Combo Breaker’s official side event series All In Together is back for their 2023 showcase. Each of these games will be getting event support in the form of medals and stream time, so you can basically count this as an extended offering of tournaments playable at this year’s CB. This year’s lineup is a little different, as many new and obscure faces will be featured at All In Together for the first time. Thankfully I am here to help break down these games and what to expect from them when it comes time for their moment on the main stage.

Games are listed in rough order of appearance. Each tournament’s Top 4 is scheduled to be streamed at either or, with a couple additional streams used that will be marked in their description. For more information on the events such as who is running them or rules they are run by, please visit the official All In Together 2023 homepage.

All In Together Schedule

Check out our stream schedule graphic for the start time of each tournament in All In Together in your local time below:

Neo Turf Masters

  • Bracket Start: FRI 12:00pm/SAT 11:30am/SUN 11:30am
  • Stream Time: N/A
  • Channel Link: N/A

Game developers Nazca are known for giving their flagship series, Metal Slug, some of the highest quality sprite work on the Neo Geo. So when expanding their catalog to a golf video game, they created a lush green escape onto the links with an excellent soundtrack backing it up. Maybe you wonder why, of all golfing games out there, Neo Turf Masters is something that sees competitive play? I can’t answer for the whole community, but in short I can very confidently say that it only takes one playthrough to see that NTM absolutely rules. Beautiful digitized characters, iconic voice samples, immediate earworm soundtrack, and challenging gameplay keeps Neo Turf Masters a common appearance at offline tournaments.

What To Expect

Well to be frank, you shouldn’t expect anything if you are not at Combo Breaker yourself. The malleability of golf allows for different rulesets when it comes to tournament play and those rulesets are not exactly stream friendly. So whereas most games can be condensed into a bracket that takes a couple hours, NTM is running a tournament format that takes up all three days of the event. And I would know the format very well, as I am the one who created it.

My grubby little hands are all over this article and not just because I wrote it. I created the Michigan Masters tournament format in an attempt to mirror actual golf tournaments as well as created this instructional video explaining how the format is played. You get one shot to clear 18 holes on each day’s course and the winner of the tournament is whoever has the best overall score at the end of Sunday. We may not be at Pheasant Run anymore, but golf still finds a way to show up at Combo Breaker.

Mystery Game Doubles

It’s Mystery Tournament as you know and love it but with one major twist; it’s a 2v2 event. Now not only do you have to figure out games on the fly, but you need to coordinate with your partner who also likely does not know what is going on either. As much of a cheesy tag line as it might sound like, twice the people means twice the chaos.

What To Expect

Aside from the usual disclaimer for Mystery where you should expect, and dear editor, censor me if I’m not allowed to be this colorful, some ol’ bullshit, there is actually something you shouldn’t expect to see; traditional fighting games. With the genre being built almost entirely on head-on-head battles, there’s not going to be many fighting games that are made for 2v2 gameplay. So outside of some Arena games like Wu-Tang Shaolin Style, The Bouncer, Urban Reign, or Power Stone you should prepare to see non-fighting games in bracket.

I am writing this less that two weeks before the event and I just saw that TO Guardian may have finally found his grand finals game for this year’s bracket. I’m scared, terrified even, to see what game is the final piece to his puzzle board of 2v2 Mystery tournament.

Melty Blood Actress Again Current Code

The game that put French Bread on the map and the flagship release that their community still supports to this day. A fighting game based on (but also a sequel to?) the Tsukihime visual novel by Type Moon, it has seen multiple versions in the 20 years since its first release. While Current Code (or as it’s known in Toledo “Code Current”) has been the end of the game’s life for many a year, Melty Blood continues to be updated in a sense through community work as netplay and matchmaking have been integrated through clients like CCcaster and Concerto.

What To Expect

There are three versions of each character, broken up by what style of Moon you choose. These Moons (Full, Half, and Crescent) come with their own sets of universal mechanics, such as Crescent and Half Moons being able to Rebeat (the act of chaining normals from heavy to light instead of the standard light to heavy) and Full Moon being unable to. This is not the only difference between different versions of the same character, as different Moon versions will have different specials and normals, creating three unique toolkits for each character. As overwhelming as the sound of nearly 100 different characters is, in practice the amount of relevantly played characters is lower than that.

Typically, I try to add videos that are relevant to learning the game or recent tournament footage. But this time around I just want to make sure people see some classic history, as this Winners Semis match between Brandino and Jiyuna at NEC9 in 2008 is really good but is remembered for HyperHal’s drunken academic commentary. Someone run Arcana Heart so I eventually have a reason to post “Get Hype For AH3”

Persona 4 Arena Ultimax

Yet another step in Atlus’ complete global saturation, this fighting game spinoff of Persona 4 saw multiple years of play and updates until a rather unfortunate split in the timeline happened. The most recent update had made it to Japanese arcades but was never going to come stateside, causing us to unfortunately be stuck in the past. However, thanks to the new Persona 4 Ultimax port we are all back on a level playing field and duking it out with our favorite (or least favorite, Ken I’m looking at you) Persona 4 and 3 characters.

What To Expect

True to its JRPG lineage, P4U has status effects that players can be afflicted with. Effects like Rage makes a player unable to block but gives 20% added damage, Panic reverses their left and right inputs, Silence disables Persona-related actions, and so on. Speaking of Personas, if you strike a player’s Persona while it is out it will take 1 card of damage. If you remove all the Persona’s cards, and each character has a different amount of cards for their Persona, they are Persona Broken and cannot use any actions relating to their Persona until their cards refill.

Speaking personally, the P4U Top 8 at this year’s Frosty Faustings was the best Top 8 of the weekend. I was so glad to be in the crowd for all the excitement that Mighty Joey’s run brought, this game is so damn good. 

Guilty Gear XX Accent Core +R

The King. Without a doubt the most influential anime game to ever be made. You can see just in other doujin games within this article how Guilty Gear’s touch was felt across the genre, becoming the poster child for high-speed, airdash-heavy fighting game action and creating the Roman Cancel system which countless games have iterated on for their own uses. With years of revisions, +R is the final version of the game and what a belter of a way to end, packed to the gills with mechanics, almost every character absolutely juiced up, and a recent addition of rollback netcode alongside some of the snappiest UX and trailblazing assets like the ability to go into replays and resume the game from any point makes +R still the cream of the crop in this genre.

