The King of Fighters XIII/Kula
In a nutshell
Quite the fan favorite, Kula makes her return in the latest installment of KOF. Originally designed as the anti-K' in KOF 2000, Kula shares several "sister" moves and normals to her counterpart K'. She's a solid character to have on point due to her fast meter building and that she doesn't rely on HD combos for large damage output, but she is a good character in any place on a team. Kula's game plan revolves around a mixture of rushdown and smartly spaced pokes, as her poke-game is extremely good and allows her to take control of a match.
- Standing B moves forward more, so it has more reach than in Arcade.
- Slider Shoot (df+B) has faster recovery.
- EX Ray Spin (qcb+BD) no longer has invincibility.
- EX Ray Spin > Sit (qcb+BD > f+D) has faster recovery.
- EX Diamond Edge (qcf qcf+AC) has faster startup.
- Freeze Execution (hcb hcb+AC) has an improved hitbox and faster startup.
- EX Counter Shell (qcb+AC) has a larger hitbox.
- Standing Light Punch () - Standard quick jab that isn't too useful compared to Standing Light Kick anti-airs hops better, reaches further, and hits crouchers.
- Standing Light Kick () - Fast poke with far range that cancels into specials. Kula's hitbox is angled high enough to anti-air short hops while also being able to connect against crouching opponents. The player can walk forward while pressing to pin down the opponent with the threat of canceling into Diamond Breath ( + ) to punish counterpokes, or bait a sweep which can be hyper hopped over and punished with Kula's great Jumping Heavy Punch. Highly abusable.
- Standing Heavy Punch () - Much less useful than in previous games. Kula punches with a long, frozen pike that can be canceled into specials, but the startup is very slow and the attack moves Kula forward before becoming active, furthering the chance of being hit out of the attack. The range is long, but Standing Light Kick is an overall safer and better move in comparison to this. You can utilize this move's range and ability to cancel into Diamond Dust on whiff in order to bait characters.
- Close Heavy Punch (Close ) - Kula's fastest grounded normal. Hits twice, although the second hit deals a small amount of damage. Players can instead cancel the first hit into One Inch ( + ) for better damage while having the same combo potential. Fills the role as combo starter, punish commencer, and blockstring creator.
- Standing Heavy Kick () - Reaches somewhat far, but isn't very well suited as an anti-air despite its looks. This normal has no real use and is slow to recover, so avoid using it.
- Close Heavy Kick (Close ) - Twice-hitting high kick outclassed by Close Heavy Punch's quick speed. Close Heavy Kick could be used as a vertical anti-air, or when intentionally creating more gaps in blockstrings, as otherwise Close Heavy Punch is more reliable.
- Crouching Light Punch ( + ) - Silly upward kick with almost no use as Kula has better anti-airs (including Crouching Light Kick) and this attack can't be chain canceled.
- Crouching Light Kick ( + ) - Fast low kick that confirms well and creates the basis of Kula's high/low mixups along with Jumping Heavy Punch. Chains into itself and Standing Light Kick, both of which are cancelable. One of the best Crouching Light Kicks in the game.
- Crouching Heavy Punch ( + ) - Kula stabs diagonally upward with solidified hair, though the horizontal hitbox does not extend nearly as far as it appears to. The bulk of the reach is vertical, so treat this move like a crouching uppercut when anti-airing. Extremely unsafe on whiff or block.
- Crouching Heavy Kick ( + ) - Basic cancelable sweep. Reaches further than Crouching Light Kick and causes heavier blockstun which will in turn create tighter blockstrings when canceling. Less damaging tripguard anti-air, but a solid one nonetheless.
- Blowback Attack ( + ) - Kula sticks out a giant ice ball from her hand which can anti-air, although setting up the correct spacing while reacting fast enough is difficult. Not too great in comparison to her other normal options, though this could find use in the occasional blockstring.
- Jumping Light Punch (Air ) - A smaller Jumping Heavy Punch. Alright for when trying to mix up blockstun from a jump-in, but harder to combo off of. Can be used as a semi-safe instant overhead.
- Jumping Light Kick (Air ) - Horizontal air-to-air kick with agile startup. Kula's fastest and most reliable air-to-air attack, similar to Iori's Jumping Light Kick. Wont connect against crouching characters and can be punished by a low attack if whiffed.
