The King of Fighters '98 UMFE/Benimaru Nikaido

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Benimaru is a character well-equipped for both midrange poking and rushdown. He has a great set of normals and specials to keep the opponent in check so he can go in and run offense. His aerial control is especially good because of his long-range DP and great air-to-air buttons. Once he is in, he has access to a strong low presence, a command grab that lets him run oki afterwards, and good jumping buttons for highs and crossups. On defence, he is difficult to attack because of his strong reactive and reactive anti airs that also stop ground approaches, reversal DP, reversal command grab, low crouching hurtbox, and horizontally narrow hurtbox that makes blockstrings and combos that would otherwise hit, whiff. Benimaru's main weaknesses are his lack of long-ranged tools to fight with, and his floaty jump, which can be a double-edged sword.

Preferred Mode and Position

Benimaru slightly prefers some aspects of Advanced Mode, but overall is a character that can work well in any mode.

Run vs Step

  • Run is preferred for Benimaru, as he has a fast run speed with a fairly low running hurtbox which allow him to quickly close the distance and threaten with his 2B and cross-ups with j.D, or run in and punish opponents who whiff early jump attacks with 2B. Run also allows him to set up his j.D cross-ups more easily since he can jump at any time during it, giving you more control over your spacing.
  • However, Step is also a solid option for Benimaru. The increased walk speed is useful for playing footsies at mid-range, which he is already comfortable doing thanks to his great pokes and DP. In addition, Benimaru's step dash is rather fast, so forward step dash into a command grab (632146P or 6321463214P) becomes a useful burst option for him.

Roll vs Dodge

  • Benimaru prefers Dodge, as he is able to take advantage of his 1-frame command grabs (632146P, 6321463214P) and his fast DP as buffered reversal options after a spotdodge.
  • However, Roll is not bad for him either as he can use it to create an ambiguous left/right mix-up after getting a hard knockdown with his 632146P command grab.

Advanced vs Extra Gauge

  • Benimaru prefers Advanced gauge as he can build meter with his offense and pressure or with his 236P, and he has a variety of ways to open the opponent up (jump-in, low, cross-up, command grab) combined with good meterless combos and great confirms into super, particularly from his 2B, so he can keep piling on the offense and take advantage of having multiple stocks built up to keep comboing into supers.
  • In addition, Benimaru's confirms are still solid even with the increased push-back of Max Mode, so as a mid or anchor he can comfortably activate max and take advantage of the increased damage and discount on SDMs.
  • However, Benimaru also functions well with Extra gauge. He has no problems finding opportunities for charging up meter as he can create space with his great pokes and mobility, and he can also charge meter after the 632146P hard knockdown or after comboing into his 236236P which sends the opponent about a full screen away.
  • While Benimaru does not benefit significantly from quick max compared to other characters, they give him a bit of a damage increase with the increased launch distance of 236C in Max Mode allowing you to combo air 236P into 236236P near the corner, he can quick max his f.D to gain a nice amount of plus frames even on block, and he can quick max his j.D or j.B for a faster overhead that can still combo.

Preferred Position

  • With Advanced gauge, Benimaru can function well at any position: he's a solid battery that can build you meter with his offense and 236P, he has good confirms into his supers from any starter, and he can take advantage of Max Mode.
  • With Extra gauge, Benimaru is better suited for Point or Mid than Anchor, as although Benimaru does like having free supers once he gets into red health range, other characters may be able to take better advantage of having SDM available, especially if they have more damaging Quick Max combos that work from anywhere on the screen.

Changes from Previous Versions

98 to 98UM


  • 5B's damage reduced from 8 to 4 points of damage
  • Hurtbox of 5B extended to the tip of Benimaru's foot
  • Hitbox of j.A shifted upwards, so j.A becomes better for air-to-airs but can no longer crossup


  • 623B's invincibility frames reduced
  • 623D's invincibility frames increased, it is now a proper reversal
  • Increased damage on 632146P
  • j.236P now causes a soft knockdown and lets you juggle after it
  • 236K now deals less stun damage


  • Added a new DM, 214214K
  • 6321463214P is now a 1 frame command grab

98UM to 98UMFE


  • 5B damage increased from 4 to 7 points of damage


  • 236C deals less hits and damage, but now pops the opponent up into a juggle state on hit


  • 214214K's startup decreased by 3 frames
  • MAX 236236P's recovery decreased by 9 frames

Normal Moves



  • Whiffs on short crouchers.
  • Fast and hits high so this does a decent job of checking hops if you hit standing A and they happened to be too close for the far version to come out.
  • Chainable and cancelable.


