Episode 461: The Three Lowest “Low Tier” Characters in King of Fighters XV (and How I Would Buff Them)

Hiya!

The King of Fighters XV has been out for a good while and I have a feeling the general meta of the game has been figured out by most players. Not only that, everyone has probably rounded out their very own team of 3 by now. SNK did a good job in balancing out the super beefy roster and making everyone come off as competitive… most of the time.

There are a few characters, unfortunately, has fell along the wayside. It’s not like they’re utterly garbage. It’s just that these characters simply takes a lot more work to inflict as much damage as their contemporaries. With SNK working on a balance patch and the main focus is to give everyone buffs and not nerfing the strong characters, I like to make a few suggestions regarding who among the King of Fighters XV characters need some enhancements to make them more viable.

#1 Whip

You would think the only character who uses a legit weapon in the tournament would be overpowered but noooooooo…

I really, really wanted to like Whip. I love her overall look and the idea of a character with weapons (like Vega/Claw) have generally appealed to me. Whip does have a lot going for her as her whip gives her long ranged attacks can make it difficult to get in. She also has a lot of shenanigans she can employ, such as her variety of Strength Shot attacks (performed with half-circle back with the A, B or C buttons) look the same at startup but has to be blocked differently as well as her Hook Shot (performed with quarter-circle back with any punch while jumping), which allows Whip to jump in the air at some unexpected angles.

Unfortunately, Whip’s main weaknesses are her general slow speed, long recovery times and low damage output without any meter. Don’t get me wrong! Whip is still pretty solid but she does require a lot of meter to perform the more outrageous combos you see with the more top tier characters like Vanessa. Then again, you shouldn’t really want to get up close while using Whip and instead you should mostly trying to outpoke your opponent with your superior range.

I do see Whip’s biggest Achilles’ heel is her mobility. She’s competent at attacking from a distance but once the opponent gets in, you better hope you have enough meter for a Guard Cancel of some form to get some space. This is why I would like to see Whip get a new move which would enable her to get out of pressure. She actually had a move in KOF 99 called Assassin’s Strike which would make Whip pull herself up and lower herself down on a different spot depending on the button used. It’s not really much but giving Whip an option to get free from pressure and then continue the keepaway game would help her a lot. To avoid making this super cheap, have the recovery time last quite a bit so she can’t just keep using it to timer scam games.

Ramon

I can’t recall of any luchador wearing an eyepatch, can you?

Man, I don’t really get where SNK was going with Ramon. From what I’ve gathered, he’s basically a speedy grappler with some chain moves. Since he is very agile, he can quickly get in and try to overwhelm his foes with his dash throw Somersault (performed with half-circle forward with kick) and command throw Tiger Neck Chancery (performed with half-circle forward and punch). He can go over low attacks with either his Rolling Sobat (performed with dragon punch motion with kick) or the light version of the Tiger Road dropkick (performed with quarter circle back with light punch).

Ramon seems to be very deadly when up close where he can perform a ton of mixups. After a knockdown, Ramon can go low to start a combo, perform his Tiger Neck Chancery command throw, bait a whiff attack then go for the Somersault dash throw or, my personal favorite, do his overhead command attack Headbutt (done with forward with light punch) to knock the opponent down into either of his Hoist pickup move (done with 2 downs and either punch). This is an extremely effective strategy but the trick is getting your opponent into the mixup, which can be problematic because of Ramon’s slightly stubby normals. It’s also weirdly difficult to link his light attack together to perform a chain of quick attack like the other KOF characters.

Fixing Ramon would be generally easy for me as all SNK would need to do is give him a little more range in his normals and make it easier to chain his light attacks together. I would also appreciate it if they buffed the range of his Tiger Neck Chancery command throw as it does have very pitiful range right now. Honestly, I believe that’s all that’s needed to make Ramon much more viable.

Maxima

I honestly kind of forget Maxima is in the game at times.

When it came to picking the last character I would like to see SNK give some major buffs to, I was actually at a loss who it could be. So I looked through some King of Fighters XV tournaments to see which characters were being played and what they brought to the table. After watching hours of video, I realized I didn’t see anyone pick poor ol’ Maxima in any of them! Even Whip and Ramon got some tournament time and I think they’re much weaker than Maxima!

Maxima isn’t actually a bad character as he does have things going for him. Most of his heavy attacks have armor so he can throw a big punch or kick and, even if there’s an incoming attack, it’ll bounce off him harmlessly before the attack connects. His Vapor Cannon attacks (performed with quarter-circle back with punch) is a powerful looking attack and it can be done while jumping, making it possible for Maxima to do an instant overhead with it. His Maxima Charge (done with quarter-circle forward and punch) is a great way to close the distance while attacking. He also has a command grab with the Maxima Press (done with half-circle back with kick) and you can tack on extra damage with a follow up (done with quarter-circle back with punch after the Maxima Press connects).

In theory, he should be able to blow through most of the opponent’s offense with a well-timed heavy punch or kick because of the armor. This never seems to be the case, however, as the timing when the armor kicks in feels iffy. If you do get the timing down, Maxima should be deadly but getting the timing right for the armor to kick in at the right time is the problem. So if they just expand the armor window just a bit, this should fix the problem. I also think they could make these moves more rewarding by making the standing heavy punch cancelable to special attacks. It doesn’t hit crouching opponents so players who actually get it to connect should rewarded by being able to tack on more damage than normal.

Byee!

Who else among the King of Fighters XV cast should get buffs? How would you buff them? Let me know in the comments section below!

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