Located just below the health bar on both players' sides is the blue Guard Meter. When blocking normal and special moves, the bar lowers accordingly to the blocked attack. If this bar is fully depleted, the character enters a Guard Crush state where the player is unable to perform any action. This gives the opposing player an opportunity to land any attack of choice. When approaching a Guard Crush, the Guard Meter flashes red indicating that the defending player is in danger. After a second of being out of blockstun, the gauge begins to gradually refill itself.
The guard break window is much larger in XIII than in previous KOF games, so a large focus now is to end a blockstring or use a special so that it causes a guard break without 'going over' and hitting the opponent afterward. For instance, Ash's ( [ ], + + ) chips off plenty of guard meter, but to get the most damage out of a guard crush a player would want the last hit to cause the guard break so that Ash can go in for a Close Heavy Punch combo which can cause more damage.
- Very few Desperation Moves and Neomax attacks will deplete the Guard Meter.
- Characters can have different lengths of Guard Meter, so some characters take more hits to get guard crushed than others. Most characters have a guard meter that consists of 100 points while Ralf and Clark have 120, and Maxima and Daimon have 150.