Clark Steel (KoF '98 UM)

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Introduction

Clark has a new move, and his normal moves have been dramatically strengthened. Very safe play.

Move list

At a glance

Normal throws
Nageppanashi German (throw) f/b + C
Fisherman Buster (throw) f/b + D
Midair throw
Death Lake Drive (air throw) f/d/b + C/D
Command move
Stomping f + B
Special moves
Vulcan Punch P repeatedly, (f/b), (ABCD)
┗ Napalm Stretch (during Vulcan Punch) dp + P
Napalm Stretch dp + P
┗ Flashing Elbow (during Napalm Stretch) qcf + P
Super Arabian Burglary Backbreaker hcf + A
┗ Flashing Elbow (during Super Arabian Burglary Backbreaker) qcf + P
Rolling Cradle hcf + C
┗ Flashing Elbow (during Rolling Cradle) qcf + P
Frankensteiner (throw) dp + K
┗ Flashing Elbow (during Frankensteiner) qcf + P
Super Argentine Backbreaker (throw) hcf + K
┗ Flashing Elbow (during Super Argentine Backbreaker) qcf + P
Super special moves
Ultra Argentine Backbreaker (throw) hcb hcb + P
Running Three hcf hcf + K
Napalm Strike hcb hcb + K

Normal moves

  • cr.C – now with faster startup; the hitbox isn’t high-priority, and it is uncancelable, so it ain’t quite like Ralf’s, but you can use it in zoning.
  • cr.D – the startup has been sped up on this one, too, so now you have a nice, long, fast sweep to play with.
  • st.D – slower startup; no longer the best jump checker, but still a nice boot-to-the-face. Use st.CD instead.
  • st.CD – the startup has been sped up considerably; this is your jump checker here.
  • cr.B – now cancelable with cr.A.
  • j.A – convenient for jumping in. More or less your only good option for jumping in, actually.
  • j.B, j.C, and j.D – hitboxes face down, forward, and up, respectively; for air-to-air, obviously should be chosen for the particular situation.

Command move

  • Stomping
  • f + B
  • Safely combos from strong attacks; cancelable even if not cancelled into. If cancelled into from a strong attack, nothing combos. Since there is that plus the fact that it isn’t easy to use it without canceling into it, there isn’t much of a point to this move, but hey, it’s here if you need it.

Special moves

  • Vulcan Punch
  • P repeatedly, f/b to adjust position, ABCD to halt
  • The hitbox faces forward, but isn’t that high-priority. That being said, if it does multiple hits, it leaves the opponent with a hitbox, so if you hit them in the corner (or quick MAX) you can juggle if you like.
  • You can now move the stick both back and forth to slide a little bit.
  • You can elongate the duration of the move by continuing to mash P.
  • You can now press ABCD to stop at any time, leaving you less open.
  • Now cancelable into Napalm Stretch, which makes a juggle wheresoever on the screen you hit the opponent.

  • Napalm Stretch
  • dp + P
  • Clark jumps up and does an (now-unblockable) grab. It can be used as an anti-air, but there are plenty of ways it can go wrong; if you can’t catch the opponent on the way up, you’re in trouble.

  • Super Arabian Burglary Backbreaker
  • hcf + A
  • Rolling Cradle
  • hcf + C
  • Moving throws. Of the two, Rolling Cradle does more damage, but the range of its initial motion is wastefully long, so Super Arabian Burglary Backbreaker is easier to use.

  • Frankensteiner
  • dp + K at throwing distance
  • A command throw (unblockable); although the startup is slow, it is has full-body invincibility to strikes (and only strikes) during startup. It has various useful applications, such as as a meaty option and as an anti-air. The weak version has faster startup, and the strong version has longer invincibility.
  • In UM, you will now take a counter-hit if you are hit after the invincibility expires.

  • Super Argentine Backbreaker
  • hcf + K
  • 1-frame throw with a wide grabbing range. This is the most fundamental throw, around which most fighting with Clark revolves.

  • Flashing Elbow
  • qcf + P during successful Napalm Stretch, Super Arabian Burglary Backbreaker, Rolling Cradle, Frankensteiner, or Super Argentine Backbreaker
  • An OTG that follows up on Clark’s throwing specials. You have nothing to lose for trying, so always input it.

