In a nutshell
Clark "Steel" is a member of the Reagan-approved Ikari Warriors duo dating back to SNK's early days. Clark has always been a heavy grappling character that scores hard knockdowns off of his Super Argentine Backbreaker grab, though in KOF XIII he lacks his trusty Frankensteiner 'delayed' grab. However, Clark has been granted a delayed and super SAB in the console release of XIII to give him back more of his older okizeme tactics. Clark's also equipped with an air throw, a new uppercut command normal, and his bulky Jumping Blowback Attack which allow him to deal with backdashes and attempts to jump out of his offensive pressure. Finally, Clark now has legitimate hitconfirms so he can easily recognize when to start a combo.
- Flashing Elbow
- Death Lake Drive
- Step (f+BD) is faster.
- Light Super Argentine Backbreaker (hcf+B) has full-body autoguard but has slower startup than before.
- EX Super Argentine Backbreaker > Flashing Elbow (hcf+BD > qcf+P) can be Max-canceled.
- EX Gatling Attack's (b~f+AC) invincibility runs out when it becomes active. Projectile invincibility persists after it becomes active.
- If Heavy or EX Gatling Attack (b~f+P) gets blocked, Death Lake Drive (dp+P) won't come out anymore.
- Vulcan Punch (P*) can be canceled with another move on startup. This allows for some new combos like Close C > Vulcan Punch > Super Argentine Backbreaker.
- Standing Light Punch () - A chest-level jab. Since it whiffs on most crouching characters this attack mainly serves as a quick anti-air against short hops or as a fakeout.
- Standing Light Kick () - Clark kicks downward toward the opponent's shin. This attack doesn't hit as a low despite its appearance. The player can chain a Crouching into this move and then cancel this into a special but Clark has faster and easier hitconfirms. The player could also try to cancel this attack into Jet Upper ( + ) as a hitconfirm but the player could use the stronger and faster Close in every instance. The player could also simply link an (EX) command grab after two Crouching attacks, so there isn't much use for this attack.
- Standing Heavy Punch () - A long-ranged spinning backfist attack that looks identical to Ralf's infamous Standing . Although this attack starts up fast and reaches far, it will completely whiff on crouching characters. If that wasn't risky enough, Clark takes a step forward during the spin which makes it even easier for the opponent to punish a whiff with a low attack. Clark's Standing will hit crouching characters and has the same horizontal length which makes for a much better poke.
- Standing isn't a lost cause though. The higher hitbox makes the attack a much better anti-air or preventive anti-air that controls a taller aerial space in front of the player. Be sure to save this move for reading when the opponent wants to be standing or moving forward as it is otherwise very unsafe to whiff.
- Close Heavy Punch (Close ) - Clark's double elbow attack that forms part of his KOF grappler okizeme game. This attack can be canceled into specials or Jet Upper ( + ) on the first hit.
- Standing Heavy Kick () - Causes Clark to twist around and attack with a back kick. Reaches further than his other normals and connects against crouching opponents. Clark's strongest poke for ranged footsies or perhaps ending blockstrings. It's also possible to anti-air the opponent with this attack by having the opponent land on Clark's booted toes.
- Close Heavy Kick (Close ) - Hits once and cannot be linked into Vulcan Punch. There isn't much reason to use this attack over Close .
- Crouching Light Punch ( + ) - Reaches far enough to combo from a Crouching attack and can be canceled. Clark players must either link a grab off of a Crouching or chain cancel into Crouching or Standing to get a 2-in-1 from a low attack.
- Cannot be chain canceled into any move.
- Crouching Light Kick ( + ) - A powerful low kick: It can be confirmed into a knockdown which makes the opponent have to worry about the low threat when alternate guarding or during okizeme, and is one of Clark's better meaty attacks for setting up frametraps and tick throws.
- Can only be chain canceled.
- Crouching Heavy Punch ( + ) - Take the big hitbox of Standing , lower it, and make it cancelable. That's what this move is. Clark's Crouching is like a Low Strong attack from Street Fighter; it reaches further than a crouching jab and deals heavier hitstun.
- Strong meaty attack due to its long range and direct cancelability. The player can walk backward before meatying with this attack and still be in range to combo into Super Argentine Backbreaker ( + ).
