Melty Blood: Act Cadenza

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Melty Blood: Act Cadenza

Melty Blood: Act Cadenza (MBAC) represents the third major revision in the series, the first two being the original Melty Blood (released as a PC game) and Melty Blood ReACT (released as an expansion to the original game). There was also a third major revision to Melty Blood (called Melty Blood: Final Tuned) that was released in parallel with Act Cadenza, with most of the changes being pulled from the work French Bread did for the arcade version.

While generally considered by players to be a relatively meodicre fighting game, the game has been taken fairly well in Japan. MB:AC was deemed popular enough to warrent an apperance at Super Battle Opera and a port to the PS2 and PC. A second arcade release is also forthcoming.

Mbac screen3.jpg

A Note About Melty Blood: Final Tuned and MBAC on the PS2

While this is targeted at the arcade and PS2 versions, most of the information contained herein will apply to the Final Tuned revision on the PC.

There is also some data that was pulled from Final Tuned (that would be impossible to get from the arcade version and is not listed in any mook) with the assumption that this data is, at worst, roughly approiximate with Act Cadenza. These pieces of information will be marked, and should be checked against Act Cadenza and revised as appropiate. With the PS2 version now available, all data should be referenced against that and the PC version is now considered out of date.

Differences Between Act Cadenza and Final Tuned

  • Act Cadenza features four new playable characters: Aoko, Kouma, White-Len, and Neko-Arc. These characters are not usuable in Final Tuned (Aoko, White-Len, and Neko-Arc show up as bosses).
  • Several new background stages (with new background music) were added to Act Cadenza.
  • Dodges (2A+B) were added to Act Cadenza..
  • Circuit Spark (A+B+C while in hitstun) were added to Act Cadenza. They are analogus to bursts in Guilty Gear XX.
  • New Shielding/EX Shielding system. Only EX Shielding exists in Final Tuned (and is just referred to as shielding).
  • By default, rounds are on a clock in Act Cadenza. In Final Tuned all rounds go until one character is knocked out (there is no option for timed rounds).
  • There are several minor variations in frame data and hitboxes between Act Cadenza and Final Tuned.

Differences Between the Arcade and PS2 Versions of Act Cadenza

  • One new character was added: Neko-Arc Chaos.
  • 2A crossup infinites of all sorts removed.
  • Reverse Beat proration now affects air throws.
  • Shield Bunkers can no longer be canceled into specials on block.

Differences Between the PS2 and PC Versions of Act Cadenza

  • A new original moveset for Neko-Arc Chaos
  • 2 vs 2 Mode (Tag and Team)

Furthermore, there were many character-specific changes made and those changes can be referenced in each characters entry on the wiki.

One non-change of note is the fact that shield bunker cancels are still available in the PS2 version and have been left untouched.

Game Mechanics and System Arcanae


MBAC is a game that utilizes five buttons and one joystick per player. The four buttons are labeled as follows:

Mbac controls.jpg

  • A, used for weak attacks.
  • B, used for medium-strength attacks.
  • C, used for strong attacks. Most specials done with C will be EX variants and will cost meter.
  • D, used for shielding
  • Q, used as a macro button for various actions.

Throws are performed by hitting either back or forward on the joystick and either the A and D buttons or the quick action button (Q).

Dashes can be performed by hitting either the direction you want to dash in twice or by hitting the direction and the A and B buttons.

Directional command notation is as follows:

                   .- up (u)
  up+back (ub) - 7 8 9 - up+forward (uf)

      back (b) - 4   6 - forward (f)

down+back (db) - 1 2 3 - down+foward (df)
                   `- down (d)

Note: These numbers can be easily referenced by looking at your keyboard "numpad". Think of it as a joystick/controller that is facing to the right. "5" is used to signify "neutral".

Universal Maneuvers

These are techniques that all characters have access to.

