Fighting EX Layer

Fighting EX Layer (FEXL) is a 2D fighter that is the spiritual successor to the Street Fighter EX games released in the mid 1990's. It's a fast paced six button game where characters are running and jumping all the time. Combos are easy to do while still allowing a lot of creativity. Players are able to store three Super Combos at once and can cancel a Super into another Super into another Super. The Gougi system enhances characters with new power ups and abilities.

Helpful Resources

The Complete Fighting EX Layer Guide by Geki has everything you need to know including character and combo guides.
The FEXL Discord server.
FIGHTING EX LAYER COMMUNITY Facebook group.
Explanations of all Gougi in one neat page.

Notation

Attack Notation

LP Light Punch
MP Medium Punch
HP Heavy Punch
LK Light Kick
MK Medium Kick
HK Heavy Kick

Directional Notation

up-back up up-forward
back neutral forward
down-back down down-forward

Numpad Notation

7 8 9
4 5 6
1 2 3

High attacks are overhead attacks that must be stand blocked. Mid attacks are attacks that can be blocked with both stand block and crouch block.

Fighting EX Layer uses Modern frame data notation. If an attack has 7 frames of startup, it hits on the 7th frame.

After selecting your character, you'll select a deck of five Gougi. Each Gougi does something different. Some of the Gougi power ups include damage or defense boosts, armor on attacks, hops instead of dashes, and turning invisible. The Gougi icons are above the Super Meter and show how close you are to fulfilling the requirements for Gougi activation.

4 frames of blockstun are added to crouch block. That means an attack that is -1 against stand block is +3 against crouch block. Many disadvantageous attacks become advantageous against crouch block. Many unsafe attacks become safe against crouch block. Try to block most attacks standing and crouch block when you expect a low attack.

The Chain Combo system allows players to chain normal attacks into each other. You get one normal attack per strength and have to chain into a normal attack of a higher strength. The only exception is normal attacks can be chained into a command normal attack of the same strength.

Chain Combo is useful for creating blockstrings and frame traps. You do not have to chain the attacks as quickly as possible. You can delay the chain to create gaps for frame traps.

5P is usually a character's fastest attack and advantageous on block but it can be ducked under by a lot of the cast. 2LP and 2LK are slightly slower but hit all characters. 2LP is a mid attack and 2LK is a low attack.

It's difficult to notice at first but crouching attacks inflict more pushback than standing attacks. That extra pushback is very important because it's the reason why many blockstrings and combos don't work. The extra pushback prevents follow ups from reaching.

Command normal attacks can be chained into from any normal attack. Shadow's command normal attack is 6MK. Even though it is a medium attack, it can be chained from medium and heavy attacks. This is the only time you can chain into a normal attack of the same strength.

The first type of command normal attack is an overhead. It is not super cancelable and that is noteworthy because almost every attack in this game is super cancelable.

The other type of command normal is a forward moving attack. It's used for continuing pressure and closing distance.

Chain combos are not the only types of combos; special cancels, super cancels, and link combos also exist. Mastering link combos is an important skill. 2MP inflicts enough hitstun that 2MK can be linked after it.

2HK is usually a sweep that causes a knockdown.

5K is your longest range normal attack and it is usually only super cancelable.

I know what you're wondering. What is stopping every combo from being the same five hit combo? Why isn't every combo 2LP > 2MP > link 2MK > 2HP > command normal attack or special/super cancel?

The answer to that question is pushback. That combo should work in theory but in reality the character is pushed too far away for their attacks to reach. When you're creating blockstrings and combos in any fighting game, always have in mind pushback and distance.

Running slides you forward while keeping your momentum. Attacks during the slide inflict significantly less pushback. There are many combos that are only possible after running.

Running is very powerful but it has its weaknesses. Special attacks and super attacks can be performed during run almost immediately but there is a delay with normal attacks.

Check running by placing safe fast pokes in neutral then buffering these attacks in combos. You can also avoid running attacks with neutral jump or backdash.

Press 4 or 1 during run to cancel it into blocking. This is called dashblocking.

Jumps are fast and characters fall fast, which means almost every successful jumping attack starts a combo. There are two types of jump ins. The first is a jump in that is higher on the body and closer to the character. The second is a jump in that is lower to the ground and farther away from the character. For the latter you can run after landing and still get a combo.

Characters are floated into a juggle after getting hit out of the air. Whenever you hit someone out of the air, immediately start running because you will either hit them again or you'll be right next to them to pressure.

Almost every attack in FEXL is super cancelable. If an attack isn't special cancelable, it's usually super cancelable. The cancel window for super attacks is longer than most fighting games, allowing you to delay super attacks to create frame traps. It's very common for players to have their unsafe special attack blocked then perform a delayed super cancel to beat the opponent's punish.

Special attacks cancel into super attacks and super attacks can cancel into other super attacks. A Super Combo cannot cancel into itself but each character has at least three different Super Combos.

Throws are performed with LP+LK and are teched with the same input. There is a whiff animation if unsuccessful.

Backdashes are throw-invulnerable but not airborne or invincible.

