Welcome to Fantasy Strike

This guide teaches you the gritty details about how to play Fantasy Strike. It's good for beginners, but even experts will learn various subtleties. If you see any text like thisLook at this nifty popup box. We'll use it to define jargon for those new to fighting games., you can mouse over it to get more info.

What is Fantasy Strike

Fantasy Strike is a fighting game developed and published by Sirlin Games, currently available to all our PatreonPatreon lets you support creative people in all their works. Please support us! patrons during this pre-alpha stage. It will eventually be available on Mac and PC through Steam and on PlayStation 4 with cross-play amongst all platforms.

The Fantasy Strike universe has been featured in several tabletop games (available here), including Yomi. Yomi is a card game that simulates a fighting game with the Fantasy Strike characters; now they come to life in the actual fighting game that Yomi only imagined.

Fantasy Strike has an emphasis on simple, accessible controls. It’s intended for an audience that reaches beyond the usual boundaries of the fighting game genre, though it’s also intended for high-level tournament play.


Because Fantasy Strike’s controls are so simple, they work equally well on a variety of input devices, such as keyboard, console controller, or joystick. While most fighting games use all 8 directions on the d-pad or joystick, Fantasy Strike only uses left and right. It also uses a jump button (which can be mapped to “up” if you prefer), three attack buttons, and a super button.

Here's a diagram of the controls:

Health and Damage

Your goal each round is to deplete the opponent’s health bar to 0. If you do, you win that round. Both characters refill to full life at the start of each round.

Your health is displayed in discrete chunks so that it’s easy to see exactly how much damage everything does. Grave has 6 hit points, which is the normal amount in Fantasy Strike, though some characters have as few as 5 or as many as 8 hit points. Most moves do 1 damage.

When you take damage, your lifebar displays red for the chunks of life you recently lost. This has no gameplay effect, but it helps you see how much damage you just took.

There is no stun or dizzy state. There is no damage scaling during combos like in most fighting games, so if a move does 1 damage by itself, it will also do 1 damage when used in a combo.

Block Damage

When you block a special or super attack, one chunk of your lifebar will start flashing. It will continue flashing for 4 seconds. If you block another special or super attack during that time, it will start flashing faster for the next 4 seconds. If you block a special or super attack during the fast-flashing state, you lose that point of life.

If you have flashing life and you get thrown, the 4 second timer is paused as you are thrown, then your next remaining point of life will be flashing. On the other hand, if you have flashing life but get hit by an attack, you’ll lose a point of life but your next chunk will not be flashing.

In generalRook’s normal attacks do cause block damage because he's made of rock. normal attacks (with the A button) do not cause block damage. All special attacks (B and C buttons) and super attacks can cause block damage.


You simply press left or right to walk left or right. Each character has a different walk speed.

There is no crouching in the game.
There are no dashes or runs either.

To jump, press the jump button. You can map it to “up” if you prefer, but the default controls use a jump button because it feels pretty good to only have to worry about pressing left and right with your left hand. Also, it’s often good to jump then do an attack right away in Fantasy Strike. This is a bit easier to do when the jump button and the other button both use your right hand, rather than coordinating it with the up from your left hand (but again, you are free to remap the controls however you like).

There are three kinds of jump: back / neutral / forward. If you’re holding away from or toward the opponent when you press jump, you get the back jump or forward jump, respectively. If you aren’t holding either direction when you press jump, you’ll jump straight up. After your jump starts, holding a direction will not change your trajectory. Holding the jump button longer will not affect your trajectory either.

When you press jump, your character does not instantly leave the ground. All characters have 3 frames of pre-jump before they actually become airborne. These pre-jump frames are throwable. When you land, your character will show a landing animation that can be cancelled by anything, so it doesn’t affect gameplay. All characters do have 1 frame of landing recovery that cannot be cancelled though. This 1 frame of recovery happens whether you attacked in the air or not.

You cannot block in the air, so jumping makes you especially vulnerable. That said, you gain access to new moves on all your buttons in the air so sometimes you want to jump just to access those moves.


To block an attack, hold away from the enemy character. Holding away usually makes you walk back, but if there is an attack on the screen that you can block, then you’ll block instead.

There is no high and low blocking in Fantasy Strike. There’s no crouch either, so blocking is simplified and you don’t have to worry about high and low blocking as you do in most fighting games. You must still hold left or right correctly for cross-upsA crossup is an attack that makes it difficult for the defender to know if they should block by holding left or by holding right. though.

Blocking protects you from attacks, but not from throws; you can (and should!) throw someone who is trying to block.