- Jumping Heavy Punch (Air ) - Kula's main air-to-ground attack for opening up the opponent from a close range. The hitbox is deeply vertical, which allows this attack to hit on the way up on a hop, like a slower instant overhead, while allowing the player to recover possibly at neutral or with the advantage depending on the timing. This can hit very early from jump-ins, from angles where most jumping attacks can't yet hit the grounded opponent, and the attack causes heavy hitstun which allows the player to go wild between Jumping Heavy Punch and Crouching Light Kick for fast high/low mixups.
- Jumping Heavy Kick (Air ) - A more horizontal air-to-ground attack that reaches out further than Jumping Heavy Punch. Best for approaching the opponent from spacings where Jumping Heavy Punch lacks the added range to hit the opponent. However, since the hitbox doesn't reach as vertically deep, this attack is susceptible to tripguard and run-under anti-airs.
- Jumping Blowback Attack (Air + ) - Although this attack is a fully wheeling kick, the active hitbox only exists horizontally in front of Kula and downward. This can be used as an air-to-air if the player has enough time to get the attack out, plus it works as an air-to-ground approach. Since this is a Blowback Attack, it can be blocked when crouching which limits this move's use when trying to overwhelm the opponent with immediate high and low mixups, instead resulting in more frame advantage to set up better frametrap followups.
- One Inch ( + ) - When done alone, the startup time is longer than when canceled into. Crumples the opponent on hit which can easily be visually confirmed. A very delayed frametrap option that pays off quite well if it hits.
- One Inch (canceled-into) ( + ) - When canceled into, Kula's One Inch punch combos from Heavy attacks and can be canceled into specials. While her Close Heavy normals hit twice, their second hits deals less damage so comboing into ( + ) nets higher damage.
- Fills the basic role as a combo extender from Heavy attacks.
- Slider Shoot ( + ) - A.K.A. 'Stardust Shooter', Kula rides a frozen Slip n' Slide that hits low while moving her forward halfscreen with a reduced vulnerable hitbox. The slide's startup allows it to combo from Light attacks to score a consistent midscreen knockdown, as ( + ) can fail to cause a knockdown against crouching characters.
- Unsafe if blocked. A deep slide can be punished by a Heavy normal while a distanced slide may only be punishable by near-instant attacks.
- Can go underneath some air projectiles.
- Will slide underneath the following air projectiles:
- Andy's qcb+A
- Ash's [b]f+A and [b]f+C
- Athena's qcb+A, qcb+C, and qcb+AC (EX)
- King's qcb+B and qcb+D, and qcb+AC (EX)
- Robert's qcf+A, qcf+C, and qcf+AC (EX)
- Saiki's qcf+A
- Takuma's qcf+A and qcf+C
- Will NOT slide underneath the following air projectiles:
- Andy's qcb+C and qcb+BD (EX)
- Ash's [b]f+AC (EX)
- K's qcf+A~f+B, qcf+C~f+B, and qcf+AC~f+B
- Kensou's qcb+A, qcb+C, and qcf+AC (EX)
- Mai's qcf+A, qcf+C, and qcf+AC (EX)
- Takuma's qcf+AC (EX)
- Will slide underneath the following air projectiles:
- Crow Bites ( + ) - The frozen sibling of K's molten 'DP'. First off, the version isn't invulnerable though it can be used to anti-air if activated early. Her light version has slight startup invulnerability, but is also slower to start up and doesn't have much vertical range. The first hit of the strong version can whiff when performed too close against crouching characters, but you mitigate this by ensuring you're properly spaced when you use this attack.
- Drive Cancelable on the first hit, usually into a Ray Spin ( + ) in the corner or a DM from midscreen.
- Crow Bites ( + + ) - A quicker and more invulnerable strength DP that connects more consistently against crouchers. A strong reversal, but highly unsafe on block. Starts up in 3f, so it can be used to beat out 4f safe jumps.
- Diamond Breath ( + ) - Kula brings her hand up to her mouth and breathes a frigid dust. This is generally safe and powerful tool to end blockstrings and lock the opponent down, and it can be confirmed on hit into additional damage. Attacking Kula out of the startup can be difficult, especially from the max range of her ice breath. However, breath blockstrings are punishable by Guard Cancel Rolling the canceled normal so one must avoid being too predictable with this move.
