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The King of Fighters '98 UMFE/Rugal Bernstein

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Rugal needs no introduction, being KOF's most iconic recurring villain. After dying in '95, he returns as strong as ever in '98's dream match, as a Single Entry.


Rugal's gameplan is a mix of projectile zoning, poking, and corner pressure. For his zoning, he has a ground-travelling projectile, a big super projectile that he can use to destroy other fireballs, and a fireball reflector move he can use to counterzone as well. He also has a nice selection of big normals poke and control space with. To complement his zoning game, Rugal has a pretty solid DP that works both as a reversal and anti-air. Rugal is unique in that his main combo special will carry the opponent to the corner, so he gets to spend a lot more time with the opponent cornered than other characters. Up close, he has access to some nice low blockstrings, an untechable hold throw, and some good jump-ins. Rugal's main weaknesses are that he doesn't have great buttons to stop hops, and no great air-to-airs either.

Gameplay Overview

Rugal is an all-rounder character with good pokes, good zoning, and basic corner pressure. His main weaknesses are his weak options for both anti air and air to air.
Pros Cons
  • Good Screen Control: Rugal excels at controlling space with his wide variety of tools. Dark Barrier works well at reflecting projectiles. Reppuken has 2 different versions (fast and slow), and Kaiser Wave not only has 2 different versions as well, and can also be charged. This makes winning the zoning game against Rugal tricky.
  • Good Pokes: Rugal has access to good pokes, which gives him an edge against characters with stubby normals. 2D in particular is one of the best pokes in the game, due to it's fast recovery, long range, good hitbox, and being special cancellable.
  • Amazing Corner Carry: Rugal is able to confirm light and heavy normals into either God Press (special) or Gigantic Pressure (super). Both of them gives him access to fullscreen corner carry.
  • Big Damage with Extra Metter: Although not mandatory in order to play the character, the Dodge + Extra metter combination gives Rugal a really potent option for combos. A simple cr.B is enough to convert into 50% damage or even more, which also gives fullscreen corner carry as a bonus.
  • Poor anti airs: Rugal can deal with air buttons, but his options demand commitment, since said options do not cover multiple options for approaches (hops, jumps, slides, etc).
  • Weak air to airs: Rugal could play around his weak anti airs if he had good air to airs, but unfortunately, he doesn't have any great air to airs either. His bests option for this, which is his j.C, will whiff against characters with high jumping archs.
  • Polarizing Match Ups: Due to his natural weakness against air game, Rugal suffers against characters that jump a lot. Not only that, characters that don't play by conventional poking and zoning rules such as O.Shermie or Eiji can feel like unwinnable match ups sometimes, since you can't play around Rugal's strengths against them.

System Mechanics

Run vs Step

  • Both options are equally viable, Rugal doesn't gain much from either of them, really. You could pick Run in order to move faster, since Rugal is on the slower side of things when it comes to mobility, or you could pick Step, to gain access to a quick step + throw game, if in range. It's up to you.

Roll vs Dodge

  • Roll does have it's benefits, although it's not the recommended option for Rugal in general. Roll helps him out a lot in certain match ups, like O.Shermie, which is a zoner that forces Rugal to advance in order to fight, since he cannot reflect her zoning, or use Kaiser Wave in a safe way.
  • Dodge is probably what you should be using most of the time. It gives you one more tool to deal with zoning, and also gives you access to his quickmax combo. As a bonus, punishing certain moves become a trivial task, such as Geese's Double Reppuken, since you can dodge and buffer his Genocide Cutter.

Advanced vs Extra

  • Advanced gauge does what you expect it to do, gives you plenty of meter to use, both for defense (blowback) or offense (Combos, raw Max mode). Advanced doesn't really benefits Rugal in any special way, but it's not necessarily bad. If you have another character in your team that REALLY needs Advanced gauge, then you can use it and Rugal will still work just fine.
  • Extra gauge is the best option for Rugal. It gives you access to his quickmax combo, which increases his damage potential by a lot. Due to the nature of the character, you'll be a lot of times from mid to long range, which also helps charging meter safely.

Team Position

  • Where Rugal goes on your team depends on your other 2 characters. He's a flexible character and can work in any position, so it's up to you. He's slightly better as an anchor, because, assuming you have Dodge + Extra gauge, you're likely to hit the MAX version of his super as a combo ender for his quickmax combo, which can easily end a round, but then again, it's up to you, he's flexible enough to work in any position and will do just fine as a point or mid as well.

