The King of Fighters XIII/Kensou

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The King of Fighters XIIIKOFXIIILogo.png
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Sie Kensou

KOFXIII-Kensou Face.png

In a nutshell

The spontaneous, clumsy Psycho Soldier that's eternally stuck in an unreciprocated relationship with Athena. Kensou has a fast-recovering projectile though it loses in projectile fights against faster fireballs; his zoning game is solid, though Kensou also shines on the offense with frametraps and blockstrings in addition to his new command grab DM. In XIII, Kensou has stronger hitconfirms than before and can end combos with a hard knockdown by landing his rekka series.


Video Walkthrough

Move List

Normal Moves

Name
Command
Damage
Special Properties (glossary)
Standing Light Punch
Kof.lp.png
25
Chaincancel.png Cancel.png
Standing Light Kick
Kof.lk.png
30
Low.png Cancel.png
Standing Heavy Punch
Kof.sp.png
80
Close Heavy Punch
Close Kof.sp.png
70
Cancel.png
Standing Heavy Kick
Kof.sk.png
70
Cancel.png
Close Heavy Kick
Close Kof.sk.png
70
Cancel.png
Crouching Light Punch
D.png + Kof.lp.png
25
Chaincancel.png Cancel.png
Crouching Light Kick
D.png + Kof.lk.png
30
Low.png Chaincancel.png Cancel.png
Crouching Heavy Punch
D.png + Kof.sp.png
70
Cancel.png
Crouching Heavy Kick
D.png + Kof.sk.png
80
Low.png Softknockdown.png Cancel.png
Blowback Attack
Kof.sp.png + Kof.sk.png
75
Softknockdown.png Cancel.png
Jumping Light Punch
Air Kof.lp.png
Jump: 45
Hop: 40
High.png Cancel.png
Jumping Light Kick
Air Kof.lk.png
Jump: 45
Hop: 40
High.png
Jumping Heavy Punch
Air Kof.sp.png
Jump: 72
Hop: 70
High.png Cancel.png
Jumping Heavy Kick
Air Kof.sk.png
Jump: 70
Hop: 68
High.png
Jumping Blowback Attack
Air Kof.sp.png + Kof.sk.png
Jump: 90
Hop: 80
Softknockdown.png Cancel.png

Unique Attacks

Name
Command
Damage
Special Properties (glossary)
Back Ten
Kof.lk.png + Kof.sk.png
Startupinv.png Specialcancel.png
Target Combo
Kof.lk.png ---.png Kof.sp.png

Throw

Name
Command
Damage
Special Properties (glossary)
Ryuuhousui
F.png or B.png + Kof.sp.png or Kof.sk.png (while close)
100
Throw.png Softknockdown.png

Special Moves

Name
Command
Damage
Special Properties (glossary)
Choukyuudan
Qcb.png + P.png
P.png : 65
Ex.png : 120
Supercancel.png
Ryuutouda
Qcf.png + P.png
Ex.png (1): Qcf.png + Kof.lp.png + Kof.sp.png
Ex.png (2): Ex.png Ryutesshou (1), then Qcf.png + P.png
P.png : 30
Ex.png : 45
Drivecancel.png
Ryuutesshou
Ryuutouda, then Qcf.png + P.png
Ex.png (1): Ex.png Ryuutouda (1), then Qcf.png + P.png
Ex.png (2): Ex.png Ryuutouda (2), then Qcf.png + P.png
P.png : 30
Ex.png : 45
Drivecancel.png
Hasei Shikkuu Zanryuukyaku
Ryuutesshou, then Qcf.png + K.png
Ex.png : Ex.png Ryuutesshou (2), then Qcf.png + K.png
P.png : 75
Ex.png : 100
Hardknockdown.png
Ryuubokko
Dp.png + P.png , press P.png repeatedly
Ex.png : Dp.png + Kof.lp.png + Kof.sp.png
P.png : 10×15+95+70×5
Ex.png : 15×16+120
Drivecancel.png
Last hit: Softknockdown.png
Ryuugakusai
Rdp.png + K.png
Kof.lk.png : 30+35(30)+30
Kof.sk.png : 40+40(30)+30+30
Ex.png : 60×2+35×5
Ex.png : Startupinv.png Drivecancel.png
Ryuusougeki
Qcb.png + P.png
P.png : 50
Ex.png : 15×n+50
Aironly.png Softknockdown.png Drivecancel.png Specialcancel.png (after landing)
Shikkuu Zanryuukyaku
Qcf.png + K.png
K.png : 75
Ex.png : 160
Hardknockdown.png

Desperation Moves

Name
Command
Damage
Special Properties (glossary)
Shinryuu: Choukyuudan
Qcb.png Qcb.png + P.png
P.png : 200
Ex.png : 330
Maxcancel.png Softknockdown.png
Shinryuu: Seikoushou
Qcf.png Hcb.png + P.png
(8+0)×24+20
Throw.png Softknockdown.png Maxcancel.png
Seigan: Senki Hakkei
Qcf.png Qcf.png + Kof.lp.png + Kof.sp.png
(16+0)×22+16+100
Hardknockdown.png

Console Changes

  • Added new target combo: st.B > st.C. Cannot be cancelled, but gives enough frame advantage to link into cr.B
  • Choukyuudan (qcb+P) has faster recovery.
  • Ryuusougeki's (Air qcb+P) recovery can be canceled with a special move.
  • EX Ryuusougeki (Air qcb+AC) has faster startup.
  • Shinryuu: Seikoushou (qcf hcb+P) has been changed to a 1f throw instead of a normal hit.

