can either do 6MK > Dark Shackle (236236K) or go from the 2MK into Dark Wire (236P).
  • When you hit with Dark Wire, pull them in by doing Dark Hold (4P). If you want to activate G.Break by doing Hard Attack (MP + MK), you can easily do Hard Attack > Dark Knife. Otherwise, quickly dash forward (66) and immediately do 5LK > 5MK > 5HK > Dark Knife.
  • If the opponent is knocked down, put a EX-Plosive on top or in front of them as they get up. Mix it up with his 2LK/2MK, normal throws, Hard Attack and cross-up j.MK along with any gougi-specific mixups such as Hunting or Guard Break.

Strengths and Weaknesses


  • Strong defensive play with his Dark Wire, Dark Defender and EX-Plosive, shutting down many approachs from both air and ground.
  • Dark Wire can be both combo'd out of and into, making it a great combo starter and combo linker.
  • A decent suite of anti-air Normals and Specials and can often goad the enemy into jumping.
  • With the right gougi, can easily play both very defensively and very offensively, switching as needed.
  • Fantastic setups if D.Dark gets the knockdown, even allowing him to get unblockables with the right setup and Gougi.


  • Has quite a few stubby normals, making his strings fairly awkward and limited
  • Very low damage even with meter, making him a poor comeback character
  • Doesn't have particularly good ways of spending all his meter in a combo.
  • No meterless reversals, and his metered reversals aren't great either.
  • Fairly technical and doesn't have as many easy rewarding combo routes as other characters


Standing Normals

Crouching Normals

Jumping Normals





  • D.Dark doesn't have too many pokes given that a lot of his standing normals are very close ranged elbow and knee strikes. Use 2LK, 2MK and 2MP as your general normal pokes.
  • D.Dark instead shines in neutral through use of his Dark Wire and EX-Plosive. The bombs can easily prevent grounded approaches and forces the opponent to take obvious jump arcs to avoid it, playing into D.Dark's anti-air game. His Dark Wire also destroys fireballs, forcing a stalemate against other fireball character.
  • Unlike other fireball characters however, D.Dark can't really chip the opponent out from full screen, so he will need to eventually go on the offense. He has decent mobility but no dedicated moves to help him out and a standard jump arc which is why Gougi Decks such as Shinobi and Stealth Raptor help him out so much.
  • Your general gameplan for most of D.Dark's Decks is to lame out the opponent for long enough to get Ghost at which point you'll mix it up between zoning and approaching the opponent. D.Dark's damage is very poor and he struggles to really dump his meter, so getting health leads and keeping them is key. Don't hesitate to use your offense and setups to get the health lead and then just stick to laming out the opponent. The threat of the short timer will also often coerce the opponent into making risky approaches, and D.Dark's EX-Plosive and the threat of his Dark Wire are perfect for capitalizing on that.
  • For anti-airing, you'll want to stick to 2HP and 5HK. Dark Defender can be used but has a fairly awkward angle and is awful to whiff.


D.Dark isn't necessarily the best character to rush down an opponent with, but his defensive play often either allows him to approach easily or catch a frustrated enemy attempting to approach. If D.Dark can score a knockdown on the opponent, he can also enforce extremely strong mixups that lead into knockdowns as well. His deck choices are based on buffing his offense as a result.

Mix ups

  • D.Dark has incredibly solid mix ups and ways to force the mixup on opponents. You have access to the usual arsenal of quick low-hitting attacks, command Overheads (Hard Attack and Knife Nightmare crossups, jumps into jumping normals that hit overhead or otherwise doing a empty jump into a low, frametraps and tick-throws. His EX-plosive placed as a meaty forces the opponent to block as they get up, giving D.Dark free reign to enforce his mixup.
  • He does have 2 command overheads, but in particular if he takes a deck with Guard Break he gets access to a unblockable that leads to full combos and even gets unblockable setups.


Hard Knockdown (From a Dark Knife for example) > EX-Plosive > Just block

  • The most basic okizeme/vortex you can pull off, if an opponent is consistently attempt to mash/reversal out as they get back up, you'll be able to block them and combo them for free either as they come back down or from getting hit by the EX-Plosive. Otherwise, if they block in turn you have enough time to react and then continue your pressure on the blocking opponent

In the corner, 2HK > Whiff 2LP > 236LK/236MK (EX-Plosive)

  • A excellent setup which will be a meaty on both a normal getup and a Recover. If it connects, you can combo into 2MP/2MK. Otherwise, you'll be +2 on crouching block or -1 on standing block. On a normal getup you'll also have enough time to set the bomb and block any reversals, including Allen's Rising Dragon and Blair Dame's Lightning Knee/Shoot Upper. The EX-Plosive will combo into Hard Attack as well, and if they block the bomb a Guard Break Hard Attack is almost guaranteed to land. (Credit to Labryz.)

Frame Traps

Any Delayed Chain

  • As there is always a big window for you to chain one move to a higher strength, essentially any button can become a frame trap by simply delaying the next button just enough to allow a gap for an opponent to press a button that'll then get hit by your delayed button before their move can start up.
  • The easiest way of practicing this by setting the training dummy to "After First Hit" and Guard All (Standing) or Guard All (Crouching), and setting either 5LP or 2LP in a slot for "Recording Settings (After Guard).
  • The dummy will try to jab their way out of any gaps and if you've delayed correctly, you'll hit the dummy out of the startup of their jab. 2MP or 2MK are great normals to try and frame trap from.

2MK > 4MK

  • A very nice frametrap for catching people jumping out of your pressure. Requires no manual timing and is a easy combo into Dark Knife. A sample string into this frametrap would be 2LK > 2MK > 4MK > Dark Knife on hit. 4MK unfortunately is fairly unsafe on block but since it's super cancellable you can still catch punish attempts.

Dash-in 2MP > 2HP

  • Requires a slightly delay, but is good for catching people attempting to throw you if you keep trying to link 2MP. from a dash-in.





Universal Strings

Dash-in Combos

Hit Confirms

Anti-Air Conversions

Air to Air Conversions


Recommended Gougi


  • Very solid Blue Gougi granting him an 5% damage increase and 10% speed increase almost immediately into the match.
  • Guard Break is a perfect fit for D.Dark as not only does he get truly unblockable setups from it, but also is able to combo into Hard Attacks through Dark Wire very easily, making him far and away the best character to Trigger the Gougi.
  • Ghost massively improves D.Dark's offense. It's also very easy to Trigger as D.Dark has the tools to zone out the opponent for 12 seconds right out of the gate.
  • Guard Cancel as always is a fantastic defensive Gougi. This helps out D.Dark's poor defense.

Stealth Raptor

  • Very solid selection of Blue Gougi, the 2 Speed Ups boosts D.Dark's mobility by 20% while the Grab Up gives him a handy range increase, making his shimmying even stronger.
  • Utsusemi helps with D.Dark's poor defense and lack of real escapes. Not on the level of Guard Cancel, but a decent defensive buff regardless.
  • Hunting gives D.Dark a strong short hop, massively improving his mixup.

Match Ups

External Links

Fighting EX Layer

Allen SynderBlair DameDarun MisterDoctrine DarkGarudaHayateHokutoJackKairiPullum PurnaSananeShadowgeistSharonShiraseSkullomaniaTerry BogardVulcano Rosso