Need help choosing a main

So I just got an XB1 and KI, and I need help choosing who my main will be. I am mostly an MK player so KI plays much different than what I am used to and I am somewhat familiar with how SF plays but not much. Based on looks alone, I really want to main Spinal, Sabrewulf, or Sadira. My play style in fighters is typically aggressive/rushdown, though I will do a little zoning here and there too if the character I am playing has tools to do so.

Anyway, does anybody have any recommendations for who I should main? I have already played around in the dojo and have gotten pretty comfortable with Jago but he just isn’t a character I am interested in maining. I wouldn’t mind Shadow Jago though.

Any input will be greatly appreciated :slight_smile:

I also apologize if this thread doesn’t belong in General Discussion, I didn’t know where else to make it

Welcome to Killer Instinct! If you’re into aggressive characters, you’re in luck because almost every character has the capacity for rushing. However, some are definitely far better than others.
For dedicated rushdown, the characters you’ve already mentioned (Wulf, Sadira, Spinal) are really good. Other characters dedicated to aggression include TJ Combo, Orchid, Riptor, and Maya.
Of course, Jago will also do well in a pinch. His flexibility and collection of moves that tend to boast safe or even positive frame data are a great start for new players and veteran competitors alike.

For more information about characters, feel free to check out @Infilament 's guide pinned to the forum home.


Thank you! And thats fantastic, I really would like to learn all 3 of them, maybe Hisako too. Just curious, out of the ones I mentioned, are there any that have a really tough learning curve for people new to KI? Or any that are better to start with than the others?


I will also check out that guide and read through it too :slight_smile: Thanks1

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If you want to play a character who specializes in high reward rushdown, sabrewulf would be a good pick. I could also recommend fulgore (personal favorite) because he can zone his opponents to gain the upper hand and start mixing them up. It’s also very fun to learn the ins and outs of a character with so many different tools. Although, remember to play most characters at least a little bit before choosing, you might find a character whose gameplay you really like.


Well I’m not a pro, but I think I can give my 2 cents. :slight_smile:
Jago and Sabrewulf are considered by many to be the easiest characters to get started with.
TJ and Orchid are a little harder but are really rewarding when done well.
Riptor seems really basic on the surface but has a lot of untapped potential.
Sadira’s mobility is arguably some of the best in the cast, but if she’s not in the air she’s in big trouble.
Maya and Spinal can be harder to use at first, especially since they rely on their own unique resources (Maya’s Daggers and Spinal’s Skulls) but when they get the momentum going they’re almost unstoppable in the right hands.

Hisako is cool, but take note that she’s the opposite of an aggressive character. Big pokes and a variety of grabs accent her ability to counter an opponent. She’s got quite a learning curve and requires some patience.

Though, like @LemonHunter38 said it’s best to just try everyone out and see what strikes your fancy. Take them into practice or vs AI to see what you can manage. Good to learn how to play a character as well as fight against them.


Riptor Is A Great Rushdown Character. Very Strong.


Awesome, Wulf is one of the characters I want to main the most. Fulgore looks awesome too, I will definitely take him into practice and see if I like him. That’s true too, I should probably just play them all for a bit and see who I feel the most comfortable with, thanks :smile:

@Fwufikins : Awesome stuff, thanks for all the info! I can’t wait to dive in and really learn this game lol it looks so awesome haha

@ShadowSlayerX91: Awesome, I will definitely give her (he?) a shot in practice mode as well. I am still kind of adjusting to this game and how it plays, so at the time I really don’t know what I am doing or understand the meta but think I am (very) slowly getting the hang of it lol


Got it right the first time. Riptor is a female. :wink: Think Jurassic Park.

Glad to see you’re eager to learn. Wanting to improve is the first step to getting good.

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Good point lol I didn’t even think about that

Yeah im excited, its a bit overwhelming at first but I assume I will kind of understand it the more I play. What is the next best thing to do after Dojo? Should I just sit in practice for a bit or try and take on the AI?

and lastly, should I be playing with or without “combo assist”?

I suggest looking up videos on youtube for explanations on the more complex system mechanics and of gameplay to see the general game plan and strategy. As for combo assist, if you don’t have any trouble with motions during combos then leave it off, especially with fulgore because his triple doubles don’t work with the button press system.

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Welcome to KI community! :smiley:
As a person who also likes rushdown characters and in general wants to get things done quick, I personally picked up (well, still learning) Orchid and Sabrewulf.
Sabrewulf is probably the primary choice for rushdown, but I think Orchid does better because of her grenade setups and rekkas.
As a start, try everyone’s story mode, should atleast give you a feel of what the characters are like.
And Combo Assist, that is a personal preference. It will help remove the need to constantly input the motions and help you focus more on timing, so if you’re unfamiliar with the system maybe keep it on at first, once you grasp it you can try with CA off and find out which is better for you.
Hope that helps :thumbsup:

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Awesome, will do. I think I am ok on the motions, I completed the first half of Dojo mode without too much trouble. Though I have hit a slit wall atm. The one where I have to do a combo, wall bounce, Shadow attack, heavy auto, ender. I can get to the heavy auto but then they spin out before I can do the ender lol

Thank you, and sounds great, ill keep that in mind :slight_smile: Thanks for your input!

