The King of Fighters '98/FAQ

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Game Versions


2010 Tier List

A Kyo, Daimon, Chizuru, Iori
B Benimaru, Robert, Ralf, Chang, EX Yashiro, Chris, EX Chris
C EX Kyo, Terry, Joe, Yashiro, Takuma
D Ryo, Clark, Kensou, Yamazaki, Mary, Mature
E EX Terry, EX Ryo, Leona, Athena, Chin, Mai , EX Mai, King, Choi, Kim, Shermie, Vice, Shingo, Saisyu
F EX Robert, Yuri, Heavy D
G Andy, EX Yuri, Billy, Heidern, Brian, Rugal
H EX Andy, EX Joe, EX Billy, EX Shermie, Lucky

Tougeki Tamashii #4 2017 Tier List

Tier List of Chinese Players :

  • 12 - O. Chris, Chris
  • 11 - Daimon, Chizuru, Iori
  • 10 - Mai, O. Yashiro , Chang
  • 9 - Benimaru, Robert, Kyo, Mature, Takuma
  • 8 - Ex. Mai, Ex. Ryo, Yashiro, Ryo, Ralf
  • 7 - Terry, Saisyu, Leona, Ex. Kyo, Mary, Joe, Yamazaki, Clark
  • 6 - Rugal, Vice, Ex. Robert, King, Choi, Kensou, Athena, Heavy D!
  • 5 - Shingo , Ex. Terry, Kim , Yuri , Ex. Joe, Shermie, Lucky
  • 4 - Andy, Ex. Andy, O. Shermie, Chin, Ex. Yuri, Heidern, Billy
  • 3 - Ex. Billy
  • 2 - Brian

Omega Rugal is banned.


  • 1. The list is widely used in China as a score list for a special-rule match (which requires the three characters chosen by a player to total no more than 20 scores each run). The list is not made by Xiaohai directly, but is accepted by most top Chinese players including Xiaohai for online streaming matches and offline big tournaments including the U4 League 2017.
  • 2. The list is made based on the following competitive rules (as read in the screen shot above):
    • Daimon's unblockable GP on wakeup is banned.
    • No EX mode.
    • Floater glitches are banned.
  • 3. The average points (ignoring the twelve Ex. Characters) is 7 pts (actually 7.05), so if you choose to use this rule and choose to accept Random as a choice, a "balanced" value for Random is 7 pts. For curiosity, the average points of the twelve Ex. Characters is 6.33, and the average points of all fifty characters is 6.88.

Additional Information

Dune's hitbox data - Not complete, but most of the popular characters are there. The first link for each character is the hitbox data (scroll down in the right frame), then movelist, then additional information.

YouTube - Yes, YouTube! Never forget this as a great resource to see many matches and learn from them.

MoFile - This is the Chinese YouTube basically. You might get a rough connection to there, so try to access during the day when it is late/early night in China. Here are some good accounts for videos to browse: Dove 三台野 鸿牛

[1] - Decent FAQs that have some nice character information (and we udpate sometimes).

[2] - A great Japanese AtWiki

Youku - An other chinese Youtube where you can see the asian top players of KOF 98.

Douyu - A website where you can watch streams of best chinese players on KOF98 like Cheng Long or Ya Wang for example.

Credits and Disclaimers

Extra things.

Shortcuts and buffers

dp = f d f = hcb f = f qcf

rdp = b d b = hcf b = b qcb

hcf = b d f

hcb = f d b

qcb hcf = qcb b d f = qcb x 2 f = qcb db f = qcb qcf

qcb db f = qcb b d f = hcb f = d b f

C, qcf x 2 + C = qcf + C, qcf + C

C, hcb x 2 + C = hcb + C, hcb + C

C, qcb hcf + C = qcb + C, hcf + C

f = forward

b = back

d = down

dp = dragon punch (f, d, df)

rdp = reverse dragon punch (b, d, db)

qcb = quarter circle back (d, db, b)

qcf = quarter circle forward (d, df, f)

hcb = half circle back (f, df, d, db, b)

hcf = half circle forward (b, db, down, df, f)

Command Input Details


It's when your're doing a "special input blocking".

For example, if you want to do this combo of Iori easily :

cl.C / cr.C > f + A > qcf hcb + P

You can proceed like this

cl.C / cr.C (hold C) > qcf + A (release C) > hcb + P

Because you hold C, you can no longer do specials, and qcf + A simply registers only the f + A part since this is a command normal. Then you release C to allow specials and supers again, then you do hcb + P and the input parser will see that you have done qcf hcb + P and register it as a super.

