Apparently, there is some confusion regarding the problem of breaking free from a stagger. At its core, escaping stagger successfully and most quickly is mostly just about wiggling your stick like mad. After all, not everything VF has to be rocket science.
There are, however, a few important things to keep in mind when breaking staggers especially if you want to be in control of the outcome. We have prepared animated figures for you in order to demonstrate “correct” wiggling.
There is no risk in struggling out of a stagger. It is always beneficial since your mashing the buttons leads to a quicker recovery of your character from the precarious stagger state where you are wide-open to follow-up attacks of your opponent.
Once you recovered in the standing position, you are free again to perform whatever action or maneuver you want. For instance, you may want to go crouching as quickly as possible, (CD) fuzzy-guard, or ETEG after a stagger.
You should note, however, that you will always recover standing before you are able to take any other action. Thus, recovering crouching is actually recovering standing plus the 7 frames that cost you to go crouching. Of course, you could always opt for a crouch-dash fuzzy guard here requiring only 6 frames to execute.
Word has it that you ought to struggle only when the animated joystick icon that appears on-screen upon a stagger situation is switching from green to red. In fact, though, it doesn’t matter so much when you start struggling as long as you don’t stop after green. It seems, as VFDC’s KoD has found out, that the green phase won’t register your struggle inputs whatsoever, but, on the other hand, but you are not penalized for struggling early or holding guard early either.
Just remember that once you are being staggered you better start wiggling your stick. And don’t stop wiggling until you have freed yourself from the stagger.
The two animated figures below show you best the process of breaking free from a stagger.
For recovering standing, you simply wiggle the stick, while holding guard, in the upper area, for instance, from up/back to up/forward. On top of that, you can add the directions forward and backward to your input sequence since they won’t put you in a crouched state or just alternate with the other face buttons while clearing the buffer with the Guard button since we don’t want to actually launch an attack once we break free.
As a general rule it goes, the more inputs you manage to register in the short time frame of the struggle the better and the sooner you are able to escape the stagger.
It is even possible to ETEG after a stagger. Therefore, you simply have to struggle out and then input two evades in the same direction—for instance, up, up. It seems one input gets sucked up by the stagger state no matter how exact you register the evade input.
For recovering crouching, you simply wiggle the stick while holding guard in the lower area, for instance, from down/back to down/forward.
If you can estimate when you will escape the stagger, you can, of course, take other directional inputs into the equation (remember: the more the better). However you do, make sure that whenever you’re getting out of the stagger that your joystick is on one of the down-directions for getting into crouching.
Note that recovering crouching is, in fact, only recovering standing plus going into crouch state, which costs 7 frames to execute. It is, nonetheless, a viable technique and option for beating a stagger.
You could, as well, simply CD fuzzy-guard when you break free from the stagger to get even faster into crouching (by 1 frame). But time it well.