Skullgirls

Skullgirls is a 3-on-3 tag team fighter with offense that revolves around resets and mixups. Skullgirls' most beautiful feature is the custom assist system. There is no such thing as a bad partner because there is no such thing as a bad assist. Custom assists gives players control over their neutral, combos, and Variable Counters. While this game was designed to play like Marvel vs. Capcom 2, it has its own identity. There is Bursting and Burst baiting mind games. Pushblocking can be canceled to turn a defensive situation into an offensive one. Skullgirls has one of the most balanced character rosters you will ever see in a team fighter.

Helpful Resources

The Skullgirls wiki.
The Skullgirls Discord server.
The Skullheart forum.

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.

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

There is no hitstun deterioration in Skullgirls. Infinite combos are prevented with two systems: Infinite Protection System and Undizzy.

Skullgirls' Infinite Protection System (IPS) allows the defender to Burst during combos when certain conditions are met. When the attacker beings repeating attacks already performed in the combo, the combo begins entering stages. Once an attack is repeated in Stage 5, the defender is able to Burst. You can tell when Burst is available as the hitsparks turn pink and the sound effects sound different. The defender does not have to immediately Burst at the first possible opportunity as they can Burst later in the combo.

IPS forces players to be more creative in their combos instead of repeating sequences. It prevents true infinite combos but it still has its drawbacks. A single combo can still kill a character and combos can still be very lengthy as long as attacks aren't repeated.

Undizzy is represented by the green bar below the character's health bar called the Drama gauge. The defender's Drama gauge fills as the combo continues. When it is completely full, the defender can Burst out of the combo. Undizzy prevents combos from being too lengthy.

Drama does not instantly deplete after a combo is finished. It depletes after a certain amount of time has elapsed. This is to prevent resets from being too powerful. Resets after a lengthy combo are very common and central to Skullgirls' metagame.

Burst baiting is important as the defender has access to two different Bursts. Bursts have 10 frames of startup and creating Burst safe combos is not easy. When Bursts connect, they are Gold Bursts and are safe on block. When Bursts whiff, they are Blue Bursts and are unsafe. To punish a Burst, create distance, end the combo, and don't attack to make the Burst whiff.

Call assists by pressing LP+MK or LK+HP for the first partner and LP+HK or MK+HP for the second partner. At the character selection screen you can select an assist and even set your own custom assist. To set dash as the custom assist press two punch buttons as that's the dash macro command.

Assists are interrupted if the active character is hit. The assist does not perform their taunt animation if they are hit.

Press MP+MK to tag the first partner in and HP+HK to tag the second partner in. Tags are considered special attacks and can be canceled into from normal attacks. Every character tags in differently. For example, Cerebella enters from the top of the screen and Beowulf enters from behind his opponent.

Outtake is the snapback and is performed with 236 and any tagging command. It costs 1 Level of Tension.

A Double Outtake performed on the active character and an assist at the same time snaps the active character out but keeps the assist in. While the assist is in they cannot block and IPS and Undizzy do not apply so the assist is practically guaranteed to die.

Variable Counter is called Stunt Double in this game. Press 6 and any tag command to perform it. It costs 1 Level of Tension.

Because Variable Counter is the assist and the assist can be set to almost any attack, Variable Counter has many utilities. You can have invincible Variable Counters, safe on block Variable Counters, command throw Variable Counters, movement Variable Counters, defensive Variable Counters. Dash Variable Counter lets the incoming character safely enter the playing field.

Variable Counter can be performed during Burst. Since a whiffed Burst can be punished, use Variable Counter to make it safer at the cost of 1 Level of Tension.

Super attacks are called Blockbusters and require different levels of Tension. Most characters have a Level 1 and Level 3 Blockbuster while some have a Level 2 and Level 5 as well.

DHC is called Blockbuster Sequel. A Blockbuster that costs more than 2 Levels of Tension requires 1 less Level if used during DHC. This means DHCing a Level 1 Blockbuster into a Level 3 costs 3 Levels of Tension instead of 4. This allows teammates to tag in and out more often.

Skullgirls is all about strong mixups and resets. Fuzzy blocking is a mandatory skill. The fastest low attack for most characters has 8 frames of startup. Grounded overheads are much slower.

Throws are performed with LP+LK and are teched with the same input. There is a whiff animation if unsuccessful. Throws have 7 frames of startup and start full combos. Damage is scaled to 50% after the second hit to make sure throw combos are not too powerful. There is no throw-invulnerability for the defender after recovering from blockstun, hitstun, or wakeup.

Air throws are used to punish air blocking.

There is air blocking and it blocks both grounded and air attacks. You can air block during the pre-jump frames but low attacks are flagged to always hit pre-jump frames.

Press two punch buttons in blockstun to pushblock. Pushblocking locks the character into around 25 frames of blockstun. It reduces chip damage and reflects projectiles. There is both high-low protection and left-right protection after pushblocking. Whiffing a pushblock standing is a backdash and whiffing a pushblock crouching is a crouch punch.

