At the time of writing (6/22/20,) the Trainer’s School series of guides on Pokken Tournament DX has surpassed ten articles- eleven if you include the Pokken Primer as a retroactive inclusion to the series. While everyone can find them in one place- my Medium page- I wanted somewhere that people could read them in order. This article will be updated whenever a new guide debuts.

Last updated 1/4/2021. All planned lessons and guides completed!

Beginner’s Series:

Lesson One: Pokken 101
Lesson Two: Phase Shifts and the Attack Triangle
Lesson Three: Cancels and CADC
Lesson Four: The Pokedex
Lesson Five: Choosing Your Supports
Lesson Six: Picking…

A look at how cohesive movesets create powerful gameplans

Not everyone has this button, but other members of the roster are still strong even if they aren’t memed about on Twitter.

Most of the people I’ve been playing Guilty Gear Strive with lately are new to the series, and some of them have barely even touched the genre. I often field questions about characters, such as when to use certain tools or how to counter matchups, alongside explanations of what makes those options good (or bad.) Likewise, when someone is having a difficult time understanding how a tool or character is designed, I contextualize how effective they are in certain situations. This is especially the case when I have to discuss characters…

Or, why you don’t always have to give Leffen the time of day

Good for him, but I couldn’t believe he runs best-of-five for brackets with over a thousand players.

It’s easy to understand and recognize the impact that Leffen has had, not only on the Melee community, but on the broader FGC. He’s a storied and accomplished competitor and he’s branched out to fighting games like Dragon Ball FighterZ and, of course, Guilty Gear Strive. It’s not like he doesn’t have experience or that he doesn’t know what he’s doing or saying- he’s been around the block for over a decade. His ability to host and help organize major online events like LEVO also lends him…

What makes them work, and what keeps them active

When I first started going to my Pokkén Tournament DX locals, the players there didn’t recognize me at first. I figured this would be obvious, since I was new to the bracket (although I had been attending other games at Wednesday Night Fights for a while) but instead, I was asked about if I ever played Pokkén’s online ranked mode. I thought this was very odd, to say the least. For one, at this point in time, Pokkén’s player base online was fairly healthy enough that you wouldn’t run into the…

“If I played this character in this game, who would I play in Strive?”

Guide version: 1.0 (6/21/2021) Includes descriptions and at least one character comparison for every character in the base roster.

With Guilty Gear Strive finally out, many players who are new to the series- or even new to the fighting game genre- have picked up the game. While there are certainly players who are returning to the series having played XX or Xrd, many newbies are coming from other titles like Street Fighter or even other Arc System Works games like Dragon Ball Fighterz. Since I’ve seen…

The pros and cons of each system, and the problems they attempt to address

It’s always surprising to me when people say that “GGST should just re-use the lobby system from Xrd.” I assume they mean the aesthetics, but, on the PC version at least, the giant World Lobbies don’t work anymore due to major desync errors. As a result, games are usually only found in private player rooms.

The sixth Guilty Gear Strive Developer’s Backyard was published on June 4th, 2021. The blog post was very brief, and the developers likely didn’t have time to write up a deep breakdown of the poll results from the second Open Beta Test. Fortunately, director Akira Katano still provided a wealth of information about tutorial features, private lobby systems, balance changes, and fixes for the matchmaking. Katano noted that the Duel Station (arcade cabinets) and rematch button features “greatly improved the tempo of matchmaking,” but that there…

How characters and engines allow players to communicate in a match

I’ve often heard +R described as a game where you can tell two players in a mirror match apart just by watching how each character is playing differently. You probably can’t gleam that much info from a still image, but hopefully you can tell my Jam apart from the other guy.

I’m often asked, in response to my articles about the Guilty Gear Strive betas, if I believe GGST will promote a high level of ‘player expression.’ My usual answer is something like “yes, but it’s too early to judge exactly how high.” That being said, I think some of the people who ask me about player expression have different ideas about what that actually means, especially in comparison to myself. I’ve attempted to explore what ‘player expression’ in terms of fighting games means by defining it with three major…

New characters, revamped lobbies, and balance changes

The second Guilty Gear Strive Open Beta Test began at 8:00 PM PST on May 13th, 2021 and concluded at 8:00 AM on May 16th. OBT2 was preceded by a Japanese arcade-only location test where balance changes had been implemented in the game, following feedback from OBT1 and the game’s delay from an April 9th launch to June 11th. The most significant changes to OBT2 were the inclusion of Anji and I-No, the fourteenth and fifteenth characters in the game’s base roster, an improved lobby system, and dramatic balance changes around air-to-ground offense.

And what (little) we know about them

This week, I decided to take a brief look at some upcoming games with release dates slated throughout this year into the next. The fighting game genre has been experiencing a steady and exciting boom for the past several years, with titles of various scope and budget shaking up the player-base, from Dragon Ball FighterZ to Under Night In-Birth. But simply playing the cool new game isn’t enough, and developers have finally begun to realize that. Fortunately, four out of these five games from major IPs will have rollback out the gate, which…

It can determine everything about what, and how, you play

Super Smash Bros. Melee, despite being two decades old, has consistently been one of the most played fighting games in the tournament scene. While other retro titles such as Street Fighter III: 3rd Strike and Guilty Gear XX Accent Core +R also have robust communities that maintain their legacy, Melee is arguably one of the most prolific due to its ensemble crossover roster and ease of play. Even as other titles in the Smash franchise come and go, the Melee community continues to play the game through pandemics and a…

Nathan Dhami

Nathan “Lite the Iron Man” Dhami can be found on Twitter (@LiteTheIronMan,) on Twitch (,) and at your local.

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