Guilty Gear Strive is finally available for everyone, regardless of whether you purchased the Deluxe Edition, or which platform you’re deciding to play it on. Arc System Works has put everything it has into this explosive and gorgeous fighter, and now we’re here to help break down some combos for our personal favourite character, May.
May is the leader of the Jellyfish Pirates, a band of fighters that travel the world as May follows after Johnny, her love. She’s a quirky character, to be sure, but she’s also an incredibly powerful foe, with her dolphins and whales helping her with every fight.
She is a very powerful character, though learning the details of her moveset and abilities might be more challenging than you would expect. In this guide we’re going to give you a pretty basic breakdown of May’s attacks and abilities, followed by some combos and set-ups you can use in battle.
For this guide we’ll be using a bunch of fighting game terms you might not be familiar with, but that’s okay. This will be a quick reference so you can check what you need to know. We will not be using anime/number pad notations because they can be obtuse for even experienced players.
- Punch (P)
- Kick (K)
- Slash (S)
- Heavy Slash (HS)
- Dust (D)
- Roman Cancel (RC)
- Dragon Punch/Shoryuken Motion (DP)
- Charge Back To Forward/Down To Up (B2F/D2U)
- On The Ground (OTG)
Basic Bread And Butter Combos
May’s most useful button is S. S has great range while standing or crouching, and while up close a standing S is actually a different short-range attack which can be combo’d out of, and even jump cancelled. As a result many combos will initially use S, and a perfect example is…
- (Close range)
- S > Crouch S > B2F S
This is as simple as can be, and yes, you can begin the combo by jumping in with HS to kick things off with good damage. Mr. Dolphin is a charge input, but as long as you’re holding back as you begin the combo it’ll come out fine.
If you’re being pressured by an opponent and need a fast combo to pull out to save yourself, then you can use your punches.
- (Close range)
- Crouch P > P > P > B2F S
Simple and swift, right? May’s punches are fast-paced and very effective, and can even be combo’d into Mr. Dolphin S in a short combo. Mr. Dolphin will push back the enemy, making this a good way to make some space if you’re being pressured in a corner.
Finally, this quick and simple combo will allow you to reliably pull out an Overdrive in a combo. Perform this against a wall and you can deal an easy 240 damage – half a health bar, for most characters.
- (Close range)
- S > Forward P > Overdrive (The Wonderful And Dynamic Goshogawara) [Half-circle B2F HS]
Aerial attacks are very strong in GGST, which means nothing other than people are going to try and use them against you a lot. A sneaky jump-in or cross up can reap dividends, but you don’t want to let the opponents get in on you like that. Almost every character in the game has a handy anti-air attack on Forward P, which for May pushes back the opponent and makes her upper body invincible for a moment. But she also has Crouched HS, a big swing of her anchor which goes well over her head, slapping any foes in the way. But it can also be combo’d out of. Here’s a basic anti-air combo.
- (Enemy above or close range)
- Crouch HS > HS D2U
Simple, right? This combo connect regardless of whether your enemy is actually on the ground or in the air when it begins – but you can extend this combo even further, and that’s where Roman Cancels come in.
- (Enemy above or close range)
- Crouch HS > D2U HS > RC > D > D
A Roman Cancel is performed with three of the attack buttons being pressed at once, and the direction you press during can change the nature of your attack. The D2U HS will take May into the air on Mr. Dolphin, and the Roman Cancel will leave her free to move. Using D in the air pushes her up slightly, allowing it to connect twice in quick succession – though you could trade the second D for an Overdrive, though keep in mind a RC takes half of your Tension, and the Overdrive will take the other half. Performing the above combo against a wall will keep your enemy there, allowing a free mix-up on landing.
Mix Ups And Juggles
On the subject of mix ups, this is a fun combo…
- (Close range, enemy in corner helps)
- Crouch D OR Down-forward K > Crouch S > B2F HS > DP K
This is not actually a combo at all. After a sweep with Crouch D or Down-forward K (a sliding low attack from May) you will be able to hit the enemy once OTG, and they will be forced to get up after. Cancel the Crouch S, which hits, into Mr. Dolphin, which will whiff. However Mr. Dolphin will carry you very close to the enemy, and they’ll probably block if they aren’t used to this strategy. As soon as the Mr. Dolphin animation ends, you can use DP K, a command grab, to punish. Why DP K instead of a normal grab? Well that’s simple, as we’ll show you in this combo…
- (Corner necessary)
- DP K > S > Jump Cancel > P x6 > Overdrive
DP K has a special property, the pushback actually leaves the opponent vulnerable, and you can continue an air combo by jump cancelling the first S attack after DP K. The timing is somewhat tight, but you’ll adjust quickly enough. A wall with full health will have the opponent stick to it after six hits, and then you can use your Overdrive, the same half-circle B2F HS as our earlier combo. But instead of six punches, you can use D and mix things up while in the air. If you master both of these two combos, you’ll be able to mix up opponents and output huge damage.
A simple and damaging Dust combo can be performed by charging D and then jumping forward into the air for a simple and effective combo. You’ll need to input this quickly, so it’s a good idea to practice a bit.
- (Close range, good during a shimmy)
- Charged D > Forward Jump > P > K > Forward Jump > P > K > HS x2
This charged D will cause a short slow-down, during which you input the forward jump to activate a soaring aerial combo. You will need to press P > K very quickly, followed by that quick jump, and then swiftly tap out the rest of the combo. The two HS attacks are where the damage comes from, with the second hit slamming your foe to the ground.
These are just a few basic combos May can execute in GGST, but it doesn’t end here. The fact is, pretty much any special move can be cancelled with a RC, you can even cancel them before they hit to mix up a blocking opponent. Combos can be extended, though they will have to end eventually, either when you run out of Tension meter, or when you break through a wall, which will always reset both players to neutral.
But lengthening your combos should not be your first goal. The scaling in GGST is pretty high, meaning that attacks will do less damage as a combo progresses. Overdrives are fixed so the amount of damage never scales too low, but you’ll find throwing out six punches, like in our earlier combo, will scale that damage low, and fast, especially since punches don’t do that much damage to start with. At that point, they’re only good to get a wall stick or break to increase the overall damage. Of course, D is a good move to use in the air, too.
May doesn’t have many moves she can jump cancel, with the short-range S being one of the only realistic moves, but it can be used in a variety of situations. If you can catch an enemy’s jump with it, you can will jump cancel and use P and D in the air to get some quick damage before mixing them up again on the ground. Of course you should remember that May’s forward K is also an overhead, so if you can condition an opponent in the corner with lows, then it becomes an excellent option – though you’ll find comboing with it difficult, and DP K might be a better option against a blocking enemy in the corner.
The main thing to keep in mind is that Guilty Gear Strive has a lot of room for personal flair in the combo system, despite how limited it can initially seem. Thanks to the scaling system you won’t feel outpaced by only being able to deal in short combos, especially as long as you focus on using S and HS as combo starters.
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