Returners KoF Heroes Review Part 2: Excellent Counter Heroes Mai and Iori, and All-Round Support Athena

Hello, Masters! This is our second post introducing the King of Fighters collab Heroes. The Heroes that we will cover in this review are Mai Shiranui, Iori Yagami, and Athena Asamiya.

Like Terry and Kyo, each KoF Hero has his or her own unique traits and will have different uses compared to the other heroes in the same class. This review is not the end-all be-all for these heroes since they are still being explored, so please refer to this as a brief review covering their basic features.



■ Mai Shiranui - the counter pick for heal comps

Mai has a specific role: she counters heal comps by reducing the enemy team’s healing. Mai’s second skill Ryuuenbu and ultimate skill Chou Hissatsu Shinobi-Bachi will reduce the enemy’s healing effect while inflicting burn damage. She is specialized in defeating the “zombie comp”, which is a team composition consisting of two or three healers.

In addition, Mai’s preferred target is support heroes. She can easily deal massive damage to support heroes like Siren, Panacea, and Athena Asamiya. Mai can stun her target with her first skill, Musasabi no Mai, reduce healing with Ryuuenbu, and then deal more damage with auto attacks.


Both Ryuuenbu and Chou Hissatsu Shinobi-Bachi deal AoE damage and apply debuffs to targets, so Mai can effectively counter heroes that have AoE healing. Mai’s PHY ATK is 420, which is the highest among all Ranger heroes, so she can deal deadly damage throughout the battle.


▲ Mai will reduce the enemy’s healing effect while inflicting AoE damage.

However, Mai has low survivability. Mai dashes towards enemies with Musasabi no Mai and her ultimate, but the skills will not push back the enemies and might leave her surrounded. Rangers do not have high HP in general, so she might die easily if she is focused.


Also, although Mai has the highest PHY ATK among all Rangers, she has low critical hit rate and critical damage. Her auto attack will not do much more damage than her skills do, so she should have gear that will make her skills more powerful.

Like Taejo, Mai should be equipped with gear that will give her both ATK and HP. 4 pieces from the Ultimate set and Dark Wolf Hunter Helmet would be a good gear build. The Ultimate set will increase magical defense, giving Mai more survivability against the team comps that have multiple support heroes.


▲ 4 pieces from the Ultimate set and Dark Wolf Hunter Helmet would be a good gear build.


■ Iori Yagami - Deadly CC! A Powerful counter to Fighters


Although Iori Yagami is an AoE Mage, he is more specialized in nullifying targets. His preferred target is Fighters, and he is specialized in inflicting different CC effects so the enemy Fighters cannot do anything.


When the battle begins, Iori can stun enemies with 212 Shiki Kototsiki In and then knock back the enemies within 5m area with his second skill 100 Shiki Oniyaki. Enemy Fighters will not be able to do anything as they are continuously interrupted by hi stun and knockback.

Iori’s ultimate skill, Kin 1211 Shiki Yaotome Max, is the deadliest nullification skill in Returners. Upon using the skill, Iori will charge into a single enemy and deal magical damage over the skill’s duration. The target will not be able to do anything when Iori is attacking, and Iori will be immune to abnormal status effects and damage. The skill will also recover Iori’s HP proportional to the damage dealt.


Although Iori is a Mage, he has high base stats. While Iori also dashes into enemies like Mai does, he has higher HP compared to Mai and therefore has more survivability. 100 Shiki Oniyaki will knock back enemies further than Mai’s Ryuuenbu does, so Iori is less likely to face any focused barrage.


▲ Iori's ultimate skill will nullify the target and deal damage while recovering Iori's HP.


Although Iori has the most effective CC, there are some downsides. 100 Shiki Oniyaki decreases the enemy’s magical defense, so there have been many experiments involving how to use Iori in a Wombo Combo comp. Unfortunately, the skill pushes away enemies too far so it might not work well for Wombo Combo.

Also, as Iori's biggest strength is CC effects, his skills will not fully work against heroes that have CC immunity. If he uses his skills against the heroes that are immune to CC like Hercules or heroes that are being protected by Athena(Tank), he cannot show his maximum power. 


▲ Iori's ultimate skill will not work against heroes like Hercules.


■ Athena Asamiya - An all-round Support with Enhancement, Heals, and Damage


Athena Asamiya is a support who can heal and enhance allies. She has skills that can heal allies, buff allies, and deal damage to enemies.


One of the biggest strengths of Athena is that she can defend herself from enemies who are focusing her; in most cases, those enemies are Taejo or Tesla. When these kinds of heroes are targeting Athena, she can use her first skill Psycho Reflector, which reflects ranged damage while also pushing back enemies. It does not nullify the damage completely, but will give Athena a lot more survivability against the heroes that are specialized in eliminating supports.


Athena’s second skill, Psychic Teleport, is also a good skill. Athena dashes to a single ally and heals her target; allies in the path of her dash get a damage buff. If the formation is right, more than one ally can receive the buff. She can be more effective than heroes that enhance only one target at a time. Lastly, Athena’s ultimate skill, Shining Crystal Bit Max, can heal herself and allies while also dealing damage to enemies.


▲ Allies in the path of Athena's dash get a damage buff.


Athena is an all-round support, which also means that she is not the best in any area. For example, her healing ability is not as strong as Siren’s and her buffs are not as powerful as Cassandra’s. For damage dealing, Cassandra and Medusa are superior.

Also, Athena does not have any CC immunity while using skills. For example, if she is hit by Taejo’s Deadshot while using Psycho Reflector, she will be knocked back and will not be able to reflect the attacks that come after that. Shining Crystal Bit Max is a channeled skill that has a long duration, and your team can lose a lot of momentum if the skill is canceled.

Shining Crystal Bit Max has two animations: the animation where Athena spins around shining orbs around her and heals herself, and the animation where she throws the orbs towards enemies to heal allies and deal damage to enemies. The speed at which the orbs travel in the second animation is very slow, so there will be some cases where there are no allies in the paths that the orbs travel.

Athena might not be the best healer/enhancer, but she is a hero capable of doing both at the same time. She has decent healing, so if you are looking for a support who can keep your team alive while providing buffs, Athena Asamiya might be the one for you. Psychic Teleport will increase both magical attack and physical attack, so she will work in both PHY and MAG team.


▲ Athena will be a great support for both PHY and MAG team.

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Comments :1

  • 0

    level 4 Mihok

    i got Iori and i must say... hes very nice to play... hes the king of CC (on single target) and his crazy Ultimate is funny as hell enemy cant do anything and Iori get Immunity to everything and get HP back... thats fck OP :D!!!!

    Experience Funny Fight:

    6cd'Cass and Iori vs 4 Enemys; everybody is focusing Iori. Thx to Cass Iori was going on Beserk Mode :D stun stun ulti stun stun ulti stun stun ulti unkillable

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