In the current Karas UaS thread, the info on the front page hasn’t been updated in some time, so I’m just going to go ahead and make a more proper guide for people who want to learn Karas in TvC:UaS.
WHO IS KARAS**
Master of all things ranged and slashy, Karas is Tatsunoko’s latest henshin hero who starred in a recent OVA series known for it’s clever combination of 2D and 3D visuals. Like Batman, Karas is a dark hero who guards over a modern city, but Karas speciallises in dealing with the supernatural Youkai and he can freely flicker between reality and the youkai realm, which allows him to move beyond time and space at speeds that the human eye can’t fathom. Karas fights using a long katana which he uses to perform a plethora of otherwordly techniques.
DIFFERENCES BETWEEN CGoH and UAS KARAS**
Karas was a top tier character in CGoH. He boasted range, speed and the ability to start an infinite off any simple hit. He could also shut down an opponent in the corner simply by poking with his 5B and 2B. His only negligable weakness was that he had the lowest HP in the game.
In UaS, Karas has had many of his more worrying tools taken away from him. His damage was overall decreased and his normals have been reduced in safety and are now punishable on block…in fact, just about ALL of his attacks are punishable on block if used at point blank range. On top of this his infinite was turned into a loop and while still possible it will stop in the corner. Thankfully he still has range and speed to his strikes and has some new combo tricks to play around with. He still has the lowest HP in the game, making him very much a hit-or-miss character.
STRENGTHS AND WEAKNESSES
- impressive speed and range on his normals
- can easily start a combo off any random hit
- has many tools to cover mistakes and block off openings
- unescapable unblockable setups lead into big resets combos that build lots of meter
- has the unique ability to take the opponent directly to the corner from anywhere on screen, making corner combos consistant
- can land a level 3 hyper off front and back throws
- his level 1 Zan Ei Jin Hyper tracks an opponent anywhere on screen and deals impressive chip damage if blocked. It’s also one of the most powerful level 1 hypers in the game.
- has a counter hyper
- can reflect projectiles
- has many lightning fast crossup options using his unique dash and the properties of his Kasha
- ranged aerial moves make it easy to keep opponents from jumping in
- has a lot of very useful anti airs
- lowest HP in the game
- His attacks are all unsafe if blocked at close range
- very, very technical combos are difficult to perform and have plenty of room for error
- needs long combos to deal any kind of respectable damage
- cannot reliably end optimal combos with level 1 supers
- partner and baroque reliant to do his unblockable setups
- high/low mixups are scarce and as such Karas is vulnerable to blocking
5A: a quick punch. Will not hit crouching opponents. Mainly used for positional benefits in combos, but scales damage. Rather amusingly, Karas can link this off his 2A at close range, though there isn’t too much use for this trick.
2A: a very fast low kick. Has impressive range for a jab. Scales damage in combos, but is still probably his safest poke. Can also be used defensively to ward off close opponents or to pressure.
5B: a quick arc slash with the katana. The hitbox isn’t as big as it looks and there is a blindspot just above karas. Still has a lot of range for a normal and comes out very fast. It’s a bit unsafe on block and so it should not be used at point blank range outside of combos. Can be used as an anti-air to intercept airdashing opponents but sometimes this is risky.
2B: slower to start up than 5B, but has absolutely insane range and hits low. It’s safer on block and so if used at max range it will rarely be punished. It’s easily jumped and so it has to be used to poke with care. When committing to this move, always be prepared to cover it with a special if it might whiff.
5C: two hits from the katana. Surprisingly safe at max range. It has a better coverage than 5B and only slightly more lag.
2C: a very fast slide kick with a lot of range. Has a huge amount of lag and is therefore very unsafe on block. However it’s a critical move for use in combos, including the ‘slide loop’ which is necessary for Karas’s big damage.
6C: after some startup, Karas slashes across the screen and then cools down for some serious lag. Does the most damage out of any of Karas’s normals (which isn’t saying much) and is monstrously unsafe on block because it can’t be cancelled into anything. It can be charged to create an unblockable, which is key to Karas’s unblockable loop. When the unblockable hits an opponent it scales damage on any followup hits heavilly and it causes a crumple. Karas is able to combo after the unblockable either through baroque, a partner assist or a level 3 hyper.
