Content here can be considered incomplete until expertise is given.
You can help by editing it.
Harass at midrange with normals and 236S/H. Look for an opening to rush in with 2K or Air Dash j.S and start a combo, then use 236D to setup oki after knocking down. Alternatively, annoy them into approaching you and punish them with with your 6P and 2H anti-airs and preemptive 2S/2D pokes. Once they're blocking, mix up going for throws and using frame traps to catch defensive options.
Details of Ky’s gameplan at neutral depend on the matchup. This section explains Ky's neutral in general. Successfully anticipating and reacting to an opponent’s actions at neutral is key, and will win you many more games than following this guide to the letter. Ky has many strong tools to approach neutral with, but will generally want to remain at a mid range distance from his opponent to make use of his myriad of spacing tools.
- Round Start
Making the right decision at round start can put you well on your way to dominating the round. Depending on the matchup, player tendencies, and outcomes of previous round start exchanges, certain options will be stronger or weaker. The goal is to take advantage of how you anticipate the opponent will start the round, while not taking unnecessary risks. Ky's many fast midrange attacks make the start of a round generally a good place to be. 2S is the standard option, starting up in 9f and tagging the opponent if they weren't blocking low. If the opponent chooses to jump, there's plenty of time for it to recover and anti-air with 6P. If you anticipate a normal that is faster than 2S, the typical go-to option is 2D, which starts up 2f faster, will knockdown on hit, and is jump cancellable on block. If you aren't confident in your ability to contest, you can play it safe with an Instant Air Dash backwards and assess the situation from there.
- Ground Game/Footsies
A good place to start your neutral game is with f.S. This move is a fast, far-reaching poke. Seeing how your opponent deals with your f.S can give you ideas for building your neutral game against them. If they tend to jump or Instant Airdash over f.S, you can respond next time by dashing into f.S range and waiting to counter their jump, possibly with 2H, 6P, or an airthrow. If they're low profiling it, you could try running into f.S range and using 2S or 2D, or even jumping to dodge and punish. If your f.S is being beaten with 6P's or other invulnerable moves, you could try replacing f.S with 5H, or dash braking right outside f.S range and throwing a Stun Edge, or even dashing right up to them and poking with 2K. This is just one of the many approaches to neutral with Ky! You can choose to be more aggressive by sliding under oncoming attacks with Stun Dipper, IADing to close in on the other player, and hounding them with a flurry of f.S, 5H, and 2S. You can also play more defensively, using your normals and Stun Edges to create distance and set up j.D's in the air in order to zone the other player, and push them into making bad jumps to get over your projectiles, then punishing them with well placed anti-airs.
Once Ky has 25 tension, his ground game becomes scarier since Stun Dipper becomes safe on block or whiff using FRC. Try using Stun Dipper to invalidate standing pokes and then FRCing to either keep yourself safe or convert to a combo.
Blockstring/pressure theory with Ky is relatively simple, it's easy to be creative and effectively apply pressure in ways you see fit due to his many lows and frame trap options. As a base, it's best to start with 2P or a CSE, since they're positive on block (though 5K, 2K, or 5P work well too). From there you can choose to approach for a throw, or start lacing in low attacks like 5K, 2K, 2S, and 2D to catch them attempting to jump, counter throw, counterattack, or input a reversal. If you want to frame trap an opponent that's trying to attack out of your pressure, 2P/2K/5K > c.S and 2P/2K/5K > 5H are great tools. The goal of pressure is to convince the opponent to block patiently by scaring them out of using their defensive options, then throw them until they decide to take risks to escape.
- Ending Pressure
Besides jump cancelling a normal and backing away, Ky's standard method of ending his pressure is cancelling his last normal into Stun Edge when he's been pushed out. SE is useful because it can catch opponents pressing buttons or attempting to jump after blocking your last normal, and give you a bit of extra damage or chip damage. It also pushes them a bit, back into a mid range where your strong spacing tools can be used effectively. This is risky in certain matchups, like against Sol and Ky, who can slide underneath the SE for a punish.
5H is a good, safe way to end pressure, since it's +1 on block, cranks the guard gauge, takes a sizeable chunk of Tension when blocked with Faultless Defense, and pushes the opponent away. You may use it when you don't feel comfortable using other options.
