The King of Fighters XIV marks the first appearance of the wildly mysterious Kukri. Using his expansive kit of strong projectiles, wide arcing attacks and quick teleports, Kukri is able to control vast amounts of space in the battlefield, placing his opponents in unfavorable and uncomfortable positions. When up close and personal, the sand manipulator relies on long combo strings using MAX Mode cancels to subdue his enemy and regain control over the arena space.
Kukri’s attacks are very tricky and often very hard to predict. This allows the character to generate space between himself and the opponent and control the flow of the battle. Much of playing Kukri comes down to attempting to manipulate your adversary’s movements into a position that leaves you dominant and gives you choices.
While his crouching normals aren’t anything to write home about, Kukri’s standing normals provide excellent range with his standing heavy kick allowing the ability to close minor amounts of space to push closer to your opponent. His command move, Fussa Ken, comes out very quickly and will be used a lot as it’s vital to continuing long combos that produce extraordinary amounts of damage.
Kukri’s real bread-and-butter comes from his wide variety of special moves. One of his most powerful special moves, Nessa Jin, is a strong projectile that quickly moves across the ground toward your opponent. This ability should be used to keep the enemy away and chip off their life when there exists a large amount of space between you both. Nessa Senpuu has a wide range and will deal out large amounts of damage mid-combo.
When used in EX form, Nessa Senpuu will also knock the enemy against the wall, leaving them in a crumpled state and open to a continued flurry of blows. Bossa-Shougeki will allow you to control the aerial space in a match and may be used both on the ground and in the air. Finally, Genei Sajin is Kukri’s teleport which’ll allow him to move in four directions: forward, far forward, backward, and staying in place. The teleport leaves behind a sand image which will hurt the opponent and help to make the move safe.
Because Kukri is a zoning character, he has a good number of powerful anti-airs that’ll help keep the enemy away. Both his standing light punch and standing light kick are strong, quick anti-airs which will push the enemy away. His jumping light kick is another fantastic anti-air that will generally trade in your favor, especially when hitting the opponent at an angle.
The Bossa-Shougeki and air Bossa-Shougeki are his best special move anti-airs. The air Boss-Shougeki is especially strong as it comes out faster and with a larger radius than its ground counterpart, but be sure just to short hop as a full jump will probably end up being too slow. If you want to toy with your opponent, Kukri’s backward or far forward teleport will also act as a counter to an aerial strike and will help you keep your distance and space from the opponent.
When you do decide to take the fight close-range, you’ll want to have a bar of meter ready as MAX Mode cancelling mid-combo is the best way to utilize Kukri’s combos. Try to land a quick standing light kick or jumping heavy punch to start off a combo, but if the attack fails don’t be afraid to fall back and try to play into another opportunity, especially if the enemy character doesn’t have a good way to close any gaps.
Start off with a basic MAX Mode cancel combo in the corner: standing light kick > Fussa Ken > MAX Mode > Fussa Ken > EX Nessa Senpuu > EX Nessa Jin
Practicing this will help with conquering the timing for canceling into MAX Mode and continuing the combo.
Once you have that down, switch things up a bit and cancel into a super special move: standing light kick > Fussa Ken > MAX Mode > Fussa Ken > EX Nessa Senpuu > heavy Nessa Jin > Nessa Goku Totsuha
This combo will take off nearly half of the enemy’s life at the cost of only two bars. Combine that with the chip damage from zoning out the opponent and you’ll have everyone beat in no time. For more advanced tech check out the YouTube channel TagTeamENT‘s video below of advanced Kukri combos.
Kukri is a character with massive zoning potential, amazing combo strings, and incredibly tricky maneuvers. The utility he can bring to a team certainly speaks for itself and before too long, you’ll be using him to drown your opponents in copious amounts of sand and salt while securing yourself win after win.