Is KI attempting to evolve neutral play?

Here lately I feel like I’m not really playing a lot of neutral games with anyone that I come across. In early season 2 there was a lot of neutral gameplay; footsies, spacing, & overall react-able combat. At the start of every match now I notice character specialties set precedence over fundamentals; blocking, spacing, punishing, mind games, & reacting… it seems that all of this has been replaced with educated guessing, flying, teleporting, extreme zoning, & doing stuff. I’m not saying that it’s a bad thing, it’s just crazy me that all of this stuff is happening as soon as the match starts, right out of the gate. How are the rest of you competitive players making out with s3 at this current stage in the game? Maybe I’ve reached my cap and I can’t evolve beyond where I am?

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Only one char in s3 has a teleport(which doesn’t lead to combo and leads poor damage), Kim, Rash, Arbiter, Tusk, Raam and Mira plays a lot of footsies(with some of them a bit of aerial mobility, but nothing new after Sadira or Cinder).

You mean like S2 wulf with unreactable h/l mixups, s2 Maya with crazy one chancers, s2 Kan-Ra with… s2 Kan-Ra stuff , s2 Spinal, S2 Fulgore, to name some?

Ki is a pretty mental exausting game, with a lot stuff happening really fast. Blocking a fully loaded Fulgore, a full skulls Spinal, an online Thunder, an “over your head” Sadira or a good Wulf has always been oppressive and hard. There is no character from S3 which is more crazy than some of the examples I mentioned.

So… for me, the game has plenty [quote=“CHANCHULA, post:1, topic:19653”]
blocking, spacing, punishing, mind games, & reacting…
Of this.

I’m very happy with the current state of the game


Can you expand on this a bit? I think back to early S2 and all I can remember is broken TJ and Maya doing weird stuff, Thunder with DP DP DP, and really crazy instincts (Wulf, Spinal, Sadira) that led to tons of unreactable stuff for most of the life bar.

Honest question, because I really can’t think of why early S2 in particular gives you this impression. Maybe it’s because most players were still trying to figure out KI and were playing suboptimally?

I think it’s true that Gargos is an extreme addition in terms of wacky play in S3, but S2 had its fair share too (especially Kan-Ra and Aria). I’m just trying to understand where you’re coming from.


There’s plenty of neutral and fundamentals in the game for most match-ups.

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This is a very important topic, and personal to me, so everyone please read this. Im going to try very hard to make this a little more clear, and hopefully keep things civil.

I want to try to help use my words to bring some light on this topic in a more understandable way. I will TRY to represent this side of the argument by bringing up points that haven’t been said as clearly as they needed to be.

Lets cover a few misunderstandings about this argument. Here are the usual retaliations against these threads:

  • “Season 1 and 2 had un-fair guessing, so why are you picking on Season 3”

Those of us who make this argument aren’t trying to say that anything is BROKEN, like in past seasons, or trying to say that things are “too crazy to make intelligent decisions”. We are just trying to talk about Pacing details in the game. More on that later.

  • “This is an over-the-top game, which is MEANT to be extreme. Just deal with the craziness”

We aren’t trying to say that we hate this games’ “crazy” moments. Momentum-swings in the game are great, and we understand instinct mode is DESIGNED to put you in tough situations. We aren’t trying to critique the games fast-paced moments, we are trying to discuss options to make the neutral game (specifically, moments UNAFFECTED by meter) a little more interesting. (if that is the right word to use)

  • “This game has just as much neutral as other games”

We arent trying to say that certain mechanics dont exist, or are impractical in this game. We would just like to see them emphasized more, or discuss ways to implement them, because right now, effective neutral strategies that dont rely on major guesses are hard to find/use.

  • “Just go play SFV if you want more controllable neutral.”

We arent saying we want the game dumbed-down, slowed down, or more like SFV, or that gimmicks shouldn’t be so powerful in neutral. No one HAS to use good neutral fundamentals if they dont want to. Everyone can choose to play how they want, and that makes this game awesome, but if we DO CHOOSE to try to keep our opponents at-bay with good neutral, we feel the game doesnt favor the strategy quite well, when compared to other strategies.

