The King of Fighters '98: Ultimate Match/Ryuji Yamazaki

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Yamazaki is pretty much unchanged from OG; pretty much all his moves are the same. At any rate, his moves aren’t easy to use, but once you get used to them, he’s a powerful character. So nothing has really changed, and ’98 veterans should feel right at home.

Use his easy-to-use and powerful jump attacks, and his long-reaching normal moves; mete out the timing to seal the deal with throws.

Final Edition Change List


Move list

At a glance

Normal throws
Shimeage (throw) f/b + C
Bun Nage (throw) f/b + D
Command move
Bussashi f + A
Special moves
Hebi Tsukai: Jōdan qcb + A (can be held)
┗ Hebi Damashi (while holding Hebi Tsukai) D
Hebi Tsukai: Chūdan qcb + B (can be held)
┗ Hebi Damashi (while holding Hebi Tsukai) D
Hebi Tsukai: Gedan qcb + C (can be held)
┗ Hebi Damashi (while holding Hebi Tsukai) D
Sado-Maso hcf + K
Bai Gaeshi qcf + P
Sabaki no Aikuchi dp + P
Yakiire dp + B
Sunakake dp + D
┗ (Hebi Tsukai) (during Sunakake) qcb + A/B/C
Bakudan Bakchigi (throw) hcb f + P
Super special moves
Guillotine qcf qcf + P
Drill (throw) hcb hcb + P (repeatedly)

Normal moves

  • st.A, st.B, st.D, and cr.* – easy-to-use zoning moves with long reach. Even random whiffing with these is fearsome.
  • j.C – faces upward, so you can use it for air-to-air. The occasional preventative whiffing serves as a reminder for the opponent about jumping.
  • j.B and vertical j.D – the reach is long, making them useful in zoning.
  • j.D – faces nearly straight down, so it functions as an overhead. Though it is a bit easy to come up short distance-wise, so it isn’t really suitable for jumping in.

Command move

  • Bussashi
  • f + A
  • Two hit move, both are overheads. The motion is kind of small, so it can easily make an unexpected hit.

Special moves

  • Hebi Tsukai: Jōdan
  • qcb + A (can be held)
  • A snakelike strike diagonally upward. The angle is so sharp, it’s pretty much just for anti-air. It has no invincibility, and you must read ahead to use it.
  • Hebi Tsukai: Chūdan
  • qcb + B (can be held)
  • A snakelike strike straight forward. The reach is so long, it is a truly multipurpose move: you can use it for zoning, jump checking, and combos.
  • Hebi Tsukai: Gedan
  • qcb + C (can be held)
  • A snakelike strike downward. It only combos from strong attacks, but it can also touch short opponents. It now has a low-hitting hitbox.
  • Hebi Damashi
  • D while holding Hebi Tsukai
  • You can hold the button for any Hebi Tsukai move to delay its release (this changes none of the move properties, Yamazaki just waits, poised to strike). You cannot change the version to use while holding. You can press D to cancel any time before its mandatory release. The amount of gauge you can charge by calling off the Hebi Tsukai has been decreased.

  • Sado-Maso
  • hcf + K
  • Yamazaki makes a face, and will respond to (but not take damage from) strikes that are not low hits (even from behind, though it won’t hit!). The length varies according to the button you use, so you can feint. Also, when you score a counter-hit, you can juggle with Hebi Tsukai: Jōdan or Guillotine (depending on how it hit, it may not be possible), making this a pretty cool move to have.

  • Bai Gaeshi
  • qcf + P
  • The weak version wipes out projectiles; the strong version does this and reflects back a new projectile. This projectile does high damage and moves at high speed, and does knockdown. It is also a striking move; it combos from weak attacks, but the damage is low, it doesn’t do knockdown, and it leaves you pretty open.

  • Sabaki no Aikuchi
  • dp + P
  • Yamazaki gets out his dagger (well, OTF knife, but meh); with the weak version, he does two slashes, and with the strong version, he does four. It only combos from strong attacks, but it does knockdown, the reach is long, and it is safe in combos.

  • Bakudan Bakchigi
  • hcb f + P at throwing distance
  • A one-frame throw with a short grabbing range. The whiff animation is relatively short.

