The King of Fighters '98: The Slugfest

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The King of Fighters '98: The SlugfestKOF98Logo.png


Following the conclusion of the "Orochi" saga (marked by the '97 tournament), SNK decided to release a new "dream match" (meaning the characters in the game are not bound by a storyline; evidenced by the fact that the Orochi team was still alive for this tournament). The gameplay featured the same selectable super meter system as KoF '97. In addition, SNK added the "Advantage" system that allowed the losing team to earn an advantage each round (extra stocks for Advanced mode or a shorter charge bar for Extra mode). Many consider The King of Fighters '98 to be their favorite KoF game due to its play mechanics and large roster. A remake of '98, dubbed "The King of Fighters '98: Ultimate Match", was released for the Playstation 2 in 2008. It added a new Ultimate style, new stages, and many new characters that were missing in the orignal '98. For all of this extra stuff, check below under the "Game Versions" section and click "Playstation 2".

Community Links

  • FightCade : An online plateform for arcade gaming, where people gather to play online and chat about the game.
  • Discord Fightcade Group : A Discord group useful for finding people to play Fightcade games with.

Gameplay Overview

KOF 98 has two systems to choose from, Advanced and Extra. Those coming from Capcom vs. SNK 2 background, for example, should be familiar with the "Groove Systems" that Capcom vs. SNK 2 has. The Advanced and Extra systems reflect the ability to choose subsystem mechanics akin to Capcom vs. SNK 2 and are quite comparable to "N Groove" and "S Groove" respectively. Advanced is generally the best system to choose in this iteration of KOF 98 with Extra mode only giving some benefits to particular characters for very specific reasons.


  • Block - Hold back to block mid hitting and overhead attacks or down-back to block low attacks. While blocking, you take no damage from normals and a single pixel-per-hit when blocking special/desperation moves. You can also block in the air while jumping up or back. Ground normals cannot be air guarded.
  • Air Block - For Advanced Mode: Neutral Jump or Back Jump and hold any backwards direction. For Extra Mode: Full Jump in any direction and hold any backwards direction. This type of defense only works against special moves, desperation moves and against any aerial attack that isn't an air throw. Any grounded normal attack will hit any airborne opponent. The only known exception is if the character is already air-blocking and the opponent lands before the character does and attacks with a grounded normal attack. In this instance, the airborne character will maintain an air block. At certain heights, a character cannot air block until the character reaches a higher altitude.
  • Hop - Performed by quickly tapping any upward direction. Performing a hop can be difficult at first but being able to select from any jump option at a moment's notice is absolutely vital to KOF. One trick is to quickly move from an upward direction to down in order to avoid holding up for too long and causing a jump. Hops are fast and possibly the least vulnerable of all jump types (the hopping player moves forward under 1/3 of the screen's length) which make them difficult to react to when under pressure. Using air-to-ground attacks from hops is a quick way to keep the opponent blocking while gaining frame advantage afterward. Once used to seeing hops, they become easier to anti-air when an opening presents itself. Hops are great for baiting and then punishing sweeps.
  • Hyper Hop - Performed by first pressing any downward direction, then quickly tapping up-forward or up-back. You cannot hyper hop straight up, eg. neutral. Can also be done by running and inputting a hop. Hyper hops are even faster and travel further than normal hops.
  • Jump - The option that should be the most familiar with most fighting game players, jumps in KOF are performed the same way as in any game: just press and hold any upwards direction. Jumps reach a high vertical height which suits them for maneuvering over non-ground hugging fireballs or challenging the other player in the air. Jumping carries a longer aerial hang time which gives the other player more substantial time to counter with an anti-air or air-to-air. Additionally, a normal jump covers the same horizontal distance as a hyper hop. Jumps end up getting punished more often than either hops, and so much like in any fighting game the player should have a set reason or strategy in mind before jumping heedlessly.
  • Super Jump - Super jumps are done by pressing any downward direction and holding up-back or up-forward. It can also be performed by jumping normally while running. You cannot super jump straight up, eg. neutral. A super jump travels a bit further than 1/2 of the screen length. Combined with the widescreen ratio this creates more safety from fullscreen against being jumped on. A super jump travels faster and further than a standard jump although tall vertical height of the jump arc makes this the easiest of all air options to counter with an anti-air.
  • Back Dash - Tap back twice quickly. During a back dash, you are considered airbone which means you can perform air command normals and air special moves as well as evade low attacks. Using a command normal will cause the trajectory and recovery period of the back dash to change.
  • Guard Cancel Strike (CD counter) - Press C and D simultaneously while guarding a move. Similar to Dead Angle Attacks from ArkSys games, your character cancels their guard animation and blockstun into their C+D attack to (hopefully) counter your opponent's move. Uses one power stock.
  • Taunt - Press Start. Has no use in gameplay other than to style on your opponent or mock them. Note that you do not have to commit to the entire taunt animation, it can be canceled by movement after a certain time.

