Giovanna is a versatile and agile character in Guilty Gear Strive known for her speed, mix-up potential, and strong offensive tools. Her playstyle revolves around pressuring opponents with relentless attacks, mix-ups, and safe pressure resets. However, she has notable weaknesses, such as a lack of a reliable invincible reversal and predictable special moves.
Speed and Mobility: Giovanna is one of the fastest characters in the game, both on the ground and in the air. Her mobility allows her to quickly close the gap on opponents and maintain constant pressure.
Mix-Up Potential: She excels at high/low mix-ups, staggering her pressure, and keeping opponents guessing. Her moveset provides numerous options for opening up opponents and maintaining offensive momentum.
Safe Pressure: Giovanna has tools like Chave (236K) and Sepultura (214K) that allow her to reset pressure safely and maintain control over her opponents.
Anti-Air Options: She possesses reliable anti-air options, including a quick 6P, Ventania (623S) as a DP, and Tempestade, an air-to-air divekick overdrive.
Strong Combos: Giovanna can convert hits into damaging combos, often leading to corner carry and wall breaks, which maximize her offensive potential.
Chip Damage: When her Tension gauge is filled, Giovanna's normals deal chip damage, increasing her overall threat level during pressure.
Lack of Invincible Reversal: Giovanna's only invincible reversal, Ventania, has a slow startup and can be risky to use. She lacks a reliable defensive option when under pressure.
Predictable Specials: Some of her special moves, such as Chave and Sol Poente (236K and 236K~S), can be punishable if opponents predict their use and block or counter accordingly.
Short-Range Normals: While she has strong normals, many of Giovanna's effective buttons have relatively short range. This can make it challenging to control space against characters with longer-reaching attacks.
Limited Mix-Up Tools: Her mix-up game relies on specific tools, which can make her approach predictable for experienced opponents.
Vulnerable to Throws: Giovanna's pressure relies on frame traps and throws, but opponents who successfully tech throws can disrupt her offense.
Execution Requirements: Some of Giovanna's combos and mix-ups require precise execution and timing, making her less beginner-friendly compared to some other characters.
When Giovanna's tension gauge surpasses specific thresholds, her combat capabilities receive significant enhancements. These enhancements include heightened damage output, reduced damage taken, and the introduction of chip damage on her normal attacks.
At half tension, Giovanna's attacks become approximately 5% more damaging, which further increases to around 10% extra damage when her tension gauge is completely filled. This damage boost applies to her moves even if they consume tension, enhancing moves like Ventania and Tempestade.
Additionally, her defensive capabilities improve substantially. At half tension, her defense rating improves from 1.03 to 0.97, offering enhanced damage mitigation. When her tension gauge is full, her defense rating improves even further to 0.93, akin to Potemkin's defense rating, making her exceptionally resilient.
Another notable aspect of Giovanna's enhanced state is that every one of her normal attacks starts dealing chip damage. At half tension, these normals inflict 12% chip damage, which increases to a formidable 25% at full tension. This chip damage is equivalent to the standard chip damage dealt by special moves but is applied to every regular attack in her arsenal.
Giovanna possesses a remarkably swift elbow jab, which is faster than her 2P but has a shorter range. This move proves to be versatile, serving not only as a rapid anti-air option but also as an effective abare tool to disrupt opponents' pressure. It's worth noting that if Giovanna executes only one hit of this move and dashes into throw range, it becomes punishable by throws. However, by chaining two jabs together, she can maintain her safety, making it a crucial strategy to employ in specific situations.
Giovanna's 5K is an excellent poking tool with notable range for its speed, and it becomes even more effective when combined with dash momentum, extending its reach to nearly one-fourth of the screen. This move is especially useful when integrated with microdashes and dash stops, enabling you to space yourself to avoid entering throw range while using it to initiate and counter various common roundstart options. Due to its low recovery frames, there's minimal risk associated with whiffing this button, and you can also surprise opponents by employing a frame-kill technique. By whiffing it just outside of the opponent's range and then following up with 5H, you can catch anyone attempting to sluggishly punish your whiff with a counter-hit.
