Samurai Shodown VI/Mechanics
- Normals cannot be buffered.
- Tech rolls and command normals have a 2f buffer.
- All Spirit-specific E button actions have a 4f buffer.
- Dash, throw, all Spirit-specific A+B actions, Rage Explosion, and Issen have a 6f buffer.
- Backdash, deflect, Weapon Catch, Specials, WFTs, and Secret Moves have a 9f buffer.
- State of Nothingness has a 6f buffer, but is overridden by V Spirit dodges if input within the latter's buffer window.
Rage Explosion > State Of Nothingness > Secret Moves > Weapon Flipping Techniques > Special Moves > Throw Item > Break Defense > Command Moves > A > B > C > D > E > Start
- Rera's specials have higher priority than her WFT while riding Shikuru.
Inputs requiring multiple buttons have varying strictness on input timing:
- WFTs and Secret Moves can have each button input up to 2f apart, or 3f if the input is buffered.
- Throws, all Spirit-specific A+B actions, and State of Nothingness must have both buttons input on the same frame, or up to 3f apart if buffered.
- Rage Explosion and Issen must have all buttons input on the same frame, or up to 3f from first to last input if buffered.
Rage is the meter system of Samurai Shodown. When the meter is full your character will gain a damage boost and, unless you are using I Spirit or a custom VIII Spirit which disables it, be able to perform WFTs until either your Rage runs out or you land your WFT. The Rage timer will decrease at a constant rate unless you are in hitstun or are knocked down, where it will momentarily pause until you are able to move again. The exceptions are VI and 0, which do not have a timer but will fully drain upon performing a WFT whether it hits or not. Rage is built by taking damage in most Spirits, but in VI it is built by damaging your opponent. The console-only 0 Spirit allows you to build Rage either way. Your choice of Spirit will modify various gauge and damage values.
The 'Rage retention' in each character section is determined by the amount of damage it will take for a character to Rage, with a higher value denoting greater Rage build. The 'Rage duration' notes how much raw time a character will stay in Rage.
You are unarmed when you are not holding your weapon. During this state you have access to your unarmed normals, kicks, movement options, Weapon Catch and certain special moves and WFTs, whether they are exclusive to the unarmed state (e.g. Wan-Fu's Spirit Blast Crush) or can simply be performed both armed and unarmed (e.g. Tam Tam's Gaboora Gaboora).
If two slash attacks connect simultaneously and they are of the same strength, a Weapon Clash may initiate. This can only occur once a round. Whoever mashes the slash buttons the most will leave their opponent disarmed. There is no visible counter for button presses this time around.
Below your health bar is a separate gauge which manages damage scaling. It will drain as you attack and refill as you refrain from doing so. A full gauge gives a damage bonus, orange is standard damage, while green results in a scaling damage penalty. This is how heavy slashes can deal respectable damage on their own while decent combos still experience damage scaling.
Many weapon-based normals will recoil off the opponent's guard. In addition to changing the move's recovery time on block, the attacker may be able to cancel the recoil animation into a special or super to frame trap the opponent. Recoil cancels are universally -1 on stand block; see Blocking Frame Advantage for advantage against crouching opponents.
The recoil cancel window universally starts after 13f, resulting in a different input timing for recoil cancels vs special cancels on hit/whiff. Attackers can exploit this difference by inputting two different cancel actions in sequence such that one comes out on hit (and usually whiff) and another on recoil. This is known as a recoil option select/recoil OS. Other attacks may only allow recoil canceling, in which case any buffered action would only come out on recoil cancel.
Some attacks with a recoil animation on block do not allow recoil canceling. In these cases, any special cancel possible on hit or whiff is also prevented by the recoil animation.
Opponents below 40% health take less damage, to a minimum of 80% normal damage below 10% HP.
If you hit an opponent who is facing the wrong way your attack will gain extra frame advantage depending on its strength.
If you hit the opponent during certain parts of their attacks you will score a counter hit. This does not increase your attack's damage but rather its hitstun, opening up combos which otherwise aren't possible with its regular frame advantage.
Some moves do not leave the opponent standing on hit and will lead to a knockdown state. There are two primary types of knockdown:
- Soft knockdowns allow the opponent to initiate a tech roll with E as they land, triggering either a short roll (5E) vulnerable to strikes near the end of its animation or long roll (4E) that travels further and is fully strike invulnerable, but takes longer to recover and is throw punishable. Most such hits cause soft knockdown.
- Hard knockdowns do not allow the opponent to tech roll. This offers more consistent setups on wakeup, or sometimes the possibility of a guaranteed pursuit. WFTs inflict hard knockdown, as do some specials and Secret Moves.
Moves that trip leave the opponent facedown, while those that launch have them land face up. This does not determine knockdown type, but does slightly alter time from landing to wakeup on no tech or hard knockdown.
Also known as "combo jump". Upon landing from a jump, you are able to immediately cancel the landing into another jump. This applies even if an air normal was used, while most air specials have set landing recovery which cannot be cancelled. The jump cannot be buffered.