Advanced Mode

Subsystems specifically for Advanced Mode

  • Run - Tap forward twice quickly. Hold the second tap to keep running. In KOF 98, when you simply tap "f., f." to run, you will run a certain distance before you stop. This can be canceled by jumping or attacking, but not by blocking or crouching. You can use this period to buffer moves such as command throws. For example with Ralf or Clark, you can tap "f., f.", then do the hcf motion for their command grab while you are moving forward, without having to keep holding forward over that first couple character spaces.
  • After this set distance the character is forced to run, the player could continue to hold "f." or "df." to keep running and letting go to neutral, to crouch, or whatever else would stop any further running.
  • Also, there is a small recovery when you release f. to stop a run. When running in to attack, keep holding forward if you're going to do a standing attack, or move to df. for a crouching attack. This makes attacking from a run seamless. You can also hold d/f to keep charge a charge-down special move while running.
  • Roll - Press A and B simultaneously. Holding back while pressing A+B rolls backwards and holding forward or just pressing A+B without input rolls forwards. Rolls are invulnerable from the very start and vulnerable at the end. You can be thrown out of rolls at any point. Since they are invincible at startup, you can use rolls as a wakeup 'reversal', but unlike in later KOF games you cannot mash the input. In KOF 98, if you are not fully recovered from something and try to input A+B, you will get a standing A attack. Using that as a reversal will get out hit on counter, so be accurate with your roll timing.
  • Recovery roll (tech roll) - Press A and B simultaneously as you are touching the ground from getting knocked down. Some moves/knockdowns are not rollable. You can mix this up with staying on the ground to mess with your opponents setups on wakeup.
  • Throw break - Press back/forward with any button immediately after you are thrown. Some mashable throws are not breakable, and instead you can mash all the buttons and directions to lessen the damage and get out faster.
  • Guard Cancel Roll (Emergency Roll) - Press A and B simultaneously while guarding a move. This uses one power stock. It's a great tool for punishing specific block strings as you roll and recover before the opponent recovers from the attack that was canceled into. Also a great way for avoiding defeat by chip damage. GC roll generally goes further than normal roll.
  • MAX Mode - Press A, B, and C simultaneously. This will use one power stock and gives you a meter that shows you how much time you have left in MAX mode. While in MAX mode you get a damage bonus (25% increase), more pushback on hit for all attacks, and any Desperation Move performed during this time will become a Super Desperation Move, which will take one power stock in addition to the one you used to go into MAX mode. These SDMs are enhanced versions of the normal supers and will do more damage/hits, have different properties, etc.

Extra Mode

Subsystems specifically for Extra Mode

  • Dash or Step - Tap forward twice quickly. Similar to forward dashes from other fighting games such as Street Fighter 3 or Capcom vs. SNK 2, the character quickly moves forward while committing to this movement, unable to attack or jump out of it to cancel the momentum. Similar to back dashes, a character can cancel a dash into an aerial command attack or an aerial special move that could affect the trajectory and recovery of the dash. For characters such as Kyo, Athena, and Brian, this technique could be used as an offensive option. Dash distance, speed, and recovery times vary between characters.
  • Evade - Press A and B simultaneously. With this move you dodge while standing in place and are invincible during the dodge. You can, however, be thrown out of this by any type of throw. In some ways, this is the stationary version of the roll. The exception is that evade doesn't have any vulnerable recovery that could be punished, unlike rolls. The alternative name for evade is also known as "side step."
  • Counter Attack - Press P or K during evade. A unique attack perform while evading. It's another way of hitting the opponent with an attack without having to wait for the evade to finish. The drawback is that Counter Attack doesn't have invulnerability and could be hit as it comes out from evade. Counter attack could cancel into special moves and desperation moves.
  • Recovery Roll - Press A and B simultaneously as you are touching the ground from getting knocked down. Some moves/knockdowns are not rollable. You can mix this up with staying on the ground to mess with your opponents setups on wakeup.
  • No Throw Escape - You cannot escape any throws in Extra mode. This is one of the biggest flaws of Extra mode that renders it almost useless compared to Advanced mode.
  • Guard Cancel Roll (Emergency Roll) - Press A and B simultaneously while guarding a move. This uses one power stock. It's a great tool for punishing specific block strings as you roll and recover before the opponent recovers from the attack that was canceled into. Also a great way for avoiding defeat by chip damage.
  • Charge Power Gauge - Press and hold A, B, and C buttons. The power gauge will charge for the duration the player holds down these buttons.

Power Gauge

In Extra Mode, you have a power gauge that fills over the course of a fight. It is filled by either charging with A+B+C, or taking damage. Once the gauge fills, the word "MAXIMUM" will briefly display over the gauge and the gauge shifts to a meter which will slowly begin to drain. During this time your character's sprite flashes and gains the following for the duration of the gauge:

  • All of your attacks do 25% more damage.
  • You may perform a Desperation Move.
  • You may perform a Guard Cancel Roll / Strike.
Doing either of the latter two will drain your gauge and return you to normal.

