The King of Fighters XIII/Joe
In a nutshell
The Hot-blooded Muay Thai champ is back again. Joe's one of the strongest zoning characters in XIII with large, fullscreen projectiles that allow him to control a huge amount of the playing space. His close game is stronger than ever with great frametraps, hitconfirms and corner damage, while his mid-distance normals work great for passive offense or defense. Joe's a solid choice for a beginning zoning character as well as being a great character for seasoned players.
- Standing Light Punch () - Joe does a quick forward jab as usual for any other Standing Light Punch. While an anti-air against hops, this attack will hit crouching opponents, can be canceled into Joe's 'Step-In Middle Kick' ( + ) as a hitconfirm, and can be canceled into specials. Due to the reach and speed of this move, a player can easily pressure an opponent by walking forward and pressing Standing Light Punch to shut down hop attempts while being too fast to react to and act accordingly. An opponent will really want to block this move as one hit can turn into a knockdown, but successive blocks can eat away at the opponent's Guard Meter. Once pushed outside of Standing Light Punch's range, the Joe player could walk forward for more pressure, bait out a sweep and hop over it, cancel into a special move or command normal before going outside of this move's hit range, or attack with a longer-ranged poke.
- Standing Light Kick () - A fast snap kick reaching straight forward. The range is nearly identical to Standing Light Punch, while having a slightly shorter startup period. While special-cancelable, it does not cancel into any of Joe's command normals. While this move may not be used as often as Standing Light Punch, the hitbox is positioned lower than Standing Light Punch's, meaning that certain short hitboxes (such as a crouching Chin) can be hit by this move. In addition the timing is a hair different, giving it use inside of frametraps to create different gaps in a blockstring.
- Standing Heavy Punch () - A buff straight punch. Similar to other Standing Heavy Punches, it has great utility as a preventive anti-air and heavy poke. Unlike Standing Light Punch, it will whiff on crouching opponents other than Daimon and Raiden. Combined with the longer startup and recovery times, Standing Light Punch is a much safer move to whiff, but situations still arise where a high horizontal poke is needed.
- Close Heavy Punch (Close ) - Joe leans forward and elbows the opponent. This move is typically canceled into Joe's Step-In Middle Kick ( + ) command normal for a combo or blockstring, canceled on its own to mix up blockstrings to discourage Guard Cancel Rolls, or not canceled at all for a frametrap setup. A pretty standard close normal with a big hitbox and fast startup speed, but lacks application as an anti-air.
- Standing Heavy Kick () - A standing knee strike at Joe's waist level. In previous games this move had been Joe's Close Heavy Kick, but in KOF XIII is available for use at all ranges. Like a close normal, it can be canceled into specials, DMs, command normals, or be whiff canceled. This is a great move with many possible uses. The large frontal hitbox makes it a potential anti-air against long-reaching jumping normals spaced so that the tip of the incoming opponent's hitbox would hit Joe. It can also be used as a whiff cancel to cover the hop space in front of Joe before being canceled into a special while moving Joe forward due to the move's momentum. Finally, it works as an amazing poke up close; a Joe player can perform two Crouching Light Kicks then immediately perform a Standing Heavy Kick which will connect and offer full cancelable options.
- Crouching Light Punch ( + ) - Joe attacks with a low elbow to the opponent. The range is so poor on this move that it can whiff after a Crouching Light Kick, while Joe's Standing Light Punch has a better, longer hitbox on top of the same cancelable properties. There isn't much use for this normal.
- Crouching Light Kick ( + ) - A fast and low kick with similar application as most other Crouching Light Kicks, though Joe's has slightly above average reach. This is a player's main low threat, tripguard meaty, and hitconfirm starter as it chains into Standing Light Punch.
- Crouching Heavy Punch ( + ) - Joe does a full extended punch from a crouching position. The long reach supplements Joe's poor Crouching Light Punch and works similar to Terry's Crouching Light Punch as a beefy crouching poke, similar to a 'Low Strong' move from the Street Fighter series. Note that if canceled into Joe's Step-In Middle Kick ( + ) command normal from maximum range, the command normal will whiff.