What To Expect

The hallmark of this era of Guilty Gear is the False Roman Cancel. This allows certain moves to be canceled in places they normally couldn’t for less meter cost. The timing on it is strict however, usually within the 2-4 frame range. While some of these FRCs can be quite difficult, seasoned players have grinded out the timings to make sure they don’t leave damage on the table. While much rarer, another mechanic specific to this era is the Slash Back. This is like a precursor to Xrd’s Blitz, a parry-esque defensive tool that costs less meter to perform but has a much smaller window. Because of this strict timing, successful Slack Backs are rare but extremely hype when correctly applied.

+R is still a game being iterated on, the above video being a breakdown of a new HOS route that trades out his combos typically ending with air reset for a route that now gives knockdown, oki, and resources. The complexity and expression of +R creates a game that is always changing, just ask any Kliff player in the past couple years.

Super Smash Bros. Ultimate Doubles

  • Bracket Start: FRI 3:00pm
  • Stream Time: N/A
  • Channel Link: N/A

The tournament pair to singles competition, Smash 2v2 (or Doubles, as it’s most commonly known) takes Smash’s multiplayer aspect and directs it into a competitive landscape. Teams of two find the battlefields a little more cramped than usual as they square off against each other hoping to claim the advantage against their opponents. The wrinkle that makes Doubles work however, is that Friendly Fire is turned on.

What To Expect

Doubles is a fascinating look at competitive Smash through a new lens. Not only will you be preoccupied with attacking one of the opposing teammates, but you need to be cognizant of assisting your partner when the time comes. Being able to split away from a skirmish to either save your partner’s stock or be the kill shot on your partner’s setup requires a level of awareness not typically asked from singles competition. With how hectic and explosive this is, it’s very possible to strike your partner when trying to strike your opponent, so watch to see how teams cover separate spaces as they try to not get in each other’s way.

Chicago-based event and streaming outfit Unrivaled Tournaments has commonly held down the Smash side of Midwestern events, including this Top 8 of last year’s Doubles action at Frosty Faustings.

Advanced Variable Geo 2

I’ve actually done a much more detailed write-up on AVG2 over here if you want a full look at this magical release, but put briefly; this game rules. A tightly balanced but interestingly bonkers fighting game from a series of eroge releases, Advanced Variable Geo 2 is like almost nothing else out there. While it may not appear special on the surface, multiple characters have uniquely designed toolkits or incredible glitches hidden under the hood that affect how they play in tournament. The first time you see a Chiho Zanei Jin loop or Jun’s Guard Cancel damage glitch, you’ll realize that AVG2 is a different type of beast.

What To Expect

AVG2 is a very aerial game, but not in the way a lot of other games are. There are no airdashes and there are almost no DPs with invincibility past their active frames, but what there is a lot of is super jumps and air chains. Because of this many characters will approach and start long combos from air-to-air interactions, making air combos just as (if not more) deadly as grounded starters. Also Kaori has an infinite she can get from most starters, most notably her divekick, so be prepared to see that as well.

They said you should make what you want to see in the world, so I teamed up with my Australian doppelganger and esteemed kusogelord Sleepmode to make a full rundown of everything you need to know about Advanced Variable Geo 2 competitively. This writing position is just a long con to promote my pet projects.

One Must Fall 2097

One of the grandfather’s of the genre, OMF2097 is a DOS fighting game where beautifully crude polygon mecha crunch and clank against each other until someone gets scrapped. This game was a pioneer in ways that took decades for the rest of the genre to catch up. Online multiplayer, a single player mode that is actually engaging, OMF2097 is historic and we should all be glad to see the game ran competitively with offline brackets such as this. Choose your pilot, choose your HAR, and crack that soundtrack to experience what was the watermark for PC fighting games in the 90s.

What To Expect

This game goes by fast, damage is high and it’s very possible to 2-Touch an opponent with a simple combo > stun > combo sequence. What will help in adding more damage onto the table is that all stages other than the default one have hazards. These can interact during combos, like the fireballs coming up from the ground in the Fire stage will add to a combo instead of break from it. Be quick or be dead in OMF2097, the game is simple to pick up and very easy to explode in. Hazards are fun and all, but it’s not like you need to wait around for the big background spike to show up to Touch of Death someone.

I am unsure if it is still running, but for a while there was a OMF2097 monthly series called WAR is WAR. I salute those dealing with running a tournament over Parsec while trying to get the right cycle speed on a DOS emulator. 

Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure: All Star Battle R

The update to 2013’s original release, JoJo ASBR drastically updates the game with new features, mechanics, and rebalancing. This 3D fighter represents the culmination of all the JoJo parts as opposed to Heritage For The Future which is specific to the series-defining Part 3. Due to this, characters authentically represent their respective series even with how bombastic the world of JoJo abilities can be. Sure, pre-Part 3 characters have no Stands and post-Part 3 characters can change their moveset by summoning them, but then Part 7 characters have mechanics for being on or off their horses or characters will have power-related tie-ins like Akira’s electricity gauge or Ermes’ Kiss stickers.

What To Expect

Assists are a huge part of the game, you can select a second character to solely act as an assist call. This works how one would expect, with the assist being able to help with zoning, mixups, or pressure, but they can also be called to break you out of being comboed. If you see a character flash white and briefly pause time while they sidestep, this is the Stylish defensive move. You can Stylish Evade by hitting an Instant Block timing or manually activate a Stylish Guard which is easier to time but incurs a whiff recovery if nothing hits you.

JoJo ABSR had a bit of a coming out party at CEOtaku 2022. Not only is this a great Top 8 for getting into the game, but a lot of the design and overlays are in reference to JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure

Fighting Vipers 2

With the runaway success of Virtua Fighter, Sega AM2 looked to expand their fighting game catalog. Taking Virtua Fighter 2’s engine, AM2 created somewhat of an opposite styled 3D fighter. While Fighting Vipers may retain the PKG scheme of its older brother, it trades in the grounded martial arts for colorful and bombastic flash. A cast of zany designs and the innovation of walled arenas means Fighting Vipers puts a new spin on a game where you can still feint a high kick by canceling it with Guard.

What To Expect

Those cool designs are not just for show, characters in Fighting Vipers 2 have breakable armor. While there is no chip damage on your health, your armor will take a beating if you block too much and either the top or bottom half can fall off. There are armor breaking attacks as well as ways to break your own armor if you wish, leading to a difference in weight and damage values. And speaking of weight, you will see a green circle around fighters when they tech on either the ground, up in the air, or when slammed against a wall.

FV2 is not the most popular cat in town, so for good tournament footage we have to go all the way back to the late 90s with VHS rips. It is a beautiful testimony to the love people like Zerochan have for their game that footage like this is collected and archived for us to view. 

