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Get In The Ring!!! – A Shun’ei Guide for All Comers

Hey y'all, EXWildWolf here again with another KOF XIV character guide! I just want to say thank you all for the support & outreach for my last guide. It means a lot to me and I hope you guys continue loving them as I dive deeper into the more obscure characters in the game that gets fairly overlooked. With that out of the way, this time we're going to be looking at the main character of the new KOF saga, DAT BOI... Shun'ei!

Shun'ei is very unique in that he is the first in KOF history to have an airdash which helps him evade fireballs. This gives Shun'ei a lot of flexibility in the air and in mix-ups to play with, which he can trip people up with aerial strings that can be hard to see coming (especially with his EX airdash). Shun'ei also has a decent ground game with good AA's, pokes, whiff cancels and safe blockstrings. His run speed is the fastest out of the 2nd rank of the overall cast, with only a few characters above him (Mature, Luong, Vice, Bandeiras and Vanessa being the handful of them).

He can, however, have a hard time against characters who can shut down his airdash immediately and is stubby compared to somebody with arguably better ground normals. The potential in Shun'ei then lies in his ground to air pressure with frametraps and resets, as well as high damage output, strong okizeme, and unpredictability with his airdash and ground mobility.

Pros:
  • Airdash gives Shun'ei access to more mobility and an easy time against grounded fireballs, allowing for great rewards and unpredictability outside of regular jumps and hops
  • Overall High Damage Output
  • Great air and ground pressure and hard knockdown okizeme off almost every confirm, combined with safe ground strings
  • Overall decent ground game with good pokes and AA's
  • Great aerial game with fast pokes and airdash
Cons:
  • Has a hard time against characters with better ground tools and can easily stuff him out of his airdash approaches
  • Lackluster defense on wake-up and pressure without meter
  • Limitations/restrictions on his regular airdash hurt him overall and is detrimental to his overall gameplan, making him more meter dependent than others
  • A lackluster projectile super

Normals:

Shun'ei has pretty decent pokes on the ground. They are good for controlling space and gaining offensive momentum, which is where he shines.

Stand A

A standard jab that's good for stopping hops. It's also + on block, unlike other St.A's. It does however whiff on crouchers except on big bodies like Chang and Daimon, so use this to your advantage when facing the giants.

Stand B

A good mid poke that goes over most lows and is great as a Max Mode starter. It's good for stopping hop-in attempts and is great for stopping someone's haphazard approach. It's a bit shorter than other ST.B's, but it still is good as a quick whiff punish since its hitbox is more further out than its hurtbox and comes out at 6 Frames.

Stand C

A short, heavy poke that hits twice if you hit the C button one more time, whether it connected on the opponent or not. Not too much going on here, but it does make for decent frametraps from afar and is easier to hit confirm from into Max Mode combos. It also has a deceptively big hitbox in some areas, so don't be afraid to use it for counterpoking purposes.

Stand D

A roundhouse kick. It's a good AA with a high vertical, horizontal range hitbox. Great for stopping jump-ins and people hopping too much in neutral or on defense. It's also a good counterpoke but careful though, it does whiff on crouchers except for tall ones.

Stand CD

Aim High & Crush the Low Mash

ACTION KICK! This move is Shun'ei's longest reaching ground normal and is great for a lot of different situations. It crushes lows, can work as a preemptive AA at a decent, high angle; is great for frametraps and is hard to punish since it leaves him in the air for a long time. The only downside to this move is that it's not whiff cancellable like other Stand CDs, so watch out as you can be punished badly for it. Also this move's air time frames don't start instantly and shouldn't be used to escape frametraps like Cr.B to Cl.C. It can still lead to ridiculous damage like this.

 

Close A

A decent jab that can be used as an AA, Shun'ei's fastest normal coming out at 4 Frames. Can hit crouching opponents and is +2 on block. A great way to put pressure on the opponent and those who try to mash out thinking he's minus since some other Cl.A's tend to be even or slightly negative on block... outside of Shun'ei's and some other characters. It can also chain into other light normals, which is good for added pressure.

