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 crossup, possibly leading to a combo. They can do a meaty attack, 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 go for a reversal attack (which 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.
Some moves flash your character white during some frames. 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 reversal.*** Use it against meaty attacks 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.
Combos are generally very easy in Fantasy Strike because they are short and simple. In addition, the game-wide 8 frame input buffer 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. To cancel, you simple do the projectile as the normal attack is hitting the opponent.
Be aware that counter-hits make your combos easier. Whenever you hit an opponent out of the startup*** of their attack, it counts as a counter-hit. Counter-hits cause 25% longer hitstun*** 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 combo.
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.
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.)
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 blockstun 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. In other words, 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.
Keep in mind that how “meaty” 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 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 (or second to last), rather than the first active frame. If you do that, you can get the move to be as much as +10 or +11 and 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 use study this frame data in training mode to learn nuances of the game and know how safe or unsafe any move is.