Windjammers 2

After 28 years, one of the greatest games of the arcade era gets a sequel. The power discs are flying again as Windjammers 2 hit the ground running after years of anticipation, immediately inserting itself in the FGC tournament landscape. With the same Windjammers action we have come to know and love plus a new layer of mechanics, Windjammers 2 has proven to be able to live up to the nearly three decade legacy of the original.

What To Expect

While primarily the same as Windjammers 1, there are some additional systems to be aware of. You get an extra suite of ways to interact with the disc, like jumping to dunk it, slapping it to return volleys in new directions, and a new Super meter system. The most important function of the Super meter is the ability to do a defensive super; which creates an area around the player that will pick up any missed disc. With a more advanced verb set, Windjammers 2 leads to a lot of interesting volleys.

Windjammers 2 is a simple game, which is great because it takes a simple effort to learn it. This article is always long and packed with information so you can now learn the basics of Windjammers 2 in only 3 minutes of your time (with advanced tactics and character breakdowns also on the channel!).

Power Rangers: Battle For The Grid

Tokusatsu and Touch Of Death enthusiasts rejoice. Power Rangers BFTG wears its influences proudly on its sleeve as this 3v3 fighter solidly works within the foundation of Capcom’s Versus series. No surprise to that, as Marvel vs Capcom legends like Clockw0rk, Shady K, and Justin Wong were brought in to help work on the game. Long combos that often lead to a dead character, incoming mixups that lesser mortals stand no chance against, this is a grimey Marvel game through and through.

What To Expect

Combos in BFTG are long processes, but the way they end is the most important thing to look for. If a combo hits one of its many (many) hard limits, the next attack of that type will cause a flipout. Flipout can also be caused universally by hitting someone with 5L during a combo. This is an important ender as the opponent will flash as they flip back to the ground, fully invincible but unable to reversal when they land. This means you can strategically flipout your opponent and then run a mix on them without the fear of a reversal stopping you from your fun.

This combo guide is a couple years old, but the information it has is still worthwhile for understanding how combo limitations in BFTG work. And it’s important to recognize those limits because combos will be a majority of what you see.

Super Smash Bros. Melee Doubles

  • Bracket Start: FRI 7:00pm
  • Stream Time: N/A
  • Channel Link: N/A

Well uh, it’s Doubles again but for a different Smash Bros game. I don’t want to come off as dismissive but I also don’t want to be redundant, the explanation of Doubles seen earlier in this article applies here as well. It is simply the same tournament format but under the rules of how competitive Melee is played. I think it’s okay to make this a quick one.

What To Expect

Much like Ultimate Doubles, Melee Doubles operates on the same idea of creating a more chaotic game state where you have to mitigate both offense and defense. The most relevant differences you will see with Melee Doubles will be an increased amount of movement tech, thanks to Melee having Wavedashing and L-Canceling. Otherwise we don’t need to spend much time here as what we learned previously talking about Ultimate Doubles still lands for Melee Doubles.

I am overjoyed to see two of my favorite Melee players, aMSa and Axe, teaming up together. I will need more coffee to properly keep up with four of the best at what they do navigating Final Destination like this.

Samurai Shodown V Special

The longest lasting competitive entry in the Samurai Shodown series, V Special is an update to the original release. While not bringing in much mechanical overhaul, it instead tweaks the balance and creates a game that has seen constant tournament play ever since. If you are only familiar with the most recent Samurai Shodown, V Special (also known as VSP or 5SP) operates under a different core of systems. It’s still a four button game, but VSP is more like a seven button game disguised as a four button game.

What To Expect

The most apparent difference looking backwards from the-soon-to-be-rollbacked SamSho7 is how VSP’s D button functions; it is a multi-purpose utility button that primarily focuses on movement options such as ducks, rolls, and hops. Forward hopping in VSP is a powerful tool, especially since you can option select it with throw (as some call it “Hoption Select). Rage Explosion and Issen also exist, but under different circumstances. Rage Explosions are pretty much the same, but VSP has a secondary Rage Explosion-styled mechanic called State Of Nothingness. You’ll see a small arrow above your health bar, this denotes your Concentration Gauge, you can make this part of your life bar larger by Meditating away your Rage meter. When on your last round and your health lowered to the point where your Concentration Gauge is, you can pop State Of Nothingness to cause time to slow for your opponent for as long as your Concentration Gauge is. During State Of Nothingness, repeating the input will give you Issen, an advancing attack that does a constant amount of damage for how big your Concentration Gauge was.

There was recently a bit of a hubbub about stalling in Smash Bros. Let me show you what real stalling looks like. Samurai Shodown is a game where any mistake can lead to death, so if you got an advantageous state, just sit on it and win. There is no honor, only winners and losers.

Among Us Arena Ultimate

Fighting games are not immune to the touch of popular culture. Many fighting game characters throughout our history are a reflection of popular figures or people, shaped and molded with their own flavor to be made into virtual combat. So when one of the largest cultural forces from a once-in-a-lifetime historic event (please God no more historic events, I can’t handle much more) breaches across multimedia, what do you do? You make a fighting game about them.

Doctor “Bill” Sc1ence vented, I saw it with my own two eyes, he’s absolutely the Imposter.

What To Expect

Among Us arena really only features one character, but the Imposter’s moveset is highly versatile. What makes each color of Imposter different is that they each have their own air and grounded special, as well as a unique taunt that may or may not be useful. While small, these unique specials can radically alter the playstyle of the basic imposter moveset. Giving the Imposter Potemkin Buster is very different from giving the Imposter a new 15f overhead, so each color’s tool does a lot of work in augmenting the roster.

Prohibido jugar con Rugal my fuckin’ ass, someone wake me up when Rugal’s Genocide Cutter becomes a combo extension tool as well.

Tatsunoko vs Capcom: Ultimate All Stars

Another stellar release from my favorite fighting game developer; Eighting. TvC is the black sheep of Capcom’s Versus series, eschewing the Western appeal of Marvel comics for the Eastern appeal of Tatsunoko anime as well as only coming home to consoles on the Wii. While more of a cult classic, in part thanks to its console exclusivity, TvC has a very dedicated community behind it and is used to showing up in Chicago as TvC is frequently showcased at Frosty Faustings.

What To Expect

This is going to have to be split into to parts:

What To Expect Normally: TvC is a 2-on-2 team game and if you are used to any Marvel game it will look very familiar, just instead of Magneto you will see dudes with visors. The signature mechanic is called Baroque, a Roman Cancel-esque ability that spends your red health for more damage and combo extensions. You also can burst out of combos in this game, which costs two meters and a little bit of health. That said, the health it leaves is red health, so if you have no red health for Baroque, you can burst to get yourself the ability to Baroque again.

