| The character select screen and it's many difficult choices!|
Character Select Screen
Pressing the select button will undo the last choice made by the player.
Players must choose between a 1, 2, or 3 character team size at the character select screen before choosing their characters. The Team Size matchup determines a health and damage multiplier for both teams. A solo character will have more life and deal more damage than an individual character on duo team, and even more than a character on a trio team. If both players choose to play solo, the game will be scored as 2 out of 3 rounds. If a larger team is chosen by even one player, the game will have only one round. All possible matches use the same timer and game speed.
After choosing a team size players, players can highlight and choose their character. The combination of 1-6 attack buttons used will determine the color palette for the character. Hitting start while highlighting the character will tentatively select the character and allow the player to cycle through the all available alternate color palettes before making this important choice.
With a 2 or 3 character team, players must choose an Assist attack for the character before selecting their next character or completing their team selection. All characters have a choice between two pre-set assist attacks and a custom assist attack.
Choosing a custom assist brings up a custom assist input dialogue, which displays directional and attack button inputs. They player can preform any ground attack of their choice and the dialogue will show the attack by name. The player can then confirm the assist choice or return to the start of the input dialogue to record another move.
After both players have completed their team selection, either character may choose a stage or keep the default option of a random stage. Selecting random stage will cause Versus Mode rematches to select a random stage before the start of every new match.
In addition to the characters on screen, other directions, messages, display elements, and menus appear during normal gameplay.
Matches begin with the characters preforming an unique introduction animation. After introductions, a "Ladies and Gentlemen" message appears followed by "Showtime" to signal the start of the round. In a 1v1 match, "Take" with the round number displays first and "Action" starts the round. In either version, an announcer's voice will accompany the messages with a randomly chosen phrase. Characters can't move or attack before the start of the round, but inputs still count for immediate special and super moves.
- Character Portraits: A circular portrait, character specific icon, and name represent the player controlled, point characters. Additional, off screen characters have a smaller portrait with no name at the start of their life bar.
- Life Bar: The character Life bars start 100% full at the start of the round, with yellow color at the front of the bar and orange at the end near the timer. They drain towards the center of the screen and characters take Damage. In a team, the second-in-line character's life bar appears above the point character and the third character appears on top. The life bar turns a dark red to represent all damage dealt by an attack or combo in progress. After it ends, the dark red section disappears showing the black background. The bright red section left in the life bar after damage is dealt represents recoverable damage.
- Timer: The timer counts down from a default 99 to 0 at the top center of the screen. When time runs out, the round will be rewarded by decision to the team with the most life renaming by total percentage. Players can't input any additional commands after time runs out, but any attacks in progress will continue and still deal damage even after the round has been decided.
- Super Meter: The super meter fills around the edge of the character portrait, starting under the character's icon and ending at a level counter. Attacking the opponent and taking damage fill the super meter, with the level counter representing the number of meters stocked for the player. Super moves, Snapbacks, Stunt Doubles, and Co-Star Combos all use levels of super meter.
- Assist Indicator: A small red and green indicator near the level counter indicates when the player can call Assists from an off screen character. The indicator will not light up either signal for a solo character team.
- Rounds Counter: Circular round win counters appear under the character's life bars in 1v1. These display the character's icon after winning a round by dealing 100% damage to the opponent or by time out.
- Win Counter: In versus mode, the total number of wins for the player will appear above the life bars. Stars indicate the player has won the last game. By default the win counter will reset when restarting versus mode.
When either players executes a combination of 2 or more attacks, the combo counter appears under their HUD. As players land longer Combos, the count goes up then flashes and displays a fanfare message when the combo ends. Unique fanfare messages show for all combos from 2 to XXX hits. There are over XXX total fanfare messages between 2 and the maximum 999 hits.
End of Round
At the end of the round a "That's a Wrap" message will show accompanied by the announcer. Additional messages will also show according to the total team life remaining for the victorious player, with "Hit On All Sixes" indicating 100% and a perfect round. Any characters left standing will preform a unique victory of defeat animation. If both teams are dealt fatal damage at the same time or both teams have equal life at time out, it will only reward a round win if it will not win either character the match. Single round, non 1v1 matches will always repeat the single round in a draw game.
