The King of Fighters XIII/FAQ
So, you want to learn KoFXIII?
Congratulations! You've taken the first step to learning one of the most competitive, dynamic, and well-balanced fighting games in recent history, King of Fighters XIII! Before you throw yourself into the Dreamcancel wiki browsing for detailed information, here are some essential tips to ease your transition into the world of competitive King of Fighters!
Before you begin, consider your goals. How competitive do you wish to become?
If you don't know a thing about KoFXIII right now, ask yourself where you hope to eventually end up in terms of skill. If you plan on being a competitive player, you will need to enter the game with a serious mentality. To help you maintain this attitude, you should set realistic goals to pursue. Before you begin any journey, you will need a destination to go towards!
If you can't set a realistic goal, perhaps it's better for you to just stay casual. Otherwise, you will find yourself investing a lot of time and energy inefficiently, which will inevitably lead to disappointment.
"What characters should I play? I don't want to pick garbage characters."
The coolest thing about KoFXIII is that every character is good! You can play anyone you want! Of course, some characters are better than others, but as far as the competitive community can tell, so far, even the worst characters in the game are totally viable. You will have more fun playing characters you genuinely like, so pick your favorite characters and see if they fit your style!
Start in Practice Mode
Many new players simply throw themselves into online/versus mode without first learning about how the game actually works in detail. While this is fine for casual players, you will find that it is completely unproductive for becoming competitive. It will be essential to be in Practice/Training mode for at least a few hours before you begin to really understand how your character works. The very first thing you should do with your character is to learn their max damage, no meter, midscreen combo. Start this combo with a hop in C or D (hard punch or hard kick). Simply doing this will get you used to hopping. After you have mastered this combo, there are many more advanced things to practice. Simply knowing your meterless bread and butter combo for each of your characters will open your eyes to further possibilities.
Make sure to have all of your practice mode data turned on so that you can see exactly how much damage/stun you are doing!
Focus on Fundamentals
To become skilled at KoFXIII, you will need solid spacing, hit confirms, reactions, meter management, and footsies. Focus on developing these skills, and do not try to base your game plan on guessing.
Let the Game Teach You About Yourself
This might sound a little odd, but always keep in mind that becoming skilled at fighting games is about conquering yourself just as much as it's about defeating your opponent. As a casual player, this game can be another type of simple entertainment, similar to watching TV. As a competitive player, there is so much more to discover. If you decide to compete, you will inevitably find yourself in challenging situations that inspire panic, fear, arrogance, and frustration. How you deal with and overcome your own emotions in game will define you as a player. In this sense, becoming a great KoFXIII player is a process of constant self improvement. Keep this in perspective as you pursue your competitive goals.
We here at Dreamcancel sincerely hope that this introduction has been helpful, and perhaps has stirred your appetite for competition! If you have more questions as you dive into the game, please visit our Training Dojo and character specific threads in the forums section!
Intro written by David Kong
Visit David Kong's Q&A thread here: 
Where do I begin?
Dream Cancel's very own Kane317 and the well known James Chen provide an overview of KOF XIII's systems and gameplay in this video series hosted by ATLUS.
Q:"What characters are good for beginners to utilize?"
A: The characters that will teach people the fundamentals of the game for beginners would be Andy, Terry, Shen, Takuma, Billy, Ralf, and Claw Iori.
Q: "Does team order matter in KOFXIII?"
A: If the player is new to KOFXIII or the series in general, then no, team order is not going to matter. If the player has a great familiarization with the games fundamentals then yes, in a manner of speaking, it does but not in the same way as it would with team games with assists such as UMVC3 or DBFZ. All characters benefit well off of meter, thus increasing the players chance of winning and/or making a comeback in a match- that said, some characters either benefit from or need the meter more than the other characters on your team.
Q: "Are the combos in the combo trials useful?"
A: The majority of the character trials in KOFXIII are either useless or impractical. This will either be because the combo consumes way too much meter for minimal damage or it is extremely situational.
Q: "What about top tiers and low tiers?"
The game is very well balanced. While there are tiers available for this game, the gaps between the characters are easily negligible - indirectly making this game similar to TTT2 or VF in a manner of speaking. The game rewards the players for understanding the fundamentals, neutral game, and good decision making.
A majority of the characters in this game have combos that can do anywhere from 70% to 100%, depending on how much meter they possess at the moment and how well the player can execute their combos. Some characters have very damaging combos that aren't very practical or too difficult to do in a real match. With a 2 bar HD combo, every character will be able to do a little more than 700 damage if they start with cl.C or jumping C.
Q: I have no one to play with locally. Can I play this only online?
A: You can play this online, but it probably won't be consistent or offline perfect. If you find people online that you have good connections with, add them to your friends list. If you can, make sure your connection strength is as strong as possible with a wired connection, limiting any internet use (especially Twitch/Youtube/video chat), not using the voice option during playing. It's not completely unplayable, but it's not as optimal as we wanted it to be.
Q: "Is it possible to play this solo or does it have to be played with 3 team characters?"
A: There are options for playing solo characters. However, by arcade, online, or offline tournament game play standards, it is necessary to learn at least three characters as it is a part of KOF's tradition of 3v3 matches.
Q:"How do you unlock Billy and Saiki?"
A:You must play through the Arcade mode and defeat them once.
Q:"Are EX Kyo, EX Iori, and EX Mr. Karate just powerful versions of the characters or are they different?"
A: All DLC characters play differently from their counterparts and while strong contenders, they are not overpowered as they are balanced by the games standards.