Offense and Defense
Invulnerable recovery states have one vulnerable frame immediately before the defender becomes actionable. The defender must (if possible) block any opposing attacks on this frame.
Defender has 1f throw protection on block (attacker can throw from +1 or less), 2f on hit (attacker can throw from +0), and 2f on wakeup including the neutral frame.
- OTG hits remove throw protection on wakeup. Any throw that lands on the neutral frame is thus inescapable, as opponents cannot jump or throw to tech on that frame. Normal throws require a frame perfect delay to connect on this timing after pursuit, but some command throws are timed to this frame if buffered after a pursuit or other OTG attack. Infinites arising from this property are banned, but non-repeating sequences involving OTG hits are permitted.
Tech rolls are punishable during recovery. Short rolls are fully immune to throws, but are vulnerable to strikes at the end of their animation. Long rolls, work the opposite way while traveling further and taking longer to recover. Some characters can punish all techs after certain knockdowns (often throws), especially in the corner. Others have tools which cover either option, such as Jubei's 236C, which catches short rolls and meaties the recovery of a long roll for free chip damage. Some characters are limited in their ability to tech chase due to their lacking mobility or ill-suited attacks, such as Gaira, whose combos and specials generally give him hard knockdowns to compensate.
The wakeup system is fundamental to how pressure works in Samurai Shodown VI. Because there are no forward rolls on wakeup as in previous games, setplay-heavy characters become stronger as a result (especially in the corner) and the threat of pursuit damage is frequently present. Rolls will allow the defending player to escape or even punish these options, but are themselves vulnerable if the opponent does not commit to them and is able to read/react to the type of roll the defending player goes for. Knockdowns can be seen as a mixup for both players:
- Not rolling can be punished by pursuits but will guarantee a chance to block a mixup/setup and provides a window of throw invulnerability
- Short rolling can punish pursuits and many setups but leaves the defender vulnerable to the highest damage punishes
- Long rolling can escape pursuits and many setups and create more space between players, but is vulnerable to throws (which are less threatening than strike punishes but will reset the situation with another soft knockdown)
In short, rolling can beat oki, tech chasing can punish rolling, not rolling will weaken the threat of an opponent looking to tech chase, and oki will force a player who doesn’t roll into a bad situation.
Attacks within a certain range (about the distance where the camera begins to pan out or less) trigger a pre-block animation for the duration of the attack if the other character holds back or downback. This prevents the defender from walking further back, which can either keep them in range of an attack or potentially keep them closer for a whiff punish if spaced outside the attack's range.
Proximity guard in Samurai Shodown VI has some additional properties not found elsewhere in the franchise:
- Proximity guard animations have minimum 10f duration if not interrupted by another action. The defender will still block during this period even if now holding down (from crouching pre-block) or no direction (from standing).
- Switching from downback to back and then releasing back causes the defender to enter a 10f exit animation from standing pre-block, during which they can block again but cannot re-initiate the above extended proximity guard behavior.
- Crouching pre-block does not have an exit animation. Transitioning from stand to crouch pre-block allows extended proximity guard for the full 10f after switching to crouch, provided the standing pre-block animation did not last at least 10f and thus exhaust extended proximity guard. Switching from crouch, to stand, then back to crouching pre-block will result in pre-block ending immediately upon transitioning to any non-blocking input.
- Extended proximity guard can be reset by transitioning to a non-blocking action (walking, pressing down-forward, stand to crouch, or crouch to stand, along with any jump or button) from pre-block or standing pre-block's exit animation, then pressing back or downback again.
Airborne Frame Advantage
Attacks from an airborne state inflict an additional +10 frame advantage on hit against crouching opponents. This includes jumping attacks, any overhead attacks that start grounded but hit while airborne such as Andrew 6B and 6D, Gen-An 4D, and Yumeji 6B, and even mids such as Iroha 5D and Sogetsu/Suija 5D.
Note that deep hits do not exist in Samurai Shodown VI, so getting this additional advantage simply for hitting opponents while very low to the ground is not possible.
Blocking Frame Advantage
Blocking an attack while crouching not only causes more pushback, but for most characters causes them to be stuck in blockstun for five frames longer. The exceptions are Nakoruru, Rera while riding Shikuru, and Sankuro, who are stuck for only two frames longer instead.
- The difference is ten frames when blocking a Hyper Slash.
Heavy Slash Frame Advantage
There are two different animations a character may use when hit by a heavy slash: a forward bend and a backwards bend. Normally, this makes very little difference over the course of a match. However, when put into the backwards bending animation, there are 21 characters who will take a frame longer to recover. These are Haohmaru, Hanzo, Galford, Kyoshiro, Ukyo, Jubei, Charlotte, Genjuro, Shizumaru, Basara, Gaira, Kazuki, Sogetsu, Rasetsumaru, Enja, Suija, Sankuro, Yumeji, Amakusa and Mizuki. These discrepancies are noted in each characters' frame data tables.