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Fighter's History Dynamite/Karnov
Karnov is Data East's flagship character, and his powerful is *nearly* unmatched in FHD. His invincible balloon, high damage output and doable infinites make him a strong contender in this game. He is often thought to be unbeatable, but the more you play him you will recognize the weakness of Karnov....
- Standing LP (Close): activation range = 47
Typical close jab, but note the frames.
- Standing LP (Far):
Pretty long reach for a jab.
- Crouching LP:
A staple in Karnov's ground game. Great poke, longer range than standing far LP.
- Jumping LP (Diagonal/Neutral):
The only chainable air normal, this can also cross up. It allows Karnov to do sick shenanigans with Balloon Attack in the air. It has uniquely faster startup than every other air normal in the game.
- Standing HP (Close): activation range = 47
|Frame count||4||3||3||(4) 18|
- Standing HP (Far):
|Frame count||4||1||(1) 11|
An ultra fast hand stab. Comparable with medium punches in SF. Big damage, safe on block, good in combos. Arm becomes vulnerable after active part, but only on 1 frame.
- Crouching HP:
|Frame count||4||6||(6) 18|
Great anti-air. Stuffs pretty much any jump-in.
- Jumping HP (Diagonal):
Good jump-in, stays out for long time.
- Jumping HP (Neutral):
- Standing LK (Close): activation range = 47
Matchup specific attack to target weak spots.
- Standing LK (Far):
2px longer than cr.LP, so maybe is useful as a poke. Maybe as far anti-air.
- Crouching LK:
Karnov has few lows, and this can link into cr.LP to continue combos. Learn to use this.
- Jumping LK (Diagonal/Neutral):
Butt splash! Awesome crossup tool.
- Standing HK (Close): activation range = 43
|Frame count||4||6||(6) 18|
A high kick. Hits Zazie's standing weak spot.
- Standing HK (Far):
Good far anti-air. Use it particularly against far jump-ins instead of cr.HP.
- Crouching HK:
|Frame count||4||8||(12) 18|
A slide that can be canceled. Fairly slow, but you can catch opponents off guard if used sparingly.
- Jumping HK (Diagonal):
Great jump-in that can cross up.
- Jumping HK (Neutral)
Standard throw, gives Karnov ample time for mixups like fireball into teleport.
A fireball that bounces on the ground and deals fire knockdown on hit. LP version have a lower bounce arc and HP have higher arc. Anyways it can be blocked both high and low. Slightly slow recovery, traverses full screen. Incorporate this into your ground game and be sure to try the slide glitch... Your opponent might have trouble blocking ;)
*Frame advantage is measured as recovery + 2f of additional lag from active frames
Basically Dhalsim's Yoga Flame. Better up close than Fireball, this attack stays out longer. Karnov also cancells the rest of active frames when the move hits, so don't worry about getting punished. A solid way to help keep an opponent locked down, especially in the corner. Hitbox of kick version is moved a bit further.
Best rushdown special in the game. These rapid-fire kicks are your main combo ender from any chain, and are generally safe on block. Pressed kick button determines how fast Karnov will fly forward, frame data is the same for both versions. From the very first frame Karnov is already in the air and can't be interrupted with low attacks. If used from too far the kicks won't connect properly (it's even possible to hit with only the first hit). This move covers a wide area of weak spots. Especially good to punish crouching opponents.
If only the first two or the second hit connects, you can link cr.LP, st.HP and potentially repeat for the infinite. Easier with the LK version.
Input note: this move can be done on the ground, after completing the input Karnov will automatically ascend upward.
|On hit||Depends on character height|
|Frame count||Light||22||(float) 5||(fall) varies||6|
|Heavy||38||(float) 5||(fall) varies||6|
This is the one. Karnov floats in the air while being invulnerable and then falls with an excellent hitbox suitable for cross-ups. Active frames can be easily interrupted into any aerial attack that can be special cancelled into ANOTHER balloon attack. Incredible invincibility, stays out forever. Experiment with this for crossup fun and lock down shenanigans. If you want to play Karnov you will need to be able to effectively use this move. But watch out for aerial throws!
