After a season of new faces and returning favorites, Arc System Works has closed out Season One of Guilty Gear Strive with their biggest surprise yet. Testament is a name that has often been brought up as a dream DLC (or nightmare, depending on your +R experience), but few expected them to be the closer for this season pass. Amidst anticipation of a Slayer or Johnny announcement, ArcSys caught their fan base off guard with a newly redesigned Strive Testament.
With Testament releasing on March 28, 2022, players won’t have to wait long to start labbing The Elegant Grim Reaper.
Strive Testament’s Move Set
Testament certainly seems to have had their moveset tweaked significantly from their last appearance in Guilty Gear XX Accent Core +R. This is in line with other returning characters like Anji and Jack-O’, who similarly had their movesets reimagined for Strive.
You can view the official ArcSys breakdown below:
It appears Testament has moved on from the focal point of their +R kit. Where the previous focus was on traps in the form of webs and trees, the new game plan revolves around unique projectiles. Testament’s Grave Reaper projectile will place one of their signature succubi on screen, which begins the game plan. The succubus works as a target for their raven, which will inflict a curse-inducing “Stain” status on opponents on hit or block. This state enables Testament’s pressure and raises their conversion potential. Testament can also choose to teleport to the succubus for a mixup.
It remains to be seen how effective this game plan will be in the context of Strive’s current meta. However, a strong projectile game, big buttons, and powerful mixup options do seem to bode well for the classic Gear.
Strive Testament: Why is Testament Here?
Testament is one of the primary characters in Guilty Gear lore. Introduced in the original game, Testament is the adopted child of Kliff Undersn and one of the titular Gears. Originally controlled by Justice, Testament was the antagonist of Guilty Gear, using the fighting tournament as a means to revive Justice.
In Guilty Gear X, Testament was able to turn away from Justice’s influence. They regained their original personality and dealt with the guilt of their actions. After some twists and turns in the plot, Testament meets Dizzy and vows to protect her. They fight off anyone in their grove seeking Dizzy until she decides to leave during the course of the game.
Testament’s story in XX and Accent Core revolves around them looking for Dizzy after she is knocked off of the Mayship by I-no. At their core, Testament’s greatest relationship in the current state of Guilty Gear is with Dizzy. It will be interesting to see how their story plays out in Strive. Perhaps this is a sign that Dizzy is on her way to Strive in Season Two, but only time will tell.
Testament’s Competitive History
As mentioned earlier, Strive Testament is considered to be both a dream and nightmare DLC. This is mostly due to their strength in their last appearance, Accent Core +R. In the context of +R, Testament, alongside Zappa, is considered to be one of the strongest options on the roster. It’s important to note that competitive +R does see a wide variety of character usage. Characters like Skeletal Minion’s A.B.A., ElvenShadow’s Faust, and other specialist characters take tournaments regularly.
What sets Testament apart is how oppressive their kit can be. Featuring traps that dominate space in neutral, the EXE Beasts that create brutal oki situations, and curse-style moves that give Testament free openings, Testament’s kit can be incredibly difficult to overcome without deep matchup knowledge.
This strength, however, will not carry over to Strive, at least not in an identical form. Strive Testament’s kit has been mostly reworked, removing most of these tools. Perhaps the most exciting aspect of Strive Testament’s release is seeing how a new generation will develop their gameplan.
Testament releases on March 28, 2022, with Season Two of Strive DLC following later this year.