Guilty Gear is a series filled to the brim with nuanced defensive options. Between Instant Block and Faultless Defense, there’s a lot to consider when you’re blocking an opponent’s onslaught. One option that could certainly be considered “ol’ reliable” is your Psych Burst. A limited defensive resource, Psych Burst (or Burst for short) can get you out of block strings, bring an end to a combo, or be used to max out your meter. In this guide we’ll take a look at the uses of Burst, how to execute a Burst, and offer some tips on timing so you’re less likely to get blown up for using it.
How to Burst in Strive
Making use of Burst in Guilty Gear Strive is simple enough. A Burst can be triggered whenever the Burst gauge is full. You’ll begin each match with full Burst, and after use it will begin to recover. You cannot Burst until your Burst gauge is refilled, so using Bursts wisely is crucial.
In order to execute a Burst, you’ll need to press Dust (D) and any other attack button simultaneously. Easy enough, right? You can also assign a Psych Burst macro in your controller settings, allowing you to use Burst with a single press. Be careful, though. Accidentally wasting your Burst because you brushed a shoulder button on your DualShock can be a painful way to lose a match.
Types of Bursts in Strive
There are two different styles of Psych Burst in Guilty Gear Strive. Each can be identified by the aura surrounding the character when their Burst is used, either blue or gold.
Blue Bursts are the defensive variant. They’re triggered when you input a Psych Burst while blocking or getting hit. The blue Burst is your “get out of jail free” card. A successful blue Burst will push the enemy away, creating space and resetting the game to neutral. It’s important to note that you cannot trigger a blue Burst under certain circumstances. Burst will be unavailable when you’re being hit by a super, thrown, or stuck in wall splat.
Gold Psych Bursts, on the other hand, are an offensive gambit. If you use your Burst in a neutral situation, you’ll get a gold Burst. If the Burst animation connects with your opponent, you’ll be rewarded with full meter. In a game like Guilty Gear where supers do high damage and Roman Cancels offer significant freedom, a full meter can turn the tables in an instant. The risk here is that, should you whiff, you’ll receive no meter while simultaneously wasting your most powerful defensive option.
When should you use your Burst in Strive?
Deciding when to use your Burst is one of the most situational considerations in high-level Guilty Gear. A well-timed burst can shift things in your favor, whereas a bad choice can result in a loss. While there is no 100% effective time to use Burst, you can consider a few factors to make smarter choices.
First, take stock of the risk/reward skew when you do use your Burst. A walk-up gold Burst is a bold play that can lead to death. Conversely, Bursting out of savage Zato pressure may save you from taking a hit (and also eliminate Eddie for a bit). There are certain places to be wary of Bursting, too. One classic example is when you get hit with low life. On one hand, if you don’t Burst from the combo, you may die. On the other hand, this is a very obvious place to Burst and your opponent may anticipate it. This mindgame is complicated, but also one of the most beautiful things about Guilty Gear.
Take a look at this match from CEO 2021. Macho, a fantastic Zato player, is known for his deadly Burst baits. Zato’s Break the Law move allows him to avoid bursts if he makes a correct read. Macho can then brutally punish the whiffed Burst. This was a play Macho was well-known for in 2021.
In this set, Macho goes up 2-0 against LordKnight. In game 3, LordKnight holds onto his Burst. Because Macho is attempting to play around the Burst, he drops a couple of combos in order to bait it. LordKnight wisely chooses to avoid Bursting, and is able to win the game and eventually the set. Being strategic about Bursting allowed LK to turn a grim set around.
Another situation to consider is the range from which you’re Bursting. Burst range is limited to approximately the size of the animation. Characters with long disjointed moves, such as Nagoriyuki and Ramlethal, can use Burst-safe combo routes to take advantage of this fact. If you Burst and the hitbox of the Burst doesn’t connect with their hurtbox, you’re in trouble. Consider range carefully when deciding on when to Burst, and be sure to learn Burst-safe situations with your characters for optimal offense.
How punishable you are post-Burst is dependent on the type of Burst you went with. Blue bursts are invincible on start-up. They get you out of sticky pressure or combos, and send your opponent flying across the screen if they connect. However, a baited blue Burst is easy to punish. After start-up, you can get counterhit.
Gold Bursts are a bit different. They’re more of a neutral gambit, and their invincibility lasts throughout the Burst animation itself. Gold Bursts become punishable during their landing recovery frames, giving a tighter (but still manageable) punish window for your opponent.
Knowing the difference in recovery is important for both punishing enemy Bursts and using yours well. Become unpredictable in your Bursts and your opponents will have a harder time dealing with them. Choose to Burst in an obvious spot and you’ll likely pay the price.
Burst is a very limited resource. It’s unlikely that you’d be able to Burst more than twice per match. You can make an educated play, however, if you understand the gauge recovery. A blue Burst will completely deplete your Burst gauge upon use. If the Burst connects successfully, ⅓ of the gauge will be restored. A gold Burst will deplete ⅔ of the gauge, regardless of whether or not it connects. This means an early gold Burst, regardless of success, will likely allow you to Burst again later in the match. A whiffed blue Burst is a much more severe circumstance.
As for the gauge’s passive refill, it is a bit variable. The gauge naturally recovers at a noticeably slow rate. This speeds up under certain circumstances. When you’re being hit, the gauge will recover quicker. The gauge also speeds up relative to how low your health is.
Understand that preserving your Burst to escape a round-winning combo may prevent you from recovering your Burst later in a match. Whiffing a blue Burst will also do quite a bit of harm. Knowing these factors can help you to make smarter choices and avoid classic Burst pitfalls.
Burst is one of the most nuanced mechanics in all of Guilty Gear. Understanding the factors at play, combined with some seasoned game sense, can take your play to another level. Remember to be mindful of situational factors, consider risk/reward, and avoid giving your opponent an obvious chance to punish you. It takes practice, but master Burst, and you’ll have mastered one of Guilty Gear Strive’s most powerful tools.