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The King of Fighters '98 UMFE/Mai Shiranui

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Mai is the cheerful fan-favourite kunoichi with an iconic design and a peculiar infatuation with Andy Bogard. She uses flame-based attacks along with Shiranui-ryuu ninjutsu to fight. In '98, she continues on with the same team as '97, teaming with Chizuru Kagura and King to form the Women Fighters Team.


Gameplay Overview

Mai EX Mai
Character Comparison
Gameplan differences

Mai has a more well-rounded and relatively safer toolkit, including a DP.

EX Mai's toolkit is a mix between safe keepaway tools and risky offensive tools.

Combo differences

Mai has high damage using Quick MAX and Dodge Cancel, but requires red health to do solid damage.

EX Mai has even higher damage than Mai using the same mechanics, with less of a requirement for red health. Her most damaging routes also give her a hard knockdown, allowing her to charge more meter or run strong okizeme.

Neutral

Both versions of Mai have extremely similar neutral presences. However, regular Mai has access to a DP for her reversal-style anti-air.

EX Mai has more movement options due to being granted regular Andy's divekick (Genei Shiranui, j.236K), and her reversal-style anti-air is more akin to a flash kick.

Preferred System Mechanics

Mai necessitates both Extra and Attack Cancel Dodge to shine. Her zoning gameplan gives her many opportunities to charge her meter, but she needs red health to gain the most reward from these mechanics.

EX Mai is generally similar to regular Mai in the fact she is optimal with Extra and Attack Cancel Dodge, alongside the same opportunities to charge meter. However, her super routes are much better in and out of red health, often giving her very solid damage and a hard knockdown.

Mai is a midrange poking character with excellent mobility and keepaway strategies. Mai has access to some great pokes to control space in front of her that can make approaching her difficult. When the opponent starts jumping to beat these, Mai has access to a DP, good air-to-air options, and an air throw to stop them. At long ranges, Mai has a fireball and a fireball DM to control space with. Up close, Mai is a bit weaker, as she's lacking in good light confirms, but she can still has a few solid pressure options. On defense, Mai suffers some because her DP is not fully invincible.

Changes from Previous Versions

98 to 98UM

Normals:

  • nj.B's priority has been reduced
  • 2D's priority has been reduced

Specials:

  • 236P's recovery has been shortened
  • Both hits of 623K now launch the opponent on hit

Supers:

  • 236236P can now be performed in the air
  • The 12f gap between the 2nd and 3rd fan of 236236P has been removed

98UM to 98UMFE

Specials:

  • 623P now has less recovery, the A version is -1 on block, and the C version is -10 on block

Supers:

  • 236236P now has faster startup, the A version has slightly slower projectile speed, and the C and MAX versions have slightly faster projectile speed
  • 214214P now has less recovery

Normal Moves

Close

  • cl.A: Fairly standard cl.A. Her best choice when it comes to combos from lights. Chainable and cancelable.
  • cl.B: Mai's only other cancelable light besides cl.A, and simply a worse choice than that when it comes to combos and cancels. Cancelable.
  • cl.C: Works well as an anti-air when they're close enough for it to activate. Cancelable.
  • cl.D: Hits a good vertical area in front of Mai. Another decent anti-air if they're up close, but it doesn't have as much range as cl.C, so stick to that one for anti-airing purposes. Cancelable.

Standing

  • 5A: Fast poke, but with short reach and bad priority.
  • 5B: Fast and has long range. Excellent poke to stop the opponent's hops. Whiffs on all crouchers.
  • 5C: Poke with decent range that can function as an anti-air for hops and occasionally jumps. Can also be used as an occasional poke to try and beat an opponent's button.
  • 5D: Has low invincibility starting from the active frames through half of the recovery frames.

Crouching

  • 2A: Long range and good priority for a 2A, so it works well as a poke.
  • 2B: Mai's only low combo starter and therefore an important tool, but when compared to other 2Bs it is quite slow. Chainable.
  • 2C: Mai's main combo normal alongside 2B. It comes out fast, has good range, and has a nice amount of active frames, making it good for meaties. This also makes it a good hit-confirming tool. Cancelable.
  • 2D: It has good range, a nice amount of active frames (making it good for meaties), and is cancelable into 236P or something like [2]8P. Altogether a nice sweep. Cancelable.

