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A Special Move is a term for a command that is meant to be used for defensive purposes. Special Moves come in different types: Fake-Outs, Special Stances, Evasive Maneuvers, Back-Turns, and Taunts.
These kinds of Special Moves are designed to feign an attack against an opponent, to draw them into defending, thus setting them up for a hi-counter throw. Alternatively, they can be used to simply prevent an attack being successfully held by an opponent.
As the name implies, these kinds of Special Moves involve a character getting into a special stance, giving them access to unique moves. Most characters have strike inputs that can be canceled into special stances (for example, after the low kick of Ryu's Ren-Kijin-Daihoda( ), one can cancel out the last strike ( ) to enter into his Ongyoin stance. Characters can also immediately enter their stance without prior attacks (for example, Ryu can immediately enter his Ongyoin stance by 2 simple inputs (, or (applies in the Dead or Alive 5 games)).
These moves are designed to allow one to create space between characters. Some characters have various maneuvers that make combat effective (for example, Sarah Bryant's Moonsault allows her to get behind her opponent to attack from behind, or to evade low strikes), or have moves that allow them to open space between other characters (for example, Kasumi's Jingei () has her flip away from her opponent). Some of these also involve the use of walls (for example, if Lisa/La Mariposa performs her Back Flip () while a wall is behind her, she can input an additional command ( *Ultra Huracan Rana= / *Tope Con Giro= / *Missile Kick= ).
- * Must have wall behind to use.
These moves cause the character to have their back turned to the opponent. When in the state of back-turned, a character gains unique commands that can be used to string interesting combos. Save for Leifang and Bayman, back-turned characters are unable to use holds against strikes.
The purpose of these special moves is to ridicule one's opponent, or to show off. Few characters have taunts that do damage (examples include Zack, Jann Lee (technically a mid-kick hold), Bass, and Honoka). Some taunts can also double as evasive maneuvres. Save for the Virtua Fighter characters (Akira, Jacky, Pai, and Sarah), all characters have taunts. For certain costumes, taunting will switch to an alternate form of that costume.