The King of Fighters '98/Mai

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Introduction

<FANCY_MEL> mai is one of the lead members in japanese hentai doujin mafia

Gameplay Overview

Mai is a very solid zoning/poking/runaway-based character. Her fast but higher than average jump and air dive lets her control the air a bit different from most characters. Her Ryuu Enbu, along with her Fan Toss and pokes allow her to zone and keep advantage on the ground quite effectively. While she falls mid to low-mid on most tier lists, it is misleading because she doesn't suffer matchups vs the top tier as bad as a lot of other characters that are usually ranked above her. She requires good execution/reflexes for hit-checking cr.C, but aside from that she is pretty average on execution. A good character for a beginner.

Combos

Mai only has a few combos, let's check 'em out.

  • cr.C/cl.C xx Ryuu Enbu (qcb+P)
  • cr.C xx Ryuu Enbu (qcb+P)/Killing Ninja Strike (hcf+K)/Super Killing Ninja Strike (qcb,hcf+K)
  • cr.B,cl.A xx C Ryuu Enbu (qcb+C)/B Killing Ninja Strike (hcf+B)/Super Killing Ninja Strike (qcb,hcf+K)
  • f+B, cr.C xx Ryuu Enbu (qcb+P)/Killing Ninja Strike (hcf+K)/Super Killing Ninja Strike (qcb,hcf+K)
  • corner only, meaty A Ryuu Enbu (qcb+A), st.A/B
  • corner only, meaty A Ryuu Enbu (qcb+A), cr.C xx Ryuu Enbu (qcb+P)/Killing Ninja Strike (hcf+K)/Super Killing Ninja Strike (qcb,hcf+K)
  • corner only, meaty A Ryuu Enbu (qcb+A), B Killing Ninja Strike (hcf+B)/Super Killing Ninja Strike (qcb,hcf+K)

Note that cr.C is hit-confirmable, so never do hcf+K or qcb,hcf+K on block obviously. For the cr.B combo, input cr.B, qcb+A, hcf+K for the super input.

In-depth analysis

Normal Throws

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

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

b or f or d+C/D in air - Unbreakable air throw, front knockdown, face forward, un-rollable

D throw is preferred, since the startup doesn't have the blue grab 'effect', making it a bit harder to break on reaction.

Normal Moves

Standing A - Nice fast poke, just a little short-ranged. Good followup after a meaty qcb+A in the corner.

Standing B - Fast, great as a short hop anti-air. Whiffs on crouchers, but the recovery is quick.

Close A - Her best cancelable light attack (only other is cl.B and it sucks).

Close C - Good anti-air when they are at a close/high angle. Fast, cancelable.

Close D - Kind of like close C, but it doesn't activate from as far, so stick with close C.

Crouching B - It's very slow and crappy for a cr.B, but it's her only combo-able low attack.

Crouching C - The main combo/meaty normal. Lots of time to hit-confirm into hcf+K or qcb,hcf+K off a normal hit, if it's meaty if course you'll have less time depending on how early you do it.

Crouching D - Sweep, pretty meaty but otherwise insignificant. Not cancelable.

Jumping A - Cancelable.

Jumping B - Very nice hitbox/high priority, can cross-up.

Jumping C - Fast, actually pretty good for air-to-air or as a jump-in. Like Chizuru's jumping C, it has less hit-freeze than most jump attacks, so you have to perform your ground followup from a jump-in very quickly. Cancelable.

Jumping D - Nice long-range jump-in, pretty fast too. Usually the jump-in of choice, and good jumping back air-to-air. Cancelable.

Jumping CD - Not bad, though the hitbox leaves a bit to be desired for a CD in my opinion. I think it's her jump speed/angle that makes it not as good as it could be. Still, there it is, and it's cancelable.

Command Normals

f+B - Slow overhead, causes enough hitstun to combo a cr.C afterward. Advantage on block. When chained, is still really slow and not overhead, and cancelable (into air qcb+P). You can slow cancel it, but remember it's REALLY slow. Can be used as a meaty.

d/f+B - Combos from any chainable attack, but it has really bad recovery. You can go under the highest fireballs with it (O.Ryo/O.Robert/O.Yuri/Takuma).

Jumping d+A - More hitstun/blockstun than a normal jumping attack, like Kyo's jumping d+C. Cancelable, slams on an air-to-air hit. Can crossup if you hit them right on the head.

Special Moves

Fan Toss (qcf+P) - Similar properties to Athena/Kensou fireballs (same things go under them ie some slides and Iori's super). Decent to zone with from long range. Not really to use at mid range, since she has qcb+A. Average recovery, etc. What more is there to say, it's a fireball!

Ryuu Enbu (qcb+P) - A version is a single hit, better recovery. C version has an extra hit when she starts to turn, which lets it combo from a light hit, and has a bit more recovery. This is your #1 move, use it and abuse it. Stays out for a long time, great as an anti-air especially from a distance, at least trades (in your favor) with any jump-in from the appropriate angle. Does a shit ton of stun damage (dizzies quickly). Great as a meaty.

Shitty Fan Thing (dp+P) - This move sucks. You can use it for chip damage at the end of a round.

Wall Dive (charge d,u/b or u or u/f+P~hold P) - You an choose the direction you fly with u/b or u/f. Hold P to attack when you reach the wall. A dives at a steeper angle than C. NOt only is it good for runaway, but it builds meter, too. Mixup not attacking and attacking if they try to follow you in.

Killer Ninja Strike (hcf+K) - B version is faster, combos from light hits. Both are punishable. Use as a max combo damage ender when you don't have meter, and always hit-confirm it if you aren't punishing something. Good to use by itself as an easy punisher to some things that require a long range, fast attack.

Flame Kick (dp+K) - B version is not invincible, D version is invincible up to the hit (ie it will trade with meaties at best as a reversal). An okay dp. The first hit doesn't knock down, and the second hit commonly whiffs at longer ranges, so be careful. A good idea to only use as anti-air or at point-blank range.

Air Dive (qcb+P) - A version travels at a steeper angle, C version goes further. Safe if blocked from max distance. Use to punish things while jumping back, or cancel air attacks into it as a blockstring/hit a mash. Another tool to control the air with.

Desperation Moves

Super Killer Ninja Strike (qcb,hcf+K) - Super unsafe, not invincible, pretty fast. Combos off of stuff, so...use it in a combo. MAX version is invincible up to the hit (can trade with active attacks) and does more damage.

Super Fan Toss (qcf,qcf+P) - A/C control the speed. Okay for stalling/chip damage at full-screen to end a round, but you can guard cancel roll or just roll through the 3rd fan in some situations. You can't slide/super under this like you can her normal Fan Toss. MAX version does more damage.

Flying Spinny Flame Wheel (qcb,qcb+P) - A/C control the angle (steep/shallow respectively). Can cross-up, punishable. Good for shenanigans as an ambiguous crossup, but anyone good will just roll away. If the MAX version hits in the air (and it won't because it's not invincible as she jumps), it will do like a billion hits and damage, especially if it hits on counter.