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The King of Fighters 2002 UM/Kusanagi

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Hatsugane - close, / +

Issetsu Seoi Nage - close, / +

Command Moves

Geshiki: Goufu You - +

Geshiki: Naraku Otoshi - in air, / / +

88 Shiki - +

Special Moves

108 Shiki: Yami Barai - + /

100 Shiki: Oniyaki - + /

75 Shiki: Kai - + / , /

910 Shiki: Nue Tsumi - + /

101 Shiki: Oboro Guruma - + /

212 Shiki: Kototsuki You - + /

Desperation Moves

Ura 108 Shiki: Orochinagi - + /

1999 Shiki: Kiri Honoo - + /

Super Desperation Move

Ura 108 Shiki: Orochinagi - +

Hidden Super Desperation Move

Saishuu Kessen Ougi Reishiki - +

Quick Starter Combo Reference


0 Bar



Corner Only

cr.B, cr.A, df+D(1), qcf+C/hcb+D = 21/26%

(jump-in), cl.C, df+D(1), qcf+C/hcb+D = 24/29%

(jump-in), cl.C, df+D(1), qcf+D>K, rdp+B, dp+C = 44%

1 Bar


Very Close

(jump-in), cl.C/cl.D, qcfx2+K = 28/29%

(optional jump-in/cross-up), cl.C, qcf+D>K, qcb,hcf+P = 33%

2 Bar



Corner Only

cr.B, cr.A, df+D(1), hcb+K(1) (SC) qcb,hcf+P = 36%

(jump-in), cl.C, df+D(2), hcb+BC(1) (SC) qcb,hcf+P = 44%

(jump-in), cl.C, df+D(2), hcb+BC, (C) qcf+D>K, qcb,hcf+P = 46%

3 Bar


Very Close

Corner Only

(jump-in), cl.C, df+D(2), hcb+BC(1) (SC) qcb,hcf+AC = 55%

(optional jump-in/cross-up), cl.C, qcf+D>K, qcb,hcf+AC = 45%

(jump-in), cl.C, df+D(2), hcb+BC, (C) qcf+D>K, qcb,hcf+AC = 57%

Gameplay Overview

Kusanagi is a rushdown character with very high Max Mode damage.
Pros Cons
  • Good BnBs: One of the shortcomings of regular Kyo is having short meterless confirms. Kusanagi has it quite a bit better with a 3-hit confirm from cr.B into hard knockdown.
  • Good fundamentals: It's Kyo, so you can expect that. Kusanagi gets a good DP, nice buttons, great crossup j.B and a few other tools. That said, some of his normals and command normals are noticeably nerfed compared to Kyo (like j.d+C).
  • Max Mode combos: Perhaps the most notorious part of the character, and the reason why he is frequently picked at high level. Kusanagi gets some of the best damage in the game for 2/3 bars, often close to ToD, and with a great confirm and no need for BC run, it's clear why he's a common choice for 2nd/3rd character among pros. The said combos do have a few caveats though, but they may very well be worth it for advanced players who want the highest damage combos available.
  • Cancelable df+D: Despite being just one command normal, this move does a lot for Kusanagi. Arguably the fastest cancelable normal for its range, this move goes quite a distance while starting in just 3f, allowing punishes and combos that look almost impossible. Moreover, this move allows Kusanagi to combo from light attacks, giving him some great combo routes to boot.
  • Somewhat basic: While well-rounded, Kusanagi doesn't exactly get all that many options. His mixups mostly boil down to his hard knockdown & crossup, so it may not be so easy for him to open up the opponent otherwise. His meterless play often comes down to landing his BnB, as his "zoning" isn't exactly great and his other specials are pretty situational. One should be prepared to play the neutral with fundamentals, and may need to get inventive to open up the opponent.
  • Tricky execution: One of the most common issues when learning Kusanagi is how to cancel df+D on the first hit. This requires practice, and it is quite crucial for his combo game. Even more so, the best of Kusanagi's Max Mode routes require tricky cancels (like dp+C xx rdp+B) that will require either good execution, or learning longcuts.