Karnov is the final boss of the game, so it's no surprise that he's one of the top tiers. With a great arsenal ranging from bouncing projectiles to invincible overhead attacks, he's an excellent all-arounder. He can switch from aggressive rushdown with his 100-Kicks and Balloon to zoning with Fireball and Fire Breath, as well as play neutral with his good set of normals (albeit keeping his weakspot and effective ranges in mind).
His main downside is his defensive play, with him not having a reversal like Ray's Wheel Kick or Zazie's Hellfire, and his shockingly poor weakspot placement that allows characters like Mizoguchi, Lee, and Zazie to stun him off of one combo as well as deal more damage.
Karnov can cheat the game a little and do a glitch with his 100-Kicks special combined with the ↓ + HK slide to teleport to the other end of the screen. The input is: Charge ← (or ↙), LP ~ ↘ + HK. An easier alternative is plinking cr.LP and then cr.HK without letting go of LP: Charge ← (or ↙), ↘ LP ~ HK. It's useful for crossing up with his fireball and getting out of the corner in a pinch. Don't use it too much, as a keen player can punish predictable teleports with a grab or even a full combo.
In almost all cases, Karnov loves it when his opponent is trapped in the corner. All of his aggressive tools are at their best in the corner, including his blockstrings and especially Balloon. The opponent isn’t able to backdash away from your Balloon, forcing them to either block and try to handle your mix, guess the timing and do an invincible reversal (Mizoguchi’s Koryusai, Ray’s Wheel Kick, Zazie’s Hellfire, etc.), or guess the timing and use an anti-air button. Keeping your opponent in the corner is crucial to keep your pressure going, using tools like your Slide xx Fireball blockstring, anti-airing with cr.HP against jumps, and just observing what the opponent does in response to your offense helps you to figure out what to do next.
Balloon mixups are the reason why he loves the corner, as he can be in just about any position you can imagine. He can:
- Jump and balloon as he's falling..
- Empty jump into cr.LK
- Land and switch sides with 100 Kicks / Teleport
- so much more..
You don't even need to jump either, as Balloon can be done from the ground. With all of these options and the two different timings for the move, it becomes a very attractive option and the selling point of the character.
If things get too risky for Balloon however (say someone keeps predicting your Balloon timings), you don't have to solely rely on that either. Doing frame traps / blockstrings, keeping them trapped in the corner with Fireball and stuffing reversal attempts with Low Breath, and mostly just anticipating what they want to do next is part of Karnov's game.
Don’t be discouraged if your opponent gets out of the corner, as Karnov could give you multiple opportunities to restart that pressure if you play your cards right. His main strengths is the amount of tools he has to counter the opponent with and, most importantly, his ability to be unpredictable.
- cr.LP x2, st.HP xx hard 100 Kicks
Standard Karnov combo that leads to a knockdown.
- cr.LK, cr.LP, st.HP xx 100 Kicks
A combo that starts from a low. Although cr.LK and cr.LP has tight timing, it's crucial to land due to cr.LP not being a low.
- cr.LP x3, st.HP xx light 100 Kicks, [cr.LP st.HP xx light 100-Kicks]xN
The most common variant of his infinite. If st.HP isn't hitting the opponent's weakspot (say Mizoguchi), then do st.HK instead for more damage. It's also an incredible blockstring, given that your opponent doesn't take advantage of a small gap to reversal you or grab you if you're too close.
- (Start high in the air): HP Balloon, j.HP/j.HK, st.HP xx hard 100 Kicks
The most damaging stun combo outside of his infinite. Shorter characters like Ryoko can make linking Balloon and HP/HK more difficult, but it's overall consistent across the cast.
- cr.LP x2/3, cr.HK xx Low Breath
Not a great combo, but one of his crucial blockstrings. Doing three cr.LPs puts you out of range of Wheel Kick, and you can also mix it up by doing Fireball / High Breath instead of Low Breath.
- Balloon, air button
One of the most common ways Karnov will be starting his combo. Your air button of choice can depend on the distance of the opponent and where their weakspots are, or simply to make sure your combo is valid.
- j.LP, j.LP
A decent starter that can be done after Balloon. The multiple hits puts more distance between you and the opponent, so be careful.
- Cross-up j.LK
If in the right spot, Karnov can cross-up an opponent and start a combo from the other side.
