This page is under heavy construction and may undergo many changes in the future. If you want to discuss Ky strategy with other players or need any help, please consult the Ky Discord Server, or The Ky Forum on Dustloop
Details of Ky’s gameplan at neutral depend on the matchup. This section explains Ky's neutral in general. Successfully anticipating and reacting to an opponent’s actions at neutral is key, and will win you many more games than following this guide to the letter. Ky has many strong tools to approach neutral with, but will generally want to remain at a mid range distance from his opponent to make use of his myriad spacing tools.
- Making the right decision at round start can put you well on your way to dominating the round. Depending on the matchup, player tendencies, and outcomes of previous round start exchanges, certain options will be stronger or weaker. The goal is to take advantage of how you anticipate the opponent will start the round, while not taking unnecessary risks. Ky's many fast midrange attacks make the start of a round generally a good place to be. 2S is the standard option, starting up in 9f and tagging the opponent if they weren't blocking low. If the opponent chooses to jump, there's plenty of time for it to recover and anti-air with 6P. If you anticipate a normal that is faster than 2S, the typical go-to option is 2D, which starts up 2f faster, will knockdown on hit, and is jump cancelable on block. If you aren't confident in your ability to contest, you can play it safe with an Instant Air Dash backwards and assess the situation from there.
- A good place to start your neutral game is with f.S. This move is a fast, far-reaching poke that is very rewarding on Counter Hit. Seeing how your opponent deals with your f.S can give you ideas for building your neutral game against them. If they tend to jump or Instant Airdash over f.S, you can respond next time by dashing into f.S range and waiting to counter their jump, possibly with 2HS, 6P, or an airthrow. If they're low profiling it, you could try running into f.S range and using 2S or 2D, or even jumping to dodge and punish. If your f.S is being beaten with 6P's or other invul moves, you could try replacing f.S with 5HS, or dash braking right outside f.S range and throwing a Stun Edge, or even dashing right up to them and poking with 2K. This is just one of the many approaches to neutral with Ky! You can choose to be more aggressive by sliding under oncoming attacks with Stun Dipper, IADing to close in on the other player, and hounding them with a flurry of f.S, 5H, and 2S. You can also play more defensively, using your normals and Stun Edges to create distance and set up Grinders with Split Ciel and j.D in order to zone the other player, and push them into making bad jumps to get over your projectiles, then punishing them with well placed anti-airs.
Once Ky has 50 tension, his ground game becomes much scarier since Stun Dipper becomes safe on block or whiff using RC and PRC. Try using Stun Dipper to invalidate standing pokes and then RCing to either keep yourself safe or convert to a combo.
- Blockstring/pressure theory with Ky is relatively simple, it's easy to be creative and effectively apply pressure in ways you see fit due to his many lows and frame trap options. As a base, it's best to start with 2P or a CSE, since they're positive on block (though 5K, 2K, or 5P work well too). From there you can choose to approach for a throw, or start lacing in low attacks like 5K, 2K, 2S, and 2D to catch people attempting to jump, counter throw, counterattack, or input a reversal. If you want to frame trap an opponent that's trying to attack out of your pressure, 2P(or 2k, 5k) > c.S and 2P(or 2K, 5k) > 5HS are great tools that lead to lots of damage when confirmed into 6HS. The goal of pressure is to convince the opponent to block patiently by scaring them out of using their defensive options, then throw them until they decide to take risks to escape.
- Besides jump canceling a normal and backing away, Ky's standard method of ending his pressure is cancelling his last normal into Stun Edge when he's been pushed out. SE is useful because it can catch opponents pressing buttons or attempting to jump after blocking your last normal, and give you a bit of extra damage or chip damage. It also pushes them a bit, back into a mid range where your strong spacing tools can be used effectively. This is risky in certain matchups, like against Sol, Elphelt, and Ky, who can slide underneath the SE for a punish.
- 5HS is a good, safe way to end pressure, since it's +1 on block, cranks the RISC gauge, takes a sizeable chunk of Tension when blocked with Faultless Defense, and pushes the opponent away. You may use it when you don't feel comfortable using other options.
- Stun Dipper is a risky attack that can be used to catch opponents eager to escape your pressure after your last normal, and not holding their crouching guard. This is very risky without Tension to RC in case it's blocked.
- 5D is a low risk way to end a string and check your opponent's reactions, as it's safe on block almost all the time. Be wary of it's long startup time, which can be mashed out of or jumped.
- Split Ciel is a strong option to use to end a blockstring, since it's only -1 and summons a Grinder. Be careful about being out range for it to hit though, since it's recovery is slow enough to be punished.
- Ky is a character that has many tools to reset pressure with and continue his blockstrings, including 6K, 6HS, DC Stun Edge, TK S Stun Edge, and his strong jump cancelable normals (c.S, 2HS, 2D). Pressure resets can also be created by canceling his last normal into SE, then YRCing it to resume offense. There are many situations where a pressure reset may be appropriate, such as repeatedly using 6HS or 6K on a passive opponent to seize frame advantage and crank their RISC gauge, but there is always a risk or cost associated with choosing to attempt to re-establish pressure. Because of the gaps they leave in offense, an opponent eager to escape can retreat, jump away, or even counterattack a pressure reset attempt. There are no concrete answers for when or where you should reset pressure; it's important to use them as you condition and read your opponent.