Jumping

  • j.A: Has a nice long hitbox below her, so it can be used as a jump-in, though it is outclassed by j.D for this. Cancelable.
  • nj.A: A jumping attack very similar to j.A, but with her fan fully unfolded. Just like with j.A, Mai has better options for downwards-hitting attacks than this.
  • j.B: This move has nice priority, making it useful as an air-to-air. Can also crossup.
  • nj.B: Long hitbox in front of her, but doesn't have good priority, so it's prone to trading or getting beaten as an air-to-air. As a result, it's best to avoid this move.
  • j.C: This move comes out fast and has a good hitbox for air-to-airs. On grounded opponents it has less hitstun than other jumping heavies, making it trickier to combo out of, as you need to do the following attack in the combo very quickly. Cancelable.
  • nj.C: Can hit people above Mai, but has no other real use.
  • j.D: Mai's main jump-in attack of choice, as it is fairly fast and has a good hitbox. It can also be used as an air-to-air when jumping back. Cancelable.
  • nj.D: Your best air-to-air normal when you happen to be neutral jumping.

Throws

Shiranui Flaming Steel Crush: 4/6C (close)

  • Regular throw, techable. Mai grabs the opponent and does a frontflip above the opponent, then flings them forward a full screen away. Mai moves forward a bit with the throw.

Windmill Destroyer: 4/6D (close)

  • Regular throw, techable. Mai grabs the opponent's head with her legs and does a backflip, carrying the opponent with her and flinging them back almost full screen away. Mai moves forward a bit with the throw.

Cherry Blossom Phantasm: 4/2/6C (close, in air)

  • Air throw, not techable. Mai grabs the opponent in the air and brings them straight down to the ground. Causes hard knockdown.

Command Moves

Crimson Crane Dance: 3B

  • A sliding kick that hits twice.
  • Hits low.
  • Does not low-profile moves.
  • Not cancelable.
  • Causes soft knockdown.

Black Swallow Dance: 6B

  • A long forwards-hopping kick.
  • Hits overhead.
  • Has a lot of startup, but is plus on block.
  • On hit, you can link a 2C or perform a quickmax into slide afterwards for a combo if you're close enough.
  • Can be used as a nice frametrap when canceled into.

Fortune's Wheel Drop: j.2A

  • A downwards hammerfist.
  • Has quite small range, but deals a lot of hitstun and blockstun, so it can be used as a combo starter as well as for pressure.
  • When used during a backdash, it makes the backdash go faster and further. The earlier you do it, the further the backdash will go.
  • Causes a hard knockdown on aerial hit.

Special Moves

Kacho Sen: 236A/C

  • Mai chucks a fan as a projectile.
  • A version travels slower than the C version, but they both travel fullscreen.
  • Can be hopped over.
  • One of the key tools of Mai's long-range zoning game, as the A version projectile recovers fast enough for Mai to react to the opponent's reaction to the fireball.
  • Not great to use midscreen, as the opponent can easily jump or hop over it for a punish. At that range you also have 214P, which covers a similar space but with less recovery.

Ryu En Bu: 214A/C

  • Mai produces a flame strike with the tail of her dress.
  • Counts as a projectile. This gives it amazing priority, as the entire fireball doesn't have a hurtbox. It's essentially a big fiery shield in front of Mai.
  • One of Mai's good anti-air options for jumps from further away.
  • It also works well as a safe pressure tool, as the opponent can't really contest it head-on, and its large hitbox and generous amount of active frames make it good to catch hops, ill-timed jumps, and roll recovery frames.
  • Does not knock down.
  • This move is really good, so use it a lot.

Flying Dragon Blast: 623B/D

  • An upwards flame strike.
  • This is Mai's DP and her primary anti-air. Great to use in combination with her fireball for a classic zoning game.
  • Unsafe on block or whiff.
  • Has startup invincibility, but it ends as the first active frame comes out, so it can't really be used as a proper reversal as it will at best trade with meaties.
  • On an air trade, it knocks the opponent up into a juggle state.
  • Causes a soft knockdown.

Deadly Ninja Bees: 41236B/D

  • Mai does a cartwheeling kick that carries her forward.
  • Mostly good as a combo ender, since it's very risky to throw out in neutral. However, it can technically function as an anti-air.
  • Very unsafe on block.
  • Causes a soft knockdown.

Snowy Heron Dance: 623A/C

  • Mai does a spinning dance move with two fans stretched out.
  • A version is safe on block, making it a nice combo tool.
  • C version is unsafe on block, but can be used as a combo tool.
  • Causes a soft knockdown.

Flying Squirrel Dance: [2]8A/C (can be held)

  • Mai jumps to the edge of the screen behind her.
  • When done without the followup, Mai simply falls to the ground below the wall. This can be a good occasional escape option if you want to create some distance from the opponent.
  • If done with the followup by holding the button, Mai does a diving attack diagonally downwards. Actually hitting an opponent with this followup can be tricky, as it will most likely miss if they're not committing to some forward movement.
  • If spaced well, the followup can be made fairly safe on block.
  • Followup causes a soft knockdown.