  • Whiffs on tiny crouchers.
  • Fast and hits high so this does a decent job of checking hops if you hit standing B and they happened to be too close for the far version to come out.
  • Chainable and cancelable.


  • Decent close range combo button that hits higher than cl.D.
  • cl.D is preferred but you may get c.5C if you tried to go for a C throw and the opponent jumped, which cl.C can catch.
  • Cancelable.


  • Your best close range heavy combo button because of its faster startup and larger activation range than cl.C.
  • Cancelable.



  • Whiffs on regular height crouchers.
  • Not as good of a hop anti-air as 5B, but can be useful for angles 5B doesn't cover.
  • Chainable and cancelable.


  • Good hop anti-air and poking button which comes out fast and doesn't have much recovery. Feel free to use this often.
  • Whiffs on short crouchers.


  • Good hop anti-air and poking button.
  • Compared to 5B, 5C is a more damaging hop check and has more of a disjointed hitbox, but is a bit slower, doesn't have as much range, and also has longer recovery.
  • Whiffs on short crouchers.


  • Great poke, has good range with a disjointed hitbox.
  • Also has low invulnerability starting from frame 2 allowing Benimaru to beat out sweeps and even slides with this attack.
  • Can also catch hops, although it's not quite as good as 5B or 5C for this purpose.



  • Quite short ranged 2A, is a bit more plus on block than 2B but other than that not very notable.
  • Chainable and cancelable.


  • An absolute staple in Benimaru's toolkit. Fairly long-ranged low combo starter. Good to use in blockstrings for hit-confirms.
  • Because of its long reach, this move is great for punishing whiffed jump-ins: stick it out where the opponent is about to land and convert to 236C.
  • Chainable and cancelable.


  • Benimaru's longest range cancelable attack and also comes out quite fast at frame 5. Use it for longer-ranged punishes.


  • Mid-range sweep. Comes out fast, and has a nice hitbox and priority. Cancelable.



  • Average j.A. Not much point to this move, as he has better jumping buttons to use.


  • His fastest air button. Can work well as a jump-in, and also an air-to-air if you need speed, although the range isn't as good as j.D.
  • When close to your opponent, this is his best jump-in for pressure since it has a deep-hitting and disjointed hitbox, it comes out fast, and it can be delayed quite a bit in the jump and still hit, making Benimaru's high/low pressure trickier to block.
  • You can option select Benimaru's air throw from j.B by inputting it as j.6BC.
  • Can crossup, although j.D is better for this purpose.


  • An air to air normal that covers the space at Benimaru's head that j.B and j.D don't.
  • You can option select the air throw by inputting it as j.6C. Cancelable to j.236P or j.2D.


  • Benimaru's go-to jumping normal. Can work as either an air-to-air or an air-to-ground.
  • Works well as a poke due to its great horizontal range, it's easy to throw this move out in neutral to cover space.
  • Can easily cross-up from a shorthop or hyperhop, making this a staple of Benimaru's offense.


  • Good air-to-air normal with lots of priority.

CD Normals


  • Long startup, has some low invincibility around when the hitbox appears, and it has a big hitbox with some priority, but this isn't really worth using over Benimaru's other pokes such as j.D, f.B, f.C, or f.D.
  • Cancelable.


  • Solid jump-in normal for pressure and for locking the opponent down. Gives you a lot of plus frames on block
  • Has a downward, deep-hitting hitbox with a disjoint, making this a great air-to-ground, although it can also air-to-air when used at further ranges if you do it early in the jump.
  • On counter-hit, you can confirm into 236236A for good damage. Just do 236 whenever you hit j.CD, watch for the counter-hit, and after confirming it do 236A for the super.


Catch and Shoot: 6/4C (close)

  • Regular throw, techable. Benimaru picks the opponent up and kicks them almost fullscreen away, causing a soft knockdown. Doesn't give you as good oki as the D throw does, but it does throw the opponent forward so this is the better choice if you want to keep the opponent at the corner.

