Author Topic: Dealing With Fireballs/Projectiles In KOF  (Read 1938 times)


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Dealing With Fireballs/Projectiles In KOF
« on: February 27, 2017, 12:40:22 AM »
These are tutorials written and recorded by Juicebox. They explain usages of projectiles in KOF, and how to deal with them both offensively and defensively:

"How to play King/Kensou/Athena "the right way"
How to mindgame with projectiles (with some characters)
Let me preface this by saying that objectively there is of course no wrong way to play. I am merely referencing the fact that the most likely strategy you will adopt with these characters at a low level (overly defensive projectile throwing) will not survive with you to an intermediate level of play.
Additionally, the tips I am about to give work with more than these 3 characters. Andy, Joe, Ash, Saiki, Robert, Mature, Duo Lon, Mai, and K' can apply some of these concepts directly if not necessarily all of the concepts.
King, Kensou, and Athena all have good benefits from throwing projectiles. Defense/discouragement/annoyance is the main benefit. In order to take full advantage of these characters, you will need to learn how to offensively apply projectiles, and the simplest way is to throw a light projectile and then run in after it.
If the opponent tries to avoid this fireball that you are trailing, you can always counter that option with good reaction time.
- they roll towards you, past the fireball (punish the roll with a throw or a well-timed attack/combo)
- they jump towards you (uppercut with Ken/Ath, EX trap shot or Tornado Kick with King, alternatively hit them with a j.CD with all 3)
- they jump straight up (j.CD with Ken/Ath, EX Tornado Kick/j.CD with King)
- they block it (you have frame advantage, go for a mixup or apply pressure with a hop, alternatively you can back off and throw another light projectile to continue the annoyance)
- they move/jump backwards (keep running, as one of the above situations is about to happen)
The direct ways to counter this light fireball approach are:
1) Block the fireball and deal with the mixup.
2) Go through the fireball, with something like Kyo's neomax, Iori's EX Maiden Masher super, or any other sufficiently invincible AND horizontal move.
3) Correctly time a jump-in to hit the fireball's recovery, just like jumping over a hadoken in street fighter.
4) Negate the projectile with your own (or throw a stronger one)
As you might have already deduced, option 3 is a read, options 2 and 4 require good reaction time and sometimes meter, and option 1 kills bad players because bad players have bad defense. Also, they tend to not have good movement either, so when faced with a barrage of projectiles, they will likely attempt options 2 and 3 but be ineffectual over time, especially if they are bad at hit-confirming.
If you have good reaction time and are not constantly stopped by option 3, then the above strategy is a simple and bulletproof way to "attack" with King, Kensou, and Athena. Each character will have different ways of maintaining and capitalizing on that pressure in the cases of option 1, but I won't go into that here.
Thus far, I have only really stated the obvious way to apply projectiles with these characters offensively. Next, I want to cover the less obvious, mindgame-centric option.
A player who understands the above points will make a concerted effort to prevent you from throwing fireballs in the first place. They will not allow you to be any further than 2/3 of the screen away from them, so that you are always in range of 1 or more possible jumps. Some characters' hops are high enough that they can even hop your projectiles, and so those characters have even more options (Joe and Hwa are obvious examples of this).
If you believe your opponent is competent, you will still want to throw the light fireball occasionally as it is still a great strategy and jumping at the right time to counter it is still very timing specific. However, you will want to mix up your fireball throwing with movement-predicting aggression, which I'll abbreviate as MPA going forward.
MPA is my term for when you attack the area just in front of a character, such that if the defender did not move at all your attack would whiff. The idea is that if the defender attempts to move forward, you will land the hit, and if they move backward you are at a neutral, safe situation where you can reassess what you want to do next. For King/Kensou/Athena, the basic MPA you will use the most is a j.CD, usually from a hyperhop.
Let's examine King's j.CD. It starts quickly, hits high above her head for a moment, then in front of her for a moment, then below her for a moment. It has great blockstun, will always knock away on hit, and can grant combos on counterhit. If King is standing at a 2/3 screen range and you are reading a fireball, you may try to jump at her at various heights. If she predicts this and jumps towards you with a j.CD, it is almost guaranteed to hit or at least trade. After it hits you, not only can King run fast enough to go on offense if she wants, but she can also stop, immediately throw a light projectile as you are recovering, and force the situation you were explicitly trying to avoid. By the way, the neutral state, decisions made by both players, and execution of the above situation takes less than a second. Tricky, eh?
If you've been paying attention you're probably wondering why I have only mentioned the light projectile up to this point. That is because the hard projectile is not suitable for the original strategy of following it in, due to its longer recovery period. However, hard projectiles with these characters start up FASTER than the light ones. They also travel faster. You know what that means? It's an MPA! If you want to mixup your MPA game, use the hard projectile in place of a hyperhop normal from time to time as an alternate way of stopping forward movement. And don't forget that there are plenty of other MPAs you can use with these characters, too!
By combining the threat of light projectiles and the threat of MPAs, you may be able to cow your opponent into defense. GREAT! Keep doing what you're doing and you will hopefully land mixups or even get a guard break. Otherwise, your opponent will keep attempting to counter you (as well he should), and based upon the gap in skill between the two of you involving movement, spacing, and reaction time (with the individual matchup coming a distant 4th place), one of you will come out on top.
Knowledge and application of MPAs are CRITICAL to understanding not only projectile characters, but KOF in general.
I wish you luck in avoiding all the Venom Strikes and Psycho Balls coming your way."

Juicy Bits - KOF13 System: Neutral Game Part 1, Projectiles
! No longer available
"Do not place so much importance on winning. The fight itself has value."