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Roman Cancel in Guilty Gear Strive: Basics and Practical Tips

Roman Cancel in Guilty Gear Strive: Basics and Practical Tips

18 min

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A mechanic you have to master. It’s better to stick to a step-by-step approach

Canceling one move into another is an important thing for the whole fighting genre. It’s a way to perform combos, when attacks are linking into each other without gaps, so an opponent has no chance to escape or activate their block. 

In most games, we have specific rules; like Light cancels into Medium, and then Medium can be canceled into Heavy. For the environment of GG Strive, the basic strings are called Gatling Combinations, and they include:

  • P -> 2P
  • c.S -> S -> HS
  • S -> 2S -> HS. 

Beyond that, Normal attacks can be canceled into Specials or Overdrives. Some Normals can be canceled into a jump (Jump Cancel) or Dash (Dash Cancel).

Mastering the principles of canceling moves into other moves is essential for success in most fighting titles (all of them?), Guilty Gear Strive included. And we sure have to break the limits of those basic cancels — to land even more devastating combos. For this specific purpose, GG Strive continues the tradition of its series and offers players a special mechanic, Roman Cancel.

Previously we mentioned Roman Cancel in our GGST Beginners Guide. Considering the importance of this trick, let’s talk about it in more detail.

What is Roman Cancel in Guilty Gear?

Roman Cancel is a tool to cancel animation of any move and add any other move to your combo / flow of actions. And also, it can slow down the opponent and give you some extra time for action/reaction.

  • RC is an effective way to extend combos in GG Strive. Sky’s the limit here, so let your fighting creativity fly and coin the most devastating and optimal combination for your character.
  • It is also a way to make some moves safe. If the opponent blocks your strongly negative attack, you can activate RC and avoid being punished. Or if you whiff something, RC can save you from punishment.
  • Roman Cancel can be a defensive mechanic — for example, to escape an opponent’s pressure and punish their offense.

The difference in use strongly depends on the moment when you activate RC. And also, this moment determines what type of Roman Cancel you get, with the same input.

Roman Cancel costs half of the Tension bar. It’s not a cheap mechanic to throw it here and there. Being careful with your resources is as important as not spamming unsafe moves or even just knowing how to block.

Input for Roman Cancel

The execution of Roman Cancel in Guilty Gear Strive is tricky and simple at the same time.

  • The default input is pressing any three attack buttons at the same time (except for Dust). For example, you can press P+S+HS or K+S+HS. The tricky part is that the input is not that reliable (especially for controller players). In the fast-pacing matches, you don’t want to miss the RC execution.
  • The game allows players to bind Roman Cancel to one button. If you play on a PlayStation controller, consider binding it to L1 or R1. It’s a good solution that makes the RC input super simple — but sure, the exact button depends on your personal preferences only.

Custom button mapping is generally a great feature of GGST. In addition to RC, it might be a good idea to bind Burst and Dash.

For general info on game controls, check out our dedicated guide: Guilty Gear -Strive- Buttons Layout.

Four Types of Roman Cancel

There are four types of Roman Cancel — they differ by the animation and the effect they cause. You activate them all with one input only, and the actual type depends on the moment you do this.

The division into these types is pretty practical as it gives a general understanding of possible use cases for Roman Cancel.

Red Roman Cancel

In a way, this is the most straightforward type of RC and the most commonly used one.

Red RC is activated right after an attack or throw, when your character is within active frames.

The shockwave launches the opponent on hit, causing a hard knockdown. On block, your character is +24 frames. The slowdown time is 39 frames.

The aim here is straightforward — you cancel the previous attack animation and land the next hit, one that normally can’t be linked. Many amazing combos become possible thanks to Red RC.

Another use is for mix-ups — you don’t give them a chance to react to your next move.

If the opponent blocks your huge unsafe move, you can avoid getting negative by activating Red RC.

Blue Roman Cancel

It’s activated when your character is neutral (no active attacking/recovery frames, no block/hit stun). Movements are not an obstacle.

Blue Roman Cancel slows down the opponent — if they are within the shockwave. The slowdown is 59 frames, which is the biggest amount among all the RC types.

Use this time to react to the opponent’s actions. You can try and make the opponent whiff (thanks to the slowdown) and then punish them. Blue RC is a tool to break pressure.

In addition to the defensive purposes, you can use Blue Roman Cancel to extend the opponent’s hit/block stun and make usually impossible links possible. If the opponent is in the slowdown state, you can do, for example, P -> K or K -> c.S — but sure, it’s a simplified thing, just to emphasize the opportunities.

