This is a very good article for players who are trying to get into DOA or fighters in general and for the beginners who are looking to improve their game.
Hopefully what I talk about really helps you become a stronger player. Please comment :)
In fighting games its all about controlling the pace. Whether you are controlling it on the offense or on the defense is key to winning the match.
In a game like DOA the way you would control the pace offensively is by keeping the opponent in critical state and making proper use of the environment to keep momentum. Also have to play the hit level game High beats Mid beats Low beats High. For defense its all about either crushing or holding the hit level or waiting for an unsafe attack so you can punish it on guard or if the opponent has delays in their attacks you can offensive hold them. The offense is trying to get them to hold so you can hi counter throw them or getting them to try to respond with an attack so you can defensive hold them. (Yea I know defensive hold but it can be used offensively as well especially if you know the opponent will attack). Also if the opponent starts using attacks that crouch you can perform a crouching offensive hold to grab them out of their crouching attack.
So in DOA your offense is:
Attacks, Throws, Offensive Holds (OH)
Attack to get them to try to Defensive hold (DH) you or use an attack with evasive frames usually a high or mid crush.
If they start using DH you throw them. If they start using Crush attacks then you can either OH their crush attack or you can DH as long as you know the correct hit level they will do. DH does more damage than a OH but is more difficult to use than a OH which is understandable cause the payout is higher. If the opponent is guarding a lot then you can throw them or OH them since OH acts like a throw, or you can hit them with a quick low that is hard to react to. Be careful cause regular throws loses to attacks and that includes crush attacks.
Anyway moving on. On the defensive side:
Guard, Throws (because they beat Offensive Holds), DH and Crush attack.
When opponent starts attacking you can guard because if they do something unsafe you can punish them. If you block something safe you just gained the advantage because your next attack will beat out theirs but it isn't guaranteed. You can also DH which will force them to start throwing more and you can hi counter blow their throw attempts for a lot of damage. When you use Crush attacks it will force them to want to go on the defensive and block or try to hold you (DH or OH) so once that happens you can grab them. And this is how the offense/defense game works in DOA.
As you can see from the above Offense and Defense is a big mental game and knowing your opponent and how they respond is key, but its all about knowing what option you and your opponent have to so you actually know whats going on.