Kusanagi is yet another version of Kyo present in the game, this one based on his KoF '95 version. Kusanagi has a projectile instead of a rekka, as well some other changes to his moveset, bringing him closer to a classic "shoto"-type character. While Kusanagi is not exactly strong as a zoner, he gets simple BnB combos with hard knockdowns, a cancelable df+D, and perhaps most of all, exceptionally high damage Max Mode combos that give him up to 100% damage for just 3 bars. The latter is the reason why he is quite frequently picked by pro players. His downsides include a bit limited mixups, and a few nerfed buttons compared to regular Kyo. Changes from KoF 02: The most notable change is being able to cancel df+D on the 1st hit, giving Kusanagi new meterless combo routes.



  • cl. A/B/C/D are cancel-able
  • cl. A/B chains into all light attacks
  • cl. A is an elbow attack that hits some crouching opponents
  • cl. B hits low
  • cl. C is the combo stater of choice, links into all of his command normals
  • cl. D can also start combos but it's a bit slower making less useful in comparison to his cl.C


  • st. A is cancel-able, has short reach. Good for stopping incoming hops at a close range.
  • st. B has great reach, good poke and comes out fast
  • st. C is cancel-able, has decent reach, moves forward little, but comes out a little slow
  • st. D comes out a little slow but has good reach, Kusanagi is airborne during this normal which can evade some low attacks


  • cr. A is cancel-able, has short reach and comes out very fast
  • cr. B chains into all light attacks, comes out at a good speed to be used as a poking tool
  • cr. C is cancel-able, anti-air, has short reach but high vertical hit box
  • cr. D can whiff cancel, sweep, has good reach and it relatively safe


  • j.A can be used as a short ranged air-to-air
  • j.B is an okay jump-in attack, can cross-up but has low hit-stun
  • j.C can be used as a heavy jump-in attack
  • j.D is an excellent air-to-air when done early during a hyper hop or to stop opponents from hopping towards you or jumping towards you during a neutral hop. It also crosses-up when his other leg hits the opponent on the head. It is also a nice air poke too if you hyper hop backwards with it
  • Neutral j.D can be used similar to j.D as an air-to-air but has a slightly lower hit box that points down diagonally.

Blowback Attack

  • Standing CD comes out slow, whiff cancel-able, can combo off a counter hit.
  • Jumping CD comes out a little slow but it's a great meaty attack when used during a hyper hop, can combo off a counter hit


Hatsugane [Anvil Slam] - (b/f + C)

  • Grabs the opponent and performs a shoulder attack
  • Can be broken
  • Regular knockdown

Issetsu Seoi Nage [Swift Shoulder Throw] - (b/f + D)

  • Flips the opponent and then performs an elbow drop
  • Can be broken
  • Reverse knockdown
  • Hard knockdown

Command Moves

Geshiki: Naraku Otoshi [Drop to Naraku] - (db or down or df + C) in the air

  • Kusanagi put both of his hands together performing a twin hammer attack. It comes out really fast and provides a great amount of hit-stun to allow Kusanagi to follow up with a st/cr~command~finisher. Drop to Naraku is a hard knockdown if done to a airborne opponent, this move is also a cross up tool and will do so if you aim it so that Kusanagi's feet hits their head. This move is also very important in Kusanagi's runaway game, if done during a backdash it will make him backdash farther and quicker, the earlier the better.
  • Does above average amount of hit-stun
  • Does hard knockdown if it hits an airborne opponent
  • Cross-up tool.

Geshiki: Goufu You [Thundering Axe Burst] - (f + B)

  • Kusanagi lifts his leg and performs a high heel drop. Thundering Axe Burst is a very reliable command move. It has good reach, two hits, overhead (second hit), comes out fast, and takes a chunk out of the opponents guard meter. In addition it can combo into most of his special moves and both DM's.
  • Hits high on second hit if not canceled into
  • Cancel-able on second hit if canceled into

Max Mode Note:This is possibly Kusanagi's easiest Max mode starter, whether it's off of one hit (e.g. cl.C f+B (1), BC run~) or Max Bypassing (cl.C, f+B, hcb+BC~)

88 Shiki [Style 818] - (df + D) Kusanagi slides his leg forward the kicks with his other. Style 818 is Kusanagi's main BnB tool when chaining his normals to his special/DM moves. The first strike of style 818 has poor reach but the second hit makes up for it. First hit can be canceled/combo into all special moves and DM's.

  • Can be canceled on first hit
  • Hits low
  • Two hits
  • Combo Advice:New Wave Smash (qcf+D,D) and Recitation of Sins (hcb+K) are his best combo enders when ever you land that first hit, mainly because they set the opponent up to eat a super cancel or dp juggle.

