The King of Fighters '98 UMFE/Benimaru Nikaido

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Benimaru is a character well-equipped for both midrange poking and rushdown. He has a great set of normals and specials to keep the opponent in check so he can go in and run offense. His aerial control is especially good because of his long-range DP and great air-to-air buttons. Once he is in, he has access to a strong low presence, a command grab that lets him run oki afterwards, and good jumping buttons for highs and crossups. On defence, he is difficult to attack because of his strong reactive and reactive anti airs that also stop ground approaches, reversal DP, reversal command grab, low crouching hurtbox, and horizontally narrow hurtbox that makes blockstrings and combos that would otherwise hit, whiff. Benimaru's main weaknesses are his lack of long-ranged tools to fight with, and his floaty jump, which can be a double-edged sword.

Preferred Mode and Position

Benimaru slightly prefers some aspects of Advanced Mode, but overall is a character that can work well in any mode.

Run vs Step

  • Run is preferred for Benimaru, as he has a fast run speed with a fairly low running hurtbox which allow him to quickly close the distance and threaten with his cr.B and cross-ups with j.D, or run in and punish opponents who whiff early jump attacks with cr.B. Run also allows him to set up his j.D cross-ups more easily since he can jump at any time during it, giving you more control over your spacing.
  • However, Step is also a solid option for Benimaru. The increased walk speed is useful for playing footsies at mid-range, which he is already comfortable doing thanks to his great pokes and DP. In addition, Benimaru's step dash is rather fast, so forward step dash into a command grab (hcb,f+P or hcbx2+P) becomes a useful burst option for him.

Roll vs Dodge

  • Benimaru prefers Dodge, as he is able to take advantage of his 1-frame command grabs (hcb,f+P, hcbx2+P) and his fast DP as buffered reversal options after a spotdodge.
  • However, Roll is not bad for him either as he can use it to create an ambiguous left/right mix-up after getting a hard knockdown with his hcb,f+P command grab.

Advanced vs Extra Gauge

  • Benimaru prefers Advanced gauge as he can build meter with his offense and pressure or with his qcf+P, and he has a variety of ways to open the opponent up (jump-in, low, cross-up, command grab) combined with good meterless combos and great confirms into super, particularly from his cr.B, so he can keep piling on the offense and take advantage of having multiple stocks built up to keep comboing into supers.
  • In addition, Benimaru's confirms are still solid even with the increased push-back of Max Mode, so as a mid or anchor he can comfortably activate max and take advantage of the increased damage and discount on SDMs.
  • However, Benimaru also functions well with Extra gauge. He has no problems finding opportunities for charging up meter as he can create space with his great pokes and mobility, and he can also charge meter after the hcb,f+P hard knockdown or after comboing into his qcfx2+P which sends the opponent about a full screen away.
  • While Benimaru does not benefit significantly from quick max compared to other characters, they give him a bit of a damage increase with the increased launch distance of qcf+C in Max Mode allowing you to combo air qcf+P into qcfx2+P near the corner, he can quick max his st.D to gain a nice amount of plus frames even on block, and he can quick max his j.D or j.B for a faster overhead that can still combo.

Preferred Position

  • With Advanced gauge, Benimaru can function well at any position: he's a solid battery that can build you meter with his offense and qcf+P, he has good confirms into his supers from any starter, and he can take advantage of Max Mode.
  • With Extra gauge, Benimaru is better suited for Point or Mid than Anchor, as although Benimaru does like having free supers once he gets into red health range, other characters may be able to take better advantage of having SDM available, especially if they have more damaging Quick Max combos that work from anywhere on the screen.

Changes from Previous Versions

98 to 98UM


  • st.B's damage reduced from 8 to 4 points of damage
  • Hurtbox of st.B extended to the tip of Benimaru's foot
  • Hitbox of j.A shifted upwards, so j.A becomes better for air-to-airs but can no longer crossup


  • dp+B's invincibility frames reduced
  • dp+D's invincibility frames increased, it is now a proper reversal
  • Increased damage on hcb,f+P
  • j.qcf+P now causes a soft knockdown and lets you juggle after it
  • qcf+K now deals less stun damage


  • Added a new DM, qcbx2+K
  • hcbx2+P is now a 1 frame command grab

98UM to 98UMFE


  • st.B damage increased from 4 to 7 points of damage


  • qcf+C deals less hits and damage, but now pops the opponent up into a juggle state on hit


  • qcbx2+K's startup decreased by 3 frames
  • MAX qcfx2+P's recovery decreased by 9 frames

Normal Moves


  • cl.A: Whiffs on short crouchers. Chainable and cancelable.
  • cl.B: Whiffs on tiny crouchers. Chainable and cancelable.
  • cl.C: Decent close range combo button that hits higher than cl.D. Cancelable.
  • cl.D: Your best close range heavy combo button because of its faster startup and larger activation range than cl.C. Cancelable.


