The King of Fighters 2002 UM/Offense
Normal/Regular Throws are available to every character and performed by standing very close to the opponent and pressing forward/back + C/D. Their range is so short that it's fairly hard to press back then C or D without walking yourself out of throw range, forward+C/D is generally preferred. If the opponent is out of throw range, the character will instead perform a st.C/D depending on the button pressed. In general, the C throw projects the opponent forward, and the D one the other way though exceptions like both of Chang's throws projecting forward exist.
To break/tech a throw, hold any direction but straight up and either press the correct throw button the opponent used or just option select it by pressing both or pianoing through them. The timing is very tight. A good practice is fighting the CPU and focusing on blocking their attacks while breaking their throws attempts. The randomness factor from the CPU will help build up your reflex. The only case when you can't break a normal throw is when caught during a roll or by a mash throw (Like Joe and Bao's C throws.)
Some characters (like Yuri and Clark for example) can throw an opponent in mid-air. It can be performed by pressing any direction (except up) + C/D during a jump or super jump, take note Air throws unlike regular throws cannot be broken.
Some characters have special moves or desperation moves that have the properties of a throw. Unlike normal throws, command throws have a special whiff animation if executed outside of their reach. There are different types of command throws:
- 1f throws : This is the most common type of command throw. The single-frame makes the throw execute instantly, which makes them very powerful and formidable both offensively and defensively. The player can use one on their wake-up to beat any meaty attacks in throw range. An example is Clark's hcf+K.
- Delayed throws : The other common type. They don't start instantly but have varying amounts of unthrowable invincibility during the start-up with very few, like Iori's hcb,f+P, having no invincibility at all. They are mainly used as good mixup options or as a reversal because of their eventual invincibility. An example is Clark's dp+K.
- Running throws : Simply put, it's a run into a 1f or a delayed throw. The run will activate only if the opponent isn't in throw range, it's is more or less long, with either low invincibility or none at all. Add to that, the run is throwable and if the throw has more than 1f of start-up it will be throwable as well. Since the run gives them much more range while making them much slower, these can be used as tick throws or trick an opponent expecting a run into a hit. An example is Clark's hcb+P.
- Hit throws : They are often referred to as running throws because of their similarity to them. However, the difference is that the run isn't followed by a throw but instead by a hit that then triggers a throw-like animation. Note that sometimes there isn't any run before the hit either, like Shermie's qcb+P. This kind of throw is blockable and the opponent having throw invincibility or not is irrelevant to them. They can essentially be considered as just mids with some throw-like animation behind them.
After waking up from a knockdown, you get a brief wake-up throw invincibility meaning if the opponent attempts any throw or proximity unblockable, aside from Ex Robert's d~u+P bugged proximity unblockable, it will fail. They'd then just get a normal or worse, whiff a command throw. Taking the knockdown to remove the danger of part of the opponent's arsenal is definitely an option worth considering if you're having trouble dealing with a strong command grab or proximity unblockable.
This is only on wake-up after the knockdown, if you prevent it with a recovery roll, you don't get any throw invincibility for the perk of recovering faster to allow your opponent less advantage and possibly avoid an OTG.
While in XIII and XIV this same wake-up throw invincibility entails that the player waking up can't use a normal throw themselves but only command throws, it's not the case in XV and prior KoFs such as 02UM. In 02UM you can use a normal throw right as you wake up from a knockdown, which may sound very strong against meaties but it is actually very limited. First, by the fact there's no buffer for it so you have to match a 1f timing to throw a meaty and second, by normal throw range being so small that it is easy to meaty out of it and still get a conversion for many characters.
On The Ground (OTG)
There are moves that have the ability to hit an opponent that is knocked on the ground. Some can also hit a standing opponent, usually as a low. The OTG is only guaranteed when placed behind a move that leads to a hard knockdown as a soft knockdown can be teched by the opponent with a recovery roll to deny the OTG.
