The King of Fighters XV/Billy Kane/Strategy
As stated on the Overview page; Billy is a read-based character that forces knowledge check situations and has to capitalize on them. Most of his important attacks are slow to start or have a lot of recovery and due to big hurtboxes they are prone to losing out or trading. The new cornerstone of his game is finding enough space to s.CD and play off of that. He is no longer king in the air and rather has to play grounded a lot. However he is quite good at batting air approaches either reacting with 214A, Shatter Strike, 2C or reading with jabs or a lucky 6B. Restrict them into situations such as 426C>236C (which is plus on block) or the tip of 6A on block for a guessing game. You need a lot of game knowledge and awareness on opponent tendencies to make the best use of your limited tools. Billy is very dependent on meter to make decisions count, but he's quite bad at building or sparing it. Arguments could be made for second or third slot.
Billy needs a lot of space, his ideal range is somewhere on the edge of his s.CD and further away. In this s.CD range your plan is to dictate the match by landing s.CD and canceling into one of these:
- 426C into 236C will vacuum your opponent in for plus on block pressure. 426C is very slow so you need to mix up your cancels.
- 6B a somewhat risky play because it will whiff on crouchers, but this might catch them jumping or moving.
- Either you go for 6A which on s.CD-hit will net a combo, on block the 6A should be spaced perfectly for your next guessing game. To connect with 6A you need to hit s.CD from outside the far B range (about 2-2,5 characters away).
- Doing 6A on whiff can also be fine in case they roll or jump at you.
- 426A is a solid cancel as long as you space it properly, but somewhat risky if they dodge it.
- You could also opt for no cancels, just wait, because some of the options can be blown out with their own Shatter Strike.
Knowing your options at different ranges is key to playing Billy. What you can safely cancel into from s.CD depends on the range you hit them from. Eg. you don't want to whiff 6A right before their faces.
Anything else you do is in hopes of getting the situation mention above. Bait their roll attempts by whiffing a quick normal eg. 2B. Scare them from pressing buttons with Shatter Strike. From jump range, swat them from the air with a reactional 214A or Shatter Strike. On the ground you can poke them with far C or 426A and at mid-to-close range you can go for far A, far B, 2A or sweep. All of which will eventually lead you to the 6A on block situation from where you can threaten another s.CD or blast them with Shatter Strike. Billy can run the traditional KOF gameflow too, but his tools are quite lacking for that at the moment.
Jumping is not recommended, Billy will lose a lot of the situations due to lacking air normals. Naturally you will have to jump sometimes. Jump in with j.B or D and for air-to-airs keep to using j.A. Only go for j.C and j.CD when you're absolutely sure they will hit. Jumping A should cleanly beat most aerial battles.
Billy is not exactly a pressure character, but there are a couple of ways to harass from up close. Forward throw and supers will lead to a hard knockdown which you can utilize. Run up close and use the OS light confirm string. If they roll or backdash you'll clip them and if they wakeup throw you will break it. On hit you can cancel into 623B and if you have meter to spare, a super ender will lead into another knockdown. Note: This will only catch forward rolls! Backrolls only lose in the corner.
The sequence is: 5B > 4A~C > 5B > 5A from point blank. You may also press 4C~A.
Billy's cl.A is a jab that will prevent people from jumping and is hugely advantageous on block. Unfortunately the pushback leaves you too far on block to utilize any other close normals. Far A is too slow for pressure and 2C will whiff. 2D carries a lot of risks on block but should beat them mashing. The two options that are in range are 2B and 5B. Due to pushback your 2B will only hit once so you need to go straight into 5A with a 2-hit confirm, it may also whiff in case you didn't press cl.A at the absolute point blank. 5B is more reliable but chaining into 2A without meter will practically end your pressure right there. Going for cl.B instead you'll push yourself back less but still out of close proximity so it's basically the same as cl.A in terms of block pressure.
Senpuu Kon (623P) Billy's iconic pinwheel is a multihitting plus on block type of move. While it's mostly used in combos you can space it outside of their throw range for a bit of pressure. It recovers in time to be safe from rolls but will naturally lose to reversals. The frame advantage is not much so you can't really go for anything huge. Far B may even lose to fast light normals.
In close-up defense Billy mostly has counters and Shatter Strike. With meter you can also toss out his 236236K super or Climax but they are rather slow. Despite the list being long, each one carries risks with them and compared to a DP-type move you need to know what to go for.
- Shatter Strike's armor begins at frame 4 allowing you to blow through anything but throws.
- 214B counters air attacks, special moves, and supers on frame 3.
- 214D counters upper & lower body normal attacks (but not air attacks) on frame 3.
- EX version instantly frame 1 counters anything (projectiles included) but low attacks, and leads to a hard knockdown.
- 236236B begins 11 frames which is quite slow, but fully invulnerable at the startup.
- 236236D is faster at 7f but can easily slide under jumps making it quite risky.
- Climax works well at 8f without 236236D's weakness, but is very costly as a reversal.
Billy's fastest normals are cl.A (4f) and 2B (5f) the latter works well as a rapid fire low and isn't dependent on proximity. His forward throw guarantees safejumps and pressure while back throw doesn't do much, but both are used since throw is everyone's fastest universal attack.
At longer ranges Billy can cover a lot of the screen with s.CD. Jumping with j.A covers the immediate frontal air space quite well, similar to Isla j.A or a weaker version of Iori j.B. Retreating hop C and neutral hop/jump CD may work occasionally, but are prone to losing out.
As stated throughout his wiki page, Billy has to make big plays with slow moves and thus he is quite weak to just guess rolling or jumping. In addition to that he can straight up lose to dominant pokes like the ones Gato or Yashiro has too.
Rolls Rolling at Billy is a viable guess since s.CD by itself can be punished and the whiff cancels don't mostly lead into Billy getting anything. His other pokes are slow and vulnerable too.
- Shatter Strike is roll punishable.
- s.CD > 6A whiff does move him out of harm's way a lot of times, but can still be unsafe.
- s.CD > 6B whiff is probably unpunishable by most of the cast at least.
- 426-moves by themselves are weak to rolls too.
- Far C has horrible recovery. Kill it on whiff.
- Not that they should be guessing with it, but antiair 214A without reacting to a full jump is death on whiff.
- GC roll against s.CD is effective a lot of times.
Jumps Full jumping over most of his pokes leads to big combos and Billy's only weapons against it are Shatter Strike, 214A, 5A, 5D and 2C. Which sounds like a lot but really isn't.
- While 2C catches a lot of things vertically it's absolutely horrid horizontally and should lose to most good diagonal jump-ins. Just don't try jumping over him too much.
- 5A and 5D are more suited to catch hops.
- Reactionary Shatter Strike is a real threat, but it does cost meter and Billy won't get much damage with just 1 bar. He needs more to make it scary.
- 214A is almost a slap on the wrist, he gets no extensions from it, but it's a real antiair.
- A sharp Billy could use 214AC>236P instead but it's spacing and meter dependent if he gets any further damage from it.
On block s.CD into 426A, 6A and 6B are tight strings although 6B can be ducked. Canceling into 426C can be blown up with reversals, shatters and GC rolls.