The King of Fighters '98/Iori

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Introduction

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Gameplay Overview

Iori is the best character in KOF98. There's no need to tell you what he can do, because he can do everything, but I'll do it anyway. He has awesome damage, can stun you in 2 combos, a great attack/throw game, a great high/low game, arguably the best (through certainly the easiest to use) crossup in the game, the best punisher in the game, the best invincible DP in the game, one of the best invincible supers in the game, the best fireball in the game, the best CD counter bait in the game, and the best backdash in the game. He can mix up, cross up, turtle up, pressure, bait, move, space, zone, run away, and bake a cake. He is the Alpha and the Omega. He can be a battery, he can be a user, and he can be an anchor. He's probably the best choice for a battery/anchor in the game (good thing he can only be one of those at a time). You can get by playing Iori with low execution stills, but he get a whole lot better when you can combo into super consistently, at least for punishing or from his command grab. He is a fine choice for a beginner.

Combos

  • cl.C/cr.C,f+A xx C Aoi Hana (qcb+C~qcb+C~qcb+C)/Maiden Masher (qcf,hcb+P)
  • cr.B,cr.A/cl.A/cl.B,f+A xx C Aoi Hana (qcb+C~qcb+C~qcb+C)/Maiden Masher (qcf,hcb+P)
  • cr.B,cr.A/cl.A/cl.B xx A Aoi Hana (qcb+A~qcb+A~qcb+A)/Maiden Masher (qcf,hcb+P)
  • Scum Gale (hcb,f+P), st.C xx C Aoi Hana (qcb+C~qcb+C~qcb+C)/Maiden Masher (qcf,hcb+P)
  • Scum Gale (hcb,f+P), run in, cl.C,f+A xx C Aoi Hana (qcb+C~qcb+C~qcb+C)/Maiden Masher (qcf,hcb+P)
  • back to corner cr.A/cl.A xx Scum Gale (hcb,f+P), cr.A/cl.A xx Scum Gale (hcb,f+P) [insert Scum Gale combo here]
  • cl.C xx Dark Crescent Slice (hcb+K)

Iori has many more variations of these standard combos that are important, and I'll include info about important ones as I cover the related moves. Also note for the last combo, you can just omit the second Scum Gale and combo cr.C,f+A into whatever and keep them in the corner if you wish.

In-depth Analysis

Normal Throws

b or f+C - Breakable, forward knockdown, face forward, rollable.

b or f+D - Breakable, reverse knockdown, back turned, rollable.

Neither is all that, but the D one doesn't have an immediate blue grab 'effect', so it's a little better.

Normal Moves

Standing A - Decent small forward poke, uncancelable.

Standing B - Great, fast poke, best used in block strings. Uncancelable.

Standing C - Good range, pretty fast, and cancelable unlike most far Cs. Combos into C Aoi Hana or Maiden Masher. Cancel into fireball for safety and pressure. Easily whiff cancelable, as well.

Standing D - Awesome mid-range poke. A bit slow, but crazy priority/hitbox. Use at the tail end of block strings, or too keep people out.

Standing CD - Pretty nice hitbox, good for blockstrings into fireball or as a whiff cancel. Can hit anti-air as well, but not exactly to be used for that purpose.

Close A - Combos into Scum Gale when done close, and can be used as combo filler, replacing cr.A. Also a good meaty to set up a throw/fast attack/crossup.

Close B - Iori's fastest low, so it's the preferred choice for high/low games from short hop. Combo f+A from this into whatever. Good as a meaty.

Close C - Fastest normal in the game, along with a few others such as Chris's cr.C 1st hit. Main comboing tool from a jump-in. Very good anti-air, as well. It's practically made for run-unders (cancel into A fireball if you can). Only the first part (where his arm isn't fully extended) is cancelable.

Close D - Good anti-air. Also good for keeping people in the ground in the corner. Not cancelable.

Crouching A - Best and most dangerous crouching A in the game. Why? Because of A Aoi Hana (qcb+A). Throw this shit out as soon as you get in range for it. Just cr.A xx qcb+A, if it hits then continue with the rest. Good to combo from a jump-in if you're too far for close C.

Crouching B - Slow for a crouching B, but is extremely meaty. Iori's best meaty along with close A. If timed extremely meaty on wakeup, you can link a close C.

Crouching C - Actually not bad as a meaty (in terms of how long it stays out), but many more options from cr.B or something. More damaging than close C, so keep that in mind when punishing or performing a dizzy combo.

Crouching D - Nice speed, nice hitbox, shitty recovery. You'll see a lot of scrubs use this, and you'll probably see it hit some, too. Problem is, anyone who is familiar with their character is going to punish you nearly every time you press this attack, sometimes very badly depending on the character. The first step out of Iori scrubdom is to stop using his sweep.

Jumping A - Good as a meaty jump-in, but not anything else. It looks nice, but it doesn't hit low enough or stay out long enough to be really useful.

Jumping B - Retardedly good air-to-air, or air-to-ground from a short hop. It's range can help keep opponents in place along with fireballs, etc.

Jumping C - Iori's main jump-in. A little slow, but hits very low and is best used up close.

Jumping D - Another ridiculous air-to-air and air-to-ground hybrid. Also the best for jumping in from far on standing opponents (ie over a fireball perhaps), as it hits very fast if they are standing. It can also hit crouchers, but there is a delay.