When using this button to dash in from a distance so that the active frames hit slightly later, you can turn it into a slight meaty attack that ranges from being -2 to +1 on block. However, if it's used to get into throw range, the -2 advantage means it's just barely punishable by throws, unless you cancel it into 6P or perform a jump. While the dash cancel makes this move punishable on both block and hit, it remains more situational compared to the c.S variant outside of Blue Roman Cancel (BRC) setups. Nonetheless, the jump cancel option still offers a range of utility, allowing you to jump to block bursts, initiate aerial pressure, and transition a grounded juggle into an air combo.
Giovanna's c.S is a crucial knee strike that plays a pivotal role in her stagger and throw pressure game. With a +3 frame advantage on hit, you can chain this normal into itself with a small gap in between, allowing you to approach the opponent with a walk or dash and threaten throws. This conditioning tactic encourages the opponent to block or use a relatively quick ~5 frame normal as their only non-reversal response. Once they become conditioned to expect throws and attempt to jump out, you can gatling into 2S to catch them airborne. However, it's essential to note that this move requires Giovanna to be in close range to be effective, and mistiming or misjudging the distance might lead to an unintentional f.S input, weakening your pressure and creating a linear opening after the gatlings.
Effective use of dash momentum is crucial to maximize the effectiveness of this move, as proper spacing and pushback are essential for successful pressure. Even when using it as an okizeme option as close to the opponent as possible, dashing before pressing the button can help reduce pushback by preserving momentum. When attempting to loop your pressure, ensure you dash before each c.S hit rather than during, as dashing during the move will result in a dash cancel, locking you into the dash animation and leaving you at a disadvantage.
Giovanna's c.S also has a dash cancel option that can lead to an immediate Blue Roman Cancel (BRC). This allows her to establish airtight high/low mixups on block using 5D or her lows. On hit, both options lead to conversions, and on block, she remains plus enough to continue her offense. The jump cancel can also be employed for similar mixup potential, particularly effective when combined with an immediate forward drift BRC while in the air. The substantial blockstun of c.S is retained, allowing you ample time to mix up the opponent. You can force them into a standing block by using any jump normal and also access double overhead mixups by chaining j.H or j.K into j.D and immediately following up with a low upon landing.
Giovanna's f.S consists of three consecutive kicks and has an interesting interaction with dash momentum. As each kick is delivered, Giovanna continues to slide forward, covering a substantial portion of the screen with hitboxes. This property makes f.S effective for creating lockdown situations, although it comes with a significant drawback of being very punishable if it whiffs. While f.S, along with 2S, allows Giovanna to easily hit confirm into a basic combo, it's not commonly utilized in her most powerful combo routes. Giovanna possesses several other pressure and neutral buttons that are more threatening in most scenarios, making f.S somewhat of a beginner's trap except in situations where you want to ensure your opponent remains locked down.
One advantage of f.S is its ability to threaten a delayed gatling into 5H, forcing the opponent to respect its -4 frame advantage and potentially allowing Giovanna to continue her pressure from there. This mixup element adds some utility to f.S in certain situations.
Giovanna's 5H is a long-reaching kick that plays a crucial role in her pressure and frametraps. It gatlings effectively from her S buttons, making it invaluable in maintaining offensive pressure and catching opponents who try to challenge her. While it may not be the fastest or most advantageous of her normals, 5H serves as an essential tool that opens up numerous options for Giovanna. It allows her to control space effectively, especially when she needs to maintain distance from her opponent. This versatile move plays a significant role in Giovanna's overall playstyle, allowing her to excel in poking, punishing, and applying relentless pressure, as well as enabling grounded combo routes that would otherwise be out of reach.
Uncharged Dust is a universal overhead attack with quick execution. Giovanna steps forward and delivers a split kick, even though it may not appear as a typical overhead move. However, it should be noted that it does hit as an overhead attack. Given Giovanna's strong pressure game, it's relatively easy to build up the opponent's RISC gauge and capitalize on it with a 5D follow-up. Uncharged Dust can be incorporated into mixups by gatling into it from moves like 5K, 2K, or c.S.
Charged Dust, on the other hand, is similar in appearance to the uncharged version but considerably slower and more reactable. However, if it successfully connects, it leads to a highly damaging combo. This move serves as Giovanna's most powerful single attack and is ideal for breaking walls when you have sufficient time to charge it and lack the meter for other options.
