Cleanup Sustained! – Introduction to Our New Keywords!


Hey, everyone! It’s-a-me, Marco and I’m here to talk a little bit more about some keywords that you might have seen in some of our Street Fighter EXCEED character reveals, which you can read by CLICKING THIS!

Regardless, I feel that it is important to give you all a little more context regarding these keywords. Many people seem to think they are new. I’m here to blow your minds and debunk that notion!

What ARE They?

The new keywords that you’ll see in the Street Fighter EXCEED box are “Cleanup” and “Sustain”. Below are their definitions, as taken from the rulebook:

  • Cleanup effects happen at the end of a Strike, and normally prevent Continuous Boosts from being discarded if certain conditions are met.

  • Sustain prevents a Continuous Boost from being discarded when the current Strike ends. Sustaining a Boost only lasts until the next Strike. You may continue to sustain boosts over multiple Strikes.

As you can see, these two keywords are very much intertwined; with many Sustain effects triggering during Cleanup. These definitions also point towards the relationship these keywords have with Continuous Boosts. Cleanup is a new “trigger phase” that allows us to interact with Boosts before they’re discarded, while Sustain is a seemingly new way to keep those Boosts in play well past their expiration time.

Wait a minute. Seemingly?


Old Mechanic, New Look

While the keyword may be new, the effect is not. In fact, as early as Season 1 (Red Horizon), we’ve been using Sustain. We just didn’t call it that. Take a look at these 2 text boxes:

Eva Example Cyber Destroyer.png
Iaquis Example.png

The box on the left is taken from EVA’s (Season 1) Cyber Destroyer Attack and it states that “you may keep one of your Continuous Boosts in play at the end of this Strike”.

On the other hand, the right box is from Iaquis’ (Season 2) Growing Hatred Transform and has the text “At the end of each Strike, if your attack did not hit the opponent, you may draw a card”.

Your eyes are not deceiving you, friend! Those are indeed instances of Sustain and Cleanup; just worded in a lengthier manner! Keen-eyed designers will also notice that “at the end of each Strike” and Cleanup are slightly different in terms of timing, but are nevertheless nearly identical for the most part.

Therefore, its a bit misleading to call them “new” keywords. The keywords themselves are new, but their mechanics have existed since EXCEED' Season 1.

But Why, Then?

Excellent question. Why, exactly, do these mechanical phrases need “new” keywords to represent them? The answer is oddly simple: space! Keywords are great for shortening the amount of text we need to put on the card in order to have a similar outcome. Just imagine how much text some cards would have if, instead of using the Before keyword, we wrote “Before you check for your attack’s Range”! It would simply be absurd!

Making use of keywords affords us some extra complexity on our cards as there is now more physical space, which lends itself to more design space! No one embodies this growth in design space more than Vega:


Notice how Vega’s Claw and Mask Boosts already take up a considerable amount of space. Just imagine if it didn’t use Cleanup or Sustain! Regardless, the introduction of these keywords opens up many new spaces for us to play around in and that is clearly seen in these 2 cards.

In the examples above, we’ve implemented Vega’s trademark Claw and Mask items by turning them into “semi-permanent” Boosts. When examined, a Boost with this effect definitely lasts much longer than your average Continuous Boost as it is entirely possible to keep it up for more than 2 or 3 turns. However, unlike Season 2’s Transformations, Vega’s Boosts are most definitely not permanent. Simply stun him once and he drops his Claw and Mask; much like in the video games!

This doesn’t only let us model and adapt some “temporary power-up” effects better, it also offers us the ability to create new and exciting effects for the game. While some cards will simply be more streamlined than older ones, other cards can offer new ways of play that have never been seen before!

Final Words

Overall, the introduction of these new keywords might just seem like a simple streamlining, but it also allows us to create unique and awesome interactions that haven’t been in the game before! While Sustain is an effect that we’ve made use of before, turning it into a keyword allows us to use it on a lot more fighters while conserving space and allowing for more complexity. On the other hand, Cleanup is a new timing trigger that allows us to time effects in a way that none of the previous seasons were able to. Just you wait and see all the cool new things we can do with these keywords!

I do hope you enjoyed my article on our new keywords. If this interested and made you want to try it yourself, I suggest getting a copy of Street Fighter EXCEED by CLICKING HERE!