Stun Dipper is a risky attack that can be used to catch opponents eager to escape your pressure after your last normal, and not holding their crouching guard. This is very risky without Tension to FRC in case it's blocked.
- Resetting Pressure
Ky is a character that has many tools to reset pressure with and continue his blockstrings, including 6K, 6H, 3H, TK S Stun Edge, and his strong jump cancellable normals (c.S, 2D). There are many situations where a pressure reset may be appropriate, such as repeatedly using 6H or 6K on a passive opponent to seize frame advantage and crank their guard gauge, but there is always a risk or cost associated with choosing to attempt to re-establish pressure. Because of the gaps they leave in offense, an opponent eager to escape can retreat, jump away, or even counterattack a pressure reset attempt. There are no concrete answers for when or where you should reset pressure; it's important to use them as you condition and read your opponent.
- Faultless Defense and Instant Block
Faultless Defense creates lots of problems for Ky's pressure, especially any attempts to reset it. If an opponent uses FD starting on the first hit, It'll make throw mixups much harder to go for, removing much of the incentive to take risks on defense. There are ways of taking advantage of an opponent who is using FD to push you away though. You can choose to quickly cancel into 5H to take a large chunk of their Tension, then return to neutral, use Stun Dipper to catch them escaping, or jump cancel a normal attack into a jump-in or air Stun Edge. Against very passive players you can repeatedly 5H > dash > 5H to crush their Tension bar quickly.
Ky's best bet on defense is to FD opponents out to force a whiff punish situation with his strong normals and projectiles.
Ky has access to a meterless reversal move with Vapor Thrust, but VT has weaknesses in its slow startup and high hitbox that's easy to low profile. As bad as that sounds on paper, it's still a valid option for escaping pressure or even on wakeup, just understand the risk. The Lightning Javelin follow-up also has an FRC point, meaning you can make it somewhat safe if your opponent doesn't chase you with an airthrow.
Ride The Lightning is an expensive reversal that's just as slow as VT, but it has the strength of moving horizontally instead of vertically. Because it can't be low profiled, you can use this to punish opponents who use options that bait VT frequently. It too can be FRC'd to make safe, but needs a whopping 75 Tension. Not advised, but if you have the read, it is an option.
FB Greed Sever is low invulnerable on the 1st frame, which means you can use it to crush an opponent's low attacks and oki. It nets you a full combo on counter hit, but lots of options will beat this so save it until you have the read.
- 5K > 5H > 2D
Standard and versatile string that will work well in many situations. Easy to choose to frame trap after 5K or 5H, as well as confirm into supers or go for special cancel after 2D.
- 2P > 6P > 6H
High reward frame trap that resets pressure.
- 6H > 662K > 2S > 5H
2K after 6HS to catch jumping/backdash, into a safe 5H ender.
- CSE > 5K > 5H > 2D (JC) > j.236S
Frame trap with 5H into a TK Stun Edge disengage.
- 5S > 66 5H > 66 5H
Good for beating down passive opponents who don't want to act, cranks the guard gauge and removes Tension on FD fast.
- 2P > (2P) > Throw
Basic tick throw setup. Going for delay 6P will catch people trying to tech throws.
236D and 3H are Ky's basic okizeme tools, they can be set up from nearly everything. Against some characters who can get under 236D, you may prefer using j.236D. Off of 2D you can set up j.D crossup oki. With 25 meter you can use j.214D to set up tricky mixups. The sections below will cover each in-depth.
3H is your best meaty, as it's very active, baits many reversals, is very punishing on hit, and is +15 on block. 5K is your go-to backup tool if there isn't enough time for 3H because it's very active and hits low, in addition to having lots of gatling options. In some cases you may want to use 2P for safety, 6P to beat some reversals, or 2D to catch a backdash. Using a normal for oki is generally riskier than using 236D.
A very safe way to set up oki since you don't need to get close to the opponent. You'd use this over 3H against characters with counters or fast reversals that may be hard to bait with 3H. Pushes them a good amount towards the corner, builds some meter, and is very plus on block. Some characters can get under it (like Sol's Grand Viper or Faust's crouch) so keep this in mind. j.236D may be useful in those situations. Can be FRC'd to make it even safer, and enable mixups as the opponent blocks it. ex: 236D FRC > forward jump > ADj.S/land 2S.
