Death is my business
Why choosing Kabal?
Kabal isn’t a fishing or trading for big combo damage character , he doesn’t win matches from a single mistake but from constant pressure and his great counterzoning wich makes hard to approach him without taking risks to a certain degree , Kabal is all about fundamentals when it comes to toe-to-toe fight since he doesn’t have any real advantage blockstrings , he’s a mindgames master.
Another thing i’d like to point out is that he requires a good amount of practice , constant perfect input commands and a good reaction timing , there is nothing worse than failing a Nomad Dash Cancel and give your opponent a free full combo punish or messing up your Instant Air Gas Blast giving your opponent the chance to get in and start pressure , in the end… he’s not a character easy to pick up.
Ndc = Nomad Dash Cancel ( -> + )
IaGb = Instant air Gas blast ( l l + )
Agb = Air Gas blast ( while in air )
Gs = Gas Blast ( )
Bs = Buzzsaw ( )
Ts = Tornado Slam ( )
Special Mid: a move that hits ducking opponents but can be blocked low
Last Breath - : 13 frames , hits high , the third hits special mid , this string should only be used off a blocked jump in punch since it will jail the opponent and if cancelled it puts Kabal at +8 frame advantage wich usually grants another string unless the opponent uses an armor move.
Extermination - l ) : 13 frames , safe on block , hits high , is a low and you can link it with a spin for a combo , you can cancel the dash after if they respect the or even after it to keep on the pressure going , a thing that few knows about is that if hits Kabal can still Ndc into Bs or Ts and still get the combo.
Mutilation – : 13 frames , safe on block , is a high wich hits special mid against large hitbox characters , are special mid , this is his best damage starter , use it for punishing very unsafe moves from you opponent , you can cancel into any special after so make them feel the pressure with Ndc or the 50/50 , on block it's slight advantage ( +2 ) , use it off a jump in punch or in between NDC as the doesn’t have a good reach.
Vanquish – ( ) : 9 frames , safe on block , hits high , ( ) hits overhead , use -> Nd as your punishment tool for every -13 frame ( or less ) move your opponent throws out , there are not many reason to throw out when pressuring but you can use NDC against large hitbox characters since it's +1 on block.
Nomad’s Fear – : 13 frames , safe on block , both hits are special mid , this move is Kabals main NDC strength as it won't whiff on small hitbox characters , make sure you link Nomad Dash or TS/BS everytime , you can hitconfirm into ND for a combo on hit and on block you can cancel it to continue pressure wich leaves you at +2 , use it as a punisher for unsafe moves that gives you pushback.
Eviscerate – ( + ) : 9 frame , unsafe on block but you can make it safe linking Ndc ( -5 ) , hits special mid , + hits overhead but it’s unsafe , this is a great and overlooked move , most Kabal players use it only as a combo ender when this move can be used for Ndc pressure , first of all it’s 9 frames , hits ducking , it has a good vertical range , you can combo by linking Nd and you can TS/BS on block , the downside of this great normal is the short orizzontal range and the recovery on whiff , most of your combos will end with Ndc because of the reset situation wich leads to at least another 4% damage from into Ndc .
Throws : Forward/back and neutral throw negates techrolls and give the same distance and it’s actually a good distance since you can either go for a jumpin punch/kick or go back to your zoning , make sure to mix them up with Ndc frametraps.
Gas Blast – : 10 frames , very unsafe from jump distance , the only reason you should ever use this is as Anti Air but you have still better options , one of those is Iagb.
Iagb is executed by inputting l l + as fast as possible , it’s kinda hard to have the constant right timing but that’s what practice is for , this is what makes Kabal one of the best projectile traders in the game , timing is sticter on low hitbox characters such as Reptile , on top of that an AA Iagb grants you an HC Nd for a fullscreen/midscreen/jump distance potential combo , it can also be used in jumpins to bait a potential unsafe AA ( such as Kung Lao Spin ).
