The King of Fighters

The King of Fighters (KOF) is a 2D 3-on-3 team fighter with a wide variety of universal movement options that adds depth to every character's offense and defense. There are four different types of jumps that let players attack from a variety of angles. The various movement options give every character a high/low mixup, left/right mixup, several ways to approach, and multiple ways to get out of trouble. It can be difficult to react to the wide variety of jumps so anti-airs are constantly preemptively performed in neutral. And then these anti-airs are constantly being countered and whiff punished in neutral. Thinking one step ahead in King of Fighters never feels like it's enough, you always have to be thinking two steps ahead.

Helpful Resources

Dream Cancel has all the information you need for the most popular games including KOF XV, KOF XIV, KOF 98UMFE, KOF XIII, KOF 2K2UM, KOF XI.


Attack Notation

A Light Punch
B Light Kick
C Strong Punch
D Strong Kick

Directional Notation

up-back up up-forward
back neutral forward
down-back down down-forward

Numpad Notation

7 8 9
4 5 6
1 2 3

High attacks are overhead attacks that must be stand blocked. Mid attacks are attacks that can be blocked with both stand block and crouch block.

Run by pressing 66. Running can be canceled into Rolling, jumping, attacking, and blocking. There is a delay when canceling into blocking.

Rolls are performed with A+B. You can Roll forward and backward. Rolls are strike-invulnerable and projectile-invulnerable at the start but become vulnerable during the recovery frames. Throws are the best ways to punish Rolls.

Rolls give every character a ground cross-up. Don't Roll too early or it's obvious you won't cross-up but don't Roll too late or your opponent can punish the recovery.

There are four types of jumps in KOF. There's regular jump, high jump, short hop, and hyper hop. Regular jump is performed by holding 7/8/9.

Press 1/2/3 then 7/8/9 to high jump. Running into a jump is also a high jump. It's the jump that travels the most distance. It's used for cross-ups or okizeme after a knockdown.

Lightly tap 7/8/9 to short hop. Think of it like a fast overhead that goes over low attacks. It inflicts less blockstun and hitstun than a regular jump which means it is negative on block and doesn't start a combo unless it hits especially deep.

Running into a short hop is a hyper hop. It is a hop with more horizontal distance.

Backdashes are airborne. Some backdashes hop over low attacks.

Throws are proximity throws performed with 6C or 6D and are teched with the same input. The tech window is very short. After hard knockdowns or air resets, the defender is throw-invulnerable for a short period of time. 6C throws the opponent forward and 6D throws the opponent backwards.

Running then pressing 6C/6D gives you a strike. To perform a throw out of running, cancel the run by pressing 4 then input 6C/6D.

Guard switching refers to quickly switching from stand block to crouch block or vice-versa to increase blockstun. It's used to avoid throws because you can't get thrown while in blockstun. The drawback of guard switching is that it gets hit by overheads and low attacks.

After a knockdown, press A+B to quick recover. Hard knockdowns and not recovering have throw-invulnerability on wakeup but quick recovery does not.

If your opponent doesn't quick recover, you can setup a cross-up mixup. On wakeup, the defender has to decide between not recovering to avoid throws or quick recovering to avoid cross-ups.

Blowback is performed with C+D. It is a slow attack that causes some kind of knockdown. It is negative on block so safe space it or cancel it into a safe special attack. In KOFXIII, Blowback is a knockdown on regular hit and a launch on counter hit. In KOFXIV, Blowback is a wall bounce.

Air Blowback knocks down. If you're too far or too high to get a jump in combo, you can use this instead for a knockdown. Some characters are able to instant overhead with their Blowback. Instant overheads are usually unsafe on hit but the knockdown makes it safe.

Guard Cancel Blowback is this game's Alpha Counter. Press C+D in blockstun to perform it. It costs 1 Power Gauge Bar and has some invincibility (depending on the game). It is a much faster version of your Blowback attack.

Press A+B in blockstun to perform a Guard Cancel Roll. It costs 1 Power Gauge Bar. It is a strike-invulnerable and projectile-invulnerable movement out of blockstun. It's commonly used to escape pressure and the corner.

Anti-airing is very important in KOF. Make sure to read about the KOF anti-air triangle to understand how to beat short hops. Because of the wide variety of jumps, it can be difficult to anti-air certain attacks. Try experimenting with air-to-air anti-airs. Sometimes the only way to deal with certain attacks is to avoid them by running, Rolling, or backdashing.

Fireballs occupy different parts of the screen. The series' most iconic fireball is the ground fireball. Ground fireballs have good frame data but can be easily hopped over. The classic fireball requires a full jump to get over it. Tall fireballs are difficult to jump over but have a lot of recovery and are easily punishable after you Roll through them.