Capcom vs SNK 2/K-Groove

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Cvs2 K-Groove Label.png
CVS2 KGrooveBar.png

K-Groove is one of the six grooves in Capcom vs. SNK 2. It features a "Rage" system that gains meter as you take damage and grants massive offensive and defense bonuses when filled; and Just Defends, which greatly reduce guard recovery times and grants a small amount of health restoration. The major components of K-Groove, Rage and Just Defend, are inspired by the game systems of Samurai Shodown and Garou: Mark of the Wolves, respectively.

K-Groove is a consensus A+ grade groove in CvS2, sharing the top tier with A-Groove and its high-damage, round controlling Custom Combo system.

Groove Data

K-Groove Data
Main Features Significant Offensive and Defensive Bonuses in Rage State, Just Defends
Groove System Just Defending & Rage Gauge System
Groove Subsystems
  • Run
  • Small Jump
  • Safe Fall
Meter Length 72 Units
Rage State Duration 180 Time Units (18 seconds)
Guard Bar Length 43 Units 90% of Normal
Meter Bonuses In Rage State:
  • Normal Attacks and Throws: +35% Damage
  • Special Attacks: +30% Damage
  • Super Combos: +10% Damage
  • Defensive Bonus: -12.5% Damage from Opponent Attacks

From a Just Defend:

  • +6 units (+8.3%) of meter (if not in Rage State)
  • +100 units of health (as Ratio 2)

See Groove Subsystems for complete technical data on specific subsystems.

Meter System

The meter in K-Groove is a single bar with the "怒" Kanji character (literally, "angry") at the end. Unlike in most other grooves, there is no way to gain meter through offensive actions. Even successfully blocking attacks grants no meter. Instead, there are only two ways to get meter in K-Groove:

  • Take damage from the opponent; the bigger the damage, the more meter received from it
  • Just Defend opponent attacks; one Just Defend grants a flat 6 units (8.3%) of meter

When the meter is filled, the player automatically enters the Rage state: The "怒" symbol lights up and pulses, the player character turns red, and the meter bar turns into a timer that lasts 18 seconds. In the Rage state, the player is granted massive offensive and defensive bonuses, as detailed in the Groove Data chart above.

While in Rage, there is no way to add meter or extend the length of Rage once it has activated. Getting hit by an opponent or Just Defending will not gain meter or slow the timer. Health will still be recovered off a Just Defend, however.

In the Rage state, the player has access to a Level 3 super. K-Groove does not have access to any other super level at any other time. When using the super, any remaining meter will empty and Rage state will come to an end, allowing the player to fill it up again.

Meter is gained and used by one character at a time. If a character wins a round, any gained meter carries over to the next round. If the character loses a round, all meter is lost and the new character will start the next round with zero meter. If a round ends while a character is raged, win or lose, the rage state ends and the meter resets to zero to start the next round.

Unique Groove Abilities


The Rage system in K-Groove is a unique mechanic that fills the meter bar (or Rage Gauge) primarily by taking damage from the opponent; when completely filled, the character enters the Rage State which grants massive offensive and defensive bonuses, as well as access to a supercharged Level 3 super. (The Rage mechanic was inspired by the Samurai Shodown series.)

When you get hit, the meter you build is proportional to the damage of the attack. If hit by a heavy attack, more meter is gained compared to being hit by a light attack. Multi-hit normal and super attacks will build significant amounts of meter, and getting hit by a Level 3 super or full custom combo basically guarantees the meter will fill completely to activate the Rage State.

Rage meter can also be gained with a successful Just Defend (see below).

When Rage activates, the player character pulsates blood red and the meter turns into a timer that slowly drains. While in the Rage state:

  • A Level 3 super becomes available, which if landed does an additional 10% damage,
  • Normal attacks and throws do an additional 35% damage,
  • Special attacks do an additional 30% damage, and
  • All opponent attacks do 12.5% less damage.

The Rage State ends when:

  • The meter timer empties naturally,
  • A Level 3 super is performed, or
  • The round ends via win, loss, or time over.

