These are the basic mechanics of Skullgirls's battle system.
1v1, 2v2, 3v1, 3v2 = 100% Health, 100% Damage.
2v1, 2v3, 3v3 = 115% Health, 130% Damage.
1v2, 1v3 = 205% Health, 150% Damage.
This means that, usually:
- Teams of 3 get 100% HP, 100% Dmg.
- Teams of 2 get 115% HP, 130% Dmg.
- Teams of 1 get 205% HP, 150% Dmg.
The exception to this rule is the teams being even in number, in which case:
- 1v1, 2v2 = 100% HP, 100% Dmg.
- 3v3 = 115% HP, 130% Dmg. (This ensures that 3v3 matches don't run too long)
Selecting team size occurs before choosing characters and can have dramatic effects on gameplay. Picking at least 2 characters allows tagging between characters and techniques that require a teammate such as Ensembles, Blockbuster Sequels, and Stunt Doubles. Picking a 2 character team will have a total life advantage over a solo character. A 3 character team will always have a total life advantage over a duo or a solo team. In addition to the life advantages from team size the ability to tag out enables an off screen character to heal recoverable damage, allowing an even greater total health advantage to larger teams.
Despite the clear total life disadvantage for smaller teams, a solo character team can still compete. The significant damage boost can lead to devastating, 100% combos on a single character from a larger team. Newer players may feel more comfortable selecting a single character to avoid the complicated strategy surrounding Ensemble. Experienced players may want to stick with one character if they are true master of that character. Overcoming the wide range of attacks, strategies, and Ensembles that can come from a 2 or 3 character team can be difficult with no ability to tag out from a bad situation.
The exact individual character life and damage differences between solo, duo, and trio teams scale differently depending on the match up. The values do not scale linearly, allowing the consistent timer for all match ups and team size combinations.
Damage - There are 3 types of Damage which can occur; Direct, Scratch, and Chip. Direct damage is ordinary damage which incurs whenever an attack successfully hits you; it depletes the life bar and is unrecoverable. Scratch damage appears next to your (yellow) health bar as a red bar of health, it shows the amount of recoverable life should you tag a character out (if applicable) but be warned, this does not calculate into your total life at the end of a match. Lastly is Chip damage, which is the bare minimum of damage received whenever a special or super makes contact while you are guarding.
Stun - There are 2 types, Hit and Guard, and Stun itself refers to the period of time in which you are locked into one of these states, preventing you from performing any other actions. Naturally Hit Stun refers to when you are getting hit by attacks and Guard Stun to when you are blocking attacks.
Oki - Or Okizeme are the tactics which can be implored when one player is knocked down as the other stands. This is also commonly referred to as the Wakeup/Anti-Wakeup game.
Whiff - Whenever an attack is executed but does not make contact with the opponent.
OTG - Or Off The Ground is an attack property that allows you to hit a grounded opponent and lift them back up for a continued combo.
Overhead - A property that allows you to connect an attack on a crouching opponent, even if they’re guarding.
Stagger - A status that leaves a character in a “stumbling” state and leaves them open to further assault.
Canceling - The act of interrupting the animation of one attack and transitioning in to another, this is what will allow you to form many and various combos in the game. There are 3 types of Cancels, with their names dictating which type of move you are Canceling into; Normal, Special, and Super. Skullgirls is also unique to most fighters because you can Special and Super Cancel into moves even on whiff!
IAD - Or Instant Air Dash is the act of performing a jump and the instant your character leaves the ground, inputting the command for an air dash. This allows you to maneuver more quickly than manually jumping and then waiting to input a dash.
Blocking - The most important thing in fighting games. You must hold the direction opposite of your opponent's point character, either standing or crouching. Standing blocks will stop only overhead and mid attacks, whilst crouching blocks will stop only low and mid attacks.
Reaction Shot - Skullgirls' term for what's commonly known as a "Push Block". Performed by pressing any two punch attack buttons simultaneously while blocking an attack. The attacking character will be pushed away creating some space and relieving the defender of pressure.
The Super Meter allows the player to do special attacks what is called "Blockbusters". These powerful moves can only be done when the super meter is filled to the moves number of times the meter is filled, e.g. Gregor Samson uses 1 Meter while Full Assault uses 3. Also, where as most games super meter charges when you attack no matter what direction, it only charges when you attack foward.
Each character is allowed basic movement such as moving horizontally, jumping, crouching, and dashing. Few, but not all, characters have the ability to double jump and air dash. Fewer still have "special" movement abilities, such as Peacock's ability to "teleport" behind her opponent.
Throws are typically executed by simultaneously pressing LP and LK. The character will carry out a short-range grab animation that, when connects, the character will perform an attack; if the grab misses, the character will instead play a brief "missed" animation, signifying the time during the failed grab when the assailing character is vulnerable.
Grabs are perfect counters to opponents who constantly defend. Given point blank range, the grab will connect regardless if the opponent is defending or not.
Conversely, if a grab was anticipated, therein lies a chance to cancel the opponents grab by also pressing LP and LK. If successful, the grab is nullified and both characters will be knocked back slightly.