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The problems and issues that break Kotal Kahn

Qwark28

Jacks off to good voice acting
This is going to be long FYI. They're my observations after 3 weeks of the game being out.

I've played a ton of matches, online and offline, at least 3 hours a day, with offline sessions with Nikolas, Metzos, Nivek, Cimmerian, Hidan etc from the Greek scene, and we usually play for around 12 hrs per session.

I've played against a variety of chars and have consistently seen the same issues pop up, all the time. I'm going to list his major issues.

- LACK OF MIDS

The character lacks mids, pure and simple. His fastest mid is a 15f F4 that does 5% damage. You're better off using his command grab at 14f to enforce any sort of incentive to not press buttons. He can't properly frametrap are his pokes, mainly D1 and D3, same for the opponent's. You have to choose between doing F1, as an interrupt, and risk getting poked or, even worse, D2 KB into typical 300-400dmg, another poke or a command grab, if you have it equipped.

Not having decent mids in this game is an issue.

- BROKEN/MISSING HITBOXES

A gigantic problem this character faces and, personally, more important than a lack of decent mids is the issues he has with his wonky ass hitboxes. His D1 is complete garbage range-wise. It whiffs vs half the strings in the game on block, you'll often find yourself in a situation where you block a D1 but yours will literally whiff for no reason. Him not having a good D1 is a massive issue, he already has bad/lacking mids, he can barely even use his D1 on top of it. That leaves you with having to use D3 on every exchange vs certain characters, e.g Noob, Kollector. So your fastest poke is now a 9f move.

His command grab is atrocious in every single way. Throws them on the opposite side with no option to choose, is 14f startup, doesn't tick from anything too important and worst of all, has barely any range. Its range is less than his normal throw, which is already a mediocre one itself. You'll notice this when it randomly whiffs after strings or pokes on block, where if you were to do a normal throw instead you'd hit.

Even worse, his fucking F122 string. Jesus christ, this is a trainwreck.

F1 is next to impossible to convert out of. I've conditioned my opponents to jump, hit them with it, then was unable to continue because it leaves you hanging for ages, you have to commit to the string as an anti air.

So you do F12. Except F12's hitbox is much lower than F1's, so your 2nd hit might entirely whiff and drop the combo, causing you to get punished.

If you F12 hits, you'll want to finish with F122 or Kahn Cut or command grab.

Sometimes F12(2) whiffs. Other times, Kahn cut goes below and over your opponent's hurtbox and whiffs entirely.

This string is so bad, in that you can hit F1 but not convert. Or hit F1 but not F12, or F12 but not F122, or F12 but not kahn cut. All of these except F1 by itself being full combo punishable.

So up till now, we have a character that is lacking mids, has stubby pokes, randomly whiffing strings and probably the worst command grab in the game after Erron's.

I might expand on this, he has a ton more issues but I think I've outlined the most important ones.
 
Another thing I'm gonna touch on is whack requests like these.

So many people focusing on the things that aren't really gonna change anything. Sunlight recovery, disc recovery etc.

There are basic fundamental moveset issues he has. And most people are going on about things that don't actually fix him at all. Let situational things be situational, worry about the base character first.
Command grab isn't part of his base character though.

Anyhow, good write up.
 

Stuck

Mid Tier Whore. 1 combo and a dream.
Another thing I'm gonna touch on is whack requests like these.

So many people focusing on the things that aren't really gonna change anything. Sunlight recovery, disc recovery etc.

There are basic fundamental moveset issues he has. And most people are going on about things that don't actually fix him at all. Let situational things be situational, worry about the base character first.
I don’t disagree with anything you said about his up close tools. However, I don’t think requesting reduced Sunlight recovery is “whack” at all. It seems to me that you’re dismissing something that helps him out quite a bit because you’re so laser focused on his terrible/flawed up close tools. I understand you’re saying, fix his broken shit first. Haven’t you notice how much more spacing control KK has when sunlights up? Maybe you haven’t since you’re playing at the elite level and it’s unsafe as fuck. Therefore, I’ll assume you haven’t. Opponent has 3 choices. Eat it (most don’t do this.) Move forward (into your long range mid perhaps?) When opponents walk backwards, KKs walk speed can get him into better footsie range and they are moving towards a corner. IDK. I’m enjoying your breakdowns on KK, but isn’t part of fighting games exploring these types of setups and mind games. Try not to just squash everything you hear because it doesn’t fit your vision. Afterall, if we’re talking “base character,” KK sure does spend a lot of time praising the sun. I think it’d be nice to use it more often.
 

