A contentious Guilty Gear Xrd mechanic known as Danger Time reared its ugly head at publisher Aksys Games’ Anime Ascension tournament this past weekend, leading to a noteworthy annihilation in the game’s finals bracket.
Competitive fighting game players don’t always jive with the mechanics in their favorite titles. That’s part of the reason Super Smash Bros. competitors stringently restrict item usage and stage selection. But Danger Time is different; it’s an inherent part of the game that folks can’t avoid with a simple setting change.
Danger Time is randomly activated when two moves “clash,” a state that occurs when the hitboxes of opposing attacks collide. These scenarios are a little hectic on their own, as either competitor can then cancel the animation into a number of offensive and defensive techniques. The chaos ramps up exponentially on the odd occasion Danger Time activates.
Once it’s triggered, the next 10 seconds are tense. Danger Time increases damage for every attack by 20% and grants various moves a special counter-hit status called Mortal Counter, which essentially makes it easier to perform new, longer combos. In other words, Danger Time is extremely, well, dangerous if your opponent is able to open up your defenses.
And that’s exactly what happened at Anime Ascension during a top eight match between finalists Alain “Bears” Kim and Peter “daymendou” Liao.
Heading into the last round of their second game, Bears and daymendou looked confident. The former was up one game, but the latter was quickly surging back thanks to his solid, vampiric Slayer play. As the round began, the players took to opposite ends of the screen, feeling out the space between them with a few normal attacks. But as Bears jumped in with the game’s speedy ninja Chipp Zanuff (Update 6:19pm— This character was initially misidentified as Axl Low), his attack struck a stray punch from daymendou, resulting in the dreaded Danger Time countdown.
What happened next was a definite “blink and you’ll miss it” moment. Straight out of the clash, daymendou landed a devastating Heavy Slash, catching Bears while he was still airborne and destroying around 90% of his health bar. From there, all it took was a simple slide to dizzy his opponent and seal the deal, tying the score at one game apiece. In the course of 14 seconds, Bears had gone from possibly going up 2-0 to being absolutely destroyed, partially thanks to a random game mechanic. All he could do was laugh and move on.
Bears went on to lose the next two games and finish his weekend in third place. Daymendou, on the other hand, wound up defending California from a visiting Texan named Jason “Kid Viper” Srouji in an intense grand finals match that went right down to the wire.
Because of moments like these, Danger Time will continue to be a controversial topic in the Guilty Gear community. Some see it as a welcome hype injection due to its ability to show up in any match, but others dislike the randomness it adds to an otherwise competitively viable game. In any case, it’s probably here to stay. During their first location test for the upcoming Guilty Gear Xrd REV 2, developer Arc System Works shared that, in addition to the other benefits of Danger Time, both players will now also gain a set amount of meter when it activates.
Bonus damage, devastating combos, and now greater access to stronger moves? Danger Time truly is the most dangerous time in a Guilty Gear match.
Ian Walker is a fighting game expert and freelance writer. You can find him on Twitter at @iantothemax.