The King of Fighters '98 UMFE/EX Mai
EX Mai is a poking and zoning character, giving the player a more offensive and movement-oriented variant of Mai's toolkit. Using tools such as her two divekicks (including one with two follow-ups upon landing), signature command jump, a slide and a backdash that can be enhanced with her j.2A command normal, EX Mai can move around the screen at an extreme rate to wear down the opponent's mental stack and their health bar, while still having a plethora of tools to run mixups, pressure, and zoning. Alongside this, she also has some tricky execution for her strongest combos while still having routes that are possible with less execution. Overall, this makes EX Mai an amazing pick for all levels of play, whether you want to irritate the opponent with incredible keepout or overwhelm the opponent with fantastic movement and solid pressure.
Mai has a more well-rounded and relatively safer toolkit, including a DP.
EX Mai's toolkit is a mix between safe keepaway tools and explosive offensive tools.
Mai has high damage using Quick MAX and Dodge Cancel, but requires red health to do solid damage.
EX Mai has even higher damage than Mai using the same mechanics, with less of a requirement for red health. Her most damaging routes also give her a hard knockdown, allowing her to charge more meter or run strong okizeme.
Both versions of Mai have extremely similar neutral presences. However, regular Mai has access to a DP for her reversal-style anti-air.
EX Mai has more movement options due to being granted regular Andy's divekick (Genei Shiranui, j.236K), and her reversal-style anti-air is more akin to a flash kick.
|Preferred System Mechanics
Mai necessitates both Extra and Attack Cancel Dodge to shine. Her zoning gameplan gives her many opportunities to charge her meter, but she needs red health to gain the most reward from these mechanics. Advanced can still work for regular Mai as an anchor, as she has a 5 bar touch-of-death combo on big-body characters. However, this is highly specific.
EX Mai is generally similar to regular Mai in the fact she is optimal with Extra and Attack Cancel Dodge, alongside the same opportunities to charge meter. However, her super routes are much better in and out of red health, often giving her very solid damage and a hard knockdown.
|EX Mai is a poking character with multiple movement options and fantastic keepout, alongside some decent offensive tools. Compared to regular Mai, she has a movelist geared more towards offensive play.
Run VS Step
- EX Mai does best with Run, as this gives her access to run pressure up-close, more versatile movement in general and an easier time setting up an offence due to the ability to run alongside an A Kachousen (236P). Also, she moves quite quickly anyway, meaning your movement will still be very strong and microwalk combos from Quick MAX are still very possible.
- EX Mai is also a very good pick for step dash, as this gives her amazing movement speed on the ground. This is also helped by the fact she has access to both her divekicks during a step, most importantly Genei Shiranui (j.236K) and followups, giving EX Mai access to a very long ranged overhead that will be made safe if spaced well.
Roll VS Dodge
- Dodge gives EX Mai access to all of her options alongside the natural benefits of dodge, meaning there's zero drawbacks.
- If you use Roll, you lose access to dodge cancels, and therefore lose an integral part of EX Mai's main appeal. Don't.
Advanced VS Extra
- Unlike with regular Mai, who has use for Advanced, EX Mai is easily best with Extra as there is so many benefits from simply having Quick MAX available. She can also charge meter effortlessly, so that will be no issue.
- Advanced has no Quick MAX, and neither does it have any benefit from instant SDM. Raw MAX can be useful, but isn't worth it.
- EX Mai is completely flexible, being able to adapt to playing at any point in the match. A good point, a good mid, and a good anchor due to the massive amount of versatility granted through Extra gauge.
Changes from Previous Versions
98 to 98UM
- 5B's priority has been reduced
- 2D's priority has been reduced
- Kachousen (236P)'s recovery has been shortened
- Kagerou no Mai (8K) has been added; series of flame pillars that work well as an anti-air
- Genei Shiranui (j.236K) has been added; K and P followups have also been added
- Sayo Chidori (214K)'s startup has been reduced, B version can combo from lights and D version can combo from heavies
- Chou Hissatsu Shinobi Bachi (2141236K) now travels diagonally upwards
- Hana Arashi (236236P) can now have its travel distance modified by holding the button
98UM to 98UMFE
- Kagerou no Mai (8K) now has invincible startup, but less damage and longer recovery as a result.
- cl.A: Fairly standard cl.A. Her best choice when it comes to combos from lights. Chainable and cancelable.
