The King of Fighters '98: Ultimate Match/Ryo Sakazaki

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Well-proportioned balance, not the least of which starts with his powerful anti-air. His defense is solid and his attacks are powerful.

Move list

Normal throws
Tani Otoshi (throw) f/b + C
Tomoe Nage (throw) f/b + D
Command move
Hyōchū Wari f + A
Special moves
Koōken qcf + P
Kohō dp + P
Hien Shippūkyaku hcb + K
Kyokugen-Ryū Renbuken (throw) hcf + P
Mōko Raijingō qcb + P
┣ Kohō (during Mōko Raijingō) dp + P
┗ Hien Shippūkyaku (during strong Mōko Raijingō) hcb + K
Mōko Raijinsetsu qcf + K
Super special moves
Haō Shōkōken f hcf + P
Ryūko Ranbu qcf hcb + P
Tenchi Haōken

qcf qcf + P

Normal moves

  • cr.C and cl.C - both have quick startup; they can be linked into from cr.B. Afterwards, you can combo into something or just use it properly.
  • st.B – an irregularly powerful ground zoner. It has long reach, and is generally quick, even when whiffed.
  • j.C – has some crossup ability. The hitbox has good priority, so it’s powerful used in hops.

Command move

  • Hyōchū Wari
  • f + A
  • An overhead with long reach. The cancelled-into version can be crouch-blocked, but cannot be cancelled itself.

Special moves

  • Koōken
  • qcf + P
  • SNK-style non-launched projectile. The weak version, which isn’t very vulnerable, is for combos; the strong version has long reach, and is for zoning such that the very edge touches.

  • Kohō
  • dp + P
  • An extremely powerful anti-air. The hitbox, which faces forward for the weak version and upward for the strong version, has extremely high priority; against zoning moves and such, it can’t be beat at stuffing (weak) and anti-air (strong).

  • Hien Shippūkyaku
  • hcb + K
  • A flying kick. The weak version combos from weak moves and does two hits; the strong combos from strong attacks and does three. It does good damage, but if blocked, even if the very tip touches, it’s probably going to be countered, and since Ryo can’t use a command move in a special move combo, using it in a combo is tough. It now leaves the opponent with a hitbox, so if you use quick MAX you can juggle the opponent, but the practical utility of that is low.

  • Kyokugen-Ryū Renbuken
  • hcf + P at throwing distance
  • A proximity unblockable striking throw that launches the opponent. That it can’t combo into supers is a shame, but it is a powerful move that does combo even from weak moves. However, from any forward input (like say, a dash), the command becomes f hcf + P and does Haō Shōkōken instead, so you have to pay attention if you’re using this.

  • Mōko Raijingō
  • qcb + P
  • A rushing move; Ryo winds up just a little, and smashes his fist, then his elbow, into the opponent. It has autoblock during startup. If the very edge touches, there isn’t much of an opening.
  • The weak version now has faster startup, but the strong version now has slower startup, and so it can no longer be used in combos. The second hit can be cancelled into Kohō, but if you weren’t close to begin with, it won’t combo.
  • The strong version can now be cancelled into Hien Shippūkyaku, so you can resolve the problem of distance, but now you have the problem that it could just not touch short opponents.
  • By pressing AC instead of either button, you get the advantages of both strength levels: it combos from strong attacks, and you can cancel into Hien Shippūkyaku.

  • Mōko Raijinsetsu
  • An overhead attack; Ryo arcs through the air with a chop. It’s usable for things like surprise attacking over a projectile.

Super special moves

  • Ryūko Ranbu
  • qcf hcb + P
  • Ranbu-type super (duh) that continues even if blocked. Does great damage, but only combos from strong attacks. It has invincibility frames during startup.

  • Haō Shōkōken
  • f hcf + P
  • A big projectile. Using the weak or strong button will launch the blast with very different speeds. The weak (slow) version is tough for the opponent to evade with a forward roll.
  • It smashes through and obliterates normal projectiles, so the strong version can be used as an effective counterattack against projectiles.
  • The weak, non-MAX version combos from strong attacks.

