In Killer Instinct on Xbox One, Shadow moves are enhanced special moves signified by a shadow that follows the character's movement during the move. Shadow moves can be performed with two buttons of a special move and uses half of the Shadow gauge. Being an enhanced special move, it also comes with different properties such as startup invincibility and projectile invincibility. Every shadow move are 5 hits of varying damage depending on the move. Depending on when and what a player activates the shadow move, it can either be an Opener, a Linker or an Ender. A shadow move linker can be combo broken by imputing a combo breaker at any strength level on 3 of the 5 hits of the shadow move, though the opponent can counter breaker out of a shadow move ending it prematurely regardless if the counter breaker was successful.
Shadow Counters are specific Shadow Moves that can be used at a defense stance. While blocking, a player can press both medium buttons to activate a stance. If the next attack hits the player while in that stance, the Shadow Counter goes off and the character will immediately do their carry based Shadow Move. Shadow Counters takes half of the gauge. However, because Shadow Counters are just defensive Shadow Moves, it can get hit if the Shadow Counter is done in the middle of an active block string or shadow move or can whiff if done too late and doesn't catch an attack leaving them open. Because it opens them up, Shadow Counters are always considered Openers and thus the player can start a combo.
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