BBCF/Naoto Kurogane/Strategy

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Naoto Kurogane


General Tactics

There are several guides for starting out.

Introduction

Naoto is an excellent rushdown character who uses a variety of offensive options to open up his opponent. On offense, his 5A can hit crouchers, and he also has a 2A low. His 5AA is an excellent pairing with his 5A, since its a fast gut punch that moves Naoto forward, allowing him to stay in. In addition, Naoto's 6A is a good standing overhead that he can combo from for great corner carry and damage. 6B is a solid button to his kit that calls out 2A mashing and throw attempts. In neutral, Naoto's goal is to stay close enough to threaten with specials like 214D (Slash Kaid) or chip away at the opponent with fully charged Drive attacks, that cause Guard Break when normal blocked. In defense, Naoto's 2A is a great low profile that can beat out certain attacks. Naoto's 623D, Inferno Crusader, is outright one of the best reversals in the game, with great range, fast startup, and when rapid canceled, allows Naoto to transition right into pressure. Naoto can stay at a midrange until he finds an opening, and then blow up his opponent for making any mistake. Although he lacks the range of other characters, his unique ability, Enhancer, allows him to get access into powered-up versions of his specials, giving him a plethora of new options to overwhelm the opponent and deal massive damage.

FAQ: Is Naoto Hard?

In short, it depends. He has a very easy gameplan and he can combo into decently-damaging easy combos with some reliability. His corner pressure and mixups are also very easy to perform. However, his optimal gameplay is very difficult and requires judicious use of the input buffer, microdashing and dash cancelling to perform at anywhere above base-level effectiveness. Contrast him with Ragna, Jin, or other beginner characters, and one can see how his execution can be very high.

Part of this executional barrier is because Naoto is very strong. His conversions lead into combos that can deal upwards of 4k damage from midscreen with the right starter, and that doesn't include counter hit or burning meter. Similarly, his pressure is very difficult to escape from if you can microdash, with lots of reset opportunities to keep his opponents blocking for long periods of time while he goes for a sneaky and hard-to-see mixup.

That being said, it isn't too difficult to learn him. His dash cancels have more of a buffer to them then you might think, and nailing them down will take less time then you assume if you commit to practicing. In particular, look to practice Naoto's important dash cancel spots, like 214ABBCF Naoto ShiftSway.pngGuard:
-
Startup:
-
Recovery:
39 [37]
Advantage:
-
and 5DBBCF Naoto 5D-1.pngGuard:
Mid
Startup:
20 {18}
Recovery:
18
Advantage:
-2
. Do something basic like dashing>5BBBCF Naoto 5B.pngGuard:
Mid
Startup:
8
Recovery:
18
Advantage:
-4
>EnRekka~BBBCF Naoto BanishingFangBash.pngGuard:
All
Startup:
14
Recovery:
22
Advantage:
-10
>dc>EnCDPBBCF Naoto InfernoCrusader C.pngGuard:
Mid
Startup:
6
Recovery:
26+11L
Advantage:
-28 [-22]
or EnKaidBBCF Naoto SlashKaid.pngGuard:
All
Startup:
15 [13]
Recovery:
23
Advantage:
-9 [-7]
to get a feel for how the game wants you to be dash cancelling. As well, make sure you don't go down the rabbit hole of Naoto optimization- many of the combos found on the combo page are well optimized but very difficult, so don't feel bad about going for an easier combo that deals 300 less damage, because Naoto already hits so hard that he outdamages most of the cast. In particular, 3CBBCF Naoto 3C.pngGuard:
Low
Startup:
11
Recovery:
17
Advantage:
-4
>214ABBCF Naoto ShiftSway.pngGuard:
-
Startup:
-
Recovery:
39 [37]
Advantage:
-
is used in many midscreen combos to dash cancel into EnCDPBBCF Naoto InfernoCrusader C.pngGuard:
Mid
Startup:
6
Recovery:
26+11L
Advantage:
-28 [-22]
. This is a fairly tricky input to do and is mostly used in situations where Naoto has opened with a 5ABBCF Naoto 5A.pngGuard:
All
Startup:
6
Recovery:
12
Advantage:
-1
, but it's entirely possible to also combo into his Rekka~BBBCF Naoto BanishingFangBash.pngGuard:
All
Startup:
14
Recovery:
22
Advantage:
-10
and do good damage while carrying the opponent much farther into the corner. Lastly, Naoto's Overdrive is very strong and can be used to steal huge chunks of life off an opponent through some very easy combos, so don't be afraid to use it.

