Kim Wu's most awkward move

The Super Bowl contains two teams i care less for so i decided to write up something to pass the time. I settled on discussing a character’s move that i feel is really, really awkward. Kim Wu’s Firecracker.

For those not familiar with the move, it’s the two-hit special move that can reflect projectiles tossed at her. It’s plus on block in all forms and if she continues to mash the button that she used to start the move, she can just keep going with it. Light keeps her in place, medium scoots her backwards, heavy scoots her forwards.

As A Pressure Tool

Something quirky about the move is that the extended Firecracker (where you continue to mash the button) has better frame data than the normal, shall we say, startup versions. Ideally, Firecracker will be +1 or +2 on block. The extended is either +3 or +4, and does not have to be blocked initially. So, for instance, you could encounter a situation where Kim sweeps you, whiffs heavy Firecracker while you’re down but keeps mashing it so it’s going whilst you’re waking up.

But that’s a long shot scenario. Any character with an invincible DP can ignore it, and Firecracker only has 2 active frames per swing. There’s a good chance a wake up jab will interrupt an even slightly mistimed attempt at this. There’s a select few characters that don’t have an invincible wakeup option, but not one doesn’t have a jab at their disposal.

Another likely scenario is attempting to harass with an extended Firecracker looking for a frame trap afterwards. That is difficult to pull off as well. Every version of Firecracker is a two-hit attack and has a good bit of pushback on block naturally. If you’re pressuring with normal + Firecracker, you run a risk of the second hit of firecracker whiffing alltogether, making a normally plus on block move horribly negative. Granted, you can continue to mash the button hoping to counter hit the opponent’s button, but it’s a pretty risky manuever.

As A Counter-Zoning Tool

Probably the big selling point to Firecracker is it gives Kim a means to not be zoned out the whole game and be able to use predictable, reactable projectiles as her own weapons. It’s ill advised in certain matchups and at certain ranges. Just the threat of receiving a projectile that causes stagger and can either allow Kim to close distance or confirm into a combo can cause hesitation.

The thing is, there are matchups where her Firecracker does not reflect either at all or acts oddly. Kim cannot reflect a fireball follow from Talon Rake from Riptor. Only the 5th hail from S. Hail by Glacius will trigger a reflect. Kim can reflect nothing of Kilgore’s projectile arsenal. Shadow Firecracker interacts inconsistently with general ‘big shadow fireball’ moves. Oddly, Firecracker negates Eagle’s bird almost all-together. It negates screech and it can allow peck to pass right through her.

As An Anti-Air

Granted, using Firecracker as an anti-air is probably one of the weaker applications of the move. About the only real reason that i mention it as an anti-air is because of priority and because Firecracker will launch if it connects, allowing a juggle opportunity that you do not need a dragon for (which you usually do). But the weaknesses far outweigh the strengths, in my opinion. Very short active time, which means you run the risk of getting counter-hit a lot. Picking the potential most desirable one against someone with even a average jump arc can be difficult.

Is It Fixable?

Don’t know. Firecracker does so many different things that it’s hard to figure what it’s best use might be to me. Or what the best use that was envisioned when designing the move. But it also doesn’t do any one thing exceptionally well when you compare it to similar tools with similar abilities in her own arsenal. It is not a great anti-air choice. It’s not a stellar pressure tool. It’s a hard to safely set frame trap. It also requires a good bit of matchup knowledge in what it can and can’t do as a counter-zoning tool. It’s also pretty easily low-profiled by a fair range of low and even some crouching normals.

Let’s be real, though. The move is not going to be changed anytime soon. But i could have one thing changed about Firecracker, i think i’d ask for much less pushback on block off the first hit of Firecracker. Ideally, make it so the move has less chances for it to whiff it’s second hit and become punishable. Let it keep it’s weaknesses of being a highly shadow counter-able move, and even it’s inconsistencies with reflecting projectiles. I do admit, i’d like the move to work more like Rash’s tongue where if it’s a projectile, it’s getting eaten and he’s getting free meter. But i’d rather her be bolstered in her up close game than to ‘normalize’ her reflect properties.

Anyway, just me putting some thoughts out.


I feel like firecracker is similar to the rest of Kim’s toolset, where things tend to have very specific, particular uses. The requirement of lab work to create tight meaty setups, for instance, isn’t necessarily a “problem” - it just means you need proper lab work to apply the move in the way you want. It may in fact be very good for those canned situations, but requires the proper setup to realize that potential.


I get why she can’t deflect Kilgore but Glacius’ Shadow Hail doesn’t add up…

If theres one thing I would change its to have all other advantages her Firecracker has outside of Zoning be normalised in exchanged for more Consistent Projectile Deflection.

I mean even Rash can gobble up some of those Projectiles right ? Plus I bet that long tongue makes him popular with the Ladies…

Don’t get me wrong. I don’t mind that a character has to have lab time to find out what the best use of a particular move might be. Or if it has a very specific use where it excels or offers unique options against other things that character may do. In a way, our job as players is to find those optimal ways to use them.

