In Guilty Gear Strive, Axl Low is one of its better characters this time around. His zoning playstyle is simple and effective which makes him a strong pick and can frustrate many of his foes with his long-range attacks. Here's what you need to know to get through Axl Low and defeat him.
Read More: Guilty Gear Strive Tier List
Understanding His Normals
As a zoner, Axl Low is designed to have good buttons that work well when his opponent is in long-range and mid-range. These normals are difficult to contest as they're disjointed normals. Normally, characters with far-reaching attacks have openings where their outstretched limbs or weapons can be hit when it misses.
However, Axl Low's long range attacks are reliably quick to land any of your attacks to punish with this approach. Additionally, most of his chain scythe attacks don't have hurtboxes that you can hit if it does miss. At best, it'll be best to make Axl Low miss his attacks as your best opening to turn the tables.
While Axl Low's long-range buttons are reliable when used at their best ranges, these moves still have a weakness. Axl Low's openings show up when he misses his normal attacks. On whiff, Axl Low has no choice to cancel his moves for free. If he wants to, he can only force it through Purple Roman Cancelling it to return to neutral to pressure you again.
What this means is that you should take the chance to close the gap if Axl Low misses his attacks. If it is a horizontal attack, jump over it and dash toward him. If it is an upward attack, boldly run under it and block in time once he retracts the chain sickle back to him. This way, you can close the gap and pressure Axl Low. Even though you're technically not hitting him, reducing the distance between both fighters is a pressure to Axl Low.
To achieve this, start jumping in place and run up to a simple upward jump to force Axl Low to think twice when he throws his chain scythe. Make sure to block when you do this. This tactic is one of the safest options to force the Axl Low to make a mistake and help you move up.
Sickle Flash And Its Followups
However, Axl Low also has his Sickle Flash special move where he throws his chain scythe forward and has followups that can stop his opponent regardless of how they reacted to it. Fortunately, these moves also have weakness and here's what you can do against them:
- Soaring Chain Strike (chain pull-up followup) - This follow-up will make Axl Low pull up his chain upward and can snag foes who try to avoid Sickle Flash. This move is blockable but remember to respect Axl Low's next option after this. It'll be best to block and get ready for a defensive interrupt as Axl Low gets massive advantage for making his opponent block his Soaring Chain Strike. Block his fast options and aim to interrupt if he chooses to go for a slower attack to open you up.
- Spinning Chain Strike (chain tornado followup) - This move pulls you in regardless if it whiffs or hits. This move's weakness is actually has a bad hitbox above him. Opt to use a jumping attack that reaches deep to punish him for using this.
- Winter Cherry (chain explosion followup) - This move mostly comes up Axl Low's foe refuses to move after getting hit by Sickle Flash at its maximum range. Axl makes his chain sickle explode and can deal a high amount of damage. Aim to find opportunities as this move is a callout that you're not trying to challenge his zoning.
Alternatively, Axl Low can also use his Winter Mantis command throw to punish you for staying too far from him. This move comes out faster the closer his opponent is to other corner as he summons the blade behind his enemy. Make sure to try to challenge Axl Low's zoning pressure as he has a complete kit in punishing foes from staying too far from him in Guilty Gear Strive.