Now that we know what we ARENT trying to discuss, lets talk about what we ARE trying to discuss.

The best thing i can think of is a wonderful example from SFV.


At 14:56, Gief uses a huge punch, it is countered (punished) with a S.LP which hits the extended hand after the active frames, and a far-traveling special is used to convert.

I want to see moments like this in KI. So, being curious, i went to the training mode to test if this was possible, or more importantly: USEFUL in KI.

(quick pause to say: I know it is possible, but i wanted to see how LIKELY it was to encounter situations like this. We are NOT trying to say it DOESNT EXIST, but we are just saying that there seems to a huge LACKING of it.)

I tested this against Glacius’ ice lance. I tried standing jab into wind kick. I found it was possible, but it was unreactable, and even when i did get a successful hit, the conversion was about a 1 in 10 chance of making the distance. (I will explain this more in just a sec.)

Test 2 was against Aganos’ S.HP. It again was possible, but i found something else interesting. In this case, the HURTBOX was not as outstretched as the HITBOX, which meant Aganos’ hand can HIT you, but cant BE HIT.

So in summary of the two tests, i found that these situations DO EXIST by nature of the game (remember, we arent saying they dont), but they didnt seem to be heavily considered in the design of the game. When you look at the DETAILS of the situations, you can find minor design elements that cause these moments to be less frequent in KI than in other games.

  • Some far-reaching moves are either un-reactable, or retract too quickly to get effective footsie punishes.

  • The hitboxes of some far-reaching moves arent designed to be footsie-punished at the ranges you would expect them to be.

  • I dont know too much about this, so this is a shot-in-the-dark: but it seems the “punish” hitstun is not enough to make conversions off of proper footsie-punishes on long-range normals. I will make this quick by saying: I dont fully understand the differences between “normal”, “punish”, and “counter” hitstun, or the differences between KI and SFV’s use of them, but i know it is relevant to the discussion, so i hope someone smarter than me can bring up more details about them, and their likelyhood of being altered.

So, in summary, We are NOT talking about bugs, balance, or any extreme portion of the game. We ARE talking about very isolated-incidences where footsies seem more DISCOURAGED than it should be.

This game has footsies. We get it.

Low/High crushes, invincibility, shimmy, all that jazz. But we feel the frame data and details of some normals and specials dont accept bare-bones whiff-punishes as much as they could.

If you had to ask ME what i would like to see from KI…

It would be moments like in the video example of Ken VS Gief. I DONT want anything removed from the game to make it happen, i DONT want any drastic additions, I want as close to the exact-same game we have now, but just with more of those “footsie” moments sprinkled around here and there.

(I was disappointed to not see any similar instances in the KIWC. That, or i missed them because i didnt know what to look for. It seemed to be more “Smothering” eachother, and testing eachothers defence, than it was “baiting” or punishing. Even the matches where the pace slowed-down, it was more of a “overhead-or-low?” to get in, instead of a test of footsies.)

I accept that anything i said could be wrong, and i accept that i may have mis-represented this side of the argument. The MIAN focus was just to try to clear things up so that things stay civil, and dont degrade in to the usual poo-throwing competition that these threads usually do.

I want a GOOD discussion about this stuff, but instead i have watched 100 similar threads explode into a flaming ball of gas. They usually get filled with: “Stop trying to change things”, “your opinion is wrong”, “quit complaining”, “go play something else”, and a few instances where people have managed to cleverly throw shade at eachother without ACTUALLY breaking the rules of the forums. I just hope this is the thread where things actually go right. No insults, no trying-WAY-too-hard-to-protect-your-opinion-without-accepting-that-you-may-be-wrong.