Input Buffer

If you’re just standing there and you press a button, you’ll do a move. But there are other times when pressing a button will NOT do a move because you’re already in the middle of something else. For example, you might be knocked down, or you’re reeling from getting hit, or you’re already doing a move. In these cases, even though you can’t do another move at that exact moment, you often want to do a move the first moment that you possibly can.

Most fighting games have no input buffer to help you there. Usually if you finish a punch and you want to do another punch at the first possible moment, you’d need 1/60th of a second precise timing to do that. In Fantasy Strike, you always get an unusually large 8-frame input buffer. Whenever you press a button, if that move is able to come out within the next 8-frames (8/60ths of a second), it will.

This enormous frame buffer makes reversalsA reversal is a move done the very first frame you get up from a knockdown, or otherwise return to neutral state. easy and combos easy, too. There are no 1-frame linksA 1-frame link is a sequence such as punch, punch where you must input the second move on the exact frame the first move ends, with 1/60th of a second timing. in Fantasy Strike.


Normal attacks are those done with the A buttonThe A button is assigned to the K key on keyboard by default and the Square button on PlayStation 4.. Each character has three normal attacks on the ground, done by holding back + A, neutral + A, or forward + A. Usually the neutral normal attack is the fastest.

Some normal attacks can be cancelled to special attacks if the normal attack hits or is blocked. Simply press B or CB and C are assigned to keyboard L and semi-colon by default, as well as Triangle and Circle on PlayStation 4. once your normal attack hits or is blocked to cancel, if it’s special-cancellable.

Most characters only have one normal attack while jumping, though some characters such as Rook and DeGrey have a second one when they jump straight up and attack.


Special moves are done with the B and C buttons. They are iconic moves like fireballs and dragon punches and they define most of how each character works. All characters have B and C special moves on the ground, and different B and C moves while jumping.

Special moves can cause block damageBlock damage occurs when you block three special or super moves in quick succession. One chunk of life will flash, then flash faster, then you'll lose it entirely..


Each character has one super move they can do while on the ground and another they can do while jumping. You can only do a super move when your super meter is full. Super moves usually have invulnerability, so even supers that do only 1 damage are very useful because they beat other moves.

Your super meter automatically refills over time. It fills at a different rate for each character. There are only two things that can affect your super meter gain. First, if you’re thrown, you will stop gaining super meter until the throw is over. Second, if you yomi counterA yomi counter is a unique feature of Fantasy Strike. Simply let go of all controls and you'll automatically reverse all normal throws attempted against you. someone, you will instantly get full super meter. In general, your super meter refills fairly quickly, so you might as well use it while you can; you’ll get another super soon enough anyway.

When you do a super move, there is a “super freeze,” meaning that gameplay is paused briefly while your character gathers power or gets ready to do the super move. All supers are invulnerable from the moment you press the button until the end of the super freeze. Many are invulnerable even after the super freeze, too.

During most of the super freeze, your opponent’s inputs are ignored. But if the opponent presses any buttons during the first 8 frames of your super freeze, they'll be forced to perform that move right as the super freeze ends. At first glance, it looks like opponents can easily block your supers on reaction because the super freeze is so long, but if they already were pressing a button as you did your super, they will not be able to block.

On the other hand, if they did no press anything when you did your super, they really will be able to block or do whatever move they want on reaction. During the last 8 frames of your super freeze, the game-wide input buffer is in effect. If an opponent doesn't press anything, then waits for you to super, they could easily input their own super during the last 8 frames of your super freeze and they'll begin doing theirs right as your super freeze ends. If theirs is invulnerable for longer than yours, then they'll win that exchange. That said, it's not too hard to catch people with your super while they are doing moves or pressing buttons!

Invulnerable Moves

During some moves (such as most supers), your character flashes white. That indicates that you’re immune to “strikes” during that time. A strike is an attack that isn’t a throw or a projectile. (Sometimes these white frames are also immune to throws or projectiles).

If a move flashes white at the very beginning, that means it’s a good reversalA reversal is a move done the very first frame you get up from a knockdown, or otherwise return to neutral state.. Use it against meaty attacksA meaty attack is the unfortunately named fighting game slang for doing an attack early against an opponent who is getting up from a knock down. When performed correctly, the frames of your attack that can actually hit are overlapping the opponent the exact moment they fully recover from their knockdown. as you get up from a knockdown, or just to blow through your opponent’s moves any time you know they’ll press a button.


To throw the opponent hold toward or away and press the A button while close (this type of throw is called a normal throw, but some characters have special and super throws also). The point of a throw is that it grabs and damages an opponent even if they are blocking. You can use it to punish overly defensive players. You can also throw opponents out of their attacks, as long as your throw becomes active before the part of their attack that can actually hit reaches you.

