Normal - A basic attack, performed by press a single attack button.
Command Normal - An attack performed by pressing an attack button in conjunction with a particular direction. Depending on the game, they might have properties that basic normal attacks don't have, such as being able to be comboed into from normal attacks or acting as overheads.
Block - A defensive state that reduces the damage taken from incoming attacks, assumed either by holding a directional input away from the opponent or via a dedicated block button, depending on the game. Blocks usually come in more than one variety, such as "high" and "low," each of which protects against and is vulnerable to different moves, and some games even allow blocking while airborne.
Blockstun - When attacked, you are stuck blocking for a period of time.
Blockstring - A "combo" where the blockstun of the previous move lasts long enough for the next move to connect, preventing the opponent from responding. Pseudo-blockstings look like true blockstrings, but can be escaped by attacking during the correct time, usually using a DP to take advantage of the invincible start up.
Hitstun - When an opponent is hit, they are "stunned" for a while, allowing for combos. Certain moves apply special kinds of hitstun, making it easier to continue combos.
Throw - An attack dealt by first grabbing the opponent rather than simply striking them, ignoring their block. Depending on the game, there may be a dedicated throw button, or throws may be performed by pressing two particular attack buttons in conjunction.
Throw Tech - The defense against throws, typically by inputting the same input as the throw quickly after the opponent's throw connects.
Command Throw/Command Grab - An alternate type of throw possessed by some characters, performed by a special attack input, and with the directional input frequently being a 360-degree spin. They typically cannot be teched, do more damage than their normal counterparts and/or have some sort of a special effect.
Combo - Short for "Combination Attack," this is a series of normal attacks performed back-to-back, usually capped off with a special move and/or super attack. The defining feature of a combo is that the the player being attacked is prevented from returning to a neutral state during its performance.
Link combo - A combo where one move's animation must end before another move can be performed.
Chain combo - A combo where a move's animation may be interrupted with another move, provided the first attack connects with something.
Special Move - A move that requires a command input of two or more directions in length followed by an attack button.
Charge Move - A special move whose command input involves holding ("charging") either a direction on the joystick or button(s) for a brief period of time. This kind of move is most popular in 2D fighters, although it is occasionally seen in 3D fighters (where it more commonly appears as a button press and release, rather than a joystick charge).
EX Special Move - Certain games have moves that are more powerful than regular special moves in some way (usually by doing more damage than the normal variety of the move or having the best properties of the various versions of the move combined), but less powerful than a Super. Typically requires meter, though normally less than required to perform a super.
Snapback - In tag fighters, a move that forces the opponent to tag their current character out. Useful when an opponent tries to "save" a severely-injured character by tagging out, but always costs meter.
Invincibility - Some moves have certain frames where the opponent cannot hit the attacking character at all. This is distinct from Super Armor as the character cannot be hit at all. Some moves are only invincible to certain types of attacks (such as Zangief's Lariat making him immune to projectiles).
Chip Damage - The largely reduced damage that a character takes from attacks while blocking. In some games, normal attacks do not cause chip damage.
Wake Up - The time when a character is rising up off the ground.
Wake Up [Move] - Refers to a move done as the character wakes up (wake up Shoryuken, wake up Ultra, etc.)
Double KO - When both characters' health is depleted simultaneously. Whether this counts as a win for both players or a loss for both players varies from game to game, and in the case of the former, how the game handles a double KO in final round of a match will vary as well.
Safe - A move which recovers fast enough so that the opponent cannot punish your recovery. Unsafe denotes the opposite.
Safe on Block - A move which recovers faster than the opponent recovers from its blockstun.
Safe on Whiff - A move which recovers fast enough that even missing with the move while near the opponent will not result in a punish.
Whiff - Completely missing the opponent during an attack. Depending on the attack used, it may result in a player being vulnerable to other attacks.
Juggle - A combo that keeps the opponent in the air for the duration. Most games have few ways to recover from attacks while airborne, making juggling a key part of dealing damage. Often started with a launcher.
Baiting - Performing certain movements to try and draw an exploitable move or action from an opponent, and then punishing said action. It's somewhat common for a character to have a feinting variant of one of their special moves for this express purpose.
Burst: A universal attack that creates a short-ranged burst of energy around the user, knocking the opponent away from them. Often has other special properties that vary based on the game. In some games, a burst can act as a Combo Breaker (often with different properties than if done outside of getting hit), but it usually has a mechanic that limits its use as such (such as requiring a meter to slowly refill before being able to burst again). A trademark of "anime"-style games such as Guilty Gear and Arcana Heart.
Cancel - Cutting one action's animation short by inputting another action.
Attack cancel - The most common type of cancel, and so is just referred to as a "cancelling." Typically, only special and super moves can be cancelled from normals, and only super moves can be cancelled from specials. In games that allow normals to be cancelled into one another, it is usually called a Chain combo and have a hierarchy that limits the cancels possible, such as light punch or kick to medium or hard versions.
Guard cancel - Canceling a blocking animation into an attack or evasive maneuver. May be so useful in some games that a meter cost is attached to performing it. Often called an Alpha Counter after the term for it in Street Fighter Alpha.
Tag cancel - In certain team-based fighting games, another character can tag in while the point character on their team is performing their own move. Usually carries a strict limit on what moves can be canceled into or out of (such as allowing super moves only). Various games have different official terminologies for this, such as Tag Assault, Cross Cancel, Delayed HyperCombo/DHC, etc.