Special Moves

108 Shiki: Yami Barai [Dark Thrust] - (qcf + A/C)

  • Kusanagi spikes a flame to the ground and it travels towards the opponent. Dark Thrust is a projectile and its versions determine the speed at which they travel. A version is slower and comes out faster and C version is faster but comes out slower. Unlike Kyo-1 Dark thrust Kusanagi's does not have OTG properties but is significantly faster.

108 Shiki: Yami Barai [Fire Ball] - (dp + A/C)

  • Kusanagi jumps in the air in a 360 motion surrounded with flames. Fire Ball is a standard dp. A/C determines how high he rises but its C version has extra hits and is special cancel-able but very unsafe on whiff or block. However, both versions have auto-guard on start up making it a good wake up tool to escape from pressure.
  • C version can be super canceled on hit
  • Both version have auto-guard
  • First hit special cancel-able

75 Shiki: Kai [New Wave Smash] - (qcf + B,B or D,D)

  • Kusanagi performs two twin rising kicks. New wave smash is one of Kusanagi's best tools. Although New Wave Smash does not do a lot of damage, it sets up the opponent to be wired, juggle, and caught in a reset while rushing down the opponent. The heavy kick version is best used after a close C or D, or the first hit from df+D in the corner to set up a juggle or reset, while the B version can be used as a pre-emptive anti-air but lacks juggle options.
  • The second hit can be delayed slightly to juggle the opponent higher
  • Can be Free Cancelled into

910 Shiki: Nue Tsumi [Instantaneous Smash] - (qcb + A/C)

  • Does a punch upward, if an enemy attack connects before this move becomes active, a counter move is activated.
  • The counter is activated during the start-up of this move which is very brief
  • Can counter only ground normal attacks including overheads and lows. The low attack counter is a hard knockdown

101 Shiki: Oboro Guruma [Spinning Kick] - (rdp + B/D)

  • Kusanagi vaults in the air performing a spin kick(B ver) and is followed up by another then ending with a heel drop (D ver). The Spinning Kick (both versions) are best used after successfully launching the opponent in the air with qcf+D, D in the corner, either to juggle the opponent again (B version) or to give the opponent a hard knockdown (D version).
  • Very punish-able if whiffed or blocked
  • Can be Free Canceled into
  • D version does hard knockdown on third hit

212 Shiki: Kototsuki You [Recitation of Sins] - (hcb + B/D)

  • Kusanagi dashes towards the opponent and strikes with his elbow (like Kyo-2 or original Kyo) then picks up the opponent with his other arm and explodes.
  • The light kick version (B) has Kusanagi running at half screen distance. The heavy kick version (D) is a full-screen run towards the opponent.
  • Unsafe if blocked but has a lot of push-back which can make it difficult to punish for certain characters
  • Can be super cancelled

Desperation Moves

Ura 108 Shiki: Orochinagi [Serpent Wave] - qcb~hcf + A/C (Hold the button to delay)

  • Kusanagi creates a flame then throws it which expands into a wave of fire. Serpent Wave is best used in a bread and butter combo/Max Mode combo or after launching the opponent with qcf+D, D. Although you can hold down the punch button to delay its release, the damage output does not change.
  • This DM can be used as pre-emptive anti-air on full-screen super jumping opponents but very risky and punish-able at closer ranges.

1999 Shiki: Kiri Honoo [Style 1999 Misty Flame] - qcf x 2 + K

  • Kusanagi performs a chain of attacks then ends with a explosive arm pump. This DM has guard point on start up and does amount fair damage to the opponent. It is a bit hard to punish if blocked because of the massive amount of range Kusanagi is pushed back from the opponent.

Super Desperation Move

Ura 108 Shiki: Orochinagi [Serpent Wave] - qcb hcf + AC

  • Kusanagi performs the same motion as his DM version but he is engulfed in flames and when he releases his flame it goes a father distance. Serpent Wave(SDM) has all the same properties as his DM version but has more damage, farther range, invulnerable to attacks (with the exception of projectiles), and can be used as an anti-air if need to be.

Hidden Super Desperation Move

Saishuu Kessen Ougi Reishiki [Final Showdown Zero Style] - qcf x 2 + AC

  • Kusanagi throws flames to the ground creating a pillar of flames then briefly passes through it while inflicting a barrage of attacks. Final Showdown Zero Style is a great punish tool because of its swift start up and damage but has very low combo potential. It also inflicts a great deal of guard/chip damage (around 130 damage) which can be used just incase the opponent does not have any meter to Guard Cancel and/or is at under 100 damage.