Overall, Naoto is both more and less difficult then he seems at first glance. You don't need to be performing hard, optimized combos with him in order to perform well in a match. It is still recommended that you become familiar with his dash cancels enough to take advantage of Enhancer, since many of the specials that benefit from it lead to easy combos with exceptional corner carry. All in all, focus on the basics and slowly build up your repertoire of harder mechanics.

Neutral

Anti-Air

Key Anti-Air Normals

input damage guard startup active recovery onBlock attribute invuln
5B 550 Mid 8 3 18 -4 B
2A 300 Low/Air 7 2 12 -2 F
2C 850 Mid 11 6 22 -11 B 7~13 H

Naoto has at his disposal a good amount of normals that can work as anti-airs to protect himself for any aerial approarch or any opponent's attempt to reset pressure with an IAD. These normals are:

  • 5B, which has good vertical range paired with a disjoint on the upper part of the kick
  • 2C, which possesses Head invulnerability
  • 2A, thanks to its low profiling hurtbox.

5B is an advancing fast kick aimed high with a disjoint on his leg. 5B's speed and angle allows Naoto to quickly cover his frontal air space with a disjointed hitbox to avoid IADes in pressure or falling air normals. However, 5B lacks any Head invulnerability during its duration, so it's best to use it as a preemptive anti-air normal.


2A is a low hitting kick with low profiling properties. 2A comes in clutch as a way to low profile air normals, so instead of hitting them, it makes the opponent whiff completely. Since its also self cancellable on whiff, 2A gives Naoto the capacity to target landing recoveries.


2C is Naoto's primary anti-air. Boasting great vertical damage, fast start-up and Head attribute invulnerability, 2C is Naoto's main way to make the opponent suffer from reckless air approaches. Although its horitzontal reach is extremely lacking, 2C has strong hitconfirms into damaging combo routes.

Grounded Footsies

The grounded neutral RPSRock Paper ScissorsA situation wherein an attacker and a defender have options that only beat certain responses from their opponent. For example, on wakeup a defending opponent may use a reversal to stop an attacker from using an attack, but the attacker can also block to defeat the reversal. If the attacker blocks, the defender can use the opportunity to take the offensive.

input damage guard startup active recovery onBlock attribute invuln
5C 800 Mid 12 4 18 -3 B
2B 480 Low 8 3 15 -4 F
6B 750 All 17 4 4+12L -1 H 5~(Until L) FT
3C 780 Low 11 4 17 -4 F
214A 8A 0, 1426×2 Unblockable (120) 15 [5] 5 28 T 1~19 HB [1~9 HB]

Naoto is a mobility character. This means that Naoto is best rewarded when he stuffs extended hurtboxes (startup) and whiff punishes retracting hurtboxes (recovery), rather than challenging pokes head on. With that in mind, Naoto's neutral revolves around:

  • Dashing 2B/3C - ate-waza. Use dashing normals to force your turn.
  • Waiting 3C/5C - oki-waza. Use your long C buttons to cover space and hit extended hurtboxes.
  • Reactionary Sway/6B - sashi-kaeshi. Use your attribute invulnerable moves to beat the moves your opponent uses.


Therefore, Naoto's neutral can be broken down into three options: Dash-in and attack, Attack preemptively, and Dodge and counter. This three options create a RPS situation, where Naoto is either forcing his turn with dashing normals, using his biggest normals to hit the opponent trying to get closer, or making the opponent's move to whiff and then Counter Hit them. Knowing how to properly use these options and how to avoid getting predictable increases the possibilties to get in and start Naoto's exhaustive pressure or to get a stray hit and deal great amounts of damage.

Drives and Enhanced Specials

Naoto's Neutral Tools

input damage guard startup active recovery onBlock attribute invuln
5[D] 1350 Guard Break 24{34}/Barrier 40 {28} 5 18 -1 B
2[D] 1350 Guard Break 24{34}/Low Barrier 44 {32} 5 18 -1 F
6[D] 1500 Guard Break 24{34}/Barrier 48 {36} 6 17 -1 B
214D 1000 All 15 [13] 3 23 -9 [-7] B
214A 39 [37] 1~30 HBP
[1~26 HBP]

Naoto has at his disposal specific tools that he can use to get the most out of a neutral situation. These tools also double sometimes as specific match-up neutral tools, so learning how to use them properly will grant Naoto more opportunities to win the neutral and run his pressure.