Faultless Defense and Instant Block
- Faultless Defense creates lots of problems for Ky's pressure, especially any attempts to reset it. If an opponent uses FD starting on the first hit, It'll make throw mixups much harder to go for, removing much of the incentive to take risks on defense. There are ways of taking advantage of an opponent who is using FD to push you away though. You can choose to quickly cancel into 5HS to take a large chunk of their Tension, then return to neutral, use Stun Dipper to catch them escaping, or jump cancel a normal attack into a jump-in or air Stun Edge. Against very passive players you can repeatedly 5HS > dash > 5HS to crush their Tension bar quickly.
Examples of Pressure/Blockstrings
- 5K > 5HS > 2D (Standard and versatile string that will work well in many situations. Easy to choose to frame trap after 5K or 5HS, as well as confirm into supers or go for special cancel after 2D)
- 2P > c.S > 6HS > 2S > 6HS > 2S (High reward frame trap that resets pressure and checks the opponent with lows.)
- 6HS > 662K > 2S > 5HS (2K after 6HS to catch jumping/backdash, into a safe 5HS ender.)
- CSE > 5K > 5HS > 2D (jc) > j.236S (Frame trap with 5HS into a TK Stun Edge disengage.)
- CSE > 6P > 5HS > 2D > 236S YRC > 5K ... (Dead Angle bait after CSE oki into a 25 meter pressure reset off of Stun Edge YRC)
- 2P > 2K > 2S > 2D > 236D (Rapid fire low attacks to catch any DP inputs, jumps, backdashes, or up blocks into a Split Ciel ender.)
- 5HS > 665HS > 665HS (Good for beating down passive opponents who don't want to act, cranks RISC and removes Tension on FD fast.)
Tips and Tricks
- Ain Special
- Coined by commentators after the Ky player of the same name, it's performed by knocking the opponent down with 2D, and then placing a j.D over their body and airdash YRCing as they stand up. Once Ky has landed from his airdash, immediately input 3HS. If the opponent didn't block successfully, you'll get a launch combo for high damage. If the opponent did block, you can safely disengage with Stun Edge, or Split Ciel. You can also use this without the YRC to cross up the opponents block and reposition yourself behind them, but without any followup combo.
- Reverse Durandal Call
- 236H YRC > 66236D
- Also known as fast DC charged stun edge. From full screen do CSE, YRC it, then quickly run in front of it and place a Split Ciel. This allows you to cover lots of space very quickly and unpredictably, and is very useful versus zoners.
- Split Ciel Low Crush
- Ky has a small amount of invul halfway through the startup of Split Ciel, allowing it to seemingly pass through some lows. This is particularly useful at round start against Venom's 2S.
- "Psychic" Ride The Lightning
- In Xrd, Ride The Lightning can be a threatening reversal option to many characters due to it's invuln and forward momentum. However, it's unsafe on block and has mediocre startup, making it quite a commitment on wakeup. One way to mitigate the risk is to buffer it on wakeup to punish unsafe okizeme. As you're standing up watch the opponent and input a half circle backwards, if at this point you see an unsafe setup, quickly input forward and HS. If you don't see any punishable situation occuring, simply hold your block or crouch block depending on what the opponent is doing. Your RTL's might start looking psychic since you'll be cutting down on execution time and using it to react to good situations to use it in.
- "Unblockable" Sacred Edge
- Perform a regular Stun Edge, YRC, then Sacred Edge immediately.
- If the opponent was not blocking before the super flash, then they will get hit by the regular Stun Edge during the super flash. Hopefully the Sacred Edge connects afterwards too! This doesn't do much damage, but it's a nice way to catch opponents flinching when they are low on life.
- Perfect Summoning
- AKA Falling j.D Grinder Summon. Jump, and just before hitting the ground, use j.D. A grinder will be left in the air, but it'll be low enough to the ground to send a grounded SE or CSE through and still get a powerup. This way you can summon a j.D for air coverage, and get a grinder that's useable in the air or the ground. If you use Split Ciel, you can then get two grounded DC Stun Edges.
- Airdash Stun Edge
- Normally, if you attempt to use Stun Edge after airdashing, you'll get Vapor Thrust. In order to clean up your inputs, do 2368S/HS instead of a regular Stun Edge input.
- King's Wrath (Holy Orders III, Battle Damage Ky)
- If Ky is Instant Killed, or knocked down during the final round, his hairtie will come undone and his old theme Holy Orders III from Guilty Gear 2 Overture will overwrite the currently playing BGM. This is undoubtedly the best power up a Ky player can achieve, the singing violins may intimidate, annoy, or move the opponent to awe and your f.S's will strike true and just. Greed will be severed, lightning will be rode, vapor will be thrusted, just make sure you don't let hope die before the guitar kicks in. The chance for it to happen on the final round is completely random, it can happen after any knockdown.
