Soulcalibur VI

Soulcalibur VI is a 3D fighter where each character has their own weapon and every character fights at a completely different range. Fencing in and out of ranges is the core of gameplay. 8-way run allows players to seamlessly move around the stage in all 8 directions. Ring outs keeps things exciting because the outcome of a round is never certain until it's over. Guard Impact is the series' signature universal parry that can turn any defensive situation into an offensive one.

Helpful Resources

SOULCALIBUR PORTAL has everything you need including a huge amount of guides.
The Soulcalibur VI wiki.
Hayate EIN's videos are very educational.

Notation

Attack Notation

A Horizontal Attack
B Vertical Attack
K Kick
G Guard

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 attacks that can be ducked under. Mid attacks are overhead attacks that must be stand blocked.

Soulcalibur VI uses Impact frame data notation. If an attack is i7, it hits on the 7th frame.

The three attack buttons in Soulcalibur VI are A, B, and K. A is horizontal weapon attack, B is vertical weapon attack, and K is melee attack.

Most horizontals are high and can be ducked. There are mid and low horizontals but they're often slow or unsafe. Horizontals have shorter range than verticals and lose to backstep more often. Horizontals usually don't inflict a lot of damage, unless off of a counter hit or Lethal Hit.

Horizontals hit characters that sidestep, sidewalk, or 8-way run. Punishing movement is called step killing or step catching.

Verticals are more damaging and start combos. Verticals are mid and hit crouchers. The drawback is that they are easier to sidestep.

The K button performs melee attacks. The game calls K attacks Kicks but that is a misnomer for a lot of characters. They are the fastest attacks and are good for interrupting slower attacks or starting your offense. K attacks can be horizontal, vertical, or both at the same time. The obvious drawback of K attacks is they are your shortest ranged attacks.

Basic attacks can be canceled by pressing G. This is great for feinting against players looking for whiff punishes. It's even more effective if your character does a sound effect during the feint because many people whiff punish off of sound cues.

Weapons don't have hurtboxes and don't take damage but there are clash situations that happen when two attacks are active on the same frame. There is a hidden attack strength system: attacks are flagged to be Weak, Medium, or Strong. Attacks of higher strength are more likely to beat attacks of lower strength when they clash. If a vertical and horizontal of the same strength are active on the same frame, the vertical wins and there's enough frame advantage to get a punish afterwards. This is called a clash setup. If a K attack is active on the same frame as another attack, it trades instead of clashing.

Throws are performed with 5A+G for forward throw and 4A+G for backward throw. There is a whiff animation if unsuccessful. Forward throw is teched with 5/6 and any attack button and back throw is teched with 4 and any attack button. Throws can be teched while holding the guard button. Throws are i18 and have a large tech window but they are true 50/50 mixups because there's no way to tell which throw is being attempted. Teching a throw still damages the defender. Command throws, throws that aren't default throws, are +8 for the attacker after a tech.

Lethal Hits are attacks that gain special properties when hit under specific conditions. A Lethal Hit could be an attack that launches only on counter hit or an attack that does more damage if it hits a back-turned character. Lethal Hit builds extra Soul Gauge. You'll know when you hit one as the camera zooms in and the character's armor breaks. Armor break doesn't affect the character outside of changing their appearance.

Soul Gauge is Soulcalibur VI's super meter. A maximum of 2 Soul Gauges can be stored. When a player is one round from losing the game they are given 1 Soul Gauge. Strong attacks build more Soul Gauge than Weak or Medium attacks.

Critical Edge is the game's super attack. It is performed with A+B+K. It costs 1 Soul Gauge and is more damaging the less health you have. Critical Edges are not good reversals as they do not have armor or invincibility.

Soul Charge with 4A+B+K. It puts the character in a powered up state for 10 seconds where damage is increased and attacks inflict chip damage. The game timer stops during Soul Charge. Some of the character's existing attacks become enhanced in Soul Charge. Using these enhanced attacks spends remaining Soul Charge time.

Soul Charge activation is a Burst that can only be done in neutral that is 0 on block and +8 on hit. It's practically a safe Burst as its range is enormous and pushes your opponent away. While it is unsafe on whiff, there's no reason to whiff it, simply run up to your opponent's face and activate it.

Soul Attack allows you to enter the Soul Charge state from a specific attack instead of the Burst. You enter Soul Charge state regardless if the attack whiffs or connects. Most Soul Attacks are safe on block. Look in your movelist under Gauge Attacks to find your character's Soul Attack.

Blocking a couple of frames before an attacks connect is a Just Guard. Your character flashes white during it. It builds Soul Gauge, negates chip damage, and reduces guard stamina damage. That's all it does. It had more utility in previous Soulcalibur games.

Guard Impact

Guard Impact (GI) is performed with 6G and parries throws and strikes. It is active on frames 2-11, has 29 recovery frames, and is overall 40 frames. There are 3 GI levels corresponding to the 3 strengths of attacks in Soulcalibur VI.