- Crouching Heavy Kick ( + ) - Joe stretches forward into a sweep kick that scores a soft knockdown on hit. Has average range as a sweep and will connect after two Crouching Light Kicks, but also shrinks Joe's vulnerable hitbox compared to Crouching Light Kick making it more viable as a tripguard anti-air. Works well when canceled into specials such as Joe's Hurricane Upper ( + ) on block to push the opponent back, or when whiff canceled into a special to tag an opponent looking to counter-poke the sweep on reaction.
- Blowback Attack ( + ) - In previous KOF games Joe's Blowback Attack had been a slow, high step kick with little practical application, but now Joe performs a faster straight kick. The horizontal reach makes it one of Joe's longest and mid-hitting pokes in his arsenal along with his Step-In Middle Kick ( + ). A potential anti-air if spaced so the opponent land's further out on Joe's leg, and another long normal with special and whiff cancelable properties.
- Jumping Light Punch (Air ) - Joe does an aerial elbow aimed at his head's height, making it a terrible air-too-ground approach. However, the high hitbox makes it a good air-to-air when Joe is approaching an airborne opponent from below, usually in a situation where the opponent committed to a full or super jump and a Joe player meets them in the air with a hop hyper hop.
- Jumping Light Kick (Air ) - Joe's aerial knee attack resembling a flying Captain Morgan pose, boasting a great vertical hitbox, long active frames, and long hitstun. Comparable to Kyo's Jumping Light Kick, works as Joe's common air-to-ground normal as it can be done higher from a hop arc while still allowing time for a combo after landing. A poor choice in air-to-air situations, and due to positioning at times Jumping Heavy Kick works better as an air-to-ground due to the longer-reaching hitbox.
- Jumping Heavy Punch (Air ) - Downward-angled punch with a strong vertical hitbox. While it has a strong amount of hitstun and active frames, Joe's Jumping Light Kick has a faster startup making it less likely to be stuffed by a grounded anti-air. However, Jumping Heavy Punch deals more damage and has minute active and vulnerable hitbox differences, making it a nice option to remember.
- Jumping Heavy Kick (Air ) - A slightly downward kick resembling Ryu's Jumping Forward from Street Fighter. There's a few things to note about this move. The startup speed is fast, requiring a player to input the move very late or low to the ground in order to combo after hitting. This makes it a riskier move to use as a primary air-to-ground approach as opposed to Jumping Light Kick. However Joe's Jumping Heavy Kick can cross up opponents if spaced correctly, although the timing is slightly harder than with other characters primarily due to the fast startup speed. What also sets this normal apart is the longer horizontal range. While not Joe's strongest air-to-air option, it works better if an aerial opponent is slightly below Joe. The extra range also can be used to space jumps or hops so that just the tip of Joe's foot touches an opponent; this can be deceptively hard for the opponent to anti-air.
- Jumping Blowback Attack (Air + ) - A straight, horizontal jump kick and typically Joe's strongest air-to-air option when approaching an opponent of about the same aerial height. Starts up reasonably fast, but is too slow to be reliable against a close opponent with the initiative. A risky move to use as an air-to-ground as a crouching opponent may be able to punish on whiff, but gives a large frame advantage if blocked high.
- Step-In Middle Kick ( + ) - Joe kicks forward at about a 30° angle above him. This is a great move with many applicable uses.
- Like most command normals, this is Joe's combo filler that will connect from his cancelable normals; the most notable being his Close Heavy Punch, Standing Heavy Kick, Crouching Heavy Punch, and his Standing Light Punch. Even when done alone, this move can be canceled into specials, DMs, or HD Mode.
- While visually appearing to hit at a high area, Joe's Step-In Middle Kick will hit crouching opponents. This makes for a wonderful poke, comparable to his old Standing Heavy Kick from previous KOF games (or Sagat's Standing Roundhouse) only cancelable now. The recovery is fast enough to make whiffing the command normal not too big a threat as not many normals could punish the reach on whiff before Joe recovers.