An airborne version of 236D. Can be used to beat options that would get around 236D. People generally prefer the grounded version since its trajectory is guaranteed to meet with a grounded opponent, whereas the air version may be slightly too far away.
Performed by placing a j.D next to someone as they are getting up. Especially good for switching sides with the opponent when cornered. Beats some specific options that other forms of oki are weak to (Pot mirror wall super). Can be setup tight or with a gap to create crossup mixups.
j.D left/right mixup
Ky generally suffers from a lack of mixup that is hard to deal with. By learning this setup you can apply pseudo 50/50 mixup off common 2D and H Javelin knockdowns. The opponent may still be able to feel out whether it will be a cross up or not based on your air position and block correctly, but this is very difficult. It's also a pretty safe option and covers lots of reversals and backdashes.
How to set it up
This must be performed with a long knockdown such as off of H Javelin or 2D. Set a j.D very early, as soon as possible right after leaving the ground from a jump, right on top of the opponent. You want it to activate just after the opponent's wakeup animation finishes. Just before it explodes, either neutral double jump, or forward double jump to their other side. If done correctly, you may hit them on the opposite side of where they chose to block.
Beating crossup protection
The reason you want the j.D to explode slightly after the opponent finishes waking up is that there is crossup protection applied to attacks that hit on the same frame you finish getting up. This means that if you simply hold back to block, it will block both sides of the left/right mixup. If the explosion hits at least 1 frame after getting up, there will be no crossup protection applied and the opponent is vulnerable to the left/right mixup. If they use FD, it will also cancel their crossup protection even if the j.D hits on frame 1. Basically it needs to hit after their first wakeup frame, if it hits as soon as they get up, they will have protection against the crossup.
Confirming on hit
Confirming off of this mixup can be somewhat tricky. The most stable way is to fall with j.S, visually confirm whether they were hit by the crossup j.D or not, and then use 623H to add some damage and secure a knockdown. While landing from j.S and comboing into c.S > 2H > etc. will get you more damage, sometimes the spacing can be off and c.S won't be close enough to connect. Other times, c.S will connect, but they'll be out of range for 623H to hit, allowing them to escape. This is also a good way to continue pressure in the event that the j.D mixup was blocked, since j.S has a large hitbox that hits on both sides. This will be character and spacing dependent, in some situations you can easily confirm into the higher damage route, and in some situations you'll need to cut it short in order to secure the knockdown.
Costs meter, but it doesn't go away on hit. This means it's extremely safe, even to reversals. Can be used to set up mixup by placing it right above a downed opponent and either throwing or attacking, or to create a prison on a corner opponent that launches them on a successful hit. See "Ain's Prison" in the tips and tricks section.
Tips and Tricks
Mittie Blue Light
This is a pretty old trick since the days of XX.
Advanced players know that one of Ky's burst points (places where you can burst for free without worry) is right before the second hit of the Stun dipper. So a lot of advanced players will burst right at that point to get out of being comboed.
One of the best Ky players ever (Mitsutoshi) figured out that you can kill this burst point by FRCing in the middle of a combo to let the opponent hang himself with a burst. If the opponent doesn't burst, it's a neutral situation so it's not a big deal. If the opponent bursts, you can then block into an air combo or if you're a baller like Mittie, you can air throw them out of the burst. This requires good yomi and being able to FRC the stun dipper on demand. Japanese players nicknamed this tactic after Mitsutoshi, which roughly translated is "Mittie Blue Light"
Video Example: @ 59:37
This is my personal variation on the Mittie Blue Light, though the application and situation is quite different.
As far as I can tell, I am the only Ky player that does this, but I've apparently used this effectively enough that Nor-Cal people name this trick after me.
Certain types of players like to normal jump straight up roughly a quarter screen distance away in order to zone Ky out. Or, they like to air dash into or just within this distance to zone or position themselves to attack Ky. This is not a bad idea since it is outside of Ky's AAs and does limit Ky's options somewhat. This is also especially effective when Ky is cornered, as it serves a double purpose of preventing him from escaping from the corner and being just outside his effective range.
