WARNING: WALL OF TEXT INCOMING.
I have finished my draft for the Maya video guide and I plan on beginning to record in a few days. However, this guide feels a little short and looks like it will be a reasonable viewing time of within 50 minutes, and on SD117’s channel, we sure as hell can’t have that . I don’t have as much experience with Maya as I do the other characters I’ve done guides for, so that could be why. So here’s the full script for you all and I would like some feedback as well as additional points to add to the guide before release. If you don’t want to read the wall of text, I understand, but I encourage you all to try and help. Please try to look past the spelling errors lol
Hello, everyone! SD117 here, back with another KI character guide. Today we’re focusing on Maya. I do not have as much experience with this character as other characters you’ve seen in my guides, so there won’t be a lot of in-depth stuff here. Still, I will try to make this guide helpful for beginner and intermediate Maya enthusiasts.
Maya is a character known for her extremely good mobility and her dagger system. Maya’s damage output was overall improved in S3 and is pretty substantial. Maya’s main draw is that having her daggers improves her neutral prowess and gives her more options. However, if Maya misplaces her daggers, her neutral control and options worsen. Maya also doesn’t have strong defense since she only has a shadow reversal and a backdash, though the backdash is good. Maya also doesn’t have the best mixup game compared to other characters, but she does have some good tricks to open he opponent up.
Maya’s mobility is top class. Her walk speed is good enough to play footsies though it isn’t the best. Her jump is pretty average as well. Her great mobility lies in her dashes. Her dashes are quite fast and also low profile Maya, giving her a good approaching tool against projectiles and other attacks. Maya also has the ability to follow up a forward dash with a jump for additional trajectories. Back jumping from a forward dash does a stiffer backward jump, which has some uses for her mixup game but isn’t too important. Her forward dash jump is the star, and sends her super far across the screen. This makes Maya very hard to pin down and allows her to confirm off her projectiles from full screen. Combined with Maya’s leap kick, a move I’ll get into later, Maya has great mobility options.
Let’s talk about Maya’s good kick normals. cr.LK is mashable and 5 frames and is a low, making it a good confirm/punish/mixup button.
st.HK hits twice up close and is Maya’s main way of dealing with armored opponents without daggers. It’s not great, but it’s something.
j.MK is her non-dagger cross up.
j.HK reaches a good distance in front of Maya, making it a good button for an air to air and for confirming off a dash jump.
Maya also has a kick based command normal, which is F+HK. This move flips Maya forward slowly and ends with an overhead kick, that also recaptures and has a surprisingly good hitbox above her. This move keeps the momentum of a forward dash, allowing it to travel further. If you hold the command down, Maya will land without the overhead kick, allowing you to go for a quick low or throw instead. This move is good to attempt every now and then, and it also counters grabs well due to it being airborne. However, this move’s big flaw is that is has slow startup, so wary opponents will simply hit Maya out of it.
Let’s also talk about Maya’s two kick-based special moves. The first is Tumble Kick, which is QCF+K. This is a forward moving two hit kick opener, meaning you will need to watch for shadow counters. This also ground bounces and doesn’t add too much kv, so this is an integral part of Maya’s juggles. The move is pretty simple. The shadow version is also simple, with a 5-hit rhythm that goes 2-2-1. There are small gaps between each set of hits, so certain characters can use a reversal and counter this. This move is also projectile invulnerable, though the invulnerability isn’t the most reliable. As a linker, it carries the opponent towards the corner and picks up any daggers on the ground that it rolls over. This acts as Maya’s hard knockdown ender and her most damaging one.
Maya’s other kick special is QCB+K, which is Leap Kick. This sends Maya upward with a spiral kick, and the strength of the move determines the horizontal distance travelled. The light version has some invulnerability, though it’s very little so don’t rely on it. If the move hits the opponent or whiffs, Maya can throw a dagger during it to continue juggles or make her landing safer. This move isn’t the best anti-air, as it does often get beat out, but it can still situationally be used as one, and with daggers it’s also great for positioning. The shadow version is Maya’s only reversal option, which does somewhat low damage for a shadow reversal and in no situation can she follow up with a dagger toss. As a linker, this move works like a backwards tumble kick. The ender version is a launcher that flips the opponent over Maya’s head. If Maya manuals into Shadow Leap Kick, she will get the reversal version and can use it as a shadow ender.
I will go further in detail about Maya’s daggers soon, but for now I will talk about her important punch normals. Keep this next part in mind. Maya can only use LP moves if she has Temperance (yellow dagger). She can only use MP moves if she has Vengeance (purple dagger). And she can only use HP moves if she has both daggers. If she tries to use these moves without the proper daggers, the kick normals will come out instead.
st.LP and cr.LP are quick pokes that are plus on block and have good pushback. These are great as jab checks.
cr.MP can be a two hit strike with a second press, and is a decent poke.
st.HP is a two hit strike that leaves Maya at advantage. It has decent range as well, so you can use this against armored opponents decently well. Watch out for shadow counters.
cr.HP is one of the best anti-airs in the whole game. This moves covers the space in front of, above, and behind Maya, is great for juggles and is decently fast. Use this often, as this in Maya’s only reliable anti-air option.
j.HP is a fantastic crossup and is great for jumping mixups and safe jumps. This should be one of your most used aerials easily.
Maya also has two punch command normals only if she has both daggers. The first is Savage Strikes, which is B+HP. This is a 4-hit strike that steps Maya forward and leaves her at advantage. This move should only be used if the opponent doesn’t have meter to shadow counter, as it is extremely easy to do so.