3C: a standard launcher. Pretty fast and has good range. It’s very punishable on block but does it’s job just fine in combos.
j.5A: Karas sprawls out in the air and does a kick. Huge range and comes out very fast. An instant air dash into two of these is a great combo starter. Will hit crouching opponents too.
j.5B: not as much range as j.5A. It does more damage and stun. Generally reserved for close pressure and air combos.
j.5C: Although it won’t hit crouching opponents, this move is fast and has ridiculous horizontal range. It can be used to quickly neutrallise many airborn approaches from almost half a screen away. Best used defensively but at times it can be good for pressure too.
incredibly fast startup time and a huge hitbox. It does next to nothing in the way of damage but it’s a very important defensive tool. While it is unsafe on block, it can be used as a sort of shield to protect Karas from incoming assaults and to cover up mistakes. The hitbox is meaty, and if not used to directly hit the opponent’s guard it’s not particularly easy to punish. Makes for a fantastic anti-air and will beat out pretty much anything. It also reflects projectiles! If a standing opponent is hit by this, they’re put into stagger and Karas can follow up with a combo. The A version is the fastest and safest, wheras the other two have a longer duration but more lag. Generally the A version is by far the most useful.
While it may look like a standard Dragon Punch esque attack, Karas is not invincible during this move. It’s still got an almost instant startup and a huge hitbox which covers his body. If it hits, the opponent is flung high up into the air and is vulnerable to cross-under tricks and tactics. Best used defensively or for finishing combos. All versions are very unsafe if blocked on the ground, but are fairly safe if blocked while the opponent is airborn. The A version does one hit and has the fastest recovery wheras B and C versions do multiple hits and rise higher into the air. Karas will fall helplessly after use. The A version puts the opponent in a position where Karas can easily pressure them while they’re airborn, since it gives barely any time for them to recover and block. Baroquing the A version if it’s blocked will put karas airborn and will allow for a quick high-low mixup betweein overhead air attacks and landing lows. The C version is generally used to finish air combos.
Probably Karas’s most useful offensive special move. Karas dashes into the opponent at high speed for the first hit of this potential chain attack. The unique thing about this move is that even though it’s a special, it can be cancelled into 3C or 2C normals. The A version has the fastest startup time and goes the shortest distance while B and C travel further and have more startup time respectively. The C version goes almost fullscreen. It’s worth noting that you can empty-cancel into 2C and 3C, and these attacks will automatically turn to face the opponent, which makes it a useful tool for fast cross-under tactics.
Yoinagi (during Kasha 236A/B/C)
A followup to Kasha. A quick swipe with the sword that props the opponent up for the finisher in this string. The button pressed determines how high the opponent pops up. A version has the lowest gain while C has the highest. B is the one used for combos mainly since it’s easier to set up for Yashaguruma and can allow the opponent to bounce over Karas’s head to set up for slide loop in the corner. However the A version is sometimes better for when the opponent needs to remain in front of karas for unblockable loops. It’s unsafe on block, but safer than any of the other options out out of Kasha.
Yato (during Yoinagi 46A/B/C)
A finisher for the kasha string. It comes out very fast and knocks the opponent down behind Karas. Useful only if you want to combo into level 3 to finish a combo string. Very unsafe on block and there’s a laggy animation afterwards if it hits. Another weird property of this move is that if you delay Yoinagi after hitting an airborn opponent with Kasha so that Yoinagi hits them from behind, if you then wait a second and use Yato, the opponent will continue in the direction they were flying and pass over Karas, and the laggy hit animation that usually accompanies this move will be gone. It still isn’t fast enough to combo off, but interesting nonetheless.
Yashaguruma (during Yoinagi 6C)
A jumping slash that hits overhead and causes wallbounce if it hits. It’s critical for carrying karas’s combos. By itself it’s unsafe on block, but if baroqued it can allow for a fast high>low mixup if followed immediately with a baroque and a 2A.
Tobimizuchi (63241 A/B/C)
Karas shoots out a chord to snag the opponent. The initial hit does a little damage and stuns grounded opponents. Inputting another command during the hitstun will make Karas do a followup.
Ukifune (during Tobimizuchi 236A/B/C)
Karas rockets at the opponent with a kick that carries them all the way over to the wall. He then slams them down and backs off a bit. This is a very important move in Karas’s combos, as it doesn’t count as a wall bounce. It always takes the opponent to the corner of the stage which is vital for his loops and unblockable setups as well as just being a very nice way to position the opponent. After the opponent bounces off the ground, Karas can continue to combo by hitting them with a 5B or 2B.
Tsurigitsune (during Tobimizuchi 214A/B/C)
The opponent is yanked back with the chord. The A version pulls them barely any distance at all (basically useless), the B version sends them flying up high into the air and the C version sends them flying back into the wall. The B and C versions are decent enough for continuing combos, since the C’s wall slam doesn’t count as a wall slam. But why would you ever want to use this move when you could do Ukifune instead? Actually, if you are closer to the wall when the combo starts, it may actually be better to use the B or C versions instead of Ukifune, because it will allow you to get in a slide loop into yashagaruma for a bit more damage. But other than that…yeah it’s pretty useless.