So how does Ky deal with that situation? The eh-sama special is to: Stun-Dipper to close the distance, then FRC, and air throw them. If timed and spaced right, this is more or less indefensible as you will end up right at the perfect position to airthrow them, and the Stun Dipper will place you where you need to be very quickly. This is especially effective when you're in the corner because not only do you get out of the corner, you air throw your opponent into the corner and seize the initiative. Of course, this requires that you know the stun dipper distance and FRC timing down pat, but that's a requirement for playing Ky anyway.
Theoretically you can FRC and VT to fish for a counterhit, but I think that is needlessly risky since the air throw is almost guaranteed and 100% safe even if you miss.
Video Example @1:33 and 2:15
The Faith Barrage
Almost a decade ago, there was a Ky player known as Faith.
In my opinion, Faith was the best Ky player ever, even better than Mittie, Buppa, Machaboo, Hayashi and whomever. He made Ky look absolutely broken in GGXX and #R, which is very difficult to do. It would've been interesting to see what he would do if he played AC, but alas, he retired in the heyday of #R, which is roughly the time when I also retired.
Anyway, one day, he played a legendary three game match against a Johnny player named Yua, where he decided to troll his opponent. He won the match by throwing over a hundred stun edges and about 40 CSEs while being an all around asshole. This is one game from that match.
The Japanese nickname for this match roughly translates to "The Faith Barrage", but soon it morphed into a cohesive system and named the same. Thus, the "Faith Barrage" was born, and other Japanese Ky players copied the ideas from this match. It's not really anything concrete, but more like a general set of principles:
- From half to 3/4ths screen away, zone with a flurry of 5S, 2S, SEs,and TK SEs.
- Baiting your opponent to do half screen whiffs by dash breaking outside their max range, and punishing the whiffs with an SE or 5S/2S.
- Passively controlling your space and placing the burden on your opponent to do something about it.
- Identifying patterns involving heavy pokes in your opponents block strings, FDing right before the heavy poke, and punishing the resulting whiff with a SE.
- Generally being an all around asshole.
I think the Faith Barrage still works against Johnny; the only changes are that Johnny has a jackhound that can go through SEs and that flying cheddar beam move FRC that allows him to fly at you at almost full screen away (sorry, I'm bad with move names). Still, the above principles are the same; you just have to be a little smarter with it. When Johnny pokes, he's fully committed to it since they're slow, so you can punish a lot of them with SEs and slashes. I think this matchup is worse for Johnny in AC than in XX since Johnny's air pokes kinda suck now in comparison to Ky's AAs.
Basically, the match is like an outboxer versus an inboxer, where Ky is the outboxer (like Apollo vs. Rocky or Mashiba vs. Ippo or whatever you want). Johnny does massive damage once he gets you (30-40% without coin, 50-65% with), but the burden of proof is on him to get to you. You can jab away with SEs, slashes and maintain your space. Johnny has to patiently eat or block the occasional SE or poke and inch his way in to earn a coin and a chance to slaughter you. If he hasn't coined you, Johnny isn't really all that scary and you can be fairly aggressive with the SEs and pokes.
Now if he does push you into the corner, he does get pretty good chances to do a combo into coin for potential massive damage, or if he's coined you already, then some massive damage combo. On defense, it's important to pay attention to whether he has level 2 or level 1 Mist Finer, since if he only has level 1, you can guess towards blocking high against Johnny's jump cancelable pokes or at quarter screen distances to prevent the TK ensenga. If you're a baller, you can slashback the TK ensenga and 5HS for counterhit, but I think that's excessively risky. If he has level 2 Mist Finer, then you have to guess if he's going to TK ensenga or mist finer low, and more often than not you will guess wrong and lose 50-65% life. Oh well, that's one horrible blunder and not death and in comparison to other characters, it doesn't hurt all that much.
