Learning frame data can be tedious. Oftentimes, command lists are so over-informative that filtering out what’s really at stake can drive you nuts.
But you don’t have to learn all the frame data that comes with every move. Knowing after which move to Fuzzy Guard, CD Fuzzy Guard, or ETEG is already an ideal start to build your defense upon and to begin your journey of frames with.
This guide deals with the frame problem, and makes use of easy-to-read frame charts for every move of Goh Hinogami. Even though this guide is quite VF5-centered (and in particular to Goh), it can, nonetheless, be adapted to any fighting games installment or character.
Using frame data to one’s advantage
Knowledge in Virtua Fighter—or any fighting game for that matter—ultimately means power. Not only raw instinct or supreme Yomi (mind-reading) abilities count in Virtua Fighter, but also how you can use gameplay knowledge to adapt to your fighting situation as fast as possible.
Frames can help you with it. They set a basis of how you can interact in situations where you see yourself powerless because the game animation simply shows no hint of how to react to it or where you simply fail to the see the decisions you have.
When do you Fuzzy Guard or ETEG? What’s best to do after which move? Let us slowly dive into the world of frames without ever forgetting why we came here: for more power.
After you swing a move at your opponent while he blocks it, you are almost always put at a disadvantage—and your opponent at an advantage. Your character has to rest, after certain moves more so than after others. Disadvantage is notated in negative frames in VF. After you block Goh’s , your opponent is put at a disadvantage of –4. That means he has to rest for 4 frames in which he cannot interact.
Usually, to avoid a throw, you duck or crouch (). This takes 7 frames—or 6 frames at best when forward-crouching . If you are at a disadvantage of -7 or worse, then you won’t be able to crouch in time to avoid a throw which needs 12 frames to activate. Here’s the maths:
-7 [disadvantage] -7 [for crouching] = -14
[-> throw becomes active within 12 frames]
-14 [disadvantage from above] +12 = -2 [That means your opponent can even take his time to throw you—more than 2 frames of time, to be precise, before he really has to throw you and before you can go crouching.]
How long does it take to get into the crouched state?
- back crouch dash: 8 frames
- crouch: 7 frames
- forward crouch-dash: 6 frames
Fuzzy: Green alert
The green alert is the first of three phases where you are disadvantaged. The decisive difference is: here you are hardly in danger. -5 frames or better (which means -4, -3, -2, etc.) is optimal for Fuzzy Guarding. At first, Fuzzy is just a simple crouch movement (hold down and Guard at the same time). This way you avoid throws. But you can also avoid any mid attack this way by releasing down on reaction to mid attacks. Don’t release down to soon, though, or else you could just stand up before or at the 12th frame where you opponent’s throw gets active.
You can avoid low attacks with Fuzzy Guard as well. This can be done by spamming the downwards movement a bit when Fuzzy guarding:
- (hold G) …
For all Goh players I have included a frame chart for the green, and all other alert phases down below. If you don’t play Goh, you can, however, assemble such a chart by yourself. Just filtering out the frames "on block" for the moves of your character from the command list. That’s what I just did here with Goh.
This table shows all moves for Goh and your frame-wise disadvantage if the opponent blocks the move. The preferred technique in this situation is Fuzzy Guard where you avoid being thrown or mid-attacked (or high-attacked).
Note: In general you don’t defend in advantageous situations, that is at +1 or higher.
In order to respond to a situation more appropriately check whether your attack has hit or been blocked by your opponent (hit-checking). It must become natural to you that, upon launching your attack, to closely watch for the hit as if this period of frames would drift by in slow-motion.
CD Fuzzy: Yellow alert
The worse your disadvantage, the more options your opponent has to punish you, and the less options you have to defend yourself. Yellow Alert!
A Crouch-Dash Fuzzy Guard is the last "easy" defense option here. It’s a slightly faster version of the normal Fuzzy Guard but requires a (forward) crouch-dash to be buffered. It can help you at a disadvantage of -6 or better as it can replace the normal Fuzzy Guarding as well.
Below are the moves after which Goh can CD-fuzzy into safety. Mind that all these moves leave you at -6 frames when the opponent blocks them.
ETEG: Red alert
All situations where you are at -7 frames or worse won’t allow you to fuzzy anymore, as you can’t crouch in time to avoid getting thrown. To do a single, double, or even triple Evading Throw Escape Guard here is—in most cases—your best option. For a complete guide on how to ETEG have a look here.
Goh’s most slowly recovering moves after which you ought to ETEG in most situations:
A word of advice
There’s always a counter to a counter in Virtua Fighter. Fuzzy Guarding at
-6 or better is no all-secure solution. If the opponent delays his throws, he can still mess you up—or if he dares to low-throw you. Same goes for ETEG: if he throws a circular attack at you or catch-throws you, then ETEG won’t work this well.
Mix your defensive counters up. If you happen to see that your opponent wants to throw you every time after you do a particular move, then punish him accordingly with an attack. The opponent can only start a guaranteed throw attempt at -12. Every disadvantage better than that and his throw loses its guaranteed attempt status. You can low-punch him out of his throw attempt, or start any other attack as you are only susceptible to throws if you are immovable (due to recovering) or when you’re not moving. As long as you’re attacking, he can’t possibly throw you. But he could then try to bait you into a counter-hit.
Use these aforementioned charts, techniques, and frame data if you happen to encounter an opponent that you have rarely or never fought against. ETEGing and fuzzing in the appropriate situations are always a solid basis for your defense.
If you play against a good sparring partner of yours, you may want to switch tactics though, even in disadvantageous situations. Remember: there’s no ultimate all-cure or formula in Virtua Fighter—for no character, no player. He who adapts faster wins.