I know, I’ve been talking a lot about Strive lately, but this patch has been excellent and I’m thoroughly enjoying my time. I’ve been going deep on how the changes have impacted Guilty Gear Strive, along with reactions from top players.

There’s a lot to cover, so we’ll jump right into it.

Winner: May

May has gone from “pretty big menace” to “absolute demon”. Her fast dolphin is much safer now, being -2 on block and 0 on hit. Her Beach ball now has a way bigger hitbox on impact, making it extremely effective on oki and in neutral, almost forcing many characters to get out of the way now. Her air movement also got buffed, meaning her air conversions are easier. Lastly, the system changes make her a little bit extra tanky, always welcome.

Winner: Giovanna

Gio has always been a force to be reckoned with, but she was particularly favored in Japan, with YT being considered one of the best players in the world. Gio got so much quality of life to her moveset, with her 2H vacuuming inward, and her 214S now popping the opponent in the air. It’s an incredible combo route that ups her damage significantly, while also giving her actual left-right mixup options on a hard knockdown. Just when I thought she didn’t need any more damage, they went on ahead and gave it to her.

Loser: Goldlewis Dickinson

Welp, it was fun while it lasted.

(no it wasn’t)

Thunderbird was nerfed. It now disappears if he gets hit. In all fairness, Thunderbird wasn’t really healthy in its previous state, as it didn’t disappear if you bursted. You actually got punished if you Yellow Roman Cancel. As unhealthy as it was, it needed to happen, even if it completely gutted his neutral in the midgame. The compensation for him was a better j.HS and a much better Burn it Down, but it isn’t enough. He isn’t bad by any means; he’ll still make you explode if you get hit with any typhoon. He just isn’t as oppressive as he used to be.

Winner: Happy Chaos

Public Enemy Number One is still at large.

Happy Chaos is basically the same, and is definitely considered the best character in the game now. He has the same universal change to moves which move you backwards, but it barely means anything in the context of his archetype and what his gameplan is. You’d need to use Scapegoat and/or Curse something like four times for it to even start mattering. He only ever needs to use one of them once, or twice in a normal situation. The only “nerf” he got was they took away the easy mode wall slump combo, but by the time of this writing, I’d bet another one will be found just as quickly. 

It is what it is.

Loser: Nagoriyuki

Nago got hit pretty hard.

First off, he’s way more squishy. His defense modifier now changes the more blood he has in his blood gauge. At Level 2 blood, he is very noticeably getting hit harder, and in Blood Rage, he will almost always die in a single combo. This is a massive change in and of itself. Many characters that don’t do a lot of damage, who also struggle against him in neutral, can now win a round if the Nago player mismanages at any point. Additionally, the hyper-aggressive Nago players now have to strongly consider how “all in” they want to play.

His other changes were quite significant as well. 2S has much more recovery, and 5H’s lower hitbox is basically gone. This allows low profiles to actually work against it. He feels like much more of an “all or nothing” archetype and I’m very happy with the direction they took for him.

Winner: Bridget

Bridget was a pretty decent character before the patch, but now she seems poised for a position among the higher ups. The universal 6P change made her previously mediocre one much better, for starters. 236/214S is super buffed now, being faster, more damaging, and having better proximity detection. This means it’ll be more reliable in actually hitting the opponent. Her command normals were made bigger across the board. 236KP now tumbles, which allows for proper combo enders. 632146HS now has more hits, but the frame data has stayed the same, meaning she can now combo after it. Lastly, and this may not seem like a big deal; her 2P now goes lower, meaning she can actually poke and counterpoke more reliably. All of these changes make her so much more reliable and consistent, and solve many of the issues she’s had in the past.

There are so many changes in this patch, and it would take forever to cover them all. The aforementioned characters have been impacted a lot, but the entire cast has been affected in some way, shape or form. The meta will be drastically shaken up, even if the actual tiers may or may not change much. Matchups will be played differently, new interactions, combos, and pressure will be made. Tournaments may even see some new blood in the playoff brackets. I’m very excited to be playing this patch, and will be looking forward to how the rest of this season develops and plays out.

Anthony Lowry (they/he) is a seasoned TCG, MMORPG, and FPS veteran. They are extensively knowledgeable on the intricacies of many competitive outlets, and are always looking for a new challenge in the gaming sphere.

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