Roman Cancel/RC - Most instances of canceling require that the canceled attack is followed directly by another attack (in other words, canceled into another attack). However, certain games allow the ability to essentially cancel into nothing. This type of cancel is extremely powerful, as it completely resets the character's frames and removes any recovery, but has several limiting factors: it always costs meter, and it generally does not work with throws, projectiles, or attacks that whiff. A hallmark of Arc System Works games (the term itself originates from Guilty Gear), but other games can have them as well.
Counterattack/Counter Stance - A special or super move where the character briefly strikes a pose, during which any attack that hits them will be ignored and trigger a retaliating attack. Commonly overridden by supers or throws, and of varying effectiveness against projectiles. Special counters usually require the player to predict whether the opponent will use a jump, standing or a low attack for the counter to trigger successfully by using the right type of button to trigger the counter, while super counters generally counter all melee attacks and have a much longer timeframe during which they are active.
Cross up - In games where blocking is done by holding back, landing an attack while jumping over an opponent may force them to quickly readjust their block to the other side. An ambiguous cross up happens when it's difficult to visually judge whether or not the attacker has crossed over the opponent, leaving defense up to mindgames or guesswork. Teleporters can also cross up ("Will he teleport in front or behind me?"). In games with assists, calling an assist before jumping or teleporting can be somewhat confusing.
Cross under - A set-up where your character crosses up, but rather than jumping, they pass under the opponent.
Crumple: Used for a few different circumstances, depending on the game:
It's sometimes referred to a hard knockdown that triggers a special animation, showing the opponent collapsing slowly instead of being knocked straight down. The extended animation gives the attacker a further advantage, particularly in games that let you manually build meter, and prevents the opponent from "waking up" until the collapse is completed; however, in most games which use this definition, the opponent cannot be attacked while the crumple animation plays.
It's also referred to a similar situation in which the character slowly falls to the down position, but can be hit by attacks during the animation for big damage. Theses types of crumples are typically are either rare or occur only during special techniques/power attacks/counter hits. Notable examples include Street Fighter IV's Level-3 Focus Attack and Dead or Alive 5's Critical Burst.
Damage Scaling - As a combo continues, each successive attack receives a decreasing multiplier to its base damage. Some game count a single multi-hit attack as one move for the purpose of scaling.
Delayed Wakeup - The ability for a downed player to delay the time that they get up from an attack, usually with a specific command input. This prevents an opponent from perfectly timing a followup and may even leave them open for punishes. This term is typically reserved for games in which wakeup is automatic (most 2D fighters, for example). Some fighters, such as Tekken, Soul Series, or Super Smash Bros. will not initiate wakeup until the player presses a button.
Footsies - An advanced tactic where two opponents keep space between each other, purposely whiffing attacks to get the other player to make a mistake when punishing so one player can attack. Happens more in slower-paced fighting games like Street Fighter and Street Fighter X Tekken than faster paced ones.
Frames - As in, "frames of animation." Modern fighting games run at sixty frames per second. Every action in a fighting game can be measured by the number of frames, or time, it takes to perform.
Start Up - The frames between an attack animation beginning and the attack becoming active.
Active - The number of frames of an attack animation where the attack can actually deal damage.
Recovery - The remaining frames of an attack animation.
Frame Trap - A set of attacks, usually a Pseudo-Blockstring, that appears Punish-able to encourage the defending opponent to use an attack in the middle, but get interrupted by a faster follow-up attack.
Groundbounce - Exactly What It Says on the Tin, the opponent bounces off of the ground as opposed to being knocked down, making it easier to extend combos, especially in games where there are no/few Off the Ground moves.
Hard Knockdown - A knockdown that can't be Teched/Ukemi'ed (see below). This is advantageous to the attacker for several reasons, such as knowing the exact moment that the opponent will get up from a fall so that they can time their followups. In some games, opponents can also be attacked while on the ground (see "OTG") for more damage or extended combos.
Hit Confirm - Using a normal or special to confirm that an unsafe special or super move can hit the opponent before committing any meter to using one and/or risking yourself to be hit afterwards if the move misses or is blocked. If the opening attack connects, then you can safely cancel into the special move or super.
Hitstop - Whenever any kind of attack with this property connects with the opponent through a blocked attack or a hit, both characters freeze in place for a set number of frames: generally speaking, the stronger the attack, the longer the hitstop, with some extremely powerful single-hit attacks pausing the gameplay for up to a second or 2. Long hitstops are commonplace in games like Guilty Gear and BlazBlue which have an emphasis on landing counter hits: this allows the players to react to connected counter hits more easily.
Hitstun Scaling - As a combo continues, each successive attack receives a decreasing multiplier to its base hitstun. This makes combos harder to continue as they get longer.
Infinite (Combo, Loop) - A move, combo or set of moves that can be repeatedly done until the opponent is defeated. Some games will forcibly end combos at a certain point in order to prevent infinites (for example, Street Fighter X Tekken will automatically cancel out any damage or hitstun from attacks when a combo reaches 99 hits).
Instant Air Dash (IAD) - In games with characters that can air dash, there are ways to make those characters air dash almost immediately after they begin a jump (traditionally, this method is jumping in a horizontal direction and then hitting that direction immediately after the jump begins). Instant air dashes are useful as both a way to begin an offense and a way to escape after making a poor decision, but some developers have taken note of this and force characters to jump a certain (sometimes character-specific) distance before they can begin an air dash.