An important consideration of the Rage System is that the meter (which can be best thought of as an "anger" or "revenge" meter) is tied to a character individually, as opposed to most of the other meter systems in CvS2 which are shared by all team members. If a character wins a round with 99% of the meter filled, it will carry over to the next round allowing the character to potentially trigger Rage very quickly and/or get an "extra" Rage activation during the round. However, if a character loses a round with partial meter; or wins a round in the Rage State, the meter is reset to begin the next round.

Just Defend

The Just Defend is a defensive parry technique that if performed successfully eliminates pushback, negates guard damage, reduces blockstun, gains Rage meter, and grants a small health recovery. (Though Just Defends are also present in the Samurai Shodown games, their implementation in CvS2 is "officially" inspired by Garou: Mark of the Wolves.)

A Just Defend is performed by executing the correct guard direction in the 6 frames before an opponent's attack connects. Just Defends can also be performed in the air, but cannot be performed during Small Jumps and cannot be performed during a regular jump or superjump after an attack has already been used.

To correctly Just Defend, input:

  • Db.png for low or mid attacks, and
  • B.png for mid and high/overhead attacks, or while in the air.

(In effect, this makes Just Defend the opposite of the traditional Capcom/P-Groove parry, which requires movement in the (non-guarding) down or forward directions within about the same time frame. However, unlike the Parry, doing a Just Defend too early will generally result in the attack merely being blocked, and is therefore a much safer than a Parry which if done too early will result in eating an attack. Also unlike the Parry, Just Defends do not grant as great a frame advantage.)

A successful Just Defend will produce a blue flash and "chirp" sound effect, in addition to nullifying guard damage, adding 6 units (8.3%) of Rage meter, and recovering 100 units of health (as Ratio 2). The meter and health gained is the same regardless of the strength or type of attack being Just Defended. As the only other way to do so in K-Groove is to take damage, Just Defends provide a more preferential alternative to gaining meter. The length of the Rage gauge is the equivalent of 12 Just Defends, which if performed would also recover 1200 health along the way.

Just Defends also alter the positioning and frame advantage states of opponent attacks. A JD will negate any pushback effects an attack may have created, keeping the defender in place. (This may or may not be beneficial, depending on the attack and player positioning.) It also reduces the amount of blockstun the defender takes, sometimes significantly. (See the Just Defend Frame Advantage Formula below for more information.)

If performing a Just Defend in the air, the defender will "bounce" back and up slightly. It is possible to perform additional Just Defends consecutively as long the defender has not used an air attack. However, if attempting to Just Defend multi-hit attacks from the air, the timings to do so may change depending on how the JD bounce repositions you relative to the opponent's projectile or attack direction.

Just Defend Frame Advantage Formula

This section is taken from Buktooth's famous Systems FAQ. The information from it will be reformatted for this wiki at a later time.

JD is not only an easy way of getting rage, but like a parry, you can make the attack unsafe. The blockstun that JD gives you is actually universal and not proportional to the attack's stun. There is a guard stun frame value for lights, mediums, heavies and specials. Here are the frames of guard stun for each JD'd attack:

  • vs Light Normals: 10 frames guard stun
  • vs. Medium Normals: 14-16 frames guard stun
  • vs. Heavy Normals: 18-20 frames guard stun
  • vs. Special Moves: 19-21 frames guard stun

These varying numbers for modified JD guard stun tell me that one of two things is possible: the first one being that some of the frame numbers in the official CvS2 guide book might me off by a frame or two. While that's very possible, I'll give the book the benefit of the doubt and assume the other possible reason for varying numbers is true.

Much like different fierces have different amounts of guard stun, the same applies for JDs; there is no set amount of JD stun for a set of moves. This makes it a huge pain to tell what the resulting frame advantage/disadvantage is with a JDed move, since there is no basic formula to follow. However, here's a simple formula for getting a rough estimate on the the resulting frame advantage/disadvantage.

