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Guide on High Level Kang - XBlades

AssassiN

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Since Xblades won't be competing anymore and due to the 3 month data loss from the forum I decided to bring back his guide from google cache. All credit goes to XBlades for making this and his tournament performance:

Utilizing Footsies and Understanding them.
As most of you know, Liu Kang is a simple character. As a simple character since most people know how most of his move set works in my opinion makes him the hardest character to win with and maybe master. His back fist b+1 is great for whiff punishing and can use low fireball to lock him down. He has Low starter which you can wall carry to the other side. He has a fast launcher which ends with an overhead. He has an Overhead, and another low hit which has huge amounts of frame advantage on hit and is safe on block. With topping everything off with his b+2, 3 with random frame advantage, and his mix up game of b+2 or b+2,b+3 for low hit stagger and follow up pressure which are all safe on block.

Back fist: b+1 15 frames
Low Starter: b+312 10 frames
Fast Launcher: 213 8 frames
Overhead: f+3 2o frames
f+4: 12 frames
b+2, or b+2,3 or b+2,b+3 15 frames
f+12, or f+121 10 frames

Utilizing these moves will guarantee you successful matches in tournament play and casual play. Especially since most of these moves are safe on block and you and your opponent are at neutral state, which is 0. Knowing the distance of each move is key to beating your opponent to the punch, if you notice that when you do standing 2, it hits pretty far considering most of the cast can barely punch very far. b+3 is also another space controlling tool for your opponent to respect your footsie game since you can hit confirm launch or continue the string and your safe on block and counter his poke game or you can restart pressure game. b2 is also a great tool when someone is trying to rush you for example johnny cages f+3 not saying up close... but around mid range spacing it to the point where Johnny Cage will dash forward into f+3 you can back dash b+2 and check him and hit confirm to b+3 and continue with pressure or throw him to start a zoning game work will well with Sonya's d4 (in my opinion b+3 starter works well for her).

The Zoning Game
Liu Kang has the best tools to keep opponents out of the air. He has his standing 2, EN Bicycle kick and IAF. His other factor is checking them with f+12, or f+121 which blows them across the screen. Using throw into your game will help you very much since it tosses them across the screen, so you can restart your zoning war again. The throw tactic will work really well when you utilize f+12, or b+2 mix up game. Annoying them with IAF can only go so far... at times you gotta throw in a low fireball.

St. 2 8 frames
EN Bicycle Kick 17 frames
IAF or AF - 12 frames
f+121 10 frames
b+2 15 frames
Throw 10 frames
Low fireball 17 frames
High Fireball 15 frames

Utilizing everything in your arsenal to keep your opponents away will give a huge advantage in life lead and the game clock will be at your side. As well as doing IAF you will gradually increase your meter which is important when it comes to overwhelming circumstances on the opponent landing heavy hits or getting in your face...best way to avoid this is have those IAF on point and have good intuitive play on the match. BTW High fireball is really underused and is very good against good zoning play and gives them a hard time to react... Such characters as Shang, Kenshi, Jax, Ermac, and Freddy... of course this is for only mid range zone play.

Mix-Up Game, Confusing your opponent.
As you well know, As a Liu Kang player expect the opponent to know your stuff... every one knows how general liu kang plays... now lets give them hell!. first off using 213 and mixing it with 21 en low fireball or regular fireball...will stagger the opponent... the EN will give allot of time to do anything you want.. with regular... i have came to the conclusion that everyone will try to jump out of it or try to hit you back.... so following up with st 2 which is 8 frames... grants you a 7 frame move in this situation since it is... +1 on hit. If the opponent tried to jump out of the air and you caught him with the standing 2, you can easily pick him back up with a dash in b+312 bnb... Another situation mix up game I have been missing out on is f4... this move is very hard to incorporate but since it is a low poke and its safe... (rather than doing d+3)...the mix up of doing f+4 and back dashing into b+3 to catch the poke or continue string or watch what they do next...is really amazing.

Dragon Stance gimmicks such instant dash b+312, or low/ high fireballs.. is a good way to make your opponent stand up into tricking them that you will do something else... Another way of confusing your opponents is doing random strings that are 0 on block such as the 111 after a Jump in punch or 334... JIP and 111 on that block string gives you a chance to do 2 or jump in again. Or if you want to do 334, you can b+3 or you can 2 into low fireball or jump in again... which ever you feel like doing. Using switch stance on Jump in punch also confuses allot of people since they are expecting a string or throw... so switching stance can make them hesitate and reteliate very late and you can punish with 2 or b+3....