- Also one of Clark's strongest grounded pokes due to its powerful hitbox and excellent horizontal range.
- Crouching Heavy Kick ( + ) - A cancelable sweep that stretches just a little further than Crouching . Fills the role of blockstring ender, whiff punisher against standing attacks, and as a tripguard meaty.
- Blowback Attack ( + ) - Ludicrous attack where Clark defies gravity much like Shermie and does a dropkick that doesn't move him forward. Silliness aside this attack has an enormous hitbox and starts up fast in comparison to most Blowback Attacks.
- Whiffing this move is a dangerous wager, but with the correct timing and spacing this attack can anti-air (and possibly score a counterhit) or beat out other grounded attacks.
- Cancels into specials and DMs.
- Jumping Light Punch (Air ) - Clark's primary air-to-ground attack on the opponent's okizeme. Jumping has long vertical hitbox, a sizable portion of active frames, and inflicts a large amount of hitstun.
- Jumping Light Kick (Air ) - A purely horizontal kick that works as an air-to-air similarly to Ash's and Iori's Jumping . This attack can also be timed late to hit crouching opponents although certain moves that shrink the player's hitbox (such as slides or sweeps) can pass underneath and punish this move when it's used even as a late air-to-ground.
- Jumping Heavy Punch (Air ) - A falling elbow attack that exhibits a solid vertical hitbox, but doesn't hit as deep as Jumping .
- However jumping can whiff against a deep opponent; hopping forward with Jumping against a cornered and crouching opponent causes Jumping to whiff due to it lacking a hitbox close in to Clark's body. Jumping will connect in these deep instances, possibly saving the player from a tripguard punish.
- By holding [ ] or [ ] while inputting this attack Clark will either use Jumping which can work as a air-to-ground or possibly air-to-air the opponent or he'll go into his airthrow.
- Jumping Heavy Kick (Air ) - Crazy air-to-air with an extreme upward angle. Clark's upward boot works best when approaching an airborne opponent from below, but it also functions competently in horizontal aerial meetings. Very easy for the opponent to punish with a tripguard meaty if the attack whiffs.
- Jumping Blowback Attack (Air + ) - Clark's standing Blowback Attack but much more useful from being executable from more angles. This attack carries a hefty vertical and horizontal hitbox on top of inflicting dense blockstun.
- A strong air-to-ground attack for approaching from diverse angles. This attack can be blocked crouching and causes a soft knockdown on hit, so it's more suited for getting in on the opponent or gaining frame advantage. Jumping is much more suited for playing Clark's KOF oki game.
- This will also work as an air-to-air although the player wants to be above the opponent or just horizontal with them. A successful air-to-air could lead into a counterhit which can be comboed off of.
- Jet Upper ( + ) - A new addition to Clark's usual arsenal that gives him longer hitconfirms and a better anti-air. Jet Upper combos from any of Clark's cancelable normals and can be canceled into specials or DMs. Despite its visual appearance this move has a decent horizontal hitbox and will usually connect when canceled into. Besides filling combo space, this attack works like most normal uppercuts in the game as an anti-air. For best results, the player should try to be underneath the airborne opponent to make up for the lack or horizontal strength on the attack.
- Death Mountain Buster ( or + or [while close]) - Clark's normal throw causes a hard knockdown which can be followed anywhere on the screen by a super jump forward to go straight into his okizeme game.
- This is a safer grab option than using SAB. The player can hold [ ] while attempting a throw which will sometimes lead to blocking a reversal attempt. If the throw registers the player could tech out, but a tech is more preferred than having a command grab punished, and if the opponent is thrown then Clark has plenty of options off of the hard knockdown. Should the throw whiff he'll use a Close or which still benefits the player. This doesn't have to be relied too heavily on, but this works as a strong option after successfully knocking the opponent down multiple times, during which time the opponent hasn't been able to react and so pressing one's luck further could be dangerous.
- Death Lake Drive (Air or + [while close]) - Clark tosses the opponent down in front of him for a hard knockdown. On a successful grab the Clark player has enough time for a simple grounded grab mixup.
- This can be comboed into like other air throws in KOFXIII, but Clark's leaves the player with a strong, advantageous spacing in comparison to other air throws.
