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A Comprehensive Look at BlazBlue CrossTag Battle’s Mechanics

BlazBlue: CrossTag Battle offers a lot of options for players of all kinds. The “Advanced Dragon Ball FighterZ” phrase is all too fitting and for a very good reason. The game has a huge focus on the Neutral Game and thus some new player might shy away or not understand the mechanics.

This is where this guide comes in, to bring attention to the options regarding Defensive and Offensive options that CrossTag Battle offers. Besides showing what these moves do I will also take a few moments to describe a few strategies with them. Like when to use them, how to punish them and how to counter them in some instances.

The purpose of this guide isn’t really to delve into high-end advanced techniques with the moves. This is rather a comprehensive list of the tech and mechanics that make BlazBlue: CrossTag Battle unique for new players to jump right in and learn.

Offensive Tactics: The Tools that Help You Fight

Let’s start with the offensive tactics that will allow you to get an edge in combat. Understanding these mechanics is important so you know how to attack the opponent and use them to catch them by surprise and with their guard down.

Each of the following mechanics can allow players on the offensive to gain a strategic edge. However, these also can be used defensively on certain situations as well. The fact that the BlazBlue mechanics are so centric on the Neutral Game is enough incentive to have players learn the basics.

Let’s start with the most obvious piece of advice that doesn’t really involve any fancy mechanics. In terms of offense you need to learn how to read the players you’re fighting against. More often than not an opponent has a flaw that can easily be exploited.

A lot of top players like to test things out in Training Mode. But I also suggest that players use friendly matches and constantly playing with friends at the same or higher level of skill so you can often test new ways of reading your opponent.

Of course, it’s also ill-advised to be too offensive. Not only because you can get caught by the many Defensive options the other players have, but also because it also gives players a lot of openings they can see through so they get easy punishes.

With that said, let’s look at the first Offensive Mechanic:

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Clash Assault

The Clash Assault is a technique that’s activated by pressing the C button. When hit, both of the characters’ jump in and do a flurry of attacks before sending the opponent character upward so you hit the C button once again with the required timing.

Clash Assaults will work with or without a partner, with the former dealing the most damage out of the two. The Clash attack also has the Overhead property, so it will be effective against opponents who love to crouch block a lot.

There are different grades for the timing you get in the follow-up attack for Clash Assaults. The amount of damage done changes according to the grade you get. The three different Clash Assault Grades are “Good!”, “Excellent!” and “Marvelous!”, with Marvelous dealing the most damage.

The timing for hitting a “Marvelous!” Clash Assault is kind of tricky but it can be a pretty good attack to catch opponents off-guard. It should also be noted that this also increases the Resonance Gauge (The Diamond Gauge on the bottom of the screen), which we’ll tackle later.

Overall, the Clash Assault is a great tool for Offensive players who want to catch overly defensive opponents. However, it should also be noted that Clash Assaults send the opponent a full screen distance away, which forces a reset back to Neutral.

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Partner Skills

BlazBlue: CrossTag Battle is a team game. As such, using your partner effectively will give you a lot of benefits both in offense and defense. Since this is the Offensive Tactics section, we’ll talk about the ways your partner can help you increase your effectiveness in combat.

Let’s start with the basic Partner Skills, which are done by simply pressing the P button. Every Partner has 3 different skills that depend on directional inputs (Left, Right and Center). It’s basically seeing the Partner character come in, do their thing, strike a pose and then leave, which prevents spamming this technique all the time.

Using Partner Skills on Neutral is very good for conditioning opponents. For example, using Hyde’s Black Orbiter while in Neutral will force the opponent to either block or jump to avoid the hit. Which allows the player to hit them with the Universal DP (which we’ll talk about later) or mix them up with a throw.

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Active Partner Skills

Now, can you use a Partner Skill while doing a combo or performing Unsafe Moves? The answer is, absolutely, so long as you can pay the price for it. Active Partner Skills are made for whenever a player wants to extend their combo or have some cover after performing an unsafe move.

The Active Partner Skills follow the same rules as the basic Partner Skills. However, it costs 50% of the Cross Gauge Meter (The Blue Meter on the Bottom of the Screen) to perform this action. Not only that, but Active Partner Skills can only be used once per Combo.

Active Partner Skills also cannot be used to follow-up attacks like Throws, Distortion Skills or Ukemi. You should also keep in mind that both in Active and Basic Partner skills the partner is still vulnerable to attack, a wrong call might cost you the entire game.