Same Thing with this combo of Takuma:

cl.C / cr.C > f + A > qcf hcb + P

With special input blocking:

cl.C / cr.C (hold C) > qcf + A (release C) > hcb + P

OBS: you may use f + B instead of f + A, but in this case you don't need to use 'mutting' because Takuma has no qcf + K move.

Whiff cancelling

Unlike in most fighting games, if a move is cancellable, it can be cancelled regardless of whether it hits, blocks or whiffs (except for normal aerial moves - these can only be cancelled on hit/block). Therefore it is possible for Kyo to do cr.D > qcf+A with or without hitting.

This opens up several strategic possibilities that are not normally available in other fighting games. If you whiff a move that has a good hitbox, but has bad recovery, you can either shorten this recovery or cover the recovery with a safe special.

This allows you to cover several options at once during neutral game. If you whiff cancel a sweep into a special that has a more upward hitbox you are essentially covering the full space in front of you.

Note that some attacks are nearly impossible to cancel on whiff because the active period is very short.

Late cancelling

Cancellable normals, and some character’s CD attacks, can be cancelled into command normals. If these command normals have special properties (such as knockdown, overhead, low hit and others), these special properties are usually lost when you cancel into them. In return, if you cancel into these command normals, they usually become cancellable.

But there is a way to retain these special properties. You do this by cancelling into the command normal late.

Whenever a move connects, either on hit or block, both characters freeze for a short time this is called 'hitstop or hitfreeze', a late cancel is done by inputting the command normal just after this hitstop, just when the opponent starts moving backwards from the pushback.

This is a useful technique, especially for overhead command normals which tend to have a very long startup, which makes them prone to counterpokes. By late cancelling into a command normal, you will at least secure part of the startup to be covered since the opponent will still be in blockstun, essentially creating a frametrap from a normal into a command normal.

Examples where Late cancelling is useful :

  • cr.D > f + A

With Ryo, Robert, Kensou, Chizuru, Yashiro, Vice, Saisyu

  • cr.B > f + A

With Robert, Vice

  • cl.B > f + A

With Robert, Yamazaki

  • cr.D > f + B

With Kyo, Yuri, Heidern, Takuma, Heavy D!, Rugal

  • cr.B > f + B

With Andy, Takuma

  • cl.B > f + B

With Kyo, Iori, Yuri

It permits to alternate low cancel attack with an overhead attack thus try to guard break opponent.

Tips & Tricks

  • Avoiding doing a dp move when you try to do a hcf / qcf move just after input forward:

This situation probably had happen with everybody: you try to do a qcf / hcf move just after a run or a f + button attack and get your dp move instead of your qcf / hcf move... The problem is that f hcf / f qcf are valid inputs for a dp move too, and when a input is valid for more than one move, the game applys a precendece rule, and in KOF dp has precedence over hcf / qcf. But there is a trick to avoid this (without leaving the joystick in neutral position for some frames): the point is that qcf / hcf moves may be done with qcf uf / hcf uf and those inputs are not valid for a dp move, so if you press the button with uf instead of forward you avoid doing a unintended dp move. Keep in mind however that while doing this trick in reversal situations or combos is somehow easy, it's very tricky to do this on a neutral situation where you may end up doing a jump attack if you done wrong... Logically, the same trick can be done with hcb / qcb move just after input back to avoid doing a rdp move. There is a similar situation with Ryo, where you may end up doing his (S)DM f hcf + P instead of his hcf + P move after a run / f + button, however there is no trick to avoid this specific situation... the only way is to leave joystick in neutral position for some frames...

  • Avoiding doing hcb hcf move when you try a hcb f (or doing f hcf move when you try a f b f move):

This sometimes happens especially with Iori and Takuma / Ex Ryo respectively. The problem is that when you go from back to forward in a single and continuous moviment you may end up - by mistake - pressing down in the middle. One easy way to avoid this is leaving the joystick in neutral position, instead of doing a single and continuous b f moviment (this is specially easy with a joypad). Another way is to use uf instead of forward as the last direction, ie doing hcb uf / f b uf instead of hcb f / f b f. Like the previous tip, it is somehow easy to be done in reversal situations or combos, but it's very tricky to be done on a neutral situation where you may end up doing a jump attack if you done wrong. The same trick can be used to avoid doing a hcf / qcf move when you try to do a (b) f move (ie, do (b) uf instead).

