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With the removal of convenient Guard Impacts, Soulcalibur V adds a new guard ability - just guard. This allows you to tap (not hold) guard at the precise moment of impact (very few frames), and your character will flash blue and purple, you'll be notified of your just guard, and you'll effectively ignore the attack entirely (no damage, no knockback, no reaction whatsoever).

This is possible for normal attacks, guard-breaking attacks, and unblockables (not sure whether or not it works on Critical Edges, since they're some cinematic aspect to those), and it results in tremendous frame advantage when you get to entirely ignore an attack.

How can I improve my just guard skills?

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It does not work on throws or critical edge attacks. –  Maxx Feb 12 '12 at 5:00
    
@Maxx You definitely can just guard critical edges. Also, I'd recommend deleting once of your answers below and editing it's content into your original answer. –  Ian Pugsley Feb 12 '12 at 14:28
    
WOW! Amazing! I'm going to go try it right now. –  Maxx Feb 13 '12 at 4:02
    
Is it the brave edge you can't just guard against? –  Maxx Feb 13 '12 at 4:02
    
@Maxx I don't see any reason why you couldn't just guard BE, and haven't seen any other mention of it. If you really want to know, ask a question and I'll test and answer. Also, *please combine your answers below into one - it's not bad information if you put it all together, but you're not going to see good results with two separate mediocre answers. –  Ian Pugsley Feb 14 '12 at 16:42

3 Answers 3

up vote 2 down vote accepted

The trick to doing just guard

To do the just guard, you have to press and let go of the guard button (for a total press of four frames or less) while your opponent is mid swing. You have to have already let go of the button before the attack connects to activate just guard. You have to let go of guard roughly 0.25 seconds before the hit connects.

The best way I've found to practice

Go to training and select a fairly slow character like Nightmare or Astaroth as your opponent. Set the CPU to counter after attack. The computer will automatically attack after each time you do. It's pretty easy to nail down the exact timing when you initiate it with your own attack. Attack, just guard, attack, just guard. After a while you'll be getting it on every try.

Practical timing in a live match

The three scenarios I've found the easiest to time against real opponents are:

  1. Immediately after a guard. Many less experienced players will counterattack as soon as they're done blocking. If you practice using the method described above, it should be pretty easy to time when that counterattack is coming.

  2. The last hit of an obvious combo. Most characters in the game have their trademark combos that a large portion of players use (usually B, B). Getting the timing between these two hits down is relatively easy. Guard the first hit and use just guard on the second. The timing should come naturally after some practice.

  3. Unblockables. Probably the hardest of these three to time, but totally worth it if the people you play against favor using these. Unblockables are generally slow, so you have a second or two to prepare yourself and get the timing just right.

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I don't play Soul Calibur, so if any of this information is wrong or not relevant feel free to correct me

This sounds very similar to parrying in Street Fighter 3: 3rd Strike (although it was pressing forward at the correct moment, as opposed to pressing block(back in SF3)).

The only way to really get good at anything is purely through practice and experience. There are a number of factors to getting a parry (or just guard) right, including the attack animations speed, your own reflex speed, and whether you can correctly predict what is coming next.

With different moves having varying speeds, you'll need to learn when the appropriate time to just guard is. You'll only learn this by playing a variety of players and characters. It's not so much about academic knowledge itself as it is muscle memory. There really isn't time between when a move starts and when it hits to think about when to just guard, so it comes down to your ability to time the input based on your previous experience.

Playing casuals with friends is a great way to learn things like this, since the punishment for screwing it up is so high. Don't worry about losing too much against friends.

If you enter tournaments and aren't sure of your ability to just guard, act as though it doesn't exist until you've gotten the hang of it. It's not worth blowing the cash to practice something that you can practice for free elsewhere.

TL;DR unless there are certain input tricks (as I said, I don't play SC), the best way to get better is to practice with friends.

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... You can use guard impacts in soul calibur 5. They're really easy. Each character has it set up a certain way though, so it could be 4A+B, or 4G, or 4A+B+K, but generally they're in a left direction. Some characters use it mixed in with their standard moves as well, like Xiba uses a guard impact to start his critical edge.

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A just guard is different from a guard impact. –  Ian Pugsley Apr 5 '12 at 20:05

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