EnKaid (En214D): One of Naoto's most used specials in neutral. It's fast, disjointed and travels about 3/4 of the screen. It allows Naoto to move quickly through the screen while covering himself with a large disjointed hitbox. Although the move is unsafe on block, the opponent won't be able to punish it unless Naoto ends point-blank to him. Against characters like Rachel, EnKaid allows Naoto to disable GeorgeBBCS Rachel GeorgeXIII.pngGuard:
-
Startup:
25
Recovery:
Total: 49
Advantage:
-
while closing the gap between him and Rachel, and potentially hitting her trying to set up LobeliasBBCS Rachel TinyLobeliaA.pngGuard:
All
Startup:
11
Recovery:
Total 47
Advantage:
-9
.


EnSway (En214A): A strong tool that should not be abused of, since it has its weaknesses and improper use of it can dispose of the round. Loaded with 26 frames of invulnerabilty and travelling about 1/2 of the screen, EnSway is meant to be Naoto's response to opponents who like to zone and keep Naoto away from getting close. However, EnSway doesn't have Foot invulnerabilty, so large low pokes like Kokonoe 3CBBCP Kokonoe 3C.pngGuard:
Low, Mid
Startup:
14
Recovery:
15
Advantage:
-1
or large pokes with Foot attribute like Kagura 2CBBCP Kagura 2C.pngGuard:
Mid
Startup:
16
Recovery:
23
Advantage:
-9
will beat predictable EnSway approaches.


Charged Drives: Not as useful or common like the other listed tools, since all Charged Drives have lengthy startup, but they have their uses.

  • 5[D]: The fastest out of all Charged Drives with 40 frames of startup. Since it's the fastest of all of them, it's the most used one. It's a large disjointed poke that covers 1/2 of the screen that can Guard Break, and if close enough, Naoto can cancel it into 214A > EnRekka~B for a combo.
  • 2[D]: Has less use than 5[D] in neutral since its a little slower (44 frames of startup), but it comes with some differences. First of all, is a large disjointed low attack that can also cause Guard Break. Before throwing out the sword, Naoto will slightly move forward, giving it a little more range than 5[D]. Since Naoto charges the move crounching, it gives him some low profile hurtbox, yet it's not a reliable option.
  • 6[D]: The slowest of the Charged Drives with 48 frames of startup, it's also the most dangerous of them. Naoto throws out a slice of blood in an angle that covers a great amount of air space, but that's not all this move has to offer. 6[D] is a Fatal Starter with 1500 of base damage and great proration. Landing it on neutral is practically impossible due to the startup, but if Naoto manages to land it, all routes deal over 5k damage.

Defense

Naoto has a plethora of reversals and half attribute invulnerable moves that can be used on wake-up and in response to your opponent's offense to exploit the gaps in their pressure.

Fully Invulnerable Options

Naoto's Invulnerable Reversals

input damage guard startup active recovery onBlock attribute invuln
623D 700×2
[700, 450×4]
Mid 9 3,10
[3,3,3,2,2]
38+16L
[29+16L]
-45 [-28] B 1~17 All
632146B 2000 [2400] {1800 [2160]} All 5+(50 Flash)+2 10 23 -12 B 1~6 All
7~16 P
632146D 1300, 2719
[1300, 1900, 2200]
All 4+(40 Flash)+9 1 48 -18 B 1~27 All
6AB 0 All 13 6 30 -19 B 1~20 All

These f1 full invulnerable reversals that will beat high commit meaties on wake-up are:


623D Inferno Crusader (air OK) - standard meterless option; fantastic startup and hitbox, but can be airdashed over before actives kick in.


632146B Divine Smasher (air OK) - horizontal reversal (startup only; projectile invul travel)


632146D Divine Reaper - 13f startup, most amount of invulnerability frames of the three options and great range. Will stuff backdashes on your wake-up to bait DP.