Front Suplex: 6/4D (close)

  • Regular throw, techable. Benimaru picks the opponent up and slams them down behind him, causing a backturned hard knockdown. Gives you a great oki situation, you have time to move in and threaten a cross-up. Rewarding to go for if your back is to the corner, as if successful this throw will put your opponent at the corner with a backturned hard knockdown, giving Benimaru access to the dangerous backturned corner cross-up.

Spinning Knee Drop: 6/2/4C (close, in air)

  • Air grab, not techable. Benimaru throws the opponent down to the ground, causing a hard knockdown. Can be option selected from j.C by doing 6/2/4C, or j.B by doing 6/2/4BC.

Command Moves

Jackknife Kick: 6B

  • Will not combo from lights or heavies.
  • Cancelable raw and when canceled into.
  • Can be used as a way to mix up your block pressure, but don't cancel into this too often. This move is quite slow so it will create a big gap that the opponent can mash through if they're ready.

Flying Drill: j.2D (in air)

  • Safe-on-block divekick. Good for pressure and changing up your jump-in angle.
  • When blocked it sets up Benimaru's offense and mixups.
  • Has a lot of recovery, so punishable if whiffed.

Special Moves

Raijinken: 236A/C (can be performed in the air)

  • The A version hits in front of Benimaru, while the C version hits diagonally above Benimaru. Both versions have a lot of active frames, making them good at controlling space in front of you.
  • 236A doesn't knock down grounded opponents, but is a relatively safe blockstring ender and does some chip damage on block.
  • 236C launches opponents on hit, allowing you any followup you want. But it won't hit ANY CROUCHER, even Chang. They can crouch and punish it easily. Try to use this at a range where you won't get whiff punished too hard if the opponent crouched under it.
  • 236C's electric ball has a big, very disjointed hitbox and lots of active frames all of which can launch and lead to a conversion, making it an amazing anti-air. Although, it is a bit on the slower side being active on frame 11 and doesn't have any invincibility, so try to use this more as a pre-emptive anti-air against hops. You can use this on reaction to full/super jumps or even slow-moving specials such as Ralf Kick.
  • On block, the enemy is pushed back midscreen, while in the corner point blank, Benimaru is open for punishment while he is in recovery.

Benimaru Collider: 632146A/C (close)

  • Command grab that leaves opponent right in front of you with hard knockdown, giving you amazing oki opportunities.

Triple Resist Kick: 63214B/D

  • Has short full invincibility on startup, although this ends far before the first active frame.
  • Mostly a combo move from heavies.
  • Both versions punishable on block.

Shinku Katategoma: 214A/C

  • Has some invincibility on startup, B version has more than D version.
  • Can be used to combo from heavies.
  • Can be used for dealing some chip damage.

Iai Geri: 236B/D

  • Causes hard knockdown against airborne opponents.
  • Safe blockstring ender.
  • Has a rather high stun value compared to Benimaru's other moves, you can stun the opponent if you happen to hit them with this several times in a row in blockstrings or combos, but this is quite rare and in most situations Benimaru has better combo enders so don't count on it.

Super Lightning Kick: 623B/D

  • B version doesn't knockdown, while D version does
  • B version's startup has brief full invincibility, followed by some lower body invincibility.
  • D version has full invincibility up until the first active frame, so it can be used as a reversal.
  • 623D is Benimaru's best meterless combo ender from a 2B, as it works even after three 2Bs or a jump-in plus two 2Bs, and it knocks down.
  • Punishable if whiffed.

Desperation Moves

Raiko Katategoma: 214214B/D

  • DM version of Shinku Katategoma.
  • Very fast DM you can use to end any combo.
  • Combos from 2B and doesn't require confirming if the opponent is standing, unlike 236C > 236236A. This is your go-to combo ender super if the opponent is crouching.
  • MAX version does more damage.

Electrigger: 6321463214A/C (close)

  • 0f start up command grab DM. Damage isn't super high, but this is useful if you want more damage off a command grab than you would get with 632146P.
  • MAX version does more damage.