Close B

A knee to the stomach. It is not chainable into anything useful is but is +1 on block, making for some decent pressure into light normals and heavy frametraps.

Close C

A moderately fast heavy. The one thing that sucks about this move along with Close D, is its proximity. It cannot be used to frametrap from a light to a heavy which hurts Shun'ei's pressure. It's mainly used for big meterless damage confirms off jump-ins or DP punishes. One thing that is fun about Cl.C however, is that it's -1 on block and can be meatied to be + on block; making it decent to change your okizeme options to mix-up your offense. It can also be used as a throw button OS for people trying to jump out of tick throws or pressure.

Close D

A bit slower to startup than Cl.C , but is easier for Max Mode confirms and is Special Cancellable. It's not advised to use this over meterless confirms since the damage scales a bit worse in most ways... but is easier for hit confirming going into Max Mode routes since it is a 2 hit normal.

Crouch A

A simple crouch jab with good range. It's fast, can chain into specials, and is +2 on block. Use this move to setup for frametraps, hop-in mix-ups and pressure. It can also be used to disrupt less than tight frametraps.

Crouch B

Shun'ei's fastest low. Has short range and can chain into St.B or Cr.A. It's also + 1 on block, is fast enough for tick throws or frametraps, and is great for mixing people up with empty lows as well as low Max Mode confirms.

Crouch C

A high hitting elbow with decent horizontal and vertical range. It can be used to frametrap opponents as well as make far light confirms to Max Mode more consistent because of Cl.C's or Cl.D's short range & causes a restand when the opponent gets hit. It's a bit slower than average but is still good for an AA against full jumps and preemptive AA for hops.

Crouch D

A somewhat slow and short ranged sweep that's whiff cancellable. It's also even on block, making it great for trigger happy opponents that think he's minus and like to mash Cr.B on everything only to get hit by his St.CD and die. It has pretty good usage for whiff cancels, as it can lower Shun'ei's hitbox and can make it really hard for the opponent to to jump-in or try to run in and whiff punish him because of it (more on this later). This is probably his best normal from afar. It lowers his profile greatly, and is his only far cancellable normal outside of Stand CD. A good tool to use on the ground.

Command Normal (F+B):

An Axe kick that whiffs on all crouching opponents and is negative on hit and block. This is mostly used for combos since it is pretty much ass everywhere else. This move does connect on crouching opponents during combos so no need to worry about hit confirming from heavies based on crouching or standing.

Jump A

A fast Air to Air that is great for approaching people in close range situations when jumping in the air. It's a good halting tool against obnoxious Jump CDs that are slower to startup and makes for good pressure. When combined with his airdashes and other jump normals, his air game really shines. Be careful however, as this move can be low profile AA'ed and doesn't have deep hitbox. It's pretty used for A2A only.

Jump B

A good jump-in normal that is fast to come out and hits deep. Can be used for air to ground pressure and combos if hit deep enough. Other than that, it's nothing too special.

Jump C

The High Flying Elbow

Another jump-in normal that can be used for Air to Air situations and also serves as a decent jump-in. It can be special cancelled into his airdash, allowing him to change his course of direction to either back to bait his opponents reversal or forward to continue pressure.

Jump D

His best jump-in normal and can be used as a decent A2A. It has pretty good reach and hits deep. It can also cross-up on crouching opponents when done from a hop. It can even cross-up certain standing characters and can confirm into huge damage like this:

The cross-up can be janky though, so you have to time it right.

Jump CD

F*ck AA jabs.

A kick to the face with a great hitbox and can even cross-up decently. This move has great reward for just an air normal. It has a big ol' hitbox that shrinks Shun'ei's hurtbox a bit and is hard to beat with the typical Stand A. On counterhit A2A, you can confirm this into his Blau Wing Special to get a juggle follow-up. It also can be quite bothersome for the opponent to deal with when applying hop pressure.