- Step ( + + ) - This special is similar to the Extra Mode forward dashes from KOF98, except Clark can cancel his normals into this command dash for a quick mixup. Inputting the command causes Clark to quickly dash forward, during which time he cannot act. Despite appearing as a very short hop it will always be beaten by low attacks.
- The main threat of this move is that Clark can quickly appear in front of the opponent and force a mixup. From neutral, the player could go immediately into an instant command grab to test the opponent's reactions. If the opponent can't stuff Clark's Step, then the next option of escape would be to jump in order to escape and punish the grab attempt. A strong way to punish this escape method is to use a normal throw instead. If the player did nothing then the normal throw will activate and if the opponent becomes airborne then Clark's hefty Close will trigger and possibly anti-air or catch the opponent on the ground. Should the opponent try a reversal, the Clark player could read this by blocking or by using his armored Weak SAB.
- Super Argentine Backbreaker ( + ) - Clark's staple command grab. Use inside combos, after landing from an empty hop, as a tight tick throw, or to punish slightly negative moves.
- After landing a SAB, Clark tosses the opponent onto the ground and the player can choose to follow up with his OTG Flashing Elbow. Either choice allows for the player to safely hop at the opponent for an immediate mixup between a high meaty Jumping into a combo or tick throw, an empty hop into another SAB, or an empty hop into his low Crouching .
- Clark will always throw the opponent behind him.
- Super Argentine Backbreaker ( + + ) - An instant grab with increased damage and throw range. The grab length registers from far ranges and can visually suck in opponents much like Zangief's light SPD.
- A great tool for punishing attacks that leave the opponent at a negative advantage. It doesn't get much better than being instant and having an absurd reach.
- Flashing Elbow (Super Argentine Backbreaker, then + ) - An OTG followup to Clark's SAB command grab. The attack still causes a hard knockdown and leaves the player with enough frame advantage to hop at the opponent afterward and so it's always recommended to add on the extra damage with this followup.
- Vulcan Punch (press repeatedly) - Clark begins a tandem of punches at a 45° angle that can be continued by mashing punch buttons. This attack will lift the opponent off the ground on hit and can be Drive Canceled.
- Whiffing this move pretty much guarantees that the opponent will get a sweep punish or better. The attack may be punishable on block by quick attacks depending on the spacing.
- Cancelable off any ground normal including Far .
- Whiff cancelable from Far to add horizontal movement.
- Vulcan Punch (press + repeatedly) - A more controlled version that only hits four times and keeps the opponent grounded on hit, allowing an instant grab to link afterwards. Hitconfirming into this from Close or + is simple and afterward the player can link SAB for a hard knockdown that sets up Clark's grappler oki.
- Gatling Attack ( [charge] + ) - Moves Clark forward as he punches a few times and ends with a launching uppercut. The weak version combos from light attacks and is safer on block; the heavy version connects only from heavy attacks (namely Crouching ) but can canceled into his Death Lake Drive ender.
- The final hit leaves the opponent open to juggles which can vary based on spacing and meter available.
- Gatling Attack ( [charge] + + ) - Invulnerable from startup until just before the attack becomes active, but projectile invulnerable for a lengthy period. Combos from light attacks and launches the opponent even higher than with the other versions.
- Deals heavy guard damage.
- Death Lake Drive ( or Gatling Attack, then + ) - A followup airthrow to Gatling Attack that causes a hard knockdown, but leaves the player with little frame advantage. This is an alright midscreen ender to Clark's Gatling Attack, although Clark can deal more damage from the launcher against a cornered opponent.
- Input the command for this attack as the opponent is hit by the uppercut launcher.
- Ultra Argentine Backbreaker ( + ) - A more powerful SAB command grab. The range is identical to SAB, so the only bonus is the damage output. Deals more damage than his EX SAB but doesn't reach as far and leads to a weaker okizeme.
- After grabbing the opponent, Clark tosses the opposing player behind him as with his SAB. Afterward the Clark player has less frame advantage and only has enough time to run forward for a grounded meaty/throw type mixup, so be wary of trying to hop in afterwards.
- This can be MAX Canceled although the DM is so lengthy that it requires a short HD combo to reach the end while still in HD mode.
- Ultra Argentine Backbreaker ( + + ) - Inflicts more solid damage and has the extended reach of most EX command grabs. Strong combo finisher (although this requires a grounded opponent), punishing move, and Clark's highest damage potential from a raw command grab.