Jump-in Baits, Motives on Air fireball, Deep kick setups.
Understanding the concept of baiting someones moves to counter attack and keep the offensive going will give you the edge in your game. As we all know that Anti- Air is really important in this game. Kang has good mobility and options in the air to stop himself from getting anti-aired. In terms of saying this, this would be called Anti-Anti Air lol. To a certain extent, this is known as baiting out anti air moves, and whiff punishing them especially if characters that have horrible recovery anti airs. In doing so... you have the advantage once you hit the ground since your instantly recovered. You can either back dash to watch out for there incoming attack and whiff punish, or you can advance in mix it up with some basic offense or some complex strategies such as Dragon Stance cancels.
-Side note: You can bait Kabal's EN dash with Jump in fireball, stay in the air and he will dash under you. This is similar to dodging Cyrax bombs to net traps.

Deep kicks is one of the best moves you can have after a jump in, since the considerable amount of frame advantage is ridiculous. Deep kicks are about 8-12 frames of advantage on block from what I've read. If you catch them on hit you can follow up with b+312 BnB. On block you can pretty much dispose anything you want to do, or you can go for a throw.. and reset the whole spacing/ zoning war. Deep kicks are the best when fighting against heavy zoning like characters... such as Kenshi, Sub-zero, Shang, Freddy, Sindel, and Ermac or fighting against well spaced opponents which would be Sonya, Jax, Lao, Cyrax, Sektor and pretty much most the high level players that use other characters..

Using IAF on your spacing is really good, considering that it can avoid many D+4 from the cast... it is really useful against characters that depend on those pokes such as Reptile, Sonya, Mileena, Baraka, Scorpion, Sub-zero, and Cyrax. Having them whiff the d+4 gives you about a good time to react to whiff punish them instantly and making them pay for trying to lock you down, and forcing them to switch up strategies, into your favor of Anti-airs.

Anti-Cross ups
I have came to the conclusion of that kangs anti cross ups are not as good as the rest of the cast... since his d+1 is like 10 frames... and his hitbox is pretty big... As kang players we have to come up with alternate ways of exposing cross ups. One good way of exposing cross ups is inputting standing 2 the moment the character arcs over your head. Kang will instantly turn around and hit him out the air. Another way is inputting parry... but you see, thing about this parry we have... is a little tricky since sometimes it will auto correct as fireball... i have came to the conclusion of inputting d+b 1 instead of literally doing d,b 1 reason for this is that the game will recognize the inputs as a d, b, 1 and will throw out parry... if the person is already over your head... it will option select to d+1.. You can also dash in where the person jumped from and try to sweep... or st. 2 or d+1... Once you read your opponents jumping patterns you can incorporate NJP and go for a good BnB.

Meter building juggles, D3 after Breaker Setups afterwards.
Of course building meter is a must in this game, as it can be very fortunate when you lose your rhythm in the offense game and you want to break d3 to restart.

Meter building juggles mid screen:
BnB's ending with bicycle kick
Meter building in the corner:
b+312, NJP, IAFx2, b+312, f+121 bicycle kick
b+312, NJP IAF, JIK fireball, b+312, f+121 bicycle kick
b+312, NJP, DS 1, JIK fireball, b+312, b+3 bicycle kick
and many other variations with at least 3 special moves in the corner... gaining you at least half bar or 75% or bar...

Breaking combos while in the air is really good, since it gives an advantage to OTG them right afterwards with a d3, not many players are accustomed to block afterwards. So inputting d3 and fly kick is pretty fast considering it is really hard to react to. Other setups would be such as:

After an air breaker d3 OTG:
~Flying kick
~b1+low fireball (or ex bicycle kick if you feeling risky)
~dash in slightly b+312 BnB
~dash in slightly 213 BnB or to OTG setup (depending on stance)

Many of these options are good but it also matter to that you have to be on point when doing this setups because the opponent might be mashing out special moves for there wake ups.. so being on point with these setups will stop them from doing a special move.