Blue Roman Cancel may be part of your okizeme plan. Activate it on the opponent’s wake-up for a better chance to land your hit and continue pressure.

Purple Roman Cancel

In general, this is your protection from whiff punish. If you whiff a move and then press RC, you will get Purple Roman Cancel.

The slowdown is 19 frames. The shockwave has the same qualities as Blue RC — it slows the opponent down instead of hitting them.

Note that some invincible Specials don’t allow you to activate Purple RC on whiff.

Also, Purple Roman Cancel appears if you miss the input window for Red, when your character is within recovery frames. In this scenario, it becomes a mix-up tool and a combo extension. Red RC may work better for this purpose thanks to its longer slowdown. But the no-hit shockwave may be better for your specific purposes.

Yellow Roman Cancel

It is strictly a defensive tool, as Yellow RC is activated when your character is in blockstun. The slowdown is very short, only 9 frames. But for such a quick pace of actions we normally have in Strive, this period is enough to escape pressure — for example, by landing a quick counter-hit.

Your character is invincible till the super freeze ends (the initial active frames).

It is still worth being careful with this RC, as an experienced opponent has a chance to block the shockwave and then punish you with a counter-attack.

It would be better to avoid using Yellow Roman Cancel after quick attacks (Kick and Punch) to activate it after Heavy Slash or a Special.

Fast Roman Cancel (or Canceled RC)

This sounds like an additional layer of canceling — when you cancel the cancel.

The slowdown effect of Roman Cancel can be reduced if you press an attack button within a specific frame window — right after the initial effect disappears but before the shockwave appears.

Basically, you cancel this mechanic but still have some of its slowdown effects.

Slowdown with Fast Roman Cancel will be:

  • Red RC — 31 frames (33 if activated on frame one)
  • Blue RC — 21 frames (23 if activated on frame one)
  • Purple RC — 11 frames (13 if activated on frame one)

Yep, we cannot cancel Yellow RC.

Fast Roman Cancel can be used to reduce the meter spent for this mechanic. It is not critical, to be honest — RC may cost around 36%-48% of the Tension bar, depending on when exactly you press a button.

Dash Roman Chancel 

This is probably our favorite RC — you know, because we are DashFight.

Practically, it’s a method of moving alongside Roman Cancel. Perform Dash and then RC right after it. The character will continue the movement in the same direction — you will see the trace of their previous position.

Dash RC works with forward and back dashes. Also, you can do it while jumping/falling down.

Only Yellow Roman Cancel cannot be activated with Dash (obviously, you cannot dash within blockstun). The other types of RC have mainly the same features. Only Red RC has its shockwave with slightly different launching qualities — they depend on the Dash direction.

Meter Management with Roman Cancel

It will not be excessive to emphasize this once again — Roman Cancel is not your cheap mechanic to spam it around without planning and thinking. It consumes half of the Tension bar, and regaining this resource takes time.

Meter management is a substantial part of learning how to use Roman Cancel in Guilty Gear Strive. Don’t underestimate this aspect by focusing only on RC types and cool combos you could do with this mechanic.

Delay in Gaining Meter after Roman Cancel

One more important thing to be aware of is that you got a pause in meter regeneration right after performing RC.

Usually, you fill the Tension bar by being offensive or just moving toward the opponent. But that just doesn’t work for some period.

The exact time of this penalty depends on the type of Roman Cancel you’ve used. The general pattern is following:

  • Fast Blue RC — the fastest
  • Blue RC
  • Fast Red RC 
  • Fast Purple RC
  • Red RC
  • Purple RC 
  • Yellow RC— the longest one

There is no meter penalty when your character is in Positive State (they’ve pushed the opponent through the wall).

Mastering Roman Cancel: Tips

This mechanic adds an amazing depth to Strive. Thanks to it (partially), the game stands out from the crowd of other fighting titles.

But uniqueness may also mean difficulties in learning Roman Cancel — not only for beginners but also for players with no prior experience with the Guilty Gear series.

Hopefully, these tips will help you.

  • Don’t rush with adding Roman Cancel to your active gameplay.

Let yourself explore what the game has to offer without this mechanic; get used to the basic abilities of your character and the fight pace. Don’t make things overcomplicated from the very beginning.

  • Know the theory.

The game itself has a short explanation of Roman Cancel. Head to the Mission section for basic practice of those four types.

Our Roman Cancel guide gives more information on this mechanic, and it would be beneficial to keep it in mind. You need to know what every type does when it appears.

Simple as it sounds, this tip may lead to big successes. Theory becomes a basis for your practice.

  • Focus on one Roman Cancel type at a time.

