[KOF Arena] MAX mode applications to become a real expert

Foundation for a turnaround, MAX mode


MAX mode: A special mode that activates through the Z key on the keyboard or by touching the MAX button (20-second cooldown)

You can use MAX mode when you have at least two power gauges. When you enter MAX mode, your fighter flashes gold and gets extremely strong. All cooldowns are reduced to 1 second, the required power gauges to use finishers are reduced to 1, and the power gauges needed to use the ultimate are reduced to 3. 


However, after you’ve entered MAX mode, the remaining power gauges decrease until it runs out completely. When MAX mode is activated, 0.5 power gauges run out per second. This means that 1 gauge runs out over 2 seconds, so if you use it when you have 5 power gauges, you can maintain the MAX mode for 10 seconds. If you use it with 2 power gauges, which is the minimum to use it, it lasts for 4 seconds.


- All skill cooldowns reset (Except for the ultimate)
- Normal skill cooldown fixed to 1 second
- 50% reduction for normal skill damage
- Basic attack, normal skill guard break effect increased by 100%
- Finisher power gauge consumption reduced to 1 (Originally 3 gauges)
- Ultimate power gauge consumption reduced to 3 (Originally 5 gauges)

▲ Athena enters MAX mode to gain cooldown reduction, you can see the difference through the flashing gold color.

General MAX mode usage, finishers and ultimate last-hits!

You’ve probably seen often how to use finishers or ultimates by using a fewer number of power gauges as you played. It’s mostly to K.O an opponent who doesn’t have much HP left. Usually, it is used as MAX mode+ultimate when the player has 4 power gauges. When the opponent doesn’t have escape, you can give damage by using a skill that can’t be evaded through emergency dodge and connect MAX mode+finisher afterward.


▲ When MAX mode is activated, you can use your finisher and ultimate with less resources.

▲ Rugal countering Kyo’s Q skill with MAX mode + finisher.

Double finisher that neutralizes escape!

If your power gauge is full with 5 gauges, there’s a way of using your finisher twice to corner your opponent with force. The MAX mode duration of the five power gauges is about 10 seconds. If it’s a fighter whose finisher animation is less than two seconds, you can use your finisher twice in a row while MAX mode is activated.

With a few fighters like Orochi Chris and Kusanagi Kyo, whose finisher animations are very short, you can attempt a double finisher with four power gauges. As the animation durations vary by fighter, you should learn in advance through practice mode.


Considering that the ultimate skill’s damage is 400% of your attack, which is activated with 5 power gauges (3.2 power gauges in MAX mode), using the finisher skill twice, which has 250% of your attack damage, can deal more damage. The required number of power gauges is similar to using the ultimate skill with four. Keep in mind that the finisher skills can be evaded using escape, so it’s a combo that can be used when the opponent’s escape is on cooldown.


However, when you use a double finisher, you can induce the opponent to escape in the first finisher, and expect more damage with the second finisher connected with skill combos. If the opponent endures and gets hit by both the double finishers, you can utilize it accordingly by using the finisher once and blindly firing other skills. You can also guard the opponent’s escape to start your skill combo from the beginning again.


▲ Kyo is one of the fighters that have a short finisher animation. He can do a double finisher with four power gauges.

▲ If they hit, double finishers can deal more damage than ultimates.

If the opponent doesn’t have emergency dodge or escape? Destroy even their guard!

With MAX mode on, you can drain your opponent’s guard gauge more. Usually, normal attacks drain 25% of the guard gauge, and normal skills drain 33-40%. When you’re in MAX mode, this doubles, so you can break the opponent’s guard with a basic attack and two skills. When your opponent’s escape and emergency dodge are on cooldown, they can only defend by guarding and evading. This can be utilized by draining your opponent’s guard gauge with MAX mode, using consecutive skills to deactivate their evasions, and then using your finisher when you have 1 power gauge left.


▲ Kyo’s basic attack + 1 skill combo that drains the guard gauge by 65%.

▲ In MAX mode, you can easily destroy the guard like the combo above did.

When you’ve become familiar with breaking guards, connect skills infinitely!

By using the fact that normal skill cooldowns are fixed at 1 second in MAX mode, you can do an infinite combo by using two skills, such as blast attacks, grapples, or airborn skills, etc. Fighters that are good strikers, such as Terry, Kim Kaphwan, Ryo, or Mai, can use the infinite skill combo effectively.


If your fighter has a skill that airbornes your opponent like Chizuru or Orochi Shermie, you can effectively attack them when their escape is on cooldown. It’s even better if you can deal damage from afar like Goenitz, Orochi Shermie, and Orochi. However, it’s difficult to deal big damage, so it’s effective when you’re going for time over or using it when you have two power gauges.


It gets really difficult to deal with skills like Rugal’s Vanishing Rush EX, which is quick and has fast hit judgment, so you can induce the opponent to use their emergency dodge and escape or deal massive damage to continue your aggressive initiative.


▲ Orochi Shermie’s guided blast attack allows her to do an infinite combo in MAX mode.

▲ Chizuru can also do an infinite combo in MAX mode.

The peak of utilizing MAX mode, ‘consecutive escapes'


Escape (Space) + MAX mode (Z) + Escape (Space)

When you use MAX mode, all skills’ cooldowns except the finisher and ultimate are reset and get ready to use. This includes your defensive skill ‘escape’ as well. The key point is that activating MAX mode doesn’t reduce the cooldown of the escape skill — it resets it. By using this, you can escape twice in a row by using your escape, entering MAX mode, and escaping again. Normally, you should use consecutive escapes when you’re emergency dodge and escape are on cooldown, but you see a perfect counter angle. If you fail, you waste your power gauge, so the chance of falling to your opponent’s MAX mode combo rises drastically.

▲ You can reset the cooldown of escape by using MAX mode.

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