Strategy

Move Analysis

Normal Moves

  • Standing Light Punch (Snka.gif) - A quick backfist and one of the few Standing Snka.gif attacks that connects against crouching opponents. The player can use this attack as a standard anti-air answer against a hop, though Crouching Snka.gif has a slightly higher hitbox for anti-airing.
    • A nice attack to pressure the opponent with due to the mid-hitting hitbox and fast startup. Tryy walking forward and quickly using Standing Snka.gif while remembering the option to cancel the attack into a special.
  • Standing Light Kick (Snkb.gif) - A low-hitting kick aimed at the opponent's feet. Fully cancelable, but can only be chain canceled into Standing Heavy Punch. Kensou's target combo is very wild, so being inside Standing Light Kick gives him plenty of offensive options.
  • Since Kensou's Crouching Snkb.gif hits low, chains into itself, cancels into specials, and leaves the player with a better frame advantage on block, Standing Snkb.gif is better saved for when attempting Kensou's target combo.
  • Standing Heavy Punch (Snkc.gif) - A downward arm smash, or a ghetto Iori Standing Snkc.gif if you will. Unlike Iori, Kensou cannot cancel this normal into anything. A bad poke, but amazing tool for blockstrings as it's advantageous on block and can be linked afterward on hit into a knockdown.
    • This move becomes even better in conjunction with Kensou's target combo, as on hit the player can link a Crouching Light Kick or Standing Heavy Kick and cancel either into a special or into HD mode. Kensou can even link his target combo into itself from up close to activate HD mode or to keep the opponent blocking while still keeping the initiative.
  • Close Heavy Punch (Close Snkc.gif) - Standard fare Close Heavy normal. Deals heavy hitstun and blockstun and cancels into special moves nicely. Good in blockstrings, after a jump-in, or as a punish to start a combo.
  • Standing Heavy Kick (Snkd.gif) - Kensou's high kick that cancels like a Close Heavy normal, i.e. it can be canceled on hit or whiff. This move is primarily an anti-air that covers the space just above and in front of Kensou's head. Most successful in anti-air attempts if Kensou's foot either hits the opponent early in a jump arc as a preventive anti-air, or if his foot hits deep inside an opponent's jumping attack. An easy way to set up a either anti-air respectively is to run forward at the opponent and press Snkd.gif if the player confirms a jump or hop, or to run forward underneath an aerial opponent before pressing Snkd.gif in order to attack under or behind the enemy's active hitbox.
  • Crouching Light Punch (Down.gif + Snka.gif) - A unique Crouching Snka.gif that doesn't have much use up close to the opponent due to the poor horizontal range. Instead, Kensou performs a jab similar to Standing Snka.gif but at a higher vertical angle while crouching down and reducing his vulnerable hitbox. The extra size reduction and upward attack angle makes this normal better suited for anti-airing hops, where Standing Snka.gif's horizontal range makes for a better offensive move.
  • Crouching Light Kick (Down.gif + Snkb.gif) - The player's fastest and safest low-hitting attack. Kensou has the benefit of having a directly cancelable Crouching Snkb.gif which makes for an easy hitconfirm when chained into itself. A good light attack for dealing guard damage, gaining frame advantage, canceling into specials, and opening up an opponent along with Standing Snka.gif. Easily converts a tripguard meaty into a knockdown, so punish poor jumping attacks with this attack for a combo.
  • Crouching Heavy Punch (Down.gif + Snkc.gif) - Odd-looking diagonal double-fist thrust, as if Kensou is trying to fire a beam from his hands. Functions as an anti-air similar to other Crouching Snkc.gif uppercuts, though the vertical reach isn't quite as long as other uppercuts. The player can use Standing Snkd.gif for vertical reach, where Crouching Snkc.gif has more horizontal length. A neat move in blockstrings due to the heavy hitstun making for tighter blockstrings into Choukyuudan (Qcb.gif + Punch.gif) and also because Kensou doesn't have many other horizontally-reaching and cancelable normals.
    • Significantly shrinks Kensou's hitbox. This allows Kensou to dodge underneath certain jump-ins and special moves and punish them with a tripguard attack that's easily confirmable into a knockdown.
  • Crouching Heavy Kick (Down.gif + Snkd.gif) - A fundamentally good sweep with an modest range; Kensou's longest grounded normal. More importantly, the player can thankfully cancel the sweep on hit of whiff into a special (namely Choukyuudan (Qcb.gif + Punch.gif)). A strong option on the offensive for locking an opponent down with projectiles, normals, and normals 2-in-1'd into Choukyuudan to bait an impatient mistake or roll. Canceling on whiff from midscreen can bait an opponent to jump over the sweep, only to be anti-aired by Choukyuudan (Qcb.gif + Punch.gif).
    • Kensou's sweep also causes a crazy hitbox reduction which brings him even lower to the ground. Kensou can even sweep to avoid certain projectiles:
      • King's qcf+B/D, Andy's qcb+A, Saiki's qcf+A, Ash's [b],f+C...
  • Blowback Attack (Snkc.gif + Snkd.gif) - Kensou scoots forward and attacks with both his fists. Like most Blowback Attacks, the active hitbox is large and cancelable which makes for an occasional anti-air if timed correctly against jumps, on reaction. There's too much startup and not enough range for a player to safely use this attack as a poke outside of a sort of anti-air. Once in on an opponent with a little frame advantage, this attack becomes much more useful as a heavily blockstunning tool for canceling into Choukyuudan (Qcb.gif + Punch.gif). The forward movement and big hitbox keep Kensou close enough for the attack to connect even after being pushed back from a few blocked light attacks, while the opponent can be counterhit and knocked down out of a poorly-placed attack or hop.
    • Kensou's front leg sticks out in front of the active hitbox, increasing the vulnerability to low attacks at all times. This doesn't apply too much if the player uses the Blowback Attack up close, though it increases the already significant risk of whiffing the attack from midscreen.
  • Jumping Light Punch (Air Snka.gif) - Downward punch with a deep vertical hitbox that hits close in to Kensou. Decent enough hitstun to be used as a jump-in into a combo or blockstring, and canelable into Ryuusougeki (Qcb.gif + Punch.gif).
    • Certain close spacings make this attack more useful than Jumping Snkc.gif due to the closer hitbox connecting earlier in the hop arc which shortens the time the opponent can react with an anti-air. Outside of this close range, a Jumping Snkb.gif or Snkb.gif or Blowback Attack would be more optimizal.
  • Jumping Light Kick (Air Snkb.gif) - A slightly downward-angled horizontal kick that has the most horizontal reach of all of Kensou's jumping normals. The kick's range can help in air-to-air situations against horizontally adjacent players, though if the opponent is approaching from above Kensou's leg then Jumping Snkd.gif would work better as an air-to-air. This attack works great for tipping the opponent with the end of Kensou's foot to get in, though the hitstun induced is lengthy enough for the player to land and combo if done up close or 'deep'. The vertical hitbox doesn't reach deep enough to hit very low-to-ground attacks or beat out any anti-airs, though it still functions decently from a close-up hop.
    • Works as a crossup.
  • Jumping Heavy Punch (Air Snkc.gif) - A flying elbow drop that reaches further horizontally that Jumping Snka.gif. Deals an average amount of block and hitstun, but the attack has a bit of startup and lacks a large active frame window unlike Jumping Snka.gif or Snkb.gif. Good as an air-to-ground attack against further out opponents Cancels into Ryuusougeki (Qcb.gif + Punch.gif).
    • Can be used to cross up an opponent, though the spacing is much stricter than with Jumping Snkb.gif.
  • Jumping Heavy Kick (Air Snkd.gif) - Kensou kicks his foot with an absolute upward vertical angle. This move best works as an air-to-air attack against opponents above the player though it can sometimes work in a horizontal approach if the opponent uses a poor air-to-air. The poor downward vertical range allows the opponent to crouch and meaty a whiffed Jumping Snkd.gif with a low attack.
  • Jumping Blowback Attack (Air Snkc.gif + Snkd.gif) - 45° downward kick with a big hitbox that inflicts a large amount of blockstun, but does not hit as an overhead. The angle of Kensou's Jumping Blowback Attack suits it for going on the offense to beat an opponent's attempted anti-air or to set up for Kensou's close pressure game if the opponent blocks the attack. Covers the lower horizontal area stronger than any of Kensou's other jumping attacks.
    • Unlike other Jumping Blowback Attacks, the downward angle makes it difficult to set up a for a situation where the player can air-to-air and capitalize off of a counterhit for a juggle.

