Lucky's King K Rool Guide for Smash Ultimate
Sun 30th Dec 2018 - 4:01pm
With characters flooding in to the roster, it was hard to point a finger to a character that would suit us best! Now that we're three weeks into playing the game, Joey "Lucky" Aldama has found his true calling as the royal reptile that is King K Rool:
"The release trailer made me want to play him more than anything. The character just seemed funny to me and that was all it took."
King K Rool has a fantastic offensive game. As well as being strong and fast, he makes for a great pick in competitive gameplay. As well as his amazing aerial and ground moveset, one of his specials (his side B) includes a projectile in which he throws his crown and it deals 11.3% damage on the first hit but eventually staling down after a few hits to 5%. It still does a sizeable amount of damage if you catch them with the crown as it's returning to your hand.
Lucky says, "Until people get better at parrying, his crown projectile is fantastic for forcing people into the air or onto a platform."
The knockback is vertical, so it's great as a combo starter and you can even catch them twice with the crown which suspends your opponent in the air for longer, giving you more time to set up for a huge combo. His other projectile, which is his neutral B move, is a cannonball which deals a huge 16.3% and stales at 7.3%. It's slower than his crown projectile but, if you're at close range and hold B after shooting it, you can suck the cannonball back in and shoot it at a diagonal angle. You can even suck in your opponent if they are close enough and shoot them out which does 12% damage, staling at 6.7%. Competitors in tournament have been using the cannonball as an edgeguard and then sucked their opponent in as they try to recover to shoot them into the blast zone!
Outside of his projectiles, King K Rool has a solid set of aerial moves; especially his nair. His nair has super armor, comes out pretty fast, stays out for a fairly long time, and does around 12.8% unstaled.
Lucky says, "You can use nair in a lot of ways with it having the range it does and coming out as fast as it does."
It's fantastic if you want to get behind your opponent to give them a harder time getting a grab or a punish. You can jump over them and nair as you're coming down and the hitbox goes a little behind King K Rool. You can then land right next to your opponent after hitting them with the back part of your nair and follow it up with a punish or combo.
Lucky adds, "Poking from below platforms and abusing the super armor while falling from above are both great." It's great as a recovery tool; if you're falling and trying to avoid being hit by the opponent, you can try nair!
Lucky explains, "Your air-to-airs are great, especially with nair having super armor. Spacing fair and nair lead to a jab combo at low percents for a nice chunk of damage."
King K Rool's drop-kick fair is also a super strong and fast move, causing 15.1% damage unstaled and staling at 5.7%, and has a good amount of range ahead of him. King K Rool's dair is also interesting; as a full hop dair, it does 15.1% at its strongest and 6.7 staled. However, if you do a short hop dair, you catch your opponent with a different part of your dair hitbox which cause 12.8% unstaled and 5.7% staled but keeps the knockback lower so you can potentially go for another dair or another aerial. The higher the percent, the higher your opponent goes vertically so you can finish up a combo with an upair or upsmash to end your opponent's stock! His dair also spikes so, if you're close to the ledge, you can opt for dair to finish the stock too! His bair is his strongest aerial starting at 20.3% and staling at around 6.3%. It's a great kill move as it is also a spike move. However, this mainly applies when your opponent is in the air.
Lucky says, "Get comfortable with nair and fair into jabs or tilts at different percents. Both options will net you really good amounts of damage."
King K Rool's defensive game is wonderful too! His jabs, tilts, and tricky projectiles do a great job of keeping opponents at bay!
"The crown projectile is fantastic," Lucky says, "It has great range and works fantastic out of dashing back. If your opponent chases you down with an attack, but runs into a crown after you dash back, the initial hit will pop them up and then even threaten them on the way back while you attack."
His jab is useful and can be strong if used in a three-part jab sequence. A single jab alone is 3.1% and stales at 1.5%, but a second jab would be 6.3% but the full sequence does 15.1% damage unstaled and 12.2 staled which is still pretty strong. The final jab kicks your opponent away from you, thus giving you space to reset the neutral!
Lucky adds, "His jab also comes out pretty fast and is one of the primary tools I use after I get hit at low percents."