  • Use "reversal trick" to make combos easier:

In KOF when you are in state where can't use a special (or (S)DM), if you do the command of a special and continue to hold the button, on the next few frames (5 or more depending on the situation) the movie will be triggered automatically if you enter in a state where you can do the special (normally because you will enter in a neutral state, or in a cancellable frame). This feature exists mainly for reversal situations, enabling you to easily do a special after a block or wake up. But the same trick can be used to make combos easier. Cancel attack into specials become easier when you do this, because sometimes the attack has very few cancellable frames and you may end up doing the special to soon (or between hits of a multi-hit attack). By holding the button you have more chances of "passing" by a cancellable frame. Link combos into specials become very easier too, no matter if it's a link from a normal attack (like Goro's cr.B, hcb f + P) or links from another special (like Shingo's dp + K, qcb +D or Chris' dp + P, qcf qcf + P). That's why in the combo section we list some sequences like Iori's hcb f + P, qcf hcb + P too, while you will do more damage using a st.C or cl.C > f + A before the special, you need to manually time the normals after the hcb f + P recovery (and if you time it wrong the opponent will recover and block - or counter!!), while if you just follow with a special, you will do less damage, but you may use the "reversal trick" with no need to time the special after the recovery ;)

Info from KOFXIII

Most of it applys to KOF98 too:

Frame Data

Hit Stun

There are some exceptions, but in general, the hit stun of the moves work as follow:

  • weak attacks: 11 frames
  • air hard attacks: 11 frames
  • ground hard attacks: 19 frames
  • command attacks / specials / (S)DM: 19 frames

Because of this, in general, no move with more than 10 frames of startup will combo when cancelled from a weak attack (or an air hard attack). In a similar way, no move with more than 18 frames of startup will combo when cancelled from a ground hard attack (or a command attack).

Keep in mind that the window is even shorter when you want to follow an air attack with a ground move after you land, as the frames where you are still in the air after the air attack hit will count against you. Example: you hit with an air C and after 3 frames you land, you have to do a move with 7 or less frames of startup if you want it to combo.

Block Stun

There are some exceptions, but in general, the block stun is 2 frames short than the hit stun:

  • weak attacks: 9 frames
  • air hard attacks: 9 frames
  • ground hard attacks: 17 frames
  • CD attacks: 21 frames
  • command attacks / specials / (S)DM: 17 frames

What is said above about combos, is valid for block string too, except that block stun is shorter. So, no move with more than 8 frames of startup will make a block string when cancelled from a weak attack (or an air hard attack). In a similar way, no move with more than 16 frames of startup will make a block string when cancelled from a ground hard attack (or a command attack). And no move with more than 20 frames of startup will make a block string when cacelled from a ground or air CD.

Advantage Calculation

The formula used to calculate advantage in general is:

Advantage = "hit/block stun" + 1 - ("active frames" + "recovery frames")


  • A weak attack with frame data 3/5/5 will have +2 on hit and +0 on block
  • A hard attack with frame data 12/2/17 will have +1 on hit and -1 on block

Throw Invulnerability

Just after recovering from block stun, hit stun, air reset or knockdown (wake up), the character has some frames of throw invulnerability (in general 9 frames).

Because of this, tick into throw in KOF98 is much less usefull/abusable than in other games where you can be thrown just after the hit/block stun (like SF2).

You can verify this by cancelling a hard attack on hit/block into a throw that is not too fast (like Vice's DM qcf qcf + C or O. Yashiro's hcf + D), those throws are not fast enough to combo (opponent recover from hit/block stun before the active frames), but they will miss even if opponent stand still on the ground because throw invulnerability will still be active. However if do the same with a slower throw (like Vice's DM qcf qcf + A or O. Yashiro's qcb + P) those throws will hit if the opponent stand still on the ground, because throw invulnerability has already wear off. Keep in mind that because of the short hit/block stun, throws that miss after a hard attack because of the throw invulnerability, may hit after a weak attack because throw invulnerability has already wear off (obviously without combo).

Thanks to throw invulnerability you don't have to worry about doing a normal throw by mistake when you try a close C/D just after an opponent recover from block stun, hit stun, air reset or knockdown (in those situations f/b + C/D will always trigger close C/D instead of a normal throw).

While they are not real throws, proximity unblockables will never trigger during the throw invulnerability simply because the opponent is not in a "throwable state" during this period. Keep in mind however that once the proximity unblockable is triggered it will hit normally if then the opponent enter in throw invulnerability (which will happen only if the opponent end up recovering from hit stun between the trigger and the first hit).

If a character get hit during the throw invulnerability, the invulnerability ends immediately. Example: you do a meaty cl.C, and hit opponent on the 1st frame after wake up, you will be able to cancel in an instant throw and it will hit the opponent, because the throw invulnerability wears off just after the cl.C hit.