- Ky's basic (and weakest) oki typically involves 5K or 2D, both of which are lows with lots of active frames which make them ideal. When performing 5K oki Ky is vulnerable to reversal attacks, backdash, and Blitz Shield. It can also be easy for him to mess up the timing and spacing of 5K and accidentally use it in throw range, so if you feel that he's too close you could attempt a throw. 2D beats backdash against most characters, and is easier to space than 5K, but by using this on block he can really only safely special cancel into Split Ciel or Stun Edge, or jump away. With 50 Tension he can get a massive combo by confirming into Sacred Edge, so be careful
- Safe Jump
- Charged Stun Edge is a safe way for Ky to setup okizeme. Done properly, it's safe against backdash, blitz, and wakeup reversals, but does not setup a high low mixup, only more pressure. However, it can be low profiled (Stun Dipper, Elk Hunt, Grand Viper, Faust crouch, Four Tigers Sword). It's often recommended to simply block this on wakeup and deal with the ensuing pressure/mixup, or jump away if it was used too late to get a true setup. Note that it pushes you away from Ky quite fast, which might leave you at a range where you can escape or counter once you're done blocking it, especially on Instant Block. One way to deal with this oki is to blitz on wakeup, then throw or reversal Ky as he approaches, though this will lose to low attacks. Beware of YRC, which will allow Ky to go for a high/low mixup, or anti-air you if you jumped away.
- DC Charged Stun Edge is Ky's safest okizeme. It functions much like CSE oki, only it hits more times, does more damage, nets a airdash high/low setup meterless in some situations, and is more + on block. It can still be low profiled by some moves. If used far away from you, like after 2D > Split Ciel midscreen, it's possible to backdash the setup and escape.
- j.D is a different kind of setup that's often used to create crossups and unique mixup. If timed improperly, j.D setups can be air thrown, and even if timed properly they're weak to wakeup reversals, Blitz, and backdash.
- Beware bursting 6HS on hit or block. It's jump cancelable, and option selectable on block (simply hold back during the move to bait bursts). On hit many Ky players are looking for it since it's an obviously strong starter.
- Bursting 2HS is risky. Many players are jump canceling it anyway to continue their combo, and will hold back as they're rising to take your soul.
- Bursting between Greed Sever and HS Vapor Thrust is not only a safe burst point, you'll be able to punish Ky upon landing. GS > HVT is a common combo that Ky uses, especially on medium weight characters.
- Pressuring a Ky on defense can be tricky, mainly due to his two invulnerable reversals, and Stun Dipper.
- It's important to keep this move in mind at all times while applying pressure to Ky, especially when he has 50 Tension to spend. It's extremely fast startup (5f) and upper body invul make it a move of choice for counterattacking for many Ky players. Keeping your blockstrings tight so that he can't use it up close is important, look for the green Faultless Defense flash which will push you away and right into Stun Dipper's optimal range. If you have a good read, simply waiting and punishing the move after blocking is a good idea, but many characters have ways of continuing offense while also accounting for Stun Dipper. Try using low pokes when pushed out to catch the startup of the move, or try applying pressure from the air to avoid it entirely. Some examples of applying pressure while accounting for Stun Dipper are: attacking with many character's 2S such as Ky or Sol's, Venom's Carcass Raid, Johnny's 2HS, Dizzy's 5HS, and Potemkin's 5HS. See what kind of options your character has!
- While a respectable tool, Vapor Thrust is a bit lacking as a wakeup reversal because of it's sluggish startup (11f), poor horizontal range, and hitbox that doesn't hit near the ground. Test your character's options against it, what recovers in time to beat it, what low profiles it (Sol and Venom's 2D), etc. to see what ways you can set up okizeme while baiting reversal attempts at the same time. It is an option you'll have to remember while up close and pressuring him, since he can use it to challenge frame advantage, especially with 50 Tension to RC. One of Vapor Thrust's strengths is that it hits on both sides of it, making some crossups risky if you can't cross his input up.
Stun Edge YRC
- This is another common technique Ky will use to escape bad situations. Similar to Venom's Stinger YRC, by throwing a Stun Edge and YRCing it right away, he can cover himself and either confirm a hit, or escape the corner. Keep this in mind while applying pressure, and either back off when you think It's about to happen, or find a way to counter it using your character's tools (like using Ky's Stun Dipper to quickly move under it.)
Ride The Lightning
- Ky's /real/ reversal, though it costs 50 Tension to use. It shares HS Vapor Thrust's startup (11f), and moves horizontally rather than vertically. Because of this, low profiling it is not an option, and can beat okizeme intended to bait Vapor Thrust. It does lots of damage, especially in Hellfire. Though it's unsafe on block and has Counter Hit recovery, using Faultless Defense to block RTL makes it extremely hard if not impossible to punish. It helps to instant block a few of the hits to make your punish easier.