His tilts are also fantastic. His ftilt has a stronger hitbox where his claws are but still deals around 16.3 at its strongest! It's extended out in front of him, which is great for catching approaching opponents, as is his dtilt. His dtilt does 8.8% unstaled and 3.9 staled and also extends out on front of him on the floor. If you catch your opponent with the furthest part of the hitbox, it sends them upwards and you can even use it as a juggle if they don't DI out of it as it keeps bouncing them into the air. If they are much closer to you and you dtilt, it sends your opponent into the floor where they become stuck and you can maximise your punish and even finish their stock. This causes 10% unstaled and 4.5% staled. Your opponent will stay in the ground between 3-5 seconds, depending on their percent and then pop out vertically unless you hit them otherwise.
Lastly, King K Rool's uptilt does 14.4% unstaled and 6.4% unstaled. It doesn't extend quite as far as the other tilts but it does hit them up and away from you (if they're approaching you head on), which makes it easier to reset the neutral. It's great for hitting your opponent through platforms, as top of the hitbox will just send your opponent up as opposed to up and away, so you can start juggling your opponent!
Grabs and Throws
Lucky says, "His down throw leads to a lot of great set-ups if your opponent doesn't mash out of the buried state. Although, at around 120%-130%, if you get a down throw near the ledge of stage, up-tilt will come out fast enough to connect before a mash out and secures an easy kill. Get very comfortable with grabbing in this game. Up-throw does literally 20% and can even lead into a kill at 0% if you do it below the top platform into your up-b. D-throw setups will lead to great damage if your opponent doesn't mash and can lead to kills at higher percentages with up-tilt or down-forward angled f-smash."
Down throw does 6.3% and eventually stales at 2.8%. Forward throw is much stronger and does 12.6% and eventually stales at 5.6%. King K Rool's vicious back throw is stronger again at 13.8% start and staling at 6.1% and finally, King K Rool's violent up throw which deals a whopping 20.1% and stales at 9% which is still a huge amount of damage. His upair has enough vertical knockback that you can follow it up with an uptilt or upair.
Tips/What To Avoid
Although King K Rool's recovery is incredible and reaches the stage ledge from 'insanely far away', it doesn't mean he's totally indestructible.
Lucky notes, "A really big mistake would be using his dair too far below the ledge. It has a decent amount of end lag which can lead to you not having enough time to even up-b."
This very much rings true to his toolkit as well! Although King K Rool has fast and strong moves, it doesn't mean they're going to work against characters they may be stronger or faster than you. They may even have a projectile that hurts the way you play neutral as a King K Rool player!
Lucky says, "I've only fought the Belmont characters once online for some reason, but it seemed really hard. I can't tell if that was my own fault for never playing the match-up, though. Bigger characters usually have a hard time getting around projectiles due to their size, so it could just be a bad one overall. Honestly, any slower character or character without decent range seems to struggle against me. So, I won't say for sure on a winning match-up, but I think those characters will struggle in the long run against him."
Lucky adds, "Being run over by fast characters at low percent seems to be the end of a lot of people. K Rool suffers from this too, especially if your opponent stays out of the nair super armor range. Acknowledging this and resetting your position on stage will be essential as a K Rool player."
With this, King K Rool has some really strong neutral options as discussed earlier, so it's in your best interest to recognise these situations. King K Rool may have an exquisite toolkit, so do many of the other characters in the game and some may counter King K Rool's style of play. Sticking to his strengths is a great way to approach the following months as we figure out more on what counters each character. Though it's early after release, it's worth seeing which characters really falter at King K Rool's claws too!
Lucky says, "This game is very juggle heavy. Characters with good up-airs are pushing ahead for sure and K Rool can take that away from characters with his nair. The same goes for characters that abuse tilts out of run. K Rool can really abuse that with his super armor if the opponent isn't careful with how they approach."
King K Rool is also one of those characters that has a great up air. It boosts him a little higher when he executes the move, although the hitbox is on top of his head, so falling upairs are much harder to do, if possible only through platforms. It's around 14.9% on a strong upair!
Lucky says, "I've been practicing primarily on Battlefield and Final Destination stages to learn the game, so it's hard for me to say, but I do think he is fantastic on stages with platforms."
King K Rool's uptilt reaches through Battlefield and Dreamland platforms, so anything of a similar height for King K Rool will be no problem so he'll benefit from stages with platforms in that sense.