Jump Back Option Select

Throws can be teched while holding any direction, including the jumping directions. This creates an option select that is a variation of fuzzy jump. To perform the Jump Back Option Select: block for a couple of frames, jump back and input throw tech at the same time, then go back to blocking. If your opponent throws, you will tech the throw. If your opponent attacks, you will block the attack and stay on the ground. If your opponent doesn't attack or does a slow attack, you will jump backwards creating distance and escaping pressure. An advantage Jump Back Option Select has over fuzzy jump is that it can be performed after the throw connects. Jump Back Option Select loses to delayed attacks that hit your pre-jump frames and it can be anti-aired.

After a knockdown press any attack button to quick recover.

Hard Attack is the universal overhead attack performed with MP+MK. It is super cancelable. When your opponent is cornered, you may be able to link 5LP off it. Hard Attack is very slow and unsafe on block so it is risky.

Characters

Kairi is a shoto. He has a fireball, tatsu, and DP. He has a divekick and two air super attacks. Air tatsu can cross-up and juggle. Divekick and tatsu give him a dangerous cross-up mixup.

Shirase is an aggressive rushdown character with high damage and high execution. She has a command throw. Her palm adds good damage to juggles. Rekka goes into an overhead that is super cancelable. Her spin has some invincibility and can be feinted. Short jump is great for approaching, mixups, and it is not easy to anti-air. Kick special attack goes under fireballs. She has a parry.

Garuda attacks from many angles with forward moving attacks that give him a lot of vertical reach. He has a special stab that has good range and is plus on block, giving him good frame traps. He has a DP to get out of trouble. His drill combos can be done from any range. He has a Blanka Ball attack that homes.

Skullomania has the fastest run and backdash. If you want to play Skullomania you have to embrace unsafe attacks. His DP is a two part attack where he can dive after the first hit for mixups. He has a slide to get in. He has a homing throw that sometimes catches people by surprise. His super attacks are a delayed fireball and low slide.

Darun is the super heavyweight grappler. He's got a deadly command throw and a throw that switches sides. His anti-air throw can be used in juggles. Flying DDT has great range. Chest Bump is a parry with a follow up.

Allen is the character to play if you want a character with juggles that lead to more juggles. His fireball lets him build meter quickly. His DP is multi-hitting and good for confirming into super attack. He has a command throw. With three bars of Super Meter and Justice , he can do the most damage in the game.

D. Dark is about setplay and screen control. His long ranged special attacks bring his opponent to him. His bomb is an effective okizeme tool to force the opponent to block on wakeup. Super bomb is plus on block.

Blair is a fast and deadly character. Her rekka kicks can end in a launcher. Her DP can be two hits. She has a sliding special attack. Air super attack is a drill.

Jack has a dash punch, dash upper, and turnaround punch for approaching. He can feint his special attacks to fool the opponent. The baseball bat beats projectiles and knocks down. Once Jack is in, he can use his command throw.

Shadow Geist has great pressure when he has meter. His super attack is very plus on block. Head Stomp combos on hit. Shoulder tackle combos from any range. He has a flash kick but it's only for air combos. His divekick has three heights and combos into super attack.

Sanane is a defensive character that controls the mid range. She has punch and kick rekkas and can mix them. Kick rekka can cross-up. Her overhead hits very far. She can shoot her stick like a fireball. She also has a command throw and parry.

Hayate is a zoner with a sword. He doesn't have a lot of mixups but he has a long range overhead. He's got good range on his attacks but they are unsafe on block so safe space them properly. His DP travels horizontally. During his shoulder change press punch to knockdown. He has a parry.

Hokuto has safe pressure. Her rekka special is safe on block and can be plus on block if the opponent crouch blocks. She has a command throw. Rekka can be canceled and her elbow special attack can be canceled into an evade.

Pullum has a strong air game. She is the only character in the game with a double jump. She has a cannon drill, drill kick, and DP. 6MP is an overhead that switches sides. Jump 6MP gives her another air action. Air super attack that makes her attacks safe on block.

V. Rosso is a mixup and vortex character. After a knockdown, he can shoot a slow multi-hitting fireball to keep the opponent from waking up with an attack. He has a short hop for high/low mixups and combos. His command dash crosses through his opponent for cross-up mixups. The opponent is faced with a high/low mixup or left/right mixup on wakeup and if they guess wrong they will get knocked down again. Rosso has four counters: a high, mid, low, and fireball counter.

Sharon is a resource dependent character. Her bullets are fast and combo into each other. She can shoot from many different angles and even from the air. Her wheel kick moves her forward. She has a command throw despite being a projectile character. Her rekka has two hits and she can delay it or end in a kick. She has a slide and a great backdash. Her biggest weakness is that she can't reload her bullets.

Area is a strong okizeme character like V. Rosso. She has some of the easiest safe jumps in the game. Her robot arm starts up slowly but recovers quickly, allowing her to move behind it for pressure. Her ground pound special attack has many active frames so she can use it for okizeme. Her command throw switches sides. She can absorb projectiles. Jump 2HP is not an overhead but is plus on block and changes her air trajectory. Unfortunately Area lacks link combos.

Terry Bogard, the famous fighter from Super Smash Bros. Ultimate needs no introduction.