It’s kind of a problem for most players to bring every type of Roman Cancel into their games simultaneously. It is certainly one thing when you chaotically press the bound button in every scary situation and see what happens next. And it’s a different approach to take conscious steps and see clearly predicted results of your actions.

To avoid internal confusion, try to focus on one type of this mechanic at a time. Learn how it works in practice, add it to your muscle memory, develop a natural understanding of how it could be added to the flow of actions. And then expand your arsenal with a new type.

Chaotic pressing the RC button is generally a thing to avoid. We’ll talk about this more in the tip about resource management. (And you know, chaotic mashing in fighting games is not a path to success at all)

  • Red - Purple - Blue - Yellow

Sure, we all are different players and prefer different fighting styles. But learning offensive Roman Cancel first is a good idea.

Red RC is one you could more-less add to your gameplan beforehand. Make it part of your combos or pressure. Develop your plan with Red Roman Cancel, practice it, bring it to real fights, and feel how it works.

Purple RC is often situational, which makes it a bit more difficult than Red one — in terms of learning. At the same time, if you are not very precise with Red RC in combos and strings, you may accidentally get Purple, and it would be better to know what to do with this thing. That’s why learning Purple Roman Cancel before Blue one might be preferable.

For training, figure out what you should do if you get Purple in an offensive situation (how to mix up or extend combos with it). The main thing for this type is still protection from whiff — after some training, just start using it in action.

It is somewhat laborious to make Blue RC work in the offense, so it might be clever to make it your third one to learn. For defensive purposes, Blue Roman Cancel is as situative as the Purple one. You could create training situations to practice it in a safe environment, but real matches are unpredictable; everything here depends on your reaction. Try to watch what your opponent is doing and consider Blue RC as one of your options.

Yellow Roman Cancel is the most difficult one, so let’s make it the last one in your active RC practice.

  • Forget the division.

Yeah, understanding what different types of Roman Cancel do is great and everything (and it’s necessary for mastering the mechanic). But in practice, you don’t want to bring extra thinking into your actions.

It’s just a mindset, but it’s important. Imagine calculating what type of Roman Cancel will be activated at this moment and what qualities it has. You just press the button and act accordingly. This is the beauty of gradual training, as you still have all four types, and basically you just know what to do. 

Overthinking doesn't work well in fighting games.

  • Experiment a lot.

The common paradigm of fighting games is to give players many tools and let them use those attacks/moves/mechanics in whatever way they want to. Roman Cancel is no different here. It’s a tool, and players should find a way to use it.

Of course, there are some good shortcuts, like reading guides or watching streams of pro players. But eventually, you need to bring Roman Cancel into your own lab and find out the best ways to use it.

Don’t stick to the basic usage only. Experiment a lot to see what of your ideas would work in practice..

And actually, the thing is not only about being creative. Your fighting style is unique, and no one can tell you what is better for you. 

  • Manage (save) the meter.

Ok, should we say this again? Yes, this thing is rather important, so let’s emphasize it in the tip section too.

Roman Cancel costs half of the Tension bar. It’s a lot! This is not a mechanic you want to spam. 

Resource management is part of the gameplan in any fighting game. Just keep the cost of Roman Cancel in mind.

  • Don’t rely on RC in defense too much; use it as a last resort.

This tip comes from the previous one. Roman Cancel might be good defensively, but you should know the other options, universal and unique for your character. It might be cheaper to use a Dragon Punch move when someone is jumping on you instead of Blue RC. And it is certainly better to try and avoid whiffing instead of relying on Purple RC to protect your character.

  • Be very careful with Yellow RC.

This type is just unsafe. You will get punished big time if the opponent blocks the shockwave — and no one wants to find themselves in even bigger trouble.

In addition to that, you have to be pretty good with your basic offensive tools to reverse the pressure. Yellow RC is not a secret formula to save the day for everyone. Keep that in mind while practicing this type and using it in fights.

  • Be patient. Practice makes perfect.

Ok, it’s one of the most common things to say, but it’s true and important. 

Roman Cancel is complicated for beginners, and there is no need to rush with the mechanic.

Also, RC is rather deep and opens many new options in the game. Even for experienced players, it would be better to be patient with it and gradually unfold what it brings to their gameplan.

No one reaches the Celestial Floor in one hour. Learn the basics, stick to the training plan, expand your horizons by watching pro plays, and enjoy the game.

To get better in Guilty Gear Strive, you may want to learn from professionals. DashFight has you covered, guys. We’ve collaborated with esports players to bring you character video guides. Please, check out:

And for everything else GG Strive-related (and fighting games-related), stay tuned to DashFight!

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