Buzzsaw – : 9 frames , unsafe from close distance ( can be punished by fast advancing specials ) , hits low , good zoning tool and on hit the opponent is knocked down so it’s good even if projectiles trade ( character depending ) , mix it up with Iagb from fullscreen to keep the opponent on his toe ( it can be jumped on reaction tho ) , use it rarely from midscreen and really carefully from jump distance since it can be jumped ( hard on reaction ) and punished , you want to use this after Ndc to check the opponent trying to lowpoke during Ndc frametraps , make him respect your options and then proceed with the pressure , on wakeup use it carefully since if jumped you are left wide open.
Tornado Slam – : 21 frames , it’s -9 on block but the opponent is pushed back where he can’t punish you ( only reptile can with his dash and it’s still risky with such small window ) , hits overhead , on hit the opponent can’t roll back , good for mixups from any of your strings ( or Ts , Ts , Ts ) , use it along with the buzzsaw.
Use the Ts rarely in Ndc pressure because if the opponent commits to lowpoke after your Ndc he will interrupt you and gain the momentum back , not to use often as a wakeup since it’s slow and can be jumped .
Nomad Dash – : 18 frames , punished by full combo of choice on block , special mid , this is Kabals’ best tool , gives him great mobility , full screen combo threat even while jumping , you can link a TS/BS when you want , can be cancelled ( + ) anytime from any string into a special or normal with little recovery , makes his normals safe and opens up his offense.
:en SPECIAL MOVES:
:en Gas Blast: 10 frames , same hitbox as the standard Gs never use meter on this move , it’s just a waste.
:en Buzzsaw : 9 frames , occupies more space than the standard Bs since Kabal makes appear 2 buzzsaws on the screen , 13% damage , safe on block ( -6 ) even upclose because of the more blockstun caused by the second saw , you will rarely use this for trades or to make your Ndc offense safe aswell more chip damage in blockstrings.
:en Tornado Slam : 21 frames , still -9 on block , same hitbox as the standard version , deals 4% more damage , waste of meter.
:en Nomad dash : 13 frames , has 1 hit of armor on the first startup frames , very unsafe on block , hits special mid , Kabal should use his meter for this great tool since on hit gives you a full/air combo , the 1 hit of armor is great to get out of frametraps and give you the momentum , however don’t be predictable with this because if blocked it’s easily punished by everyones best starter , also watch out for wakeup baiting don’t use this everytime you feel like they will pressure without getting first into their mind but if you notice them crossjumping a lot on your knockdown be ready to spin them ( beware of the inverted inputs ) , if you are in zoning disadvantage and you are in the right spot ( character dependent ) you can always :en Nd on reaction to shut down their advantage , last but not less important you can cancel it anytime you want using the armor on startup as a shield to get in closer and avoiding mistiming or a bait and still be safe.
Kabals’ should never be used naked , it has no armor on startup and if blocked the opponent has an easy full combo punish , as for in combos you should really use it only as a match ender if your opponent has a breaker , the fact is that his Xray scales really bad and gives you at best 5% more damage than any staple combo , on hit it gives an untechable knockdown and sends your opponent almost fullscreen in order to continue your zoning.
Kabals zoning ( or i should say counter zoning ) is one of the best in the game thanks to the IaGb , great startup , great recovery , hits standing and jumping opponents ( and Kabal can HC Nd from anywhere on the screen to start his pressure game ) , along with the buzzsaw check this makes the opponent on his toe to close up the distance from at least midscreen where the buzzsaw can be jumped and Iagb can be dash poked to further close the distance and make his zoning risky ( but still generally safe ) , make sure you don’t get into the habit of throwing buzzsaws when the opponent is at jump distance because that can cost you a combo , create space and start zoning again or get in to start the pressure , what i can’t show you is the time you will have to be spending practicing those IaGb to get those out constantly in a real match and to be honest with you there will be times where you will not get the perfect IaGb giving your opponent the chance to get in or even worse shoot a grounded Gs or a back jump punch.
