The King of Fighters 2002 UM/EX Takuma
EX Takuma is his version from KoF 2000, which in turn was based on '98. Despite being a barebones "shoto" at a glance, he is strong for both zoning and rushdown, and both as battery and anchor. The key difference of EX Takuma from his regular version is his full-screen projectile, which is one of the better tools for zoning in the game. That said, much like regular Takuma, he has no DP (perhaps his biggest flaw), but he has other anti-airs to make up for it, especially his invincible ranbu DM. That said, he also works unexpectedly well in close range: he gets a meterless confirm into hard knockdown for decent damage, and for mixups, he gets a very nice crossup, as well as a good overhead that can cancel into a DM. EX Takuma also has great max mode combos: he's got a long confirm into easy max mode combo with good damage for 2 bar, and with his amazing HSDM he can get some of the highest damage in the game. The latter makes him a bit more popular as anchor, but regardless, he's still strong in any position.
- cl.A chains into lights
- cl.A/B/C are cancellable
- none of EX Takuma's stand normals are hit or whiff cancellable except st.C which is whiff cancellable in the first few frames of its startup.
- st.B hits very high, useful as quick meterless anti-air because Takuma is kind of lacking in this department.
- st.D is rather slow, not very useful.
- cr.A/B chain into themselves and each other
- cr.A/B/C/D are cancellable
- cr.D is long and can be canceled into projectile on block for frametraps/blockstrings
- j.B is EX Takuma's go to crossup tool
- j.D is another good crossup tool from specific ranges and setups
- j.CD is a fast long air-to-air and pressure tool. One of the best buttons for Takuma. Preemptively throwing this on hop/jump helps him stop jump-ins and work around his lack of DP.
Wide Slicer - (b/f + C)
- grants hard knockdown
Single Heave-ho -( b/f + D)
- grants hard knockdown
Demon's Vehicle - (f + A)
- EX Takuma swings out his fist straight in front of himself. Really good and fast command normal that reaches far, great in combos especially. Hitting it raw will grant a hard knockdown that can be followed with his df+B OTG attack. Doesn't knock down when you cancel into it immediately, but due to KoF's late cancel technique, you can delay the cancel into f+A and retain the hard knockdown property of the move, which is really useful for his main meterless BnB. If you hit an aired opponent with the move it will slam them into a hard knockdown as well.
- Combo Advice: This is the backbone of most of your combos. Comboes from virtually any button, most importantly—from cr.B/cr.A, allowing EX Takuma to connect virtually anything from low confirm. Excellent for 0 bar, 1 bar combos, as max mode chain starter, you name it. As mentioned above, you can delay it after cr.B to get a hard knockdown.
- Execution Tip: A frequent issue with this command normal is that it overlaps with qcf+A input, which may result in a projectile special coming out instead of f+A after cr.B. While you may find other ways around it, there's an input technique in KoF you may know of that helps with it, called special input suppression, and it can come very handy for EX Takuma in particular. Basically, if you hold any button (B is the most obvious choice) while you input qcf+A, you won't get any special/DM coming out, but will perform f+A command normal instead. (This applies to all specials/DMs in the game, they won't come out if you hold a different button while inputting them.)
- This can be used to greatly simplify some of EX Takuma's combos. E.g., you may perform cr.B (press and hold B), qcf+A (release B after A), qcb+P, and you'll get a very easy shortcut for cr.B, f+A, qcf, hcb+P. (note that you need to release B very quickly, or else you'll get qcb+P special instead of the ranbu DM).
- Perhaps the hardest part here is getting used to it—admittedly, this is a very unusual input that might go against your execution habits; and EX Takuma is one of the very few chars in the game that actually benefit from it. Still, if you're set on playing this character, it can be well worth learning.
- Hard knockdown (when done raw)
- Ground slam (when done raw)
Vehicle Drop - (b + A)
- EX Takuma sends out a chop in front of himself, hitting mid. The main use of this move is that it can nullify projectiles. Can't combo into it from anything, but it pushes him a little bit from the opponent which can make it a good spacing tool for certain pressure strings.
- Combo Advice: Usually not used in any combos.
- Can nullify projectiles
Bottle Breaker - (f + B)
- Same as normal Takuma's, he throws out an elbow. Raw it hits overhead, and is more or less safe when done on tip; the interesting part is that it's supercancelable, meaning you can combo it straight into DM (unlike with most other overheads). This makes it a pretty scary mixup option and a good trick up your sleeve to catch the opponent off-guard, beware of getting predictable with this though as getting it blocked will waste you a bar and potentially open you for a punish (although his ranbu DM is quite hard to punish well). Otherwise, like any overhead, you can BC cancel it to start a max mode combo. Can be used as "combo filler" too, but usually f+A is preferred over it for this purpose.
- Combo Advice: Can be canceled into from light and heavy attacks, but it's slower tnan f+A and will combo from fewer hits, so not much point to it. However, you may opt for f+B when doing inputs like qcf+B, to avoid a qcf+A input and getting a projectile by accident. This can be an alternative if you don't want to use special input suppression/button hold technique to get f+A instead of a projectile with qcf+A motion.