6A+B in blockstun - Standard CA. Fantastic vertical/horizontal hitbox, hardest to bait and difficult to stuff

Partially Invulnerable Options

Naoto's partially invulnerable moves

input damage guard startup active recovery onBlock attribute invuln
6B 750 All 17 4 4+12L -1 H 5~(Until L) FT
214A 39 [37] 1~30 HBP
[1~26 HBP]
214A 8A 0, 1426×2 Unblockable (120) 15 [5] 5 28 T 1~19 HB [1~9 HB]

Naoto has access to half attribute invulnerable moves that have situational uses, like:


214A Shift Sway - Loses to throws and foot attribute moves. Has Head, Body and Projectile invulnerability. It is used as a neutral first response to gain frame advantage by making zoning attempts whiff, and potentially dash cancelling into either EnKaid/EnRekka(1) to press further advantage or cancelling into a risky reversal to beat AbareAn attack during the opponent's pressure, intended to interrupt it. options.

  • 214A~8A Phantom Pain - Shift Sway's follow-up, Phantom Pain has Head and Body invulnerability but it loses Projectile invulnerability despite Shift Sway having Projectile invulnerability.

Invulnerability on both moves start from frame 1.


6B - The complete opposite of Shift Sway, this carries invulnerability against Foot and Throw attribute, starting from frame 5 instead of frame 1

Offense

Naoto is a pressure oriented character, whose speciality is to stay in and open up the opponent's pressure with a frightening amount of staggers, pressure resets, fast lows and a standing overhead. Staggering pressure using jabs is Naoto's specialty, and consist of 5ABBCF Naoto 5A.pngGuard:
All
Startup:
6
Recovery:
12
Advantage:
-1
, 5AABBCF Naoto 5AA.pngGuard:
Mid
Startup:
8
Recovery:
14
Advantage:
-1
, 2ABBCF Naoto 2A.pngGuard:
Low/Air
Startup:
7
Recovery:
12
Advantage:
-2
, and 6BBBCF Naoto 6B.pngGuard:
All
Startup:
17
Recovery:
4+12L
Advantage:
-1
.

Frame Trap Pressure

Naoto's Basic Frametraps

input damage guard startup active recovery onBlock attribute invuln
5AA 600 Mid 8 4 14 -1 B
5C 800 Mid 12 4 18 -3 B
5D 900 Mid 20 {18} 5 18 -2 B
2D 900 Low 22 {20} 5 18 -2 F
236B 700 All 13 3 17 -3 B

Naoto's stagger is still stagger pressure, it relies on conditioning the opponent to block Naoto in the first place. Mashy people are an annoyance and need to be dealt first in order to switch to stagger. Basic frametraps are the answer to this problem, the frametraps will also help you gauge your opponent's defense without taking too much risk by watching how they react.

Delaying your inputs is the bread and butter of frametraps, Naoto has safe and rewarding buttons with 5AA, 5C, his D buttons and EnRekka. However, you can pretty much use any button, 2A, 5B, 2B or 6B. Of course, making every button a frametrap isn't a very good idea as it makes it almost impossible to hit confirm, as such you will want press buttons in chains (e.g. 5A > dl.5AA > immediate 5B...). If you find out that the opponent still gets blown up by frametraps, it won't be necessary to switch to stagger pressure.

In the heat of the battle, it might be hard or too bothersome to manually delay your buttons, in this case you can use automatic frame traps to worry about other things such as the oven you might not have turned off. Some examples are:

  • 5D/2D > 66EnRekka(1) being a 1-2f gap
  • 5C > 5D being a 2f gap
  • 5C > 2D being a 4f gap
  • 5D > 2D being a 2f gap
  • Most importantly 2D > 5D being absolutely un-mashable, having a 0f gap

Stagger Pressure

Naoto's Basic Pressure

input damage guard startup active recovery onBlock attribute invuln
2A 300 Low/Air 7 2 12 -2 F
6B 750 All 17 4 4+12L -1 H 5~(Until L) FT
j.B 580 High/Air 9 6 13 H
j.C 900 High/Air 10 6 12 H

Now that you've determined that your opponent is actually willing to block a little of pressure, you can now switch to staggers in order to execute longer blockstrings. 5A, 5AA and 2A are your best buttons as they are fairly fast and very safe on block which are perfect to reset pressure with. 5A trades in Naoto's favor, 2A low profiles high hitting 5As, such as Ragna 5ABBCF Ragna 5A hitbox.pngGuard:
All
Startup:
5
Recovery:
9
Advantage:
0
or Jin 5ABBCF Jin 5A Hitbox.pngGuard:
All
Startup:
6
Recovery:
11
Advantage:
-2
and 5AA beats mashing and has great reward as a Counter Hit starter. Due to being A buttons, they also cancel into throw for Throw Reject Miss setups.