Throws

While not being a grappler, Shun'ei does have a very fast run speed that lets him set-up for fast tick throws that help him set up his offense and lets him tack on decent damage.

Forward Throw

A knee to the face that sends them flying. Good for taking people to the corner but you don't get oki off of it unless you are directly in the corner with them.

Back Throw

A much better throw in terms of Okizeme. You can set up a safe jump after it and even a cross-up. It's great for putting your opponent in a quick blender, like such:

Specials

Shun'ei has a good mix of specials that can be used for any grounded or air situation. Most notably, his air specials and safe strings on the ground that can get the opponent to think he is unsafe but is not.

Thruster Vision

The Airdash. A few things you should know about this as it has rules:

  1. The regular airdash itself has a height restriction, about halfway into his regular hop. It can be TKed to get the lowest height possible and EX has no height restriction.
  2. Like any other airdash game, you cannot attack during a certain period of which you are left completely vulnerable to attack. Only at the tail end of it are you able to attack.
  3. Airdash itself, whether regular or EX, gives hitstun and blockstun decay and makes it hard to link ground normals after airdash to a jump-in button.

You're probably thinking "those restrictions sounds like dogshit! #BuffShunei @SNKPOfficial PLZ K THX."

Now hear me out, it is pretty bullshit on the hitstun decay. However in neutral, where you have the chance to completely bypass the zoning with the right read and a good Jump CD or Blau Wing for great reward... it's still a viable option.

Also, it's not the complete end of the world for Shun'ei. The hitstun decay isn't too bad if you know how to perfectly time the airdash jump-in right to get even a Close D to link. It is a nuisance, but it's something you're going to have get used to when playing Shun'ei.

The EX version of front airdash is actually quite insane. It can lead to almost instant high/low mix-ups which can be hard to see coming when he does it.

It can also cancel into Blau Wing, his other air special. Combined with the fact that it lets him deal with zoning more effectively than the rest of the cast, it's still a fairly useful tool that overall helps him out in the long run.

Blau Wing

An air move that has Shun'ei glide for a bit. It's great for mixing up your air approach, good for stalling and building meter from afar. It can be + on block in certain situations and can lead to great frametraps, like this one:

(Note, XIV jump startup is 4 frames and you can still be hit on the ground until the last jump startup frame).

The EX version is also a fast recovery tool that has a lot of pushback and advantage to make Shun'ei safe when doing it.

Phantom Hand

A fast moving knuckle that grants great corner carry and is fast enough to link off lights, as well as being safe on block. Only thing that can punish this move are fast, long reaching moves that come out 5 frames or faster (like Iori's EX super). It also lowers his profile a bit and is great at stopping short hops preemptively. Do be forewarned however, as this move has proximity activation and doesn't land until the hit registers the opponent's location which leaves you in recovery long enough for you to be punished if it does not connect. The only differences between A and C is distances and damage. C version is used more in big confirms while A is used to harass people on offense and link into lights.

The EX Version is the fastest and has the same range as the C version. It wall bounces, letting you combo after it and makes for some great damage off random swings. It will mostly be used for combos and such though, as more competent players won't just let you go HAM with this move.

Aqua Spear

phantomSplit

A short ranged projectile that has a pretty tall hitbox but can be low profiled by move's like Joe's slide or Chin's Kaitenki Kuutotsu Ken (aka that rolling punch). It has its uses being decent for covering hop space, -better than Phantom Hand actually- can be used to nullify other projectiles. Take caution as it is slow to recover and isn't instant start-up; as well as highly punishable by fast reaching moves that start in 10 frames or less.

The EX version can juggle better for follow-ups in the corner and is more safe. Use this move to mix-up between Phantom Hand to open up the opponent for trying to escape your pressure.