- Hits overhead (when done raw)
- Supercancelable (when done raw)
- Cancelable (when canceled into)
Horse Strike - (df + B)
- EX Takuma punches downward toward the feet of his opponent, hitting the ground. Hits low and causes hard knockdown; can hit OTG if the opponent didn't tech. The latter is usually the primary purpose of this move, you do it after hard knockdowns (like f+A) to hit the opponent lying on the ground and add more damage to your combos. Can be done after soft knockdowns too, but will whiff if the opponent recovery rolls, so it's risky. Can be canceled into, but won't combo from any normals, and the range is very short,
- Combo Advice: As mentioned above, this move helps add damage after a hard knockdown. Good to go for any time you land f+A, e.g. in cr.B x n, f+A (delayed), df+B.
- Can hit OTG
- Hard knockdown (when done raw)
- Cancelable (when canceled into)
Overall his command normals give him a lot of different angles to attack and pressure from.
Tiger Flame Punch / Ko'ou Ken - (qcf + A/C)
- Classic projectile. A verson travels slower, C version travels faster. This is a "hadoken"-type projectile (as opposed to "sonic boom" type), meaning that Takuma recovers late from it. However, because it flies high, it's pretty hard to jump over, let alone hop over it. This allows it to effectively "block" hop space and limit opponent's air movement, making it one of the best projectiles in the game for zoning—that said, beware of characters who go under it with a slide or other moves. Has pretty good startup and recovery too. Overall, very good and important tool for EX Takuma.
- Combo Advice: Can be used for BnBs, but doesn't knock down. Otherwise, as with most projectiles, it's not very good for combos, but useful for blockstrings and frametraps; one very common trick for EX Takuma is to cancel blocked sweep into projectile to catch a hasty opponent.
Tiger Boulder Blast - (qcb + A/C)
- EXTakuma thows out a parry then follows up with a heavy punch.
- The first part of the attack will absorb a single hit then he will continue the attack.
- Against predictable opponents could be used to counter meatys, but is very unsafe on block if overused.
- Causes soft knockdown.
- With correct timing you can use the parry animation to destroy fireballs.
- Hits mid.
- Super cancellable, but the follow up super won't connect depending on the spacing.
Zan Retsu Ken - (f, b, f + A/C)
- ExTakuma punches furiously, creating a wall of fist, when it connects it will suck the opponent in and launch them after 13 hits causing a soft knockdown.
- Can be comboed from a cl.C.
- On block the move will push EXTakuma back and the opponent will recover before the move even finishes making it very unsafe as a raw pressure tool.
- Hits mid.
Shouran Kyaku - (hcb + B/D)
- EXTakuma runs, grabbing the opponent and kicking them several times.
- Counts as an unblockable command throw.
- Causes hard knockdown.
- Cannot be comboed into.
- B version has slightly faster startup and goes only half screen. Grabs mid.
- D version will connect full screen from the run animation into the throw.
Lightning Legs Knockout Kick / Hien Shippuu Kyaku - (charge db~f + B/D)
- EXTakuma flies forward connecting with a kick. B version hits once, D version hits twice and launches the opponent into the air where you can land a juggle hit including his fireball supers. Light version is more or less safe on tip, but can be asking for trouble if thrown from closer and there's not enough pushback to make it safe. Heavy version appears safe at glance, but in reality isn't; its recovery is short, but it can be very badly punished with precisely timed fast normal or a fast command grab, so beware of throwing it on block vs a good player. Overall, it's a kind of move that may catch a lot of players that don't know how to punish it, but otherwise it becomes very risky. Still, can be used occasionally to catch people off guard and mix up your moves.
Combo Advice: D version can be used to land some damaging combos, because it launches and you can connect a few damaging moves after it. The problem is that it's hard to confirm into; the inconvenient input for this move requires you to charge downback direction. Because of this, it's impossible to land this move from a good starter like cr.B f+A or cl.C f+A; pretty much the only way to combo into it is from cr.C, and this greatly limits your movement while you charge. However, this moves comes very useful in max mode combos, where you can cancel into it without needing to charge.
- Soft knockdown
- Hits mid
Haoh Shi Koh Ken - (f, hcf + A/C)
- great fireball super.
- A version is slower, both versions cause soft knockdown.
- Good punisher/combo ender.
Ryuko Ranbu - (qcf, hcb + A/C)
- EXTakuma dashes forward hitting the opponent with multiple attacks ending in a fireball.
- Unlike normal Takuma's it causes soft knockdown.
- Can be comboed into.
- Much like his run grab, A version goes a smaller distance in the screen to connect than the C version.
Neo Demon-God Attack - (close, qcf x 2 + A/C)
- This is a proximity unblockable super. Rather slow, can get interrupted after the flash fairly easily.
- It will connect at about the same range as his s.C normal.
