Kyo Kusanagi (KoF '98 UM)

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Toned down slightly from the original 98, Kyo is still a force to be reckoned with, and easily a high tier character.

In addition to his quick movements, he has some of the best combos. However, it is important to use the combos properly. Some moves have been nerfed a bit (notably, Mushiki does less damage, Doku Gami’s follow-ups are a little more punishable, and the braindead Naraku Otoshi + hop has been taken out back and shot). On the buff side, Koto Tsuki does a little more damage and st.C and st.D have been sped up a little.

He has a dizzyingly vast array of techniques, so he’s not exactly the best newbie character, but once you understand them he’s pretty easy to use (and the multiplicity of techniques that was once the newbie’s enemy can quickly become the intermediate player’s friend).

Move list

At a glance

Normal throws
Hatsugane (throw) f/b + C
Issetsu Seoi Nage (throw) f/b + D
Command moves
Geshiki: Naraku Otoshi (air) d + C
Geshiki: Gōfu – Yō f + B
88-Shiki df + D
Special moves
114-Shiki: Ara Gami qcf + A
┣ 128-Shiki: Ko no Kizu (during Ara Gami) qcf + P
┃┣ 127-Shiki: Ya no Sabi (during Ara Gami >> Ko no Kizu) P
┃┗ 125-Shiki: Nana Se (during Ara Gami >> Ko no Kizu) K
┗ 127-Shiki: Ya no Sabi (during Ara Gami) hcb + P
 ┣ Geshiki: Migiri Ugachi (during Ara Gami >> Ya no Sabi) P
 ┗ 125-Shiki: Nana Se (during Ara Gami >> Ya no Sabi) K
115-Shiki: Doku Gami qcf + C
┗ 401-Shiki: Tsumi Yomi (during Doku Gami) hcb + P
 ┗ 402-Shiki: Batsu Yomi (during Tsumi Yomi) f + P
100-Shiki: Oni Yaki dp + P
R.E.D. KicK rdp + K
75-Shiki: Kai qcf + K, K
910-Shiki: Nue Tsumi qcb + P
┣ Geshiki: Tora Fuse (during Nue Tsumi) trap a non-low hit
┗ Geshiki: Ryū Iri (during Nue Tsumi) trap a low hit
212-Shiki: Koto Tsuki – Yō hcb + K
Super special moves
Ura 108-Shiki: Orochi Nagi qcb hcf + P (can be held)
Saishū Kessen Ōgi “Mushiki” qcf qcf + P

Normal moves

  • cl.C – unusually quick startup; when practically touching the opponent can combo from cr.B; becomes an anti-air should the opponent try to jump attacks. But since the distance isn’t all that much, it’s easy to come out with st.C instead.
  • st.C – has comparably slower startup and higher hit position, but it is cancelable.
  • st.B – nice long reach, good for zoning. The recovery isn’t exactly short, though, so don’t overuse it.
  • st.D – nice long reach, good for zoning. The recovery isn’t exactly short, though, so don’t overuse it. Invincible to low hits, decently quick startup.
  • j.D – nice long reach, good for zoning.
  • j.C and j.B – effective crossup moves. Good to use when jumping in.

Command moves

  • Geshiki: Gōfu – Yō
  • f + B
  • Two-step move; the second step is an overhead. Can be cancelled out of if cancelled into.
  • Geshiki: Naraku Otoshi
  • d + C in midair
  • Unrollable knockdown if it hits in the opponent in midair. If it hits them while they’re on the ground, they get considerable hit stun. Excellent crossup efficacy.
  • 88-Shiki
  • df + D
  • Two-step low-hitting move. Doesn’t do knockdown, but it has long reach, so it safely combos from most weak normals.

Special moves

  • 100-Shiki: Oni Yaki
  • dp + P
  • Has shoulder-level autoblock, and the strong version has invincibility frames. The weak is for stuffing, the strong is for anti-air, but it is defenseless in the air, so you need to be careful in that regard. The strong version does knockdown, and does two hits (even if it’s an air hit).