- Cross-up j.HK
In some circumstances, you can use the surprisingly wide hitbox of j.HK to make it a cross-up.
The details outlined here range from niche to pretty useful, but I believe that all of this can and will be useful for any Karnov player if the situation demands it.
Chaining / "swapping" air normals
Karnov can take advantage of the property of his jumping LP being the only chain cancellable normal in the game in a variety of ways, as it allows for Karnov to always have a hitbox out while he's in the air and he can swap it out for a different normal! This is typically to throw off an opponent that doesn't fully realize your effective range or to mess up their air punishes.
When it comes to these options, you can always swap to HP for extra horizontal coverage to punish a fireball coming your way or a HK as an air poke that gives him that extra vertical range his other normals don't have. LK is also decent as a cross-up tool. The one weakness with this strategy is that Karnov can't use Balloon if you already pressed a button, so use this sparingly as it limits your best option in the air.
Numbers are listed as P1/P2, showing how good the matchup is for whenever Karnov's on that side. For more info on side differences, go here.
Due to this, .5 has been added to matchups to show the side differences. The effects don't completely change the matchups, but add more nuances like new punishes and capabilities.
Karnov had some advantages but try to escape of Overhead Stand with a Slide or 100 Rush Kicks,
Jean is one of those cases where Karnov's dominance isn't the air isn't as prevalent in the matchup. Jean has a lot of tools to counter Karnov's Balloon and other air approaches: Flash Kick, solid anti-air buttons like cr.HP, cr.HK, st.HP, and Jean is one of three characters that has an air throw that completely counters Balloon. It's clear that Jean has the means to get over your jumping attacks and Balloon, so that means that Karnov wants to be on the ground.
Being on the ground is also an issue as well because Bal Rose is a really good projectile, and sometimes Karnov's bouncing fireball tends to miss Rose if you're trying to hit it up-close and you end up getting hit anyways. With this problem of zoning, it's clear that you want to play more hit-and-run. Either wait for Jean to jump at you, as he has a relatively floaty jump, or you can jump at Jean while he's trying to throw Bal Rose.
Karnov wants to get the most out of his up-close interactions with Jean, trying to melt his health bar and weakspot immediately with a standard combo starting with cr.LP. Breaking Jean's defenses through stunning him is Karnov's primary goal, and he has plenty of ways to do that. He has fast buttons like cr.LP and far LK that can lead into a 100-Kicks ender that should hit his spot twice. Karnov also has Low Breath, a typically underused and risky move to throw out, to both nullify Bal Rose and to hit Jean's weakspot as a long-range poke. Karnov is at an advantage when in the corner, as Jean can't do much if Karnov's out of range of Flash Kick. You can anticipate a jump-in and anti-air him according to what button he uses, or throw HP Fireballs to keep him from moving and Flash Kicking.
Low Breath is risky for a reason, as overuse of the move can motivate Jean to jump-in and instantly take you out with a Hands Glitch combo thanks to the move having high recovery if whiffed. As such, Karnov should use Low Breath on reaction to any Bal Roses or as a way to stuff reversals from mid-range.
If you have no openings and you have the health lead, there's no reason to approach him due to his incredibly strong punish game with Hands. Keep zoning him with Hard Fireball or Low Breath, and hold your ground again Jean's j.LK (a good cross-up button) or j.HK (a long-range button that can trump attempts at anti-airing j.LK). Karnov's keepaway is okay enough to make Jean want to do something, so you're generally in control whenever you've made your big push against him with a combo or weakspot pop.
If you're in a combo against Jean, NEVER CROUCH. Crouching Karnov gives Jean more repetitions for his Hands combo, and standing will help you in the long run.
Vs. Karnov (self):
Senkyutai is an issue here because 100 Kicks is beaten by it, and he can counter most jump ins with it as well as balloon. Use fireballs to keep him at bay, and cr.HP to counter his jump ins. Sliding is a bad idea here.
Do not brainlessly spam balloon. Ray has the edge here with Wheel Kick. You will also not be using close fireballs / flame breath for this same reason. Ray's fireball is incredibly fast, so use balloon to float over those. Just be careful to never enter wheel kick range. (Need more info)