LawAbidingCitizen

MD| Soberless FGC
He does have all those issues you listed which I have been saying forever. Yes I want sunlight recovery reduced and recognize the impact that will have on one of kotals main weaknesses (counter zoning) midscreen and corner damage as well as sustain.
But yes he does lack close range and a faster mid would help greatly against the plethora of 9-11 frame mids A tier and up possess.
I see the potential with sword pound and how much it could help his mix-up game but being 41 frames startup is just bad design and useless (coma paitents can react to this move).
But along with everything you stated his 1 and 2 hitboxes need to be fixed. After pushback they completely wiff when every other character can jail into thier standing 1's from a poke on hit. I've heard others ask for F1 to be a mid and 11 frame mid sounds nice gotta admit. Hitbox issues are priority of course but things that are clearly design flaws like 55 frame recovery and 41 frame startup is generally long for wiffing moves and is beyond absurd and would be among my list for QoL adjustments.

The reason so many are asking for his Special moves like Sunlight, Sword Pound and Parry to get adjustments is not only how much they can help the character in many aspects but also because they are very cool moves that make Kotal Kahn who he is and much of his personality is built around these moves especially Sunlight which he praises and worships, he draws power from blood and sunlight. It's a shame to keep these awesome tools unused and unpractical.
 
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Second Saint

A man with too many names.
First off, I'm glad to see you back @Qwark28. You always put out quality write ups and threads for Sun God Kotal back in MKX. I don't play the character anymore, but I'm noticing some glaring similarities between his issues and D'vorah's, who's fastest mid/low is 17f, her actually useful mid is 20f. Seems they must have had it in their heads to try and design characters around long range slow mids but...it doesn't really work like that unless you have something to fight up close with too.

Any word on when Shang Tsung drops? I figure the first real balance patch will probably be when he's released. Then some of these core issues can finally be addressed.
 

Immortal

Blind justice....
All of what you wrote was already said dozen of times in other thread but still always good to highlight what need to be fixed for the character.

And nobody is focusing on the "zoning/ray" aspect of Kotal it's just mentioned as one of the things on a long list of things he needs to get changed / fixed. Usually on the bottom of it. Like.... nice to have but not really his main problem.
 

just_2swift

God Fist Lao
His cammand grab should give him health. I mean he's drinking there blood and could add to his defensive game going forward along with sunlight fixes and frame data on his normals and strings.
 

MagicMan357

Black Dragon enthusiast
Besides bugs, his main issue is his lack of combo options. They nerfed it because of his buff damage but i think thats stupid. A lot of his strings have pop ups that you cant follow up which is awkward.
 

TurboTaco

Mexican street vendor
They need to make F1 a mid, an 11f frame mid in this game isn't overpowered when loads of characters have 9-11f mids already. @Qwark28 what button would you have as a mid? F1 makes the most sense to me (no eating 300-400 D2 KB combos then either)
 
My 2 Cents why Kotal is in a rough Spot:
  • Weak Mids
  • Main Combo Damage comes from Kotal Cut / HueHue CG (both not Baseline)
  • CG switches Side hurting Kotals Corner Game
  • GodRay has unholy Recovery (but it`s not a Kotal exclusive Problem "Dark Priest of Shao and his Taunts / Molotov of Kano / Dynamite of Erron all got the same high Recovery Problems).
  • His Kit seems to work against itself (some Attacks have high range but end right next to your enemy...)
  • His Projectile is also not very good
  • Lots of unsafe ender
Smaller QoL Fixes they could safely add:
Imo if they add some Pushback on Block (for example F24 not ending in Jab range on block).
Fix Hitboxes
Fix Recovery GodRay (something they should do for all the bad Setup Skills in this Game).
Reduce Recovery on Block from his D3 / D4
Hue CG Side Switch Option on Normal/AMP
 

Qwark28

Jacks off to good voice acting
I don’t disagree with anything you said about his up close tools. However, I don’t think requesting reduced Sunlight recovery is “whack” at all. It seems to me that you’re dismissing something that helps him out quite a bit because you’re so laser focused on his terrible/flawed up close tools. I understand you’re saying, fix his broken shit first. Haven’t you notice how much more spacing control KK has when sunlights up? Maybe you haven’t since you’re playing at the elite level and it’s unsafe as fuck. Therefore, I’ll assume you haven’t. Opponent has 3 choices. Eat it (most don’t do this.) Move forward (into your long range mid perhaps?) When opponents walk backwards, KKs walk speed can get him into better footsie range and they are moving towards a corner. IDK. I’m enjoying your breakdowns on KK, but isn’t part of fighting games exploring these types of setups and mind games. Try not to just squash everything you hear because it doesn’t fit your vision. Afterall, if we’re talking “base character,” KK sure does spend a lot of time praising the sun. I think it’d be nice to use it more often.
Fair enough, it's just that I keep seeing more people talk about sunlight or other issues, so that 10 people are talking about 10 different problems, and I'm afraid of devs buffing him 2-3 months in with the wrong things and him sucking for a long time.
 
