The King of Fighters '98 UMFE/Leona Heidern
Leona is a character with unique tools who can't be pinned down to a single archetypical playstyle. On one hand, she can play keepaway and reactively whiff punish and air to air with her air DM, V-slasher, as well as pre emptively anti air with her specials that you can often get away with whiffing, and that juggle to DM on hit. On the other hand, she is very dangerous when up close with frame advantage due to her instant overheads, and she can even jump in and beat the opponent's anti air attempt with V-slasher. Her run goes under many projectiles and even mid-height normal moves as well.A weakness she has is that her most dangerous mixup, while unreactable, is unsafe on block if the overhead option is picked. She also requires strong execution to unlock her scariest techniques, and messing up those techniques often leads to getting combod. Furthermore, she has no true meterless reversal that can beat a well timed, low hitting meaty, and when she has meter, her reversal has nine frames of startup, which means that it is practical to manually safejump against her.
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 medium crouchers, but has better frame data on block than her other options if you can get it blocked. Chainable and cancelable. Good anti hop button.
- cl.B: Slower than her other options, but hits higher and has more active frames, making it a better meaty. It can be positive if done meaty enough.
- cl.C: 3F move, hit confirms to her combos while letting you option select grab. Unfortunately, the second hit whiffs on some crouchers.
- cl.D: Two-hitting normal. Both hits are cancelable. Has low invincibility. Slower than C at 4F, but if you cancel the first hit, you get less pushback, allowing for different combos, or the same combos but from farther away. Also gives enough time to charge back forward D, which is her most damaging meterless combo ender.
- st.A: Whiffs on medium crouchers. Good anti hop button. Has better frame data on block than her other moves, if you can get it blocked.
- st.B: Whiffs on medium crouchers, but is an amazing anti air, both reactive and pre emptive. It's better than standing A except that it has more recovery.
- st.C: Long range mid with good boxes, but has long startup. Cancelable on hit, block, and whiff.
- st.D: Whiffs on short crouchers. Has low invincibility. Very strong footsie move against medium crouchers. Good pre emptive anti jump.
- cr.A: Good range for a cr.A, and only -1. Chainable and cancelable.
- cr.B: Tons of range for a cr.B. Good for combos, frame traps, and as a poke, despite its mediocre hurtbox. Chainable.
- cr.C: Leona's fastest button, so it makes for a good option up close. Can pre emptively anti jump, but loses to jumpins due to its weak hurtboxes. Cancelable.
- cr.D: Strong footsie sweep at 7 frames of startup and a good hitbox / hurtbox, but mind the long recovery on whiff.
- j.A: Very big vertical and horizontal hitbox, and hurtbox very far behind. Decent range considering its strong boxes. Only 5 active frames though which is isn't great. Short jumping with this button is an instant overhead against tall crouchers. Her lowest hitting jumping move that she can combo off of, making it a good jumpin. This is Leona's only air normal that can beat strong slides outright. Its weakness is that its hitbox doesn't stretch very far towards Leona's back, which means that it can whiff if you're super jumping in on someone in the corner. Jumping CD covers this situation.
- nj.A: Has a lot of active frames. Its hitbox only goes straight down, so only useful ground to air. Pushes back less than neutral jump D and C, which is useful for setting up her instant overhead.
- j.B: Very strong air to air button, second only to the likes of King's jumping B. Cancelable.
- nj.B: Long startup, but has a good hitbox in front and under Leona. Cancelable. Pushes back less than neutral jump D and C, which is useful for setting up her instant overhead.
- j.C: This move is an instant overhead even against small crouchers like Iori. It is a very finnicky crossup against standing characters and medium crouchers, if you find the precise spot (Heidern's is better).
- nj.C: Two-part normal. The second hitbox has massive priority in front and under Leona.
- j.D: This long range normal whiffs on small crouchers, but it's a usable air to air due to its long range and fast startup. Its hurtbox isn't strong, however, so this is a sniping move that hits the opponent from far away before he pressed his button. It is cancelable to V slasher, which makes it her optimal punisher for many things, such as a blocked guard cancel CD. It can also be used to whiff punish, by short jumping forward with it.
- nj.D: The infamous instant overhead that cancels to V-slasher. Hits small crouchers. Has very fast startup and a good amount active frames. Has a strong hitbox and hurtbox downwards.
- st.CD: Long startup and recovery, but is a serviceable ground CD. Cancelable on hit, block, and whiff.
- j.CD: Decent horizontal and vertical range, but mediocre hurtbox. Serviceable jumping CD that can hit all crouchers. Cancelable. Of all of her non neutral jumping moves, this move will hit earliest if you're super jumping in on someone in the corner. This is because though jumping A hits lower, jumping A has a blind spot without a hitbox below Leona close to her back, and when jumping forward in the corner, the opponent isn't in front of you. This is also Leona's air normal with the most active frames, making it a useful air to air and air to ground hybrid when you are jumping forward with frame advantage.
- 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.
- Neutral on block if not done as an overhead. After this is blocked, if you are in range of a crouching C, you can essentially frame trap your opponent even though you are neutral, because crouching C only has 2 frames of startup.
- -3 on block if done as an overhead
- A flash kick type of move. A version has some invulnerability, but still loses to meaties that hit low enough. Still a strong anti air because her hurtbox is very low.
- A version is the better anti air and reversal due to invulnerability.