Both Partner Skills and Active Partner Skills increase your level in the Resonance Gauge. So it’s also really important to take that into consideration in order to prepare for the next attack.

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Active Change

Active Change allows you to change the character in the lead when the player performs a Partner Skill or Active Partner Skill. By Pressing D when the Partner character performs their move, they will immediately strike a pose and control will switch over to them.

You will also notice that a Red Aura envelops the character when they perform an Active Change. This is an indicator of a temporary boost for Skill Gauge gain and also a slight boost in Red Health healing for the new Partner character.

Few things to keep in mind though, Active Change can cancel the attack animation for the incoming character. In other words, timing is very important as the player could leave the incoming character open for any attack and eat a huge punishment.

There’s also the fact that if the leaving character is in the air, they will have to get to the ground before they leave. Leaving them vulnerable to attack as well and posing as a huge target. A last thing to consider is the fact that players can’t perform an active change while being hit or blocking attacks.

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Cross Combo

When you want things to get crazy and feel confident enough to have 2 vulnerable characters on screen. A Cross Combo is basically using 50% or more of your Cross Gauge during a Partner Skill to allow the partner to stay and use more of their skills to do longer combos.

Keep in mind, however, that a single hit towards either of the characters will end the Cross Combo immediately with no Cross Gauge refund given to the player. As such, Cross Combos should be primarily used for Combo extensions rather than an offensive tool during Neutral.

The amount of Cross Gauge you use will also determine how long the Partner character will stay on screen, kind of like a timer, with 100% being the longest time your Partner will be able to stay to do their thing before needing to leave.

For players who want to make more coordinated assaults, by holding down the P button during the Cross Combo the Partner Character will keep themselves from attacking. As soon as the button is released, they perform their own attack.

Essentially, this allows for even more coordinated combos which lead to a whole other level of Damage Potential, but that’s not all. Enhanced versions of Distortion Skills are available as well, at the cost of ending the Cross Combo right then and there, of course.

There’s even more to add to this as well. Any damage dealt while performing the Cross Combo will be unrecoverable and hitstun decay will also be completely ignored, giving more time to perform coordinated team attacks.

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Throws

Every character in BlazBlue: CrossTag Battle has access to a throw to break the guard of any blocking opponent. This is basically the tool used to attack opponents who are extremely defensive.

Throws are performed by pressing B+C at the same time. If the opponent has a bit of distance the character will run a bit before attempting to grab the opponent for a Throw. It should be noted that this is a way to start some specific combo strings as well.

You can also perform what’s known as a back throw by holding back and pressing B+C. The back throw is known for being a very useful tool for some characters because it throws them high in the air, leaving them open for easier combos.

Be careful though, an opponent can also use Throw Escape to get off your grasp and going for a throw doesn’t leave you invulnerable for attack. So you can also eat a very easy punish or simply lose to the ancient strategy of “Jumping out of the way”.

There are also Command Throws (Or Command Grabs, as more popularly known) which cannot be escaped from and the only way to prevent being grabbed is to stay out of the way. Some characters like Kanji from Persona 4 Arena are perfect examples of characters with Command Throws.

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Resonance Blaze

Your opponent took down your partner, you barely have any meter to do Supers and you are in critical health? Don’t worry, you still have your last ditch effort in the form of Resonance Blaze, the Ultimate Last Resort for any and all players.

By pressing P, you activate your Last Resort which is fully invincible during the activation so you can shrug off any and all attacks your opponent has been trying to do for about 36 frames (Or half a second).

Not only that but Resonance Blaze also allows you to regenerate Red Health over time, increase the Maximum Amount of Skill Gauge charges up to 9, increase the power of your normal attacks as they do chip damage (Damage opponents while they block) among other things.

This is the very mechanic used as a Last Stand for many people. Resonance Blaze is not something that’s to be taken lightly by the people defending and it also slightly boosts the damage of some Distortion Skills.

Resonance Blaze also allows players to perform what’s known as Astral Finishers. An Instant Kill move that can only be achieved by having Maximum Resonance Level, reaching Skill Level 9 and inputting down three times and pressing B+C. It’s tough to connect but certainly a huge confidence booster and it looks amazing.

Let’s take out that imaginary pin and also briefly talk about the Resonance Level and how important it is. Resonance Blaze becomes more effective the higher your Resonance Level is, with Level 4 being the highest the player should be striving for.

The match will always start with the Resonance Gauge level being 1. The way to increase the Resonance Level is by having a good sync with the Partner Character before they go down. This is done by performing Cross Combos, Clash Assaults, Cross Bursts, and Partner Skills.

