The King of Fighters XV/Mai Shiranui/Strategy

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Mai's neutral is very good, but its only downside is that she can't really do any combos from her pokes, because most of them aren't even cancelable into anything. You can always use Quick MAX Mode activation for that.


Her main pokes are st.A, cr.A, st.B and most hop/jump normals. These aren't meant for landing huge combos, but simply to be just that - a poke, because the damage can really add up if the opponent gets hit by multiple of these. cr.A is cancelable, but don't go for any combos like EX Ryuuenbu, because you can't really hit confirm such a fast move. Instead, go for any version of Kachousen if you still want an option to cancel it into something.


Her CD Blowback is an amazing button for neutral. It's big, it's fast, it's safe and it allows for an easy hitconfirm by using C Kachousen. If Blowback gets blocked, C Kachousen will keep you even safer. If Blowback hits, C Kachousen will connect regardless of the distance, giving you enough time to hit confirm it into her Chou Hisatsu or Climax if you have enough meter, for almost 50% damage. This is her best neutral tool, so make sure to abuse it.


Mai's rushdown is usually pretty honest most of the time. She has some plus frames here and there, such as cl.A and cl.C. but nothing too crazy. She also doesn't have any grounded Overheads to worry about, so she has to try to open the opponent up from the air. Her Ukihane (j.d+B) is a great Overhead crossup tool and can loop into itself once she manages to knock the opponent down. Her j.B is another crossup she can rely on for landing combos afterwards. As for potential combo starters for pokes, cr.B is the go-to move, due to its speed and the fact it hits Low. cr.B itself is not special cancelable, but it can go into cr.A which is special cancelable. From there, she can go for 236B, a quick meterless combo, or 214AC, a launcher.

Overall, Mai doesn't really want to stay up close for long. Her rushdown would be best described as 'Hit-and-run' playstyle.


Mai's zoning focuses purely on using all versions of Kachousen, her only projectile. While this may not really be a zoning tool, it's more used as a space control move.

A Kachousen is the go-to version to use because the fan travels slowly and Mai recovers quickly, meaning she can run behind it to get close. Keep in mind that the opponent can easily jump over it or roll out of the way, but Mai can beat those options if she reacts fast enough. The best possible scenario would be if the opponent blocks the projectile or gets hit by it, both giving Mai an opportunity to rush the opponent down and land a combo, respectively.

EX Kachousen is usually used to win the zoning wars by destroying opponent's projectiles. It will beat regular projectiles and continue its path, potentially giving Mai the momentum she needs (See more about this move on the Overview page).


Mai has some of the best mobility in the game. Maybe not on the ground, but undoubtedly in the air.

In The Air

Her wall jump is a great way to escape tough situations and to alter her trajectory. Ukihane isn't really a mobility tool, but it can help in some situations, like when Mai is about to jump into a projectile, she can use this to save herself. Air Musassabi no Mai is great for the same reason as Ukihane (avoid landing on a projectile), but it is also used for suddenly stopping Mai's momentum to fly downwards. The EX version is a launcher, so it's always a threat when she's in the air and has meter.

On The Ground

As for her grounded mobility, her rolls and run speed are decent. Not too fast, but not too slow either. Her grounded Musasabi no Mai helps her to easily leap across the stage, whether it's to close the distance or get away. This move is usually used for the latter reason, since she can easily cancel her blockstrings into a backwards Musasabi no Mai, which sends her to fullscreen distance, making her almost impossible to punish.


Mai has several very strong setups that are worth learning. They are all very strong and make her much scarier to deal with. The only downside is that her best setups usually cost a lot of meter, although this won't be a problem if she is in Mid or Anchor positions.

Kachousen Setups

Probably the most important setup to learn. A and EX versions are usually used for this and the situations where this is applicable are oki and restand situations.

A version is applied when Mai simply wants to force the opponent to block. The reward isn't too big since she can't really do anything, but it is still good chip damage if they block it. The opponent can only roll forwards or backwards. If they roll forwards, Mai can grab them. If they roll backwards, they wil get hit by the fan upon recovery.

EX version is where the real fun starts. This version hits twice, with the second hit falling on top of the opponent. Mai can utilize the gap between the two hits to apply pressure or to do a sneaky roll to the other side, making the second hit of the projectile a crossup, whose hitstun is big enough to link a combo.

IMPORTANT NOTE: Using normals on an aerial opponent forces them into a restand situation. Normals that are best used for this setup are cl.C, cr.A and cr.C.

Some combos where this setup can be applied (Keep in mind that all of these are done in midscreen position, because Kachousen will completely whiff if done in the corner):

  • Any grab > 236A/236C/236AC
  • cl.AAAB > 2A/2C > 236A/236AC (Basic setup from a Rush Auto Combo.)
  • Starter > 214AC > 236BD > cl.D > 236A/236AC (The strongest version of the setup, but requires at least 1 meter.)

  • Starter > 214AC > 236BD > cl.D > 236AC > First part hits > run up > Forward Roll > Second part hits > Starter (The main roll crossup setup that can potentially loop into itself. Costs 3 bars of meter.)
  • Starter > 214AC > 236BD > [2]9AC~214AC > cl.C > 236AC > First part hits > run up > Forward Roll > Second part hits > Starter (Another variation of the previous setup. Must be done with Mai being in the corner due to huge corner carry of the combo and requires 4 bars (2 meters) to do.)


Mai's main crossup tools are j.B and Ukihane (j+d+B). j.B is a less riskier option because it's a safer move.