End of Match
When either player has enough rounds to win the match, that players match win counter goes up and the end of a match menu appears with the following:
- Again! If both players choose this option, the match restarts with the same teams, stage, and game mode.
- Change Characters: If either player chooses to change characters, the game will return to the start of the character select screen. If one player chooses "Again!" it will preserve the team and that player will return to the stage select step.
- Change Stage: This option allows a player to return to the stage select step on the character select screen.
Either player can pause the game by pressing and holding the start button for 15f during gameplay. The pause menu appears accompanied by the announcer. The game unpauses when the player hits start again. The pause menu gives the pausing player following options:
- Enable Training Mode: Switches immediately to training mode. By default this freezes the timer, giving both characters unlimited life and super meter, and leaves both characters under player control.
- Button Config: Either player can enter the button configuration dialogue from a pause. Button configuration binds a sequence of buttons to commands in the following order: LP, MP, HP, LK, MK, HK. After the six attack buttons are set the player can add up to 2 additional buttons as macros. Holding an unused button then pressing any main attack buttons will bind those attack buttons to the same macro button. Many players want to set some of the 2 button Universal Commands as a macro.
- End the Match: Forfeits the match in progress and gives both players the same choices as the end of match menu.
Cancel and Movement Properties
General Fighting Game Terms
These terms are all common to fighting games. Skullgirls and this guide uses them freely.
|Anchor||The last character on a team, expected to be able to fight with no teammates left alive.|
|Battery||A character who gains super meter never uses it, saving it for a teammate instead.|
|Command grab||A special or super move throw.|
|Command normal||Any standing, crouching, or jumping attack preformed with a simultaneous attack button and single direction input.|
|Cross-over||Any attack made while switching sides with an opponent over their head, forcing a change in block direction.|
|Cross-under||Any attack made while passing under and switching sides with an aerial opponent, forcing a change in block direction.|
|Fireball||Synonymous with a projectile, usually one that travels horizontally across the screen.|
|Grab||Synonymous with throw.|
|Grappling||A style of play, specific to the player or the character, that centers around constantly threatening the opponent with high damage throws.|
|Hard Tag||The only way Socal knows how to win games.|
|Mashing||Hitting buttons and directional inputs at random and as fast as possible. While no move or technique explicitly requires this tactic, some players find it's use the easiest method to preform special and super moves. Use at your own risk.|
|Normal||Any standing, crouching, or jumping attack preformed with an attack button and no other input.|
|Overhead||A standing normal move that must be blocked high.|
|Point||The active, currently player controlled character on a team. Can also refer to the character selected to fight first on a team.|
|Reversal||Preforming an attack, typically an special or super move with start up invulnerability, on the first frame a character gets out of hit stun, block stun, or gets up from the ground.|
|Runaway||A style of play, usually specific to the player, that centers around staying as far away from the opponent as possible to the point where they are out of range to attack back.|
|Rushdown||A style of play, specific to the player or the character, that centers around going to the opponent and attacking as fast as possible.|
|Safe||Believing in yourself wins less games than being safe.|
|Special move||Any move preformed by a specific directional motion or sequence before pressing a single attack button.|
|Super move||A move preformed by a specific directional motion or sequence before pressing two of the same attack button. Supers consume one or more stocks of super meter and create a super flash effect before their active frames.|
|Taunt||Any meaningless, harmless, or counter productive movement or action that intentionally gives the opponent an opportunity to hit the taunting player for free.|
|Turtling||A style of play, usually specific to the player, that attempts to win with as much defense and as little offense as possible.|
|Whiff||An attack that does not hit the opponent or the act of missing an opponent with an attack. A "whiff cancel" will typically reduce the recovery on a whiffed normal move by canceling it with special move.|
|Zoning||A style of play, specific to the player or the character, that centers around restricting the opponent to a specific distance or position on the screen.|
Terms From Other Fighting Games
These terms, concepts, and techniques all appeared in other fighting games first, but can be useful when talking about Skullgirls. Players with experience in older games may find themselves more comfortable using the older vocabulary.