- Causes soft knockdown.
Super Desperation Moves
Ryuko Ranbu - (qcf, hcb + AC)
- harder hitting version of EXTakuma's ranbu super does an addition hit and three fire balls at the end.
- Causes soft knockdown.
- Will go through fireballs for only the very first part of the animation.
Lion Killer - (f, hcf + AC)
- EXTakuma's gi bursts open flexing all his muscles as he summons the destructive power of the tiger: a massively damaging full screen fireball that causes a soft knockdown. also an anywhere juggle.
- You can always end a cr.B chain with cr.A instead of the last cr.B. Having more range, cr.A is less likely to whiff than cr.B so ending chains with it is worth practicing.
- You can always replace a light chain with a cl.C
- You can add a jump-in to every combo if you start with cr.C, cl.C or 2 to 3 lights.
- You can use f+B for an overhead max starter into any of the max routes.
- cr.Bx1~3, (cr.B/cr.A), f+A, qcf+C = 23%~30% dmg
- Simple combo from lows, no knockdown. Does slightly more than the route below, but lack of knockdown is a big downside.
- cr.Bx1~4, (cr.A), delayed f+A, df+B = 18%~28% dmg
- These last two are the meterless bnb's. Easy confirm with hard knockdown. Typically it's best to do 3 light attacks, more requires very precise timing. f+A has to be delayed to get late cancel on it and do a knockdown; one way to get this is to time it as if you were chaining another light button. df+B hits OTG. Can be done with special input suppression trick you can find in f+A description (cr.B x n, press and hold B with the last cr.B, cr.A if one, delayed qcf+A, release B, df+B).
- cl.C, f+A, qcf+C = 30%
- cl.C, delayed f+A, df+B = 25%
- Similar routes but started from j.X cl.C.
- cr.C, db~f+D, (f,b,f+P) / (f+A, df+B) = 34% dmg
- A damaging route, but hard to confirm. Charging downback direction must be started in the air. f,b,f+P is an easier ender; f+A must be timed correctly to hit.
- f+B, qcf,hcb+A / f,hcf+C = 32%~34% dmg
- Combo from an overhead to catch the opponent off guard. Useful, but no real way to confirm these, so it's a bit of a read. Getting it blocked may be punished. Qcf,hcb+A does more and f,hcf+C is harder to punish on block.
- cr.Bx1~3, f+B, qcf,hcb+A / f,hcf+C = 35%~40% dmg
- cr.Bx1~4, (cr.A), f+A, qcf,hcb+A / f,hcf+C = 35%~45% dmg
- 1 bar bnb, good damage and very good confirm. Very good combo, although EX Takuma has a lot of other good options to spend bar as well. Can be done with special input suppression trick you can find in the f+A description (like cr.B x n, press and hold B with the last cr.B, qcf+A, immediately release B, qcb+P).
- cr.C, db~f+D, f,hcf+A = 41% dmg
- Good damage combo but hard to confirm into. Roughly 7% damage difference from a similar 0 bar route ending with f+A df+B (which does hard knockdown too).
- After a BC run, cr.A, f+A is much easier to land than cl.C, f+A but you lose 3% for it. cl.C isn't especially tight but consider cr.A instead if you aren't on point with it yet.
- (cl.C / cr.Bx1~3), f+A, BC, run, cl.C/cr.A, f+A, qcf,hcb+A / f,hcf+C = up to 50% dmg
- cr.Bx3~4, cr.A, f+A, BC, run, cr.A, f+A, qcf,hcb+A / f,hcf+C = up to 49% dmg
- Possible Max Mode routes, get overshadowed by the route below.
- (cl.C / cr.Bx1~3), f+A, BC, run, cl.C/cr.A, f+A, db,f+D, f,b,f+P (SC) f,hcf+A ( Slightly charge it when in dead corner ) = up to 62% dmg
- cr.Bx3~4, cr.A, f+A, BC, run, cr.A, f+A, db,f+D, f,b,f+P (SC) f,hcf+A ( Slightly charge it when in dead corner ) = up to 61% dmg
- Main 2 bar Max Mode combo. Great confirm, very good damage. db~f+D does not need to be charged inside Max Mode, making this combo possible.
- Replace qcf,hcb+A by qcf,hcb+AC in 1 and 2 stocks combo = up to 64% dmg
- Possible combos. Not the best damage for meter
- Replace f,b,f+P (SC) f,hcf+A by f+A/st.CD, f,hcf+AC in 2 stocks combo = up to 80% dmg
- Main 3 bar combo with HSDM. Excellent damage, relatively easy to perform. The only downside is that you need to be on 30% health or less.
- 2 stocks combo ending with f,hcf+A then f,hcf+AC = 100% dmg
- ToD combo with HSDM. Instantly kills, but you can only do it with EX Takuma being your last char, having 5 bars and on 30% health or below. If you do this in dead corner, the opponent can tech the knockdown and block, making it a waste of 3 bars.
Check EX Takuma's frame data
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