What To Expect When A Giant Is On The Screen: Well, PTX-40A to be specific. TvC has two characters designated as Giants. These characters are multiple times larger than normal, are chosen as a single-entry character, and dramatically change how the game plays. They prominently feature armor, making them hard to hit but also very easy to counterpick with characters like Tekkaman who have hit grab attacks that ignore armor. Gold Lightan honestly blows so you won’t see him, but PTX-40A has a chance of showing up.

I cannot overstate how much the Midwest has become a home for TvC. This region has consistently represented the game both as main and side events. This is due in part to Doctor Sc1ence, the longtime dedicated TO for the game who I am running out of creative ways to slander for stacking the bracket at last year’s AIT so I played against him as my first losers match (in reality he did no such thing). 

God of Rock

Coming out of the gates hot, God of Rock is a hybrid rhythm and fighting game that was released just last month. But fresh to the fighting game community it isn’t, as it has been on a promotional tour of events leading up to its launch. God of Rock takes the note-based foundation of a head-to-head rhythm game and introduces the fighting game aspects of special inputs and resource management. Keeping your focus is critical, as you need to stick to the beat while also performing special moves or reversing the opponent’s attacks in what little down time you have. Bouts do not last a Pop Song 2:30, the track will loop and increase in difficulty until one player’s health has been depleted.

What To Expect

For the unfamiliar spectator, it can be very hard to tell where the rhythm game ends and where the fighting game begins. Most of the action on screen looks like a standard competitive rhythm game contest and it mostly is until you look at the gauges. Each character has three Special bars (denoted by their different colors) and 3 yellow EX bars. Successful rhythm play will fill your gauges where you can manually input special moves to shift the tides in your favor. The large circle that pulses to the beat is the give away on who is doing what, as it will show by size and by color who is attacking and what level special that is. Players with laserlike focus can use this as an indication of an attack coming and input a higher leveled Special to reverse it, but doing so is easier said than done. Next to each player’s Special meter is a small area were directional inputs are logged, so if you see action there then someone is buffering in a Special.

Earlier this year at Frosty Fasutings we had a God of Rock tournament which gives us multiple matches to comb through including a Top 8 that had two Michigan players in Top 3. Detroit the home of Techno, don’t you ever forget we got the movement in us. 

Rivals Of Aether

There have been many attempts to bolster the Platform Fighter genre with new games, but rarely do they make a dent next to the monolithic Super Smash Bros. However, of all games following in the footsteps, Rivals Of Aether has been the most successful in both crafting its own identity and finding tournament footing at Smash events. The Rivals series has gone on to become it’s own successful franchise, seeing comic book spinoffs and additional games in different genres released over the past couple years. It’s bright pixel presentation and refreshing competitive QoL changes have kept Rivals of Aether popular for years.

What To Expect

If you are familiar with competitive Smash Bros, then most of what Rivals offers on screen will be easy enough to follow. There is one large change that Rivals has that sets it apart from the rest of the genre and it’s how it handles defense. There is no blocking or shielding in this game, instead your only defensive tool is a parry function that will show a large black outline around the character when activated. If hit during this window, the opponent will be briefly stunned and open for a punish. It is worth noting that this is not applied across all attacks universally. Some attacks, mainly jabs, are safe when parried, making for a check offense that doesn’t lose to the big defensive verb in town.

Linked above is a full playlist from Hitfall 2023, which wrapped just a couple months ago. Hitfall is a Rivals-specific tournament out of Maryland, a testament to the fact that this game is not just living under Smash Bros’s shadow but has carved its own place and identity in the Platform Fighter genre.

Asuka 120% LimitOver

One of the flagship series in Bishoujo fighting games, Asuka 120% makes its debut appearance at Combo Breaker…well at least outside of Mystery Game. This long-running series has multiple releases, with LimitOver being what is most popularly played. However, other releases like Final, Special Ver. 2, and even Return have seen tournaments in Japan. And it is with no surprise that so many releases still see action, Asuka 120% is one of the most foundational anime fighters ever made. This series laid the groundwork for some of the popular anime fighters today, like Guilty Gear and Melty Blood. It is an honor to see Asuka 120% get its flowers at All In Together.

What To Expect

The 120% part of its name has a meaning; your super bar can fill up past 100% and into 120%. When your meter hits 120% you get access to infinite meter for an amount of time as it decreases back to zero. However, if there is one thing Asuka 120% is famous for, it’s the invention of Clash. When two attacks’ hitboxes collide they will Clash and each player will be able to cancel into a new action, be that another attack or movement. This, combined with the emphasis on strong and controllable air movement, makes Asuka 120% the blueprint for speedy, airdasher anime games. It all started with this series and if you have any familiarity with popular anime games you should be able to see what makes Asuka 120% so special.

Without a doubt the cornerstone of Asuka 120% in English speaking communities is SailorVick. They’re channel features weeklies they host, exhibitions, official restreams of Japanese events, and larger tournaments like what we have linked above. This is Asuka 120% LimitOver’s most recent showing at VGOn 2023.

Tough Love Arena

A newer entry to the simple and beginner-friendly side of fighting games, Tough Love Arena is a release that is not only accessible mechanically, but accessible physically. Created to be played in a browser, TLA is only ever one URL away from being played and is available for the low, low cost of $free. With competition in mind, Tough Love Arena also has a Steam version so it can be played offline at events much like the one you are reading about right now! (hooray!). While simple in execution, this game features the fun of combo juggles and modern functionality like frame data and hitboxes, making it well served for more than a quick curiosity. Between the online pick-up-and-play ability and the bright pop aesthetic artstyle, Tough Love Arena has all the makings of a great fighting game. And with it only being in Beta, its future looks bright.

What To Expect

Tough Love Arena does not feature jumping, but it does feature jumping attacks. You will see characters launch themselves across neutral, much like one would normally for a jump-in, but these are in fact one of each character’s special moves. TLA also features a suite of industry-standard mechanics utilizing its meter resource. Pushblock, Burst, and Rapid Cancels are all in the game and are signaled by different styles of heart surrounding the character when activated.

No video this time, because there’s not a whole lot of times I can literally link you the game right now. That’s it, that’s the link. That is all you need to start playing Tough Love Arena. Hop on it.

Marvel vs. Capcom 2

It’s almost impossible to introduce MvC2, truly it stands as one of the most iconic fighting games ever made and has a rich competitive history that is still felt to this day. The game made legends out of players like Justin Wong, Clockw0rk, IFC Yipes, Sanford, and numerous others in its historic ten year competitive run. This manic 3v3 fighter was the crown jewel of the expansive Versus series, featuring an overwhelmingly large roster, an assortment of busted tech, and one of the best OSTs in all of the genre (I’m sorry, I am a custom OST hater). While Street Fighter will likely always represent the idea of fighting games, Marvel vs Capcom 2 should represent the idea of the fighting game community.

