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I want to learn Skullgirls, where do I start?

Start by playing through the tutorial if you haven't already. It's excellent for getting you up to speed with the game, for people with or without previous fighting game experience. Be sure to find players around your skill level by getting involved with the Skullgirls community.

I'm stuck on the tutorial, do I need to finish all of it?

Some of the later tutorial lessons ask you to perform combos which some new players may not be ready to execute in order to demonstrate some concept (such as lesson 4-7). If these lessons become more about struggling to perform the combo than understanding the concept, it may save you some frustration if you just come back to them later, or not at all if you feel you understand the concept.

What is Double?

Double is a character who fights by turning into other characters during her attacks. Her normals borrow animations from other characters, but their properties are usually different and their uses are recontextualized by belonging to a different character. Her luger, flying butt, and slide special moves are unused animations from Parasoul, Cerebella, and Filia. Double appears as a blob figure when she's not attacking, and takes the form of a nun during her intro and win poses.

What is the difference between Filia and Fukua?

Filia and Fukua are two different characters who share many of the same animations. The way they play and the properties of their moves are completely different. Filia has an air dash and can travel across the air by turning into a ball. Fukua has a double jump and attacks with fireballs and clones of herself. To further visually differentiate herself, she also has floating orbs surrounding her at all times. If all else fails, the character portraits will spell out which character is which.

As a new player, what team size should I play?

There's no right answer. Some people find it easier to start with solos to familiarize themselves with the game, then move on to playing a team, or just continue to play solo. If you feel overwhelmed by learning multiple characters, it’s OK to start with solos. If you feel confident and want to start playing with a team’s benefits right away, you can start with a team, too.

Are solos viable?

The answer may depend on who you ask, but there were two exclusively solo players in the top 8 of Combo Breaker 2017, the largest Skullgirls tournament of that year, and there are several other strong players who play solo. While not having access to some of the game's main mechanics, such as assists, hinder them, once they get an opening they do an absurd amount of damage.

Who are the best and worst characters?

The final patch for Skullgirls was released in April of 2017. As of mid 2018, there hasn't been enough time to reach a community wide consensus. The gap between tiers is thought to be pretty small, and any character can compete in the current meta with the right team. The upper end of tournament results include the entire roster.

Newbies worried about picking a good / bad character should instead worry about constructing a good team. Since there is custom assist, and characters have multiple supers to DHC to, it's not hard to craft a workable team using most combinations of characters, especially at a low or mid level of skill.

What makes a good team in Skullgirls?

  • Characters in this game are very versatile, and can be played in most team positions in most team combinations. But it all depends on what other characters and assists you built the team around on.
  • Figure out what character(s) you want to play, then you figure out what position on the team you’d like for them to be in, and finally add in other characters or choose assists that benefit the team from there.
  • Team positions for trio teams are as follows: point character, middle (or mid) character, and anchor character. For duo teams, it is just point and anchor characters.
  • Point position characters typically are characters who either need or strongly prefer assists to back them up. Choose a point character on your team as a character that you think benefits the most from having assists. Also consider characters that make for a good 'battery', a character which can build a lot of meter, such as Peacock or Ms. Fortune.
  • Mid position characters typically have either good DHCs from the point, good supers to use on incoming in case the point character dies, or more simply just benefits more from having an assist than the anchor character would.
  • Anchor characters typically are characters that you, as a player, should either feel more comfortable playing as a solo character, or if you feel that their assist is strong enough to benefit both the point and mid characters.
  • Be warned that sometimes your team order can get changed, such as from using DHCs, tagging in, or from being snapped by the opponent. Be ready for when your team order has changed to not get blindsided by unexpected situations, or use this to your advantage when you think about team crafting.
  • For more information on assists, click here. Some assists can fill multiple roles. Some characters can benefit from one type of assist more than others. Or sometimes, your own playstyle can prefer to use one type of assist over others. Choose wisely what you think most benefits how you want to play.

How come it seems like the opponent can keep on hitting me until I die?

The opponent cannot hit you once and kill you in this game under normal circumstances. You most likely got hit by a reset, which means to drop the combo intentionally (therefore giving you a chance to defend) and perform a mixup. Resets are extremely important for maintaining momentum in Skullgirls and is unlike most other fighting games in that sense. Resets are supposed to be quick and hard to see, doubly so if you are a new player. A way to tell for sure if one happened is if the combo counter got reset back to zero. Usually a reset is done with some kind of overhead attack, a throw, or a crossup. Be sure to watch this video for a more in depth explanation.

I keep losing online, how do I improve?

Take comfort in the fact that every single fighting game player knows your pain. Fighting games are a genre where you will get beat up a lot before you get any bearing on what is going on. Even the best players all started at this skill level. It's worth emphasizing: when you are new to fighting games, you will lose a lot. If you can accept this, then you can really start to enjoy and explore fighting games. The key is that losing doesn't have to be a frustrating experience all the time.

First of all, don't limit yourself to just playing faceless strangers on quick match. Fighting games are perhaps the most fun when you have a group of people of similar skill level to play and talk with, so check out the community page to find out how to get involved with the Skullgirls community.