Unique Attacks

  • Back Ten (Snkb.gif + Snkd.gif) - Kensou performs a backflip similar to Vega/Claw's backflip in Street Fighter. Similarly, Kensou is invincible during the startup of the backflip though the invulnerability window runs out halfway through the first flip. It should be noted that this maneuver can be broken down into two parts or flips; the initial, longer flip that ends with Kensou doing a handstand that can be canceled into specials and DMs, and the following short flip that ends with him standing on his feet again.
    • The first half is the real important and practical feature of Kensou's Back Ten. The initial invuln window can be used to escape backwards out of pressure, similarly to a roll, but in with less recovery if canceled into a special move. Doing a Back Ten to fake out an opponent and then canceling into Choukyuudan (Qcb.gif + Punch.gif) is an alright idea occasionally to mess with an opponents reactions to bait a jump and then anti-air with the following projectile. The opponent could of course delay their jump and punish either the Choukyuudan or the remainder of the Back Ten, or even use an invulnerable DM or EX Special move to plow forward through any option Kensou can follow with. Another risky setup would involve the Kensou player doing a Back Ten and confirming that the opponent jumped and then canceling into Ryuugakusai (Rdp.gif + Kick.gif) to anti-air.
    • The remaining flip leaves Kensou vulnerable, but the somewhat fast recovery could go unpunished against an cautious opponent that knows of the aforementioned traps, or simply one who misses a punish against the player. Uncanceled, the backflip moves the player halfway across the screen, while canceling on the first hit moves the player some 2/5 the screen backward. And finally, Kensou is pushed back even further if Back Ten is canceled into from a normal attack.
    • Another practical use of this move is to punish a Guard Cancel Attack. If the player feels a 'GCCD' counter is coming he could attack with a cancelable grounded normal and then cancel the attack into Back Ten. If the read was successful, Kensou will avoid the counter and be in the position to punish the recovery of the whiff by canceling into any of his special moves or a DM of choice. In the case of an unsuccessful read, the player has the threat of canceling the backflip into Choukyuudan (Qcb.gif + Punch.gif) to cover his vulnerability.
  • Target Combo (Snkb.gif > Snkc.gif) - Kensou can chain cancel his Standing Light Kick into his now much better Standing Heavy Punch. Though he can't cancel his target combo into specials, it gives him an easy HD Mode hitconfirm and more importantly the Standing Heavy Punch leaves Kensou at an advantage on block or hit. Kensou can afford to press buttons to go for a frametrap if his target series is blocked, and when this hits the player can easily confirm and link a Crouching/Standing Light Kick or attempt the tighter link of Standing Heavy Kick. Linking after his target combo gives Kensou more damage in all of his combos than punishing with a raw Close Heavy Punch, so work to hit the link followups.

Throw

  • Ryuuhousui (Right.gif or Left.gif + Snkc.gif or Snkd.gif [while close]) - Kensou tosses the opponent a little under 1/2 the screen's length. If the opponent techs the soft knockdown, the distance made increases to 3/4 of the screen's distance.
    • Midscreen, Kensou can back up after landing his throw to create more space to work with but he can also run forward into a hyper hop Jumping Light Kick and make it a meaty attack.
    • Kensou can combo off his normal throw in the corner! ( Dp.gif + Snkb.gif or Snkb.gif + Snkd.gif ) will both connect afterwards and both are easily Drive Canceled into ( air Qcb.gif + Punch.gif ) to start a low-resource and high-damaging corner juggle.
    • Kensou can also get a safe jump after throwing the opponent into the corner by slightly delaying a forward hop.

Kensou has a great mixup in the corner between his normal and command grab since both will lead into sizeable damage. The opponent may jump or backdash to escape Kensou's grab DM, but by trying to use his normal grab a fast Close normal should anti-air any jump or backdash attempt.

