A Discussion on Gargos's HK Reckoning reversal

Let’s talk about a move in the game that is actually kinda bad, but actually kinda good at the same time: Gargos’s HK Reckoning reversal. First, let’s talk about move properties.

The move is incredibly slow. The in-game frame data says it starts up in 45 frames, but my frame step shows that it will hit a regular sized character on around frame 50 or 51. The move is also unsafe on block at -12, making for each punishes with a fierce button (so you can beat his armor if he has it). If Gargos does not have instinct cancel on deck, just block and punish this move every time. You can even meaty with a slow attack, like a fierce or a throw, and still recover in time to block.

The reason I want to talk about it is because Gargos will often do this move and then instinct cancel if you block it. This is kind of a bummer because Gargos gets frame advantage, and if he has a minion out, your life is kind of crappy for a few seconds. So, because the move is so slow, it should be easy to dodge, right? If it whiffs, then he can’t instinct cancel it and you can probably punish him when he lands. That’s the idea, anyway.

I used to be in the camp that this was really easy to do just by backdashing on reaction to the drop. You do your regular meaty pressure and then, if he reversals, you have almost a full second to just backdash on reaction. Turns out, it’s not nearly as easy as I thought it was to do that. That’s because the hitbox for HK reckoning is a) active for a long time and b) pretty wide. It will catch the vast majority of backdashes in the game if you try to do it while he is on the way down.(*) So… that’s kind of a bummer, you can’t do a meaty and then reaction backdash (unless your name is, like, Fulgore with max pips or Shadow Jago).

(*) It’s actually possible for characters with stubby backdashes (like Jago) to backdash juuuust in the nick of time, but my calculations say this is a 2 frame window and you have to be walking backwards the entire time during Gargos’s reversal startup (so you move as far away from it as possible first). The input for this is incredibly difficult (walk backwards, let go of walk back so you can dash, then immediately backdash on one of 2 very specific frames) and if you can do it more than 1 out of every 10 times in training mode, I will be very impressed. This means, as far as I’m concerned, it’s too difficult to do in a real match.

(click for full)

(A better look at the hitbox, that’s Fulgore standing there for comparison)

So, what CAN you do to avoid blocking this move so Gargos can’t instinct cancel it?

You might try punishing it on the way down. This is doable, but with some caveats. Gargos’s green hurtbox is completely obscured by the red hitbox of the move, so in order to challenge this air special move, you will have to beat it via the priority system. This means grounded heavy normals and other air specials (like Cinder’s fireflash, which isn’t active until he’s airborne) will trade, and you will have to use a grounded special to beat it outright. You don’t even need for the attack to be invincible! You just need a grounded special move with a nice vertical hitbox that will hit Gargos’s red attack box before your green box gets hit. For example, randomly Orchid’s flick flack will cover the top of her body and Gargos will just slam into it, bouncing off leaving Orchid totally unharmed.

Be warned, however, that Gargos appears right on top of your head, so your inputs for any special move will get confused by the side switch. Even down-up specials like Fireflash will often go the wrong way. The best way to handle this is to walk backwards a bit first so that Gargos appears in front of you. You’ll need decent execution to walk backwards and then still immediately execute a dragon punch in the other direction, but walking back and then doing down-up or QCF special moves (like Glacius puddle punch) should be pretty easy. You will have to be pretty ready to handle this, though. You don’t have much time.

(click for full: If you try to contest with a fierce normal, you’ll trade at best. If you try to just do a DP in place, you’ll often get the wrong special move as your inputs get crossed up. Walk backwards first, then do your DP for best results)

The other thing to do is to get the reversal to track a location you won’t be standing at. The move will track the last known location of Gargos’s opponent on the first frame of startup, which means if you move out of the way in time, you won’t get hit. For example, one way that works for all characters is to jump backwards a few frames after Gargos reversals; this requires a hard read, unfortunately, but it does work every time. You’ll land right next to Gargos and can hit him with a fierce with no trouble. Make sure you jump after Gargos reversals, though. If you jump too early, Gargos will track your location midway through the jump, because that’s where he sees you, and you’ll get tagged more than likely before you land.

Many characters (though not all) will also be able to mash backdash as soon as Gargos wakes up. You’ll backdash twice and be fully out of range. This has the added benefit of not getting tagged if Gargos does something silly on wakeup, like the anti-air reckoning. Note that this is much different than trying to backdash on reaction to reckoning’s startup, like above. Here, you have to commit to do 2 backdashes as a read. You won’t have time to do a meaty, see the reversal, then try to backdash with most characters.

(click for full: If you jump back, or backdash twice (for most chars) right after the reversal, it’s an easy punish and the reversal will miss)

The other main strategy is to do some sort of OS so that you will do a teleport or some horizontal traveling move after your meaty attack. This is where you guys might want to have some fun and do some lab work with me. Jago, for instance, can do a few things, such as stand MK meaty, late cancel light wind kick so that it comes out on whiff and gets him out of the way (also cancels on hit or block for a combo or block string), then punish with crouch jab (this is a bit hard to time). Another option for Jago is to just do meaty fwd+HK to beat instinct activation, and then easily DP on reaction backwards in case Gargos reversals. I’m sure lots of characters have funky stuff, help me find some!

