Category Archives: Tutorial

So, you want to learn KoFXIII?

Dream Cancel member David Kong has written the following introduction to our wiki:

So, you want to learn KoFXIII?

Written by David Kong

Congratulations! You’ve taken the first step to learning one of the most competitive, dynamic, and well-balanced fighting games in recent history, King of Fighters XIII! Before you throw yourself into the Dreamcancel wiki browsing for detailed information, here are some essential tips to ease your transition into the world of competitive King of Fighters!

  • Before you begin, consider your goals. How competitive do you wish to become?

If you don’t know a thing about KoFXIII right now, ask yourself where you hope to eventually end up in terms of skill. If you plan on being a competitive player, you will need to enter the game with a serious mentality. To help you maintain this attitude, you should set realistic goals to pursue. Before you begin any journey, you will need a destination to go towards!

If you can’t set a realistic goal, perhaps it’s better for you to just stay casual. Otherwise, you will find yourself investing a lot of time and energy inefficiently, which will inevitably lead to disappointment.

  • “What characters should I play? I don’t want to pick garbage characters.”

The coolest thing about KoFXIII is that every character is good! You can play anyone you want! Of course, some characters are better than others, but as far as the competitive community can tell, so far, even the worst characters in the game are totally viable. You will have more fun playing characters you genuinely like, so pick your favorite characters and see if they fit your style!

  • Start in Practice Mode

Many new players simply throw themselves into online/versus mode without first learning about how the game actually works in detail. While this is fine for casual players, you will find that it is completely unproductive for becoming competitive. It will be essential to be in Practice/Training mode for at least a few hours before you begin to really understand how your character works. The very first thing you should do with your character is to learn their max damage, no meter, midscreen combo. Start this combo with a hop in C or D (hard punch or hard kick). Simply doing this will get you used to hopping. After you have mastered this combo, there are many more advanced things to practice. Simply knowing your meterless bread and butter combo for each of your characters will open your eyes to further possibilities.

Make sure to have all of your practice mode data turned on so that you can see exactly how much damage/stun you are doing!

  • Focus on Fundamentals

As many players have said, KoFXIII is an “honest” fighting game. This means that you will not be able to win because of luck or gimmicky tricks (although, there is a time and a place for everything ;) ). To become skilled at KoFXIII, you will need solid spacing, hit confirms, reactions, meter management, and footsies. Focus on developing these skills, and do not try to base your game plan on guessing.

  • Ordering Your Team

Team order in the game revolves around using your meter. If you are picking up the game for the first time, don’t worry about it at all. Learning how your characters use meter will come with time and practice. Your best team order will present itself to you as time goes on.

When learning the game, it’s a good idea to put your weakest character first. You will find that your first character will get the most play time over the long run. This gives you chances to practice with that character more.

  • Let the Game Teach You About Yourself

This might sound a little odd, but always keep in mind that becoming skilled at fighting games is about conquering yourself just as much as it’s about defeating your opponent. As a casual player, this game can be another type of simple entertainment, similar to watching TV. As a competitive player, there is so much more to discover. If you decide to compete, you will inevitably find yourself in challenging situations that inspire panic, fear, arrogance, and frustration. How you deal with and overcome your own emotions in game will define you as a player. In this sense, becoming a great KoFXIII player is a process of constant self improvement. Keep this in perspective as you pursue your competitive goals.
We here at Dreamcancel sincerely hope that this introduction has been helpful, and perhaps has stirred your appetite for competition! If you have more questions as you dive into the game, please visit our Training Dojo and character specific threads in the forums section!

Whiff cancel tutorial by PhoeniX

The King of Details #4: Whiff and late cancelling cancel buffering trick
By PhoeniX

Today I’ll discuss some special properties of cancels in KOF.

Whiff cancelling
Unlike in most fighting games, if a move is cancellable, it can be cancelled regardless of whether it hits or not. Therefore it is possible for K’ to do cr.D xx qcf+A with or without hitting .

This opens up several strategic possibilities that are not normally available in other fighting games. If you whiff a move that has a good hitbox, but has bad recovery, you can either shorten this recovery or cover the recovery with a safe special.

This allows you to cover several options at once during neutral game. If you whiff cancel a sweep into a special that has a more upward hitbox you are essentially covering the full space in front of you.

Late cancelling
Cancellable normals, and some character’s CD attacks, can be cancelled into command normals. If these command normals have special properties such as hard knockdown, overhead or both, these special properties are lost when you cancel into them. In return, if you cancel into these command normals, they usually become cancellable.

But there is a way to retain these special properties. You do this by cancelling into the command normal late.

Whenever a move connects, either on hit or block, both characters freeze for a short time this is called ‘hitstop or hitfreeze,’ a late cancel is done by inputting the command normal just after this hitstop, just when the opponent starts moving backwards from the knockback.

This is a useful technique, especially for overhead command normals which tend to have a very long startup, which makes them prone to counterpokes. By late cancelling into a command normal, you will at least secure part of the startup to be covered since the opponent will still be in blockstun, essentially creating a frametrap from a normal into a command normal.