Outside of the A gatling table, 5B and 5C both have jump cancel windows and good frame advantage, allowing Naoto to use air normals like j.B and j.C to force the opponent to block high or to reset pressure with a microdash button albeit riskier due to the higher pushback and hitstop.

All of those mixed in with the aforementioned basic frametraps in between, it can become very scary for the opponent to challenge Naoto's pressure. 6B can also be used to hard punish low as it beats all 2As abare attempts but its longer recovery and limited gatling option despite its good frame advantage (only -1) make it much easier to challenge.

Dash Cancel Reset

Naoto's Drive Pressure

input damage guard startup active recovery onBlock attribute invuln
5D 900 Mid 20 {18} 5 18 -2 B
2D 900 Low 22 {20} 5 18 -2 F
214A 39 [37] 1~30 HBP
[1~26 HBP]

All of Naoto's Drive normals are dash cancellable from frame 10 onwards, allowing Naoto to go for a pressure reset or to frame trap with Enhanced specials, like En236B. Be aware that Naoto can be hit during the dash cancel of the Drive if done predictably. Shift Sway (214A) can be used with the same purpose, since it's dash cancellable from frame 9 onwards and possesses partial invulnerability.

Rekka RPS Pressure

Naoto's Banishing Fang pressure

input damage guard startup active recovery onBlock attribute invuln
236B 700 All 13 3 17 -3 B
236B 236B 800 All 9 6 18 -7 B

236B and its Enhanced version allows Naoto easily frametrap the opponent. A blocked 236B is -3 on normal block, which creates a RPS situation. The options Naoto has are:


Blocking: Low risk/low reward, protects against any kind of abare or DP attempt


Pressure reset: moderate risk/good reward, allows Naoto to keep his pressure up


236B236B frametrap: high risk/high reward, Fatal Counter starter, although 236B236B is -7 on block

Blockstrings

Naoto's blockstrings examplesUnifying all of Naoto's pressure tools


Staggers, Drive dash cancels, Banishing Fang frametraps

Naoto's blockstrings can be varied/altered in response to your opponent's blocking habits, either changing when to go for a pressure reset or modifying the pace of the staggers.

  • 5A > dl.5A > 2A > 2A > 2B > 5C > (5D) > 214D
  • 5A > 5AA > 5B > 6B > 236B > 2A>...
  • 5A > 5A > 2B > 5B/C > IAD j.A > j.C > 2A > 2B > dl.5B > 6B > 214D/236B/Wait
  • 5A > 2A > 5A > 5B > 2B > 3C > 236B/214D
  • 5A > dl.5A > 2B > dl.5B > 5C > 5D > 2D > Wait
  • 2A > 2A > 5A > dl.5A > 5B > 5C > 5D > 214D/(5Ddc > EnRekka(1)
  • 2A > 2A > 2B > 5B > 6B > 236B > 2A > ...
  • 2A > 2A > 2B > 5C > 2D > 236B/214A
  • 2B > 5B > IAD j.A > j.B > 2A > 5C > 5D > 6D > 214A
  • 2A > 5B > 665B > 5C > Jump Barrier > j.A>...
  • 2A > 2B > 2A > 5B > Jump back > j.D/j.[D]
  • 5A > 2A > 2B > 5C > 5/2D > Wait...
  • 5A > dl.5A > 5AA > 5B > (5/2C) > Jump Barrier > falling j.B > j.C
  • 2A > 5A > dl.5A > 5C > IAD j.B > j.C
  • 5A > dl.5A > 5AA > 5C > IAD j.B > j.A > 5A > 2B > 5C > 2D/214A
  • 2A > 5A > 5AA > 5C > 5D > 214Adc > EnRekka(1)
  • 5A > 5A > 5AA > 5C > 5D > 2Ddc > EnRekka(1)>...
  • 5A > 2A > 2A > 5B > 2B > 2D > 5Ddc > EnRekka(1)
  • 5A > 5A > 2A > 5A > 5C > 5D > 6D > j.D/j.[D]
  • 6B > dl.6B > 236B > 2A > 5A>...