Consistent with the Faith Barrage, always check what kind of auto-pilot block strings the Johnny player likes to do, because if he likes to incorporate a 5S or HS somewhere in it, pushblock before the S/HS and punish his S/HS whiff with a SE or 5S. If he likes to abuse 5HS/6HS in a block string, check him with a counterhit stun dipper for good damage. Play like an asshole all around, control your space, and sometimes, see if you can bait Johnny into whiffing stupid pokes from quarter to half screen away, and smacking him with a SE, 5S or sometimes, CH stundipper. If done right, these matches are often pretty long and somewhat boring.
"You must take your opponent into a deep dark forest where 2+2=5, and the path leading out is only wide enough for one." - Mikhail Tal
Sometimes, especially at tournies, you will run into an opponent who is clearly better than you at many if not most aspects of the game, and playing your normal game or playing your character by the book will simply not work. Yet, because tournies are often short matches (best of three or maybe even single games), your chances of winning a match against such an opponent are never zero, and sometimes, luck can be on your side. Often, you can bring about such luck by creating chaos and inducing variance.
What do I mean by creating chaos and inducing variance? I would define it as reducing the difference in skill by creating highly volatile situations where the chances of your opponent making a mistake increases, even if your own chances of getting utterly crushed increases disproportinately. Usually, the creator of such high risk and high variance situations will be the one at a disavantage, but sometimes, luck will be on that person's side and reward him with a victory. With a few exceptions, top players in pretty much any game prefer to avoid such situations in order to let their skill difference and "correct play" determine the outcome. This is to snap them out of that mentality.
Now, I do not mean doing something stupid. Jumping in recklessly to challenge Ky's 6P AA when Ky has already demonstrated that he can and will use 6P when you do so and that yes, you will get counterhit every time, is not creating chaos, it is being stupid. What I am talking about it trying to place yourself in a situation where, although there are very high chances of the opponent refuting your attempt and leaving you at a worse or round losing situation, there are also high chances of you inducing a lot of damage and stealing the round away. Examples include random super (like DOT or whale), reckless and illegitimate blockstrings to induce counterhits, throwing air FRC S Stun Edges when it would be extremely risky to do so in the hopes of a counter hit into high damage combo, normal super jumping over your opponent and air dashing recklessly to confuse the opponent into doing something wrong, and so on.
Several years ago in one of the NorCal ranbats, I was up against very good Axl player. At the time, I had just taken up AC casually since retiring during the #R days and was not really all that use to AC Ky. In the first game, I tried to play the matchup straight up as Axl-Ky matches go, however, he clearly knew how to use Axl better than I knew how to play Ky, and he knew the AC matchup a lot better than I did. The result was that I got grounded into submission very quickly and lost the first game rather horribly.
So in the second game, in order to increase the variance of the match, I proceeded to blitz him extremely aggressively and put him into a difficult decision. In the process of locking him down, I was utilizing a lot of illegitamite pressure strings and tactics in order to increase the variance of the situation. Basically, if he countered correctly, I would lose 70%+ life and the initiative and with it, the game. If he countered incorrectly, he would lose roughly half of his life and get knocked down, whereupon I could blitz him again.
Normally, this would not be a wise strategy as I would lose in the long run from the sheer damage disparity. However, since the next loss would be elimination and I was up against someone who knew how to play the game better than I did, this was better than just being grounded into submission again in a straight up contest.
Luckily, he reacted incorrectly. He either did not want to enter into such complications, or perhaps he was waiting for a throw attempt to counter attack, but for whatever reason, he chose to block instead of mashing buttons. This decision isn't really a mistake; normally, mashing buttons is a stupid idea in Guilty Gear, but in this case, he really needed to press a button to get out. Instead, he sat and blocked 30 game seconds worth of seemingly perpetual blockstun, losing all of his tension and 25% life from pure chip damage. Eventually, he tried to do something, but chose the wrong button and pretty much lost all of his life and the round with it. There's probably a vid of that match somewhere out there, but I dunno where.
I still lost the match, but it shows that variance can be your friend in short matches. Of course, this isn't a viable long term solution, as your higher skilled opponent will eventually crush you even more disproportinately over the long run if you continue to do that all the time. There is no substitute for skill. But when all else fails, sometimes you just gotta roll the dice.
Jab Whiff Throw/Crossover Greed Sever mixup
This is one of my favorite tricks.
