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The King of Fighters '98 UMFE/Saisyu Kusanagi

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The King of Fighters '98 UMFE


Saisyu is the cocky, old-fashioned father of KOF's iconic protagonist, Kyo Kusanagi. He enters battle with a more traditional outlook on the Kusanagi style, using the basic principles of the ancient martial art. He is joined up with Heidern and Takuma Sakazaki in '98 to form the Masters Team.


- Light Punch

- Light Kick

- Heavy Punch

- Heavy Kick


Issetsu Seoi Nage - (close) / +

Hikiri Tsuchi - (close) / +

Command Normals

Ge-Shiki Gou Tsui - +

Ge-Shiki Kubu Tsuchi - +

Special Moves

108 Shiki Yami Barai - + /

100 Shiki Oniyaki - + /

427 Shiki Kamukakari - + /

110 Shiki Nata Guruma - + /

720 Shiki Homuragasane 1 - + /

┗ 720 Shiki Homuragasane 2 - + /

Desperation Moves

Ura 108 Shiki Orochinagi - + /

1207 Shiki Tsumugari - + /


Saisyu Kusanagi is an all-rounder character, with a similar moveset to Iori Yagami and EX Kyo Kusanagi. Unlike these two, Saisyu's kit is significantly balanced towards an offensive playstyle, which results in him having strong pressure that leads into equally strong mixups, using a mix of unique tools and standard KOF fundamentals. His neutral ground game is rather weak comparatively, with generally poor far standing normals that can easily get counter-poked or avoided entirely, and a fireball with considerable amounts of recovery that can lead to him receiving a massive punish if the opponent jumps over it. Due to this mix of strengths and weaknesses, Saisyu is a character that requires strong fundamentals, positioning, and most importantly, reads, in order to navigate neutral and start his offence.

Gameplay Overview

Saisyu is an all-rounder character with incredibly strong rushdown, at the cost of having weaker neutral. He requires strong positioning and reads to reach his full potential.
Pros Cons
  • Strong Specials: Saisyu has a plethora of specials, all with their own unique uses. This gives his kit a strong diversity, and allows him to select the right special during a given situation.
  • Suffocating Pressure: Once he has gained an advantage, Saisyu makes the most of it, with various ways to score plus frames and hard knockdowns.
  • Strong Mixups: Saisyu has two grounded overheads, strong low confirms and a strong crossup, all with good reward on hit. This becomes even stronger with Advanced mode's Roll, allowing him to vortex the opponent using ambiguous crossups.
  • Explosive Damage: With meter available, Saisyu can make his confirms count with consistent and highly damaging combos into super.
  • Unsafe Specials: While he has various uses for his specials, almost all of them are unsafe on block and all of them leave Saisyu incredibly vulnerable on whiff. This forces you to be more delicate with how you use them.
  • Stubby Buttons: Saisyu's buttons are extremely short, especially while standing, meaning he struggles in neutral when trying to poke out other characters. Alongside this, his activation range for close normals is really, really, really, really, really bad, so you can end up getting punished majorly for the wrong normal coming out.

System Mechanics

Run VS Step

  • Saisyu does his best with Run enabled, as this greatly enhances his pressure and allows him to unleash his explosive mixups more easily.
  • His step dash shares the animation with his overhead special, 427 Shiki Kamukakari (63214K), which can enhance his mixup potential with Step selected. This will also enhance his neutral potential due to the increased walk speed, at the cost of losing a lot of pressure.

Roll VS Dodge

  • As usual for most 98 UMFE characters, Saisyu does very well with Dodge due to its natural advantages. Also, his reversals are quite good, so they can be buffered after doing a spot dodge. His dodge attack isn't the greatest as it doesn't allow for any special combos, but it still functions well for what it does.
  • Roll is the more intuitive option, and Saisyu can still benefit from having it enabled. Using roll cancels can allow him to create very ambiguous left/right mixups from standing hits, and he can set an ambiguous left/right using a roll after performing a hard knockdown.