Just Defend/Instant Block - Some fighting games give rewards to their players if they have the reflexes to block an attack just before it connects. One of these bonuses is usually a boost in meter, though the specific effects vary based on the game.
Just Frame - A pre-set follow-up special move or string that can only be executed by inputting the next command with strict timing. Alternatively, moves that always work, but have special animations or properties if the follow-ups are executed within certain frames of animation or if the command for the initial attack is input in a very specific way, usually extremely quickly.
Launcher - A move that lifts your opponent into the air. Games that feature these prominently often allow one to immediately jump after the opponent and continue the combo in the air.
Loop - A move or set of moves that can be done repeatedly to continue a combo, eventually ending because of hitstun scaling, pushback or some other form of game mechanic that prevents infinite combos.
Meaty - A preemptive strike against an opponent who is still getting up off the floor. The idea is to have the opponent's hitbox overlap with that of your attack. Your opponent's only options become to either block or use a reversal. May also be used to describe hitting an opponent late in the active portion of a move in order to increase the number of frames between the time when you have recovered from your attack and the the time when your opponent recovers from the hit.
(High/Low) Mix up - In games where attacks can be "high" or "overhead" (must be standing to block) or "low" (must be crouching to block), attacking in a blockstring while regularly switching (or not) the kind of attack can throw off your opponent enough to land a hit. This also includes faking going for a hit before grabbing (in games where you cannot grab an opponent in block stun) or faking a grab to go for a hit. It's also not uncommon to refer to cross-ups as mix-ups, though it's technically incorrect.
Negative Edge - In some games, the release of an attack button can activate a special move just as well as pressing it would. It's usually used in combos that require you to press the attack button twice in rapid succession, such as when a normal attack can only be cancelled into a special or super if done early enough.
Off the Ground (OTG) - An attack that can hit an opponent even while they're knocked down. This kind of move is more common in 3D fighting games. (In 2D fighting games a knockdown usually gives a character Mercy Invincibility until they get up.)
Okizeme/Oki - Refers to the many setups a player can perform while the opponent is getting up from a knockdown.
OTG - An acronym that stands for either "Off the Ground" or "On the Ground", depending on the game and use. In either case, it refers to an attack that hits a downed opponent. The distinction between "Off the Ground" is that it typically bounces the opponent back into the air for an extended combo while "On the Ground" requires the opponent to remain down.
Overhead - An attack that can curve or drop over a crouching opponent's head, going around their guard. As such, they need to be blocked from a standing position. In most games, all jumping attacks function as overheads, though proper positioning may be required. In 2D fighting games it's referred to as an Overhead or High attack. In 3D fighting games it's more likely to be referred to as a Mid attack.
Plus/Minus Frames - A term referring to the difference in frames after a character hits another. Can refer to whether a move hits or is blocked
Plus X Frames: When this move connects as a hit or block, the opponent has X frames of hitstun/blockstun left after you finish recovering from your move. If a move is plus X frames on hit, a Link combo can be done with a follow-up move whose start-up is less than X frames. Moves with plus frames on block can be used consecutively to create a Blockstring.
Minus X Frames: When this move connects as a hit or block, you have X frames of recovery left after your opponent's hitstun/blockstun ends. If a move is minus X frames, it can be Punished by a move whose start up is less than X frames.
Point character - The first character of a team that will always be the first in play, in games where each player has a team of multiple characters. Some games allow you to change the point character through various means (such as holding the tag button while the match is loading).
Proximity blocking - A style of blocking attacks found in newer fighters: generally speaking, this determines if the distance from your opponent affects whether your character will try to block their attack. In games without proximity blocking, your character will go into a block stance if you hold backwards when their opponent performs an attack regardless of how far away they are from your character, while in games that have it, your character can still move backwards normally with an active enemy attack present and they only start blocking when their opponent's attack is close enough to hit them. Both systems have their benefits and drawbacks: characters in games without it have a more "solid" block at the cost of reduced mobility and movement options when avoiding the opponent's attacks, while games that have it allow characters to reposition themselves better if faced with attacks such as fireballs but might allow the player to fool the system in some way that causes their opponent to move when they meant to block and vice versa. However, all of the above mainly applies to a standing block, as crouching down prevents any unintended movement in most fighters. It also naturally doesn't apply to games that use a block button instead of holding backwards to block.
Punish - To hit the opponent when a poorly chosen or missed attack of theirs has left them vulnerable, usually for significant damage as the punisher has a few precious fractions of a second where the punishee is a complete non-threat, allowing for otherwise impractical or risky techniques to connect without worry.
Pushblock - A move done by a character in blockstun that does no damage, but pushes away the opponent, regardless of where they are on screen.
Reset - Allowing a combo to end in order to begin a new one, the point being to reset damage scaling. Though intentionally dropping a combo may seem counter-intuitive, players that intentionally go for resets try to set them up in ways that make picking up a new combo more likely than not.
Reversal - A special move used after block stun or hit stun, or (most commonly) on wake up. They're typically done with a move that has invincibility on start up to catch the opponent off guard while they're trying to stay on the offensive.
Stuff - To beat out an opponent's attack in it's start up frames with a quicker attack of your own. Many games will register this as a "Counter Hit" and may reward it by giving the attack a boost to damage or hit stun.