Raikoken: 236236A/C

  • DM version of his Raijinken.
  • Does have a big hitbox and is somewhat safe if spaced on block, but this is mostly used as a combo ender as Benimaru has safer options to throw out in neutral that don't cost meter.
  • Good in certain combos, mostly from heavies or after a launch since this does not combo from light attacks.
  • MAX version does more damage.


General Notes

  • If you have the resource, 236236P can be replaced with 236236AC for more damage.
  • Note: 2B to 236C will fail on Kensou, Mai, and Choi even if they are standing.
  • An extra 2B can be added to jump-in combos if they're done starting from a cross-up.



2Bx2~3 > 236D
  • You can 2B up to 3 times depending on the distance, tip range won't work so be careful.
2Bx2~3 > 623D
  • More damaging than the previous combo and knocks down, although it needs to be hit-confirmed since 623D is unsafe on block.
  • This is your go-to low combo when the opponent is crouching.
2Bx2~3 > 236C > j.CD/623D
  • Only works on standing opponents. This is your go-to low combo when the opponent is standing.
  • Ending with j.CD gives you amazing corner carry, The j.CD must be off of a superjump.
  • Ending with 623D is more damaging than j.CD but you get worse oki since the opponent is knocked far away from you.


(j.X) > cl.D/2C, 63214D
  • Nice damage combo you can get from heavy buttons.
(j.X) > 2Bx2 > 236C > j.CD
  • Less damaging than the previous combo, but better corner carry and oki. Also lets you hit confirm off 2B which is better for pressure than c.D as it leaves you closer, can be staggered, and has better frames on block.
  • Only works on standing opponents. The j.CD must be off of a superjump.
(j.X) > 2Bx2 > 623D
  • Use this combo if you want to hit-confirm off 2B and the opponent is crouching.


2Bx2~3 > 236C > j.236P > 236D/623D
  • Damaging corner combo from a low. Only works on standing opponents.
  • The j.236P must be done from a forward or neutral hop.
  • Ending with 236D gives you a sliding hard knockdown which gives you a lot of time to set up oki.
  • Ending with 623D is a bit more damaging but the oki is worse since the opponent can tech roll the soft knockdown, however the combo also leaves you right next to them so you can go for a command grab or C/D throw after their tech roll.
(j.X) > 2Bx2 > 236C > j.236P > 236D/623D
  • Jump-in version of the above combo. Only works on standing opponents.

With Meter


2Bx2~3 > 214214K
  • Basic low confirm into DM. Use this super confirm against crouching opponents.
2Bx2~3 > 236C > 236236A
  • Only works on standing opponents. Requires a microwalk or run before the 236236P.


(j.X) > cl.D/c.C > 236236A
  • Super confirm off a heavy button.
(j.X) > 2Bx2, 214214K
  • Super confirm if you want to hit-confirm with 2B, use this against crouching opponents.
(j.X) > 2Bx2, 236C, 236236A
  • Super confirm if you want to hit-confirm with 2B, use this only against standing opponents.


2Bx2~3 > 236C, j.236A > 236236AC
(j.X) > 2Bx2 > 236C > j.236A > 236236AC
  • Requires 3 bars in Advanced gauge
  • Only works on standing opponents. The j.236A must be off of a hop.
  • Note: if you're already in max mode, you can do the above two combos ending with the level 1 236236A due to the increased launch height of 236C.

With Quick MAX


2Bx2~3 > ABC > cl.D > 63214D
  • Useful quick max combo: works on either standing or crouching opponents, and does almost the same damage as comboing into 236C > 236236A but also keeps you in max mode.
  • Try to do a small microwalk before the cl.D. To make this easier, you can simply hold forward after quick maxing.


(j.X) > 2Bx2 > ABC > cl.D > 63214D
  • Jump-in version of the above combo.


2Bx2 > ABC > 2B > 236C > j.236A > 236236A
(j.X) > 2B > ABC > 2B > 236C > j.236A > 236236A
  • For these combos you don't need to be right up next to the corner, but you do need to be close enough to where the combo will carry the opponent to the corner after the j.236A.
  • The j.236A should be done from a hyperhop if you're not right next to the corner. If you're right next to the corner, a neutral hop will work fine.


King of Fighters 98 UM FE: Benimaru Guide by Mash It Out

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