- Ultra Clark Buster ( + + ) - Clark tackles forward for a moderate distance and if it hits, he lifts the opponent into the air and slams them with a falling buster drop. The charging attack is blockable; the range and speed aren't enough to give this too much utility usage. Functions as Clark's most damaging combo finisher.
- Like most Neomaxes, both players recover at about neutral afterward and so the Clark player gets no okizeme afterwards.
Tips and Tricks
Please take notice that Clark is a very basic character whose combos don't vary too much out of changing one or two moves by using EX or drive cancelling out of another. Because of this I'm only going to list a few basic combos that you can easily change by drive cancelling here or doing an EX there. Be adventurous, use meter wisely, and always go for the best damage off of punishes for the least amount of meter necessary.
- cl.D, df.A xx hcf+k, qcf+P - (272, 15)
- A simple BnB that ends with his trademark command grab. After you land his follow up elbow you can perform a well timed hyper hop to stay on your opponent. You can substitute the special grab for a super for more damage at the cost of meter.
- (charge back) cr.B, cr.A xx b~f+A, b~f+A, j.D - (234, 29)
- Another one of Clark's staple BnB's. This is a good way to convert low attacks into damage that also carries your opponent 4/5ths of the screen. When doing the combo in the corner you can do one light Gatling Attack (b~f+A) into an air throw for 231 damamge, but the hit reset gives you better mix up opportunity to do another low string to open your opponent, a hcf+B delay grab to beat most ground attacks, throws, or roll attempts; close C or D to catch people who will hop; or of course just block to beat out dp or other unsafe reversals. I guess that's why that call it YOMI
- You can substitute the first Gatling Attack for an EX Gatling to do more damage, or if you want to punish people throwing fireballs from half a screen away from you as EX Gatling is projectile invincible.
- (near corner) (jump attack) cl.D or cr.C xx b~f+C, mash P, b~f+A, j.D - (326, 42)
- The footnote above also applies for this combo. This combo does really good damage and stun especially off of a jump in. For using no meter or drive gauge this is the preferred corner BnB if you can land it. This combo can be ended with an air throw after the Vulcan Punches (mash P) for one more damage when starting with a jump in. Damage is the same when starting from a grounded heavy normal, but you don't get better positional advantage and less stun.
- cl.D, df.A xx EX mash P, hcf+D, qcf+P - (341, 14)
- Strong BnB that works anywhere. You link the instant grab after the mash punch so it costs no hyper drive meter. You can substitute the hcf+D with a super for more damage.
- cr.B,st.B or cr.A xx charge b,f+AC, charge b,f+A, charge b,f+A, j.D - (326 or 331, 29)
- You must delay the first charge b,f+A until the lowest height possible. You can whiff cancel a st.B into it for proper timing, but it has to be done asap after recovering from the charge b,f+AC.
- cr.B,st.B, hcbx2+AC - (400, 6)
- Easy confirm into super if you don't have drive.
- cr.B,cr.A or st.B xx charge b,f+A, mash P (1 hit) dc charge b,f+C, charge b,f+C, charge b,f+A, charge b,f+A, j.D - (345 or 350, 59)
- Good damage and stun for only a drive, builds over 1 super. You must wait until the opponent falls to about waist height after the 2nd charge b,f+C.
- (jump attack) cl.D df.C BC cl.D df.C xx hcf+BD, qcf+P SC hcb,hcb+AC MC hcb,hcb+BD (990)
- So this is your 100% combo, but it should be noted that this combo only 100% if you land the combo from a jump in attack. Otherwise you'll leave your opponent with 10 health and give him the chance to pull off a magical comeback.
- This takes all of your meter and drive gauge so use this wisely. Don't bust it out if you are getting OCV'd unless you really have to since you'll have no stock to deal with the next characters.
- Obviously this combo can be altered to use less metter and drive, as the main practical application of EX Super Argentina Backbreaker is the ability to super cancel off the follow up, so you can do the combo off of a cl.D df.A xx EX SAB then super cancel into DM or EXDM to save more drive and meter, otherwise the only time you'll be using EX SAB is just for the range and the slight damage increase otherwise it is not advised to use in place of regular SAB unless you are going to super cancel.