In a nutshell
Of course this Fatal Fury femme fatale returns with this iteration of The King of Fighters. Although she has uniquely fast but high-arcing jumps and hops that makes her and game slightly more obvious, her focus is in her ability to zone and coax the opponent into approaching and setting them up for a trap. She's a tricky character with strong ground and aerial game. Though she may lack a fast attack that quickly rises above her vertically for an easy anti-air, she can play in a proactive manner that covers her bases to thoroughly make up for her shortcomings. While she may require the player to be more familiar and comfortable with spacing with normals, she's a fun and tricky character to play and has great attacks that beat out and control hop usage really well.
- Crouching has more cancelable frames.
- Ukihane (Air +) has a different trajectory than Arcade, and recovery time has been changed.
- Added new target combo: st. > st.. It can be used to connect into HD mode and also gives Mai more damage on pokes.
- Kachousen (+) has faster startup and faster recovery.
- Musasabi no Mai (from ground) (~+) can be canceled with Ukihane (+).
- Light Ryuu Enbu (+) hitbox is larger vertically.
- Added EX Air Chou Hissatsu Shinobibachi (Air +). It is invincible until it becomes active.
- Shiranui Ryuu: Kunoichi no Mai ( +) has faster startup and freezes time after flying to the edge of screen.
- cl./cr.- optimal combo starter
- cr., cr., st., st.- target combo
- cr., cr./st. - low option
- J./J.- Jump D is usually her best combo starting jump-in, but Jump C does slightly more damage if you can time it right
- Instant/ lowest air +/Air +- can combo from + if done early enough, version is always comboable
- st.- can combo after with counterhit
- j. xx + - (128)
- cr., cr. xx + - (144)
- cr.,cr.,st.,st. - (153)
- cr., cr., cr. xx + (154)
- cl. xx + - (166)
- cr., cr., cr. xx + - (171)
- cr., cr., cr. xx + - (194)
- (corner only) cl. xx +, cr. - (255)
- (corner only) cl. xx +, cr. xx + (301)
- (near corner) xx +, +, +, +, air throw - (466)
- cl. xx +, + - (267 [mid-screen]/ 308 [corner])
- cl. xx + (corner) +, st. (260 [mid-screen]/ 327 [corner])
- (corner only) cl. xx +, +, +, cl. / airgrab - (395 / 431)
- (corner only) cr., +, st., +, +, +, Air Throw - (502)
- (midscreen) cr. cr. st. + (corner), +(1) +, +, +, airthrow (379)
- Carries to the corner from as far as half a stage away.
- (midscreen) cl. +(2) +, +, +, airthrow (443)
- Carries as far as the previous combo while doing more damage, though it requires a heavy normal to start it.
- (midscreen) cr. cr. +, +(1) +, + (354)
- Carries all the way from one corner to another, probably useful for those corner crossup mixups from Mai's throw.
0 Meter (anywhere) st. > st. HD st. xx [ +(2 hits) xx + xx]x4 + [437/502 dmg]
- + hits once against standing opponents and twice against crouching opponents. Against crouchers, cancel on the first hit at least once to avoid running out of gauge before the last HDC.
- + must be inputted slowly so the following + doesn't register as a super.
- If you reach the corner at any point, drive cancel + into j.+ instead and do the below combo for as long as your remaining drive gauge allows.
(near corner) st. > st. HD st. st. xx + xx j.+, +(2) xx +, +, + xx +, +,+ xx +, +, +, +, st. (632 dmg)
- Builds 75% meter and 25% drive gauge after the last HDC.
(midscreen) st. > st. HD st. st. xx +, + xx +, +, +, + xx +, +, + xx +, +, airthrow (549 dmg)
- Uses meter to carry. Easier than doing the meterless loop, but prorates a lot.
(corner) cr. xx +, st. xx +, +, +, + +, +, + +, +, +, cr. - (?)
- Almost 100% stun.
(anywhere) st. > st. HD st. [ +(2 hits) xx + xx]x3, + xx j.+ (642/711)
- + hits once against standing opponents and twice against crouching opponents.
- + must be inputted slowly so the following + doesn't register as a super.
(near corner) st. > st. HD st. st. xx + xx j.+, +(2 hits) xx +, +, + xx +, +, + xx + (768 dmg)
(near corner) st. > st. HD (st. >) st. xx + xx j.+, +(1 hit) xx +, +, [ +(2 hits) xx +]x2, +(2 hits) xx + (790 dmg)
- A more damaging alternative to the previous combo.
- Skip either (st.) or the second hit of the last + against crouching opponents.
3 Meter [corner] st. HD cl., +, +, +, +, + (1 hit) xx +, +, + (1 hit) xx +, +, + (1 hit) + - (809)
4 Meter [corner] j., cl. HD st., + + - (831)
[corner] j., cl., HD st. xx + [2 hits], xx air +, + [2 hits], xx , +, + [1 hit], xx +, +, +, + [1 hit], xx +, +, +, + - (808)
[corner] j., cl., [HD] st. xx + [2 hits], xx air +, + [2 hits], xx +, + [1 hit], xx +, +, + + - (908)
Mai is an okay but not great point, as Mai's damage without meter is low. She can play a solid zoning game with Kachousen (+), but it's better to put someone else point unless there's a character with matchup problems against Mai, e.g. grapplers, who have a hard time chasing down Mai.