  • You can add a front jump-in to every combo unless specified otherwise. Damage is given with j.C.
  • You can always replace cl.C, df+D with cr.B, cr.A, df+D for a low starter. Remove cr.B if you add a jump-in.
While cr.B, cr.A, df+D(2), hcb+BC works as a low starter for max combos, cr.B, cr.A, df+D(1~2), BC run, df+D(1), hcb+D is more consistent.
  • The shortcuts for dp+C(1) (SC) qcb,hcf+P are hcb,f+C(1) (SC) qcf+P or qcb,f,d,df+C(1) (SC) f+P
  • To avoid qcfx2+K when doing dp+C(1), (C) qcf+D>K do dp+C as hcb,f+C
  • For the corner loop, if you can learn the immediate qcf+D>K timing, it gives you the perfect timing to button hold everything else.
  • On crouching Vice/Mature, you have 2 options :
- cl.C, df+D(2), BC run, df+D(1), hcb+D, (C)dp+C(1), ...
- cl.C, df+D(2), hcb+BC~D, ...
  • Lightly press BC then slide on D right after, it'll make hcb+D come out after max instead of hcb+B, the former puts you closer to the opponent -when there's some space- so dp+C will work and then you go on with your combo.
  • dp+C also whiffs on crouching Bao but nothing you can do about that one to keep the full combo. Your only hope against him crouching is just removing something so :
- cl.C, df+D(1), BC run, dp+C(1), ...
- cl.C, df+D(1), BC run, cl.C, qcf+D>D, ...
  • cl.C, f+B doesn't combo on the following characters if they are not backturned :
- Always whiffs: Benimaru, Clark, Goenitz, King, Leona, Mai, (EX) Robert, Ralf
- Standing: (EX) Kensou
- Crouching: Andy, Angel, Athena, Bao, Blue Mary, Chris, Foxy, Heidern, Iori, Jhun, K', Kasumi, Kula, Kusanagi, Kyo-1, Kyo-2, Kyo, Mature, May Lee, Nameless, Ryo, Yamazaki, Shermie, Shingo, Terry, Vanessa, Vice, Yashiro, Yuri

0 Stock


  • cr.Bx1~2, far A, far B
Basic light chain to get some damage from cr.B, simple but not much damage.
  • cr.B, cl.B, dp+C
Route from cr.B without using df+D. Causes knockdown, but there are much better alternatives.

 ★ cl.C, df+D(1), hcb+D / qcf+C / rdp+D

Great BnB to practice until you get down. Use qcf+C to be safe on block, default to hcb+D on hit or use rdp+D for extra damage, carry and oki but only on standing opponents. You can start at df+D(1) for a tip range punish option.

 ★ cl.C, qcf+D>K, hcb+D / run, rdp+D

Tough to land after a front jump-in, cross-up preferred. You can delay qcf+D's 2nd hit to make the run into rdp+D more lenient.
  • cl.C, f+B(2), hcb+D / rdp+D
Easier to do but f+B after cl.C won't combo on some opponents unless backturned (refer to above notes) and it isn't a true blockstring either. You can't add a front jump-in either so it's best suited for after a cross-up.


 ★ cl.C, df+D(1), qcf+D>K, rdp+B, dp+C

Best damage combo for corner. Deals 52% with j.C. You need to be nearly point blank to add df+D(1), remove it to get more range.

1 Stock


  • cl.C, f+B(2), qcb,hcf+C
The f+B after cl.C won't combo on some opponents unless backturned (refer to above notes). Preferred after a cross-up
  • cl.C, df+D(1) qcb,hcf+C
Hard one. 45% damage if you use j.C, cl.C. 34% damage if started with cr.B, cr.A.

 ★ cl.C, qcf+D>K, qcb,hcf+P

42%. Nice and easy. Tight to land after a front jump-in, cross-up preferred.


  • cl.C, df+D (1), qcf+D>K, qcb,hcf+P
Does 48%, less than the 0 stock corner one so utterly useless if you can land that one consistently. You need to be nearly point-blank to add df+D(1), remove it to get more range.

 ★ cl.C, df+D (1), qcf+D>K, (BC), dp+C(1) (SC) qcb,hcf+P

56%. Delay qcf+D's 2nd hit to make it easier. You need to be nearly point-blank to add df+D(1), remove it to get more range.

