Trap move

What it is

A trap move is a move that puts out a trap hitbox; its aim is to catch a strike, thereupon starting an automatic counterattack.


Many trap moves are completely defenseless to anything but a strike in the right place at the right time, so they are definitely high risk.

Also, depending on the move, there is a possibility that even a successful catch will leave you vulnerable to any extra attack before your own attack hitbox comes out.


Usually, the power in a trap move doesn’t come from the success of the move itself so much as the fear that a seemingly safe attack can be hazardous to use against a trap-savvy opponent.


The actions after a trap move catches an attack vary:

  • Geese Howard’s Atemi Nage locks the opponent, and slams them on the ground for a forced knockdown, even if they technically were invincible. This is the standard behavior for a trap move.
  • Yamazaki Ryūji’s Sado-Maso counterattacks with a strike, and without locking; therefore, the counterattack is not a surefire success. It should be noted, however, that Sado-Maso at least is unblockable, so it is still somewhat reliable compared to others of its type.
  • The type that merely puts the opponent in pushback or knockdown (like the sabaki-type “parries” present in certain games) has been seen more often recently. One may then follow up with a juggler or on-the-ground attack (or whatever) at leisure, making the damage end up quite high.
  • There is the type like Oswald’s K, which only traps the attack (omitting the automatic counterattack); in this case, one may follow up by canceling after a success, but there do exist situations where one cannot expect to do much damage this way. Also, if the move that was trapped did not leave the opponent very open in the first place, so that they could block the counterattack, there is a chance that the very act of trapping the move could backfire.
  • Trap moves like Tokinomiya Kamui’s Kōfu start things off, and with more command inputs, can be developed, going into more powerful moves.

Classification of trap success conditions

Trap moves in general fall into these two types:

  • Trap moves that grab according to the location and size of the trap hitbox, partitioned into low, medium, and high heights.
  • Trap moves that grab according to the type of the incoming strike hitbox (upright, overhead, or low).

Trap according to height

This is most typical of SNK-like games. Basically, the trap hitbox itself is small, and as such, it will only cover some part of the character who has it.

Because these three can essentially catch anything, some characters can only use the high and mid-height traps, and some things can catch practically anything; it is essential to know whether someone has these abilities.


In many cases, special moves and moves of higher rank will fall under the “high” classification, even though they aren’t in midair. Therefore, the “high” trap moves will be comparatively easy to catch with.

Trap according to hitbox classification

This is most typical of Arc System Works-like games. Sometimes this means the trap hitbox will cover the character’s entire body; if the corresponding hitbox hits, then the trap move will be completed wheresoever the attack should coincide.

Further reading

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Based off the article on the wiki, edited on or before 5 January 2009.
Unofficial translation published by BRPXQZME / Alfie Parthum 1 February 2009. No unauthorized redistribution permitted.