Rising Efreet

RISE FROM YOUR GRAVE!

A DP, and a pretty shitty one at that on its regular versions. Version A only has head invulnerability at the beginning of the start-up; while C version has full invul. and can be be hit even before the start-up frames come out. The regular versions are rarely used as reversals but instead as combo tools that can extend his damage significantly, and AA's if you can time the A version right.

The EX version is the best one. It has more invul. and can be used as a reversal and starts a juggle on hit, allowing for amazing damage if the opponent isn't careful against Shun'ei. As any DPs, this move is very unsafe and you can get punished very heavily for abusing it.

Supers

Specter Extension

Burning Shining Finger

A fast, high damage, far reaching super that grants hard knockdown. The regular version has no invul. whatsoever but is fast enough to make for decent, far ranged punishes against moves with long recovery and are too far for Shun'ei to reach. The EX version is the best version. It has a good amount of invul, reaches all the way from fullscreen and is his most damaging super for combos. It can also be used as a great reversal against fireball blockstrings and can do stuff like this.

 

Gaianic Burst

Meh

A projectile super that has a detached hitbox on the first hit that nullifies other projectiles and super projectiles on its fireball portion. It's pretty slow to startup on the fireball part and isn't very useful outside of some combos. Only practical use in neutral is for catching people jumping in on him from a bad angle on the first hit, but you're better off going for traditional AA's than waste 2 bars on landing this. It's also not the best in damage either since the damage scales heavily on Max Mode combos. It has invul. on the EX version but why you would use this over EX Specter Extension is beyond me. It can be some what used in some match-ups, but you have better options. I'd stay away from this one.

Climax

Demolish Dimension

FULL ON ANIME!!!! ORAORAORAORAORAORAORAORAORAORAORAORAORAORAORAORA!

An 8F AA that costs 3 bars and does hella damage. (3rd most damaging move in the game). You wanna call someone out for doing stupid ass blockstrings? This super's for you. This kills all jump-ins guaranteed, hits fast and all around him and there is no whiff animation so the opponent eats full shit if this connects. The only bad thing about this super is its poor vertical range but when you AA someone with this, it can f*ck up their day and make them question their life decisions in their sleep. It's really good for Max Mode confirms and the last hit has 100 unscaled damage; meaning you're guaranteed a hard hitting 100 for each combo.

That's all of Shun'ei's movelist, and now on to his-

Gameplan & Strategy

Neutral:

Shun'ei has fairly decent pokes that are effective. His St.B is low profile and can work around going against mid to high range pokes. His Stand CD can go over grounded fireballs and is a good whiff punish tool. Phantom hand and other AA normals are great for controlling hop and air space from the ground while Aqua Spear is handy for dealing with zoners. He does struggle against characters with better pokes than him, since they can expose certain patterns in his neutral and can stop him from mounting any offense.

Against those characters, Shun'ei has to let some things slide... but can rely on counterpoking with well placed buttons to make them think twice for abusing their better tools. It's also noted that hop CD and airdash work well for getting around tough spots and makes him more tricky; considering his airdash gives him more options for mobility his opponents have to keep an eye out for. He has pretty safe buttons that can't really be punished on block like Stand B or Stand C. He has a surprising amount of defensive tools that make him a solid wall, but you should use this wall to get into your offense and harass them on the ground.

In the air, he is one of the best in the cast. He has fast buttons that reach far and let him control air space well. His Jump CD is very fast and can lead to instant offense thanks to an airdash cancel from it. Shun'ei's jump arcs cover good ground and space in a fairly quick amount of time, especially his hops. His airdash gives him unique options to bait DPs and close the gap between him and his opponent.

Overall stay mobile, use your normals to stop predictable approaches. Change your approach with hops/jumps, airdash and ground movement to get in and wreak havoc on your opponent.

