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Kohaku really excels at medium range, utilizing the reach of her normals and battou specials to start combos, stabilizing with a very consistent BnB, and typically ending with 236C into plant oki. Kohaku's unique airdash and 214X series give her a great amount of maneuverability which you can utilize to stay unpredictable and maintain your desired range.
In neutral most of Kohaku’s best tools are medium range. Other characters can beat her with faster moves at close ranges and Kohaku doesn’t have a traditional projectile to cover full screen. Make sure that in the true Melty Blood spirit, you use your air movement options creatively. Paired with unpredictable air movement, her fantastic air normals can be thrown out pretty safely, make you difficult to approach, and convert easily into combos for high reward. She also has several grounded moves with great range and high reward. However you start the combo, you usually want to end with 236C into oki.
- j.C covers the whole space in front of her, including downwards
- j.[C] gains a few very useful properties, including the ability to go through clashes for a counter hit, and a ground bounce that allows you to convert stray hits easily. With this move being a core stable of her BnB as well, this might be her single best move and can be abused pretty heavily in neutral even at high levels of play.
- j.B covers a great upward angle for air-to-air
- 2C and 236A hit low with good range
- 5B and 236B can hit opponents in the air, and especially 236[B] covers a ton of screen space at a great upward angle
- 6B+C has fantastic range, a decent number of clash frames, and converts very easily into 236C for high reward making it a good neutral, whiff punishing, or even anti air tool if done early enough
- 5B and 2B are pretty fast but vulnerable to shield and some other characters’ faster moves within these ranges. 2B being two-hit makes hit confirming easier but if your opponent shields the first hit, the punish is free while you're stuck doing the second hit. Best used when you’re confident it won’t get shielded
- You can drop 22B, 22C, 2B+C plants in neutral to control some space, but usually best from far ranges and not against projectile characters. Use sparingly as a surprise.
Defensively, your best bet is usually to rely on your melty fundamentals and the system mechanics because Kohaku doesn’t really have any great reversals. 214C costs meter and can often be shielded fairly easily for a big punish if you abuse it, so try to save it for moments when your opponent mixes in oki options with longer startup or recovery. 4B+C only really works as a reversal in Moon Drive, but comes out faster than 214C and will hit something like run up 2A more consistently than 214C. Both reversals can be converted into a combo if you can juggle the opponent before they hit the ground. Landing and throwing out a 5B (or sometimes 2C depending on the situation) can often make the conversion. Kohakus strength at medium range can make something like a midscreen backdash an attractive option to create a whiff as well.
Kohaku has a very stable BnB, allowing you to convert your hits into proper oki easier than a lot of other characters at the cost of being meter hungry. See the combos section of the wiki for more details, but the basic idea is to extend your combo with 236X~X into delayed j.[C], and then finish with 236C for the hard knockdown into plant oki. Kohaku’s general high damage and strong setplay also afford you the opportunity to focus on combos you can land consistently rather than needing to always focus on what is perfectly optimal. The 236C will always get you your oki, so the difference between a solid, decent combo and an optimal one isn’t something to stress about too strongly until you get the hang of things and want the extra benefits from the most optimal routes.
Kohaku’s setplay mostly focuses on her plant oki, which typically begins after 236C or ground throw hard knockdowns. The default plant to use is 22B, often thrown after quickly dashing up to the downed opponent. 2B+C is also a good option, and if you delay dropping it you can occasionally catch your opponent off guard with the overhead on wakeup. Once the setup is in place, get creative with your mixups and make sure to vary your options. There are endless possibilities but a few to get you started:
- Opponents who try to shield can be thrown before the plant becomes active
- 2C and IAD j.A are quick low and high options. 2A also works if you are in range, either due to being in the corner or dashing up first
- If the opponent activates heat, as long as you don’t get hit the plant will hit them afterwards. If you expect the heat, make sure to keep your proper distance, OS, or go through the heat using the invincibility of 214A/B
Knockdowns and setups (WIP)
TODO: List all setups, set up table with:
- Location (corner/midscreen/anywhere)
- General option coverage (what is it safe against)
- Options for mix
TODO: Explain 236C proration
These will generally be manually timed.
- Dash 22B/22[B], 2A/IAD j.A/5C/throw
- Delay superjump, j.B or j.C on landing
- Immediate dj 66, j.[C] whiff, 2A
Ground throw (+62)
- 22B, IAD j.B
236C knockdown (+64)
You can check if your combo leads to this knockdown by buffering 22B after 236C and checking if it hits 9 times.
- 22B, IAD j.C
236C knockdown (+68)
You can check if your combo leads to this knockdown by buffering 22B after 236C and checking if it hits 8 times.
236C knockdown (+72)
You can check if your combo leads to this knockdown by buffering 22B after 236C and checking if it hits 7 times.
- 22B into IAD j.X whiff, 2A/throw or IAD delay j.X
- 22[B], IAD j.B