Super special moves

  • Ultra Argentine Backbreaker
  • hcb hcb + P at throwing distance
  • A super version of Super Argentine Backbreaker. Use this one when you need to grab the opponent and cause damage in one go.

  • Running Three
  • hcf hcf + K
  • Moving throw with complete full-body invincibility during startup. While it does less damage than Ultra Argentine Backbreaker, it is a great move for asserting your dominance when you interrupt the opponent.

  • Napalm Strike
  • hcb hcb + K
  • A new move that amounts to a super version of Napalm Stretch. In comparison, the startup for Strike is slower than that for Stretch, as Clark only jumps after skipping a beat; therefore, you have to read your opponent in order to have a shot at this. The real good news is that he is invincible before he jumps, so it’s strong against ascending jump attacks. Kind of like Maxima’s Bunker Buster, it’s one of the flashier moves there are. The damage, of course, is high.

Combos

Basic

  • j.A > cl.C (1 hit) >> Super Argentine Backbreaker >> Flashing Elbow
  • Basic combo. Ultra Argentine Backbreaker is also possible, but is highly prone to misfires.
  • cr.B >> cr.A >> Super Argentine Backbreaker >> Flashing Elbow
  • This kind of pattern is now possible. It is extremely powerful.
  • (corner) Vulcan Punch (midair hit) >> juggler
  • Pretty rare, but if you feint a throw (so they jump), it’s not impossible. The juggle is probably going to be Napalm Stretch, but cl.C is safe.

The Basics

On the ground, Clark has extremely powerful throws. For the air, he has a midair throw and good air-to-air normals. You can expect reliable service from this guy.

When you are away from the opponent, jump in with j.A for the range that j.CD and hops / hyper hops need to reach. You always want to maintain an aggressive stance. When it comes to being attacked, jumps need air-to-air, and your only real choice on the ground is to threaten with the jumps, which is why you should avoid being in the inferior position as much as possible. Also, if you temporarily have a bit of space and the opponent tries to use a rushing move, you’ll want to go for the skill shot and use Frankensteiner to catch it. This ought to make the opponent loathe to use a rushing move; the odds that they’ll rally from this inferior position are pretty low.

For offense, use mainly cr.A, cr.B, j.A, and j.CD to harden up the opponent and generally threaten with Super Argentine Backbreaker. By the very virtue of Clark’s approach, the opponent has to watch out for and generally avoid the Super Argentine Backbreaker, so without actually using it, you will smack up jump attack attempts just by attacking. Of course, you use the Super Argentine Backbreaker if they try a normal move. As a matter of course, if you do not use the throw, they won’t be afraid of it, so you need to aim for every important point you can grab (no pun intended). For example, do it by skipping a beat after j.A, or by running in after cr.A. Of course, doing the same things makes you predictable, so with the timing you would use Super Argentine Backbreaker, you can fake it with cl.C or cr.A.

For reversals in situations like after attack evasion or for wakeup attacks, if the opponent is close and you have gauge, you should aim to assert the two options of Ultra Argentine Backbreaker and Napalm Strike. The stick portion of the input is the same, so you don’t have to rush it; you can actually make your decision at the very last second according to the opponent’s movements.

If any of the special moves are done, you can move on to meaties. There are four basic options: against jumps and such, go for the combo from cl.C; against blocks, Super Argentine Backbreaker; against weak poke spam, Frankensteiner; against stuffers, block. The fact that you have no overheads is still tough, but at least UM has a safe combo from cr.B. Note that you have to be careful with a cl.C; if it doesn’t hit the wakeup just right, you will eat an air attack. Also, you have to remember that if you use Super Argentine Backbreaker on its own, you have to wait a little bit or it won’t work, so memorize the timing. Frankensteiner should be used such that the invincibility time coincides with the opponent’s wakeup attacks.

When these are successful and you once again use Flashing Elbow so you can switch over to meaties again... well, let’s just say that if you’ve got skill, it’s not uncommon to get perfects. Clark does best with critical moments, so you contend with nerves and concentration.

Advanced Strategy

Match-Ups