Super Armor, Hyper Armor, Autoguard - A move that has the super armor property allows its character take a preset amount of hits or damage during its animation without being interrupted. Moves with a hyper armor property let the character suffer an unlimited amount of damage without being interrupted. Autoguard works similarly to super armor, but is generally only active during specific parts of the move and since it blocks attacks instead of just not being interrupted by them, any moves that trigger the autoguard only do as much damage as they would've if they had been blocked normally, and in some cases, they might even be able to block normally unblockable attacks. Make note that armor properties do not protect the character from taking damage, just from being knocked out of the attack. Furthermore, since autoguard generally has some minor form of blockstun, if a move's autoguard frames are triggered with an attack that does multiple hits, it might slow down the execution of the move to an extent where the opponent can evade or block the offensive part of the move. Finally, armor normally does not affect grabs.
Armor Breaking Moves - Some attacks can ignore the opponent's move's armored properties regardless of what they are. If these attacks are not counted as throws, they are referred to as attacks that break armor.
Tiger Knee/TK - The act of doing a slightly extended quarter-circle motion, similar to Sagat's original motion for Tiger Knee, rather than a standard quarter-circle motion. The way most fighting games will read the input is that the character will do a tiny jump just before doing the move. Used to do air-only moves or air-versions of moves as close to the ground as possible.
Tick Throw - Using a quick attack at close range to force an opponent to block it, and while they're stuck in blockstun, throwing them. This was only really effective in older fighting games, as newer ones either make characters stuck in block animation immune to throws or allow them to escape them much easier than normally. Special throws aren't either affected by it as much or not at all, making it another reason for using them over normal throws for characters that have them. In games where you cannot throw people in blockstun, this refers to doing a poke before throwing (both normal and command throws work) once blockstun ends, hoping that they will keep blocking, expecting a blockstring, instead of a throw.
Touch-of-death (ToD): A single combo that leads to a KO. Differs from infinites in that touch-of-deaths involve a single, nonrepetitive combo rather than a loop of some kind.
Triangle Jump, Triangle Dash - The act of jumping and then Air Dashing either down-forward or down-back. This is only doable by characters that have an 8-way Air Dash.
Ukemi/Tech - In many fighting games, if you are knocked down, you can avoid being rendered prone by hitting a button at the moment of impact. The character will catch themselves, roll immediately to their feet, or otherwise avoid falling down. The term "ukemi" (literally "receiving body") comes from judo. Some attacks have as a special quality that they force the knockdown on you; in other words, they disable ukemi. (See "Hard Knockdown".)
Throw Tech - In many fighting games, characters can attempt to escape throws that are being performed on them by their opponents. Depending on the game, this action can either completely negate or significantly lessen the amount of damage the throw does, but as a tradeoff, command throws cannot be teched (except in certain game-specific circumstances).
Unblockable - When an opponent is forced to block both high and low or left and right at the same time (which cannot be done), they are in an unblockable situation, guarenteeing you a hit (and usually a combo). Common in games with assists, as one character can hit high, while the other hits low. Certain games prevent this, requiring you to only block one.
Also refers to moves (other than throws) that cannot be blocked at all.
Vortex - The act of repeatedly taking advantage of a hard knockdown to set up a mixup as your opponent wakes up. If the opponent guesses wrong, the punish leads to another hard knockdown, and the cycle continues. A vortex is NOT simply a mixup on wakeup; it must be able to lead into another mixup on wakeup situation.
Wallbounce - An attack property that causes the hit character to fly backwards into the wall behind them, where they bounce off of it, which makes further comboing possible and/or easier than normal.
Wallstick - A rare variation of the wallbounce where the opponent sticks to the wall for a short before sliding down the wall.
Wavedash - The act of dashing, interrupting the dash, and dashing again, usually done to either cover ground more quickly or to fake opponents out. This is usually done by performing a dash, canceling the dash by crouching, then dashing again. Not to be confused with the technique from Super Smash Bros. Melee; while it fulfills a similar purpose, the technique is completely different.
Zoning - The act of controlling space on the battlefield, be it through superior range moves or projectiles. More casually, simply refers to the use of projectiles (less generous people would call it spam) to keep an opponent out. The latter is sometimes referred to as "keepaway."
Lingo and Slang
American Reset - The act of unintentionally dropping a combo, and then managing to hit the opponent anyway right after. In other works, an accidental reset.
Depending on who's saying it, can be referred to as a Canadian Reset, French Reset, etc. Typically tied to the nationality of the player who dropped the combo.
Battery - In team games, the term given to the starting character, if his main purpose is to build super meter, so that the partners (who are presumably worse at getting meter) can use them.
Bodied, Blown Up - Beaten by an overwhelming margin.
Chicken Block(ing) - In games where you can block in the air, the act of jumping right before blocking to avoid a high/low mixup. Comes from being too "chicken" to try to block the high/low mixup.
Chicken Wing - The nickname of Fei Long's Rekkukyaku. Commonly attributed to the appearance of the attack's animation, it is also stems from a derisive nickname for the "eagle claw" style of holding an arcade stick.
Choke - To have a victory well in hand, and somehow fail to pull it off. A player known for doing this constantly becomes known as a "Choke Artist."
Churning Butter - The act of frantically spinning the the control stick — probably more times than necessary — in an attempt to get off a command grab, or even moves that have directional inputs other than circles if you're banking on the game being generous with its input reading.
Crosshanded - The act of playing on an arcade stick with your left hand operating the buttons, and your right hand operating the stick instead of the other way around.
Download(ing/ed) - The act of playing in a manner to reveal your opponents reactions to certain situations (for example, doing low pokes to judge if they will Dragon Punch or block). Sometimes involves deliberately losing a round or even a game in order to win the whole set. A "downloaded" player is one who's playstyle is easily read by the other one. (Also see Read, below.)