Advanced VS Extra

  • Extra gauge has the most benefit for Saisyu, as Quick MAX gives him access to his most damaging combo routes, especially in red health. It also gives him the opportunity to convert from his 6A overhead, greatly enhancing his mixup potential.
  • Advanced is still a good pick for Saisyu, as having an abundance of meter still gives him access to high damage, considering he still has the chance to convert into super from crouching lights.

Team Position

  • With Advanced gauge, Saisyu is best mid or anchor, as to truly shine without Quick MAX he requires a lot of meter to be able to cash out into supers and utilise MAX Mode.
  • In Extra gauge, Saisyu doesn't have a best team position. His hard knockdowns give him easy opportunity to charge meter, and he doesn't rely on red health for solid damage.

Changes from Previous Versions

98 to 98UM


  • cl.C's activation range has been reduced, it can still be linked from a cl.A or 2A
  • f.B now has 3 more active frames
  • Ge-Shiki Gou Tsui (6A) how has 2 frames less startup


  • 108 Shiki Yami Barai (236P) now has 3 frames less recovery
  • Light 427 Shiki Kamukakari (63214B) now has 2 frames less startup, now connects from heavies and 6A
  • Light 720 Shiki Homuragasane 1 (214A) now has 2 frames less startup.
  • You can now juggle from the A version of 720 Shiki Homuragasane (214A)'s second hit.


  • 1207 Shiki Tsumugari (236236P) now has less startup; both A and MAX versions have 5 frames less startup and can now connect from lights.
  • Heavy 1207 Shiki Tsumugari (236236C) is now invulnerable until after the first active frame.

98UM to 98UMFE


  • Light 110 Shiki Nata Guruma (623B)'s second hit now has a larger hitbox, so it shouldn't whiff if the first connects
  • 427 Shiki Kamukakari (63214K) now has less recovery, second hit should be easier to connect if the first connects
  • 720 Shiki Homuragasane 1 (214P)'s first hit now has a bigger hitbox and less recovery


  • 1207 Shiki Tsumugari (236236P)'s A and MAX versions have faster startup


Close Standing Normals

close A
Is this move even real?
- Mid command 2 4 4 +4 +2 -
  • A plus on block normal overshadowed by its pathetic activation range and the existence of 2A, which is more plus and has much more range.
close b
Who decided this isn't a low
- Mid command 4 3 11 -2 -4 -
  • Can be used as combo filler, but is overshadowed by 2A.
  • Not a low, despite its appearance.
  • Can be used to make confirming 236236A from lights easier than with 2A by inputting 2B, 236B, 236A.
close C
THE heavy punch
- Mid command 1 2 (3) 4 24 -8 -10 -
  • One of Saisyu's best normals. Naturally hitconfirms due to the two hits and leads into all of Saisyu's best combos.
  • Not too useful in pressure scenarios, but can be cancelled into 6B for a risky attempt at getting plus frames.
  • Without using Quick MAX, you have to choose between the 2nd hit of this move or cancelling into 6A for heavy confirms, due to pushback.
  • Caution must be applied outside of combos, as the activation range is completely and utterly horrendous.

Far Standing Normals

far A
For when you messed up your light confirm
- Mid - 4 3 8 +1 -1 -
  • Poor range. Will lose out to most jump-ins when used as an anti-air.
  • Minus on block, which makes trying to use cl.A as a pressure tool pretty bad.
far B
- Mid - 6 6 9 -3 -5 -
  • A very serviceable midrange poke.
  • Saisyu doesn't normally want to play the poking game at f.B's optimal range, so the use case for this is rare.
far C
For when the game decides cl.C isn't real
- Mid special 9 4 21 -5 -7 -
  • A slow short range haymaker. It's whiff cancelable, so you can buffer a special behind it to reduce risk of you getting whiff punished.
  • Cancellable, and linkable from a Quick MAX on both versions of 6A, giving Saisyu his strongest combos at red health.
  • It doesn't connect on regular crouchers or shorter, and completely whiffs on even a standing Choi, reducing his strongest combos to character-specific and/or a punish.
far D
- Mid - 7 5 21 -6 -8 -
  • A very strange normal with slow frame data. The hitbox, however, is actually quite good at anti-airing, and so can be used in place of Saisyu's DP if you didn't react in time.