- cl.B: Mai's only other cancelable light except for cl.A, and simply a worse choice than it when it comes to combos and cancels. Cancelable.
- cl.C: Works well as an anti-air when they're close enough for it to activate. Cancelable.
- cl.D: Hits a good vertical portion in front of Mai. Another decent anti-air if they're up close, but it doesn't have as much range as cl.C, so stick to that one for anti-airing purposes. Cancelable.
- 5A: Fast poke, but with short reach and bad priority.
- 5B: Fast and long-ranged. Excellent poke to stop the opponent's hops. Whiffs on all crouchers.
- 5C: Poke with decent range that can function as an anti-air for hops and occasionally jumps. Can also be used as an occasional poke to try and beat an opponent's button.
- 5D: Has low invincibility starting from the active frames through half of the recovery frames.
- 2A: Long range and good priority for a 2A, so it works well as a poke; unfortunately, unlike most 2As it's not chainable or cancelable.
- 2B: EX Mai's only low combo starter and therefore an important tool, but when compared to other 2Bs it is quite slow. Chainable.
- 2C: EX Mai's main combo normal alongside 2B. It comes out fast, has good range, and has a nice amount of active frames, making it good for meaties. This also makes it a good hit-confirming tool. Cancelable.
- 2D: It has good range and a nice amount of active frames, making it good for meaties, and is cancelable into 236P or something like 8P. Altogether a nice sweep. Cancelable.
- j.A: Has a nice long hitbox below her, so it can be used as a jump-in, though it is outclassed by j.D for this. Cancelable.
- nj.A: A jumping attack, very similar to j.A, but with her fan fully unfolded. Just like with j.A, EX Mai has better options for downwards-hitting attacks than this.
- j.B: This move has nice priority, making it useful as an air-to-air. Can also crossup.
- nj.B: Has a long hitbox in front of her, but doesn't have good priority, so it's prone to trading or getting beaten as an air-to-air. Therefore, it's best to avoid this move.
- j.C: This move comes out fast and has a good hitbox for air-to-airs. On grounded opponents, it has less hitstop than other jumping heavies, making it trickier to combo out of as you need to do the following attack in the combo very quickly. Cancelable.
- nj.C: Can hit people above EX Mai, but has no other real uses.
- j.D: EX Mai's main jump-in attack of choice, as it is fairly fast and has a good hitbox. It can also be used as an air-to-air when jumping back. Cancelable.
- nj.D: Your best air-to-air normal when you happen to be neutral jumping.
- Regular throw, techable. Launches the opponent fullscreen, causing a soft knockdown.
- Regular throw, techable. Launches the opponent fullscreen behind EX Mai, causing a backturned hard knockdown.
4/2/6C (close, in air)
- Air throw, not techable. Travels straight down, causing a hard knockdown.
- Despite the hard knockdown, there is no time for oki, even in the corner.
- By holding a direction that isn't up, you can option select the grab with j.C for air-to-airs.
Koukaku no Mai:
- A sliding kick that hits twice.
- The second hit causes a soft knockdown.
- The first hit can be dodge cancelled with meter for a combo.
- Neither hit is special cancelable, even when cancelled into.
- Both hits are low, even when cancelled into.
Kurotsubame no Mai:
- A long overhead hopkick.
- Has a lengthy startup, but is plus on block.
- On hit, you can link 2C afterwards dependent on spacing.
- Cancelling into this move can enhance damage with Quick MAX or create a frametrap during pressure.
- Despite the speed, it is one of EX Mai's strongest mixup tools because of it's reward on hit, especially with Quick MAX.
Daiwa Fuusha no Mai:
- A downwards hammerfist, similar to Kyo's j.2C. Has short range, but has a lot of hit/block stun, making it usable for pressure and combos.
- Naturally combos into j.214P on hit, and is a true blockstring when blocked.
- When used during a backdash, it makes the backdash go faster and further. The earlier you do j.2A, the further the backdash will go. This is incredibly useful for controlling the pace of the round.
- Causes a hard knockdown if it hits an aerial opponent.
- EX Mai throws a fan as a fullscreen projectile. The A version travels slowly, while the C version travels quickly.
- A key tool for EX Mai, as it gives her a fullscreen presence.
- The A version recovers quick enough for you to react to your opponent trying to deal with it, or to cover an approach.
