The King of Fighters XIII/Punishing

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Guaranteed Punishes

The basis of a guaranteed punish is that certain attacks, specials, and DMs leave the attacking player at a frame disadvantage if blocked that allows for a guaranteed counterattack to combo. The degree of how punishable a move is varies by spacing and by character although a few major methods of punishing exist.

Close Heavy Normals

The fastest normal attacks in KOF are not crouching light attacks as in most fighters, but the close heavy attacks. These close Snkc.gif/Snkd.gif attacks can be canceled into command normals and deal enough hitstun to combo into most special and desperation moves. These are the most damaging of punishes as they can lead into just about any knockdown or into HD Mode for a heavy combo.

  • One important requirement for these punishes is to be inside the 'close' activation range. Most 'DP' or reversal attacks leave both players close on block which allows for a simple and heavy countercombo. Some attacks can be spaced so that both players are pushed outside of the close activation range, in which case a different punish option is needed.
    • One way to quickly get in range to use a close normal is to run forward after blocking the opponent's attack. Once a player begins to block, the game will automatically block until blockstun ends. During this time the player can buffer a forward run (F.gifF.gif) while simultaneously blocking. Once the run initiates, simply press Snkc.gif or Snkd.gif when in range to hit the opponent.


Distant instances require a long-reaching normal in order to punish, so a close normal wont work in time. A Crouching Heavy Kick sweep causes a decent soft knockdown and deals an alright amount of damage, which is more welcome than no punish at all.

Other Normals

Sometimes a sweep may be too slow, but the opponent may be outside of close normal range. While these scenarios are very specific, an attack like a Standing Snkb.gif or Snkc.gif may have the speed and range to effectively punish. The amount of damage resulting varies based on the attack's strength (namely Light or Heavy) and cancelability.

  • More importantly, an otherwise weak and uncancelable normal can be used to activate HD mode, which effectively changes ~5% damage to anywhere above 50% damage. This type of Clutch-Confirming™ can immediately reverse a match.

Instant Command Grabs

Whenever a close normal is too slow, a 1-frame grab will punish the opponent as long as the guarded attack leaves the opponent at a negative frame advantage. The only concern to be aware of is the spacing, as the opponent could distance the move so that both players are pushed back outside of command grab range. If the standard grab length falls short, the extended range on the EX version should connect.
Not every command grab activates in 1 frame; the following list notes all of these immediate grabs that can punish any slightly negative move:

  • Ash
    • Hcb.gifHcb.gif + Snkb.gif + Snkd.gif
  • Benimaru
    • Hcb.gifF.gif + Punch.gif
  • Clark
    • Hcf.gif + Snkd.gif
    • Hcb.gifHcb.gif + Punch.gif
  • Daimon
    • Hcb.gifF.gif + Punch.gif
    • Hcb.gifHcb.gif + Punch.gif
  • Duo Lon
    • Hcb.gifHcb.gif + Snka.gif + Snkc.gif
  • Kensou
    • Qcf.gifDownright.gifQcb.gif + Punch.gif
  • Maxima
    • Hcb.gif + Snkb.gif
  • Raiden
    • Hcf.gif + Kick.gif
    • Hcb.gifHcb.gif + Punch.gif
  • Saiki
    • Hcb.gifHcb.gif + Punch.gif
  • Vice
    • Hcb.gifF.gif + Punch.gif
    • Hcb.gifHcb.gif + Kick.gif
  • Yuri
    • Hcb.gif + Snkb.gif

All other command grabs are unable to truly punish -1 moves on block, such as Terry's Qcb.gif + Kick.gif or Kyo's Qcf.gif + Kick.gif. While they might be great, just know that they might not always be completely solid when punishing the opponent.

EX Specials and DMs

Some EX specials and DMs start up very fast while traveling horizontally. These tools are good in instances where the opponent is pushed outside of 'close' normal range. Duo Lon's (Qcf.gif + Snka.gif + Snkc.gif x3) is a prime example of this type of punishing tool due to its fast startup combined with its forward movement.