Crouching Normals

crouch A
THE light punch
- Mid command 2 4 4 +4 +2 -
  • Amazing crouching jab for pressure and poking. Excellent frame data and range. Also the main tool for Saisyu's light confirms.
crouch B
- Low - 2 4 5 +3 +1 -
  • A very good low poke that is +1 on block, allowing it to be used in pressure. Saisyu's main low.
crouch C
- Mid command 5 4 27 -11 -13 -
  • This button SUCKS at anti-airing normal jump-ins. However, its hitbox is actually decent for anti-airing crossups, and thus it should only be used for that purpose.
  • Has too much pushback on hit to be used in heavy hitconfirms.
crouch D
- Low special 10 4 23 SKD -9 -
  • Very good sweep, and one of Saisyu's main neutral tools.
  • Despite the slow startup, it is very useful as a poke due to its whiff cancel.

Jumping Normals

jump A
- High - 4 5 - - - -
  • A nice air-to-air.
jump B
THE air normal
- High - 4 11 - - - -
  • The Kusanagi knee. Amazing jump-in, decent air-to-air, amazing crossup.
  • Undoubtedly one of Saisyu's best tools overall.
jump C
- High - 7 4 - - - -
  • A nice jump-in, overshadowed by every other option.
jump D
- High - 7 4 - - - -
  • Fantastic air poke with great range and frame data.
  • Saisyu's main way of controlling the air space in neutral and on defence.
  • Can cross up, but not as reliably as j.B.


- Mid special 14 5 27 SKD -11 -
  • Slow startup, but a decent hitbox alongside some safe cancel options, including small conversions from a counter-hit.
jump CD
Shingo learned this one over Kyo's j.CD for a reason
- Mid - 12 5 - - - -
  • One of the best j.CDs in the game. An amazing hitbox for pressure and air-to-air.
  • Saisyu's most commonly used pressure tool.


Issetsu Seoi Nage

Issetsu Seoi Nage
4/6C (close)
"Brief Shoulder Throw"
- Throw - - - - HKD - -
  • Regular forward throw.
  • Hard knockdown.

Hikiri Tsuchi

Hikiri Tsuchi
4/6D (close)
"Signal-Fire Hammer"
- Throw - - - - HKD - -
  • Regular back throw.
  • Backturned hard knockdown.

Command Moves

Ge-Shiki Gou Tsui

Ge-Shiki Gou Tsui
"Outer Method: Booming Hammer"
- High [Mid] [special] 17 [14] 4 14 +2 0 -
  • One of the best overhead command normals in the game.
  • Links into various moves on Quick MAX, whether cancelled into or not.
  • Great combo filler.
  • True blockstring from cl.C and is 0 on block in all situations.

Ge-Shiki Kubu Tsuchi

Ge-Shiki Kubu Tsuchi
"Outer Method: Headed Mallet"
- Mid - 20 1 10 +9 +7 -
  • A slow normal with fantastic blockstun. A way to sneakily grab some plus frames on an unattentive opponent.
  • Links into various moves on hit, but should mostly be used for pressure.
  • Can be interrupted easily due to its startup.

Special Moves

108 Shiki Yami Barai

108 Shiki Yami Barai
"Method 100: Darkness Sweeper"

236A 236A

- Mid - 11 While on screen 35 - - -

236C 236C

- Mid - 11 While on screen 37 - - -
  • Ground traveling projectile.
  • Overall, it's pretty slow. However, it's also a key part of Saisyu's ground game.
  • Effective use is rather difficult, but a key part of playing Saisyu.
  • Due to Saisyu's subpar long range normals, it is often his main grounded poke, and can work as a solid punish.