Special Moves

  • Choukyuudan (Qcb.gif + Punch.gif) - Kensou's staple projectile and primary zoning tool though also an important backbone when pressing the advantage on offense.
    • Unlike in previous games, Kensou's hitbox does not shrink when performing this special, and the projectile becomes active just a little further away. What this means is that Kensou can't easily anti-air a jump-in with his projectile.
    • The Snka.gif version is safer from fullscreen as the projectile travels slower and Kensou recovers in time to move freely as the projectile travels half the screen. This version is riskier for the opponent to roll through due to Kensou's great recovery, and in instances where the opponent jumps the player may have time to recover and anti-air with Ryuugakusai (Rdp.gif + Kick.gif). The slow speed also controls the screen for much longer and can be delayed or simply mixed up enough to anti-air an opponent. Up close the player can cancel normals into this special to keep opponents from counterpoking or jumping forward, while leaving Kensou with the initiative afterward.
    • Kensou's Qcb.gif + Snkc.gif travels faster and combos from his Heavy attacks. The speed increase can be useful for quickly attacking the opponent or mixing up with the Snka.gif version, but the opponent can more easily jump over and punish Kensou. Canceling into this version up close creates a tigher blockstring which reduces the window for the opponent to attack between hits, but at the cost of leaving the player at less of an advantage on block.
    • Ex.png Choukyuudan (Qcb.gif + Snka.gif + Snkc.gif) - This EX projectile travels across the screen at a very fast rate and causes a soft knockdown on hit. The opponent can't be additionally comboed afterward in a ground combo, and for one Super Meter the player could anti-air with Shinryuu: Choukyuudan (Qcb.gifQcb.gif + Punch.gif) or even Ex.png Ryuugakusai (Rdp.gif + Snkb.gif + Snkd.gif). This move boils down to only having a practical use in projectile wars where it will pass through normal projectiles and knock the opposing player down.
  • Ryuutouda (Qcf.gif + Punch.gif) - The first hit of Kensou's 'rekka' chain series. The hitbox isn't anything special, nor is the startup particularly fast, making the move best kept for combos exclusively. This attack combos from Kensou's Light attacks and can be followed through on hit into the finisher for a hard knockdown, or be Drive Canceled on the second hit into another special move.
    • The first hit of the rekka leaves Kensou vulnerable to a counterattack, though the player's safety is increased the further out Kensou is spaced on block.
    • Ex.png Ryuutouda (Qcf.gif + Snka.gif + Snkc.gif) - Kensou's EX Rekka series can chain four hits before ending with Hasei Shikkuu Zanryuukyaku (Qcf.gif + Kick.gif). Overall, the damage dealt is increased into the 30% range from a basic combo, and the opponent is pushed back further into the corner from the extra hits.
    • Shinryuu: Seikoushou ( Qcf.gifDf.gifQcb.gif + Punch.gif ) can be linked after Kensou's fourth rekka, i.e. before canceling into ( Qcf.gif + Kick.gif ).
    • Ryuutesshou (Ryuutouda, then Qcf.gif + Punch.gif) - The second hit of Kensou's rekka series that can be Drive Canceled to extend a combo or simply ended with (Qcf.gif + Kick.gif). This second hit moves Kensou forward and always connects from the first rekka, but the added range makes this hit even more punishable on block. Hitconfirm.
      • Hasei Shikkuu Zanryuukyaku (Ryuutesshou, then Qcf.gif + Kick.gif) - The final hit of Kensou's rekka series which launches the opponent fullscreen for a hard knockdown; this hit ends all possible combo followup options. From midscreen, the player can use the newly-earned space to zone the opponent and play a strong neutral game. Against a cornered opponent, the player has enough frame advantage to perform a safejump, empty jump, or grounded meaty to immediately start with Kensou's corner pressure options. This attack is very punishable on block.
  • Ryuubokko (Dp.gif + Punch.gif, press Punch.gif repeatedly) - A 'mashable' special move with four different outcomes depending on how many punch buttons are pressed during the move. This attack combos from Heavy attacks and can be Drive/Super Canceled on the final hit.
    • 1-5 inputs results in Kensou attacking with 5 punches with no finishing hit. This leaves Kensou close to the opponent with a poor frame advantage.
    • 6-8 inputs causes 9 hits and leaves Kensou with slightly better frame advantage than in the 5-hitter. This is the safest version of this special on block, so it can be used for guard damaging or frustrating the opponent.
    • 9-10 inputs will make Kensou punch and end the series with a punch that causes a soft knockdown that can be Drive/Super Canceled. The final hit is punishable if blocked.