- When used during a blockstring, the opponent can Guard Cancel Roll the Step-In Middle Kick on block and punish the Joe player for canceling into Hurricane Upper ( + ). If the Joe player reads this and simply does not cancel the Step-In Middle Kick, both players will be at neutral after the roll. The Joe player could also try canceling into Ougon no Kakato ( + ) which is safe on block and moves Joe forward enough to be safe from a forward Guard Cancel Roll.
- Sliding ( + ) - Joe slides on the ground in a weird pose which hits low and causes a soft knockdown.
- Joe's hitbox shrinks enough to pass under non-grounded projectiles, such as Andy's Hishoken ( + ) or Mai's Kachousen ( + ). That's about as good as it gets hitbox-wise as Joe is still vulnerable to being hopped on, making it a poor choice as a potential tripguard anti-air.
- Like most slides, the deeper the opponent blocks it, the more chance of a punish or less room to press the advantage.
- Works well when spaced to be safe while predicting a projectile, or to catch the opponent blocking high. Otherwise Joe's Sliding is much less safe to cancel in to or do than his Step-In Middle Kick.
- Sou Hiza Jigoku - ( or + or [While Close]) - Joe knees the opponent in the gut three times, the third hit causing a hard knockdown. Not a 'mashable throw' as in previous KOF games, as Joe will now always and only perform three knee strikes. When attempting a throw, using the button will generally be safer as a Standing Heavy Kick will come out if no throw is performed. Using the version is preferred in the corner to keep an opponent trapped, although if a Standing Heavy Punch is performed instead, the opponent could possible crouch it and punish the Joe player.
- Hurricane Upper ( + ) - Joe's signature projectile in which he tosses out a mini-tornado which travels fullscreen. The projectile is tall and can be difficult to hop over without proper timing, and the hitbox extends all the way to the ground which shuts down any attempts that can go under other non-grounded projectiles. Completely safe on block, making it one of Joe's best frame trap options to cancel in to. The version is incredibly useful from full to mid screen, as Joe recovers in time to run behind his projectile. The Joe player could jump and air-to-air any attempts from the opponent to jump the projectile, punish roll attempts from the opponent with a full combo, or if the opponent blocks, start an offense. The version travels faster which helps it combo from Joe's Step-In Middle Kick ( + ), but the lack of the run follow-up makes it less worthwhile.
- Tiger Kick ( + ) - Joe's standby reversal in which he flies knee-first, traveling low to the ground and forward with a flaming knee attack. Traditionally, Joe had moved upward at a step angle while the move had issues knocking the opponent down on hit, but both problems are gone with this iteration. This is Joe's best reversal special and can work as an anti-air as opponent is low to the ground, although the invulnerability time is short enough to allow large vertical hitboxes to cleanly beat it. The version starts up faster but with less invulnerability, while the version is slow to begin but during which time is invulnerable, making it the 'preferred' reversal option, but is still far too slow to tag even the sloppiest of meaty hops. Both versions are identical in damage and should only be used in corner juggle combos.
- Thrust Kick ( + ) - Known also as "Slash Kick", "Slashy Kick" and "Slushie Kick" due to the pronunciation, Joe's flexed flaming foot flies forward about 1/2 the screen. This is Joe's meterless combo ender which will always connect from his + and knock the opponent down, while positioning the opponent closer to the corner. The hitbox connects against crouching opponents, and when properly spaced to hit the opponent near the end of its length, can be made safe on block. From this safe spacing, Thrust Kick is a potential anti-air due to its deceptively big hitbox. The version deals less damage and covers less distance which makes for easier safe spacing, where the version is best used in combos.