  • Walk Towards: Hold 6.
  • Walk Away: Hold 4.
  • Dash/Run Towards: Tap 66 or 6A+B.
  • Dash Away: Tap 44 or 4A+B.
  • Crouch: Hold 1, 2, or 3.
  • Jump Up: Tap 8.
  • Jump Towards: Tap 9.
  • Jump Away: Tap 7.
  • Super Jump: Tap 1 or 2 or 3, then 9.
  • Double Jump: Tap 7, 8, or 9 after jumping.
  • Airdash Towards: Tap 66 or 6A+B in the air.
  • Airdash Away: Tap 44 or 4A+B in the air.
  • Instant Air Dash Towards: Tap 96.
  • Instant Air Dash Away: Tap 74.
  • Directional Jump: While jumping vertically Hold 4 or 6 after 8.
  • Air Recovery: While in the air, press any button after hitstun ends.
  • Ground Recovery: Tap 44, 88, or 66 just before touching to the ground.
  • Throw (air and ground): Tap 4A+D or 6A+D or 4Q or 6Q.
  • Dodge: Tap 2A+B or 2Q on the ground.
  • Heat Activation: Tap A+B+C or 5Q on the ground.
  • Circut Spark: Tap A+B+C or Q while in Max or (Blood) Heat mode while in hitstun on the ground.
  • Damage Reduction: Tap A, B, C, and/or D at the point of impact.



Certain moves during their startup can have what is known as a 'clashing hitbox'. What happens is if a move with an impact hitbox collides (or a clash hitbox) with an active clash hitbox, there is a special hitspark that shows, a sound effect plays, and nothing else happens. The moves that clashed continue to start up and recover as they did before.

Yes, this does mean dashes with clashing frames (like Ciel's and Satsuki's) can clash up against each other. This can happen even before the round starts.

Shielding (normal and EX)

Shields are performed by hitting the D button in any neutral state (there is one exception to this -- you can shield out of the recovery of any A attack). If the D button is tapped (or held for less than five frames), it is considered an EX shield. On a successful EX shield, you will gain 5% magic circut, strip the impact hitbox from the move you shielded, and are free to use any attack after a few frames. If you are hit again during these first few frames, you will automatically shield that attack too -- see Autoshielding. Any attack out of a successful shield will carry heavy damage proration (70% or the attack, whichever is lower).

If you hold D for more than five frames, you will go into a normal shield. This has a longer duration, but at the cost of options post-shield (you can only cancel special attacks out of a normal shield) and a meter cost -- roughly 1% of magic circut for every frame the shield is active.

Both shields have no startup (they happen on the frame the game acknowledges the button press). EX Shields have five active frames, and a failed attempt has twenty-five frames of recovery afterward. Normal shields have the same recovery once you let go of the button. Getting hit out of a shield attempt is not considered a counter-hit state.

Generally EX shields are used in two situtations: whenever you can do it on reaction (a lot of EX attacks fall under this category), and whenever you are way behind in initative and are facing a mixup. An example of this is against a Tatari Sion wakeup trap, a lot of players will shield high or low rather than attempting to block high or low. In that instance, players are guessing high/low for a good chunk of their health regardless, so they may as well exercise an option that would get them the initative back. Normal shields are rarely used (the cost and risk is too much given the reduced reward), and are rarely (if ever) seen in competetive play.

Some attacks can be only shielded standing or crouching, and some can not be shielded at all. This data is listed in the character's move list. However, all attacks that can be shielded standing or crouching can also be shielded in the air.


On certain occasions when you EX Shield a multi-hit attack, you will automatically shield the followup hits. You still gain the meter from each individual EX shield, so autoshielding a ten-hit attack will result in a lot of magic circut (50%) for your effort.

Autoshielding kicks in whenever a multi-hit attack would have its next hit connect with the shielding player while the shielding player is in the uncancelable portion of their successful shield animation. In practice, autoshielding only happens when you shield multi-hit projectiles, EX moves, and arc drives due to the fact that multi-hit normals still observe hitstop rules even when shielded.

Some examples of what can and can not be autoshielded:

  • Ciel's EX Runpast -- Autoshieldable (however, the autoshield randomly fails. This is fixed by mashing on D during the move, so that you will manually sheild through gaps).
  • Ciel's EX Keys -- Each wave of keys will get autoshielded if you shield the first key, but each individiaul wave must be manually shielded.
  • Mech-Hisui's j.A -- Not autoshieldable.
  • Mech-Hisui's 4B -- Autoshieldable.
  • Red Arcueid's EX Blood Rings -- Autoshieldable, but a really bad idea. See The Dangers of Autoshielding.
The Dangers of Autoshielding

Autoshielding seems good, in that it gives you a lot more meter for EX shielding specific attacks. However, you can not cancel the autoshield at any point, and while you can not be hit out of the autoshield state (since you will just autoshield that hit), you can get thrown out of a successful shield. With that in mind, shielding projectiles and EX attacks that leave the attacker at heavy frame advantage on block (like Red Arcueid's EX Blood Rings and Akiha's EX Flametongue) is a bad idea, since it gives these characters a free throw (and giving a free throw to Red Arcueid is like giving yourself a free ticket on the pain train).