Fake OTG's, True OTG's
A fake otg is where a character can lie down and you are able to pick them up with a certain move.... universally d3 can be used to pick them back up. A True OTG is where a character is knocked to the ground and INSTANTLY picked back up a certain move... This works in all air breakers to d3. Fake OTG setups can be done in the corner easily and its more in Kang's favor since he can mix allot of things up. This is best advised when your opponent is not likely going for wake up attacks...
Fake OTG's: (if your opponent decides not to wake up attack)
Bnb's to b+2,b+3 or ending it with b+312 (leaving a good gap of air in between)
ending in b+2,b+3:
d3~throw
b+2,b+3
f+2,4
f+3
(after a b+312, leaving a gap of juggle state) 213 (the 3 will overhead and the first 2 hits will whiff)
Considering these options, you have in favor of either finishing the string into low fireball (or EN) and keeping up with mix ups. This is really good of using a variety of options to make your opponent wake up attack, and punish however means possible (i.e lao spin)

Now for True OTG's we have to be stance dependent, such as the opponent's chest facing the players, Kang has to mirror that stance for the OTG to work...reason why is, we want the opponent to fall flat on there back instead of there stomach. It seems, as though the animation for landing on the back is allot slower than landing on there stomach... Since they land on there back we treat this OTG just like if we would d+3 after a breaker.. Pick them back up. It gets a little tricky but with practice you will figure out what stance they were in mid combo or maybe even catch on. Here are some things that will work in the corner.
Notes: Notice when you pick them back up.. this situation is similar to the setups that you would do after a successful air breaker into d+3
-when doing b+312, or f+12 ,or b+2, or f+2 you will automatically switch stance in strings..
Corner Same Stance:
b+312, NJP, Switch stance, b+312, sweep, OTG w/ d+3~ Anything...
Corner Opposite Stance:
b+312,NJP, Dragon Stance, b+312, sweep, OTG w/ d+3~ anthing
It gets tricky, when you sweep the opponent you want them to be at about thigh level, if any higher perfect...the point of this whole strategy is to destroy there wake up game and fully expose the opponents reactions.
Mid screen combos:
Same Stance Only
213, b+312, sweep, OTG w/ b+312
Opposite stance only
Dragon Stance Launch x2 b+312, OTG w/ b+312
These are heavily useful, and considering you restart with another set of damage is awesome. Using these setups, are EXTREMELY difficult since I tried so during EVO, and did not land any since it was really difficult to find the right time and position.
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I think Im actually dropping Liu Kang so Id like to throw out some tech Ive been using myself.

In the corner instead of looping b312 you can instead use 213 as the last attack, the 21 will whiff and the 3 will re-launch them if they wake up blocking low. The trick here is that you can stop at 21 and instead go straight into b312 if they wake up blocking high. The final option is baiting a wakeup attack by just holding block after doing a 2 or 21.

For pressure, f1,2 might be 10 frames but its long range makes it very practical for getting in and staying in. Liu Kangs d3 is 7 frames which sucks, I believe if it was 6 frames his game would change IMMENSELY. Basically after every f1,2 you have a mixup.

You can turn Liu Kangs d3 into a 6 frame move by using Regular Fireball after a f1,2 or any string that leaves you close to an opponent. The timing is strict but anytime you hit an opponent with regular fireball you can d3 him and go straight into another f1,2. This works because RegFireball is +1 and d3 is +3 or +10 depending if your opponent is crouching, which makes d3 a 6 frame move and f1,2 a 7 frame or guaranteed hit move The problem with this is opponents can jump out after f1,2 OR punish you if they block RegFireball in some cases. You open up your opponent to this tactic by using f1,2-d3 until they begin poking you after every f1,2, which allows you to f1,2,-fireball them to get that +1 or if you use ExFireball you get +17. OR if you read they will poke you, duck block and go back into f1,2. If your opponent thinks they can jump out you stuff it with f1,2-f1,2. Dont forget you can always f1,2-cross up to annoy people even further, lol.

On some opponents they will get so infuriated you can literally just spam f1,2-d3-d3-f1,2-d3-f1,2-f1,2-f1,2 or any kind of simple mixup you want and it feels like they just give up. You just have to be careful with characters who have a 6frame d3 because there is a chance it will beat yours, which is why you use Fireball on occasion. I use this tactic every time to CHECK them to see how good theyare, if they know how to counter poke, etc.. This is when you go into f3 or b2,b3 mixups which is something Ill leave up to everyone else how they want to add those into their game.

Hopefully youre till floating around and tell me what you think of this XBlades?
 

AssassiN

Premium
Premium Supporter
I think Im actually dropping Liu Kang so Id like to throw out some tech Ive been using myself.

In the corner instead of looping b312 you can instead use 213 as the last attack, the 21 will whiff and the 3 will re-launch them if they wake up blocking low. The trick here is that you can stop at 21 and instead go straight into b312 if they wake up blocking high. The final option is baiting a wakeup attack by just holding block after doing a 2 or 21.