What To Expect: 

For how iconic MvC2 is, it’s quite hard to describe in an all-encompassing manner as there are many different playstyles depending on team composition. Typically what you will see is two strong characters (Magneto, Storm, Sentinel, Iron Man, Cable) and a significantly less good character who has an invaluable assist (Cyclops, Psylocke, Captain Commando). Protecting/sniping the assist character becomes a priority as properly breaking a full team can drastically change the momentum of the match.

In 2011 I stayed late at work one night, using my office computer to stream the event of the lifetime to make sure I didn’t miss anything on the commute home. Clockw0rk and GoldenBoyNeo were having a high stakes FT15 money match to send off MvC2, as MvC3 was soon releasing. What took place is one of the greatest sets in all of FGC history, not only because of how good the play was, but by the rawness of the then-burgeoning streaming technology. The audio felt like it was constantly redlining, the commentators screaming their lungs out, and the audience blowing the roof off the ballroom with every hype comeback. It’s hard to request you spend an hour and a half of your day watching something, but if you’ve never seen it before you owe it to yourself to watch it.

Bloody Roar Extreme

I don’t condone drug use but I will say that whatever was passed around the 8ing offices has done wonders for their creative staff. There are many reasons to be a fan of this company’s fighting games, be it their touch on the Versus series, their top-of-the-line licensed kusoge fighters, or even the series that was their flagship for the company’s early years; Bloody Roar. One of the faster and more jump-friendly 3D fighters of its time, the Bloody Roar series is a manic, combo-heavy expression of the genre that has been dormant way too long. Even if 8ing never comes back to this franchise, we at least have releases like Extreme to keep us playing.

What To Expect

The name of the game is Beast Form. Each character can transform into their given Beast once their meter fills up to at least 50%. Beast form unlocks various benefits, more attacks, the ability to super, various offensive/defensive buffs, and the transformation of which can be done manually or during certain attack strings. What sets Extreme apart is the Hyperbeast, a Beast transformation that ignores the amount of meter you have and instead takes from your life bar. Not only can this be used like a burst and allow you to escape combos, but Hyperbeast form tacks on even more benefits. Each character will get a couple extra special buffs in Hyperbeast, like forced counter hit, life steal, super armor, forced special cancel states, ignoring the opponent’s defense modifier, all sorts of goodies. There’s also just a lot of colors going on, the most likely one’s to look for are green circles in the air to denote Air Teching and green lighting to denote Guard Attacks, moves with upper body armor.

This is actually Bloody Roar Extreme’s AIT debut, as last year they were one of the main games at Combo Breaker. CB frequently chooses retro games to showcase with main event status (this year it’s Primal Rage!) so us oldheads appreciate seeing our poverty elevated with such regard.

Pokken Tournament DX

Some games are 2D, some are 3D, some are even 2.5D, Pokken is the first game I can think of that is both 2D AND 3D. That’s right, Pokken has to be both because the game is in a constant flux of switching between a 3D arena fighter and a standard 2D fighter. Certain attacks or actions will swing the game back and forth, leading to different paces of play as the 3D phase is more focused on ranged attacks and the 2D phase is where the larger damage combos can be found. This is honestly only scratching the surface of explaining the game to a first time viewer, I’ve got a lot on my hands.

What To Expect

So Pokken deals with attacking via a Triangle System: Normal Attacks, Counter Attacks, and Grab Attacks, each of which beat one and lose to the other. The majority of attacks will be Normal Attacks, so thankfully the rarity Counter Attacks and Grab Attacks will have a color coding flash of Blue and Green respectively. There is so much more going on, but let’s at least start there.

Bursts, Assists, EIGHT WHOLE HEIGHT LEVELS, Pokken is a game that operates like nothing else. And because of that, it can be really hard to grasp how the game operates. It’s in your best interest to check the most recent Frosty Faustings tournament so you don’t get blindsided.

Super Dragon Ball Z

You didn’t read that wrong, this is a different DBZ game from FighterZ. Released in 2005 for arcades and expanded with some new characters and mechanics in 2006 for Ps2, this is a more traditional 2D fighter in the sense that you have motion inputs for specials and some dial-a-combo strings for attacks. With dedicated communities in both Japan and America, don’t be surprised if you see people crowded around a different Dragon Ball Z fighter than what you were expecting.

What To Expect

The most defining aspect of SDBZ happens on the character select screen, the Skill system. Each character has a Skill Tree of Skills that can be unlocked and rearranged for your character loadout. This can be special attacks you perform in battle or passive buffs that upgrade your stats or bestow additional mechanical benefits. With this aspect of the game being heavily personalized, SDBZ TO gpbear4 will be able to assist with getting loadouts for the game taken care of.

Gpbear4 is an incredibly good mascot for Super Dragon Ball Z in America and I would like to publicly apologize for being so busy at Combo Breaker 2022 that I couldn’t run casuals with them. Here’s some nasty combos from Japanese SDBZ promoter Whitefreeza.

Street Fighter x Tekken

In 2010, it was announced that two of the most recognizable faces in the fighting game genre were teaming up; Street Fighter and Tekken were not only making a crossover fighter but they were making TWO crossover fighters. The first of them was made by Capcom, called Street Fighter x Tekken, took much of the Tekken cast and put them in a 2D Street Fighter styled game. There was supposed to be a flip and reverse to this, as Bandai Namco was to make Tekken x Street Fighter where the Street Fighter cast would have to learn how to sidestep in 3D but that ended up not happening. Getting back to real life, this 2v2 tag fighter is one of the more juggle-heavy games to feature Street Fighter in the title, with the action being predicated on constant tagging in and out between your team as only one character needs to be KO’d for the round to end.

What To Expect

Let’s talk about Gems. Originally a mechanic where you select a combination of three Gems that offer the benefits you would want the most while playing, seeing how the number of possible Gems is immense this is obviously unwieldy for competitive play and instead competitors pick from the default offered sets. Each Gem has an activation condition for its effect, such as getting 20% more Cross Gauge meter gain rate when your attack is blocked 4 times or getting 20% more damage when you tech a throw. These Gem activations all have time limits (usually 10 sec – 20 sec) and you can see them be activated by a swirling gemstone animation around the character followed by them having a colored outline for the duration of the effect.