  • st.A: Whiffs on regular height crouchers. Not as good of a hop anti-air as st.B, but can be useful for angles st.B doesn't cover. Chainable and cancelable.
  • st.B: Good hop anti-air and poking button. Whiffs on short crouchers.
  • st.C: Good hop anti-air and poking button. Has nice priority, but riskier than st.B because of the extra recovery. Whiffs on short crouchers.
  • st.D: Kinda long startup, but has good priority and beats lows and throws.


  • cr.A: Quite short ranged cr.A, better on block than cr.B but other than that not very notable. Chainable and cancelable.
  • cr.B: Fairly long-ranged low combo starter. Good to use in blockstrings for hit-confirms. An absolute staple in Benimaru's toolkit. Chainable and cancelable.
  • cr.C: Benimaru's longest range cancelable attack. Use it for longer-ranged punishes.
  • cr.D: Mid-range sweep. Comes out fast, and has a nice hitbox and priority. Cancelable.


  • j.A: Average j.A. Not much point to this move, as he has better jumping buttons to use.
  • j.B: His fastest air button. Can work well as a jump-in or air-to-air. Can crossup.
  • j.C: An air to air normal that covers the space at Benimaru's head that j.B and j.D don't. Cancelable.
  • j.D: Benimaru's go-to jumping normal. Works as both a air-to-air and jump-in at the same time. Can crossup.
  • nj.D: Good air-to-air normal with lots of priority.

CD Normals

  • st.CD: Long startup, but has some low invincibility and a big hitbox with some priority. Cancelable.
  • j.CD: Solid jump-in normal for pressure and for locking the opponent down.


Catch and Shoot: f/b+C (close)

  • Regular throw, techable. Benimaru picks the opponent up and kicks them almost fullscreen away, causing a soft knockdown.

Front Suplex: f/b+D (close)

  • Regular throw, techable. Benimaru picks the opponent up and slams them down behind him, causing a backturned hard knockdown.

Spinning Knee Drop: f/d/b+C (close, in air)

  • Air grab, not techable. Benimaru throws the opponent down to the ground, causing a hard knockdown.

Command Moves

Jackknife Kick: f+B

  • Will not combo from lights or heavies.
  • Useful for frametraps and pressure. Cancelable raw and when canceled into.

Flying Drill: d+D (in air)

  • Safe-on-block divekick. Good for pressure and changing up your jump-in angle.
  • When blocked it sets up Benimaru's offense and mixups.
  • Has a lot of recovery, so punishable if whiffed.

Special Moves

Raijinken: qcf+A/C (can be performed in the air)

  • The A version hits in front of him, while the C version hits diagonally above him, both for 3 hits.
  • A version leaves the opponent standing.
  • C version launches opponents on hit, allowing you any followup you want. But it won't hit ANY CROUCHER, even Chang. They can crouch and punish it easily.
  • C version has upper-body invincibility, making it an amazing anti-air.
  • On block, the enemy is pushed back midscreen, while in the corner point blank, Benimaru is open for punishment while he is in recovery.

Benimaru Collider: hcb,f+A/C (close)

  • Command grab that leaves opponent right in front of you with hard knockdown, giving you amazing oki opportunities.

Triple Resist Kick: hcb+B/D

  • Has short full invincibility on startup.
  • Mostly a combo move from heavies.
  • Both versions punishable on block.

Shinku Katategoma: qcb+A/C

  • Has some invincibility on startup, B version has more than D version.
  • Can be used to combo from heavies.
  • Can be used for dealing some chip damage.

Iai Geri: qcf+B/D

  • Causes hard knockdown against airborne opponents.
  • Safe blockstring ender.

