Arcana Heart 3/AH3LMSS/Defense
Blocking in Arcana Heart is the same as in most 2D fighting game series, such as Street Fighter, Marvel vs Capcom, Guilty Gear, BlazBlue, etc. If you're familiar with these kinds of games, you can skip this section.
Overheads: A handful of moves on the ground are "overheads": they must be blocked high (). If you see an animation of a punch, kick, or stick hitting your character's head from above, and you fail to block it by holding , then it was probably an overhead: next time you see it, block high!
Cross-ups: If your opponent crosses over your head or under your feet, forward becomes backward and vice-versa. This means you have to hold the opposite direction in order to continue blocking.
Advanced info: if your opponent is in the corner, you can always cross them up by jumping or flying over their head into the corner. Note that if you are directly above the opponent, they can block either left or right (cross-up protection). As a result, some "cross-up" setups can actually be blocked both ways. Also, if your opponent is stuck in blockstun, e.g. in the middle of a giant laser, they cannot be crossed-up until they leave blockstun (more cross-up protection).
In Arcana Heart, like in most other 2D fighting games, you cannot block during the start-up of a jump (aka "pre-jump frames"). However, a unique feature of Arcana Heart is that you can block during the start-up of a super-jump!. To do this, input a super-jump (e.g. 28) then quickly hold back or down-back. If you do it correctly, you'll see a pressure-wave effect at your character's feet, indicating a super-jump has started, yet you'll still be able to block on the ground.
Note that if you're crouch-blocking, you have to first return the stick to neutral before inputting the superjump, i.e. your motion becomes 417 or 417.
A simple way to test this is to go into training mode vs Plant Scharlachrot and record the training dummy doing 5C 236E (Plant Vine). Playback the recording, block the 5C, and attempt to super-jump block. If done correctly, you'll see the visual effect mentioned above and you'll block the plant vine.
Why use this?
It's an "option-select". Example: you're waking up and you're not sure if your opponent will try to throw you, hit you low, or just block in anticipation of a reversal or EF Blast. By inputting super-jump block on wake-up (27), you will get the best possible result in all 3 of these cases:
- If your opponent tries to throw you, their throw will whiff because you're in super-jump start-up. You'll jump away safely.
- If they try to hit you low, you'll block it during super-jump start-up.
- If they do nothing, you'll jump away safely.
In addition, it's the only way to block after a clash on the ground. Super-jump block the safest option after a clash on the ground.
Can I Double-Jump Block In Midair?
Yes! In fact, it's the only way to block after a clash in the air. This means if you air clash and have no double-jump left, you cannot block and must choose a different option such as jA, 4D, or an invul special/super.
How Do I Counter My Opponent's Super-Jump Block?
There are a few ways to hit someone using super-jump block predictably. For example, on their wake-up:
- Mix them up high-low or left-right. They can't super-jump block if they don't know which direction to hold to block! In particular, most people who do this have muscle memory where they always block low after super-jumping, meaning overheads are more likely to hit them.
- Call them out with a delayed air-unblockable attack. You just have to delay the attack long enough for them to get off the ground (7f).
- Call them out with an air throw. Throw them after they jump.
- Mix them up in mid-air. Even if they're jumping back in the corner, you can still cross them up.
If they're trying to super-jump block during your pressure strings, try hitting them with lows. Try to catch them during the "up" part of the super-jump block input. E.g. Scharlachrot can do 5C EFC 2C.
Almost every character has 4f of jump start-up and 7f of super-jump start-up. Exceptions: Scharlachrot has 1f less start-up and Kira has a few frames more, for both jumping and super-jumping.
Because of the game's input buffer, with good timing, it is possible to super-jump block on wake-up with no danger of being hit low during the "up" part of the input.