A pretty huge portion of my game revolves around trying to get people to mash buttons because they're afraid of getting thrown. After I throw my opponent a few times using various throw tricks, eventually the opponent gets irritated enough to mash buttons to avoid getting thrown when he sees one of the setups. That is when I switch and go for counterhit instead, hopefully leading to more damage than a throw would have given.
One of the tricks I use on oki is to run up to my opponent and whiff a 5P at point blank just as they're getting up. This is a pretty old trick since the early days of SF. The jab whiff is just about the same time the throw invincibility on wakeup goes away, so you can immediately throw them once the jab annimation is done. Plus, it causes opponents to freeze up because they see you are doing something and instinctively (at least in higher level play) block.
Eventually, your opponent will catch on and will start mashing throw in anticipation to the jab whiff throw. That's when you do a crossover greed sever instead. If they mashed HS expecting a throw, you will sail right over their HS and counterhit them into an air combo.
Conducting a Post-Mortem
I am often astounded that a lot of players don't even bother to conduct a post mortem of their matches afterwards.
Back when I was in the fighting game scene, footage was rare and I would have actually paid money to watch my own footage. Since there was no footage, I had to memorize what happened during each match and recall it in my mind later, which is a very inefficient way of doing things. Had I had such footage available in my day, I would have been a much better player as a result.
With the advent of sites like Youtube, there really is no excuse now. All of that practice with training mode, all of those matches you play mean absolutely nothing if you are solidifying your flaws by not figuring out what you're doing wrong from your match footage. In fact, since I rarely play now and have hideous execution errors everywhere due to lack of practice time, I think that the only thing that keeps me remotely competitive nowadays is that I peruse and break my tourney footage down before I enter the next tourney, just to see where I currently stand.
Even for the people that bother to review their own tourney footage, a lot of them refuse to check their egos and will only look at matches where they won. It is a lot more interesting to review matches where you lost, since you get to see exactly why you got annihilated and what mistakes you made. Also, a lot of people will say things like, "Well, I should've done wake up super here", or "Why didn't that scrub do X", without taking into account the context and the opponent that they were playing.
I find it helpful to vet through my own matches by mentally assigning chess notations to specific moves/situations. The notations are as follows:
?? - A horrific blunder, usually leads to an instantaneous loss
? - A mistake
?! - A dubious move, but had some logic to it.
\!? - An interesting move
\! - A good move
\!! - Something downright amazing
I'll give an example for one round of a match that I lost:
0:09 - Ky - Greed Sever opening (?!)/Slayer get hit (?). Actually, I happened to notice that magz wasn't even looking at the screen right when the round was starting, so I figured maybe I could catch him napping. Turns out that he wasn't paying attention at all, and got hit.
0:26 - Slayer IAD (?) - Three IADs in a row, each time getting punished for small damage. You would think that he would stop, but magz likes to be hyper aggressive.
0:36 - Ky Blue burst (?!) - I probably should've held on to this burst, but I wanted to keep the initiative, and I figured he was going to 2D anyway, guaranteeing that the burst would hit.
0:46 - Ky j. d (??)/Slayer DOT (!?). At the time, I didn't know that I could die from DOT instantaneously from this position, but I should've figured that magz would attempt something hyper aggressive like that. Had he done this on reaction, it would be a ! for Slayer, but the super flash came before the J.D, so clearly was going to do this no matter what I did. It gets a !? because it's not a bad try.
Come on, that name is amazing.
If the opponent is in the corner and Ky makes them block a jump cancelable move, Ky can jump cancel into a 270 air D forcebreak ending on uptowards on the stick. That way, Ky will float up and towards the opponent (instead of sinking straight down) after the air FB D comes out and do an assortment of mixups, like feint jump HS into 2D, jump HS proper, etc. If the opponent gets hit by the mixup, then you can bounce them into the FB D for some good damage. If the opponent doesn't get hit by the mixup, the FB D keeps them stuck in the corner anyway, and you can continue your pressure.
According to the Japanese videos I've seen, this is called "Ain's Prison" after the Japanese Ky player Ain, who uses this tactic quite a bit. At first, I was very skeptical about this tactic since I thought this is awfully slow and rather easy to defend against, so who the hell gets hit by this? It turns out that apparently LOTS of people suck and get hit by this, including the Japanese. So I've started using it more and more and yes...this is quite effective.