Zan Ei Jin (during Ungaikyo 236A+B)
Ugh, this move is awesome save for it’s silly input and the fact that it won’t combo against airborn opponents without help. The first part of the attack is unusual. It won’t hit the opponent if the first Ungaikyo hit the opponent before it. If the Ungaikyo whiffed, then the first hit of the attack will stun the opponent as soon as Karas turns the blade sideways. After this, the blade will begin to spin around and attack the opponent, tracking them anywhere on screen. This deals good damage if it hits (15000b) and is more powerful than many other level 1 Hypers. When you do this move, the opponent is going to take some form of damage whether it be a direct hit or significant non-AGable chip damage. It’s best used to finish off an opponent after they megacrash out of a combo and only have chip life remaining. As a VHC/DHC it is very useful, allowing some great setups with various characters, but usually from when Karas is not on point. This move is very, very punishable on block so use it with care.
First of all, this is a counter super that deals about 14000b if it hits. Secondly, the startup for this move is practially instant. You can use it to counter an opponent’s attack while the move’s hitbox is actually overlapping karas (meaty jabs for example). It won’t work on projectiles or super moves, but everything else is fair game, including physical special moves. One thing to note when using this move is that if the opponent is at a point during their move where they could otherwise naturally empty cancel into a special, super or baroque, then they can avoid your counter on reaction to the super flash and cancel to something else. For that reason it’s not a good idea to use this move on meaty attacks with prolonged hitboxes. It’s best use is during pressure strings up close where the opponent will be using jabs and lunging attacks. If you want to use this move it might be a good idea to memorise some other character’s blockstrings. Another use for it is in DHC’s where Karas can either DHC from this attack into his partner’s to finish his combos with a more powerful super, or cover another character’s missed or laggy super with his counter. The latter is risky and the former is expensive, so it may be best to think twice about using such tactics.
Hiei Zangetsu (63214A+B)
This attack is both great and awful at the same time. For what it is, it’s a weak and horrible hyper. It does about 20 000b on it’s own and can’t be comboed after. It has a very slow startup and can’t be used to punish on reaction because of this. However, it’s still Karas’s strongest move and due to the fact that it hits OTG full screen, it allows him to add some fairly significant damage onto otherwise low-damage techniques such as throws and his unblockable. Sometimes it really is just a better idea to combo into Hiei Zangetsu to finish an opponent before they can megacrash away.
–Cross-Over Counter/Variable Counter–
Karas has one of the best Vcounters in the game. It has full invinciblity through and comes out very fast.
–Cross-Over Air Raid/Variable Rave
Karas’s V.air move is his j.5C. It’s actually awful due to it’s lack of vertical reach, but Karas V.airs are still do-able (if just very annoying to initiate and easy to screw up). This is a pity because Karas generally prefers V.airs as a means of ending his combos.
MOVEMENT AND SPACING
Karas’s walking speed is average and his dashing speed is fairly slow. However he has no hitbox for a certain portion of his front and back dash which allows him to pass through opponents and evade attacks. This can be very important for closing in on the opponent, but Karas is not invunlerable through the whole duration of the dash.
Interestingly, holding down during the dash will cancel out many of the lag frames at the end by making karas crouch. By holding down + back while dashing through the opponent, Karas can quickly turn around and attack the opponent immediately after dashing through them, creating some quick crossup potential.
Backdash in general is really good for spacing. Karas can punish a lot of things by backdashing to avoid an attack and then immediately countering with a 2B, which reaches almost half way across the screen. If the opponent jumps over Karas’s 2B and attempts to get in on him, a well placed 236A or 623A will almost always shut down their aerial approach.
Kasha is also a good mobility option. A fullscreen C kasha followed up with a 3C into 236A + partner is a great way to close the gap between karas and the opponent. Since it’s a charge motion it does seem to telegraph itself sometimes, and opponents might be on guard if they see Karas backing up.
If the opponent jumps at any time other than being right up in Karas’s face, J.5C is most likely going to stop them in their tracks. This move has seriously godlike range and comes out very fast.
For pressure, IAD j.5A, 5B, 2B and 5C are your safest options. If you have an assist ready, Karas can do a full blockstring into kasha sequences in relative safety. This is a good way to build meter, but always keep in mind that almost everything Karas does is punishable on block at close range.
Offensively, Karas should be using Baroque to perform unblockable loops. It can also be used to perform mixups (which he lacks naturally) and for covering mistakes, although Karas usually has enough ways to get himself out of trouble without it. It isn’t necessarily a bad idea to use baroque in normal combos either if Karas as a large amount of red life, since Karas’s combos do tend to go on for ages, but on such a fragile character as Karas it can sometimes just be a better option to tag out and use that red life to heal.