Waiting after a Drive is also acceptable due to all his Drives being -2, and -1 on Barrier. This essentially means that Naoto doensn't need to commit to dash cancelling 5D/2D/214A into EnRekka(1).


Okizeme

All setups assume that the opponent emergency techs and rolls as soon as possible, catching late rolls requires a delayed roll catch.

Standard Knockdowns

General Roll CatchIngrain this into your muscle memory
623D~j.2C, delayed 2A or 662A

After a knockdown, react to an emergency tech with any meaty instead of doing 2A. If the opponent does not emergency tech, a well timed 2A will catch a forward roll after passing through Naoto, catch a quick tech and reset a no tech. To meaty a neutral tech, 2A must be whiff canceled into another 2A as recovering and using 5A will stop mashing but allows for certain delayed invincibility options to be used on wakeup like Tager 360ABBCS Tager Buster.pngGuard:
Throw
Startup:
6
Recovery:
29 (Miss), 44 (Hit)
Advantage:
-
.

2A will only catch a back roll in the corner, otherwise it will whiff. Midscreen, a 662A can catch back roll but will whiff against forward roll. Depending on the character, a well timed 662A will catch both rolls. It will interact with other wakeup options the same.

In the corner, 2A can be done earlier to not allow the opponent to pass through Naoto which will lead to a higher damage combo, however this will not catch back roll and will blue beat no tech and allow the opponent to air tech out of most pressure attempts.

To convert from a roll catch, buffer 5A (recommended) or 2C and hit confirm into 5AA > 2C > 214A~8A or directly into 214A~8A respectively. The latter may drop if 2A connects far.


All setups past this point are corner setups.

Hard Knockdowns

Hard knockdown enders are typically used against Kagura to stop him from safely charging his flashkickBBCP Kagura 2~8C.pngGuard:
Mid, All×5
Startup:
9
Recovery:
Until L+20
Advantage:
-45
while being hit.

2D EnderBlue beat ender
2D, forward walk, 2A

Similar to the General Roll Catch but emergency tech is not an option and 2A will instead catch forward rolls before they pass through Naoto.

Going for this ender will generally lose a lot of damage and also the timing on the roll catch may vary with combo length as 2D does not have fixed hitstun unlike the alternative hard knockdown ender c.EnKaid. However, it will be consistent when done as a blue beat after a full combo.


Single c.EnKaid EnderAlso a mixup
c.EnKaid, delayed 662B

Note that after c.EnKaid, the opponent's roll directions will be reversed, so rolling away from the corner will have less invincibility than rolling towards it.

662B will catch a roll away from the corner and catch a quick tech. On neutral tech, Naoto can meaty with any normal. It will blue beat a no tech, allowing the opponent to air tech. It will whiff on a roll towards the corner but Naoto is plus enough to stop mashing with (66)5A (will lose to delayed invincibility options).

To convert after 662B, buffer 2C and hit confirm directly into 214A~8A.

Dashing longer will cause the 2B to crossunder the opponent if they neutral tech while covering the same wakeup options. It will also reset no tech and will sometimes catch a roll towards the corner (however 2C may whiff).


Double c.EnKaid EnderPractical c.EnKaid loops
c.EnKaid, c.EnKaid, delayed 2D

Quite difficult to execute because of the double c.EnKaid and very slight delay on the 2D but will essentially beat every wakeup option.

If 2D is done immediately it will whiff on a roll away from the corner but Naoto will be point blank and plus enough to stop mashing. If 2D is delayed too much it will whiff on a roll towards the corner and Naoto will be far away from the opponent.

If timed perfectly, 2D will catch both rolls, catch a quick tech and blue beat a no tech. After a blue beat 2D, doing a short dash will set up 2D Okizeme.

Converting from 2D generally requires a hit confirm into 214A > dc > EnRekka~B.


Other Setups

Phantom Pain SafejumpCan add hitstop OSes
214A~8A, delayed neutral jump, falling j.B

When timed well, it will be safe against all 7f and slower reversals.