Normal throws have 3 frames of startup, meaning they become active on the fourth frame. Throws are generally powerful because of their fast speed, long range relative to throw range in other fighting games, good damage, and that they briefly deny the opponent super meter gains. That said, normal throws can’t be used as a reversalA reversal is a move done the very first frame you get up from a knockdown, or otherwise return to neutral state.. In other words, if you are knocked down and get up into an opponent’s attack that’s completely on top of you, you can’t throw them there—you’ll just get hit because your normal throw has 3 frames of vulnerable startup before it can actually grab anyone.

Opponents will have a difficult time jumping out of your normal throws. All characters have 3 frames of pre-jump, which means they leave the ground on the 4th frame after they press the jump button. These 3 frames of pre-jump ARE throwable by normal throws. If your opponent wants to get out of a normal throw, they shouldn't jump—they should yomi counter. Special and super throws are the other way around though. If your opponent wants to get out of those, they CAN jump out but they cannot yomi counter. What's a yomi counter, you ask? See below!

Yomi Counters

If you think your opponent is going to throw you, all you have to do is let go of your controls! As long as you’re standing in your idle animation and not inputting anything, you’re immune to normal throwsNormal throws are throws all characters have by pressing forward or back + A. Yomi counters do not work against special or super throws such as Rook's C-button throw or super throw.. If your opponent tries to throw you, instead you’ll automatically perform your character’s yomi counter on them. You’ll damage them and you’ll also instantly get full super meter.

You have to be in a “neutral state” to yomi counter. If you’re in recovery of one of your moves, you can’t yomi counter until your recovery ends.

You can't yomi counter special or super throws, but you CAN jump out of them. The beginning of your jump is immune to these types of throws. This creates a mixup because opponents facing a throw aren't sure if they should jump (against special and super throws) or let go of their controls to yomi counter (against normal throws). If they guess wrong, they'll get thrown because normal throws can't be jumped out of and special throws can't be yomi countered.


You can use your opponent’s reflexes and unconscious decisions against them. Experienced fighting game players can’t stop themselves from trying to normal throw you so you can do setups like jump in and kick, then let go of your controls as they try to throw you. Or knock them down and walk right up to them at point blank range, then let go of your controls right as they get up. These techniques are risky because you’re open to being hit by ANYTHING that isn’t a normal throw, but if you can read your opponent well and yomi counter them, it’s demoralizing for them.


Combos are generally very easy in Fantasy Strike because they are short and simple. In addition, the game-wide 8 frame input bufferWhenever you press a button, if that move can come out sometime in the next 8 frames, then it will. means your moves will easily come out at the first possible moment, which also makes combos easier.

Experiment with characters to find your own combos. For example, Grave can do jump A (a kick), then either neutral A or forward+A when he lands, then cancel either of those into his projectile attack with B. To cancel, you simply do the projectile as the normal attack is hitting the opponent. In other words: jump A, A, B. (Jump A, forward+A, B works too.)

Counter-hits make your combos easier. Whenever you hit an opponent out of the startupStartup frames are the frames before an attack is capable of actually hitting. of their attack, it counts as a counter-hit. Counter-hits cause 25% longer hitstun]Hitstun is the reeling animation you go into when you're hit by an attack. You can't do anything while in hitstun other than wait for it to end, and if you get hit again before hitstun ends, that's called a combo. than normal hits, so it’s easier to combo into another hit after a counter-hit.

Some moves causes ground bounces or wall bounces. You CAN juggle for extra damage in these situations. If the opponent is bouncing either of these ways, you can hit them with any move that can reach them and it will be a true comboA combo is sequence of moves that, once the first one hits, the rest of them are unavoidable and guaranteed to hit as well..

Some moves that hit a jumping opponent cause them to get knocked down on their back, while other moves cause them to flip in the air and land on their feet. Any time the opponent flips in the air this way, they’re invulnerable until they land so you can’t juggle them for more hits. If you see that they’ll land on their back though, you can try to juggle them with something. The higher they were in the air when they got hit, the more they will bounce on the ground, which makes tacking on an extra hit a bit easier.


Some moves knock you down on the ground. While you’re falling through the air or bouncing, it’s possible to be juggled by more attacks, but once you’re completely knocked down, you’re safe. From that point, you’re invulnerable until the moment you fully stand up. All characters stand up at the same speed.