2nd position/3rd position
Mai works equally well in both positions. Once she has meter, she'll do way more damage (as with every character), but when Mai really starts to shine is when you use her neomax to punish -virtually anything- in the game. You'll also need meter for a "get off me" option, and Mai's only invincible reversal is +.
+ is great for both zoning and for initiating an offense. You can also follow the version for a safe approach, as her jump is very high and easy to react to. Resist the temptation to use the version except maybe from fullscreen, as the recovery is slow. The version "eats" other projectiles, which is useful against better zoning characters like King.
Make sure to learn some combos ending with +, or beginning with air +, as they has great corner carry. Air + is also PLUS ON BLOCK.
Once you get the opponent to the corner, Mai is an absolute monster. Outside of guard cancel roll, her strings are very safe (ending with + and +). Standing on wakeup can either + (combos on counterhit, and then air throw after) or + on block.
Doing repeated j.+s on opponents wakeup (especially midscreen) can crossup and can be extremely annoying. Keep in mind that this is very unsafe if blocked.
Air + when it hits the opponents "knees" (or if they're crouch blocking) is much more safe; if you hit high on their body it's unsafe if blocked.
Cr. (1 or 2), st. > St. is a very effective hitconfirm into HD mode.
Jump and Jump are effective crossups, especially with Mai's high jump. J. has higher blockstun than other jump normals, making it best for anticipated blocks. You can then run > throw, or run > cr. into target combo or frame traps.
Cr. is cancellable, useful for cancelling into +/ mostly.
Mai is the most mobile character in the game, with 2 special moves that change air trajectory (air +, air +), a wall jump, the fastest run in the game, a move that jumps fullscreen (charge , +), and also the highest normal jump in the game (and therefore one of the best hyper hops in the game). For this reason, it's best to stay moving constantly.
If zoning with Kachousens, your anti-airs must be pre-emptive except for +, which has a little bit of startup invincibility. Some effective pre-emptive anti-airs are:
- St. (great anti-hop button)
- St. (same as above but slower)
- Far (good regular jump anti-air, although it trades. Closest thing she has to other characters cr.)
- Hop (beats a lot of air moves)
- Hop (also pretty good against air)
- Cr. (low profiles a lot of moves)
- + can occasionally smack people who are running back and forth doing hop normals (a common part of KOF neutral). However it's very unsafe on block, so don't do this too much.
- + (beats characters who will land far away)
If you get stuck in the corner, some options to get out are
- Block and wait for a poke opportunity (learn to not panic and be patient, as you won't always have meter or an obvious opening to jump out. Everything in KOF has an answer)
- wall jump out
- Ground Musabi no Mai across the screen if there's an opening
- Roll (careful with this one), GC roll, and GC Blowback
- Finally, + is Mai's only invincible move (as far as I know). You can also cancel into this if someone jumps over your Kachousen.
Hyper hop normals, or especially, are a good way to close distance, as it goes a -long- distance.
Neomax 1 frame startup, so if the opponent did literally anything besides blocking, they'll get hit. If you know the strings your opponent likes to do, for example Mr. Karate's that use the invisible fireball a lot, this can punish that.
After throwing the opponent into the corner, Mai can jump into the corner just by doing a regular jump forward, though as far as I know she's unable to land a crossup j. this way. You can also walk forward a bit and then roll into the corner, and depending on how far you walk creates an ambiguous roll setup.
When the opponent is cornered, wall jump > air + hits 4 times (usually hits 3) and is safe on block. You get a full combo if it hits as well.
Whiffing ground Musabi no Mai and jumping around the screen with said move builds meter. Using +/ to cancel the opponents projectiles also builds meter, while denying meter to the opponent.
Frame Traps and Links
"(n) frame gap" = The amount of frames that opponent has to counter a frame trap.
1. cl., cl. - 3 frame gap between cl., and cl..
2. cl., cr. - 3 frame gap between cl., and cr..
3. cr., cl. - 2 frame gap between cr., and cl..
4. cr., cr. - 2 frame gap between cr., and cr..
5. st., cl. - 3 frame gap between st., and cl. .
6. st., cl. - 4 frame gap between st., and cl..
7. st., cr. - 4 frame gap between st., and cr..
8. cr., cl. - 4 frame gap between cr., and cl..
9. cr., cr. - 4 frame gap between cr., and cr..
10. Instant/ lowest air +, cl. - 3 frame gap between instant/ lowest air + and cl..
11. Instant/ lowest air +, cr. - 4 frame gap between instant/ lowest air + and cr..
12. Instant/ lowest air +, cl. - 4 frame gap between instant/ lowest air + and cl..
13. Instant/ lowest air +, cr.- 4 frame gap between instant/ lowest air + and cr..
14. +, far - 1 frame gap between +, and far .
15. Air +, cl. - 3 frame gap between instant/ lowest air + and cl..
16. Air +, cr. - 4 frame gap between instant/ lowest air + and cr..
17. Air +, cl. - 4 frame gap between instant/ lowest air + and cl..
18. Air +, cr. - 4 frame gap between instant/ lowest air + and cr..
Tips and Tricks
You can jump in with , you'll get a jumping straight into HD activation. This is universal for every character.