If the opponent does not emergency tech, land and input 5A (do not hold a direction) to convert after j.B catching wakeup options. j.B can catch both rolls and catch a quick tech. It will whiff against no tech on most characters. Naoto will be minus on neutral tech.

If the opponent emergency techs, j.B, land 2A is encouraged when starting pressure as once the opponent has been conditioned to block the safejump, mixup options are available, notably delayed air dash j.B > j.C and empty jump 2A (this can be done after an early neutral jump so that the lack of a j.B is not a telegraph).

Against characters that j.B connects on when they no tech such as Tager, j.C may be used instead, however it may not catch every option.

After 214A~8A, instead doing 5D > 2D will blue beat anything other than emergency tech and sets up 2D Okizeme while leaving Naoto plus enough to stop mashing with 5A (will lose to delayed invincibility options).


c.EnKaid, (66)5A Re-standA situation in which a character is taken from an airborne or OTG state and returned to a standing state on the ground while still in hitstun, which is very uncommon. Moves that re-stand the opponent often allow for unique mix-ups that are unexpected (since typically, mix-ups come after a knockdown), or unique combo extensions.Negates opponent's wakeup options
c.EnKaid, (66)5A

Explained in the video, but a brief explanation is that on some characters, c.EnKaid leaves Naoto close enough in the corner that (66)5A can connect, not allowing the opponent to use any wakeup options as they remain grounded.


Phantom Pain Air ResetKnowledge (and minor execution) check
EnKaid, (En)Sway~Pain

EnKaid should be connecting on a low airborne opponent. Will not work after very short combos as EnKaid will still cause a knockdown. Can technically be done with other moves but EnKaid is the most consistent option and works at all combo scalings.

Without Enhancing, Pain will only consistently catch neutral air tech but will lead to good reward. When Enhanced, Pain will catch all air techs. To catch the opponent not teching, 5D > 2D can be used to blue beat and can go into 2D Okizeme or another EnKaid to repeat the situation.

Unfortunately, the reset loses to the opponent emergency teching rather than air teching, leaving Naoto punishable if he used Pain or causing 5D to whiff. 663C can be used to blue beat and can go into another EnKaid but the blue beat damage is very negligible.


Tips and Tricks

Input Shortcuts

Enhanced Specials/Distorsions shortcutsEasier ways to input Enhanced moves


  • Enhanced Banishing Fang: 2366B
  • Enhanced Inferno Crusader: 6623C/D
  • Enhanced Distortions: 6321466B/D
  • Distortions out of Sway: 63214A66B/D
  • Enhanced Fang out of 2D: 2[D]366B
  • Enhanced Inferno out of 6D: 6[D]623C/D
  • Astral out of Shift Sway: 214A2366C
  • Tiger Knee'd Air Divine Smasher: Input a full circle + B (6321496B). Used occasionally in double Distortion routes outside of Overdrive.
  • Enhanced Crusader on wake-up: 63263D

Edgedark's tweet showing off Enhanced Crusader on wake-up inputs: https://twitter.com/Edgedark_/status/1531436875399016448

Oniro (Burst Recap)'s tweet explaining Enhanced Crusader on wake-up: https://twitter.com/BurstRecap/status/1368209743219744770


Sway OS

Shift Sway OSA shorthand for "Option Select"A situation where you perform an input and the game will "select an option" automatically depending on what the other character did.OS against wake-up reversals


The input is 2A (meaty) > 2B > 214A~8A~C. 2A is done meaty by buffering it. This OS is theoretically safe against an opponent unable to reversal faster than 12 frames.

How does this OS work?

  • If the opponent does not reversal, the input buffer will cancel 2A into 2B > 5C since the entire Sway > Phantom Pain input is performed before 2B becomes cancellable.
  • If the opponent reversals, 2A will whiff safely during the reversal's start-up. The 2B will not come out since 2A whiffed. Sway > Phantom Pain comes out and punishes the DP.