Dragon Punch - Any special attack in 2D fighting games consisting of an upward rising assault from the input forward, down, down forward, and attack; they are mostly used as anti-air attacks. Named for original localized name of Ryu and Ken's Shoryuken.
Dropped the Soap/Dropped the Baby - An exaggerated way of saying someone dropped their combo (messed it up partway through).
Evo Moments - Intense and often memetic gameplay occurrences from the annual Evolution Championship Series, the premier fighting game tournament series in the US. The numbers seem to be chosen entirely at random.
Evo Moment #13 - From Evo 2011, Poongko's Seth won against Daigo's Yun with a Perfect victory in the final round. Prior to the match, Poongko had worked up the crowd by removing his jacket and belt, then sloppily downing a whole energy drink.
Evo Moment #37 - From Evo 2004, the now infamous comeback from Daigo Umehara's Ken against Justin Wong's Chun-Li in the final round of match one in the loser's bracket finals. With Ken down to just a pixel of health, even chip damage would knock him out. By keeping his distance from Chun-Li, Daigo successfully baited Justin Wong in to attempting to decisively end the match with Chun-Li's Houyokusen super move, a lightning fast 15-hit combo. Daigo proceeded to parry every single hit of the combo — a daring tactic which would allow him to weather the assault unscathed, but where a single mistake would cost him the match — and position himself to deliver a super of his own, turning what would've been an easy win for Wong into the most infamous comeback in fighting game history. This moment has been recreated in official material, appearing as one of the trials in Street Fighter III: 3rd Strike Online Edition and at the end of trailer for Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3's Heroes and Heralds mode (with Ryu standing in for Ken).
Evo Moment #80 - From Evo 2010, a Street Fighter IV match between Mike Ross and Dr. Chaos for a spot in the Top 8.
Unnumbered Evo Moment - A match of Marvel vs. Capcom 3 between Dr. Ray and Mike Ross, both down to their last characters (Deadpool and Hulk, respectively). Deadpool has a move that allows him to teleport; however, every third time the move is used, the teleporter explodes, causing a small amount of damage. Ross seemed to have the advantage, but dropped a combo, leaving him open for Ray's counterattack. Unfortunately, Ray had lost count of his teleports and had only a pixel's worth of life left, leading to him killing himself with a failed teleport mid-combo.
Exposed - When a glaring weakness in a player's abilities are made apparent by their opponent, such as not knowing an effective way to fight a particular character. See also, "Fraud", below.
Finishing their Plate - When a character finishes a long, complicated and difficult combo or move without dropping it, especially one that involves guaranteed death for the other character. Failing to "finish their plate" is typically the mark of an inefficient player.
Fraud - A player who seems very strong, or who has made several great accomplishments, but when placed under tougher conditions or competition, cracks very reliably. They are thus "exposed" to be a weak player, and not the strong one they were reputed to be. Referenced in Divekick; if a player loses four rounds in a row without winning one, "Fraud Detection Warning" is displayed. (If they then win the next four rounds, "Choke Detection Warning" is displayed; see "Choke" above.)
Free - Describes a wide variety of aspects pertaining to the game, including character matchups, the players themselves, strategies, etc., as though they were incredibly weak and easily beaten. Comes from "free win."
Happy Birthday - In a game with assist characters, "catching" both the point character and an active assist character with an attack, dealing damage to both of them (and, in many games, allowing you to combo on both of them for even more damage). Sometimes adapts to the season, e.g. "Merry Christmas" in late December. The term comes from a match where one of the announcers wished a player a happy birthday just as two of his characters were knocked out simultaneously.
Inputs - Early Capcom fighting game machines used the following button inputs instead of the standard light/medium/hard punch or kick buttons used today. Oftentimes the old terms are used by some older members of the FGC out of habit.
Jab - Light Punch
Strong - Medium Punch
Fierce - Hard Punch
Short - Light Kick
Forward - Medium Kick
Roundhouse - Hard Kick
Level Up - To improve one's game by playing others and gaining experience against different characters and playstyles. Borrowed from the idea of Character Level.
Mexican Uppercut - The crouching heavy punch as usable by some Shotoclones as a makeshift substitute for a proper Shoryuken if the player's execution isn't at the level needed to perform them reliably. Originated in Southern California.
"Oh-Niner" (or "'09er") - A player who joined the FGC after the post-Street Fighter IV resurgence in 2009. Typically used as a derogatory term for new or young players that claim membership in the FGC, but have little knowledge or regard for its customs, or have "bad" gameplay habits from inexperience or over-reliance on newer game engines. In 2014, the term started to see decline, as many Oh-Niners still in competition have been acknowledged as strong players.
One-Player Mode: When a player hits another character with a combo or move that removes any and all control from the opponent. As long as the attacker finishes the attack or combo, the other player can do nothing but sit and watch it, effectively turning it into a "One-Player game." Also referred to as a "Movie" or "Combo Video".
Opened Up - To have one's defenses penetrated.
Option Select - A technique where one performs their input in such a way that the end result is context sensitive — the game selects the option that is better for you. An example of this would be pressing forward+punch+guard in Virtua Fighter when close to an opponent: if they throw out a slow attack, the punch will interrupt it, and if they try to block, they'll end up being thrown.
Read - The act of correctly predicting your opponents reaction to a situation (such as being knocked down). Often used in the context during commentary to reads done in high-pressure situations or reading things that are not usually expected.