- Unsafe on block, but when blocked from far away, it's not the easiest punish for people asleep at the wheel.
- A well timed low hitting meaty can defeat even the A version as a reversal, but many normals you wouldn't expect actually don't hit low enough to catch it.
- A meaty jumpin theoretically defeats this move if it hits low enough
- Leona creates an energy ball with a projectile hitbox in front of her.
- A version stays out for a shorter time than C.
- C version has Leona jump forwards and create an energy ball that travels forwards with her and lasts longer. Useful for certain meaty crossup setups.
- Stays active for quite a while.
- On hit Leona can juggle after it.
- Fairly difficult to whiff punish; you can get away with whiffing the A version from time to time. Useful as a pre emptive anti air; if the opponent jumps in to it, jump and link an air V-slasher.
- 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 an 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 neutral on block, but if done in the corner, you end up in grab range, meaning that the opponent can grab you but you can't grab him.
- B version lets you juggle on hit.
- D version is quite negative on block.
- D version is her most reliable, most damaging meterless combo ender, if you do the followup.
- 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.
- Punishable on block if you let it rock, but, you can do an air move while falling. V-slasher can catch punish attempts, and jumping CD can give you frame advantage against hesitant opponents.
- Her only true frame trap from lights (except for more chained lights) that isn't always death on block. Catches people trying to jump too. Mix up between this and toward B, which can be mashed out of, but which brings her closer to the opponent and is neutral on block, letting you do another crouching A or C.
- 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.
- Good pre emptive anti air because she dashes back when she starts this move, which can avoid jump ins while the opponent falls in to the boomerang.
- Positive on block from most ranges
- 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.
- Massively positive on block from most ranges
- Can be a good move to throw when far away as she recovers before it even reaches the opponent, letting you follow behind it.
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 but doesn't combo from lights.
- 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 but doesn't combo from as far away.
- Has a little bit of invulnerability, making it good for interrupting two hit moves like Eiji's close D and double reppuken (if timed correctly).
- 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.A), cr.C, b~f+D
- Charge down back during the jump.
/(j.A), cl.D, b~f+D > f+D
- You can do cl.D as b+D to get enough charge for b~f+D.
(j.A), cl.D, f+B, j.qcf,hcb+C
- f+B leaves Leona airborne, making this combo possible.
- Air-to-air counterhit combo, whiff punishing combo, or instant overhead combo.
With Quick MAX
cr.Bx1~2, cr.A, qcb,qcf+ABC
- Quickmax bypass combo that works if you have red health and hits crouchers, but you must do the DM very quickly after cr.A.
- Try inputting this combo as cr.B > qcb > cr.A > qcf+ABC or 2B > 214 > 2A > 236ABC
cr.B, cr.A, ABC, cl.C, f+B, qcf,qcb+C
- This combo only works in the corner. Works on crouchers.
(j.X), cl.D, qcfx2+ABC
- Easy max bypass combo. Works on crouchers. Use this if you're in red health for an easier way to combo into SDM.
- This combo does slightly more damage than ending with f+B > V-slasher
(j.X), cl.D, f+B, ABC, j.D, j.qcf,qcb+C
- This combo only works on standing opponents. The cl.D with its two hits makes standconfirming easier. You can do j.D, air qcf,hcb+C as qcf,uf+D, hcb+C for an easier cancel.
(j.X), cl.D, f+B, ABC, d~u+C
- Quickmax combo that works on crouchers and does almost much the same damage as comboing to DM from the same opener, but lets you stay in max mode.
(j.X), cl.D, f+B, ABC, run, cr.C, f+B, qcf,qcb+C
- Swaggy quickmax combo that works on crouchers, but is very difficult to execute. Impress your friends by hitting them with this, but maybe don't use it in a tournament.
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. Only go for the instant overhead to V-slasher if your last jump was a full jump, or if it's a new round and you haven't jumped yet. In this case, the move works as expected.
Quickmax instant overhead
If you do a crouching B, quickmax it, and immediately do an instant overhead, you're usually going to hit your opponent. If your opponent blocks high, he gets hit by the low, which combos to the overhead. If he blocks low, you'll quickly do an overhead after the low, resulting in a hit anyway. It is possible to block low and quickly switch to blocking high, but you could also just do a sweep after the first crouching B.
How to safejump against Leona
Leona's only true reversal has 9 frames of startup, making it practical to manually safejump. However, she also has A moon slasher, and though it has fewer invulnerable frames than startup frames, has such a low hurtbox that it tends to go under jumpins. It usually trades with deep meaty jumpins, and beats shallow ones.
However, there is a way to safejump that circumvents A moon slasher while also landing in time to block her reversal DM. Because moon slasher's first hitbox is so far back, you can do a safejump that is quite horizontally far away from her. The easiest way to do this is to neutral jump after a knockdown. This will make the first hitbox whiff, and by the time the second one starts, you'll already have landed. Jumping like this turns moon slasher from a fast reversal to a slow one.
Below is an in progress list of auto-timed safejumps. Due to different reversals and wakeup speeds, it is character specific. It will be added to if more safejumps are discovered.
Terry, EX Terry: Knock down with toward B, then run the minimum distance without cancelling the run, then neutral full jump
The King of Fighters '98 UM Final Edition: Iori/O.Yashiro/Krauser vs. EX-Yuri/Leona/Eiji