(click for full: Jago can meaty with a heavy and still DP, or else try some fancy OS involving delayed wind kick to make the reversal miss)

(click for full: Rash does a meaty crouch HP canceled into up-tongue in both clips. On reaction to the reversal, the up-tongue doesn’t come out and he just presses stand HK to make it whiff and then punishes.)

Then finally, there are some characters that really don’t care about the reversal. Anyone with a parry or absorb (Spinal, Kim, Hisako, Arbiter kinda) can just absorb or parry on reaction, even just standing in place, after their meaty misses. Glacius can always liquidize and then punish. Fulgore can always teleport and then drill for a punish. Aganos with chunks can absorb the hit and punish. Raam can kryll shield absorb and then dash cancel. If you play a character that can do this, you probably don’t have to worry too much about Gargos’s reversal.

But for most everyone else, I’m a little sad that it’s not as easy to avoid as just “do meaty, see reversal and backdash”… we’ll have to lab up some setups and some OSes so that we can meaty Gargos and make sure he can never reversal + instinct cancel.

tl;dr: If Gargos doesn’t have instinct, don’t worry about any of this fanciness, just block and punish his reversal. He should never, ever be using this move in that case. If he does have instinct, however, it turns out it’s not really that simple for many characters (without a hard, pre-emptive read) to make the reversal whiff, so you’ll need to study up a bit.


A funky thing that Raam can do that maybe others can as well is meaty with a normal that moves his hurtbox forward and then returns it to it’s original position. Basically if Raam does a meaty standing HP it lunges his green hurtbox forward about half a character’s length and then returns it to it’s original position. This causes Gargos to track that location instead which creates enough distance for meaty into reaction backdash to be a reliable option. Not sure what other characters have normals that do a similar thing.


Ok, this is great and all, but now I need some awesome tech that us Gargos players can use. Preferably, something just as long and must-scolldown-to-finish. You know what I mean, something that won’t completely nullify one of our two reversal options that work half of the time in game. Come on Infil, it’s only fair… :slight_smile:

I’ll nullify your reversal options and you’ll sit there and like it!

(As for actual tech, sorry, can’t say I’ve got much that isn’t on my Gargos page)


But I can already recite most of that word for word! (Not quite, but I will be able to soon since I find myself going over it whenever I have time to kill)

I figured you had likely shared most of what you have, I’m sure if you get/choose to spend some more time on him we will be blessed with some more knowledge. Thanks anyway for the gems you have provided so far. :slight_smile:

While it’s nice that Aganos doesn’t have to deal with it if he has chunks, what you’re telling me is that, without chunks, and with his massive hitbox, Aganos can also jump backwards to avoid it like everyone else? I’ve seen a lot of moves that only hit The golem due to his size, and I feel like this would be 1 of them. Are you sure? 'Cause I’d like to see that.

Give it a try yourself!

Somehow I knew you’d say that - it’d take me a few tries to get the timing down, and I’m too tired to do that right now (I haven’t had a wink of sleep all night and am on the verge of passing out). :sleepy:

Just record an obvious timing tick before Gargos does the reckoning (it’s why you see Gargos doing neutral jump in a bunch of Infil’s clips).

So record Gargos doing neutral jump->heavy reckoning. Then just put Aganos beside him, wait until Gargos lands, and do your jump back. Shouldn’t take any more than s minute or two to set up and verify.

Well certain characters could just throw him after the initial I-frames are gone (frame 16 to be exact). Riptor, maya, kan-ra, mira, gargos himself and…who was it? Ummmmmmmmm oh yeah orchid. I’m sure there’s setups for them if one were to look.

I know how to do it, Storm. I was just too tired to care.

To add to the list of ways various characters can deal with it (the stipulation being the counter must not cost meter):

If wulf does meaty overpower, stand HK, or many of his non-heavy normals, he can easily and consistently avoid it with forward dash. Eclipse is also an easy and consistent counter to it regardless of the meaty used.

Thunder’s instinct dash can avoid it regardless of the meaty situation, in either direction, even if done very late. Hooray for invincibility!

If sadira does meaty xx spin xx spin linker, it’ll OS spin on whiff and automatically avoid the drop for a punish. She can also easily counter it with heavy recluse for a big chunk of (unfortunately non-counter hit) damage.

Orchid has the same thing with slide linker, however she won’t get to hit him unless she buster cancels. After a meaty close heavy kick she can fairly easily dash under him.

TJ, after various whiffed meaty heavies, can avoid the hit with either forward dash, backdash, or roll, depending on what meaty he used. In general, roll is very good at avoiding this move.

Maya can forward dash after a meaty close HP or crouch HP (harder timing to work properly) but it’s less easy/consistent than, say, wulf or TJ.

Kan-ra can do scarabs as a meaty; he’ll block gargos’s hit, but the scarabs will hit him before he can instinct cancel.

Riptor’s run back HK is NOT a consistent counter. The hitbox is technically a normal, and it’ll trade. However, simply running back or forward after a heavy meaty WILL avoid it, due to the high speed of her movement.

Aria can OS shotgun knee linker and have plenty of time to punish.

Tusk can deflect with the large window on crouch HP, but the sword won’t connect so it’ll only be a knockdown, with no damage.

Mira can mist up through him and come down with a punish after crouch HP or close HK.

Gargos can dash under after stand HP or crouch HP or, alternatively, do a heavy psycho crusher of his own (it won’t punish unless done quite early.)