Flying Squirrel Dance: 214A/C (in air)

  • Identical to the divekick followup to the full version of the move, but can be done anywhere onscreen so long as Mai is in the air. Good for changing jump trajectory.

Desperation Moves

Super Deadly Ninja Bees: 2141236B/D

  • Mai does cartwheeling kick similar to her 41236K, but this one is more fiery and deals more hits.
  • B version starts up faster and the flames part comes out quicker, while the D version is the opposite.
  • D version is good for combo-ing into.
  • Has startup invincibility.
  • Causes a soft knockdown.
  • The MAX version has a lot more invincibility, making it a good reversal. It also does more damage.

Phoenix Fandango: 214214A/C (can be performed in the air)

  • Mai jumps up and starts spinning, creating a big wheel of fire; she then travels diagonally downwards towards the ground.
  • A version goes a shorter distance than the C version.
  • Can be used for gimmicky crossup shenanigans.
  • The air version goes straight down, and can be good as an unpredictable attack.
  • Causes a soft knockdown.
  • MAX version does more hits and damage, and is a part of Mai's 100% combo on big-bodied characters.

Waterfowl Fandango: 236236A/C

  • Mai throws a series of fan projectiles.
  • The A version's projectiles travel slower than the C version's.
  • Can be used as a zoning move, as well as an anti-zoning move against an opponent's projectile. It can also be used as a combo tool.
  • The opponent cannot roll through all the fans at once.
  • Cannot be low-profiled.
  • Causes a soft knockdown.

Combos

General Notes

Meterless

Low

2B, cl.A, 41236B/214C
BnB from a low confirm. 41236B is the most damaging meterless option, but 214C can also be used as a safer option that doesn't knock down.

Mid/Jump-In

(j.X), 2C, 41236D/214C
BnB for punishes or jump-ins. 41236B is the most damaging meterless option, but 214C can also be used as a safer option that doesn't knock down.

Other

6B, 2C, 41236D
Link combo from a close 6B overhead hit.

With Meter

Low

2B, cl.A, 2141236D

Mid/Jump-In

(j.X), 2C, 2141236D
j.D, 2C, 236236AC, 214214AC
Mai's 100% combo. Only works on big-bodied characters. Requires 5 Advanced mode stocks, with MAX Mode activated prior to the start of the combo.

Other

6B, 2C, 2141236D
Link combo from a close 6B overhead hit.
3B(1), AB, A/B/C/D, 41236D/2141236K
Slide conversion with Extra mode dodge selected. Requires 1 stock for the dodge cancel.

With Quick MAX

6B, ABC, 3B (1), AB, A/B/C/D, 41236D/2141236K
Overhead conversion that involves both overhead Quick MAX and slide dodge cancel. Requires Extra mode dodge.
6B, ABC, 3B
Overhead conversion into slide if you do not have Extra mode dodge selected.

Strategy & Tips

Videos

{{#ev:youtube|8U10nqSdYMw|||King of Fighters 98 UM FE: Mai Guide by Mash It Out|frame}} {{#ev:youtube|yDXo4lk1gSQ|||King of Fighters 98 UMFE: Mai / EX Mai Quick MAX Combos by surabu!|frame}}

External Links

The King of Fighters '98 Ultimate Match Final Edition
System

FAQSystemControlsGuidesChangelistMatch VideosAdvanced StrategyFrame Data & Hitboxes

Characters

Andy BogardAthena AsamiyaBenimaru NikaidoBilly KaneBlue MaryBrian BattlerChang KoehanChin GentsaiChizuru KaguraChoi BoungeChrisClark StillEiji KisaragiGeese HowardGoro DaimonHeavy D!HeidernIori YagamiJoe HigashiKasumi TodohKim KaphwanKingKyo KusanagiLeona HeidernLucky GlauberMai ShiranuiMatureMr. BigRalf JonesRobert GarciaRugal BernsteinRyo SakazakiRyuji YamazakiSaisyu KusanagiShermieShingo YabukiSie KensouTakuma SakazakiTerry BogardViceWolfgang KrauserYashiro NanakaseYuri Sakazaki

EX Characters

EX AndyEX BillyEX Blue MaryEX GeeseEX JoeEX KingEX KyoEX MaiEX RobertEX RyoEX TerryEX YamazakiEX YuriOrochi ChrisOrochi ShermieOrochi Yashiro