Psychoblue is the champion of continued SFxT support and hosts multiple online events for the game as well as assisting in competitive information as he (alongside contributions from other players) has put out the massive 203-page Complete Dossier 5th Edition. This gargantuan work goes over every character in the game, briefly describing their strengths and weaknesses, while also giving combos and frame data.

Soulcalibur VI

The soul still burns and with Frosty Faustings routinely happening during brutal winter chills we could probably use that extra heat. The most recent release in the 3D weapon fighter series, it eschews some of the more radical design changes made in Soulcalibur V (SCV can be hit or miss and I absolutely find it a hit) while introducing its own radical design changes. While much has been said about the Rock-Paper-Scissors stylings of Reversal Edge, I think the far more interesting mechanic is Lethal Hits.

What To Expect

Lethal Hits are a series of unique interactions that grant you a combo opportunity when successfully hit, kind of like an even more specific counter hit. For example, Nightmare’s While Standing B becomes Lethal Hit on counter hit, giving him a combo extension WS B wouldn’t otherwise have. But these are not exclusive to just some hand-picked counter hits. Groh’s 22/88B Lethal Hits on whiff punish and Kilik’s Monument A Lethal Hits after successfully Guard Impacting an opponent. There are many different variables that lead to Lethal Hits across the cast, meaning that it is important to study what LHs your character can capitalize on, but also what LHs an opponent’s character may be looking for as well.

With Frosty Faustings 2023 wrapping, we have a very recent look into the competitive landscape of Soulcalibur VI. While its status as a main game wavers from event to event, Soulcalibur still has the legacy and respect of a flagship 3D fighter. Hopefully Bamco can continue supporting the series [cough] rollback [cough].

Naruto: Super Clash of Ninja 4

With as monumentally popular a property Naruto is, you would expect there might be some Naruto fighting games out there. There are actually multiple series out there for the IP, but one in particular has gained a level of tournament popularity; the Clash of Ninja series for Gamecube. The secret to its success is no secret at all if you scan the back of the box; this was made by Eighting, kings of under-appreciated and licensed fighting games. Super Naruto Clash of Ninja 4 is actually a fan mod of Naruto: Gekitō Ninja Taisen! 4, a Japanese exclusive, and comes with new additions and balance tweaks to make for a more tournament viable fighting game.

What To Expect

While in the middle of combos, you may see the attacker reset themselves with a small white effect around them. This is called Y-Canceling, a Roman Cancel-esque technique that costs 25% meter to perform and allows the attacker to continue the length of the combo. If you spend 75% of your meter while in a combo you can substitution jutsu out, but this is not a free punish on your opponent as attacks and strings may still hit someone after substituting. With how fast meter can be built in this game, do not be surprised to see multiple Y-Cancels in one combo or lots of substitutions in one match.

Last year we talked about GNT4 and showed of the then-new YT page for the game. In the year since there has been a large amount of additional content added, including tournament footage, match breakdowns, and guides such as this one.

TMNT x Justice League Turbo

A spiritual successor to TMNT Tournament Fighters for SNES and Justice League Task Force for the Genesis, TMNT x JL Turbo is an independent work made in I.K.E.M.E.N. GO (A engine similar to and able to work with M.U.G.E.N.) that has far surpassed what any other fan work has been able to complete. Not only is the game just incredibly good, but it has featured collaborations from the original works, such as pixel artist Yoshiki Akasaka or old-school illustrators Tom duBois, Mick McGinty, and Jim Lawson creating a collaborative illustration for the game. The amount of love and detail that has gone into TMNT x JL Turbo is astonishing and the end result is an unbelievably solid game styled after the 16bit classic fighters of the past.

What To Expect

There is a system at play called Omega Factor. The little Ω marker next to the life bar keeps track of how much Omega Factor you have. Omega Factor is gained by either getting the first hit of the round or not being hit for four in-game seconds. When you have Omega Factor (up to three levels can be stocked) you can expend it to perform Omega Specials, which are an incredibly important tool because Omega Specials do not count towards a combo’s juggle limit. Proper use of Omega Factor can allow for combo extensions far beyond what is normally allowed and because Omega Factor is its own resource, you can still have your Super Attack armed and at the ready to be used as well.

There is a lot I wanted to put here. The Phil Nolan documentary about TMNTxJL Turbo being the runner up, but it’s worth promoting for anyone new that TMNTxJL Turbo was actually a main game at last year’s Combo Breaker. While the All In Together series has done wonders for the smaller communities in our scene, the occasional retro game gets bumped to main event status each year and TMNTxJL Turbo was a perfect choice for the 2022 event.

Dengeki Bunko: Fighting Climax Ignition

While developer French Bread is mostly known for their Melty Blood and Under Night series, they did work with Japanese publisher Dengeki Bunko on this crossover fighting game series. Featuring characters from popular works like Sword Art Online, Toradora, A Certain Magical Index, and even a guest appearance of Akira Yuki from Virtua Fighter, DFCI has a wide array of both fan favorites as playable characters, but also as assists to call mid-battle. While lacking a proper air dash, DFCI’s pace and style is not far from what fans of French Bread have come to expect.

What To Expect

DFCI is a 2v2 game, but in the “Main Character and Assist” genre of 2v2 fighters. As such, picking an assist is a very important part of building your gameplan, including a secondary assist that powers up your chosen Blast. Speaking of, the most prevalent system mechanic you will see is the Blast system; a series of bursts that all have different utility. Power Blast, activated in neutral, gives you meter, a health buff, and a damage buff. Combo Blast, activated when an attack hits, blows the opponent back and locks their burst for the next attack or can be used to make an attack safe. And finally Escape Blast, activated while in hitstun or blockstun, allows you to escape a combo but is significantly more punishable, like a traditional burst.

Tech Chasers put out a wonderful guide for learning all about DFCI’s mechanics, like how pushblock does not cost meter for the player who is down on life. Understanding the multiple bursts and the Trump resources will go a long way in parsing the action on screen.

5 Force Fighters

One of the big indie fighting games gaining steam right now, 5 Force Fighters is a still-developing fighter with an emphasis on fast-paced movement and just plain wicked looking combo structure. The hand-drawn style and diverse cast immediately make it jump off the page as something different and exciting in the genre. We’ve been seeing sneak peaks here and there, but with a tournament build being brought to Combo Breaker, we are going to get our best view yet of this exciting new game.

What To Expect

Well this is kinda hard to say with any certainty, because 5FF isn’t out yet. In fact there isn’t a playable demo for people to brush up on before the tournament as far as I’ve seen. From what I can tell by past footage (which is all subject to change by the time we get to the tournament build), the main form of combo extension is spending your Force meter to perform additional moves, most of which look to have additional movement associated with them. This differs from your FFS meter, which looks to handle universal techniques like Roman cancels (Freedom Cancel).

