Originally posted on November 3, 2021
Knowing different character archetypes will help you choose which playstyle best fits your strengths as a player. An "All Rounder" character could be described as a character that has a variety of tools to fit many situations. Generally, they can play in many different styles as well, such as aggressive or conservative. All Rounders are great for beginners because they give the player a lot to work with to explore the game’s engine.
Before I go into the characters, I will explain the notation I use for characters’ moves. I will use numpad notation in which each button's direction will correlate with the numbers on a number pad. I will also use the abbreviations P for Punch, K for Kick, f.S for Far Slash, c.S for Close Slash, D for Dust, and HS for Heavy Slash.
The protagonist of Guilty Gear, Sol Badguy has a very balanced tool kit to counter many situations. Sol is generally a close combat brawler who is most effective right next to the opponent. He is an excellent strike/throw character which means he loves to frame trap opponents and condition them with throws to stop blocking. Sol also boasts very large damage, any stray hit can potentially be fatal in correct conditions.
He has some of the only plus on block normals in the game with f.S and c.S. F.S moves Sol forward and has quick recovery which makes it a nice poke/whiff punish option and also scores huge damage if a counter hit is achieved. Once Sol gets next to the opponent, he bullies them with Slash normals to build up risc gauge and force the opponent’s hand. Layer in Fafnir, a forward moving guard break move, creates a lot of chip and can be converted on hit for large chunks of damage. To add to Sol's pressure he has a command grab, Wild Throw. Use Wild Throw if you think the opponent will down back or go for a throw since Wild Throw cannot be thrown out on startup.
He is not limited to close range as he has a solid projectile in Gunflame where he can run behind it to start pressure and, if the opponent gets clipped by it, can convert into a full combo. His 6.S is a fantastic poke option that covers great range and can be confirmed into his combo ending special move, Bandit Revolver. Night Raid Vortex can be used to close gaps quickly, low profile moves and projectiles and be converted into a full combo. Keep in mind Vortex is punishable on block so throwing it out can be risky unless you have fifty percent tension to Roman Cancel.
In addition to his offensive, Sol has great defensive options. His 5.K is 3 frames so it can challenge many situations defensively that other characters cannot. 5.K can also be used as an anti-air to convert into huge damage and corner carry. Sol has a meterless reversal in Volcanic Viper, use it to get out of your opponent's pressure situations. Keep in mind, Volcanic Viper has no throw invulnerability. His 2D can be used to low profile strings and to anti air against certain characters.
Sol's greatest strengths lie in his quick damage burst and unrelenting pressure. His greatest weakness lies in the fact that he can be pushed out easily with Faultless Defense and his range is not as strong as others.
Ky Kiske is another balanced fighter who has similar tools as Sol Badguy but their strengths and weaknesses differ. Ky's range is significantly better than Sol's. Ky excels at midrange neutral by keeping his opponent at bay with midrange strikes and projectiles. While Ky's damage is not always as strong as Sol's, Ky does not need to be as close to be effective. Ky utilizes a mechanic called shock state, many of his specials apply shock state to the opponent which alters the effects of a following special move on hit or block.
Ky uses his far reaching normals such as f.S, 2.S, 5.H and 6.H to keep his opponents in check and fish for hits. It's a relatively stable game plan with low risk to moderate reward. His goal is to frustrate opponents, who rush at him either in the air or ground, to score a knockdown and start his offense there. He can also play very passive with his grounded and air fireballs. The air fireballs have multiple arcs depending on the strength and can clip your opponent and put them in shock state for further advantage. Knock your opponent down with Dire Eclat, his main ender, which applies shock state and creates a great pressure situation.
His best pressure options moving forward is his fantastic 2.K into 2.D or just 2.D itself. The 2.D will create a hard knockdown for Ky to either set up his heavy fireball which is slow to startup but contains many different hits to lock down the opponent. He can also set up this fireball after throw situations. This means Ky is very reliant on his strike/throw game to score damage. Ky alternatively, after knockdown, will strike the opponent with his 5.K while they are getting up. If done correctly, 5.K will give Ky an advantage on block due to its many active frames. Another way for Ky to approach is Foudre Arc. This is a plus on block aerial special that can also lead to a combo on hit depending on the shock state of the opponent. Use this off of cancels to surprise your opponent and steal back turns. Keep in mind that this will lose to the entire casts 6.P, so it carries a moderate risk. With Meter Stun Dipper, it can be used to quickly approach and attack the opponent. It is unsafe on block so make sure to Roman Cancel it.
Ky's defense is not as strong as Sol's since Ky has no three-frame button. His 2.P is 5 frames which can still be used to check opponents and go into 6.P which is then cancelled into Dire Eclat. Ky does have a meterless reversal to keep his opponents guessing on offense. This reversal can be thrown like Sol's since it has no throw invulnerability.
Ky's greatest strengths lie in his strong neutral presence at mid-range. He can attack with relative safety compared to other characters that have to approach the opponent. His greatest weakness lies in his inconsistent conversions and unsafe enders. Stun Dipper can whiff on the second hit and his big damage combos are very situational.
Leo Whitefang is slightly different from Ky and Sol. Leo has similar tools but only has access to them situationally due to his stance changes. Leo's neutral stance is much more defensive while his Brynhildr stance is very aggressive and offensive.
In his neutral stance, Leo has far-reaching normals that allow him to control his opponent. He also has a very strong projectile, the Slash variant is fast and hits twice whereas the Heavy version hits four times and moves slower. While poking with HS, or S, Leo can enter a blocking state which will block mid and high attacks and perform a follow-up attack. Keep in mind Leo can not block low and he can get thrown. Leo can also be aggressive in this stance by dashing in with 5.K, or 2.K/2.D and try to score knockdowns from there to start pressure. Leo can also use a surprise attack with Zweites Kaltes Gestöber. This move can cross up the opponent, be plus on block, and safely transition into Brynhildr. This move can leave Leo vulnerable to throws and strikes so it's best used as a meaty tool. In a neutral stance, Leo also has access to a fantastic meterless reversal. It has great range but no throw invulnerability.
Leo's main objective is to score a knockdown so that he may safely enter Brynhildr stance. He turns away from the opponent and accesses different normals and special moves. This stance is tailored to aggression, Leo cannot jump or block in this stance. His only defensive move is Kahn Schild, a parry that leaves him vulnerable on whiff. The main mixup tools in this stance are his extremely fast overhead. This overhead can be stance canceled to be plus to continue pressure. A successful hit leads to huge damage. Leo also gains access to a running command grab, this is extremely useful as it can punish backdashes that are too early or when the opponent is conditioned to block. Another very powerful option is Leo's guard break move Blitzschalg. This is very plus on block and can be used to build lots of risc. Loop it or layer in overheads to keep the opponent locked down. The loops are fake but the risk-reward on this move is skewed in your favor.
Leo's greatest strength is his snowball effect that he has when entering a successful Bryhildr. His offensive strength could be considered one of, if not the best in the game. His weakness lies in his slower Slash and Heavy normals that can be punished on block or whiff punished. Leo relies on approaching a lot with dashing into 5.K or 2.D which can leave him open to counter pokes.