What are Feints?
First a couple things.
1. You cannot feint while out of stamina.
2. Conqueror also cannot Feint in the normal sense but they do have something similar but it is done completely differently so I won’t get into that here.
A Feint or Cancel is when you initiate a heavy attack and immediately and abruptly stop the attack.
So you are probably asking yourself “Why would I ever want to do that?” and the answer is simple. When an opponent has an excellent defense and you are finding that none of your attacks are getting through, then you are only left with 2 options.
1. You can wait for them to attack.
2. You can feint them to trip up their defense.
Feinting can only be used on heavy attacks and light attacks cannot be feinted unless you are the Berserker (but that is for another day). Feints can be done in a few different ways and each character Feints with varying degrees of success. Warden, for example, has excellent feints and they can quickly change their directions of attack with the use of feinting. However, The Kensei has very weak feints and feinting from a heavy into a light is both slow and easily punishable.
There are 2 kinds of feints I want to discuss:
The first kind is a Hard Feint. These are done by pressing the cancel button (B for Xbone, O for PS4, or Mouse wheel for PC) After a heavy attack. These are what I consider Hard Feints in that they will abruptly and forcibly stop your attack from going off and no further action will be taken unless you Que up another command immediately after the Feint.
A key thing to note with Hard Feints is that they stop your attack abruptly and as such sometimes a follow-up attack after a Hard Feint may result in a worse move that may take too long to fully execute. This is not a bug or due to latency, this is instead due to animations or Frames
In the GIF below you will see three different Hard Feints.
1. Right Heavy > Hard Feint with no follow-up command
2. Right Heavy > Hard Feint > Left Light
3. Right Heavy > Hard Feint > Top light.
In this GIF you will see
Unblockable > Hard Feint > Guard break.
The second kind of Feint is what I am dubbing the Soft Feint. Soft Feints are so far exclusive to the Raider, Kensei, and Berserker and they are built into specific moves but they always lead to a specific action afterward. Soft Feints are usually very fluid and can be transitioned into very quickly from their designated moves. They are also tied to specific buttons.
For example, the Raiders Pommel strike is done by doing a heavy attack or a dash and then pressing the light attack button and this will automatically change the attack from a heavy attack or dash into a Pommel strike. The Kensei do their Soft Feint by starting an Overhead unblockable and changing their guard to either the left or right stances and press either the heavy or light attack button.
Any move that has a Soft Feint can also be Hard Feinted like normal so if you want to Hard Feint the Raiders heavy attack but don’t want to do the Pommel strike you can simply do the heavy attack and instead press the B/O/Mouse Wheel instead on your respective controller.
In this GIF you will see
Right Heavy > Soft Feint > Pommel Strike
In this GIF you will see
Heavy Overhead > Heavy Overhead > Overhead Unblockable > Soft Feint > Right Heavy Uninterruptible
Unfortunately I don’t have any good footage of Berserker Feints at this time. Instead, I have some crazy footage of my Boo Bear MC-BOO
It’s hard to follow for those who don’t know what to look for (TBH the Feints are so quick it’s difficult to tell what he actually feinted from) but in this GIF you see
Dashing Overhead Light > Heavy Left > Soft Feint > Dashing Left Overhead > Heavy Right > Soft Feint > Dashing Right Overhead > Left Heavy > Soft Feint > Dashing Left Overhead.
Bet that Title piqued your interest a little.
Now that we have taken a look at the GIF let me explain just what happens in this short amount of time.
Both myself and the enemy Berserker have similar health and at this point, one wrong move could result in either of our deaths.
Both of us decide to make the first move and in that instant I throw out an Overhead Heavy attack and the enemy Berserker decides to do a Dashing Overhead Heavy attack both of them would have connected but before I fully commit to my Overhead Heavy I decide to do a Hard Feint. You are probably wondering why I decided to do this. The Reason is very simple.
If I hadn’t I would have lost the fight.
If you remember the Kensei guide then you should remember that the white flash on a character usually indicates that the character has Super Armor (which means their attacks cannot be interrupted). So even though my heavy attack would have connected and I would have done a large chunk of damage his attack would also go through and hit me except I would be put into a stagger animation and he wouldn’t. This would allow him to immediately throw out another attack that probably would have killed me.
Instead, since I decided to Hard Feint my heavy attack this allowed me to pull off the Wardens special counter attack (which is explained in the Warden Guide) “Crushing Counter” which does the same damage as a heavy overhead (if not more) but allows me to bypass his uninterruptible status and stagger him. This allows me to throw out a second very quick top light attack which then gives me enough time to get off another of the Wardens special moves Shoulder Charge into a right double light attack and secure the win against this opponent.
Feints can be used for offense as well as defense. If you are quick enough you can turn a poorly timed heavy attack into a block or even a parry.
Blocks and Parries are not your only available options.
You can also choose to Feint into a dash as well and if the character you are playing has a dashing attack then you can go straight from offense to defense and right back to offense.
Feints are a pretty advanced mechanic and they are both extremely rewarding and risky to use. There is such thing as too much feinting and too much feinting will get you into trouble and possibly cost you the match. You need to be smart with your feints and not over do them. Keep in mind as well that not all moves Feint well together. You will find that some attacks just mesh awkwardly and will end up leaving you vulnerable for enough time that an opponent may be able to capitalize. I also have to throw in one more tidbit and this is more personal advice than anything.
Try not to feint against lesser skilled or newer players. Most lesser skilled/new players tend to try and power through enemy attacks with their own attacks. Good players will be wary of feints and will react appropriately but newer players will literally just throw attacks at you like candy which will cause your feints to turn into free hits for the enemy. Feints can work on them but in my experience it usually just ends up getting you hit because they don’t know any better.