Giovanna's 2P is a swift and short-range jab that offers a quick option to mash out of gaps in an opponent's pressure. It's slightly slower than her 5P but compensates with longer reach and a crouching hurtbox, which can be advantageous in specific situations. However, it's important to be cautious with its use, as dashing into throw range after a single hit of 2P can leave you vulnerable to throws. Chaining two jabs together is a safer option to maintain your defense.
Giovanna's 2K is a reliable low poke designed to catch opponents who are standing. It shares similarities with her 5K, such as being -2 on block and allowing for a consistent combo into 214K. One notable advantage of 2K is that it's typically not throw punishable, unlike some of Giovanna's other P and K buttons. This makes it a safe option to counter opponents who tend to throw when you perform a dash-in button, eliminating the need for riskier baits or frame traps.
However, it's important to note that the gatling from 2K to 2D is not true and has a gap of 6 frames unless it's a counter hit. This means you should be mindful of this gap and avoid autopiloting your pressure, as skilled opponents may exploit this weakness.
Giovanna's 2S is another multi-hit move, and it's arguably more important overall in her toolkit. One of its key advantages is that it gatlings from her primary pressure tool, c.S. The two hits of 2S make it even more challenging for opponents to defend against, and it provides easier hit confirms. Additionally, it allows for a solid gatling into 5H even if it gets blocked.
This move is a valuable tool for catching opponents attempting to jump out of your pressure, which enhances Giovanna's ability to lock opponents down in the corner and execute her low/throw mixup game effectively. Even if your opponent uses Faultless Defense (FD) to make the second hit of 2S whiff, you can still cancel into 5H to prevent punishes and threaten a potential counter-hit, maintaining pressure and control over the situation.
Giovanna's 2H is an upward kick with limited range and relatively slow startup. It has the longest recovery of any of her normals, aside from 5D. Although Giovanna possesses more effective anti-air options, this move still serves a crucial purpose in her combo game. When used after c.S, it launches the opponent into the air, allowing Giovanna to extend her combos. The vacuum effect of this move makes it versatile, enabling her to perform side switches or follow up with 214S for additional combo options.
In certain situations, 2H can also be incorporated into blockstrings as an alternative to 5H, although it carries some risks. Its shorter range may lead to being pushed out of range, making it susceptible to whiff punishes due to its extended recovery. Nonetheless, there may be rare instances where you can utilize it for maximum damage conversions, such as after blocking the first hit of an opponent's wakeup Ultimate Fortissimo.
Giovanna's 2D is a unique move where Rei kicks up some dust, adding a distinctive tool to her overall moveset. This move is primarily geared towards keeping the opponent at bay rather than close in. It features a relatively high startup, low recovery, and a generous number of active frames, making it well-suited for situations where opportunities arise rather than mindlessly throwing it out in neutral.
One of the notable strengths of 2D is its effectiveness on counter-hit, and it enables straightforward Gatling frame traps from 5K or c.S. While it may be somewhat slower compared to typical poking normals, it remains a valuable poking tool due to its significant disjointed hitbox. This disjoint allows it to win situations that might otherwise result in severe punishment. Additionally, it's virtually unpunishable if it successfully connects.
The safe nature of this button can be a substantial threat in certain matchups or against opponents who encourage cautious play. However, its safety and overall utility are somewhat limited when facing characters with faster and longer-reaching moves. When used as a meaty, 2D can outrange many reversals in the game, although it loses to some and clashes with a select few. It's worth noting that the clash can be exploited by astute opponents who can react and cancel into something safe.
Giovanna's 6P is a straight punch that features upper body invulnerability, similar to other 6P buttons in the game. While it may be a bit slower compared to the typical 6P move, it compensates with a hitbox that extends mainly around Giovanna's head. This positioning makes it effective at stopping attacks coming from directly above her, and any lack of forward movement can be mitigated by using dash momentum to close the gap.
One of the notable uses of this move is as a counter-poke in pressure situations, particularly due to Giovanna's assortment of pressure-oriented special moves. When opponents block it, Giovanna can easily continue her offense using these special moves to maintain pressure.