  • R.E.D. KicK
  • rdp + K
  • Arcs through the air and kicks from above. Does good damage if it hits, and does an unrollable knockdown. Best kept as a surprise attack for jumping over projectiles. The weak version won’t even touch crouching opponents, though.

  • 212-Shiki: Koto Tsuki – Yō
  • hcb + K
  • An attack that connects a grab from an elbow strike. Unrollable knockdown. If blocked, it is still difficult to seriously counter it. If the first step hits an opponent in the air, the grab may still connect. The damage has been slightly raised from OG.

  • 75-Shiki: Kai
  • qcf + K, K
  • Two-step floating technique. The second hit can take a little delay, so you can delay it whether it’s hit or blocked. In the middle of the screen, it does not safely combo from strong attacks.

  • 910-Shiki: Nue Tsumi
  • qcb + P
  • An uppercut that has short reach, but combos from strong attacks. While in the crouching stage, he will trap normal and command moves, performing a derived move (Ryū Iri or Tora Fuse) according to the trapped move’s height.

  • 114-Shiki: Ara Gami
  • qcf + A
  • Combos from strong attacks; has a good autoblock at chest level. Use it for iffy hit confirm combos and zoning.
  • 128-Shiki: Ko no Kizu
  • qcf + P during Ara Gami
  • An uppercut that launches the opponent; when Ara Gami is blocked, you may be able to hit them by delaying this a little.
  • 127-Shiki: Ya no Sabi
  • P during Ko no Kizu
  • hcb + P during Ara Gami
  • Does not combo directly from a ground-to-ground Ara Gami; not guaranteed to combo from Ko no Kizu unless you’re in the corner. Overhead. Unrollable knockdown.
  • 125-Shiki: Nana Se
  • K during Ko no Kizu
  • K during Ya no Sabi directly derived from Ara Gami
  • A kick that propels forward. Helpful in that it combos from a Ko no Kizu hit, but generally leaves you wide open otherwise (so best not use it other than for a mid-screen Ko no Kizu).
  • Geshiki: Migiri Ugachi
  • P during Ya no Sabi directly derived from Ara Gami
  • A low-hitting move with an OTG hitbox. You can only use it to follow up the Ara Gami >> Ya no Sabi anyway.

  • 115-Shiki: Doku Gami
  • qcf + C
  • Combos from strong attacks; during the rushing-in stage, has chest-level autoblock. Unlike Ara Gami, this one is generally best kept towards the tail end of a combo. When blocked, you’ll stay right next to the opponent half the time, so you’ll want to reliably hit-confirm this.
  • 401-Shiki: Tsumi Yomi
  • hcb + P during Doku Gami
  • 402-Shiki: Batsu Yomi
  • f + P during Tsumi Yomi
  • These two can leave you all sorts of open; if Doku Gami is blocked, you shouldn’t follow up, even with a delay. When Doku Gami hits, these may not combo if you delay, so just input these as quickly as you like. Also, in the case that Doku Gami and Tsumi Yomi do a midair hit, there is a short period where you do have a damage hitbox.

Super special moves

  • Ura 108-Shiki: Orochi Nagi
  • qcb hcf + P (can be held)
  • Sends out a gigantic hitbox. During the charge-up you have some invincibility (upper-body for the strong version, lower-body for the weak version). You can hold the button to delay release, but this won’t change the move properties one whit.
  • The MAX version gives you full-body invincibility, and Kyo’s entire body is clad in flame (which happens to have a projectile hitbox). Does a maximum of three hits, but with only two hits you can juggle.

  • Saishū Kessen Ōgi “Mushiki” (Sanjingi no Ichi)
  • qcf qcf + P
  • Sets up a giant pillar of fire, and hits the opponent while sending out afterimages. Has full-body invincibility at startup. Combos from weak attacks. The normal version has a relatively short recovery, so it is possible to use the pillar of fire as an anti-air. Also, you can do a special taunt after the normal version by hitting the button repeatedly. The damage has been lowered to be about the same as that of Orochi Nagi.