Here's a video example (at 0:24-0:27) where I make a half assed attempt at Ain's Prison, because I was still very skeptical about its usefulness at the time.
SiN's magic air throw
Those of us who had the unfortunate experience to play against SiN and his "suck the fun out of the game" style of trench warfare play almost certainly know what I am talking about.
Unfortunately, that is mostly only a small audience of top players and people who have played in So-Cal. Despite his tendency to commit the most inexplicable execution blunders and his inability to do combos involving more than four consecutive button presses, SiN has placed in top 8 or top 16 at Evo since 2k2 in a huge variety of games, from CvS2 to MvC2 (?!), Tekken (??!) and GGXX (??!?!?!?!?!), even recently placing in top 8 for ST HD Remix at Evo2k9. He was also often regarded as having one of the the best Captain Commandos in the world for MvC2. Even so, from a casual player's perspective, watching his match videos in any game will leave you with nothing except for a "wow...he scrubbed that guy out one hit at a time, what a lucky scrub" impression. You have to play him to really appreciate his level of play.
For those of us who have played him, he does one trick that we often called "the magic air throw", or "SiN's magic airthrow", where he air throws people when they're doing crossovers (ambiguous or otherwise) in every game that has an air throw, leaving his opponent with a "WTF" feeling. In reality, he is doing one heck of an option select. As applied to GG, when an opponent is just above you, the "SiN's magic aithrow" is to either a) tiger knee backwards HS if the opponent is just above or just above and behind you, or b) 270 from down to uptowards to upback, HS if the opponent is just above or above and in front of you.
This provokes an option select where one of two things can occur:
1) You get a magical looking airthrow, and yes, you can inexplicably airthrow crossovers this way.
2) Your opponent reacts and attacks too early, causing a chicken block which you can land and punish, or if it turned into an IB, you can airthrow them immediately after blocking
The Buppa Ball
The Buppa Ball is a ghetto trick that only Buppa used to do. Since he stopped playing, nobody else uses it. It's a dubious attempt to maintain an initiative and to mindscrew your opponent.
One basic Ky tactic is when you launch a CSE, you FRC and then do jump towards k or p to see if your opponent attempted to punish what was in reality a safe CSE. You can often catch many people with the standard Ky air combo this way.
The Buppa Ball is an extension of that and the FRC CSE glitch where the CSE follows Ky. Normally the safe CSE distance is slightly outside airdash range. However, you can actually get away with being a little bit closer by doing a CSE FRC into immediate backdash, so when your opponent tries to do an IAD punish, his attack ends up going through your backdash, and you punish him with counterhit CSE, because the CSE will drag backwards along with Ky's backdash due to the CSE glitch. That is known as the "Buppa Ball", after the Ky player, Buppa.
Once you catch your opponent once or twice with that, you can start to get away with unsafe CSEs, such as those without any FRC, as your opponent will not really have a good idea what is safe and what is not. By doing this, you can convince your opponent to stay in perpetual blockstun, until he does something stupid and loses. With the advent of the CSE forcebreak, you can also sometimes substitute the backdash FRC into just the forcebreak, which will catch an airdash.
Here's a vid of Buppa at work, launching a myriad of Buppa Balls, and then getting away with not FRCing because he's mindscrewed his opponent. Note that he still loses anyway.
It does require a lot of setup, in that you have to portray yourself as a reckless attacking blitz Ky, you have to catch him at least once with the counterhit CSE, and your opponent has to be at a relatively decent level. So all in all, it's not really a good idea, especially if your opponent does catch on. However, if you need to create some chaos and variance and are out of ideas, you can give it a try. I've used it a few times, and by utilizing variations of the Buppa Ball, I managed to lock people into seemingly perpetual blockstun for 30+ game seconds.
There is not much Ky can do to you at long range or fullscreen outside of try to harass you with Stun Edge projectiles. Use this opportunity to close in on him, though be wary of his pokes like f.S and 2S. FD Brake is your friend in this matchup. Approaching Ky from the air is risky due to 6P and 2H, two anti-airs that can lead to decent damage if you're clipped by one.