I see the potential with sword pound and how much it could help his mix-up game but being 41 frames startup is just bad design and useless (coma paitents can react to this move).
Sword quake is already good, it doesn't need reduced frames. I don't think NRS designed it as a tool to help Kotal with mix up. That wouldn't make sense given it has a 41f start up and around 50f recovery. Sword quake is meant for mind games and fear factor. When you condition your opponent into thinking you will use sword quake, they may try to jump. So if you can bait that you could use sword cut to land the KB.
 

Qwark28

Jacks off to good voice acting
Sword quake is already good, it doesn't need reduced frames. I don't think NRS designed it as a tool to help Kotal with mix up. That wouldn't make sense given it has a 41f start up and around 50f recovery. Sword quake is meant for mind games and fear factor. When you condition your opponent into thinking you will use sword quake, they may try to jump. So if you can bait that you could use sword cut to land the KB.
Good players react to it. It's 41 frames, there's barely any mindgames involved other than doing it once every 3-4 games to catch them off guard.
 

Wrenchfarm

Lexcorp Proprietary Technologies
And what are their options?
I mean, it's so slow it can be interrupted by almost anything. Depending on how far Kotal is when he tries it (I see people trying it a lot once they have the opponent cornered, so often close up) almost any button. From further out, Jump in into combo, advancing normal into combo, etc.

It's VERY slow. I mean, I have shit reactions and I'm able to catch it. It's not like it has armor or any kind of mind-game like a cancel or faster move that starts the same. As soon as you see Kotal go into the animation you can just beat him like a rented mule.
 
I've been playing a lot of kotal Kahn and enjoy him a lot. I don't want to much change to be honest, but if the mission is to bring him to the upper half of the cast I think he just needs minor tweaks. I use totemic, that's another discussion all together.

Firstly, I don't think he is a character that's supposed to be focused on frame traps. He definitely seems built upon whiff punish and walk punishes. His only semi frame trap stuff is few.

Addressing @Qwark28 suggestions.

Mids - I think having a more threatening mid option would be nice. F1 being mid sounds like the easiest option. I would settle with f4 being faster with longer frame advantage so it's not too much. But I haven't felt a strong need for a better mid in most match ups. The few I can think of is kabals landing animation on air saw and similar crouch recovery scenarios. B2 being mid May work to enforce blocks at that range too.

Hitboxes - F1 strings juggle reliably at low altitude. Also since I use totemic I don't feel it as much since I have the sword and panther which juggle easily. The D1 scenarios are annoying for sure. Maybe speed up d3 or extend D1 or do both. I think giving him some kind of command grab adjustments would be good but again I don't use it often except for certain match ups. I'd honestly like his f2 to have better hit or since b is using his sword in front, wish it reacted like his other sword moves. Or give more active frames for it to come out longer.

Addressing the other things.

Disk - I definitely think disk is a one off kind of move. If they did buff it I would just want it's start up speed up but still have the same ending frames solely to use as a trade to get a slightly advantage situation so you can wave dash up. J don't think he should have Sonya rings.

Sunlight - I use this move a lot as totemic. Knowing I'm 9 out of ten times getting punished. I welcome it in a lot of matchups. As totemic the game plan is to trade out life and win for it. If it were made safe in neutral kotal Kahn would be sss tier. In a game where damage spikes are limited, the healing is very strong. I'll make a different post about this move but really I just wish the amp version did not add recovery frames. If they do make it faster I would only be happy.

Sword quake - the move is pretty good at tilting players, yes even good ones. It has an extremely good range and active frames. I mostly use it on knockdown setups to force them to use defensives. Making it fast enough to not react would be unfair. Making it less frames maybe safe to do. It is really good when you are constantly hunting them down with wave dash f4 and stop early for it. It's meant to be a gimmick not a can opener. If they did want to buff this move, then I would say give it a cancel property so you could mind game with it easier.

Parry - I really like the parry, but it's awkward to use outside of projectile and cancelling into it.if the buff lasted for a duration instead of just one hit I think it would be nice.

Things I want

I want panther amp to start up faster to use as a reaction. I'd like to be rewarded for reactions instead of making ridiculous Gamble's at full screen. Maybe it would be too op.

I wish totems didn't disappear during crushes etc. Often I have totems up but have to choose not to crush to not lose healing. Also the damage with totems would give it greater use. Especially considering fatal blows.

I want his 22 string to be better for something, turn it into a stagger string or allow midscreen combos.

S4 - I wish I could cancel it like it says in the move list.

Hope this furthers discussion.
 

Immortal

Blind justice....
Then you don't do sword quake and make them jump.
It's on reaction, coz its so slow on startup, nobody is gonna just jump without a reason they can just full combo you out of it.

