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February 14, 2022

How To Cancel In KOF

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Have you ever seen those incredibly long combo videos on YouTube and wondered, "Dang, how can I do that!?" The short answer is movecancelingone of The King Of Fighters 15's gameplay foundations.

Related: The King Of Fighters 15: Beginners Tips

Canceling is a main stay in KOF and the fighting game genre as a whole. Therefore, learning this concept is essential if you wish to get the most out of your fighting games. So, keep reading, and we'll tell you about where canceling came from and how you can get better at them!

What Is Move Canceling?


Meintenkun experiences a moment of alertness during his Seikaku Meitengyobu Climax Super Special Move at The Training Stage in The King Of Fighters 15. Custom Image.

Move-canceling is a familiar mechanic in fighting games. In short, move-canceling is when the player cuts off the animation of one move to transition to another immediately. Often, this transition cuts to a higher-level move, but not always.

The cancel mechanic dates back to Street Fighter 2. To increase the ease of performing special moves, developers added more time for input entry. The change's intended outcome was to give players lenience for slower, less-precise inputs. However, adding more time for inputs also opened windows of time that allowed players to activate moves mid-animation. Thus, the cancel was born.

There are plenty of examples of this mechanic throughout the genre. For instance, the Street Fighter EX series and its follow up Fighting EX Layer use move-canceling to chain multiple super moves together. Furthermore, the Marvel Vs Capcom series has a mechanic that allows players to cancel one team member's super combo into a partner's super combo.

How Does Canceling Work In KOF?


K' performs a super cancel on Antonov at the Training Stage in The King Of Fighters 15.

The King of Fighters has a hierarchal canceling system. For example, special moves cancel into Super Special moves, and Super Special moves cancel into MAX Super Special moves. However, this pattern does not work in reverse. Instead, every move must cancel into a stronger one.

Plus, the game introduces MAX Mode (Quick), which cancels out of normal moves and command moves.

Here's a quick breakdown of each kind of cancel in KOF15:

Super Cancel This mechanic cancels special moves into Super Special moves.
Advanced Cancel This mechanic cancels Super Special moves into MAX Super Special moves. However, you cannot cancel a Super Special move into the MAX version of the same move.
Climax Cancel This mechanic cancels Super Special moves, or MAX Super Special moves, into a Climax Super Special Move.
MAX Mode (Quick) The new quick version of MAX Mode is not considered a move-cancel by the game. However, activating this mechanic works like a cancel. You'll need to input the MAX Mode button once a normal move or command move contacts the opponent.

Canceling is the bedrock of combo attacks in KOF. Furthermore, the potential damage move-cancelling can deal increases as you gain power blocks. Therefore, it's in your best interest to learn how to cancel successfully and consistently.

Related: The King Of Fighters 15: How To Get Started With Online Play

How Can I Get Better At Move Canceling?


Kyo launches Antonov into the air with his Ura 1212 Shiki - Yakumo Climax Super Special Move in The Training Stage in The King Of Fighters 15.

Canceling is a fun gameplay technique once you get the hang of it, especially in KOF. The rush that comes from graduating through increasingly flashy moves is intoxicating! However, canceling is also intimate. There's a lot of pressure from having to fit so many button inputs into so little time. Luckily, we got some tips to ease the learning curve!

Start Small While You Learn Move-Canceling Mechanics


Shun'ei stands across the battlefield from Meitenkun, while a dialog window gives an example of a super cancel, in The King Of Fighter's 15 Tutorial Mode.

Everyone wants to jump into a fighting game and rail their opponents with massive combos. However, you got to walk before you can run. The same sentiment is true for canceling. So, instead of attempting multiple cancels in succession, focus on one at a time.

As you break down the different types of move cancels, you'll discover that each one works differently. That isn't to say that the differences behind each move cancel are drastic. In truth, it's the small nuances that will catch your attention.

On the one hand, you'll notice that super cancels out of special moves require the fastest inputs since special moves have fewer animation frames. on the other hand Climax canceling out of a more extended MAX Super Special move gives you a longer input window.