Offense:

Shun'ei's home. He has good ground frametraps, cross-up mix-ups off back throw, amazing okizeme options after Phantom Hand knockdown, and high damage that makes the opponent really second guess messing with him. He has great offensive approaches thanks to airdash and it gives him an extra layer of mix-ups in the corner combined with empty lows and throws.

Phantom Hand is a good harassment tool against the majority of the cast as it has a lot of pushback and is hard to punish. His whiff cancel from Crouch D in the corner into his low strings can really make the opponent think twice before jumping or rolling out of his offense. He can also harass people with Jump CD and Stand CD a LOT. Those two moves kill low mashers, and when they resort to mashing high, they can eat a nice Crouch C to the face. He can also use Blau Wing as an offensive tool when in the air off a Jump CD to drain guard gauge and mix-up his offensive approach.

Needless to say this is where Shun'ei really shines and where you want to be with him.

Defense:

Don't be here at all.

Shun'ei has to hold a lot of bullshit from the opponent until he can get 1 or 2 bars to escape. He has a very bad reversal that is very unsafe and he has to make a good guess on defense to escape. His Stand CD can go over predictable low strings or bad hop-in pressure, but gets blown up by tight frametraps before he can get into the air state of the move. Once he does have 2 bars though, a lot of fireball pressure and pushback from certain special moves gets blown up by EX Specter Extension. At that point, your opponents have to watch out for a legitimate reversal that does hella damage. Again... if he has the 2 bars. It's probably his worst spot to be in a match and good blocking/defense is necessary if you want to put him on your team.

Speaking of putting him on a team, which position is best for him?

Position

Point:

Putting him on point, Shun'ei is still a high damage monster and his pressure with Phantom Hand against opponents with no meter to properly punish it make playing against him frustrating. He does however, suffer on defense if the opponent can get a lead on him. He is decent at building meter and his base damage into mid position doesn't change much either. If you want to go pure offense and harass the opponent, this is your ideal position for him.

Center:

Center is his best position. He has 1 bar coming in at all times and he gains enough meter at the start of the round to get him up to 2. Here this is where you will have a possible chance of getting an actual reversal and can easily end rounds with clean hits and 3-4 bars. This is also where his more trickier resets come into play, like this one.

He's more well rounded in this position and can easily kill almost any character with average to low health.

Anchor:

This is excessive. His overall damage output doesn't exceed with extra time into Max Mode and the rewards he gets could easily go to someone who could better utilize the time Max Mode gives them. He's pretty meter efficient and doesn't have much use for 5 bars. He gets the job done better at Point or Mid.

Conclusion

Shun'ei is a solid character for anyone wanting a real offensive powerhouse on their team. He in my personal opinion, is probably top if not, pretty damn close. He has a few things setting him back fundamentally like his airdash restrictions and close ranged frametraps, but he is still a force to be reckoned with. He is a great character with plenty of options unique to him. If you want something different than the regular offensive norm or are just looking for a solid character, Shun'ei is right up your alley.

I just want to say thanks to TSS|Atma, ShinKensou and the rest of the r/KOF Discord for helping me on this article and once again thanking KPB for letting me write about KOF; a series I hold near & dear to my heart and absolutely love. With that said, I have some unfortunate news.

Swan Song

Even though I have been on the team for only 2 months... I need to take break from social media & fighting games for an unknown period of time. Due to my overall health and house conditions with my family that I have ignored for too long and must take care of. Therefore, that means stepping off of the KPB crew. I hope you all will understand and wish you all the best in your future endeavors, as this is my last article I will publish until the Lord has destined me to come back. For now, I thank you all for taking the time to read my articles and continue supporting me through my endeavors.

If you would like to give me a follow either on Twitch/Twitter or want to contact me on forums, my handle is all the same. I will be gone however, but I still have good resources for other characters and other things such as that found on my Twitter. And last but not least, I leave another and final link (until further notice) into the r/KOF Discord.

Until next time, I'll see you guys later... keep the dream livin'.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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