Umeshoryu - The "psychic dragon punch;" the nickname for Shoryukens and similar moves when used by Daigo Umehara, who's known for his ability to make them connect in high-risk situations with startling reliability.
Rekka - A special attack that can be extended by repeating its command, typically to a total of three uses. Named after Fei Long's Rekkaken.
Respect/Disrespect - Usually denotes how much caution or lack thereof when playing against someone. For example, "respecting someone's X" means to play in a matter that takes the X (move, technique or playstyle) into account.
Keep (Someone) Honest - Playing in a way that forces someone to respect a certain move and/or playstyle.
Salt/Salty - To be angry or irritated, typically over a loss. Actually predates fighting games by several decades, dating back to the 1930s.
Sandbagging - When a player is purposely not trying as hard as they normally do. Usually this is because the person they're fighting is either a newbie or they just want to show disrespect to an opponent.
Styling - The act of deliberately doing flashy, impressive, and usually impractical in some way combos, usually when you are very far ahead in a match, set, or skill in general, and can afford to. Usually considered disrespectful in a sense.
Ten-Oh (10-0) Matchup: The claim that a battle is so heavily favored for one side that the odds are 10-0 in their favor; in other words, that there's no chance of losing. This is almost always hyperbole, however (as very few fights are completely unwinnable). More realistic numbers are usually 6-4, 7-3, or 5-5 (which is considered even). Often, this is jokingly used after-the-fact, where a player is getting trounced so thoroughly that their loss is a foregone conclusion.
Timer Scam - More than simply winning by time out, this is using a move with a long animation in the final seconds so that the opponent can't do anything except watching the move (literally) until the timer runs out. Usually done with a multi-hitting super move and forcing the opponent to block it.
Yomi - The ability to know what your opponent is going to do, either by conditioning your opponent to think the way you want them to or by learning how they already think.
David "Low Strong" Sirlin - Former Street Fighter player turned game designer known for skills in Competitive Balance and games that strive for it. His blog is full of thoughtful and insightful articles on such matters. He would later go on to assist Capcom in developing Super Street Fighter II Turbo HD Remix.
Seth Killian - Former online & community advisor for Capcom. A former competitive Street Fighter player, he stopped played at tournament level once trying to juggle his Capcom-related duties with staying competitive hindered his ability to do either. He has a PhD in Philosophy and, debatably more impressive, a Street Fighter character named after him.
Yoshinori Ono - Producer of Street Fighter IV and many other Capcom games. Even though he loves to tease fans, his energetic and playful personality makes him quite popular.
Adam "Keits" Heart - Creator of Divekick, and head of One True Game Studios. Also the host of the UFGT tournament series.
Yu Suzuki - Creator of the Virtua Fighter series, and a pioneer of 3D gaming who developed many of the concepts used in 3D fighting games which persist today. His co-producer on the first Virtua Fighter, Seiichi Ishii, went on to direct the first Tekken, and Suzuki actually gave Tomonobu Itagaki advice which helped him create the first Dead or Alive.
Daigo "The Beast/Ume" Umehara: An extremely accomplished player of 2D fighting games, best known for his play in Street Fighter, particularly his use of Ken and Ryu, to the point of being regarded as one of the best — if not the best — Street Fighter players in the world. In Japan, he is regarded as one of the "Five Gods of 2D." He currently holds the world record for "most successful player in major tournaments of Street Fighter" in Guinness World Records. Currently sponsored by Mad Catz (MCZ).
Justin Wong: That guy who got bodied by Daigo back in '04. Is somewhat less well-known for the wide variety of games he's done well in — between 2004 and 2010, he placed in the Top 8 in at least two Evo tournaments every year; in four of those seven years he made Top 8 in at least three events; and in 2004, he placed Top 8 in four events. Has his own well-known comeback, against Yipes in Marvel vs. Capcom 2 at Evo 2007, and holds the world record for MvC2 single-player. Currently sponsored by Evil Geniuses.
Chung-gon "Poongko" Lee: A Street Fighter and The King of Fighters player known for exhibiting the precise knowledge and execution necessary to dominate with Seth. He is often called "The Machine" after he practiced the game for several hours straight after flying in for an Australian tournament, as well as for his execution skills. Currently a member of CafeId, a team of Korea's best fighting game players.
Michael "IFC Yipes" Mendoza: A Marvel vs. Capcom player who has popularized more catchphrases than most people can even remember, such as the infamous "Mahvel, baby!" video. Well-known as a great color commentator on streams who also has some deep knowledge of the game and is probably one of the biggest fan favorites playing today. He also runs the "Curleh Mustache" tournament series. Currently sponsored by The Steam Company.
Christopher "ChrisG" Gonzalez: A Marvel vs. Capcom 3 player from New York who first rose to prominence at CEO, a major Florida tournament, in 2011, nearly defeating Justin Wong with a Ryu (a very uncommon character, at least offline) team. Has become somewhat of a villain, due to picking up a new team with a zoning playstyle that some have called boring, as well as his Twitter antics. For a while, he was generally considered the undisputed best Marvel player, both for winning almost every tournament he attended throughout 2013 and for making a team that has become an archetype unto itself. Though he is best known for Marvel, he also plays almost every game and usually places very well in all. Thanks to some Memetic Mutation, he has his own theme song. Formerly sponsored by GamesterGear.
Kyohei "MarlinPie" Lehr: A Marvel vs. Capcom 3 player from New Jersey who is best known for his flashy combos, including his impressive Doctor Doom TAC combos. Before, he was known as a strong Eddie player in Guilty Gear. Currently sponsored by Broken Tier (BT).