- Has less use midrange, due to it being hoppable and therefore very punishable. 214P is often the better tool at midrange as it covers more space and has much, much less recovery.
- An arching swipe with her fan.
- B version starts up faster than the D version, but has less range.
- Covers some of the aerial space that 214P does not, making it a very useful defensive tool.
- Unsafe on block, but can be cancelled into 214P to make it safe.
- Cancelable into 214P on hit or block, which makes it a good close combo ender.
- EX Mai produces a flame strike with the tail of her dress.
- Has a projectile hitbox, which essentially means it's a huge disjointed hitbox in front of EX Mai, that also nullifies projectiles.
- One of EX Mai's go-to anti-airs for jumps from further away, as well as hops.
- It can be used as a spaced pressure tool, as it is very hard to contest on the ground and can easily punish escape attempts such as hops or rolls.
- Causes a soft knockdown on hit.
- Both versions are safe on block.
- The A version is only the projectile hitbox, while the C version has a second normal hitbox that allows it to combo from lights.
Musasabi no Mai:
8A/C (can be held)
- EX Mai jumps to the wall at the end of the screen behind her.
- When done without the followup, EX Mai simply falls to the ground below the wall. This can be a good occasional escape option if you want to create some distance from the opponent.
- If done with the followup by holding the button, EX Mai does a diving attack diagonally downwards. Actually hitting an opponent with this followup can be tricky, as it will most likely miss if they're not committing to some forward movement.
- Followup causes a soft knockdown.
Musasabi no Mai (Air):
214A/C (in air)
- This does the followup from 8P by itself from anywhere in the air, giving EX Mai a pretty standard divekick. This can be a good move to use, since it changes your jump arc and can beat out the opponent's air-to-airs. If spaced well, can be made fairly safe on block.
- Naturally combos from j.2A, and frametraps from her cancelable jumping buttons.
Hissatsu Shinobi Bachi:
- EX Mai does a cartwheeling kick that pushes her forward.
- Mostly good as a combo ender, since it's very unsafe on block and thus is risky to throw out in neutral. However, it can technically function as an anti-air.
- Causes a soft knockdown.
- Very good corner carry, learning to confirm into this move is very useful.
236B/D (in air)
- EX Mai descends diagonally from the air. Identical to Andy's divekick.
- Unsafe on block if done without a followup.
- Can be used for some crossup shenanigans by jumping over the opponent and doing it.
- Both followups autocorrect if EX Mai switches sides.
- Genei Shiranui Shimo Agito:
A/C (during j.236K)
- EX Mai performs a mid-hitting fan strike.
- Combos from j.236K and creates a true blockstring on block if done right away.
- Safe when properly spaced.
- Causes soft knockdown.
- Genei Shiranui Uwa Agito:
B/D (during j.236K)
- EX Mai does a downwards arching kick from j.236K.
- Hits overhead.
- Can be used as a frametrap due to the gap.
- Despite being an overhead, there is little mixup, as the other followup is a mid.
- Causes a soft knockdown.
- Doing this followup after doing j.236K from a backdash or Extra step dash allows you to perform a very fast overhead. Can also be done using a Tiger Knee input for j.236K.
Kagerou no Mai:
- EX Mai creates two fire afterimages that travel from side-to-side. Functionally identical to a flash kick.
- EX Mai's meterless reversal.
- Highly punishable if it does not hit.
- Very useful for anti-airing jumps that go past the angle of 214P and 214K, making it very good for stopping cross-ups.
- Has invincibility throughout startup and the entire first hit.
- Causes a soft knockdown.
Chou Hissatsu Shinobi Bachi:
- EX Mai does an enhanced version of her 41236K.
- B version travels upwards directly, and D version travels forward for 2 hits before shooting upwards.
- B version makes for a good metered anti-air and reversal.
- D version is better for combos.
- Has startup invincibility, making it her metered reversal.
- Very unsafe on block.
- Causes a soft knockdown.
236236A/C (can be held)
- EX Mai performs multiple rising strikes with her fans.
- Holding the button makes EX Mai travel forward.
- Causes a hard knockdown, making it useful for combos.
- Has startup invincibility, but isn't a true reversal.
- Very unsafe on block.
- After ending a combo with this super, you can safely charge a full Extra gauge bar by backdashing with j.2A.