Editor’s Note: I have played this game, it’s sort of a mash up of Super Smash Bros. controls and airdasher sensibilities with a heavy emphasis on wall bounce and holding down buttons for charge attacks.

Yeah bro, I’ll just be honest. These combos look dope. I’m an anime player and I am not immune to stylish combo propaganda. The flow and movement brought about by (what I assume) is the charged and Force moves looks frantic in the best ways.

Marvel vs. Capcom: Infinite

The first 2v2 game in the official Versus series since Tatsunoko vs Capcom, Marvel vs Capcom Infinite changes the systems from previous 2v2 games to make for a much more freeform and fluid game. Action rages on like a fast-matched tag team bout, as Infinite matches frequently see characters trade screen time to execute combo extensions, pressure strings, mixups, or make your mistakes less punishable. Complemented by a selection of skills that happen alongside your team composition, Marvel vs Capcom Infinite is a sandbox of interesting playstyles, partners, and synergises.

What To Expect

MvCI does not have traditional assists like in other Versus releases, you instead tag between characters when calling assists. Your point character has to finish up their current action before leaving, so this allows you to perform something like a lockdown attack, call your assist, and run your mix or pressure. A critical part of gameplay is what Infinity Stone is chosen with your team. Each of the six stones have a standard function (attack that wallbounces, homing projectile, command dash, etc) and a extremely powerful super function (revive a dead character, trap your opponent in a box prison, custom combo ability, etc)

I_C_U_Hater and Ralson Arcade have been putting on some of the best and most consistent MvCI events. Community support for this game has rarely faltered thanks to the support of players like them.

Nickelodeon All-Star Brawl

One of the fresh faces to the ever-expanding Platform Fighter genre, Nickelodeon All-Star Brawl is actually the 7th game in its series but the first to ever make it to consoles. Nickelodeon’s website has hosted multiple browser-based fighting games in the Brawl series alongside a Brawl release for the mobile, with Super Brawl 3 garnering millions of plays and winning a Webby award for Best Web Game that year. So All-Star Brawl isn’t exactly coming out of nowhere, this series has seen a surprising amount of popularity over the past decade plus.

What To Expect

Movement is not likely radically different from your standard Smash Bros inspired Platform Fighter, but there are some fun quirks. Instead of just an evasive move in the air, NASB gives you full on airdashes. However these are not purely horizontal movements, you can airdash downwards and doing so gives you different abilities. Airdashes are standardized, you have to wait 15 frames before you can perform an action out of them. But downward airdashes do not have this restriction, allowing you to act during the 15 frames. Between this and the speed of downward airdashes you can do more than just wavedash, like fast fall during combos to extend them by quickly getting to the platform and jumping again.

NASB had somewhat of a rocky start on release, but the game has seen updates and improvements as it carries forth. One of the big ones being the addition of character voices. While it’s not going to topple Smash anytime soon, and let’s be honest that’s just not a realistic goal to put on any game, NASB has continued shaping up to be a tournament mainstay for Platform Fighters. High quality diversity to the genre can only help the community at large.

Punch Planet

I’ve used the term “doujin” a lot across all these articles, it’s a Japanese term to describe independent releases, usually from a fandom. This is not a term specific to games as it can be applied to music, manga, etc, but we see it a lot with fan-made fighting games of established Japanese works. But not all of our indie fighters come from Japan, Punch Planet is an indie fighter from 3-person North American developers Sector-K. This sci-fi Street Fighter styled release is still under development, but has been building a name for itself with constant tournament appearances. There is a slick cyber-noir pulp design aesthetic that makes the game look ridiculously fluid in the moment-to-moment action. While still in Early Access, Punch Planet has been available to the masses long enough to establish itself among the indie fighters and the FGC.

What To Expect

Punch Planet’s primary mechanic is Time Cancel and its various permutations. Double Time Cancel operates like a Focus Attack Dash Cancel, allowing you to combo or keep yourself safe after an attack connects. What’s interesting about DTC is that the input is your attack twice, so outside of Light attacks (which cannot be DTC’d) DTC also acts as a bit of an anti-mash tool. If you double-tap your commands you will spend meter DTC’ing, you have to keep the execution clean. Absorb Time Cancel operates like 3rd Strike parry, negating the hitstun of an attack that strikes it. Finally, Jump Time Cancel is a universal overhead that can be held to become an empty jump instead. It may be difficult to tell which is which as a spectator, as they all feature the same teal after image, but understanding their functions goes a long way in helping.

As mentioned above, Punch Planet is an Early Access game and subject to changes. So while this Top 4 is a good look at Punch Planet in action, due note there have been balance changes since then. 

Mortal Kombat X

I don’t think there has been a bigger success story in riding the post-Street Fighter 4 wave than the reemergence of the Mortal Kombat series. Netherrealm Studios struck gold when making Mortal Kombat 9 and proved it wasn’t a fluke when they created the DC superhero fighting game series Injustice afterwards. Mortal Kombat X came next and walked in the path of what worked with those two games while remixing some older Mortal Kombat ideas with newer ones. What came out the other side is a blisteringly aggressive game where both neutral and reversal situations can become explosive with only a bar of meter needed. There are few things more magical than seeing a game in a long running series continue to be played after its time “on top” so to speak has ended. MKX won’t be going anywhere, it’s here to stay.

What To Expect

Armor is the name of the game. Many specials can be upgraded by spending a bar of meter and gaining a hit of armor. While obviously applicable for reversals, this also creates a volatile neutral as you or your opponent can rip through an attack if they have armor and declare the neutral state is over, thank you. What also ties in to making this game so aggressive is the return of Sprinting. Much like how you could run back in classic favorite Ultimate Mortal Kombat 3, you can once again hoof it across the stage (as long as you have enough Stamina meter), making for more opportunities to punish, pressure, or convert combos.

Ideally I would post something more recent, but in honor of Kevin McCarthy going 0-14 before finally being voted in as Speaker of the House we should rewind to one of the classics. The iconic 0-13 FT10 between SonicFox and PerfectLegend.

Ultra Street Fighter IV

The final installation of the game that kicked off the second Golden Age. Street Fighter IV’s importance upon the genre cannot be overstated as it was the dominant force in fighting games for years after its release and brought new light into the competitive community. Ultra Street Fighter IV, the last revision of the game, caps off a run of tournaments and top 8s so legendary that few games will ever be able to compete. With over 40 characters, each of which have two Ultra attacks to choose from, USF4 is a highly entertaining end to an era that still gets revisited to this day.