Frame Advantage/Disadvantage = JD stun - (active frames + recovery frames)

Let's take Sagat's cr.HP as an example:

Sagat's cr.HP is 7/8/14 +2F. Plug the relevant numbers into the formula and:

Frame Advantage =

  • =18~20F - (8F + 14F)
  • = 18~20F - 22F
  • = -4F ~ -2F

So, Sagat's cr.HP (normally a +2F move) gets a disadvantage somewhere between -4F and -2F when JDed. With some testing, you'll find that it's actually exactly -3F, but since JD stun is slightly different for every move we can use the formula for a good estimate.

Here's a more extreme example of JD effects:

Benimaru's QCF+HK is 12/4/29 +5. Plug the relevant numbers into the formula and you'll end up with:

Frame Advantage =

  • -19~21F - (4F + 29F)
  • = -19~21F - 33F
  • = -14~12F

Ouch. From +5 all the way down to -14ish. JDing really hurts the moves that are safe or give advantage due to putting a ton of block / hitstun on the opponent.

Other examples of moves that are very minus if JD'd:

- Eagle st.HP / cr.HK
- Hibiki Distance Slash
- Claw cr.MP
- Geese cr.HK
- Haohmaru st.HP
- Rugal cr.HP / cr.HK

When JDing heavy attacks that are close, attempt a punish. The opponent should be minus enough to where they are unable to block anything.

Groove Strategy

K-Groove is a top-tier groove in CvS2. It has both offensive and defensive mechanics that make it the perfect groove for almost every character in the game. Though there are defensive mechanics present in K-Groove, you almost always are playing offense on the opponent, and it's easy to force the opponent's hand due to the threat of a level 3 super.


Damage, Damage, Damage - K-Groove's Rage mechanic grants unreal attack bonuses that add up—fast. Getting 30%~35% on pokes and bread and butter combos will do noticeably more damage, especially if you can land lots of them while Raged. Your opponent will have to respect this, typically forcing them to turtle up when under pressure; that's when you take advantage of the 30% damage boost on throws and get your damage in anyway.

And if they try to get too cute blocking and avoiding throws? That's when you wallop 'em with a 110% damage Level 3 super.

The damage potency of K-Groove is simply too strong. The Rage State is the biggest threat in CvS2 outside of a full A-Groove meter and a Custom Combo activation. That the Rage Gauge is so short for the amount of potential damage bottled up in it is borderline unfair.

Just Defend: The Better Parry - A big reason why P-Groove is so weak in CvS2 is because K-Groove is so, so strong. K-Groove is, ironically, the ideal Parrying groove in CvS2... except with Just Defends. (Which are technically a kind of Parry!) And with them you gain so many more advantages, all while still retaining many of the benefits of the standard Parry.

While you can't always be Raged, you always have the Just Defend at your disposal. Using it can really mess up your opponents' gameplans against you. Because it eliminates pushback and reduces blockstun, a JD can turn "safe" pokes, big plus buttons, blockstrings, and special moves into unsafe ones. This allows you to counter back with a free attack string or throw, or at the very least neutralize their offensive salvo, potentially forcing them to limit or change what they can throw at you, even when you aren't in Rage.

A Healthy Rage Feedback Loop - Each Just Defend gains a bit of Rage Meter for "free," in that you don't need to take a boot to the face for it. If you JD several rapid attacks in a row, you will fill close to half of it—or more!—in just a few moments. The more Just Defends you can do, the faster the meter will fill and the more Rage States you will activate into. This feeds into a positive loop of Rage.

If you gain big portions of your Rage meter with Just Defends, you will get into Rage more frequently without taking the damage otherwise needed to do so. This gives you more lifebar with which to potentially trade for Rage Gauge and Rage States later. So do the Just Defends themselves, which at +100 health a pop can add up to a significant health gain (again, potential future Rage meter) over the course of a round and match.

And don't forget about the big fat 12.5% defensive bonus you get during Rage, either. Taking less damage during Rage than you would have without it leaves you with more lifebar to spend on Rage meter after you exit Rage. It's a beneficial cycle for the K-Groove player, and a vicious one for their opponent.