Changes from Previous Versions

98 to 98UM


  • st.B can now be canceled
  • st.C now has 5 frames less startup and 5 frames less recovery, can be canceled, and does more damage
  • st.D now has 11 frames less recovery and does more damage
  • cr.D now has 5 frames less startup
  • f+B's second hit now does more damage
  • j.C now has 4 frames less startup
  • GCCD animation is now his cl.C


  • qcf+P now has less recovery
  • qcf+K now has less recovery
  • f,hcf+P has had a damage increase
  • f,hcf+A now has less startup
  • dp+D invincibility has been increased to the first active frame
  • hcb+C has had a damage increase


  • qcf,hcb+P has had a damage increase
  • qcfx2+K now has less startup

98UM to 98UMFE


  • st.B's startup is now faster by 1 frame
  • cl.D's startup is now faster by 3 frames, and its recovery has been reduced by 5 frames

Normal Moves


  • cl.A: A two-hit normal. The first hit is lower and will hit crouchers. The second hit hits higher up and will whiff on most crouchers. His fastest normal, so use it when you need speed. Cancelable.
  • cl.B: A lower-hitting knee strike. No real special use for this, since he has a st.B that is a lot better. Cancelable.
  • cl.C: Rugal's best heavy combo normal. Has two hits and both are cancelable.
  • cl.D: A two-hit close normal. The two hits have a large gap, so the opponent can actually reversal or dodge/roll out in between the hits. The first hit is cancelable, but the second one is not.


  • st.A: A fairly low-hitting st.A, making it hard to stop hops with it. Good close- to mid-range check button.
  • st.B: A cancelable low with good range. A staple of Rugal's blockstrings and combos.
  • st.C: A two-hit normal. The first part has less range than the second one, but both have good priority. Has very long recovery, so don't whiff it. Cancelable.
  • st.D: A two-part normal. The first part hits higher up and can anti-air. The second part hits lower to the ground. Has long startup, so be careful when you use it.


  • cr.A: A very standard cr.A. Good for combos and blockstrings. Chainable and cancelable.
  • cr.B: A long-range low cr.B. Good for combos and blockstrings. Chainable.
  • cr.C: Two-hit normal. The first part is a poke that's low to the ground, and the second part is a slightly higher anti-air. Cancelable on hit, block, or whiff. As amazing as this sounds, it has low priority and thus has no good use anti airing, and cr.D is better for being a low to the ground poke.
  • cr.D: Very long-range cancelable sweep. Great for poking with. Cancelable on hit, block, or whiff.


  • j.A: Standard jump-in normal and his fastest air-to-air normal.
  • nj.A: Another jump-in.
  • j.B: Good crossup jump-in.
  • nj.B: Another jump-in.
  • j.C: Good jump-in normal. Has more priority than j.D.
  • nj.C: Okay air-to-air normal.
  • j.D: Good jump-in for crossups.
  • nj.D: Air normal with two parts. First part is good for air-to-airs and the second part is good for jump-ins.

CD Normals

  • st.CD: Good anti-airing hitbox. The long startup on it mostly makes it good as a preemptive anti-air. Not many active frames. Cancelable on hit, block, or whiff.
  • j.CD: Good jump-in button for blockstun pressure.


Scorpion Deathlock: b/f+C (close)

  • Hold throw, not techable. Opponent can get out of the throw before full damage is dealt, so you'll have to mash buttons to get standard damage. Causes a soft knockdown.

Scorpion Blow: b/f+D (close)

  • Regular throw, techable. Rugal throws the opponent fullscreen away behind him. Causes a backturned soft knockdown.

Command Normals

Double Tomahawk: f+B

  • Can be combo-ed into from lights.
  • Cancelable on the first hit only.
  • Second hit is an overhead.

Special Moves

Reppuken: qcf+A/C

  • Rugal throws a ground-travelling projectile.
  • Can be hopped over.
  • Disadvantage from point blank, but as soon as it travels a little before hitting the opponent (canceled from st.C or c.B, c.A, f+B, etc.) you will be at good advantage.

Kaiser Wave: f,hcf+A/C (can be held)

  • Rugal throws a big projectile.
  • Can charge the move by holding down the button.
  • Can be charged up to level 3. Each level adds one more hit, dealing more damage.
  • Each level increases the size of the hitbox. At levels 1 and 2, there is a dead zone in Rugal's arms. At level 3, the dead zone no longer exists due to the size of the projectile.
  • Cannot be combo-ed into.
  • A version comes out faster, while C version travels faster.
  • Can cancel out other normal projectiles and DM projectiles. When used against Krauser's or Rugal's Kaiser Wave, charge level dictates which one gets canceled out. In the event of a tie, both projectiles lose.

God Press: hcb+A/C

  • Rugal runs forwards and strikes the opponent. On hit he grabs them and runs to the corner.
  • This is a hitgrab, so it is considered a normal blockable attack but the effect on hit is like a grab.
  • Can combo from lights and heavies.
  • Rugal's main combo special, as it gives him a free corner carry from almost any confirm.
  • Absolutely horrible on block, only confirm into this.
  • Causes a hard knockdown.

Dark Barrier: qcf+B/D

  • Rugal creates an energy shield in front of him.
  • Reflects enemy projectiles.
  • Also does its own damage if used close enough to the opponent.
  • Causes a soft knockdown.
  • Can technically be used as an anti-air, but you probably shouldn't.
  • Decently negative on block, and despite its appearance, hitting it meaty does not improve the frame advantage.