Her second punch command normal is j.D+HP, called Mantis. This move can only be used during a neutral or forward jump, and has a height restriction preventing an instant jump into this move. This move propels Maya forwards in the air and grabs standing and jumping opponents, slamming them into the ground. This move completely whiffs crouching opponents. This move serves to making dealing with Maya in the air scarier, because stand blocking her may lead you to getting caught by this move. This move also cashes out juggles.
Maya’s normal grab has pretty poor range. This throw kicks Maya’s opponent away. The amount of hits, PD and damage this throw deals is increased for each dagger she currently is holding.
Time to talk about Maya’s dagger system, and how it revolves around her only punch special move, QCF+P. This move throws one or both of Maya’s daggers at her opponent depending on what strength of the move you use. Daggers can also be thrown by pressing the corresponding punch button during a forward dash, as well as using the special command in the air from jump or leap kick. Once Maya has thrown the dagger away, she must go and retrieve it off the ground, unless she catches it before it lands. Maya can pick up daggers with 3P, by dashing over them or using tumble kick over them, as well as tumble kick/leap kick linkers. The opponent can (and should) block Maya from getting her daggers back, either by guarding them or pushing the screen space so Maya can’t get to them without chasing after her opponent. If the dagger’s path is interrupted, either by a projectile, a blocking opponent or non-blocking opponent, the dagger will land right in front of what it hit. Otherwise the dagger will sail a very far distance, almost across the entire stage length, making it harder to retrieve. If the combined heavy dagger is interrupted, the two daggers will separate and fly in either direction.
Sounds rather annoying, so why would you want to throw daggers in the first place? Simply put, dagger throw is really good. The move has quick startup and the daggers travel relatively fast for a projectile. If the dagger hits the opponent, it deals two hits and a significant amount of hitstun, enough for Maya to combo confirm off one from full screen. The heavy combined dagger launches the opponent, however, so I wouldn’t recommend using it often unless you have pips stored (more on that soon). Combined with a jump, this dagger throw can be great for approaching and retreating, and it’s generally a good whiff punishing tool. You should throw daggers often, but not too recklessly that you have to run across the stage to regain your screen control. These dagger throws combined with her mobility overall make Maya a very potent “hit-and-run” character. Dagger throws can also be used in juggles and as a linker. The only time dagger hits are breakable is when they are used as proper cancelled linkers in a grounded combo, but manual daggers are unbreakable.
Daggers also have unique perks for if they are blocked. Maya has a meter above her shadow meter that represents her dagger levels. Each dagger has two available levels that they can build separately for each time they are blocked. It is very easy to build these dagger levels as you can easily confirm blocked normals into dagger throw, and while you will be disadvantaged you won’t be easily punishable, and Maya will likely catch the dagger automatically. Another easy way to build dagger pips is the shadow version of her dagger throw, Shadow Spirit Slicer. This move combines the daggers into a spinning wheel and hits 5 times in place before separating. If the opponent blocks all of these hits, the dagger levels will be maxed before separation. Maya can make the opponent choose to block or take the launching hits from this move by placing it on their wakeup, or she can force them to block it by cancelling it from a st.HP.
Dagger levels can be used and expended in two ways: a powered up heavy dagger throw or the dagger assault ender. Use these two techniques often, as if played right Maya doesn’t have much trouble building dagger levels unless the opponent just doesn’t block. In which case, you probably won’t need them.
Each level on the daggers represents an upgrade that will apply to the heavy combined dagger when it is thrown. One yellow pip means the dagger will bounce off the ground if thrown from a jump. Two yellow pips means the dagger will actively track the opponent for a short time, making it very difficult to avoid. One purple pip means the dagger will beat out most, if not all, other projectiles, making it harder to stop. And two purple pips makes the dagger unblockable unless the opponent is already in blockstun. With all 4 levels this dagger is homing, impossible to stop and unblockable, making it almost a guaranteed juggle from anywhere on the screen, although scaled. This can also be confirmed into from a blocked normal, so the opponent will have a hard time avoiding this. The opponent can try to avoid this with projectile invulnerable moves, but their timing usually has to be immaculate. This is the less risky way to make use of dagger levels.
The second use of dagger levels is the dagger assault ender, which is QCF+HP. This ender does somewhat low damage, pushes the opponent away and leaves Maya at slight advantage. The daggers will leave Maya’s hands and will float over the opponent’s head, attacking them at a 1-2—1-2—1-2—1-2 rhythm. The amount of hits and length of the attack is determined by how many dagger levels were on the daggers when they were released. These daggers hit mid, not overhead. If Maya is hit, the daggers instantly separate and all dagger levels are lost. This move is generally looked down upon by many players as it is extremely hard to make this move worth the risk. The amount of damage you can get off this will be stunted at times due to the scaling of the daggers, both kv and damage wise, and you will want to go for a lot of cross up and empty jump resets to try and open up the opponent over and over to subvert the scaling, which means more opportunities for the opponent to hit you out of it. Personally, I only ever use this move to help me close out rounds when I know the hard knockdown ender won’t be enough to finish it, or if I want to mess with my opponent. It could be that there’s something discovered about this move that can make it more potent, but from my experience it is highly situational and somewhat matchup based. You can use this in the corner to try and capitalize on Maya’s advantage or use it midscreen to add to the crossup potential.
Finally, let’s talk about Maya’s instinct. On activation, Maya’s daggers will instantly return to her hands, and for the duration of instinct her daggers will automatically come back to her after they are thrown. This can be used for unique juggles as well as greatly reducing the risk of using daggers in general. This instinct also guarantees that Maya can retrieve her daggers even if the opponent keeps her from them.