Super Lightning Kick: dp+B/D

  • B version doesn't knockdown, while D version does and is cancelable into
  • B version's startup has brief full invincibility, followed by some lower body invincibility.
  • D version has full invincibility up until the first active frame, so it can be used as a reversal.
  • Punishable if whiffed.

Desperation Moves

Raiko Katategoma: qcbx2+B/D

  • DM version of Shinku Katategoma.
  • Very fast DM you can use to end any combo.
  • MAX version does more damage.

Electrigger: hcbx2+A/C (close)

  • 0f start up command grab DM. Does not so great damage.
  • MAX version does more damage, still not great.

Raikoken: qcfx2+A/C

  • DM version of his Raijinken.
  • Has a big hitbox so it can be used to catch people jumping or rolling.
  • Good in certain combos.
  • MAX version does more damage.


General Notes

  • If you have the resource, qcfx2+P can be replaced with qcfx2+AC for more damage.
  • Note: cr.B to qcf+C will fail on Kensou, Mai, and Choi even if they are standing.
  • An extra cr.B can be added to jump-in combos if they're done starting from a cross-up.



cr.Bx2~3, qcf+K
  • You can cr.B up to 3 times depending on the distance, tip range won't work so be careful.
cr.Bx2~3, dp+D
  • More damaging than the previous combo and knocks down, although it needs to be hit-confirmed since dp+D is unsafe on block.
  • This is your go-to low combo when the opponent is crouching.
cr.Bx2~3, qcf+C, j.CD
  • Amazing corner carry, only works on standing opponents. The j.CD must be off of a superjump.
  • This is your go-to low combo when the opponent is standing.


(j.X), cl.C/cl.D/cr.C, hcb+D
  • Nice damage combo you can get from heavy buttons.
(j.X), cr.Bx2, qcf+C, j.CD
  • Less damaging than the previous combo, but better corner carry and oki.
  • Only works on standing opponents. The j.CD must be off of a superjump.
(j.X), cr.Bx2, dp+D
  • Use this combo if you want to hit-confirm off cr.B and the opponent is crouching.


cr.Bx2~3, qcf+C, j.qcf+A, dp+D/qcf+D
(j.X), cr.Bx2, qcf+C, j.qcf+A, dp+D/qcf+D
  • Only works on standing opponents. The j.qcf+A must be off of a hop.
  • dp+D is the more damaging ender, but qcf+D grants you hard knockdown and great oki.

With Meter


cr.Bx2~3, qcbx2+K
  • Basic low confirm into DM. Use this super confirm against crouching opponents.
cr.Bx2~3, qcf+C, qcfx2+A
  • Only works on standing opponents. Requires a microwalk before the qcfx2+P.


(j.X), cl.C/cl.D/cr.C, qcfx2+P
  • Super confirm off a heavy button.
(j.X), cr.Bx2, qcbx2+K
  • Super confirm if you want to hit-confirm with cr.B, use this against crouching opponents.
(j.X), cr.Bx2, qcf+C, qcfx2+P
  • Super confirm if you want to hit-confirm with cr.B, use this only against standing opponents.


cr.Bx2~3, qcf+C, j.qcf+A, qcfx2+AC
(j.X), cr.Bx2, qcf+C, j.qcf+A, qcfx2+AC
  • Requires 3 bars in Advanced gauge
  • Only works on standing opponents. The j.qcf+A must be off of a hop.
  • Note: if you're already in max mode, you can do these combos ending with the level 1 qcfx2+A due to the increased launch height of qcf+C

With Quick MAX


cr.Bx2~3, ABC, cr.C, hcb+D
  • You can add a third cr.B but you need to be very close to the opponent and the timing is more strict.


(j.X), cr.Bx2, ABC, cr.C, hcb+D
  • Does very slightly less than the standard qcf+C into qcfx2+P, but also gets you into max mode and works on both standing and crouching opponents.


cr.Bx2, ABC, cr.B, qcf+C, j.qcf+A, qcfx2+P
(j.X), cr.B, ABC, cr.B, qcf+C, j.qcf+A, qcfx2+P
  • For these combos you don't need to be right up next to the corner, but you do need to be close enough to where the combo will carry the opponent to the corner after the j.qcf+A.
  • The j.qcf+A should be done from a hyperhop.


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The King of Fighters '98 Ultimate Match Final Edition

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