Parrying a Strong attack is a Level 1 GI and gives the least amount of frame advantage at +8. That's not enough for a punish but it lets you take your turn back. The recoil animation leaves the attacker standing.

Parrying a Medium attack is a Level 2 GI and that is +16. That's enough for a punish with a fast attack. The recoil animation has the attacker reeling backwards.

Parrying a Weak attack or throw is a Level 3 GI and that is +28. That is enough frame advantage to start combos. The recoil animation has the attacker flying off of their feet.

Attacks that flash green have guard points that act as GI if the character is hit. Auto GI attacks do not affect guard stamina unlike regular GI.

After the attacker has been parried, the only action they can perform is a GI themselves. This is called a Re-Gi.

This is where the mind games begin. If the defender expects a Re-GI they can do an attack that is faster or slower. For example, after a Level 3 GI go for a fast attack instead of a slow launcher to hit before the Re-GI becomes active or do a slower attack to make the Re-GI whiff.

Guard Impact costs guard stamina and rebuilds it when successful. The outline around your character's health bar is the guard gauge. As you block attacks and use GI, the color of the guard gauge changes. Guard stamina recovers while moving forward, not blocking for a certain amount of time, and between rounds. When the guard gauge begins flashing red, the character is in danger of getting guard crushed. Strong horizontals or Medium and Strong verticals guard crush.

Guard Impact loses to Break Attacks and unblockable attacks. Every character has at least one Break Attack that is performed with A+B. Most Break Attacks are even or plus on block and remove a lot of guard stamina. When a Break Attack beats a Guard Impact it counts as a Lethal Hit. The main drawback of Break Attacks is they're very slow and can be avoided with movement on reaction. Break Attacks flash blue.

Unblockable attacks cannot be GIed and must be interrupted or avoided with movement. When an unblockable beats a Guard Impact it counts as an Impact Counter and not a Lethal Hit meaning it does not build extra Soul Gauge.

Resist Impact (RI) is an improved Guard Impact that costs 50% of 1 Soul Gauge. It's performed with 6B+G. It gives the same reward as Guard Impact but it's able to parry unblockables and Break Attacks. When successful, it recovers guard stamina and on failure it doesn't deplete guard stamina. You still need to time the Resist Impact properly. A mistimed Resist Impact will get hit by Break Attacks and unblockables.

Soul Charge can be Resist Impacted but the Resist Impact has to happen before the Soul Charge activates. When this happens the Burst is parried and the remaining time in the Soul Charge state is reduced.

Another defensive mechanic is Reversal Edge (RE). It's performed with B+G and costs 20% guard stamina. It beats and loses to the same attacks Guard Impact beats and loses to. It starts in a defensive stance, performs an attack, and if the attack hits it transitions into a mini game.

Reversal Edge gains its defensive properties on i6. The attack part comes out around i14 to i18 if uncharged. The attack can be charged to stay in the defensive stance longer. The defensive stance can deflect multiple hits. The attack is slow enough that players can have their hits deflected and recover fast enough to dodge the Reversal Edge attack.

The Reversal Edge attack itself doesn't have the same defensive properties and can get interrupted by attacks. The attack builds a lot of Soul Gauge on hit and still inflicts damage on block. Fully charged Reversal Edge attacks beats Guard Impact and other Reversal Edges. The attack flashes red, is slow, is vertical, and is easy to react to and sidestep.

When the Reversal Edge attack hits, the rock-paper-scissors mini game begins. The rules for the mini game are A > K > B > A for attacks. Players can input their 5AAA chain combo instead of a single 5A.

There are movement options as well. 4 > K, 8/2 > B, 6 > A. Backstep avoids melee attacks, sidestep beats verticals, forward step ducks under horizontals. Use movement when you want to punish with an attack of your choosing instead of the predetermined attack.

Blocking is a option when you don't want a reward and want to leave the mini game with as little risk as possible. B > G puts the characters into another round.

If there is a draw, the second round starts. The defender should prevent the second round from happening because the initiator of Reversal Edge gets Lethal Hit properties on attacks during this round. If there's another draw in the second round, the initiator wins. If the defender wants to play it safe they can choose movement in the first round to guarantee no second round.

There are a lot of attacks with movement built into them like attacks that jump, sidestep, or crouch. Tech crouches are attacks that duck highs but can still be thrown. Special mids and special lows can be blocked standing or crouching. Jumping attacks don't start combos but give frame advantage. The big drawback is that getting hit out of the air floats a character into a juggle.

While being juggled, you can control your character's descent by holding any of the 8 directions. This is called air control. It's used to get out of combos, getting better ring positioning, and avoiding ring outs.

A ring out automatically wins a round for the player. A ring out happens by launching or knocking down a character when they're on the edge of the stage.

Okizeme is very effective in Soulcalibur VI. Long ranged weapons means there is okizeme on almost every knockdown. Low horizontals and mid verticals hit low enough to hit OTG (on-the-ground). Staying on the floor is dangerous and waking up is dangerous as well. Wakeup stand block and get hit by a low or wakeup crouch block and get launched by a mid.