Welcome to the Forums!

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Thank you :smile:

Sadira was my original main - she’s a lot of fun and incredibly tricky, but can also have a bit of a curve to her. I don’t think she’s too bad to start out with though. Hisako is my secondary (new main?) character, and also a lot of fun. I actually think her gameplan is pretty simple, and though she’s not among the biggest rushdown characters of KI, she’s actually very offensive even if the secret sauce to her is her counter. I think you really can’t go wrong with either character, provided that when you play them their playstyles grab you.

Welcome to KI! :grin:

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Yeah I am liking Sadira a lot so far, she is my second most played character right now. I am going to probably practice with her bit next time I play. I spent a lot of time playing with Spinal today and had an absolute blast, I am thinking he is going to be my primary, and then have Sadira (or Sabrewulf) as my secondary.

I also want to look into Hisako too, her being a J-horror themed character is just too cool to pass up XD

And thank you :smile:

Don’t worry yourself too much about the more execution-heavy aspects of the dojo, the big combo challenges and the like. The main thing of value there is the concepts, frame trapping and mixups and reversals and resets and game system mechanics and whatnot.

wrt practice and AI and whatnot, unless you care about Story mode, you probably should stay away from the default AI. Instead, try jumping into the Shadow Lab and creating a Shadow, and then just jump into Shadow Survival. The Shadows are a technological marvel: they replicate human behaviour and limitations, so that their decision-making is comparable to our own. I wish they were more comprehensive about providing ways of serving Shadows up to be fought, but Shadow Survival at least serves up Shadows in a slowly ascending difficulty curve.
Obviously you could also just jump straight into Exhibition or Ranked and fight real people, too.

Lastly, wrt your choice of characters and preference for rushdown, it kinda depends on what kind of rushdown you want, since KI is a very pressure-rich game. You could want a read-heavy mixup-driven character with whom you can just say, “I’m impatient and I know they won’t block this unsafe unreactable thing, lets open them up RIGHT NOW”, or a character who is content on staying at frame advantage in front of their opponent for days before mixing in a throw or a reactable overhead, or even a character that couples hard mixups with resources to cover for them and keep pressure up and plays kind-of a vortex game when they get their momentum up. The first might be best served by Wulf, Shadow Jago, TJ; the second option is very much Jago and Fulgore’s domain, though Riptor combines it with the first category and Fulgore also has the third category going on with his reactor gauge management and projectile teleport game; and the last category is filled out by the likes of Spinal, Orchid, Maya, etc. I think the first two categories are probably equally easy to get familiar with and just roughly depend on your “personality”, whereas the third is generally harder to pick up. (Though I don’t think Orchid is very hard to learn, and I’ve found Fulgore and Riptor fairly advanced.)

Then of course there are a bunch of characters who are up to different but related stuff: grapplers like Thunder and Hisako, aerial characters Sadira and Cinder, ARIA who does…well, everything at some point, even zoners Glacius and Kan-Ra have a kind of grappler pressure up close.

Hope that helps you narrow it down.

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Just want to chime in on this Riptor subject. She’s only advanced once you start understanding more of the complex systems like frames and the like. She’s a little more complex than Sabrewulf starting out, but otherwise she’s still new player friendly having 2 back forward specials with options for follow up normals after an opponent blocks them.

@Blade4693 , she’s very mixup heavy because of these normals. She has 2 options off of her back forward kick special (Talon Rake) being blocked. While in the air you can hit a punch or kick button, and what strength depends on the distance. Light = close, medium = mid range, and heavy = far.

Hitting a punch will throw a fireball diagonally down towards your opponent. Hitting a kick will make her flip towards the opponent, and if it connects will be an opener to start a combo.

When her back forward punch special is blocked you will be put in Predator Stance, which has 6 normals attached. This is the one that requires a bit more understanding of frames than normal, and would recommend reading Infil’s guide about Riptor. This is mostly because, I’m at work and I don’t want to type it all out.

Aside from Predator Stance, she’s a simple enough character to pick up and play around with.


Welcome! Good choice!

Sabrewulf or maybe Orchid if you are not planning any zoning.

Also, different advice from me:

There is a newly released feature called Combo Assist. Especially, if you ever find doing longer combos daunting or if you’re having issues with the many circular motions when you are mixing various attacks, then it is worth playing around with Combo Assists as it is supposed to help new(er) players.

And finally, Shadow mode records your fighting behavior. Good tool to analyze your style, mistakes, tendencies. It requires much data and therefore a lot of fights to work properly. Still recommended next to combo breaker training, etc.

Good luck.

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