Disclaimer: feel free to fix any errors or outdated info!
Krillin is an offensive character with short reach but great tools to keep his offense going. With his opponent cornered he has scary pressure and once he gets a knockdown he can set up a nasty vortex. While he's lacking in normals that have great range (particularly in the air,) he has tools to make up for this--steerable fireballs, a projectile that aims straight down, and a feintable overhead flip with great range that gives him advantage on block. Because he has options other than assists to keep his offense going, he can also afford to be more liberal using them instead to make up for the areas where his neutral is lacking. On the other hand, his own assist is very awkward. The senzu bean can recover huge amounts of health quickly (e.g. if another character has been hit by a level 3,) but it doesn't provide any space control unless the rock comes out, and even then it's a projectile vulnerable to super dashing and being cancelled by stronger projectiles. On top of that, senzu used outside of a knockdown situation is risky, since your opponent can steal it to heal themselves. Because of this, Krillin seems best suited to being a point character backed up by strong neutral assists.
With what Krillin lacks in range, his buttons make up for in disjoint. All of Krillin's buttons have above average disjoint (the amount of space the hitbox is past the hurtbox) and are all extremely fast and lead well into his damaging combos.
Brief summary of Krillin's key buttons created by HexPro99 (frame data is possibly off) []
Krillin's lights are all extremely fast with great usage. 5L puts him in the 6f jab group and lets him do dash forward 5L for punishes some characters couldn't. The low recovery and but decent pushback means Krillin's staggers are greatly benefited from it. Due to the threat of Krillin's great mediums, going from 5L to 5L can be easy for Krillin. His 2L is also an extremely fast low that can link into itself on hit or on block. Meaning Krillin can do triple low true blockstrings. This allows example blockstrings and staggers such as 5L microdash 2L 2L delayed 2M to be exceptionally powerful.
Krillin's mediums are where the real meat of his kit starts. 5M being extremely fast and moving an entire character length makes it a key normal to whiff punish and space for grounded neutral plays. 2M is his most common starter and gives him 2 lows, which is something important for any character to have. Krillin has a strong stagger due to this and the threat of frame trapping into 2S for a high damage starter.
Krillin's heavies are somewhat lackluster, with 2H having memes of its low range. Though 2H is has extremely low recovery and can be can be canceled into the 214S which is only -4 oB and is + on air block. Meaning empty jumping Krillin's 2H leads to free pressure for Krillin, instead of an escape route for the opponent. Krillin's 5H however, is a relatively good horizontal AA and can stuff superdash from specific angles due to its far reaching hitbox.
Krillin's S normals are all very unique. 5S and j.5S both cover horizontal space, and with an additional S input can be sent up for 5S or down for j.5S, to attack an opponent that's not aligned with you horizontally. These projectiles are special cancellable, so you can cancel to M or EX flip to start your offense if you're low enough. The projectiles from 5SS will come down from above after a short period if they don't hit the opponent on the way up. While in neutral, Krillin can buffer 236x from his j.S or it's followup, this means you can control the whole stage or setup and approach once someone is conditioned to attempt to super dash. While on the ground you keep these same cancels, but also get access to 5H, 2H, or 214S from the ki blast. All useful moves to stuff any super dash approaches through the attack. For oki Krillin can do 5SS as a delayed projectile that can hit after your meaty, allowing you to do extended pressure or even more complex setups.
2S and j.2S both shoot a ki blast downwards and creates a giant explosion once it connects with the ground. j.2S technically has travel time while 2S doesn't. Both moves are high damage combo starters and doesn't prorate nor scale the combo hard. Both can be super dash canceled allowing for confirms on hit or, in the case of 2S, can be comboed afterwards with j.L with no resources. 2S is especially good for frame trapping after mediums or heavies and opening up for his combo game; especially in the corner. Due to 236L/M only using a smash if 2H is precendent, j.2S 236L is a key combo extender for his corner routes with assist. J.2S 236H also works but can be finicky, at which point j.S 236H rounds out to be the safer (and most of the time better) option.
Another important note that's still being explored is that at certain heights Krillin can do j.2H 236[H] j.LL and have it all combo in the corner, allowing 1 more rep in his bomb loops, it also allows for meter neutral loops with sparking krillin that deals a decent chunk of damage. It also helps if there's a specific amount of meter you want to spend but don't want to lose oki by ending in Level 1, j.2S 236[H] j.LL ends up adding enough damage to a route to only be 300-400 below a level 1 ender.
Some interesting things to note are : a dash can trigger the change in ki direction as can a dragon rush. Meaning you can change your ki direction while doing 2 different things. One allows you to toss out a heavy while the other allows you to play a bit more aggressively. 2S is a great way to reset pressure. If you slightly delay it, it becomes a frametrap that can lead to a full combo. Not only this, but you have full control of yourself in the air , essentially as if you had just super dashed into them , meaning you basically have another turn. Once they respect your landing enough after you cancel 2S into j.2S and then combo them for trying to anti air you, you then are able to take advantage of your second turn and land with an aerial move to reset the pressure and now you are back at square 1.
Krillin's overhead flip special has a lot of useful properties. It covers a good distance, hits overhead, has advantage on block, and can be feinted. The air version is particularly nice, as the M and EX versions are very fast and cover great horizontal space. Do keep in mind that while the grounded version of 236M causes a sliding knockdown, the air version does not--if you want oki from overhead in neutral you'll need to use the EX version. j.5S used from a low height is good to cancel into M or EX overhead as a way to get in.
Krillin's kamehameha can be used on the ground or in the air, and has the unique property of being chargeable. While the charged version doesn't do any extra damage, it gives him the option to delay his release and potentially change the height he releases at, either by starting the charge in the air and releasing as he falls, or starting on the ground and jumping during his charge.
If j.5SS is blocked from a height or distance where 236X can't connect, cancelling to a briefly charged kamehameha that fires on landing can be another good option.
Use Krillin's decent lows and afterimages covered by assists to keep the opponent guessing. Use his rock for oki.
Generally considered the best place for Krillin, as outlined above.
Putting Krillin on mid makes use of his A assist and you can tag him in whenever your point is hurt badly. Mid is also good because he will have an assist to extend him combo's.
Better anchor than you would think...
Since Krillin has stubs in the neutral it is very important to pick teammates that have good buttons or an assist that allows you to corner carry since that's when his real gamplay starts. Corner carry examples:
- SS Goku
- Goku Black
(Short juggle into j.M > jc > j.M > j.H > Assist relaunch and dash after them) Alternatively you can pick someone who is good in the neutral with their basic buttons such as Android 16. His heavy will plow through just about anything meaning you just need something that corner carries easily such as a launcher assist which Android 16 also has.
Anti-deflect Rock Oki by SD Toki
VideoService "gfycat" not recognized.
Tips and Tricks
Since Krillin has such terrible reach, his neutral is almost entirely based on hard reads and ki blast/kamehameha pokes. Punishing the former is self explanatory : Mix him up and don't commit until you know what he is going to do or until you have an assist to cover you. The latter however is also simple enough : rush him down and don't give him the space he needs to set up a falling ki blast or a rock. Once he sets those up he generally has a lot more room in neutral because he has advantage to an extent. Of course you can always negate said advantage with a teleport or a super dash , but once he changes the ki's direction or summons a rock he has very little endlag , meaning its better to wait for HIM to commit to an approach and then weasel your way out.