    • 11+ punches or 'overmashing' makes Kensou slowly tire out at the end as he runs out of breath. This can be heavily punished on block or hit every time. In certain cases, this version could be used to cause a guardbreak from the heavy guard damage it deals, or even end out a match as the blocking opponent will lose 10% of their life in chip damage. However, the opponent can Guard Cancel Roll out of this setup with one meter, reducing the practicality of this setup.
    • Ex.png Ryuubokko (Dp.gif + Snka.gif + Snkc.gif) - Kensou automatically performs all the hits in this series and ends with a knocking down, Drive Cancelable blow. This version, too, is unsafe on block.
  • Ryuugakusai (Rdp.gif + Kick.gif) - Kensou moves forward and upward with a spinning kick. This is Kensou's 'DP' or Reversal and main special anti-air tool. To get the most damage, it helps to anti-air the opponent closer to the ground so that more hits connect. Be aware as all of Kensou's Ryuugakusai's are safe-jumpable.
    • The Snkb.gif version is Kensou's fastest anti-air since it moves Kensou upward with little forward aerial movement and offers startup invuln until after the active hitbox comes forth. Its fast speed makes it the preferred anti-air version, and overall it's a strong tool for Kensou's neutral game. A decent reversal on wakeup or during blockstrings.
    • When done with Snkd.gif, Kensou moves forward on the ground and then moves higher into the air, hitting four times. Too slow and grounded to be a useful anti-air though its startup upper body invuln makes it a decent reversal at times, though it will lose to low attacks. The first two hits keep the opponent grounded, and this moves combos from Light attacks. Lastly, this version can be Drive Canceled on the fourth hit into Ryuusougeki (Air Qcb.gif + Punch.gif) to lengthen a combo.
    • Ex.png Ryuugakusai (Rdp.gif + Snkb.gif + Snkd.gif) - Does crazy damage (255) on its own and is Drive Cancelable for further damage; great combo starter though a bad finisher due to damage scaling. The arc is a sort of mix between both versions with the startup of the [[File:snkb.gif] variation, but the opponent is likely to avoid it when jumping in deep on Kensou; doesn't start up as fast as the Snkb.gif version so this move's use is more restricted to grounded reversal situations.
    • The extra invuln time allows Kensou to use this attack to power through projectiles or big attacks to punish the opponent.
  • Ryuusougeki (Air Qcb.gif + Punch.gif) - This special causes Kensou to stop his aerial momentum and dive diagonally downward at a 45° angle with his hand. This attack is not an overhead but it's possible to space to be safe on block from most punishes. Good for Drive Canceling into from Kensou's ( Dp.gif + [[File:kick.gif] ) or for betraying an opponent's expectations by altering Kensou's jumping trajectory or timing.
    • Kensou's dive recovery period can be canceled into specials, but only on hit.
    • If blocked deeply, Kensou can be severely punished with a Close normal, though from further spacings Kensou may only be punishable by an instant grab.
    • Ex.png Ryuusougeki (Air Qcb.gif + Snka.gif + Snkc.gif) - Kensou dives downward while hitting multiple times, with more hits connecting against a standing opponent. On hit against a grounded opponent the player can link a Close Heavy Punch or Crouching Light Kick into a combo, while on block the player recovers much faster and is less likely to be punished than in the standard dive. An airborne opponent will typically be hit multiple times and can be juggled afterwards as per the standard version.
    • The multiple hits can deal around 30% of the opponent's guard meter.
    • Unpunishable on block.
  • Shikkuu Zanryuukyaku (Qcf.gif + Kick.gif) - The final hit of Kensou's rekka, but done on command. From a distance Kensou will run forward and then perform his jumping kick once reaching a close range. The Snkb.gif version causes Kensou to run forward for a short distance before stopping or committing to the flying kick, and the Snkd.gif version will cause Kensou to run further before triggering either ending. This could be used to go over a sweep but the player could simply run forward and hop in the same situation to score a combo and gain frame advantage on block instead of being highly punishable on block. Pretty much a gimmick move if done from neutral.
    • Ex.png Shikkuu Zanryuukyaku (Qcf.gif + Snkb.gif + Snkd.gif) - Kensou immediately goes into the jumping kick from any range while traveling at a higher and longer arc. The faster speed and lack of range restriction makes this move better for 'throwing out' though it is still as punishable and lacks any sort of invulnerability. In odd instances it could be used to punish moves such as Kyo's 108 Shiki: Yamibarai (Qcf.gif + Punch.gif).

