I’m kinda’ torn but am I the only one who thinks that fireball zoning is so much more effective in this game as opposed to the other KOF’s? I can’t recall fireball zoning being so good in the other KOF’s aside from Athena in OG 02. I mean, am I completely alone in thinking that fireball zoning wasn’t very good in the older KOF’s and often trying to fireball zone lead to death? It had a purpose sure, but it wasn’t a dominate strategy.
Now look at 13 and half the cast is damn good at fireball zoning and it’s a legit strategy.
Ash, Saiki, Ryo, King, Kensuo, K’, Beni, Mai (especially with 3 bars and full HD…), Leona with meter, somewhat Takuma.
You look at other characters with fireballs and they’re bad purely because of the slow as hell recovery and you have to play them differently. But not the characters above, oh no. They recover fast enough or have some sort of technology to punish you if you try to jump after their fireball. Leona has that air super, Takuma has that invincible super, K’ can do Minute Spike and it will AA, Ryo and Beni’s fireball has a huge arc and pretty much impossible to jump over 'em, and etcetera.
These characters play like it’s SF4 or ST. Maybe I’m burned out. Maybe I’ve been playing so much that I’m at the “fuck this game!” mentality. I don’t know.
There’s ways of getting around it there’s no question. BUT you have to either use meter, or predict they’re going to do it and be close enough to jump in or AB roll. At the same token it’s in their favor to play the fireball minigame, it builds meter and it’s very effective with these characters. I had one guy spend 4 bars on Guard Cancelling me with his Kensuo as soon as I got in, and he continued to runaway and fireball zone.
My gut is telling me that this wasn’t problem in older KOF’s. Am I wrong?
Also: I can see why oldschool KOF players don’t like EX moves. They too easily blow up safe jumps. I still like them but it’s so difficult to apply pressure in this game and it sucks when you safe jump them and instant EX comes out and nails and they runaway and you have to try to corner them again.
I’m sure there’s more than a few instant EX moves that can’t be safe jumped. I’ll have to check.
As far as damage that can be said for anyone in this game. If you have full HD than you can easily do 500 damage without even using a super. The point I was trying to make that SNKP changed the game with these characters and made the game more like SF as opposed to KOF.
Most people’s safe jumps get blown up by moves that are 3F (2F start-up, 1F activation) or faster beat out safe jumps. Only reason grabs don’t work is 'cause they’re no on the ground at the time (But I figure that’s obvious.)
I find it good that the game is not limited to a 100% rushdown strategy. I like variety in playstyle.
As for the EX moves, I’ve got safe jumps set-ups for nearly every EX moves of the cast. If you want to check, a very simple one is to do Robert’s simple command grab in the corner and do a normal jump just after. I may have missed some characters EX reversals, so some further tests may be needed.
A last thing, Louiscipher : Do you play most of your games online ? Because in this context those zoning characters are even more effective.
My team being Ralf, King, and Robert, each one of these characters has an in-air special (Rob’s dive kick, Ralf’s dive punch, and King’s air Venom strike) that allows a bit of a pause right before it comes out. So instead of just jumping I can fake them out a bit and attack. Even if you trade hits, it still throws off their game a bit and can give you time to get in while they regroup.
Special moves don’t seem to have a lot of recovery frames in KoFXIII which I think contributes to this. I’ll admit, a good Athena player can still trip me up, but it’s moreso because it seems like she can do an uppercut almost instantly after a fireball.
Hyun is right though that fireball antics are much more effective online.
Safejumping a ‘3 frame’ reversal is possible, but you need absolute precision so feeling out the timing from a hop is difficult even from a hard knockdown.
Moving on, if anything zoning feels much weaker in XIII than before.
First off, there’s no reason to jump over a fireball save for a very few instances (i.e. not everyone can hop Saiki’s projectile and Karate’s will destroy all hops, period.) but the majority of the time now you can easily hop nearly all the projectiles in the game. Stuff like a Psycho Ball is free, though Saiki’s is trickier and you might need to whiff a jumping attack to alter your air hitbox to shrink above it. With this down, you shouldn’t be running into any standard traps. Hell, even if Athena trails her weak psychoball from fullscreen, you can neutral hop it and still block her followups. For things like Joe’s Hurricane Upper > Slash Kick trap, or King’s A Venom Strike > EX Tornado Kick, the former can lose to early jump-ins, and for King’s you neutral hop. Keep in mind that I’m talking about counters to fireball traps from fullscreen which is where they’re most effective due to their shortened recovery times in conjunction with the opponent’s followup options. The absolute worst they can do (if they wise up) is to trail the fireball, confirm if it’s blocked, and continue with a blockstring mixup. So basically, go on the offensive.
