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Super Street Fighter IV/Game Systems/White Damage
Earlier in this guide, in the Focus Attack and Armored Moves section, the concept of "White Damage" has already been mentioned, but to this point it has not yet been described what White Damage is exactly. It's a relatively new concept to Street Fighter, though something very similar to it has been used in Vampire Savior long ago.
Anytime you character takes "White Damage," what happens is that, in your Life Meter, your energy will drain but, instead of your Life Meter completely disappearing, the part that got drained gets replaced by a white, flashing section in the Life Meter that is referred to as "White Health." What this White Health represents is a chunk of life that you have technically lost but still have the ability to recover back.
The only way to recover this chunk of White Health back, however, is time. Whenever you take White Damage, your meter will be stagnant for about 1 second on the clock. After that 1 second has passed, you'll start to see the White Health in your Life Meter gradually convert back into regular health starting from the section closer to the K.O. mark up to the place the White Health stops.
Also, you can repeatedly continue to take more and more White Damage. If the opponent, for example, chucks Hadokens at you from across the screen, you can Focus them over and over. You'll take White Damage from each of them and the White Health you have will just continue to grow larger and larger as you keep taking White Damage. But that means you just have that much larger of a chunk of White Health to recover back, and the recovery rate is slow and remains at the same pace the entire time.
Losing White Health
However, there is one problem with White Health: if at any point in time you are hit by a move before your White Health fully recovers, you will not only take the normal damage you would have starting from where your regular life is, you also lose the entire chunk of White Health instantly.
So let's say you have 1000 Hit Points and take 100 points of White Damage. If you get hit by a move that does 150 damage before you recover any of that White Health, you'll lose the entire 100 points of White Health and take the 150 points of damage from the move as well to leave you at 750 health left. So if you see that you have a lot of White Damage in your Life Meter, it's best to play a bit more careful to try and recover as much life as possible.
And so while it may seem like a good idea to sit back and Focus projectiles from your opponent a bunch of times to gain Ultra Meter, you have to be careful: absorb three or four Projectiles in a row and then get hit by one Crouching Light Kick, and you'll lose all of that life in one hit if you haven't recovered any back yet.
There's one more catch with White Health: you can't turtle up and start playing super defensively once you have White Health to recover your life safely. This is because any time you Block a move, and this is any move, the recovery on the White Health is halted wherever it happens to be at. And remember that 1 second you had to wait before it started recovering the first time? You now have to wait that second once again before it starts recovering again. And every time you Block a move, this happens, so if your opponent rushes you down properly, you will never gain back that White Health. The best ways to ensure your White Health gets filled up again is to either run away really well or start attacking your opponent instead so they can't hit you or force you to Block anything.
No Life Left Scenarios
So there are a couple of important questions to ask about White Health. The first obvious one is: if you have 90 health left and you Focus an attack that does 100 damage, will that kill you since you didn't have enough regular health left to absorb the entire 100 points of damage?
The answer is no, actually. Well, not in this particular case. It really depends. See, the way White Damage works in this game is that, if you happen to not have enough life to absorb a hit fully, the health that you were short on starts getting removed from your White Health.
So here's an example to help clear this up. Let's say you just happen to have 76 hit points left in your Life Meter. You opponent now attacks you a move that does 200 damage. Well, just so that we are technically accurate, remember that your Life Meter is already in its last 15%, so that means you are taking only 75% damage of that 200 damage move, so now the move is doing 150 points of damage.
However, you don't get hit by the move, you end up Focusing it. What happens here? Well, first off, all 76 health points you have will be turned into White Health by the White Damage. But what happens to the other 74 points of damage leftover from your opponent's attack? It starts getting subtracted from your White Health. You have 76 point of White Health right now, so the 74 remaining points of damage will bring that down to only 2 points of White Health. And because you still have even that tiny amount of White Health left, you are technically still alive so the game will not count you as K.O.'ed just yet.
So to sum it up properly, in order to die from taking White Damage, the move that hits you needs to take off 200% or more of life you have left. If you have 50 life left, only a 100 or more damage hit will K.O. you if you absorb the move. If you have 100 health left, only a 200 or more damage hit will K.O. you. And on and on.
And this is why it's so hard to kill with Gen's Mantis Mode Ultra II: the Shitenketsu. It does a measly 23 hit points of damage on the first hit, then 420 points of pure White Damage. So in order for an average opponent of 1000 Hit Points to be killed by the move, they must have only 210 life left. The 23 points of damage at the start gets damage reduced to 21 (because they are in their bottom 30% of life), leaving the opponent with 189 health left. The 420 damage hit gets damage reduced to 378 damage. 189 of that gets turned into White Damage, leaving the remaining 189 to get drained by the remaining damage.
White Health and Chip Damage
Another question is how does Chip Damage affect White Health? When you have White Health left and you take any Chip Damage from a Special Move or Super Combo or Ultra Combo, the Chip Damage is actually taken off of your White Health. You don't lose the whole chunk of White Health, just whatever amount the Chip Damage was normally going to do.