- + starts faster and can be comboed into from Heavy normals or canceled into from a Light Kick to form a more tight blockstring, while leaving a large enough gap for the opponent to try to press a button. This version sends the opponent airborne on hit which is easily confirmable into a Ray Spin followup. On block, both players are left at neutral.
- + has a much slower startup and wont combo from Kula's normals. Instead, it will stagger the opponent on hit which allows the Kula player to hyper hop in for a combo, and when blocked this leaves Kula with a large frame advantage. While advantageous on block or hit and longer-range than the light version, the longer startup creates a gap that allows the opponent to more easily escape or punish Kula during the startup.
- Diamond Breath ( + + ) - Combos from Heavy attacks and causes a crumple on hit. If blocked, the player is at a greater advantage than with the breath, and it has a slightly longer reach.
- Counter Shell ( + ) - A tool of multiple functions.
- Counters projectiles and shoots back an ice chunk identical to her Stand ( + ) Ray Spin followup.
- Kula's hand has an active hitbox that causes a hard knockdown. This can be used instead of + to end a juggle combo to achieve a better advantage while losing some damage in comparison.
- Recovers fast enough to be used from fullscreen to quickly build meter on occasions.
- Counter Shell ( + + ) - The physical slash does more damage while a reflected projectile does increased damage on hit.
- Ray Spin ( + ) - Kula's infamous spinning kick, the stuff combo nightmares are made of. When to use a followup or not depends on the situation, though all three possibilities are potentially punishable.
- + travels low to the ground, hits once, and will connect against crouching hitboxes, making it better for starting grounded combos. It combos from directly from Heavy normals and her One Inch punch, though this can also be comboed into from many juggle situations. This is an alternative blockstring ending tool to using Diamond Breath, but Ray Spin leaves Kula at a frame disadvantage which can always be punished by instant grabs, even if canceled into a followup.
- + travels high into the air while having two hits. This can be used to approach the opponent as an air-to-ground attack, though Kula is vulnerable to air-to-airs from this setup. Another weakness is that the opponent can crouch under the first hit, so using this up close is not suggested outside of combos.
- Ray Spin ( + + ) - Combos from Light attacks and is neutral on block. Easy to confirm into to start a corner combo, and isn't punishable by command grabs if blocked. Additionally, canceling into a followup creates a solid blockstring. The spinning arc behaves slightly differently which affects when it should be used in juggles.
- Stand (Ray Spin, then + ) - Projectile followup that wont combo against a grounded player though it leaves Kula neutral on block. There's a gap between a Ray Spin and her Stand followup which can be punished with command grabs or invulnerable moves, though otherwise it creates a solid frametrap.
- Combos against airborne opponents and allows the player to continue hitting the opponent afterward.
- Sit (Ray Spin, then + ) - Kula follows up with a slide that launches the opponent on hit. This makes the slide the better combo choice against grounded players. Just as with Slider Shoot, this hits low and is unsafe on block.
- Diamond Edge ( + ) - Frigid Power Geyser. The pillar of ice can anti-air, though the DM startup is lengthy and ( + + ) would be more reliable. Most combos into this DM use a Super Cancel eke out a little more damage at the end.
- Freeze Execution ( + + - Diana flies out of Kula and travels horizontally across the screen. On hit, she launches the opponent and Kula will spew out a screen-filling ice storm. Unlike EX Freeze Execution, this DM can fully connect from anywhere on the screen although the startup isn't as fast.
- Neo Freeze Execution ( + + - Similar hit detection as Freeze Execution, only Kula really makes it rain. Overall, this an improved Freeze Execution that can anti-air or punish from fullscreen.
Tips and Tricks
Kula's combos involving hitconfirming from cr.B's may be easier to do with less cr.Bs or opting out the st.B, but with the recent change to the longer range of her st.B in console version, the most optimal damage combos are listed. However, if you aren't spaced correctly, you will not be able to land all of the hits, so be aware of when and when you shouldn't use the maximum amount of pokes before hitconfirming.
- cr.B cr.B cr.B st.B xx dp+C - (203, 20)
Basic midscreen combo.
- cr.B cr.B cr.B st.B df.B - (174, 19)
Alternate to the above for a stronger knockdown which allows for a bit of mixup/safe jump.
- cl.C f+A xx qcb+B~f+D, dp+C - (266, 34)
Basic midscreen meterless combo off of a jump in or close C. When comboing off of a jump-in, if the jump attack is not meaty enough, the f.A will miss; for a safe option, cancel the first hit of the cl.C straight into f+A.