When you are at 20% or less health, your Life Gauge begins to flash red. During this time, your character gains the following:

  • You may perform Desperation Moves freely.
  • You may perform Guard Cancel Evades / Strikes freely.
  • If your Power Gauge reaches maximum, you may perform a Super Desperation Move.
If your life should increase back above 20% for any reason, you lose all of the benefits of a low Life Gauge.

Team Attitudes and Meter Management

Your team has an effect on the way that the game is played. While selecting your team order, you can hold down the Start button and see three types of faces next to your characters. The three types determine how much meter you get (or lose) after that character loses, and how likely they are to help you during dizzies and mashable throws.

Red Face (Angry) - After they lose, you will lose 1 power stock. They will never jump out to help you.

White Face (Neutral) - After they lose, you will have the same number of stocks that they lost with. They will jump out to help you sometimes.

Yellow Face (Happy) : This means that the fighter has been put in a team that he/she enjoys. They will add 1 power stock to your meter when they lose, and they will jump out to hit your opponent when you are dizzy or are in a mashable grab every time, as long as you give them enough time.

When you are selecting the order of your team, take note of the faces. Generally you'll want yellow/happy faces first or second, and red/angry faces last. Don't let this completely decide what order you use, though. Think about who actually needs meter, the match-ups you will be playing, etc. Note that power stocks only apply to Advanced mode, so that aspect shouldn't affect your order decision when using Extra mode.

When a character is defeated, the winning character regains a small amount of health, about 15%. In addition, losing a team member gives the losing player an advantage:

In Advanced mode, you gain an extra Power Stock slot after each fighter is lost. The first fighter has a maximum of 3, the second fighter has a maximum of 4, and the last fighter has a maximum of 5.

In Extra mode, your Power Gauge is shortened after each fighter is lost. The first fighter has a full length Power Gauge, the second fighter has one that is 25% shorter than normal, and the third fighter has one that is 50% shorter than normal. This means you have to charge the gauge less to reach MAX mode while the duration will remain the same.

Mechanics and Notes

Some additional things you should know about KOF98.

  • Reversals - Reversals in KOF98 work mostly the same as in other games. There isn't a reversal message, but the window is very large (about 5 frames). The main difference between this game and others is that most 'invincible' moves aren't completely invincible. A lot of the time they are only invincible up to the hit, in which case they will trade with meaties. You will have to refer to the character-specific sections concerning which moves do what. Universally speaking, rolls, instant command throws, and super instant command throws can be used as reversals.

  • Alternate Guard - This is a technique to avoid being thrown while blocking. First, you must block an attack or be put in blockstun by an attack (ie by it being whiffed close to you). Then you must alternate between back and down-back very quickly. This will keep you in perpetual blockstun and unable to be thrown by any throws, including proximity unblockables. To beat alternate guard, you must be able to hit the opponent by using fast lows/overhead mixups etc. to break their defense. Tactics like repeated/delayed cr.Bs can be hard to alternate guard without thinking.

Another side effect of KOF98's blocking system that you need to be aware of is whiffing jumping attacks into a throw. When you are performing an empty jump, then landing and throwing, you should not perform any attack during the jump. If you do, it will put the opponent into blockstun and your throw will whiff. It is possible for this to work though, if your opponent tries to attack or roll after they are put into blockstun but before the throw, or if they do not attempt to block at all.

  • Proximity Unblockables - This is a special type of throw that is exclusive to KOF. Some examples of proximity unblockables are Robert's hcf + K throw, Kensou's dp + P throw or qcf qcf + P super, or O. Chris's hcf + K throw. Unlike command throws, they can only be performed when close to an opponent who is in a throw-able state (ie in hitstun or not in blockstun). Because of this, it is usually impossible to whiff a proximity unblockable, making them safer in some situations than command throws. You will simply get a normal move if the opponent is not in a throw-able state, or a different command normal/special if you tried to combo into one. On the other hand, they do have startup, and it is possible to trade hits instead of simply throwing. It is also possible to whiff a proximity unblockable if you combo into one in such a way that it pushes the opponent out of range after the proximity unblockable has started. As for rolls, in most cases they will be stopped by a proximity unblockable as if you were a wall.

  • Counter-hits - Whenever you interrupt a jumping attack, special move, or super move, you score a counter-hit. This causes the screen to flash white and a "COUNTER!!" message to appear. The hit gets a 25% (usually) damage bonus, pushes back further (ala MAX mode hits), and allows you to juggle with another hit if the attack knocks down. For example, if you score a jump CD counter-hit, you can hit the opponent while they are in the air. Other examples are Chang's Ball Swing or A Belly Flop hitting twice on counter.

  • Corner Cross-ups - You might have seen in a video or something, someone crossing up another player in the corner after a knockdown. This true corner cross-up ability is only available on the 2P side (ie. only available to the player who'se life/super bars are on the 2P side).