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Hitstun and Blockstun miniguide

By OmegaRyuji

Introduction: Set your phasers to “stun”
When an attack makes contact with a character in a KOF game, that character will usually go into one of five states: blockstun (an attack was blocked), hitstun (an attack that does not knock down a grounded opponent), aerial reset (if the character was hit in the air with an attack that does not knock down), airborne juggleable (a special property of certain attacks that knock the opponent into the air and allow most attacks to connect afterwards), or knockdown (an attack that causes knock down hits). Each of these has certain strategic importance, but the focus of this article will be on the first two.

The “stun” part of the names blockstun and hitstun comes from the fact that these states greatly limit a character’s available options. In hitstun, a character is put through a reeling/hurt animation during which they are completely vulnerable to anything that the opponent tries to do (except normal throws and some other special cases), aside from in KOF XI, when the hit character can be switched out with a saving shift. In blockstun, the character is locked in a defensive animation during which they will continue to automatically block any further attacks that make contact, though the player still has to properly block attacks that can only be blocked standing or crouching, but has a few more options available.While in blockstun, the character can use up resources in order to guard cancel, with either a roll (GCAB), a standing CD attack (GCCD), or a tag (KOF XI only). The character can also alternate between a standing block for high or mid attacks or a crouching block for mid or low attacks.
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A Guide to Frame Data

By OmegaRyuji
Introduction: What am I getting into?
If you have been looking for information on fighting games in the past decade, chances are you have at least come across some mention of “frame data.”  However, what that actually means and how to properly use it is something that players are usually left to figure out on their own.  Hopefully, this mini-guide can help you see that working with some numbers can put you on the road to a whole new way of developing and refining your play.

Basics of Frame Data: The only frames I know about are for hanging up pictures
A “frame” is a single still image which makes up part of an animation.  As you might already know, what you see when you play KOF is actually a series of still images drawn in rapid succession to create the illusion of fluid movement (or not-so-fluid, at times).

In a nutshell, frame data is a way of representing how long animations take.  Any non-projectile attack’s animation can be broken into three general phases: startup (everything that happens before the attack can actually hit), active (the time when it is possible to do damage {the time the move connects, the damage might happened like command throws}), and recovery (all of the time after the attack can no longer deal damage before the character is able to do something else).  Projectile attacks are a bit of a special case, since the active part of the animation is (usually) completely separate from the character’s animation, so the character only actually has startup and recovery animations.  Similarly, non-attacking animations, such as jumping or rolling, also go through startup and recovery animations.  What frame data tells you is how long each of those animations is based on how many frames each of those animations requires.

Now, you might be thinking, “That’s all well and good, but why not measure the animations in terms of how long they actually take, instead of using some esoteric concept that’ll end up confusing a lot of people?”  The problem with that approach is that animations are not shown at the same speed universally.  For instance, it’s not uncommon for PS2 home ports of games to run slightly faster than the arcade versions.  Similarly, the time it takes to show 30 frames in one game isn’t necessarily the same as it will be in another, and there is also the issue of occasional slowdown while playing the game (particularly when there is a lot of stuff happening on the screen).  However, no matter how much real time it takes to show them, the game will always be animated one frame at a time, which is why that can serve as a universal measure of time.

A word of warning: there are differing conventions in exactly how to count startup frames.  Some people count only the frames before any active frames, while others also include the first active frame (the second method makes things slightly easier when frame advantage and static difference come into consideration a little later).  All examples used here will NOT include the first active frame as part of the startup time, but it is something to keep in mind in case your calculations keep ending up off by 1 frame.
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The King of Details #3: Buffering Tricks and Motion Shortcuts

Author: PhoeniX

The King of Fighters has a couple of buffering tricks that most people are unaware of, but make some parts of execution a lot easier. In the first part I will discuss the intricacies of the ‘hold button buffer’ and the second part will discuss input shortcuts, finally I will discuss some input tricks to make difficult cancels easier.

Hold button buffer
This trick is something very few people know about, which is a real shame because it significantly improves your chances of hitting links to super and reversals.

In several set situations, if you hold down the attack button, it will repeat the input for several frames for you, which mean it no longer requires accurate timing to hit a move as soon as possible.

Wakeup reversal hold button buffer
The most important part where you can use this buffer is for reversals. Depending on the type of move you reversal with, the buffer is bigger. The hold button buffer trick does not work if you want to do a wakeup normal, you have exactly 1 frame to reversal with a normal. When you want to reversal Roll, reversal st.CD or reversal MAX mode activate (in KOF2002 and KOF2002UM), you can get a window of up to 4 frames by holding down the respective buttons.

Reversal specials and supers require a little bit of explanation. Both these moves, when used as a reversal can actually be executed one frame earlier than other moves. This is also the reason why throw invincibility increases by one frame when you reversal with a special or super. Therefore, even without the hold button buffer trick, the reversal window is 2 frames, on one of the frames you simply reversal earlier.

