The King of Fighters '98 UMFE/Leona Heidern
Leona is a fairly unorthodox character whose playstyle is hard to pin down. On one hand, she has good tools to control space in neutral, including solid pokes, excellent air normals, and some specials that can anti-air and occupy a lot of space in neutral. She also has an air DM with lots of invincibility, letting her control the air and whiff punish grounded stuff with it. On the other hand, she also does well with close-range pressure, with some good low confirms, an overhead, an instant overhead, and specials that let her maintain or reset pressure fairly safely. As a result, there's plenty of room to find your own playstyle with Leona, altering your approach based on personal preference and your opponent's habits. Leona's weaknesses are that her long-range tools are all slow and unsafe, and that she lacks a meterless reversal.
Changes from Previous Versions
98 to 98UM
- st.C hitbox size has been increased, now hits all crouchers
- st.C now starts up 1 frame faster
- st.D startup has been decreased by 2 frames, and it now has 5f less recovery
- nj.D now has 1 frame less startup
- d~u+A's recovery has been increased by 10 frames
- d~u+A now has startup invincibility and a decreased vertical hurtbox during the two first hitboxes of the move, making it a better anti-air to compensate for the added recovery
- b~f+D starts up faster and can now combo from heavy normals, but has had its recovery increased by 2 frames
- Leona can now move after using qcb+P, but the projectile disappears if Leona is hit or blocks; if the boomerang hits Leona can juggle afterwards
- qcb+K now can't be used if the qcb+P projectile is on the screen
- qcb+K now juggles and allows for followup attacks
- j.qcf,hcb+P invincibility and hitbox size have been increased
98UM to 98UMFE
- Timing for chaining cr.B into itself is now easier
- After d~u+K is blocked, you can now do a jump attack, air throw or a V-Slasher
- qcfx2+P now has longer invincibility
- cl.A: Whiffs on short crouchers. Chainable and cancelable.
- cl.B: Chainable and cancelable.
- cl.C: Your best heavy combo normal. Cancelable.
- cl.D: Two-hitting normal. Both hits are cancelable. Has low invincibility.
- st.A: Whiffs on short crouchers.
- st.B: Whiffs on short crouchers.
- st.C: Longer-ranged punch. Has long startup. Cancelable on hit, block, and whiff.
- st.D: Another long-ranged poke with long startup. Whiffs on short crouchers. Has low invincibility.
- cr.A: Good range for a cr.A. Good for combos and blockstrings. Chainable and cancelable.
- cr.B: Tons of range for a cr.B. Good for combos, blockstrings and poking. Chainable.
- cr.C: Leona's fastest button, so it makes for a good option up close. Does not have good anti-air hitboxes. Cancelable.
- cr.D: A long-ranged sweep with long recovery.
- j.A: Very big hitbox and a lot of priority, so it works well for both jump-ins and air-to-airs. Hop version is cancelable but full jump version is not. Hyperhop j.A is an instant overhead but it whiffs on short crouchers.
- nj.A: Has a lot of active frames. Its hitbox only goes straight down, so only useful as a jump-in.
- j.B: Excellent longer-ranged air-to-air option. Fast startup, great priority. Cancelable.
- nj.B: Long startup, but has a good hitbox in front and under Leona. Cancelable.
- j.C: Good jump-in normal. Can instant overhead.
- nj.C: Two-part normal. The second hitbox has massive priority in front and under Leona.
- j.D: Good air-to-air normal. Can instant overhead on standing characters. Cancelable.
- nj.D: Has very fast startup and good active frames. Has good downwards priority. Notable normal in that it's the only one that works as an instant overhead into qcf,hcb+P on all crouchers. Cancelable.
- st.CD: Very long startup and recovery. Cancelable on hit, block, and whiff.
- j.CD: Good for blockstun pressure. Has a decent hitbox for jump-ins. Cancelable.
- Regular throw, techable. Leona stabs the opponent with her hand sending them flying in front of her. Causes a soft knockdown.
- Regular throw, techable. Leona throws the opponent fullscreen behind her, causing a soft knockdown.
b/d/f+C (close, in air)
- Air throw, untechable.
- Overhead with hard knockdown raw, no knockdown and hits mid when canceled into. Also cancelable when canceled into.
- Combos from heavy normals and puts Leona airborne as it hits, so it can combo into qcf,hcb+P.
- If late-canceled into it acts like the raw version, allowing you to surprise your opponent with an overhead.
- Leona does a arching slash above her head. Her main combo special.
- A version has startup invincibility and a great hitbox for anti-airing.
- C version has no invincibility, but has more range, making it better for combos.
- Unsafe on block when done up close, less so when spaced.
- Leona creates an energy ball with a projectile hitbox in front of her.