It should be kept in mind that while this is an increase in offensive stats, the opponent can still attack you and stall the limited time for Resonance Blaze out. Every player must use their trump card at exactly the right time and bad use of it can lead to the end of the match in favor of the opponent.

Conclusion for Offensive Tactics: The Perfect Imperfection

As many players may have noticed, all of these Offensive Tactics will definitely give an edge in offense but also have their own problems to keep them from being overpowered maneuvers. This pretty much hammers down the message that the tactics themselves are to be considered tools.

It’s important to notice that there will always be an option for the defensive player to escape from a lot of these situations if they pay enough attention. Not only that but a good player can also notice the brief openings and capitalize on them to use their own skills and either bring the game back to Neutral or start their offensive as well.

And now, we’re going to address the Defensive Tactics which will allow players to strategically tear down overly aggressive players or give them the edge they need to bring the game back to the offensive side.

Defensive Tactics: The Best Offense Will Always Be Defense

Defense goes beyond just blocking the attacks on the right position at the right time. There are a lot of ways of telling the opponent to “Get off me!” to give you air to breathe compared to other games which emphasize Offensive Play.

Of course, since Defense also encompasses Blocking Attacks. We should briefly talk about the three different types of block which are basic but also important. Ground Blocking encompasses blocking high and low attacks but it should be kept in mind that there are also rules to them.

Low Blocking will not block Overhead attacks and Aerials, Standing Blocks will also not block Sweeps and Low Attacks in turn. Finally, while Air Blocking is certainly more effective as it blocks both high and low attacks, it’s risky because jumps have a big startup and there are things such as Cross-Ups and Cross-Unders to deal with.

Now that we’ve dealt with that, let’s talk about the defensive tactics that are added to BlazBlue CrossTag Battle. Starting with one that actually derives from the concept of Blocking:

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Reject Guard

When Blocking an Attack and by pressing A+D during it, the Defending Character will perform a Reject Guard or Pushblock. As the name implies, the Defending Character will push the opponent character away from them at the cost of 1 Skill Gauge.

A benefit of Reject Guard is that it often allows for punishment of predictable blockstrings. Especially with characters that are trying to commit to attacks with huge end-lag, allowing the Defending Character to step in and bring the punishment and take on the Offensive.

There are a lot of things to consider about Reject Guarding, the main one is the fact that it cannot be spammed due to several limiters that aren’t just the cost of 1 Skill Gauge. The main concern is the fact that the Skill Gauge will go into Cooldown after Reject Guard is used.

Cooldown essentially is a reduced Skill Gauge gain by 75% after performing a move that consumes the Skill Gauge. The amount of time the Skill Gauge will stay on Cooldown after performing a Reject Guard is approximately 5 seconds (Or 300 Frames), so players should use Reject Guard wisely.

Not only that but Reject Guard will only push away a single character. As such, if the player in the offense tries to attack with 2 characters at once, Reject Guard will only negate the latest attacker. (Example: The Lead Character is pushed back after they connect a hit but the Partner character will not be pushed back and continue to attack the Defending Character regardless.)

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Throw Escapes

I briefly mentioned this during the Throw Section but defending players can actually escape from a Throw situation by pressing B+C to break the throw and escape. Whenever the character is grabbed, a green exclamation mark will appear to signal that the player can escape.

However, it should be noted that there are instances where players cannot escape a Throw. For example, after you perform an attack and then get into a Throw situation during the endlag will not allow you to escape as signaled by the character going red and a huge cross appearing over the green Exclamation Mark.

This technique can also not be spammed because the player is automatically locked out of Throw Escaping for a while. Once again, a Red Cross over the Green Exclamation Mark will signal the fact that you cannot escape from the Throw.

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Universal DP (Dragon Punch) or Reversal Action.

This is a very odd defensive technique for a huge number of reasons. More so with the fact that it can be used as an Offensive Tool in certain situations. The Reversal Action is a fully invincible move that can be performed by pressing A+D while standing.

In Defense, it’s mainly used to stop the offensive momentum from the opponent, as it is the ultimate “Get off me!” tool which has priority over all ground and aerial attacks and also can take down some supers when timed correctly.

There are a lot of different types of Reversal Actions that often depend on the character doing them. A character like Chie from Persona 4 Arena will have a Counter Reversal Action while a character like Hyde from Under Night: In-Birth will just swing his sword upward in a shoryuken fashion.

It should be noted that Grounded Reversal Actions are actually unblockable in the air. A Blue Exclamation Mark will appear when a player attempts to block a Grounded Reversal Action in midair while getting hit by it to signal this as well.