This is where Kabal really shines , his upclose game always ends in a guessing game even if blocked thanks to the Ndc along with the threat of the low buzzsaw or the overhead slam , so this will start the mindgames :
Example: blocked Ndc ( +2 )
- Kabal immediately cancels the Ndc into Bs , the only opponents option is to block low , if blocked Kabal gets punished
- Kabal immediately cancels the Ndc into Ts , opponent has to choose to either lowpoke , jump forward kick , fast uppercut or fuzzy guard the 50/50
- Kabal cancels into crossjump , opponent can uppercut , forward/back jump kick , anti air after the crossup ( mostly ) or try to lower their hitbox by crouching/lowpokes (like kitanas or mileenas )
- Kabal cancels into another , opponent can lowpoke , forward/back jump kick , fast uppercut or anything faster than 11 frames will stop Kabal
- Kabal cancels into , opponent can lowpoke , fast uppercut , forward/back jump kick or anything faster than 11 frames
- Kabal cancels into , opponent can lowpoke , forward/back jumpkick or anything faster than 7 frames
- Kabal cancels into a / / , opponent has to block a , can jump / and anything faster than 10 frames can interrupt
- Kabal cancels into an Iagb , opponent can lowpoke , uppercut ( not getting hit ) or dash lowpoke
- Kabal cancels into backdash creating space
- Kabal doesn’t cancel the Nd , opponent can block and punish but cannot interrupt it
I’m not taking into account any armor moves wich will get through any dash cancel option , that said , Kabal has still the edge because in order to counter most of his cancels mindgames the opponent has to make a real guess between blocking by default ( and Kabal is free to pressure ) or not blocking and take the risk to eat a buzzsaw or even a naked spin ( don’t do it tho , it’s way too risky until you notice that your opponent doesn’t respect the Ndc everytime ) .
( NOTE: after NDC has negative edge issues and if you try to f4 immediately after NDC another ND will come out so don't try it because you'll lose precious frame advantage )
( NOTE: ND into Buzzsaw can be interrupted by any 7 frame move , into Tornado Slam can be interrupted by any 13 frame move , further testing may show that Bs can be interrupted by 10 frame moves )
Another thing i’d like to point out are Kabal lowpokes since your don’t want to always gamble an EX Nomad dash ( or you don’t have the meter ) in between frametraps:
If you get to hit a from really close range you are left at +1 frames but the opponent will be pushed back to sweep distance wich means that ON HIT you don't get anything guaranteed but sets up for a crossover jump wich is almost impossible to ( however if the opponent backdashes he can AA easily ) , if you link with BS ( l ) it cannot be interrupted , the main use for is when your opponent likes to jump after being at - frames because will catch them while jumping and you can follow up with dash ND into a combo.
ON BLOCK Kabal is at -13 so don’t pressure because you will get beat ( if done perfectly ) by 19 frame moves , i still have to test if you can be interrupted for linking a Bs or Ts from ( Bs isn't likely to be interrupted tho and it helps creating space ) .
is -7 frames on block and +3 on hit so ON HIT you have a guaranteed check , if the opponent tries to jump out of it he will get hitted by the vertical hitbox , however depending on the distance connects the opponent can backdash to make the whiff and punish it.
ON BLOCK you don’t want to continue your pressure since any 13 frame special mid move will interrupt anything you may throw out ( even a / ) , linking a BS is still an option here.
on a standing opponent is +11 ON HIT and puts your opponent at sweep range , gives a free ( not max range tho and the opponent can still use an armor special to interrupt it ) or wich can’t be beated by armor moves ( if hits at contact range ), make them fear that then use your other blockstrings/throws , on a crouching opponent it's +4 and here will always be guaranteed from contact range , also linking TS / BS is a good thing.
ON BLOCK Kabal is at -2 this means that any 8 frames or faster special mid move will beat your / and any 10 frames or faster move will beat your , however you can link into a 50/50 thanks to Bs/Ts and this is not interruptable without armor.
Kabal can build meter quickly from any range , upclose with his blockstrings or fullscreen with Iagb.