But really, the largest flaws with zoning in XIII compared to the other KOF games (sans XI) is multi-faceted. Most obviously is the small damage conversion opportunities from a connected fireball (or even anti-air in the case of most of the listed zoning characters). The best you usually get to see (ignoring the slow EX fireballs like Terry’s and K’s) is Kensou land a hit reset or qcf+K, or Ryo getting a hit reset/hcb+B off a Ko’ouken in the corner. These are nice, but they don’t offer many ways to easily stack up additional damage in a convenient way. Maybe Athena could do a cool air bypass from a crazy Psycho Ball anti-air, but the conditions would be pretty jank.
Up next is the fact that blocking a fireball builds you more meter than the zoner. Sitting in the corner and taking negligible chip damage in turn for a huge meter gain is legitimate until the opponent realizes they need to follow their fireballs to get in and start their close range offensive game… which, depending on the character, can be good or bad. Ol’ Kensou got shit on since you can hop his fireball freely, but he lacks beefy mid-level pokes than he used to have (not that it’d matter too much, since a single st.B isn’t productive vs. an early j.CD). Best case you get characters like Saiki or Ryo or Takuma.
I suppose the final hurdle for pure defense is the fact that grounded anti-airs have terrible risk/reward now, so aside from situations where reacting with a DP/EX DM is possible because you’re actively sniffing for a hop/jump, you’re best off air-to-airing or hopping/jumping in on them or rushing them down on the ground; options which are much more aggressive than waiting and reacting with a cr.C or Shining Crystal Bit.
Rolling is only good against fast projectiles or most EX versions (suicide vs one with slow recovery).
You should forward or neutral hop projectiles if you want to avoid them (while lacking your own reflector/fireball/fullscreen super).
You can always block and gain meter at the cost of potentially sacrificing frame advantage.
Online means nothink.
Fireballs work, but you’re more limited in how to get the best out of them in XIII as opposed to other games (chip damage/timeouts are less relevant, singular hits aren’t as powerful, they’re more used to create a shield to help you start your offense). If anything, it feels as though relying on zoning requires an even deeper patience than before.
K’ has better AAs than Minute Spike; be closer before hopping at him (you can hit him out of Ein Trigger with a horizontal jumping attack) and don’t jump in fullscreen or against his EX fireball.
You can whiff punish Benimaru’s Raijinken, as well as Ryo’s Ko’ouken (you can also poke him out of the startup pretty easily with jabs).
The only characters that should put you into ST mode are Karate, Ash with 2 PG, and Saiki (in certain matchups).
You make a good point in just blocking the fireball. But the problem is that people who want to play fireball zoning, they are MORE than content to win by timeout. And many times over I’ve fought people who do that shit and it comes down to 10-20 seconds and you have to try to get in but in most circumstances you can’t, so you get frustrated and you make ONE mistake and they win or they do massive damage. That’s what I don’t like, almost every fireball character has at least one legit gimmick that works.
As far as hopping over fireballs, sure, but again that works only against certain characters. It will not work on Ryo or Beni or K’ or Kensuo or Takuma or King. You have to make a big jump and with that you have to make a read. Guess wrong once and you’re fucked, but hey you need to get in you can’t let them win by timeout.
I like 13 a lot but this aspect of the game and a subpar online and local scene has really made me reconsider sticking with it. I hope if a 14 is made that they return back to the style of 98 with meaties interrupting wakeup attacks and far less emphasis on fireball zoning. I could live with or without EX moves. And FFS use GGPO. This is the year 2012 there is no fucking excuse now.
I’d just like to point out that like half the characters you listed do have fireballs you can hop. Also, implementing GGPO would probably entail rebuilding the engine, so if they decide to not rebuild the entire game, there’s not going to be any chance of GGPO. You should come to peace with that now. As much as I’d like KoF to have good online it’s not the most important thing for the game. As long as offline plays just fine I don’t care.
Even if you can’t get in and start your offense in 45 seconds, by then if you’ve just been kept out with projectiles you’d easily have an EX DM or wacky EX move available which you could use on reaction once to gain the lifelead since chip damage is negligible. One reaction super would easily force them to go on the offensive against you. Otherwise it’s pretty easy to get into a position to avoid fireballs (or block and gain meter) and within 45 seconds you can usually pick up on a pattern and score a knockdown or force an error and land a BnB or whatever.
It works against most fullscreen zoners. Shit, you can hop Joe’s Hurricane Uppers unless you’re Takuma/Karate.
You can hop Kensou and King’s fireballs. Sure you can’t hop King’s air Venom, but if they fuck up and do it too high in the air you can sweep or run under it. Rolling the air version is FREEEEEEEEEEE. You can also hop K’s second shoot. I’m not so sure on what setups K’ is giving you trouble with, as his best zoning trap is to do Ein Trigger, recover, then DP if you went into the air. Even that’s iffy against dumb jump-ins like Beni sj.D or Raiden sj.D which can win or trade against it. It’s also mad risky for him to DP or throw out Minute Spikes on reaction to a hop. At mid range you can threaten to hyper hop on top of his Ein Trigger and he stands up to use it anyway so you can tag him with early jump-ins quite easily, just not so much from point blank of course.
