As the staple main character of The King of Fighters series, Kyo Kusanagi has not only been a fan favorite, but a powerful brawler. As a practitioner of the Kusanagi style of martial arts, Kyo uses a mixture of his pyrokinetic abilities and hand-to-hand combat to beat down his foes and burn them to a crisp. In The King of Fighters XIV, Kyo’s fluid combos and potential to take advantage on a moment’s notice makes him a strong addition to any team.
Kyo has a very traditional list of moves which can make him incredibly versatile in combat. Understanding the limits of these moves and how to properly execute them will be the difference between perfecting your opponent and falling flat on your face.
Kyo’s standing normals are fairly standard with his light and heavy kicks having pretty fantastic range, however his crouching normals are very much his money makers as they can easily lead into long combo strings. He also comes equipped with three useful command moves that will allow you to shift in and out of combos with ease. Ge-Shiki + Gofu Yo and 88 Shiki can both be canceled into Kyo’s real area of expertise, his special moves, while Ge-Shiki + Naraku Otoshi makes for a quick overhead attack when used after a short hop that can lead into a full combo and some big damage or a cross-up that the enemy won’t see coming.
At first glance, Kyo’s special moves can seem very intimidating. Kyo is a input-heavy character, which means the largest portion of his damage requires a lot of command inputs. The majority of his special moves chain together with successive command inputs that require tight timing and precision on the player’s side. 114 Shiki + Aragami is Kyo’s largest chain opener and can lead into a variety of effects such as hard knockdowns or putting distance between you and the opponent. 76 Shiki + Kai can be used to knock the opponent in the air making them vulnerable to a continued assault while R.E.D Kick’s speed and distance will allow you to quickly close gaps and setup on a knocked down opponent. Kyo also has a command grab available, the 212 Shiki + Kototsuki Yo, that will punish over-blocking adversaries.
Anti-Airs are extremely important in KOF XIV and luckily, Kyo has quite a few in his arsenal. Standing light punch, standing heavy punch, and crouching heavy punch normals will all act as quick, easy to use anti-airs. When caught in the air, a jumping heavy kick has the range to win most aerial trades as well.
Kyo is a bit more limited when it comes to anti-air special moves. 100 Shiki + Oniyaki and its EX form is a great way to bring a jumping enemy to the ground while delivering a decent amount of damage. And if you’re really looking to punish an aerial opponent with heavy damage, Kyo’s super special move, Ura 108 Shiki + Orochinagi, has the range and damage to make the opponent quickly regret jumping, though at the cost of a single bar of super.
As previously stated, Kyo is an input-heavy character and as such his combos definitely require practice to nail down the timing and input accuracy. However, his combos are also very fluid and allow for on-the-fly changes that will keep the opponent guessing.
A good beginner combo to learn is: crouching light punch > standing light punch > 88 Shiki > 114 Shiki + Aragami > 128 Shiki + Konokizu > 127 Shiki + Yanosabi
This provides a good basis for understanding meterless combos and how to chain together Kyo’s specials.
After you have a handle on meterless, try canceling into a super special move with this 1-bar combo: crouching light punch > standing light punch > 88 Shiki > 75 Shiki + Kai > 75 Shiki Follow-Up > 182 Shiki (LP).
These basic combos are just to get you started, however Kyo is capable of pulling off some incredibly high damage strings. YouTuber Coliflowerz actually put together a deep combo video for Kyo, shown below, that details just what the character can really do.
Kyo Kusanagi is a serious powerhouse in KOF XIV and any player that can utilize his wide variety of tools will surely dominate their opponents. It’s time to get out there, start practicing your inputs, and burn away the competition with classic Kusanagi flame.