Basic Specials Meter Gain:
Ts = 5,8% = 17 for 1 bar
Bs = 3,7% = 27 for 1 bar
Iagb / Gb = 3,7% = 27 for 1 bar
Nd / Ndc = 2,5% = 40 for 1 bar
Blocked Specials Meter Gain:
Blocked Ts = 14,2% = 7 for 1 bar
Blocked Bs = 12,5% = 8 for 1 bar
Blocked Nd = 11,1 % = 9 for 1 bar
Blocked Agb = 12,5% = 8 for 1 bar
Blocked Normals / Blockstrings Meter Gain:
Blocked = 17,5%
Blocked = 26%
Blocked = 26%
Blocked = 17,5%
Blocked = 9,1 %
Blocked / / / / / / / / / / = 8,6%
Now when Kabal starts a combo you have a chance to build additional meter after you spin your opponent , you can miss an air gas blast or two nomad dash cancels ( even 3 nomad dash cancels but you need to cancel them perfectly ) .
ND , Agb ( miss ) , , dash Ndc = 8,7%
, Ndc , , Nd , Agb ( miss ) , Jip , dash , dash Ndc = 11,2 %
Nd , Agb ( miss ) , Jip , dash , dash Ndc = 8,7%
Nd , Agb ( miss ) , Jip , dash , dash Ndc = 8,7%
Another thing to keep in mind is when you AA someone with a Nomad Dash you can perform one Ndc and then perform the combo.
AIR TO AIR:
Kabals air to air game is decent and you will rarely need it outside of crossjumps since the opponent has to respect your Iagb wich means they’ll be scared to jumpin when you are free to move , his best options are:
1 jump punch into air gas blast -> ND -> take a few steps back Deep jumpkick -> Agb -> dash Ndc
2 jump punch -> dash forward ND -> take a few steps back Deep jumpkick -> Agb -> dash Ndc
3 jump back punch/kick Iagb -> ND -> take a few steps back Deep jumpkick -> Agb -> dash Ndc ( jump back kick into Iagb has real strict timing so use it only if you are certain that your opponent will try to crossjump you )
You can also replace the deep jump back kick-> Ags – dash Ndc with backdash ( ) , dash , dash Ndc since it’s easier to not mess it up.
Kabal has good Anti Air options , the most reliable one is Iagb if you don’t mess it up , worst case scenario you will get hit mid air and your opponent will get hit by your Iagb , other AA worth mentioning are standing and because of his good vertical range , beware that you can get hit if you don’t properly time and space them , some combos:
- AA Iagb -> ND -> if your opponent is near to the floor you can , dash Ndc , if your opponent is still in air you can ( ) , dash , dash Ndc or deep jump kick->Agb , dash Ndc ( this can be done from fullscreen )
- AA Iagb -> / ND -> same as above but can be done from jump distance or closer
- ND -> ( ) , dash , dash Ndc or deep jump kick->Agb dash
- -> / ND -> ( ) , dash , dash Ndc or deep jump kick->Agb dash
I suggest always using as a combo filler since it’s more reliable than .
Kabal has no really big damage combo even with meter or ( read the info ) so consistency is the key , another thing to notice is that Kabals wallcarry is pretty good and if you are close to the corner you can turn your midscreen combo into a corner combo , and while your opponent is still spinning you can decide to switch position and even push him closer to the corner with 1 or 2 dashes for free without losing any damage.
ND , , dash Ndc 24%
, dash , dash ND , ( ) , dash , dash Ndc 29%
ND , Jip , dash , dash , dash Ndc 25%
ND , Jip , dash , dash , dash Ndc 25%
ND , Jip , dash , dash , dash Ndc 26%
ND , cross jump , , , , Ndc 33%
, NJP , , , , ND , Ndc 36%
ND , Jip , , NJP , , , Ndc 33%
ND , Jip , NJP , , , Ndc 33%
ND , Jip , NJP , , , Ndc 34%
( if you add another in the corner combos the Ndc will be easier )
ND , 40 %
, 39 %
You can link after any combo ender but it will do poor damage for 3 bars.