Desperation Moves

  • Shinryuu: Choukyuudan (Qcb.gifQcb.gif + Punch.gif) - A huge and sparking projectile DM. The startup is too slow to combo from any of Kensou's normals and can only be incorporated into a combo from a juggle. The Snka.gif version of the DM launches a slow-traveling projectile across the screen, which is better suited for filling the screen or punishing early roll attempts in anticipation of the faster version. For more practical purposes, the Snkc.gif DM travels much faster so it can work as a fullscreen punish against oncoming projectiles or distant large whiffs or anti-air an opponent's jump. Both versions can be rolled through or punished with certain invincible moves, so be warned.
    • The opponent has to properly time a full or super jump to get over the projectile, as any hop wont cut it.
    • Ex.png Shinryuu: Choukyuudan (Qcb.gifQcb.gif + Snka.gif + Snkc.gif) - An overall improved projectile; Kensou's EX DM is three times better than the usual version. The startup is improved enough to combo off of Light attacks and off of more juggles and once active the projectile moves as fast as the Snkc.gif version DM. An even stronger combo tool, fullscreen punish, and anti-air.
    • There is no invulnerability whatsoever on either version of this DM.
  • Shinryuu: Seikoushou (Down.gifDownright.gifHcb.gif + Punch.gif) - Instant grab version of Kensou's Ryuubokko ( Dp.gif + Punch.gif ). Having the threat of a command grab increases Kensou's offensive capabilities and allows him to punish more moves on block which buffs his defensive options. Causes a soft knockdown afterward which pushes the opponent forward across the screen.
    • Kensou can link into this grab just like any other character with an instant grab. The easiest link is after the forth his of Kensou's ( Qcf.gif + Snka.gif + Snkc.gif ).
    • Deals no guard damage, but causes 10% life in chip damage.
  • Seigan: Senki Hakkei (Qcf.gifQcf.gif + Snka.gif + Snkc.gif) - Kensou creates a spinning circle of energy in front of him. The hitbox is similar in size as Shinryuu: Choukyuudan (Qcb.gifQcb.gif + Punch.gif) but without traveling full screen, while the startup speed is on par with Ex.png Shinryuu: Choukyuudan. The player can use this attack as a heavy-damaging anti-air or combo ender.
    • This is one of the few Neo Maxes that cause a hard knockdown that can be followed by a safejump or cross up.

Tips and Tricks

  • Kensou's taunt can be used as a fireball feint. He'll mimic his projectile startup and toss a meat bun while recovering faster and leaving the time to anti-air if the opponent was baited into jumping.

Combos

Kensou can start combos with the folling chains and the player can add on a jump-in of choice or tack in an extra cr.B when at point blank:

  • cr.B cr.B
  • st.B st.C, cr.B/st.D

0% Drive

0 Bar

  • (jumping attack)/cr.B cr.B cr.B xx qcf+P x2, qcf+K
    • A simple hitconfirm into rekkas and a hard knockdown.
  • (jumping attack)/cr.B > st.B st.C > cr.B/cl.D > qcf+P x2, qcf+K / rdp+K
    • Just adding links to the previous combo, these links can be added to most combos, but cl.D will only link vs some characters.
    • Ending with rdp+K does a bit more damage while qcf+K sets up meaty fireball nicely.

50% Drive

  • [corner](jumping attack)/cr.B cr.B cr.B xx rdp+D (DC) air qcb+C, qcb+A, qcf+P x2, (optional qcf+P x2), qcf+K
    • Time the drive cancel late on the fourth hit of rdp+D for the dive to connect. Remember that cr.B must be canceled into rdp+D quickly.
    • Getting both sets of qcf+P x2 into the combo requires hitting the height just right and delaying them appropriately. May be harder or impossible to do depending on the character it's being done on.
    • You can get a lot more damage out of this combo if you use rdp+BD at the start instead of just the D version.
  • [corner] (throw), dp+B/BD (DC) air qcb+C, qcb+A, qcf+P x2, (optional qcf+P x2), qcf+K - (384)
    • Kensou can do the same corner juggle as above off his normal throw. Does good damage for using one Drive Cancel.
  • [corner] cl.C rdp+BD (DC) qcb+P, tk qcb+P, qcb+A, [qcf+P qcf+P]x2, qcf+K (458 dmg)
    • This combo is really hard, but you should be able to do it from any of the regular starters. Though it does less than 5% extra damage, I'm not sure I would recommend learning it.