  • Tenchi Haōken
  • qcf qcf + P
  • Ryo gives the appearance of punching really, really, really, really, really hard. It has startup invincibility and combos from weak moves. The damage isn’t actually all that much, but it has a lot of dizzying capability.
  • If the normal version does a counter-hit, on the other hand, it does a whole lot more damage.
  • The MAX version guarantees a dizzy, so you can use whichever combo you like. The damage done by the MAX version has been decreased from OG.



  • j.D or cr.B > cr.C >> weak Koōken (qcf + A) or Ryūko Ranbu (qcf hcb + P)
  • Basic combo. You will definitely want to get the link down.
  • cr.B > cl.A > st.A >> weak Hien Shippūkyaku (qcb + B) or Tenchi Haōken (qcf qcf + P)
  • Must be very close. If you aren’t close enough or the Tenchi Haōken (qcf qcf + P) won’t combo, go to cr.A from cr.B.
  • cl.C or cr.A >> Kyokugen-Ryū Renbuken (hcf + P) > j.C ou J.CD
  • j.D or cr.B > cr.C >> AC Mōko Raijingō (qcb + AC) >> Hien Shippūkyaku (hcb + K)
  • The Raijingō has to be performed by pressing A and C simultaneously (qcg + AC). Does lots of damage, and has a high dizzy potential. If blocked and you’ve gotten to the Raijingō, you will be countered.

The Basics

First, you’ll want to react right away to the opponent’s hops and hyper-hops; deal with them with Kohō. Even zoning with strong attacks and special moves can be reacted to by reading ahead, and you’ll be set. Due to this, the opponent will be unable to just safely attack you, so the flow of the bout is mostly going to be up to you. When the opponent isn’t so foolish as to jump and zone carelessly, zoning with st.B and cr.B shines. While always being prepared to perform Kohō, threaten to poke you opponent with them.

If you can manage to completely silence the opponent, you can go on the offensive. Jump in using j.D for a normal or super jump or j.C for a hop or hyper hop. If this is blocked, then after landing, press them with the options of cr.B and Hyōchū Wari (and sometimes the C throw). Whether or not Hyōchū Wari hits is roughly 50–50, which makes this a critical moment. If blocked, there will be enough pushback such that you probably won’t have to even think about throws, but there are many opponents who will either block or try zoning with normal moves. Deal with the latter with a weak Kohō, and the former by pestering them with cr.D and st.B. After a Hyōchū Wari hit, you have the advantage, so all the same, there are many things you can do somehow with st.B.

Tenchi Haōken gets a serious damage boost when it does a counter-hit, but in practice it is difficult to try for counter-hits alone. However, if you know what you’re trying to do, it’s not that tough. When you have gone on the defensive, think only of this and Kohō.

  • First, you need a way to interrupt your opponent’s blockstring. That is, look for a situation when you’ve blocked something like a jump attack and when they do something like getting out, say, a command move from a normal move that does not become a combo, or possibly when they get out a overhead command move using a slow cancel from a normal move. If you observe these, since you can eyeball it, when you block the normal move, prepare the command, and after you see the command move, press the button.
  • Also, a way to use an anti-air against hops and hyper hops. Obviously, just look for when the opponent jumps in to avoid an attack or when the opponent gets an attack out too quick and whiffs. It’s really simple, so if you have the gauge, look for these mistakes constantly.

For wakeup meaties, you can give them two options between cr.D and Hyōchū Wari, or a combo from a hopping j.C and landing cr.B. If the opponent has a decent anti-air, you could also make them think there’s going to be a landing cr.B so that they brace low; then you can jump more safely.

Conversely, two okay wakeup attacks are weak Kohō and the C throw. Kohō lifts off the ground immediately, so that even invincible throws can’t catch you. Also, nearly all opponents know not to jump in on Ryo’s wakeup by now, but if they haven’t learned that yet, it’s time for you to teach them....

Advanced Strategy