Counterhit Attacks After a EX Shield

Observerant players will notice that on some occasions after they EX shield an attack, the followup will hit as a counter-hit, and other times it will not. The main variable with which attacks get counter-hit after an EX shield and which ones are not is the number of impact frames a specific move has. From the perspective of the shielded character, the only thing that happened is that the impact hitbox for that specific move was stripped -- the move continues and recovers as normal. So if they are hit while the move would normally have an impact hitbox, the game considers that a counter-hit. Certain moves (like a typical 5A) are impossible to counter-hit after an EX shield (since they only have one to two impact frames) whereas moves like Shiki's 5C almost always garner a counter-hit post-shield, due to the copious number of impact frames the move has.

An interesting side effect of this is that moves that hit meaty will never get counter-hit after a successful EX shield, due to the lack of impact frames post-shield.

Recovery (Air and Ground)

Magic Circut

Each character starts with 100% meter. Magic circut carries over from round to round.

Magic circut is gained whenever you or your opponent make contact via an attack. Each attack in the game has a static value attached to it which represents the base value of meter gained. This is multiplied by a modifier that is applied depending on the state. The multiplies and their states are as follows:

  • Character attacks and hits: 1.00
  • Character attacks and is blocked: 0.85
  • Character gets hit by an attack: 0.30
  • Character blocks an attack: 0.15

With very few excpetions, you gain no meter just by performing normals or specials. You also gain no meter from Arc Drive and Last Arc attacks, regardless of what happens. Most EX moves do not build meter either (notable exceptions are Ciel air 214C and Nanaya 236C).

When an attack is shielded, the character shielding gains 5% per hit, and the person attacking gains no meter.

Circut Break

Some characters, upon landing their Last Arc, will induce a state called circut break upon thier opponent. This is a state that locks out their Magic Circut for a short period of time, during which they can not gain any magic circut, nor can they use any techniques that require magic circut (this includes bunker cancels). Once the state ends, the amount of magic circut they are given back is half of what they had before they went into the state if they were not in Heat, Blood Heat, or Max. If they were in one of the aforementioned states, they will come out of the state with no magic circut.

The following characters have a Last Arc that induces circut break:

Max, Heat and Blood Heat

Max mode is automatically activiated once a character obtains 300% of magic circut. In this mode, their magic circut meter starts to gradually deplete until it empties, at which time the meter goes back to normal with 200% magic circut. EX moves are still available and will take away a third of the meter (or whatever is left, whichever is less). A character's Arc Drive is also available -- this will use up all of the remaining meter, and only return 100% magic circut upon completetion. Max mode lasts for a maximum of ten seconds if no EX moves are used.

Heat mode can be activiated by hitting A+B+C while posessing more than 100% of magic circut. This mode posesses the same properties as Max mode, with a couple of changes. The major change is that you slowly regenerate health while in Heat, for as long as the character has both red health and Heat meter remaining. However, you always come of Heat with no magic circut, regardless of if the character uses their Arc Drive or not. Going into Heat also has the side effect of stopping the clock for the duration of the move. The amount of time Heat mode lasts is linear -- activiating at 299.9% makes it last for 10 seconds, 150% lasts for five, and so on.

Blood Heat mode is activiated by hitting A+B+C while in Max mode. This is similar to Heat mode, but EX moves now cost one sixth of the entire meter and you regenerate health at a much faster rate. Arc Drives done in this mode also have different properties, usually doing more damage and having less startup. Last Arcs are also available in this mode, done by performing a single EX shield either on the ground or in the air (which state is required is character dependent). Be careful, as the pre-super flash Last Arc startup can be cancelled by another shield attempt (so do not mash like a monkey). A successfully activiated Last Arc ends Blood Heat and leaves you with zero Magic Circut.

When you activiate Heat or Blood Heat, your character will momentairly flash. This flash can hit your opponent, and will induce either a wallslam or an untechable pop-up (character-dependent). This flash is absolutely invincible and unblockable, but can be both shielded (standing) and clashed.