On a basic level, j.B is used to cross up the opponents by hopping or jumping. The hitstun is big enough to squeeze in a combo starting with cl.C or cr.C. On an advanced level, doing cl.D into Quick MAX activation can sometimes create very ambiguous crossups by perfroming j.B afterwards. Example from midscreen to corner:

  • 2C > 3D > 214AC > 236BD > cl.D > Quick MAX > j.B > Starter

Ukihane grants a hard knockdown on hit, which means that this setup can be looped. It is unsafe on block, but can be made plus as a meaty attack, something Mai can easily do by looping left/right mix with Ukihane. There are ways to combo into this move if you don't want to do it raw, but keep in mind it costs meter: Examples:

  • Starter > 214AC > 236BD > [2]9AC~j.d+B (Midscreen combo, requires 3 bars of meter, but the left/right mix is available.)
  • Starter > 214AC > 214C > [2]9AC~j.d+B (Corner combo, requires 2 bars of meter, but the left/right mix isn't avaiable.)

Meaty Ryuuenbu

Meaty Ryuenbuu is the least reliable setup to use, but it can be very dangerous with proper timing. Just like how the Kachousen setups are only possible midscreen, Ryuuenbu setups are only possible in the corner. Using both of them in their respective situations can make Mai very oppressive.

The idea with the meaty Ryuuenbu is to use the C Ryuuenbu as the opponent wakes up, but in a way so that just the second part hits at its last few active frames. It is usually -7 on block, but due to the second part's big active frames, it can be made plus on block as a meaty attack (Exact number unknown at the moment). The reason why this is the least reliable setup to use is because Mai can lose the block advantage if she mistimes the C Ryuuenbu. She will still be safe-ish, just not plus on block.

A Ryuuenbu can also be used, although it needs different methods to work. In return, the block advantage will usually be much higher compared to the C version.

C Ryuuenbu Examples (In corner only):

  • Forward grab > slight pause > 214C
  • Starter > 214AC > 214C > cl.D > 214C

A Ryuuenbu Examples (In corner only):

  • Forward grab > whiff 5A (framekill) > 214A
  • Starter > 214A > cl.A... 214A
  • Starter > 214AC > 214C > cl.A... 214A

Rolls will work against this setup, so it is advised to use the A Ryuuenbu setup just in case, due to its faster recovery.

Grabs can work against some variations of this setup.

Reversal DPs won't work against this setup. If they get hit by either version, you can convert it into a combo afterwards, or even apply another setup. In theory, this setup can be looped infinitely if they keep getting hit by it instead of blocking it.

Tips & Tricks

What To Do After Stun?

Getting the opponent stunned is a great opportunity for Mai. It's pretty easy for her to make the opponent stunned due to some of her moves dealing massive Stun, such as C Ryuuenbu. Depending on the position on the stage, she can either do a bit more damage, build meter or both.

Midscreen Stun

Landing a Stun midscreen will send the opponent almost fullscreen distance. From there, Mai wants to whiff her A Ryuuenbu twice in order to build meter, and this little sequence will usually end by the time the opponent stands up. Then, from that same distance, Mai wants to do her A Kachousen and run behind it. The ideal scenario would be to land cl.D > 3D, but due to strict timing and spacing, cr.C > 3D is preferred

Corner Stun

Regarding the A Ryuuenbu meter building sequence, Mai usually wants to do this only once during the corner Stun, because the second one would hit the opponent and because she has to retreat afterwards to perform a setup, which brings us to the next point. As or after the opponent gets up, Mai wants to backdash 3 or 4 times. This is the ideal distance to throw out A Kachousen. If she throws it any closer, she won't be able to do her best combo. Next, for that best combo, Mai wants to run behind the fan as soon as she throws it and perform her CD Blowback just as the fan hits the opponent (You can easily use a sound cue of the hit to get the timing). Then, she wants to do A Kachousen again after Blowback. However, be careful, because the distance has to be perfect. Get too close and the fan will completely whiff the opponent. Get too far and you won't be able to do the next part, which is linking cr.C into 3D into whatever you wanna do afterwards.

These sequences take some time to learn, but they will give you the best possible outcome after a Stun. You build some meter and deal more damage than if you simply stayed close and did some other combo.

How Can EX Musassabi Hit 3 Times During A Combo?

Mastering this technique will be crucial on a more advanced level. EX Musassabi ([2]9AC~214AC) will usually hit 2 times during combos. However, it is possible to make it hit 3 times. To do this, the opponent must be pretty close to Mai, so it's best done in corner combos and some situational midscreen combos (Like 214AC > 236BD > [2]9AC~214AC). You will usually do some attack that will give you enough time to charge the input. Next, use the game's generous buffer window (The button hold method) to ensure that the first part lands as fast as possible. Now here comes the tricky part, since you have to manually time this one yourself. You have to do 214AC once Mai has jumped over the opponent and once the opponent has started falling down. The opponent has to be kinda below and in front Mai.

This trick isn't mandatory. Mai can still function very well without it. However, it gives her access to some specific situations that wouldn't be possible if she did the 2-hit version. And, of course, that one additional hit means more damage, so that's always good.

Understanding Combo Structure

  • cr.B links into itself and cr.A.
  • cr.A is cancelable.
  • cr.C is the only far reaching normal that can combo into 3D.
  • 3D is the go-to command normal.
  • A Ryuuenbu is a meterless launcher in the corner.
  • B Ryuuenbu hits earlier than the A version, making certain combos possible.
  • B Ryuuenbu is the basic combo extender, ender and the go-to special move to cancel into Supers.
  • Blowback > C Kachousen will always hit.
  • EX Ryuuenbu, EX Shinobi Bachi and EX Musassabi are usually all interchangeable during combos.

The King of Fighters XV



The King of Fighters XV

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