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What does “the neutral” mean in fighting games?

You might hear this term fairly often in fighting games.

You’ll want to learn several terms when you become more involved in fighting games. Although there are multiple fighting games on the market, they share many of the same words, and the community frequently uses them, regardless of the game. For example, a common phrase you may hear is “the neutral.” Here’s what you need to know about what “the neutral” means in fighting games.

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Everything you need to know about “the neutral”

The straightforward way to approach this term is that none of the players, you or your opponent, have an advantage against each other. When two players attempt to land a hit against each other, they will exchange attacks, parrying or blocking those incoming blows, and whoever lands a correct combo and gets the upper hand against the other can begin to do damage, slowly working towards victory. Some characters in fighting games have a stronger neutral game than others, depending on who they fight against.

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When you hear two combatants in a fighting game are at a neutral point, nothing has happened yet, and they’re trying to find a way to begin pressuring the other. There will be a point when one opponent attempts to press another, forcing the other to block or make a calculated move, which they can counter and begin attacking.

A neutral happens typically at the beginning of a fight between two combatants when they’re trying to mainly test each other for the first time and find an opening. Every fighting game match begins at the neutral, but it can quickly become an intense battle based on who is controlling those characters and what they plan to do next. Understanding this term is an excellent first step to getting into more fighting games and becoming more involved in ranked play.


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Zack Palm
Zack Palm is the Senior Writer of Gamepur and has spent over five years covering video games, and earned a Bachelor's degree in Economics from Oregon State University. He spends his free time biking, running tabletop campaigns, and listening to heavy metal. His primary game beats are Pokémon Go, Destiny 2, Final Fantasy XIV, and any newly released title, and he finds it difficult to pull away from any Star Wars game.