One of the unique offensive aspects of this button is its ability to frame trap throws when gatling from her K buttons. This allows Giovanna to take advantage of opponents who have been conditioned to attempt throws as a reaction to her dash-in 5Ks, creating opportunities to maintain pressure and punish opponents for attempting throws.
Giovanna's 6H is a Rekka-style command normal that offers two delayable follow-ups: 6HH and 6HHH.
When used without meter to Roman Cancel (RC), it is primarily employed as combo filler in air juggles. However, it's relatively slow, somewhat unsafe if thrown out carelessly, and can be easily countered with a 6P move by a knowledgeable opponent. Depending on combo scaling and positioning, you may need to delay the second and third hits to ensure they all connect. After landing with 6H or 6HH, you can special or super cancel into Sepultura for an advantageous hard knockdown or Ventania for more damage and a wallbreak. If the combo is heavily scaled or you want to ensure a wallbreak, you can also go into Tempestade before landing.
With meter, you can use 6H as a long-range short-hop into a Roman Cancel to set up high/low mixups. You can also vary which hit you Roman Cancel from to add more layers to your mixup game. Additionally, you can use Tempestade to beat out opponents attempting to counter with a 6P move or to extend your pressure if they block.
However, if you happen to use this move without meter and it's blocked, you should special cancel after 6H or 6HH into Sol Poente to reduce the negative frames, cross up your opponent, and potentially avoid some 6P counter attempts. Using this move without meter is generally not recommended due to the inherent risk.
Giovanna's standard air jab is a straightforward move. While it may not be as fast as her grounded jabs and doesn't lead to significant combos or follow-ups, it remains a valuable tool in her aerial game. Air jabs are useful for air-to-air combat, especially for intercepting opponents attempting to jump in on Giovanna or challenging her in the air. They can also be used to control space and air-to-ground attacks when necessary. While not a high-impact move on its own, it contributes to Giovanna's overall aerial arsenal and helps her maintain control of the battlefield.
Giovanna's j.K is a versatile aerial attack that plays a crucial role in her gameplay. With a low hitbox on both sides, it serves various purposes in her aerial combat repertoire.
One notable application is its effectiveness in cross-up maneuvers, allowing Giovanna to confound her opponents in the air. When followed by a j.214S, she can convert these cross-ups into damaging combos. However, it's essential to exercise caution, as if the opponent blocks this sequence, Giovanna becomes susceptible to counterattacks.
Additionally, j.K functions as a multi-purpose aerial tool, enabling Giovanna to engage in air-to-air combat, execute well-timed jump-in attacks, and incorporate mix-up strategies into her overall gameplay.
Giovanna's j.S is a valuable tool in her aerial combat arsenal, primarily serving as an effective air-to-air option. While other options like 6P, 623S, or air throws are generally more suitable for ground-to-air situations, j.S shines when dealing with opponents who are positioned high above you. Its vertical hitbox comes into play in scenarios where typical grounded anti-air moves would prove ineffective, such as countering moves like Ramlethal's j.H.
This unique attribute allows Giovanna to challenge aerial threats and maintain control in situations where horizontal attacks wouldn't suffice. It's a versatile tool to have in her kit when navigating the complexities of air-to-air combat.
Giovanna's j.H serves as her primary jumping attack to capitalize on counter-hits and is a preferred option for executing safe jumps. In air-to-air engagements, this move excels thanks to its upward knockback, ensuring valuable rewards whether it connects as a counter-hit or not. Its versatility extends to air combos, where the ability to jump cancel, dash cancel, and gatling into j.D opens up various combo opportunities.
The speed and reach of j.H also grant Giovanna the ability to establish an F-Shiki overhead under certain circumstances. This unique quality provides her with an unexpected but effective high/low mix-up strategy, keeping her opponents guessing and enhancing her offensive capabilities.
Overall, j.H is a crucial tool in Giovanna's aerial game, allowing her to secure advantageous positions, maximize damage potential, and maintain pressure through well-timed safe jumps.
An important tool for aerial combos, this move proves its worth in semi-dustloop sequences, particularly when your opponent is elevated, allowing you to connect it and follow up with an airdash for additional hits, especially after employing an upward drift Red Roman Cancel (RRC). Its multi-hitting properties also make it valuable for high/low mixup strategies, creating confusion for your opponent about when to start blocking low, especially when combined with other aerial normals.