Genocide Cutter: dp+B/D

  • Rugal's DP.
  • B version is faster and shorter, D version is stronger and goes higher.
  • The B version hitbox is actually nothing like what the move looks like. This will not work as an anti-air at all, as both hits are very close to the ground. Only has use as a psychic DP against low/mid pokes.
  • D version is an anti-air. Has startup invincibility and can be used as a reversal.
  • Very punishable on block.
  • On trade, it pops the opponent up into a juggle state, and Rugal can follow up with an extra hit if he's in range.

Desperation Moves

Gigantic Pressure: qcf,hcb+A/C

  • DM version of God Press.
  • Combos off of lights.
  • Takes opponent to the corner, like God Press.
  • Like God Press, is awful on block. Only confirm into this.
  • Causes a hard knockdown.
  • MAX version takes the opponent to the other corner after the first corner, and also deals more damage.

Dead End Screamer: qcfx2+B/D

  • Rugal jumps into the air and comes down with a stomp. On hit, he starts spinning on the opponent.
  • Unblockable.
  • Button used controls trajectory of Rugal's jump.
  • Ideal for surprising the opponent by jumping over their fireballs, although this becomes predictable.
  • Won't connect during blockstun, but will combo during hitstun.
  • Can also cause fireballs to become unblockable, but the timing is so specific that it's not really practical (you can try it out with fullscreen qcf+A, qcfx2+D).
  • MAX version mirrors the D version's speed and trajectory, but does more damage and has longer recovery on hit.


General Notes:

  • In any metered combo, you can replace qcf,hcb+P with qcf,hcb+AC or qcfx2+k with qcfx2+BD for more damage if you have the resources.



cr.B, cr.B, st.B, f+B(1), hcb+A/C
5-hit low hcb+P confirm. Does good damage and sets up Rugal's corner pressure.


cr.A, cr.A, st.B, f+B(1), hcb+A/C
Rugal's confirm from his fastest normal.
cl.C, f+B(1), hcb+A/C:
Rugal's hcb+P confirm from a standing heavy. Not much else to say.
(j.X), cl.C, f+B(1), hcb+A/C
Rugal's main meterless BnB as a punish or from a jump-in, mainly j.D. Free corner carry and damage.
(j.B), cl.C, f+B(1), hcb+A/C
Rugal's crossup combo into a heavy.
(j.B), cr,A, cr.A, st.B, f+B(1), hcb+A/C
Rugal's crossup combo into a light link.
f+B(1), hcb+A/C
Rugal's far-reaching punish.


qcf+K, dp+D
Rugal's conversion from a counterhit qcf+K near or in the corner. Pretty specific, but good to know.

With Meter


cr.B, cr.a, qcf,hcb+A/C
Rugal's easiest low confirm into qcf,hcb+P.
cr.B, cr.B, st.B, f+B(1), qcf,hcb+A/C
Rugal's most-damaging low confirm into qcf,hcb+P. Much more executionally demanding. You can switch the second cr.B for cr.A to use the button-hold technique for the DM.


st.C, qcf,hcb+A/C
Rugal's far heavy confirm. Really good as poke pressure, but not if they get hit out of the air.
cl.C, f+B(1), qcf,hcb+A/C
Rugal's main heavy confirm into qcf,hcb+P.
(j.X), cl.C, f+B(1), qcf,hcb+A/C
Rugal's main metered combo from a jump-in.


qcf+A, qcfx2+B/D
Rugal's unblockable confirm into qcfx2+K. Can set up from both soft and hard knockdowns but timing varies, mainly from st.CD, j.CD, and cr.D.

Quick Dodge

(j.X), cl.C, f+B(1), AB, qcf,hcb+A/C
f+B, AB, qcf,hcb+A/C:
Note that this requires you to be close to the opponent to work as intended.


qcf+B/D, qcf,hcb+A/C
Metered version of the counterhit qcf+K conversion.

With Quick Max


cr.B, ABC, cl.C, f+B(1), hcb+A/C
cr.B, ABC, cl.C, f+B(1), qcf,hcb+A/C
cr.B, cl.A, ABC, cl.C/D(1), f+B(1), AB (Hit), qcf,hcb+A/C

Rugal's most damaging combo by far, can work from a cross up j.B or j.D and sometimes non cross up jump ins based on spacing. The cl.A can be substituted for a cl.B or another cr.B if too far away for cl.A, but cl.A does the most damage of all 3 options. Mid/Jump-In

st.C, f+B, AB (hit), qcf,hcb+A/C

Strategy & Tips


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

QQ拳皇98UMFE - 2015兩岸大師賽 - 中國UP V.S 台灣ET (Vs. Benimaru/Yuri) http://youtu.be/Z7fuvvHpOhE?t=1m48s

External Links

The King of Fighters '98 Ultimate Match Final Edition

FAQSystemControlsGuidesChangelistMatch VideosAdvanced StrategyFrame Data & Hitboxes


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