100% Drive

  • (jumping attack)/cr.B cr.B cr.B/cr.B st.B st.C > BC (optional st.B) cl.C [rdp+D (2-hits) (HDC) qcf+P x2 (HDC)]xn, qcf+K
    • Pretty straightforward HD combo looping Kensou's rekka and DP. The damage isn't too high but this is by no means Kensou's optimized HD combo, just something to start with.
    • Once this combo carries to the corner, you can use the combo transitions from the corner drive cancel juggle until meter gets low, then end with a delayed rdp+B(2)(juggled low so that your supers hit fully) into either neomax or fireball super, or for extra damage you can do fireball super max cancel into neomax.
  • (near corner)st.B st.C HD st.B st.C rdp+D(4) (DC) qcb+C [qcb+A, rdp+A(3) (DC) qcb+K]x3, qcb+A, qcf+P qcf+P, qcf+K (543 dmg)
    • Corner loop that does more damage that the midscreen one. You can add supers to the end of this one too for more damage but it's still costly.

Team Order

1st position

Pros

  • Doesn't need meter for defense as rdp+A is a good reversal and anti air.
  • Confirm into rekkas for hard knockdown at no meter cost.
  • Don't need to worry about opponent having a lot of meter to spend on shutting down your zoning.
  • When Drive or Power Gauge are filled up, he's able to spend small amounts of meter to convert into damage well so that you can continue to build meter and kill characters faster.

Cons

  • None.

2nd position

Pros

  • Good damage on low meter cost combos.
  • Access to more options at round start, mainly EX DP and super fireballs.

Cons

  • At this stage of the game, normally your opponent has enough meter to spend on DMs and EXs to punish your fireball game more than just once in awhile.

3rd position

Pros

  • None.

Cons

  • Getting basic spacing punished by reversals from a half or full screen away.
  • No kill combos.

Basic Strategy

Offense

  • Kensou has two primary motives for going on the offense and they are to either press the advantage - after a knockdown, anti-air, or after landing his rekkas and especially so against a cornered opponent - or to get in to the opponent in a situation where the opponent has set the tone of the match to make zoning ineffective.
    • Landing rdp+B leaves the player at a different frame advantage depending on the depth the opponent was hit and based on spacing, the player may be close enough to meaty or move in. A better way to quickly shift to the offensive would be to land an air-to-air j.B or j.D, preferably from hyper hop vs an opponent's full/super jump, and then running under the opponent for a quick crossunder.
    • Any unteched knockdown from cr.D, a throw, or any other soft knockdown can be used to get in and even potentially set up a crossup or safejump. If the opponent is thrown into the corner, the player is close enough to stay right on top of the opponent and reverse the momentum.
    • Kensou's rekka series will either push the opponent fullscreen which sets up more for a defensive or neutral spacing advantage, or the opponent will be pushed into the corner while Kensou stays close enough to safely safejump the opponent and shut down many of the opponent's options. The damage dealt from the rekka series isn't enthralling yet thankfully this move can be comboed into from simply a cr.B hitconfirm and secondly the player can end certain Drive Cancel combos with all three hits of the rekka.
    • As soon as a match starts the player may already be at a life disadvantage from a previous round. This is not an immediate problem to playing defensively but once the clock wears down and the life distance is large, the player needs a reversal of momentum or a big mistake from the opponent to make up the life difference before the round ends.
    • An opponent with meter for EX Specials or DMs can be in a good position to punish any mid to fullscreen projectile attempts for hefty damage. From at a closer range it becomes more difficult to react to projectiles, especially in blockstrings. Here, the opponent would be better off trying to feel out when to Guard Cancel Roll a blockstring than buffer and commit to a usually unsafe meter-draining move.
    • Finally there are matchups that really require rushdown as the opponent can either play a stronger projectile game or dominating neutral game.
  • Once in on an opponent, the player can utilize Kensou's cancelable normals, his projectile and his hopping attacks to open an opponent.
    • Canceling into qcb+A leaves the player at a large advantage on block, though the gap between the normal and the special is enough for the opponent to reversal through. This vulnerability window decreases on Kensou's heavier moves and st.CD. Using qcb+C forms a tigher blockstring and will combo on hit from Heavy attacks, though the frame advantage will feel worse on block.
      • Either 2-in-1 setup - from any cancelable normal - is still vulnerable to a Guard Cancel Roll and punish. It's 'safer' for the opponent to Guard Roll through a heavier attack such as cr.D as the increased hitstun makes it more preferable in any situation for the Kensou player, though the solution to this setup is to incorporate uncanceled Heavy attacks into offensive strings. Light attacks are susceptible to Guard Rolls, though the opponent must roll the exact normal that would be 2-in-1'd and Light attacks are generally advantageous on block which usually allows the player to attempt a hop, stick out a Heavy normal, run forward, or position themself favorably on block. Avoid predictability and be ready to bait a Guard Cancel Roll and meaty the opponent's roll to continue with the player's offensive momentum.
        • As a final note: by canceling into qcf+P instead of qcb+P it's possible to remain less vulnerable to being punished by a Guard Roll. Kensou moves forward and recovers faster than qcb+P, so the combined recovery and increased spacing can reduce the damage dealt. The tradeoff is that qcf+P is slightly negative on block and reduces the player's options on block in contrast to a blocked qcb+P.
    • Combined with standard hop pressure, projectile blockstrings, and pressuring with st.A or cr.B it's quite possible for the player to cause a Guard Break against the opponent. Certain unsafe moves can be made safe on block and even lead into a full combo if used to cause a Guard Break. For an example, the Kensou player could land a j.C into cr.B cr.B xx qcf+P x2 where the second rekka breaks the opponent's gauge, leaving the Kensou player the time to recover from the rekka and then land a cl.C. The only escape methods for the defending opponent would to be either a Guard Cancel Roll or a Guard Cancel Blowback Attack.

