No events

Under Night In-Birth II Beginner’s Guide

Patrick Bonifacio

The sequel to niche fighting game of the same name, Under Night In-Birth II Sys:Celes (UNI2) released on January 24th, 2024. Developed by French Bread, the same group that worked on the Melty Blood series of fighting games, UNI2 promises to bring more on top of the exciting fighting experience from the first title.

Under Night In-Birth II Splash Art

via French-Bread/Arc System Works

But while UNI2 is a fighting game at its core, its existence as an “anime” game makes it vastly different from titles like Street Fighter 6 and Tekken 8. The gameplay on offer here is much faster than your traditional fighting game — and Under Night In-Birth as a series even has a truly unique mechanic that sets it apart from others in the genre.

Curious about UNI2 and its inner workings? We’ve got you covered in this handy beginner’s guide.

Anime Approach

By far the biggest thing that makes UNI2 as different as it is compared to other fighting games is the fact that there are way more mobility options here than usual. UNI2 and its ilk like Guilty Gear -Strive- and BlazBlue: Cross Tag Battle feature air dashing, which does exactly what the name implies: move your character a certain direction while airborne.

Air dashing makes movement way more frantic and dynamic than “grounded” games like Street Fighter 6, and make playing solid defense a lot harder as well. It’s even possible to do instant air dashes (IAD), which results in some truly frightening ways to approach your opponent.

While it takes a lot to get used to this style of gameplay, it does allow for a ton of creativity and makes decision-making more varied. UNI2 is no exception here, as there will almost always be a larger number of options with which you can apply pressure or close the distance to your adversary.

Mastering the instant air dash is key to success in UNI2. It’s so important that it’s even a distinct, named mechanic: Assault. To execute an instant air Assault, tap up and forward simultaneously to leave the ground, then press forward and D simultaneously to dash forward. Any moves that you throw out during this time must be blocked standing, making IADs great for closing out rounds against a defensive opponent.

GRD it Out

Remember that “unique mechanic” we mentioned in the opening to this guide? The Grind Grid, better known as GRD, is central (literally) to the push and pull of Under Night In-Birth II. Appearing as a gauge of 24 blocks at the bottom-center of the screen, the GRD is split into 12 blocks for each player.

Players fill each GRD block through certain actions. Walking forward, dashing, using Assault (whether grounded or airborne), throwing out attacking moves, blocking, and shielding all contribute to the GRD gauge. Each character can also use Concentration (hold down and D simultaneously) in order to manually charge GRD blocks — though this leaves them completely vulnerable to attacks.

On the flipside, it’s also possible to lose GRD charge. Running away from your opponent, getting hit, and getting your throws escaped from will decrease your GRD charge. Concentration actually removes GRD charge as well, exactly half a second after it starts up. So if you see the other guy being so bold as to use Concentration in your face, punish them for it — lest you lose the GRD you worked for.

Further to the middle is the GRD Transfer State gauge, which brings all of the above together. It is a ring-shaped meter that fills up automatically as time passes in each round. Once it’s full, whomever has more GRD blocks enters a powered-up state called Vorpal, which increases damage output by 10 percent and allows that character to use Chain Shift. More on Chain Shift later.

Note that GRD blocks do not carry over between rounds, and will reset accordingly at the end of each round.

Overall, it’s clear that winning the battle for GRD and Vorpal is crucial. The system awards aggressive but calculated play, as well as creativity in terms of taking advantage of opportunities to use Concentration. The tug of war between both players in this regard makes UNI2 truly special. Mastering the GRD cycle will take a lot of time and experience, but will be worth it in the long run for players that want to level up their game.

Chain Shift the Tides

Finally, we arrive at Chain Shift — the single most important mechanic in Under Night In-Birth II. As mentioned previously, Chain Shift is available only when your character is in Vorpal, which in turn can only be activated by winning each GRD cycle.

Chain Shift is an extremely flexible tool that allows you to get really creative with your pressure and plan of attack. Executed by pressing D twice in succession, Chain Shift starts up in one frame and is fully invincible throughout. Its primary function is to cancel the recovery frames of attacks that would otherwise be uncancelable, making them safe on block when they would otherwise be punishable.

In addition, it converts your GRD charge into EXS meter, which is basically the same as the super meter in other games like Street Fighter 6 and Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3.

It simply cannot be overstated: playing against your opponent without ever using Chain Shift is an exercise in futility. It’s just way too good to pass up, especially for characters that like to use moves that are slow to recover. Your approach to each round will change based on how well you can use Chain Shift, so make sure to take advantage of it while you can.

You’re now equipped with the knowledge necessary to get started with Under Night In-Birth II. All that’s left is to jump into the tutorials, of which there are plenty that cover every aspect of the game in detail. Each character also has their own set of specific tutorials, allowing you to really dive deep into your fighter of choice.

We’ll also have more how-to guides for UNI2 coming your way in the near future. Until then, get out there and Divide!

Patrick Bonifacio

Patrick Bonifacio

Patrick has been playing Dota since the dawn of time, having started with the original custom game for WarCraft III. He primarily plays safe lane and solo mid, preferring to leave the glorious task of playing support to others.

More from author

Want more Hotspawn delivered right to your Inbox?

Sign up for the Hotspawn newsletter to receive the latest esports and tech news, exclusive offers, giveaways, and more!