For a visual reference, visit this tweet: https://twitter.com/problem_skater/status/805372203445403648


Phantom Pain Fuzzy

Phantom Pain Standing UnblockableSurprise the opponent with Naoto's unblockable attack


Naoto can set up situations where he can "fuzzy" Phantom Pain. If Naoto manages to keep his opponent in stand block for long enough, he can use Phantom Pain to essentially unblockable them. There are several common Phantom Pain fuzzy setups:

  • Timed on opponent's wakeup > 5D > 66 > EnSway~Pain
  • Deep j.C, EnSway~Pain
  • Jailing the opponent in the air > 214A > 66 > EnSway~Pain


By timing a Shift Sway (214A) or 5D on an opponent's wakeup and dash canceling it into Enhanced Phantom Pain (214A~8A), you can fuzzy the opponent as shown in this Twitter video. Fuzzy EnSway~Pain setups will lose to the opponent holding 3 (crounch blocking in the opposite direction), barrier blocking(???) and mashing crouching normals on wakeup.

On any hit with a deep j.C, Naoto can buffer Enhanced Sway to fuzzy them. This is one of the easier ways to set up the fuzzy as j.B > j.C is a relatively common jump-in for Naoto.

Jailing the opponent is also relatively common for Naoto. For clarification, jailing the opponent refers to catching an opponent in the air and keeping them in blockstun until they fall to the ground. If Naoto can successfully jail them, he can use Phantom Pain to catch them out of the air while negating their air options. This will lose to the opponent using Air IBB to push Naoto away. While the oppponent can still use options like air DP, double jump (height dependent), or Overdrive, Naoto recovers quickly enough to react to those options.


Rising j.A Fuzzy

Rising j.A>j.623C out of blocked IAD j.B>j.CF-Shiki aka "fuzzy overhead" setup
IAD j.B>dlj.C>669>j.A>j.623C

In order to understand how this technique works, consider reading the following article: https://www.dustloop.com/wiki/index.php?title=F-Shiki

Naoto can set-up a fuzzy overhead thanks to j.C blockstun. In order to get the fuzzy j.A, you need to perform an IAD j.B>j.C. Make sure that j.B comes out as fast as you can, and then delay the j.C so it hits as low to the ground as posible. Once the j.C is blocked, Naoto can threat the opponent with his 2A, forcing them to block low, or he can go into a rising j.A, that will catch your opponent if he was expecting the 2A. This rising j.A should be microdashed in order to add consistency to the j.623C. If the rising j.A hits, Naoto can special cancel it into a j.623C to get a combo. Remember that this setup is susceptible to anti-airs, so remember to rotate and mix up all of your pressure options.

The rising j.A>j.623C works on everyone except Carl, Izayoi, Azrael, Kokonoe, Hibiki and Mai. These characters can get hit by the j.A, but the j.623C will whiff. Against this characters, delay a j.C after the rising j.A hits, so you can loop the fuzzy setup, but your opponent can anti-air this falling j.C, so it shouldn't be overused. Doesn't work at all on Jubei and Es.


Fighting Naoto

Fighting Naoto relatively boils down to

  • Having options that disallow him to function at his full potential/use certain tools that would be a boon in other MU's (i.e: Neutral/controlling air space)
  • Being able to out neutral him and forcing him to make higher risks to get into a position where he operates best in
  • Handling and knowing your way around Rekka RPS, Such as Fuzzy Jump against Delay Enrekka strings
  • Being Arakune, which is the above three options exemplified on top of having a bad Hurtbox, making offense rather difficult--

When Defending against Naoto, your best friend in all honesty is System mechanics. Knowing what and when to Barrier, Utilizing IB against Rekka among other things. Being wary about his options/tools in situations on defense is also essential, mainly against Rekka and his Drive Pressure.

Firstly speaking about defending against him. Instant Block is actually one of if not the best option you have against Rekka more so than anything. Instant Blocking 1st Rekka makes it -6 instead of -3 thus heightening the risk of Rekka follow ups but still being apart of the RPS as a whole. What this does is allow the use of reversals if the Naoto continues the rekka after the first, either going into 2nd Rekka or potentially 2A/6B. If he doesn't continue, it can be your turn if you mash 5/2A against him, but keep in mind the RPS is still there.

In neutral, if a Naoto player Poorly spaces Enhanced Kaid, not only is it -7 but you're guaranteed a punish on instant block.

Against Drives it is a bit riskier due to them being -2. However, if there is a commitment into EnRekka from Sway Dash Cancel there is a 1-2 Frame gap as to where you can mash any invuln reversal or potentially mash, however the latter option carries far more risk.

Naoto Match-Up Chart

A useful chart where it's described each of Naoto's matchups, an important piece of information to improve your gameplan depending on the character your opponent chooses.


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