Although this may seem like an unfair advantage, the 1P side also has it's own corner cross-up ability. Whenever the opponent is knocked down in a back turned state (ie face up, head toward or face down, feet toward), you can perform a pseudo cross-up. Simply jump toward (superjump preferred) their head and time/position a move that has some cross-up ability the same way you would normally perform a cross-up. This must be blocked in the direction away from the corner. In some ways this is more difficult to block than the 2P side bug, because you remain on the same side no matter which direction the move has to be blocked.

  • Unblockable Projectiles

Certain moves, most of them command throws, will undo the opponent's blocking status, rendering the projectile unblockable. This is generally used to give the opponent a hard time on wakeup. Use the slow version of the fireball (makes it meatier), then render it unblockable when they do their wakeup. The following is a listing of the known unblockable projectile setups, though not all of them are useful or even usable in every situation that an unblockable would help.

  • EX Yuri (fireball > running slap grab)
  • Athena (Psycho Ball > Psychic Teleport / Super Psychic Throw)
  • Kensou (fireball > bun super)
  • Iori (Yami Barai > Kuzu Kaze)
  • Takuma (fireball > running knee bash)
  • Heidern (Crosscutter > Killing Bringer / Stormbringer)

While Lucky has a teleport move, it cannot make Lucky's projectiles unblockables.

  • Guard Cancel Roll:

The guard cancel roll, has some differences compared the normal roll:

    • The characters has trailling shadows during Guard Cancel Roll (so you can visually differentiate between both rolls).
    • The Guard Cancel Roll is faster and slide a longer distance (similar to the normal roll during a run).
    • The Guard Cancel Roll is imune to throws (the normal roll is vulnerable to throws on all frames).
    • Guard Cancel Roll has no vulnerable frames (the normal roll is vulnerable on the last frames).
    • You can cancel the Guard Cancel Roll into another roll on the last frames. The new roll may be a forward or back roll (no matter the direction of the previous roll) and the new roll will retain all properties of the Guard Cancel Roll, in special it may be cancelled in another roll and so on without limits. If you miss the time of the cancel, you may end up doing a normal roll after the Guard Cancel Roll had ended, so pay attention to the trailling shadows to be sure that you've cancelled. (the normal roll cannot be cancelled on any move.)

    • General:
      • During MAX mode, you do an additional 25% damage on any non-super attack.
      • During MAX mode, all non-supper attack will deal extra pushback if not knockdown, or make opponent fall higher and farther if it causes a knockdown (this include moves that enable jungle).
        • Because of the extra pushback, some combos with distance issues will fail (or be more restricted) on MAX.
        • The higher/farther fall, will generally make jungle combos easier for some character, or even enable some MAX only jungle combos (with Andy, Goro and Heavy D! for example). But in some specific cases it is a disavantage:
          • When you need to cancel the "laucher" on the following move, the move may deal less hits (like Terry's hcf + K > dp + P or Ex. Terry's hcf + K > (d) u + P) or even miss (like O. Chris' hcf + K > dp + A) on MAX.
          • Follow ups that need to hit close and/or on a low height on the way up (like Terry's hcf + K, dp + K) need to be done faster and/or closer on MAX.
          • Billy's / Ex. Billy's dp + B will lose its jungle property on MAX.
      • The both effects above will affect a hit depending on the fact that MAX is active when the hit actually happens and not when the move is done, so if MAX end in the middle of a move, the following hits will not be affected. In a similar way you can activate MAX (on advanced) after recover from a slow projectile or after revover from moves that cause damage on the fall (like Athena's and O. Yashiro's hcf + P or Vice's and Mature's hcf + K) and the hit will have the MAX effect.
      • Doing a super during MAX will always end the MAX mode. On advanced it will always be a SDM. On extra if the life is flashing (ie little life and have not used a super for a while) it will always be an SDM, otherwise it will always be a DM.
    • Only for Advanced:
      • While the MAX activation has a short animation, the MAX mode will take effect instantly, so being hit during the activation will not cancel it.
      • Unlike future games, no move can be cancelled on the MAX activation on KOF98. And as the MAX activation take some time, it is impossible to do it in the middle of a combo (ie. no move has enough hitstun + recovery to enable: attack, recovery, MAX activation, attack) - at least in normal situations...
      • During MAX mode you gain no meter for normal moves or command attacks that touch the opponent (hit or block), but you gain meter normally for special moves.


  • Controls and basic notation of KOF 98.

Joystick Notation

                    .- up (u)
  up-back (u/b) - 7 8 9 - up-forward (u/f)

       back (b) - 4 5 6 - forward (f)

down-back (d/b) - 1 2 3 - down-forward (d/f)
                    `- down (d)

Primary Note: These numbers can be easily referenced by looking at your keyboard numpad. Think of it as a joystick/controller that is facing to the right. "5" is used to signify "neutral".

Secondary Note: These notations are based on the assumption that the character is on the "Player 1" side of the playing field. These notations remain relative to the character based upon this assumption.

