The King of Fighters XIII/Offense
A counter hit happens when a character is hit during the startup or active animations of an attack, as well as during the recovery animations of certain attacks. This causes the word “Counter” to appear on screen. A counter hit causes slightly more damage than a regular hit. Also, attacks that normally knock down will put the opponent into a juggleable state, allowing for attacks to land than would otherwise be possible (e.g. after a counter hit j.CD, it is often possible to immediately jump again with another j.CD for more damage). Additionally, counter hits can also trigger the counter wire property of certain attacks, as detailed below.
Counter Wire and Critical Wire
Certain attacks have the properties “counter wire” and “critical wire”, such as Maxima’s qcb+P. Landing a counter hit with a counter wire attack or any hit with a critical wire attack will cause the opponent to bounce off the edge of the screen, after which they will be in a juggleable state.
On The Ground (OTG)
Certain special moves have the property “OTG”, such as Goro’s hcf+C. These attacks are able to connect against an opponent that has been knocked down, although they are only guaranteed if the previous attack had the “hard knockdown” property to prevent a recovery roll.
Jump/hop attacks with very fast startup and good downward reach can be done immediately after leaving the ground to hit an opponent trying to block low. The most threatening of these instant overheads can be canceled into further attacks as well for much more damage, such as Leona doing an instant nj.D and canceling into qcf hcb+P. Note that some characters with taller crouching hitboxes (such as Maxima) may be vulnerable to more instant overheads than others (such as Iori). Also, keep in mind that instant overheads are usually punishable if not canceled into a special move, even on hit, so they are best used for finishing off an opponent rather than as a regular mixup.
By holding down-forward after starting a run, a character is able to continue running while also storing a down charge for special moves. This is useful when you want to have the option of canceling a run immediately into a move with a d~u input motion. It can also be used to cancel a run into an immediate crouching attack, i.e. f,f~d/f~cr.B.
Normal throws are done by standing close to the opponent and pressing f+C, b+C, f+D, or b+D. The opponent will be thrown towards the side of the direction input.
In general, normal throws can be broken by pressing C or D during a brief window of time after the throw has been started. Compared to KOF2002, in KOFXIII, you do not need to match the opponents throw button in order to break it. However, note that it is impossible to break throws if thrown during a roll or while in a counter hit state.
Certain characters are able to throw opponents in the air as well. This is done by pressing any non-up direction together with the C button while jumping and in air throw range. It is usually easiest to trigger an air throw from slightly below the opponent. Note that air throws can never be broken.
Command Throw (also known as Command Grab)
Certain characters have special move versions of throws as well (e.g. Clark’s hcf+K). If done while out of range or while the opponent is unthrowable, these will have a vulnerable whiff animation, and for desperation move command throws, will cost the appropriate number of super meter stocks. The common types of command throws are:
- Instant throw - These command throws have no startup, making them the fastest attacks in KOF XIII and the other attacks guaranteed to punish certain moves, such as Kula’s qcb+B. Desperation move instant throws and EX instant throws typically have invincibility as well, allowing them to always grab a throwable opponent if timed correctly, even if the opponent was using a meaty attack.
- Delayed throw - These command throws have a startup time longer than a normal throw but are also partially or wholly invincible and unthrowable. They are typically used in situations where the opponent may be using quick attacks that are difficult to punish otherwise after blocking (such as Kula pressuring with cr.B’s from maximum range) or as a mixup option (particularly for characters like Shen Woo who lack a meterless instant throw).
- Other - These are command throws that have a unique mixture of properties and do not follow any set pattern. One example is Takuma’s hcb+K, which is a delayed throw that has no invincibility and deals no damage but leaves the opponent vulnerable briefly after connecting.
It seems the concept of proximity unblockables as they were in previous KOF games doesn't exist in KOF XIII, the closest to one that made it in simply became a regular command throw. Since XIV hasn't shown any either it's safe to assume KoF has dropped the concept altogether.
After waking up from a knockdown, you get a brief wake-up throw invincibility meaning any throw the opponent attempts will fail, resulting in a standing normal or a whiffed command throw. Taking the knockdown to remove the danger of part of the opponent's arsenal is definitely an option worth considering if you're having trouble dealing with a strong command throw. Similar to XIV and unlike in previous KoFs like 02UM, the character themselves can't use a normal throw during wake-up throw invincibility but only command throws.
That is only on wake-up after the knockdown, if you prevent it with a recovery roll, you don't get any throw invincibility for the perk of not only recovering faster to allow your opponent less advantage but also being able to normal throw right away, which may sound like a very strong option against meaties but it is actually very limited. Both by the fact there's no buffer for it so you have to match a 1f timing to throw a meaty inside throw range and by said throw range being so small that it is very easy to meaty out of it and still get a conversion for most characters.