- (corner) cl.C xx qcf+A, qcb+B~f+B, dp+C - (301, 38)
Basic corner meterless combo off of a close C. Can be done from a jump-in attack as well.
- cr.B cr.B cr.B st.B xx qcb+BD dp+C - (278, 22)
Simple midscreen combo off of low. Like almost all of Kula's combos, carries the opponent a great distance towards the corner.
- cl.C f.A xx qcb+b~f.D, dp+C [SC] qcfx2 A/C - (371, 30)
Simple midscreen super cancel combo
- st.C f.A xx qcb+B~f+D, dp+C (1 hit) [DC] qcb+BD~f+D, qcb+D, qcb+B~f+B, dp+C' - (409, 58)
Midscreen combo, carries to the corner. qcb+B~f+B and the ender only connects in the corner, but this combo carries so far that you'd have to be at the other corner to not reach it. Note there's a bit of a weird timing. DP must be delayed so that Kula is low enough (and hits soon enough) to cancel into EX ray spin, and also low enough that the f+D will hit. The f+D recovers quite fast off the EX, so be quick into going into D ray spin afterwards. You can with qcb+A/C instead of dp if you wish for a harder knockdown, though the damage is less.
- (corner only) cr.B cr.B cr.B st.B xx qcb+BD qcb+B dp+C (1 hit) [DC] qcb+D qcb+B~f+B dp+C - (373, 46)
Her main corner combo and DC loop. Learn this. Can be combo'd from a jump-in.
- (corner only) st.C f.A xx qcf+AC qcf+C qcb+D qcb+B~f+B dp+C (1 hit) [DC] qcb+D qcb+B~f+B dp+C - (483, 72)
Higher damage corner combo into DC loop.
- (corner only) cr.B cr.B cr.B st.B xx qcb+BD qcb+B dp+C (1 hit) [DC] qcb+D qcb+B dp+C (1 hit) [DC] qcb+D qcb+b~f+B dp+C - (413, 70)
- (corner only) st.C f.A xx qcf+AC qcf+C qcb+D qcb+B dp+C (1 hit) [DC] qcb+D qcb+B dp+C (1 hit) [DC] qcb+D qcb+B~f+B dp+C - (515, 92)
Placeholder for now, but most of this information is relevant for KOF 13. Written by Emil_kof in regards to 2002 Kula.
Kula doesn't have a lot to show for mixup game, but due to the range, speed, and safety of her normals, she can use them to reliably stuff many pokes, eventually forcing the opponent to either take a risk where they will most likely get hit by her leg, or not press any buttons and really respect her game, which then allows her to run fundamental KOF pressure/mixup techniques with more ease.
Jumping is great for an aerial approach when spaced correctly and is very hard to anti-air if Kula is not directly above the opponent, and Standing has short startup for a move of it's range. These moves have also relatively low risk in use since they are more or less unpunishable, and also lead to combos. Note that from a poking-distance, neutral situation, a Standing can still lose to a low-profile move such as a sweep, but this can be answered with a neutral or forward hopping Jumping . Using these two tactics together at the right times forms a good basis of strategy used to keep your opponent honest due to Kula's foot always being in their face, and them having difficulty hitting her out of these moves.
Jumping is more of an air-to-air tool, but for many opponents who are trying to jump or hop out or at you, it's a useful tool to have. Generally, this is also used when hopping forward or neutral, as it covers a very similar purpose as Standing . However, many opponents may come up with various answers that keep the spacing and mediocre-anti-air qualities of Standing in mind, and Jumping can be used to cover your bases here to have a move out a bit closer and earlier than they were expecting. This increases your effective "annoying-leg-in-your-face-so-dont-press-buttons" range.
Once you have your opponent consistently in a nice down-back position, Jumping and Diamond Breath come into play. Jumping is great, but for an air-to-ground jump-in, Jumping is better, and should be used once you are confident that your opponent is actually going to stay on the ground. Diamond Breath is a great frametrap tool which is best used when cancelled off of another move, even Standing . However, she is still vulnerable during the startup so you must make absolute sure to not be predictable with it or you will be eating a fat combo.
Once the above is being utilized properly, getting damage in afterwards comes down to simple KOF fundamentals: run-stop-throw, empty-hop-low, and so on and so forth.