Motion Abbreviations

  • qcf - 236 - Quarter circle forward/Hadouken/Fireball motion - In one smooth motion move to down -> down-forward -> forward.
  • qcf - 214 - Quarter circle backward - In one smooth motion move to down -> down-back -> back.
  • hcf - 41236 - Half circle forward - In one smooth motion move to back -> down-back -> down -> down-forward -> forward.
  • hcb - 63214 - Half circle backward - In one smooth motion move to forward -> down-forward -> down -> down-back -> back.
  • dp - 623 - Dragon Punch motion - In one smooth motion move to forward -> down -> down-forward.
  • rdp - 421 - Reverse Dragon Punch motion - In one smooth motion move to back -> down -> down-back.
  • Charge - Hold the given direction (usually back/down) for around 1 second, before moving to the next command (usually forward or up a button).
  • tk - 2369 - Tiger Knee Motion - qcf, then move to up-forward.

Attack Notation

  • A - LP - Light Punch
  • B - LK - Light Kick
  • C - HP - Hard Punch
  • D - HK - Hard Kick
  • CD - Blow back attack, press C and D simultaneously.
  • P - Any punch
  • K - Any kick

Other common abbreviations

  • j. - Jump/jumping - Press up-back, up, or up-forward.
  • nj. - Neutral jump - Referencing specifically for directly upward jump, especially for specific attacks that only occur in this state.
  • sj. - Super jump - Tap down, down-back, or down-forward, then quickly press up-back or up-forward.
  • sh. - Short hop - Lightly tap up-back, up, or up-forward.
  • hh. - Hyper hop - Tap down, down-back, or down-forward, then quickly and lightly tap up-back or up-forward.
  • cl. - Close, as in a close normal attack.
  • cr. - Crouching, as in a crouching normal attack.
  • st. - Standing, as in a far standing normal attack.
  • f. - Forward, and relative to the direction the character is facing.
  • b. - Back, and relative to the direction the character is facing.


Hold Start as you select a character to use the alternate version (Orochi team, EX characters).

Japan Team Fatal Fury Team Art of Fighting Team Ikari Warriors Team Psycho Soldier Team Women Fighters Team Korean Team
New Faces Team '97 Special Team Yagami Team Fathers/Masters Team American Sports Team Orochi Team Single Entries
EX Characters

Game Versions

Additional Information

Dune's hitbox data - Not complete, but most of the popular characters are there. The first link for each character is the hitbox data (scroll down in the right frame), then movelist, then additional information.

YouTube - Yes, YouTube! Never forget this as a great resource to see many matches and learn from them.

MoFile - This is the Chinese YouTube basically. You might get a rough connection to there, so try to access during the day when it is late/early night in China. Here are some good accounts for videos to browse: Dove 三台野 鸿牛

[1] - Decent FAQs that have some nice character information (and we udpate sometimes).

[2] - A great Japanese AtWiki

Credits and Disclaimers

Extra things.


Tier List of Chinese Players :

  • 12 - O. Chris, Chris
  • 11 - Daimon, Chizuru, Iori
  • 10 - Mai, O. Yashiro , Chang
  • 9 - Benimaru, Robert, Kyo, Mature, Takuma
  • 8 - Ex. Mai, Ex. Ryo, Yashiro, Ryo, Ralf
  • 7 - Terry, Saisyu, Leona, Ex. Kyo, Mary, Joe, Yamazaki, Clark
  • 6 - Rugal, Vice, Ex. Robert, King, Choi, Kensou, Athena, Heavy D!
  • 5 - Shingo , Ex. Terry, Kim , Yuri , Ex. Joe, Shermie, Lucky
  • 4 - Andy, Ex. Andy, O. Shermie, Chin, Ex. Yuri, Heidern, Billy
  • 3 - Ex. Billy
  • 2 - Brian

Omega Rugal is banned.


  • 1. The list is widely used in China as a score list for a special-rule match (which requires the three characters chosen by a player to total no more than 20 scores each run). The list is not made by Xiaohai directly, but is accepted by most top Chinese players including Xiaohai for online streaming matches and offline big tournaments including the U4 League 2017.
  • 2. The list is made based on the following competitive rules (as read in the screen shot above):
    • Daimon's unblockable GP on wakeup is banned.
    • No EX mode.
    • Floater glitches are banned.
  • 3. The average points (ignoring Ex. characters) is 7 pts (actually 7.05), so if you choose to use this rule and choose to accept Random as a choice, a "balanced" value for Random is 7 pts.

Shortcuts and buffers

dp = f d f = hcb f = f qcf

rdp = b d b = hcf b = b qcb

hcf = b d f

hcb = f d b

qcb hcf = qcb b d f = qcb x 2 f = qcb db f = qcb qcf

qcb db f = qcb b d f = hcb f = d b f

C, qcf x 2 + C = qcf + C, qcf + C

C, hcb x 2 + C = hcb + C, hcb + C

C, qcb hcf + C = qcb + C, hcf + C

f = forward

b = back

d = down

dp = dragon punch (f, d, df)

rdp = reverse dragon punch (b, d, db)

qcb = quarter circle back (d, db, b)

qcf = quarter circle forward (d, df, f)

hcb = half circle back (f, df, d, db, b)

hcf = half circle forward (b, db, down, df, f)

Command Input Details


It's when your're doing a "special input blocking".