100 Shiki Oniyaki

100 Shiki Oniyaki
"Method 100: Ogre Baker"

623A 623A

- Mid - 3 3>11 29 SKD -14 1-3f

623C 623C

- Mid - 3 4>12 40 SKD -43 1-7f
  • A DP with very good startup at 3f, alongside strong range and active frames.
  • Due to his poor anti-air normals, this is his main anti-air. Learn to DP on reaction.
  • Both versions are extremely unsafe on block, as expected.
  • The A version is only invulnerable to the first active frame thus trading against meaties, and the C version is invulnerable to the 4th active frame.

427 Shiki Kamukakari

427 Shiki Kamukakari
"Method 427: Divine Suspension"

63214B 63214B

- High - 17 4>(1)>4 23 SKD -9 -

63214D 63214D

- High - 29 3>(4)>4 17 SKD -3 1-10f
  • Another standing overhead. The B version is faster by 12 frames.
  • The B version has the same startup as 6A, and both versions share a startup animation with his step dash.
  • The B version is unsafe at -9 on block, while the D version is safe at -3 with pushback.
  • The D version has 10 frames of invulnerability on startup, allowing it to be used as a safe Guard Cancel CD bait tool.

110 Shiki Nata Guruma

110 Shiki Nata Guruma
"Method 110: Hatchet Wheel"

623B 623B

- Mid - 8 4>(23)>4 21 HKD -7 -

623D 623D

- Mid - 17 5>(12)>3>(12)>4 23 HKD -7 -
  • B version combos from 2A, D only combos from heavy buttons.
  • Very nice go-to combo move that causes a hard knockdown and has decent damage.
  • B version is a good meterless raw punish tool with more horizontal range than DP.
  • D version is only really good for comboing from heavy buttons.
  • Both versions are heavily unsafe on block.
  • The last hit of the move can be ducked on block under by even regular crouchers, leaving you open for a better punish.

720 Shiki Homuragasane

720 Shiki Homuragasane
214A/C (x2)
214A/C (x2)
"Method 720: Flame Piling"

214A 214A

- Mid - 11 4 25 -9 -11 -

214A > 214P 214A > 214P

- Mid - 17 3>3 20 SKD -5 -

214C 214C

- Mid - 17 4 30 -14 -16 -

214C > 214P 214C > 214P

- Mid - 15 3>4 24 SKD -10 -
  • Saisyu's rekka. Combos from heavy buttons. A version combos into 623C.
  • Gives Saisyu access to his biggest meterless damage (although with only a soft knockdown).
  • The second hit of the A version can combo into Orochinagi if you use Quick MAX, giving Saisyu consistent damage.
  • Both versions are unsafe on block.
  • You can attempt to frametrap by delaying the first and 2nd hit, however, this is wildly unsafe.

Desperation Moves

Ura 108 Shiki Orochinagi

Ura 108 Shiki Orochinagi
"Reverse Method 108: Great Serpent Mower"

2141236P 2141236P

- Mid - 16 10 26 SKD - -

2141236AC 2141236AC

- Mid - 16 19 7 SKD - -
  • A/C versions are identical. Combos from heavy buttons and from using Quick MAX on the 2nd hit of his rekka. His highest damage super.
  • SDM deals even more damage and does multiple hits, while being plus on block. On an air hit (only hits once), you can juggle for one more damage in the corner.
  • Best Orochinagi archetype DM in the game.

1207 Shiki Tsumugari

1207 Shiki Tsumugari
"Method 1207: Metro-Cap Reaper"

236236A 236236A

- Mid - 7 3 39 SKD -24 -

236236C 236236C

- Mid - 14 2 43 SKD -27 1-16f

236236AC 236236AC

- Mid - 7 3 45 SKD -30 -
  • A version has very fast startup. Combos from 2A and 6B. Can punish almost anything unsafe. One of the best raw super punishes in the game, and very strong light confirm tool.
  • C version is slower than A but is a true reversal.
  • SDM is like the A version but deals more damage. Combos from 2A/6B and is just as fast but isn't a reversal.


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


The King of Fighters '98 UMFE


The King of Fighters '98 Ultimate Match Final Edition

FAQSystemControlsGuidesChangelistMatch VideosAdvanced StrategyFrame Data & Hitboxes


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