If you block again while locked in the 25 frames of blockstun after pushblock, you can cancel this blockstun by letting go of 4 and performing an attack. This is called Pushblock Guard Cancel (PBGC). Your character flashes green when successful. Filia's Hairball is a true blockstring, after blocking the first hit the rest of the hits have to be blocked. But you can pushblock a hit then cancel the blockstun into an attack to escape the blockstring.

Characters

Filia has no double jump but she has the best air dash in the game which lets her get in easily and gives her great pressure and mixups. Her run is fast. LK Hairball in the air helps her get in. She has a fireball and DP to fight characters that try to keep her away. Her normal attacks may not have the best range but she has good frame data on her attacks.

Cerebella is the game's grappler. She has good movement, long combos, and great resets. Her normal attacks have good range. She has an armored command run special attack. Her super attack is very scary on offense and on defense as it can be used as a reversal. She has a command throw to catch jumpers and a reflector to beat projectiles. Jump HP can be used like an airdash.

Peacock is a keepaway character that zones with projectiles. HP is a fireball that is special cancelable. Her Bombs cancel into each other. She builds meter for her team quickly and does good chip damage. Her reversals aren't strong but she has a fast backdash, air backdash, and teleport to create distance. While she does decent damage, she lacks a strong mixup game because her 2LK does not hit low.

Parasoul is a grounded character that is strong in the mid range with good zoning. She has two grounded overheads with 6LP and 4HK. Her mines let her control space and her DP is invincible. LK Soldier is used like a Roman Cancel. Parasoul's main weakness is that she lacks air mobility as she lacks a double jump and air dash.

Ms. Fortune is a puppet character. When her head comes off she can control it separately. The head can't block but it takes half damage. Some of her attacks change when her head is off. She is one of the most difficult characters to play but if you can handle her she has great pressure, corner control, mixups, neutral, and damage.

Painwheel is able to fly and has air normal attacks with big range. She can cancel all her normal attacks and special attacks into flight for pressure or mixups. She gets good confirms off of many attacks and can use fly to beat pushblocking. Her charged grounded normal attacks have armor but they aren't armored immediately. Super attack gives her more armor. Unfortunately she can be a slow character.

Valentine is a straight forward rushdown character with many movement options. Her run and air dash are fast. Her backdash is airborne and goes over low attacks and throws. She can cancel her grounded backdash into a forward airdash which is faster than air dashing normally. She has projectiles and long ranged attacks. Her hit confirms are pretty good. She can inflict status effects on her opponent.

Double has attacks from the other characters of the game and she can played defensively or offensively. She is a meter dependent character that needs assists to win neutral. She has long range attacks and projectiles to control space on the ground and in the air. Her walkspeed is slow so she has to move around through other means. She relies on low/throw and left/right mixups because she lacks an overhead. She might be the best partner in the game. Level 2 super attack is practically plus on block and level 1 super attack lets her team escape the corner. Her super attacks can be easily DHCed into and out of.

Squigly is a stance character. She has good range on her attacks. She has an interesting attack that freezes the screen and brings her to the center of the screen. It's used to react to what's going on and whiff punish. Squigly has good mixups and safe pressure. She has a super attack that is very plus on block.

Big Band is a big slow defensive character with large normal attacks that control space. He can punish mistakes with a ton of damage. He has armor on many of his attacks and a parry. Unfortunately he has a huge hurtbox and is susceptible to instant overheads.

Eliza is a slow character that is strong in the close and mid range. Her close range pressure is good. Both her throws are great. Her airdash is surprisingly fast. She has a fireball, DP, and can summon monsters to help her fight. She has many ways to get past zoning. One of her special attacks is an overhead. Jump MK and jump HP are great jumping normal attacks.

Fukua uses her projectiles and air normal attacks to win neutral. Her fireballs have many different trajectories and can be performed on the ground and in the air. Her clones help her fight. LK clone hits low, MK clone is a hit grab, and HK clone is an overhead. She is like a zoner and grappler at the same time.

Beowulf is a grappler with good okizeme, good mixups, and a good cross-up. He has two sets of normal attacks: with the chair and without. With his chair he gains a disjointed hitbox on his attacks at the cost of worse frame data. Without his chair his attacks are armored. His dash is a hop that is used for high/low and left/right mixups. He has a lot of options after pummel.

Robo-Fortune is a keepaway zoner with surprisingly great mobility. Her forward dash is the fastest in the game. She is the only character in the game with a double jump cancel. Her beam projectile covers full screen. 2HK gives her a head that follows her around for zoning. Her anti-airs are great. Unfortunately her defense is lacking. And her damage, mixups, and resets are some of the worst in the game.

Annie is a short range and mid range character with big damage. Star Power state greatly enhances her normal attacks and gives her fast projectiles from many ranges. She has the largest throw range in the game. She is a very good teammate because of her assist and super attacks for DHC. Unfortunately her mixups and approaching options are weak. She is meter dependent as she needs to spend meter for Star Power.

Umbrella is a grappler with high damage and strong setplay. Her umbrella has a hunger mechanic and keeping it satiated by eating your opponent powers up her attacks. She can shoot bubbles for setplay.