The King of Fighters '98/Leona

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Introduction

Leona has a rich African heritage and wears shorts.

Gameplay Overview

Leona is a mostly a poking/counter-poke/mobility-based character who is also very fast and had some good pressure and options. Her low pokes are some of the best in the game because of their range and low-crouch properties. Many of her jumping attacks have good priority and can be used as instant overheads. Her run is extremely low, and allows her to run under high fireballs such as Takuma's, as well as some jump-ins. She falls around the mid tier, but she can deal with the top tiers reasonably well, similar to Mai. She requires some accurate execution for reliable combo/mixup damage, and some more thinking than most characters, so I wouldn't recommend her to a beginner, but if you are an intermediate player and enjoy playing characters with a lots of poking/prodding ability with some weird properties, I'd recommend her.

Combos

  • cr.B,cr.A xx C Moon Slasher (charge d,u+C)
  • cr.C xx C Moon Slasher (charge d,u+C)
  • cl.D (2 hits) xx Rebel Spark (qcb,hcf+K)
  • cl.D (2 hits),f+B xx C V Slasher (qcf,hcb+C)
  • hh.A xx C V Slasher (qcf,hcb+C)
  • Baltic Launcher (charge b,f+P), j.CD/V Slasher (qcf,hcb+P)/D X Calibur (charge d,u+D)
  • corner Ground Saber (charge b,f+K), cr.C/D X Calibur (charge d,u+D)/V Slasher (qcf,hcb+P)

Her cr.B,cr.A chain is a bit harder than most characters, but it is important to her mixup game, so practice it.

The hyperhop A combo is hard, but it is an instant overhead into nice damage, so again, hit up practice mode! Buffer as qcf,u/f~A,hcb+C.

The Baltic Launcher combos when done from the A version will generally only work in the corner, but V Slasher can hit if it hits as a high anti-air.

In-depth Analysis

Normal Throws

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

b or f+D - Breakable, reverse knockdown, face forward, un-rollable.

b or f or d+C/D in air - Unbreakable, forward knockdown, back turned, un-rollable.

Well, Leona's throw game is bad. C throw doesn't have the blue grab 'effect', but the D one isn't rollable. You can at least set up wakeups from the D one with a ambiguous ground roll. The air throw is good, of course.

Normal Moves

Standing B - Anti-air vs short hop.

Standing C - Hits normal-sized characters crouching, cancelable. Even so, it's slow, and theres not much to cancel it into (Earring? lol a lil too slow. Ground Saber? Yea, sure if you have a charge.).

Standing D - Hits normal-sized characters crouching, and goes over lows, even ground fireballs. Hits short hops, too, so it's not a bad poke to use at close-mid range against non-small characters.

Close D - Main combing tool. Fast, cancelable on 2nd hit into specials/supers or f+B into V Slasher.

Standing CD - Not a bad long-range blockstun tool. Cancel into Ground Saber or Earring if you want to risk it.

Crouching B - Super-awesome low poke. Nice range, speed, low low hitbox. Use this 1000x a match.

Crouching C - Other good combo tool, usually from a jump-in. Fast and cancelable.

Crouching D - Ducks even lower than cr.B, and avoids every mid in the game. Can be used as anti-air as you'd expect. Good meaty. Just be aware of people short hopping over it.

Jumping A (all except straight, normal) - Notable because it is cancelable and hyperhop A can be used as an instant overhead, so hyperhop A xx V Slasher works.

Jumping B - Hits above you in the air!

Jumping C - Can be used as an instant overhead. Much easier to hit with than jumping A, but not cancelable.

Jumping C (straight, normal) - Can be used as an instant overhead againt normal-sized characters. Has weirdly good priority.

Jumping D (all except straight, normal) - Main jump-in along with C. Cancelable, but not an instant overhead on anyone but Chang.

Jumping D (straight, normal) - Same as jump up C pretty much. A better choice for the same purposes too, in my opinion.

Jumping CD - A very excellent jump CD. A little slow, but what jump CD isn't? Very nice hitbox.

Command Normal

f+B - Overhead, knocks down when done alone. Fast, non-overhead and cancelable (into V Slasher). After the overhead version knocks down, you can use C Baltic Launcher (charge b,f+C) as a crossup vs large characters.

Special Moves

Moon Slasher (charge d,u+P) - No invincibility, but is fast and has a nice, big hitbox. Does a lot of damage on counter-hit, and can be used as an early anti-air. Hard to punish for some characters at range. I recommend the C version, but the A version is faster and can be harder to punish.

X Calibur (charge d,u+K) - Can hop over fireballs, etc. Can cross up on wakeup, too, but theres not many setups with recovery roll. Combos from Ground Saber or Baltic Launcher in the corner.

Ground Saber~Gliding Buster (charge b,f+K~f+D) - D version goes further and has a followup by hitting f+D when it connects (not recommended). This move gives frame advantage on block, so try something like repeated cr.C xx Ground Saber in the corner, and if it hits, cr.C -> opponent lands cr.C xx Ground Saber repeat etc. You can combo X Calibur or V Slasher in the corner if it hits, as well.

Earring Bakudan (qcb+K) - B/D control the arc. Can hit low. A good pressure tool to run in behind from far away. Just be aware of the startup.

Eye Slasher (qcb+P) - This is what comes out when you mess up tigerknee V Slasher. NEVER EVER IN YOUR GODDAMN LIFE USE THIS MOVE PLEASE

Desperation Moves

Rebel Spark (qcb,hcf+K) - D version has invincibility at the beginning, and can even be used as an anti-air if timed properly (similar to Iori's Maiden Masher), or as a reversal. Combos from close D. MAX version shares the same properties, but is faster and way safer. Be a dick and throw out the MAX version, then do some gay shit when they try to run in and punish it like a cr.B or a Moon Slasher or another Rebel Spark (card starts).

V Slasher aka Vagina Blast (qcf,hcb+P in air) - Super fast. A version is invincible up to the hit (can trade), while C version has more invincibility. Combos from a chained f+B. Can be used to bait certain anti-airs, punish whiffs, and can be tiger-kneed (qcf,hcb,u/b~P), MAX version shares the properties and does more damage.

Gravity Storm (qcf,qcf+P) - A version is invincible, while C version seems to not be. Really weird super, not really recommended, but it looks cool. Not much range, and if it hits them in the air, you're screwed. Both MAX versions are invincible, do more damage, and look even cooler!