|Advancing Guard||Term from the Marvel vs Capcom series for a defensive technique similar to Pushblock in Skullgirls.|
|Alpha Counter||A Street Fighter series attack where the defending player can attack during block stun at the cost of some super meter. This technique is functionally similar to a Stunt Double in Skullgirls.|
|Auto Guard||The King of Fighters and Guilty Gear series attack property that allows the attack to block or absorb one or more hits during start up frames. This is functionally similar to armor in Skullgirls.|
|Break||Term from many other fighting games for a throw tech.|
|Breaker||An an attack that can execute during hit stun and interrupt an opponent's combo in progress. These techniques are analogous to an Infinite Escape in Skullgirls. Originally used in Killer Instinct's "C-C-Combo Breaker!" Sometimes seen in Mortal Kombat.|
|Burst||A Blaz Blue and Guilty Gear series attack that, among other functions, can execute during hit stun and interrupt an opponent's combo in progress. This is analogous to an Infinite Escape in Skullgirls.|
|Crossover Counter||Term from the Marvel vs Capcom series for a tag out/counter attack technique similar to a Stunt Double in Skullgirls.|
|Dead Angle||A Guilty Gear series attack where the defending player can attack during block stun at the cost of some super meter. This technique is functionally similar to a Stunt Double in Skullgirls.|
|DHC||Term from the Marvel vs Capcom series meaning Delayed Hyper Combo. A DHC involves a tag out during a super move, much like a Co-Star Combo in Skullgirls.|
|Double Over Stun||Term from mostly 3D fighting games for a stun that causes the opponent to fall to the ground slowly, vulnerable to further attacks. These are very similar to a crumple stun effect in Skullgirls.|
|Drive||In Blaz Blue, the Drive button preforms character specific attacks. If the character has any techniques or tactics that no other character has, they tend to use the D button. The HP button in Skullgirls has some similarities to the D button in Blaz Blue.|
|Dust||In the Guilty Gear series, the Dust button can perform an overhead Launcher, equivalent of a Sweep, or unique attacks specific to a character. These techniques exist in Skullgirls but are not necessarily on the same button. Dust may still be used to describe a launcher.|
|Hard Knockdown||Term from many fighting games for a knockdown state that does not allow the defending player to use a Ground Recovery or similar technique. A Slide Stun is the closest thing to a hard knockdown in Skullgirls.|
|Hyper Combo||Term from the Marvel vs Capcom series for a super move.|
|Instant Block||Term from the Guilty Gear series for a timed block that reduces overall block stun. In practice, this is very similar to Pushblock in Skullgirls.|
|Just Frame||Term from the Tekken series for a move requiring an input in a extremely small, often 1f, window in order to execute properly. Although no single moves require these inputs in Skullgirls, combos often do.|
|Kara||Meaning "empty" in Japanese, kara typically refers to a move that starts but gets cancelled into another move before active frames. A "kara cancel" typically enhances the range of a throw or special move by canceling the first frames of start up of specific normal move. A "kara throw" cancels a normal attack to a normal throw. Kara canceling special to super moves is possible in Skullgirls.|
|Ratio||Term from the Capcom vs SNK series to indicate team size dependent life and damage bonus for a character. This is analogous to the bonuses to life and damage given by team size selection in Skullgirls.|
|Red life||Term from the Marvel vs Capcom series synonymous with recoverable damage in Skullgirls.|
|Square jump||Term from the Marvel vs Capcom series for a movement very similar to an IAD.|
|Striker||Term from the King of Fighters series for a mechanic similar to assists in Skullgirls.|
|Super Armor||Term from various games for systems similar to the armor property in Skullgirls. Sometimes "Hyper Armor" shows up when Super Armor just isn't enough.|
|Tech||In addition to being shorthand for a Throw Tech, teching may refer to the equivalent of Ground Recovery or even Push Block in other fighting games.|
|Tech Hit||Term from the Darkstalkers series for a defensive technique similar to Pushblock in Skullgirls.|
|Ultra||Term from Street Fighter 4, similar to a super move in Skullgirls and other games.|
|Wire||Term from the King of Fighters series for an attack that creates an effect very similar to a wall bounce in Skullgirls.|