Reversal Actions sound great in concept but they have a huge amount of downsides to them. First off, Partner Skills and Cross Burst are disabled while Reversal Actions are performed, making them a move a lone player has to fully commit to.

And speaking of commitment, the amount of endlag in Reversal Actions is huge. As such, a good player can read the attack, block the Reversal Action and punish the Defending Character and forcing the Defending Player to watch as they are locked out of their means to escape until the combo is done.

The final point to talk about is the fact that Reversal Actions envelop the character in red shading while the action is performed. Which can also show how vulnerable the Defending Character is during the attack.

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Cross Burst

A Partner Character can not only be a good combo extender, but they can also save your life from a huge pickle. As such, Cross Burst exists to punish overly aggressive players or to break combo strings at the cost of 100% of your Cross Gauge meter.

By pressing D+P the moment your character blocks or gets hit, your Partner character will come in and hit the opponent while also taking the lead. Using this, the character can potentially be saved from losing a huge amount of health or downright dying.

Once again, this Defensive Tactic comes with its own plethora of costs. The main one being the fact that the Incoming Partner Character is STILL not invincible or safe from block. As such, a badly used Cross Burst can actually lead to even harsher punishments.

Not only that, but a Cross Burst can also be intercepted with an Anti-Air Move (as shown Below), allowing the Offensive player to continue attacking regardless of the character that stepped in to perform the Cross Burst to begin with.

There’s also the fact that Offensive Players have plenty of chances to force a disabling of Cross Burst as well. Throws, Distortion Skills, Reversal Actions and situations like being hit during the recovery of a Reversal Action or getting hit while the Partner Character is hit while onscreen will disable the ability to perform a Cross Burst at all.

Not only that but characters who are currently undergoing a Resonance Blaze will also disable Cross Burst on hit. Once again proving how much of a Last Resort Trump Card Resonance Blaze can be as they can prevent any character from escaping their combos.

It certainly is a great way to get characters out of a bad situation but the costs make it extremely clear that this attack should be used cautiously. There really isn’t a better way to explain how carefully most of these Defensive Tactics should be used.

Conclusions for Defensive Tactics: It’s Not Just Blocking Anymore

Once again we see the huge balance in BlazBlue CrossTag Battle’s design here. All of these defensive tactics can be great and continue the flow of battle but are meant to be used sparingly and punish hasty players who act out of desperation and panic.

As for the power the defensive options themselves have, the tactics are pretty great to shake off the opponent and forcing them back to Neutral or to punish them based on their openings. Of course, this also comes at the cost of not being able to spam them and it tends to murder the majority of players who don’t realize when the appropriate time to use a Tactic comes.

It definitely is something to keep in mind while playing Defensively, while the player has options, it certainly isn’t an end-all beat all solution. Which balances out the game incredibly well considering these defensive options can destroy a lot of Offensive Tactics that were previously discussed.

Final Conclusions: The Beauty of the Neutral

The main reason why both Defensive and Offensive Tactics stand out is because both of them can be read and punished accordingly, and not one can be used over the other in terms of the effectiveness.

There definitely is a huge emphasis on the Neutral side of the game because of the unreliability of most of these tactics. If correctly used, it can lead to a huge advantage situation, if not, it can be the earliest end of a match ever, and nobody likes when they get “Happy Birthday’d”

I can say that I love BlazBlue CrossTag Battle because of how the mechanics offer something for both aggressive and defensive players alike. It certainly accommodates for players who want to play strategically vs the players who want to see cool combos and mechanical skill-based executions.

This game definitely went out of its way to please a lot of audiences, from casuals to veteran players. I believe that it has finally struck a good balance between both of them and can be enjoyed by almost anyone.

There will always be a counter to something and thinking ahead of your opponent is taking more precedence in fighting games than ever before. As such, it’s also important to be aware of the huge array of tools at the player’s disposal so they know when to actually apply them in different situations.

There is a lot to discover in BlazBlue CrossTag Battle and if I have learned anything from the community itself is that they are nice enough to provide a lot of information or just to play the game and have a good time.

With that said, huge thanks to Sn9 from the BlazBlue: CrossTag Battle community discord for his help on the creation of some of the clips you saw in this guide. I hope this guide can help new players and be a good incentive for people who are curious about this game as well.


Javier Ulises Lopez Aquino


A journalist that listens to the Community without shying from making his opinions clear. I expect to form a new standard for journalism, one article at a time.
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