In The King of Fighters XIII, blocking works the same way as you would expect in any traditional fighting game. Holding back while your opponent is attacking will block high and middle attacks but not low attacks, and holding down-back while your opponent is attacking will block low and middle attacks.
If you block an attack, you will enter a period of 'blockstun', during which you can't do anything except alternate between standing block and crouching block or execute a Guard Cancel Roll or a Guard Cancel Blowback. The length of blockstun depends on the attack; it's short for light attacks, longer for heavy attacks and special attacks, and the longest for Blowback (CD) attacks. While you are in blockstun, you cannot be thrown.
Just as with any fighting game, having strong blocking skills makes a player much better. It's a obvious fact that's easily forgotten due to having invuln reversals, rolls, or even backdash or super jump reversals. Thankfully there's some ways a player can incorporate additional Option Selects to their defense in order to make blocking hop mixups easier.
Throw Tech Option Select
This is a simple blocking technique that will eliminate attempts from the opponent to perform an empty hop into a normal throw or a low attack. When stand blocking against a hopping opponent hold and then press ~ (piano'ed input) late, but before the opponent fully lands from their hop. This covers multiple options for the defending player:
- A jump-in (overhead) would be blocked standing and the opponent's further options are reactable and counterable when looked out for, meaning the blocking player can more easily look for an opportunity to escape the opponent's pressure without sacrificing damage or meter by using a risky escape method.
- If the opponent doesn't attack and lands for a low, the + ~ input will either throw the opponent or interrupt their attack with a powerful Close attack.
- If the opponent's hop is empty and they go for a throw, the player's blocking Option Select should trigger an automatic throw tech.
With this defensive technique mastered, it becomes much harder to be broken down by mere high/low mixups. However, this defensive tool isn't without its holes:
- If the opponent empty hops into an instant command grab, the player's Close normal will be interrupted and thrown every time.
- The Option Select will also fail when waking up from a knockdown against a meaty jump-in, or when in blockstun by a multi-hitting projectile.