- Nameless - Kaiten Katatokkan Ougi Rasen (d/f/df+ABCD)
- Andy - Kunai Bullet (d,d+A/C)
- Vanessa - Gaia Gear (f, hcf+AC)
- Hinako - Shiko Toumi (d,d+B/D)
- Kyo-1 - 108 Shiki Yami Barai (qcf+A/C)
Instant Overheads and Standing Overheads
Jump attacks that have very fast startup frames and low hitboxes can be used as instant overheads, in other words, to hit an opponent on the way up of the jump instead of on the way down, much too fast to give the opponent a chance to react hence the name instant overheads. A few examples are Leona's jump D, Kyo jump B or King's jump D. The downward angle of these attacks can hit a crouching opponent if they are done immediately.
It's important to note that while it often doesn't matter towards middle crouchers, the type of jump you'd have to do to hit low crouchers may be limited, even more so for tiny ones. If it's the case, it'll be noted in the normal's description.
Video explanation on Instant Overheads
Standing overhead command normals, or standing overheads for short, will lose their overhead property when canceled into on hit or on block, they'll remain overhead if canceled into on whiff. Sole exceptions are Bao's f+B, Lin's df+C and Hinako's f+B > B that'll remain overhead regardless of the cancel. For example, Kim's f+B alone is an overhead attack that'll hit a crouching opponent even if they block, but a cl.C quickly canceled into f+B won't hit a crouching opponent through their block.
If the cancel is delayed however, the command normal will remain its raw self and as such keep its overhead property, though also usually losing the cancel properties of the canceled version.
Because of how reliable crouching block is in KoF, being able to play around with these two options on top of simple re-hops will often easily score you a hit on a defensive opponent. One hit that in some cases could lead to a max conversion route for good damage.
In KOF, a counter hit happens when you are hit during the startup or active frames of a command normal, (hyper) hop normal or special move. In 02UM it extends to the recovery frames of most DPs. This situation can be recognized by the word "Counter" popping on the screen and the lighter blue color of the character's hurtbox. On counter hit, the damage and the juggle of the attack are increased.
A lot of moves that'd normally knockdown lead to a juggle on counter hit. The most common example being j.CDs counter hits that allow the opponent to be hit again in the air, usually by a second j.CD. Some characters have certain moves or command stances that put them in a vulnerable counter hit state (Jhun's stances for example), so be careful.
Video example of an air juggle after a counter hit with jump + CD
Some moves can send the opponent flying into the edge of the screen only to bounce back towards the player. Called a wall bounce, it's a very advantageous effect allowing extra conversions depending on spacing and character. The moves that can cause a wall bounce are of two types.
Counter Wire Moves (CW)
Like their name suggests these moves only cause a wall bounce on counter hit. If they are specials or command normals, you can identify them by the CW mention next to their name in the game's movelist. A better way to identify them is to note that every move that causes a face-up sliding hard knockdown is a CW. That's how you find the few that aren't specials nor command normals but normals:
Daimon's j.CD ; Ramon's st.CD ; Foxy's st.CD and j.CD ; Heidern's st.CD ; Kyo-2's st.CD ; May Lee's hero st.CD
Video example #1 Video example #2
Critical Wire Moves (W)
These are moves that cause wall bounce without needing a counter hit. As great as that sounds they are usually balanced by being very slow and/or very bad on block so they often end up mattering less than CW moves. A very well known example is Yuri's hcf+D.
Some attacks can knockdown an opponent that is standing anywhere on the screen. An example is Daimon's (dp+A) ground pound attack, or Hinako's (down, down + K) sumo stomp. To avoid getting hit, you must crouch or jump. A roll is considered standing, which will make you vulnerable to them too.
Some earthquake moves can be used as OTG under specific conditions depending on the move. The basic condition they all share is that the opponent had to be standing before getting knocked down. If said knockdown wasn't hard the opponent can avoid the OTG by quick recovering (recovery roll).
