The King of Fighters XV/Rock Howard/Strategy

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The King of Fighters XV


General Gameplan

Rock is an all around character with several tools that can deal with any situation. In addition to this, Rock has strong ground and air normals that allow him to cover multiple options at once. Rock's goal is to bully the opponent from midrange with his strong normals and fireball, and then convert his strong midrange presence into some of the strongest corner pressure in the game. His powerful anti airs help with this as well, letting him punish the opponent if they get annoyed with his midrange control. Rock can play any style very effectively, whether it be zoning, rushdown, footsies, or spacing. He can switch between any of these playstyles as needed, and it isn't difficult to do so.



  • For Rock's midrange, his best tool for space control is his j.CD. J.CD is a fantastic normal with an excellent hitbox that serves as a good air to air and air to ground button. It can be used to defend your space or set up offense by approaching with it. Rock's other most commonly used air buttons are j.B and j.D. J.D is very similar to Iori's j.D, except it sacrifices horizontal reach for the ability to hit crouching opponents, which Iori's j.D is practically incapable of doing. This lets it be a powerful air to air and air to ground tool depending on the situation. Try mixing up the timings of your j.D to hit opponents who are trying to low profile your jumpins. Rock's j.B is also a strong horizontal air to air due to its reach and speed, but it can be easily low profiled if your opponent is ready for it. For ground pokes, f.C is excellent for controlling the midrange and whiff punishment. It has a decent amount of recovery so make sure you're at the right spacing when you press it. Rock's 5CD covers more space than f.C, but its slower startup makes it a commitment in neutral. Use it to check your opponent preemptively if you think they're moving in at you.

Anti airs

  • Rock has a wealth of excellent ground air to airs. 2C hits to nearly the top of the screen and boasts a very fast 4F startup. Far D has slower startup but much better horizontal reach. It's very strong as a preemptive anti air to cover a large amount of space. It's even good as a grounded poke due to its strong hitbox. (Sidenote: if you land CH 2C or far D, try cancelling into max mode and doing level 1 raging storm to catch opponents in the air. It can lead to very high damage, especially if you have 3 bars.) Rock's 623A is his invincible anti air. It's very fast at 5F and can also hit on both sides.


  • Rock can also use 236A to zone his opponents and trick them into hopping. If your opponent hops over 236A from far away, try anti airing them with 236236BD. 214A can check hops and stop grounded aggression, and you're safe on block if you keep manage to keep good spacing. 214B/D~C (rage run into hard edge follow up) can also serve as a poke in neutral. While the reward isn't high, Rock advances forward and leaves himself at -4 at tip spacing, so it's worth it to through it out sparingly to catch in opponent off guard. The EX version is faster, safer on block, and causes a hard knockdown, so it's a really good niche poke to use if you have some meter to spend.






Definition and example of a safejump.

Reversals range from 4f startup at the fastest upward of 10f. If a safejump beats 4f reversals, it will also work against slower reversals.

Combo Enders

  • 214C:
    • ... > 623C~AB, 214C, 214A (whiff), Hyper Hop, h.D (6f Safejump)
    • ... > 623C~AB, 214C, Roll, Hyper Hop, h.D (4f Safejump)
      • Should be noted that this safejump does work midscreen, however it leaves you outside of the range to combo c.C or c.D into 6B. Instead h.D, f.B > 6A connects.
    • 632146A/C~AB, 214C, 214C (whiff), Hyper Hop, h.D (5f Safejump)
  • LVl 1 Shining Knuckle (236236B/D):
    • ... > 623C~AB, 214C > 236236B/D, Forward Jump, (land) Hop, h.D (5f Safejump)

Meaty 236A

  • Timing a 236A to hit the opponent as they're getting up is a good way to get back in and pressure the opponent.
    • Use 236A after:
      • A Raw 214C
      • A midscreen C throw
      • A midscreen D throw
      • An anti-air blowback
      • A spaced, midscreen 2D (both when hit raw and in combos) can give you a meaty 236A, making it a solid if potentially punishable autopilot option.

After C Throw

  • 214C (whiff), Hyper Hop, h.D (6f Safejump)

After Corner C Throw

  • 214A (whiff), Hop, h.D (4f Safejump)

After D Throw

  • Forward Jump, j.D (5f Safejump)
    • Should be noted that this safejump does work midscreen, however it leaves you outside of the range to combo c.C or c.D into 6B. Instead h.D, f.B > 6A connects.

After 236D

  • Jump, j.D (5f Safejump)

After Corner 236B

  • Hyper Jump, j.D (5f Safejump)

After Raw Supers

  • Lvl 1 and lvl 2 Raging Storm (236236A/C and 236236AC) have an awkward amount of frame advantage, making an auto-timed safejump difficult to find.
    • Raw 236236B/D, 214A (Whiff), Hop, h.D (5f Safejump)

Safe Jump Video

Rock Safe Jumps by B Cole

Countering Rock

External Resources


The King of Fighters XV

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