I hope i am made proud, but i will also accept if i am just wasting time and trying to hard about a topic that isn’t even a big deal :stuck_out_tongue:


I think it very well may had been this. I think when people refer to s2 and what they miss about it, they’re reflecting on the suboptimal gameplay that once existed. It just felt a lot more controlled, and a lot less complicated. Fundamentals were a major key; thus those who were really good were separated from those who weren’t as good. That gave us the Paul B’s, The Gutter’s, The Rico’s etc. It just doesn’t feel that way now. I’ve watched some great players lose to some pretty gimmicky stuff. Should they have blocked better? What gives? I feel that in this game, you can do everything right that you’re supposed to do in any given MU and still lose. The natural order of things would deem that it’s not possible for that to happen, right? If you’re doing everything you’re supposed to do, you should benefit from that conscious effort; but of course. there are characters that just negate that all together. I find myself having to take dumb risks in order to win, and even when I win… I don’t know how I won. In essence I’m not leveling up, or learning anything except that if I risky DP at random… I stand a better chance of maybe winning? Preach to me man… What am I missing?

Man, I couldn’t have said any of this better. Well said, mate.

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I don’t know. KI has always felt the least footsie based fighting game. The only time I see normals actually being used are by pros on stream. When I play ranked in Killer most people tend to just use their special moves to close gaps or engage a fight.

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My only comment on this topic is that I absolutely 100% loved KIWC. It was a blast. The only negative thing I can say is that throughout the tournament everyone was constantly jumping around, either trying to avoid projectiles or preferring to get hit mid air rather than getting opened while on the ground. I cannot get used to this constant jumping and I think it’s related to some of the aspects highlighted by others.


I personally feel jumping is easily punished. Unless it’s against aria, or other SPECIFICALLY air based characters. Even then, they have to have you knocked down and set up to GUARANTEE you can’t anti air.

But I understand the point, and I’m glad to see another un- popular opinion expressed in a non- aggressive way.

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I feel like KI is in a pretty unique place. Some matchups favor “fundamentals”, while some favor more “gimmicky” stuff. I’m putting those in quotes because while KI certainly borrows from games like Street Fighter, I dunno if I’d say that the basic skill set needed for success is completely equivalent.

After playing a menagerie of shooters one could be forgiven for thinking that once you’ve mastered one you’d be more than ready for the next. But if you put a game like, say, Gears of War next to a game like Doom, you’d be hard pressed to find common ground. Sure, they both basically amount to “point your shooty thing and make the bang-bangs go into the man-mans”, but if you go into one thinking you’ll play it anything like the other you’re gonna have a bad time. In Gears, your primary means of avoiding gunfire is taking cover, most if not all of the weapons are hitscans, your default speed is fairly slow, and you regenerate health after not taking damage. In Doom, your primary means of avoidance is strafing, many of the weapons used by both you and your foes launch slow projectiles, you move at the land speed record, and you have to find health and armor hidden in the environment in order to survive. Sure you can say that both require you to aim good and learn the map layout, but on the whole what makes a good Gears player won’t necessarily make a good Doom player.

Same goes with fighting games. Watching the Top 32 at KIWC is completely different from watching the Capcom pro tour. Watching something like Frosty Faustings and hopping between games, you could hardly tell that any of these games were related.

I think we as a community should reevaluate what “getting everything right” or “solid play” really mean for KI in particular. So much of how you play the game is dependant on the characters in play that laying out one set of universal “fundamentals” seems kinda short sighted. Does the match-up favor patience and footsies, or absolute balls to the wall berserk rage? Should you be wary of your opponent, or completely disrespect their options? Are we playing like SF or MvC or GG or…?

Apart from blocking and punishing, there’s not a whole lot of universal truth to how to do neutral in KI. Wulf vs Kim Wu and Gargos vs ARIA are almost completely different games. It’s the combo/breaker system where the cast becomes unified. Knowing how to break, how to bait breaks, and learning your opponent’s in combo habits to know when to break or counter break or just let it rock… that’s just as if not more important than what happens before the hit.

This set of mind games is unique to KI as far as I can tell. I can’t think of any other FG where even when you’re in the middle of a combo you can take your turn back, or where pressuring your opponent and maintaining the upper hand can actually be a bad idea.

So to answer the topic, yeah. I think KI has evolved the neutral game. Partially because the definition of what the neutral game actually is can change completely based on character choice, and partially because the way our combos work is almost more like a series of mixups rather than a simple combo. Simply looking at the blueprint other games have laid out will get you no where if you can’t develop your killer instinct.