For example, if you want to do this combo of Iori easily :

cl.C / cr.C > f + A > qcf hcb + P

You can proceed like this

cl.C / cr.C (hold C) > qcf + A (release C) > hcb + P

Because you hold C, you can no longer do specials, and qcf + A simply registers only the f + A part since this is a command normal. Then you release C to allow specials and supers again, then you do hcb + P and the input parser will see that you have done qcf hcb + P and register it as a super.

Same Thing with this combo of Takuma:

cl.C / cr.C > f + A > qcf hcb + P

With special input blocking:

cl.C / cr.C (hold C) > qcf + A (release C) > hcb + P

OBS: you may use f + B instead of f + A, but in this case you don't need to use 'mutting' because Takuma has no qcf + K move.

Whiff cancelling

Unlike in most fighting games, if a move is cancellable, it can be cancelled regardless of whether it hits, blocks or whiffs (except for normal aerial moves - these can only be cancelled on hit/block). Therefore it is possible for Kyo to do cr.D > qcf+A with or without hitting.

This opens up several strategic possibilities that are not normally available in other fighting games. If you whiff a move that has a good hitbox, but has bad recovery, you can either shorten this recovery or cover the recovery with a safe special.

This allows you to cover several options at once during neutral game. If you whiff cancel a sweep into a special that has a more upward hitbox you are essentially covering the full space in front of you.

Note that some attacks are nearly impossible to cancel on whiff because the active period is very short.

Late cancelling

Cancellable normals, and some character’s CD attacks, can be cancelled into command normals. If these command normals have special properties (such as knockdown, overhead, low hit and others), these special properties are usually lost when you cancel into them. In return, if you cancel into these command normals, they usually become cancellable.

But there is a way to retain these special properties. You do this by cancelling into the command normal late.

Whenever a move connects, either on hit or block, both characters freeze for a short time this is called 'hitstop or hitfreeze', a late cancel is done by inputting the command normal just after this hitstop, just when the opponent starts moving backwards from the pushback.

This is a useful technique, especially for overhead command normals which tend to have a very long startup, which makes them prone to counterpokes. By late cancelling into a command normal, you will at least secure part of the startup to be covered since the opponent will still be in blockstun, essentially creating a frametrap from a normal into a command normal.

Examples where Late cancelling is useful :

  • cr.D > f + A

With Ryo, Robert, Kensou, Chizuru, Yashiro, Vice, Saisyu

  • cr.B > f + A

With Robert, Vice

  • cl.B > f + A

With Robert, Yamazaki

  • cr.D > f + B

With Kyo, Yuri, Heidern, Takuma, Heavy D!, Rugal

  • cr.B > f + B

With Andy, Takuma

  • cl.B > f + B

With Kyo, Iori, Yuri

It permits to alternate low cancel attack with an overhead attack thus try to guard break opponent.

Tips & Tricks

  • Avoiding doing a dp move when you try to do a hcf / qcf move just after input forward:

This situation probably had happen with everybody: you try to do a qcf / hcf move just after a run or a f + button attack and get your dp move instead of your qcf / hcf move... The problem is that f hcf / f qcf are valid inputs for a dp move too, and when a input is valid for more than one move, the game applys a precendece rule, and in KOF dp has precedence over hcf / qcf. But there is a trick to avoid this (without leaving the joystick in neutral position for some frames): the point is that qcf / hcf moves may be done with qcf uf / hcf uf and those inputs are not valid for a dp move, so if you press the button with uf instead of forward you avoid doing a unintended dp move. Keep in mind however that while doing this trick in reversal situations or combos is somehow easy, it's very tricky to do this on a neutral situation where you may end up doing a jump attack if you done wrong... Logically, the same trick can be done with hcb / qcb move just after input back to avoid doing a rdp move. There is a similar situation with Ryo, where you may end up doing his (S)DM f hcf + P instead of his hcf + P move after a run / f + button, however there is no trick to avoid this specific situation... the only way is to leave joystick in neutral position for some frames...

  • Avoiding doing hcb hcf move when you try a hcb f (or doing f hcf move when you try a f b f move):

This sometimes happens especially with Iori and Takuma / Ex Ryo respectively. The problem is that when you go from back to forward in a single and continuous moviment you may end up - by mistake - pressing down in the middle. One easy way to avoid this is leaving the joystick in neutral position, instead of doing a single and continuous b f moviment (this is specially easy with a joypad). Another way is to use uf instead of forward as the last direction, ie doing hcb uf / f b uf instead of hcb f / f b f. Like the previous tip, it is somehow easy to be done in reversal situations or combos, but it's very tricky to be done on a neutral situation where you may end up doing a jump attack if you done wrong. The same trick can be used to avoid doing a hcf / qcf move when you try to do a (b) f move (ie, do (b) uf instead).