After a knockdown (that isn't a juggle), hold 4, 2, 8, or 6 and press G to quick recover. This is called ukemi. Forward ukemi is the fastest. Backwards ukemi is slower and creates distance. Sideways ukemi is the slowest but avoids vertical attacks. Ukemi is considered crouching and will duck under high attacks and throws.

Guard Impact can be performed after ukemi after an 8 frame delay. You can't block during that 8 frame delay and are vulnerable. If you really want to wakeup GI you should do it off a non-ukemi recovery or forward ukemi because it is the fastest.

Ukemi isn't invincible and players delay the timing of their meaties to punish it. This is called a tech trap.

After not recovering, you have the option of rolling or getting up in place. Rolls are full rotations only. Rolling is more evasive than ukemi but can still get hit by OTG attacks. Getting hit OTG gives you an opportunity to ukemi.

Pressing an attack button on the floor while holding no direction performs a wakeup while rising version of that attack. Hold 4 or 6 to wakeup with the regular version of those attacks. Hold 1, 2, or 3 to wakeup with the full crouch version of those attacks. Hold 7, 8 or 9 to wakeup with a jump attack. If the character is facing away from their opponent they will perform a back-turned attack or a back-turned while rising attack if they have one. Back-turned attacks can be surprisingly good.

Movement

Movement is the most important part of Soulcalibur VI. A top player can immediately tell if their opponent does not know how to move efficiently. I like to think of movement in SoulcaliburVI in three different ways:

Movement as blocking that travels. I do an attack, it's blocked, and I'm at too much of a frame disadvantage to avoid my opponent's retaliation. However, I don't have to stand there and block it. I can take a step or two in a direction then block. It doesn't sound like much but that that extra step or two could be the difference between standing in a good range or a bad range.

Movement for positioning. I take large strides to put myself at the range where I am comfortable. I position myself a certain range from my opponent. I also position myself away from the edge of the stage so I don't lose to ring out.

Movement for whiff punishing. I take short strides of movement that allow me to avoid my opponent's attack while leaving me close enough for a punish.

For all movement except forward stepping there is a delay before blocking. This delay does not apply to attacking or GIing out of movement. Getting hit during movement that isn't forward stepping is a Run Counter which is a counter hit punish for movement. Soulcalibur VI is a 3D game and does not use hitboxes and hurtboxes. Instead it uses 3D models and spheres. As a result, sudden movement (pressing a direction) is more evasive than prolonged movement (holding a direction).

The two ways of moving are stepping and 8-way run. Tap and release a direction to step. Hold a direction to 8-way run. 8-way run lets you walk and run in any direction just by holding it. It's used for positioning yourself around the stage.

There are extra attacks out of 8-way run. Backwards 8-way run attack usually creates distance, sideways 8-way run attack is usually evasive, and forward 8-way run attack is usually forward advancing.

Tap 8 or 2 to sidestep. There is a 12 frame delay before you can block during a full sidestep. If you sidestep and immediately press 5G, your character takes the smallest step then blocks. Think of this micro-step block as blocking with a tiny bit of extra movement.

Tap 4 to backstep. There is a 15 frame delay before you can block during a backstep. Like the sidestep, if you backstep and immediately press 5G your character takes the smallest step then blocks.

Sidestepping then immediately backstepping is a boxstep. It's a small step into both directions. Don't do it too slow or you'll get a full sidestep into a backstep instead.

You can cancel backstep into sidestep without any delay. Because there's a 15 frame delay before you can block after a full backstep, it's faster to cancel backstep into a sidestep micro-step block.

Sidestep can be canceled into forward step without any delay. A full sidestep can be canceled into blocking after 12 frames. It's faster to cancel sidestep into forward step then block. Be careful not to press 6G as that's the Guard Impact input.

Backstep into forward step has noticeable delay. This makes whiff punishing more difficult. It's faster to cancel backstep into forward 8-way run. The input for this is 436 or 496.

There are a couple ways to move backwards. Canceling a backstep into another one is the slowest way because backstep has to fully recover. Backwards 8-way run is faster but not that fast. 8-way run starts fast and slows down after the initial rush of movement. The easiest advanced way to move backwards is pressing 44 44 44 44. It's a backstep canceled into 8-way run, 8-way run is stopped before it starts slowing down, then another 8-way run starts.

Another advanced way to move backwards is with 4 5G 4 5G 4. Press 5G at the end of the backstep to cancel the final frames into blocking then immediately release 5G to return to neutral. The timing on this can be tricky as it's different for every character.

The last way of creating distance is canceling backstep into 8-way run, then 8-way run back into backstep. Pressing 214 or 874 will cancel a backstep into 8-way run into backstep. The drawback is that your character starts sidestepping after two 8-way run backsteps.

The unwanted sidestep can be avoided by pressing 6 in the sequence. My inputs look like this 214214 6 214214 6 214214 6.

Characters move around differently. For example Hilde doesn't have a good 214214 step but her 4 44 44 and 4 5G 4 5G 4 are pretty good. Find what works for your character and you.