  • Yakiire
  • dp + B
  • A two-step kick; the second hit is an overhead. It does unrollable knockdown, and the damage is high-ish, but it leaves you wide open if blocked, so it is difficult to put to practical use.
  • Sunakake
  • dp + D
  • There is no practical way to use this on its own, but it cancels into any Hebi Tsukai, which makes it powerful in combos.

Super special moves

  • Guillotine
  • qcf qcf + P
  • Yamazaki jumps and uppercuts, then runs the opponent into the ground, dragging them along for a while, then kicking them upward. It has some upper-body invincibility; the height is short, and the hitbox has high priority, so it is a move that is powerful in anti-air and interruption. The gauge should revolve around this as much as possible.

  • Drill
  • hcb hcb + P (repeatedly) at throwing distance, (P at end for special taunt)
  • A one-frame throw with a short grabbing range. From the moment it grabs until the moment Yamazaki begins his barrage of attacks, you can change the move he does (and increase the amount of damage) by mashing A and C. Alternating from both buttons quickly.



  • j.A > cl.C >> Bussashi (2 hit) or Sunakake >> Hebi Tsukai: Gedan
  • Not safe from a jump, but doesn’t leave you very open. When blocked, you should call off the Hebi Tsukai to further reduce the vulnerability.
  • cr.A >> cr.A (>> cr.A) >> Hebi Tsukai: Chūdan
  • Mainly for countering or when in a hurry.
  • cl.B >> cl.B >> Bakudan Bakchigi or Guillotine or Drill or (cr.A >> Hebi Tsukai: Chūdan)
  • Combo from low hits. Only works when very close, but if you use gauge, the damage is relatively high, so aim for this one assertively.

The Basics

Generally speaking, his strength is in jump attacks. For jumping in, j.A; for zoning, j.B; for air-to-air, j.C and j.CD; for overhead, j.D. Also, vertical jump j.C and j.D are powerful in air-to-air as well.

For ground normals, st.A, st.B, st.D, cr.A, cr.C, and cr.D all are strong in various aspects such as zoning. However, both the D’s leave you pretty open; if the opponent rolls through it, you’re in trouble. Basically, with such a wide range of normals, you’ll have to come to know which one(s) to use instinctively.

For anti-air, Hebi Tsukai: Jōdan, or an early st.CD, or Guillotine are the basics. Or possibly, before the opponent’s jump attack’s hitbox cuts off, Bai Gaeshi could be helpful. In this case, it can toss the opponent up extremely high, so extremely advantageous meaty options are available, though there isn’t any particularly reliable move for this purpose.

For zoning, there is Hebi Tsukai: Chūdan, but nearly all opponents will be ready for it and either super jump or roll to get in your face. Therefore, use Hebi Tsukai: Jōdan; if they jumped, it’s an anti-air, and if they rolled, then if it should so happen to hit them as soon as they get out, so be it (but you can deal with that anyway). For a kind of tricky method, call off Hebi Tsukai: Chūdan; if it’s a jump, use Hebi Tsukai: Jōdan, or Guillotine, and if it’s a roll, a combo or a throw will be reliably strong.

For meaties, Yamazaki is at the weakest level out of all the grapplers. For one thing, the very opportunity to attack opponents on their wakeup itself is less common. Now the cr.B is a safe and reliable low hit, but the problem is what else to mix it with. For an overhead, you end up having to choose between Bussashi and j.D, but lucky you, Bussashi is just slow (it could be not an overhead...). When that happens, opponents with good response may well just smack you. Conversely, when you use j.D, the risk is low for one, but since you have to jump it’s a dead giveaway, and above all, when it is blocked, you are wide open. So then there’s his throws, but his command throw’s reach is overly short. For these reasons, whichever moves you decide on, there are many situations in which it could go wrong.

Finally, why not to aim for Bai Gaeshi and Sado-Maso unreasonably. If the opponent is vigilant about Bai Gaeshi, then even by using the weak and strong versions properly, it is easy for them to mess you up. Even if you are successful, many opponents can block or AB no problem. If the opponent is vigilant about Sado-Maso, they’ll do mixup on you with weak and crouching attacks, and you may see yourself on the receiving end of an unexpected large amount of damage. It takes some luck to use either; either the opponent slips up, or has a lapse about one of them.

Advanced Strategy