Keep in mind that in KOF98, invencibility does not prevent throws. So you can still be throw (as long as you are still on the ground) during attacks with invencibility (like some dp attacks and supers). The only move with invencibility to throws is the Guard Cancel Roll.

  • Exception, seens like delayed throws with invencibility and instant throws are invulnerable to throws:
    • If two characters activate instant throws ate same frame, both will wiff.
    • I saw Benimaru's DM hcb hcb + P and Daimon's DM hcb hcb + P being activated on same frame, Daimon's super wiff (and soon after Benimaru's super hit...)

It seen to be impossible to throw a character from his back when he is in a "active frame". One example:

  • You dodge Ralf's (S)DM qcf hcb + P and try to throw him from his back while he is still punching. The throw will wiff... But attack > throw will work normally ;)

Also, you cannot throw a character that is in hitstun caused by another throw (like Chris' dp +P or O. Yashiro's qcb + P or Iori's hcb f + P), or by an air attack (ie. jump attack, instant throw will always wiff).

Normal Moves

Cancellable Moves

There is no universal cancellable normal moves, but every characater can cancel at least three of theses four moves:

  • close A
  • close C
  • crouch A
  • crouch C

In fact, almost all character can cancel all these four moves, except for nine characters:

  • Heidern, Ralf & Robert: cannot cancel close A.
  • Chang: cannot cancel close C.
  • Mai & Billy: cannot cancel crouch A.
  • Goro, Clark & Lucky: cannot cancel crouch C.

No character is able to cancel far D.

All other normal moves (far A/B/C, close B/D, crouch B/D) are cancellable for some characters.

All cancellable normal moves are cancellable in command attacks, special moves or supers (DM or SDM), except for the normal moves below, that cannot be cancelled on command attacks:

  • Joe: st.A
  • Chris & O. Chris: cl.D

Random Damage

Unlike newer games, KOF98 has a random factor on the damage output of some moves. You can verify this on training mode (or playing with a friend) using some move repeatedly against the same character at full health. You will notice that the moves does not do the same damage each time... sometimes the moves does slight less or slight more damage than the average. Keep in minds however that, unlike other games with random damage like SF2, the difference between the max and the min damage of a move is very small (in general a "weak attack + move dealing min damage" will deal more damage than "move dealing max damage"). But you have to keep this in mind when comparing two moves or combos with similar damage (ie. if the damage is similar you have to test a bunch of times to be sure that a move/combo is really, on average, more damaging than another).

Damage Reduction

Unlike newer games KOF98 has no damage reduction. In KOF98 the moves deal the same damage no matter how much life the opponent has or how many hits/moves were done before in the combo. However some situations may look like damage reduction but are not:

  • Random damage: as mentioned above some moves have a random factor on the damage. So sometimes the moves one by one will deal a little more damage than a combo just because of the random factor.

  • "Cancelled X uncancelled" command attacks: a C/D > f +A/B will many times does less damage than both moves isolated. Its not damage reduction, its because the cancelled command attack is actually a different move, with different frame data and damage, where the cancelled version will many times be faster and less damaging.

  • "Smart damage distribution": some moves like Terry's dp + P, Ralph's qcf hcb + P, Yashiro's qcb hcf + P, O. Chris dp + C, Robert's qcf qcf + K and others, have a group of hits that do not have a fixed damage output, instead the first hits of that group that strike the opponent will deal a reasonable damage and the following hits of that group that strike will deal a minimal damage. This is not damage reduction in the sense that:
    • A - The moves will still deal the same total damage in and out of a combo.
    • B - If you manage to use the same move twice in the same combo, the move may deal the same total damage each time - as long as you strike the same way in both times.

This feature is just a game design to guarantee that these moves will deal a "good damage" even if you miss some of the hits, at the same time that if you strike all hits it will not do an "outstanding damage". Keep in mind however that moves with these kind of hits may still have hits with fixed damage - normally the first hits and/or the last hits, in these cases miss the first and/or last hits will greatly decrease the total damage.

Button lag

If you press a button during a neutral state the game will wait four frames before beginning the attack. This is because it's waiting for button + button / button + direction combinations. If it detects one it will execute it immediately without waiting further (e.g. if you press C and then press D two frames later, it will immediately begin the CD animation.) One of the combinations it looks for is f/b+C/D so if you're trying to cancel a close C or D into a command normal, don't be too quick with the direction input or you could end up doing a throw instead.