  • When you want to do two inputs in sequence (like A, B or C, f) don't do it super fast:

Because of the way the game process inputs, if you do two input in sequence very fast (1 frame or less), the game will consider that you do the two input simultaneously. So a A~B may result in an AB, a C~f may result in a f + C, and even a d + C~"neutral position" may result in a C (a stand C attack). In many times this is not a real problem, but its normally a issue when you want to use a hard attack > command attack (like cl.C > f + A) when the opponent is in a throwable state (like when it's recovering from an attack), in this case if you input forward too fast after C / D you will end up doing a normal throw instead of a close hard attack...

  • Use "reversal trick" to make combos easier:

In KOF when you are in state where can't use a special (or (S)DM), if you do the command of a special and continue to hold the button, on the next few frames (5 or more depending on the situation) the movie will be triggered automatically if you enter in a state where you can do the special (normally because you will enter in a neutral state, or in a cancellable frame). This feature exists mainly for reversal situations, enabling you to easily do a special after a block or wake up. But the same trick can be used to make combos easier. Cancel attack into specials become easier when you do this, because sometimes the attack has very few cancellable frames and you may end up doing the special to soon (or between hits of a multi-hit attack). By holding the button you have more chances of "passing" by a cancellable frame. Link combos into specials become very easier too, no matter if it's a link from a normal attack (like Goro's cr.B, hcb f + P) or links from another special (like Shingo's dp + K, qcb +D or Chris' dp + P, qcf qcf + P). That's why in the combo section we list some sequences like Iori's hcb f + P, qcf hcb + P too, while you will do more damage using a st.C or cl.C > f + A before the special, you need to manually time the normals after the hcb f + P recovery (and if you time it wrong the opponent will recover and block - or counter!!), while if you just follow with a special, you will do less damage, but you may use the "reversal trick" with no need to time the special after the recovery ;)

Info from KOFXIII

Most of it applys to KOF98 too:

Frame Data

Hit Stun

There are some exceptions, but in general, the hit stun of the moves work as follow:

  • weak attacks: 11 frames
  • air hard attacks: 11 frames
  • ground hard attacks: 19 frames
  • command attacks / specials / (S)DM: 19 frames

Because of this, in general, no move with more than 10 frames of startup will combo when cancelled from a weak attack (or an air hard attack). In a similar way, no move with more than 18 frames of startup will combo when cancelled from a ground hard attack (or a command attack).

Keep in mind that the window is even shorter when you want to follow an air attack with a ground move after you land, as the frames where you are still in the air after the air attack hit will count against you. Example: you hit with an air C and after 3 frames you land, you have to do a move with 7 or less frames of startup if you want it to combo.

Block Stun

There are some exceptions, but in general, the block stun is 2 frames short than the hit stun:

  • weak attacks: 9 frames
  • air hard attacks: 9 frames
  • ground hard attacks: 17 frames
  • CD attacks: 21 frames
  • command attacks / specials / (S)DM: 17 frames

What is said above about combos, is valid for block string too, except that block stun is shorter. So, no move with more than 8 frames of startup will make a block string when cancelled from a weak attack (or an air hard attack). In a similar way, no move with more than 16 frames of startup will make a block string when cancelled from a ground hard attack (or a command attack). And no move with more than 20 frames of startup will make a block string when cacelled from a ground or air CD.

Advantage Calculation

The formula used to calculate advantage in general is:

Advantage = "hit/block stun" + 1 - ("active frames" + "recovery frames")


  • A weak attack with frame data 3/5/5 will have +2 on hit and +0 on block
  • A hard attack with frame data 12/2/17 will have +1 on hit and -1 on block

Throw Invulnerability

Just after recovering from block stun, hit stun, air reset or knockdown (wake up), the character has some frames of throw invulnerability (in general 9 frames).

Because of this, tick into throw in KOF98 is much less usefull/abusable than in other games where you can be thrown just after the hit/block stun (like SF2).

You can verify this by cancelling a hard attack on hit/block into a throw that is not too fast (like Vice's DM qcf qcf + C or O. Yashiro's hcf + D), those throws are not fast enough to combo (opponent recover from hit/block stun before the active frames), but they will miss even if opponent stand still on the ground because throw invulnerability will still be active. However if do the same with a slower throw (like Vice's DM qcf qcf + A or O. Yashiro's qcb + P) those throws will hit if the opponent stand still on the ground, because throw invulnerability has already wear off. Keep in mind that because of the short hit/block stun, throws that miss after a hard attack because of the throw invulnerability, may hit after a weak attack because throw invulnerability has already wear off (obviously without combo).

Thanks to throw invulnerability you don't have to worry about doing a normal throw by mistake when you try a close C/D just after an opponent recover from block stun, hit stun, air reset or knockdown (in those situations f/b + C/D will always trigger close C/D instead of a normal throw).