System Arcanae

General Information:

  • Jump startup (all charachters) is 4 frames. Character becomes airborn (and can input commands) on the 5th frame.
  • Super jump startup (all charachters) is 7F. Character becomes airborn (and can input commands) on the 5th frame.
  • Throw startup is 4F
  • Standing and crouching EX Shield is active from frame 1-5, and takes 20 frames to recover (25 frame total duration).

Damage Adjustments, Proration, and Scaling.

Character-based Damage Modifiers

General Strategy

Attack Chaining

Melty Blood's chaining is uniquely loose and freeform. There are only two rules that dictate which attacks can follow from another attack:

  • Moves can not be repeated twice in the same chain (with the exception of A-button attacks cancelling into themselves). For this, each normal is considered independently. For example, Akiha's 6C, 5C, 4C, and 2C, while all being C-button attacks, are considered to be different moves and can each be used once in a chain.
  • The move must make contact with your opponent. Whiffing an attack ends the chain.

These rules apply both on the ground and in the air, and jumping will also end a chain. A generic combo for most characters is typically a chain into a launcher which is jump cancelled, followed by a couple of air hits into a double jump cancel, followed by a couple more air hits into either an air throw or a special attack.

Going backwards in a chain (using a C-button attack and then using an A-button attack, for example) is called a reverse beat. Such behavior carries a damage scaling penatly that is explained in the appropiate section of the wiki.

Crossups (or lack thereof)

The Melty Blood games have an odd anomaly with walking backwards that renders crossups effectively useless. While walking backwards, characters will not turn around until their state changes. However, their current state is considered a valid blocking state for high attacks, which means that any attacks that hit after you switched sides (while you are in the air or after you land) will be blocked. However, once they block the first attack the character will turn around, and will get hit by any followup attacks if they do not adjust accordingly.

Bunker Cancels

An advanced and really powerful technique is one that involves cancelling blockstun via a shield bunker, and then cancelling the shield bunker into another move. This is done by doing a shield bunker during blockstun, and then finish the motion for a special move by hitting the button for it exactly one frame later. You can cancel with any special attack (including EX attacks and Arc Drives) and any command motion (like dashes and command normals) that do not involve the D button (as you can not press, release, and press the D button in the span of two frames -- the game will not pick it up).

Due to Melty Blood's obscenely loose buffering, you can buffer whatever motion you want after the motion for the shield bunker. 2141236D~C will execute a bunker cancelled arc drive, 214623D~C will execute a bunker cancelled 623C, 2146D~A+B will execute a bunker cancelled forward dash, and so on. For 214-motion moves you do not even have to do anything -- just hit the button one frame after the shield bunker is input and the corresponding special comes out.

Needless to say, this has some drastic implications on pressure strings. Sequences that were mostly regarded as safe now can be completely blown through, and strings that were normally unpunishable now become punishable, due to both decreased blockstun and the ability to now dash out of blockstun (2146D~A+B works as a ghetto guard cancel front step).

A simple example demostrating the effects of a shield bunker cancel has been made available by linalys. The first super is just to show how long Shiki's attack normally stuns for. The second super shows what happens when Arc guard cancels the last hit.

Defending Against Bunker Cancels

There are a couple of things you can do to help defend yourself against bunker cancels -- especially bunker cancels into EX moves and Arc Drives. The simple answer is to just use a super through their super. If you have not started up another move after your opponent starts their super (as you see the super flash) and the normal can be super cancelled (most can be), you can buffer a super with invinciblity during the flash and use that to blow through their bunker cancelled super.

Another adjustment to make is to start employing more whiff cancels into your strings, even if you lose a bit of initative. The reason for this is fairly obscure -- whiffed A attacks can be cancelled by a shield. So if you go and whiff cancel a string and the opponent bunker cancel the blockstun, you still have the option to shield what normally would have been an undenfendable attack.

Both options are also possible against non-super variants, but are much harder to apply since doing so on reaction is somewhere between difficult and impossible.

Another option is to use moves that induce short blockstun, even if it means losing some initative. The amount of time they have to do a shield bunker is directly proportional to the amount of blockstun a move does, and there is also a direct colleration between the amount of blockstun a move does and how much advantage a player gets from doing a bunker cancel. This is easily demostrated by the relative difficulty in doing a shield bunker cancel from Ciel's 5C and 5CC -- the second hit is significantly easier to shield bunker cancel than the first.

The Characters


For Discussion

Match Videos

(Not all of these links have been checked for validity and quality; this was from a list that linalys put up in a thread on World of Eternity.)