I really think he needs F1 to be a mid at very least. CMG not changing sides. d1 and CMG hitbox (reach) should be increased a bit. Personally i would enjoy if parry would just reflect the projectiles. Disk and Sun better startup would be a nice touch but its not really the most important thin.
 
It's on reaction, coz its so slow on startup, nobody is gonna just jump without a reason they can just full combo you out of it.

I really think he needs F1 to be a mid at very least. CMG not changing sides. d1 and CMG hitbox (reach) should be increased a bit. Personally i would enjoy if parry would just reflect the projectiles. Disk and Sun better startup would be a nice touch but its not really the most important thin.
The point is you don't need to do sword quake at all if you condition them to anticipate it. If they are going to jump because they "think" you are going to do sword quake, then you are already controlling them.
 

Qwark28

Jacks off to good voice acting
I've been playing a lot of kotal Kahn and enjoy him a lot. I don't want to much change to be honest, but if the mission is to bring him to the upper half of the cast I think he just needs minor tweaks. I use totemic, that's another discussion all together.

Firstly, I don't think he is a character that's supposed to be focused on frame traps. He definitely seems built upon whiff punish and walk punishes. His only semi frame trap stuff is few.

Addressing @Qwark28 suggestions.

Mids - I think having a more threatening mid option would be nice. F1 being mid sounds like the easiest option. I would settle with f4 being faster with longer frame advantage so it's not too much. But I haven't felt a strong need for a better mid in most match ups. The few I can think of is kabals landing animation on air saw and similar crouch recovery scenarios. B2 being mid May work to enforce blocks at that range too.

Hitboxes - F1 strings juggle reliably at low altitude. Also since I use totemic I don't feel it as much since I have the sword and panther which juggle easily. The D1 scenarios are annoying for sure. Maybe speed up d3 or extend D1 or do both. I think giving him some kind of command grab adjustments would be good but again I don't use it often except for certain match ups. I'd honestly like his f2 to have better hit or since b is using his sword in front, wish it reacted like his other sword moves. Or give more active frames for it to come out longer.

Addressing the other things.

Disk - I definitely think disk is a one off kind of move. If they did buff it I would just want it's start up speed up but still have the same ending frames solely to use as a trade to get a slightly advantage situation so you can wave dash up. J don't think he should have Sonya rings.

Sunlight - I use this move a lot as totemic. Knowing I'm 9 out of ten times getting punished. I welcome it in a lot of matchups. As totemic the game plan is to trade out life and win for it. If it were made safe in neutral kotal Kahn would be sss tier. In a game where damage spikes are limited, the healing is very strong. I'll make a different post about this move but really I just wish the amp version did not add recovery frames. If they do make it faster I would only be happy.

Sword quake - the move is pretty good at tilting players, yes even good ones. It has an extremely good range and active frames. I mostly use it on knockdown setups to force them to use defensives. Making it fast enough to not react would be unfair. Making it less frames maybe safe to do. It is really good when you are constantly hunting them down with wave dash f4 and stop early for it. It's meant to be a gimmick not a can opener. If they did want to buff this move, then I would say give it a cancel property so you could mind game with it easier.

Parry - I really like the parry, but it's awkward to use outside of projectile and cancelling into it.if the buff lasted for a duration instead of just one hit I think it would be nice.

Things I want

I want panther amp to start up faster to use as a reaction. I'd like to be rewarded for reactions instead of making ridiculous Gamble's at full screen. Maybe it would be too op.

I wish totems didn't disappear during crushes etc. Often I have totems up but have to choose not to crush to not lose healing. Also the damage with totems would give it greater use. Especially considering fatal blows.

I want his 22 string to be better for something, turn it into a stagger string or allow midscreen combos.

S4 - I wish I could cancel it like it says in the move list.

Hope this furthers discussion.
Maybe we have different definitions of low altitude, the height I'm referring to is the one they're at when they immediately jump a S1/D1 on block/hit, where you can't get a conversion with F1 unless you yolo the entire string and hope none of the 3 whiffable things whiff.
 

Immortal

Blind justice....
The point is you don't need to do sword quake at all if you condition them to anticipate it. If they are going to jump because they "think" you are going to do sword quake, then you are already controlling them.
Nobody is thinking about it coz there is no need, you see it - you react to it, not jump premove. At least most people who know Kotal frames / MU do it that way. Its not like 19F move which is borderline reactable and you have to semi expect it and do something almost the same time.

It's always about the conditioning, obviously but judging a tool by conditioning should never take place. You should look at the tool (move) as is.... and its slow, by design. Could be a bit faster but honestly its not really his biggest problem nor is zoning. So i see it as a nice touch if they adjust it but would prefer if they really focused on important things like making F1 a mid, better hitbox on d1, cmg (and not switching side).