While they are not real throws, proximity unblockables will never trigger during the throw invulnerability simply because the opponent is not in a "throwable state" during this period. Keep in mind however that once the proximity unblockable is triggered it will hit normally if then the opponent enter in throw invulnerability (which will happen only if the opponent end up recovering from hit stun between the trigger and the first hit).

If a character get hit during the throw invulnerability, the invulnerability ends immediately. Example: you do a meaty cl.C, and hit opponent on the 1st frame after wake up, you will be able to cancel in an instant throw and it will hit the opponent, because the throw invulnerability wears off just after the cl.C hit.

Keep in mind that in KOF98, invencibility does not prevent throws. So you can still be throw (as long as you are still on the ground) during attacks with invencibility (like some dp attacks and supers). The only move with invencibility to throws is the Guard Cancel Roll.

  • Exception, seens like delayed throws with invencibility and instant throws are invulnerable to throws:
    • If two characters activate instant throws ate same frame, both will wiff.
    • I saw Benimaru's DM hcb hcb + P and Daimon's DM hcb hcb + P being activated on same frame, Daimon's super wiff (and soon after Benimaru's super hit...)

It seen to be impossible to throw a character from his back when he is in a "active frame". One example:

  • You dodge Ralf's (S)DM qcf hcb + P and try to throw him from his back while he is still punching. The throw will wiff... But attack > throw will work normally ;)

Also, you cannot throw a character that is in hitstun caused by another throw (like Chris' dp +P or O. Yashiro's qcb + P or Iori's hcb f + P), or by an air attack (ie. jump attack, instant throw will always wiff).

Normal Moves

Cancellable Moves

There is no universal cancellable normal moves, but every characater can cancel at least three of theses four moves:

  • close A
  • close C
  • crouch A
  • crouch C

In fact, almost all character can cancel all these four moves, except for nine characters:

  • Heidern, Ralf & Robert: cannot cancel close A.
  • Chang: cannot cancel close C.
  • Mai & Billy: cannot cancel crouch A.
  • Goro, Clark & Lucky: cannot cancel crouch C.

No character is able to cancel far D.

All other normal moves (far A/B/C, close B/D, crouch B/D) are cancellable for some characters.

All cancellable normal moves are cancellable in command attacks, special moves or supers (DM or SDM), except for the normal moves below, that cannot be cancelled on command attacks:

  • Joe: st.A
  • Chris & O. Chris: cl.D

Random Damage

Unlike newer games, KOF98 has a random factor on the damage output of some moves. You can verify this on training mode using some King's hcb + P or Goro's hcb f + P at point blank in the corner. You will notice that sometimes the moves does slight less or slight more damage than the average. Keep in minds however that, unlike other games with random damage like SF2, the difference between the max and the min damage of a move is very small (in general a "weak attack + move dealing min damage" will deal more damage than "move dealing max damage"). But you have to keep this in mind when comparing two moves or combos with similar damage (ie. if the damage is similar you have to test a bunch of times to be sure that a move/combo is really, on average, more damaging than another).

Damage Reduction

Unlike newer games KOF98 has no damage reduction. In KOF98 the moves deal the same damage no matter how much life the opponent has or how many hits/moves were done before in the combo. However some situations may look like damage reduction but are not:

  • Random damage: as metioned above some moves have a random factor on the damage. So sometimes the moves one by one will deal a little more damage than a combo just because of the random factor.

  • "Cancelled X uncancelled" command attacks: a C/D > f +A/B will many times does less damage than both moves isolated. Its not damage reduction, its because the cancelled command attack is actually a different move, with different frame data and damage, where the cancelled version will many times be faster and less damaging.

  • "Smart damage distribution": some moves like Terry's dp + P, Ralph's qcf hcb + P, Yashiro's qcb hcf + P, O. Chris dp + C, Robert's qcf qcf + K and others, have a group of hits that do not have a fixed damage output, instead the first hits of that group that strike the opponent will deal a resonable damage and the following hits of that group that strike will deal a minimal damage. This is not damage reduction in the sense that:
    • A - The moves will still deal the same total damage in and out of a combo.
    • B - If you manage to use the same move twice in the same combo, the move may deal the same total damage each time - as long as you strike the same way in both times.

This feature is just a game design to garantee that these moves will deal a "good damage" even if you miss some of the hits, at the same time that if you strike all hits it will not do an "outstanding damage". Keep in mind however that moves with these kind of hits may still have hits with fixed damage - normally the first hits and/or the last hits, in these cases miss the first and/or last hits will greatly decrease the total damage.

Button lag

If you press a button during a neutral state the game will wait four frames before beginning the attack. This is because it's waiting for button + button / button + direction combinations. If it detects one it will execute it immediately without waiting further (e.g. if you press C and then press D two frames later, it will immediately begin the CD animation.) One of the combinations it looks for is f/b+C/D so if you're trying to cancel a close C or D into a command normal, don't be too quick with the direction input or you could end up doing a throw instead.