With the hold button buffer trick specials can be used as reversal for a grand total of 9 frames + 1 extra frame if you reversal on the second frame. Which leads to a total of 10 frames. The hold button buffer for reversal supers is enormous, you get 24 frames + 1 extra frame of the natural 2 frame reversal window giving a 25 frame reversal window, that is almost half a second! Such a large reversal window is unheard of in fighting games.

Regular reversal hold button buffer
This same hold button trick can be used for reversalling out of hit or blockstun, or doing a move straight out of the recovery of your own move.
The buffer windows are: 1 frame for normals, 4 frames for Rolls, st.CD and MAX mode activation. Specials have a buffer window of 14 frames, but never come out on the first frame after hitstun/blockstun/recovery but rather on the second frame. Supers have a buffer window of 20 frames, but do not come out on the first frame after hitstun/blockstun/recovery but on the third frame.

Jump hold button buffer
During any type of jump you can also buffer a command so that it comes out on the very first possible frame after landing. This is very important for grapplers that need their empty jump throws to come out as soon as possible.

There are a few technicalities you need to know. If you buffer a special move early in the air, a jump normal will come out, once this normal becomes active in the air, the buffer is flushed, and the special won’t come out the moment you land. If you first do a jump normal, and then start buffering with another button press you can make use of the full buffer.

There are no buffer frames for normals, so it takes exactly 1 frame for it to come out. 3 frames for Rolls, st.CD and MAX mode activation. 13 frames for specials and 23 frames for supers.

This is a lot of data with numbers, which might not mean that much to you. The bottom line is, if you are having trouble timing reversals, empty jump throws or links into super, try holding down the button, to make the chance of hitting these tight timings much easier.

It is not really clear yet whether this ‘hold button to buffer’ trick is available in KOFXIII. In XIII this is not really an issue, as buffering windows are very large already. Doing reversals is not that difficult, even without holding the button down.

Input shortcuts
There are some input shortcuts, that may make life easier in the King of Fighters. These shortcuts work in KOF2002/UM and KOF98/UM. KOFXIII has shortcuts too, but they are somewhat different and they are discussed on the SRK Wiki.

Half-circle motions
For Half-circle motions you can skip the diagonals and still get the right move. This is generally not that important, but is very good to know for Andy in 2002/UM for example. Normally his db,f+P overlaps with his hcf+P move. his hcf+P move is a proximity unblockable, and only comes out if your opponent is in range and in a hittable state. db,f+P comes out regardless and is very bad on block. If you input Andy’s cl.C xx hcf+P, while hitting all the diagonals, on hit cl.C xx hcf+P connects, but on block cl.C xx db,f+P comes out and leaves you wide open for punishment.

But, if you input this as cl.C xx back, down, forward + Punch or back, down, down-forward, forward + P, on hit cl.C xx hcf+P comes out and on block only the safe cl.C comes out. Needless to say, this shortcut can save your life.

This trick, by extension incorporates all other motions that contain a half circle motion. so 2xhcb+P can skip the diagonals. For qcf,hcb+P you cannot skip the diagonals in the qcf, but you can skip them in the hcb portion.

Dragon punch motions
This shortcut is not as useful as the one mentioned above, but is still good to know. A traditional dragon punch can be input as forward, down, down-forward. In KOF you can also input it as forward, down, forward.

Special Input Blocking
To new players, a combo like Iori’s cl.C xx f+A xx qcf, hcb+P can be quite difficult. There is a specific buffering trick to make this motion a lot easier.

This combo cannot be input als cl.C qcf+A, hcb+P because qcf+A is a move (his fireball). If you press and hold an attack button, you can no longer do any special or super moves moves, only normals and command normals, until you release the attack button. So you can do the above combo as follows:
press and hold cl.C, qcf+A, release C, hcb+P and the combo will work.

Because you hold C, you can no longer do specials, and qcf+A simply registers only the f+A part since this is a command normal. Then you release C to allow specials and supers again, then you do hcb+P and the input parser will see that you have done qcf,hcb+P and register it as a super.

Another character that has a lot of use for this trick is (Orochi) Chris. It can be quite trick to do cr.BA f+A without accidentally inputting cr.BA xx qcf+A. But if you press and hold B you can just input cr.B(hold)A qcf+A (release B) xx anything.

Sadly this trick is gone completely in KOFXIII.

Buffer breaking trick
This trick is used to cancel normals into super in an easier way. For example in KOF98 it is not that easy to cancel cl.C into 2xqcf+P, and if you try to buffer it as qcf+C qcf+P, qcf+C comes out instead of close C. In KOF (and this includes KOFXIII) you can ‘break’ the special buffer by including a direction not part of a special motion. For example back.

So to do the above combo you can buffer it in the following way: down, down-forward, forward, back, press C, down, down-forward, forward, press Punch. This way close C into super comes out.

You can also use down, to do cr.C into super: down, down-forward, forward, down, press C down-forward, forward, press Punch.

This can also be used if you buffer a qcf, but make up your mind and decide you just want to do the normal, press back and then the normal. to simply get the normal. Or, of course, if you do qcb, you can press forward to get the normal.

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