Because your opponent knows exactly when you’ll stand up (you can’t vary the timing), they can gain an advantage by pressuring you and limiting your options. They can go for a crossupA crossup is an attack that makes it difficult for the defender to know if they should block by holding left or by holding right., possibly leading to a combo. They can do a meaty attackA meaty attack is the unfortunately named fighting game slang for doing an attack early against an opponent who is getting up from a knock down. When performed correctly, the frames of your attack that can actually hit are overlapping the opponent the exact moment they fully recover from their knockdown., forcing you to block it. They could go for a throw if they think you’ll block as you get up. They could deal at least the first stage of block damage by forcing you to block a special attack such as a projectile.

Your options are limited during all this. If you have to get up into an opponent’s attack, most moves you try will simply get hit. You can’t throw the opponent in this case because normal throws have 2 frames of startup, so they will lose to meaty attacks. You’ll probably have to either block (which loses to the opponent throwing you) or use an attack with invulnerable startup (which probably loses to the opponent blocking then hitting you back).

If your character has an attack with some invulnerability at the start, called a reversal attack in most fighting games, the good news it’s easy to perform. The game-wide 8 frame input buffer applies here, so as long as you press the button for the reversal within the large window of 8 frames before you get up, it will come out at the first possible moment. The bad news is that attacks that have invulnerability at the start are almost always unsafe on block. If your opponent baits your reversal attack by waiting and blocking it, they can probably hit you back for at least 2 damage, if not more.

Understanding Frames

Fantasy Strike, like almost all fighting games, uses the frame as the basic unit of time. A frame is 1/60th of a second. The more frames a move has, the slower it is.

Attacks have three parts: startup, active, and recovery.

  • Startup frames can’t hit the opponent.
  • Active frames CAN hit the opponent.
  • Recovery frames can’t hit the opponent.

We can write the startup / active / recovery frames of a move in a notation like this:
13 / 6 / 28
(That’s Grave’s double palm move, which is done by holding forward+A.)

Sometimes you'll see more numbers in there, such as Rook's f+A kick, which has these frame stats:
8 / 4 (7) 19 / 18

The 8 startup and 18 recovery are straightforward enough. The middle part means that it can hit TWICE. It has 4 active frames for the first hit, then 7 frames where it can't hit, then 19 active frames for the second hit.

Frame advantage is an important concept in all fighting games. It means how much sooner (or later) do you recover from a move compared to the opponent. For example, let’s say your move has frame stats of 13 / 6 / 28 and you make the opponent block it. You most likely made contact on the 14th frame; that’s the first of the 6 active frames in this move, though you might have made contact as late as the 19th frame. Anyway, you’ll be stuck in your animation for the rest of your active and recovery frames. Your opponent will ALSO be stuck though—they’re in blockstunWhenever you block a move, you're briefly stuck in a state called blockstun. You're unable to do anything until your blockstun ends. because they blocked a move. So who will recover first? You can use the in-game training mode to find out.

If you do Grave’s double palm and have the training dummy block it, these stats appear below the move’s frame stats: (13 / -11).

That means 13 startup frames and -11 advantage frames. The negative number there is bad for you. It means the OPPONENT recovers from their blockstun 11 frames sooner than you recover from your attack. If the opponent has a move that has 10 or fewer startup frames (since that would hit on the 11th frame) that can reach you, they can hit you back guaranteed. And even if they can’t do that, if you both do a move as soon as possible, you’ll be “11 frames behind” and you’ll probably get interrupted by the opponent’s move.

The in-game frame advantage number is dynamic, meaning it’s calculated in real time as you do the move. You can see this by doing a jump kick at the training dummy and hitting them very high or very low to see the difference in advantage time. If you hit very high with Grave’s jump kick, you get about +10 frames of advantage time. If you hit very low, you get as many as +20 frames. The reason this number varies is that the later you hit them in your jump, the shorter the time is until you recover; meanwhile they will be in hitstun for the same length of time no matter when you hit them during your jump.

Keep in mind that how “meaty”A meaty attack is the unfortunately named fighting game slang for doing an attack early against an opponent who is getting up from a knock down. When performed correctly, the frames of your attack that can actually hit are overlapping the opponent the exact moment they fully recover from their knockdown. you do your attack also affects your advantage time. For example, Grave’s neutral + A attack has 9 / 7 / 8 frame stats and is +5 on hit. +5 is great (you recovery 5 frames before the opponent does) but it’s not enough to combo into that same move a second time. The move has 9 frames of startup, so it hits on the 10th frame, and being +5 just isn’t enough to combo. But if you knock the opponent down and they get up into your A attack, you can time it so that you hit them with the very last active frame. If you do that, you can get the move to be as much as +10 or +11 frames. Then it WILL combo to itself. Hitting with a move late means there is less time until the move ends, so you end up recovering faster and having more advantage time.

You can study this frame data in training mode to learn nuances of the game and know how safe or unsafe any move is.