Still, longer input windows do not make Climax canceling out of a MAX Super Special move easier. In these cases, you'll have to pay attention to how your MAX Super Special move changes the spatial relationship between you and your opponent. Otherwise, your Climax Super Special move could miss your opponent because you are too far away or your opponent is up in the air.

Practice Your Move Inputs To Avoid Whiffing


Shun'ei hurls an Aqua Spear against Isla against an endless string of key input data in this custom image of The King Of Fighters 15.

In the spirit of practicing one step at a time, it's imperative to practice your character's move set in isolation. Therefore, we recommend repeatedly drilling your specials, super specials, etc., until they become second nature.

Think of it as going to the gym. For instance, you can start with three sets of ten dashes to get your hands reacquainted with the joystick or gamepad. Then, jump into three sets of reps with a special move requiring a quarter-circle motion. You can follow this progression into Super Special Moves, MAX Super Special Moves, and Climax Special Moves.

Once you have these moves down pat, work on incorporating them into cancels.

When practicing your character's move set, always practice in both directions. This tip is crucial for any fighting game. There's nothing worse than playing with a weak side.

Look For Input Shortcuts To Beat Small Input Windows


Benimaru super cancels a Raijinkin into a MAX Rai-Kou Ken, pulverizing Antonov, in the Training Stage in The King Of Fighters 15. Includes magnified input path for instructional purposes.

Speed ​​is an essential requirement for move-cancelling. After all, the point of a move-cancel is to cut an animation short. In turn, your input window is no longer than the current move's animation. When canceling from one Super Special move into a MAX or Climax move, that's a decent chunk of time. However, super canceling out of a special move requires some quick reflexes.

So, how do you get faster? A common rookie mistake is to rush your input. However, this method often leads to button mashing and incorrect commands. In this case, stop working hard and start working smart. Look for shortcuts that make your cancels easier!

Here's a simple example, let's say you have a cancel that looks like this:

  • ⬇↘➡+[Punch]

  • ⬇↘➡⬇↘➡+[Punch]

How many quarter-circle movements does this cancel need?

If you answered three, then think again. You can accomplish this cancel with two quarter-circle movements! That's because entering the special move begins the input for the Super Special move. In other words, your input would look like this:

  • ⬇↘➡+[Punch] ⬇↘➡+[Punch]

Isn't that so much easier?

So, pay attention to the inputs of your character's move set. Doing so will help you discover shortcuts where these moves feed into each other.

Use The Mission Mode To Study Combo Structure


Iori's character portrait sits next to his list of missions in the Mission Trial menu in The King Of Fighters 15.

Once you master the basics of canceling, you can see how these mechanics work in practice through the Mission Mode. Mission mode trials offer excellent examples of KOF's combo structure. After playing through a few different character trials, you'll discover that many of these combos share a similar pattern. Here are two examples you'll see often:

Example #1:

  • Normal/Command Attack String

  • MAX Mode (Quick)

  • Normal/Command Attack

  • Special/EX Special Move

  • Super Cancel

  • Advanced Cancel

  • Climax Cancel

Example #2:

  • MAX mode

  • Normal/Command Attack String

  • Special/EX Special Move

  • Super Cancel

  • Advanced Cancel

  • Climax Cancel

Of course, you will see deviations from these samples. For instance, sometimes, you'll see a string of special moves to juggle an opponent before landing a cancel. However, the structure is still evident. And, once you figure out this structure, you can start creating damaging cancel combos of your own!

Next: The King Of Fighters 15: How To Build A Strong Team


Character portraits in order from left to right: Maxima, K', and Whip (Team K' in the left panel), Iori, Kyo, and Chizuru (Team Sacred Treasures in the right panel).  Each team's symbol is embossed on the center of the image.  The King Of Fighters 15.
The King Of Fighters 15: How To Build A Strong Team

Will your teamwork make the dream work, or become a group-project nightmare, in The King Of Fighters 15?

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