  • cr.B or j.C > cl.C >> Doku Gami >> Batsu Yomi >> Tsumi Yomi
  • Basic non-corner combo. From a dash, the Doku Gami can easily come out as Oni Yaki instead, so it’s better not to try this one in such a situation.
  • cl.C >> strong 75-Shiki: Kai > weak R.E.D. KicK or Orochi Nagi
  • Basic juggle combo. Possible in the middle of the screen, but recommended for the corner.
  • (corner) j.C > cl.C >> strong 75-Shiki: Kai > (Ara Gami >) Ara Gami >> Ko no Kizu >> Nana Se
  • Enter the second Ara Gami just after the end of the first Ara Gami hit. Take as much time as necessary for the derived moves.
  • (corner) j.C > cl.C >> strong 75-Shiki: Kai > Ara Gami >> Ko no Kizu >> Ya no Sabi
  • The Ara Gami should hit them high. Input the derived moves as quickly as allowable.
  • cr.B >> cr.A >> 88-Shiki or Mushiki
  • Basic combo from low hits. If you are very close, you can do the cr.B twice.
  • crossup Naraku Otoshi > cl.C >> Gōfu (2 hit) >> Koto Tsuki or strong Orochi Nagi
  • The Gōfu has to be very close. Also, depending on the opponent, this may be restricted to rear hits only. It’s not generally safe.

The Basics

Kyo’s normals aren’t exactly the most efficient, nor is his defense all that strong. What does he do? Rushdown. <- Whoever said this is dumb

With j.C and Naraku Otoshi as the pivot, cut in with cr.A and cr.B; keep the right distance and aim to crossup with Naraku Otoshi. The opponent should be doing their best to avoid getting crossed up, so you should keep it unpredictable with a normal throw here and there. If you successfully use the D throw you can try to cross them up on wakeup.

Just zone when you aren’t coming in on the attack if your opponent is a genuinely good turtle; you don’t always have to come in guns a-blazin’. For starters, at mid-range, using Ara Gami so that the very tip hits or gets blocked is both prudent and powerful. By putting off the timing, you can mix in whiff cancels from cr.D and st.CD. Also, from a vertical hop, you can brandish Naraku Otoshi and j.D. In this game (as opposed to OG) st.D is also good; these are all particularly valid against characters with strong anti-air normals.

When it comes to wakeup meaties, you’ll generally want to do your best to crossup with Naraku Otoshi. It’s not really risky, and the rewards are great. When the opponent is cornered, however, and in other similar crossup-unfavorable situations, you could give them an option between either Gōfu and cr.B, or cl.C and the D throw.

In case you use Doku Gami in a combo and it is completely blocked, you have two options: either keep going, or pull out. To pull out, you can block, or backstep / roll back. To keep going, Oni Yaki and such would work, but if the opponent’s character isn’t a grappler, it’s easier to trap them with Nue Tsumi. In such a situation, the opponent would be expecting something like Oni Yaki, so you should try aiming at the undefended feet. Even if these small steps are blocked as well, it can bait them into the Nue Tsumi trap. And if they don’t take the bait, they probably won’t have the guts to belt out a special move, so a throw attempt will likely be escaped, but at least you get out safely.

The basic anti-air is strong Oni Yaki, but if you have the gauge to spare, try Mushiki. It does a lot of damage as an anti-air, and it practically never loses out to a different strike. Do it once, and the opponent will think twice before coming in to attack you when you have gauge.

Kyo isn’t really much for defense, but he has good stuffing and anti-air capability, so just use prudent offense. This will build gauge, which you can use in lieu of defense. His style is to do this in a cycle of sorts, so learn how to do his rushdown.

Advanced Strategy