Ky's f.S is a very long range normal. It's common for Ky players to toss this out at round start, not just because it's a relatively fast and long poke, but so that they can also test how you react to it. After a landed f.S, Ky players like to gatling it into 2S to lower the recovery and keep themselves safe, or cancel it into Stun Edge to keep the pressure going from a distance. f.S is very easy to low profile, however. As mentioned in the overview page, tools like Sol's Grand Viper, Ky's Stun Dipper, Zappa's run, and Faust's crouch walk can pass right under this move. f.S also has quite a bit of recovery, allowing you to whiff punish it relatively easily. Experiment with your character and see what you can do against this move.
f.S > 236S/236H
Like with f.S, Stun Edge can be low profiled. Take note of how often Ky cancels into Stun Edge from his pressure strings, because you can use moves like the previously mentioned Grand Viper or Justice's 236D Force Break, which goes through projectiles. If he's close enough, you might even be able to get a DP or other invincible move in.
There is not much in terms of offensive pressure that Ky can do without having to spend meter. 236D -> 4D is a pressure extender/pressure reset tool/sudden space filling tool that you don't have to worry about if Ky doesn't have 25% meter for it. 214D is a Force Break version of Greed Sever with a bit of invuln at startup. This means that if you're going for an option select to try and bait Vapor Thrust, Ky can throw this out instead and potentially get decent damage off of it in Counter Hit.
Here are some of the useful things Ky players like to spend meter on:
- FRC Stun Dipper
- Stun Dipper has an FRC point right before the second hit, meaning you could block the first hit, only for Ky to FRC and go for a throw and land it because you were expecting him to RC the second hit to keep himself safe. Be aware of this. FRC Stun Dipper is one of Ky's most useful tools, since there are so many things he can do afterward. The above mentioned "Mittie Blue Light" and "Eh-Sama Special" are some of them. Check those out if you have not already done so.
- Lightning Sphere (236D -> 4D)
- Again, useful pressure extender tool. You might think you see an opening in Ky's pressure, thinking he might be trying to catch you sleeping by sticking a 236D on you, only for him to cancel the startup into Lightning Sphere and ruin your life. Beware. Ky players like to use this after a blocked 6K, since the +4 frame advantage gives them plenty of time to set this bad boy up.
- FRC Charged Stun Edge
- You might be thinking you were playing Guilty Gear Xrd with this YRC 236H-esque trick. When Charged Stun Edge is FRC'd (the FRC point is right when Ky swings his sword back after the projectile is spawned), Ky can jump and have the CSE "jump" with him or just run alongside it on the ground, allowing for him to get in relatively safely since he has a big 3 hit projectile meat shield covering him. This can give Ky some scary high/low mixups, especially in the corner. Watch out for this, and try not to let him throw it out in the first place. Experiment with your character to see if they can do anything about the CSE. I am not very knowledgeable on every single character, but Justice may be able to use her 236D to quickly get rid of the CSE and maybe even catch a Ky player who thought he was safe to air-dash.
- Stun Rays j.214D
Stun Rays is already pretty scary due to how it just stays in the air menacingly while you're forced to either block it or block to whatever mixup Ky has in mind for you. However, it becomes even more dangerous if a Ky player knows the above mentioned "Ain's Prison" technique. With this technique, Ky can go for a high/low mixup due to the extra airtime. It is air unblockable, meaning you MUST block it with Faultless Defense in the air. You might be tempted to crouch block it in hopes of avoiding touching the thing entirely. However, be wary of overhead attempts like Greed Sever, FB Greed Sever, or a throw attempt. Stun Rays "forces" you to block low to avoid it, but this makes you susceptible to overheads. Likewise, if you try to block it so you won't have to worry about overheads, you won't be blocking low, meaning Ky can try to 2D you and get a full combo off of it if there's still a hit or two left in the Stun Rays. In addition, blocking low and anticipating blocking potential attacks means you are just sitting there, meaning Ky can run up and throw you into the Stun Rays. Depending on the character or how high the Stun Rays are, he'll be able to combo off of his throw without having to FRC or RC it. I'll have to experiment with Dead Angle to see if you can DA Ky and still be able to block Stun Rays.