What To Expect

The core mechanic to USF4 is the Focus Attack, this chargeable state can absorb an attack and becomes unblockable when fully charged. However it has another, meter costing, form as well, a Red Focus Attack has endless armor meaning you can absorb even the largest of attack strings. These both can be used in combo structure as FADC’s (Focus Attack Dash Cancels), where you cancel an attack into a Focus Attack, then dash cancel the Focus Attack to continue your combo. A normal FADC costs 2 meter but usually ends with a powerful Ultra cash out combo and a Red FADC costs 3 meter but forces a crumble state on the opponent, allowing for different combo routes.

With such a long tournament history at the top, you could throw a dart and find a good video to show. So let’s put on this grand final between two of the best to ever play, Momochi and Daigo Umehara, for old times sake. Oh god, 2015 was ages ago, we getting old.


For a good while, Super Smash Bros Brawl was seen as a bit of a black sheep in the series. Many fans, both casual and competitive, were unsatisfied with some of the changes made in the game and it lived deep in the shadow of being the follow-up to Melee. Over time, tournament mods were made to change Brawl into a better competitive game and Project M was the flagship among their peers. While Project M created its own popular tournament scene, its last update was in 2015. Project+ is an update built off of Project M (and also Project M 3.6 mod Legacy T.E.) to take that experience and refine it. New UI and designs, bug fixes for 3.6’s errors, further balancing changes, and even a brand new character in the form of Knuckles. I’m sure in a Discord somewhere a war is being waged on if this or +R should be the rightful heir of the nickname “Plussy”.

What To Expect

At a large scale, Project+ is made to more resemble Melee. Removal of random tripping, reintroduction of L-Canceling, increased fall speeds, air dodging returns to allow wavedashing to exist, but these are primarily changes steeping from Project M. Project+ specifically is more of a tune-up with minor changes like new animation on Toon Links Down Air or new specials for characters like Kirby or DK. These changes are minor in the grand scheme of a spectator experience, so overall expect to see Brawl at a pace more befitting Melee’s competitive mark on the genre.

The trailer for Project+ makes me so happy. During Project M’s run the release trailers were some of the highest quality videos in any fighting game ever. Special shoutouts to the Project M 3.0 trailer, it’s one of the best I’ve ever seen. The Project+ release trailer not only captures the style that made past Project M trailers so exciting, but also clears the highest bar in showing some of the changes it brings to the table. I could only dream of a world where every fighting game gets a treatment like this when they are updated.

Touhou 12.3 Hisotensoku

If you know any Touhou fighting game, chances are it’s Immaterial and Missing Power. Created in partnership with Twilight Frontier, the creators of Eternal Fighter Zero, it was the first but not the only Touhou fighting game they made together. The 12.3rd Touhou game, Hisoutensoku, is the 3rd fighting game made in the series and still holds a lot of the Shoot Em Up influences from the mainline bullet hell Touhou game, repackaged into fighting game interactions. Unlike games that are Shoot Em Ups first and Fighting Games second (like Senko no Ronde or Maiden & Spell), Hisoutensoku is a fighting game first and foremost and builds out from there with its Shoot Em up lineage.

What To Expect

Lots and lots of bullets. Hisoutensoku characters have ways to pump out ordinarily-obnoxious projectiles in a variety of patterns, but there is an easy way around them. Like in Shumps, you can “graze” through bullets by dashing, meaning that zoning is less of a lockdown of projectiles and more of a movement test for your opponent to pass if they want to get in. A vital mechanic you will see on occasion at the top of the screen is the changing of the weather. Weather states grant different effects to both characters equally. Sometimes these weather effects are minor, like Spellcard damage increased by 25% or all attacks getting 50% lifesteal, but some weather effects radically change the game, like both characters getting super armor and losing the ability to block. Weather changes every so often so the shape of the match can be dynamically changed depending on what weather effect is active.

Hisoutensoku has an impressive run of tournament appearances in the past couple years, showing up at AnimEvo/Vortex Gallery, Quarantined Rapport, previous Combo Breakers, and most recently Frosty Faustings 2023. There is lots of tournament footage available to get you prepared for its return to FF’s official side events. Between the almost Arcana Heart-styled movement, the projectiles, and the weather changes, there is a lot to take in at first blush.

Lethal League Blaze

Lethal League has a very long history with Combo Breaker by way of its predecessor; the Ultimate Fighting Game Tournament series. Way back, at UFGT9, the original Lethal League debuted as the grand finals game in that year’s Mystery Tournament to a chorus of hype, excitement, and the author of this article embarrassingly losing a side bet in full view of the stream camera. Lethal League Blaze is the overhaul sequel to the original, featuring a lovingly-rendered Jet Set Radio vibe and deep competitive play. There is so much more to this game than merely a case of cocaine Pong, LLB has a nuanced set of mechanics that makes for a fighting game unlike anything else.

The editor is embedding this because it’s really funny and you should watch it.

What To Expect

The faster the ball is traveling, the longer a character will be in hitstop when they go to strike it. Frequently, you will see a blue and white spiral around the ball before it is launched, this is a Parry. Because high speed balls have such long hitstop, the opponent can easily position themselves to immediately hit the ball as soon as your hitstop ends. Parrys will deflect and stun the opponent if they go for this, however there is counter-play involved to beat parrys. If you sniff out that your opponent is going to end their hit with a parry, you can reverse it on them by grabbing the parry, almost similar to grabbing a Burst in Guilty Gear. However if your hard read goes wrong and you attempt to grab them when they haven’t parried, you get put in a similar parry stun for your mistake. This push and pull keeps high-speed ball volleys from happening and instead returns the game to a effort of mixups and neutral.

This brief character rundown can help bring you up to speed on what each member of the cast does in Lethal League Blaze. While obviously differentiated by their special moves, the roster features a variety of shooting angles, speeds, and weights that play into how each character operates. 


This year’s All In Together is another massive showcase of the communal love we have for fighting games. This year’s selection adds new faces alongside reliable foundations to create what is honestly my favorite part of Combo Breaker; an event within the event itself. The range of what is possible to play in bracket is staggering, we have games that released months ago, we have games that released before many attendees were born.

The scope of this genre is ceaseless, if there is head to head competition involved then we are drawn to find a way to play it against others. Fighting games are a language and there are so many different ways to speak it, the beauty of that is with each new tongue we learn we can gain a greater appreciation of the culture and love of those around us.

This year, play something new. Play something you’ve never heard of. Play something that looks neat from afar. Play something that confuses you. Keep your eyes open as the weekend goes on and observe all the forms of love on display. It doesn’t take much to feel that, you just have to play something.