A guide for anyone new to million arthur arcana blood or fighting games in general.
Million Arthur Arcana Blood (or maab for short) is new to PC, but it’s been out for a few months on Playstayion 4 and even longer than that in arcade. There’s a lot of strange mechanics in maab that can make it seem unaproachable, but it’s actually a fairly easy game to get into once you understand a little of how it works.
The maab community largely uses numpad notation for in-game actions. In numpad notation directions are represented by numbers corresponding to their location on a keyboard numpad, thus 2=down, 6=forward, 4=back, 8=up, and 5=neutral. You can combine the numbers to make joystick motions, IE the motion for Blade Protector’s Lightning Pressure would be written out as 236X for down, down-forward, forward and then any attack button (A, B, or C). Throughout this guide I’ll be using numpad notation, but I’ll also provide a description of each action as well for players not used to it.
Maab has a fairly standard set of "anime” style movement options. You can walk, dash, double jump, air dash, etc. But there are some nuances that are unique to maab so even if you’ve played a lot of anime games you might want to brush up on these basics.
Inputting 66(double tapping forward) will cause you run until you let go of 6 (forward). Unlike most games with a run you can’t hold 6 (forward) indefinitely to keep running. There is a small window after starting your run where you cannot block, so be careful. Inputting 66 (double tapping forward) in the air will cause an "Airdash”, this moves you a set distance in the air. While airdashing you can cancel the movement animation with any action, including block, although it won’t cancel the momentum.
Inputting 44 (double tapping back) on the ground will cause you to hop backwards. This hop animation has some invulnerability in the middle of the animation, but it doesn’t have any at the beginning or at the end. Inputting 44 (double tapping back) in the air will cause an "airdash” backwards. This has all the same properties as a forwards airdash but it moves in the reverse direction and has invulnerability at the beginning.
Hitting 7(up-back), 8(up), or 9(up-forward) will cause your character to jump, once you’re airborne you can jump again with any up input or you can air dash by hitting 66(double tapping forward) or 44(double tapping backwards). If you input 1(down-back), 2(down), or 3(down-forward) right before jumping off the ground you’ll do a higher "super jump” instead of a normal jump. After super jumping you can’t double jump, but you can still air dash. You can perform air attacks no matter which jump you do.
Instant Air Dashing
If you jump by hitting 7(up-back) or 9(up-forward) that input actually counts as the first back/forward needed to get your air dash. That means you can input 96(up-forward, forward) while on the ground and get a very low air dash. This is often abbreviated as "iad”
Holding back will cause your character to block. Some attacks are overheads and must be blocked while standing, some are lows and must be blocked while crouching, some are mids and can be blocked in any direction. Bisclavret’s 5D (neutral + D) can be charged to become a "guard crush” meaning it cannot be blocked. After a move is blocked, the player who blocked it is put in "Blockstun” for an amount of time that varies depending on the move. While in blockstun a player can still switch their block direction (high/low) but cannot move or do anything else (except for guard cancels, outlined in their own section below)
While in the air, holding back will cause your character to air block. All characters have an "air unblockable” attack on 6C (forward + C) that cannot be blocked in the air. If you are already in blockstun, 6Cs (forward + C attacks) will become blockable, meaning you cannot force someone into an unblockable without first giving them a chance to escape.
Air Actions Reseting
While in the air you have 1 air action action, an air action is either a double jump or an air dash. Any time you block or are hit in the air you regain your air action. This means that in any situation where you are put or kept in the air by an opponent’s actions you will have a means of escape. Thief Arthur is a unique exception to the 1 air action rule, as she has 2 air actions, meaning she can tripple jump, air dash twice, air dash then double jump, or double jump and then air dash.
Hitting the A and B buttons at the same time will cause your character to roll forward. These rolls are invincible to attacks, but not to throws and have recovery at the end. That means they’re useful for avoid attacks/escaping the corner but you want to be careful to avoid being predictable
Hitting the B and C buttons at the same time will cause your character to Grab the opponent. These grabs cannot be blocked and must instead be teched by hitting B and C as soon as you are grabbed or shortly after. In addition to these "normal grabs” there are also "command grabs” which are special moves that count as grabs such as Eternal Flame’s "Heat Burst”. Command grabs cannot be teched and instead must be avoided. If an opponent is in hitstun they cannot be normal grabbed, but some command grabs will still work. If an opponent is in blockstun they are completely immune to throws. Normal grabs cannot hit an opponent who is airborne, but some command grabs can. Additionally, all characters have air grabs, done by inputting B+C while airborne, these will grab airborne opponents, but whiff against grounded opponents.
By repeatedly pressing the A button every character can do a predefined string of attacks. After reaching the end of an autocombo if you have 100 or more super meter and press the A button you’ll do a predefined super. Auto combos are very useful as they build a large amount of meter and will build meter even during meter cooldown.
Initially characters in maab have a max meter of 200 points, after a burst (discussed in it’s own section below) that max amount rises to 300. All metered actions take 100 or 200 points of meter. Meter gain in maab is very similar to other fighting games, but notable is that auto combos (done by pressing the A button repeatedly) build a substantial amount of meter after their final hit (not counting the super). Additionally Koume’s auto combo drains meter from the opponent. After spending any amount of meter players enter a short period of "meter cooldown” where they no longer build super meter.