But this is also pretty much why i call Firecracker awkward, rather than ‘bad’ or ‘useless’ or whatever negative connotation that comes to mind.

It’s interesting to try to grasp what the combat team were looking to achieve with the move. Initially, Shadow Firecracker provided no forward movement, which is fine except that particular shadow is her move for Shadow Countering and, at first, caused many situations where characters would get hit, but then fall out. This is still a issue, and admittedly much less so, but why was Firecracker designed to be unique right out of the box? That wasn’t a case where it was strong and got dialed down a little like most characters after their release, it was functionally awkward right from her launch once she had some time in players hands.

I had my own theory that Kim, on the whole, is not fully realized. I think i came to that line of thought when i read her dragons had different properties than what are in game now. Also, this was why dragons didn’t generate in instinct while she was being hit for a few patches. No telling if this was something where it was going to be a passive-out-of-instinct ability or in-instinct ability. It’d make sense as to why dragons were so hard to get outside of instinct.

Back to Firecracker though, it’s still a weird move to figure where is it’s best place in the pace of a game. I see many Kim players that will utilize the reflect, but up close, it’s like a neglected plus-on-block special.

@Lulekani I don’t think there’s a non-shadow projectile in the game that Rash cannot interact with and not earn meter from. Even if that’s a projectile he can’t eat, like Maya’s daggers.

This is apples to oranges, but i don’t think there’s a instance in the game Rash doesn’t get 1 of the 2 particulars of tongue. Kim has many (specifically with Shadow Firecracker) where she gets very odd interactions. For example Shadow Firecracker will…

  • Destroy Jago’s Shadow Endokuken but not reflect dragons from the exchange.
  • Take one hit of Spinal’s Shadow Searing Skull, but then still get hit 4 more times instead of 5.
  • Get blown up by Fulgore’s Shadow Plasma, getting hit 5 times and launching.
  • The Glacius one that i already noted.
  • Instantly blow up Maya’s Shadow Spirit Slicer, but not reflect dragons from the exchange.
  • Destroy Kan-Ra’s Shadow Scarabs and reflect dragons, but only after it’s fully formed. It’ll just pass through those few moments where he’s hacking over your feet.

One can just say those are quirks you’ll have to know playing as the character, and i agree to an extent. It doesn’t make it any less off putting or awkward to have to prepare that a staple function of your move works in kinda unconventional ways. It kinda reads like i’m countering the first sentence with the second sentence, but that’s the way i’m seeing it.


Kudos to you for opening a discussion on a character’s move the right way. It’s a thoughtful breakdown and I think good questions about what the developers were hoping the move would accomplish.

There’s no question that Kim-Wu started the development process as a monster with very powerful dragons and then was dialed back. Some of the obvious weaknesses in her moveset are evidence of that design process. Where she has ended up is as @STORM179 points out, a very technical fighter. It’s clear, for example, that you aren’t supposed to stand back holding firecracker to set up a “zoning shield.” Youbare supposed to time the firecracker to reflect the projectiles deliberately. This is the only reason I can think of to have very random seeming gaps in her ability to reflect.

I admit I struggle with understanding the design philosophy for Kim wu, and I will never likely agree with the idea of using a gimpy shadow counter as a balance tool. But I think in the context of KI, you also have to think about the move in the combo and ended game as well. It may be that Firecracker has only marginal utility in the neutral/wakeup phase but has to do something there in order to function in the combo game. The ender is clearly a big part of Kim’s dragon management.

EDIT: it’s also worth mentioning that, as @Infilament likes to point out, KI is also a pretty “scrambly” game and so what may not be great on paper may actually be pretty useful when neither you nor your opponent may necessarily have the mental capacity to be doing all the frame math.

Maybe a better Kim player like @SonicDolphin117 will have more insight.

I got nothing to add. It’s a situational move, simple as that. I don’t think it’s “awkward,” though.


I’ve been playing Kim Wu for fun lately. Aside from the obvious counter-zoning and punishing, Firecracker does have some advantages to it. It’s not as easy to pressure with it as Dragon Dance, but it leads to stronger stuff.

  1. It inflicts 30 frames of hit stun and 27 frames of block stun, which are the most out of her entire toolset. That means that when dash canceled, it is +15/+12. At point blank range, that level of sudden frame advantage makes opponents want to do anything other than block. You can walk forward for like 7 frames and still be able to counter hit a throw tech with close HP.

  2. Like everything else in Kim Wu’s toolset, it has some useful option selects. If you do meaty close MP xx heavy Firecracker, you’ll get a +2 Firecracker on block/hit (which you can dash cancel for the good stuff). If they backdashed, a heavy kata will come out instead, which will punish slower backdashes. If you don’t punish it, then you’ll at least make them block the heavy kata, which by itself leads to un-shadow counterable frame trappy pressure.