Neutral/Defense

  • Choukyuudan (qcb+P) is Kensou's primary tool for basing his neutral game around. The projectile has a moderately large hitbox so it can't be casually hopped over like Kyo's qcf+P or King's qcf+K. Which version to use and what spacings to be aware of to most effectively zone is key.
    • From fullscreen to just about 3/4 the screen away puts Kensou outside of the opponent's superjump range which limits the chance of the opponent jumping in and landing a full combo for a bad projectile. qcb+A works very well from this range as recovery fast and allows Kensou to act freely as the projectile moves passed midscreen to possibly anti-air, to run forward, or to backdash and reset this spacing. qcb+C is occasionally useful from this range to catch an opponent off-guard and possibly make the enemy walk or jump into the projectile. However, if the opponent reads the faster version it can be easily countered with a roll or jump which will close the distance between the players and neutralize Kensou's advantageous spacing.
      • Since the opponent can't directly get in and harm the player, waiting and delaying the time between projectiles is a good way to bait poor jumps or naturally anti-air with projectiles. This can anti-air neutral hops and jumps which are outside the range of Kensou's standard anti-airs.
    • In the range of 3/4 to 1/2 screen away from the opponent is where the threat of being full/super jumped in on becomes more real. It also puts the opponent in range for Kensou's strongest anti-airs of rdp+b, qcb,qcb+P, cr.C, st.D, and qcb+P from distant ranges. If the opponent likes to jump in anticipation of further projectiles, increase the time between projectiles and react to what the opponent does. A full jump should be anti-aired with the aforementioned options, though a hop can be trickier to deal with. Still, from this range it is quite possible to use qcb+A, have the opponent jump on reaction, and have Kensou recover with time enough to anti-air. Unless the opponent successfully lands a jump, the player should at worst lose the positioning advantage and have to deal with the offense of the close player.
      • From this range a qcb+C or delayed/whiff/Back Ten canceled or rather mysteriously-timed qcb+A can be used to anti-air an opponent attempting to hop or hyper hop just over the projectile. While the opponent wouldn't damage Kensou on a successful read, the remaining distance would put the opponent in close proximity where long-reaching normals and hops become a threat.
    • Anywhere from 1/2 screen or closer opens the risk that the opponent can simply hop or hyperhop in on Kensou. Smart spacing by walking back or being outside of a hop arc and using qcb+P to anti-air and zone works, but not quite to the degree as in previous games as Kensou no longer shrinks down behind his projectile. Once the projectile is out it becomes difficult for the opponent to hop around it and the advantage gained on block or hit can be used to move in closer or escape away. The opponent has the most 'abare' options available to this at this range to get around projectiles from a hyperhop, full jump, certain DMs, or the ol' run forward and roll tactic. Each method of approach can be punished, but to do so means to cool down on projectiles at this range and work solidly with normals such as relying on cr.C/st.D for anti-air, attempting run-under anti-airs, challenging the opponent with jump-ins and air-to-airs, and in general using normals at their optimal angle while countering the opponent's strongest angles.
    • Always be aware of the matchup and the opponent's options to counterattack projectiles. Projectile reflectors are more for countering the occasional, telegraphed fireball than sending each one back; mix up between fast and slow versions while maneuvering to different ranges to throw off the opponent's timing and score damage. Some characters have projectile counters that go fullscreen such as EX projectiles, DM projectiles, Neomaxes, and the occasional ground pound. Most of these fullscreen answers require a meter investment from the opponent of varying risk, though the opponent can most easily react from a fullscreen distance. Some characters are limited to only having metered projectile answers that reach only 2/3 the screen such as Shen Woo's qcf,qcf+P DM. Stay outside of the range of these midscreen counters or once in range either bait the counterattack or cut down on projectile use. And lastly, and opponent can always attempt to roll through a projectile. At a distance it can go unpunished, though when up close the stakes are higher on both sides as the rolling opponent could read a projectile and land a full combo, yet the Kensou player could bait the roll and score an entire combo himself. Watch the opponent's tendencies to roll and use caution in close range situations.

Advanced Strategy

Frame Data