Harder combos wich can be practiced to use as BnB:
, dash , dash : dash ND , Jip , dash , dash Ndc 34%
ND , Jip , dash , dash , dash Ndc 26%
ND , Jip , , dash , dash , dash Ndc 28%
(in the corner) , NJP , , , ND , crossover jip , , , , Ndc 39%
For more combos click [thread=16625]here[/thread]
USEFUL NDC STRINGS:
Before saying anything I’d like to point out that you shouldn’t NDC from your strings everytime because your opponent can punish you for trying to continue pressure , be sure to mix it up with Bs or Ts to keep the opponent on his toes , as always don't be predictable.
is the most basic and useful string , it has two NDC opportunities since you can either NDC ( neutral on block ) or NDC ( +2 on block ), beware tho if the opponent decides to let off go block after and starts a 12 frame or faster move he will beat your next and worst case scenario he’ll eat the ( ) wich cannot be linked with ND ( only :en ND if he crouches , :en ND and Buzzsaw if he's stand blocking ).
is another good NDC string but only from a jump in punch since it will jail the opponent , now if the Jip hits them you can confirm the into ND for a full combo , if the Jip is blocked go for into ND since it leaves Kabal at +8 frames granting him another or / ( on large hitbox characters ) , if the opponent has meter he can do an armor move so watch out for it and bait it out.
it's good on large hitbox characters ( will hit them special mid ) and from a Jip , NDC gives you +2 frames on block and you can even mix it up with NDC ( +1 ) to screw the opponents timings but beware of doing this immediately after a cancel since the negative edge can screw it up if you don't input it correctly ( i do + hold on and repeat ) and a standing gas blast will come out and that’s gonna be punished for a full combo.
it’s not a string but it’s definitely worth mentioning , on hit it's +3 and cannot be interrupted by lowpokes whenever you cancel it from a +2 NDC string , of course it can be jumped but that's when you start mixing up your NDC with / , use only if you see them always lowpoking after NDC.
OTHER INFO / STRATEGIES:
This section is for still untested stuff i’m thinking about and any opinion is welcome.
Jumping Kick into Agb: this has been discussed before and it’s a decent frametrap , note that i don’t want you to jump mindlessly into AA or anti crossups so use this when your opponent doesn’t expect it.
Now we know that blocked deep jump kicks give enough room for either a throw or f4 but your opponent may AA and get a combo off it so it’s kinda risky , if a jump kick is blocked at “knee height” it seems both players are at even frames but that’s where the Agb comes in , if you hit them at the knee height you can link Agb and it cannot be crouched and at the same time you are free to move your opponent will still be in blockstun granting Kabal a free / or a throw attempt , now you will notice that if the jumpkick is blocked crouching the Agb will whiff ( you are still safe ) but doing that the opponent leaves himself open for a jumping punch wich hits overhead so make sure you mix it up.
Strings into :en Ndc : to make Kabals rushdown even more dangerous you can :en Ndc after any blockstring and you gain 5 more frames of advantage than a standard NDC , this can net you a combo in case they try to do anything other than blocking or performing an armor move , also if you are left at least +7 advantage you can stop anything your opponent wants to do with a into a BS since you will keep them in blockstun and they will be unable to even Xray / armor through your poke and note you can even get +13 from a :en NDC so that you can use even / / / to stuff whatever you want.
:en NDC as a wakeup parry : the idea is simple , using the armor to prevent wakeups retaliation and safely pressure the opponent for one bar , this is highly character specific but really… some characters like Ermac are trapped by this ( especially after untechable knockdowns like throws or Ts )
Also i want to say that i’ve seen players losing after a reset trying to throw or starting another blocktrap while they could have easily close the round by doing :en Buzzsaw wich deals a good 8% of chip damage in case they block low or 17% in case it they don’t block Bs.
This is still an unfinished guide wich i will be updating as i receive feedback or new strats are discovered , soon to come: :en Nomad Dash projectile distance.