Chave is a command dash move that offers the ability to cancel into Giovanna's other special moves, augmenting their effectiveness. Enhanced specials resulting from this process deliver increased damage, improved properties on both hit and block, and are characterized by a distinct vermillion glow. It's worth noting that Chave can be canceled into other specials relatively swiftly, but it comes with a notable drawback – when not canceled, it has a slow recovery, which can make it a risky option as a standalone pressure reset.
Sepultura, executed with 214K, is a versatile move in Giovanna's arsenal that serves multiple purposes. It boasts a swift execution and carries a -4 frame advantage, rendering it a safe string ender against the majority of characters. With its excellent counter-hit properties and a reliable vertical hitbox, it functions effectively as a tool for frame traps and lockdown situations. Its significant forward movement also makes it adaptable for various neutral scenarios, and it plays a crucial role in securing hard knockdowns for safe jumps. When opponents attempt to respond with fast jabs after blocking this move, Giovanna can even opt for Sol Nascente to potentially low profile them and capitalize on a rewarding counter-hit. The only instances where Sepultura might not be the ideal choice are when continuous pressure is essential, when opponents use fast lows, when the timing becomes predictable and opponents Instant Block it to punish with a throw, or when facing characters with faster normals that can punish depending on spacing, such as Sol, Chipp, Millia, Baiken, May, or even another Giovanna.
Trovão, a forward-moving dropkick executed with 236K, is a versatile tool in Giovanna's arsenal. Its swiftness, advantage on block, and projectile nullification properties make it an excellent anti-fireball option. Whether used reactively against slower fireballs or predictively against faster ones, Giovanna can effectively neutralize them. Beyond its utility against fireballs, Trovão also serves as a pressure reset tool with a relatively difficult-to-react-to animation. Its considerable travel distance allows for unpredictable approaches in neutral and situational meaty setups.
When blocked, both 5K and 2K create a tight frame trap with Trovão. Giovanna enjoys enough frame advantage to follow up with a dash and throw, effectively beating opponent DPs. Additionally, Trovão can be employed after landing a Counter Hit with 6P to achieve superior corner carry compared to Sepultura while retaining a hard knockdown or obtaining a wall bounce.
It's worth noting that Trovão is susceptible to opponents using 6P as a countermeasure and may whiff against moves with very low profiles, such as Sol's 2D and I-No's Stroke the Big Tree.
Enhanced Trovão, achieved by canceling Chave into 236K, serves as a guard crush okizeme tool and optimal meterless wallbreak option, further enhancing Giovanna's offensive repertoire.
Sol Nascente, Giovanna's cartwheel attack executed with 623S, is a valuable anti-air option in her toolkit. While it lacks invincibility, it boasts several advantages that make it a compelling choice. With its swift startup and a low hurtbox, it excels as an anti-air, often trading favorably or outright beating moves that might challenge her 6P. Furthermore, its relatively low recovery, devoid of a Counter Hit state, distinguishes it from typical DPs, rendering it a less committal option in most situations. While still punishable on grounded block, Sol Nascente provides a significant advantage when used against an airborne opponent, especially if they fail to Instant Block.
One notable feature of Sol Nascente is its low profile, allowing Giovanna to slip beneath several of the game's fastest pokes. This attribute is valuable for countering opponents' non-low defensive actions. Employing Sol Nascente as a reactive anti-air, a decisive read, or a frame trap following Sepultura can compel opponents to be more cautious about their button presses in favorable matchups.
However, it's essential to note that Sol Nascente does not lead to combos on a normal hit, and converting counterhits into combos may prove challenging unless Giovanna possesses dash momentum. Nonetheless, a successful conversion typically results in substantial damage.
Enhanced Sol Nascente, obtained by canceling Chave into 623S, enhances Giovanna's combo potential. It enables her to execute combos directly from 2H and Counter Hit f.S/2S/5H, further expanding her offensive options.
Sol Poente is a versatile flip kick move in Giovanna's arsenal, offering several strategic options for players. While it may not be exceedingly difficult to block on its own, its adaptability stems from the ability to cancel into it from low attacks, modify its trajectory for left/right mix-ups, and utilize Roman Cancels (RC) to create diverse setups, making it a potentially effective mix-up tool for creative players.