Karas is going to want to hold onto meter for 2 reasons: mega crash and Vairs. Karas does build meter quickly through pressuring and his long combos/resets. If you ever find yourself with less than 1 bar, things are horribly wrong and you should play very defensively while simultaneously worrying about the outcome of the match. Vairs are generally better damage than level 1 supers and they give karas a nice tag which is always good for healing, providing you weren’t using UB loops, in which case you probably won’t have any red life.
Unblockable Loops are really a huge part of dealing damage and building meter as Karas, but they are only possible with certain partner assist types. Assists who are known to be useful for UB loops are Polimar, Megaman, Saki, Chun Li, Soki, Yatterman-2 and Tekkaman Blade. As well as their compatability with UB loops, you also want to be looking at an assist that will be of use defensively, and that can allow Karas to continue natural corner combos in the situation where he might not have baroque to do a UB loop. Karas also likes having a partner who has strong Vair options.
Polimar’s is probably the best followed closely by Chun Li and Megaman. Polimar can do great damage after a Vair, but at the cost of more meter for his reset. Chun Li can do a lot of damage cheaply with her three jumps, so Chun Li is probably the most optimal partner for Karas. Tekkaman blade is also a good option for his Vairs but sadly his assist is quite slow and difficult to use defensively.
Megaman and Yatterman-2’s assists can be used defensively but both don’t have particularly strong vair options if karas’s previous combos are taken into consideration (Volnutt can’t use shield gun to wall bounce, though he can try to do a double drill arm if he has it) and both of them don’t allow Karas to easily combo after their use in the corner as they throw the opponent up too high.
Saki’s assist is a little weak defensively but it does it’s job for offense and Saki herself has some nice Vair options if she has a C-bullet loaded, as well as having a very powerful level 3 reset VHC with Karas when she’s on point.
SETUPS, CROSSUPS AND OTHER SUCH BS**
Karas may not have solid mixups, but he does have some rather nasty crossup tricks he can use to break the opponent’s guard.
After landing 623A on a standing opponent at close range, doing 5C as soon as karas lands will cause him to duck under them and crossup with an upwards swing from the other side. He can then immediately follow up with a 3C to make it safe or combo into an air combo if it hits. Very hard to react to.
Dashing through the opponent and crouch-cancelling to 2A is hard to react to, especially if Karas calls an assist before dashing. Watch out though, as a smart opponent can turn and throw Karas if the timing is off.
If an opponent is airborn and Karas is grounded, he can use Kasha to shoot underneath them and then empty-cancel into a 3C for a quick crossup onto launcher. It’s even possible to crossup into a proper kasha string and wallbounce for a longer combo, though this is much harder to set up and has more room for error. This crossup is particularly effective due to the fact that it can be mixed into Karas’s regular slide loop without warning.
It’s worth noting that all 3 hits of Kasha deal 3 special’s worth of chip damage. If an opponent is down to a small amount of life and chooses to mega-crash a combo, then you can quite easily chip them to death with a full screen C-kasha string if they have only a sliver of health left and don’t try to switch immediately.
Kasha is also a tricky way to punish aerial assaults. Using an A-kasha to quickly dash under an opponent who’s approaching from the air often gets Karas out of their field of attack and into a position where he can quickly attempt to punish them with a crossed-up 3C. 2C empty cancelled into 623C often works nicely too.
Hitting an opponent with 623A on the ground and then immediately using a 623B or C will cause Karas to perform a fast crossup against most characters, since the attack moves him forward just enough to move to their other side before attacking.
After a regular combo to the wall, karas can crossup in the corner after a 5C by using a B or A kasha instead of a C kasha to quickly duck under the opponent and crossup with 3C.
‘THAT DANG REKKA’ - KARAS COMBO SHENANIGANS
Karas is not an easy character to use. His combos are technical and frustrating and long. One of the biggest problems new players have is getting his kasha strings to combo. Here is a little list of things to consider which may help.
Do the command like this: 6C > 698741236BC
while the 360 motion is not necessary, it makes it considerably smoother and easier to get the attacks to come out. Always make sure to use the A or B versions of Yoinagi, since getting the C version to connect is very hard (the C version causes yashaguruma to have some startup). After inputting the command for yoinagi, keep holding forward and press C to make Yashaguruma come out. Treat Yoinagi and Yashaguruma as if they’re part of the same command.
The whole thing must be done very quickly and smoothely if it is to combo. However, doing the mid version fast enough will result in an ‘overbounce’ in the corner, which causes the opponent to bounce over Karas and fall behind him. This will never happen if you’re using the A version of Yoinagi, so keep this in mind, as frontal bounce is necessary for UB loops and Overbounce is necessary for slide loop out of the corner. Sound complicated? Yeah…it’s Karas.
Overbounce: opponent is sent bouncing behind karas in the corner after being hit by yashaguruma.
Frontal Bounce: opponent is still in front of karas in the corner after being hit by yashaguruma.