A great thing to do as a beginner is to focus on one concept at a time. There's a lot to unravel when it comes to fighting games, and if you try to understand it all at once it will quickly get overwhelming. Pick one thing to work on, and play with just that thing in mind. Don't concern yourself about anything else going on during the match, just focus on that one thing. It's important to have some kind of goal or thing to think about while you're playing, since you can start to see small improvements in your play. Having the goal "use pushblock in a match" is realistically achievable against a more skilled opponent, and it helps you piece together how you are supposed to use the concept in a real match.

Here's some ideas of things to work on when you're first learning Skullgirls. Be sure to also watch videos of other people playing to see how the different concepts are used in matches. Doing each of these things right will take time, and you will lose a lot at first trying to implement these things. Try to have an experimental attitude about it and you'll find yourself learning a lot! Improvement comes through lots of failure and trial and error, so don't be afraid to lose and don't give up!

  • Focus on applying the concepts taught in the tutorial in real matches. The tutorial doesn't necessarily prepare you to play other players. It does a good job of explaining the mechanics of the game, but applying the concepts in matches is much harder than just understanding them. The defense mechanics are especially important since you'll be on defense the majority of your time as a new player. Two important ones would be pushblocking and using your character's reversals, which can be found under the basics section on the character pages. Don't get discouraged when you get opened up. Skullgirls mixups are brutal and even the best players can't block everything - it happens. Taking a look at what options you have can give you more chances to play.
  • Become comfortable with your character's important moves, and get an idea of how they're used in a match to achieve your game plan. If you can do that, learn how to maximize your reward off those moves, whether it be a combo or a knockdown. The character pages can give you ideas for these.
  • Practice a combo that you can execute in matches. Even if it's a very short combo, a combo you can pull off 95% of the time you try it is always better than a better combo you drop the majority of the time. A good goal to work towards is being able to do a combo with a restand, which allows for an easy reset point. Check out the combo sections on the character pages for ideas. Also familiarize yourself with the concept of hit confirming, which in simple terms is recognizing if your move was blocked or hit. If it hit you want to perform your combo. If not, you will want to change your response.
  • Familiarize yourself with how frame data works. You don't need to understand it all at first. Here's a useful challenge that, if you can figure it out, you will understand all you need to know about frame data for now: learn about block advantage (listed under "on block" on a move's frame data) and why some moves can be challenged or even guaranteed to be punished if you block them.

The reality is even if you do implement all of these you still may not be a "good" or even "average" player. Whether someone is "good" or not is subjective anyway, so it's up to you to figure out how you want to enjoy Skullgirls or any other fighting game. Some people get a lot of fulfillment out of the self improvement aspect and competing. Some have fun simply from playing with their friends. Others find the most enjoyment in labbing out the game to find cool tech and combos. There's no one right way to play the game, but as long as you are having fun with the game that is what really matters.

As for how to improve in a more general sense, one of the most valuable habits to pick up to improve at fighting games is to think critically about your losses and to focus on learning instead of winning. This isn't easy as a new player since your ability to analyze and think about the game isn't there yet, but it's a good goal to work towards. After playing a lot of games, take some time to reflect on what went wrong and what problems you encountered. Viewing your own matches is essential to figuring this out. The PC version can save replays in game, and the PS4 lets you save recordings with the share button. After you identify one major problem, think of an idea for a solution. Training mode is especially useful for this. If you are having trouble, watch videos of other people playing your character for ideas. Then, next time you play, try it out and see what happens. Even if you lose, you can still learn something new and apply it next time. Winning against players who usually beat you won't happen overnight - much of the joy of fighting games comes from the process of learning, applying new strategies, and seeing small improvements over time.

Lastly, don't hesitate to ask questions if you don't understand something. Many people online are experienced and are happy to help new players. In fact, coming up with questions to ask more skilled players can be one of the best ways to gain more insight on a topic. The more specific question you can ask, the more the other person can understand what you're asking and give you a detailed, helpful response.

What is 2nd Encore?

Confusingly, Second Encore can refer to three different things:

  • The previous balance patch, free on all platforms. There have been two more free balance patches after this: 2nd Encore+ and one more, small, final patch.
  • The PS4/Vita rerelease, which bundled all past DLC plus some new singleplayer extras:
    • Full voice acting for all of Story Mode.
    • Challenges: Various fights against the AI with unusual conditions or restrictions. The last few involve a playable Marie!
    • Trials: Four useful sample combos for each character.
    • Survival mode: Beat as many AI teams as you can with limited health.
    • These extras are not available on PS3 or 360.
  • The Steam DLC pack which brought the aforementioned extras back to PC. Buying this pack also gets you all previous DLC.

What is the difference between the versions?

The PC version has some extra features, mainly the ability to automatically save and play back replays in game, and frame advance. Much of the Skullgirls online community is on PC as well, since when the game was receiving updates, the PC version got to play the updates while they were in development on a beta version.

The PS4 version is what is played at events, and there is an online community for this version as well.