For pressure, f1,2 might be 10 frames but its long range makes it very practical for getting in and staying in. Liu Kangs d3 is 7 frames which sucks, I believe if it was 6 frames his game would change IMMENSELY. Basically after every f1,2 you have a mixup.

You can turn Liu Kangs d3 into a 6 frame move by using Regular Fireball after a f1,2 or any string that leaves you close to an opponent. The timing is strict but anytime you hit an opponent with regular fireball you can d3 him and go straight into another f1,2. This works because RegFireball is +1 and d3 is +3 or +10 depending if your opponent is crouching, which makes d3 a 6 frame move and f1,2 a 7 frame or guaranteed hit move The problem with this is opponents can jump out after f1,2 OR punish you if they block RegFireball in some cases. You open up your opponent to this tactic by using f1,2-d3 until they begin poking you after every f1,2, which allows you to f1,2,-fireball them to get that +1 or if you use ExFireball you get +17. OR if you read they will poke you, duck block and go back into f1,2. If your opponent thinks they can jump out you stuff it with f1,2-f1,2. Dont forget you can always f1,2-cross up to annoy people even further, lol.

On some opponents they will get so infuriated you can literally just spam f1,2-d3-d3-f1,2-d3-f1,2-f1,2-f1,2 or any kind of simple mixup you want and it feels like they just give up. You just have to be careful with characters who have a 6frame d3 because there is a chance it will beat yours, which is why you use Fireball on occasion. I use this tactic every time to CHECK them to see how good theyare, if they know how to counter poke, etc.. This is when you go into f3 or b2,b3 mixups which is something Ill leave up to everyone else how they want to add those into their game.

Hopefully youre till floating around and tell me what you think of this XBlades?
You can do plenty of stuff in the corner:
- End it with B312 and make 21 whiff and follow with either 3 or B312(like you described)
- Ghetto reset with B3,2 or F2,4
- Dragonstance mixups

Only using F12 as pressure is not good, Liu has B312 where B31 and B312 is neutral on block. 213 is also a good option(2 is neutral on block for those high hitbox characters), Liu might not have a 6 frame poke but when you know they are gonna try to D1 you can just block it and PUNISH it with B312(most D1's are -13 on block).
F12, fireball is something you can do but I wouldn't really recommend it. If you know they will try to counterpoke just finish with F121, will send them full screen and you can start zoning again. If you want to keep them close then block the poke and counter-poke or jump.
I can see those F12 stuff working online, but offline I'm not too sure about that.
People can jump out of constant F12 spam, the way to stop a jumpout is 2 or 1 into an anti-air combo.

I would use EX low fireball in combination with 21 because it's a mix-up, if they start blocking the low fireball you can use 3 to launch them and get a free combo. EX low fireball on hit is +24, which allows you to either go into more fireball mix-ups or general normal mix-ups(F3, B312, F4, throw, 213, B3B2, B32, F24, 334, F121)

BTW, there is no character in the game with a 6 frame D3, the only poke that can be 6 frames is D1.
 
"Only using F12 as pressure is not good" - I do not play online (although my cousin DurpityDurp does which is why I get hate around here sometimes, lol). f1,2 pressure is used to CHECK your opponents ability to counter poke/escape pressure. 2 in 213 can be poked out and b31 can be walked back out(this is a guessing game since you can always finish the string), both of which happen quite often when youre playing someone who knows everything Liu Kang is capable of. f1,2 cannot be ducked poked(meaning you cannot duck its hits) and you cannot walk back out of it. Its simply a tool before you begin all of your other mixups.
 

AssassiN

Premium
Premium Supporter
"Only using F12 as pressure is not good" - I do not play online (although my cousin DurpityDurp does which is why I get hate around here sometimes, lol). f1,2 pressure is used to CHECK your opponents ability to counter poke/escape pressure. 2 in 213 can be poked out and b31 can be walked back out(this is a guessing game since you can always finish the string), both of which happen quite often when youre playing someone who knows everything Liu Kang is capable of. f1,2 cannot be ducked poked(meaning you cannot duck its hits) and you cannot walk back out of it. Its simply a tool before you begin all of your other mixups.
I mentioned the 2 because high hitbox characters can't make it whiff.
F12 is a good string, but I said that making use of only that string isn't a good strategy.
If I know that an opponent will try to walk back, I'll make use of D+4 or B1+fireball(depending on the the fact that I want them close or not).
If I know they will try to counter poke, I'll block it and take over pressure once again or jump.