Ryan "Gootecks" Gutierrez & Mike "(insert nickname here)" Ross: The co-creators of Cross Counter Live, best known for "The Excellent Adventures of Gootecks and Mike Ross", where they showcase various battles from Xbox Live. Gootecks is known for his Balrog and Rose play in Street Fighter IV, and Mike Ross for his E. Honda. While initially they had a full Cross Counter team when they signed a deal with Complexity Gaming, it has since been disbanded. Mike Ross is currently sponsored by Twitch TV."
Hajime "Tokido" Taniguchi: Known variously as "The Murder Face" and "The Ice Man", Tokido is one of the "Five Gods of 2D" in Japan, yet he has also won tournaments in 3D fighters like Tekken, and even in games HE'S NOT KNOWN FOR PLAYING (e.g. his tournament wins in Marvel vs. Capcom 3 and BlazBlue). Most people nowadays know him for his legendary Akuma play in Street Fighter IV, and he is widely considered to be one of the best Akuma players in the world. Sponsored by MadCatz.
Jo "MOV" Egami: A player famous for his exceptional skill in Japan, and also has some unbelievable comebacks. PV video here. Currently affiliated with team eLive.
Kuroda: Known in the 3rd Strike community as "the true god." MOV once claimed that if the world's 3rd Strike players could be given "levels" of understanding of the game, MOV himself would be at Lv.7, Momochi (another great player) is Lv.3, and the rest of the world (including the famous Daigo) is at Lv.0-1. Kuroda? Level 100.
Kuroda has been known to go to Game Mikado — home to the strongest players in Japan — during SBO training season, pick a random character, and get 50-game+ win streaks.
And that time he made a laughing stock of Justin Wong at SBO...
Peter "Combofiend" Rosas: One of the most famous players in the Marvel community, and the successor to Seth Killian, having been hired as Capcom's new Community Advisor. He is known for his ability to pick up any character, even those who are considered to be very bad or average, and use them effectively (as seen with his Guy and Oni usage in Super Street Fighter IV). Also known for his uncanny ability to make comebacks from even the most direst of situations, as shown with some of his more well known ones here. And now with his role as Capcom's community manager, he has now been rechristened "Capcombofiend". Formerly affiliated with Cross Counter.
Alex "CaliPower" Valle: Also known as "Tio/Uncle/Papa Valle", Alex is the head of Level Up Live and one of the oldest American players within the FGC, having been playing since the early days of Street Fighter II. Considered a living legend, he has taken many players under his wing and taught them how to play competitively. Helped create Wednesday Night Fights along with fellow oldbie Mike Watson, and is currently the host of a new series called Rushdown Live, where he helps fellow community members understand the tools and skills that make a competitive player.
Ryan "Filipino Champ" Ramirez: An up-and-coming player who is infamous for being quite polarizing within the community. While his skill is commendable, his attitude is sometimes viewed as uncouth, to put it lightly. In addition, his character choices have also come under criticism, as he is also infamous for playing Dhalsim and Phoenix, who are already well-established as being extremely annoying and difficult to deal with. Ironically, he is also given flak for sticking with characters that do poorly in certain match-ups, most notably against ChrisG. Formerly sponsored by Revolution Gaming, and the head of the FGTV crew.
Eduardo "Puerto Rico (PR) Balrog" Perez-Frangie: Making his debut in Evolution 2009, PR Balrog is, simply put, a triple threat. Proficient in Street Fighter IV, Marvel vs. Capcom 3, and Street Fighter X Tekken, his moment of stardom came when he clutched against Viscant at Evolution 2011 with Tron Bonne. Became a part of Team Evil Geniuses.
Loren "Fanatiq" Riley: An old-school Marvel vs. Capcom 2 player best known for his high profile money matches and his preference for playing on pad. Formerly sponsored by AGE.
Ari "fLoE" Weintraub: If the term "Renaissance Man" could apply to any Western player, it would have to be Floe. A good friend of Justin Wong's, he has performed well in not only 2D fighters, but 3D fighters like Tekken and Soulcalibur as well. He has become something of an internet celebrity due to his streamed playthroughs of I Wanna Be the Guy and its various fanmade spin-offs such as Boshy. May also have unintentionally caused the invention of the "Salt Cam" on various streams due to his facial expressions upon losing a round. Formerly sponsored by Evil Geniuses.
Ricky Ortiz: Also known as "Pretty Ricky," and the third main U.S. member of Evil Geniuses. One of the most skilled Rufus and Chun-Li players on the planet, her abilities in reading and adapting to her opponents are top-notch. Once claimed at EVO 2010 that whenever she landed an EX Snake Strike, it would guarantee her the round or match. She held true to her word, even against Daigo.
Seon-woo "Infiltration" Lee: A Korean Street Fighter IV player who rose to prominence after his performance at EVO 2012, where he defeated Daigo Umehara and Gamerbee. Considered one of the greatest Akuma players in the world, he has also begun using Gouken and Hakan, who are considered mid and bottom tier respectively, and performed successfully with them. Defeated Daigo again at the Street Fighter 25th Anniversary Tournament, in one of the most hype matches of 2012 (Daigo beat him 3-0, but Infiltration struck back in the grand finals with a 6-0 upset), and later Tokido in Street Fighter X Tekken at the same event, in which he took the grand prize of $25,000 for each tournament ($50,000 total), and a Capcom-themed car. For a time, he was considered without question as "the one to beat" when it came to Street Fighter, although his performance has steadily declined since then. Formerly sponsored by Western Wolves.
