Links in KOF work the same as most other fighting games. If you hit an opponent with a move that causes Hitstun, recover naturally from that move, and hit the opponent again during Hitstun, it will combo.
Light Attack Chains
Many light attacks can be Chain Canceled into each other. This is often very useful for starting combos because it gives time to hit-confirm, and it is often the only way to combo out of certain attacks such as a Crouching Light Kick. Such an attack could be Chain Canceled into a different attack that can be Command Normal Canceled or Special Canceled to continue a combo.
- Light attacks can be chained on hit, block, or whiff.
Command Normal Cancels
Many Normal Moves can be chained into Unique Attacks, also known as Command Normals. For certain Command Normals, chaining them this way can actually cause them to have completely different properties. Depending on the startup speed of the Command Normal, it may be able to combo from light attacks as well as heavy attacks. It is very common to chain into Command Normals that are Special Cancelable to continue a combo further.
- Normal Moves can be canceled on hit, block, or whiff.
Main Page: Target Combos
Target Combos are specific sequences of attacks that can be chained together. Depending on the properties of a Target Combo, it may be possible to continue a combo by Special Canceling it. However, sometimes the only way to continue the combo is with Hyper Drive Activation.
- Target Combos can be used on hit or block.
Many Normal Moves, Unique Attacks, and certain Target Combos can be canceled into Special Moves.
- Normal Moves can be canceled on hit, block, or whiff.
- Unique Attacks and Target Combos can be canceled on hit or block.
Main page: Drive Cancels
Drive Cancels are used to cancel Special Moves into other Special Moves, usually for extending combos.
- Drive Cancels can be used only on hit.
Super Cancels are used to cancel Special Moves into Super Special Moves, also known as Desperation Moves, usually for extending combos.
- Super Cancels are usually available on hit or block. Projectile attacks, however, are Super Canceled immediately upon use.
Main page: Hyper Drive Mode
Hyperdrive Activation can be used to combo out of Normal Moves, Unique Attacks, and Target Combos and is sometimes the only way to continue these combos.
- Hyperdrive Activation can be canceled into on hit or block.
HD Cancels are identical to Drive Cancels and Super Cancels, except they are only done during Hyperdrive Mode and work even on block.
This is the most common type of knockdown. Most Unique Attacks and Special Moves cause these on airborne opponents, and some Special Moves cause these on grounded opponents as well. Blowback Attacks (standing or jumping) cause these on counterhit only. This property is independent of whether the knockdown is a hard or soft knockdown.
This is caused by certain Special Moves and Desperation Moves, often only on counterhit. Often times, the counterhit requirement is removed from the EX versions of the moves. The opponent is slammed against the wall and then falls in the opposite direction in Standard Knockdown state.
Most characters have highly damaging followups available depending on distancing and remaining meter, and the reward is always great if landed. However, one could also opt for a Jumping Blowback Attack to push the opponent into the corner with a soft knockdown or try a set-up with an Air Reset.
This type of knockdown is usually caused by certain Normal Throws, certain Desperation Moves, Crouching Heavy Kicks, or non-counterhit Blowback Attacks (standing or jumping). The opponent falls to the ground and can choose to Recovery Roll.
This is usually caused by hitting an airborne opponent with a Normal Move. It can also be caused by certain Special Moves. As noted previously, Blowback Attacks never cause this state. The opponent does a small flip in the air and recovers standing.
Causing a reset with a grounded normal attack will usually leave enough time for the player to hop at the opponent and either come down with a meaty attack or land and go into a low attack, although the safety of these setups depends on how high the opponent is his in the air and how fast the player recovers. The opponent may very well be able to confirm the player's hop and punish it with a reversal for guaranteed damage.
Resets from air-to-airs open up more offensive opportunities. As a rule of thumb a jump or superjump anti-aired by a hop/hyperhop allows the successful player to land on the ground with enough time to try to run behind the opponent for a 50/50 mixup or to rehop on the opponent and possibly land a crossup or safejump.
This is caused by using specific Unique Attacks and Special Moves on grounded opponents. The opponent buckles and slowly falls to the ground. This is considered an airborne state, so hitting an opponent in this state functions the same as hitting an airborne opponent. This is always an untechable knockdown.
A strong idea is to continue with a launching special move that leads into big damage. However, if lacking the appropriate meter or tools to rake decent damage, it may be advantageous not to continue the combo in favor of the untechable knockdown.
- The knockdown caused by Vice's Gorefest (hcb f+P) does not allow any additional juggles.
- The knockdown caused by Elisabeth's Coup de Vent (dp+P) initially puts the opponent in a Standard Knockdown state, but it becomes a Forced Knockdown as they begin to fall.
This is the most common juggle property. All Normal Moves, aerial Normal Throws, and many Unique Attacks, Special Moves, and Desperation Moves have this property. These moves can hit opponents after a Standard Knockdown or a Crumple, except for aerial Normal Throws, which cannot connect after a Crumple.
Although every Normal Move has a Standard Juggle property, it may still be impossible to juggle from a Standard Knockdown with Normal Moves that have low hitboxes. This is because the opponent becomes invulnerable to juggles once they fall to a certain height and will therefore no longer be juggleable by the time the attack would connect.
This juggle property is reserved for very few moves in the game. In addition to the Standard Juggle properties, these moves can also juggle opponents who are in Forced Knockdown or Air Reset states.
This property, an abbreviation for 'Off The Ground', applies to certain Special Moves. These moves can combo from a knockdown after the opponent has hit the ground. Sometimes, however, these combos are actually escapable if the opponent chooses to do a Recovery Roll.