Raijinken and Ko’ouken are too slow to be used on reaction to AA so I don’t see the huge problem. Yeah they can get into a proper space and use either move, but as I mentioned against Ryo you can poke him out of the startup pretty easily (or use a reliable invuln reaction move, or counterzone with longer reaching fireballs/pokes). Ryo wants to get in your face anyway, so zoning isn’t a big issue. If anything he’s just a strong footsie character and he has absolutely no fullscreen/long range options other than Haoh Shoko’ouken which is ONLY ever reliable on reaction in FB wars. Just block it and prepare to intercept his forward movement, or if they only use it and DP then just whiff punish him or plow through the fireball.
Same applies to Benimaru though counterpoking Raijinken is harder since he doesn’t extend his hurtbox like Ryo. Raijinken is negative on block anyway so he can’t frametrap back into it again, plus if he fucks up the spacing you can snipe him with something. And again, it’s just a fat poke that can coincidentally AA. It’s not like you even eat a juggle for being hit by it, so while it’s a choice to stop hops it’s too slow to work once someone gets in and Benimaru has other safer pokes anyway. So basically you could block Raijinken and try poking back or running in or even hopping forward and he’s at a disadvantage, or if you make it whiff you could go for a fast punish or just use the whiff to steal the advantage and sneak in a forward run and put him into an immediate mixup. Again, if anything Benimaru’s much better on offense, it’s just that he can hold his own very well in the neutral game but of course his close game is so much stronger than what he gets from DPing or AAing with Raijinken.
If you’re only relying on jumping then you need to work your ground game and hop spacing.
Getting AA’d (even with an EX DM) isn’t the end of the world and the fatal damage you can potentially score skews the damage much in your favor (especially given the different options a defensive player has to be on the lookout for: hop angles, full jumps and possible running under or buffering a DM, running, being baited into a punishable move, etc). More importantly:
Zoning is much more relevant in 98. There’s better damage output from counterhits and single pokes, higher chip damage, unblockable fireballs, fatter projectiles that can’t be hopped, and even better far normals for poking and footsies. (Don’t give me the 'the top tiers are offensive characters, though" excuse. Look at Takuma, Kensou, Joe, EX Ryo, Mai, Robert, Chang, even the Wall of Daimon…) Timeouts are actually common in 98, and this is taking into account that you get plenty of characters that can stun in 2 combos or straight up kill from two combos or supers. You’ll get timeouts between offensive characters, too, like O.Yashiro vs Kyo just given that both players are cautious in their approach since either could quickly take off half life, so the match is dragged out with precise angles of approach and tight spacial control which makes both characters unable to start their steamroll offense.
XIII timeouts are much rarer and while the same conditions can apply on offense, it’s much more likely that someone gets hit by a HD combo/j.CD coutnerhit/DC combo/reaction Ranbu which nets an immediate 30% or more into more offense, so it’s not a huge surprise that matches end much quicker (along with my previous points on zoning).
I mean really, is there any character in XIII that can possibly stall for time as hard as Choi? Chang, even? These guys don’t even have fireballs.
I personally hate it when people make the conclusion that KOF is/or should just be a Rushdown oriented game, i liked that tutorial i saw a few years back about the fundamentals, but IMO it reduces kof to who gets the hyper hop jump in combo first, and the rock paper scissors guessing game of stand A counters yper hop, hyper hops counter sweeps, and sweeps counter a standing A, it kind of looks one dimensional in my eyes. IMO a fireball game is a welcome especially when a rushdown combo does far more damage (and what of individuals like me who are not fond of HD combos, so i’m automatically discouraged?) if anything i wish there were faster Footsies as to not limit poking with the “hyper hop footsies” and enjoy a belanced KOF that favours more than one play style.
@Sparkster you make a lot of good points dude, I’ll have to keep them in mind. And personally I don’t think I ever said fireball/defensive characters were top tier. I think top tier are characters that are amazingly good at almost everything like Hwa, Billy, Karate, Beni and maybe EX Iori.
I know exactly what you meant and my post still stands. Even if they used the ArcLive netcode or whatever the shit is from China, they’d essentially have to rebuild the engine so it could work with savestates, which they’re probably not going to do for any version of XIII unless they make a UM or something and COMPLETELY overhaul it.
And I’m perfectly aware of how online affects growth, I’m just saying it isn’t the most important thing for the game, because it isn’t. A game can have great online, but if it’s a shit game no one will care. As long as XIII plays well and has offline, I don’t care. If XIII had great online there’s the chance where it’ll get BB syndrome and people won’t even bother to go to tournaments because the online is good enough that you can get a good experience without leaving your house, where as now if you want to enjoy the game you HAVE to leave your house.