There is an Xbox 360 version, but it should be avoided as it's not updated to the latest version.

How do I save and view replays on the PC version?

See here

What is the tournament standard for Skullgirls?

  • PS4 (note for tournament organizers: the PS4 version comes with all the DLC)
  • 3/5 games for every match
  • Loser may change teams on character select
  • Winner may change their team order using the loading screen shortcuts
  • Using any variation of the Robo-Fortune timer scam is banned.
  • Random stage, unless both players agree on a stage
  • Tournament mode is highly recommended for convenience, but it doesn't affect the gameplay so it's not a requirement.
  • Be sure to disconnect all unused Bluetooth devices before playing, since it can cause extra input delay. (PS4 home button → press up → Settings → Devices → Bluetooth Devices → for each one, select it with X, then press Options and select 'Forget Device')

How do I ensure my game is updated to the latest version?

Navigate to 'Help & Options' → 'Settings' → 'Voice Settings...' and if there are options to choose between English and Japanese voices for each character, the game is on the final patch. The title screen will also have the subtitle '2nd Encore+', but that was not a new addition in the final update.

Is there cross-platform multiplayer?

Windows, Mac, and Linux can all play against each other. PS3, PS4, and Vita can all play against each other. PC cannot play against console.

What’s the 2/4-pack listed on Steam? Does that include the DLC?

Those simply give you 2 or 4 copies of the base game, one for yourself and the rest to share with friends. No DLC is included.

Do I need the DLC? Which ones should I buy?

Nothing is required, you can even play online against people who have it (you just won’t be able to select DLC characters yourself). But obviously it’s nice to have the full roster at least. It’s a little cheaper to get the characters alone than buy the whole 2E pack, so if you don’t care about the bonus content you could skip it. Though personally I quite like the voice acting and would recommend it if you’re into that. Considering how often the game and DLC go on sale for dirt cheap, you might as well get everything.

Will there be any more updates or DLC?

No. The game is done, physical copies with the final patch have shipped, and Lab Zero is now working on Indivisible.

Do I need an arcade stick to play this game?

No. Anything works as long as you're comfortable with it. The only caveat is if you are a PC player and want to play on a PS4 at events, you will need an input device that works with it. The most common controllers are arcade sticks, gamepads (such as a DualShock 4), and hitboxes.

I'm playing on keyboard, what button config should I use?

Most importantly, for whichever layout you choose, make sure your keyboard is able to handle ghosting appropriately.

If you are seeking an alternative to the default layout, the hitbox style layout is worth trying. It emulates the layout of a hitbox controller, and allows all your fingers to rest on each of the four directions at once. Another benefit is it allows keyboard players to smoothly transition to playing on a hitbox, which is a good option for a controller when playing on PS4 that is similar to a keyboard. An example of this layout is...

Q - left
W - down
E - right
Space, or a key on the bottom row - up
and attack buttons wherever you want.

Example layout

Be aware that on an actual hitbox controller, holding up and down at the same time will result in an up input, making jumping and flash kick inputs easier.

How do I map player 2 controls on keyboard?

Bring up the button config menu, then the backslash key '\' is default for a button on the player 2 side, which will select 'config all' on P2 side and let you map buttons.

Skullgirls won’t recognize my controller, how do I fix this?

First, try opening Steam Big Picture Mode and setting up a controller configuration there. That will usually get SG to pick up on it afterwards. (Mac/Linux users) If the above doesn’t work, you’ll have to manually define it in gamecontrollerdb.txt. Find this file by right-clicking SG in your Steam library and going to Properties -> Local Files -> Browse Local Files and then use SDL2 Gamepad Tool to create an entry that should be pasted into this file.

How many frames of delay should I use online?

Start by setting it to 0 and only increase it on really bad connections where the rollback jumps are noticeable. The in game estimates are a bit generous, some use 'one frame for every 100ms' as a rule of thumb. Some PC players are choosing to play on 1 or 2 frames on all connections to accommodate for the PS4 version's timing, but no test has been done that compares the two versions specifically.

What is the amount of input delay between versions?

There is a significant amount of additional delay on the PS4 version compared to the PC version. Below are some tests:


How do I easily invite someone to my lobby on PC if I'm not friends with them on Steam?

You can create a link which will direct Steam to join your lobby when you click on it. Create a lobby, then use shift+tab to bring up the Steam overlay. Click on your Steam avatar in the bottom right corner to open up your profile. Right click on the green 'Join Game' button and 'Copy Link Address'. Then share that link with who you want to play with.

SGLobbyLink is a program written by Mr. Peck which will automatically copy the link to the clipboard for you. There is also a Discord bot version.

Skullgirls 2nd Encore+
Help FAQControlsGlossaryUI/HUDTraining RoomFrame DataHitboxes
Characters FiliaCerebellaPeacockParasoulMs. FortunePainwheelValentineDoubleSquiglyBig BandElizaFukuaBeowulfRobo-Fortune
Mechanics MovementAttacksDefenseTeam MechanicsCombos / DamageAdvanced MechanicsEsotericCompiled Frame Data
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