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Iori Yagami (Japanese: 八神 庵, Hepburn: Yagami Iori) is a character from SNK's The King of Fighters video game series. The character first appeared in The King of Fighters '95 as the leader of the Rivals Team, as the initial enemy and later rival of Kyo Kusanagi. Iori is the heir of the Yagami clan, who use pyrokinetic powers and sealed the Orochi devil along with the Kusanagi and Yata clans. Iori suffers from a curse – "The Riot of the Blood" (血の暴走, Chi no Bōso) – under which he becomes faster, stronger and wilder, exhibiting a deadly tendency to indiscriminately attack everyone in close proximity. In this state, Iori is commonly called "Wild Iori" or "Orochi Iori" (月の夜大蛇の血に狂う庵, Tsuki no Yoru Orochi no Chi ni Kuruu Iori, lit. Insane Iori with Blood of Orochi Under the Night of the Moon). Aside from the main series, Iori appears in several other media series, including spin-offs, crossover video games and comic adaptations of the series.
Iori was created as Kyo's rival; his name and abilities were designed to relate him with the legend of Yamata no Orochi. The designers ended up liking him so much they are careful of the character's development as the series expands. As a result, Iori sometimes helps Kyo to have the opportunity to fight him. Finding his design appealing, new outfits presented the SNK staff with difficulties as they devised new appearances for the character that would retain his popularity.
Video game journalists have praised Iori Yagami as one of the most powerful characters in the series. Reviewers have also cited Iori as one of the best characters from the games, labeling him as a veteran character and praising his appearance as one of SNK's best creations. "Miss X", Iori's crossdressing form from SNK Gals' Fighters and the additional female one of SNK Heroines: Tag Team Frenzy, also received attention for its humor. A series of collectible items based on Iori's likeness, including key chains and figurines, have been manufactured.
Iori is a very versatile character whose moveset lends him to a rush-down/mixup style with damage mainly coming from his Rekka combos. Coupled with that, he has very serviceable pokes, good anti air, and a good reversal DP for use in defense and neutral situations. He also has one of the best poke RCs in the game with his Rekka, is the shortest character in the game, and has the best roll in the game.
His drawbacks are getting in against dominant "big button" characters (Sagat, Blanka, Cammy, etc), a relatively low ceiling of one shot burst damage (his supers aren't very strong), and characters who duck and outpoke his Stand Roundhouse.
In CvS2, he is often considered a "high" tier character, just below the established top tiers. He is a staple on N groove teams, as well as one of the Best SNK characters in the game. Conventional wisdom is that he is one of the easiest characters to use, and recent Japanese tourney play features him on two of the best players' teams. In C and A grooves, even.
Iori's what? Since people play better and more focused when they have a set goal in mind rather than "uh...imma just hit guy and win! And do combos!", it's good to know what your character's main objective is before playing. A kind of a fighting game thesis, if you will.
Iori's objective is to get within point blank range of his opponent.
(Simple, right? It's supposed to be)
Simple. When you're up close you have the threat of the Scum Gale grab, which lends itself to high damage 50/50 mix ups, all of which knock down the opponent and set up another mix up.
How is this objective accomplished? In order of best method to worst method: 1) Knocking the opponent down 2) Getting 3/4ths to full screen, throwing a jab fireball and running after it 3) Establishing Iori's strong mid-range ground game, which drains the opponent's guard bar. The draining of your opponent's guard bar entices him to make mistakes that enable you to achieve method 1). 4) By trying to roll through or jump/low jump over your opponent's moves.
Since 1) is hard to do on a good opponent and the distance for 2) can be difficult to establish, Iori spends most of his time doing 3).
Best - N/C: N-Groove is Iori's best Groove for a few reasons. Iori has one of the best rolls in the game, and a great special to roll cancel with his rekkas. N-Groove gives him run and hop to aid his mixup and rushdown, and while the meter isn't great, level 1 Maiden Masher is an easy and simple confirm for a damage increase anyway. C-Groove is only a little behind, as while he gives up run and hop, he gets a very damaging level 2 combo in exchange that can be easily combo'd into. Air block and Alpha Counters are also helpful in a lot of situations.
Useful - A/K: A-Groove is a little behind, and Iori is usually ran on point. Custom Combo is powerful and useful, and Iori has a decent one. Lack of run or hop hurts his offense a bit, but it isn't a huge tradeoff, and he still has roll. K-Iori is a higher risk Iori, with a major downside in the missing roll. Rage makes him scary though, as one good hit confirms into level 3 Maiden Masher for big damage, and he can usually punish something after a JD.
Worst - P/S: P-Iori isn't bad, he gets good meterless reward after all. However, just like K-Iori, the missing roll is very hard to deal with as it's important to his gameplan. S-Groove has very little going for it, especially for Iori, but it has the basics in run, hop, and roll. Just that you will almost never have meter for a Maiden Masher.
Iori is a powerful rushdown vortex character, with great mixups from his hard knockdown rekkas. His neutral is also solid, with good pokes and one of the best RC specials in rekkas. He just has to be in range to utilize them. Iori is best in N-Groove and C-Groove.