Mash Moves [X]
Mash moves, commonly mash of punches, are performed by doing 4 inputs in quick succession. It's important to note you don't have to mash the same punch and it's only the last one of the 4 that decides the version of the mash. In other words, C, C, C, A ; C, A, C, A ; A, C, C, A will all trigger [A] so the way you can mash is pretty open. 4 taps, 2 double-taps, plinks, as long as you get 4 inputs ending with the right button, anything goes so be sure to find out what way you prefer doing it as using them in combos for Joe or in neutral for Chang is definitely something that takes time to get down.
Attack Cancel AB, ACRoll (Roll Cancel/Attack Cancel Roll)
You can cancel any grounded normal on contact into a roll (A+B), only a forward roll, for the cost of one bar. If not a handful of combos, the main use of it is to bait then roll through and punish a GCCD.
THIS IS NOT A GCRoll. You're similarly paying a bar but instead getting just a normal roll with its fully throwable animation and vulnerable recovery. You're not only paying a bar, giving up your pressure on a big read but also opening yourself to a punish. Those are all the reasons why this is barely ever used outside of misinputs or beating an obvious GCCD.
"Running Charge" is a simple but useful technique that allows special attacks that require a vertical charge to come out whilst executing a run, the trick is to start running (press f,f) then move the stick/directional pad so that it's pointing in the down-forward direction but continue to hold, then quickly slide it to the up (ub/u/uf) position then press the designated face button then the move will come out, the trick is to hold down-forward so that you'll run and buffer the charge time at the same time, if you want to super cancel the charge move it would require you to buffer the input during the charge move when at times can get really difficult.
- Terry - f,f,df~u+P(1), (SC) qcb,hcf+P
- Ralf - f,f,df~u+P
- Kim - f,f,df~u+K
- Jhun Hoon - f,f,df~u+P
- Heidern - f,f,df~u+P
Video Explanation of Running Charge
Some specials and DMs are unblockable. Although you can always parry or counter them, trying to block will only get you hit.
The first type is simple unblockable hits like Ralf's qcfx2+P without any other properties. These usually aren't very threatening thanks to rolls. Added to that, most of the moves concerned are DMs you need to charge for a few seconds, which makes them expensive and no threat for decent players overall.
The second type are proximity unblockables and they have a lot more going on in terms of properties and usage.
They usually have multiple hits with at least the first one being unblockable. Despite that, they are very similar to Throws in that you need to use them close to the opponent, exact distance varies with the move, and except for Ex Robert, they don't work if the opponent has throw invincibility. However, they have no whiff animation so if they'd miss, the game just does the next possible thing, another special with overlapping motion, a normal or nothing depending.
With the exception of Ex Robert's, during the first part of their start-up, they act as a wall that a roll won't be able to go through meaning the window to roll through them is fairly precise. Assuming you catch that window, you'll be able to punish most of them with a full combo but it's at the big risk of getting hit yourself into possibly a hefty conversion depending on the character. Not mentioning you're assuming the proximity will come out but if they just sit there they'll be free to punish your roll. The most consistent defensive answer is to roll away instead, which naturally isn't a great option when your back is against the corner. Even with space behind you beware of Kasumi's hcb,f+C whose 3rd hit, the kick, will usually still reach you. The move may not be an actual punish depending on timing but it'll be unblockable so don't try to block it.
To put it bluntly, proximity unblockables are sort of command throws that for the only downside of not catching rolls can force an opponent into their only reliable offensive answer, an invincible reversal, just because you're next to them and even if they try to bait you, there's no whiff animation to punish unless they respect a pretty tight timing. Needless to say, these moves are very good, especially the ones with great conversions like Ex Robert's d~u+P or enough start-up invincibility to go right through meaties like King's hcf+P.
Video example #1, Kasumi's hcb, f + A/C Video example #2, King's hcf + A/C