- A version creates a ball that doesn't stay out for very long.
- C version has Leona jump forwards and create an energy ball that travels forwards with her and lasts longer.
- Stays active for quite a while.
- Good for checking your opponent's approach, or for meaties/corner pressure.
- On hit Leona can juggle after it.
- Fairly difficult to whiff punish; you can get away with whiffing it from time to time.
- Both versions are extremely positive on block, but C whiffs on medium crouchers, and A whiffs on small crouchers. Also, they are less positive if used outside of the corner, because due to the pushback, the last hits whiff.
- Leona runs on the ground and delivers a energy slash when close enough to the opponent.
- The running part uses Leona's normal running animation.
- B version goes about halfscreen and D version goes fullscreen.
- B version is safe on block and can make a good pressure tool.
- D version is a lot less safe on block.
- Can low-profile some stuff.
- Can be a decent mobility tool.
- Gliding Buster:
f+D (during b~f+D)
- Leona does a big vaulting kick that sends her flying forwards after b~f+D.
- Good to confirm into, since it gives you extra damage.
- Hits mid.
- Very punishable on block.
- Leona does a big leap into the air and attempts to hit the opponent. If successful, Leona does a mid-hitting hitgrab and delivers an energy attack.
- The only difference between the B and D versions is which way Leona flies if the move is blocked. B flies forwards and D backwards.
- Can hit both grounded and in the air.
- Extremely punishable on block.
- Leona creates an energy boomerang. Although it has a boomerang visual effect, the move doesn't actually have a hitbox when the boomerang is coming back to Leona.
- The A version boomerang goes about halfscreen before it starts coming back.
- The C version goes fullscreen and then starts coming back.
- Not a very safe move to throw out, due to its long startup.
- On hit, Leona can juggle after it.
- Leona takes off her earring and throws it. It will bounce on the ground and then explode.
- B version throws the earring about halfscreen, making it bounce towards full screen distance.
- D version throws it fullscreen distance right away.
- Has long startup, so only throw one when you think it's safe, like when you are fullscreen.
- On hit, Leona can juggle after this move.
- Can be a good move to throw when far away as Leona can run to follow it in.
qcf,hcb+A/C (in air)
- Leona's main DM, and an integral part of her gameplan no matter how you play her.
- Has invincibility, so it can beat out other air or grounded moves.
- Very fast, so it can also whiff punish stuff easily.
- Can travel a huge distance, which combined with the speed makes it good for picking up juggles from anywhere onscreen.
- C version is good for combos after her cancelled f+B.
- MAX version has more invincibility and does more damage.
- Leona does a series of twirling kicks and then launches the opponent into the air, where she explodes them.
- Has a good amount of invincibility, so it's her only real invincible reversal (qcf,hcb+P also has invincibility but requires you to be airborne).
- Doesn't have much range, so it can be hard to combo into.
- MAX version does more damage.
- Leona stabs the opponent in the stomach, then proceeds to explode it with style.
- Leona's main grounded combo DM.
- Combos from heavies.
- Has good range, so it can be used as a long-ranged punish.
- MAX version does more damage.
- In any metered combo, replace qcf,hcb+C with qcf,hcb+AC or qcb,hcf+K with qcb,hcf+BD if you have the resources.
cr.Bx1-2, cr.A, d~u+C
(j.X), cr.C, d,u+C
- Charge down during the jump to get enough charge for d~u+C.
(j.X), cl.D, b~f+D > f+D
- You can do cl.D as b+D to get enough charge for b~f+D.
(j.X), cl.D, f+B, j.qcf,hcb+C
- f+B leaves Leona airborne, making this combo possible.
- Air-to-air or instant overhead combo.
With Quick MAX
cr.B, ABC, cl.D, f+B, j.qcf,hcb+C
- f+B leaves Leona airborne, making this combo possible.
(j.X), cl.D, f+B, ABC, cr.D
(j.X), cl.D, f+B, ABC, j.D, j.qcf,hcb+C
- You can do j.D, air qcf,hcb+C as qcf,uf+D, hcb+C for an easier cancel.
Strategy & Tips
Instant overhead to DM and its input glitch
Full neutral jump D is an instant overhead that can hit low crouchers. It is also cancellable to V-slasher. With some clever buffering, this gives you a powerful instant overhead. However, if your last jump was a short jump, then the input to get it to come out becomes one frame tight. The normal jumping D comes out in its stead, which does not work as an instant overhead. If your last jump was a full jump, or if you haven't jumped yet, then full neutral jump D comes out as normal and can be used as expected.
The King of Fighters '98 UM Final Edition: Iori/O.Yashiro/Krauser vs. EX-Yuri/Leona/Eiji