A player that Just Defends frequently is giving themselves more effective health (literally with JDs and virtually with Rage defensive bonuses), but also giving their opponent less effective health (Rage damage bonuses and higher frequencies of Rage to get them), possibly to the extreme of giving your team the health of 3½ characters or more, and depending on how many Rage attacks land, the opponent the health of about 2½ characters or less. The offensive meter attack bonuses in other grooves does close the gap, but this health advantage can still favor K-Groove significantly.

Everyone is Good in K - There are plenty of characters who are better in other grooves. But because of the advantages of Just Defend frames and Rage damage bonuses, and it being a rather straightforward groove on top of that, basically everyone in the entire game is worth playing in K-Groove. Low-tier characters get much better chances to use their tools off of Just Defending, the mid-tier majority greatly benefits from the respect given when Raged, and the top tiers are even more oppressive when you give them access to both of those things.

You don't even really need to worry about the order of your team in K-Groove. Meter doesn't carry over between characters, so there's no advantage to sticking with the traditional Battery/User/Anchor setup. If switching your character order would gain you better matchups in a set, K-Groove is the groove that gives you the greatest flexibility to do that.

Hell, even you completely suck at CvS2, K-Groove is your savior! Being bad at the game, in an ironic kind of way, rewards you with one of the best meter privileges in the game. That not only does it make a good groove for beginners, it also makes for a good secondary groove to play your main team in, or with a pocket second team to mess around with in casual play. (Certainly, it's easier to wrestle with than A-Groove!) You can never go wrong running K, no matter the situation.


The significant strengths of K-Groove come with two significant, though situational, disadvantages.

Low Life and No Meter? R.I.P. - All the benefits you get for trading your lifebar for meter will eventually run out when you don't have any lifebar left to trade. Toward the end of a round you will often not have enough life left to fill the Rage Gauge again.... which really sucks if you are losing! Just Defends are nothing to slouch at in a comeback situation, but unless you can bag 10 or 12 of them before dying, you're SOL on getting another Rage and super chance making a big comeback very unlikely.

Hard Counters in the Meta - K-Groove is very powerful, but in the context of CvS2 it is very powerful in spite of not having Roll Cancels, the most powerful single mechanic in the game. While Just Defends are a hearty defense against abusable RCs—if you can JD them—they do not get you the offensive opportunities that only invincible special moves can unlock.

This is compounded by the lack of options a K-Groove player has once locked into a a lengthy blockstun. Its guard crush meter is not as flimsy as the one in P-Groove (38 points, or 80% of normal), but it's still weaker than the rest of the bunch (43pts/90%) and still absolutely no match for A-Sakura's Shoshosho custom combo or other guard-busting strings of attacks. You may be able to Just Defend the first hits, but once you miss one you can't escape blockstun until their string ends or your guard crush meter empties.

Character Considerations

As stated above, a large majority of the cast is either close to their best or at their best in K. I would list the entire roster here if I wanted to, but instead I'll list characters that are very good picks for any K-Groove tean.

  • Sagat
  • Blanka
  • Cammy
  • Geese
  • Hibiki
  • Rock
  • Mai
  • Kyo
  • Morrigan
  • Nakoruru
  • Sakura
  • Shotos
  • Chun-Li
  • Raiden
  • Dictator
  • Iori

Even for characters I didn't list, they can still be thrown on a team no problem. These characters are just the upper echelon of good K-Groove characters if you wanna make a stacked squad.

Groove Comparisons and Matchups

The info in this section is for direct comparisons between grooves and generic groove vs groove matchups, which may apply differently to specific characters. For more detail on how a character plays in and plays against the different grooves, refer to their character info page.

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Cvs2 A-Groove Label.png

Cvs2 P-Groove Label.png

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Cvs2 N-Groove Label.png

Cvs2 K-Groove Label.png

CvS2 Wiki Navigation

Roll Cancel
CvS2 Versions
Netplay/ Training
Groove Overview
Groove Subsystems
Capcom Characters
Akuma (Gouki)
Balrog (Boxer)
M. Bison (Dictator)
Vega (Claw)
SNK Characters
Boss Characters
Shin Akuma
Ultimate Rugal
Evil Ryu
Orochi Iori