2 Stocks


  • cl.C, df+D(1), hcb+D(1) (SC) qcb,hcf+P
Deals 47% damage
  • f+B(2) (BC) f+B(2), qcb,hcf+C/qcfx2+K
48% damage for starting from an overhead, although a slow one. Very easy to perform
  • f+B(2) (BC) cl.C, df+D(1), hcb+D(1), dp+C(1), qcf+D>K, hcb+K(1) (SC) qcb,hcf+P
53%. To connect the cl.C after the max mode activation, just hold forward to walk a bit then press C.
  • cl.C, df+D(2), hcb+BC(1), dp+C(1), qcfx2+K
55%. Not very damaging but easy and simple.

 ★ cl.C, df+D(2), hcb+BC(1), dp+C(1), qcf+D>K, hcb+K(1), (dp+C(1)) (SC) qcb,hcf+P

60% without the last dp+C, 65% with it.


  • cl.C, df+D(1), qcf+D>K, rdp+B, dp+C(1) (SC) qcb,hcb+P
70% with df+D(1). You need to be nearly point blank to add df+D(1), remove it to get more range.

 ★ cl.C, df+D (1), qcf+D>K, (BC), dp+C(1) (SC) qcb,hcf+AC

Up to 80%. Delay qcf+D's 2nd hit to make it easier. You need to be nearly point-blank to add df+D(1), remove it to get more range.
  • cl.C, df+D(2), hcb+BC(1), dp+C(1), qcf+D>K, hcb+K(1), dp+C(1), rdp+B, dp+C(1) (SC) qcb,hcf+P
73% damage. This combo must start midscreen and end in the corner for the juggles to connect, the height needed for hcb+K is pretty specific.
  • cl.C, df+D(2), hcb+BC(1), dp+C(1), qcf+D>K, rdp+B, dp+C(1) (SC) qcb,hcf+P
68% damage. This combo also starts mid-screen but a tad closer to corner than the previous one.

 ★ cl.C, df+D(2), hcb+BC(1), dp+C(1), qcf+D>K, rdp+B, dp+C(1), (C) rdp+B, dp+C(1) (SC) qcb,hcf+P

78%, most damaging combo route. The first rdp+B has to be done rather early to keep the opponent high enough.

3 Stocks


  • j.X, cl.C, df+D(1), qcfx2+AC
65% damage, kinda tight but good if you just want to dish out damage without a max-mode combo.
  • cl.C, qcf+D>K, qcb,hcf+AC
53%. Nice and easy. Tight to land after a front jump-in, cross-up preferred.


  • cl.C, df+D(1), qcf+D>K, qcb,hcf+AC
60%. If you just want some clean and easy damage, this is it. Remove df+D(1) after a jump-in for better range.
  • cl.C, df+D(1), qcf+D>K, qcb,hcf+AC(2), dp+C
72%. Very good damage for an easy combo if you can time the super to do only 2 hits. Remove df+D(1) after a jump-in for better range
  • cl.C, df+D(1) (BC, run) cl.C, df+D(1), qcfx2+AC
70% damage, with this little damage difference, you can just do the non-max version, it's easier.
  • cl.C, df+D(2), hcb+BC(1), dp+C(1), qcf+D>K, qcb,hcf+AC(2), dp+C
74%. Very good damage for an easy combo if you can time the super to do only 2 hits.

 ★ Replace qcb,hcf+P by qcb,hcf+AC in any 2 stock max combo but the first one.


{{#ev:youtube|rCmRVTBzBEA|||Kusanagi Combo Tutorial by Grey|frame}} {{#ev:youtube|Jm48aeHCAXw|||Kusanagi -Max- combos by Franck Frost|frame}} {{#ev:youtube|7ToBaaCng_E|||Nikolai-保力達 (Kusanagi Best Rounds)|frame}} {{#ev:youtube|U22aIDpXHjI|||Nikolai-保力達 (Kusanagi Best Rounds 2)|frame}} {{#ev:youtube|cc70ZDH2v4o|||Kusanagi Master Class|frame}}

External Links

Check Kusanagi's frame data
Discuss at 02UM Discord server
Discuss at Dream Cancel
Discuss at Cyberfanatix
Discuss at Orochinagi


The King of Fighters 2002 Unlimited Match

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