Ryan "Prodigal Son" Hart: British player, and the highest-profile European player in the scene. The first fighting game player to ever be sponsored — he is currently a member of Team Dignitas.
Kun Xian Ho: One of the hosts of Cross Counter Asia, the other being fan-favorite commentator Zhi. Xian is a KOF prodigy who started playing competitively at the age of 10. Nowadays, Xian is famous for playing the Difficult but Awesome Gen in Super Street Fighter IV, a character who has placed consistently low in the tier lists since the original version, and winning many majors with him, including the SSFIVAE tournament at Evo 2013. He is considered one of, if not the, best Gen players in the entire world. Currently sponsored by Razer, and member of the Singaporean team Desperation Move.
Keita "Fuudo" Ai: Perhaps best known as the man who defeated Latif to win EVO 2011 with Fei Long, Fuudo is an accomplished Virtua Fighter player, and still plays it to this day. He is considered to be one of the best Virtua Fighter players in the world. Sponsored by Razer.
Nicolas "KaneBlueRiver" Gonzalez: Chilean Marvel vs. Capcom 3 player, who gained notoriety for traveling around the world to fight the best in the world at the game. Famous for his Team Big Body (Hulk, Haggar and Sentinel), which is a fan favorite at many tournaments for its unpredictability and unorthodox team formation. Currently a member of Team BlackEye.
Naoto Sako: The third member of the "Five Gods of 2D." Sako is a highly-experienced player of many fighting games, and is legendary for his incredible execution skills. His execution is so great that there are certain combos which have been named after him due to being EXTREMELY difficult to perform. Sako's B.B. Hood in Darkstalkers 3 was unrivaled, and now in Street Fighter IV he has become notable for playing two very unorthodox characters: Ibuki and Evil Ryu. Currently sponsored by Hori.
Naoki "Nemo" Nemoto: Japanese player who made a name for himself in 2013 as one of the few players from that country to play Marvel vs. Capcom 3 on a serious level, traveling to the United States to participate in tournaments and (more famously) defeat a number of top Marvel players in money matches, including ChrisG, Filipino Champ and Fanatiq, among others. His success (particularly in the aforementioned money matches) has led to a number of American players to imitate his team of Nova, Doctor Strange and Spencer. In late 2014, he retired from Marvel to focus on Ultra Street Fighter IV, showing off what Rolento is capable of. Currently a member of team BlackEye.
Darryl "Snake Eyez" Lewis: Southern California player who has made his mark as one of, if not *the*, top Zangief players in the world. Among his accomplishments include one Evo title (in 2010 for Super SFII Turbo HD Remix), domination of many Wednesday Night Fights tourneys in 2013 and 2014, and a reverse OCV in a 5v5 exhibition at SoCal Regionals 2014. With his fourth place finish at Evo 2014's Ultra SF4 tourney, has established himself as one of the top players in the US. Formerly a member of Revolution Gaming.
Olivier "Luffy" Hay: French player that has established himself alongside Ryan Hart and Alioune as one of the top players from Europe. A long-time Rose user since the original release of Street Fighter IV, he is considered one of the top players of the character, which was reaffirmed with his performance at Evo 2014's Ultra SF4 tournament, where he took first place. Currently sponsored by Meltdown Gaming.
Sanford "Santhrax" Kelly: Known today as the man who made the phrase "pick a top tier" a meme, Sanford Kelly is a veteran from the days of Marvel vs. Capcom 2, along with the likes of Yipes and Justin Wong. His performances with his signature team of Storm, Sentinel, and Captain Commando have become legendary. In Street Fighter IV, he received much flak for playing the Game Breaker known as Sagat, and continued to play the Muay Thai emperor for quite some time even though he was no longer top tier. He has since switched to Oni in Ultra Street Fighter IV, bringing explosive yet calculated gameplay to the table. Currently sponsored by The Steam Company.
Other Notable Individuals
David "UltraDavid" Graham - Popular commentator who is best known for being a copyright lawyer and a gamer. He used this by posting an editorial on S.978, which would have made streaming illegal if it were passed.
James "jchensor" Chen - Runs the UltraChen stream, and is known for using Cammy in every Street Fighter game (even if she's low-tier). Also a known commentator... even if he gets things completely wrong. Also gets egged on for bad puns.
Maximilian "Miles923" Christiansen - Used to play within the circuits, now is responsible for the Assist Me internet movie series for the Marvel vs. Capcom series, as well as establishing a new channel for other, non-fighting games, called Yo Video Games! Also a huge Killer Instinct fan, providing constant coverage of the Xbox One's version development and participating in tournaments for the game.
Aris Bakhtanians - One of America's top Tekken and Soulcalibur players, as well as a fan-favorite commentator and owner of the Avoiding the Puddle blog. Has provided many tutorials for people to learn about the Tekken series. Was the subject of controversy in 2012 during the Cross Assault event stream after making sexist comments toward a female player he was supposed to be coaching.
Martin "Marn" Phan - Formerly known for his Street Fighter and Marvel vs. Capcom play, he has since moved on to playing League of Legends, having created his own team "MRN." Due to a certain incident in which he mismanaged the brackets for a Guilty Gear tournament, he has become rather infamous in the FGC. As a joke, his likeness was used as the template for the character of "Mr. N" in Divekick.