This move consists of two hits: the first occurs as Giovanna launches herself upward, and the second is an overhead strike delivered while she's in mid-air. The initial hit launches the opponent into a Hard Knockdown state, enabling easy follow-ups such as an on-the-ground c.S into an Instant Air Dash (IAD) j.H safejump. The launch from this hit can also lead to natural combos after 2H vacuums an already-launched opponent behind Giovanna. On the other hand, the second hit boasts a disjointed hitbox that can effectively challenge many characters' 5Ps without much effort. This disjointed hitbox makes it a situational choice for contesting mid pokes, like Ramlethal's f.S, or controlling space against moves like Goldlewis's 214S and Zato's 236K. However, it's important to consider the lingering hurtbox behind Giovanna during the startup phase.
The second hit inflicts a tumble that culminates in a soft knockdown. It might miss against very low-profile moves, such as Sol's 2D. Following the recovery of Sol Poente's second hit, you can employ Trovão to execute a meaty attack on the opponent's wakeup and still maintain an advantageous position, albeit with some distance between you and the opponent. While the grounded version of Sol Poente is -5 on block, savvy players can space it to avoid potential punishes.
Ventania is Giovanna's sole invincible reversal move, offering a valuable option to disrupt opponent pressure or escape unfavorable situations. However, it's crucial to exercise caution when using it, as Ventania is easily blockable or jumpable by astute opponents. Despite its vulnerability, Ventania boasts remarkable damage potential, and even confirming it from a simple two-hit combo can yield damage that rivals or surpasses a full-length combo route due to less scaling.
Furthermore, Ventania's substantial horizontal travel distance makes it effective for carrying opponents toward the corner, facilitating wall breaks. Additionally, the invulnerability frames can be advantageous for passing through certain mid-range projectiles when timed correctly. Nonetheless, like most reversals, it is generally recommended to deploy Ventania in neutral situations only when you have a solid read or quick reaction to the opponent's actions, or when you possess 100% Tension to Roman Cancel (RC) it and ensure safety.
Tempestade is an exceptionally swift divekick overdrive move, designed to counter anti-air attempts and serve as a reactive aerial option in neutral situations. Its remarkable speed and safety make it effective for responding to airborne threats. When blocked, Tempestade can help you regain your offensive turn and provide opportunities to approach or punish opponents with strong ground control. Although the blockstun duration is relatively short, the move's initial hitbox is exceptionally fast, compensating for this limitation and ensuring safety, and in some instances, even granting a slight advantage.
On a successful hit, Tempestade initiates a cinematic sequence that allows you to Roman Cancel at any point. This makes it suitable for use as a last-resort air combo finisher when Ventania cannot be executed. It's important to note that the frame advantage after hitting the opponent can vary based on the hit's location. To maximize your safety, aim to hit the opponent's block close to the ground, ensuring maximum plus frames while maintaining sufficient distance to avoid being within their throw range. Alternatively, you can deliberately approach within throw range to capitalize on the short blockstun, setting up opportunities for tick throws that can catch opponents off guard.
Giovanna is a versatile fighter in Guilty Gear Strive, known for her agility, mix-up potential, and strong pressure game. She excels in close-quarters combat, utilizing fast and effective normal attacks, such as quick jabs and kicks, to keep opponents on the defensive. Giovanna's special moves, especially when enhanced through cancels, are crucial for both combos and mix-ups. Her mix-up game includes high/low options, cross-ups, and throws, making it challenging for opponents to predict her next move.
Defensively, Giovanna has reliable anti-air options, like Sol Nascente, and a low hurtbox on her cartwheel attack, allowing her to evade certain attacks and serve as a valuable tool for reversals and counter-pokes. She possesses the Ventania reversal, which deals significant damage but can be predictable. Giovanna's divekick overdrive, Tempestade, is a swift and safe aerial option that can counter anti-air attempts or regain offensive momentum when blocked.
Furthermore, Giovanna can employ advanced techniques like Roman Cancels (RC) to extend combos, create mix-ups, and maintain pressure. Her mix of versatile offensive and defensive tools makes her a formidable character in Guilty Gear Strive, particularly in close-range combat situations.