Q: "I want to play a grappler. Who is the grapper in KOFXIII?"
A: The grappling characters are Vice, Raiden, Daimon, and Clark. But, technically speaking, there are no "true" grappling characters in this game. (~JuiceboxKing).
Q: Every round is 60 seconds right?
A: Sorta. 60 ticks. The timer isn't in real-time seconds, which is why it appears to countdown slowly. Every 60 second match is around 90 real-time seconds.
General Gameplay FAQ
Q: "Can I throw characters out of block stun in this game?"
No. The character is throw invincible during their blocking animation or during their wake up."
Q:"What are the CD attacks used for? They seem so useless!!"
A: The CD attacks are blowback attacks or knockdown attacks. When hit the opponent with these, it will cause a techable knockdown, but you can not attack (juggle) the opponent after hitting the opponent with this, unless you get a counter hit from the CD attack. This is trustworthy for spacing yourself. The characters in this game have different uses for this and they can also whiff cancel them into different special moves.
Q: I'm having trouble performing a motion input. Are there any motion shortcuts or buffer tricks to make things easier?
A: Yes there are! Here is a post outline many different motion shortcuts you can try: Kain317’s Guide to Motion Input Tricks
A:You can influence your ability to perform special moves and DM's by holding buttons for a little longer for the game to register your command as you are still doing another special move. This is extremely useful if you are conducting HD combos or trying to complete the trials.
Q:"How do you build meter in KOFXIII?"
A:You build meter by whiffing certain special attacks, successfully attacking the opponent, guarding against any kind of special move, and getting hit by the opponents moves. In this version of KOFXIII however, when on defense (blocking or taking damage from hits/combos) your meter builds faster.
Q: "When is it okay to Neo Max?"
A:To use as punisher, hit confirming into it, and using it in a combo. Raw Neo Max moves take a huge amount of meter (three super stocks and a full drive meter to exact) and most of them can be easily punished if they are blocked or whiffed. Try to use Neo Max's while in HD mode, that way while in HD mode you will only have to spend two meters instead of three and it will be easier to combo into.
Q: Does every character have an air throw? How do you do it?
A: No. Only Clark, Mai, Benimaru and Yuri have an air throw. You perform it by pressing towards, or away, or down and pressing heavy punch or kick (Benimaru and Mai only have a heavy punch air throw) while in the air and being close to your opponent. They have no whiff animation, only the normal will come out if the throw is out of range.
Q: "How do you perform a running throw?"
A: You need to run towards your opponent so that you are within throwing range. When you do get close enough during your run, tap back and C (or D) quickly. Pressing back on the directional notations will cause the character to stop running - players can never throw the opponent while actually running. This can prevent opponents from getting overly predictable or defensive.
Q: Can all characters combo of a throw in a corner? I saw Benimaru and Kensou do it.
A: No, only Benimaru, Kensou and Chin can juggle an opponent after a throw.
Q: Can you combo into command throws?
A: Yes, but only to instant command throws.
Q: "How can I practice hit confirming in this game?"
A: In training mode set the dummy to either standing or crouching (depending on if you want to practice standing hit confirms or crouch B hit confirms), and set guard to random guard.
Q: How can I find out if a certain move causes a hard untechable knockdown?
A: In practice mode turn on "passive mode" which will cause the dummy to automatically tech when they are knocked down. If a certain move has a hard knockdown property, they will not tech when they hit the ground.
Q: Do I need to learn how to do HD combos in this game? They look tough.
A: No, you don't. It's certainly not the only way to win; the meter game in XIII offers a lot of options to do HD's (including during a combo), several drive cancels to extend combos, or another way you want to play. If you're trying to get the most out of playing, one should at least know some easy/intermediate ones. The ones who get the most out of any fighter are the ones who look into everything about it.
The effects of both HD mode from KOFXIII and Max Mode from KOF98 are different but they serve roughly the same purpose . HD Mode offers no damage output increase, but allows players to freely cancel special moves into other different special/super move notations, even while the opponent is guarding.Most players of KOFXIII tend to look at HD mode as if it were an easier variant of BC mode from The King of Fighters 2002 Unlimited Match series.
Q:"Does this game play like Street Fighter?"
A: No. The game is far more fast paced and the system leads to matches being much more aggressive and rushdown oriented.
Q: Are there Alpha Counters in KOFXIII?
A: No. There are other options that have similar concepts however: The Guard Cancel Roll and the Guard Cancel Blowback. The Guard Cancel Blowback is the closest thing to a "Alpha Counter", while the Guard Cancel Roll serves a different cause. To use the Guard Cancel Blowback, the player must press D and C at the same while guarding an attack, and the character will perform their default Blow Back move to knock incoming opponents away and provide space.
Q: "Is there a parry, instant block, or Just Defend mechanic in KOFXIII?
A: No. KOFXIII does have multiple defensive options, but they require meter in the form of Guard Cancel Rolls and Guard Cancel Blowback.
Q: "My opponent keeps tick throwing me with a normal throw and/or command throw. Is there any way to stop it?"
A: Try alternate guarding. Read more here: Alternate Guarding in KOFXIII
Q:"Are there corner cross ups, like SFIV?"
A: Corner cross ups are only possible when the opponent is back turned towards the opponent while being near the corner. Some characters can cause back turn naturally by throwing opponents into the corner and then cross opponents up (King and Mai - NOTE: King and Mai on the PLAYER ONE side can also roll through the opponent as well. Otherwise, to conduct a corner cross up, the player needs to jump).
DandyJ's tutorial video covers the specifics of setting up cross-ups in the corner.