Ummmm… don’t Eyedol & Gargos both have teleports?

Gargos? No. Eyedol does in Mage stance.

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Oh. So we’re not counting Heavy Reckoning?

Very good post!

That was a post that actually answered questions, and made me re-think fighting games as a whole.

When you focus on your “Breaker game” AS IF IT WERE your “Footsie game”, you will see a lot of similarities, and a lot of the same benefits!

When you mess up in footsies in SFV, you eat 30-40% damage, sometimes 50-60 if you REALLY ■■■■■ up.

When you mess up in Combo breaking in KI, you eat 30-40% damage, sometimes 50-60 if you REALLY ■■■■■ up.

Thats a pretty valuable change in thinking, which i will probably remember for a long time.


I have only played for ONE session, so i cant say too much, but DOA5 (Yes, i know, HARD TO BELIEVE, right!) has very advanced combo systems, and one of the main feature is that every character has “parries” that can be used EVEN while being combo’d. However, similar to KI, if you fail to stop the combo, you get “locked out” (“Critical Stunned”, in DOA5) and are forced to eat a longer combo than usual.

There is no punishment for attempting and failing, so you can TRY all you want, and the lockout will happen no matter what, so its not exactly the same. But if you do mash the parrie with no real reason, you leave yourself open to resets, which can lead to MASSIVE MASSIVE MASSIVE damage. So discovering your opponent is parry-ing, baiting one, and punishing at the RIGHT time and location on the stage, is basically “counter-breaking”.

Fun Game, so far, if anyone is interested. Its also free to start playing, just like KI!

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I don’t count Heavy Reckoning as a teleport. In my opinion, it’s too slow to be considered a teleport. With around 45 frames of startup it’s just too slow to be given that descriptor.


The main thing to realize is that Gief’s fierce is probably the most whiff punishable move in the game (that sees any regular use).

I think if you watched a ton of SFV, you would see this type of strict, reaction whiff punish very, very rarely. Most moves in SFV can’t be whiff punished purely on reaction even by the best players, they have to use 80% prediction, 20% reaction to have a chance. Most of the time, you spend your efforts on pre-emptive space control (lots of whiffing buttons from specific ranges), and not walk-in-walk-out whiff punishing. When you see a successful whiff punish, you can find 5 or 6 other nearby attempts at it that didn’t work.

What I’m trying to say is that I don’t think this type of play is indicative of most fighting games (including SF games, supposedly the pinnacle of grounded footsies). It’s just not very common to give people slow, whiff-punish-on-reaction moves, because those are largely and just won’t ever be used. Take a look at the KI version of that (Tusk’s st.HP) to see just how strong such a move has to be in order to make up for it being super slow and whiff punishable.

I think, in the matches that aren’t dominated by air moves, grounded footsies are pretty common in KI! You just try to whiff punish with a special move, like wind kick or a fast shadow, instead of a normal which looks like less of a commitment. The special move has the same function, except on block it moves you forward and puts you minus (thus leading to a close-range battle) rather than doing nothing if it misses and leaving you at the same range.

I also think moves that you listed, like Aganos st.HP, are super easy to whiff punish, you just don’t use jab into wind kick. You use shadow wind kick or another move that is designed to handle the giant space of st.HP. People don’t often whiff punish in KI because the pace of the game is very high, but I think strong players can and will whiff punish often.


Regardless you have to react to it. You can’t visually react to the teleport itself so I assume when people say “react”, it means to capitalize off of the vulnerable animations of that particular teleport. Thats off topic though.

I’m unsure where this came from. I don’t exactly understand how this pertains to anything I said.

Heavy reckoning is definitely not a teleport because it has only one place it can end up, so it is just a move that tries to hit you on the head.

It is also incredibly slow (I believe I measured the first hitting frame at something like 55f after the button press) and very easily reactable with blocking, a counter attack, or avoidance (like a dash). It comes down in exactly one spot and is extremely slow = it doesn’t fit the model of what most “teleport” moves are.