Yeah, most zoning characters in the game got a lot more tools such as lower, faster hops and more downward jump-ins to actually do hop pressure. Traditionally, zoners were mainly playing a strong neutral game and then pressed the advantage with blockstrings and traps once going on the offensive. So zoning characters were more passive aggressive than turtley in KOF, similar to how Guile does corner pressure in ST.
Duo Lon is more of a rush down character with great high/low mix ups that include his j.6B aerial chain combos and the ability to confirm his rekkas from jump-ins and empty hop lows and get another mix up after doing his rekka > teleport. Although his extending limbs are quite similar to Dhalsim’s, it’s more of an extended tool in controlling his neutral game and checking the opponent’s counter approach rather than for straight up turtling since he only has two stretched limb attacks on the ground excluding the EX versions, and only two extended limb attacks in the air also baring the EX versions. Coupled with the fact that his cr.C isn’t quite the fastest cr.C in the game to anti-air vertically, he isn’t quite designed to be a zoner or turtle. He already doesn’t do much damage as it is, so he has to make up for it by actually landing rekka combos and going for mix ups compensate. If he just keeps doing limbs, he’s not going to be rewarded as much as if he was played on straight mix up offense. His jump-ins and hop arcs are more designed for rushdown so he’s of that kind of character.
Takuma isn’t quite the zoning character as he used to be like in 98 or 02um Ura Takuma. Takuma’s fireball has quite the increase on start up and recovery compared to past incarnations and it’s more easy to jump over his fireballs than ever before. What Takuma got now though is the ability to confirm Crouching Bs into an actual knockdown without needing meter and is fitted with a command grab now. Add to the fact SNKP retained his really low hop arc and his great j.D that is able to cross up well, Takuma is also suited more as a rushdown character this iteration. His fireball is more of a means to check and balance the ability of zoning characters have upon him.
King is a zoning character in the sense that her projectile is really easy to hop over and encourages the opponent to do so. In return, King has some of the best anti-air normals and air-to-air normals in the game; being: Far C, cl.C, cr.C, st.A, st.D, df.D (slide), j.B (up forward aerial control), j.D (downward horizontal aerial control), and j.CD (both upward and downward horizontal control at the expense of overhead properties). Add in Surprise Rose, EX Surprise Rose, EX Trap Shot, Tornado Kick, EX Tornado Kick, and her newly added aerial Venom Strikes, King controls a vast amount of the aerial space that forces the opponent to take a more grounded approach. With that ground approach, King is able to answer it with Venom Strikes. In a sense, King is more well suited for passive aggressive offense in most games due to the fact that her j.D had to hit late in the past because it came out almost instantly and hitting it early on an opponent doesn’t net a combo. If she has to hit late with it, then the opponent could just do the usual timing on the Option Select st.C/D and hit her out before she lands. Every other attack she had didn’t really have that well of a downward hitbox, but her hop arc was more standard than characters such as Athena/Joe/Kensou. In regards to KOFXIII, I’d say she has the ability to play a more hop oriented game with the homogenization zoning characters undertook to make them more “rushdown” but the old passive aggressive zoning style works just as well.
I wouldn’t say the Shoto characters are that much of zoning characters though in the same sense that Takuma isn’t really a zoning character in the game. They could zone in the old Street Fighter sense but aren’t quite optimally played that way given how the subsystems in KOF work and how dps are generally quite weaker and not as rewarding as anti-air normals. With how these Shoto characters are designed, they’re not quite suited to zoning and not obviously designed to zone to the extent that characters such as Athena are designed.
Although this character could do both actually, I’d say Ash is a pretty effective zoning character since he’s the “Guile” Character. But now he’s fitted with Qcfx2 supers, has a cancelable sweep that’s not a silly Guile double sweep, great hop in jumping normals such as j.A and j.D, easy hitconfirm combos, control space well with his “Sonic Boom”, and could do things such as charge his “Flash Kick” while running and do something like: Run > cr.B x3 xx d_u+B. He’s interesting because he also is able to control the airspace quite well almost to the point that Iori could do so in previous games. Ash has a similar j.B in comparison to Iori and is able to limit grounded and aerial approaches with j.B and j.D. If an opponent tries to approach by landing above Ash’s hop with a full jump or super jump, Ash has a more up forward air to air with j.C. Ash then has a great cr.C and quickly charged “Flash Kicks” to anti-air all the other angles an opponent may try to approach from, also noting that Ash still has a good st.A and Far C. Ash is also able to retreat, approach, and counter poke grounded normals and advances with his sobat attacks quite similarly to Guile; in this case though, both backwards and forwards sobat kicks are done by doing b+B and b+D respectively, giving Ash the time to charge his “Sonic Boom”. Add in the fact he has an easy activation super that juggles the opponent, gives free cancel properties to Ash’s special attacks, and the the ability to reduce charge times to 0 is really scary. He could do this super even off of his normal hitconfirms. Then he’s given the opportunity to use an additional super in this mode that seals the opponent’s command normals, specials, and super for a limited about of time. For zoning and offense, this character really has it well. He is just not as easy or one dimensional in aerial and ground control like K’ is and doesn’t do as much damage as K’ does for the work Ash has to put in.
So yeah Tataki, there are zoning characters in this game. Either they became weaker, or they became stronger due to the ability to rushdown more making them less zoning-like. I’d say the most apparent zoning characters that remain primarily zoning but were given the best buffs are Athena, Kensou, and Ash so far with Joe trailing right behind.