- Bakuretsuken () x3 - A "mash" special activated by pressing Joe's punch buttons repeatedly. Joe begins a standing flurry of punches. Joe doesn't move forward when performing this special as he did in previous KOF games, but now the move is good. Due to the fairly safe nature of the move, it can be incorporated into blockstrings for a large amount of guard damage. An opponent could Guard Cancel Roll out of the punches in which Joe's only defense would be to cancel into his + Ender which will autocorrect to the opponent. Aside from blockstrings or corner combos, never use this move or activate the move by mashing too hard lest one be labeled a scrub.
- Bakuretsuken Ender ( + ) - Joe does an uppercut which will knock the opponent down on hit while being fairly hard to punish on block. End the series before Joe is pushed out too far as the ender or punch series can whiff if pushed too far away.
- ( + ) x3 - Joe automatically moves forward, punches, and then does a launcher. Launches the opponent higher than Thrust Kick ( + + ), but can be harder to incorporate into hitconfirms due to having a more challenging input.
- Ougon no Kakato (+ ) - Joe attacks with a crushing forward-arcing golden heel. Works as a "psychic" or preemptive anti-air as the startup is too slow to allow use on reaction, but boasts a large hitbox once started. An opponent hit out of the air is placed in a juggle state that usually allows a Thrust Kick ( + ) to combo. The version works well for pressure as an alternative special to cancel in to along with Hurricane Upper ( + ). The version of Ougon no Kakato covers about 1/4 the screen's range and is safer on block up close. The version covers over 1/2 the screen's length but with no vertical height added, while being potentially unsafe on block if done against an opponent and lands within a command throw range.
- Screw Upper ( + ) - Joe's signature DM that launches a gigatec tornado from his fists. The startup is too slow to be used outside of a combo, and the opponent can roll though the DM to punish Joe on whiff. Advantageous on block, though. This DM is mainly used off a Joe's Step-In Middle Kick ( + ) when in the corner or in close proximity to the opponent.
- Screw Upper will only connect off of a Standing Heavy normal canceled into a Step-In Middle Kick ( + ). Anything more will cause too much pushback for the tornado to connect. In the corner, the DM will connect off a low hitconfirm, but using Thrust Kick ( + + ) would allow for more damage anyway. The DM is pretty specific in use.
- Screw Upper ( + + ) - Joe chucks out a fiery tornado that moves forward all the way through the entire screen. Due to the tornado's movement, a player should never use this move against a cornered opponent as few hits will connect before the vortex moves off screen. Instead, it serves as Joe's most damaging midscreen combo finisher, always connecting from Joe's Step-In Middle Kick ( + ). It's worth mentioning that the startup is faster, thus making Screw Upper better as a gimmick or abare/reckless anti-air.
- Bakuretsu Hurricane Tiger Kakato ( + ) - Joe decided to use every move he knew to create this creatively-titled DM. Joe moves forward into a multi-hitting auto-combo (otherwise known as a 'ranbu') in which he unleashes an explosion of punches before tossing out Hurricane Uppers, then lifting the opponent with a Tiger Kick to knock them down with a Ougon no Kakato. The main use of this move to end a combo from midscreen as the DM will always combo from Step-In Middle Kick ( + ) while carrying the opponent far towards the corner and netting a hard knockdown. If the opponent is cornered, Thrust Kick ( + + ) would allow for more damage from a corner juggle or reset for the same amount of meter, making Joe much more scary to fight against when cornered. Pretty simple in use, just practice canceling into this move. Unsafe on block.
- Screw Straight ( + + ) - Joe finally learned how to optimize a cyclone's hitbox; by taking a tip from Daimos, Joe flipped it sideways. The game pauses as Joe starts to wind up his arm, and as he begins to punch forward the game resumes before he releases a horizontal tornado out of his fist. Although the startup is not as fast as it may initially appear, Joe's Neomax is still fast enough to anti-air full jumps on reaction or punish specials such as projectiles from a full screen's length. From a mid screen distance to full screen's length, an opponent cannot jump over the Neomax or roll through it. The only way to avoid the chip damage would be to Guard Cancel Roll multiple times. Although "fast", this move cannot actually combo from Joe's normals.