Jumping CD - Great priority for air-to-air or as a jump-in. All around very nice for an air CD.

Command Normals

f+A~A - His f+A move has a followup. Most of the time you won't be using this, but it does have a use. After a crossup b+B, close B,f+A~A is a much easier hit confirm into super then close C,f+A.

f+A - This looks like his standing C. It does less damage, but has a bigger/higher priority hitbox so it is very nice to fish for limbs and combo into C Aoi Hana (qcb+C). Always cancelable.

f+B - Slow, overhead when done alone. Faster, non-overhead and cancelable when chained. It does not combo from anything when chained, but it's good for delayed block strings into fireball.

b+B in air - Ridiculously huge command crossup. Can be blocked crouching, though it will whiff on smaller characters if they crouch (it hits all normal-sized characters, though). Good on wakeup, better in a block string. Set up your opponent with a blocked jump-in or a close light attack, then hyperhop over their head awhile they are still crouching and cross them up. If it gets blocked, no worries, you still have 23432 frames of advantage to do whatever other mixups you want. Note that hitting this crossup is a great opportunity for cr.A/cl.A xx Scum Gale as well.

You can also use this during his backdash by simply inputting b,b+B. You will move further/faster when backdashing the earlier you perform it after the backdash. This allows Iori to space very well, and easier than other characters with the same trick,since you dont have to input a different direction.

Special Moves

Fireball (qcf+P) - Fantastic. Great recovery. A version goes quite slow, C version goes lightning fast. Great to cancel into after your combos get blocked. C version is great as a poke (best poke in the game lol).

Dragon Punch (dp+P) - A version invincible up to the hit (ie will trade with meaties), C version completely invincible on startup. Unlike most C DPs, Iori's will fully connect as long as your opponent is relatively close. A version is only preferred for hitting limbs at range.

Aoi Hana (qcb+P~qcb+P~qcb+P) - What nightmares are made of. Of course, this is Iori's main combo tool. A version is the fastest, most versatile punisher in the game. If something is punishable at all, this move can punish it. It can even punish itself (on any of the three hits). All 3 hits of both versions are punishable to some extent, but you can always continue/stop the series to make your opponent guess. The C version can go under some moves, like Athena/Kensou-height fireballs, and even some CD counters. Generally the only hit of these that you should even do without confirming is the 1st hit of the A version (and in rare cases the first hit of the C version), anything beyond that and you're asking for trouble from a good player. It also doubles as a super-fast poke. Or a whiff punisher. Or a pressure move after a blocked fireball. You can even use it to combo raw from a very far hyperhop D over a fireball. The 3rd hit is overhead. On top of all that, they slam the opponent and allow for you to set up whatever wakeup games you want. Meaty, cross up, ambiguous roll, high/low, etc.

Tsumagushi (dp+K) - No, it's not overhead. The B version works fine. This move can chain into Aoi Hana (and I recommend always canceling it into qcb+A). It has invincibility on start, though it ends far before the hit. What this move is used for is baiting CD counters. You do some move that you think the opponent will CD counter against, then cancel into this. You will blow right through and nail them with a combo! Also works as a delayed anti-mash string at the same time. You can use it it go through fireballs as well.

Dark Crescent Slice (hcb+K) - For show only, combos from close C.

Scum Gale (hcb,f+P) - Why does Iori have this? No one knows. A bit slow, but has some limited invincibility on startup, so it can be a valid wakeup option. You can pretty much combo whatever you want from it (see above). You can also use it to make his fireball unblockable if you perform it right before a fireball touches the opponent. This is possible on many characters after his Maiden Masher hits midscreen, or if they fail to roll an anti-air fireball and you throw another A strength one.

Desperation Moves

Maiden Masher (qcf,hcb+P) - C version travels further. Has (great) upper-body invincibility, and thus can be used as a reversal, or even better as an anti-air. MAX version is completely invincible, but comes out slower and does more damage.

It is important to cover a certain bug here. Although the bug has to do with his fireball, the most practical setup is from this super, so I'll put this here. There is a certain point in his fireball's hitbox where it cannot be blocked if it covers the opponent's sprite in a specific place as they are getting up. Two characters, Kensou and Brian, fall victim to this bug in such a way that simply buffering an A strength fireball immediately as the super is ending will be unblockable as it reaches them. You must not perform any move before the fireball hits, or they will be able to block. On Brian you can actually combo a second C Maiden Masher if you just wait until the fireball hits (Kensou requires some very specific distancing from the corner).

Now this bug can actually be performed on many characters, as documented here: Iori Notes. Scroll down to where you see a list of numbers. You will have to Google translate the names yourself (or maybe someone can post the translation here), but here is the gist of it:

Kensou and Brian are the ones listed at 46, which is the number of frames it takes for them to get up. This creates the perfect timing for the fireball unblockable for you. Any character with a smaller number cannot be hit with it. All characters with a larger number can be hit, but you must manually delay the fireball the appropriate number of frames (and it is a single-frame window of timing). So for example, at 47 frames is Terry and Saisyu. You must delay the fireball exactly one frame after you've recovered from the super to make the fireball unblockable.

Wine Cups (qcb,hcf+P) - Fireball pillar super, that if it connects will freeze the opponent in place, draining life before dropping them. You can get in a free combo (or a free hit if they are in the air) before they drop. The MAX version travels full-screen, creating a series of fireball pillars. Neither version does any block damage.