Pressing the A, B and C buttons at the same time will cause your character to flash and the background will be replaced by flames. This is "Enchant Boost” and will power you up with 1 of 4 buffs depending on your character. Additionally, the flash itself can hit and has different properties depending on if the enchant boost was done on it’s own or as a cancel (after a move hit/was blocked). If the move was done on it’s own the flash is an invincible reversal and will blow the opponent away on hit, but is punishable on block. If done as a cancel the flash will hold the opponent in place on hit and is not punishable on block. Enchant boost costs 100 meter to perform and cannot be done if the enchant boost buff is active. The buff does not last as long if done as a cancel
Pressing the A, B, or C buttons along with the D button will cause your character to flash and will extend your super meter. If the flash hits it will knock back the opponent, but it’s also very punishable on block. You have exactly 1 burst per round and cannot gain any more or lose your burst except by performing it. Unique about burst is you can do it out of hitstun or blockstun, letting you escape combos. Additionally, when low on life you’ll gain an extra 100 meter if your burst successfully hits the opponent.
pressing 6A+B (hold forward and press the A and B buttons) right after an attack is blocked will cause your character to leave blockstun and roll right away. Unlike normal rolls, guard cancel rolls are invincible to grabs as well as attacks and are invincible all the way through their animation, meaning they cannot be punished.
Pressing the A, B, and C buttons while in blockstun will cause your character to leave blockstun and perform an enchant boost. This version of enchant boost is will knock the opponent away on hit and is punishable on block. The enchant boost buff also lasts longer than a cancel enchant boost, but not as long as a non-cancel enchant boost.
Doing a 236 or 623 motion (down, down-forward, forward or forward, down, down-forward) and pressing 2 attack buttons will perform a super attack. Some characters can also do supers in the air. Supers cost 100 meter and have various uses, but most commonly are used for extra damage.
Doing 214 (down, down-back, back) and pressing 2 attack buttons will do a 200 meter super move that does lots of damage and plays a cutscene.
Under your health bar and under your chosen assists are 5 gems that represent your assist meter. Each assist has a cost equal to its level which is displayed on the assist’s card. A blue gem means you can use the assist, a grey gem means the meter is recharging, and a red gem means you’ll need to wait before it starts to charge.
After selecting your character you can pick 3 assist cards. These are like extra special moves for your character and are done by inputting 214 (down, down-back, back) and then pressing either the A, B, or C buttons depending on which assist you want to call. There are 3 levels of assist, higher level assists cost more but can cancel more kinds of moves. Level 3 assists can be used to cancel anything but million excaliburs, level 2s can cancel anything but supers, and level 1s can only cancel normal attacks or other assists.
Every character and assist has an elemental affinity. For assists their element determines the elemental charge of their attack, and for characters it determines what kind of enchant boost they have as well as generally indicate what charge their D attacks will inflict although some characters don’t follow this rule (koume and riesz). A character’s elemental affinity will also determine what element Zechs steals from them.
Each elemental charge has a unique effect: Fire inflicts damage over time, Wind steals some life, and ice freezes opponents for a short time. While in enchant boost every normal attack will apply elemental charges. While charged, being hit another attack of the same element will cause a damage bonus, and being hit by an element that’s strong against the charge (fire>wind>ice>fire) will cause a mid-combo counterhit.
Neutral element (purple) represents no element, and has no special bonus. Neutral element characters who activate enchant boost do get a bonus however. While in enchant boost all normal attacks will apply bonus damage to an elementally charged character as if they were charged with that element (but they will not reproduce the damage over time/lifesteal/freeze effects of other elements, only the bonus damage).
After hitstun has ended pressing the A, B, or C button will cause your character to flash and return to neutral. You’ll know a combo recovery was possible if the combo counter turns grey. You can also hold down a button to get this effect on the first possible frame. While in the air you can choose to flip out forwards or backwards by pressing either forward or back while recovering. This is commonly called "teching”, but is not to be confused with "throw tech”, another term for throw breaking.
At the top of the screen is a lifebar for both players which measures how much health they have. When one player runs out of health they lose the round. You lose health from getting hit, getting thrown, or blocking special/super moves (damage you take from blocking is very low and called "chip damage”). Aside from chip damage, any of those damage sources can cause you to lose the round. Health cannot be restored except by the effects of wind element moves.
Understanding Frame Data
You might hear terms like "frame advantage” "active frames” or see things like "-3” and be confused, but don’t worry, despite seeming very mathy, frame data is very easy to understand. First you need to know what a frame is. Maab runs at 60 frames per second (or should at least), so "frame” is used as a measurement of time which is equal to one sixtieth of a second. Moves are broken down into 3 parts: Startup, active, and recovery. Startup frames are frames before the attack can hit, active frames are frames where the attack can hit, and recovery frames are frames after the attack has hit. Startup also encompases the first active frame. Frame advantage is the concept of being able to act before your opponent, so if a move is +5, that means you have 5 frames to do something before your opponent can do anything. Alternatively, if a move is -5 that means your opponent can do something 5 frames before you can do anything.
So if you’re at -5, and your opponent has a move that’s 5 frames or faster, they can hit you and you cannot block.