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Pokken Tournament DX/Movement, Defense, and Phases

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Pokken Tournament DX

General Movement and Defense


Block by pressing R. Blocking defends against all attacks, but your shield has limited health and can be damaged. When your shield health reaches 0, you suffer a Guard Break, a 60F reeling animation during which you can be attacked for a heavily scaled combo.

Pokken Shield Health Burnside Graphic.jpg


Every character can perform a Forward Dash and a Back Dash in both Phases, using them for quick burst movement or to avoid attacks. Back Dash universally has at least 1-8F Strike and Throw invuln, though some Dashes can have additional properties. Every Dash can be canceled early into Block, Jump, Grab, any Pokemon Move, Support, Burst Declare, or Burst Attack.


While Jumping on its own is restricted to predetermined arcs, many characters have a way to alter their trajectory. However, anti-airing is still strong in Pokken, and the sky is less of a sandbox and more of a means to an end. Jumping grants Low invuln. on Frame 1, and 5-15F Mid Low invuln (varies by character). Players transition into buffered Aerial Actions from a Jump on Frame 6. Jumping has 17F of landing lag in Field Phase, and 5F of landing lag in Duel Phase.

Extended State

One advanced defensive technique in Pokken is doing nothing, which exploits a quirk of the game's engine known as Extended State. By providing the game with no input, it is possible to add a few frames to the duration of certain character states, such as blockstun, Burst Exhaust, and wakeup. This allows the defender to throw off the timing of certain setups.

Phases Overview

Pokken Phase Shift Example.png

Pokken gameplay takes place in 2 phases: Field Phase and Duel Phase. In Field Phase, characters can move in any direction, and there is a focus on ranged combat and gathering Synergy. On the other hand, Duel Phase is more akin to a traditional fighter, and this is where the bulk of your damage will be dealt. Upon landing certain attacks, the phase will change from Field Phase to Duel Phase. This is what’s known as a phase shift, and it happens very often, making for dynamic battles.

Field Phase

Every round of Pokken starts in Field Phase. In this Phase, all characters retain access to their Counter Attack and grab, as well as their neutral, forward, and back Pokemon Moves. In addition, each character has a wealth of ranged attacks and a Homing Attack, placing a focus on mid to long ranged combat.

Movement in Field Phase

Moving around in Field Phase will be somewhat familiar to anyone who has played an arena fighter. In addition to Dashing Forward and Back, players are able to perform Side Dashes in Field Phase, which are invulnerable against projectiles. Movement in Field Phase is generally slower than in Duel, emphasizing calculated positioning and control of the center. Jumping has 12 more frames of landing lag in Field, and Aerial Actions usually take longer to recover.

Ranged Attacks

Each character has 4 ranged attacks - 1 for each direction, including no direction - as well as a jumping ranged attack, performed by pressing Y. Not all ranged attacks are projectiles; some of them simply cover a lot of space. Ranged attacks all have greatly varied frame data, as well as special properties. For example, ranged attacks with the “Link Up” property can be chained into other specific ranged attacks.

Homing Attack

The aforementioned Homing Attack is a core mechanic of Field Phase. By pressing X, the character will run towards the opponent. This run can be initially steered, but beyond that, neither the direction nor the speed of the run can be changed at any point. The run can be canceled by jumping or blocking. Upon reaching the opponent, the run transitions into an attack. Depending on the character, this attack either has 1 or 2 followups. The last hit of every Homing Attack can be charged to increase damage, Pierce, and cause a guard break. Each character’s Homing Attack has a set run speed.

Perfect Block and Homing Cancel

The ability to cancel Homing Attack with Block on Frame 1 is built on by both of these powerful defensive techniques.

Perfect Block: Canceling Homing Attack with Block right as that Block is hit puts the defender in significantly reduced blockstun, creating a gap in normally airtight blockstrings and netting a bigger punish on unsafe moves.

Homing Cancel: Combining Homing Attack's cancel window and its ability to Throw Blast, the Homing Cancel refers to the act of teching a throw with Homing Attack and then immediately canceling the Throw Tech into Block, allowing for a bigger punish.

Duel Phase

In Duel Phase, ranged attacks and Homing Attack are traded for a more traditional toolkit. In most cases, matches will shift to close quarters here. Instead of ranged attacks and Homing Attack, Y and X are mapped to Weak Attack and Strong Attack. If you input a certain move multiple times, like each character’s Weak Attack, your character will perform a combo ending in a Pokemon Move.

Movement in Duel Phase

Compared to that of Field Phase, movement in Duel Phase feels both more and less freeing. In return for the loss of the 3rd dimension, jumps are less laggy, Dashes are zippier for some characters, and the space is more cramped.


Something interesting to note is that by pressing up on the D-Pad, your character will not jump. Instead, by holding up or down on the D-Pad, you can enter High Stance or Low Stance respectively. Each character’s High and Low Stances have different properties. Both Weak and Strong Attacks can be performed from stances as well.

Shifting the Phase

There are many different ways to change between phases. As a general rule, in Field Phase, all forward ranged attacks and Homing Attacks will cause a phase shift upon connecting with their last hit. Beyond that, many characters’ Pokemon Moves will immediately phase shift in Field Phase as well.

Phase Shift: Field to Duel

• Grants 40CC of Synergy.

• Restores 50% recoverable HP.

Shifting from Duel Phase to Field Phase is drastically different. Each move in Duel Phase has a fixed amount of Phase Shift points, shortened to PSP. On hit, each move’s PSP amount will be added to an unseen counter. When the counter reaches 12 PSP, the phase will shift. Additionally, any combo will cause a phase shift on the 21st hit regardless of PSP.*

Phase Shift: Duel to Field

• Grants 20CC of Synergy.

  • Note: Some grabs count as 1 hit, regardless of what the hit counter displays.